Nerath Reborn

It's worth HOW MUCH?!?!...We'll find a way!
Game 30: 2012-09-16

27th of April AD

The party arrives at the southern end the Battlefield Downs, an ancient battle site where thousands had died.

They cautiously enter the valley following the eastern wall of the valley. Several snow drifts, not yet melted due to the sheltered nature of the downs, block their way.

As they advance, they find a pile of old rusted weapons, a hole filled with junk and a well organized pile of bones, where all the parts have been sorted and organized by type. The pile is huge and is composed of thousands of bones from hundreds of bodies of all origins. humans, orcs, animals, all are present in the pile.

As the group continues its progress, they come to the northern end of the little valley they are in and, as they come out from behind a snow drift, they see a large smoking crater surrounded with several undead. As the undead see them, they attack the group.

The battle is over very quickly as the undead are no match for the group. They quickly dispatch the last of the undead and approach the crater. Seeing the remains of another cadaver in the bottom of the crater, the group manages to retrieve the body without being affected by the noxious green grass coming from the bottom of the crater. On the body, which seems to date from long ago, they find an intact hide armour (Survival Armour 2), a holy symbol (2) and 500 gp.

From the crater, the group sees a small building, badly maintained. They approach the building and enter it. Within the building, they find it to be strangely clean and uncluttered. They find a huge oaken arch carved with many runes carved all over the arch, including the lower bottom part. They also find the remains of a large book, which seems to have been torn to shreds. Using a ritual, Asha rebuilds the book and examines it. It seems to be a log book concerning the arch which is, apparently, the other end of the teleport portal through which the attack on the conference was sent.

The log book details how to activate the portal and some of the background on how to create it. It is not, in itself, the ritual to create a True Portal but notes taken while the ritual was used. It also identifies the person who wrote the book: Ali-Rabak, an infamous mage long unheard of.

The group suspects that both the journal and the arch itself are potentially worth tens of thousands of gold pieces since the ability to create True Portals was lost when the Dark rose. They resolve to bring both the journal and the arch back to Fallcrest.

However, the sheer size and weight (about 10′×10′ and 1700lbs) make such a burden difficult to move. Asha says that if she creates enough Floating Disks, she should be able to carry the arch on them.

After several hours of creating the disks and maneuvering the arch onto the disks, the group manages to get the arch mobile. They start the long and slow process of carrying the arch out of the valley and the long road back to Fallcrest.

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A Mildly Annoyed Dwarf
Game 29: 2012-06-24

23rd of April 100 AD (Cont)

Bark runs out, following the Guards who are headed to the painter’s house. Unfortunately, even before reaching the house, it is evident that the haste was unnecessary: the house is on fire. After helping the bucket brigade, the group go to bed, knowing the next day will be a long one.

24th of April 100AD.

The next day, the group meets Lord Padraig at the remains of the painter’s house. As they talk with Lord Padraig, the headless corpse of one of the guards inspecting the ruins is thrown out on the street. Inside the ruins, something has attacked and killed the guards. The group rushes in, to find an animated pill of fiery bones. They battle the Charnel Cinderhouse inside the ruins, eventually defeating it. They search the ruins for clues, but find nothing of note save for an amulet.

Lord Padraig had summoned help from the Keep and the guards take over the site as the group comes out. He tells the group to clean up and to come to the Duke’s quarters since he and the Duke would like to meet them again.

Later, the group meets with Lord Padraig and the Duke. They learn that little is known of what happened to the Nenlast envoy and Lord Padraig asks them to travel to Nenlast to investigate. They also learn that the location from where the undead teleported in to attack the Ball is on the way in an area called the Battlefield Downs. Lastly, they will travel with a part of the Hammerfast delegation that is returning home. Apparently, one of their number is acting strangely and the Duke suspects that something is wrong. The group can meet the delegation the next morning at the Wizard’s Gate.

25th of April 100AD

The next morning, the group is on their way to meet the Hammerfast delegation at the east Gate. Urszula goes to retrieve her animals at the Temple and takes a shortcut to the gate. As she approaches, she overhears one of the dwarven guards giving instructions to the delegation leader in a forceful manner, stating that Tiamat is looking on and that the delegate had better tow the line. Surprised and intrigued, Urszula heads back tot the Temple and updates the Temple leader so that she can update the Duke. Urszula then returns to the gate and rejoins the group, informing them of the information as soon as she can. The group keeps an eye on the guard, who acts just like a normal underling should.

During the first night, the group discusses what to do and they notice that the other dwarven guards do not socialize with the ‘special’ guard. During guard duty, the group pretend that the caravan is under attack by Giants and convice the dwarven guards, except the ‘special’ one, to leave. They then drop the tent on top of the strange dwarf and hit him with all they’ve got. The dwarf gets up and out of the tent, backhands one of the group, sending him flying across the camp and proceeds to inform the group not to anoy him again.

The other dwarves return from their wild goose chase pissed at the group. However, when they see the tent of the strange dwarf andrealize that the group attack him, they become very afraid and none dare go back to sleep that night.

26th of April 100AD

The next day, the caravan moves on, with very quiet dwarven guards, an obviously amused dwarf and a soemwhat confused group and merchants. That evening they reach the 5 League Inn and all the dwarves continue on to Hammerfast. The group prepares a message for the Duke and arrange to have it sent back. They stay at the Inn that evening and will depart for the Battlefield Downs the next morning.

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That Painting Is Really Lifelike
Game 28: 2012-06-10

19th of April 100 AD (Cont)

The group returns to their Inn where they discuss the day’s events. A knock at the door returns them to the present ad they prepare for the worse as they open the door. They find a single man with grey hair who introduces himself as “Sir Tirkos Northmarch, Aide-de-camp to his grace, Duke Alegan Tangier”. He has been sent to bring Lord Padraig’s representative before the Duke.

The group is escorted before the duke, who inquires as to when Lord Padraig will arrive, as all the other representatives have arrived and several assassination attempts have occurred. After discussing with the group, the Duke schedules the opening Ball 4 days later, giving time for the group to return to Winterhaven and escort Lord Padraig to Fallcrest. The Duke also writes a pass for Urzula’s animals, so that she may bring them to Fallcrest unimpeded.

20th of April 100 AD
After returning to Winterhaven, the group escort Lord Padraig to Fallcrest without incident.

23rd of April 100AD
Once in Fallcrest, they obtain appropriate clothing and attend the Ball with Lord Padraig. As Lord Padraig now has a formal bodyguard, the group is free to mingle with the attendees. As they wander around the room, their attention is caught by a very large map painted on one of the walls of the ballroom. Inspecting it, they realize that the ‘frame’ of the map, painted around the map, is in fact a teleport portal.

As they discuss this discovery, the map inside the frame disappears and is replaced by a woodland scene at night. As the group looks on, several zombies and other undead creatures come through the portal and attack the Ball goers.

In an intense battle, the group battles the zombies who attack blindly anyone they can reach, finally destroying the attackers. As the situation is under control, a group of royal guards rush out to seek the painter of the map and its frame. Bark follows.

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They Checked In but They Never Checked Out.
Game 27: 2012-04-15

17th of April 100AD(Cont.)
Having explored the behir’s caves, the group decides to camp within the cave, escaping the poor weather outside.

18th of April 100AD
The group reaches Fallcrest that evening. While they travel, they make a point of taking note of all ambush locations so that their return trip with Lord Padraig will be better prepared. Once in Fallcrest, they head for the Nentir Inn. However, once at the Inn, the stable boy refuses to have anything to do with Urzula’s bear or wolf. Urzula then bring them into the common room, where the barkeep demands he take the bear and wolf outside.

Inside the Inn are four Nerathi Royal Guards. Their captain approaches and asks the barkeep if he can b of service. After some protracted negotiations, Urzula agrees to send the wolf and bear to a nearby wood, so as not to panic the Inn’s customers. The barkeep, satisfied, mutters something about ‘crazed adventurers’.

Bark, having spoken with the Guard Captain, asks why they are there, as Nerath if far away. The captain explains that he is part of a contingent sent to escort Duke Alegan of the Bloody Coin to Fallcrest.

After a quick meal, the group goes to bed.

19th April 100AD
That morning, the group heads for Fallcrest save for Urszula, who needs to smuggle her animals inside the city. She uses the ferry and a little with the ferryman to get them across. He then heads for the Monsong temple, where he convinces the cleric to keep them for him.

The group heads for Arrick’s tower. Arrick is the mage friend of Lord Padraig. They knock and introduce themselves and give him the letter of introduction sent by Lord Padraig.

Arrick welcomes them and informs them that all the envoys for the conference with Duke Alegan have arrived save two: Lord Padraig and the envoy from the village of Nenlast. The later has been killed on the road.

As the group discuses with Arrick of how to proceed , he suggests they speak with Selarund, the head of the Halfmoon trading cartel. He arranges for them to give Selarund a signal that will identify them as being sent by him.

The group goes and meets Selarund. Once they have identified themselves, Selraund discusses the conference and the notable comings and goings in the last few weeks. Among the many unique events, such as the arrival of the Royal Messenger, she notes the arrival of a trading caravan from Alketch, the southern empire. She notes that their arrival was quite well known, they seem to have disappeared as their departure was never seen.

The group decides to investigate this and they discover that the Southerners were interested in the island in the middle of the Nentir river. Urszula recovers her wolf and bear and the group heads for the island.

As they explore the island, they find stairs leading down in an old tower. They find a small series of rooms below the tower. As they move through the rooms, they come upon 4 southerners who,upon seeing them, immediately attack. In a brief but intense battle, the group defeats the Southerners and explores the rest of the small dungeon. They discover that the Southerners were in Fallcrest to disrupt the conference but find nothing indicating who sent them and how they planned to do this.

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Is that who I think it is?
Game 26: 2012-04-01

16th of April , 100 AD

The group decides to return to Winterhaven. Using the horses they found behind the barn and their own mounts, they are able to return to Winterhaven at top speed.

They arrive and immidiatly head for Lord Padraig’s residence. Their evident haste makes the chamberlain, who greets them as they ride up to Lord Padraig’s residence, curious. The chamberlain was overseeing the unloading of a wagon and quickly asks them what is amiss. The group insists on seeing Lord Padraig. The chamberlain agrees and leads them into the house to find Lord Padraig.

They find Padraig on the second floor, also overseeing the unpacking of a chest from the wagon. As the group enters the room, the group recognizes the face of one of the teamsters. They realize that he has the same features as one of the corpses they found behind the barn, two hours east of Winterhaven.

As they shout a warning to Lord Padraig, he immediately moves out of the room, surprising both the group and his assailants with his speed. Instantly, a battle erupts between the two teamsters, now cornered in the room and the group who surge forward to attack the intruders.

As the battle progresses, Urszula’s bear is surprised by an attack from the chest which turns out to be a large mimic. The mimic grabs the bear and holds it in its acidic grasp, severely wounding the bear over the course of the battle. Additionally, the third teamsters outside rushes inside to help his comrades.

Aurum, who had been standing guard outside, attempts to follow him but is blocked by Urszula’s wolf mount who is under orders to block entrance to all. The doppelganger had managed to slip buy undetected but the wolf will not let Aurum in to help in the battle.

Eventually, the group manages to kill the two intruders, who appear to be doppelgangers and then proceed to dispatch the mimic, freeing the bear.

As Lord Padraig recovers, the group fills him in to what they found when searching for the messenger and the events at the farm. Lord Padraig wastes no time and orders his guards to secure the town in case other assassins are present. He thanks the group and then sees to the defences of the town.

Later, the group follows the clients of Wrafton’s Inn to listen to Padraig address the town. He explain the assassination attempt and asks that the villagers be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

He then invites the group to meet the messenger so that they can receive the message from the King.

Lord Padraig and the group visit the Messenger in his rooms, where he lies recuperating from his wounds. The group gives him the Red Arrow and the messenger formaly identifies himslef and has Lord Padraig do the same. He then speaks the command word and an image of the King delivers the message to Lord Padraig.

The King requests that Lord Padraig attend a conference in Fallcrest on the first of June to discuss the reunification of the Nentir Vale with the Kingdom of Nerath. Lord Padraig formally replies to the messenger that he will attend the meeting.

Lord Padraig and the group excuse themselves and leave the Messenger to rest. They proceed to another room wehre they discuss their next move. It is decided that the group will proceed to Fallcrest to reconoiter the town and then return to escort Lord Padraig to the town.

Lord Padraig provides a introduction letter to his mage friend in Fallcrest and the group makes preparations to leave.

17th of April , 100AD

The group leaves Winterhaven and rides east to Fallcrest. During their trip, the weather sours and it begins to rain heavily. As the reach a small canyon through which the road travels, the group is nearly swept away from a landslide that rips off a large portion of the northern canyon wall.

As the group back up on the road and assesses the situation, a large lizard like creature emerges from a cave now exposed by the landslide. The creature seems agitated and, when it sees the group, attacks. The creature, a behir, charges the group and frequently attacks them with a lightning burst that shocks the group several times.

A long and difficult battle ensues with many a boom from the behir’s lightning attack. Eventually,. however, the group overcomes its defenses and slay the beast. The group cautiously explores the cave from which the behir emerged and discover some coins and a gem among the remains of the Behir’s past meals.

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The McStompers stomp on!
Game 25:m2012-03-18

15th of April 100 A.D.

After having heard the plea for help from Lord Padraig, the group accepts to help but, as usual, Gurdil negotiates hard for some reward for the “McMithril’s Dragon Stompers”, his new name for the group.

Lord Padraig does agree to a reward, to be specified later. The group immediately gathers their possessions and heads east on the King’s Road.

About two hours east of Winterhaven, the group comes upon 5 corpses lined up on the road. They cautiously approach and find the corpses to be those of 4 humans and 1 eladrin. The eladrin is dressed in the red uniform of a Royal Messenger while only one of the humans has the remains of a black uniform of a Royal Guard.

The group searches the corpses and the general vicinity and finds little except for a path that leads off the King’s Road and heads north. They do find one thig out of the ordinary: on the inside of the messengers left arm, it is written in blood “Bahamut save the King and Nerath”.

After some discussion, Urzula takes the messenger’s body and return to Winterhaven with it, in hopes of having the man raised from the dead.

The rest of the group keep the corpses of the Guards and keep going down the King’s Road. After about two hours, Gurdil receives a Sending from Lord Padraig:
Urzula arrived, No raise available, will procure one, speak with dead tomorrow, stop and wait for Urzula’s return. Please find arrows. Padraig

The group waits for the return of Urzula and, the day being essentially over, make camp that night.

16th of April 100 A.D.

The next morning, Gurdil receives another Sending from Lord Padraig:
Speak with dead, attackers 11 humans, messenger thinks near Winterhaven now, might have split up, check abadonned farms north of road. Padraig.

The group heads back towards Winterhaven and take the first path north they come upon. As they follow the path, it becomes evident that the path was once a minor road towards an abandonned village. As they come upon the remains of the villages, they see a clearing in the distance where the building seems to be a bit more intact than usual. As they cross the remains of what might once have been a fence, they see a humanoid figure on the roof of the building.

Unfortunatly, he sees them too and shouts something down to the building. As the group approaches, several men emerge from the building and begin to shot arrows at the group as they approach.

The group spreads out and behind to work its way towards the building. Asha creates a portal to permit most of the group to teleport forward, making their approach faster. As the group emerges in front of the 3 archers, one of them calls for help. From behind the building emerges another 4 men, who attack the group. The enemy fights a well fought retreat, edging ever closer to the back of the building.

Urzula, who had not teleported in but stayed in his horse, kills on of the archers, making another flee for his life. The bandit leader, alone before the group, falls back as fast as he can towards the remainder of his allies. the fleeing archer mounts a horse that was unseen behind the building and attempt to flee on horseback, only to be cut down by Urzula.

Another of the brigands also manages to get to a mount, only to be killed by one of the group.

Having dispatched the last of the brigands, the group inspects the area and their corpses. On the man who seemed to be the leader of the group, they find a red arrow, a suit of magical armor (warsheath armor +2) and a scroll. On this scroll is written the following message:

Galsor,
a Royal Messenger will be leaving tomorrow heading west on the King’s Road. He will be heading towards Winterhaven. Take Kunzan and his men and intercept the messenger and his escort as far west as you can. Kill them and take the Arrows. Leave the corpses where they can be found. Send Kunzan to Winterhaven and have him kill the Lord of Winterhaven, a man called Ernest Padraig. If he can, have him replace him and impersonate him.

If he does manage to replace Padraig, have him travel to Fallcrest within the week to attend the conference with the King’s representatives but make sure the real Padraig never makes it to the conference.
-A

Behind the building, they find 7 horses and the remains of three humans, who have been dead some two days. The remains have no identifying marks and have minimal clothing. The group ponders what it all means.

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The traditional reward for a job well done.
Cut Scene 2: 2012-03-12

After defeating the gnoll and his minions, you free the last missing survivor of the caravan, a guard named Heral. He thanks you and helps you loot the corpses of his fallen tormentors. As you prepare to leave the Well of Demons, you take the head of the Guardian, so as to show the world your exploits.

You and Heral begin your trek back to the Seven Pillared Hall. When you enter the Halfmoon Inn, the patrons give you a cheer and when they see the dragon’s head, well, the party start anew. Spending a few day at the Inn to rest and swap stories with the locals, your fame grows. Erra Halfmoon, the aunt of Rendil (the halfling you saved) lets you stay for free, saying only that your presence makes her rich.

During your stay, Rendil sees to it that your dragon head is properly cleaned and mounted, so that you can show it off correctly. As you pack your few belongings, you say goodbye to the Halfmoon clan and make your way to the surface.

Once on the surface, you journey back to Winterhaven, taking your time. Once you reach Fallcrest, Heral takes his leaves, thanking you profusely. He has kin in the town and he says that he will be able to employment quite easily. Having finally completed the goal which brought you together, you decide to continue traveling together, at least until Winterhaven, where most of your belongings are.

After nine days of leisurely and uneventful travel, you finally reach Winterhaven. As you approach the gates, the guards recognize you and wave. Upon seeing the dragon head on your pack horse, they look upon you in awe.

“My lord is at Wrafton’s, if you wish to speak to him. He will certainly be happy to see you” says the guard as he lets you through the gate.

As expected, Lord Padraig is at Wrafton’s Inn and the common room erupts with cheers at your arrival but quiets quickly as the Dragon’s head is brought in.

“You’ve been busy, I see” says Lord Padraig, “but you can tell us of this later. Come and rest, for now”.

You sit at a table as Salvana serves you a hot stew. Lord Padraig sits with you and says little, letting you finish your meal. However, it is obvious that you will have to tell the story of the dragon’s head to the expectant customers of the Inn, or you will not be left alone for long.

Once you finish you meal, you begin to relate what has happened since you left Winterhaven last. You tell how you reached the Seven Pillared Hall, how you found the slavers who had attacked your caravan only to find out that your friends had been sold to some duegar.

You explain how you infiltrated the duegar’s trading post and tracked your friends to their base in the Labyrinth. The groups gasps at your assault on the duegar’s stronghold. They rejoice upon hearing that most of the slaves were there but their interest only heightens when you explain that still two of your friends were missing (not to mention a shield). The crowd recoils in horrors at the description of the Well of Demons and of the vile evil within. The battle with the dragon is epic, the crowd busting in laughter at how you maneuvered the dragon under the sphere twice, trapping it in its own trap.

In the end, the death of one of the last captives is sorrowful to your listeners but they rejoice in knowing that you saved as many as you could and in doing so defeated a greater evil than they imagined existed in the Valley.

Once you tell of your exploits, you spend the rest of the evening sipping a well deserved beer while answering questions from the village folk. Lord Padraig stays for the evening, listening attentively and asking pointed questions about the slavers, the duegar and the role of the Mages of Saruun in all the story. He asks about Fallcrest and how the town seemed as you crossed it on your way to Winterhaven. He seems strangely interest in when you left Fallcrest and the trip from there to Winterhaven.

As the evening winds down, you begin to make for your rooms. As you get up to leave, Lord Padraig beckons you to his table.

“My friends” he says, ”your service to the village and to the Nentir Vale has been great and demonstrates your noble character. Your service should not go unrewarded and I would grant you each a boon. Come tomorrow to my house, say at the second hour (8 am), and I will let you choose some reward for your service.”

He lowers his voice and takes on a grave expression before continuing: “However, we will also need to discuss grave news I have received. I realize you are tired, and I will let you rest this night, but I fear your rest may be short. I say no more, rest tonight. We will discuss these matters in the morning.”.

He rises and walks with you to the stairs leading to the rooms. He refuses to expand on what he has said, saying only that it can keep until morning.

You return to your rooms, intrigued and not a little worried but the soothing comfort of the beds after so many night sleeping in open ground quickly lull you to sleep.

The next morning, you rise somewhat later than usual and have a quick breakfast. You head for Lord Padraig’s manse. As you approach the bailey’s gates, the guards wave you through. As you enter the courtyard, Lord Padraig is waiting for you on the steps to his house.

“Welcome, my friends! I trust you slept well. Come this way, we might as well go directly to the vault for your reward”

He leads you to a side door in the gatehouse, taking stairs that go down under the interior walls of Winterhaven. As you follow him, you quickly gain a sense of a hidden size to the underground portion of Winterhaven. The stairs go past at least two basements before finishing at a stout wooden door.

Lord Padraig takes a key out of his pocket and looks at you with a strange smile. “Now then, to unlock the door”. He does indeed unlock the stout wooden door but does not open it. “Here’s the trick” he says, as he pushes on the wall to his right, revealing a secret door that opens inwards.

He lets you in then follows you. On the other side of the secret door lies a short corridor that opens up into what seems to be a large armory, but of a sort you have never seen before. Before you lie weapons of all sorts, neatly arranged along the walls and on racks in the middle of the room. On shelves placed around the room, wands, rods, medallions, cloaks, rings and other paraphernalia are organized. At the back of the room, on wooden manikins, armor of every kind is displayed.

“This, my friends, is proof of my trust in you. This is the treasure of Winterhaven and of the Padraig clan.” explains Lord Padraig, “During the Time of Dark, many died, none the least the heroes of that age. Much was lost, trampled under foot of the crowds as they fled in panic before the Dark. In their haste to flee, fortunes in gold, jewels and other items were thrown down, as only the bare necessities could be saved. My great-great-grandfather realized that, in the times ahead where much learning would be lost, such items requiring magical knowledge to craft should be saved, much as the books of the Realm were saved.”

Lord Padraig slowly paces the room, continuing to explain “He began to accumulate those items that could be useful, once he had a secure place to protect his people. Often, the heroes of the age died holding the line against the Dark, as the people fled into the Keep. All that he could do was to keep their weapons and magical items, noting to whom they belonged and how they died. Later generations of Padraigs continued the tradition, using these treasures to protect what they could.”

Lord Padraig comes to a large table in the center of the room, upon which rests a large tome.”Within this tome lies the history of Winterhaven since the coming of the Dark. It lists all the items you see within this armory, to who it belonged and what their role was in protecting Winterhaven. As you can see, many have died protecting this village, many were adventurers like yourself, some were my kin.”

“Considering what I think is coming, you will need all the help you can get. Take a look around, my friend, and choose whatever you think will be useful to you. However, you should perhaps know what tidings I bear, so as to choose items that will help you.”

Lord Padraig sits in the chair set next to the table.

“Seven days ago, two after you left Fallcrest, I received a Sending from an old friend in Fallcrest. He is a mage who was born here and he was my friend growing up. He moved to Fallcrest to pursue his studies in magic, but he has never forgotten where he came from. He sends me news of importance as much as he can. In this Sending, he said the following.”

Lord Padraig takes out a small piece of paper from a pocket in his vest and reads it to you aloud:

”Padraig, King Eltir convening regional council in Fallcrest to reunify the Vale with Nerath. A messenger will reach you soon with Red Arrow summons. Arick"

Lord Padraig looks at you gravely and says: “The messenger is undoutebly a Royal Messenger. While you took nine days to travel from Fallcrest, you have admitted to traveling slowly, as you were not in any hurry”. He continues: “Normally, the trip from Fallcrest takes 6 days and, if you travel alone and push, you can make it in five. Royal Messengers are renowned for their speed and could have made it in four.”

Lord Padraig looks at you and expand on this idea : “ In other words, my friends, the messenger is late. He should have,in fact, overtaken you on the road. Therefore, I must assume that he is missing or, worse, dead. He carries the Red Arrows, enchanted arrows used by the King to convey important, official messages that require that there be no doubt about their origin.”

“Since the King intends to convene a regional council to discuss reintegrating the Nentir Vale with the Kingdom of Nerath, you can imagine that the impact of those arrows getting lost or used for the wrong reason is immense. Indeed, those who would oppose such an idea might very well have taken steps to intercept the Messenger.”

Lord Padraig sighs. He looks up at you and says “I know you have just arrived and have already done this village and the Vale a great service but I would ask of you another service. Those arrows need to be found, the fate of the Messenger must be determined and, if possible, we need to know if there is a link between whatever has happened to the Messenger and the plans of reunification of the King.”

“Would you help us again? Do not fear, you may still choose whatever you wish from the vault, you services have merited that. I simply ask for you to continue your work and find the Messenger. What say you?”

DM Note: You may choose whatever standard equipment from the PHB. Additionally, you may choose two items as follows:

  • An item of your level +1
  • An item of your level

Also, you have a monetary credit equivalent to a magical item of your level -1. You may spend this credit on rituals, potions, or magical items.

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Squish!
Game 24: 2012-01-21

As the group readies to execute the ceremony with the four artefacts they found, they cast Unseen Servant and Tenser’s floating disk.

The group splits up to place the artefacts in the runes at the same time. As they place the objects in the circles, all the doors in the complex bang open and a large roars echoes through the complex. From below, a dragon surges out of the large well in the centre of the complex.

The dragon moves towards the doors leading to the Inner Sanctum. These doors are opening, but very slowly. As the dispersed members regroup to defend against the dragon, Asha casts a spell that stuns the dragon. Bark then pins the dragon to the ground using earth grasp.

The source of the marks in the hallway is suddenly known as a large sphere turns the corner, moving down the corridor. The dragon, stunned and pinned to the ground is crushed by the sphere. As the dragon attempts to get out of the hallway, the group endeavours to keep it there with all their powers. Again, the sphere returns and crushes the dragon again.

As the dragon reels from the second crushing, Aurum closes in and kills the creature with a mighty blow to the head.

Having defeated the Guardian, the group takes a short rest and congratulates each other for their victory.

The group now advances slowly into the inner sanctum. They enter large chamber:

This chamber is dominated by a leering idol depicting a howling minotaur warrior armed with a massive axe. Before this idol is an iron cauldron filled with a bubbling liquid that gives off a thick mist. A short staircase leads to a raised area that over looks the idol. Three more cauldrons are set in this upper area, along with a stone altar. To the east of the altar, a series of green ghostly runes have been scribed on the floor.
__
Two humans, the last missing members of the caravan, stand within the the glowing runes. They appear to be in some kind of trance.
__
A gnoll with large bat wings and curved horns stands behind the altar. He grasps a rod in one hands and a sheaf of parchment in the other. A massive apelike demon stands beside him, while a small pack of carnage demons snarls at the group from atop the raised platform. Looming over all of them is a massive skeleton of a minotaur clutching a greataxe. With a shrill howl from the gnoll, the monsters move to attack.

The group moves forward, intent on rescuing the humans trapped in the circles. A fierce battle rages and, allthe while, the gnoll keeps chanting. As his cries reach a crescendo, one of the humans screams and disappears violently from the circle.

The group battle all the harder, dispatching the skeleton first then the apelike demon. Quickly they surround the gnoll, interfering with his chanting while fighting off the carnage demons.

With a final effort, the group overcomes the last opponents and free the last missing survivor of their caravan.

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Boo!
Game 23: 2011-11-13

The group leaves the chamber of blood and heads south. They find a room with many pools of different colours in it. They spend much time examining the pools and their contents, trying to determine their nature. Finally, they end up sampling a few of the pools with now great effect.

Further south, they find another set of double doors and open them.

A hot blast of damp air washes over them as the double doors to this chamber opens. The room ahead is carved from black rock. Here and there, pillars formed of piled bodies stretch from the floor to ceiling. Gibbering mouths, darting eyes, and squirming arms which end in taloned hands move within the strange columns of flesh. As one, the forms within the pillars let loose a mournful howl.

The group enters the room, and attacks the first pillar. Bark moves deeply into the room, some part of which are not visible from the entrance. As the group moves further into the room, they are surprised by demons that leap from within the pillars and attack them.

A larger demon is present at the back, near an altar with a bell on it.

The battle goes poorly until the group finally decides to coordinate their attacks on the smaller demons, dispatching them on by one. The larger demon, which seems reluctant to move away from the altar is then attack in a concerted way and brought down.

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I'm not going in there!
Game 22: 2011-10-23

The group take a moment to rest before continuing its exploration of the Well. They decide to follow the bloodstains back to their origins. The stains lead to the double doors they cam e across at the entrance of the Proving Grounds.

As they open the doors, they come in on a room that is obviously a Temple to Baphomet. A bloodstained altar, several pillars and two statues are found in the room. The group proceeds very cautiously, examining everything in detail. As they search the room, they realize that the altar can be moved and beneath they find a large amount of money and some gems. On the altar, they find the book mentioned by the ghosts.

The group uses another set of double doors out of the temple. They enter a large hallway that bears the obvious marks of something very large being moved through it. The hallway make it way around a central chamber with a large well in the middle. After a quick look around, the group decides to open some doors to the west. They enter a room with several statues that are very lifelike. Again, the group proceeds very cautiously, but this time they find nothing of note.

They do, however, find more doors heading west. As they open them, they come upon a scene straight from the Abyss:

They stand on a small stone platform overlooking two large pools of bloods (50X100). A stone walkway divides the room and sits just above the surface of the pools. On the opposite sides of the room, lagre bronze statues of snarling minotaurs face each other. Each monitaur statue holds a long barbed whip, as if about to strike. A smaller minotaur statue stands between besides each door leading into this place (2). Flaking the large statues on the far side of the room are two pedestals that rise out of the blood. On one pedestal rests a grey dagger-sized blade. On the other rests a matching hilt.

Asha attempts to bind the closest statue with rope using his unseen servant. She then sends her servant to get the hilt. As the unseen servant returns with the hilt, something in the pool attacks it from below, dropping the hilt into the pool of blood. At the same time, the large statues begin to move, rotating t high speed with their chain whips. Unfortunately, the ropes that Asha has tied on the minotaur are not enough to contain the maginc within and the whip attacks all the party who are on the platform closest to it.

Aurum gets pulled into the pools of blood. One after the other, the group retreats out of the room. Aurum manages to climb out of the room and escapes also. The party regroups and casts a Water Walk ritual.

They return to the room and send the unseen servant again for the blade. Again, the unseen servant is attacked and the blade falls in the pool. The trap re-activates also.

Asha attempt to navigate across the pool on her Floating Disk but is pushed off. Then, the creature in the pool begin to attack the group. As chaos ensues, several of the group fall in the pool, either from the chains or by the demons attacking them.

Eventually, the group defeats the demons and destroy the statues to stop the trap, but not before Urzula falls unconscious from the poison in the pool.

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