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Catt’s 4E: The Skeletal Mage

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

And now…

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)

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