The Prairie Village Campaign: 4e

Episode 2-15: The Last Stand of the Dark Claw Clan
A desperate enemy has nothing to lose...
  • The adventurers join battle with the bugbear
  • Releshalk names the bugbear as Vardaal; they are clearly mortal enemies
  • The party swiftly bloodies Vardaal, causing him to flee
  • Several of the adventurers, along with Releshalk, chase Vardaal and slay him within the Twisting Halls
Episode 2-14: Swords of Judgement
Within the depths of the temple, the enemy waits...
  • The party investigates the left-hand tunnel
  • Dorin hears a high-pitched squeaking coming from the far end
  • Cordivae and Dorin proceed into the tunnel
  • As they approach the door at the end, an obscuring mist pours forth, and fills the corridor before them
  • Cordivae proceeds into the mist
  • They hear the doors open before them, and the tunnel is filled with the smell of hot tar, which flows forth to surround their feet and ankles
  • Something above Cordivae’s head snaps at him, but misses
  • Dorin steps forward, but his path is blocked by someone standing in his way
  • Someone hands at torch to the figure in front of Dorin, who bends down and lights the tar on fire
  • Cordivae and Dorin are both engulfed in flames
  • Cordivae manages to extinguish the fire in his clothes and beard, but Dorin continues to burn
  • Battle ensues, with the goblins who guard the door
  • The large cauldron which contained the tar still sits int he doorway, impeding passage into the temple
  • Goblin archers, javelin throwers, and swordsmen oppose the party
  • A goblin magician stand in the entrance, and also bars the way of the invaders
  • Several members of the party brave the flames to assist their comrades, eventually including Releshalk
  • Dorin is finally able to extinguish the flames from the buring tar
  • The party kills the magician, and the mist disappears
  • The creature above Cordivea turns out to be a vicious rat
  • Eventually, the party is able to slay or scare off the rest of the goblins, and the rat
  • As Amarth pursues, however, a large bugbear, with a heavy flail and a scar over one eye, emerges from a room obscured by some hanging curtains
  • “You may invade our home and kill our people,” he growls, “but I swear you will pay!”
    He strikes at Amarth with the flail
Episode 2-13: The Fane of the Dead, Part 2
Besieged by corruption
  • Sola receives a revelation from an angel of Erathis
  • The angel guides her to a hidden cache of magical treasure behind the statue of Orcus
  • The characters use these items to heal one another
  • Cordivae struggles to secure the temple against the onslaught of the zombie horde
  • The party topples the statue of Orcus, shattering it
  • Zombies emerge from the pit in the center of the temple, and open up new pits, as well
  • The party fights off the current wave, and then retreats to the rectory
  • The zombies begin invading the rectory through the trap door above, and the double-doors leading to the room full of debris
  • The adventurers find themselves trapped and out-numbered
  • Traveus falls first, and then Sola and Eldeth
  • * The zombies close in on Amarth—he is struck and blackness engulfs him
Episode 2-12: The Fane of the Dead, Part 1
A dark interlude
  • Several weeks earlier
  • Amarth in a coastal city of Sarthel, a country to the south of the Nentir Vale
  • Approached by Traveus, who has heard he knows something of the Fane of the Dead
  • The Fane of the Dead is a legendary temple, formerly dedicated to a patron of civilization, but the sacked and occupied by an evil cult
  • Many denizens of the original temple were slain by the cult
  • People living in the surrounding villages eventually got fed-up with the cult, attacking the temple and slaying the cultists
  • Many villagers died in the siege and second sack of the temple
  • Rumors now say that the temple site is a haunt of the walking dead
  • Traevus recruits the priestess Sola, and the battle maiden Eldeth to travel to the Fane
  • The group reaches the temple as the sun is setting
  • The temple has been desecrated, and turned into a shrine to Orcus
  • The walls contain a mural, which used to depict people engaged in the pursuits of civilization, but which now shows them being tormented by demons
  • A large statue of Orcus dominates the north end of the temple
  • The ruin is mostly empty, but they find a trap-door leading to the old rectory
  • When they open the trap-door, a virulent orange light comes up from below
  • As they descend the stairs, they see a room containing three desiccated corpses and an alter
  • The orange light comes from and open chest sitting on the alter
  • Traevus pushes his way past the other adventurers and looks within the chest, an avaricious look upon his face in the orange glow coming from the box
  • Traevus closes the chest, latches it, and takes it from the alter
  • As he turns to walk back up the stairs, the corpses stir and come to life
  • The party must battle the walking dead
  • As they dispatch the three corpses in the rectory, they hear a clamor from the temple above
  • Returning to the main floor, they go to the front entrance, and see hundreds of corpses clawing their way out of the earth
  • The zombies turn as the party appears at the doors of the temple, and then begin closing in on them en mass
  • The party scrambles to secure the temple against he zombie horde, battling the vile creatures as they breach the defenses
Episode 2-11: Storming the Gates
In the darkness, comes wrath...
  • Rage drake too wounded to continue fighting
  • Approaching the caves
  • Snipers above the entrances
  • Slaying the guards
Episode 2-10: The Battle of Temple Hill
There will be blood in the hills
  • Laying the ambush
  • Baiting the trap
  • The wolf-pack closes in
  • Snipers on the surrounding hills
  • Battle with the wolf-riders
  • The rage drake, the spitting drakes and Releshalk
Episode 2-9: In the Midst of Mine Enemies
No one ever said vengeance would be easy.

Notable People, Places and Events:

  • Casting Hand of Fate to choose the correct path
  • Tracking Releshalk
  • The ambush in the ravine
  • Negotiating with Releshalk
  • Planning the attack
  • Taking it to the Darkclaw clan
  • The verge of battle
Episode 2-8: A Sad Farewell
His songs have gone beyond the world...

The stunned and battle-weary party converges around the body of their fallen companion. It is not a pretty site—the halfling has been cut in twain by a massive battle axe.

Gloria searches Kep’s remains, finding a surprising amount of money, treasure, equipment, and other articles—including a book of magical rituals.

A gruff voice hails them from the darkness, and a middle-aged dwarf, sporting a long black beard, wearing chainmail, and armed with a war axe, steps into the firelight. The dwarf introduces himself as Dorin Stonecleave. He was sent after the party by Old Kellar, once the group had left Harken Village. Cordivae’s father is encouraged by signs of redemption in his son, and he has asked Dorin to look after Cordivae, and to guide him.

Dorin explains to the party that he eventually came across Traevus’ caravan, which was halted at the site of the ambush in the Moon Hills. He learned from the merchant that the adventurers had pursued the goblins who escaped the battle with the chest in their possession. Tracking the party to the underground temple, Dorin set up a lookout in the ruined tower. He saw the adventurers leave the temple and disappear around the side of the hill. As he was about to follow, the dwarf observed several goblins emerge from underground. Deciding to wait and watch, Dorin spied reinforcements—including wolf-riders—arriving at the temple as the night grew older.

Unable to follow the adventurers directly, because his approach would be marked by the goblins, Dorin left the tower and took a long, circuitous route through the hills, keeping out of site of the temple.

Approaching the party’s campsite, Dorin realized the adventurers were in the middle of a fight. He hastened to assist, but by the time he got to the circle of firelight, it was all over. Kep lay dead.

As Dorin tells this tale, Gloria produces a spade, and begins to dig a grave for the unfortunate bard. Quickly tiring of this endeavor, she hands the spade to Nuriel, and tells him to continue where she has left off. The eladrin then begins to search the corpses of the slain goblins, learning that the great axe lying near the largest creature is formed from ornately cast iron, filigreed with gold-leaf. The weapon gives off a distinct aura of enchantment—Gloria sets it aside for later consideration.

Other members of the party ply Dorin with questions about what he has seen at the temple, and they begin to debate how best to move forward. The newcomer attempts to convey the urgency of the situation—the temple has been reinforced, the adventurers are exhausted, and their enemies may soon find them. Eventually losing patience, the dwarf walks over to Kep’s body and kicks it into the half-finished grave. As Dorin and Nuriel recite prayers for the deceased, Gloria piles the remaining weapons and equipment of their vanquished foes over the grave, forming a crude barrow.

As they are completing their duty to their friend, the party is startled by the howl of a wolf over the crest of the hill. They attempt to move off into the darkness as silently as possible—but Nuriel trips over one of his companions, and falls to the ground with a loud thud. In the tall prairie grass off to their right, the group hears a raspy voice squawk “They’re here” in Goblin, followed by the scamper of feet retreating across the hillside. The adventurers break into an all-out run, following the lead of Galanthal, who guides them through the hills in search of a safe place to spend the remainder of the night.

After a couple of miles of heavy exertion, the ranger finally stops them at the base of a cliff that cuts into the side of a hill, offering protection on two sides. The party collapses to the ground and assigns watches. Those not on duty fall asleep.

The companions rest and recuperate with no disturbances beyond the usual night-noises of the hills. Interrupted sleep and hard running, however, have taken their toll—it is mid-morning before most of the adventurers awaken. The sun is shining brightly, and clusters of butterflies swoop through the campsite.

Once the group is alert, Galanthal and Gloria return to the temple on a scouting mission. They observe a fair-sized group of goblins and wolves guarding the two entrances to the underground complex. The spies sneak silently away—although Gloria stumbles and almost alerts the guards to their presence, Galanthal catches her at the last second. Joining their friends back at the camp, the two sketch out the apparent defenses of the temple in sand at the base of the cliff.

The party now has a decision to make—how best to infiltrate the temple, despite reinforcements, and confront the foul necromancer Mareleth in his den.

Episode 2-7: The Darkness Behind the Light
Foul secrets of the labyrinth-builders

Regrouping following the battle with the strange statues, the party moves carefully across the chamber. On the far side, they find a pair wooden double doors bound in iron, closed by a bolt, and bearing an iron frieze in the shape of a minotaur’s head. It looks menacing and evil.

Gloria listens carefully at the door, and thinks she can hear the low murmuring of voices beyond.

Cordivae, feeling tired, sick and clammy after the combat with the statues (and a recent bite from a diseased rat) slowly pulls back the bolt and opens the double-doors.

The room beyond is composed of the darker stone the adventurers also found in the current chamber. A large statue of a minotaur in an iron crown towers over the space within. The adventurers are struck by a disturbing sensation of malevolence emanating from the vicinity of the statue, and a rough-hewn stone alter across from it. Nuriel, in particular, is overcome by a feeling of nausea in the presence of such wickedness. The alter bears two blood-red candles. To the right, in the corner of the room, the statue of a female minotaur wearing robes looks upon them with a cruel smile.

Four human guards standing within the room look up as Cordivae opens the door. Three of them are armed with halberds, and the fourth with a short sword. They immediately move to attack, meeting the adventurers at the door of the chamber.

The guard with the short sword engages Cordivae, and it becomes obvious that something is different about this particular opponent. He moves and shifts in a way that Cordivae cannot quite follow, but—more often than not—seems to put the dwarf at a disadvantage in the fight…

All four guards fight fiercely. The three who wield halberds threaten the adventurers from a short distance—but this is not the most disturbing development. As the battle begins in earnest, the explorers are horrified to see a yellow, oozing mass seep from cracks between the stone blocks forming the walls in far corner of the room. This living blob of slime moves directly into the fray. It seems to know who its friends are, and only appears interested in using the party for dinner.

A back-and-forth scrum commences. As the ooze is targeted by Amarth‘s arcane mark, it retreats further into the room. When Amarth’s attention moves elsewhere, it returns to the battle. At one point during this cycle, the blob slams Kep with a slimy pseudopod. The halfling staggers from the blow, and his skin burns with acidic fire where the putrid tentacle touched his flesh.

The adventurers rain blows, arrows and fell magic upon their enemies. Two of the guards fall, and the others are gravely wounded. These retreat beyond the statue of the crowned minotaur, and let the ooze take most of the punishment. This has an unexpected affect. As the attacks of the party slash and hammer the slime, it suddenly divides into two separate blobs. Kep maneuvers to the steps of the small platform bearing the statue of the robed minotaur, where he can attack either creature, but cannot be flanked by them.

While the explorers are taking in this development, the remaining guard with a halberd drops this larger weapon, unslings a crossbow, and begins targeting the party with pot-shots.

Using grit, determination and clever tactics, the group eventually strikes down the crossbowman, and reduces one of the two ooze creatures to an inanimate pool of stinking puss.

As they turn their attention to the remaining blob, the party encounters another surprise. The one remaining guard (the one with the short sword,) moves up to assist them in dispatching the vile creature. When it finally succumbs, the guard drops his sword and raises his hands in the air. Then, his form changes into that of a kindly-looking young woman.

“Shifter?,” asks Gloria. The woman just stares at her, then says to the party in a whispery voice:

" Mareleth pays me well, but not well enough to sacrifice my life.1"

The group pauses for a moment to take this in, then asks who Maraleth is…

“You will find out soon enough,” she answers, “if you continue penetrating this ancient minotaur temple. I know some things that can be useful, if you will spare my life and let me go.”

Kep, in a curious manner, says “I thought you were a man…”

The form of the young woman alters again, to that of a handsome young man. “We don’t make those distinctions,” he answers.

“Well, in that case,” replies Kep, “I liked you better as a woman.” The young man transforms back into the shape of a young woman.

Following this short exchange, the group agrees to let the woman go if she tells them what she knows about Mareleth.

“I don’t know where he comes from,” she tells them, "but I do know that he had some business dealings with a merchant from Fallcrest named Traevus. They had a bitter falling-out many years ago, and Maraleth still holds a grudge. I know he recently sent goblin raiders to steal something from Traevus’ trade caravan.2"

The party inquires as to what this was. The young woman only knows that it is a box or a chest of some sort. She does not know what was in it.

“Mareleth is a necromancer of some skill,” she tells them. If you proceed farther, you should be prepared to battle the living dead.

“Well,” says Amarth “as long as he is just a necomancer of some skill, not of great skill…”

“How much did Mareleth pay you?” asks Kep.

“I don’t really keep track of these things,” answers the woman. “I just make money and spend it. I like shoes.”

The group asks where Mareleth is at right now. The woman tells them that his laboratory is through the other set of double doors exiting the chamber containing the statue and the alter.

“He hasn’t come out yet, because he pays us to take care of disturbances. If he doesn’t hear something from us, however, you may meet him sooner than you would prefer…”

“Well, why don’t you go in there and tell him everything is all right?,” asks Kep.

“Oh, I don’t think that would be a good idea,” says the woman. “He’s in the middle of an experiment, and doesn’t like to be disturbed.”

“In fact,” she says, while edging toward the door, “I really need to go. I appreciate you sparing my life.” As she skirts past Gloria she says “I like your shoes,” then maneuvers across the floor of the room with the light and dark squares, and disappears.

Considering their options, the party decides to exit the temple to rest and recuperate. They make their way out of the tunnels, and set up camp on the backside of the hill from the cave mouths which serve as the entrance to the complex. Kep sings a soothing melody that boosts the spirits of the adventurers, and fills their bodies with an arcane power to help them heal.

The first watch passes without incident, but during the second watch, Nuriel and Kep hear rustling in the prairie grass beyond the light of their camp fire. Within her eladrin trance, Gloria sees shadowy figures approaching their position. Galanthal comes wide awake out of a sound slumber.

Nuriel reaches into his backpack to place his hand upon the party’s one remaining sunrod. His other hand tightly grips his mace. Both he and Kep are on their feet.

Suddenly, with a savage battle cry, three goblin warriors charge into the circle of firelight. They stop a few paces from Nuriel, and all three hurl daggers at him.

‘A massive, hairy creature resembling a giant goblin2’ strides into the light, and then charges Nuriel, striking at him with a great axe.

Kep shouts, “You’re mine!,” and moves to assist Nuriel against this intimidating opponent. He is startled, however, to see another goblin enter the fray. The newcomer bears a battle axe and wears a skull for a helmet. He fixes his eyes on Kep and growls “No, you’re mine, bitch…”

Two more, smaller goblins emerge from the darkness, and close in on Nuriel and Kep from opposite sides.

Gloria steps up, and strikes down one of the smaller goblins with a fatal thought. The three warriors who arrived at the start throw another salvo of daggers and draw their short swords. The party springs into action, and begins to reduce the enemy force piece-by-piece.

Kep, however, stands facing the two largest opponents. The young halfling fights valiantly, but he cannot dodge every blow. Even as the bard’s companions rush to his aid, the goblin wearing the skull hauls back his battle axe, fixes his eye upon the courageous adventurer, and brings the vicious weapon around in an arc that strikes Kep down in blood and steel.

His friends stare in dismay. Then as one, they rally, bringing deadly violence to their enemies. In short order all the goblins, large and small, lie unmoving on the quiet earth—but it is too late. Kep is dead.

1 Dungeons & Dragons Starter Kit Dungeon Master’s Book, 4th Edition, p.32.

2 Dungeons & Dragons Starter Kit Dungeon Master’s Book, 4th Edition, p.32.

2 Dungeons & Dragons Starter Kit Dungeon Master’s Book, 4th Edition, p.34.

Episode 2-6: A Deadly Game
Knight to Queen's Bishop--ACK!!

With the last filthy rodent dead, Galanthal walks to the edge of the area in the floor that seemed so wrong to him during the battle. He presses his foot carefully upon the rat-bitten rug. A section of the floor ten feet square collapses into a pit in the middle of the room.

Avoiding the exposed trap, the party moves to examine two sets of double doors at the end of the chamber. The doors on the east wall lead to a smaller room dominated by the statue of a minotaur warrior in full armor, bearing a sword. Carefully examining the sculpture, Amarth can sense no trace of the arcane about it.

Galanthal finds that he can squeeze behind the sculpture. While this might make an effective hiding place in a dimly-lit room, there is nothing of interest to see at this time.

Meanwhile, Cordivae presents himself before the statue, and urinates on its base.

Through the doors to the north, the adventurers find a much more interesting situation. The walls and ceiling of the next chamber are composed of a darker stone than the rooms and corridors the party has traversed so far, and the floor is divided into alternating light and dark squares. At the far end of the room, seven statues stand ready to greet the explorers.

The front rank consists of four mintoaur men-at-arms, each in an identical pose and carrying a spear held at an identical angle. Behind, a regal minotaur queen, with a long robe and a crown upon her head, is flanked on one side by a minotaur warrior in full armor (similar to the statue Cordivae just defiled) and on the other by a bull standing on all four hooves (evidently this bull is not depicted to scale—it carries a siege tower upon its back.)

Kep and Cordivae both step into the room. Cordivae, however, goes further. Hammer at the ready, he strides out onto the alternating pattern of light and dark squares, advancing on the statues. As soon as he steps off of the first light square, Cordivae is struck with a searing pain in his head. A disembodied force drags him back to the light square. He tries to move again, and again the pain hammers through his brain, and he is dragged back to the starting square. He attempts to move in a different direction, with the same result. He tries standing still, but is still pounded with agony. Finally, Cordivae attempts to drink a beer, but collapses in one final torturous spasm. The mug slips from his limp fingers and rolls across the light and dark squares of the floor.

As soon as the dwarf falls, the statues come to life and begin to move. First, the four minotaur men-at-arms advance two squares in unison. One-by-one, the other sculptures also close with the party—following very defined movement patterns. The warrior always moves one square diagonally and one square orthogonally. The bull with the siege tower upon its back only moves in a straight line. The queen seems to have more freedom of movement—but still only moves either diagonally or orthogonally—never in combination like the warrior.

A strange battle ensues. Unwilling to risk the dangers of maneuvering onto the floor, the adventurers pull Cordivae to safety, and then combat the advancing constructs from the doorway. Haltingly and indirectly, the statues close with their opponents. While the party is able to reduce some of them to rubble with arrows and eldritch might, eventually the remainder are crowded around Kep and Amarth, where the two stand in the entranceway. At the last minute, Cordivae—responding to the ministrations of Galanthal—regains consciousness and charges back into the fray. As he steps onto the floor once again, Kep shouts advice to only move like the statues move—based on the first light or dark square Cordivae enters.

This proves to be the solution to the puzzle. Cordivae is able to close with the remaining statues, and dispatch them in a cloud of dust and debris.


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