Under The Sun

Underground Complex

The Beer Train slows to a halt as it hits the end of the main track. Clay says the terrible device is ahead. The dwarves establish camp and a defensive position while the heroes move into the mine shafts.

Borodin retrieves his Everburning Torch and scouts the area. Through a thin passage they find a clearing of man-made stonework. Borodin sniffs dead flesh under grating near a set of double doors; the party wisely avoids the grating and makes through the portal.

The next room glows blue with the power of the ley lines. Grating covers much of the floor in this large chamber. Large pipes and conduits span from ceiling to floor. A trio of strange creatures – Grells and Gricks, tentacled and beaked aberrant creatures – tend to the valves and gauges on the machinery. The Grell communicates with them telepathically, in soothing but plain common. “We did not expect you. Why are you here?”. A booming telepathic voice gives operational commands to the creatures – the device will be ready in only two hours.

Borodin recognizes some of the machinery from a wild, dismissed tale of what happened to Nerath. The Grell reads Borodin’s though process and asked “How do you know of the plans of our grandmaster? Our new master will fulfill the mission where we failed before”. The Grell admits his master’s name is Tolvul, and offers the heroes to join in the proceedings through the southern door.

Tolvul, the name is familiar. Similar to the name used by the Mind Flayer Bard in the Earth Temple…

In that door is a grisly scene – behind a large cage, a Foulspawn Grue is impregnating human thralls with their alien grubs. The worms bore through their brains and corrupt them into service. The Grue intends to subdue the heroes and add them to his hatchery, but the heroes have no such plans. Donaar jumps in with Dragon Breath, crisping nearly all of the thralls. Borodin and Return corner the Grue and work him with their blades. During the combat, the foulspawn grubs try to bore into the heroes and weaken their wills. Out of the rubble in one corner of the room an enormous Carrion Crawler smells the dead thralls. He rushes into the action and catches Donaar with his paralyzing tentacles. Donaar shakes it off and fights the crawler, standing toe to toe with it and putting it down. The Grue fights with terrible psychic screams but the heroes work together to slay him.

Borodin is not happy that the Grell misled them. They rush back to its room, and Borodin lays into it with his longsword. The Grell and a Grick sweep in to attack. Borodin and Return quickly flank the Grell and Donaar Divine Challenges it while knocking it back. The tough Grell is unfazed – he wraps the terrible tentacles around Donaar and delivers a near-lethal bite. The Grick, a natural flanker, steps in behind Donaar and lashes out with razor-adorned tentacles. Things do not look good for the dragonborn…

But, in walks Sweetlick! Having completed his Cure Hangover ritual, he joins the combat by healing Donaar and nuking the Grick. Donaar tries to break free but doesn’t quite have the strength; however, Borodin taps the magic of his crown. Donaar roars and becomes a blur of scale and steel. He breaks free with the Grell’s tentacles sizzling. He brings his mighty sword down on the Grell and delivers a massive, life-ending crit! Then Donaar swings around, challenges the Grick, and draws blood with another huge crit!

The tide of combat has turned. The heroes finish the disgusting Grick with a series of expert blows. The pace and smell of combat turns Borodin’s stomach; he leans over the floor grating and vomits:

Haha, are you attacking the doomsday device? Roll improvised ranged attack. CRIT! You hear a “wooo woo wooooooo” sound as the delicate machine powers down.

The telepathic voice of Tolvul echoes through the complex. Someone, something, has compromised his mission…

  • 800 xp each
  • No treasure found this session
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The Beer Train

Sweetlick, Antek, Borodin, and Return rest in the Banshee Queen’s chamber. The haunted sensation has left the Sword Barrows (for now at least). Aftershocks interrupt their sleep. Above ground the landscape startles: the ley lines are now clearly visible 20’ shimmering blue “walls”.

The heroes ride quickly to Hammerfast. Guards have barred the gate. “Hammerfast is shut down! No one in, no one out. King’s orders!”. Borodin asks why. Guard: “The damn blue lines! I don’t know what those elves are up to but we want no part of it!”. Borodin name-drops Vanguard Craghammer and Antek shows off the Gavel of Pure Light. This convinces the guards to fetch Vanguard, who is quickly convinced that our heroes can help.

After a debriefing between parties involved, they hatch the plan to barrel into the mines to find Geomancer Clay. Vanguard preps the mine cart … which turns out to be no ordinary mine cart. It is a train car powered by beer. Only the wondrous magic and engineering of the Dwarves could have dreamed up such a thing. The party climbs aboard and the dwarves get to drinking. The Beer Train takes off!

Not far into the mine tunnels, twisted cultists hop onto the roof. The heroes swing up through the car windows to face them head on! All the while, stalactites rush by causing the combat to shift frequently.

Stalactites: Level 7 Hazard
Two stalactites appear each round. Roll 1d4 to determine their random position (the mine cart is 4 squares wide). They both have initiative zero. On their turn they slam into any opponent on their row and jump to a new position.
Slam: Auto hit. 2d6 damage, pushed 2 squares and knocked prone.

Sweetlick casts Daunting Light but misses by 1. Borodin activates his Crown/Sword set bonus and Sweetlick receives a vision from Avandra…

Avandra materializes before Sweetlick’s eyes as a spinning gold coin. As the coin stops spinning, time itself stops. Avandra steps out of the coin’s relief and glows. She speaks: “What the hell are you doing? Stop missing! It’s all in the wrist. Let me show you… in fact, begin your training…. now!”

Cutscene: Training Montage!

Sweetlick, thusly empowered, strikes his target! The other heroes rush to the roof and the melee begins. Borodin attempts to bull rush an Abyssal Marauder but she stands her ground and retaliates with her spear. Return singles out a Doom Flayer and lays down the Raven Queen’s vengeance. Antek takes on the Berzerker Prelate so that Sweetlick is free to maneuver. The Prelate, focus on Antek, ignores the stalactite that smashes him and sends him flying. The Shrieking Cultists lashes out with psychic terror and the others fly into battle rages, but the heroes apply their combat prowess to down the foes.

While catching their breath another figure hops on the train car: Geomancer Clay! He greets Craghammer and relieves one drunk dwarf from the Beer Engine.

But, cultists have followed Clay. Another Marauder and Prelate jump on the train and shriek “You defeated our friends, but you are no match for our captain!” Borodin, nonplussed, bull rushes that Marauder right off the train and under the wheels (crunch!). Return quips “He’s not the first person to get run over by the Beer Train!” With a thunderous echo, the captain and a fresh Marauder land on the roof.

Captain Ivan Drago! (yes, the Russian from Rocky IV and from the montage cutscene)

Sweetlick rushes in to uppercut drago but his fist stops cold on Drago’s abs. Drago looks down, dismissively, before counter-punching Sweetlick! The heroes mobilize again on the roof while Borodin handles the Prelate in the cart. Borodin bull rushes the Prelate, who puts up a fight but is finally knocked down to the tracks. Amazingly, the Prelate (now bloodied) grabs the back bumper of the train car and stays in the fight. Meanwhile the others quickly surround Drago and get to work. Antek has Drago marked and is able to absorb some of his left jabs and right hooks. Borodin reaches the roof and activates Rock and a Hard Place. Return declares Drago his Oath of Emnity and Sweetlick continues to find Avandra’s favor.

Suddenly the train car banks hard right! The heroes slide along the roof and the Marauder falls off the side; her claws pierce the metal roof and keep her from hitting the ground. Borodin flies in and slices her fingers off: she tumbles into the darkness. Drago continues to deal out punishment and ignores the stalactites, which shatter against his back and barely phase him. The Prelate climbs up the back of the train and barrages Sweetlick with his Greatclub; Sweetlick is nearly knocked off twice but Antek is there to save him. Drago takes blow after blow and is finally crushed. His heavy body falls through the roof and lands on the Beer Train floor.

The cultists have magic implements and jewelry that can be pawned. Drago wears a magic belt (oversized championship belt) which Sweetlick claims victoriously. Note: the powers of the belt work whether worn on the waist or draped over the shoulder.


Crunch:

Encounter 1: Skill Challenge (gain entry to Hammerfast)
  • 300 xp each
Encounter 2: Cultist Fight
  • 4 creatures, 1 hazard
  • 375 xp each
Encounter 3: Drago
  • 2 regular creatures, 1 elite, 1 hazard
  • 450 xp each
Treasure:
  • Sweetlick gets a magic belt, level appropriate (8-11)
  • Each hero gains 100gp (consisting of precious metals/gems in the cultist implements)
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Banshee Queen

The lineup: Borodin, Donaar, Antek, Sweetlick, Otto, Return.

The heroes take a short rest. They hope that Sweetlick’s Undead Ward holds up long enough to figure out a way past the maze. The door forward only portals them to the maze entrance (and vice versa).

Sweetlick and Borodin consult with the wights. They reveal that they are eternally bound to protect their queen, but if the heroes slay her they will be freed. The ghosts reveal that the way forward is in the “safe square”, a riddle known only to the ancients. Borodin recalls a bit of trivia which leads him to the secret entrance. A false rock, a lever pull, and the heroes see the way forward.

The next pillared chamber has not seen life for many hundreds of years. The tomb of the banshee queen Cailleach. On the tomb is the golden glowing Gavel of Pure Law. Antek is brave enough to pick it up; his entire arm glows golden and he instantly recalls every transgression: every lie, every broken promise, every law broken. He puts the gavel back down, but the Banshee Queen has already stirred. When he picks the gavel back up, she emerges! Her face beautiful, but her body is twisted and corrupt. Eyes, mouths, tentacles, and spikes cover her translucent undead image. The insane woman believes Borodin to be her Bodach (he wears his old crown) and flies into a rage.

She moves with supernatural speed; her Eye Bite corrupts anyone who even gets close to her. She opens with a flurry of attacks that nearly bring both Antek and Borodin to their knees. Donaar swings around a pillar and issues a Divine Challenge against her—taking heat off of the front line long enough for Sweetlick to drop his Beacon of Hope. Cailleach’s banshee wail tears at the mind of the heroes before she focuses her attack on Donaar. Otto charges in, keeping her flanked and moving her closer to the stunned Donaar. Return shakes off a stun and lays vengeance upon his target of emnity. Borodin gives turn to Sweetlick’s divine barrage. She assails and blood kisses Donaar who is knocked out, but Sweetlick sacrifices his own strength to revive him. Antek strikes her with enough force to knock her to the ground. The Banshee makes her final barrage against Antek, but Borodin has her between a rock and a hard place; his longsword jabs ends what semblance of life she had.

Her burial chamber is loaded down with treasure. One item in particular is a mystery—it seems to be a mind flayer charm that was used long ago to enslave the gith. She was obviously using in her preparations for lich-hood but it seems the aberrant force corrupted her.

Quotes from Cailleach:
  • “Bodach, you have returned for me. Come closer … and never depart from me again!”
  • “(laughs) You cannot slay me with my own sword!”
  • “What? ... who … how dare you wear that crown in my presence!”
  • “Lay down your weapons. I will eat your souls and end your torment!”
  • “I will open one of my six mouths and sing the song that ends the earth!”
Results/Rewards:
  • Banshee Queen slain (reflavored Bloodkiss Beholder)
  • Everyone is now level 7, with 10,000 xp total
  • Everyone has earned 2000 total gold
  • Everyone gets a level 6-10 magic item of their choice (Borodin already got the Crown). Note you can use this instead to upgrade an existing +1 item to +2.
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Writing on the Wall

As the heroes rest, Borodin takes time to study the many markings, statues, reliefs, and inscriptions that line the halls of the dead. From the clues he pieces together this story.

This tribe migrated into Nentir Vale from north of Winterbole, probably 1000 years ago. The harsh winters and wild monsters killed off most of the tribe, and infighting nearly finished the rest. While in Nentir their young leaders were Cailleach, daughter of the dead chieftain, and Bodach, her lover. Cailleach wielded the sword of her father and was both leader and judge of her tribe; Bodach wore a philosopher’s crown and advised with solemn wisdom.

The timelines show that Bodach gathered the tribe to move further south, but Cailleach refused. The tribespeople feared Cailleach but believed in Bodach’s wisdom. She banished Bodach from their tribe and he planned to take most of the tribe with him. Cailleach and Bodach fought, and Cailleach died. The tribal mobs paraded her body around their camp, glad to be rid of their tyrant.

Another set of etchings were apparently done by Cailleach herself; her account is chilling. She would not rest in death. She rose as a powerful banshee, seething with hatred for her people and her lover. At first she only haunted, but eventually she murdered the defectors of her tribe. She drug Bodach, kicking and screaming, down into the barrows, threw him into the funeral pit (crown and all), and burned him alive.

Her hauntings and killings drove the tribe away. Cailleach beckoned to the gravesite cultists who could raise her, restore her beauty, and grant her lich powers. Some time ago, the K-Team used a Gavel of True Law to bind her spirit to her tomb. That gavel merely rests on top of the tomb. Removing the gavel would give her spirit time to awaken and terrorize Nentir.

Her vicious longsword Alleya and his Crown of the Counselor to Lords are both now wielded by Borodin. Together they seek to restore honor to the tribe through heroic deeds.

  • Encounter power. No action, immediate interrupt. Add +1 to any d20 already rolled by you or an ally.
  • Only 5 charges. After that, the sword and crown feel that the tribe has been redeemed.
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Sword Barrows

The party exits the Winterbole Forest with their prize, anxious to return it to their patron Kuulain, when the first tremors strike. They find the old druid at the edge of the forest, gazing intently at the landscape of the Nentir Vale. He notes several aberrant phenomena which have manifested in the vale recently, including the earthquake and strange avian migratory patterns. At his prompting, an unusually perceptive Sweetlick notices the major ley line of the Nentir Vale above ground.

Kuulain reveals that he was once part of a crack commando unit sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Nentir Vale underground. Still wanted by the government, they survived as soldiers of fortune. Nerath had a problem, no one else could help, so the kingdom hired the K-Team to find and neutralize a powerful artifact used by attacking orcs to corrupt the landscape around the city with twisted energies from a far realm beyond the known planes. Although Kuulain and his comrades were successful in destroying the artifact, the corruption had spread for a hundred miles in every direction and could not be repaired.

Kuulain cites the difficulty in repeating the feat; the K-Team had stolen a spire pregnant with the essence of law from a palace in another plane in order to destroy the chaotic artifact. Such a feat will be difficult now, as the party has no access to planar travel. He notes, however, that an artifact imbued with law exists in the Sword Barrows: a gavel used to seal a vicious lich. Taking the gavel would release her, but the possibility that she may be defeated later is more appealing to the party than the complete destruction of the vale, so they set off toward the Sword Barrows in search of this artifact.

The Sword Barrows themselves are a chilling place, shrouded in mist and filled with crumbling grave monuments and tombs. Sweetlick, Return, Borodin, and Alleya arrive at the entrance to one grave complex and dither over whether or not to advance while a wraith approaches within the mist. As it nears, the wraith commands Chillborn Zombies and Burning Skeletons in its thrall to attack the party.

Return and Sweetlick assault the first Chillborn Zombie to shamble close enough. Alleya marks it and immediately charges off to tie up another Chillborn Zombie and a Burning skeleton by herself, keeping them away from her allies. Borodin attempts to support Return but is flanked by the Seething Wraith. The Wraith attacks his mind and forces him to attack Sweetlick. Return races around the Wraith and deals it a crippling blow. Sweetlick channels Avandra’s grace to heal Return and kill the wraith as Borodin runs off to heal Alleya. As the Seething Wraith falls, the original Chillborn Zombie, now heavily battered, retreats to acquire the support of a Burning Skeleton. Return follows, moving inexorably toward the gate to the cemetery.

Borodin follows, but cannot come to grips with the enemy. Sweetlick incites the warlord’s wrath, and he throws his sword at the Chillborn Zombie, killing it. The Zombie explodes, catching a Burning Skeleton in its blast zone and gravely wounding it. Alleya marks the nearest Zombie and teleports away, forcing her enemy to either follow her or accept the consequences. The Chillborn Zombie and the Burning Skeleton, her former foes, instead engage Borodin and Return. Borodin (using his javelin now), Return, and Sweetlick force back the assault. Return is immobilized, but Borodin advances smartly, retrieves his sword, and slashes at a Zombie in one smooth movement. The Skeleton damaged by its ally’s untimely explosion rushes to engage the isolated Alleya at range. Unfortunately for it, Alleya drags it into melee range far from its own allies. Rearmed, Borodin rushes to Return’s side as Sweetlick tries to remobilize the avenger. The Zombie advances again, but Alleya’s magic ablates its damage, teleports it to her side, and rips into it with her sword. As Return and Borodin lock down one Burning Skeleton, Alleya and Sweetlick wear down the other. Sweetlick downs the Skeleton near Alleya, and she shortly after finishes the last Zombie, avoiding its explosion as she races to assist her comrades. Borodin launches an encirclement maneuver around the last Skeleton. Immobilization does not prevent Return from teleporting to his side and ripping into the last enemy. Alleya arrives and, directed by her brother, fells the final foe.

After a brief rest, the team locates an entrance into the tomb they were sent to investigate. Return scouts the way, finding the path forward clear of traps. The party enters a large room watched over by several statues, two of archers and one of a warrior woman. Sweetlick catches a glimpse of what can only be a magic trinket deep in a flooded shaft, one he identifies as being filled with angry bones. Borodin resolves to secure it, and the group hatches a plan. They prize up a flagstone as a weight to carry the warlord downward. Borodin then strips off his heavy equipment and most of his clothing, borrowing a dagger from Sweetlick as a tool and offensive weapon (should either be required). After the eladrin is secured with ropes held by his allies, he grasps the flagstone and plunges in. After a swift descent, the swimmer retrieves a crown from its resting place and proceeds upward. Alleya, Return, and Sweetlick all pull together to raise their companion out of the water.

After a brief interlude for drying and dressing, the party resumes its recce of the tomb. They examine the only door out of the entryway, finding it sealed with druidic runes and displaying a message that they must use the knowledge of the ancients to find a way through. Upon unsealing the door, the party finds itself in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. Again, Return scouts ahead, this time with dire results. At a junction in the passages, he is flanked by two colorful wights. He takes a hit and is immobilized, but manages to damage his attacker and teleport away as Alleya and Sweetlick move in to defend him. Borodin rushes to find a passage that will let him attack the enemy flank. More wights appear, and Alleya gives chase as Borodin stumbles across an ancient coint that weakens the wights. Alleya and Sweetlick immediately dispose of two wights, and the party manages to confine them all in the center of the maze as they collect the treasures littering its floors.

Rewards:
  • 800 xp each (cumulative total = 9,360xp ea)
  • 60 gp and 1 pp each (i.e. 160gp each) (cumulative total = 1,630gp ea)
  • Philosopher’s Crown (Borodin)
  • Everlasting Provisions (Sweetlick)
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That Can't Be Good

Sweetlick dons his magic reading spectacles and translates the manuscript to the others.

Most of the manuscript is mundane. Discussion of soil samples, geological layers, categories of stone. Sweetlick flips to the back of the book. “Ah, this must be it.”

Contained is a topological map of Nentir Vale. A web of blue ink is labeled “ley line structure (rough)”. The boldest line connects Winterhaven Keep, the Earth Temple, and leads south towards the old capitol Nerath; from Winterhaven it goes east past the Sword Barrows and Fastormel and ends near Thunderspire. Medium lines branch to Fallcrest, Hammerfast, and Harkenwold.

Larger View

The ley line under the Earth Temple was essentially a myth. Only the elders claimed to sense it, and we took them at their words. Now, either I have achieved enlightenment (unlikely) or some power is causing them to awaken.

I followed the line by foot, in careful meditation, to the ruins near Winterhaven. I sensed there a dimensional rift. I feared this necromancer Kalarel was the source of this power. I did not interfere, trusting balance would be restored in time. Unfortunately, Kalarel turned out to be little more than a local madman. He was slain by a group of sellswords, and yet the ley lines pulsated with ever-more frenetic energy. I realized: the rift to the Shadowfell and the ley lines were both affected by some other source. Some power was attempting to unravel the material plane itself.

I projected deep into the earth under the Vale, following the ley line almost to Hammerfast. There, a terrible … I have not words to describe. A construct the size of a wagon. Some sort of device that should not exist. It clicked and spun, and the ley line around it arcs like unholy lightning. The earth walls around it were corrupted, coagulant, no longer fit for our world. The rock itself seemed diseased – a disease that was spreading. At the rate I observed, I suspect all of Nentir would be lost within weeks.

I no longer have to meditate to see the ley lines. This power will not be contained. I have activated the Earth Temple artifacts. It is not his time yet, but we need Kuulain’s knowledge.

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The Geomancer's Manuscript

Sweetlick, Donaar, Borodin, Return, and Brocc rest briefly in a kenku hut, thirty feet off the ground. They send Return to scout, and he finds an elite archer posted one floor above, along with a kenku warrior and mage on the next platform, between them an 80 foot long rope bridge.

Donaar charges down the bridge and the kenku fly in to attack! Return gets behind the Kenku Warrior but a bastard Sneak stabs at him through the wood wall. Brocc flings acid and chaos, Sweetlick directs Sacred Flames, and Borodin calls their attacks. A Wing Mage calls down thunderous magic but Borodin and Donaar shrug it off. Return swears an oath to kill the Warrior. A rain of arrows comes from the level above, pinning the heroes down on the bridge while an Unkindness of Ravens swarm around them. The Wing Mage moves into position and casts a terrible spell to summon Hurricane Winds – Borodin and Donaar try to stab him to stop the spell but it’s not enough. Donaar catches the edge of the bridge and holds on, but Brocc and Sweetlick are thrown off! Brocc lands in some brush, but Sweetlick lands in a way that gives the snipers an open shot—a poisonous arrow pierces Sweetlick’s gut and he drops unconscious.

Donaar rushes onto the platform to help Return slay the warrior. Brocc shoots arcane magic from the ground far below. Borodin steps up the heroics. First he shouts an Inspiring Word that awakens Sweetlick; then, he grasps the bridge tightly, slices it with his longsword, and rides it down to the ground, beckoning Brocc and Sweetlick to join him. The three climb up the rope “ladder” and finish off the remaining kenku on this level. Donaar and Return hold the next door closed while Kenku minions rush down after them. Now in cover from the archers above, and holding the door as best they can, they catch their breath.

When everyone’s ready, Donaar whispers a prayer before shattering the door! He sweeps in and breathes dragon breath against the Kenku Ruffians, smouldering one and the overturned table he was hiding behind. Borodin walks in nonchalantly, kicking burning table debris out of his way, and beheads the other kenku with unnerving grace.

Everyone gathers behind Donaar as he peeks up the stairs leading to the final level, some 45 feet off the ground. Above: the two elite archers (Kenku Assassins), and the Kenku Ringleader who wields a spiked chain and rides a barely-tamed Owlbear.

The archers show no mercy, sending a barrage of arrows at the adventurers. Sweetlick and Brocc return fire while Donaar bashes through the wooden bars that separate them from another long rope bridge. Return and Borodin follow closely and carefully behind Donaar as they get close enough to rush in for the attack. The heroes call down every bit of divine favor, eldritch power, and battle cunning against the Owlbear and the kenku. Brocc constantly fires off unpredictable spells and bounces arcane power from one enemy to another. Return separates one assassin for himself and whittles the flesh from his bones. The owlbear rips at Donaar savagely, but its claws begin to shatter under powerful magical debility and steel defenses. Borodin makes the Owlbear pay for every swipe at Donaar; meanwhile Donaar manages to avoid being grabbed by the Owlbear and calls down radiant judgment against it. The ringleader has Return marked and prone, and just before he presses his advantage Borodin teleports behind the boss and splits his torso from behind. With their leader dead the kenku have little chance to survive. The owlbear crumbles against the focused attacks. Sweetlick tiptoes over the crowd, heals Return, and punches an assassin in the face! Borodin clumsily slides around the remaining assassin before landing flat on the bridge. The last kenku shifts away and starts swinging his grappling hook to get away, but they slay him before he swings away.

Victory! The kenku ringleader carried his prized possessions: a pouch of valuable gems, a powerful magic item, and the Manuscript of Geomancer Clay. They rest on this perch high in the foliage of Winterbole Forest and read the final notes of the book.

Reward:
  • 600 xp each
  • 750gp worth of gems (each player gets three gems worth 50gp each, for 150gp each total)
  • One level 8 magic item, not yet rewarded.
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Kenku Lair

For a 24 hour peroid, Ampholite did not respond to messages nor teleports.

The heroes rest nervously in Fallcrest. A day later, Borodin receives hasty communications saying Ampholite did not shift from the Fey Wild into the Material Plane the previous night—this has not happened in Ampholite’s recorded history. Borodin, Alleya, Dal’shara, and Brocc visit the young mage restoring the tower in Fallcrest to see if he has information. An old tome reveals there may be Fey Wild connections in the Sword Barrows and somewhere in Harken Woods.

Outside the tower the heroes see a cloaked elf who knows their names. It is Kuulain, the gold dragon taking elf form as a disguise. Sweetlick stumbles by and the heroes get reacquainted. Kuulain senses something foreboding trying to destroy Nentir Vale. Geomancer Clay’s writings held more information but his manuscript was stolen by Kenku raiders. Kuulain leads the heroes north towards Winterbole Forest where the kenku hide out.

Sweetlick uses his elven instincts to lead the party through the rough trail. They notice side paths intentionally shielded with uprooted trees and brush. They follow through the thick foliage and finally spot the well-camouflaged hideout high in the trees. The heroes ambush two kenku guards and rush up the rope bridge. Alleya pins down a kenku warrior but another sneaky kenku hits her from around the corner. Dal’shara floats up to the platform and barrages the sneak with his bardic attacks. Brocc’s acid devistates, while Sweetlick aims to impress Alleya with his divine prowess. Borodin helps his sister surround their foes and in no time the kenku lay dead. They hear calls for help from inside the tree house. Alleya rushes in only to see the flash of steel—another kenku sneak was faking those cries for help! Borodin tells Sweetlick to block the stairs, and the sneak is surrounded and is dead in moments.

After a short rest, the heroes see (through the slats of wood) more kenku on the floor above. Borodin and Alleya prepare to teleport vertically and the rest of the heroes rush upstairs. The eladrin flank and skewer one guard before he knows what has happened. The adventurers make easy work of more kenku ruffians. From the next platform, two warriors and two wing mages make their advance. Borodin and Alleya face off against two warriors, using their movement powers to keep the advantage over them. The wing mages utter eldritch phrases and take to the air! One dazes Dal’shara and Brocc, then summons hurricane winds! Dal’shara nearly falls off the platform; grabbing the ledge, he sings a tune that lets him walk across air over to the next rope bridge. Brocc teleports to escape—his chaos bolt destroys the wing mage and bounces over to hurt the warriors. Sweetlick summons a spirit to protect Alleya, and she stands tough despite savage wounds from the kenku. Alleya evocates, her bastard sword glowing with sigils, and draws blood from three kenku. The second wing mage tries to hurricane-blast the eladrin off the platform: Alleya resists; Borodin is taken by the winds but grabs onto the hovering kenku before falling! He flips back over to the platform and the heroes lay waste to the rest of the kenku.

Turning over the kenku’s sleeping area revealed a valuable treasure: a gold plate with platinum inlay, written in Old Dwarven. Sweetlick puts on magical reading glasses and deciphers the text—the plate is a religious Offering Plate to Moradin and is probably worth 250gp. Maybe someone in Hammerfast will want this. But first, rest and finding Clay’s manuscript.

  • XP award for research and finding the kenku hideout: just enough to hit level 6
  • Two kenku fights: 2300 (460 each)
  • Gold found: 100gp (20 each)
  • Offering Plate of Morodin (worth 250gp)
  • 2 Potions of Healing
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Breaking The Seal

Sensing their showdown against the Earth Titan will be dangerous, Borodin summons his sister Alleya, the Swordmage from Ampholite. Together with Brocc and Otto they face off against the Titan.

Borodin climbs the Titan’s back and pulls out Earth Rend, the terrible greatsword. The heroes launch into attacks before the Titan is fully awake. Borodin commands their attacks which chip away at stone-flesh with each swing. The titan grabs at Alleya who simply fey steps out of the grip. Brocc, wielding the Earth Wish, commands chromatic chaos against the foe. Otto savagely rips at and slides the dazed creature. The body crumbles, but both arms continue to animate and attack viciously. Borodin barely escapes death. Alleya shields the heroes from certain doom. Brocc’s eldritch whisperings disintegrate what’s left of the creature.

The titan’s crumbled body leaves behind an uncountable sea of coins. A treasure chest yields a magic item suited to each hero, as if fate expected this day.

They hop a portal back to the surface. As both weapons are returned to the statue alcoves, cracks appear in the sealed tower door. A gust of wind comes from behind the heroes towards the opening room. Inside is the young gold dragon Kuulain who is impatiently waiting for the sealing ritual to begin. Borodin explains that much time has passed, and the dragon has been sealed for many years.

Kuulain expected to be sealed for 250 years, but was only sealed for 60. This cycle would only be interrupted for a grave emergency. The powers of the ley lines caused the Earth Wish and Earth Rend to tremble and draw far too many willing heroes. The weapons tell Kuulain that some nameless evil is behind the imbalance of the ley lines, though no one seems to know exactly what or who.

Kuulain requests the most powerful divination ritualists to aid in this search. This includes Borodin’s contacts in Ampholite and Zuruta the elf.

For now the heroes return to Fallcrest for rest. There is still work to make the Nentir Vale a safer place, though this nameless evil will not wait forever…


Because of party flux we’re normalizing XP and treasure.

  • Everyone is at 7250 xp (level 5, almost level 6).
  • Everyone has 1250 gp (less if you already purchased a permanent magic item)
  • Everyone earned a +2 magic item today (specifically, any level 5-10 item of your choice)
  • This means everyone should have 4 magic items. Let me know if this isn’t the case.
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The Earth Wish
This is why no one (else) survives the Earth Temple

Brocc the wild sorcerer joins Borodin, Saum, Dal’shara, and Otto deep in the Earth Temple.

In the Arcane hall, they summon the Earth Wyrm in the Hourglass Room. Saum is swallowed but wiggles his way back out. A barrage of precision attacks utterly destroys the beast. The sand in the room drains away and our party takes a slide down below.

Saum notices a Basilisk (one of two) in the next cavern. Statues of failed adventurers fill the room. The party advances, but quickly retreats to the hall when they see the second Basilisk (also accompanied by grues and Shadowhunter Bats). Borodin orders the party to use the hallway as a choke point. Borodin is seconds from petrification but Dal’shara’s melodies soothe his body. The lustrous sheen of Borodin’s hair reflects a stony gaze back toward the enemies, killing a grue. Despite the lethal glare of the basilisks, the heroes stand their ground and defeat the enemies.

Spiral stairs lead deep into the earth, and beyond double doors is an impossibly complex chamber a hundred yards in length. Homonculi operate switches and gears that power this twisting, shifting room. The heroes use all their skills to safely navigate to the room’s treasure: The Earth Wish, a seven-foot bronze staff glowing with ancient power (which teleports them back to the ground floor safely).

Borodin reports to the researchers their explorations of the Arcane Halls (but lies and says the Staff was not found). The enemy Drow Paladin sweeps in to claim credit for finding the staff. Borodin bites his tongue and drinks instead.

Back to the molemen guarding the Earth Titan chamber. The elder moleman chants and the door vanishes. Inside there is an infestation of Kruthiks. The group takes position and swarms of kruthiks come out, led by a huge Kruthik Hive Lord. Defensive positioning is night impossible, as the kruthiks burrow under it. The hive lord’s acid spit nearly overwhelms the party, but concerted efforts and careful teamwork help the party to survive. Dal’shara’s songs protect the group. Otto rips savagely at Kruthiks while Borodin commands his movements. Saum takes combat advantage to deal deep wounds to the hive lord. But, the winning move of the battle was Brocc’s Chaos Bolt which hit four kruthiks for massive damage. Soon enough all kruthiks lay dead.

Treasure:

  • The Earth Wish (artifact staff)
  • Borodin – Level 8 item (Eladrin Armor +2)
  • Saum – Level 6 item
  • Otto – Level 6 item (remainder from the dream sequence two sessions ago)
  • 900 xp each
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