Call To Arms!

Campaign Introduction
A Call to Arms!

The world has never been a safe place. Bastions of civilization populate a dark, menacing world — islands of order and reason exist in a land otherwise overrun by dark cults, vile monsters, creatures from the dark edges of the imagination, and worse. As deadly as the world is on a normal day, the civilized Elsir Vale is a haven of peace and prosperity and a retreat from other-worldly menaces.

What brought you to the Elsir Vale may be as varied as the landscape of the Vale itself – Are you a mercenary looking to earn a reputation within the Vale? Or do you hail from afar in search of lore long-buried in nearby catacombs? Perhaps you’re on a pilgrimage to a local shrine or ruin? Whatever your reasons may be, you are nonetheless intrigued by the events out of Overlook.

Overlook, the mighty dwarven city on the eastern slopes of the Stonehome Mountains and guardian of the western passes into the Elsir Vale, has sent out messengers far and wide. An orcish army encroaches! A Call to Arms!

You find yourself in possession of a notice and unfurl the parchment to read the following:

Call to Arms!

How can we forget the suffering of our kin during the Age of Chains? How can we set aside those ancient grudges when the risk of slavery is now greater than ever? Fellow warriors, the orcs are upon us, marching once more to the beat of the giants’ drum. It falls to us to stop them — to hold fast no matter their numbers. If we falter, we give into fear. It’s not just ourselves and our way of life that will suffer; all people of the Elsir Vale will perish as well. War is upon us. Now is the time for men and women of courage to stand up and defend those who cannot defend themselves.

The Council of Elders will convene at High Hall upon the first half moon. Brave souls shall be present.

For whatever your reason, you decide to tuck away the parchment and start your journey to Overlook.

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Session One
Brindol

As the news from Overlook spreads through the Elsir Vale, the town of Brindol has steadily seen an increase in the number of adventurers passing through. Brindol is, of course, the most populated town within the thinly-populated Elsir Vale, and the town provides a convenient rest stop for adventurers on thier way to Overlook.

The first half moon will rise in a fortnight, so travelers have a few days to make the journey from Brindol to Overlook.

As night falls upon Brindol, the Antler and Thistle tavern finds itself having another typical evening. The presence of a few adventurers doesn’t seem too odd under the circumstances. Milling about the tavern is a short but powerful looking man armored in scale and carrying a large executioner’s axe over his shoulder; a dragonborn of icy-blue scales with an aura of stormful arcana about him; a genasi with purple-hued skin and red-flaring, crystalline yellow hair who wields two triple-headed flails; another dragonborn dressed in plate whose bright-red scales glisten in the light; and a deva covered in blue armor, white silk, and a pair of small decorative blue feathered wings on his back, whose features are like an old statue, ageless in appearance.

Suddenly, the doors of the Antler and Thistle are knocked of thier hinges and a band of hobgoblins rushes into the tavern. Soon after more hobgoblins join the fray aided by a few goblins wielding burning torches. However, the goblinoids have picked the wrong tavern to ramsack – they are quickly slain by the adventurers present. The quick-to-act adventurers are even able to save the tavern from burning down, but not before the tavernkeeper perishes in the flames of the bitumen torches.

As the scene at the tavern came under control, a throng of yelling townfolk alerted the adventurers to another problem down the street. A large ogre, yoked to a wagon and pulling two hobgoblin archers, was headed their direction. The creatures were using pitch casks as improvised explosion devices and were laying waste to all before them. That is, until they ran into our adventurers.

As the ogre turned the corner and came into view, the adventurers did not hesitate and were soon at melee with the ogre. The mighty beast was able to throw a couple ignited casks at the group, but neither toss was able to inflict any harm. Soon after the hobgoblins were bloodied, knocked down, and knocked off the wagon. The threat of any more ignited casks was eliminated.

The creatures got off a few good shots and wounded a few of our adventurers, even blooding one, but in the end the might of our heroes was too much. Bloodied and outmatched, all except one hobgoblin dropped their arms when confronted with the intimidating roar from the dragonborn sorcerer, Sharzkil. The hobgoblin that did not surrender was slain immediately after.

With the ogre defeated and yoked, the group disarmed the hobgoblin and let him run off after swearing never to return. The town guard appeared and took control of the ogre, assuring the adventurers that the creature will be brought to justice with due process. Shortly after more town guard appeared and requested help defending the North Bridge. When the adventurers reached the bridge whatever goblins were threatening had retreated back into the wilderness. Once the threat to Brindol seemed over, the heroes were approached by a man calling himself Geoffrey, who said he was proprietor of the Silk and Spoon Inn. He was awestruck by their performance against the ogre and wanted to show his gratitude by offering free lodging at his establishment. The adventurers obliged and joined Geoffrey, but only after a few of them helped the townfolk to extinguish what fires remained burning in Brindol.

The next morning the heroes were awoken to find a page of the Brindol towncouncil requesting their appearance. The adventurers were being summoned by Councilman Eoffram Troyas. The group agreed to meet Troyas and found him awaiting their arrival in his chambers. At the meeting Troyas complemented the abilities of our heroes and offered them a chance to further assist Brindol. However, before he would divulge the details of the task, he wanted to ascertain the willingness and trustworthiness of the heroes. Were they of the right character to aid Brindol?

It took some convincing, but eventually Troyas felt that he had found the right group to aid Brindol. He told the group unfortunate details about the raid the night before. It appeared the bandits had stolen several relics from the Hall of Great Valor, relics that were very sentimental to Brindol. Worse, seven citizens were missing and unaccounted for. The Council feared that the citizens were taken captive by the bandits for reasons unknown.

Troyas laid out the task before them: Rescue the citizens of Brindol and return the relics to their rightful place among the Hall of Great Valor.

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Session Two
Into The Catacombs

After their successful meeting with Councilman Troyas, the Gensai Spaaz had second thoughts about pursuing the goblins. He tells the others of reoccuring dreams and his desire to get to Overlook. Without much formalities, Spaaz leaves Brindol and heads to Overlook alone.

Meanwhile, the other heroes make their way over to the Brindol towngreen where they find the hobgoblin called Morrik. Morrik is kept in stocks and watched by two Brindol guards. The townfolk have not been kind to Morrik, as evidenced by smashed tomatoes around the prisoner’s feet.

Also present is a shadowy, robed figure. He tells the heroes that he too has business with the goblin. The heroes tell the robed person that Morrik might hold information that could lead them to finding the goblins that sacked Brindol the night before. Upon hearing this, the robed figure agrees to assist the heroes in the interrogation.

The interrogation of the prisoner proceeded and the heroes had no problem with intimidating the goblin. The creature whimpered and whined after each pressing question until finally it broke down and told the heroes what they need to know: the hobgoblin warlord Sinruth leads the Hand and told the goblins to sack Brindol and take prisoners. They were to return the prisoners to Sinruth’s hideout, some catacombs under an old ruined castle. Morrik used his shackled feet to draw a crude map in the dirt, aiding in the directions to the catacomb hideout.

With the information on hand and their new long-toothed ally, the heroes started on their journey to find the goblins. But first they revisited Councilman Troyas and pressed him for further assistance in rescuing the prisoners, specifically the need for horses to help transport the prisoners back to Brindol. Troyas, having just denied the heroes request for additional reward money not an hour ago, was visibly irritated by the request. He reiterated that Brindol was just looted and the town’s resources are needed to help rebuild. He went on further to explain that he thought adventurers were a resourceful bunch and figured out creative ways to challenges. However, the heroes diplomatically beseeched until Troyas finally agreed to lend assistance. Troyas agreed to lend the heroes one of his personal pack mules and sent a page retrieve the beast.

With the pack mule in tow, the heroes head north-northeast from Brindol in search of the goblins. Sven, the new shadowy ally, does his best to follow the goblin tracks while Varis watches for natural hazards along the way. The two guides are able to keep the party out of danger and on the tracks, and the heroes soon find themselves are the ruined castle of Rivenroar. Castle Rivenroar has been reduced to ruin by time and vandals and is nothing more than a clearing of rubble and stone. A stairway on the property leading down into darkness gives clue that the adventurers had found the entrance to the catacombs. They tie up the mule and head into the depths of the crypts.

Right away the heroes were thrown into battle as gobinoid guards readied for the intruders in the entry chamber. Two flail-wielding hobgoblins charged in while two sharpshooters pelted the heroes with bolts from the backline. One of the goblins opened a door to the north and then a loud grinding sound was heard throughout the chamber. The heroes continued to battle and the goblin frontline eventually fell. In the midst of battle, two flaming braziers in the back of the room began to move. After a few seconds a ball of flame shot from one brazier across the room to the other! The sorcerer, Shrazkil, was able to control the backline goblins and managed to slide the goblins into the path of the braziers. With the melee help of the mighty Thor and divine Sven, the backline goblins were dispatched before they had the chance to escape with thier lives.

The heroes had slain the guards of the entry chamber and took a few minutes to find a way to disrupt the braziers’ flaming ball. Afterwards, they contemplated on which direction to take next: to the west through doors marked “To Von Urdstadt”, to the east through doors marked “To Von Jallach” (a late family of local prominence, remarked Varis), or to the north and downstairs marked “To Rivenroar Family”. The heroes chose the adventurous route: West to the unknown.

Lead by Thor, they continue through the western doors to a dark hallway. Turning a corner, Thor noticed a brightly-lit room full of hobgoblins up ahead. It appeared these creatures were ready for battle and charged at Thor on first sight. But charging the heroes was a fatal mistake – the hobgoblins fell upon the heroes like helpless waves upon the rocks. They stormed into the goblins’ quarters and assailed the apparent leader of this group, and aided by the mightiest of blows from Thor, dropped the final hobgoblin in mere seconds.

But the heroes were not free from danger yet. Just then the a door to the north opened and two goblins with hand crossbows came darting through firing away. Sven took the blows but remained on his feet. With the rest of the party approaching from the back, the heroes were able to slay the goblins and receive timely healing from the shaman, Varis.

Another room explored and another heap of dead goblins. This room appeared to be living quarters for the goblin scum and the adventurers did not hesitate to search through the bedrolls and sacks. Their efforts were rewarded when they found two items of note: a magical healing totem and a gold bracelet (which Varis remarked was probably looted by the goblins from a corpse within the catacombs).

The heroes were pressed with another decision: do they continue west through double doors (through which Sven could hear crackling noises) or north through the opened door to a hallway with a jagged, dark pit a few feet away.

Their decision and adventure shall continue next time.

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Session Three
Portals and Prisoners

After slaying the goblins in their makeshift living quarters, the party was able to take a short rest and decide what direction they would head next. This allowed Varis ample opportunity to identify the totem he found as a Pure Spirit Totem +1.

The party decided to head west through double doors since the pits that layed to the north may pose quite a threat to some. The group took formation and proceeded through the doors. As they rounded a corner to the right they saw a large room up ahead and the apparent source of the crackling noise that Sven heard through the doors. The room was illuminated in blue hues from an image the crackled with magical energy. The image was of sinister looking castle in the middle of a swamp. The party searched around the room for any dangers before inspecting the glowing image.

Then Sven approached the image and reached out with his hand…

To Sven’s surprise, his hand went right through the image. The image flowed away from Sven’s outreached arm, like ripples upon a pond’s surface, and slowly revealed the room behind the image. Sven removed his arm, which was unaffected by the prodding, and the image slowly reconstituted back to its original form. Murmurs from the rest of the group remarked “What is it?” and “Is that a portal?”.

A few seconds later their questions were answered…

Out from the image came a large, jelly-like creature. Varis recognized it as an ooze, an Ochre Jelly to be exact. It sensed the closest creature (Thor Manfoot) and flowed its way to him. But the heroes were no match for the ooze as they quickly took half its lifeforce with a few blows. Then the jelly spluttered and split into two creatures. The heroes wasted no time in dispatching the ooze and finished the battle unscathed.

But the battle was not over…

Suddenly, Varis and Sven felt an aura of cold about them. This chilling presence made them feel like their defenses were weakened. As they turned to confront their aggressors there was no one in sight. However, both Sven and Varis had ample senses to know the whereabouts of at least one of their assailants.

The battle commenced and the opportunistic specters found they were in an unwinnable battle. Sven, calling upon the divine strength within him, laid one specter to rest with a devastating radiant blow. The other specter was slain before it even had a chance to retreat.

With the battle finally over the heroes took formation again and headed through a pair of double doors to the west. They rounded another corner and found themselves within a dark room lined with alcoves. The skeletal remains from within the alcoves had been strewed across the floor from apparent looting.

Suddenly, the north door of the room flew open…

The party took formation and wondered what would cause the door to open. After a few intense seconds, two fiery scorpion-like creatures appeared in the middle of the room. Shrazkil, from his arcane training, knew these creatures to be called magma claws. The fiery, magical creatures were no match for the mighty heroes. However, just as the creatures were put to death, the party was attacked by crossbows from the shadows.

“Gnomes! What are they doing in a goblin hideout!”, exclaimed Varis.

The heroes had two sneaky gnomes on their hands that were using thier natural stealthy abilities to perplex the party. But two small fey creatures were no match for five maturing heroes, and the gnomes were slain in the most horrible of fashion. Thor Manfoot, in a display of raw strength, picked up on gnome and snapped its body in two.

The party searched the remains of the alcoves and looked around the room for clues as to where any prisoners may have been taken. Alas, the search for footprints or any other telltale signs turned up nothing. However, one of the gnomes did carry with him an iron key.

The party had two choices on its hands – two routes that traveled north – one to the west and one to the east. They decided on the western route and took it down some stairs into another dark, dant room. As they approached the room they heard shouts of “Help! Get me out of here!.” When they arrived they found an older human man locked with a cell. They tried the iron key they found and click! it opened the cell.

The heroes had found Sertanian.

Sertanian introduced himself to the party as the castellan of the Great Hall of Valor. He mentioned he had been kept with Kartenix and the cook a short while ago. He feared for both and hoped the party would start up the search very quickly. And they did just that.

The party made their way back to the alcove room and now took the eastern route north. They proceeded up a flight of stairs and found themselves on a landing that was completely filled with spidery webs. Within the webbing were three spider-like creatures, guarding the passages beyond.

Varis called upon his knowledge of nature to remarkably recite just about every facet of knowledge about these creatures, called ettercaps – their kinship with spiders, their use of poisons, their freedom of movement within webs – the list went on and on.

The battle commenced and an ettercap in the back used its webbing to immobilize the heroes and keep them pinned within the entrance of the room while the two spidery creatures in the front attacked with fercious blows from their greataxes. Thor and Thales, the two frontliners for the party, took many blow from these creatures until they were finally able to kill one. This allowed the other heroes a chance to reach the ettercap in the back. One by one the ettercaps dropped until the heroes were once again victorious. This fight, and the difficult terrain caused by the webbing within the room, posed a more difficult challenge than the rest, but the party of heroes were becoming a force to be reckoned with.

They searched the webbed room and cut down the webbing as they went. After several minutes they found a gruesome sight: a human male wrapped in webs, his face pale and eyes bulged. Sertanian knew the human well.

The heroes had found Kartenix.

Sertanian had feared for Kartenix, for the captain of the Brindol guard had hatched a plan to overtake his captors. For some reason Sertanian surmised that his foolhardy plan resulted in his current predictament.

The heroes also found a couple sacks next to the dead body – one filled with residuum and another filed with gold coins.

Another decision as to the direction of travel: to the west up a flight of stairs, or north through a pair of double doors. The party decided to continue north through the doors.

The heroes could feel within their bones that the hour grew late. Thier day had indeed been long and many hours passed since they were awoken by Geoffery. But they had a task at hand, and the lives of innocent townfolk were at stake. The heroes pressed further.

Once through the doors the party came into a dark hall that stretched far to the east. As they took formation within the hall their sunrods lit up the room ahead and the guardians within – a hobgoblin and drake. The hobgoblin acted quickly and retreated to the unseen shadows of the room ahead, leaving the drake alone to fend for itself. The heroes assailed the lone drake and shread it to pieces within a few seconds. Then they assaulted the well-armored hobgoblin which fought back with all it had.

Then the sound of footsteps began to echo within the room has the spiral staircase reverberated with sound. Reinforcements were arriving from above!

Varis sensed the danger and directed his spirit companion to block the lower part of the stairs, effectively preventing any reinforcement from entering the room. Meanwhile, the hobgoblin was able to injure Thales with relentless strikes from its flail. But it was outnumbered and soon became bloodied itself. The draconic sorcerer Shrazkil, sensing the battle was soon over, belted out a mighty roar and commanded the goblin to drop all arms and succom to his will. The creature’s will had been broken by Shrazkil and it dropped his flail at the sorcerer’s feet and tried to flee from its impending capture. But it could not escape the agile Sven who caught up with the beast and slayed it before it escaped.

With the reinforcements now retreating back above and the hobgoblin and drake dead, the heroes had another victory at hand. They quickly searched around the room – another makeshift living quarters for the goblinoids. Within the mess they found more gold coins, a potion and a pair of black boots graced with the image of a stalking panther.

It was late, and the string of vitories started to take their toll upon the heroes. They decided they needed an extended rest – but rest where?

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Prologue to Session Four
An Anxious Night

The party finds itself in a dark room with a spiraling staircase that ascends upwards. The room apparently has been used as a makeshift living quarters for the goblins and it reeks of their stench. The ground is littered with bedrolls, sacks and all sorts of primative tools used by the goblins. A search of the room uncovered a sack of gold coins, a healing potion, and enchanted boots that are graced with the image of a stalking panther.

Every now and then you can hear the shuffling of boots come nearer up above as the goblins approach the stairs to likely scout what’s in the room below. But the stairs never reverberate with the heavy sound of decending boots and eye contact is never made between the two parties. Then just as suddenly as you hear them, the bootsteps scurry away and faint orders are barked out in thier native tongue.

It’s been a long day… many hours since Geoffery awoke them with news of a page requesting their presence. What seems like weeks ago was just that morning. Everyone is seeking rest (except for Sertanian, the Castellan of the Great Hall of Valor, who wants to press on!). Discussions about where to rest have taken place – in the current room, in a room with fewer entrances, outside the catacomb entrance – along with tactics of how to defend and keep watch at each. Ultimately, the decision was made to retreat to outside the catacombs, near the entrance.

So the party back-tracked through the empty chambers, stepping over the carnage of dead bodies as they went. Through the webbed room, the room with the disturbed alcoves, the chamber with the crackling blue image of the sinister castle, through the first goblin living quarters, past the entry foyer with the moving braziers and finally up the stairs to exit the catacombs. There were no signs of anything out of the ordinary during their retreat, no tell-tale clues that someone had visited those rooms after they did. And the pack mule was tied up right where they left it.

The pair of sunrods used within the darkness of the catacombs were beginning to fade, but the party was able to forage enough food and wood to fuel a campfire for the night. A good thing too, for the night air in these foothills gets very cold and the warmth of a fire and a full stomach would be welcomed.

The night passes without incident and everyone is awoken by the morning light rising over the Gaint’s Shield Mountains to the east. Sertanian is the first to awake and he greets each of the others as they rise with the same line: “Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get back to the rescue!”

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Session Four
The Carnage Ensues

Upon waking the next morning, the party gathered their wits and decided upon the next course of action: they would travel back to the dark room with the spiraling stair and confront whatever guardians sat in wait. So they descended back into the depths of the catacombs, refreshed, and leading their mule behind them.

As they reached the entry foyer of the catacombs, Varis tried once more to recount the names of those families whose names grace each wing of the catacombs: Rivenroar, Von Jallach and Von Urdstadt. Rivenroar, they knew from their interrogation of the captured hobgoblin Morrik, was the name of the castle that now lay in ruins around the catacombs. Von Jallach, as Varis recalled the previous day, was a family of noteworthy wizards from many, many years ago. Varis thought back through a thousands memorties of his lifetimes and was able to place the name Von Urdstadt – a once prominent clan of the Elsir Vale whose knights rode valiantly into battle.

The party pressed further into the catacombs and reached the spiral stair room. Shrazkil, the sorcerer, stealthily lead up the stairs followed by the others. One by one they curved their way upwards until Shrazkil was able to peek just beyond the upper landing. Sure enough he spotted a room of creatures and let the others below know. With the entire party now silently positioned on the stairs, they were able to get the jump on the hobgoblins.

The adventurers rushed into the room and assaulted the goblins. The soldiers and archers were quickly slain and their bodies layed bloodied upon the flagstone floor.

The party searched around the room and found a few items of note: a dark pit in one corner of the room apparently used for refuse disposal; four sarcophagi that dominated the middle of the floor, their lids smashed and contents looted; a desecrated Vecna altar in another corner that had been “rededicated” to Bane; and walls inscriptions that repeated the same message around the room: “Here lie the Rivenroars until the Day of the Black Sun. If you seek their monument, look at the lands around you.”

More doors lead to the south and efforts to listen beyhond them did not reveal anything of note. The party pushed the doors open and began down the hall to the first turn. Once they turned the corner another surprise awaited them. This room had four stone statues of magical-looking beasts, their eyes casting a glowing amber light into the center of the room. Shrazkil turned behind him and said to the others “displacer beasts”, in reference to the statues. Beyond the statues sat another altar – this one with a woman tied next to it. But before the party was able to check on the woman, the dragonborn paladin Thales held up a fist and said, “Wait, something lurks in the shadows.”

Three dire rats jumped at the party from behind the statues and started to bite at Thales and Shrazkil. One of the disease-riden rodents was able to get a filthy bit past Thales armored defenses. But three rodents were no match for five hardened adventurers and their bodies were being bloodied. Then from the shadows bolts started to fly at the frontliners. Two gnomes had been lurking in the shadows, waiting for an opening to attack. But they, too, were quickly cornered and bloodied. Even their sneaky abilities to evade combat did not help escape their demise.

After the foes were slain the woman was freed and the altar and statues examined. Sertanian recognized the woman immediately as Mirtala, the abducted cook. She was in a horrible state having been repeatedly bitten by the rats, and closer examination by Varis confirmed that she suffered the later stages of Filth Fever, the disease carred by the dire rats. Her mental state was comprimised and she rambled unintelligently. Sven, Shrazkil and Thales attempted to pull her back into reality. Repeated attempts at diplomacy and intimidation seemed to be making progress, but it was a final offering of cake that seemed to pull her from her dream world. She was still in a weakened state, but back on her feet nonetheless.

The party had found Mirtala.

Meanwhile Varis and Thor had explored another hallway from the previous room – a long hall that had two dark pits and ropes that decended into the pits. Varis couldn’t quite make out what awaited at the bottom of the pit, but Sven was able to come to the aid. They concluded the pits lead to a room coated with fungi – phosphorescent fungi that made the room glow in a dim light. Finally, Sven decided to descend the ropes into the room. Varis summoned his spirit companion to the bottom just in case. As Sven descended he surveyed the room ahead – it was a very large room that was littered with all sorts of architectural debris and massive amounts of fungi. Also present in the room were two large, scaley beasts. Sven hurried back up the ropes and said entry via the ropes was a bad idea. Perhaps they could find another entrance to that room through the two doors that he had spotted.

So the party backtracked again to the webbed room and those in the front hid Kartenix’s corpse from Mirtala, thinking that the sight of the rigored corpse would push her over the edge of sanity.

They then proceeded upwards on the stairs – stairs that had carved into the last three steps “Von Adrez”, “Kauthin”, and “Crypt”. When the top of the stairs opened into the room beyond, they saw more hobgoblins ready to pounce. Another battle was at hand!

The fighters moved into the room and slew the hobgoblin guards one by one. Next were two drakes positioned in the back. They were quickly assailed upon by Sven and Thor and bloodied within seconds. But from the shadows of the room, a goblin was able to cast the room in a shadowy cloud that made it difficult for the adventurers to find their foes. The goblin’s actions revealed him to the party and they closed to melee in no time. The goblin and last remaining guardians were slain and the adventurers searched their corpses and the room for clues.

The party found an iron key on the goblin but noting else of interest on the dead bodies. The room also had bas-relief images of humans laden with baskets, bags, and boxes — all depicted walking clockwise around the room. A check of all the doors around the room revealed that the southern door had heavy breathing coming from within. So the party took formation by the doors and busted in. Within the room they found more sarcophagi, half-sunken into the floor, and a woman shackled and chained to the wall.

The party had found Jalissa.

Although these sarcophagi appeared to be ramshacked, one of them had its lid pushed back on. Sven and Thor were able to push the heavy stone lid aside and found among the remains a bag filled with gold and silver coins and black and silver fabric. When they pulled out the fabric they saw it was a robe. The workmanship of the robe is extraordinary – lightweight black fabric hemmed with silver threads and intricate designs. The sleeves of the robe stitched with silvery flames that started at the cuff and travel up through the arms.

Jalissa was estatic to see the party and clung to the person that freed her from the shackles – Varis. Jalissa, Sertanian and the party spoke about the prisoners. Varis commented on why Ioun had steered him upon this path and that Jalissa, an acolyte of Ioun, may have been the reason. Futher discussion brough up Kartenix, the slain captain of the guard, at which point Jalissa exclaimed “Poor Thurann!” She knew the boy would be distraut over his father’s death and suggested they find the boy before anything worse happened to the boy. She knew the boy was close because she had heard his screams through the night. So the party regrouped and it was suggested to head through the northern doors.

Once Thor and Sven busted through the north door the group sped through the hall to a four-way intersection. Their sunrods illuminated each hall and to their delight a group of undead was on patrol in the western hall. The ghouls charged the party with the zombies shambling behind. Thor and Thales stood the ghouls up in the hall, protecting the backlines from their immobilizing claws. Thor took several claws and was immobilized and dazed a few times throughout the battle. The zombies rarely had an opportunity to attack and were picked apart by the ranged attacks from the backlines. Once the formations broke and the zombies came forward, the battle was already over and the last of the ghouls and zombies fell. Thor recovered from his ailments and his health restored.

Beyond the undead was a room with an interesting sunburst mosaic of black tile. The mosaic swelled with darkening energy when the party approach and it seemed to absorb the light of their sunrods. This swallowing affect upon the lighting kept the room dimly lit at all times. The party tried to recall any knowledge about this dark mosaic, but the only thing they could recall was a message inscribed on the walls of a previous room that spoke of a “black sun”.

Further past the sunburst mosaic the room opened into another hallway. This hallway, however, had an a faultline running the length of the hall. The party thought about ways of crossing over the hall safely, and they came to the conclusion that it was probably sturdy enough to allow one person to pass at a time. This posed a minor problem because there was a door at the end of the hall and the party had to split at opposite ends of the hall until the doors were opened. So the fighters went across the hall and opened the door while the casters stayed put.

The doors opened into a brightly lit room that had four heavy square columns in each corner. In the middle of the colums was a foul looking beast, indentified as a Carnage Demon by Sven. Once it spotted the adventurers come through the door it lunged at them but was restrained by some kind of magical barrier that kept it within the perimeter of the columns. It paced and tried to get at Thor, who by that time had approached the demon and started mocking it. The other party members started to come through the doorway one by one when a high-pitched voice from the north hall squeeked out , “I releassse you, Crypt Guardian!”

Thor froze in his tracks as the demon that was safely behind the barrier now lunged savagely at him. The two warriors were locked in battle and Sven soon took a flanking position. Then a rat-like creature charged from the north hall and attacked Sven. The rest of the party had entered the room and the battle continued.

Perhaps the crypt keepers were expecting their guardian to face less adept foes because the lone demon was no match for the party of five adventurers. After the demon fell the ratty creature tried to escape to the north hall. Thales, Sven and Thor took turns swiping at the fleeing creature until it eventually dropped short of another doorway.

However, before it fell it was able to yell out, “Intruuudersss!”

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Session Five
Sinruth's Demise

After slaying a raging demon and a rat-like creature, the party learns from Sven that the rat-like creature was a lycanthrope called a wererat. Then Sven proceeded to remove the robes that concealed his face and he revealed his full features for the first time. This was the first time some members of the party had seen a longtooth shifter before. As the discussion of Sven continued, the party decided to double-back through an unexplored collanaded hallway to seal off any potential surprises from the back side. Thales stayed behind a to watch over the rescuees and make sure nothing came from the door to the north.

The rest of the party slowly marched down the collanded hall that opened up into a large dark room that had piles of bone strewn across the floor. As the party got closer Shrazkil spotted two golden thrones which atop sat two creatures: one bleached-bone skeleton that held a large scimitar, and another fleshy corpse of unknown origins. Just as Shrazkil spotted the fleshy creature (a wight, as identified by the party) it smirked and said in a sinister voice, “Intruderss! Consuuume them!” Just then, as predicted by some mumblings within the party, the wight said “Arise my warriors!” and the piles of bone that litered the floor arose and formed into skeleton warriors. The fight was on!

Sven and Thor charged into battle as Varis and Shrazkil fought from the back. The skeleton minions proved easy foes and fell with ease, but the wight’s attacks slowed the progress of the frontliners. Then the bleached-bone skeleton advanced upon Sven and made alternating attacks with its scimitar and boneshards. The radiant-infused attacks of the heroes proved lethal to the band of undead and the evil forces took much damage. However, after a few skeletons were slain, their boney bodies were reanimated and they rejoined the fight. The thought of ever-reanimating skeletons startled the party. Varis, recalling from his past religious studies, thought the catacombs had some type of necromantic energies that contributed to the reanimation. A few theories as to stopping the skeletons were postulated amongst the party – destroying the wright or perhaps killing all the skeletons at once.

The battle continued on, much longer than anticipated due to the skeletons arising again. But the wight was soon dead and the bleached-bone skeleton followed soon after. And a few hurried attacks from the party were able to drop all the skeletons at once. All the undead were slain and the party waited a few seconds for more to reanimate, but none did.

Now that the undead were slain the room before them was able to be grasped. The thrones were of golden gilt and ornately decorated with armaments of various kinds. Weapons were also displayed upon the wall behind the thrones. Frescos on the walls depicted older, robed humans riding chariots through the clouds. The appeared to be an audience chamber of some kind.

Thor Manfoot picked through the armaments that decorated the thrones and walls. Amongst them he found an extraordinary executioner’s axe that danced with purple electricity – perhaps an indication of one use of this great chamber.

As the rest of the party searched around the room, Varis thought he heard a girlish voice call out from another dark, collanaded hall to the south. He proceeded quickly down the hall with sunrod in hand while the others followed from behind. He entered another funerary chamber with alcoves and found a smaller rooom off to the side. There he found a small boy bound tightly with rope.

The party had found Thurann.

The boy was in good health and good spirits. Jalissa quickly came to the boy’s side after his discovery and comforted him. Thurann seemed confident – confident that his rescue was only a matter of time. He spoke of how his father would surely devise a plan to save them all. The room fell quiet as the boy mentioned his father, and it was Jalissa that broke the ill news about Kartenix. Thurann did not believe the young acolyte, insisting that his father could not be slain, and that he would not believe her without proof. Jalissa said she did not have proof, only the word from the heroes that rescued them all, for it was they that had found the body of his father. But the boy carried his doubts as the party gathered up and left the area.

But as the party was comforting Thurann, a few of the adventurers took to search the funerary alcoves in the adjacent room. Unlike the previous funerary chambers they’ve seen, this one had not been disturbed by looting. The corpses within the alcoves were dressed in heavy armor and many were laid to rest grasping weapons. A repeating inscription atop of the walls let all know who was buried here: “Honor the Heroic Guardians of Rivenroar.”

The armor of one corpse was more ornate than the others and its alcove more pronounced. When the party took a closer look they saw the corpse grasped an enchanted sword of great size. They removed the great weapon from the deceased and added it to their growing collection.

The party doulbed-back again to the room with the black sunburst mosaic. This room had a pair of closed double doors and that they left undisturbed as they passed previously. The party took formation and proceeded through the doors and then down a flight of stairs.

The room ahead was very damp and humid, and a watery sheen of condensate on the walls was illuminated by a small spire atop a fountain in the middle of the room. As the group approached the fountain they saw that something had previously been splashing in the fountain. Water had be splahsed upon the floor and small droplets lead off to the west.

Sven was daring enough to disturb the water, and when he did the ripples upon the surfaced formed the image of a room – a room with a dark obelisk and pews. Those gathered around the fountain gasped in amazement. The image went away as quickly as it appeared. So Sven disturbed the water again, this time a differeent image appeared. It became clear to those around that this fountain was some type of scrying device that could look into the different rooms of the catacombs. Then another image appeared and Sertanian exclamied “That’s the dragoncrest helm!” He started to splash at the water with excitement, peering at image after image, until the same helm reappeared. “I knew I saw it!” he exclaimed once more. The image of the helm appeared very quickly, but everyone in the party could see that the helm was in the hands of a massive hobgoblin that was inspecting it.

The party knew there were more areas to explore, specifically the dark hall to the north were the retreating wererat was making his exit. And that is where they headed next.

Once again they took formation outside the iron doors and pushed them open. Within the room a strange but familiar thing happened to the party. The bright illumination of their sunrods was being obscurred. As they entered the room they saw what was happening – at the other end of the room was dark obelisk covered with runes. The obelisk glowed with dark energy that seemed to absorb the bright light of the sunrods, leaving the room veiled in dim shadowy light. It was the same light absorbing effect they had witnessed with the dark sunburst mosaic.

As the party approached the obelisk they could make out a creature standing between the pews. It was a dog – a metallic construct. But it was not the only creature lurking within the shadowy light of the room. The more observent party members saw that the dog stood guard next to a gnome, and more rat-like creatures lurked from the shadows around them. They had walked into an ambush!

A battle ensued. The wererats closed on the defenders from the shadows while the party casters took aim at the gnome and her guardian. The construct was able to dismiss Varis’s spirit companion with its bite, but the persistent shaman was able to resummon his companion within seconds. Shrazkil attacked the gnome with arcane volleys and Thor closed upon both gnome and guardian. Thales and Sven battled the wererats while all combatant jockied for superior combat positioning.

The heroes prevailed and were able to turn away the creatures, even as their wounds seemed to heal themselves. The might of the heroes was too much.

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