Previously in Winterhaven…
After defending Winterhaven castle from a siege by the Iron Circle, Lord Padraig sent the heroes to Albridge for reinforcements. They made their way beneath the castle, through the tomb of Prator (once thought to be a mythological “Wandering Warrior”) to the occupied town of Albridge. There they assembled an army of Dar Gremath, Reithann the druid, Bran Torsson’s soldiers, the Reedfoot Halflings and the Woodsinger Elves and led the resistance to Winterhaven and open warfare with the Iron Circle. The heroes killed the Iron Circle leader, Nazin Redthorn, liberated Winterhaven and freed Lord Padraig – though Dar Gremath was killed
At Padraig’s behest they then traveled to Gardmore to spy out the Iron Circle orcs entrenched there. They found much of the abbey overgrown by the feywild. They established an alliance with a small band of high elves led by Berrian Velfarren and rescued AnaLastra, his sister and crossed paths with another adventuring party in the orc village. They found and defeated the orc chieftain, his ettin guard, and his retinue.
At Dragon’s Roost, they cleared the ruined barracks of a carrion crawler and a bulette, explored a small hall infested with spiders, and found passage into the depths of the mountain – but turned back upon encountering a minotaur. They then cleared the summit temple of two deranged harpies.
The Defenders begin this session at Level 6 / 8340 XP
Hearing the wild war chants of the orcs below, the defenders were suddenly assaulted with two different realities. Visions of the heroic last stand of the knights of Gardmore as they defended the abbey from orcs, monsters, demons and worse contrasted with the relative quiet and calm of the temple. That’s when Father Zachary, amongst a vision of knightly splendor, surprised them on the mount. He had unknowingly fallen in with the rival band, but now sent them off on a ruse and rejoined his companions. Zachary then attempted to cleanse the temple. Unable to do so, he charged the party with recovering the temple implements – a chalice, a bowl, and a brazier – to aid him in his attempt.
The defenders once again found another passage into the depths of the mountain and entered into a great catacomb, filled with bones and room after room of sarcophagi. Within they encountered the distraught spirits of seven dead knights. Further in they defeated eight skeletal guardians. On this day of the dead, they continue their search for the implements and secrets of the temple…
The Defenders end this session at Level 6 / 9170 XP (830 XP this session)
Previously in Winterhaven…
After defending Winterhaven castle from a siege by the Iron Circle, the heroes were sent by Lord Padraig to Albridge for reinforcements. They made their way beneath the castle, through the tomb of Prator (once thought to be a mythological “Wandering Warrior”) to the occupied town of Albridge. There they secured the aid of a resistance army – Dar Gremath, Reithann the druid, Bran Torsson’s soldiers, the Reedfoot Halflings and the Woodsinger Elves. The heroes led the resistance in open warfare with the Iron Circle at Winterhaven. When Dar Gremath was captured by Nazin Redthorn, the Iron Circle leader, the heroes killed Redthorn, liberated Winterhaven and freed Lord Padraig – but at the cost of Dar’s life.
At Padraig’s behest they then traveled to Gardmore to gain info on the Iron Circle orcs entrenched there. There they found much of the abbey overgrown by the feywild. They established an alliance with a small band of high elves led by Berrian Velfarren and rescued AnaLastra, his sister. The defenders crossed paths with another adventuring party in the orc village – but unswayed defeated an ettin guard, the orc chieftain and his retinue.
The Defenders begin this session at Level 6 / 7500 XP
The defenders decided to take to the very heights of Gardmore to investigate the buildings of Dragon’s Roost – in particular the temple itself. As they approached the summit, they encountered a scout – one of Velfarren’s trusted guard – also reconnoitering the quiet mount. The elf, Adunaphel, joined their ranks as they approached the nearest ruin.
Together they explored the crumbling remnants of a barracks and were attacked by a carrion crawler and a bulette.
They then explored a small hall infested with spiders and found three pearls (worth 100gp each).
Within the hall they found stairs leading deep within the mountain – and encountered massive double bronze doors. Judging from the ominous sounds beyond, they decided to take a different route. They came upon a minotaur guard who warned them to leave their ancient subterranean temple grounds. They elected to the leave the minotaur and the labyrinth below unmolested and returned to the summit.
Next they explored the summit temple and were confronted by two deranged harpies donned in the grubby attire of priests of Bahamut. When the heroes joined battle with monsters within the walls of the temple, three stoic arch angels appeared and took vengeance on anyone doing physical damage (by weapon or claw) within the once holy place. An eye for an eye. With the judicious use of their offensive might, the defenders overcame the harpies and escaped the arch angels. With the temple once again quiet, the defenders found an ivory card (inscribed with Talons) hidden away within the altar and a +1 short sword.
The Defenders end this session at Level 6 / 8340 XP (840 XP this session)
Previously in Winterhaven…
Having defended Winterhaven Keep from the Iron Circle’s seige, Lord Padraig sent the heroes to Albridge to recruit reinforcements. They made their way beneath the castle, through the tomb of Prator (a Wandering Warrior who was thought to be mythological) to the occupied town of Albridge. There they secured the aid of an underground resistance – Dar Gremath, Reithann, the druid, Bran Torsson’s soldiers, the Reedfoot halflings and the Woodsinger Elves (by defeating Yisarn, a skeletal mage). The heroes led the resistance army in open warfare with the Iron Circle at Winterhaven. After Dar Gemath was captured by Nazin Redthorn, the Iron Circle leader, the heroes infiltrated Winterhaven castle, assaulted the Great Tower itself and freed Lord Padraig from its dungeon. The heroes killed Redthorn and liberated Winterhaven – but at the cost of Dar’s life.
At Padraig’s behest they then traveled to Gardmore to gain info on the orcs entrenched there. There they found much of the abbey overgrown with the flora and denizen’s of the feywild. They establish an alliance with a small band of high elves led by Berrian Velfarren. They’ve now rescued AnaLastra, Velfarren’s sister, from displacer beasts and are escorting her back to the the elven camp.
The Heroes begin this session at Level 5 / 6320 XP
As the heroes entered the overgrown outer gardens, it appeared to them that they were entering into the very heart of the feywild. Brambles and vines choked the trees. Overhead, thick branches draped with silver webs hid the sky. A vague path forked a short way in, one way to the left and one way starting up the hill to the right. An immense webbed mound, resembling a cocoon, overran the path before them. In the foliage, they could see immense spiders lurking.
AnaLastra gave them a curious look, then they heard it too – the clattering sounds of a skirmish about 100 feet further along the trail through the dense but uneven webbing. AnaLastra, drew a determined but ragged breath. “My kinfolk!” she exclaimed and despite her condition dashed into the web draped foliage with unusual grace.
With the help of Finneal’s fiery magic, the party quickly followed her toward the sounds of battle through an onrush of arachnids. Digging through the burned cocoon and into an age old charnel pit below they collected an ancient suit of scale armor and an ancient sunblade. As they broke through the underbrush, they caught a glimpse of another group of dead spiders and a lithe robed lady, dark of hair, slipping into the underbrush toward the orc camp. AnaLastra relayed that from hiding she spied another adventuring group slaying the spiders and then points out the path back to the Fount.
When they returned to the elven camp around the font with AnaLastra, Berrian Velfarren quickly strode from a paneled tent toward AnaLastra – who rushed to meet him. Drawing her aside, he urgently spoke with her in tense but quiet elvish. Akhan overheard him scolding her for going out on her own and risking the loss of herself to add to the loss of their father – and admonishing her for his having to becoming indebted to ‘outsiders’ by enlisting their aid.
However, AnaLastra had discovered many things during her absence. With the return of their defeated allies from Winterhaven, the orcs now had a new charismatic leader who appeared to be preparing for something big. He has organized the monsters, recruited an ettin, and has resumed raids against the surrounding mercantile caravans, outposts, farmsteads and villages.
Velfarren response was less than sympathetic. “Less of the orcs for us to worry about. Once they are gone we can freely search the village.”
But AnaLastra had one last piece of news. The nymphs had told her that in ages past their father Zandrian Velfarren was last seen defending the nearby watchtower.
Velfarren’s response was skeptical. “You know the nymph’s are not trustworthy and that tower makes me uneasy. Not even the feywild embraces it. Do not go there.”
Drawing the elf Akahn aside, Velfarren then thanked him for the return of his sister. He presented him with a suit of elven battle armor and “Firefly” – a longbow capable of shooting fiery bolts.
Electing to check out the watchtower, the heroes did find it to be a very strange place. It was silent there, without even the hint of birds or insects around it. The doors, though decrepit, could not be breached by any normal means. Though they appeared real, they allowed no entry. The exterior features of the tower were divined to be a “psychic echo” that no longer existed physically. When they tried to break into the tower with magic and ballista, it instead only “bled” an unnatural black ooze that they then had to destroy. The heroes decided that this was a place that they needed to research further and determined to seek out the aid of Father Zachary back in Winterhaven.
The heroes passed through the outer gardens and scouted into Gardmore Village. Sneaking ahead, Akhan spied an enormous two-headed giant sleeping with its back against the massive double doors to a ruined keep. As he returned to tell the others, the sounds of battle arose from the keep behind him. The heroes rushed in to find a rival adventuring party in full combat with the ettin. A lady knight with curled blond locks, lay crumpled against a wall – dashed there by a mighty backhand from the giant. She was being attended by a dwarven cleric who was trying to revive her. A half-orc was locked in battle with the giant and both were bleeding profusely. A lithe black-haired lady stood back and called forth black wisps from an ivory card that threatened to entangle the giant. The cleric yelled for the heroes’ help and together the two parties fought the giant menace side by side. Akhan loosed a shot that dropped the giant to its seat. Just then an elf thief leapt from the shadows behind the giant and dealt it a vicious neck wound. Throwing the elf aside, the giant regained its feet and fought on. Reconsidering their chances, the rivals gathered themselves and retreated from the battle – leaving the heroes to deal with the enraged giant. The heroes ultimately defeated it.
The heroes entered the keep. Overlooking the great hall, the defaced shields of its once mighty defenders lined the walls. At the far end of the ruined chamber, two stairways rose to a landing with an ornate door. Four orcs, two dire wolves and and an orc shaman attacked. Though pressed by the onslaught and haggered by the shaman’s magical whirlwinds, the heroes prevailed.
The heroes entered the dark upper hall. Beyond the rubble and a gaping hole open to the lower level, stood a great throne of bone, fur, and horn. The fierce orc chieftain, wearing a gold necklace and flashing a pair of ivory cards, ordered his barbarian consort and four guards to charge to the attack. A brutal exchange followed. Akhan managed to buy the heroes some time by firing arrows into the monsters and dropping them through the hole in the floor into the hall below. Finally only the chieftain remained. True to form Akhan dropped the chieftain through the hole, smashing the banquet table below. With a sneer, the chieftain turned to flee, but was dropped at the door by Finneal’s magic missile. The orcs’ leader was defeated, his two ivory cards secured and the ruined keep was clear.
The Defenders end this session at Level 6 / 7500 XP (1180 XP this session)
Previously in Winterhaven…
Having defended Winterhaven Keep from the Iron Circle’s seige, Lord Padraig sent the heroes to Albridge to recruit reinforcements. They made their way beneath the castle, through the tomb of Prator (a Wandering Warrior who was thought to be mythological), and emerged near Albridge – which was also occupied by the Iron Circle. Through stealth and disguise, they met with Dar Gremath, the stable manager, and Reithann, the druid. While the heroes followed Reithann’s advice and won aid from Bran Torsson’s soldiers and the Reedfoot halflings (by defeating bullywugs) and the Woodsinger Elves (by defeating Yisarn, a skeletal mage), the stubborn Dar Gremath liberated Albridge at great cost to the resistance. The resistance army then began open warfare with the Iron Circle entrenched at Winterhaven. When Dar Gemath was captured by Nazin Redthorn, the Iron Circle leader, the heroes infiltrated Winterhaven castle under cover of a supply cart. They gained the mess hall, ambushed the elite guard and systematically eliminated the sentries. They then assaulted the Great Tower itself and freed Lord Padraig from its dungeon. After a furious battle with Nazin Redthorn and his bodyguard, the heroes prevailed – but recovered only Dar’s head.
The Heroes begin this session at Level 4 / 5177 XP
Having retaken the castle, the people of Winterhaven were quick to bolster and re-occupy it – while the heroes settled down to a well-earned rest.
In the wee hours of the morning an alarm rose from the courtyard. The heroes found Father Zachary and his acolytes desperately enacting rituals to keep something confined to the chapel. With little information, the heroes entered in, found it wholly desecrated, and the headless form of Dar Gremath on the altar. Though the demons had found some means of summoning Dar’s headless spectral form to do their bidding, the Heroes stayed the demonic incursion from a dark portal in the loft. After the fight, upon the altar near the body of Dar Gremath, they found an ivory card depicting a Knight. Later Father Zachary confirmed that it was token of great power – and manifest evil.
The Heroes attain Level 5 / 5500 XP!
The following day, Lord Padraig awarded the Heroes official status as the “Defenders of Winterhaven” and privately expressed his concern that Winterhaven was still in jeopardy. He bid his Defenders to pursue the retreating Iron Circle mercenaries toward Gardmore – and report back their strength and numbers.
“While imprisoned I learned that the orc raiders supporting the Iron Circle are using the ruins of Gardmore as a lair – your ‘visit’ there from Albridge confirms it. lf I could, I’d raise a militia to root them out of their holes and put them to the sword… but alas my men are needed here to defend and rebuild. So in lieu of the militia, I’m once again asking for your help. To start, I’d have you to go to Gardmore and find out as much as you can without provoking them – as complete a picture of their lair and defenses as you can – and bring that information back to me.”
A grand feast was then held in their honor, and, ever humble, Finneal returned honor to the adoring populace. During the procession and reception in their honor, the Defenders gathered word of Gardmore…
From the elf queen, Eriyel: “A few months ago I welcomed travelers from our distant kin in the Feywild – an elven knight named Berrian Velfarren, his sister AnaLastra, and a small entourage. They had been traveling for seven years in search of their father. We fed them and sent them on their way with blessings. Last night I received a message from their home of Mithrendain asking for news of their travels. Berrian mentioned Gardmore Abbey. Please, as you travel in the Nentir Vale, send word if you encounter them. And tell them they are missed.”
From an aging dwarf, Sergeant Murgeddin: “Aye, I fought at Gardmore all those years ago. I stood with the forces of Fallcrest at the summit of the temple mount, and terrible things I saw, too. I watched Lord Markelhay, who was the great-grandfather of the current lord, disappear into the catacombs beneath the temple. He was clutching the ancestral sword of his line, the sword of Aranda Markelhay, called Moonbane. I don’t know why he went down there – he never did emerge from those catacombs, and neither did the sword, so far as anyone knows. Imagine what Lord Farren Markelhay would give to have that sword back in his hand! It’d be like the rebirth of Nerath, I tell you. Almost like we had an emperor again.”
From an exotic merchant, the Lady Alira Vond: “As you may know, in later years the knights of Gardmore became overzealous crusaders who killed innocents and plundered sacred sites. Don’t get me wrong – they started off as well-meaning champions of truth and justice, but with power came greed and corruption. Believe me, my ancestors witnessed their rapacious ways firsthand. Now I just want to recover the items they stole from our lands – two in particular. One is a silver dagger with a large amethyst, deep purple in color, set in the pommel. The other is a sort of rod or scepter crafted of adamantine. Bring these items to me, and I’ll pay you well.”
Traveling to Gardmore, the Defenders found the walled abbey as they had before, swarming with orcs and worse. But to the south, amidst the welcome cover of an almost primordial overgrowth, they saw a watchtower and a breach in the wall. Rather than take the gate house, the Defenders decided to take a walk on the feywild side. Suspicious of the imposing watchtower, they entered through the breach and found themselves at a font surrounded by high elves at camp – their leader was Sir Berrian Velfarren. After building an uneasy alliance with the distrustful elves, Berrian entreated the Defenders to aid in the search for his sister, AnaLastra, who had gone missing.
Upon finding a ruined cottage, the Defenders investigated and cleared it of two owl bears. Among rusty gardening tools, they found ancient leather parchments establishing an inheritance of land within the grounds of the Abbey for the high elves.
After a rest at the font, the Defenders drank of the refreshing clear water and were granted a vision from Gardmore’s past – and a boon. They then set out toward the temple mount.
Through the dense undergrowth, they stumbled across a grove of nymphs – but were able to tear themselves away from the lovely temptresses. They continued on toward the temple proper and came upon a ruined bell tower. As luck would have it, they almost literally ran into an elven maiden who was pursued by displacer beasts (and dire stirges). They were just able to rescue her and found it was indeed Berrian’s lost sister, AnaLastra. Electing to stay far from the nymph grove and return to the elves by an overgrown trail, the Defenders now escort the maiden home.
The Defenders end this session at Level 5 / 6320 XP (1143 XP this session)
Previously in Winterhaven…
Having defended Winterhaven Keep from the Iron Circle’s seige, Lord Padraig sent the heroes to Albridge to recruit reinforcements. They made their way beneath the castle, through the tomb of Prator (a Wandering Warrior who was thought to be mythological), and emerged near Albridge – which was also occupied by Iron Circle mercenaries. Through stealth and disguise, they met with Dar Gremath, the stable manager, and Reithann, the druid. While the heroes followed Reithann’s advice and won the aid of Bran Torsson’s soldiers and the Reedfoot halflings by defeating a tribe of bullywugs, the stubborn Dar Gremath (intent on guerrilla warfare against the Iron Circle) liberated Albridge at great cost to the resistance rebels. The heroes then won much needed aid from the Woodsinger Elves by defeating Yisarn, a skeletal mage, deep within their forest. The rebel army has now marched to Winterhaven Commons and begun open warfare with the entrenched Iron Circle!
The Heroes begin this session at Level 4 / 3915 XP (813 XP this session)
With the battle hanging in the balance and much of Winterhaven Commons burning, the heroes saw the rebel banner faltering across the battlefield. Dar Gremath, overwhelmed by mercenaries, was making his final stand. A group of lron Circle soldiers and two scaly humanoids with horns, tails, and globs of buming pitch dripping from their taloned hands watched as Dar was cuffed to the ground by a massively muscled human warrior in scale armor. Looking up the warrior saw the heroes.
“You!” the enemy lord cried. “You are the ones who have caused me so much troublel Know now that you face Lord Nazin Redthorn, champion of the Iron Circle. With your deaths my victory is assured!”
The heroes, though harried by the Tar Devils and a sneaky cut-throat, overcame the soldiers, but Redthorn escaped with the unconscious Dar. He was seen entering Winterhaven Keep, now fallen to Iron Circle control. The battle was won, but at great cost – much of Winterhaven Commons was burning or in ruin.
To rescue Dar, the adventurers now had to find a way to get into the very Keep they had recently (and so easily) defended. At first, Akhan attempted to quietly breach the wall of the keep to surreptitiously open a postern gate. But he was defeated by the daunting climb up the castle wall.
Noting that the Iron Circle garrison imports wagonloads of stolen goods every day, the heroes hid themselves in a supply wagon. The small one-horse wagon had enough room to conceal Akhan (in a potato sack) and the dwarves (in ale barrels), while Finneal posed as the peasant mule skinner. Approaching the closed castle’s gate, a bored-looking guard called out of one of the arrow slits in the gatehouse, “Hold on! What have you got there?” Through Finneal’s bluff, bluster, and a well-timed ‘ghost sound’ spell (imitating Redthorn) along with the steely resolve of the dwarves and elf, the party gained the keep’s kitchen and set up an ambush in the mess hall.
The elite guard and their hounds were the first to eat. The heroes, posing as other mercenaries eating, ambushed the guard and not only won the day but secured a Bag of Holding. Next, the keep’s 1st archer unit entered the mess hall and was defeated, but not before the alarm was raised. Fighting through dozens of archers, the heroes took to the walls and fought their way toward the Great Tower. Breaking through the barred door, they defeated the guards and remaining sentries then ran down to the Gaol. There, a priest, tar devil and guards held them at bay until the heroes were able to push some of their foes into the blazing hearth at the back of the room.
In the cells beyond, the heroes found Lord Padraig – beaten and bruised, but alive. Padraig told them of the secret stair that led to his chambers on the top floor (now occupied by Redthorn) and then escaped with the servants out the postern gate.
Upon opening the secret door, the heroes found themselves in a spacious suite that clearly belonged to the master of the keep. Comfortable carpets covered the wooden floor, and various tapestries and paintings hung on the walls. Across the room was a large canopy bed. The enemies in the room were all focused on a door across the room ready for an attack. Near the door was hobgoblin with a Morningstar. And at a table nearest the heroes stood a priest in Iron Circle scarlet and a tall, massively muscled man with short red hair and a great three-headed flail at his side – Nazin Redthorn.
After withstanding their first round of assaults, the warlord of the Iron Circle looked at them with contempt. “You think you’ve defeated us?” he snarled. “You are rabbits in the wolf’s den. We’ll hang your corpses from the battlements along with your old friend!” With that he tossed something that rolled awkwardly at their feet – Dar Gremath’s head!
A furious battle ensued, made all the worse when the door to the bedroom flew open and two more hobgoblin guards joined the fray. Already spent from the long battle through the keep, the weary heroes were first able to dispatch the priest, but not before he lashed out with a fiery burst of tendrils. Likewise, with a roar, Redthorn blasted the heroes with infernal flames that both dazed them and emboldened their enemies. The heroes dealt more heavy blows spread out among the hobgoblins and Redthorn – and were able to drop one of the hobgoblins. As Finneal moved from corner to corner desperately trying to cast, Akhan and Dau’um fell – but not before getting in their last blows and a final bit of healing on the pair of heroes that remained. With a final burst of arcane energy and the swing of an axe, Redthorn and the second hobgoblin both fell. Seeing his mates fall, the final bloodied hobgoblin surrendered and the battle was won!
With their friends revived, the heroes searched through the treasure room to find a Sunblade (+1), Boots of Elvenkind, and a Climber’s Rope Arrow.
The Heroes end this session at Level 4 / 5177 XP (1262 XP this session)
Previously in Winterhaven…
Having defended Winterhaven from the initial onslaught of the Iron Circle’s slavering horde, Lord Padraig sent the heroes to Dar Gremath in Albridge to recruit reinforcements. They made their way beneath the castle, through the tomb of Prator (a Wandering Warrior who by common wisdom was thought to be mythological), and emerged close to Albridge – which was also occupied by Iron Circle mercenaries. Through stealth and disguise, they met with Dar Gremath, the stable manager, and Reithann, the druid. The heroes followed Reithann’s advice and won the aid of Bran Torsson’s soldiers and the Reedfoot halflings by defeating a tribe of bullywugs. The stubborn Dar Gremath, intent on guerrilla warfare against the Iron Circle, liberated Albridge, but at great cost to the resistance rebels. At Reithann’s urging, the party sought much needed aid from the Woodsinger Elves for the march to Winterhaven.
The Heroes begin this session at Level 3 / 3102 XP
The elf Eriyel was firmly against the idea of sending her people into someone else’s war. She required that the heroes prove their sincerity (and demonstrate their competence) by dealing with a problem troubling the forest elves – a poisoned portion of the wood. Down a worn cart path into the wood, the heroes found a fetid pool, webs in the trees and a ramshackle wagon.
Akhan was able to discern that it had been pulled by lizard-like animals, though none could now be found. Sneaking into position, the party felled three goblins and the giant tree spiders that quickly emerged to consume the dead.
Descending into a dilapidated ruin, the heroes found a single hall ending in 20′ room – it’s only distinguishing feature a circle of arcane writing on the floor. Upon reading it, Finneal activated the ancient portal. The room disappeared in a pulse of blue light, and the heroes found themselves in one of two magic circles inscribed on the floor of what appeared to be a wizards’ laboratory or workshop. Several large tables and desks were littered with mildewed tomes, dusty bottles, and loose sheets of parchment.
A wide staircase climbed 10 feet to a stone loft, atop which rested a wooden desk and a chair made of lashed bones. Several goblins were gathered in the room, and they stared in surprise at the party with wide eyes. Near an iron-bound set of double doors stood two cages, each holding a man-sized drake with crimson scales and wearing a yoke. The drakes snarled and bared their fangs. As they recovered, one of the goblins freed the drakes – though too late. The heroes carried the day and vanquished their foes. Digging through a conspicuous sarcophagus under the loft, they found a potent magic weapon – the Magma Hammer – which was claimed by Dau’um the dwarf.
Beyond a locked door they found a vaulted chamber illuminated by fiery braziers. A magnificent mural of a forest scene covered the ceiling and one wall was framed by two statues of eladrin warriors. Between two braziers, atop a 2 foot-high stone bier, lay the partially assembled bones of a dragon. Web-strewn bookshelves packed with dusty tomes lined the far wall, and a thick curtain of gossamer webs obscured a set of iron doors. Nestled in the webs was a monstrous spider. Skeletons stood guard in the middle of the room. Another skeleton – this one wearing the tattered robes of a mage – raised bony claws that crackled with lightning and scowls hatefully. Rushing in, they found the suddenly revealed pit traps as their first obstacle – and the propensity of the skeletal mage to push them back inot the pits with his electrical and necromantic attacks, the second. The party was hard pressed, but by reviving fallen comrades, they wore their foes down and defeated the mage. Finneal secured the mage’s prize possession, a Circlet of Arcane Extension.
The Heroes achieve Level 4! / 3750 XP
When they returned to the elves, Eriyel was impressed and thankful for the healing of the poisoned wood. She committed two dozen elven archers to the Winterhaven cause. The party hurried on to meet up with Dar Grematch on the outskirts of Winterhaven commons. Over the following few days, the party laid out battle plans with the rebel leaders, trained the ragtag band, and harried the Iron Circle on numerous fronts. It wasn’t long before the mercenaries discerned the presence of the larger rebellion.
The battle opened with a straightforward attack by the Iron Circle soldiers.
Arrows and crossbow bolts flew as the two armies closed. The rebels gave ground, but their formation didn’t break. The battle quickly degenerated into a desperate, swirling melee that sprawled over several farms and fields just south of the town of Winterhaven Commons. The farm the party guarded was quiet at first, but a large band of Iron Circle soldiers, with a reptilian creature in tow, raised a war cry and charged! The battle-hardened heroes dealt quickly and efficiently with the onslaught.
Just then Willet Reedfoot galloped up on a pony. “Dar Gremath says he needs your help over by the Radden farmstead!” he pants, pointing across the battlefield. A couple of hundred yards away, the heroes made out the rebel leader’s banner, now under attack. Between them and Dar Gremath, a band of marauding soldiers was busy setting fire to farmhouses and killing off wounded. Some of the warriors were short, scaly creatures with black horns and lashing tails, surrounded in dark fumes. Running into the melee, the heroes again quickly dispatched the intervening foes and battled their way towards Dar Gremath’s position – but will they make it in time?
The Heroes end this session at Level 4 / 3915 XP (813 XP this session)
Previously in Winterhaven…
Having defended Winterhaven from the initial onslaught of the Iron Circle’s slavering horde, Lord Padraig sent the heroes to find Dar Gremath in Albridge to recruit reinforcements. They made their way beneath the castle, through the tomb of Prator (a Wandering Warrior who by common wisdom was thought to be mythological), and emerged close to Albridge – which was also occupied by Iron Circle mercenaries. Through stealth and disguise, they met up with Dar Gremath, the stable manager, and Reithann, the druid. Though Dar Gremath wanted to immediately begin guerrilla warfare against the Iron Circle, the heroes elected to take Reithann’s advice and win the aid of Bran Torsson. To do so, they needed to defeat a tribe of bullywugs that were harassing Tor’s Hold. Thus, they found themselves in Toadwallow Caverns surrounded by very unhappy frog-like humanoids.
The Heroes begin this session at Level 3 / 2605 XP
The heroes began an all out assault on the frogs, their magic wielding but cowardly leader, and a couple of gray oozes. Though the leader cast powerful spells from the relative safety of the large dragon skull, oozes threatened to melt their bones, and Soklo’s bear fell victim to a hidden quagmire, they overcame and secured a potion of healing, a flawed sapphire worth 50 gp, 160 gp and some magical arm bands – Feyleaf Vambraces.
As they took a quick breather, an inquisitive croak called from the mouth of the cavern. Akhan bluffed an answer in kind allowing the heroes to take a returning raiding party of frogs by surprise. Finneal sprung into action and did massive damage to the first of the frogs to enter the cavern. In the fray, Dau’um was swallowed whole by a giant frog, another regurgitated a recently swallowed Halfling boy, Finneal discovered a Lucky Coin and the heroes ultimately overcame the frogs. All survived, even the boy. Finneal escorted the boy to the Reedfoot Clan and secured their aid in the upcoming liberation of Winterhaven. The rest of the party returned to Bran Torsson with proof of their deeds and likewise secured his allegiance and that of his men.
Bran bid them to return to the outskirts of Albridge where he would meet them to make final preparations. However, upon their return a satiated Dar Gremath and his ragged band of rebels had already overcome the Iron Circle mercenaries occupying Albridge. Satisfied with their grim work, but fewer in number as a result of it, the rebels bid the heroes to secure additional help from the Woodsinger Elves of Winterbole Forest. The heroes agreed and found themselves on a lonely march northward into the humid wood.
It was warm, almost stifling, under the canopy of the forest, and not a breath of wind stirred. As they peered into the forest gloom, they heard a voice, “Hold there, strangers! We would speak with you.” A moment later an elf dressed in a short tunic of brown and green stepped into the open and advanced, a bow in his hand. “I am Israfen of the Woodsingers,” he said. “I see that you are not of the forest, and you do not look like mercenaries of the lron Circle. Who are you, and what is your business in the Winterbole?”
Upon hearing their plight, Israfen replied, ‘‘This is a matter for Eriyel. Come, follow me.” They were led to a small elven encampment in a clearing by a forest stream. There, Israfen introduced Eriyel, an elf woman of middle years with dark eyes and long green-gold hair – the chief of the Woodsinger clans.
Eriyel was reserved and patient. Though she let the heroes make their case, she was firmly against the idea of sending her people into someone else’s war. She required that the heroes prove their sincerity (and demonstrate their competence) by dealing with a problem troubling the forest elves – a poisoned portion of the wood. Whispering to their steeds, she imparted directions to the affected area.
The horses followed a worn cart path into the wood. Within a few miles, webs clung to the branches of the nearby trees. A ramshackle covered wagon was parked on the trail near a fetid pool. Akhan was able to discern that it had been pulled by lizard-like animals, though none could now be found. And three distracted goblins lounged atop a rotten wooden scaffold erected over the pool. Sneaking into position, the party felled the goblins and found that giant tree spiders quickly emerged to consume the dead – but turned on the heroes when they sensed the threat. The party downed the four spiders – and only then paused to take account of their surroundings.
The Heroes end this session at Level 3 / 3102 XP (497 XP this session)