Adventure Log - Week Nine
Into the Temple of All-Consumption

Into the Temple of All-Consumption

Dedicated readers, here is the next chapter in the chronicles of our most valiant and brave heroes as they seek to eliminate an evil cult capable of destroying the known realms. Are you brave enough to discover what becomes of our heroes? If so, then read on. Belkas Silverquill.

Having just defeated a swarm of foes, with barely enough time to catch their breath, our heroes are again beset by enemies. Despite being out numbered, our heroes battle valiantly until they are victorious.

Following the passageway from whence the enemies had emerged, the smooth, worked stone soon give way to roughly hewn walls and floor. Xoad declares that he can detect evil up ahead. Without waiting, he charges forth into another battle, followed by Gol’kosh and Paradox. The battle is brief but vicious. The constant battle is starting to take a toll on our heroes, but they defeat these beasts whilst taking few wounds themselves.

Moving on, they find themselves in a large chamber with two tunnels leading off the far side. A set of iron rails set into the ground lead into both tunnels, with the walls of the chamber and tunnels being roughly worked rock. The group suspect that they are at the entrance to the old dwarven mines. Taking time for a short rest, they find no evidence that the mine is currently being worked.

Backtracking their steps to the area of their first encounter, the group head down a passageway leading off in the opposite direction. The passage narrows before entering into a small chamber. Disturbing sigils are carved into the walls of the chamber, and at the far end are another two passageways leading off.

Xoad pauses as he enters the chamber, and indicates the right hand passageway at the far end, stating that he can feel the presence of evil in that direction. Charging ahead, Gol’kosh is confronted by a large troglodyte, its features blackened, and iron rings piercing its body from which bones and other totems hang. Again, battle is joined and the rest of the group are right behind Gol’kosh. This troglodyte bears great strength and agility, and defeating it proves to be a challenge. Just as it appears that our group of heroes are gaining the upper hand, a troglodyte cleric accompanied by a grue emerge from the tunnels darkness and join the battle. Only by the clever use of magic by Dinky, and the skilled use of blade and axe by the others are these harbingers of evil slain. The group loot the valuable weapons and other items from these dead foe, and make the decision to retreat from this place of evil in order to rest. Xoad is particularly heartened by this decision, as his senses are constantly being assailed by the feeling of evil.

The group make their way out of the tunnels without further encounter, and descend the winding path down the side of the crater. On reaching the bottom, the group leave the path and head off across the rough terrain, in a direction away from the path. After a short time, they find a secluded area which is easily defendable. They settle down for the night and assign watch duties. As Xoad attends to his equipment and prepares to rest for the evening, he is still unable to shake the sense of evil that has been present since entering the accursed place…

Adventure Log - Week Eight
Journey to Rastor

Journey to Rastor

This is the eighth chapter in the enthralling tale of great heroism and mighty deeds told ever so eloquently by the master scribe and grand scholar, Belkas Silverquill the learned.

On their return Hommlet, our heroes make their way back to the Welcome Wench Inn. As they make their way through town, Gol’kosh can feel the eyes of the towns people upon him. It is a feeling he is used to – suspicion, fear and from time to time hate. The difference being is these sensations were not present when he was last in town. So, what has changed in our heroes absence?

Later in the day, Elmo meets up with our heroes at the tavern. On greeting them and welcoming them back, he then informs the group that he has sad news. The bodies of the miller and his wife have been found. Some lads from town were fishing down river when they pulled the bodies from the river. When Elmo came to examine the bodies, he was able to determine that the miller was killed by a blow to the head with a great axe, and his wife shot in the back by a crossbow. Elmo continues to talk about the death of the miller and his wife, but after a while the group become aware that he has been asking more questions about their activities in town, rather than what they discovered in Nulb. Elmo apologises for this, but explains that there has been rumours around town that the miller was killed by a half orc. He flicks a nervous glance in Gol’koshs direction. Satisfied that our heroes have no involvement in the deaths, the conversation moves on to the happenings in Nulb. Elmo is not surprised to learn that the rumours of Lareths resurrection were true. Our heroes lay out all they have learnt and discuss their options. They decide to follow the trail from the moathouse ruins to the Temple of All-Consumption which they suspect can be found somewhere in the vicinity of Rastor. This decided, they spend the rest of the day in preparation for the journey. The next morning, the group sets off for the capital, Verbobonc.

After several days of uneventful travel, our group reach their destination of Verbobonc. As they enter the city, Silas expresses an interest in trying to sell many of the items the group have acquired during their adventuring. Without any stronger leads to follow, the group agrees. Moving further into the city, Silas spots a couple of stores that suit his needs. As they enter the store, the overhear a conversation between a group of people passing by “…can really play a lute, but that bard has the worst singing voice I have ever heard in my life.” The group look at each other in disbelief… surely it could not be him!

As Silas goes from store to store striking deals, Gol’kosh finds himself talking to another half orc who introduces himself as Krull. Although the conversation was far from lively, Gol’kosh did learn the name of a female half orc named Zolda working the docks who knew about Rastor.

Once Silas had finished his wheeling and dealing, the group made their way down to the docks where they easily found Zolda. Although somewhat brusque, she knew much of the small town. But her information was of a general nature only, with the group learning nothing that would rouse their suspicions that a cult was operating in the area. She described the town as being a run down collection of mud huts at the end of the trail. An orc tribe lived nearby, but there was little trouble between the towns folk and the Orcs. The town residents were mostly human, orc, half orc and dwarves. There were no temples in the town. A large crater was located some distance to the south of town and used to be home to the dwarves, who mined and worked ore from the crater. But the dwarves were driven from their home some time ago. Tal Chammish was known to her as a local jack of all trades who lived in the town. With little more to go on, the group continued their journey to Rastor, arriving there several days later.

The road to Rastor had been deteriorating greatly over the last couple of days of the journey, becoming little more than a muddy track by the time it reached the town. On the outskirts of town, the group came across a scruffy male working the fields. Stopping to talk to him, he eagerly introduces himself as Tal Chammish. He boasts that he can get for them anything they want for the right price. As they question him further, it becomes obvious that he is little more than poor, unskilled man trying to make a living anyway he can. However ,the group did learn that a green dragon may have taken up residence in the crater to the south, but hadn’t been seen for a few months. They also learned that there was no governing body or city watch as such. The business owners in town made decisions from time to time as need be, and if there was any trouble in town… well, there was always Jor’deth, a local half orc with a knack of sorting out problems!

Our heroes continue on into town and make their way to the inn, which wasn’t difficult to find in the small town. Entering the inn, the group are surprised to see a group of orcs at a table, drinking. They pay the group no heed as they take their place at another table. The inn keeper soon approaches and takes orders for food and drinks.

Later into the evening, a jovial looking male enters the tavern and walks over to the orcs. He leans close to the group and says something, which is greeted by a roar of laughter from the orcs. He catches sight of our heroes seated at their table, and with a last word to the orcs, and a slap to the back of the nearest one, he wanders over and begins talking to the group. In a cheerful voice, he tells them that he had heard of strangers being in town. He begins asking them questions such as where they have come from, and why they have come to Rastor. Paradox feels uneasy around the man – as a stranger he is asking too many questions. Gol’kosh grows bored with the man and tells him they are here to destroy the evil temple. The man stutters for a minute before appearing bewildered, asking “What evil temple? There is no evil temple here!” Gol’kosh snorts derisively at the man and says “We will see!”, then turns and ignores any further attempts by him to ask further questions. With a shrug, he wanders away to talk to other who have since entered the tavern.

The next morning, the group head off early in the direction of the crater. There are no roads or tracks between Rastor and the crater, so the group have to make their way across some rough country in the general direction of the crater. By mid day, they can see the crater, and a rough track leading in the direction of the crater. It takes our heroes a frustratingly long time to make their way down to the track due to the rough terrain, but once they reach the track the going is much easier. They see evidence of wagons, horses and foot traffic in both directions on the track. They follow the track to the edge of the crater, where it then began winding its way up the cliff like side of the crater for about 300 feet. Climbing the track, they find that it leads to a large alcove about 20 feet across, set into the side of the cliff. The floor is smooth and level, and there are two iron bound wooden doors about 15 foot tall and 8 feet wide each, at the far side of the alcove. As they approach the door, Paradox spies numerous narrow slots along both side walls – arrow slots! He points them out to the rest of the group, who decide to continue.

Gol’kosh thumps loudly on the doors, demanding the door be opened, but there is no response. He attempts to force the doors to no avail.

Paradox’s giant ape and bear move forward and push on the door. There is the sound of splintering wood as the doors slowly open. The group pass through the opening into a vast chamber which is wide and long. The walls are covered in paintings depicting demons, human sacrifices and slaughter, humans being tortured and tormented by all form of elementals… fire, water, air and earth.

“I think we are in the right place” Arnisil whispers.

Doors at the far end of the chamber have mosaics set in the floor in front of them depicting each of the elements.

A group of gnolls step out from the shadows and attack. The group quickly set up a formation to drive them back and slay them. As they are getting the upper hand, a group of humans and animated undead led by a troglodyte cleric attack from a side corridor. The battle is long and draining on our heroes, with many of them taking serious wounds. But they are victorious. As the last beast falls, the sound of movement from the side corridor reaches them – more foes are coming! Should our heroes try to retreat and regain their strength? Will they have time to fall back before being set upon? How many enemy approach? Do our heroes have the strength to endure another brutal battle? Have they made a mistake in entering this place so boldly? Our heroes must decide upon their next course of action quickly, and hope they have made the correct choice… or die in this evil place!

Adventure Log - Week Seven
The Encounter at Nulb

The Encounter at Nulb

Here is the next installment of the grand adventure, featuring our fearless heroes as they battle a mighty, evil foe in their quest for knowledge. Scribed by the famed scholar and scribe Belkas Silverquill.

Lareth stands upon the roof of the ruined building shouting out “I am the king of Nulb” and laughing manically our heroes who stand before him. Paradox’s giant bear has Gol’kosh in a crushing hold as he thrashes about in rage.

Dinky steps forwards and calls out to Lareth, declaring that he seeks an audience with him. Lareth stops laughing and moves to the edge of the building. Looking down at Dinky he says “And why would you wish an audience with the likes of me?”
“We have many questions.” Dinky answers him. “Questions only you can answer.”
Lareth pauses for a minute, as if considering Dinky’s answer, then answers him “Ask your questions then, and I shall answer them only if I deem them worthy of answering.”
Arnisil steps forward “Who brought you back?”
‘Hedrax!” spat Lareth, “Hedrax brought me back… and you want to kill me!” He laughed out loud before continuing “You all want to kill me, and you don’t even know why you want to kill me!” he looked at each of our heroes in turn before continuing “Do you want to know why you want to kill me. Do you really?” Again he laughed “Because to you I am special. I have been blessed by the Gods!”

As he is talking, a slight movement of his hands catches Silas’s eye. It looked to Silas as though Lareth slipped something from beneath his robes, but Silas didn’t see what it was.

Lareth continued his rant “Hedrax did this to me. He came to me asking me… pleading with me to rejoin the Cult. But I refused him.”

“Tell us where he is’ Silas called out “Tell us, and we will kill him.”

Lareth laughed again, but there seemed to be something different this time, something our heroes could not recognise. “Hedrax has gone to rebuild his little Cult. He seeks the Unholy Crater!”

Suddenly, all chaos breaks loose. Gol’kosh breaks free from the bear and takes a swing at it with his great axe. Lareth jumps from the roof and flies off 50 feet from the group just as the giant bear crashes into the side of the building, bringing it crashing to the ground. Gol’kosh sees Lareth floating in the air 50 feet away and charges. As he reaches Lareth he leaps into the air, and swinging his great axe with both hands over his head, strikes Lareth a mighty blow, knocking him to the ground. The giant bear sets upon him and finishes the work that Gol’kosh began. With his last dying breath, Lareth screams out “This land will be destroyed and you shall be the cause!”

With the death of Lareth, the group take a moment to rest before making their way further into the ruined town. As they pass what appeared to be the ruins of a tavern, Xoad points it out and declares “There is evil within”. The group enter the building cautiously and look about. The building is not as bad as it first appeared, with a set of stairs leading up to the next floor. Paradox’s wolf companion begins growling at a table near the centre of the room. Gol’kosh moves forward and smashes it with a single blow. The wolf continues to growl at the remains of the table. Gol’kosh prods the shattered remains of the table with his axe. Suddenly, a ghostly apparition appears before him and lashes out at Gol’kosh before vanishing. Unperturbed, Gol’kosh follows Silas and Xoad as they climb the stairs to the upper floor. As they search the rooms upstairs, ghosts appear both in the ground floor tap room and upstairs. After a brief battle, they are all defeated and Xoad is satisfied that no more remain.

Leaving the building, the group continue further into the ruined town. At the edge of the river running through the town they find the remains of a river pirate boat. The boat has been pulled up onto the bank, but the rear of the boat is still in the river. A large hole in the side of the boat provides our heroes with easy access. The boat slopes downwards towards the river. The inside of the boat is flooded at the rear, and as the group make their way back, they can see another hole in the bottom of the boat, almost as though something has fallen through. Without warning, a mass of grey ooze rises from the water and attacks the group. As the group fall back, the ooze follows, striking out at our heroes. Silas nocks an arrow and shoots at it. The arrow flies true, striking the ooze and splitting it in 2! Our heroes continue the battle the abomination, and with each blow the creature splits in half and continues the attack. Finally, backing out through the hole in the side of the hull, and by using fire, the heroes defeat the last of the ooze.

Returning to the interior of the boat, Gol’kosh dives through the hole in the bottom of the boat and swims down to the river bed. Covered in silt and algae, he finds a rusted chest, which he lifts to the surface and drags out of the boat. Breaking the chest open, there appears to be little of great value in it, but the party takes what little there is and discards the ruined chest.

Exhausted, the group decide to return to Hommlet to rest and heal. As they make their way back to town, they discuss what they have learnt from their time in Nulb. The discussion is brief, leaving each with the feeling that little has been gained, until Dinky tells the others that he believes the unholy crater that Lareth spoke of to be Mount Stelagos, only a few days journey away. And with that small piece of information, the group continued the journey in silence.

Adventure Log - Week Six
The Ruins of Evil, Part III

The Ruins of Evil, Part III

Upon these pages will you find the sixth chapter of a grand legend of good against evil. Of selfless acts of heroism and valour in the face of dire adversity, all recounted with amazing accuracy by the remarkable Belkas Silverquill, realm renowned scholar, historian and author.

Standing in the middle of the great chamber in the shadow of the massive obelisk, the frustration felt by the group could be felt as strongly as the intense cold of the chamber itself. Driven by this frustration, Gol’kosh raises his greataxe into the air and smashes it into one of the glyphs carved into the ground. As he struck, there was a blinding flash and ear shattering crack – the axe shattered and Gol’kosh was flung backwards, stunned.

Once all could see that Gol’kosh was uninjuried, the others in the group tried their best to hold back their laughter. Paradox climbed to the top of the pillar, where the obelisk was balanced on a massive gem. Closing his eyes and concentrating, Paradox could feel the different magics emanating from around the chamber – from the archway, the carved symbols, the obelisk and the pool of water.

Climbing down from the pillar, Paradox summons a ferret and sends it through the archway carved into the wall. As the animal disappears, two grells suddenly appear and attack. After a fierce battle, the grells are defeated. Paradox can sense nothing of the fate of the ferret. With the belief of finding no further answers set firmly in their minds, our heroes make the long journey back to the outside world.

As they come out of the ruins into the courtyard, they are somewhat surprised to find five horses heavily laden with supplies. They quickly come to the realization that these must belong to the shape-changer and his henchmen who attacked them earlier. Not being the sort to look a gift horse in the mouth, they group make the easy decision that to the victor goes the spoils. Before setting off, Silas searches the horses and finds a locked trunk. Deftly picking the lock, he opens the trunk – inadvertently setting off an acid trap! Not seriously injured, and undaunted by the presence of a trap, he rifles through the contents of the trunk. Of interest, he finds an ochre robe, a mechanical bird apparatus and a disguise kit. With these new found goods safely stowed away, our heroes make their way back to Homlett.

On returning to Homlett, the group make their way to Spugnoir’s shop, where they find he has found his way back safely. They recount for him all that happened after he left to return. Though disturned by the events, he is thankful for the information. Unable to answer any of their questions, he promises to let them know if he comes up with anything of interest.

Leaving Spugnoir, they head back to the inn, where they find Elmo and again explain all that has occurred in the ruins, including the encounter with the shape changer with the appearance of Elmo. Long conversation follows, in which many questions are asked by all, but very few answers are found. Elmo speaks of a cleric by the name of Larenth. A handesome man and favoured of Lloth, he tells of his eventual downfall when the Temple of Elemental Evil was toppled. Witnessed by Elmo himself, he was felled by a cruel blow to the head by a mace. Checking the body afterwards, Elmo described how Larenths handsome face had been devastated by the blow, with half his face destroyed by the blow. He mentions this as rumours have reached him… unbelievable rumours that the cleric yet lives! Shown drawings of the symbols found in the chamber below the ruins, Elmo shakes his head and informs them that he does not recognize them. Shortly afterwards, the gathering breaks up and each goes their separate ways.

Silas makes his way to an establishment where gambling is permitted. After winning himself a small fortune from a group of hapless local merchants, he finds himself talking to rough looking warrior well into his cups. Introducing himself as Xoad, he described himself as a warrior for good. Plagued by visions of great devastation by fire, he had come to Homlett in search of the evil behind these visions. Silas presses him for details of his conquests, and he eventually has to admit that he has failed in his quest, as he has found no sign of evil in his time in town. Silas briefly tells of his groups adventures since arriving in town, but in a very casual, offhand manner – as if it were all in a normal days happenings. Even though the warrior is quite drunk, Silas can see that he has pulled the right strings with this one… the lure has been cast and the bait taken. By the end of the evening, the warrior is all but begging to be a part of this group of heroes.

Meanwhile, Arnisil makes his way to the local temple – the Temple of St Cuthbert, when he is able to gain an audience with the abbot. Here he has more success with the strange symbols. They are identified as being the Triforce symbol for the cult of the Elder Elemental Eye, and the obex symbolizing Tharizdun, the imprisoned god. He learns that the Goddess Lloth was believed to be the power behind the Temple of Elemental Evil, and that the Catherdral still stands, near the ruins of Nulb. Arnisil in turn tells of the groups discoveries at the ruins. Another area of interest is discussed – the township of Rastor. Arnisil is shown where it is located, and learns that there is an Orc village nearby. But instead of being a source of concern to the people of Rastor, there is instead a long standing harmony between the two settlements. He learns that Rastor is mostly inhabited by humans and dwarves… and of course, many half orcs as well.

The next day, as the group prepares to leave town, Rathidor informs the group of his decision to part company. Though he was seeking adventure, he explains that his short time with the group has shown that he is not an adventurer, and he fears that he would not survive the dangers the group must surely face in the future. So they say their farewells and set off, with Silas the last to wish Rathidor well – he shakes hands and gives him a farewell hug before turning to following the others. Unnoticed by the others, Silas seemed to have something in his hand that hadn’t been there a moment ago… which with a flick of his wrist seemed to disappear, whatever it was…

A hung over but mostly sober Xoad meets up with the group in the street, and they set off to find Elmo. He is found at the mill with a group of town militia, investigating the disappearance of the miller and his wife. Elmo informs them that there has still been no word from the miller or his wife, but that foul play would now seem to be the most likely reason. The lads that worked for the miller – the ones the group spoke to when they first arrived in town – had been found dead… in the cellar of the mill! They had been found on the same day the group left to investigate the moathouse ruins. Also, reports of another strange occurrence had reached Elmo. He tells them of a witnesses account of seeing the local druid, Jaru, leading a group on horseback east and out of town that same day.

Joined by Elmo, they make their way to the druid grove, but he can not be found anywhere. Elmo expresses his unease at this turn of events, as Jaru has never been absent from the grove in all the time he has known him. Standing at the threshold to the druids hut, Paradox has no trouble identifying that the occupant has been absent for about a week, by the lack of certain druidic rituals having been performed. With the use of his spells, Dinky is able to identify that the last person to have been in the hut was a doppelganger, and that being the morning before the death of the miller and his wife.

The group parts company with Elmo, who implores them to proceed with caution. Leaving town, with Xoad in company, they make their way back to the ruins of the moat house. Descending down into the vast chamber again, Xoad is overcome with the sensations of evil that assail his senses. His desire is to destroy all in the chamber, to which Gol’kosh agrees with, until he is reminded of what happened the last time he tried! In an attempt to learn more, the group burn the incense they found earlier. Thin tendrils of smoke snake out and wrap themselves around the stone column supporting the obelisk. Runes carved into the stone appear – “Speak my name, Tharizdun.” With the help of Xoad and his knowledge of evil cults, along with the knowledge Arnisil gained at the temple in town, the group realize that this massive edifice is connected with the dark god Tharizdun, and was likely created where it stands. They come to the belief that a follower of evil might be able to commune directly with Tharizdun. The huge gem at the top of the stone column supporting the obelisk is believed to have come from the elemental plane. As the smoke from the incense drifts out further, tendrils of dark magic can be seen emanating from the dark sun symbol carved in the rock floor of the cavern, reaching out in the direction of the party.

Climbing the column again, our heroes again investigate the otherworldly gem at the base of the obelisk. Despite his strongest desire to do so, Xoad can see no way of destroying it, but also can not abide the evil emanating from it. Dinky moves forward to study it closer. After a moment of intense scrutiny, he reaches out and touches the gem… and suddenly disappears! The others clamber down from the top of the stone column and look about in stunned silence. Suddenly, Dinky reappears in front of the archway carved in the wall. Dinky recounts his experience, clearly recalling a phrase that assailed his consciousness – “seek the heart”. What looked to be fruit then appeared before him. On taking a bite from it, he reappeared here in the chamber.

With nothing more to be learned, the group make their way back out of the chamber and seal it before leaving the moathouse.

Our hero’s now continue their journey to the deserted ruins of Nulb. After an eventless journey, the group approach Nulb. Despite the brightness of the day, as they near the town the sky darkens and gives the appearance of being stormy. As they enter the town, the buildings they pass are little more than rubble covering the ground. Making their way further into the town a voice booms out from the deepening gloom… “Welcome to Nulb!” Our heroes continue on in the direction the voice came from. The outline of a small building still standing can be seen before them. A lone, shadowy figure can be sitting on the front porch of the building, smoking a pipe. The glow from the pipe illuminates the strangers face. From side on his features appear quite handsome, until he turns to face the group… the other side of his face appears crushed, shattered, caved in. Our hero’s identify him immediately. This person should not be alive. Lareth!!!

As they approach him he stands and holds his arms out wide. “Welcome to Nulb” he again announces. Arnisil steps forwards and replies “Lareth, we were not expecting to meet you. We were of the belief that you were dead!”

Lareth laughs to himself “Aye, dead I was, well and truly dead… and content to be so.”

“How is it you come to be here? Who has given you life?” asked Arnisil.

Again Lareth laughed, but there was no amusement in his voice “Life!” he yelled, “You call this life!!” He stepped forward to the edge of the porch “I could tell you much about what you call life. And death. You all fear death, when you should be embracing it! And the Temple. I could tell you so much out the Temple. So very much, but it will cost you… oh, will it cost you!”

As Lareth continued his mad rant, Gol’kosh grumbled “I bored, you talk too much.” Axe raised, Gol’kosh rushed at Lareth, who pointed at him and softly spoke but a single word. Gol’kosh staggered just short of where Lareth stood, as if confused, then moved forwards again. As he did so, Paradox’s giant bear companion wrapped his massive arms around Gol’kosh, holding him in place. Gol’gosh thrashed and struggled in vain to escape the bear. Lareth swumg himself up onto the roof of the building and began laughing manically at our heroes, declaring loudly over and over again “I am the Lord of Nulb!”

As Gol’kosh struggled to break free, Silas moved forward in an attempt to calm his friend. As he did so, he caught sight of Gol’kosh’s face and stopped in his tracks. Silas then took a couple of nervous steps backwards, away from Gol’kosh and the bear. He has seen that look on his friends face before…

Adventure Log - Week Five
The Ruins of Evil, Part II

The Ruins of Evil, Part II

This being the fifth chapter in an epic account of great heroism and grand adventure. Accurately retold based on exhaustive research and witness interviews by Belkas Silverquill, realm renowned scholar, historian and author.

Exhausted and in desperate need of rest, our hero’s return to one of the barracks room to recuperate. Finding the room easily defendable, they settle down for some much needed rest. After what seems to be a number of hours, the bard Rethador awakens and makes his way over to where Arnisil is keeping watch. Settling down alongside Arnisil, Rethador begins talking to him about what he see’s as incredible feats done by the group.

Their conversation is cut short by noises from outside the room. Someone – or something – approaches. Arnisil quickly wakes the others, and they prepare themselves for the worst. All are amazed to see Elmo enter the room with two other heavily armed companions – a Human warrior and a Half Orc Barbarian. Momentarily confused, they stare at Elmo in disbelief, who is himself complaining of the difficulties he and his companions have endured in searching for our hero’s. Elmo cuts short their questions as to how he found them and instead starts questioning them as too all that had occurred in this place.

Confusion turns to suspicion as our hero’s consider the unlikely reasons Elmo would have to come in search of them, unless something of great importance had occurred that they were not aware of. Not wanting to offend Elmo, but concerned over his decision to seek them out in such an evil place, our hero’s are slow in giving away too much information, and ask a few questions of Elmo himself.

Without warning, the Half Orc launches into an attack on our hero’s, along with the Human warrior. Within a heartbeat all three of the visitors are attacking the group. As our band of intrepid heroes respond to this sudden and unexpected threat, a female Cleric rushes into the room and attacks them, followed by a Mage. Caught off guard, the group are forced to defend themselves on all sides. Just as our hero’s seem to be gaining the upper hand, another Mage appears out of nowhere and unleashes a fierce attack on them. The battle rages on, and as our hero’s overcome their confusion, they are able to defeat each of these new foes, including Elmo. On closer examination of Elmo’s corpse, it is revealed to be a doppelganger. Relieved by the knowledge that they have not slain the real Elmo, the group quickly search the dead and loot anything of value. More of the strange holy symbols are found on the bodies of the cleric and mages, only deepening the mystery. Resolving to unravel this mystery, the group set out for the crypt once more, determined to find answers.

The adventurers know they are close to the crypt when a sudden chill engulfs them. They enter a cold, dismal chamber filled with sarcophagi in crevices dug into the walls. After encountering a couple of ghouls, the group are able to search the area, but find nothing of interest. Preparing to move on, the group suddenly find a hidden door at the back of an alcove, behind and empty sarcophagus. Opening the doorway, a long passageway is revealed. Our parties spirits lift with the prospect of finding some answers, but are soon dashed when they find that the passageway only leads to an area they have already searched. Returning to the crypt, they decide to investigate the deep pit they encountered earlier.

They make their way to the pit. Nothing seems to have changed since they were last here. An unnatural chill emanates from the pit. A pulley system has been erected over the pit, with a series of ropes connected to the corners of a wooden platform suspended over the pit. It is obvious that the platform is some sort of elevator which can be raised or lowered using the ropes and pulley’s, and the rope can be operated by standing on the platform.

With little other choice, the group gather together on the platform, and the strongest of the group begin to lower them into the pit. As they slowly descend into the gloom, the air becomes noticeably colder. About 30 feet down, the platform passes through a round portal with tunnels on either side. Water flows from the tunnels and falls into the pit below. The party then realize that the round, flat stone they found in the chamber above is some sort of coverstone, used to seal the chamber they are now entering. Once in place, it appears the coverstone would have been mortared in over the portal, and the pit above would fill with water, hiding this chamber from all.

Passing through the portal, the group can see that they have entered a vast chamber that must be close to 300 feet deep. The chill increases again, to an uncomfortable level, and the group realize that they can not stay in this are for too long. They descend another 150 feet where they stop just above the top of what appears to be a tall column. The surface of the column resembles black marble, but it appears to absorb all light, as there is no luster to the surface. Thick violet veins intertwine over the surface. Another wooden platform is suspended by ropes off to one side of the column. Arnisil steps of the platform to make his way to the edge, but as he does, the veins in the surface seem to come to life and slowly writhe in his direction. He steps back onto the platform and the veins stop moving. Taking a chance, the group dash, one by one, to the second wooden platform, careful to avoid the writhing veins in the surface of the column. As the last member of the group land on the second platform, they start lowering themselves further into the chamber. It is soon revealed that the column, now looking more like some huge obelisk, narrows to a seemingly impossible point, balanced precariously atop a 30 foot piller. Although it appears the obelisk should topple at the slightest touch, it is as solid as the rock it appears to be made of.

Out of the darkness, a strange creature identified as a grell attacks the group, but is easily defeated… too easily for the liking of some in the party.

Eventually, the platform reaches the stony ground. The cold at this level is almost unbearable, slowly sapping the strength of even the strongest and most resilient member of the group. At this level, it can be seen that there are iron rungs set in the side of the pillar, leading up to the top where the obelisk appears to be impossibly balanced on a point as narrow as the tip of an arrow head.

The group step off the platform onto the rocky ground. An archway set into the wall can be seen on the far side of the chamber, with a smooth, flat surface filling the inside of the archway. Two strange symbols are carved into the ground a short distance from the archway.

The group is startled by a bone chilling scream from behind them. They turn in time to see what appears to be a demented Cleric flying in their direction. He appears to be human, but his skin has an unnaturally pale appearance which seems to match the unnatural coldness of the chamber. Paradox summons a hippogriff to battle the cleric. The cleric proves to be no match for this beast, and is soon slain.

They approach the archway, which is a carved mass of writhing serpents and tentacles set into the wall. The area inside the archway is completely smooth and utterly black. Silas makes a search of the area around the archway, but no clues as to its’ meaning or function are found. He also finds no hidden doors, traps, triggers or any other devices. Curious, he picks up a stone and lobs it at the centre of the archway. As it hits the surface within the archway, the stone disappears, and a grell appears in its’ place. After a tough battle, the grell lies dead at the base of the archway. Each member of the party looks at the others… what does this mean? Where does this mysterious portal lead? Does it even lead anywhere, or is it just a quick death for any who try to enter? And what of this massive obelisk – what strange power holds it in place?

Our hero’s are now thoroughly disheartened… Having come all this way, and having overcome all manner of adversity in search of answers, all they find are more questions. Where to from here?

Adventure Log - Week Four
The Ruins of Evil

The Ruins of Evil

The fourth chapter of a grand heroic tale of good versus evil. Penned by the esteemed scribe Belkas Silverquill

Having taken a moment to regain their strength, our band of heroes once again set out to search the ruins. Spreading out and searching the chamber, they soon find a secret door and venture onwards. They soon find themselves in another large chamber, where they surprise a group of gnolls. After a brief battle, the gnolls are slain, but it seems the commotion has drawn the attention of even deadlier foes… a group of Ghouls and a Ghast. Again, these mighty heroes fight for their lives. Just as the group seem to be gaining the upper hand, Silas checks on Rethidoor. As he does so, he spies a shadowy figure through an open doorway. He prepares himself, expecting this newcomer to attack. And attack he does, stepping out into the chamber he fires off a flurry of magic missiles – directly at the ghast, killing it. The remaining ghouls are soon slain. The figure reveals himself to be Spugnoir of Hommlet, and expresses his relief at finally finding some allies.

Finding a safe place to rest and talk, the group tell Spugnoir of his daughters worry for him and of their promise to her to find him. He is grateful for their concern and assistance, and tells them of how he came to be trapped in the ruins when the dragon arrived. He witnessed the dragon slay the cult leader, and fled into the ruins to hide. The group show him one of the items taken from a table in a chamber – a black tube containing a scroll. Spugnoir studies the scroll, but is unable to decipher the language. He thanks our heroes for his rescue and prepares to depart. They tell him of their decision to continue to search the ruins, and he warns them of the danger, telling them that he overheard members of the cult discussing that they had found… something. He believes that whatever they have found to be a means to greater evil. Spugnoir and the party then go their separate ways.

The heroes continue to search the corridors and chambers, but seem to only find ransacked rooms, ruins and debris. Eventually another secret door is found, behind which is a stairway leading down. Beyond the stairs are more winding passageways. Following one of these passageways leads to room containing six straw mattresses and an assortment of bags and satchels. Searching the room reveals nothing of value… except for a locked chest. Silas goes to work on the lock, and in no time it springs open. Triumphantly, he opens the chest which triggers a hidden trap! Only his quick reflexes saves Silas from serious harm. The items are quickly looted.

Making their way through the other passageways, they come across a group of gnolls, which they quickly slay. Continuing on, they find themselves in another room containing six straw mattresses and an assortment of poorly maintained weapons and armour. The room smells of wet fur.

Following another corridor, they find that it ends abruptly at a stone wall. The stone is clearly different from the walls, but the group can find no way around or through the wall. Baffled, they decide to leave it for now and continue their search.

Retracing their steps, they find another winding passageway which eventually leads intersects with a set of stairs leading down. The group hesitate, unsure whether to venture onwards or down the stairs. In this moment of hesitation, a horribly deformed figure lunges from the shadows of the stairs and attacks. Another Ghast. The group slay this lone attacker, only to spy more figures at the bottom of the stairs – a human Cleric and scaly lizard creatures. Our heroes once again charge into battle, and are eventually victorious. Searching the body of the slain Cleric reveals he is wearing a pendant of the same symbol they had found on the other Clerics. The lizard creatures are also wearing pendants of a different symbol, but this one has also been seen by the group before – on the body of the female in they found in the manor.

The group become aware of how cold the area is… of an unnatural feeling chill not just in the air, but the walls and floor. Before them lies an open pit. Water seeps from the walls and flows down into the pit. A set of ropes and pulley’s are suspended above the pit, and there is a large, flat stone nearby… the same size as the pit. The group also find a strange statue next to the pit, a rectangular block with different figures carved on each side.

Leaving this area, the group return to the top of the last set of stairs and continue along the corridor, only to find that it leads to a large crypt…

What evil now awaits our heroes? What lies ahead in the crypt? What is the significance of the strange statue by the pit? Could this be the ‘thing’ the cult found? So many unanswered questions, the answer to any one of them could mean their death… or worse!

Adventure Log - Week Three
From Hommlet to the Ruins

From Hommlet to the Ruins

The third chapter in an exciting tale of high adventure and heroic deeds. A retelling penned by the acclaimed scribe and scholar Belkas Silverquill.

Within the comfortable setting of the Inn of the Welcome Wench in the village of Hommlet, our heroes are engaged in conversation with the bard Rethidoor Halfmoon. He is pleased to see them again, but is surprised to hear about the raid on Gustav’s manor. As they continue to chat, Rethidoor tells of his desire to write an epic sonnet, a ballad of grand adventure and heroic deeds of such scale as to be the greatest tale ever told. He asks if he can join our heroes and write of their adventures. Even though he admits to having no combat experience and only limited mastery of magical arts, they agree to allow him to join them.

The next morning the group prepares to leave town. Arnisil pays a visit to the nearby temple and speaks with a cleric within, but learns nothing new of note. Dinky and Paradox set off to find Spugnoir, but instead find a young girl of about 10 sitting on the doorstep of his shop eating the largest sticky bun either of them have ever seen. She introduces herself as Spugnoir’s daughter, and explains that her father is out of town. When asked where he has gone and when he is due to return, the girl explains that he has gone to the ruins to keep an eye on things, but has been gone for a few days now and should have returned. She tells them he usually returns within a day. Paradox senses that the girl is worried. They reassure the girl that all is well, and that they will go and look for him. They then quickly return to the Inn to speak with the others. On hearing the news, all are agreed on the same course of action… go to the ruins and find Spugnoir.

Soon they are on the road headed for the ruins. Our heroes have not travelled far when they come across a trapper by the name of Dell. He tells of seeing strange, gnoll-like creatures in the ruins. But of more concern, he claims to have seen a blue dragon enter the ruins, and believes it to still be there. Despite the danger, the group decide to continue on, and before long reach the ruins.

Although once a might structure, very little of it remains standing. Surrounded by a stagnant moat, the keep seems to consist of a partially destroyed manor, crumbling outer walls, a collapsed tower and dilapidated remains of a gatehouse. An overgrown path leads to a drawbridge crossing the moat, with the ruined gates of the guardhouse open.
As the group approach the drawbridge, Dinky passes closely to a large pool of foul smelling water. A giant toad suddenly breaks the surface and attacks, only to be struck down by Gol’kosh.

Paradox notices that his wolf companion seems reluctant to continue. He communes with the wolf and learns of the presence of scarey creatures, big lizard and many dead things. The wolf definitely fears to enter.

Despite this, the group carefully enter, and spread out in the courtyard. On the far side of the courtyard stands the remains of the manor. Whilst the upper level is in ruins, the ground level appears relatively intact. As they make their way across the courtyard, a large blue creature leaps out of the manor through the ruined doorway and attacks. A dragon! It roars in anger “Who dares enter the lair of Untreshemon!” It spits lighting at Paradox and the battle joined by the others. Despite the fearsome reputation of dragons, the battle is soon over with the great beast slain by Gol’kosh.

The party enters the manor and finds the half eaten remains of a human corpse. By the manner in which he is dressed, they believe he was a Cleric, however the symbol on the pendant worn around is neck is not recognized to any in the group. A second corpse, this one of a woman is found nearby. Despite a thorough search of the ground floor, little else of value is found. What is discovered are two stairways leading down, one of them hidden behind a secret door.

The group decide to take the secret stairway. At the bottom they find a door which looks to be a long time closed. Edging the door open, our heroes find themselves in a large, pillared chamber – but they are not alone. A female Cleric and two gnolls stand near a covered table with strange items upon it. The group attack, and the gnolls are quickly slain, but the Cleric has retreated to the rear of the room. Silas takes a small black sphere from the table, but is seen by the female Cleric who demands he put it back immediately! Unsurprisingly he ignores her, so she opens the door at the rear of the room and screams out the command “attack!” Several skeletons emerge from the room, including the skeleton of a large owl bear, and attack the group. Gol’kosh flees to the far side of the room where he seems to cower for a short time, as the other attack. Arnisil calls on the favour of his God, destroying several of the skeletons. The remaining abominations along with the female Cleric commanding them are soon slain.

A search of the room from where they emerged reveals the strange words “Death to all owl bears” engraved in one of the walls. The group note that the female Cleric is clad in the same robes as those worn by the dead Cleric found on the ground level. She is also wearing a strange, unrecognized symbol around her neck. What strange cult have our heroes stumbled across? And why are they inhabiting these ruins? Will they discover even greater evils if they continue searching these ruins? And what has become of Spugnoir? Is he a part of this cult? Is this why he comes to the ruins? Or has he perished at the hands of this strange, unknown cult? Only by facing greater dangers will our heroes find the answers to these questions, but do they have the skill to survive the evils that must surely lay ahead?

Adventure Log - Week Two
Into The Thieves Den

Into the thieves den

The second chapter in the grand adventure of a band of brave heroes. Accurately recounted by the renowned sage Belkas Silverquill.

Having defeated the bandits, our heroes gather in the remains of the tower to decide their next move. A quick search of the upper level of the tower reveals nothing other than a commanding view of the surrounding forest.

The hole in the ground level floor appears to be as a result if the staircase having collapsed, with a sturdy but well used rope being the only way down. Gol’kosh begins pulling the rope up, and a faint ringing sound can be heard from below. Gol’kosh continues, and finally the full length of rope is retrieved, with a quaint little bell tied on the end! How clever of the bandits.

The group then return to the remains of a wall near the statue, where an entranceway had been opened up by Silas. A strong but obviously old iron ladder leading down is set into the wall. Gol’kosh is first to climb down the ladder, followed by Silas and then the others. A short distance down, one of the rungs gives slightly underfoot, accompanied by a faint click. A spear shoots out of the wall aimed at Gol’kosh’s chest, but stops short. It appears that the mechanism is stuck. The spear trap is rendered safe by Silas and the party continues on down.

The ladder ends in a small room with a closed door at one end, which is firmly jammed. A deft examination of the door by Silas reveals no dangers and Gol’kosh is able to force it open. The next room is full of boxes and crates, but contains little of value. The door at the far end of the room is slightly ajar, and faint voices can be heard. Opening the door, Gol’kosh can faintly see several figues standing together talking in hushed voices. Bandits! They are in a large chamber, and their attention is focused in the opposite direction, with weapons at the ready.

With a blood chilling roar, Gol’Kosh charges the bandits, taking down two of them with a mighty swing of his axe. He is quickly beset by the remaining scoundrels and the fight is quickly joined by the others. But these foes are not as quick to die as their companions were, and the battle is soon joined by another mighty half orc – Steelclaw! With the last of the bandits slain, our heroes full attention turns to Steelclaw. With little regard for his many wounds, Gol’kosh charges at Steelclaw, but despite his battle rage, his wounds are grievous, and he is slain by the bandit leader. Unable to save their companion, the remaining heroes continue the battle and eventually slay their foe. It is only then that Arnisil realizes he might have been able to save Gol’kosh, but he hadn’t been close enough.

Silas surveys the chamber they are in. At the far end is a pile of stone rubble. This is presumably the remains of the towers staircase. Near where the battle was fought, Silas finds the fruit of the bandits labors – piles of stolen merchandise. But the size and weight of the items makes it too difficult to take. The heroes loot the bodies of the bandits, and Paradox takes the head of Steelclaw as proof of his death. Little discussion is needed to decide upon their next course of action. They must quickly return to town and seek aid for Gol’kosh, as he is beyond their ability to heal. With great effort, and sadness, they raise his body to the surface. Taking the bandits horses, they quickly head for town.

On their return to town, our heroes are shocked to see that Gustav has been injured, wounded in a skirmish. His shoulder is heavily bandaged. His guards are clearly on edge. Something of great consequence has occurred. Gustav quickly waves off their concerns for his injuries. They are minor, he assures them. They attempt to inform Gustav of the events at the ruins, including the slaying of Gol’kosh and Steelclaw. But Gustav appears preoccupied, and responds by telling them of the attack that took place just after they left town. It is not until Paradox drops the head of Steelclaw on his desk that Gustav begins to comprehend what has happened. Silas insists that is anything can be done to save Gol’kosh, it be done now.

Gustav leads them to the temple of St. Cuthbert, where his influence gains them an audience with the Abbot. At Gustav’s command, the Abbot retrieves a scroll and calls for assistance. Gol’kosh’s body is carried off to a chamber where a ritual of resurrection is performed. Only then does Gustav continue with his recounting of events.

The night after the heroes left town for the ruins, Gustav and his guards were attacked at Gustav’s estate. No description of the attackers could be given by anyone, other than three shadowy figures. The purpose of the attack, it would seem, was to steal a flaming short sword Gustav has had in his possession since the fall of the Temple of Elemental Evil. It was, in fact, a trophy of sorts, taken off a slain foe from the temple. Gustav now suspects the sword to be a holy relic of the temple. Indeed, he now recalls it had a strange symbol cast on the pommel.

Zert seen in town the day before with 2 companions, Gustav attacked by three unknown assailants the following night, and a flaming sword looted from the Temple of Elemental Evil 15 years ago stolen! Surely this is no coincidence. Gustav insists that the heroes make their way to Hommlet and inform Elmo of these events in person, as soon as they possibly can. He suggests they spend the remainder of the day preparing for travel, and insists they join him at his estate this evening for evening feast. He tells them that there is somebody he wants them to meet before they set off, and he will be at Gustav’s this evening.

Having spent the day in preparation for the upcoming journey, our band of heroes are looking forward to a hearty feast when they arrive at Gustavs estate early that evening… and they are not disappointed! All manner of dishes have been laid out for them, as well as the finest ales in town. The person Gustav wants them to meet turns out to be well known to them, only for different reasons. It is the old man, known as Spurt, from the tavern – the old man with the dog, whom he brings to the tavern to show off his new trick to the patrons, who soon find out that it is the same old dog with the same old trick! But this night, Spurt tells a tale from his youth, when he and another by the name of Hedrack were given the task of draining and clearing a swamp for the building of a keep. Hedrack was excited by the project and could barely contain himself, but to Spurt it didn’t make sense. Building a keep, out here! A keep of strong walls and deep dungeons – a keep that now stands in ruins. Gustav finishes the tale by reminding them that it has been 15 years since he was last there, and it was destroyed, the dungeons collapsed – nothing was left, but he concedes that he may have missed something…

As the night goes on, Gustav gives Silas two letters to deliver in Hommlet – one for a woman named Cynthia, the millers wife and another for Ostler Gundigoot, the proprietor of the Inn of the Welcome Wench.

The next morning the party sets off for Hommlet, arriving 4 days later after an uneventful journey. Silas insists the first order of business is to deliver the letter to Cynthia. The mill is easily found, and Silas goes on ahead of the group. Not a lot of work is going on at the mill, but the workers are nearby, sitting under a tree talking casually. Silas overhears a conversation they are having concerning an individual by the name of Sart, whom he presume to be a fellow worker, and Karlun – the miller? Whoever Karlun is, he has been away for three days, which is seen as unusual as he has never spent more than a day away. The workers seem to be doubting he will return. Of Cynthia, there is no mention.

Silas returns to the group and they make for the Inn of the Welcome Wench. Much to their surprise (and dismay) the bard Rethidore Halfmoon is performing for the patrons at the Inn – coincidence, misfortune, or something more sinister? A woman who introduces herself as Vesta welcomes them to the inn. When asked about Ostler, she informs them he is her father. When told the group have a letter for him, she snatches it from them and reads it. Infuriated, she storms off and confronts an old man, presumably Ostler. After a short discussion, Ostler is heard to say “Rubbish. Gustav’s credit is good in my inn!” He approaches the group and informs them they are welcome to stay for as long as they care to. They get to talking, and it is very obvious that Ostler enjoys whiling away the day telling tales of years gone by. When asked about Cynthia and Gustav, he tells a tale of years ago when the two were very close, but Cynthia chose to marry Karlun the miller. Eventually Ostler moves on, wishing them well, and Silas opens the letter to Cynthia. It is much as expected – a deeply person letter to a lost lover.

Determined to investigate the reason for the millers absence, our heroes return to the mill, this time approaching the house next to the mill, obviously the residence of the miller and his wife. They knock on the front door, but there is no answer. Paradox notices a bird in a nearby tree – a bird of metal! As he points this out to the rest of the group, they are all surprised when the birds head turns in their direction. Whilst pondering their next move, voices are heard from the mill. Looking over, the group see the mill workers standing off to one side, whilst a rather large male approaches the group, firmly announcing that the mill is closing for the day. Silas enquires after the miller and his wife and is bluntly told they are out of town. Silas calmly explains that he has an important letter for the millers wife. The stranger offers to take it and give it to her on her return, an offer which Silas refuses. The stranger shrugs and suggests they return in a few days. Gol’kosh takes a step forward, but a restraining hand from Silas prevents him from taking any further action.

The group return to the inn, by which time Elmo is there. They approach him and tell him of the events in Oakham and of Gustav. Therein follows lengthy discussion concerning the flaming short sword, Zert, and the Temple of Elemental Evil. Elmo goes on to talk about the Green Iron Gang, and the old settlement of Nulb, which is now a ghost town. Elmo agrees with Gustav’s suspicions, and further suggests that there may be some connection between the Green Iron Gang and the Temple. They continue talking until well after dark, at which point the group excuse themselves and leave the inn.

They return to the millers house, careful to avoid the gaze of the strange metal bird. Finding a window at the side of the house, Silas deftly slides it open. All can clearly see that the interior of the house has been ransacked. Dinky slips in through the window and casts a spell. He learns that the last person in the house was Toridan the half orc, and that was three days ago. Silas enters the house to search it, returning to the open window a short time later declaring that he found nothing of interest. With little else to go on, the group returns to the inn.

On returning to the inn, they are approached by the bard who enquires of them if they were at The Lost Prince inn at Oakham on the eve of his performance, just a few nights past? When they inform him that indeed they were, he appears to be overjoyed and asks if they have travelled all this way just to see him perform again? Does this fool truly believe that anyone would travel such a distance just to hear him sing? – a second time? Or is there more to this travelling minstrel than first meets the eye (and ears!). Is it simply coincidence that he should be here, at this very inn our heroes have been sent to, at a time of such strange happenings? Or something more sinister? Might this bard know something of these events? And what of the miller and his wife, what has become of them? And who is this Toridan? So many unanswered questions – but what sinister plots hide behind these questions, the answers to which may have deadly consequences!

Adventure Log - Week One
The adventure begins...

The Adventure Begins
The first chapter in an epic tale of heroism, loyalty and treachery. Researched and retold by Belkas Silverquill, scribe, scholar and historian of high standing.

Here begins the grand tale of the great adventure undertaken by our band of extraordinary hero’s. Arnisil, an Aasimar cleric of devout faith. Dinky, a skilled wizard of Gnomish decent. The enigma that is Silas, a roguish Human. Paradox, an odd but powerful Human druid. And of course Gol’kosh, the fierce half-Orc barbarian.

Our tale begins as so many epic tales do… in a tavern. But not just any tavern. A tavern named ‘The Lost Prince’ in the town of Oakham. Having not worked for several days, our heroes have come looking for a night of good food, drink and entertainment, as it is widely known that a travelling minstrel will be performing this night at the tavern.

Our heroes find themselves an empty table and order their favoured refreshments. The tavern has drawn quite a crowd on this night, many of them are townsfolk whom are easily recognized by the heroes. But at the next table over are a couple of strangers not known to them. A hooded and cloaked figure with his back to their table sits opposite a large, dark skinned warrior who appears to be ever alert and watchful.

On the table behind these strangers, in a poorly lit corner of the tavern, sits a women of noble bearing and appearance. Dinky, who has extensive knowledge of the Royal Family and local nobility, does not recognize either the woman nor her family sigil, which he finds strange…

The minstrel starts playing and soon the locals in the tavern are clapping along with the music. This minstrel quickly proves himself to be a musician of great talent. As the applause dies down following his second tune, the minstrel introduces himself as Rethidore Halfmoon, and announces that he could think of nothing more fitting than to recount the tale of the lost prince in the tavern of the same name. He then, quite enthusiastically, begins singing the well known ballad. Having proven himself an excellent musician, it very quickly becomes evident that he is an extremely poor singer. But the tavern crowd is quite polite and allows him to finish with little heckling.

As the minstrel returns to playing just music, the mystery noblewoman catches the attention of Arnisil, and motions for him to join her. At her invitation he seats himself in the empty chair on the opposite side of the table. Introducing herself as Vanessa Callestran, she explains she is seeking to employ people with particular skills and talents. She then asks Arnisil a number of questions regarding his exploits, which God he follows, the abilities of the other members of his group and other such matters. Seemingly satisfied with his answers, she rewards his time with a silver coin and Arnisil rejoins the group. One by one, the other members of the group are similarly summoned and politely quizzed by the mysterious noblewoman, but nothing is learnt concerning the reasons for her enquiries. All that is, except for Gol’kosh, who ignores her summons. Last to be summoned is Dinky, and he is most suspicious of this woman. Before she can begin with her questions, Dinky asks a few questions of his own. It soon becomes apparent that this woman is clearly not who she claims to be. As he attempts to sort through the tangle of her claims and contradictions, her visage appears to shimmer, and he is certain that he catches a glimpse of a very different person sitting where the noblewoman is sitting. Feigning illness, Dinky quickly excuses himself and returns to the others. On recounting his experience to the group, Gol’kosh takes up his axe and confronts the woman. When the noblewoman does not react to his demands and threats, he turns on the other two strangers intending to confront them. Instead he catches the hooded and cloaked figure in the act of conjuring a spell. Distrusting magic from the hands of strangers, Gol’kosh reacts in the only way he knows how. With a mighty swing of his axe, he strikes a crippling blow to the stranger, interrupting the spell. Dinky, in a desperate attempt to stop this madness, shrouds the area in webs. The dark skinned warrior quickly draws a flaming sword and with obvious skill, clears the area around them and the noblewoman. Then, in a flash, they are gone!

With naught else to be done, our group of heroes clean up the area and make good their explanations. They are soon fronted by the tavern owner, and learn that the trio did indeed take rooms at the tavern. Having paid for the damage, along with a handsome amount of coin for the trouble caused, they ask favour of the owner not to disturb the rooms occupied by the strangers until the morning, to which he readily agrees.

As activity in the tavern returns to normal, a messenger arrives and informs the heroes that Gustav, their employer, wishes to see them in the morning. Given the events of the evening, the group decide to retire for the evening.

At first light, our heroes return to the tavern where Dinky uses his magic abilities to learn the identities of the occupant of each room occupied by the three strangers encountered the previous evening. The woman is revealed to be a human by the name of Tessimon. The warrior is also a human who goes by the name Zert. And the hooded figure? A half-Orc known as Heunar.

Armed with this new knowledge, our brave adventurers make their way to meet with Gustav. They tell him of the previous evenings events, and reveal the names of those involves. Gustav’s reaction surprises them all – his shock and surprise at learning that Zert had been present in town is clearly evident. He is deeply troubled by this news. He explains that Zert was involved in the disappearance of the prince, and was a guard commander with the Temple of Elemental Evil. Some of the heroes recall seeing a smile on Zert’s face during the ballad of the lost prince. Gustav goes on to tell of his involvement in destroying the Temple of Elemental Evil some 15 years ago. He goes on to reveal that he fought alongside Dinky’s brother, who was lost when the temple fell. Gustav tells the long tale of the fall of the temple, and of Zert. But with no leads to follow, Gustav can see no point in pursuing the events of the previous evening – where would they start?

Instead he tells them of a request from an old friend of his, who also fought by his side against those devout to the temple. Three bandit leaders thought to be in the area, operating under the name of the Green Iron Gang. An ongoing thorn in the side of peace officers everywhere, as no sooner were all known members of the gang killed or brought to justice, that others would appear wreaking havoc under the same banner. These three were no exception… Gerrick Strong In The Arm, a dwarven pit fighter. A female cleric of Hextor known as Iron Hilda. And the third leader only known as Steel Claw. The latest word was that they had taken refuge in an old ruined fortification in an area of the Gnarley Forest to the east.

Our band of heroes gather their supplies and set off in search of these old ruins. After a day of travelling, they set camp and settle down for the night. Just before dawn, with Arnisil on watch, strange movement is heard around the camp. Arnisil wakes the others and a search conducted. A giant spider is found encircling the camp in web, but is quickly dispatched. To the amazement of the others, Dinky speaks with a bird and learns the location of the spiders lair. With this knowledge, it is quickly found, but another giant spider is present. Again, it is quickly killed, and a modest sum of coin located.

Our victorious heroes are soon on their way, and by about noon they soon come across the outer perimeter of the ruins. Further in, they sight a low tower that appears mostly in tact. As they make their way forward, they come under fire from archers in the tower. Forced to split, Gol’kosh and Paradox make for the tower as the others take cover behind the remains of a wall. After a few attempts Gol’kosh smashes in the door to the tower and aided by Paradox’s giant bear, reduces their foes to bloody corpses. Inside the tower, Gol’kosh finds an open pit takes up a large area of the floor in the tower. A rope hanging over the edge of the pit leads down, and an iron ladder set in the wall leads up.

Meanwhile, a statue behind the wall catches the attention of Arnisil and Silas. Arnisil translates an inscription in the base of the stature – “It is made of timber. If you have it, you have to look for it. When you find it you have to get rid of it.” Silas touches a series of runes on the base of the statute to spell out the word “S P L I N T E R” A section of the wall near the statue opens up, revealing a tunnel leading down. Out of the ruins, thorny vines lash out at them. For some reason these vines appear to ignore Silas, who is the closest to them, and instead entwine Arnisil, crushing the life from him. Unable to breath, Arnisil soon falls unconscious. The vines release him and seek a new victim. Alerted by cries for help, Paradox leaves the tower and rushes to help. After a short struggle, the vines are slain, and Arnisil’s health is restored.

Catching their breath, our heroes are now left with a decision. Do they explore the tower first, or the opening in the wall. Who’s voice will carry more weight in making this decision – a decision that none of them have any way of knowing what consequences it will have…

1st session
Do we really have to start in a tavern?

Of course you have to start in a Tavern.
This is D&D.


My home is in Hillbank


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