Craynor and Ara Make Out of This World Alliances (July 31, 2010)
(Day 1 – 10/11) – Ara and Craynor meet Zareni Riverwall in the Demus Woodlands. Zareni has a final mission for them, requiring them to work with three allies from beyond this world. Their mission is to investigate what happened at the Osrik Stronghold, help in any way needed, and most importantly to do whatever is necessary to retain a good relationship between this city and elves. Dayereth Lorhalien gives similar instructions to Itzam-Ye, Nashwa El Nar, and Shivon Stormrider, all of whom have recently entered the prime material plane. Shivon is an eladrin from the fey who is considered a great leader. Itzam-Ye is a githzerai invoker who has not been welcomed by many in Terkent until he crossed paths with members of the Woodland Justice Network. Nashwa El Nar had a portal mishap, arrived in the King’s Mountains in Terkent and was befriended by members of the WJN. All 5 have accepted their mission and set off with Zareni to the Osrik Stronghold.
We researched the history of the city, the woods (nature), and the mountain’s (dungeoneering) and learned everything there is to know.
(Day 1-2 – 10/11-12) – Travel days – uneventful. The group arrives at the Osrik Stronghold on 10/12.
Upon arrival, we find it undefended, most buildings shuttered, and nobody out on the streets. A lone chimney is sending out smoke. We go there. It is the Avalanche Inn. We meet Skeetty, a dwarf who owns the place and Jirl Ondish, a female halfling looking to do business moving goods up and down the river.
After buying lots of beer, Craynor fails a diplomacy check to begin the skills challenge of gathering information. Shivon is more diplomatic (Scoreboard = 1 Success, 1 Failure). Skeetty tells us a lot. 2 years ago, a white dragon was killed by heroes and the town has done much better since. A crazy female dwarf came to town a couple of months ago with various prophecies. All but one have come true. The prophecies – logging camps and farmsteads attacked with only one survivor, garrison soldiers started disappearing, and then strangers who meant to help would bring the destruction of all in the town. The “prophetic” dwarf lives somewhere near town, but Skeetty doesn’t know where. Skeetty tells us that Trujy in the general store is the only other one who talks with strangers, but only if they are willing to buy something.
Shivon tried to talk to Trujy without saying she had an interest in buying something. Trujy shut the door.
The group decided to explore the ranches and farms just outside of town. There, we met Aestirol and tried to help him with a difficult birth of a foal unsuccessfully (1 Success, 2 Failures). He told us he cares for the horses for the military. He said something was wrong with Captain Revince lately.
Craynor and others went to the barracks. Private Frome, an elf, told us to go away. Craynor convinced Frome to bring Lt. Stymers to the door (2 Successes, 2 Failures). We tried to intimidate Stymers, but he told us the military had everything under control in town.
Ara went back to the store and said he was interested in buying something. He noticed that Trujy was very nervous. Once inside, he noticed Trujy nervously looking at a book. Ara reported back to the group.
Itzam-Ye did some research around town about the religious practices of the community, noticing a diversity of religious symbols on doors and above doorways. Many were of good aligned gods, many connected to nature (Corellon, Melora, etc.).
The group followed a lead that Captain Revince was last seen at the herbalist’s shop. The herbalist, Phlen, did not give us much information about Revince. Shivon thought Phlen was being mostly honest, but hiding something.
Coming up empty, the group decided to pursue the only leads they had developed into the woods. It turned out to be false leads. After spending 4 days (10/13-16) traveling to and from logging sites, rumors of attacks were abundant, but the rumors proved untrue. The skills challenge was lost as the group headed to the woods.
10/17 As we made it back to town, the place was buzzing. Many new soldiers had arrived. There was a new captain in town, Captain Kahvahna, a half-orc, had brought soldiers from Lambasa, the capital of Terkent, to help out. The soldiers were manning the watchtowers and were supervising work done outside of town. Kahvahna told us that she dealt with Lt. Stymers, who had misused his newfound power in the absence of Cpt. Revince. She asked us to deal with Stymers, because if she did, it could get messy on many levels, both being captains and Revince being a highly respected man for some time here. She told us that he was with the farmgirl in the herbalist’s shop. She did not want us to kill them, if possible.
We went back to the herbalist’s shop. Phlen announced our presence and then stepped out of our way as we made our way back to a room where we found Captain Revince and the farmgirl. It turns out she wasn’t an ordinary farmgirl, but a succubus named Xeriope in disguise. 3 spine devils joined the fray. We fought valiantly, but it was a difficult fight. The succubus dominated many of us. After Itzam-Ye finally killed Cpt. Revince, the succubus kissed Ara. After the spine devils were dropped one by one, we were able to knock Ara out and kill the succubus.
Next time – we will need to heal up, search the bedroom, study, and cave where we fought, and then report back to Captain Kahvahna.
Toughest Enemy Ever? Not to Ixam-Ye (August 7, 2010)
Recap from last time:
We (Craynor, Ara, Shivon Stormrider, Nashwa El Nar, and Itzam-Ye) were sent by the WJN to help the Osrik Stronghold, a town in need that has been a friend to elves and eladrin. When we arrived in town, it was tough to find someone to talk to, let alone find a good lead. We heard about a prophecy, but we had no good leads on how to track the crazed dwarf who made it. Soon later, we followed the only lead we had into the woods. Unfortunately we had been lead astray. After wasting over a week, we returned to find the town guard replenished by Captain Kahvahna of Lambasa.
Kahvahna asked us to help with Captain Revince and the farmgirl, Xeriope. Help we did. Phlen, the herbalist looked pretty scared. When spine devils arrived, he ran out of his place screaming. We killed Revince, the farmgirl succubus, and 3 spine devils in a difficult fight in very close quarters.
Our enemies lay dead.
We search all of the rooms. Under the farmgirls bed, we find a satchel. It has a grotesque statuette made of pure platinum (value 1000 gp), a gem (700 gp) and a crudely drawn map showing the way to a shack. Itzam-Ye is able to understand any language. Written in supernal on the map near the shack is “To the Hag.”
Captain Kahvahna is thankful we handled Captain Revince and Xeriope, but disappointed we killed Revince. Phlen thinks we might have been the ones who brought the devils that appeared in his house. Nashwa El Nar very calmly and diplomatically convinces Phlen that Xeriope was a devil and the spine devils were with her. Phlen says that her body was not a normal human body, but had attributed it to the evil that had attacked her farm and killed off everything else there. Now he believes us. This helps convince Kahvahna.
Zareni Riverwall and Captain Kahvahna meet with us. Zareni sends her friend Hylith Mol, an elf shaman, with us to help lead us while Zareni meets with Shivon. Cpt. Kahvahna sends her second in command, Sergeant Zerth, hoping this gives Zerth and opportunity to gain some renown amongst the locals of the Osrik Stronghold. To this point, the goliath warden has had difficulty fitting in. A city like this, currently without a captain or sergeant, on the outskirts of civilization may be the perfect fit for him. First he will have to win their trust and respect.
Ara, knocked out in the fight, had to spend all but one heal surge in order to heal close to full strength. He stays behind to rest and recover. He tries to befriend more townspeople during this time. Beyond Aestirol, Phlen, Skeetty, he has no success during his 6 hours of rest.
Shivon meets with Zareni to talk about something secret. Shivon recovers during this 6 hour window, too.
The shaman Hylith Mol and the warden Sergeant Zerth join Craynor, Itzam-Ye, and Nashwa El Nar as they follow the map off road, through a small wood and to the shack. They arrive as night approaches. The roughly built home is flush against the mountain. Zerth enters and meets a filthy female dwarf rocking in her chair. She accused Zerth and the rest of us of being “the strangers.” She goes into the next room where 2 bowmen await. A battle breaks out. She is a howling hag. 4 cultist archers try to help her. A large ogre warhulk, likely the toughest individual we’ve ever fought charges in through a secret door.
Thanks a lot to Itzam-Ye who made the ogre hurt anytime any of us were hurt, we made fast work of the ogres 286 hit points (LVL 11 elite). Sergeant Zerth knocked the ogre over and forcing him to attack from the ground for two rounds. Craynor blessed the 12 sided dice, er greatsword, in his hand and laid a world of hurt on the ogre. Nashwa El Nar resisted most of the damage dealt her while not allowing the archers to shoot much at all. Hylith Mol kept using his spirit companion bear to keep everyone else on their feet. Hylith sacrificed himself and his bear to help us out, taking lots of damage, but managing to stay on his feet.
Two cultist archers gave up at the end. They told us the hag had kept the ogre hear, telling him he would get to kill lots of adventurers. That made him happy. The worship the 8th hell, called Dis. Notes written by the hag in Elven say the mountains of this area have many secrets including a portal to place of great evil. The notes say the blood of a mortal being can open the portal. The notes describe landmarks of the area. Itzam-Ye remembers from his historical research that the portal is located in the place near the former home to the white dragon, who was felled by adventurers 2 years ago. We also found barkskin hide armor +2 on one of the dead adventurers in the ogre’s lair. It fit Craynor perfectly.
We left notes for Ara and Shivon to find and headed off towards the mountain cave entry.
We arrive early in the morning and enter the cave described on the map. After a very long journey through a passageway varying from 20’-40’ wide, a cavern opened up with some light. Nashwa El Nar spotted an owlbear ahead. Itzam-Ye tried to blast it but the owlbear charged his in the cave entryway. A large brawl ensued in the entryway. 2 flameskulls floated in the room behind the owlbear shooting fire at us. Nashwa El Nar teleported to flank the owlbear and allowed Craynor to enter the fray. The owlbear did a lot of damage to Zerth, but the group bloodied it pretty quickly. When bloodied, the owlbear let out a screech that stunned 2 of us. Fortunately, Hylith Mol allowed both to save out before their turn even began. We made quick work of the owlbear after this.
Itzam-Ye was able to push the flameskulls down, while Zerth and Craynor climbed up to knock the flameskulls out the air. Nashwa El Nar blased them. Hylith very creatively attempted to drop a falling bear on one of them. Soon, the flameskulls were defeated.
Nashwa disabled a trap in the room. Then, Hylith Mol showed Craynor how to disable the other. We searched the ledges in the room and found a pile of treasure on a ledge where the flameskulls had been hangin’. It included a pile of coins (600 gp) and a circlet of mental onslaught. Hylith Mol won rock paper scissors vs. Itzam-Ye to take this item.
Next time, we will continue through the caves, up the mountain in search of this terrible portal. Will Ara and/or Shivon catch up? Will Hylith or Zerth be able to stay? With the failed skills challenge, we are sure to have made things more challenging for ourselves. We have done very well so far. What will be further up the caves?
Spines a Plenty, Craynor Dissapates an Oni (August 28, 1010)
Late on 10/17:
After disabling the traps, we hear the sound of footsteps approaching up the corridor. It’s Ara and Shivon Stormrider. The tell Nashwa El Nar “He’s here! You must go… fast! Dayereth will know more!” Sergeant Zerth goes with Nashwa hustling back towards the entryway into the mountain and then back to Osrik. Ara and Shivon join the others.
While in Osrik talking to Dayereth Lorhalien, Shivon heard and remembers that there are three larger caverns in this tunnel system that leads very far and very high into the mountain. The last cavern is just inside the mountaintop and was where the white dragon lair was when adventurers defeated it two years ago.
Continuing on for miles, we go higher and much further into the mountain. Eventually we see everburning torches and a larger cavern. Many spindly beasts, spine devils, stand guard along with several humans. During the battle, an Oni joins the 8 spine devils and 8 human minions. Only the bear spirit companion is charmed to sleep one time by the Oni.
Ara knocked several spine devils prone, bowling the Oni into them. He also stabalized Craynor during the fight, barely keeping him alive. Craynor ran furiously back and forth, charging past minions to kill others and then back to kill the ones he charged past in the first place. Craynor laid the final hit on the Oni, killing it while it was in gaseous form and appeared to be retreating. Hylith Mol used his spirit companion to attack the enemy and heal his allies. The bear fought ferociously, lending strength and confidence to the others. Itzam-Ye continued to bring Moradin’s vengeance to the devils and devil worshippers he encountered. He drew many attacks from spine devils, but easily held his own and he turned them away. Both Ara and Ixam-Ye found ways to thwart charging devils during the encounter, by moving back. Shivon Stormrider very consistently hit the Oni, confusing it and forcing the Oni to attack those he was commanding. Shivon kept her allies up in the fight with healing and helped tactically, frequently flanking enemies. Even when Shivon was knocked off her feet, she was able to crawl around the battlefield, cutting at her enemies ankles and legs.
After defeating the enemy, Ara helped the prisoners out of the pit. They had been kept there like fish in a barrel. When asked, the prisoners identified themselves as town guards who had been sent on missions to the countryside by Captain Revince, only to be ambushed by spine devils, captured and brought here. They said that 5 or 6 times a day a spine devil comes and takes a prisoner away. The prisoners have not returned.
Ixam-Ye searched the body of the Oni and found sureshot gloves (LVL 9) in a small pouch. Ixam-Ye will keep this item.
Looking ahead to next time, we expect one more encounter. There is only one larger cavern. We have discussed taking an extended rest, but decided to push on. Some of our dailies are gone. Many of our healing surges are gone. They don’t call us heroes for nothing…
The Great Bear and the Blood-Soaked Portal (September 25, 1010)
Step 1 – The Climb and the Great Bear
Most of us are injured and lacking too much in our tanks. Craynor is out of breath, strength, and all reserves. It appears the enemy has been multiplying. We don’t know at what rate. We have rallied and decided to carry on to snuff out the last of this evil before it can multiply further. Craynor is bloodied and beaten, with nothing in reserve. When Shivon Stormrider asks him what he wants to do, Craynor refuses to rest. Your party has decided to push finish this before the enemy can grow stronger.
Long, twisting tunnels continue up through the mountain. We walk and walk and walk, climbing the mountain from its core. The cold bites at our skin as the thinning air makes it harder to breath.
We sense that you are nearing the cave that once was home to the white dragon. We notice Craynor try to shrug off the pain unsuccessfully. You notice Hylith Mol walking alongside you with an almost trancelike focus on Craynor.
As you near the final cavern, Craynor collapses. Hylith Mol immediately goes into some sort of trance and begins to chant something unrecognizable. He continues to chant.
Hylith Mol’s past experience communicating with his spirit companion, Great Bear: The bear spirit companion has always listened to his call. Hylith Mol did most of the speaking, the bear mostly listening. Twice, he heard the voice of Great Bear before, but never like this. Earlier, Great Bear had offered advice, suggestions, and ways to help his allies in battle.
A voice comes to Hylith Mol: Feeling a primal connection with Craynor, recognizing his condition, his desire to push on with what seems insurmountable odds, Great Bear appears to him. Great Bear tells him to call upon the Great Bear’s power to help Craynor. Without thinking, he begin his chant…
Craynor is so tired and yet determined to finish what he started. It has been his calling to protect others from evils. He has been able to dole out great damage to devils who have been harming this community on the outskirts of civilization. He senses an opportunity to deal a great blow to this powerful evil and protect this part of the world from harm. As he continues up the mountain his legs seem to be carried with a strength not even he knew he had. As he travels further, his torso and arms appear lighter. By the time his group nears what may be his final destination, it is in his head. Does he fell light headed because of the thin air? Because of his purpose? Everything goes black. Craynor can no longer perceive Ara, Shivon, or Itzam-Ye. He can hear the voice of Hylith Mol, repeating, almost singing something over and over. Out of the darkness he can make out a large figure approaching him. It is not human. He has seen it before. Craynor’s mind seems to be one with Hylith Mol’s chant. He recognizes the figure that Hylith has summoned before during battle, a bear. But, this is Great Bear, the one who has given Craynor strength to defend others since before he was born. This figure stands over Craynor, appears to have a faint glow about it. The Bear is not talking but Craynor can hear his voice in his mind. He thanks Craynor for your true dedication to rid the world of these devil and devil worshippers. He knows how much Craynor is willing to sacrifice to do it. This is the moment Craynor will need his help. Great Bear wishes to share some of his essence to help finish this heroic task of protecting the Prime Material Plane from these devils. His spirit seems to merge with Craynor’s. Craynor feels a great sense of power (levels up to LVL 8, regains half of his heal surges, no daily powers, and no hp. He gets his new 8th level power(s)). And then Great Bear is gone. Craynor opens his eyes to see Hylith Mol dazed and the rest of his party staring at him on the ground.
The others see Hylith Mol continue chanting. A bear materializes – it is spirit. It grows larger than ever. It stands over the ragged Craynor, engulfing him. The bear seems to be communicating something to Craynor. The spirit of the bear appears to merge with Craynor. The wispy form of the bear appears to diminish slightly as Craynor’s body shakes. The bear diminishes more and Craynor’s body seizes. The bear is gone. The chanting stops. Hylith is exhausted. Craynor’s eyes open. (Hylith Mol spends two healing surges)
You all decide to carry on. You enter the final room, noticing an icy cavern, a portal, a high ceiling and many devils. The chain devil immediately throws a prisoner through the portal. The 8 hellguard legion devils, 4 cambion hellswords and the chain devil attack.
We make quick work of many of the legion devil minions quickly. Craynor destroys 3, Hylith Mol uses his bear to destroy one, Itzam-Ye destroys 2, while Ara starts to attack the cambion hellswords, bowling one into another. A pain devil enters through the portal. Most of our group backs up into the passageway as the battle continues there. Ara doesn’t make it back into the hallway, eventually falling unconscious in the room. Thankfully, Ara’s will to live is strong, and his ability to roll death saves even better. Hylith Mol and Itzam-Ye are the only two left standing, but are able to take out the pain devil and weaken the chain devil. Hylith Mol temporarily brings Craynor and Shivon, who both do well to help damage the devils. Craynor deals the final blow to the chain devil before falling unconscious. Craynor and Shivon both barely survived the battle. Craynor was on death’s door, at strike two for a few saves. Shivon was unconscious and had no heal surges left. Thankfully, Ara had a potion that was used to bring Shivon back to consciousness and 1 HP to continue.
We gained 1900 gp in coins, gems, and local artwork.
After Ixam-Ye determined the portal was kept open by sending human sacrifices through it and that’s why the pain devil arrived, Shivon inspected the portal and was able to determine how to temporarily deactivate it. With a small tip from Craynor, Shivon revealed how to eliminate the portal completely. After destroying the portal that let in devils from Dis, the second level of the Nine Hells, we decided to return to the Osrik Stronghold.
As we left the mountain, Craynor was met by Zareni Riverwall of the Woodland Justice Network and was summoned away, back to join his allies near Lambasa.
The rest of the party was received better this time, but still many did not trust us and still believed that the prophecies would or could come true.
After a full rest, we will need to meet with Zareni Riverwall and Dayereth Lorhalien…
Righting a Wrong: The Shadar-Kai, The Raven Queen, Elf & Eladrin Abductions (October 9, 1010)
• Thorn and Tamirix Evodia meet. Tamarix informs Thorn that her little sister has been abducted. Thorn says they should contact Sergeant Zerth.
• Sgt. Zerth hears their story. He has heard of similar abductions both in the feywild and and Terkent. He knows just what to do.
• The three of them speak with The Party. Hylith Mol is dispatched to help with the Woodland’s Justice Network. Craynor is sent to meet his old party.
• Sgt. Zerth tells The Party of the problem. He knows that Vandariel “the Voice of Pain” witch leader of the Lords of Pain are at the root of this evil. They are Shadar kai (and others). Cultists! They are operating out of the Feywild (actually it the Shadowfell). They worship the Raven Queen in a perversion of her ways.
• The Party needs to find a way into the Feywild. Marthyra Duskwalker can perform the ritual. But no one knows exactly where she lives. Just “on the mountain”.
• The Party uses its skills to find her and convince her to perform the ritual. She does so. She, Timmy, and Olofalcon perform the ritual with The Party. They arrive in the Feywild near where Shivon was from. She gives them the rituals Fey Passage and speak with nature.
• The Party and Olofalcon find the cave of the cultists. They quickly and quietly make their way to the chamber of teeth that contained the portal to the Shadowfell. Thorn and Tamarix figure out that they need to perform a blood letting on a stature of the Raven Queen to safely pass through the Teeth.
• They do so and Tamarix grabs Shivon Stormrider and leads the two of them through the portal surprising the cultists in the act of performing a ritual vs. Tamarix’s little sister in order to “convert” her to a believer of the Raven Queen.
• Battle ensues. The Party fights as if their lives depend on it. They use energy as if it is the last time they might ever battle.
• They defeat the cultists but Vandariel escapes through the portal bleeding and irate. One cultist – not a shadar kai – remains. He shows The Party how to enter the ritual circle and save Tamarix’s sister.
The Party recovers 3000 gp in loot.
They find the ritual used to “convert” – Shivon destroys it.
They find the following magic:
+1 spiked chain – traded by Tamirix for +1 club
+1 magic shadowmail (x2) – Shivon, Itzam-Ye (convert to something similar to shadowmail)
+1 lifedrinker katar (x4) – ??? unclaimed
+2 amulet of protection (x2) – both claimed – Ara & ? Shivon ?
Speak with nature ritual – Tamirix
Tamarix now feels indebted to the party for helping her rescue her sister. She is protective by nature, and once her sister’s safety is assured, she will dedicate herself toward helping the party in whatever way she can. She is also in awe of the Feywild and looks forward to spending more time there.
“Ara, you were very brave to dive in and drop that first blow on those who would pervert nature and their own god. Thanks to Tamirix and Shivon for keeping Ara alive. Shivon’s knowledge of the feywild is a great boon, along with her amazing abilities to reshape the battlefield. Tamirix, your wall of thorns and your healing powers will be most useful to us in battle. Itzam-Ye, your ability to hurt enemies from distance are amazing to me. I have seen others do this, but not often. I usually work with others who need to be next to their prey. You will be a great ally. I hope we have ended the abductions. I do not know what happened to my brother, Rain, but I trust you and I will work well together. If we continue to work to our strengths, I think we can right a lot of wrongs happening in nature, and can hopefully track my lost brother.