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Catt’s 4E: Of Spiders, Giants and Orcs

February 2, 2014 Leave a comment

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)

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