Out on the frontier

The Restoration of Kiint, Ranger and Loyal Friend

After the recent ordeal with Nepherus and Therus, the team rejoices at finally having a little downtime to rest and celebrate. After a hearty meal, some healing spells and a well-deserved night’s sleep under their belt, Tarak announces to the group that his faith and their efforts have not gone unnoticed by Daladon Lothian, the God he has devoted his life’s work to.

He solemnly approaches Kiint.
“You have long stood at my side, defending my life and the lives of those I’ve sworn to protect. When we first met, you had chosen a life of a hermit, but rose above that, defiant of your crippling curse and brave enough to leave the shadows of isolation. You believed in yourself and in our cause to root out evil and defend those that could not defend themselves. I can never fully thank you for what you have given, but I am grateful I can finally bring you at least this.”

Bringing his holy symbol, a casting of the Great Oak, Tarak begins a low chant. As it gains in volume, the Great Oak radiates a silver light, bathing Kiint in a luminous glow. As the light fades, the dread leprosy Kiint has long suffered is purged from his body; as the sores, cracked skin and other deformities begin to vanish, the sense of touch long absent from most of his limbs begins to return.

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Nepherus Vanquished

(Tarak, Menelaus, Kiint, Dai’ga Kayaldra)

Ruminating for a while in the Keep dungeon area, we eventually decide that as appealing it might be to try and take Nepherus while he is still unaware of our presence, we are simply too weakened and there is a better than average chance that we might get backed into a corner (with the demon maw “fear” effect), cutting off any other escape route. In addition, we know that having dispatched Nepherus’ priests and conscripted guards and taken all of his material components, he is severely weakened and would need to leave the Keep for supplies.

Deciding that survival and getting the knowledge that we have gained out, we head out through the main Keep gates unnoticed and send word to Risticulian to meet us later at the The Griffin Room, where we have secured quarters and a meeting room. Risticulian quickly got word back that he would meet us then and bring a friend along.

We begin to rest and plan, preparing for the upcoming ordeal. After some healing and determining magical items, we are summoned to the meeting room to meet up with Risticulian. He introduces us to his companion, Josker Nital – the Captain of the Ludensheim City Guard. We give them a rundown of the happenings of the past few days.

After some deliberation, Risticulian suggests that Nepherus will likely be searching for replacements for the key material spell components; some of what we took are extremely rare and difficult to obtain. Risticulian’s shop is a likely source; he will almost certainly come looking for a source to replenish. With this plan in mind, we hold out in our quarters for another day, training and working with Menelaus to try and identify some of the items we’d taken from the Keep dungeons. Indeed, it is not long before Risticulian sends word that he has had a visit from one of Nepherus’ staff, searching for a number of specific items. Buying us some time, he suggested that Nepherus return the coming Friday; it would take him a few days to locate the requested items.

While Nepherus could send his minions again, Risticulian suggests that baiting using something as rare as the Red Dragon scale will almost certainly require Nepherus himself to come – there is too much variation in quality and type and confirmation would necessitate a trained eye. We dress up a number of the components we’d taken from his stash, dividing them or adding minor impurities to help with the deception. Risticulian himself provides a broken Red Dragon scale that would pass to anyone other than an expert.
Tarak prepares a Glyph on the actual Red Dragon scale with a trigger that if Nepherus passes within 3 feet of the item, it would release a stored Hold Person on Nepherus. In the meantime, we rent out a new room at a boarding house above one of the other craftsmen shops across the street from Risticulian and prepare our ambush.

Come Friday morning, we set up in a nearby coffee stall and wait. As the morning passes, we observe several guards with Heimer’s livery along with three robed figures. At this distance, we cannot discern which is Nepherus, but as they enter Risticulian’s shop, three guards position outside the doorway and the others take up positions around the shop. One of the figures appears to be Therus, Heimer’s personal bodyguard – Nepherus has not come unprepared.

Risticulian begins negotiating with one of the robed figures. He shows him a selection of items and the buyer eventually selects the broken dragon scale, holding it up to show to one of the others across the room – Nepherus is revealed and shakes his head. The buyer moves on to the second Dragon Scale and Nepherus nods. In that instant, many things happen at once…

Nepherus moves towards the scale and the Glyph triggers, though Nepherus shakes off the Hold. Ready for this, Risticulian casts a spell and turns invisible. As the figures start and begin looking around, now aware something is amiss, Tarak rushes close to the three guards outside the doorway and, casting Gonhirrim’s Fury, lets out a blood-curdling yell that stuns nearly all opponents in a 20’ radius. Alas, Nepherus and a couple guards and priests towards the back of the room are unaffected, but the opportunity allows Dai’ga Kayaldra and Avonde to charge in. Menelaus lets loose a volley of Magic Missiles, drawing first blood on Nepherus.

Several rounds of chaos erupt, with Menelaus following this up with a Web, trapping Nepherus, the priests and several of his allies in the process. Despite the Web, Nepherus wriggles free enough to dump a pouch over himself, turning invisible.
Tarak lets loose with a ‘ground zero’ Sound Burst, stunning himself, but adding further damage to the now-concealed Nepherus and killing the doorway guards outright.
As Dai’ga Kayaldra and Avonde fight through the Web and begin hacking at the priest and trying to locate Nepherus, Menelaus follows up with a second Web (which draws cursing from an invisible Nepherus caught once again) and then another Magic Missile, damaging Therus. Kiint and Menelaus light torches and begin burning their way through the Web; in the process, damaging Nepherus further. Seizing an opportunity, Kiint takes a stab into the general region he last heard Nepherus and in a shimmering reveal, the defeated Nepherus collapses, his spell destroyed as he breathed is last breath.

Though Tarak’s stun from the furious yell begins to wear off, he is prepared and casts another Hold Person, this time directed towards Therus and succeeding in paralyzing the bodyguard. With this, it is only a matter of time before he and his allies close on the remaining priest and guard, dispatching them and capturing Therus.

Risticulian reappears and is initially furious at the damage to his shop that both the burning Webs and Sound Burst have caused to his wares and glassware, but Tarak quickly appeases him, offering an extra 100 gold over the 400 he said he had suffered in damages.

With the commotion, the City Guard begins to arrive, but Josker Nital, having been prepared, is leading them. Not only do they clean up the mess, but as they drag us and Therus towards the barracks for questioning, they conveniently look the other way, allowing us to escape with Therus and the belongings we have retrieved off the priests and Nepherus.

With the exception of some minor cuts and bruising from the Sound Burst, we managed to sustain almost no injuries and the enemies never got off a single offensive spell.

All that remains now is to sort through the extensive trove and begin the interrogation of Therus in preparation for a final assault on Heimer.

Loot

from Nepherus

Fancy circlet atop his head
Ring on his left hand
Amulet around his neck
Another vial of dust (matched the one that turned him invisible)
Exceptional robe
Ring on his right hand
Potion (probably healing by the looks)

from Therus

Fancy dagger
Nice staff
(Information!)

[Adam will provide a list of other monetary treasure and anything interesting the priests and guards were carrying.]

Full list of Ludensheim Loot up to now…

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Infiltrating the Keep - Part 3

(Tarak, Menelaus, Kiint, Dai’ga Kayaldra)

Moving away from the first guard room, we encounter a bunk room and quickly kill the waiting priest and two barely-waking guards, taking minimal damage with several crits from our group. Searching the room, we discover some small coins on the guards, but a fair amount of gold on the priest, along with some fine full chain mail, a very nice mace, a clerical scroll, a potion, and a key.
The door at the end was locked, but we open it with the key pulled from the priest. As it opens, a loud chime can be heard back in the bunkroom.
A winding tunnel hewn in stone slopes upwards and forks into another going down to the right and up to the left.
We ascend to the left, the passage ending in a heavy locked door. Again, the key opens it and we enter a large room with a broad table, firepit, pots, pans, etc. – a castle kitchen – with servants and cooks milling around. They take no notice of us as we’re dressed as the priests. In all likelihood, this is just one floor below the main floor. Tarak quickly asks one of the servants for ale and bread; they fetch it and we leave, locking the door behind us as if we were just breaking for supplies.
Heading back down the other passage, we find another heavy locked door; this one does not open with our key. There is a barred window; it is dark inside and quickly turns a corner, but ITarak can smell human occupants.
Rather than exploring the upper floors randomly, we decide to hide and wait near the tunnel intersection. Shortly after getting ourselves set up, the kitchen door unlocks and we see a Captain of The Guard (Cleffort Von Graff) with large ring of keys head past us, flanked by four Baronial guards.
As he begins to try and unlock the lower door, Tarak casts Sonic Boom, stunning the four guards, while Menelaus hits the leader with a Magic Missile.
Tarak misses with his first shot, but Menelaus catches two of the stunned guards with a sleep spell. Kiint closes and hits one of the awake guards.
As the Captain of the Guard and Tarak begin slogging it out, Menelaus unleashes another huge Magic Missile. Seeing they are outmatched, he and the remaining guards surrender. We move inside towards the prison, dragging the sleeping guards.
He begins negotiating for his life, pleading that he will tell us anything we want to know in exchange for letting him walk out the keep and out of the city for good, noting that he was starting to prepare for a career change anyway. When asked what we should do about the other guards, he motions towards us to slit their throats – it would make no difference to him. Tarak openly calls him on this in front of the guards, repeating that we do not take lives lightly. Turning to one of the guards, we ask what they would have us do – perhaps lock them in the cells here and come back once we have defeated Nepherus? They agree – they have wives and children, after all – anything that will allow them to return to their families.
As we interrogate Cleffort, he reveals that Heimer seems full-on crazy, always talking to himself in that accent and referring to the Fell Axe as if it were talking back to him. Cleffort describes the basic Keep layout and notes the locations of both the Baron’s bedroom and also his audience chamber. According to Cleffort, Heimer often spends time there either brooding and talking to his Axe or taking meetings with Nepherus.
When asked about other important staff, he mentions the advisor Blistig manages the finances and records; he would control the treasury. Silvanus is the Master of the Keep.
Cleffort suggests that we would probably be best catching Nepherus alone; he is dangerous enough on his own; combined with Heimer, we would be hard pressed to win.
After he tells us what he knows, we take his ring of keys, along with a fine ring from his hand. We leave him his weapon, armor and coins/jewelry as it would be suspicious for him to leave without those. He asked if there were any way we could reconsider letting him keep his ring. When Tarak reminds him that we could have taken his life as well, he acknowledges the point and drops the matter.
When we ask the Baronial Guards if he’s leaving anything out, one mentions we need to be wary of Heimer’s bodyguard Theres Cruel; Cruel carries a magic staff that can freeze people to death.
After learning what we can, we send Cleffort up through the Keep, reading against betrayal. As we discuss our plans, we lock the Baronial Guards we captured up in one of the dungeon cells, but give them the ale and bread we took and spread rations out through the other prisoners – mostly falsely accused.

Given the potential risk upstairs, especially in the Audience Chamber, it makes most sense for us to head back to the bunkroom where the chime sounded and wait it out for Nepherus or at least other Unklar worshipers come down, trying to catch them away from Heimer and the other House Staff.

385 XP Each (Combat and treasure)

Treasure

Bunkroom
Two guards

  • 3gp
  • 5gp
    Priest
  • 130 gp in gold and jewelry
  • Very nice mace (probably +2) – Tarak wields this
  • Full chain (non-magical; grab it later)
  • Scroll (Cause Fear) – Tarak takes this
  • (Healing) potion – Kiint takes this
  • Key to the next door – Kiint takes this

Upper Dungeon Entrance

Cleffort Von Graff (Captain of the Guard)

  • Fine Ring (he was reluctant to part with this)
  • Ring of House Keys (including Dungeon)
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Infiltrating the Keep - Part 2

(Avonde, Tarak, Kiint, Menelaus)

We continue exploring, beginning with the door propped closed with the chair. A long corridor stretches out with two doors along the left side and another at the far end. As we approached the middle, a secret door opened on our right with a long corridor sloping upward – apparently triggering on our approach. As we moved away again, the secret door closed again. All three doors in this corridor appeared to be locked/barred from the other side.

Doubling back and investigating the original main hall, we uncover a horrible, stinky room with a strong lock on the inside that would require a key to get out. I realize this is a room where flesh golems are created. Between Menelaus and Tarak, we determine that flesh golems can be very dangerous, being immune to many magical spells and requiring significant magical weaponry to hit. There is a book that has recipes and similar describing the process. By skimming this, we determine they are relatively stupid and about our speed, are slowed by fire and cold, but made stronger by lightning.

Across the hall, we hear some chanting and prayer. We prepare for an ambush and quietly rush the door, taking the four low-level acolytes praying to a statue of Unklar by surprise. Closing the door behind us to minimize noise. We quickly dispatch three, upon which the remaining one readily surrenders. He has had second thoughts of late and will happily help us. The golem wanders all the corridors, but appears to leave the robed priests (and anyone led by them) alone. He says Nepherus (the fancy quarters we found) holds great sway over Heimer. If he’s not down here, he is elsewhere up in the keep. He is a great manipulator/wizard; he carries spellbooks with him.
He is supposed to avoid Nepherus’ quarters and the Black Pits. Two priests above them whose commands they must obey; they are quartered further down the halls.
No visitors that Nepherus has ever shown deference to; he is a very self-contained and competent man.
He explains the secret door leads to the palace cellars and out into the keep proper, then into the city. The corridor behind them leads to guard rooms that are shut/barred to keep the flesh golem out. Priests are to knock and enter to retrieve the guards for shift changes (the guards prohibited from leaving on their own for their safety…)
After letting the one acolyte escape to rethink his ways, we discover a long room with tables and 5 fresh corpses laid out (presumably awaiting incorporation into a flesh golem…)
Another smaller room has several empty cages. The next room has racks of coats and robes.
A very long (but lit) corridor extends further away and turns to the right and shortly hooks back towards the guard rooms, exposing a medium sized room with dried rations and several doors. As we explore this and the first pantry off of it, we see a flurry of arrows coming from slits that we hadn’t noticed the first time through.
Avonde tries to bash down a door, but fails; Kiint succeeds, but then a burst of sound echoes through the room, stunning Avonde and Menelaus and doing damage to the group. Several guards rush through while a wizard hides in the corner. Tarak cast Hold Person on the priest. Avonde rushes in and kills several guards in a single blow. Tarak takes out another guard at the door, Menelaus hits a guard defending the priest and Kiint kills another. Menelaus finishes off the remaining guard and the priest looks very uncomfortable (even while Held). As we close the door behind us, Avonde binds and gags him and removed all possessions.
Tarak casts Detect Magic and determines that the very fancy White Ermine Cloak (from Nepherus’ room; Avonde carrying), and fancy Hammer (Tarak takes) and Leather Jerkin (Kiint takes to carry) from this priest all detect magical. We dispatch the priest and continue searching onward.
Another sound burst hits us as we open the next door, stunning Tarak and knocking Menelaus out. Four guards and a priest huddle in the room and we hear commotion from down the other corridor. The priest cast Hold Person on Avonde as two more guards come and begin attacking Tarak. A crescent room (former shrine) was being worked on to repurpose; it was beat up and sculptors were working on refinishing it…
We find a guard dog tied up, who begins barking, but we knock him out or dead.
To our best knowledge, we have cleared and mapped this level. We release the other guards down the pit (lowering them down the rope), warning them that the keep has been taken by indescribable evil and their only hope for redemption is to escape through the sewers and not return.
We rest in one of the guard rooms, listening for anyone to do a shift change, and manage to get enough rest to heal up and prepare spells.
Deciding to head up into the keep, we begin ascending the ramp and soon enter an area of magical darkness. This lasts for a short distance and we emerge from a false panel/pitch black mouth. Upon entering this room, we hear a deep moaning that causes us (all but Kiint ) intense fear at ever entering the mouth again. Kiint and Tarak find a secret door that leads into a 20′ × 20′ room. Avonde opens it and surprises four guards. We make quick work of them.

Adventure: 200XP
Magic Leather Jerkin (Kiint carrying; probably sell for gold)
Magic War Hammer (Tarak is using)
Books on crafting Golems

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Infiltrating the Keep - Part 1

(Avonde, Da’iga, Tarak, Menelaus, Kiint)

Our intrepid heroes retreated to the Gold Pan to lick their wounds and regroup. They discover Avonde there and bring him up to speed.

After a night’s rest and healing, they head back out into the sewers intending to track back towards the narrow passage near the keep and see if they can find a hidden entrance.
After searching a bit, another blobbish tentacled creature is revealed in a chamber. Avonde and Dai’ga launch arrows at it, but miss. It closed and nailed them with those nasty tentacles, paralyzing them and pulling them towards its maw. Kiint scored several solid blows on a tentacle, while Menelaus tossed daggers past it and Tarak misses several times with his mace.

As Dai’ga and Avonde break free and begin to whittle it down; it shifts focus and snags Tarak and pulls him in for a crushing bite. Kiint also gets smacked hard, but is not caught by the tentacle and finally deals a killing blow to the beast.
They all step back and administer healing potions and spells while surveying the damage.
Eventually, we have more or less mapped out the circumference of the sewers and a few of the caverns, moving closer towards the center in an narrowing spiral.
As we near the center, we come across a small cavern with some bones, a tattered/rotting cloak and the remnants of a backpack which appears to contain a crystalline ball that Menelaus identified as magical. The group passed this to Tarak, who placed it in a belt pouch.
A little further, we find another corpse with a unmarked longsword (magic), a golden cord (small bracelet?), some rusted armor, 150gp of jewelry and 10pp and 100gp. The sword glows bright blue (20’ radius) when picked up by Avonde. Tarak picks up the golden cord and puts it in another belt pouch for later examination.
Finally, we get close to what we feel must be the middle and we hear a familiar heavy tread – another one of these creatures entering the other side of a larger cavern we just entered. It sees us and hungrily closes. Before it can strike out, Kiint slices into it with his sword and Tarak brings thunder down upon it, stunning it briefly. Avonde gets a mighty blow, severely damaging the creature, but misses on his following attack, as did Dai’ga. It lashes wildly out with its tentacles, but missed and Kiint gets in the killing blow. Fortunately, the group was essentially unharmed.

We finally find a large central cavern (roughly 80′×30′ × 60′ ceiling). A platform with stairs going up is about 40’ above the center, but the walls on all sides are perfectly smooth. Avonde manages to throw a grappling hook with rope up to the top and snags the top, but upon trying to climb the rope, manages to dislodge the grappling hook, causing it to come clattering down. After a few more attempts, he succeeds in ascending to the platform. He finds a secured rope attached to a brass ring set in the platform and everyone else climbs up.

Tarak casts a spell to detect traps and they carefully head up the stairs and listen at a wooden door at the top, uncovering a lighted guardroom with two men – one in leather armor and another sleeping. Avonde kicks down the door and immediately dispatches the awake man, while Kiint, Tarak and Dai’ga.try to rush the sleeping man to incapacitate him, but all clumsily miss. Finally, Menelaus slaps a hand over his mouth, succeeding in keeping him from raising the alarm and the others struggle to hold him down until he yields.
He, and others, are recruited from the Baronial Guard and are blindfolded and led down to this room to watch the door. Sometimes priests dressed in dark robes come the other direction leading prisoners down into the caverns, threatening to feed them to the Otyugh (must be the creatures we encountered). They rotate shifts every 12 hours; they are blindfolded by the keep’s guard when led down and then handed off as they descend; when they are retrieved, priests or others of higher importance place the blindfolds on again and return them to the keep’s guards before returning them to their quarters. His shift started at dawn; he has no idea how long has passed. They are told to never wander the corridors.
We begin exploring the corridors, leaving him behind but told that we’d try to make sure he is ok… (He seems a bit shifty at that, but doesn’t disagree.)
The first door we encounter is very nice and the living quarters behind it are especially well appointed with poster bed, crushed velvet pillows, trunks, armoires, etc. (The furniture alone is probably worth 800gp or so.) The armoires contain fancy clothing that a wealthy dandy would wear. One trunk is locked, but after several brute force failed attempts, Kiint twists a sword through the hasp and breaks it open. Very fine clothing is inside with a fine white ermine robe. Having figured out the trick, Kiint quickly snaps the lock here and finds numerous fancy personal items – a silver shaving mirror and the like. Tarak discovers a trap on the third chest; Avonde sets it off with a well-placed thrown axe (it was a gas trap, but it dissipates before the group returns to the room) and the chest is found to contain a great deal of valuable/expensive spell components (appear to be used by a wizard or illusionist).
A second room reveals a 4 sleeping guards with armor and so forth; they begin waking up, but quickly Sleeps them again. The next room is another guard room with another 4 sleeping guards. Upon discovering this and realizing we’re leaving a formidable force behind us, we begin 2-on-one subduing and tying each up, minimizing their risk to us. The 8th wakes before we can tie him up,; fortunately, Menelaus drove a dagger through his throat, killing him before he can raise an alarm.
Avonde begins questioning one, but he indicates they are only hired to guard this corridor and the fancy room at the end. Occasionally they see a priest or two along the halls and one “high priest” who resides in that room.
We track further into a series of winding corridors that open into a simple room with a corridor off another wall, a basic cot and a chair wedged under a door to prevent it from opening. In the distance down the open corridor, we can see two more doors flanking the end and another corridor that T-s midway off the right side.

Adventure: +350XP

From Otyugh caves:
Magic Sword (Avonde; later identified as 2, +3/6 vs Ungen; glows blue 20’ diameter when unsheathed)
Crystal Ball (Tarak)
Golden Cord (Tarak)

From fancy quarters (Later discovered to be from Nepherus’):

  • Magic White Ermine Cloak (Avonde)
  • Large quantity of magical components (worth money)
  • Various other valuable clothing and trinkets
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Treachery and a discovery!
Mysteriouser and mysteriouser

The party, thanks to surviving an attack from Dibblegurn (who they’d approached for help; unfortunately, he turned out to be a low-level employee of the Cabal, a secretive and powerful organisation with tendrils everywhere), has learnt the identity, at least, of that evil group, who also tried to have you assassinated.

What next? The party have let Dibblegurn flee, minus a few toes, but the rest of the ambushers are dead. The sewers contain monsters, there’s a shadowy group up to no good, and the enemy must have some idea of who you are by now.

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A reluctant but necessary second visit to Ludenshine

Note: need to do spelling corrections and add links.

This occurs after the recent defeat of the witch queen in the Ziggurat, after which we made our way back to Botkinburg to report our findings to Aldadeus. Aldadeus’s long journey to New Aenoch did not turn up much useful information, other than that there was a personality change in Deepbold Himer around the time of his becoming mayor. Due to the strong suspicion that something in Ludenshine is at the heart of the recent troubles, we travel back to find out more information. We are beset by some starving bandits who do not appear to be associated with Miles Freeland (since they are starving).

We covertly arrange to meet with the wizard/alchemist Risticulean, and we find out several interesting bits of information. We find out that Ludenshine was built on remnants of Unklar’s creation; Dai’ga speculates that maybe Deepbold discovered a mirror like the one found in Havenwell. The Baronial guard is loyal to Himer, but not the city guard. Juskin Nitell is the leader of the city guard and is not a supporter of Himer or the prior mayor, Vrieland. There are about 40 in the Baronial guard and 30 in the city guard; the city guard has 6 day, 12-hour shifts. The “old city” has sewers going under many of the buildings – used to be full of rats, but now they are all gone. There could be catacombs under the city as well.

We meet halflings Nigel and Pampin who are fisherman who frequent the Goldpan Inn where we are staying. They take us to see rat catchers, for the low, low price of 5g, at the Drooling Dwarf, where Tristin Foulsouth is the proprietor. We are introduced to Joras, a rat catcher, who takes us into sewers for 2g/day. Joras notes that the sewers unde the castle were never to be visited (a rule passed down by his father and grandfather before him; perhaps these are the catacombs spoken of?). We see a large, three legged, long-tentacled, headless, many-toothed creature, which Joras obviously hadn’t seen before (as he became paralyzed with fear). After dispatching the creature, luckily without overly much effort, we see that there is a whole in the wall where such a creature may have bored through. We drop Joras back off at the Drooling Dwarf, paying him a few extra gold for his trauma and his silence. We then head back to the Goldpan, where we learn from Nigel (who is an information dealer) that Tull Merriweather was sent by the sheepherder guild to find out where the silk comes from, but hasn’t returned. We learn about Dibblegurm, a gnome who sells to shady clientelle (wizards); he runs a store in the bazaar. After meeting Dibblegurm in the bazaar, we arrange to discreetly meet him back at the Goldpan.

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Battle with the witch queen

As the party was standing over the corpses of a cleric of Unklar and four Ungern (from last week), the Witch Queen and escorts appeared to do combat with our heroes.

The battle with the Witch Queen proceeded quickly, with the party consisting of only four—Barbarian, Cleric, Ranger, Wizard. Menlaus took out an Ogre (with sleep), Tarak caused a delay to opponent spellcasting with Silence, and Dai’ga did huge damage to the witch queen with a massive critical hit, before she tossed a fireball and took out both Tarak and Dai’ga (unconscious, not dead). Fortunately, Kiint and Menlaus (controlled by John and Brandon) were able to finish off the fleeing Witch Queen (two Magic Missiles) and, finally, the remaining Ogre who’d also been significantly weakened by the fireball his mistress had so callously cast. The use of all party healing potions was enough to restore everyone to single-digit hit points.

The rest of the evening was spent hunting for the Witch Queen’s base of operations, which also entailed getting prickled by stone blades and spears summoned by an Ungern high priest (at least one of Dai’ga and Tarak went down again; dexterity checks are hard when you’re large and clumsy) before he was dispatched. Some clever trap-avoidance and secret-door-finding later, the party had a lot of swag, most of which was sold after a relatively uneventful trip (other than the half-day lost fleeing and then circling around 7 giant spiders) back to Botkinburg. The gold and resulting xp will be shared with Magic Jack (if he returns) and Witrix, so everyone is now fourth level (other characters will be similarly enhanced on their return).

Discussion with the recently-returned Aldadius suggests that Ludensheim is the source of the region’s troubles, from apparently paying Redcaps to raid, to making deals with Miles Freland (via Barldrus and his companions), through to the Witch Queen both supplying the Silk Guild (Dietbold Heimer’s power base) and having her agents take over Havenwale and charm and exploit its inhabitants. Added to Aristiculian’s concerns about a great evil being done in the town, a return to Ludensheim may be on the cards!

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Brief recap: Havenwale Burial Mound

This is a quick recap/summary of past adventure sessions. It is not meant to be comprehensive at this time, nor is it in character.

Session 6/15/2016:

PCs Present: Tarak, Dai’ga Kayaldra, Magic Jack
PCs Missing: Boominott, Avonde
NPCs Present: Kiint, Menelaus
NPCs Missing: None (Millipen died in previous session)

The Burial Mound near Havenwale
The group followed the gnomes’ description up to their old burial cavern. In past years, this used to be a well-maintained entrance to the town’s crypts where the dead were buried with honor. Since the Witch Queen sent Ceroneus to take over the town, the crypts have fallen into disrepair. There is still a sturdy, wide door to the entrance, but upon opening it, the party was presented with a horrible stench of decay. Inside, water had infiltrated to make everything slimy and promote decomposition. The center of a large entry chamber was filled with partially rotted gnome bodies in a huge pile where they had been deposited by the orcs and ungen without the traditional embalming rituals.
Tarak had cast Detect Undead and immediately perceived there were some medium-powered undead somewhere in the pile. The other exits from the room appeared to be sealed off from the rest of the tomb by cave ins triggered by the lack of upkeep.
Three gnome ghouls burst from the pile and attacked the group, paralyzing both Dai’ga and Tarak in their initial assault. However, the rest of the group were able to dispatch them without all becoming paralyzed and Tarak and Dai’ga quickly snapped out of it.
Another scan of the room by Tarak showed no more undead – at least in the accessible portions – and he noticed a number of glittering items. It was clear that the ghouls had been raiding the deeper tombs up until the passages collapsed and had looted some treasure.
From the corpses group retrieved:
[44 pp and 200 gp] These were returned to Havenwale to help them rebuild.
The rest of the below were revealed by Boris Micklewax as part of his own ancestor’s personal treasure. He offered them to the party as thanks for the town’s freedom with the condition that we offered the jewelry to the Micklewax family in Botkinburg first so that they had an opportunity to buy back these heirlooms:
400 gp jewelry (sold at value indicated to Herbert Micklewax in Botkinburg; at about 2x the appraised value)
Magic Short Sword (later revealed as +1); holding onto for now
(4) Magic Crossbow Bolts (claimed by Dai’ga)
Magic Helm of Comprehend Languages and Read Magic (claimed by Tarak)

We met with Boris Micklewax – the leader of the gnomes that had been ensorcelled. He and the freed gnomes led an assault party to take over the inn from the renegade traitorous gnomes and restore the village. We promised him to keep the location and other information about Havenwale on the D/L; they would have enough problems with Freyland’s bandits having been there periodically. When asked, he provided better directions for more direct paths onto the road to Botkinburg so that we could easily return if needed without having to travel through Gypsheim and Dredston.

Retrieving the carefully-bundled Witch Queen’s mirror, we next headed back to Dredston with Nurfin’s wife Frema and daughter Owlen. On the way back, we encountered an Ogre attempting to ambush us, but Tarak easily noticed him and the party turned the ambush back on him. Fearful that he might cause problems with the gnomes if left alive, they quickly dispatched the ogre. Other than a 25-30 gp necklace he had been using as a nose ring, he had little else of value.

Nurfin’s family were reunited and were extremely grateful. They headed off towards Havenwale to return to their home.

Returning through Neagle’s woods on the way to Botkinburg, we were greeted by the dwarf (who put on more mud stew) and Neagle. She was extremely interested in our journey and in the mirror…

(Update to follow)

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Assault on Dreddston - Part II
The Fall of Dreddston

Though wounded by the goblin shaman’s multiple Sound Bursts and a few lesser attacks by the goblin lieutenant, the party quickly regrouped and prepared against Reglar and his bandit force, who would certainly be upon them quickly given all the racket coming from the Inn.
Potions were drunk while doors were barricaded and braced.
As Reglar and his dwarf aide Grattl approached the door from their quarters, Avonde saw an opportunity and unleashed a well-aimed arrow from the treeline. The bandits began to reorganize outside as Grattl rushed the door, allowing several bandits entry. Reglar chose to fire his crossbow from a safe distance away and did some significant damage with a few choice shots.
However, Magic Jack had a few more sleep spells that he unleashed against the bandits and their leader. With missiles magical and mundane flying from woods and Inn, some crushing blows by Tarak and a few dagger strikes here or there, the bandits were vanquished.
Tarak and Millipen began searching the remaining houses and were able to free the gnomes and other enslaved humans. After Tarak reiterated his promise to locate Nurfin’s wife and daughter, Nurfin told him how to find Reglar’s house, and the stashed map to Havenwale Nurfin had described – obscured by Gnomish magics to appear like a family tree unless the proper trigger words were spoken.
Meanwhile, Avonde and the others began questioning Reglar’s crew (in a somewhat brutal and bloody manner.) Two of the surviving bandits quickly assessed their plight and appeared to be relatively content to return to the simple village lives they had prior to becoming recruited into Miles Freland’s gang – it was better than having their throats slit. As part of the negotiation, one offered up Reglar’s hiding place in the woods where he had buried his stash.
At this point, Tarak returned and offered to return their basic possessions and weapons, along with some small coin to ensure they got back on their feet before having to resort to criminal endeavors again.
The freed humans begged that the group escort them back to civilization. Agreeing to this, the entire group made its way cautiously back along the trail, widely skirting Gipsheim, eventually making their way into Botkinburg. As a parting gift, Tarak returned a handful of gold to the refugees – a small but welcome compensation for their loss and years of hardship.
Although Aldadius was away at the time, they recapped their recent discoveries to the Sergeant of Arms, who promised to bring him up to speed.
Vowing to locate Havenwale and take on the Ungen next, the group set off again, travelling though Neegle‘s wood as it was on the way. For once, Neegle and her dwarf “cook” seemed to be happy to see them and paid close attention as they related their tales of Risticulian and the return of the Ungen. They even partook of the meals the party had brought with them, glad to be rid of the mud-stew that was normally their daily fare. As a parting gift, Neegle found a few more healing draughts that she’d been working on since their last visit.
Rested and refreshed, the group set out, determined to figure out what was going on in the caverns of the SlagHeap.

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