Taris

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Aderes – Eladrin Wizard seeking her long lost love. Awendella – Eladrin scholar and Cleric of Corellon, led to protect those around her and seek new experiences. Darkguard – Dragonborn Warlock. Constantly struggling with the consequences of his Infernal Pact. Borris – Dwarf Paladin of Bahamut. Loyal soldier in an increasingly corrupt Tarisian Guard. Dakkon – Warforged Barbarian. Driven to uncover his past. Emlyn – Half-elven Ranger looking for adventure after a youth in Taris.

Aug 4th, 473 PD – Aderes, Boris, and Emlyn cross paths in the tomb under Highpeak Tor, all hoping to escape the terrible storm outside. A leftover from earlier tribal times, the tomb walls are covered in carved images of great battles between the various plains humanoids. Through them all rides a huge bugbear on a ferocious behemoth, with a hobgoblin arcanist at his side. A statue of the former dominates the center of the large room. After introductions, the three jump into dungeon delving. The eastern door speaks and says “By Grabthar’s Hammer I open.” Aderes figures out that the hobgoblin “throwing” hammers in the carvings is actually an arcanist casting Magic Missile. Concentrating, she forms her own missile into the appropriate shape and the solid stone door swirls open as if made of viscous liquid. Down the short hall is a pile of clothing and pulverized bones, as well as three metal chests. One is gold, one is silver, and one is bronze. Emlyn finds a note next to what might have been the hand of the unfortunate tomb raider; it reads “one true one false.” Boris is eager to solve the riddle, so he steps up to the chests to read the inscriptions. As he steps onto the platform, the three hear a great crash and a grinding as the ceiling starts to slowly lower down onto them. “It’s the silver one!” Boris yells as he dashes back out of the room. Aderes and Emlyn, afraid to choose incorrectly, puzzle out the answer to the riddle and come to the same conclusion. As they fearfully open the silver chest, the grinding suddenly stops and a glorious treasure is theirs. Outside in the main room, the ladies chastise the dwarf for his hasty retreat. “I don’t like tight spaces! Why d’you think I don’t live in a mountain or under a hill?” Regardless, they decide to try the north door. Emlyn and Aderes decide that Boris should have the honor of chipping away at the giant stone door while they sleep, and he grudgingly agrees. Three hours and one sweaty dwarf later, a thundering boom from the storm rocks the tomb and the great doors crumble to the ground. “I’m afraid of dinosaurs!” Emlyn yells as she jumps awake. Aderes’ eyes snap open, her trance interrupted. For a moment after the boom, there is silence. Then, a horrible sound and stench roll out of the northern passageway preceding swarms of filthy rats, large and small. Boris stands alone in the center of the tide, swinging his great two-handed axe through the sea of vermin. Emlyn climbs up the statue and fires arrow after arrow. She focuses her fire on the dire rat at the center of the swarm; the one that moves with unnatural grace and whose eyes glow a deep red. The tide of rats flows over the valiant dwarf, prompting Aderes to take action. Tremendous columns of golden flame erupt among the swarm, and Emlyn lets lose a final arrow into the eye of the dire rat before being covered in the gnashing teeth of the swarm herself. Seeing the turning tide and fearing for his friend, Boris tosses the last of the rats off his body and runs to Emlyns aid. Within seconds, the two have smashed enough rats to scare the rest away, and they watch the remainder of the vermin scatter out the south door into the storm. Again the companions settle down to rest, hoping to wait out the storm.

Aug 5th, 473 PD – Midway through the night, a large group surges in from the storm. A well-off (if wet) looking halfling man tells Aderes that they are merchant caravan, and they had attempted to weather the night in their wagons but were driven to stronger shelter by the strange ferocity of the storm. Though most of the group consists of unassuming humans and halflings from Taris, two stand out from the crowd. One is an Eladrin woman, comfortably armored and wearing the standard of Corellon. As the merchant group settles in to the tomb, she calmly speaks with those wounded by the massive hail from the storm. After speaking with her each one falls into what looks like a peaceful rest. Far from the rest of the group stands the other, a terrifying sight to behold. It is rare to see a Dragonborn in this region outside of their mountain home, and few are the travellers who see them even there. He is as tall as the tallest of civilized men. His face (at least to observers from other species) is either a perpetual scowl or a predator’s grin. As he walks, the shadows seem to reach out around him and conceal his full form, and small wisps of smoke occasionally escape his mouth or nostrils as he breathes.

-west room zombie dogs and spawning skellies Awendella turns undead symbol of corellon treasure -north hall goblin scouts Boris and basilius fall in pit, can’t climb out Eladrin fey step over, emlyn wall runs Sharpshooter pelt the group but aderes casts sleep Berserker is slaughtered Gobs toasted on the rope Boris gets out of pit just in time to charge last remaining goblin Basilius finds rod of corruption -group piles tables up against north door and around their camp -bugbear death knight attacks during sleep Awendella takes initial brunt of attack Bugbear goes after basilius but fails miserably Awendella killed as she tries to escape the battle Boris lands the killing blow -storm goes away, party travels to Taris

Aug 6th, 473 PD -party gets old priest to raise Awendella ($$$) -old guy tells them about death cult rumors to the east -party travels to winterhaven

Aug 19th, 473 PD -party ambushed by kobolds on king’s road outside winterhaven -arrive winterhaven Meet salvanna wrafton, valthrun, ninaran, elian Ninaran the only one that believes them about death cult, everone else thinks they’re crazy

Aug 20th, 473 PD -winterhaven Decide to help padraig by taking out kobolds, though party suspects him Ninaran points them to kobold lair as also death cult lair -party attacked on way out of winterhaven Dragonshields are chanting Irontooth Shaman-kobold drops a black statue with symbol of Orcus carved on it -party surprises kobolds outside lair Boris, emlyn, and aderes destroy the dragonshields Basilius scares the crap out of the minions Cease fire Party convinces kobolds they want to help free them from irontooth slinger tells party of IT’s oppression, as well as the killing of their chosen leader and stealing of the withered arm Rignath the slinger goes in to irontooth’s lair and convinces most of the minions to help, as well as tricking the dragonshields and wyrmpriest into coming out into an ambush party enters and annihilates irontooth, but many brave kobolds give their lives get treasure and dwarven plate +1 take IT’s head -return to winterhaven

Aug 21st, 473 PD -winterhaven show head to Padraig, get reward, don’t tell him that they left the kobolds alive show head to valthrun, he tells them of the old Keep and the gate to the Shadowfell underneath Aderes gets an animal messenger so Valthrun can let them know if he learns anything further about the cult or the keep. She looks for a panther, but since there aren’t any prowling around town, she settles on a small bird -party hikes to the old keep (arrive ~noon, 2 hour hike) -party sneaks down stairs and confronts goblin guards Boris and basilius clamber loudly down the stairs, but Emlyn gets a shot off before they can ruin her surprise. Awendella calls for a blessing from Corellon before the party rushes into battle Boris (Basilius?) charges in, only to fall straight in a pit trap (d’oh!) Goblin Sharpshooters pelt the group from far down the hall, but Emlyn and Aderes fire right back as Boris, Awendella, and Basilius clear out the closer goblin warriors Two goblins attempt to escape (one down the east hall gets chopped in half by Boris, and the other trying to open the west doors gets blasted by awendella) party heads through west doors -excavation site – bunch of goblins and a few guard drakes Boris walks in clanking, but Emlyn gets in another first shot drakes jump up on to the platform to attack the party one sharpshooter climbs out of the pit and kicks out the plank in front of him so party can’t get to him suddenly a huge metallic statue (Dakkon) with glowing eyes and runes on his head bursts out of the ground and slices a couple goblins in half with a huge two-handed sword the party fights off the drakes as Dakkon slaughters goblins in the pit The sharpshooters in the far corner put out the torches and fire on the party from the darkness Emlyn tries to run across a wooden plank and fails spectacularly, falling in the pit Dakkon climbs up the wall of the pit and slaughters the rest of the goblins in the corner -party tries to figure out what the deal is with Dakkon. All he knows is his name. They decide to trust him since he helped them, and he decides the same -head north, down stairs into natural cave Dakkon takes lead, showing no fear of the unknown Emlyn notices big rats running around between the stalagmite and stalagtites in NW corner they see a reddish ooze as it pulls away Aderes blasts it with scorching blast before it can escape Boris charges in to fight the ooze, and the party wails on it before it can react, only to see it split in half to two separate oozes! Concerned about their chances (not seeing any damage to the ooze) Basilius calls out for everyone to run Boris finds himself completely surrounded by ooze! Rats drop down on all sides to snack on the seemingly weak party! Dakkon is like a giant blender, tearing rats apart. Basilius, Boris, Aderes, and Awendella eventually beat the ooze into submission Emlyn and Dakkon finish off most of the rats, but a lone stirge swoops down and attaches itself to dakkon, stabbing and stabbing with its needle point stinger Aderes blasts the stirge to nothingness with a Force orb, ending the fight -party feels the outside air coming from further north, deeper in the natural cave -party finds double doors to the east with note scribbled on them in common “stay out. really.” -(10/24/08)everyone decides to open the doors anyway! stairs leading down into medium size room mostly filled with dank water, with small island in the center with some gold and treasures on it Emlyn notices ripples in the water as if something is beneath it Dakkon throws a rock in the water and it suddenly rises up in a huge, bulbous, blob sick of oozes, the party runs back out the doors and slam them shut, treasure be damned -party heads north towards yummy mushrooms (Boris and Awendella)/horrible stench (Emlyn) -Kruthik Lair! Party cleans up thanks in no small part to some horrifying word Darkguard whispers to the kruthik adult (critical!) Dakkon tosses kruthiks and his sword around Aderes summons a rolling ball of flame to incinerate the monsters -searching the lair uncovers a lot of kruthik poop and some treasures, including jewels and gold -Aderes’ little birdie animal messenger returns and relays the slaying of the helpful old Valthrun by the treacherous Ninaran. She says “Now I only need two more…” and reveals her connection to Kalarel, but the party decides to continue on through the dungeon and leave the unsuspecting citizens of Winterhaven to their fate. >:-o -party has a little encounter with Balgron, important-seeming fattie goblin -he apparently believes that they are not the ones responsible for the dead goblins in the entrance, and tells them he doesn’t know about any cult, so bugger off and leave us goblins alone (Awendella can tell he is lying about something, but she’s not sure what) -Balgron leaves and the party decides to ignore him and head deeper into the dungeon, opening the northern door that is exuding dark energy -The party boldly forges on down into the dark, musty dungeon, quickly getting lost in a maze of corridors. They notice some strange inscriptions on the ground in places and Awendella checks them out. She determines they are definitely sinister and would be triggered by stepping on them. Aderes steps up and performs a ritual to summon Tenser’s floating disc, using it to ferry the party over the runes, one at a time. -after crossing their 4th (or 5th) set of runes, the party waits anxiously for Aderes to cross and bring light to the pitch black room they occupy, only to have her light reveal hideous walking corpses! Eeeew! What will our intrepid heroes do next?

(11/24/08) They fight the zombies One grabs Emlyn and pulls her onto a rune, triggering a horrifying magical scream that sends her and boris running to the north The group finishes off the zombies and then (after some debate) decides to go save the screaming boris and Emlyn, only to find more zombies waiting for them E&B snap out of it, rest of the zombies are cleared out Exploring room to the north, they find a tomb with sarcophagi lining the walls leading into a a larger room. There is a huge carving of Bahamut spreading across the domed ceiling of the large room, and altars to Bahamut to the north and south. As the party walks toward the temple area, the sarcophagi slam open and skeletal warriors start crawling out. The party hacks away at skeleton after skeleton, but not until Basilius makes his way through the melee to read the draconic inscription and kneel at the altar does the stream of undead stop.

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Escape from the Keep on the Shadowfell

Having defeated Kalarel and sealed (hopefully) the gate to the Shadowfell, our heroes find the dungeon crumbling around them!

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Bloodreaver cleanup

Our heroes have cleaned up most of the evil bloodreaver lair, and they are ready to open the last door, behind which Awendella’s sensitive ears hear some guttural voices speaking a mix of goblin and common.

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Back to the Seven-Pillared Hall

The party surprised the drunken bloodreavers and forced a surrender. Thinking of taking some slaves of their own, they strung up the slavers and took them back to the Seven-Pillared Hall. They realized they needed something to trade to get their friend and the other slaves back from the Duergar that had purchased them.

On the way out of the Chamber of Eyes, the ladies find and care for the injured dire wolf. Emlyn names him Sirius and feeds him a Goblin. He likes it, and follows her back to town.

In town, Aderes charms the gate guard into letting Emlyn keep Sirius at Trask’s, while the rest of the party heads over to the Duergar trading post to barter for their friend. The duergar are uncooperative though, and a fight breaks out, ending in horrific deaths for most of the dark dwarves. Two were dragged into otherworldly torment by powers summoned from the Far Realm by Darkguard, while another was brutally rent asunder by the barbaric Dakkon. Terrified for her life, the Theurge in charge of the outpost surrendered.

After getting directions to the duergar castle called the Horned Hold, the party tied up the theurge and their remaining slaves and went back to the inn for some rest.

Back at the Halfmoon Inn they met Erethan of Therund and his fantastic (if dour) band of adventurers, just back from dealing with yet another cult of Orcus. Awendella and Emlyn were a little starstruck (“I have all his books!” squealed Emlyn), but Aderes was able to charm him into letting the party use two of his rooms (since he’d bought out the whole inn for the night).

The next morning, rested and refreshed, the party woke to an unpleasant surprise. Brugg, the hulking ogre enforcer waited for them downstairs. They were taken to Orontor, a Mage of Saruun, and given the task of discovering what the mysterious Paldemar has been up to. The other mages suspected him to be involved in shady business, and they wanted to know what exactly it might be.

Feeling very important, the party picked up their dire wolf, hired a guide (Terrlen Darkstalker) and set off into the labyrinth to find the Horned Hold. They would deal with that lousy mage later!

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The Horned Hold

After a couple of wrong turns and circling back to the Seven-Pillared Hall to get his bearings, Terrlen seemed like he was finally on the right track to the Horned Hold. A couple miles out from the Hall though, something went seriously wrong.

“Brarglrarglblarg! Arooooooooo!”

Terrlen suddenly lost control and shifted into a ridiculously incompetent werewolf, and the party knocked him out in about 10 seconds. When we came to, he seemed confused and had no idea of what had just occurred. Some forceful interrogation from Awendella (and thinly veiled threats from Emlyn) made him realize that this had been happening for a while ever since he had led a couple of Teiflings to the Halls of Silence elsewhere in the labyrinth. He begged the party help him remove this curse, but at this point Borris and Dakkon weren’t even listening. This narrator has little hope for the poor man.

The party continued on their way with Terrlen still in the lead (he wasn’t much of threat, obviously). They soon came to a vast chasm, and the path continued along side it.

“According to the directions that theurge gave you, it’s just around this bend. What are you guys going to say to the duergar anyway? They don’t seem like the diplomatic type.” Terrlen asked.

At this, Emlyn pulled an arrow from her seemingly empty quiver, Darkguard loosed the straps on his morning star, Awendella drew her sword, and the plates of Dakkon’s metal face shifted to resemble an evil grin. Seeing this, Aderes sighed. Borris was taking a leak.

“Oh.” Was all Terrlen had time to mutter before they turned the corner.

The Horned Hold! Definitely the ancient home of a vicious minotaur clan, everything about the underground castle seemed a bit too large for an average humanoid. Three monolithic towers rose almost to the ceiling of the cavern, and two precarious-looking stone bridges connected the Towers across the chasm. As they approached the first tower, they saw two orcs standing on guard behind a huge iron portcullis, with many more orcs occupying the guard room behind them.

The sight of the orcs, sons of Corellon’s ancient enemy Gruumsh, drove Awendella into a righteous rage. Before anyone else could act, she screamed her Lord’s name and rushed the closed portcullis.

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