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Rise of the Slave Lords (5th Ed)
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Overdog



Joined: 08 Jan 2013
Posts: 1403

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I am running the adventure in The Kyngdoms (http://www.thekyngdoms.com/) as it provides me a great backdrop for any adventure whether it is homespun or a published adventure. This campaign is based in The Northern Territories (http://www.thekyngdoms.com/mappage.php?mapslice=34) and starts in the city of Taran. I ran the party through a modified version of the Mines of Phadelver the adventure in the 5th Ed boxed set to get them to 5th plus some side adventures I created to weave the players into the world and eventually into the Slave Lords modules.



The party consists of 5 players:

Lucan Ravenkyn a Wood Elf Druid whose elven village of Con-Marach was struck with tragedy. As he returned from one of his journeys deep in the wilds to his village some great creature or creatures had devoured most of the inhabitants of the village. Mangled half eaten bodies of his friends and families were strewn about the village while others looked like their skin had been melted off their bones and the ground around them looked withered and dead but not burnt. The only evidence of what had caused this was a large tattered green scale that had fallen off the creature and several massive foot prints in the ground. A year later he found himself in the Northern Territories and settled down to a simple life helping the local people. He used his skills and knowledge of the wild to tend to the vineyards for the city of Taran. It was peaceful and rewarding and kept his mind off of the terrible destruction of his village. His employer, a filthy human named Augustus Kelle (owner of the Knight’s Bridge Winery), luckily never bothered him. In payment he received bottles of wine and often shared them with a half orc guard who seemed a little too eager to drown his troubles.

Kromm Mudblood a Half-Orc Paladin who was born shortly after the war with Grogsnot the Merciless after his human mother was raped by a savage orc and left to die. His mother died shortly after he was born and he was sent to a monastery who worshipped Mynax the god of War. There he learned harsh lessons of obedience and servitude under the hands of the monks and warriors there. Beaten and whipped many times he turned to wine and mead to ease his pain. One day while tending to the fields a small band of raiding orcs fell upon the workers in the fields. Armed only with small pick for churning the earth and without thinking he attacked and slew 6 of them sending the last few fleeing for their lives. His strength and endurance seemed almost unending and even when one orc ran him threw his wound healed miraculously. Thankful for his valor and recognizing his potential he was grudgingly trained as a warrior. He hid his “Special” powers from the monks fearing a reprisal from his masters. Years later he left the monastery and hired himself out as a mercenary for the merchant princes of Taran. He yearns to follow a greater path and has fragmented dreams he believes are divinely inspired by Mynax though he has yet to understand their meaning. His current duty is a boring and uneventful one working as a guard for the merchant Augustus Kelle in the Knight’s Bridge Winery. He was befriended by one of the druids there (mainly through offerings of wine) and they share wine and talk of a better life where their deeds and skills can make a difference in the world.

Talgren Tattercloak a Half-Drow Rogue grew up a street urchin in the harsh streets of Taran. He didn’t know his parents and has no desire to know them, they obviously left him to die. Talgren’s mentor Taevin, a former street urchin himself took Talgren in and has tried to make a better man out of him, teaching him the tricks of a time honored trade pick pocketing and cat burglary trying to give him focus in his life. Together they robbed the merchants of the city and Talgren always secretly gave some of the profits back to the urchins but Taevin of course knew this and said nothing. Taevin eventually tells Talgren that he is part of secret society that believes in order and balance called the Grey Alliance and that someday he wants Talgren to join them. One night Taevin makes the mistake of pickpocketing a ring from a successful merchant named Augustus Kelle who owns several vineyards/wineries (Kelle Cellars and the Knights Bridge Winery). The next day Taevin’s broken body was found in the South Common District for everyone to see and Talgren set out to find who killed his friend and mentor.

Mealin Eirloch a Half-Elven Warlock spent most of his life training to be a wizard and hoping that one day he could join The Order of Ixion. During his studies he stumbled upon an ancient tome that contained whisperings of ancient unspeakable power. Unbeknownst to Maelin the book was speaking to him in his mind and soon he began to learn dark secrets and powers that would dwarf his training and his path to becoming a warlock began. A classmate of his discovered Maelin practicing his dark arts and immediately told the headmaster and they confronted Maelin and demanded the dark book. Mealin feeling betrayed and hearing whispers in his mind that they would steal his power lashed out at the headmaster with bolt of pure arcane force which shattered the headmaster’s body and sent his classmate running for his life. Mealin soon was on the run, Inquisitors of the Order of Ixion hot on his trail but luckily for Maelin a man named Sildar gave him sanctuary. In payment Sildar asked Maelin if he would like to be part of an organization that would not only allow him to pursue his arts but would give him enemies to spend his power upon. Maelin eagerly agreed and joined Sildar in his quest to reclaim the town of Phandelin and the Wave Echo caves.

Gorestag Dragonshield a Half-Orc Barbarian was a soldier in the ranks of the Black Chain mercenary company training to be a sapper. During his training his was instructed to assist in the deployment of a mobile bridge so his unit could cross a ravine over a swollen raging river. He mistakenly used the wrong sized anchoring pins for the bridge and when several squads were crossing the bridge the pins gave way and the men fell to their death. Gorestag was beaten and imprisoned for a year when a man came to his cell and asked him if he felt he had learned his lesson and with a bowed head Gorestag nodded yes. The figure opened the cage and told him his name was Sildar and if he pledged his allegiance to him and his organization to Grey Alliance he would free him and put his true skills as a warrior to good use and Gorestag agreed.


Last edited by Overdog on Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:27 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Overdog



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A brief overview of the city of Taran.

Taran was once a monarchy and ruled the 5 cities of the Kingdom of Tharg by the decedents of King Tharg I but after the turmoil of the Third War of Ascendancy and destructive war against the goblin hordes led by Grogsnot the Merciless the Kingdom of Tharg was no more and instead became a loose alliance of cities. The monarchy was replaced with a form of Plutocracy (rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth). The ruling mercantile council (led by the 7 merchant princes) appoints an Overseer who stays in power for 1 term lasting 5 years. Every 10 years a randomly selected group of 15 citizens from all walks of life (called are The Assessors) are selected by sortation (also known as allotment or the drawing of lots) and convene one year before the latest term is approaching its completion. At this time they accept applications to become Overseer. The applications are filtered down by local committees in each district and the best applications are submitted to be reviewed by The Assessors. At the end of the 1 year the new Overseer is appointed by The Assessors and no one person can ever be an Overseer more than once and no person can ever be selected into the Assessors more than once.



The seven merchant princes are:

Ticanar Syr – One of only the merchant princes who can trace his blood line to King Tharg I. Well known as a fair and stern council member and he holds a monopoly on all the breweries in the city. His holdings include the Meads & Barrels Company, The Longfellow Ale Works, and the Black Vine Winery.

Esmardin Blackwell– Blackwell has strong ties to the Order of Ixion the Dead God and uses this influence to sway many of the council’s decisions. Esmardin runs all of the Brothels and has stock in most of the Inns and Taverns in the city

Onarin Case – Is a former Karnish centurion and is still known as one of the best swordsman in the city. His investments are tied to the many blacksmiths, weapon smiths, and bowyers in Taran.

Dario Sexton – Openly known as the Fishmonger, his income stems primarily from his sizable fishing and whaling fleet. There are rumors that he has influence in the seedier parts of the city.

Braxin Warblood – owns the Order of Master Shipwrights and is solely responsible for supplying the shipping, fishing and naval fleets for Taran. He is also the Admiral of the Taran Navy.

Theoman Redshark – Runs the Redshark Trading Company and controls much of the shipping operations in the city.

Paldor Abbingvery – Once a humble Cobbler’s son he soon rose to power after single handedly thwarting an assassination attempt on King Raimond Aramus II, King of Karnish while he was visiting Taran. The staggering reward that was awarded to him allowed him to start his own business which eventually turned into the Order of Cobblers and Corvisers. He also used his money to invest in the Carpenters, Glassblowers, Butchers, Tanners, and Stablemasters and Ferriers guilds.


Last edited by Overdog on Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:26 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Overdog



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I am very briefly summarizing about 2-3 months of game time so there will be some holes.

The party all comes together at warehouses of the Knight's Bridge Winery when Talgren (after discovering notes from his mentor and a mysterious key) is attempting to break into Augustus Kelle's secret office. In the office Talgren finds evidence that Augustus intends to run for the Overseer and has used his wealth to secretly enlist the services of the Order of Ixion to fix the lots. As he is leaving he is discovered by two of Augustus's personal guards and a battle begins while outside Kromm and Lucan are enjoying some wine. Kromm senses a powerful evil growing in the main house and starts to move that way with Lucan in tow when Captain Sildar (his superior) stops him and tells him he needs his help. Torn between what he senses and his fear of telling others of his abilities Kromm relents and Sildar tells him that Augustus is delving into dark magics and that the best way to deal with it is to help a potential ally who is being attacked by Kelle's guards in the warehouse. After helping Talgren kill the guards they meet up with Sildar who explains that the group should leave the city and travel to town of Phandelin and meet two of his allies in the town named Gorstag and Maelin and help them clean out a group of mercenaries in the town called the Redbrands who are extorting the people there.

After many adventures and travels the party rids the town of the Redbrands and Mealin gets revenge on the classmate who betrayed him who also ended up being not only being the leader of the Redbrands but one of the Sildar's allies in the Grey Alliance sent to keep watch on the town. In the Redbrands hideout the party loots two powerful magic items, a sword called Hordebreaker found lodged in a cracked wall in the cellar and The Protector's Staff which was wielded by Mealin's nemesis after being stolen from the vaults of the Order of Ixion.





They soon find out that Sildar and his allies are trying to rediscover a place called the Wave Echo Caves which is said to hold a magical font for creating magic items. In their search they are led to a Hobgoblin stronghold called Cragmaw stronghold where they battle goblins, hobgoblins, a bugbear king, a female drow (who escapes after almost killing Mealin) and they manage to evade a captured Owlbear. They also recover the location of Wave Echo Cave and set out to clean it out.

In the Wave Echo Cave they fight Ghouls, Zombies, a Specter, a Flaming Skull, a Drow Wizard and his Spider and Bugbear allies. In the final battle with the drow half the party almost dies and they capture the drow and loot his staff and they find a shining suit of Platemail that was forged when the Wave Echo Wave was in operation.






Last edited by Overdog on Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:56 am; edited 3 times in total
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Overdog



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After returning from the Wave Echo Cave they sense something is amiss as they approach the Townmaster's Hall and see that the usual Mongrel Mercenary guards are not present at the front door. Yargo Blackrunner, their leader, who was traveling with the party sees this and growls loudly and quickly takes the lead and enters the Hall with the party in tow. As they approach the office of Sildar they see two Mongrels being reprimanded by Sildar for letting the Drow escape. The Mongrels seem on the verge of attacking Sildar when Yargo storms in and backhands one of the Mongrels across the room who immediately goes for his sword but as he looks at his companion he realizes he would be fighting their leader alone and decides against this action. After a short debriefing the party finds out that someone helped the Drow escape right under the noses of the Mongrel guards. As they investigate the prison cell Yargo with his finely tuned sense of smell tells the party that there was a female here recently and soon after they discover a small black scarab broach with tiny rubies in the eyes and they soon realize there they had seen the broach before, on the shirt of the owner of the Phandalin Mining Exchange, Halia Thornton. This is the same person who had earlier provided information about the location of the Redbrands hideout in the Tresendar Manor and let them rent her horses and wagon.

When they approach the Mining Exchange they notice a wagon laden with supplies being loaded near the side of the building. As they approach they are greeted with the stern visage of Halia who tells them she is much too busy to talk to them and to talk to her assistant if they need supplies. The party, suspecting she is involved in the Drow's escape, press her for answers which she is resistant to until Kromm presses Hordebreaker to her throat. She then divulges that only a few days after the Drow's capture she received a package from an old acquaintance of hers in Taran with 200 gold and a potion of invisibility. She was ordered to use to get into the jail and release the prisoner. When she got there and saw that is was a Drow she was hesitant but knew crossing her old friend was a death sentence so she helped him escape. She then decided it was best if she left town for a time until things cooled down. They told her there would let her go if she told them where the Drow was headed and who her contact was and she told them the Drow was meeting some allies of her friend about 1.5 days south of Phandalin where a small river meets the trail. They took the 200 gold from her and let her go and used the money to buy two horses from the half-elf Daran Edermath, the orchard owner. He agreed to sell them his only two horses if they agreed to tell a horse trader of his in Taran to bring more horses to Phandalin. He also gave them a free small keg of hard cider for their help recently for the town.

They returned to tell Sildar of their efforts and he was not happy that they let Halia go and told them to go after the Drow and bring him to the Singing Traveler Inn in Taran (dead or alive) and he would meet them there after he went after Halia. The party set out on horseback trying to intercept the Drow when they were ambushed by Black Corsair pirates near the river where the Drow was supposed to be. A pirate named Ajonga and his men ambush the party along with the Drow and in a pitched battle the party defeats the pirates and Lucan kills the Drow using a Giant Spider summoned from the Drow's staff as he was trying to escape on a boat.



After session update: in the aftermath after searching the bodies, the camp and the boat the party recovers, 119 gold and 120 silver pieces from the pirates and 4 unmarked kegs of wine. Kromm immediately decides to partake in the wine and recognizes it but cant place it and when Lucan tries it he realizes it from the stock of Augustus Kelle, the same man who was a thorn in the party's side in Taran. The questions now are; why do these pirates have unmarked kegs of wine from Kelle, what do the pirates have to do with the Drow, is the Drow connected to Kelle somehow, and where were they taking the Drow.

Next week continues as the party reaches Taran and realize that the adventure is not over yet as they embark on a new quest that not only will affect them but could have far reaching effects on region.


Last edited by Overdog on Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:59 am; edited 3 times in total
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Overdog



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After a long campaign to secure Phandalin and the Wave Echo Mines from the likes of the Redbrand Mercenaries, Drow wizards, and Bugbear warlords the adventures think its time to head home to Taran and clean up the mess with Augustus Kelle before deciding their next move. Upon reaching Taran and spending some well deserved downtime in the Laughing Traveler Inn they get down to business. Sildar greets them as they discuss their next moves. Their options are seek out information on the Reaver (the contact that Halia Thornton provided them in Phandelin) or track down Augustus. Sildar tells them that even though the evidence they have against Augustus is good they need him to be present so they can cast spells of truth on him to verify his information. If he indeed is league or working with the Order of Ixion then they better be damned sure about it or their operations in the city will be lost when the Inquisitors of the Order come for them. So their search begins.

As the groups are scouring the city for information on the Reaver they all feel more uneasy than normal and they jump at every shadow. The feeling that someone or something is watching them is persistent in their thoughts as they track down their prey. After a day of searching they find nothing on this mysterious Reaver so they turn their attention to finding Augustus. After a short time Kromm and Lucan are down by the waterfront hitting taverns and the like when Kromm runs into an old mercenary friend of his Marrin Relgar who formerly worked as a guard for Augustus. Marrin tells Kromm that he was running on hard times and was trying to get an audience with Kelle the last few days to get his old job back and hasnt been able to find him. He alludes that he knows more and after 10 gold from Kromm he says he saw Kelle and a group of mercenaries getting on the merchant ship The Clear Runner that left port the day earlier heading south towards the Gulf of Gadmammon. They also dug up information that the pirates that jumped the party on their way to Taran were from the Sea Raven captained by a man named N'yaga and that they killed his first mate Ajonga when they were ambushed by him and the escaped drow wizard.

After meeting back up with Sildar and relaying what they found Sildar tells them some other grim news. Apparently Pirates and Slavers in the region have been stepping up their operations and they have been destroying and enslaving entire villages in the Bay of Gadmammon and seemed to be based out the fallen city of Highport. Maelin's parents grew up in the city and told him tales of it. Apparently the city was a trading hub not only for ships but for overland travel between the northern territories and the city state of Karnish but fell to Orc and Goblin armies about 10 years ago. In a surprising move the Great Chieftain Gorgol the Deathless of the White Orc tribe decided to not completely sack the city and kept the city intact enough to occupy. He also made it clear that it would be a pirate safe haven for the human scum in the area so he could make money from trading with them. Now the city is sectioned off in an Orc quarter and a Goblin quarter and humans are allowed in as long as they have business that is profitable to the humanoids. His parents also told him of a temple that was once a secret assassin’s cult called the Twisted Blade who had the ability to steal the appearance of their victims. The assassin cult was tolerated by the town and with the understanding that they would not assassinate anyone within 100 miles of the city. No one knows what happened to them after the city fell.

Sildar agrees that Kelle is the primary target now and tells them he will help them. He also tells them he talked to the other Grey Alliance leaders and the party was unanimously voted in as members of the Grey Alliance. After the party accepted they were all given two potions and a bag of holding. Sildar tells them that to catch the Clear Runner they will need a ship and he just so happens to have one at his disposal, a squibbed pirate ship called the Gale Star captained by a female High Elf named Olivia Orestes. They (including Sildar) depart immediately knowing the only port the Clear Runner can get to is Hathbow. As the voyage starts they find out two things, one the Captain doesnt seem too happy to have them aboard and that some of the party dont like ships too much as Maelin and Talgren empty their stomachs.

Within two days they catch up to Clear Runner and negotiate boarding operations with heavy ballista. Smile After some discussions with the captain and the crew they find out that Augustus and his 5 goons left the ship and took one of the longboats. One of the crew recognized one of Augustus's mercs as part of the crew of the Sea Raven which is based out of Highport. The party now seems to believe that Augustus is in league with them for some unknown purpose.

A few days later into the voyage a terrible storms forces the ship toward the coast only to take them inadvertently into the territory of a clutch of harpies from a rocky island. In a pitched battle the harpies are either destroyed or driven off by the party with Lucan controlling the battle with entangle (kelp and seaweed) spells (to prevent charmed crew from jumping into the sea) and calling down destructive bolts of lightning from the sky. The captain becomes much more amicable towards the group after that.

Several days later at dinner the group finds out that the cook Boros has been sick for a few days and they go and see what is the matter with him. When they get to his room in the lower berths of the ships they find him dead with his entrails splayed all over his room. After some investigation they realize that his stomach exploded outward and they find a small tentacle like tattoo under his arm and that it belongs to a little known radical faction inside the Order of Ixion. Soon after they hear screams from the main deck and they rush up to find two disemboweled sailors and evidence that something clawed its way into the interior of the ship. Suddenly they hear more cries from the hold of the ship and when they look down they see a 10 foot tall red skinned frog like creature. A battle ensures and they finally dispatch the creature and find an uncut gem in its skull and now they have even more questions.



Why does this secret faction of the Order of Ixion have one of their agents on board, what was that abomination, what is that gem, does this have anything to do with Kelle, what else is in store for them on this voyage. And finally is Augustus in league with the pirates and slavers and if so why would he with his sights set on the Overseer position?

The party decides that getting to Highport seems to be the logical step since they suspect that the Augustus met up with the Sea Raven and that is its port of call. Highport may hold many of their answers including Sildars concerns about slavers in the region. The problem with Highport is that only humans and half-orcs are allowed in the city so the group must decide how to secret the elves and half-elves into the city.


Last edited by Overdog on Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:06 am; edited 2 times in total
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Overdog



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As dawn breaks and the Gale Star slowly approaches the only undamaged docks of Highport the characters discuss their options on how to move about the city and search for Augustus Kelle. As they do this they see several ships in port including several unmarked merchant ships, a small warship from Nyrkrukru bearing the spiked hand banner of the Bandit King Aurelius Immendar, a massive black Drakkar manned by 200 skeletal rowers, and the Sea Raven identified by the flag bearing a green field and black raven with outstretched hands. They discuss disguising the half-elves as slaves so they can move about the city and Kromm agrees to put Hordebreaker in the bag of holding so that its power to compel him to attack Orcs and Goblins insnt a liability. As they debark they see a tug of war contest between two massively armored ogres who have either end of a goblin, large groups of White Tribe orcs, goblin workers, hobgoblin mercenaries, and human and half-orc traders.



Their information gathering leads them to the ruined temple of the cult of Assassins of the Twisted Blade. The temple looks to have undergone a siege and the entire top level of the temple has been burned down. The outer walls seem to be have been repaired and reinforced and as the party approaches the slave market it is closing down and they are told to leave but when they dont immediately agree a dozen orcs, humans, and half-orcs convince them otherwise. They continue to try and find out if Augustus is in the city but to no avail and they instead decide to see if they can find a disguise kit to make it easier to travel through the city for the half-elves and they come upon a shop named "Stuff" run by a female half-orc named Meg with a male human sex slave/helper who she called Popsicle. They were able to get a disguise kit and even managed to buy some Drow poison.

On their way back to the ship to re-evaluate their options they see a group of 4 well armored and armed humans who saw a group of orcs fighting and oddly enough the orcs were cowed by the humans. Soon after the humans approached the party asking them their business and the party responded that they were trying to sell some slaves and the leader demanded to see their slave property papers which they didnt have. He then demanded the slaves as a punishment for not having the appropriate papers and a battle ensured. The group was surprised at how powerful the leader was as he was able to fend off the entire party for much longer than he should have been able to and was hitting the barbarian like a hill giant. In the end they managed to defeat the humans and got back to their ship.

They next step in their plan involved sneaking on board the Sea Raven and seeing if Kelle was aboard. So Talgren with an invisibility spell on him, carrying a potion of flying, detect thoughts, and invisibility sets out to see what he can find. At the last moment they also decide to make Mealin the warlock invisible and hide him in the bag of holding. With some impressive Wisdom saves he manages to keep his cool and get and stay in the bag. Talgren eventually finds the captains chambers but cannot hear anything through the thick oak door and decides to climb down the ship and peer through one of the windows. In the room he sees the captain and two other crewmen but no Kelle so he decides to use the potion of Detect Thoughts and initially only hears thoughts of their next raid. He probes deeper into the captain's thoughts and hears him thinking that he is pissed that the slave lords made him bring Kelle especially after his attempt to kill the party failed and he lost his first mate. They also find out that Kelle is in the Temple and then the Captain realizes his mind is being probed and with no one around he draws his punch dagger and slams it home into the throat of the quiet crew member assuming he was being probed by him. Talgren makes his will save to not laugh out loud at this and gets back to the group to relay tale.

They then decided to disguise the appropriate members of the group and make their way back to the temple the next day and as Talgren is scouting for another way in invisibly he stumbles upon an orc body in the bushes with its throat cleanly cut and all its armor and weapons stripped off the body. It looked like it was dragged there recently. Thoughts of assassins in the shadows jump to mind for the party. He also notices a secret door obscured by debris near the body and returns to the group to plan their assault on the slave lords and their revenge on Kelle.


Last edited by Overdog on Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:32 am; edited 2 times in total
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Overdog



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Having discovered not only a secret way in but that Augustus Kelle might be in the ruined Temple the group decides it is best to approach under the cover of nightfall since there is a lot of open ground between the city and the temple. In the meantime they decide to see if they can gather any more information on the Slave Lords themselves seeing that they are going to assault one of their strongholds. As the party makes their way around the city they soon realize that orcs and goblins are unwilling to provide them any information at all and they decide to try the Inns and Taverns hoping that the human traders who frequent them might be more pliable to information. Their first stop is the Nine Goblin Hall named for the nine skeletal remains of Goblins nailed to front of the building.



Inside they find Orcs, Half-Orcs and some humans and are greeted with suspicious looks especially from the humans. The apparent leader who they recognize as the Bandit King, Aurelius Immendar, stares openly at the group as Maelin recounts a tale of how he became king of Nyrkrukru. Apparently about 5 years ago when the city of Nyrkrukru was under attack by barbarian hordes his band of bandits and mercenaries rallied with the city and destroyed the horde and in appreciation and seemingly having little choice the city named him Bandit King and gave him control of the city. Ironically he has made a good leader and the city has prospered in his rein. As Talgren (disguised as a drow) is trying to gather information on the Slave Lords he is approached by Aurelius and he demands to know why his emissaries have been rebuked and he demands to know where his brother is. Talgren tells him he is not a slave lord and knows nothing of his brother and Aurelius immediately turns and walks away. After this curious encounter Talgren continues his quest for information on the Slave Lords and finds out that apparently they not shipping out their slaves by boat as they had thought but they are sending armed caravans inland into the very hostile region of the Rakok Forest.

Later that night they approach the stronghold of the slave lords and approach the secret entrance quietly until Maelin and Kromm start having a debate on who is more powerful, Mynax the god of strength or Yerraz the god of slaughter. Luckily the party is not discovered as the patrol was on the on the side of the temple at this point. As Talgren inspects the door for traps and feels it is free of traps he picks the lock and opens the door turning a cocky smile to the group as a steel bar with rusty spikes swings out from inside the doorway. Luckily he catches movement out of the corner of his eyes and somersaults backwards only taking minimal damage from the trap.

Inside they find the back of another secret door and another trap that Talgren disables. Once inside they see a corridor going left and right and go left until they come to a burned out room with the ceiling intact. As the make their way to the door on the other side 8 ghouls drop down from hidden points in the ceiling and Talgren is struck by one of the poisoned claws of the ghouls and is paralyzed. The rest of the party rushes into the confined area to protect Talgren and dispatch the ghouls with many of the party taking grievous wounds from the encounter. As they are leaving Lucan spots something shiny in the rafters and Maelin pushes everyone aside and scrambles up a burned out beam to find 6 rubies and as he ponders keeping a few for himself he realizes the whole party is watching him and shaking their heads.

The party continues and make their way across another burned out room with the floor missing with only minimal trouble as Lucan falls 30 feet into the basement. After he is hauled out they come across 3 barrels of wine in an alcove and the party almost has to drag Kromm away from them to keep him from partaking. As they round the corner they come upon a room that is filled with trash, flies, and a sickly sweet smell. When Talgren makes his way around the heap and towards the door at the far side he is surprised as the mound comes to life and a massive plant like creatures attacks them. Lucan calls out that it is a Shambling Mound and that fire and cold will have little affect on it. As the battle rages Maelin assaults the creature with a Witch Bolt and they find out quickly that lightning heals the creature. The Shambling Mounds attempts several times to engulf members of the party but fails and is eventually slain.

As they proceed past the door they come upon a door and hear several creatures talking in orcish about tending horses and complaining about their duty. They rush in and find a stable with 4 half-orc mercenaries and in the midst of the battle Talgren spots a slave hiding under the straw in one of the stables. After the battle they approach the slave who tells them his name is Escott and he managed to escape down a secret tunnel and has been hiding out here ever since. Gorestag tells him he can come with them if he shows them the secret tunnel. He agrees and they give him a chain shirt and short sword from the dead half-orcs and proceed to follow his lead. He also tells them that he knows where a high priest slave lord is and may know a way to get to her. Mealin stares at the slave suspiciously but finds him to be truthful and they continue.

As they make their way through a secret tunnel they come out of it to face two half-orc assassins, 3 orcs, and a half-orc fighter priest inspecting a group of 6 slaves. As the battle rages one of the orcs starts to behead the slaves but they are soon dispatched as the party fells the assassins and the fighter priest is held for the entire fight by a spell from Lucan's spider staff. They capture the fighter priest and bind him up for questioning.

Tune in next time as the party interrogates their prisoner and continues their assault of the slave lords.


Last edited by Overdog on Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:32 am; edited 2 times in total
Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:47 am View user's profile Send private message
scadgrad
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Your summaries are pretty impressive Jeff; nice work.

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Overdog



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scadgrad wrote:
Your summaries are pretty impressive Jeff; nice work.


Thanks, my players seem to appreciate it as it allows them to keep a better track on what is going on since there are several sub-plots going on some they know about and some they have yet to discover.
Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:57 pm View user's profile Send private message
Overdog



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As the party continues their foray into the slave lords stronghold they start the next phase with some good ole' fashioned interrogation. The half-orc priest is jolted awake from the healing power of the Paladin and feels much better until he sees Kromm's sword at this throat (I am seeing a pattern here). After some prompting he quickly tells them all he knows...which isnt much. He does tell them that best way to get to the high priest slaver is through the gardens at which point the party leaves his fate in the hands of the slaves. Without a thought Escott Imlight (their slave guide) takes his short sword and expertly cuts the half-orcs throat. He quickly tells the party that the gardens are a home to a nest of harpies and that the half-orc was leading them into a trap and tells them his way will bypass the gardens. The party rests shortly and they follow Escott's lead as he leads them to a door which beyond holds a flooded hallway with rapidly flowing water. It appears that a crack in the foundation has opened up onto an underground stream in this hallway. Gorestag with a rope in hand braves the fast running water and manages to swim against the current to the far end where he finds a door that is jammed shut from the other side with spikes. Talgren is the next to swim through the hallway and gets to Gorestag who bracers himself as Talgren manages to dislodge the spikes and open the door to an empty hallway. Quickly the other party members make their way along the secured rope and they follow the hallway to the inner door of the courtyard. Beyond the door they hear voices in the courtyard and Maelin pushes his way to the front opens the door and launches an explosive fireball into the courtyard that is occupied with a dozen half-orc and orc guards. The resulting explosion annihilates the entire host of guards and a "flame-thrower" engine that only adds to the damage. After the fire and spoke clears not much but burning bodies and a pair of double doors leading to the high priest's chamber and the temple of Gruumsh remain. They discuss how to the deal with the priest and they realize the best thing to do is to try and grapple her to lock her down.

As they open the door they see a long hallway with many statues of orcs and gargoyles in different combat stances. They also notice that the all the statues are new and clean. They make their way down the hallway and about half way down they spring a trap as a blast of force launches some of the statues from their alcoves at the party. Three members are injured but they soldier on. At the door to High Priests chamber the combination of the explosion in the courtyard and the trap being sprung the party was assuming their enemies would be ready for them and they were right. As they open the final door they see a large domed chamber with a massive statue of Gruumsh holding a great sword over his head 10 slaves chained to the wall of their left, 3 massive half-orcs in platemail holding halberds at the door and a human female also in full plate at the far end of the room. As the party starts to try and coordinate their attacks they realize they cant hear anything and soon deduce the room is blanketed in a Silence spell. Gorestag makes a mad dash for the high priest getting sliced badly by halberds on the way, Talgren engages the half-orcs with his short bow, Maelin ponders fireballing the room from down the hall but sees the slaves and decides against it and Kromm wades into combat with the half-orcs. As the battle rages on Gorestag is almost cursed by the priest but manages to shake its effects off with an inspiration point, Kromm continues his pitched battle with the half-orcs while Talgren and Maelin fire from range. Then all of sudden Escott (who before this encounter seemed to be having some internal struggle) bursts into action and darts across the room past the half-orcs to a corner by the slaves that is free of the silence. Then suddenly a duplicate of him appears next to Gorestag who then touches the barbarian heals him. Everyone is surprised at this strange display of magic including the invisible assassin who is about to backstab Goretag and instead stabs the duplicate which ends being some sort of illusion. In response Talgren changes his target to the assassin and fires one of his drow poisoned arrows and the assassins slumps to the floor fast asleep.



The battle goes back and forth with Escott moving his duplicate around the combat and healing and blessing the party until when it looks like they finally have the fight in hand with one half-orc left and the high priest grappled by Gorestag when suddenly the donation box near the door starts to rattle and then explodes to be replaced by a massive troll. Escott moves his duplicate to engage the troll who mindless attacks the illusion. The high priest then barks a command in Giant to the troll (that no one understands) and it starts to assault Gorestag. Maelin realizing that the troll regenerates and that fire will stop it and ponders using a scroll of fireball (that will hit the whole party). He instead tells them that fire can stop its regeneration but no one has any fire to use. Gorestag is ravaged by the troll but stays up due to Escott's healing and they finish off the troll (including the priest and last half-orc) using diving fire from Escott.

In the aftermath of the battle they find a secret door at the base of the statue which Talgren finds and disables a trap that would have brought the statues massive sword down on them. Inside he sees ladder and a hole going down along with several bags of gold and some coded documents that no one can read.

Now they must decide if they are brave enough to explore the under city of the slave lords as they ponder who this Escott really is. When asked about who he worshiped he was tight lipped and asked them to not ask him again and with a hardy pat on the shoulder Gorestag tells him he cares not who he worships as Escott saved his life.


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Overdog



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After deciding to plunge headlong into the slave pits of the undercity the group agrees to investigate one more room connected to the back part of the temple of Gruumsh. Beyond they find another burned out room and this one appears to have been a larger domed chapel but the roof has caved in and the walls are covered in thick vines. As they are about to enter and investigate they hear fluttering wings and strange bird like noises and soon spot a large nest of Stirges in the vines. In addition they spot a skeleton seemingly trapped in the vines with a gleaming dagger on its belt. Lucan casts a ritual detect magic to see if there is magic on the skeleton and indeed he does sense it and they decide its worth the risk. Unsure if the skeleton will come to life and wary of disrupting a nest of Stirges Mealin cloaks himself and Lucan in invisibility and they cautiously proceed in to retrieve the dagger. Carefully they make their way to skeleton and manage to not only retrieve the dagger but avoid the Stirges all together. Back in the relative safety of the temple they unsheathe the dagger and find a beautiful elven long knife with a single edged razor sharp blade. Talgren claims the blade and they proceed down the shaft to the undercity.



Upon reaching the bottom they find a rough tunnel that quickly splits into two ways, one containing many tracks of humanoids and the other containing tracks of something bipedal but alien looking. They decide to follow the humanoids tracks and come into a large room filled with trash and waste with a soupy black mud covering the narrow paths around the heap. Cautiously they make their way around the cavern only to be surprised by massive maggot like creatures living in the waste with circular maws of razor sharp teeth. In the aftermath of destroying these monsters Gorestag relates a tale of a village he and his kinsman came upon that was wiped out and all the remained of the attackers were these larvae like creatures eating the dead. As he was telling the grisly tale he also remembered that he had seen tracks like the alien ones they found in the village. They never found the raiders but it was probably a good thing as the village was home to many good warriors who died at the end of these creatures swords and axes.

Proceeding on they find another split in the tunnels this time Talgren goes up alone to investigate and sees a room filled with white ovoids several feet in diameter. In addition, he sees three massive bipedal inspect creatures with 4 arms and wielding two swords and two shields each. He fires an arrow at one and retreats back to the party who charges forward to deal with these creatures. The battle is hard fought and these insect men fight like nothing they have seen before chattering in perfect unison with each other during fight and moving and attacking as if they were one creature. After the battle the party starts destroying the eggs which appear to be the larvae form of these insect men and they find a small cache of gems under one of the eggs.



Continuing they come upon a worked passageway and some sort of sewer system filled with water and Talgrens stumbles upon a trap as the stone floor angles up sharpely to drop him in the fast moving murky water but he deftly dives out of the way and then disarms the trap so his compatriots can follow. Soon they come to a convergence of another large sewer of fast moving waste water and decide to follow a series of tunnels that the water is flowing into. After following the smaller tunnels for some time they hear a large number of voices echoing down the tunnel. Proceeding further Talgren sees a set of stone stairs leading up into a worked stone room filled with orcs. As they spot each other the fight starts with Maelin sending a fireball in their midst but something spurs the seemingly endless line of Orcs and they pour into the tunnel. As Gorestag and Kromm form an impassible wall of death, Gorestag wielding the Dwarven battleaxe Gor-Moraz and Kromm with Hordebreaker, the orc bodies start piling up quickly but more keeping pouring in and then suddenly 2 massive massive humanoids lumber down the hallway towards them, Ogres. With only a few orcs left the Ogres go into a fit of rage and storm down the hallway felling the few orcs left as they tramples them to death and engage the two warriors. The Ogres' charge is a terrible sight but the seasoned warriors stand their ground with the support of their fellow adventures they fell the mighty beasts. In all they kill 2 Ogres and 14 Orcs and as they are patting themselves on the backs when they are suddenly attacked from behind by a small band of 4 orcs sent to flank them along with a 3rd Orge. The orcs pushed on by the Orge fight to the death and Lucan points his Spider Staff at the Orge and he is covered in illusory webs. Held in place they finish off the ogre. During the fight Talgren is forced to switch the elven blade and his dagger and finds that fighting with both weapon doesnt feel clumsy or awkward but feels natural and he soon realizes that the elven dagger is magically designed for this purpose in mind.



As they make their way through the orc outpost they find a collapsed passage way that the Orcs and Ogres were trying to clear away. They see profane drawings on the walls of orcs doing unspeakable sex acts to elves with graffiti such as "Elves are Faeries" and "Grom takes baths". They also find another passage that is filled with even more Orc voices. Bent on their mission to find Augustus Kelle and the Slave Lords they try to get through the collapsed passageway and Gorestag, with an incredible feat of strength, uses ones of the fallen beams to lever a large stone block up enough for the group to pass through and after securing it he follows. Beyond the sewer continues to a short flight of stairs leading up to door and the air has a bitter odor to it. Talgren investigates the door and finds and disables a magical trap that he suspects would have poured something onto the landing from holes in the ceiling. After explaining that he only temporarily disabled the trap they proceed into the room beyond which looks like an old armory that is now only filled with rusting weapons and armor. Proceeding through a door in the north part of the room they follow a narrow passage for some time and as they reach a large and high ceilinged room in the center of which are two pillars 5 feet wide and 20 feet hide from floor to ceiling. The room is covered in grid like array of slave pits that are 10 feet below the door filled with slaves. The party ponders their discovery...TBC next week.


Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:25 am View user's profile Send private message
Overdog



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Standing on the precipice of the slave pens the group decides to scout across 6 inch narrow cage tops to passage on the other side so Talgren the Rogue deftly darts across only to be ambushed by two Aspis Drones hiding behind the pillars in the center of the room. After a javelin and two heavy sword blows he almost falls into the cages below and makes a hasty retreat back to the party giving them dirty looks for not watching his back carefully enough with ranged weapons. As the drones advanced, expertly navigating the narrow cage tops, Gorestag charges heedlessly towards the drones only to trip and fall into one of the pits and as he does a trap door from the wall closes over the pit sealing him in. After he finally manages to bend the bars and escape to another cage another trap door slides out from the wall to enclose him a second time. As the battle rages on above Gorestag sees a naked female slave and she spurns his advances with a whimper. Lucan more confident in fighting on top of the trap door covering the cage uses it to engage one of the drones but as he moves onto it the door retracts and he falls into the same cage with Gorestag and is immediately sealed in with him. After finally disposing of the drones the group manages to free their friends and continue on to the far side and the passageway. Immediately upon getting across they find another Aspis Drone behind some controls (presumably the one controlling the trap door) and dispatch him easily.

They have two choices in front of them, a long dark passage way to the east and a door to the south. As they decide to go through the door Escott (their slave guide) tells them he had overheard some of the slavers who had been down here and they said the slave lord's end was at the end the long passageway. They decide to scout the south anyway and they find a group of humans with some orc overseers discussing prices of slaves. They then decide to take Escott's advice and follow the passage way to a door. Behind the door they see a long set of stairs going down to a landing. Talgren looks for traps and feels this would be a great place for trap where the stairs retract and you slide down into the arms of the enemy but alas he finds nothing until starts down the stairs and that exact scenario unfolds and he tumbles all the way down to a landing only to see 10 orcs flanking him on either side with crossbows pointed at him, and in a well appointed room in from of him a Slave Lord flanked by two tigers, Augustus Kelle and the Order of Ixion wizard Dostra Ziri.



As Talgren was lying on the cold wet stone floor Gorestag dives headlong down the now smooth stairway rolling to his feet when he hits the bottom and charging towards Kelle. As he does this Dostra Ziri starts to monologue in a shrill voice.

"Kelle, you are a fool to let these adventures track you here. You were given many opportunities to deal with them and you have failed every time. Our dealings are finished and you will longer receive any support from the Order of Ixion. As for you (pointing to the adventurers) I will give you one warning, keep the Order out of your vengeance upon Kelle for if you dont you, your families, and your friends will all pay with your lives. I will leave you to deal with him how you will but if you attack me you will regret it."

In response Kelle stares open mouthed at the wizard and the Slave Lord speaks up. "I dont know who you think you are wizard but I am the one who gives the orders around here not you so leave like the coward you are and I will deal with these intruders and Lord Kelle and I will finish the business he came here to do with me."

With a wave of his hand Dostra says "fool, you dont command me". He then turns his gaze to Gorestag and says "do we have an accord?" Gorestag takes a moment to look back at the group and they all give him a knowing nod and he says "no wizard we dont have an accord. When my axe is in your neck and you beg for death then will have an accord."

Dostra smiles and says "as you wish" and with a wave of his hand he disappears and reappears on the other side of the platform his hands moving in arcane gestures.

As the rest of the party enters the fray Gorestag pushes on towards the Slave Lord and Kelle, Escott drinks a potion and vanishes (as Talgren looks on wondering where the slave got the potion), as the rest of the party engages the orcs. Gorestag is met by the two tigers and is flanked by the slave lord who unsuccessfully attacks him as Talgren shoots a poisoned arrow at Dostra Ziri which passes harmlessly through him. Moments later Escott appears behind the slave lord his hand aournd the slave lords neck as he plunges his short sword through him and whispers only loud enough for Gorestag to hear "this is my house and you are not welcome slave lord". Realization hits the group as they suspect that Escott is one of the Twisted Blade Assassins. Gorestag takes his queue and moves to an advantageous position and unleashes the full power of Kol-Moraz as a lightning bolt incinerates the Slave Lord and inflicts heavy damage on the Tigers.



Soon after the party sees Dostra appear from nowhere near the back of the Slave Lords den and the tip of his staff glows like the sun as a fireball explodes in the midst of Talgren, Lucan, and Mealin knocking Maelin out. The wizard then disappears behind a stone ladder obscured from view. As the fight continues Maelin recovers consciousness as Lucan heals him and Talgren and Gorestag chase down the wizard who seems to have made his escape down an escape tunnel. Left to finish off the orcs Maelin, out of spell power, takes a scroll of fireball and hits one of the bands of orcs and there is nothing left of them but ash. As the party finishes off the remaining orcs Gorestag and Talgren foolishly split up chasing the powerful wizard. As Talgren navigates a maze of tunnels (presumably created by the Aspis) Gorestag finds an exit from the tunnel that leads out a secret door outside the temple. As he looking around for the wizard he sees a small pinpoint of red light in the sky but instead of cute firefly he is stuck by a not so cute fireball from Dostra's staff and manages to drop down the escape shaft avoiding the brunt of the blast but still barely conscious.

As they rally back at the Slave Lords den they see "Escott" opening a secret compartment and retrieving a wicked looking rapier with a skull on the crosspiece and glistening with a green glowing substance. One of the seven infamous Dread Blades of the cult. He then reaches down and touches the dead slave lord and his features change to look just like him. He relates the tale that he has been trying to get down to the lower levels but has failed so far and when he encountered the group he figured he could use them to get to the slave lord. As payment for assisting him he tells they may have use of his assassin cults services once. Talgren immediately says he wants him to kill Dostra Ziri the man responsible for his mentors demise. As the group ponders this Talgren is resigned to ask to join the Twisted Blade if they dont agree with him so he can train and assassinate Dostra himself. But the party agrees and Escott tells them they may rest here for the night and they agree still thirsty for blood and treasure and wanting to clear the rest of the undercity.

As they are resting Escott confides that the blade that Talgren carries once belonged to a member of his guild but in appreciation of what they have done he allows Talgren to keep it. He explains that the dagger is named Lotus Razor and in addition to striking as hard as a short sword, and allowing him to wield two weapons with proficiency it can also cloak itself (but not the bearer) in invisibility 3x a day. This was designed to allow the bearer to get this deadly weapon past unwanted eyes. In game terms this also gives the bearer advantage on the first attack using it when it is invisible.


Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:01 pm View user's profile Send private message
Overdog



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As the party is resting in the former slave lords den Escott tells them that he must leave for a time and that he will be back before they finish resting. He then climbs up the stone ladder to a chamber above and closes a trap door behind him. 4 Hours later he returns through the same trap door and is accompanied by two human guards. Both look like the human mercenary that patrol this part of the city. As they enter one of them stares menacingly at the party and talks to Escott in angry hushed tones. The conversation goes on for some time with Escott shaking his head no to much of the conversation and finally shaking his head yes at the end. With one more glare the fighter climbs back up the ladder and leaves the room. Gorestag approaches Escott and asks if there was trouble and if it had to do with the party. Escort replies "The situation will be dealt with, and there is nothing your group here needs to worry themselves about." Gorestag nods and returns to his rest. As the party is gearing up to continue clearing our the undercity Escott approaches them and says "I have no issues with you trimming the fat down here but under no circumstances bring any trouble back. If you do I will kill you all but take solace in the fact that I will abide by our agreement and kill the wizard either way." The party agrees and returns to clearing the dungeon. Their first stop is a second slave pit that is guarded by 5 orcs and a massive black orc (and Orog - powerful very intelligent orc leaders). The fight is short and sweet with the party only taking minor damage. As they start freeing the slaves they find one slave in particular interesting. A tall well muscled human male who has been beaten very badly with a broken arm. Gorestag realizes he resembles Aurelius Immedar, the Bandit King the well armed mercenary who approached the party at the Nine Goblin Hall Inn thinking they were slave lords. When asked he reveals that he Darius Immendar, the Bandit Kings brother. Gorestag immediately takes our a healing potion and gives it to Darius who drinks it and thanks him personally. He then arms himself and asks for the quickest way out. They discuss having Darius lead the slaves back out through the slave lords den but fear a reprisal from Escott when a slave steps up declares that his an "ally" of Escott and make sure they get out without harm. The party agrees finally and they proceed on. and the group winds its way back the way they came intending to investigate the orc caves they passed on the way in.



Talgren scouts up ahead and finds a cave with a half dozen orcs who spot him. As they draw their weapons he taunts them a second time with an outrageous French accent hoping they will come after him and flees back to his allies. The fight begins with the orcs bottled necked in the passageway and they spell casting beyond their sight and see three of the orcs glowing in a red light. As Gorestag and Kromm hold the line Maelin moves up and drops another fireball in the backlines incinerating all but one of the orcs. The group finishes off the last orc and realize that the shaman survived and retreated down a long passageway where they hear many orcs battle cries. As they approach they see at least a dozen orcs and Maelin fires another fireball and kills 10 more orcs but they still hear more orcs beyond their sight. Then suddenly an organized line of orc arches move into sight and unless a fury of arrows almost killing Kromm instantly. The party retreats back down the passageway fighting and healing as they are pressed by another Orog, the Shaman and at least a dozen more orcs. The Shaman harasses Maelin with a glowing spiritual spear and commands Kromm to bow before him. Kromm is overwhelmed by the magic and bows before the orc onslaught. Lucan draws upon his powers and turns the Orog's plate armor into a red hot slag of metal. The Orog fights on even though his skin in cooking under the armor. As the orcs move to kill the cowed Kromm Gorestag slaughters them to protect his friend. As Kromm recovers from the dark magic that was compelling him to grovel he gives into Hordebreakers fury and begins an assault on the Orog that is terrifying to see slaying him in a single round. Enraged by their leaders death the orcs and the shaman press the party. Lucan heats the shamans armor as he did the Orog and a combination of arrows from Talgren, Eldrich Bolts from Maelin, and axe and swords blows from Gorestag and Kromm the Shaman falls dead. This is too much for the remaining orcs and they flee. After searching the cave they find a partially decomposed elf nailed to the wall in Orogs chamber and a tempting iron chest. Talgren checks the chest for traps and finds none and picks the lock and inside he sees several rusty orc daggers, bags of copper, and a shining suit of elven chain. As he is reaching for the chain a trap triggers and he is engulfed in green energy and falls to the floor paralyzed but not before pointing to the elven chain and squeaking "mine" before falling to the ground. After the party stops laughing and realizes Talgren is trouble they go about trying to find a way to remove the magic holding him. Nothing, not even a powerful dispel magic, seems to help and they reside to leaving the dungeon while they can so they can find a way to aid Talgren.



As they make their way back to the Gale Star hoping that their wizard friend can remove the spell they are greeted by the Bandit King and his brother who thank them for their efforts and tell them he is in their debt. After seeing Talgren they offer the aid of their high priest but indicate it will take some time for him to figure out how to remove the magic. He uses his magic to remove the curse on Talgren a short time later.

They then approach the Gale Star and see that something is up as most of the crew is out with weapons drawn. They soon find out that someone slipped on board the ship and cut the wizards throat in his sleep and two other guards. Unsure of what this means they turn their attention to what to do with Augustus Kelle. Taking him back now seems too dangerous with the potential of the Order of Ixion on their trail so they decide to give Kelle a choice, either a quick easy death or a long painful one over a week. Kelle resigns to his fate and decides to hurt his allies on the way out. He tells that his bid for the Overseer was backed by the Merchant Prince Esmardin Blackwell and that he suspects that Esmardin is trying a bid for complete power in the city and has allied himself with the Order of Ixion and the Slave Lords to meet this end. With the magical might of the Order and the military and naval might of the slave lords he might be able to pull it off. Talgren, now freed from his paralysis, takes his revenge on Kelle and gives him a quick death.

It is clear now that the slave lords operations are not just limited to the Sea of Gadmammon but they will soon affect Taran and the party is determined to stop that. With that they decipher the documents they recovered from the slave lords and start working on a plan to take the fight to them. In addition to what is covered below they also found detailed maps and caravan routes to some type of stronghold deep (a week or two by foot) in the Untamed Lands of Huri-Ghol. This vast track of wild land is home to some of the fiercest human and humanoid tribes in Arrasia, as well as some of the largest. Traditionally the home to nomadic barbarian tribes, and large numbers of kobolds, orcs and goblins, Huri-Ghol has in recent years become home to many of the minions of Zykerathox, including demons from Herophet, who use it to launch attacks against the freecities of The Northern territories, who have an alliance with Karnish and who themselves had been making regular sorties against Zykerathox's forces in The Fallen Lands. Although large numbers of barbarian tribes remain free from Zykerathox's influence, many have also been either enslaved or paid to make war on the forces of The Northern Territories and the land is now rife with war.





While out at sea and while investigating the documents Maelin stumbles across a note hidden in some of the documents from Escott. It reads "As you may have deduced by now I ordered your wizard killed as he was responsible for the death of one of my order in the Wave Echo Caves. It is unfortunate that I was forced to do this because I do respect your group but the edicts of my order come first. It was either him or all of you and I made the decision the good of the many outweighs one life. I will honor our bargain personally to slay Dostra Ziri and I will send you his head and his staff as recompense for your fallen comrad."

As this news sinks home they realize that in the final battle in the Wave Echo Caves the female Drow they fought there was actually an assassin of the Twisted Blade. When the wizard killed her the male Drow that escaped must have also been an assassin of the Twisted Blade and was probably the human soldier in disquise they saw in the Slave Lords den speaking to Escott.
Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:12 pm View user's profile Send private message
Overdog



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Part 1 of A2 - Assault of the Slavers Stockade.

After the weeks of intrigue, travel, and desperate battle the party takes a few days to rest, drink, gamble and mourn the loss of their friend on board the Gale Star far out at sea out of the reach of their many enemies and debate on what to do next. With Augustus Kelle finally dealt with they party is burdened with a monumental task ahead of them, defeating the might of the Slave Lords. Based on their readings of the slavers documents it is obvious that there is strict hierarchy within the slave lords that is controlled by the mysterious Council of Nine. The slave lord they slew in Highport was at the bottom of what appears to be a very long list of adversaries. They also uncover that a massive caravan of slaves (100+) left Highport 10 days ago with the merchant Alforas. The party is desperate to try and intercept the caravan before it reaches the slavers stronghold deep in the wildlands of Huri-Ghol. They debate getting horses in Highport, taking a straight route to the stronghold, or following the caravan trail but in the end they decide the safest and surest way is to follow the caravan and hope they can overtake them. They set out in longboats from the Gale Star saying their goodbyes to friends and agreeing to meet the Gale Star at the mouth of the river north of NyKruKru home of the Bandit King in one month. Any longer and Haldir will be forced to return to Taran to try and deal with Esmardin Blackwell and his machinations without the aid of the party.

As they set out across the coastal plains they have fair weather and easy traveling when they spot a humanoid scout off in the distance. Unwilling to be swayed from their course they try and lose the scout but he still is hot on their trail. Finally they stop and decide to have the druid wildshape into a deer to not alert the scout and see who or what he is. As Lucan approaches the scout he spots the deer and sees a chance for a good meal but Lucan bounds off, his little white tail fluttering behind him. But before he leaves he identifies the scout as an orc. Eventually the orc turns away from the party and returns to his brethren, a orc war party 50 strong only a few hours behind the party. Luckily due to Lucan and Gorestag's familiarity with the wilds they are able to elude their pursuers.



The next day they are at a small pond refilling their water skins and taking a few minutes to rest when they see a massive flying creature heading towards them at a break neck speed. They all fan out making for cover, all except Kromm who wades waist deep into the pond waving his sword and shield wildly trying to get the predators attention. This works all too well as the Pterosaur dives for the paladin ignorant of the arrows and lightning strikes from the rest of the party and grabs the mighty paladin in its claws and starts to fly away but does struggle with the weight of Kromm (who has apparently been hitting the Ale kegs a bit too much lately). Desperate to not see his friend flown away to be eaten Gorestag levels Kol-Marazh the Black Cleaver at the creature and unleashes the lightning bolt stored in the ancient dwarven weapon scoring the Pterosaur badly who then decides this meal is too costly and drops the flailing paladin 30 feet to hard ground below.



The party continues on and manage to pick up the slave lords caravan trail and start following it. The weather turns bad as torrential rains soak the party but Lucan is a Druid and between him and the Barbarian they manage to follow the trail after losing it several times to washouts. On the 4th day they come upon a fork in the road that that is blockaded by a band of Gnolls. They leader garbed in black chain and brandishing a blood caked greatsword steps up an says in perfect common "Welcome to the territory of the Clay Mane Clan, I am Urlgla. It is too bad that you do not lead a large caravan, for you look to be fine and terrible persons of adventure. Now" as he ahems dramatically, "about the toll...I Urlgla of the Gray Manes, have been empowered by my chief to collect it. My chief has instructed me to be munificent, this fine, sunny day. Three hundred pieces of gold for each of you fine, strong looking persons to pass and remain unmolested. If you please, could we transact quickly?" Stunned by this gnolls eloquence the party discusses paying but Gorestag (ever diplomatic) refuses and instead tells them instead of killing them all he will let them live if they stand aside. With that the battle begins with Gorestag charging the first barricade half scrambling half leaping over it into the surprised row of Gnoll archers. As he does this 7 more Gnolls appear to battle the rest of the party.

Lucan quickly seeing Gorestag cut off and surrounded by enemies calls upon the creatures of the wild and a Cave Bear answers his call and thunders out the forest to aid Gorestag. As he does this the Gnoll Pack leader howls and the trees the south of Gorestag part as a massive 12 foot tall Gnoll with large black talons a frothing maw lumbers towards him. Kromm immediately remembers a recount of warriors of his old monastery where a creature like this slew a dozen trained knights of Mynax with ease. Apparently, Yeenoghu (the god of the Gnolls) sometimes bestows a powerful gift upon great warriors in the form of a demon spirit sent from the Abyss the result of which now stands before the party called the Fangs of Yeenoghu. The battle rages on and luckily for Gorestag the Fang and the pack lord turn to face the massive cave bear and their assault shreds the mighty creature in a single round. Lucan again calls upon the wilds and again it answers his desperate call and another cave bear enters the battle and this time with the help of Gorestag killing the Gnoll pack leader. The Fang, finally realizing the real threat is the druid bounds over the barricade trying to reach the druid but is instead met by the Vengeance Paladin Kromm and a terrifying exchange ensures. The Paladin calling upon his god to lay this creature low with divine power and the Fang unleashing his demonic fury on the paladin. The battle is short and furious and although barely holding on, flayed in a dozen places, Kromm stands victorious over the fiend. In short order the rest of the pack of Gnolls flees into the wilds. After healing and catching their breath, Lucan walks over to one of the barricades and scratches "Free Toll" after which laughter erupts from the party. After placing the heads of their enemies on the spikes of the barricade the group continues on.

Several days later as they are camped in an old ruin they hear baying of some creatures that no one recognizes. As they hear the baying nearing they get into defensible positions and wait for this new threat. As they do a strange looking hound enters the campsite, greyish black with glowing amber eyes and strange tribal designs on its back, with an almost human looking face and prehensile hands. It looks exhausted and covered in bite and scratch marks and they look to be festering. To the shock of the party it speaks in common directly to Kromm and says "Help me, much trouble coming. The hounds of death are near!" as it collapses and suddenly the sounds of the baying stop and the night is chillingly quiet. As they wait in the calm in the storm Kromm senses that the creature is a celestial being and is compelled to aid it.



TBC...


Last edited by Overdog on Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Overdog



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As the party sits in the eerie quiet, Mealin finally wakes up from his drunken stupor and looks around to see the group armed and ready for battle. He also notices the strange looking hounding that has collapsed in the campsite. As the fog in his head clears from the very potent ale that Kromm gave him he remembers reading about creatures like this during his time studying in Taran. They are Moon Dogs, celestial hounds that typically roam the heavenly realm of Elysium and they sometimes come to the Prime Material plane when evil has grown to an intolerable level and hunt it down and destroy it. As he is pondering this strange creature he hears a voice in his head to steer clear of the beast for it will bring doom to him. Maelin suddenly realizes that his infernal tomb is somehow speaking to him in his mind. He shrugs off the voice and prepares for whatever is coming. A moment later a pack of massive two headed hounds bound of the forest and he recognizes them as Death Dogs. Fierce hunters with a bite that if it becomes infected can slay any man in less than a week. The battle rages as the Death Dogs surround the party and spring into combat. With only Kromm, Mealin, and Gorestag on the ground (Talgren and Lucan had climbed up trees) the group is quickly surrounded and pressed to their limits. But the tide seems to turn in the favor of the party with the assistance of two conjured Brown Bears from Lucan and the marital and magical might of the rest of the group. Then suddenly the pack leader leaps from the shadows a massive 8 legged black panther with tentacles coming out of its attacks. It is recognized as a Displacer Beast and proves almost too much for the party. The tide shifts again as Lucan leaps down from the tree to heal the Moon Dog who regains consciousness and emits a bay that soothes the party but instills fear in the Displacer Beast who in his attempt to feel is struck down by the Axe and Blade of Gorestag and Kromm.



In the aftermath the party learns that Moon Dog "Razzix" was been hunted by this pack for days until he sensed the paladin near by and he headed towards him. He tells Kromm that for his aid he will grant him a one time boon. If he is ever in dire need all he need do is say "Razzix" in celestial and the Moon Dog will come to his aid. With that he strides over to Warlock Maelin and in Infernal he warns him that if he continues to follow his path and his pact with the "tomb" he carries it will be the death of him and possibly his soul. With that he licks Maelin and cures him of the rotting disease that was inflicted upon him by the Death Dogs. He then turns to the rest of the party, thanks them, and then opens a gate to Elysium and is gone.

Weary and wounded the group decides to stay in the camp and puts down for the night. No more than a few hours later as Kromm and Lucan are on guard duty a black shadowy figure snakes through the ruins towards the sleeping members of the party. Lucan and Kromm spot the creature too late as it takes form and starts to drain the life from the sleeping Gorestag. Gorestag wakes to a deathly cold shadowy hand draining him and flees the creatue. The party reacts quickly and with two mighty smites from the paladin sends the Wraith on its way to a final rest after death. The party searches the ruins for more enemies and soon finds a skeleton buried under some rubble and find a pair supple black leather boots with a drow house insignia on it. The souls of the boots are inlaid with silvery spider webs and after testing them they find the bearer can spider climb at will with the boots.



The rest of the night passes uneventfully and they press on towards the slave lords stockade. Two days later they are approached by a dozen barbarians on the road. The barbarians tell them that they have been watching them for some time and believe them to no be slavers and ask for their assistance. Apparently a warband of 300+ goblins attacked their village while the hunters were on patrol and took their wives and children. They ask if the party will help and they agree. They then plan to have the barbarian hunters draw off as many of the warband as possible so the party can attack the goblin hill fort and recover their loved ones.


Next time begins with the party scouting out the hill fort and pondering their options.


Last edited by Overdog on Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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