Scales of War

The Rift in the Depths of the Karak Lode
Earthday, 27 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

Discovered Elemental Rift/Gate, fought demons and a naga (the real Queen Shephatiah).
Collapsed the mine over the Rift, and escaped.
Rested in the Fortress above.
Set off into the desert to return to Dunesend.

Starday, 1 Harvester, 1468 CY

Return to Dunesend, early evening.
The town was deserted, all hiding in the old dwarven tower.
The party talks the villagers out of the tower, and stay the night with Priestess Fawma.
Irjan speaks with Old Bede, the crotchety baker, and gets drugged with a truth serum.

Sunday, 2 Harvester, 1468 CY

The Hordebane departs for Overlook via Ronzen.

Waterday, 12 Harvester, 1468 CY

The Hordebane returns to Overlook and meets with Bram Ironfell.


Death Toll

The real Queen Shephatiah perished at the hands of the Hordebane (and stingers of Professor Hoffmeisteri).


New Acquisitions
  • 820 XP to all players (Total: 12740)
  • Another Ironfell Signet Ring (also held by Lilac)
  • Primordial Ring taken by Chris
  • Cincture of the Githzerai taken by Hoff
  • 1900 gp already split amongst the party

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
RP Session 28-1
RP Session 28-2

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FINALLY, the KARAK LODE!!
Earthday, 27 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

Excerpt from Lilac Derbyshire’s Journal (Earthday, 27 Goodmonth, 1468 CY)

The Hordebane just cannot catch a break! After slaying the self-proclaimed Queen Shephatiah and finding no means of accessing the Karak Lode, we finally made camp for the night in order to get some much needed rest. The trials and travails of the desert and the many monstrous denizens of the complex we had assaulted had rendered our company dead tired (though thankfully not dead). Unfortunately the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune had not yet finished their volley, and we were viciously assaulted by chokers and another troglodyte. There’s nothing quite like being used as a shield to absorb a friend’s sword swing when you’d rather be sleeping, but such is the adventurer’s life. After dispatching our ambushers and finding the shifter we had taken captive executed, we decided to dispose of the troglodyte stinking carcass. Chris and I lugged the fetid corpse down the stairs and into the Queen’s throne room, imagining the stench in there couldn’t get any worse. While transporting the body, a metal object fell out of one of his pockets and glinted in the light of my sunrod. I quickly retrieved it and found it to be a Clan Ironfell Signet Ring! At least that was good news, and I assumed that the Lode must be near by.

We found it quickly enough. Despite the previous night’s search leaving us stumped, we found a secret entrance while following a trail of canary feathers to a previously searched room. Diony had lost track of the bird brained former prisoner we had rescued, and our search for him turned up the Lode instead! Jackpot! The trail of feathers lead us to a secret entrance in the floor, complete with lift, and we descended into the mines. At the bottom we discovered troglodytes guarding a portcullis. A pitched battle broke out. I provided fire from the back while Tanner and the Professor used their respective talents for translocation and turning into a swarm of disgusting insects (ick!) to by pass the portcullis. It was finally opened by the Professor, allowing Chris access to the remaining troglodytes. As I’ve documented she is a ferocious fighter, so as you may imagine the remaining guards were speedily dispatched.

Beyond the portcullis we finally found ourselves in the mine we had been tasked with rediscovering. It was hardly a wondrous sight however, as pulsing veins of magic spread throughout the mine. Tanner and I determined it to be raw elemental chaos energy, and it lent a ghastly hue to the mine’s sprawling corridors. They seemed to trigger in the Professor the same violent headaches he had experienced while examining the Throne earlier. To make the environment even less homey, we found spread among rock and rubble the skeletons of numerous dwarf miners or guards, whom the Professor later determined may have died as many as eight centuries past. Severely rusted weapons lay untouched by the skeletons, and most disturbing of all they were decapitated. Headless skeletons hardly put a country girl at ease, and it was no surprise that we quickly found ourselves clashing with the creatures which dwelled in these long forgotten shafts. A swarm of spiders and a pair of loathsome carrion crawlers (they evidently nested in the mines) attacked us, and they were soon joined by a chillbane dwarf zombie and a hideous barlgura demon. Determining that the zombie was weak to fire I loaded a grenade into my crossbow and launched a smoke powder blast at it, focusing my fury to aim with as much precision as possible. The fiery explosion was devastating, and the smoke gave Tanner an opportunity to strike at it. The zombie, whose chilling aura had been difficult to manage, thankfully fell. The rest of the battle was intense and nearly deadly. In an impressive display of strength Chris tore a crawler off the wall and brutally pummeled it as it crumpled on the ground. The Professor summoned a localized earthquake under the demon which destabilized the shaft and began the process of a collapse. Amidst falling stone we retreated back in the direction of the portcullis, but Chris found herself poisoned and unable to move. Tanner quickly dragged her to safety however, and we all survived. Unfortunately, the demon had smashed my homunculus before being crushed by the cave-in, and I was unable to retrieve it before escaping to safety.

Anxious to retrieve the valuable technology my father had entrusted to me, I began examining the fallen rock and trying to determine a way to reach my automaton. Tanner and Chris warned me to be careful around the unstable stone however, and after a breath and coaxing the others into agreeing to help, we rigged a pulley system and began to make a tunnel. Tanner gave us a pep talk that rivaled a bard’s, while Chris and Irjan hoisted, I secured rocks to the pulley, and the Professor in swarm form determined the safest path to take. Upon reaching the stone my homunculus was crushed under, I took out my crowbar, wedged it into place, and Chris, Tanner and I went to work. Tanner pressed on the crowbar with all the might a wizard can muster while Chris and I strained at the rock with our bare hands. The Professor wormed his way under and collected the homunculus as well a number of other valuables, including gems and healing potions. We quickly made our egress from the makeshift tunnel and I returned my homunculus to my bag. I guess if I am to incorporate the snake construct’s venom into its design, I need to take it apart anyway, so perhaps the demon saved me some labor? Always look on the bright side right?

Meanwhile, one of the gems seemed to trigger a reverie in the professor, and he seemed to dissociate while lost in a memory. He came to visibily agitated, though he seemed unwilling talk. Tanner and I examined the dwarf skeletons and hypothesized about reasons for their decapitation. Meanwhile, Irjan found he too was affected by the elemental chaos that ran through the mine and voiced his displeasure with it. We then examined our options for traversing deeper into the mine. We had found a passage off to the right that could be climbed to continue along the mine. I determined that a pulley system could shift some rocks to make for an easier ascent, and if necessary we could use rope to rappel down the other side. After determining the best route of continuance, we set to work, and in the process steeled ourselves for whatever challenges may await further into the dark depths of the Karak Lode.

Session Overview

Found Ring on Troglodyte from ambush.
Followed trail of yellow canary feathers downstairs to the hidden Karak Lode entrance.
Fought past troglodytes at the portcullis to enter the mine.
Dwarven skeletons missing skulls, weapons out and rusting—it appears the dwarves killed each other in the end. Veins of raw elemental chaos energy run throughout the mine.
Epic battle of the collapsing chamber, and subsequent unearthing of the homunculus.
Still alive!!


Death Toll

Troglodytes, demon (barlgura), dwarf zombie (again), spider swarm, and a carrion crawler all perished.


New Acquisitions
  • 780 XP to all players (Total: 11920)
  • Ironfell Signet Ring (held by Lilac)
  • 2 potions of Cure Moderate Wounds (taken by Chris and Hoff)
  • 1 Potion of Healing (taken by Hoff?)
  • 5 gemstones, added to Party Coin Purse
  • 50 gp, already divided amongst party members (Irjan gets 10gp)
  • Clean water – barrel currently contains 25 gal (5 gal drunk in the 3 fights since awakening)

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
Cave-in Crunch
Missing Skulls and Rocky Roads

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Hordebane Killed the Queen
Earthday, 27 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

There are two remaining doors to the north of the courtyard and have the sharp smell of decay. The Queen of the Drylands these self-proclaimed “Hordebane” have described must be there…or a figment of the imagination. I have not yet determined their sanity…nor my own. From what I can gather (whispers amongst themselves) I am in a fortress called Ironfall located in the middle of a desert village “Dunesend”. I’ve not a clue how I came to be here but I know something evil resides here; the migraines are unbearable. For the time being I will follow this Hordebane, after all they did save me from the berbalang (winged vampire demons that originate from an individual).

The remaining doors are opened with caution; beyond them nothing but another set of doors. The breezeway is lined with arrow slits and the big lizard man (a species unknown to me) named Irjan checks for guards by thrusting his blade through the opening. Through the arrow slits, I can see some curious trees with silver and gray bark. The horrid smell of decay seems to be emanating from them, almost like a corpse flower. I am told these are Susser trees, humph, never in my life have I seen such a thing.

Through the next doors I first see four more of the Susser trees, then a female at a throne who had just killed a laborer. This female let out a horrid laugh, exclaiming that she had expected us and predicts our failure. She is the known as Queen Shephatiah and has six humanoid soldiers. The throne room is 40 foot tall, and those giant trees brush the ceiling. The half-orc called Lilac is the first to attack one of the warriors, while Irjan attempts to attack the queen. Irjan’s onslaught fails as she teleports near a tree to the right of the doors, and other creature attacks him! I find out later that Tanner thought this longtooth shifter was Skeen (former comrade) and had nightmares of this day; the shifter is kept for interrogation after the fight.

I attempt to send a jolt of lightning at one of the soldiers but for some curious reason I summon a giant toad. Although not what I intended, my horny toad attempted to attack one humanoid soldier…not successfully. I cannot seem to remember how to fight, but I hope memory is restored soon. Another large female, named Chris, in the Hordebane endeavors to attack the queen but her blade misses this time. After this hardship, the group starts killing the attackers. As the fight nears the end, two enormous hyena like creatures enter the throne room.

By this time, the toad has warmed up and has almost killed the queen; I send tremors at the throne which produces cracks in the floor. The helpful toad dies later by the claws of a foul, acid-blooded hyena. At this I change to beast form, and kill the queen in a roar of terror. The remaining foes are dropping like flies (ah, my toad would have enjoyed cleaning up) and Chris cuts the last hyena’s throat. All that remains is the longtoothed shifter and getting some rest.

Before waking the shifter, I notice the laborer is a 22 year old innocent with a Melora symbol and wears sandy desert cloths. Out of the crack I collect potion of healing, gold coins, and a marble dwarven miner chess set and board. The energy emanating from under the stone aggravates my migraine… that seems irrational but the hyena did have signs of foul energy exposure. Lilac notices my discomfort and tries to help ease the pain. We explore several of the trees for information about the queen and her plans.

Later, while upstairs, we awaken the shifter. He seems like a really nice fellow, who honestly believes in the deceased queen. To make him talk, I shift to my true form of a thousand tubificids over his body. This initially does not make him uneasy for he is well versed in benthic organisms and rather enjoys the treatment. Next I try a swarm of wasps to divulge his knowledge of me… this does the trick. He whispers the answers to my questions and I am glad of it; the others shouldn’t know yet, not before I found out what it means. We make camp and set up a round of watches; I am the second watch and to fall into an uneasy sleep.


Death Toll

Queen Shephatiah, two acid-blooded hyenas, and a handful of her human guards were killed. The longtooth shifter—another of her guards—was spared and interrogated.


New Acquisitions
  • 325 XP to all players (Total: 11140)
  • Holy symbol of Melora from the dead peasant in the throne room who may have been from Dunesend
  • Two potions of healing
  • A dwarven miner chess set and board, made of solid marble
  • 750 gp, already divided amongst party members
  • Clean water – barrel has been refilled to 30 gal.

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
Choke the Choker!
RP Session 26-2 – Cancelled!

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Down in the Crypt
Behind the door that says something about "death"
Waterday, 26 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

Through the door in the hallway, it was almost entirely dark. We almost literally bumped into a muttering old gnome who was stalking a terrible beast. He seemed confused of many things but sure that his name was Professor Hoffmeisteri. The professor tried to cast a spell at us but he did it in such an odd way that Lilac was sure reminded her of an archaic form of spellcasting not seen in a century or more. We couldn’t make heads nor tails of him really.

Just then, Lilac’s sunrod extinguished leaving us in the dark with the threat of a terrible monster. Tanner lit another one, whispering, “Onward.” Around the corner was a room with many doors inscribed with glowing runes. As we debated what they could mean, one of the doors burst and a winged vampiric demon screeched at us in some lofty ancient language. Tanner recognized it as a lesser berbalang. Almost instantly a second one appeared, and then a third one, and a fourth, but not all at once. In reaction to seeing the berbalang, the Hordebane’s new companion did an unexpected thing and became a mass of worms in the shape of a snake that began attacking the berbalangs. Sensing that we were not alone and hearing the terrible screechings, Irjan planted our battle standard. The echoing chamber must have messed with his hearing because instead of hitting the berbalangs, Irjan hit Tanner, Chris, and Tanner again before finally his quarry. Lilac tried to intercede and make the broom-handle arrows sting less, but Chris was still pissed!

It took the team a while to realize that there was really only one true berbalang. It was summoning copies of itself which it could explode with a command, or deflect attacks away from itself to its copies. Eventually they were able to identify and target the original. Tanner name-dropped, using his name to make the demon uneasy. Lilac used her hoverboots to levitate away from a copy, but it flew up after her. Chris slashed and pummeled. The worm monstrosity savagely rended the copy demons. The copy demons exploded in psychic gore one after another, and a fifth berbalang was summoned. Despite his earlier misses, it was Irjan who finally took the original berbalang down with an unlikely perfect shot.

In the aftermath, Tanner used prestidigitation to clean up the smatterings of gore that covered them, even if it was only in their heads. Searching the doorways, the Hordebane realized that they were the crypts of ancient dwarves, although most of them were empty or defiled by the actions of the corpse-devouring berbalang. They did manage to find a magic weapon in one of the tombs, which Lilac identified as a scalebane weapon. Chris got a glint in her eye and took the weapon for herself. The team wasn’t in very good shape, though. It was too dangerous to stop now, but Chris and Tanner knew they didn’t have a lot of resources left.


Death Toll

Lucky for the Hordebane, only the berbelang died.


New Acquisitions
  • 300 XP to all players (Total: 10815)
  • One of the crypts contained a Scalebane Khopesh +2, taken by Chris
  • Irjan’s little keg is now about 1/4 full (about a cup of the potent stuff remains)
  • The group has 15 gal of water left (everyone has drunk what they needed today).

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
A Horde of Hordebanes
Ah HA! This IS the Karak Lode!!

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Exploring Fortress Ironfell
What's that smell?
Waterday, 26 Goodmonth, 1468 CY

After fighting the harpies and carrion crawler in the collapsed courtyard, the party tried to lower down their water barrel. It went well until Chris decided to toss the barrel down for someone to catch. It was sort of caught by Irjan, who happened to break most of its fall. Unfortunately, the top popped off and much of the water spilled out. Irjan received a back ache. At that moment a poisonous ray came at them through the arrow slits, followed by javelins.

It turns out that there had after all been some guards in the gatehouse, but they had been looking for an approach from the outer gate. The noise of the harpies, followed by the wump of the barrel of water, had alerted them to intruders behind them. Our protagonists rallied, most entering the inner gateway to try to get out of the open and to get at the guards. One of the guards was trying to hold a door closed but Chris pushed it open with such force that he got a bloody nose. Then a terrible stench assaulted them, coming from the lizard guard, whom Chris grabbed and stabbed and punched him. In the mean time, Tanner was occupied with a javeliner in the arrow slit across from the door. Using a power on his rapier that he hadn’t used before, he teleported the guard through the arrow slit into the open. Diony shot through one of the arrow slits in the courtyard, hitting someone who was about to shoot him! Then he was finally able to remove a javelin that had been impeding himself and everyone moved into the gate entryway. There was a pause in the assault from above as the enemies presumably moved away from the courtyard arrow slits.

Lilac pulled out a brass orb and rolled it next to one of the lizards still near us, then shot the orb with a crossbow bolt to activate it. Her obedient servant unfolded and helped Tanner attack the lizard. Irjan interrupted that fight by shooting that lizard in the head and pinning him to the wooden gate behind them. By this time, more enemies had arrived from above, some on either side of the entryway, with the mage behind the arrow slit. Tanner cast color spray to daze the creatures on that side of the room. Irjan dragged an arrow through the sand of the floor and shot a dust storm at a newly arrived lizard at the door. Diony backstabbed him, and then Chris savagely grabbed him and slammed him into the wall, bashing his brains in. A team effort.

Lilac sent her mechanical servant up the stairs to explore, and Chris went that way as well. She found straw dummies at the windows on the face of the keep, as well as murder holes above the path between the inner and outer gates, and levers to control some portcullises. Meanwhile, Lilac tossed a sunrod into the gate room through the arrow slit to make it easier for the team (all those who weren’t blind anyway) to target their assailants. With Chris coming around from behind, they were eventually able to defeat the lizards. Upon pondering, Irjan identified them as troglodytes, who normally inhabit swamps. What were they doing in the desert?

Past a door near the defeated mage, the party sneaked down a hallway until Chris bumped into Diony and Irjan. By a closed portcullis and an old dwarven forge, a guard overheard them. Diony backstabbed him with excessive force and he fell lifeless on the ground. Two more came from within the room and were easily dispatched by Tanner and Chris, two others stepped on ice traps planted by Lilac and were impaled by shards of ice, and the last one was taken out by Diony. There was some movement on the stairs but nothing else appeared for several minutes. The party prepared for an attack while Tanner explored the barracks. Irjan investigated a closet full of empty barrels, but there was a faint waft of alcohol. He eventually, after minutes of searching, was able to find a small barrel with barely any alcohol left (though he also contemplated aging the party’s water in wine barrels).

Finally Tanner found the mechanism to raise the portcullis, though he needed Chris to give him a hand to raise it. Finally some people came up the stairs, some shifters. The battle was met and Tanner charged into the fray. Diony jumped over some boxes and clear over the head of one of the shifters. A mechanical snake unwound from the waist of a dwarven statue on the stairs and attacked Diony. Lilac set one of the shifters on fire, then Chris charged in to knock one of them prone. Irjan finally returned from the alcohol closet and realized that there was a fight going on. He eventually killed the two shifters that the others had softened up. Lilac defeated the snake and collected it to study it. In some boxes at the top of the stairs there was food, so the party took 20 rations each, then headed for the door at the bottom of the stairs.

By the end of this fight, the sun had set.


Death Toll

Everything you fought died, though Lilac did collect the no-longer-animated iron cobra in hopes of tinkering more with it later.


New Acquisitions
  • 515 XP to all players (Total: 10515)
  • One of the shifters had Laughing Death Hide Armor +2 (taken by Lilac)
  • Irjan found a small half-gallon keg that is at least half full of liquid.
  • This is still an Amulet of Protection +2 up for grabs if anyone wants it.
  • The group is in the process of drinking 5 gal today, of the 20 gal they have remaining.
  • Everyone took 20 rations from the boxes at the top of the stairs.

RP Sessions

Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
Smells like Orc Spirit
“Freeing” the Crazy Canary Man
Into the Bubbly!

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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

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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!

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Dunesend
Between a Desert and the Thornwaste
Previously…

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

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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

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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)

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