The Prairie Village Campaign: 4e

Episode 4-3: The Guardians of the Crypts

Placeholder for the game on February 1.

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Episode 4-2: The Champion of the Raven Queen
For the honor of a grim lady...

Adventuring Party (Level 4)
-—————————————————
Nuriel: Deva Invoker of Bahamut
Galanthal: Elven Ranger/Cleric of Pelor
Amarth: Human Paladin/Fey-Pact Warlock
Sten: Gnome Bard
Gertrude: Goliath Battlemind
Mike Surekill: Mul Knight

  • Mike Surekill and the Champion of the Raven Queen meet in single combat.
  • The Champion is powerful, but the short man easily avoids most of the blows.
  • The companions are impressed with the way Mike’s axe hums through the air, connecting time and again with the living armor of the warforged.
  • Mike attempts to merely subdue his opponent, but quickly realizes that this Champion of Lady Death is using lethal force.
  • With a mighty blow, the knight brings the mechanical warrior to its knees.
  • True to the bargain laid-out by Nim, the Champion appears ready to aid the one who has bested it.
  • The companions decide to engage in a full frontal assault on the old keep with the assistance of the Champion.
  • Nim asks if they intend to do so immediately, and they acknowledge that such is the plan.
  • The group exits the Chamber of the Raven Queen, leaves both the mausoleum and the cemetery, and follows Nim in the direction of the keep.
  • The group makes its way through the wooded hills surrounding Winterhaven. As they approach the site of the keep, they can see piles of broken stone through the trees.
  • They come to the edge of a clearing. The ruins stand in the midst of blasted ground on which nothing grows. No birds sing. No insects hum through the air. This is a place of death and devastation.
  • The adventurers examine the ground for tracks and see there has been much traffic between the edge of the clearing and the remains of the keep. They also notice that someone has opened up a path through the broken stone debris, leading into the center of the ruins.
  • Some members of the group step into the clearing and head towards the keep. When nothing unexpected happens, the others follow.
  • Examining the recently cleared path into what’s left of the stronghold, the adventurers find that it leads to stone steps descending into the ground. About 20 feet below, they can just see that the staircase ends at a stone floor.
  • The steps are covered with dried animal bones, which might be some sort of trap or alarm system.
  • Sten carefully moves the bones to the sides of the stairs, and the group descends into the earth.
  • At the bottom of the steps they find a square stone chamber with entrances on each wall and a roof supported by four slender pillars in the center of the room.
  • The companions begin to explore the room. As Nuriel passes between the pillars, the floor in the middle of the chamber collapses and he falls into a pit filled with a swarm of hungry rats!
  • Nuriel struggles to escape the pit. Mike Surekill leaps to his aid and strikes out at the vermin with his axe.
  • Together, the adventurers quickly dispatch the rats.
  • Mike finds a narrow opening at floor level in the pit. When he looks into the hole, he can see a multitude of small, beady, gleaming eyes staring back at him from 10-20 feet away. They approach no closer.
  • The party continues to explore their new surroundings. Proceeding down the hallway to the south, a couple of the companions find another chamber and are immediately attacked by two goblins with crossbows.
  • A door on the east side of the new chamber opens, and four more goblins wielding glaives join the fray.
  • As the two leading adventurers fight, three additional goblins attack their team mates in the room with the pit, emerging from the corridor to the east. The party is now engaged on two fronts.
  • One of the goblins fighting in the room with the pit wears his hair pulled back in a queue. He wears scale mail, but the exposed skin of his arms and neck is heavily tattooed.
  • The party engages the goblins in furious battle. Two of their foes flee to the east. Finally, after a hard-fought battle, the companions finally defeat their enemies.
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Episode 4-1: A Very Strange Acquaintence
"...and the lost shall be found."

Adventuring Party (Level 4)
-—————————————————
Nuriel: Deva Invoker of Bahamut
Galanthal: Elven Ranger/Cleric of Pelor
Amarth: Human Paladin/Fey-Pact Warlock
Sten: Gnome Bard
Gertrude: Goliath Battlemind
Mike Surekill: Mul Knight

  • Having dispatched the last of the their enemies at the excavation site, the adventures turn to the task of extracting Douven Stahl from the pile of debris.
  • Gertrude discovers that the reason they could not pull Douven out during the battle was that he is chained to an iron spike driven into the ground. She quickly frees him.
  • The companions revive the scholar. He greets them with joy—especially Sten, whom he has not seen for a while.
  • They question the older man about his captors. Douven explains that the individuals he encountered at Wrafton’s told him they had found the tomb of the Drax Arcanus. This turned out to be untrue.
  • The “tomb” is actually a decoy. The “dragon bones” buried in the tomb are really the bones of ordinary farm animals such as horses and cows.
  • Something else, however, was buried with the false dragon bones—a golden skull. Douven indicates that this is what his captors were after.
  • Nuriel shows Douven the “Ritualia Draconis Chryonica.” His mentor becomes highly excited and asks Sten for some paper. He begins pouring through the book, making notes.
  • Douven is so focused on the book that Gertrude has to strap him to her back so the party can travel. The scholar seems more-or-less oblivious to this state of affairs, and continues reading and making notes.
  • The adventures head back in the direction of Winterhaven.
  • As they are making their way through the wooded hills, a red cardinal appears and circles the group, then circles Amarth’s head, before settling on Amarth’s shoulder. It chatters at them, then takes off, flies to a branch at the side of the trail, and looks back expectantly.
  • The other members of the party ask Amarth if he recognizes the bird. He tells them it shows up from time-to-time.
  • The group chooses to ignore the cardinal and continue toward Winterhaven.
  • The bird returns, flies around the group chattering in an animated fashion, and then heads back in the same direction as before.
  • The companions stay the course towards the village.
  • The cardinal comes back again, this time chattering angrily, and flies off once more in the previous direction.
  • Finally, the adventurers stop and discuss following the cardinal. Sten remembers folk tales of a cardinal serving as the herald of Old Man Winter—a personage who can be harsh and unyielding, but is not outright evil. The group eventually agrees to pursue the bird into the woods.
  • They make their way in the direction the cardinal flew. Soon they see it ahead of them. It leads them some distance from their previous path before they see a red fox watching them from the edge of a clearing. The fox seems to have a mysterious gleam in its eye. It turns and slips into the forest.
  • The party chooses to follow the fox. The cardinal falls back and flies with them as they pursue the elusive creature, which seems to stay just out of reach ahead of them through the trees.
  • Eventually the fox leads them to a large boulder sitting at the top of a hill. It turns to look at the group, then slips through a wide crack in the boulder and over the edge of the hill.
  • The party follows through the crack. They find a game trail on the other side, leading down and around the wooded hill. Ahead of them, the fox is looking back from a bend in the trail. Then it turns and slips around the corner.
  • The companions pursue the fox. It always seems to stay one step ahead of them, stealing away as they approach.
  • At the bottom of the hill the trail opens into a clearing containing an old woodpile and a dilapidated cabin. Vines with bright orange flowers grow atop the pile of rotting logs. The red fox sits amongst the fiery blossoms. The adventures are certain it is grinning at them.
  • The fox leaps lightly off the pile and slips past the partially open door of the ramshackle hut. * Gertrude approaches the shack. Before she can reach it, a gnome with unkempt, bright red hair clambers onto the roof—as if he has just ascended from inside or behind the cabin.
  • The gnome sits down on the edge of the roof, legs swinging freely in the air. He looks at the group with a mischievous gleam in his eye. He tells them they appear to be lost, and that he takes a great interest in lost things.
  • The adventures converse with this strange creature. He readily admits that he comes from the Feywild. He seems to know a great deal about the companions—even claiming to have once dated Sten’s grandmother.
  • He also seems to have a very flexible concept of time, paying little heed to how long things take and sometimes mixing references to past and future.
  • Gertrude asks if he is a god. This seems to entertain him quite a bit.
  • Sten recognizes their new acquaintance from legends as the Trinket Lord, an archfey who is the patron of lost items.
  • The gnome claims his name is Tuxil. He tells the companions that he has been asked to track them down by an “associate” who finds the colder months more congenial than the Spring weather they are currently enjoying.
  • Tuxil goes on to explain that the adventurers are oblivious to what is really going on around them. He talks to them of the Dawn War, when the deities battled the primordials—some of whom became what the characters know as demons.
  • While the gods will fight against one another, some on the side of good and some on the side of evil, all banded together to face the threat of the primordials.
  • To this day one of the greatest fears of the gods is a demon usurping divine power.
  • The demon Prince of Undeath (of whom some of the adventures have already heard) wishes to usurp the power of the Raven Queen, the patron of death. Deities of all stripes would join forces to keep this from happening.
  • The Raven Queen is also the patron of Winter, so Tuxil’s “associate” has a vested interest in the situation.
  • Tuxil agreed to find the companions once his “associate” told him that the followers of the demon prince were collecting the legendary Golden Skulls. He tells the group that there are four Golden Skulls, each containing a demon who was once a powerful servant of the Prince of Undeath. These four servants became too strong and threatened to overthrow the prince, so he imprisoned their essences within the skulls. Each demon held power in a separate sphere—war, famine, pestilence and death.
  • Tuxil is an avid collector of lost treasures. He has many precious items in his home. If the adventurers will agree to retrieve the Golden Skulls and deliver them to Tuxil, he will bargin with them for other items from his collection in trade.
  • The party asks the gnome if the Skulls will be safe in his care. He replies that they will be far safer with him than if they were to keep them. He is used to dealing with such artifacts.
  • Amarth asks Tuxil if this is an “official request.” Tuxil explains that should the demon prince succeed in displacing the Raven Queen, “other interested parties” could usurp the dominion of Winter. His “associate” would like to keep that from happening.
  • The group agrees to retrieve the Golden Skulls. Tuxil does a backwards somersault off the rear of the hut and disappears. A few seconds later, they see the fox bounding through the woods up the side of the hill behind the shack. At the peak of the hill the fox turns, sits, looks at them with a grin, slips over the top, and vanishes.
  • The adventures resume their trek towards Winterhaven.
  • Night falls as they travel. Suddenly, a voice hails them through the darkness and trees ahead. A short man in armor, with a battle axe slung across his back, advances into their circle of torchlight. He greets them and introduces himself as Mike Surekill, a knight of Therund and a companion of Prince Etheran. The prince has sent him to find the companions.
  • The adventurers greet Mike in return, and they all agree to continue back to the village.
  • As they move through the forest, Galanthal senses something pacing them off to one side through the trees. He’s not certain what it is, but gets the feeling it is some sort of beast. He tells his companions about it, but does not pursue the creature—whatever it is.
  • As they reach the outskirts of the village, their mysterious shadow does not follow.
  • The party retires to the common room at Wrafton’s to eat, drink and discuss their next move.
  • They notice a short individual in a leather trench coat sitting next to the fire smoking a pipe, watching them from under the wide brim of his hat.
  • The adventurers ask their server about this person and learn that he is a halfling named Nim. He is an eccentric resident of Winterhaven who lives in the old windmill on the hill.
  • They eventually maneuver themselves into a introduction to Nim. As he approaches their table, they can see that his hat covers a head of disheveled white hair.
  • Nim tells the group that his master is concerned about recent events in and around Winterhaven. He has learned of their mission for Lord Padraig, and Nim wants to assist in their investigation.
  • The halfling reveals that the strange happenings are centered on the old keep near the village. He proclaims that the companions will need help if they are to tackle the keep.
  • Nim claims to know of an “item” that will greatly aid the adventurers if and when they assault the keep—but he needs assistance in securing it.
  • Mike Surekill asks who is Nim’s master. The halfling says he simply refers to him as “the Master.”
  • The knight then inquires how the party can know that Nim’s master won’t use the item the halfling seeks against the people of Winterhaven once it is recovered and the immediate threat eliminated.
  • Nim says that the Master holds his own counsel, and the halfling cannot speak for him.
  • Sten has heard rumors of the owner of the old windmill. He knows that Lord Padraig consults with him at times, although whoever he is, he tends to be fairly stand-offish.
  • The companions consult amongst themselves and finally agree to assist Nim in recovering the item in question. He tells them to meet him at breakfast the next morning.
  • The adventurers turn in for the night. The next day they get up and head downstairs to eat and to rendezvous with Nim.
  • The halfling joins them as they are finishing breakfast. When it is clear the group is ready to leave, he leads them out of Wrafton’s and through the gates of Winterhaven to the cemetery.
  • He strides straight into the large mausoleum and deftly manipulates the diagram embedded in the far wall, opening the door to the Hall of the Raven Queen.
  • Within the chamber, Nim explains that the dormant warforged standing on the other side of the room can be awakened by a challenge of single combat. If the warforged loses, he will serve the victor in a single quest, so long as it does not conflict with the tenants of the Raven Queen. If the warforged wins, the loser agrees to serve Raven Queen.
  • Amarth, Gertrude and Mike Surekill debate who is the best choice to challenge the Champion. Mike decides to represent the party in the ritual battle.
  • Nim crosses the chamber, stands before the unmoving construct, and announces that one has come to challenge the Champion of the Raven Queen.
  • The warforged moves from its alcove, strides to the center of the chamber, points toward Mike Surekill with the tip of its sword, and then assumes a stance ready for combat.
  • Mike steps forward to engage the Champion.
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Episode 3-15: The Rescue of Douven Stahl
Fools rush in... ;)

Adventuring Party (Level 4)
-—————————————————
Nuriel: Deva Invoker of Bahamut
Galanthal: Elven Ranger/Cleric of Pelor
Amarth: Human Paladin/Fey-Pact Warlock
Sten: Gnome Bard
Gertrude: Goliath Battlemind

Photos of the session

  • Alerted by the noise of Sten and Amarth in the undergrowth, goblin sharpshooters hidden in the trees fire on the companions. A small crossbow bolt misses Galanthal, but Amarth is hit.
  • Using the new longbow he got from the blacksmith Coalstriker, Galanthal takes out the sniper nearest his location.
  • The robed and hooded figure who handed over the golden object when the characters first arrived suddenly shudders and stands up straight. A faint black mist seeps from the hood and sleeves of the robe.
  • The figure extends a wizened hand which seems to be surrounded by some sort of dark nimbus. He makes an upward grasping gesture in the direction of Galanthal. Dark tendrils rise up from the ground and seize the elf in their clutches. A sickly cold sensation pervades the ranger’s limbs.
  • Gertrude hurls her shield at the remaining sharpshooter. The weapon slices his skull. He falls partway down the tree in which he was hiding and hangs in the branches.
  • One of the rage drakes attempt to climb the steep slope at the edge of the excavation so it can get at Amarth, Gertrude and Nuriel. The bank is too steep, however, and the large creature slides back to the bottom.
  • The four men-at-arms advance on Galanthal and Sten.
  • Amarth lays his curse upon one of the drakes.
  • The halfling draws a hand crossbow, steps between the two walking husks which were once living dogs, and fires at Galanthal, hitting him. The elf feels light-headed has he pulls the bolt from his flesh, and he realizes the tip was poisoned.
  • The halfling tries to hold back the dogs, but they ignore him and advance on Amarth.
  • The undead ogre near Douven Stahl turns and scrambles up the embankment. It is unable to navigate the steep grade, but the attempt causes part of the slope to collapse, burying Douven under piles of earth and rock.
  • The adventurers realize they must act quickly if they are to save Douven from suffocation.
  • Galanthal manages to free himself from the shadowy tendrils and fight off the effects of the poisoned bolt.
  • Nuriel holds forth the mace given to him by Amarth. A shiny crystalline sphere hurtles into the midst of the two rage drakes and shatters in to a myriad of tiny, brilliant shards. The drakes are struck by a shower of fragments, throwing them into a frenzy of pain and confusion.
  • The furious drakes advance upon the adventurers, but they move slowly due to their injuries.
  • Amarth calls forth eldritch power which hides him from the sight of the nearest undead dog.
  • Unable to see Amarth, the dog bites Gertrude instead. She feels the cold of death in her flesh as she pulls away from its jaws.
  • The undead ogre succeeds in climbing to the top of the embankment, takes up a position overlooking the battlefield, and beings hurling small boulders at the adventurers.
  • Galanthal, Nuriel and Sten realize that if Doven Stahl dies, they will lose one of their few sources of information about what is going in in Winterhaven.
  • Nuriel runs and leaps from the top edge of the excavation, lands solidly on his feet, and heads straight for Douven Stahl. One of the undead dogs snaps at him as he passes, but he escapes unscathed. The halfling also swipes at Nuriel with a sword as he runs by, giving the invoker a minor cut with no serious consequence.
  • Nuriel reaches out with arcane might, and attempts to shield Douven as best he can from the crushing, shifting debris.
  • Having helped Galanthal make short work of the men-at-arms, Sten joins the rescue effort. He shouts forth an arcane note so powerful that it shifts some of the rock and dirt aside.
  • Galanthal puts down the enemy halfling with his longbow.
  • The undead ogre, seeing Nuriel so near him at the bottom of the excavation, climbs back down the embankment and swings at the deva with a large oaken branch. It connects with a solid hit, and Nuriel goes down.
  • Galanthal takes out the robed figure with a few arrows to the eyes.
  • Sten sings a song of healing, soothing Nuriel’s battered body and bringing him back from the very brink of death.
  • Gertrude faces off against one of the rage drakes and one of the undead dogs, while Amarth tries to deal with the other drake.
  • Ignoring the fallen invoker, the undead ogre heads straight for Amarth. As he passes, a revived Nuriel strikes out with his mace. He hits the creature, but it continues its march towards the warlock.
  • Judging that Bahamut would rather he save Douven than exact vengeance upon the ogre zombie, Nuriel returns to his efforts to free the scholar. His attempts to clear away the rock and debris, however, are not fully successful.
  • Sten again uses the power of his song to help his mentor, and is able to uncover Douven’s hand.
  • Gertrude has slain the last dog, and turns to face the nearest rage drake. Amarth is caught between the other drake and the ogre zombie.
  • Galanthal rushes to the assistance of Amarth, and the undead ogre soon falls beneath his arrows.
  • Sten and Nuriel manage to finally free Douven’s face.
  • As Gertrude and Amarth battle the rage drakes, the corpse of the ogre stirs and then rises once more to blasphemous unlife.
  • Nuriel advances upon the foul beast, and assists Galanthal in finally putting the corrupt creature down for good.
  • The invoker determines that Douven Stahl still lives, but he cannot pull him from the debris pile. The scholar seems to be stuck.
  • Gertrude and Amarth finally succeed in slaying the rage drakes.
  • After a long and hard-fought battle, the companions are victorious.
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Episode 3-14: Desperately Seeking Drax
"They went that-a-way!"

Adventuring Party (Level 4)
-—————————————————
Nuriel: Deva Invoker of Bahamut
Galanthal: Elven Ranger/Cleric of Pelor
Amarth: Human Paladin/Fey-Pact Warlock
Sten: Gnome Bard
Gertrude: Goliath Battlemind

Photos of the session

  • Galanthal disappears while the rest of the group are deciding what to do next.
  • Amarth, Sten and Nexis choose to visit the manor-house in their attempt to find an artisan who can craft a holy symbol of Sehanine for Amarth.
  • Nuriel begins his investigation of life in Winterhaven by attempting to visit further with Sister Linora. While she is passionate about her charity work, she has no useful information to share about recent events.
  • Nuriel and Gertrude return to the Valthrun’s tower to talk with him regarding any rumors that have been circulating recently.
  • Valthrun tells them about the Wainwright kids, Jeanie and Joplin, who came running into town in the early morning hours recently. They had been scared half to death by something they had seen in the night near the ruins of the old keep. No one has yet been able to get the details out of them.
  • Nuriel and Gertrude learn that Jeanie and Joplin’s father, Buford Wainwright, has been a drunk since his wife passed away some time ago.
  • Galanthal rides out through the gates of the village and wanders amongst the farms east of Winterhaven.
  • He comes upon a farmer who is striving mightily to cut down a dead tree in his farmyard using a dull and rusty axe.
  • Galanthal promises the farmer that he will procure a new axe from the village, and then return to give it to the farmer, so he can more easily fell the tree.
  • Galanthal rides back to Winterhaven and purchases an axe from the blacksmith, after first waiting for him to emerge from a rather noisy interlude in the privy.
  • Returning to the gate, Galanthal encounters Nuriel and Gertrude, who have just finished their conversation with Valthrun.
  • The goliath and the deva agree to accompany Galanthal back to the farmstead with the new axe.
  • Upon arrival they see the farmer out in the pasture attempting to rope a calf.
  • Nuriel and Galanthal secure the calf for the farmer, while Gertrude cuts down the dead tree with two strokes of the new axe.
  • Overjoyed by such unexpected assistance, the farmer begins preparing lunch for the adventurers while Gertrude moves the dead tree over near the firewood pile.
  • After lunch, the trio returns to the village.
  • As they are approaching Winterhaven, they meet up with Sten, Amarth and Nexis, who have just finished investigating the graveyard.
  • The two groups bring each other up-to-date on their recent experiences and then proceed toward the gate.
  • They are met by members of the city guard, who have an urgent summons for Nexis from Prince Etheran.
  • Nexis takes leave of his companions and heads into the village with the guards.
  • The rest of the group confers about what should be their next course of action.
  • Nuriel studies the “Ritualia Draconis Chryonica” for clues as to the location of the tomb of the Drax Arcanus.
  • He learns that the Drax was once the consort of Bitterstrike, an old white dragon who holds sway over the Winterbole Forest to the north.
  • At some point, the Drax and Bitterstrike had a falling out, which is how he received the scar across one eye.
  • They group decides to go in search of Douven Stahl and the tomb of the Drax Arcanus.
  • Since the most recent information they have points to a location somewhere southwest of the village, they elect to circle around the east edge of the village, and then strike off to the southwest.
  • Upon reaching the west side, they encounter a toothless old man with one leg, sitting outside a hovel, who remembers a small group of men heading southwest away from the village a few days before. One of the men matches the description of Douven Stahl.
  • The party heads into the wilderness in pursuit of the missing scholar.
  • Galanthal quickly picks up the trail of three or four men. The trail is a couple of days old.
  • Following the trail through the woods, Galanthal suddenly loses it as a much more recent trail cuts across the track.
  • This new trail has been made by many feet moving from the southeast to the northwest.
  • Galanthal searches on the other side of the new trail, and is eventually able to pick up the original track, continuing southwest into the wooded hills.
  • At length, the party arrives at the edge of a bowl-shaped meadow where three hills come together.
  • Moving cautiously to where they can see down into the center of the meadow, the adventurers look upon the site of a fresh excavation.
  • A few men-at-arms loiter near the center of the dig. Not far from them, one robed figure is handing something to a second robed figure. The object they are exchanging glints gold in the afternoon sun. The first robed figure is flanked by a pair of dogs whose skins seems to be rotting off their bones.
  • The second robed figure vanishes as soon as he or she has taken the mysterious item into his or her possession.
  • A wary halfling stands watch at the edge of the excavation site, and the party can see two rage drakes on patrol.
  • A hulking creature with decaying flesh stands near the robed figure. At its feet huddles Douven Stahl.
  • The adventurers attempt to approach in two separate groups without being noticed, but Sten and Amarth step on a branches in the undergrowth.
  • The halfling watchman is immediately alert. The men-at-arms and the rage drakes begin shifting their positions.
  • The adventurers prepare for battle.
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Episode 3-12: Interlude in Winterhaven
"Where in the world is Douven Staul?"

Adventuring Party (Level 4)
-—————————————————
Nuriel: Deva Invoker of Bahamut
Galanthal: Elven Ranger/Cleric of Pelor
Amarth: Human Paladin/Fey-Pact Warlock
Sten: Gnome Bard
Gertrude: Goliath Battlemind
Nexis: Warforged Swordmage

Photos of the session

  • The adventurers seek out Wrafton’s Inn around midnight.
  • Nexus excuses himself to report to his superior.
  • The rest of the party retires to rooms at Wrafton’s.
  • In the morning, Nexis rejoins the group at breakfast, with word that his superior would like them to investigate unusual happenings north of Winterhaven.
  • Nexis also tells his companions that a sinister-looking group was seen traveling near Winterhaven from the southeast the day before.
  • While the group is eating, Salvana Wrafton approaches Sten and asks if he is working with Douven Staul.
  • When she learns that Sten has not seen Douven recently, she lets him know that she is worried about the scholar.
  • Two days ago, Douven was present in Wrafton’s when three shady-looking men approached and began to visit with him.
  • Douven became very animated during this conversation, and began talking excitedly about something called “Drax Arcanus.”
  • Sten knows that the Drax Arcanus was a legendary dragon of the Nentir Vale who had a great fascination with magic.
  • Long ago, when the Drax Arcanus died, he was buried with his most precious magical treasures. No one has ever found his tomb.
  • The adventurers contemplate whether they should first seek out Douven Staul, or investigate the unsettling events to the north.
  • They elect to run some errands in Winterhaven before deciding on a course of action.
  • First, they pay a visit to the dwarven smith and weapons merchant Thair Coalstriker, to obtain a greatbow for Galanthal.
  • While talking with the smith, Amarth asks where he might obtain a holy symbol sacred to Sehanine.
  • Thair tells him to ask Sister Linora, the priestess who tends to Winterhaven’s small temple.
  • The group leaves Thair, and stops to purchase a couple of items for Sten at “Bairwin’s Grand Shoppe.”
  • Next, they call upon the tower of the sage Valthrun, so Nuriel can ask him about the “Ritualia Draconis Chryonica.”
  • Nuriel learns the tome is part of a series of learned volumes containing knowledge and rituals related to various types of dragons. The “Chryonica” is dedicated to the white wyrms. Valthrun has heard of this book, but has never seen a copy.
  • Nuriel offers to let Valthrun copy the book. The sage is extremely eager to do so.
  • When the party learns, however, that it will take Valthrun a week to copy the book, they decide to return and let him do so at a later time.
  • They also ask Valthrun about Douven Staul and the Drax Arcanus.
  • Valthrun says he has seen Douven in Winterhaven recently, but not in the past couple of days.
  • He also tells the party that one of the possible locations of the tomb of the Drax Arcanus is rumored to be southwest of town.
  • The sage acknowledges that if Douven has discovered a clue to the whereabouts of the tomb, he will be fanatical about finding it.
  • Amarth asks Valthrun if he has a ritual to heal his wrenched back. Valthrun indicates he knows of such a ritual, but does not have access to it himself.
  • Nexis asks if Valthrun would be willing to sell any creation rituals, and the sage asks 175 gold each for “Enchant Magic Item” and “Transfer Enchantment.”
  • The adventurers leave the tower and go to the temple of Winterhaven.
  • The door to the temple stands open in welcome to all who would enter.
  • The temple contains altars for the veneration of several commonly-worshipped deities, including Bahamut, Avandra, and Sehanine.
  • The altars are unattended—no one is present in the temple.
  • Nuriel takes time to pray at the altar of Bahamut. He thanks the Platinum Dragon for the guidance he has already received, and asks for continued guidance in the future.
  • Amarth elects to seek out the priestess somewhere in Winterhaven.
  • The group makes their way to the thatched hovels clustered outside the walls of the town.
  • They ask several peasants if they have seen Sister Linora. The peasants point them to a small hut where the priestess is handing out a bundle of food to a poor family.
  • Amarth asks Sister Linora if she might have a holy symbol of Sehanine.
  • The priestess takes the group back to the temple and provides Amarth with a fairly crude wooden symbol she retrieves from a trunk in her sleeping chambers.
  • Amarth makes a small donation to the temple in exchange for the holy symbol.
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Episode 3-11: Kobolds Make Nasty Traps
Ouch!

Adventuring Party (Level 3)
-—————————————————
Nuriel: Deva Invoker of Bahamut
Galanthal: Elven Ranger/Cleric of Pelor
Amarth: Human Paladin/Fey-Pact Warlock
Sten: Gnome Bard
Gertrude: Goliath Battlemind
Nexis: Warforged Swordmage

Photos of the session

  • En route to Winterhaven, just as the sun is setting, the party is attacked by several kobolds who have have concealed themselves in the thick foliage along the side of the road.
  • Some of the kobolds are armed with shields and short swords, and some are armed with slings.
  • Other kobolds have positioned themselves among the boulders at the top of a cliff overlooking the road.
  • The kobold slingers attack, using a special shot containing glue that immobilizes their targets.
  • Gertrude teleports next to one of the slingers, who does his best to keep away from her during the rest of the fight.
  • One of the kobolds carries an enchanted shield that can be thrown as a weapon and then returns to the hand of the wielder.
  • The party hears a call in Draconic rise out of the trees, invoking the power of the Queen of Dragons.
  • A kobold priest, wearing a headdress in the form of a dragon skull, steps from the foliage where the call originated.
  • Like Gertrude, Nexis also teleports, and then turns invisible after closing with the kobold priest.
  • When Nexis again becomes visible, the priest breaths a cloud of chilling cold vapor upon the unsuspecting warforged.
  • The kobold with the enchanted shield shouts commands at the other warriors.
  • One of the sword-wielding kobolds and all of the slingers move to attack.
  • The kobold priest falls in battle.
  • Sten shouts to Nexis, prompting him to take advantage of an opening in the enemy lines.
  • As Nexis advances along the road at the base of the cliff, he hears a rumble from above.
  • A large boulder, pushed from the edge of the cliff, drops into the trees and bounces towards Nexis, flattening one of the slingers in the process.
  • The boulder only clips Nexis on the shoulder. He takes a few steps forward, and is hit squarely by a second boulder that has also been pushed from the edge of the cliff.
  • Recovering his balance, the warforged pushes ahead, only to find that the roadway collapses beneath him.
  • Nexis drops 20 feet into a pit filled with poisoned spikes and blacks out.
  • Sten advances to the edge of the pit, speaking powerful words of encouragement.
  • Nexis returns to himself, and crawls a few feet through the spikes to a place directly below where Sten is standing.
  • The rest of the party deals with the remaining kobolds up top.
  • Gertrude wants to scale the nearest cliff, but discovers it is too sheer.
  • Calling for help, Nexis rises to his feet and begins pulling up stakes at the bottom of the pit.
  • He asks Sten for a rope, and the gnome drops the entire coil down to him.
  • Nexis takes one end and throws it back up to Sten, who says he cannot haul the warforged out of the pit.
  • Nexis suggests he find the “big one.”
  • Gertrude arrives and easily lifts Nexis up to ground-level, as he does his best to help with his feet braced on the side of the pit.
  • Upon searching the body of the kobold priest, Nuriel finds that he was carrying a leather-bound book entitled Ritualia Draconis Chryonica: Volume One. The title can be translated from the Draconic as “Rituals of the Ice Wyrms.”
  • Realizing that there could be additional traps in the road, the party searches the area. Gertrude rolls a boulder around the road until it falls through the camouflaged covering of a second pit. Galanthal, with his keen sight, is convinced there are no more traps.
  • The adventurers place rough log walkways over both pits to prevent unsuspecting travelers from falling in.
  • The party commences their journey to Winterhaven, arriving at the gates near midnight.
  • The guards recognize Nexis, and let the party pass within the relatively safe confines of the village walls.
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Episode 3-10: Pursuit Into the Gardbury Downs
"Grant me swift feet, for my enemies grow wings."

Adventuring Party (Level 3)
-—————————————————
Nuriel: Deva Invoker of Bahamut
Galanthal: Elven Ranger/Cleric of Pelor
Amarth: Human Paladin/Fey-Pact Warlock
Sten: Gnome Bard
Gertrude: Goliath Battlemind
Nexis: Warforged Swordmage

Photos of the session

  • The party chooses to move away from the burning, collapsing building while they investigate the locked chest.
  • Nexis sees the burning building from the King’s Road.
  • He enters the Clive family farmstead, passing the heads impaled near the front gate.
  • Nexis approaches the party.
  • The adventurers see that Nexis wears an exotic mark on his forehead.
  • Nexis addresses the party, asking for an explanation of apparent events.
  • The party convinces Nexis that they are not responsible for the death of the Clive family.
  • While the conversation is occurring, Galanthal rides out to the road to see which direction Nexis came from. Determining that he came from the west, the ranger returns to the party.
  • The adventurers explain that they have been battling zombies and hobgoblins disguised as zombies.
  • Nexis tells them that he too is on a mission to combat these evil creatures.
  • Galanthal asks where Nexis comes from, and he explains he came from Winterhaven, to the west.
  • He asks if he can join the party, and they agree.
  • Galanthal tells the adventurers that a small group of three or four of their enemies left the main group at the Clive family farmstead and continued on down the King’s Road.
  • Sten suggests that Gertrude don the cloak the party took off the hobgoblin commander, and she complies.
  • The party begins to dig graves for the remainder of the Clive family, while Sten turns his attention to the chest.
  • He realizes the chest might be trapped.
  • Since the hobgoblins have already demonstrated the ability to use fire traps, the resulting explosion might damage the contents of the chest and cause injury.
  • Sten examines the chest, and understands that any trap inside the chest cannot be disarmed as long as the chest is locked.
  • Looking at the lock, he realizes there is no keyhole and it cannot be picked. Rather, it is a puzzle lock that must be opened by solving the puzzle.
  • Sten determines the mechanism behind the puzzle, opens the lock, finds the trap and disarms it.
  • When he opens the chest, he finds the flask of alchemist’s fire which powered the trap, as well as the head of Leticia Clive.
  • Maniacal laughter emanates from the air around the adventurers.
  • Sten realizes that the entire episode at the Clive Family residence was intended to delay any pursuers, while a few remaining commandos made their escape down the King’s Road.
  • The adventurers finish burying the remains of the Clives, with the exception of the charred bodies that still smoke within the ruins of the farmhouse and it’s front porch.
  • Nuriel says a few words over the deceased.
  • Nexis takes possession of the flask of Alchemist’s fire.
  • Nuriel examines the helmet the party has recoverd, identifying it as the Helm of Alain the Just.
  • He places it upon his head.
  • The party begins its pursuit of the remaining commandos.
  • They track the group of three hobgoblins to a flat-topped hill in the Gardbury Downs.
  • Ascending carefully to the summit, they find tracks leading to the middle of the small plateau, where they discover a large number of additional tracks.
  • The tracks on the hilltop belong to the hobgoblins, as well as to more than one large, three-toed beast (which apparently did not come up the side of the hill, and did not go down when they left.)
  • Sten identifies the tracks as belonging to the skinwing behemoth.
  • Hobgoblins are master beast trainers, and the flying skinwings often serve as war mounts and transportation.
  • Sten concludes that the hilltop was the ariel extraction point for the hobgoblin commandos.
  • When the party assesses the situation, Nexis explains that he now has enough information to report back to his lord, who is staying in Winterhaven.
  • As the party was headed in that direction anyway, they agree to accompany him.
  • It is early evening, and the group determines that they can make it to Winterhaven before sleeping that night.
  • They press on down the King’s Road.
  • As they approach Winterhaven, the road passess between two large rock outcroppings with boulders scatters across the top.
  • Galanthal notices movement among the boulders, and senses that the party is being watched from the foliage that grows near the road.
  • He calls on the party and rest, and then quietly informs his companions that they are being watched.
  • Nuriel enters the trees near the road, and surprises a kobold hiding in the undergrowth.
  • The kobold springs up, short sword and shield in hand.
  • The adventurers surge into battle.
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Episode 3-9: Conflagration
The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire...

Adventuring Party (Level 3)
-—————————————————
Nuriel: Deva Invoker of Bahamut
Galanthal: Elven Ranger/Cleric of Pelor
Amarth: Human Paladin/Fey-Pact Warlock
Sten: Gnome Bard
Gertrude: Goliath Battlemind
Nexis: Warforged Swordmage

  • Gertrude searches the body of the hobgoblin commander, and finds his helmet and cloak.
  • Sten and Amarth examine both items.
  • Sten recognizes the cloak as a cloak of resistance, which will help the wearer resist all type of injury, but neither he or Amarth can identify the helmet. It is plated in silver, with a gold-plated visor. The visor features elegant filagree.
  • Gertrude cuts off head of commander, impales on his spear and plants it in the ground.
  • Nuriel begins to dig grave for Clive family.
  • Gertrude attempts to impale the head of the second hobgoblin on its flail, without much success.
  • Sten contemplates why hobgoblins would be disguised as zombies.
  • Gertrude goes upstairs and investigates the second bedroom—she finds three beds, as well as backpacks filled with items suitable for traveling across country.
  • Sten enters the second bedroom as well, determines that the room contains no gold or books, and leaves.
  • Gertrude proposes checking out the attic.
  • Gertrude pushes open the trap door to the attic. Very dim light, as if from sunlight coming in through a distant window, fails to illuminate much that is in the attic. A musty smell emanates from the trap door.
  • Gertrude places Sten upon her shoulders, and begins climbing into the attic.
  • As Sten’s head and shoulders clear the edge of the trap door, he can see that the attic is filled with stacks of personal items—old clothes, boxes, packages, fabric. A narrow pathway runs the length of the house, and a shorter one the width. Otherwise, the attic is completely filled with odds-and-ends.
  • Sten steps into the pathway. At the near end is a pile of old clothes. At the far end, sunlight just barely penetrates a large, dusty, octagonal window. Seated cross-legged on an old trunk in front of the window, with its elbows on its knees and its head bowed, is a wizened and desiccated corpse dressed in fine clothing.
  • Sten doesn’t know whether or not the corpse is undead, but he knows from his studies that if it is, it is probably a more intelligent and deadly adversary than the zombies they have fought so far.
  • Gertrude pushes past Sten into the pathway. When she sees the corpse, she yells down to the others, telling them what she and Sten have found. She then steps forward to approach the corpse.
  • Gertrude’s foot catches on a wire stretched across the pathway at ankle-height. There is a sharp “snick,” and a fiery explosion bursts out of the stack of material to one side. Gertrude manages to avoid most of the blast, but the odds-and-ends behind her are caught in the explosion, and erupt into flames. The area immediately around the fire fills with smoke.
  • The corpse on the trunk stirs, raises its head, and says “Why have you disturbed our rest? Have you come to die?” Gertrude answers “Who’s us? How many of you are there?” The corpse responds “Why do you think there needs to be more than just me?” It raises its hands, and orange lightening leaps out at Gertrude.
  • The mass of clothes at the end of the pathway bursts apart as a sickly gray creature with dirty blond hair rises from concealment within the pile. It is dressed in the leather armor of the Fallcrest watch, wields a dagger. It has large teeth in its slavering mouth and a ravenous look in its dead eyes.
  • Sten recognizes this creature as a type of ghoul—what the relevant authorities refer to as a “ghoul fleshseeker.” The monster steps forward and strikes at Sten with the sharp claws of one hand.
  • A sound from the short pathway running the width of the attic causes Gertrude to look to her left. A second ghoul explodes out of the boxes and packages, steps into the path, and closes with her. It claws at Gertrude, and she feels a cold paralysis creep through her muscles.
  • Sten vanishes from sight. Safely invisible, he pulls out his waterskin, opens it, and dumps the contents on the raging fire, somewhat dampening the flames. The gnome then drops to the ground to avoid the smoke, and yells down the trap door “We need more water up here!”
  • Amarth follows Gertrude up the ladder and joins the fray by moving to confront the ghoul threatening Sten.
  • Gertrude drops her waterskin to Sten, holds her breath to avoid the smoke, and tries to fight off the effects of the paralysis.
  • Nuriel proceeds up the ladder after Amarth, almost stepping on Sten, whom he cannot see. He uses his waterskin to further douse the flames. He yells down to Galanthal “Bring more water!”
  • Nuriel recognizes the ghoul fleshseekers. These creatures are devoted to Orcus, and will often attempt to sacrifice their enemies to the Prince of Undeath in the very midst of battle.
  • Galanthal heads downstairs to find the well.
  • The corpse again strikes Gertrude with orange lightening.
  • Nuriel also vanishes from sight, then moves to interpose himself between the corpse and Gertrude. He recognizes the chest in front of the corpse as the same chest which held the golden skull.
  • Both ghouls claw at Amarth and Gertrude, and then conceal themselves in the smoke of the fire.
  • Sten uses Gertrude’s waterskin to further reduce the flames. The fire is almost out.
  • Galanthal draws water from the well and heads back upstairs.
  • Gertrude bashes a hole in the roof with her shield. This clears the smoke from her immediate area, but also causes the fire to flare up and spread. Sten and Gertrude both find themselves in the midst of the flames. The smoke also advances, threatening both Nuriel and Amarth.
  • The corpse sounds a horrific roar. The hideous, supernatural aspect of its hateful visage forces Gertrude back a few feet, but Nuriel stands firm.
  • Nuriel attempts to hold his breath, to protect himself from the smoke, but he is running out of air fast.
  • Escaping the fire with only minor burns, Sten moves quickly to make his way down the ladder. When he reaches the bottom, he realizes that both bedrooms on the second floor are also on fire. He yells up the stairs “We’ve got to get out of here. The whole house is going up!”
  • Galanthal arrives at the top of the stairs carrying a bucket. He holds it out, telling Sten “Here’s the water you wanted.” Sten informs him “It’ won’t be enough…”
  • Galanthal turns, heads downstairs, mounts his horse, and begins to ride away.
  • Amarth also makes his way down the ladder and heads for the first floor.
  • As Gertrude, still caught in the flames, attempts to charge the ghoul at the far end of the pathway, she feels the claws of the other ghoul rake her shoulder. Her muscles begin to sieze up again, but she gathers all her strength to shake off the paralysis.
  • The fire spreads further, encompassing Nuriel in flames. He turns full on the malicious corpse, lashing out at his enemy with the thunder of divine judgement. The creature is hurled backward through the window, striking the ground outside with a heavy thud.
  • In addition to the burns Nuriel is suffering, he is beginning to suffocate in the smoke.
  • The ghoul at the far end of the pathway succumbs to the flames.
  • Sten and Amarth move to converge on where the corpse fell.
  • Hearing the sound of the breaking window, Galanthal turns back toward the house, heading in the same direction as the other two.
  • Gertrude strikes with her kopesh—once and then twice—deep into the body of the remaining ghoul. Her weapon and her enemy are wreathed in electricity. The ghoul falls to the floor, a burned husk.
  • Outside, the corpse rises to its feet and lashes out at Amarth with orange lightening.
  • Nuriel calls upon the favor of Bahamut. A brilliant light fills the pathway, bathing Nuriel and Gertrude in its protective glow.
  • Seeing the corpse rise, Galanthal lets two shafts fly, one after the other. Both strike the creature in the chest. It is thrown backwards to the ground and lies still.
  • Nuriel, still in the midst of the fire, seizes the chest and hurls it to Gertrude.
  • Amarth approaches the unmoving corpse, and sinks his rapier into its body. It doesn’t move.
  • Gertrude rushes full at Nuriel with the chest in her hands, pushing him backwards toward the window.
  • The flames continue to spread. By now the whole house is nearly engulfed.
  • Nuriel drops to the floor to avoid the smoke.
  • Galanthal beseeches Pelor to succor Nuriel with his healing word.
  • Gertrude shoves Nuriel out the window, looks down to note where he has fallen, and then leaps to avoid his prone figure. Chest clasped in both hands, Gertrude performs a somersault in midair, and lands solidly on her feet as the house becomes a roaring inferno behind her.
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Episode 3-8: All Is Not As It Seems
What if the undead were the BEST option?

Adventuring Party (Level 3)
-—————————————————
Nuriel: Deva Invoker of Bahamut
Galanthal: Elven Ranger/Cleric of Pelor
Amarth: Human Paladin/Fey-Pact Warlock
Sten: Gnome Bard
Gertrude: Goliath Battlemind

  • Galanthal returns unexpectedly, mounted on his warhorse. He has been scouting the road ahead.
  • He has learned that a large band, which the adventurers have been following, entered the farmstead from the King’s Road, but a smaller group later rejoined the same road about a mile further down.
  • Galanthal knows that this enclave of farmsteads, located in the midst of the wilderness between Fallcrest and Winterhaven, is a religious community of devout Pelorians founded by the fervent layman Brandon Clive.
  • The farmstead to which the adventurers pursued the traveling contingent is the home of Brandon Clive and his family.
  • The heads on the spikes at the gate of the farmstead belong to Brandon Clive and his teenage daughter Linny Clive.
  • Entering the farmstead, Galanthal rides up to greet Nuriel, Sten and Amarth, who are standing on the porch.
  • Galanthal is able to identify the headless bodies tied to the columns of the porch as those of Brandon and Linny.
  • The remaining three bodies belong to Brandon’s younger daughter and his two young sons. There is no sign of his wife Leticia.
  • Gertrude and Sten investigate the kitchen and the dining room.
  • From the doorway, Gertrude sees two dogs laying on the floor of the dining room.
  • Sten approaches one of the dogs, in an attempt to feed it and thus determine whether or not it is a threat.
  • The dog turns it’s dead and mutilated gaze upon Sten, lunging at him.
  • Sten recognizes the dogs as what certain tomes refer to as “gravehounds”—the undead remains of once living hounds
  • The group engages the gravehounds and dispatch them quickly.
  • Gertrude investigates the family china. She determines that it would probably be worth a few gold coins, but the group would have to haul it all the way back to Fallcrest without breaking it.
  • The party elects to proceed to the second story.
  • On the landing at the top of the stairs, they find the headless body of an adult woman in a dress and apron.
  • At the top of the stairs, Galanthal hears the faint sound of several bodies shifting position somewhere beyond the door to the upper floor.
  • Gertrude moves through the door, edging carefully down the hallway. She opens the first door on the right.
  • The open door reveals the master bedroom. A figure in a black cloak and helmet is on its knees on the bed, with its back to Gertrude. A spear lays next to it on the bed. When the creature turns, Gertrude sees that the creature is wearing scale mail beneath its cloak. The face below the helm is covered in decaying flesh.
  • The creature grabs its spear and stabs at Gertude.
  • At the same time, the door at the end of the hall opens, and several more rotting zombies enter the hall. They are also clad in scale mail. They carry spears, javelins and flails.
  • Nuriel senses something is not quite right about these zombies—they move like living creatures, not like the walking dead.
  • Sten recognizes that their adversaries are really hobgoblins—creatures of living flesh and blood—which have been disguised to appear as zombies.
  • The creature on the bed rises, wraps himself in the black cloak trimmed in scarlet, and begins shouting orders to the rest of his commando unit.
  • The party makes short work of the hobgoblins. At the last moment, the commander, who is gravely wounded, attempts to escape out the window and across the roof of the porch. As he desperately attempts to shimmy down one of the columns to the ground, however, he slips and falls, breaking his neck.
  • The last surviving hobgoblin follows his commander out the window. He makes it to the ground successfully, but as he is running for the gate, Gertrude knocks him off-balance a well-timed leap from the roof of the porch.
  • Amarth finishes the fleeing hobgoblin with eldritch flames from the atop the roof.
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