Scales of War

Finding Karak Lode
In which the Hordebane braves the desert sands
Moonday, 24 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

This morning we left Dunesend, passing through the Serpent Wall. We have 30 gallons of water, some of which is in a barrel that Irjan is carrying. I can withstand fire without much problem, but it is very hot in the desert and it feels like quite a different thing. That Bitch is taking it particularly hard and decided to not wear his armor if he can help it. Everyone is a bit grouchy from not having slept well (nightmares all around, yay) and from heat and sand. Our spirits lifted when we found the first landmark mentioned on the old parchment that serves as our extremely vague map. We’ve set up camp directly under these basalt pillars, and Irjan set up some kind of moisture trap to try to replenish our water stores. It’s an interesting contraption, a cloak staked up with a weight in the middle over a cup in a pit. I guess condensation clings to the bottom of the cloak, rolls down toward the weight, then drips into the cup. We took turns taking watch. The only thing of note was a large desert tortoise that lumbered by our camp during L’s watch.

Godsday, 25 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

During the heat of the day, we saw the mirage of a woman crawling towards us, warning that only death and madness lay ahead of us. That Bitch was convinced that he should give her some water because she was collapsing from thirst, but L warned him that it may be a trap. Instead, I stalled while That Bitch put on his armor. Then Irjan said “Trust me” in that way of his and shot at her! He moved back behind the ridge of our dune and planted our standard, and sure enough, several shifter ruffians appeared from under the sand. The little dessicated woman turned out to be a hag of the literal variety. Lilac used one of her gadgets to levitate upward and get a better look at the fight. We held our position and made them come to us, giving us the strategic advantage. We fought on until That Bitch smote the hag with a burst of holy light. After that, the shifters were dispatched quickly. Perhaps since we did not go forward death and madness found our opponents instead of us. Not wanting to waste anything, we took what water they had and some useful items, including a snazzy cloak that Lilac is now wearing.
Shortly after that, we found the next landmark. We decided to keep going since it was still early enough in the day, and eventually made camp between two dunes. All went as planned until Lilac woke me a shift early. There were some clouds and flashes of light off in the distance that she thought were likely will o’ the wisps but wanted someone else’s eyes to know for sure. Irjan was supposed to be next so… it was me instead. One glance and I knew there was a storm coming quickly and that our little gully would soon be flooded. So we roused everyone in the camp just as the rain came pouring down and scrambled for high ground. It was tough, water everywhere, and wind lashing it in our faces. We could only see each other in the flashes of light that came every few seconds. Under the torrents of water carving out the dunes, I tripped and hit my head. I’m not sure how much later it was that I came to but luckily I didn’t drown, and finally I made it up to the top of a dune and found my friends just as the rain stopped. I felt reinvigorated but exhausted, like something had changed in me. Maybe it was just the bump on the head.

Waterday, 26 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

Early the next morning, we were able to collect and purify some water that was still pooled in low spots in the desert. Then we broke camp, reoriented ourselves, and headed onward. In the afternoon, we saw a basalt bluff with twin towers set into its face, clearly of dwarven construction. Part of the bluff had collapsed. We decided to go to the side of the bluff and climb up, hopefully out of view of anyone watching. There were some winged creatures in the distance but they didn’t seem to see us. The climb up was a struggle. I used my mage hand to bring a rope to the top of the bluff and secured it up there, then began my climb. And proceeded to fall only part way up. Lilac reacted by summoning a springy board that I landed on and vaulted upward, and thankfully I managed to grab the rope but oh it burned! That slowed me down a bit but finally I made it to the top where I could secure the rope better. Lilac kept the springboard active while the rest of us climbed up. Irjan tried climbing up with a full barrel of water, but that didn’t work and he abandoned at the bottom. That Bitch had a really rough time of it, and Irjan and I had to pull him up partway. L tied the rope to the barrel before levitating up to her springboard with her fancy boots, springing up higher, then climbing the rest of the way. After that, even with all of us, we just barrel-y were able to get the barrel to the top of the bluff. Phew.
Part of the bluff had caved in revealing a courtyard between the gate and the main door with a squalid pile of sand partially filling it. That Bitch and I had climbed down the rope onto the sand when a monstrosity burst from under the sand: a carrion crawler, all teeth and tentacles! Irjan and L came down the rope to fight the crawler, but then the winged creatures appeared, attracted by the commotion. Some of them came down into the courtyard that was apparently their den, while the rest harried Chris and Diony at the top of the bluff. It was an intense battle, with the harpies controlling us with their songs and screeches and the carrion crawler poisoning us and holding us in place. The battle wasn’t going well for us and Lilac freaked out. I was behind the sand dune fighting the crawler so I didn’t see exactly what happened, but I heard her snarl with rage and attack someone, and then the tide of battle turned for us. After the battle, a blood drenched-Lilac came back around the dune and collapsed, traumatized at what she had done. I was able to glance over the dune and see a pile of barely recognizable harpy. I prestidigitated the blood and gore off her and sit by her, holding her hand and soothing her for a bit. I’d promised her that I wouldn’t let her succumb to her orcish fury, but I had failed her.

Death Toll

The howling hag and her beast-man minions were defeated in the desert.
In the courtyard fight, 2 harpies were slain, in addition to the carrion crawler.
Where one of the harpies died, there is a dark red patch of Blood Rock (critical hits can be scored on a 19 or 20 when standing upon it).

New Acquisitions
  • 670 XP to all players (Total: 10000) Level up to 7!
  • Cloak of Survival +2 taken by Lilac, making her Amulet of Protection +2 up for grabs
  • Shadow Hound Leather Armor +2 – perhaps Diony would be interested in it?
  • The group is in the process of drinking 5 gal today, of the 40 gal they had in the morning.

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
Hot Days and Stormy Nights
Here’s Sand (and Blood) in Yer Eye
Bidding Fairy-well

An Excerpt from the Diary of Lilac Derbyshire
Dated Moonday, 24 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

It seems as though there was something rotten carried in on the desert wind last night. The Hordebane, myself included, seems to have all had terrifying nightmares last night. I woke up screaming in the dead of the night, and Tanner came to check on me. The Hordebane ended up in the common room of a small Dunesend caravansary, drinking by the fire and discussing our nightmares. But it’s been a couple days since my last entry however, so I feel the need to back track:

The pugilistic woman from the Hearthstone Inn crossed our paths again. Her name is Chris. While riding the ferry across the Elsir River, we encountered her on deck. Irjan did not manage to ingratiate himself to her, and I’m surprised she didn’t pick up the blind man up and throw him over board. I’m certain he knew what he was doing, there are depths to that Dragonborn I feel I will never quite fathom. I might be better off for it. Regardless, Tanner managed to coax Chris into joining our expedition into the desert. We were in dire need of filling out our ranks after losing Skien and Grymm. Chris seems to have some family problems which are a sore spot for her, sadly. Processing pain is a journey undoubtedly, but I feel as though that kind of mourning isn’t possible in someone who did not first experience great love and empathy. Hopefully some time with the Hordebane will be to her benefit, at least monetarily.

With Chris newly on board, we traversed the Thornwaste, stopping at home for a time. Being together with mother and father was sweet, and it’s good to know that this time as I journey, mother and father are safe and sound together. I no longer have to worry about my father managing by himself, or fear for my mother’s safety in the grips of an Orc tribe or vengeful dwarves. I can instead worry about the path ahead, through an unforgiving desert. Huzzah!

Anyway, we left our remaining horses (one had died, sadly) in the care of my neighbors. As we left the Thornwaste we came upon the town of Dunesend just in time to find it being terrorized by a Gnoll with a fearsome Behir stead and a gang of satyr archers at his back. The Gnoll had already killed a villager, but he was no match for the combined might of the Hordebane. Chris quickly proved her value in deadly combat; she tackled the many-legged Behir, which had been firing volleys of lightning at us, and took it to the ground in an amazing feat of ferocity. Maybe I’m too used to my crossbow, but I would never think to full body tackle a lightning spewing lizard beast and pummel it with fisticuffs. That didn’t stop her from bringing it to the ground with her. The Gnoll and the Behir ultimately perished in the fighting and, we found on them en enchanted heavy flail and some Tempest Whetstones. We learned that the Gnoll was the Warden of Sephiatah, Queen of the Desert and had been collecting tribute from the towns people. It will not be the last time we cross swords with the Queen or her minions, and if all goes well our search for Karak’s Lode will also give us the opportunity to vanquish her and free the towns people from bondage. The people here are understandably grim, but ultimately have been supremely welcoming and I know I will do my best to help them. Who would have thought that an orc could be the heroine? Ha!

To return to our nightmares, I do not know of any power the Queen could muster to conjure in us such terrors from afar. Hopefully they were merely the result of travel stress and fatigue and not at all portentous. But only time will tell. I hear movement back in the common area again and it would be best for me to prepare for our journey through the desert. Karak ho!

Between a Desert and the Thornwaste

The Hordebane encountered Chris, a brawling fighter type, in the Hearthstone Inn where she roughed up some gamblers taking advantage of a poor man who was neglecting his son. Later, the party met her again on the ferry when they crossed the Elsir River. In the course of the resulting discussion, Chris agreed to accompany the Hordebane, and the party paid her an advance of 100gp to sweeten the deal.

Sunday, 23 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

The group emerges from the Thornwaste at Dunesend, just in time to see a gnoll whipping one of the villagers while another already lies dead. The Hordebane rushes to stop the gnoll from doing more damage, and with teamwork they quickly take out the large, many-legged reptile that sent crackling lightning across the battle field. Next, they tried to take down the gnoll with his hideous flail…some satyr’s fire a few arrows into the fray, but they don’t stick around after the gnoll falls.

Turns out, the gnoll was known as the Warden, and he was a lieutenant of a queen of the desert. He was there to collect Dunesend’s tribute, and made an example of one of the townspeople because he thought they were holding out on him. The village now fears reprisal from the wrath of the Queen—who knows what she will send against them? She already killed their strongest when they resisted about a year ago.

Sullen villagers aren’t very talkative, but the party eventually got them talking and learned more about this supposed queen, who reigns from somewhere in the heard of the desert…perhaps in some place called Karak. Once the Hordebane indicates that they will attempt to defeat the queen, the villagers become less cool towards them, almost friendly even.

Moonday, 24 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

After spending the night at the caravansary, the party awakens refreshed to set off into the desert and find the queen’s castle—perhaps at Karak’s Lode where they were hired to go all along. Perhaps this legendary place does exist, as Bram Ironfell had hoped.

Death Toll

The smith’s apprentice was made an example of by the Warden: he was whipped to death. The Warden also perished, along with his mount, a young thunderlance behir. Many villagers walk around as though their lives are already over—they still fear Queen Sephiatah’s wrath if the Hordebane is unable to defeat her.

New Acquisitions
  • 400 XP to all players (Total: 9330).
  • Chris joined the party for this adventure south of the Thornwaste.
  • In defeating the Warden and his behir steed, the party obtained a Hideous Heavy Flail +2 and 3 Tempest Whetstones

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
The Village of Ronzen
Dreaming in Dunesend

In Which Time Passes Quickly
Earthday, 13 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

The Hordebane emerges from the Shadowfell, and the gate beneath the Happy Beggar is destroyed. The Watch comes and helps our injured heroes return to the Mountain’s Hearth Inn.

Freeday, 14 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

In the midst of resting, Reggen speaks with the Hordebane regarding the escalating harassment of the Lost Ones. Only 4 of the adventurers that they had convinced to protect Reggen’s establishment remain in her service…and they’re looking for a little more incentive to stay.

Starday, 15 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

The Hordebane finishes resting, Tanner discovers he will have a lasting scar, and the group pools some money to help keep Reggen protected.

Sunday, 16 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

The adventurers guarding the Mountain’s Hearth manage to capture a mook and deliver him into the Watch’s custody until the Hordebane can interrogate him. The Hordebane requests and receives an audience with the Overlook Council of Elders, and also interrogates the Lost One. They learn that Kalad is now a sergeant in the Watch.

Moonday, 17 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

Kalad sought out the party to bring them to meet with Bram Ironfell of the Elsir Consortium. The wealthy dwarf offers the Hordebane a quest to find the Karak Lode. They agree to set off in a few days for the desert beyond the Thornwaste.

The Hordebane attends the trial of L’s mother, Thuula. L attempts to convince the judge to acquit her mother, and luckily (with help from Irjan), her mom is released into the Hordebane’s protection until they are able to take her home to the Thornwaste.

There is a parade today, and a few members of the Hordebane are on a float. L and Diony are absent from most of the festivities. Something is going on with the meals at the Mountain’s Hearth—they start tasting slightly off.

Godsday, 18 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

The Hordebane begins gathering supplies for their trek into the wilderness. Unbeknownst to all but Diony, Reggen agrees to begin paying the protection money to the Lost Ones.

Waterday, 19 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

The Hordebane left Overlook for the Thornwaste, after receiving a letter from Brindol via caravan.

Earthday, 20 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

The group encounters Mag Blackthorn, a disciple of the Ghostlord and protector of the Thornwaste. He agrees to help guide the party through his territory.

Starday, 22 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

The Hordebane arrives at L’s home village, where her parents, Thuula and Damien, are reunited. They restock and rest up before venturing onward.

Sunday, 23 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

The group emerges from the Thornwaste at Dunesend, just in time to see a gnoll whipping one of the villagers while another already lies dead.

Death Toll

Aviella? It’s complicated.
Also, a horse died during the trek through the Thornwaste.

New Acquisitions
  • 450 XP to all players (Total: 8930).
  • 1000 gp (500 gp in gems) from Bram Ironfell
  • 2170 gp from selling loot found in Sarshan’s tower/the Shadowfell
  • The party purchased a cart, 5 horses and their feed/water, and some desert clothing and filter masks to protect them from the elements in the desert. Also a tent, and a dozen thorny-bramble arrows for Irjan.
  • Damien was able to provide the Hordebane with discounted Potions of Cure Moderate Wounds, and gave L the formula for Clearwater Solution.

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
Back at the Mountain’s Hearth – We Meet Chris

Sarshan's Tower Comes Falling Down
This is how the Hordebane escapes a room.
Sunday, 9 Goodmonth, 1468 CY – Day 3 in the Shadowfell

After we talked with Aviella and resolved that she needed a serious intervention, and convinced her to work with us so that we could try to unpossess her, we moved back into the main room of the tower. Suddenly we were discovered and scrambled for hiding places (well, sometimes you hide, and sometimes you just sit there like you were meant to be there in all your suavity)… only to discover that we’d been discovered by an absent-minded researcher who thought we were the security guards. I guess they really do get all types of mercenaries in Sarshan’s tower.

That crisis averted, we went upstairs through a levitation lift. I wonder what kind of spells were involved in creating it! I stepped inside and felt weightless, and upon thinking about it, I found myself drifting upward to the next level. The others followed me. None of us were really expecting to find a garden. There was a black portal gate on one side that looked very familiar, like that private portal back where we entered the Shadowfell… I was tempted to investigate it more closely, but we were rudely attacked by several shadow beetles. Apparently giant beetles make great pets, or guard dogs. Maybe they really take territory seriously and only Sarshan is allowed in his private garden. Who knows. Working together, Diony, L, and Irjan all work together to kill the largest beetle. Then several swarms of smaller beetles attempt to overrun us, and I may or may not have caused a large fire in one corner. Two really hard bites from the swarm overwhelmed That Bitch and he fell unconscious. L tried to revive him but the beetles just wouldn’t let him go. A bunch of beetles crawled in under my armor and I blacked out for a time, until I realized that L was shaking me awake. Thanks to my magical cloak, I felt pretty good after that but knew that I couldn’t take many more hits. L used her other healing charm on That Bitch, and he and I double-teamed to take out the swarm that was harassing Diony (I don’t think he really appreciated all of the bug guts in his face, though). Then I gently nudged L and suggested that she investigate the portal while I went to take out the last swarm (when did the first swarm get pasted? I don’t remember that). There was a lot of back and forth, do you have any idea how many little bugs are in a swarm? That Bitch finally killed the last bug, then stomped up and down on the remains a little extra to make sure they were all gone.

We all had millions of itchy bug bites after that, and were about to see if we could make it out of there by altering the portal’s magic, when we were surrounded on all sides by soldiers from the guard towers that surround the central tower. Not only guards, but Sarshan himself. We almost smacked ourselves when we realized that we’d met Sarshan before—in the tavern back in the real world above the entrance to the Shadowfell, when we were still looking for Modra, and ended up walking through terrible alleyways trying to follow him since he was so mysterious and we wanted to ask him more questions. We had been mostly interested in leaving the tower, and now there seemed to be no chance of that. Our slight curiosity at finding out what Sarshan intended with his armies of mercenaries and weapons deals in the real world, now that is what we found out first hand. The slightly kindly looking old man laughed in our faces at our heroics and said we were wasting our time trying to save the real world. Something big is coming, although he wouldn’t say what, and he asked us to join him in destroying the real world and “be on the right side,” by which I guess he meant to imply was his side. It went against everything I had ever been taught! But thankfully, Irjan is a survivor, so he spoke up and managed to convince Sarshan that we were okay with joining him. I saw his wisdom and clamped my jaws shut, and nodded along. I don’t think Sarshan’s general was very convinced, though, and heck, I was half-wondering what we’d do next.

Thankfully, now that we were newly “recruited,” they let us go upstairs and eat a snack and bandage ourselves up a bit. We were all pretty quiet, unsure of what our new alignment might mean. Thankfully, we were saved from finding out any details or doing anything terrible by some very intense tremors. The people watching us all left once they heard that the Foundry had actually exploded. I guess Modra had been successful at doing enough damage after all. Oops. The tremors didn’t stop. I mean, there had been a few quakes in the three days we’d been in the Shadowfell, but this was serious, and the tower didn’t feel very structurally sound. With everyone leaving and seeing to the crisis, it gave us the chance we needed to go back downstairs and try to escape!

Before we were able to do so much as squint at the escape portal, Sarshan’s suspicious general came back with his two panthers. He (rightly) accuses us of trying to run away, then sicced his big cats on us. Right away he was in my face, while his beasts roughed up poor L and That Bitch. I sparred with the general and managed to push him right into Diony’s attack, but he was quickly right back in my face. One of his panther’s slashed me really hard, but thankfully That Bitch had my back. Then Diony stabbed the general in the back and he went after Diony. When he missed the elf, he instead caged Irjan in some shadows that he didn’t need to see to feel. I took the opportunity to back away and see how L was doing. She was busy hacking the portal and had begun to see how the magic was written and how she could turn off the restricted entry. But still that general wouldn’t leave me alone! I hadn’t even been the one to lie to Sarshan! Irjan finally hit the general hard, but in the meantime the panthers teamed up to subdue our dwarf. L was busy, scrambling to the top of the arch to manipulate the gems at the top of the gate, then promptly slipped and fell and became an enticing toy for the panthers. I heard her scream silenced as they knocked her out behind me. Despite the barbs and arrows from Diony and Irjan, the general still came after me. I was bleeding and sore. Let me tell you, by this point in the day we were not doing so well, having fought Modra, the guards in the library, Sarshan’s special pet beetles, and now this guy? The three of us traded jabs with the general and one of his panthers, I think the other one might have still been preoccupied with L at that point. I was just in time to see an insane shot as one of Diony’s bolts came through a narrow gap in a tree and caught the general in the temple. Then his panther grabbed me from behind with both paws and bit my head. Things went fuzzy as I fell, feeling the weight of the panther with its hot breath on my face. I couldn’t feel it anymore, and it suddenly became very dim around me. The last thing I remember seeing was Diony, wreathed in light, face grim set with That Bitch draped over one shoulder. Then the world turned around and I saw no more.

A few minutes later, I groaned and came to. We had all made it back to the Black Shrine where we entered the Shadowfell, even Saul and Reniss had somehow made it from the secret room near the Foundry. Even with a ringing in my ears I could tell that there was a lot of noise. I was too weak to move anywhere, but the portal behind us was broken and someone told me that the tower had collapsed, and that all of Umbraforge was being engulfed in flame and lava from the mountain. Poor city planning, I guess, building next to an active volcano. I was hoping that Irjan would just put the key in the main portal home. I knew things were really dire, and if anything cropped up I wasn’t optimistic about being able to survive it. I know I can be pretty melodramatic, but in all seriousness I was on death’s doorstep. And then the ghosts came out.

Death Toll

Sarshan’s pet shadow beetle, and multiple rot scarab swarms were killed (several scarab beetles were splattered all over Diony’s face). Also, Sarshan’s right-hand-man was defeated and killed.

New Acquisitions
  • 550 XP to all players (Total: 8480).
  • A gem-encrusted golden chalice (no longer filled with tangy-smelling, blood red fluid) with the etched inscription “mazel tov”, held by Irjan
  • Boots of Levitation taken by L
  • A crystal carving of a panther, held by Tanner

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
Escape from the Shadowfell
The Final Battle (of Chapter 3)

Who Was Modra?
Keyword: was, As related by Irjan after a few drinks
Sunday, 9 Goodmonth, 1468 CY – Day 3 in the Shadowfell

“Und tzo dhere ve vere, vith dhe ghosts ov my past lain to rest, tzo to speak. VVe vere Vondering vhere to go next to find dhis Modra, and ve all go out in our ways and ask dhe qvestions. Each doesn dhere thing and ve come across dhis shadowvoman named Leena. She hez some good ideas and information about dhe vhereabouts of Modra. Vell, not vhere he is, yah, but where he vill be. Ve learned dhat dhis Modra did some dhings dhat hiz boss, dhe Sarshan fellow, did not like. And he vas going to be doing some odhere things dhat Sarshan vas REALLY not going to like, doing some bad dhings to his foundries or smelteries or some big fiery place of metal. Vell, vhile ve hez no great love for Sarshan, ve also don’t vant to give away a good opportunity to get to Modra.

Tzo, we go to dhe foundry to hez a looksie. Dhere vere a lot of guards dhere. Some of dhe group, dhey see dhis crak in dhe vall, but dhey cannot tell to vhat use ve may be able to put it. Vell, I could tell dhat, but since I don’t see it so vell, I need to get my hends on it. Dhe magey-hoo and me, vell, we gets dhe plan for him to lead me to dhe crack while I’m being all sneaksie like. vhile I’m examining dhe crack in dhe vall dhe magey-hoo makes it look like he’s just doing some such thing against dhe vall. I could hear dhe others holding dhe attention of dhe guards some ways off by starting some scuffle.

But vith dhe distraction, we got dhe crack in dhe wall shored enough to sneak in vhen dhe time came. Dhat time came when dhe armies of Sarshan began to march. I can shtill hear de echos of dhe horns and drums. Towards where did dhey march? Ve did not yet know.

Vhat ve did know , however, vas dhat Modra vas up to something vhen ve entered dhe foundry through dhe crack in dhe vall. Now, I couldn’t seevhat dhe were doing when I got in dhere, but dhe heat let us know dhat dhe power of dhe volcano vas being controlled to do dhings. Dhe clanging of metal sounded dhat Modra and his followers were trying to upset dhat control.

Dhis created an interesting problem. Modra’s followers saw dhey were discovered and began attacking us. But ve veren’t so united on whether ve should stop dhem or help dhem. Dhis controversy went throughout dhe fight, but it’s hard to talk to people who are trying hard to stab you or push you into lava. From a break in dhe heat, I could feel a bridge over dhe river of lava flowing through dhe room. I took dhe high ground and planted our banner to let Modra know dhat ve vere now in control here. Dhey… contested dhat. Even going so far as to smash open a container being used to spawn some giant boar dhing. Dhe Mageyhoo got hurt somewhat bad, even dhough he vas one to think ve should be helping Modra’s plan. He tried to talk to Modra, and Modra even seemed to respond. But dhe giant boar dhing didn’t care so much and butted him but good.

Even so, ve put down dhe giant boar and had a tense standoff vith Modra and his last man. Dhe way dhe conversation vent seemed like we would help him to stop Sarshan from doing vhatever plans he vas doing.

dhen, dhe standoff broke when who of all people should appear, but dhe qviet anger! She comes in not through dhe crack in dhe vall but by breaking open dhe doors, runs up to Modra and kills him dead in one shot. To not only realize dhat she vas shtill alive, but to be vielding dhat kind of power vas, to say dhe least, surprising. Now, not all of Sarshan’s guards had marched out with dhe armies, and dhe bursting in of dhe doors brought some attention to vhat had been going on. Alzo, our help to Modra’s plan had set off some kind of reaction in dhe foundry, and dhe large fire was about to take place dhere.

Through our conversations ve had learned of a secret door in dhe foundry dhat vent into Sarhan’s Fortress. It only took a qvick search to find it, and good dhing too! Soon dhe guards came rushing in, and dhe lava devices of dhe foundry began over loading. It vould not have been a pleasant place to stay. Ve escaped into dhe tunnel, and followed it in dhe direction of dhe fort. Along de vay, ve discovered a hidden passageway leading avay from dhe main tunnel. It led to a small sanctuary, vhich kindof suggested dhat Sarhsan’s men veren’t avare of it, and likely vere not dhe ones who had dug dhat tunnel. It could make a good place to camp if we needed to, but even vith dhe hurt some people had from dhe last battle, dhings could have been vorse. Ve figured it vould be better to see where dhe tunnel led sooner rather dhan later.

Ve came to dhe end of dhe tunnel to find it came out behind a bookshelf in some library. through an archvay dhere vere some of Sarhan’s guards and a spell caster. Ve tried to get dhe drop on dhem, but some folks veren’t so sneaksie. Dhey had us cornered in dhe room for a bit, and one even flipped a lever to turn dhe library into a big magic trap, but dhe mageyhoo fixed dhat vith a magey hand. De scuffle caught dhe attention of some guards in a room beyond, but on eof dhem vasn’t so keen on joining dhe fight. Like Modra, giving hints dhat not all vas vell in dhe house of Sarshan.

At dhe end, dhey vere still no match for dhe Hordebane. But no sooner had ve put dhem down, vhen ve heard noises from dhe next room. Our battle vas not over just yet…

Who was Modra?
Another dead man.
Sunday, 9 Goodmonth, 1468 CY – Day 3 in the Shadowfell

Tracked down Modra thanks to a shadar-kai named Leena.
Distracting fistfight in the streets while Irjan and Tanner cased the Foundry.
Stopped Modra at the Foundry; Aviella killed the dark creeper in a single, devastating blow.
Escaped through Sarshan’s private tunnel into his tower while Aviella held off Sarshan’s elite guard; found a secret shrine hidden along the tunnel.
Emerged in the library, fought your way into the tower plus a few chainfighters who joined from the next room.

Death Toll

Modra and his remaining loyal henchmen were killed in the Foundry, as was a huge two-headed boar that was the result of one of Sarshan’s foul experiments. Also, six shadar-kai fighting in defense of Sarshan’s tower (so far).

Aviella was found to be not dead after all…though perhaps a part of her has in fact died since she last saw the Hordebane.

New Acquisitions
  • 795 XP to all players (Total: 7930). Everyone is now Level 6!
  • Periapt of Recovery +2 taken by Diony
  • Resounding Warhammer +2 taken by That Bitch
  • Amulet of Protection +2 taken by Lilac
  • 5 books Grymm scooped off the library shelves for Skien, one of which is a Tome of the North Wind +2
  • A gem-encrusted golden chalice filled with tangy-smelling, blood red fluid and the etched inscription “mazel tov”

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
RP Session 1
RP Session 2

Of Bonecrunchers, Fiery Rifts, and Trapped Spirits
In which we all learn a little more about Irjan
Starday, 8 Goodmonth, 1468 CY – Day 2 in the Shadowfell

The Bonecruncher Clan, a group of mercenary ogres, challenged the group to see if they were worthy of fighting alongside the mighty warriors of their clan. Grymm, Irjan, Tanner, and Skien were separated from the others, and each had to face their own group of fierce ogres.

The battle was going well in the Hordebane’s favor, but increasingly powerful earthquakes eventually ripped the ground open and creatures formed from the molten rock came out and began attacking anyone within reach. In particular, some fire bats started strafing the crowds and lighting everyone on fire. If it hadn’t been for a friendly mercenary cleric (who didn’t demand payment for his services after), the Hordebane might have become a significantly lesser threat to hordes.

Finally, things returned to what passed for normal in the mercenary camps, and the group continued on their search for Modra. In so doing, they learned a little about Irjan’s past when a young spirit-girl called the blind dragonborn a bad man and accused him of killing her. Her spirit was being trapped in the skull tap-handle at a tavern in the slave market, and fortunately Irjan was able to clear his name a little (with her, anyway), by assisting in freeing her spirit and several others that had been trapped there.

Death Toll

A few ogres were killed, and several fire elementals were eliminated. Also, a few trapped spirits were released to go to their final rest.

New Acquisitions
  • 400 XP to all players (Total: 7135).
  • Battlecrazed Battleaxe +2 taken by Grymm
  • Brooch of Shielding +1 taken by Irjan
  • Deathburst Leather Armor +2 taken by Tanner
  • Forgemaster’s Gloves taken by Skien

Character Journals

Click your character’s link below to create your journal entry on a new wiki page:
Skien – Session 18
Tanner – Session 18
Irjan – Session 18
Grymm – Session 18
Lilac – Session 18
Saul – Session 18
That Bitch – Session 18
Diony – Session 18

Alternatively, you each may pose a scenario by email or on facebook to foster PC interaction. A transcript of this character development must be copy-pasted in lieu of your journal entry before the next session.

Into the Shadowfell...
...where the weapons forged of shadow originate
Earthday, 6 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

Saul opened the door to see what was causing the whistling and flashing, and revealed to the Hordebane a dark creeper (presumably Modra) standing beside a portal that swirled with roiling black shadows. It was then that the dark one chanted something, and the whistling intensified. He nodded slightly, and suddenly he was whisked through the portal to wherever it led. From the depths of the portal, a number of ghostly figures rushed out, shrieking as they attacked.

As soon as the most angry of the wraiths moved forward, most of the group found their mind taken over by mad whispers which distracted them from the fight. Eventually Tanner connected that holy attacks to that wraith seemed to mitigate the whispers for a time, so he began using his dazzling sun ray to excellent effect and get the Hordebane back in the fight.

Once the seething wraith was defeated, the group made quick work of the other wraiths—though Irjan found himself more than a little hurt when wraiths phased through the walls next to him, and Grymm can barely remember a single part of the fight. Still the group persevered, and with healing support from That Bitch and L no one quite ended up dead.

Skien closely examined the white room that contained the shadowy portal, but could not identify who (or what) the bas-reliefs were intended to worship. Diony and other perceptive sorts noted a keyhole on the active gate, and the debate began as to whether or not the key Irjan had found would fit in the gate, and whether or not fitting it in the gate should even be attempted. The argument went back and forth for some minutes, and ultimately Tanner obtained the key and fitted it into the keyhole.

The moment the key fit, Tanner realized that the key would allow him to transport himself and five others through the gate. Irjan and Saul elected to stay behind while the others went through first—especially considering that there was no way of knowing what waited on the other side. In the interim, Saul took the time to return to the basement of the Happy Beggar to help Reniss sneak down so she could be informed of what had transpired. She elected to follow the Hordebane wherever the trail to Modra led.

On the other side of the portal, the room was a mirror of the white room they had left, and was instead completely black. The other teleportation portal that had been inactive in the white room showed jungle-like foliage that appeared to be tended to as in a garden. Outside of the room, Diony scouted ahead and saw a path that led to a road…and perhaps a quarter of a mile away was a volcano spilling lava down its side in a river that passed through what looked like a large mercenary camp. A tower overshadowed the camp, with a few lower buildings beside it, but the rest of the structures were mostly tents and other temporary tenements. There were signs inside of a struggle, and the advance group decided that it would be best to bring the entire Hordebane through before any guards returned—there was no telling what the guards might be like on this side of the portal.

Not long after the group headed for the road to the small city, they were challenged by some dark creepers who mistook them for mercenaries and ordered them back to the camp. Once there, they were able to secure tents for themselves and get a full night’s sleep—for what passes as “night” in the Shadowfell.

Freeday, 7 Goodmonth, 1468 CY – Day 1 in the Shadowfell

Once they had rested, the Hordebane set about acquainting themselves with this settlement in the Shadowfell. They learned that it was a place called Umbraforge, and that it was the domain of one called Sarshan who was known for the infamous Black Arrow mercenary company. Furthermore, there was at least three times more mercenary activity now than there had been a month or two ago, with companies constantly trickling in from all over and one or two shipping out every day. The forges showed many smiths hard at work, making countless weapons all with the arrow symbol that had become all too familiar. Strange colored smoke and a lingering smell with too many components to name rose from the foundry, a place where it was rumored Sarshan was experimenting at creating war-creatures.

Their information gathering was interrupted when they headed into the mercenary camps to ask questions about Modra, and a mercenary company of giants challenged the group to prove themselves as a rival mercenary company. Many others crowded around, ushering the Hordebane into the muddy training ground that was littered with weapons, forcing them into the ring to do battle with the giants.

Death Toll

A number of wraiths were put to their final rest, but no other known casualties.

New Acquisitions
  • 175 XP to all players (Total: 6735).
  • Irjan remembered finding two small glass bottles, one labeled “ID” (containing a rusty-gold powder) and the other labeled “AGL” (containing a black sludge) which are likely poisons of some sort.

Character Journals

Click your character’s link below to create your journal entry on a new wiki page:
Diony – Session 17
Skien – Session 17
Tanner – Session 17
Irjan – Session 17
Grymm – Session 17
Lilac – Session 17
Saul – Session 17
That Bitch – Session 17

Alternatively, you each may pose a scenario by email or on facebook to foster PC interaction. A transcript of this character development will be copy-pasted in lieu of your journal entry.

Beneath the Happy Beggar
The hunt continues...
Earthday, 6 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

Saul North Tarski met up with the Hordebane at the Mountain’s Hearth, and joined the group in an attempt to learn more about the Lost Ones and their persistent interference. When he learned that the escalating conflict went deeper than that, Saul decided to join the Hordebane as they went to investigate the Happy Beggar.

Once in the secret caverns below the Beggar, the group was set upon by shadowy bats. Still relatively fresh, the Hordebane dispatched them quickly with Irjan and Diony firing devastating shots, and L doing her own share to fire at the airborne creatures. Tanner, Skien, and Grymm had to get creative, but still they made short work of the bats. Saul proved to be quite good at pointing out good targets.

There was a cliff dividing the cavern that was covered in mushrooms, and the group hesitated, not wanting to breathe poison or some such. After a quick breather, rather than give chase to the one bat who escaped, the warforged climbed down the cliff face and released a bunch of spores which did nothing to harm him. Cautiously, the others picked their way down, holding their breath with every move that disturbed the fungal growths.

None the worse for wear, they ventured onward through a rough tunnel to some stairs that led down and around a bend. Even with the shadow bat circling around, it seemed that something had already transpired here. A wagon with two caged shadow beasts was smoldering, and there was a partially-incinerated corpse in the back corner. A stone archway took up the majority of the room, and through it a fiery inferno was visible—likely the interior of a warehouse, though it was difficult to tell.

The shadow hounds managed to teleport through the weakened cold iron of their cages, and they raced to attack the party, as did a few dark ones who were behind the wagon. More ominous, however, a ghostly form seemed to coalesce above the corpse, and the spirit raced to attack in a whirlwind of fury. Thinking quickly, Skien did his best to capture the spirit’s attention and convince it to leave them be. Ultimately, he used his knowledge of shadar-kai and the Raven Queen to send the spirit on its way. Without taking the spirit out of the fight, the Hordebane would have sustained much greater injuries.

On the shadar-kai’s corpse, the group found a fine chain as would be found in a necklace, except it was broken. Irjan noted that the key he had found was also on a chain, and he attempted to compare the two by touch. Others looked on, and it seemed that they could be similar, but there was no way to tell if there was once a key like the one Irjan held attached to the broken chain. There certainly wasn’t one now.

After a few moments where the Hordebane could take time to bandage their wounds, there was a flash of light under the door that led deeper into this secret underground network, and the sound of a low whistling echoed from the walls, as though wind were wailing through the next room.

Death Toll

Some shadow bats, shadow hounds, a few dark ones (not Modra), and a shadar-kai who was already dead when you arrived. Also, a warehouse on the other side of the portal was torched.

New Acquisitions
  • 360 XP to all players (Total: 6560).
  • A fine chain (as in a necklace), broken.

Character Journals

Click your character’s link below to create your journal entry on a new wiki page:
Diony – Session 16
Skien – Session 16
Tanner – Session 16
Irjan – Session 16
Grymm – Session 16
Lilac – Session 16
Saul – Session 16
That Bitch – Session 16

Alternatively, you each may pose a scenario by email or on facebook to foster PC interaction. A transcript of this character development will be copy-pasted in lieu of your journal entry.


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