The Adventurers

The Wolves of War, Part II
As danger grows, so does the party

The party accompanied Captain Sextus and Lieutenant Osric to Fort Weston, having been temporarily deputized into the Lord’s Guards. Sextus called for his other adviser, Lieutenant Dunaviihr. A blood-and-mud stained dwarf in heavy plate armor, Dunaviihr entered with two other newly deputized members of the LG – an Elven ranger called Larkspur and Stothyra the Drow, an unlikely combination if there ever was one.

Sextus, with the input of the party and its two newest members, decided upon their strategy. It was decided that only scout units be send out to find the kidnappers of Councilor Llortherin‘s son Alexander, reserving the bulk of the LG to defend Weston. Sextus, on the advice of the party, decided to evacuate the townspeople who had fled to the fort during the attack toward Shard, getting them out of harm’s way. Sextus also decided to send only a single scout rider to request aid from nearby Fort Valens, on the advice of the party that a single rider could ride faster and evade goblins better than an entire unit.

Having made strategic decisions, Sextus then tasked the party and Lt. Osric to be one of the scout units to look for Alexander. The party tracked down a goblin band and defeated them, though Lt. Osric was severely wounded by an arrow in the knee, leaving one hobgoblin alive for questioning. The hobgoblin mocked the party, saying that if their band had Alexander they wouldn’t have stopped until they had delivered him to Bargulal, the leader of the goblins that attacked Weston. The hobgoblin cackled that Alexander The questioning proved shortlived to the already fatally wounded goblin as Leonidas attempted to torture the hobgoblin for more information, which instead only caused him to bleed out and expire before more information could be sought.

The party rushed back to Fort Weston to find it besieged by another wave of goblin attackers. Quickly planning strategy with Sextus, the party was dispatched to fight off a small group of goblin troops that had managed to breach the outer wall of the fortress and were trying to break down the main door. Despite the presence of a ferocious Bugbear, the party succeeded in their task and ensured the fortress did not fall. Sextus and Dunaviihr drove away the main body of the troops. Though there were losses of life, both civilian and soldier, and quite a lot of damage, the goblins had been repelled and Weston would live on to fight another day.

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The Wolves of War, Part I
The beasts march upon the East

While resting at The Snake and Pony, the party was approached by a merchant named Fulgrim. Fulgrim ran a trade route to Weston alternating with a fellow merchant named Caiaphas. Caiaphas is late in getting back and Fulgrim fears that bandits are plaguing the roads. He hired the party as protection – a wise move, as along the way Fulgrim and the party are ambushed by goblins riding astride wolves. The party was able to repel the ambush, and find the remains of Caiaphas’ trade wagon…and those of Caiaphas himself. Inscriptions carved in the wagon seem to suggest incantations or dedications to Bane, the God of Conquest and Subjugation, favored by many of the goblin clans of the west.

Completing the trip to Weston, the party came upon the city at night. At first, the city appeared bright and inviting, but as they drew closer it became obvious that the city was on fire. The party left Fulgrim in a dark copse and entered the city. Weston was unnervingly quiet save for the roar of the flames, until a goblin war cry pierced the silence. The party fought off a war band amidst the burning city and emerged victorious.

A band of Lord’s Guards, led by Captain Sextus, then surrounded the party, drawn by the noise. Despite suspicions from one of his lieutenants that the party were looters, Sextus recognized that the party had fought off a war band with no assistance from the guard. Given their emergent tactical situation, the Captain invoked his right to temporarily conscript the party into the Lord’s Guard – assuring the party that they would be well-compensated for their troubles. As they headed to the great fort overlooking the now-ruined city, Sextus noted that the other two strangers in town and now these three must be a blessing from Bahamut. Just as he is finished thanking his god, a young Guard told the Captain that Councilor Llortherin’s son had gone missing. The Captain called out for double haste, and the party followed behind.

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The Shadow Under Arborghast
Something far worse than kobolds can be found under Arborghast Manor...

Agrippa introduced the party to a halfling, Padraic, that she states is in “acquisitions”. Padraic quickly corrected her that he is a thief, and proud that he’s never robbed anyone who’d miss what he had taken. He assured the party that the help he needed didn’t involve stealing anything – that it’s a rescue mission. Padraic tells of his apprentice, the young and prideful Cadeyrn, who heard tales of an abandoned manor house called “Arborghast” that had once been occupied by the “Mad Duke”, Sir Evan Cadwallader. The manor house had a reputation of being haunted, but Caderyn believed that this meant that there could still be fine treasures that had been left behind after the Duke’s grisly crime – the butchering and cannibalization of his entire serving staff. Caderyn had left two days ago and had not come back, and Padraic feared for his safety. The party agreed to assist Padraic in finding his apprentice.

Coming to Arborghast, the manor and its grounds had rotted and decayed from a decade of neglect. Part of the roof caved in, destroying the second story of the house. Weeds and thornbushes choked what had once been a great and colorful garden and the marble foundations of the manor had dried up long ago. As the party entered the house, thunder rolled in the not-far-off distance and storm clouds swallowed up the sun.

In the first floor of the house the party did not find any ghosts, but they did find several drakes. The vicious and cunning lizards attacked the party on sight, but were defeated. Once the drakes were dispatched, Padraic found a hidden passage in the wine cellar of Arborghast that led deep into the earth. The party followed the dark passage until they came to a cavern that housed a temple of some sort. A group of kobolds had sacrificed Caderyn in a ritual circle, but were arguing that despite draining every last drop of blood, the “Sleeping Wyrm” had not awakened. The kobolds then noticed the party and decided to kill the “interlopers” who had desecrated the temple of the Sleeping Wyrm with their very presence.

The party managed to defeat the kobolds. However, the blood of the kobolds spilled into the grooves of the temple’s floor, pooling into the ritual circle. It seemed as if the Wyrm required the sacrifice of draconic blood, as the circle activated and the earth began to shake. The party quickly ran back up the tunnel as it collapsed on them. Old Padraic was unable to keep up, but Herja threw him upon her stout back and carried him out. As the party ran out the front door of the manor, the house was swallowed into a sinkhole. Arborghast was no more. As the weight of the house collapsed into the earth, the rumbling of the earth stopped and the party was left on the grounds of a house that no longer existed under a clear night sky as the stars twinkled on unceasingly.

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An Eye for an Eye
In which worthiness is both denied and proven

Erias, Herja and Leonidas returned to Shard after helping the village of Clearwyn deal with vicious, mutated rats sent by a goblin wizard to terrorize the town and make it ripe for a goblin raid. Word had gotten around about their exploits and Agrippa, owner of the adventurer’s pub The Snake and Pony had a new job for the newly-formed cadre.

Agrippa sent the party to The Paper District to see Quintilla, a scholar at the University of Shard. Quintilla tells the party of her specialty in arcane artifacts and her recent collaboration with Paramonos, a visiting tiefling wizard who shared her interests. Together they had located what they believed was the resting place of a powerful but cursed artifact near Shard. They were on the verge of a breakthrough when Paramonos disappeared. A mysterious letter told her to meet Paramonos at the Portside Markets, but fearing that she was walking into a trap, Quintilla wished the party to accompany her as bodyguards.

Quintilla’s suspicions were correct as she was struck down by an assassin’s arrow. The party defeated the group of assassins but were unable to save Quintilla. As she died, she tasked the party to recover the artifact for her. The party agreed to her final wishes and returned to Quintilla’s quarters. The party was unable to put together the scholar’s notes, but fortune smiled upon them as an arsonist attempted to sneak into Quintilla’s quarters to burn it down. Capturing the scoundrel, the party got him to confess that he was told to go to a temple in the Avernal Glade to “receive his reward”. The party then let the arson go, and rode to the Avernal Glade.

In the Glade the party found a Ruined Temple to Vecna. Bodies surrounded the temple’s entrance, charred and contorted into unnatural positions. Inside the party found the wizard Paramonos, who had used Quintilla to help him find the treasure of the temple – the Eye of Vecna. He placed the artifact into his bleeding and empty left eye socket. However, he did not meet the approval of the Lord of Secrets, and a chill wind blew threw the temple. The flesh and viscera of Paramonos’ body was stripped away as the Eye disappeared, leaving only a skeleton behind.

The power of the undying Vecna was enough to reanimate several skeletons that littered the temple, the relics of a battle a century ago, the corpse of one of Paramonos’ freshly killed former henchmen and, perhaps fittingly, the skeleton of Paramonos himself. The party fought off the undead and escaped the temple. Whatever Paramonos’ designs were with the Eye may never be known, but at least Shard and the world would never find out the hard way.

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The First Adventure
Every journey begins with a first step...

Three rookie adventurers – Erias the Halfling, Herja the Dwarf and Leonidas the Tiefling – came to The Snake and Pony in the City of Shard looking for work to begin their adventuring career. All three knew that solo adventurers often wind up as dead adventurers and so over pints they decided to work as an unlikely team. Erias did not offer up much about his past, but he talked about how he had traveled far from home and enjoyed the nomadic life as many Halflings do, and demonstrated his strange powers, a “gift from the stars” he said. Herja was also reticent about her past, though a mournful look may have passed over her otherwise stoic visage as she said she didn’t want to talk about it. She said she wasn’t much of a talker anyway, more of a fighter, so her warhammer and imposing scale armor did most of the talking for her. Leonidas talked a little more of his past, how he took vows as a cleric of the Platinum Dragon Bahamut, and how he wanted to spread more good in the world by leaving his monastery behind.

Before the newly formed group could go out searching for adventure, adventure found them in the unlikely guise of a wiry elderly human woman and a soft-around-the-middle half-elf. They came from the village of Clearwyn looking to hire a team of adventurers to help clear their village of terribly mutated rats, after their first solo hire had gotten his hand bitten off by the ferocious vermin. Though the party failed to convince the skeptical Asta of their prowess, the more pragmatic Eogan told them to meet the two of them at dawn to set out for Clearwyn, promising them 60 gold for the job and to talk up their prowess to other potential clients. Having no other prospects at the moment, the party agreed to take the job.

Arriving in Clearwyn, the party found a village on the brink of terror. The old man who watched the granery, Old Culwich, had died from wounds he received when the rats first invaded the town. The local shaman, who had received little formal training, asked for Leonidas’ assistance in performing proper funeral rites. Leonidas taught the shaman the burial rituals of the clerics of Bahamut and earned the thankfulness of the village for doing so. Young Culwich, the son of the deceased, asked the party if they could look for a simple tin medallion that his father always wore after being given it by his long-dead wife. The party agreed that they would look for it when they went to the grainery to clear out the rats. The party also met the adventurer that came before them, a Dwarf named Gosta of Clan Stonehammer. Gosta gave the party some healing potions that he thought they might need more than him, given that he planned on ending his adventuring career now that he only had one hand.

The party traveled to the town granery, and were soon set upon by a horde of rats, who were far larger than any rats in The Brandywine Plains ought to have been. The party fought with the gnashing vermin and managed to kill them all – the rats showed no fear and fought to the death. The party did not find Culwich’s medallion, but otherwise returned to Clearwyn in victory. But Asta would not make things so easy. Eogan had followed the battle at a distance and noticed a goblin watching the battle. He followed the goblin to a cave outside of town, and then returned to Clearwyn to report what he had seen. Asta refused to pay the adventurers unless they helped with the goblin problem. The party chafed, but Asta said that protecting her village was the most important thing in the world to her and that she would do anything – even extort the party – to defend it. Eogan smoothed things over by pointing out that goblins often carry with them gold stashes and other treasure from their raids, and that the party had sole claim to those items. Seeing the desperate plight of the village, the party agreed to rout the goblins from the cave.

The party snuck up on the goblins and saw that a goblin shaman – seemingly the leader of this warband – was using strange magicks to mutute normal local rats into the ferocious vermin seen at the mill. The goblins were using the rats to try and empty out the village so that they could raid it for valuables without any resistance. The party sprung into action and ambushed the goblins, defeating most of them except for a lone archer who ran when the outcome of the battle became evident. The party not only found a few healing potions and 100 gold, but they also found Culwich’s medallion among the many necklaces of the shaman. Erias also took a necklace made from the skulls of small animals worn by the shaman as a trophy of their victory.

Returning to the village as heroes, the party was feasted into the night by the grateful villagers. Gosta, impressed that these rookies had succeeded when he had failed, gave his Thunder Hammer to Herja with Moradin’s blessing. The party got their promised gold from Asta and celebrated the first of what they hoped would be many victories in their adventures.

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