Adventures of Team TPK

Death in the Cornfields - Part 1
The boy on the stake..

The late afternoon was cold, heavily overcast and drizzly as Team TPK made their way along the road towards the ruined town of Thundertree. Their purpose was to find the druid Reidoth, who could tell them the location of Cragmaw Castle, the last place Gundren Rockseeker was known to have been taken. Reidoth was known to be in Thundertree, which was also Tai Ni Dong’s home town.

“So is Thundertree big, small, in between?” asked Bonnie Basher. “And what happened to it?”
“Small,” replied Tai Ni Dong. “Mount Hotenow happened to it, erupted and covered it in hot ash about 15 years ago. My family had to flee with everyone else to Neverwinter, and then didn’t settle, we just kept moving around. I’ve always wanted to go back.”
“The farmers here are back,” said Eric, waving at an isolated farmstead with wheat and corn growing in the fields. As a priest of a goddess of life and agriculture, he appreciated the well maintained rows of grain.
“It’s good farmland here, close to the Neverwinter River,” said Tai Ni Dong. “Close enough to Neverwinter to ask for help if orcs or worse come raiding.”
“Does everyone in Thundertree have weird names?” asked Guinne.
“No, Tai Ni Dong is the name I took when I joined the monastry in Wayfork,” smiled the monk. “My old name isn’t me anymore.”
Around the road were fields of wheat, stretching as far as the eye could see. The clothes of an ill-made scarecrow flapped in the cold breeze. Suddenly, they became aware of a moan coming from the scarecrow. Looking more closely, they realised that it was a young man tied to a stake.
“Cut him down,” ordered Bonnie.
“Oh, we thought we’d leave him up there to enjoy the view,” snapped Guinne. “Honestly Bonnie, leave your sergeant’s orders in the past, we know what to do.”
The party ignored the banter, they were used to the two rubbing each other the wrong way. Bonnie was an ex-soldier, a stickler for discipline and order, while Guinne was a free spirit who often did things impulsively and not always according to the plan. When it mattered they were there for each other.

The young man looked to be around 16 years old and was suffering from exposure; he had sunburn, which Eric mentioned was odd. It had not been sunny yesterday, maybe the boy had sensitive skin. Eric used some salve from a healing kit on him and gave him some water. He recovered enough to be able to tell his story. He told the party that is name was Elias and he was attacked by his parents when he got home last night from visiting his friends, Alina and Edwin, at a nearby farm. His parents beat him severely and tied him to the stake, where he had been hanging all day. He feared that his parents had been possessed by evil spirits and might have also attacked his friends.
“Let’s find out,” urged Goldi. Her face showed concern and compassion for the young man.

They followed the track up to a large, sprawling farmhouse on a slight rise dominating the landscape. The farm showed signs of once being better kept. Now, the hedge fences were wild and untended, the doors were unpainted, and tools lay in the open. However, smoke rose from the chimney, and a small herd of cattle grazed in a nearby field.
“Father has been getting old,” said Elias, noting Eric’s disapproving look. “Our last farmhand left about three months ago. I probably could help him more.” The boy still seemed unwell from his ordeal, he stumbled occasionally and was squinting as if he had a headache . Eric suspected he may have been up on the stake longer than he remembered.

Bonnie knocked on the door. After a few minutes, the door was opened a crack by an old man with a tear streaked face. He was initially unfriendly, which turned to outright hostility when he caught sight of Elias.
“Take that demon-spawn away!” he demanded, almost on the verge of hysteria. They could hear wailing of what must be the man’s wife inside the house. The man slammed the door closed. Elias was grief stricken.
“They must be possessed, or become mad,” he said. “Please help them.”
“It’ll be getting dark soon,” said Fizbo. “We need to sort this out so we can make camp.”

To be continued…

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Neverwinter - Part 4
The Gem of Seeing

Exploration of the ancient underground rooms beyond revealed nothing of interest – they were so old just about anything not made of stone had worn or rotted away. In the very last room however, there was a circular pool of water and a 15-foot high archway on the far wall blocked by solid, hard, mud or clay. The archway had interesting stone fish with mouths agape jutting out of the stonework.
water_weird.jpgGuinne examined the archway and detected tiny runes engraved around the fish, leading her to believe there was some kind of trap – although it was not just a trap, it was something else also because peering into the fish mouths revealed they were funnels. Fizbo and Goldi examined the runes and theorised as well as being a trap it was also a way of getting to the next part of the dungeon. Goldi’s detect magic spell revealed the entire archway radiated evocation and transmutation magic.

After some discussion it was decided to take water from the pool and put it into the mouths of the fish. As it turned out, that was what was required, however the pool had a water elemental creature which grabbed Bonnie and near drowned her before she could fight her way out of the pool with the help of the others. The creature was resistant to weapons not imbued with magic, which made it harder. However in the end the pools became calm as the spirit was returned to whence it came after its body was disrupted enough to free it.

Water from the pool was poured into each fish mouth at the same time, and the solid mud liquefied and dissolved, allowing entrance to an area with a well. Guinne volunteered/was volunteered to swim down and investigate. She found that it led down and then up and out of the water to an inner chamber, very old and likely their final destination. She returned and told the others what she had found and they all made the journey to the final chamber.

kuo_toa_skeleton.jpgThe inner vault was a large circular chamber that was 80 feet in diameter; the domed ceiling was 40 feet high. Inscriptions written in Aquan and Undercommon decorated the smooth walls, which were made of a polished green stone that was cold and slimy to the touch; Goldi identified them as prayers to Olhydra, Bwimb, and other powerful entities from the Elemental Planes of Water and Ooze. Most of the vault was submerged; after climbing out of the flooded tunnel that connects the vaults together the party found themselves on a stone landing that rose a foot above the water. There were seven niches in the walls adjoining the landing; each contains a kuo-toa skeleton. Naturally, these skeletons came to life to defend their priest’s last resting place from intruders, but the party were experienced enough now not to have any difficulty dispatching them.

There was a small island on the far side of the flooded area of the vault, and some pillars that everyone thought Guinne should try. Under protest she did so, and found that there were sharks in the water, and that as soon as any weight was put on the pillars they started to sink. She did well at first, hopping from one to the other heading for the island, but then mis-stepped and tumbled into the water and the waiting jaws of a shark. She was badly bitten by the creature, and the others enacted a rescue to bring her back to land. They healed her and asked her to go again. She insisted on someone coming with her this time, and Fizbo obliged. This time they made it without any problems, and landed on the island.

Purple sand covered the rocky island that held the kuo-toa mystic’s sarcophagus; the sand is caustic—Fizbo and Guinne found themselves taking acid damage. The sarcophagus, which is made of the same green stone as the vault, rested atop the island’s highest point; the lid weighed 500 lbs., was carved in the likeness of the kuo-toa mystic, and was cursed. It radiated evil and magic—Fizbo’s knowledge of the Arcane also revealed the blessed lungs curse which would cause the victim’s lungs to continually fill up with brackish water. Guinne had a go at removing the trap – she initially thought she was successful, but when they slid the heavy lid to one side, more runes glowed and for a moment both the wizard and the rogue fought the water rising in their lungs, but they were able to shake it off. Fizbo put it down to the curse being so old it had lost some of its magic strength.

The kuo-toa mystic’s skeletal remains lay beneath a rotting burial shroud. It wore a jade funerary mask (Guinne quickly calculated it would be worth 250 gp), a square, bluish-green aquamarine pendant hanging on a tarnished silver chain (worth 500 gp thought Guinne) and it clutched a magical rod in its bony claws. The gem of seeing rested in the degraded remains of a clam shell, which Fizbo snatched up.

Glad to be out of there, the party retraced their steps back to the surface. They reported to Sergeant Audra and told them about the cultists and the flumph and the troglodytes. She told the party the flumph’s body had already been sent away and she didn’t know or care where. The party decided not to try and recover the body.

Having had enough of Neverwinter for a while, they waited only long enough for Fizbo to have the gem of seeing affixed to the skull he’d been carrying for that purpose. And then they were off, heading for Thundertree.

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Neverwinter - Part 3
The Elemental Cultists

The pool contained ghouls, lurking in the water. Warned by the voice Team TPK were able to prepare for the ghouls’ assault and they were quickly dispatched.

Flumph.jpgWhen the last of the ghouls sank beneath the water, never to rise again, the party received another telepathic message—“I’m coming out, please do not harm me!”
A few moments later, they heard a strange sound—like air rapidly escaping a bladder—and an equally strange creature floated into view. It resembled a jellyfish; it had a mass of barbed tentacles protruding from the underside of its ovoid body, a pair of eyestalks topped with large eyes that regarded the party sadly, and a slit-like, toothless orifice running between them. The creature’s skin glowed faintly with a deep blue light.
“I am Laal,” the voice said in the party’s collective minds.

The heroes could see that Laal was the same kind of creature whose body had sparked the scare up on the surface. Laal shared the following information with Team TPK:

  • Laal and her mate Xol entered the sewers a few days ago through a fissure that led to a region of the Underdark. They had been trailing a band of troglodytes for a week.
  • Flumphs normally avoid such confrontations, but Xol couldn’t abide evil; he felt it was his responsibility to warn others of the troglodytes’ approach and to help them if he could. Laal felt otherwise, but Xol was persuasive and she was in love; against her better judgment, she followed him.
  • They tracked the troglodytes to a tunnel that pre-dated the sewers; that’s when they intercepted a telepathic conversation between a man and another creature that called him “master”. The conversation confirmed that the troglodytes were nearby. They also learned that the man wanted to explore a tomb, but that the troglodytes were frustrating his efforts.
  • Laal immediately distrusted the man, as he exuded malice, hatred, and anger. Her skin glowed an angry crimson as she thought about him.
  • However, Xol wanted to take a closer look; Laal tried to deter him but he was adamant. As he approached the mouth of the tunnel, there was a shout and to her horror, two javelins hit Xol, killing him instantly. His body fell into the sewer and the water swept him away before she could do anything. Her skin glowed deep blue as she recollected his death.
  • She panicked and fled, but after regaining her composure, she asked herself what Xol would’ve done and started searching for his body. She found him just before the children did, and admitted to unsuccessfully contacting Esmé the child. She tried again when she stumbled across the good-hearted Florio and his friends—she never meant to frighten them.

“For the death of my life-mate Xol I implore you to bring the men to justice and I can guide you to the tunnel,” she said. “You may also need to kill the troglodytes, as they will pose a threat to all that encounter them.”
“And what’s in it for us?” asked Guinne.
“The man mentioned treasure hidden in the tomb and that the troglodytes had previously looted a deep gnome mining camp,” replied Laal.
“Works for me,” grunted Guinne.
“We would have done it anyway,” Fizbo assured Laal. “Pay no attention to my mercenary friend.”
“Only because we’re looking for some magic item for you,” retorted Guinne.
“Even so,” sniffed Fizbo, “we’d do it because it was right.”

The flumph led the party through the sewer until they came to a tunnel branching off from the sewer, guarded by two armed men. They appeared to have swords with sharks teeth embedded in the blade, and shields fashioned in the shape of crab shells. They readied their weapons when the party approached, but responded to Bonnie’s calls for parlay. One of them ran back and returned with a man who was obviously a spellcaster of some kind. Where the guards appeared to have motifs related to water, the spellcaster had red robes and symbols of fire. Laal hung back out of sight, the party could feel her anger and heard her telepathic calls for them to attack.

The wizard introduced himself as Xaxan Thavish, a tall and thin but handsome man with intense amber eyes and flowing locks of long black hair. He presented as vain and fastidious and Fizbo and Goldi noticed that cast prestidigitation cantrips continually every time his robe became dirty.

Xaxan Thavish ordered his men to stand down, which they appeared to do reluctantly. Bonnie noted with surprise that while they seemed to obey the wizard, there was no evidence of respect in their sullen stares or body language. In fact she saw them more than once deliberately flick mud onto Xaxan Thavish’s robes.

Xaxan Thavish was surprisingly pleasant and apologetic. He claimed that he and his men were adventurers who have come to explore the kuo-toa tomb. He also told the party the following information:

  • The original leader of the party—a warrior named Vyrlo Trath—hired him as the party’s arcanist. It was Trath who obtained the map that Thavish now carried and hired the other men (in hushed tones he confided that the scum wouldn’t have been his first choice).
  • He showed the characters the decaying map; it showed the tomb’s location in relation to the sewers, as they appeared several hundred years ago. He was unsure of its origins.
  • Unfortunately, the troglodytes killed Trath during their first foray into the tomb, leaving him in charge (an “unfortunate burden” he sniffed sympathetically). No one expected to encounter the troglodytes.
  • Xaxan Thavish didn’t know much about the tomb other than it contained the remains of some “water-worshipping mystic” (he barely hid his contempt).
  • Thavish estimated that there wereabout a dozen surviving troglodytes in the tomb.
  • When questioned about the flumph, Xaxan Thavish apologized profusely and claimed that his men mistook it for a monster. While remorseful, he said he could not blame them, as Neverwinter’s sewers were a dangerous place.
  • For the past few days, Thavish had been planning an attack on the troglodytes; he wished to ally with the characters and offered them an equal share of any treasure found in the tomb. He assured them that before he died Trath spoke of its fabled riches.

3905752_orig.jpgDespite the telepathic howls of protest from Laal, Bonnie agreed on behalf of the party, thinking it better to have these “adventurers” – she was pretty sure they were no such thing – help kill the troglodytes. However when it came to getting past the barrier they had erected, the party found themselves at the front of the group, and were quickly attacked by the troglodytes, who had been stuck between starving in these barren underground rooms or a suicidal attack on Xaxan Thavish’s men. The battle was fierce, but the party managed to kill all the troglodytes while the most that Xaxan Thavish and his men did was provide support by throwing javelins. The troglodytes had tried to flee at the last, but they were cut down by javelins and Xaxan’s spells, as well as Igo’s arrows.

“Well, thank you for that,” smiled Xaxan Thavish.
“Get ready to go for them,” whispered Bonnie to the others.
“But now,” the wizard continued, “you have outlived your usefulness. In the name of the Elder Elemental Eye, you must now die so only we can gain the treasure within.” He made to cast a spell, but screamed as Igo’s arrow struck him in the arm.
“Go, go, go!” yelled Bonnie, and the party rushed the elemental cultists – Goldi recognised the name of the Elder Elemental Eye as the deity of a cult worshipping the four elements – and cut them down before they could throw their javelins. It was another quick battle, and one that may have gone against the party if they hadn’t been ready for betrayal, but it was the cultists who were dead on the floor, and not Team TPK.
“There’s something else here,” said Tai Ni Dong. “Some invisible creature with wings, it tried to stab me with a venomous sting in its tail, and then disappeared again.”
“Sounds like an imp,” said Goldi. “It must be Xaxan Thavish’s familiar. It must be lurking around here somewhere.”
They searched around, but couldn’t find the beast.
Laal appeared, looking nervous. She went over to look at the bodies of Xaxal Thavish and the cultists.
“I thought I would feel happy they are dead,” she said with her telepathy. “But I don’t, I feel just as sad. Thank you for the justice you have given me. I will now return to my home alone.” And with that Laal the flumph floated away.
“The farting noise she made as she flew off kind of killed the empathy for me,” said Guinne, smirking. “Oh come on,” the halfling exclaimed as she saw the others’ disapproval, “didn’t anyone else nearly giggle as she farted off?”
“Well, maybe a bit,” admitted Fizbo. “Farting is universal humour, after all.”
“Enough of that,” growled Bonnie. “Let’s explore this place, get your magic gem Fizbo, and get out of here. I’ve had enough of the sewers.”

(to be continued)

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Neverwinter - Part 2
Flumphs are cool...

The party headed off to a sewer entrance near the edge of the city of Neverwinter near the sea. They saw a group of Neverwinter city guard standing around the hole in the street, and the sewer entrance cover was off. When the city guards saw Team TPK approaching, a tall, broad-shouldered woman with insignia showing she was a guard sergeant, stepped forward. Despite her polite words, her tone and manner was no-nonsense and businesslike.
“Adventurers, we need your help,” she began. "I am Sergeant Audra of the Neverwinter City Guard. This morning some children discovered the corpse of a strange creature lodged in the mouth of a sewage pipe. We are unable to identify it. Unfortunately, while I do not believe the corpse represents a threat, panic has been spreading like wildfire through the harbor districts and I need my men to maintain order. Thus, in the name of the Lord of Neverwinter, I request that you venture into the sewers to ensure that no other creatures lurk there.”

The party were receptive to the offer, since they were entering the sewer anyway, why not get paid for it as well? They first wanted to view the body of the creature found by the children, and Sergeant Audra led them to a small cart in an alley with something underneath a tarpaulin. As they approached they became aware of the smell of a rotting corpse. The tall sergeant held a handkerchief over her mouth and nose with one hand and gestured with the other for a watchman to uncover the creature underneath.

Beneath the tarp lay a disgusting sight that complimented the smell. It superficially resembled a jellyfish—it had a yellowish, bladder-like body and a mass of barbed tentacles hanging from its underside—but it had a pair of eyestalks and a toothless orifice running between them. The creature had two visible wounds; a broken javelin with a brass point protruded from one of them.

“Ewww!” moaned Guinne, covering her own nose and mouth with her hand. “I hope it smells like that because it is dead and not its normal smell!”

“I hope the opposite,” said Igo, keeping his distance. “We’ll know when it’s coming even if we can’t see it!”

Bonnie inspected the creature and poked it with a stick. The consistency of its body was firmer than that of a jellyfish, but it was an odd thing.
“Can we speak to the children who found it?” she asked.
Sergeant Audra nodded and walked off, gesturing for the party to follow.

“Most of the children who found the corpse melted back into the crowd soon after announcing it,” said the sergeant, “but we still managed to detain a few. Dawkins, bring the kids over.”

The four children—two boys and two girls ranging in age from 6 to 10—were bedraggled and frightened; they all recounted the same story: Each morning, they play at the beach and look for “treasure” washed out of the pipe; however, this morning, something was blocking the flow. When they investigated, they found the body; their screams attracted the attention of nearby dockworkers, who in turn summoned the City Watch.

Although the others tried to stop her, the youngest girl—a plucky redhead named Esmé—volunteered additional information. She said that the dead thing “talked to me…it asked for my help.” When pressed further, she admited that she didn’t actually see it speak but that she “knew that it was really sad.” The other children chided her for making up stories (perhaps fearing repercussion), but she loudly insisted it happened before bursting into tears.

Bonnie indicated to Sergeant Audra that they were ready to enter the sewers. The tall woman drew the dwarf aside and said “You’re the second party I’ve sent down this morning, the others a couple of hours ago. I expected them just to poke around for an hour and come back but so far nothing. Keep an eye out for them, would you?”
Bonnie agreed they would, and with that the watchmen removed the manhole cover showing a ladder leading down into darkness.

sewer.jpgDown in the sewers there were walkways on either side of the running effluent. It was dark but a light spell from Fizbo cast on a broken piece of brick that he carried with him fixed that. There were strange noises echoing through the sewers, gurglings from the river of muck, from elsewhere moanings, sharp cracking sounds, clanging of metal, very occasionally some kind of shriek, but whether the origins of these noises came from around the corner or, through some vagary of the acoustics, from across the city, none could say.

“Where are we going?” asked Goldie, as they passed yet another smaller sewer passage.
Bonnie looked at Fizbo.
“Don’t ask me,” said the wizard. “I’m just providing the light source.”
“Didn’t your wizard friend tell you where this tomb was that we’re trying to find?” asked Bonnie, getting annoyed. Mostly at herself for expecting Fizbo to have done all the legwork.
“Well, no. He told me where to look to find it, but I didn’t actually look.” The wizard hurriedly continued, seeing the annoyed looks. “But I think it makes sense to keep following the main passageway and I have a vague.. that is to say.. good.. idea of where it is.”
“Look!” said Guinne, pointing and forestalling any further complaints. Some distance away in the darkness a glow from a torch or similar light source was coming around a bend. As they were near an intersection they found places to hide and Fizbo covered the glowing piece of brick.

Around the corner came three adventurers. One was a tall warrior with dark skin and splint armour and greatsword, carrying, the other was a woodsman type with a longbow and the third was an elf woman with bloody bandages on her legs, using a spear as a crutch and being helped by the woodsman.
“See?” whispered Eric. “Never adventure without a cleric!”
“Shhh” hissed Bonnie.
As they drew close Bonnie called out to the party before stepping out. Initial alarm on the other party’s faces turned to wary relief, and even the wariness faded when Fizbo provided the elf woman with a potion of healing which she drank and instantly felt somewhat better.

The dark skinned warrior introduced himself as Florio, and his companions as the elven druid Nualion Galanodel and human ranger Kye. They’d only been in the sewers for a few hours, but their excursion had been a disaster; Nualion was badly hurt during a fight with giant rats (Kye grumbled under his breath about “wererats” which the others disagreed with) and a flash flood swept away their dwarven cleric Rorik Ironheart. Now, their only goal was to find the nearest exit. They haven’t encountered anything other than the giant rats nor had they found any signs of more tentacled monsters. However, they were convinced that the sewers were haunted as they all heard a disembodied voice pleading for help. Florio believed that they were in no condition to confront a ghost, so they fled; the voice followed them some distance before fading away. Florio was happy to give Team TPK directions to the area where they first heard it.

As Florio and his team made their way back to the sewer entrance, Bonnie led Team TPK towards the area where the voice had been heard. They had all made the connection between the voice that Florio’s team had heard, and the voice the young girl had heard at the sewer entrance.

Eventually the passage widened into the flooded ruins of a 30-foot-by-30-foot cellar; the rank sewage water flooded the entire area, but was only ankle deep near the edges of the chamber but looked like it got deeper in the middle. Another tunnel branched off from the chamber on the left, forming a T-intersection.

As they arrived every team member heard a clear, ethereal voice in their heads; it warned, “Beware, dead things lurk in the waters ahead! Please help me; I’m trapped on the other side!”

Continued in Neverwinter – Part 3

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Neverwinter - Part 1
Research and Gems

The party made it to the city of Neverwinter. They found a cheapish inn to stay at which kept them fed and housed for their stay at a cost of 1gp per character per day (Guinne bitterly complained about a lack of a pool).

Goldi was researching her lodestone, and Fizbo was researching gems of seeing. They were both able to find supervision from a wizard who had completed his Masters in Wizardry, which cost them an additional 100gp/day each and it will take 1 to 4 days to work out each person’s reason for getting supervision. The wizard, Lund, was a 30 something noble with little chance of inheritance making his own way in the world. He had some experience with magic item creation which he only sold to the nobility.

Goldi – between Golid and Lund they find out that Goldi’s lodestone was actually something else with an illusion cast on it to make it appear as a lodestone. When the illusion was dispelled Goldi found herself in possession of an ioun stone. An ioun stone is a magic item that needed attunement – ie Goldi has to take a short rest and concentrate on the ioun stone and its powers will become known. The stone would provide some benefit but only when activated. To activate it, the stone was thrown into the air and it will begin orbiting the head of the person it was attuned to. The stone can be grabbed and put away as an action, but could also be grabbed by someone else. It is a rare item and valuable. After attuning to the ioun stone, Goldi found that it made her more aware of immediate danger giving her a chance to either react or to act before the attack.

ioun.jpg

Lund also was working with Fizbo (for 100gp per day and the research would also take 1-4 days) and gave him information about gems of seeing as well as giving a clue as to where one might be found. A wizard named Murgo known to Lund found some old records indicating that centuries ago when Neverwinter was just a small settlement, the people sometimes traded and sometimes made war with a tribe of kuo-toans (fish people). The kuo-toan leader appeared to have one of these gems of seeing and was entombed with it when he died. As Neverwinter expanded and grew into a city the kuo-toans were eventually wiped out or displaced. However a recent survey of the sewers found a tunnel that abutted onto the kuo-toan tomb, but as the surveyors were not adventurers it was left alone and it was consigned to a footnote in the sewer plans. During his research Murgo made the possible connection and went off with a bodyguard to search the sewers for the kuo-toan tomb. Neither he nor the bodyguard were seen again. Lund suggested that Fizbo explore this possibility, as it will save him much money rather than pay for a gem of seeing to be made. For a small(ish) fee Lund would also help Fizbo affix it to the skull. He also suggests that the skull could be altered and made to be wearable headgear which might make it easier to use and could also disguise the valuable magic item.

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Agatha and the Red Wizard
Using Diplomacy and Tactics

The party rested in Phandalin for a few days. There had been some changes in the town since Team TPK arrived. The Redbrands have been broken, the ones at their lair under Tresendar Manor killed, and the ones at the Sleeping Giant taphouse have now been recruited by Halia Thornton into the Zhentarim organisation. She was training some of them, and hiring them out as guards for merchants, while others were paid for doing manual labour and other jobs. Halia was pleased with the party, especially Guinne who has gained some standing with the Zhentarim. Halia paid the party 100 gold pieces as agreed for their part in destroying the Redbrands.

Now the Redbrands were gone the town seemed to be more prosperous. Word was getting out that it was safe once again, and a few new businesses arrived, in some cases renovation and rebuilding was happening in some of the old ruins.

Sildar Hallwinter was saddened to know that Iarno Albreck, his associate from the Lord’s Alliance faction, was in fact Glasstaff, the leader of the Redbrands. However he could now report events to faction leaders and his mission is at an end. Sildar has decided to stay in Phandalin to see if he can help the town become a civilised place.

There were still a few odd occurrences. When moving around town sometimes party members felt they were being followed, but when they turned around to look, there was nothing suspicious there. Understanding the tactics and limitations of following people, Guinne kept her eye out for the same faces around her, but there didn’t seem to be any one face that was always nearby, other than what would normally be expected in a small frontier town.

The party also heard that the current Townmaster, a banker named Harbin Wester, was keen to catch up with them, perhaps to offer his thanks, or maybe gain some political mileage from their success and popularity. Team TPK decided meeting politicians wasn’t on their priority list.

The party considered their options:

  • Visit Agatha the banshee at the ruined village of Conyberry (Sister Garaele’s quest for knowledge).
  • Travel to the ruins at Old Owl Well to investigate rumours of undead and someone disturbing the ruins (Daran Edermath’s quest).
  • Rescue Gundren the dwarf from Cragmaw Castle (once they found out where Cragmaw castle actually is located).

The party decided to find Agatha the banshee first. They left Phandalin for the two day journey to Conyberry. Overnight they were attacked by a flock of hungry stirges!
MV__59_.jpg
A few party members had some blood drained from them, but not a lot and attaching themselves to a party member made the stirges more vulnerable. It was not long before the creatures were all dead.

The following day the party arrived in the area of Conyberry. Here the trees and plants were blackened and twisted, only the hardiest plants grew, and even these had only a few grey brown leaves trying to gain some sustenance from the sun. Fizbo told the party this was the influence of the banshee on the environment, and he could use it and his arcana knowledge to find exactly where Agatha was.

ghoul_s.pngThe party moved through the ruined village. They heard some movement in a nearby building and went to investigate. Ghouls tried to spring a trap on the party by dragging those closest into the building through the broken windows, but the party were too quick and strong. The ghouls boiled out of the building after Goldirocks set fire to it with a burning hands spell. The touch of a ghoul can paralyze, but luck was with them and all ghouls were eventually killed (again).

Agatha lived in an old ruined mansion, the walls invaded by the roots and branches of nearby trees. Initially Agatha gave the appearance of not wanting to have anything to do with the party, but after some flattery and sweet talk she grudgingly accepted the jewelled comb Sister Garaele had provided. She touched a black gem in the centre of a diadem she was wearing, and gave the answer to the question that Sister Garaele required about the location of a particular spellbook.

Goldirocks recognised the black gem as a “kiira” or lore gem. A rare, precious magical gem that stored memories and knowledge that anyone attuning itself to the gem could access. It was dangerous, however, and only elves of exceptional intelligence could hope to master the gem. Those that didn’t found themselves locked away in an insane asylum. Black kiira were the most powerful.
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One other piece of information that Agatha let slip was that she was searching for another kiira, one with a purple hue, which kiira knew was less powerful than the one Agatha currently had, which was a puzzle. Why want a lesser item, when you can only attune yourself to one at any one time?

The party left Agatha and Conyberry and headed to Old Owl Well. This was a quest given to Bonnie Basher by Daran Edermath, her immediate superior in The Order of the Gauntlet. Fizbo was also keen to explore Old Owl Well as he knew a little bit about it’s history and wondered if particular magical items could be found in the ruins.

It was another day’s journey to Old Owl Well, where they found a crumbling ruin of an old watchtower. A colourful tent had been set up in the middle of a decayed courtyard, and a dozen zombies were toiling amongst the ruins, removing rubble and piling it a short distance away. They were being supervised by a bored looking warrior. Goldirocks used an invisibility spell on herself and investigated the tent. She found a wizard in red robes with black tattoos on his bald head – a Red Wizard of Thay! The Red Wizards were known to be trouble, and Thay was the enemy of all it’s neighbours. Guinne and Igo also used their stealth to scout quietly and keep an eye on the zombies and their commander.

There was some discussion about what to do. While Red Wizards were not always hostile and indeed they often traded with others, they were known to be powerful and quick to take advantage of any situation. It was decided to attack. The party positioned themselves to collapse the tent with the wizard inside, and set fire to with oil, and get ready for the counter attack by the warrior and the zombies. The first part of the plan worked well, the Red Wizard was unable to find his way out of the burning, collapsed tent and died in there, but the party decided to use a charm person spell on the warrior instead. They found the following information.

  • The Red Wizard’s name was Hamun Kost.
  • Hamun Kost had hired the warrior to help him look for particular magic rocks in the area known as chardalyns.
  • They had been at Old Owl Well for some weeks, and only had found two chardalyns.

Haman_kost.jpgFizbo shared his knowledge that Old Owl Well sat atop a chardalyn mine. Chardalyns appear to be black, ordinary rocks, but are more fragile than usual. They contain natural magic. They turn to useless powder when struck forcefully. A single chardalyn can absorb one spell, which will be released when the rock is crushed or destroyed. Thus, a fireball spell can be cast into the stone and be released by simply tossing the stone at an enemy. If the chardalyn was empty, it could absorb an incoming spell and then be tossed back at the caster.

The Red Wizard would have been a powerful enemy, however the victory came at a cost. When the party searched the remains of the thoroughly burnt tent, as well as Hamun Kost’s charred corpse, they found the remains of his spellbook and some rolled up blackened paper that at one time had been perhaps either maps or magical scrolls. None of these were recoverable, and they just flaked away to ash when touched. But the party did find the two chardalyn which had survived the fire. Fizbo decided to save them for when he had some higher level spells.

The party told the charmed warrior to gather the zombies, and they killed all but three of them. The last ones the party let work while they rested overnight. After some debate the warrior was killed before the charm person spell ran out.

After the zombies had failed to turn up anything else, the party set out for Phandalin. They decided to leave the three zombies toiling away and maybe they’d swing past to see if they had encountered anything else. On the way back they encountered an ogre but the creature had completely underestimated the group it was attacking and was killed within seconds.

In Phandalin they gave the information to a grateful Sister Garaele who rewarded the party with three healing potions. Fizbo pushed for more, and the elf priestess said she would have to create them.

The party asked around town about where Cragmaw Castle might be, but no one appeared to know its exact location. The halfling farmer Qelline Alderleaf told them that Reidoth the druid would know. Qelline was a longtime friend of the druid and she suggested that they visit him and ask for help. She told the party that Reidoth had recently set out for the ruins of a town called Thundertree, just west of the Neverwinter Wood.

The party decided they would head for the city of Neverwinter, to resupply and allow the wizards to research.

Goldirocks wanted to research the lodestone that they picked up some time ago.
Fizbo wanted to research (I forgot).

They planned on staying in Neverwinter for about a week, and then head to ruins of Thundertree to find Reidoth the druid.

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The Destruction of the Redbrands

The party entered the ruins through the secret tunnel, to find a creature that Fizbo identified as a nothic in the area. The creature didn’t attack straight away and seemed to be interested in the party spellcasters, but Team TPK didn’t take any chances and attacked first. The nothic tried to fight back, using its magical gaze attack, but it had no hope. Nothic_smaller.jpg

The area that the nothic was bisected by a crevasse about 20ft deep, where the body of the murdered woodcarver was found, along with a box containing four potions (two were healing potions, the other two remain unidentified).

The party continued to explore and found a room with some beds, one of which was occupied by a Redbrand ruffian. He was charmed by Fizbo, and the befuddled man explained to his new best friends that he was sleeping because he had the night shift to help guard the area. He provided a map of the ruins and showed where everyone was. He agreed to take the party to where the rest of the guards were currently on duty, and explained he was sleeping here because he was not allowed to stay at The Sleeping Giant taphouse due to getting drunk all the time. The man also explained that there were five bugbears who had been provided by The Black Spider, who was in communication with the Redbrand leader, Glasstaff, but didn’t know why the bugbears were here. He took them to a door beyond which the current guards were on duty. There was some discussion about the best way to deal with the guards, use trickery to make them leave, or just storm the room. The decision was made, the party thanked the charmed guard, then Bonnie cut his throat with her axe. While he sank gurgling to the floor, a look of surprise and hurt on his face, the party didn’t spare him another thought as they charged into the room to take the guards by surprise. The battle was short but fierce, and soon another five Redbrands lay dead or dying.

Exploration continued with the party finding a room with sarcophagi. They expected the worst and of course undead creatures arose – four skeletons and a wight. There was also a zombie which seemed to be a recently slain Redbrand under the control of the wight.wight.jpg The wight used its power of life draining to bring Guinne to unconsciousness, and she started to become undead (think of Frodo in LOTR when he was stabbed by the witchblade). However the wight and its minions was destroyed and Eric healed Guinne before the process could take hold. Bonnie took the black longsword wielded by the wight. Goldirocks and Fizbo examined it and deemed that it was a sword of historical significance, having once been wielded by a lord who liked to perform his own executions.

The party found the cells where the woodcarver’s wife and children were being held, and they were escorted to the exit where she stated she was going to stay with her sister and lie low until the Redbrands were broken.

The party then proceeded to the area where the Redbrand leader Glasstaff was located (according to the map made by the charmed guard). The party found Glasstaff’s rat familiar in the first room, and while they tried to kill it rather noisily, Glasstaff and his bodyguard got the drop on them. Glasstaff let off a fireball which devastated half the party – Igo, Fizbo, and Eric were all badly injured and unconscious, having to make death saves every round. The rest of the party were injured but battled the bodyguard who was well armoured, while Glasstaff behind him let loose several spells to further damage or incapacitate party members. Finally the bodyguard was defeated, and Glasstaff himself could be engaged. Tai Ni Dong let loose a Fist of Unbroken Air which he had been saving for just this moment, and Glasstaff took a lot of damage before being finished off by the rest. Just in time as he had been just about to cast an invisibility spell on himself. During this battle Bonnie used the black sword and found its blade to be keen and as well as the normal damage from a blade it did a small amount of necrotic damage to anyone struck by it.

The bugbears pounded on the door, demanding to know what the noise was. Eric deceived the bugbears, talking through the door telling them to go away and that everything was all right. The deception worked and the bugbears retreated.

In Glasstaff’s room the party gathered correspondence, as requested by Halia Thornton, the proprietor of the Phandalin Miners’ Exchange. They found evidence that Glasstaff was in fact Iarno Albreck, the member of the Lord’s Alliance that Sildar Hallwinter had been sent to Phandalin to find. Iarno was also subservient to The Black Spider who wanted him to deal with the adventurers. Still no clue as to who The Black Spider was. Meanwhile the wounds of the other members were bound and Eric regained consciousness and was able to cast healing magic on the others.

The party left the Redbrand Lair to rest. On the way back Igo was convinced they were being followed by something that stuck to the shadows, but the party decided they were in too bad shape to engage in any more combat. They returned to the inn to rest.

The next day Guinne took all the correspondence to Halia Thornton, and reported what had happened. Halia congratulated Guinne on a job well done, but chided her for allowing so many Redbrands to die unnecessarily. Still, there was work to be done, and Guinne and Halia, along with some employees rounded up the rest of The confused and leaderless Redbrands from The Sleeping Giant taphouse and she made them an offer of employment working for her at The Miners Exchange. With nothing else but punishment or exile to face the ex-Redbrands agreed. Over the next few days while the party recovered the ex-Redbrands were seen loading or unloading carts at the Miners Exchange, and performing guard duties, seemingly willingly.

During this time Goldirocks volunteered to examine the black sword. The party was deciding which mission to take on next – rescue Gundren from Cragmaw Castle, visit the Banshee sage at Conyberry, or travel to the ruins at Old Owl Well to find who or what is causing the undead there and disturbing the ruins.

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Lost Mine of Phandelver
Part 1

Things in Wayfork had returned to normal after Team TPK closed the Shadowgate. The dead stayed dead, which was a good thing, and the living stayed living, which was also a good thing, although it depended on who you were referring to.

Team TPK didn’t have much to do, and the old normal life didn’t seem to have much appeal after what they had been through. They endured several months of little happening and life was in danger of going back to normal.

About then Bonnie Basher received a visit from her cousin, Gundren Rockseeker. It’s not a secret that dwarven names like “Basher” and “Rockseeker” are not their actual clan or family names. Dwarves are a suspicious, secretive lot, and tend to adopt a second name that humans and other races seem to expect. So Gundren and Bonnie actually do share a clan name, but of course if you would to ask all you’d get would be hard stares, and maybe a harder boot up the backside.

Gundren and Bonnie had been close as dwarven children. Yes, all dwarves were children once, although the rumour they are born with beards cannot be confirmed or denied. Except by dwarves but if you ask expect hard stares and boots again. Anyway Gundren was all excited about a map he waved at Bonnie, but wouldn’t let her look at it too closely.
“Less people that know the better, but it’s something big!” he said. Bonnie, being a suspicious and secretive dwarf, agreed not to pry any further. Gundren wanted Bonnie and her adventuring company (Bonnie thought the phrase “adventuring company” made them sound grander than they were – especially as she had caught sight of Fizbo outside the window with his clown facepaint on entertaining children outside the inn) to escort an ox cart of supplies from Neverwinter to the frontier town of Phandalin. Seemed simple enough. Gundren was going to go on ahead to Phandalin and meet them there, after which he would tell them everything.

Bonnie called the others together, ready to try to convince them to leave their lives behind and follow her on a road to adventure, even if that road was going to be slowly plodded along with some oxen. She was gratified but not surprised that everyone agreed to become full time adventurers. She also knew that most of the party had a reason to journey to the Neverwinter/Phandalin area. Dasira, for example, had been receiving visions for weeks of a shrine to Lathander in a ruined castle near Phandalin being desecrated by goblins. Now it made sense to her, for here was the opportunity to go find that shrine. Tai Ni Dong was from up that way too, ten years ago he and his parents had been forced to flee the village of Thundertree when a nearby volcano spewed ash and lava for miles around.

Plans were made and the party set off for the coastal city Neverwinter to the north. On arrival they picked up the ox-cart and supplies and set off along The High Road south for a few days before turning inland on the Triboar Trail. They had only been on the trail a few hours when two dead horses were seen on the trail. Investigating triggered a goblin ambush, but Team TPK dealt with them easily enough. They also captured one of the goblins and charmed him.

From a note found on a goblin body they found out that someone called “The Black Spider” had hired the Cragmaw Goblins to capture Gundren and his map. The Cragmaw Goblins operated out of Cragmaw Castle, and also had a hideout near the Phandalin trail.

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The party followed the track from the road back to The Hideout (avoiding a trap on the path). They were ambushed by goblin lookouts, but the goblins were no match for the party. One goblin was charmed, placed in a web over the cave entrance, and the web and the goblin were turned invisible. The goblin was then told to yell out for everyone to come out quickly. Some of the goblins, the bugbear Klarg who was the boss of the hideout, and some mangy half starved wolves charged out to fight the party in numbers, but were caught up in the invisible web. Dasira used her Radiance of the Dawn ability to channel her god’s power to kill all but one of the wolves, all the goblins, and badly injured the bugbear. A scorching ray spell from Fizbo saw the bugbear off and the last wolf killed. The caves were then explored and remaining goblins cleared out. These goblins were guarding Sildar Hallwinter, who had been badly beaten. Sildar was rescued and healed and the party took a long rest in the caves. Barrels, boxes and crates of goods belonging to the Lionshield Coster were also found in the caves. The party loaded them up on their ox cart for transport to Phandalin.

The charmed goblin had told Team TPK that Gundren and the seemingly important map he was carrying were taken to Cragmaw Castle. The goblin also provided the location of the castle, which was important for Dasira’s personal goal (reconsecrate the shrine to Lathander). However the party decided to continue taking the ox cart to Phandalin and complete that part of the mission.

On the way Sildar Hallwinter gave them some information about what Gundren was up to. It seemed that Gundren had discovered Wave Echo Cave, the location of the legendary Spell Forge. The Spell Forge was a magic item creator that amplified the natural magic of Wave Echo Cave to create powerful magic items in half the time. It was lost when orcs and evil humans attacked the humans, dwarves and gnomes who were running the operation, resulting in at least part of the mines where the Spell Forge was situated collapsing. Sildar also advised that Gundren and his map had been taken to Cragmaw Castle, ready for delivery to The Black Spider – Sildar did not know who or what The Black Spider was. Sildar’s reason for travelling to Phandalin was to find Iarno Albrek, member of The Lord’s Alliance who travelled to Phandalin two months ago to establish order there. Sildar is also a member, and was sent to investigate.

Phandalin is a small frontier town, the surrounding ruins show that it used to be much bigger. There is gold in the lands surrounding Phandalin and prospectors and explorers pan and look for gold in rivers, hills and old mines. They seem to find enough to make it worthwhile. However a band of criminals called The Redbrands has been making life hard for people in Phandalin. Guinnehas some history with The Redbrands, and would like to see them taken down (her personal goal).

Team TPK returned the goods to the Lionshield Coster, the Phandalin post is run by a sharp tongued woman of 35 named Linene Graywind, who rewarded them. They also bought two nets from the Lionshield Coster stores thinking they might be useful in combat. They then dropped off the ox cart and Gundren’s supplies to Barthen’s Provisions, the biggest trading post in Phandalin. It is run by Elmar Barthen, a lean and balding human male shopkeeper of middle age with a kindly manner. He was saddened by the news of Gundren’s capture and encouraged Team TPK to rescue him.

Team TPK also visited the Shrine of Luck, a shrine dedicated to Tymora the goddess of luck and good fortune, run by Igo Puepue‘s sister, an elf priestess named Sister Garaele. She asked the party to visit the lair of Agatha the Banshee, and present a jeweled silver comb to her in the hope that the undead spirit, something of a historian and sage, would answer the question about the current location of a spellbook belonging to a legendary mage named Bowgentle. The party agreed, as this fits with Goldirocks’ personal goal of making contact with Agatha.

The party met Halia Thornton who runs the Phandalin Miners’ Exchange. She would like to see The Redbrands taken down, but suggested that rather than kill them all it might be better to just “cut the head off the snake” by killing their leader Glasstaff. She offers the party a reward to kill him and bring her any correspondence you might find in his lair.

Igo met with Daran Edermath, a half elf retired adventurer who agreed The Redbrands needed to be taught a lesson. He also said he was looking for a party of adventurers to go to Old Owl Well to investigate rumours of undead there. This fits with Fizbo’s personal goal of wanting to have a look at the ruins of the watchtower there, as sometimes you can find magic items. Although most have been found, Fizbo thinks maybe some small item might have escaped notice.

The party then sought lodgings at The Stonehill Inn. Sildar Hallwinter was already there and now parted ways with the party, and gave them 50 gold pieces for rescuing him and escorting him to Phandalin. He is looking for Iarno Albreck, a member of a group called The Lord’s Alliance, who came to Phandalin two months ago to help the town become more “civilised”. However Iarno has not been heard of since.

Everyone you have met so far has said The Redbrands are a blight on the town and need to be eliminated. The Townmaster has done nothing about them however, and after The Redbrands killed the town weaver and kidnapped his wife and children, everyone has been too afraid to confront them.

At the inn the party heard from the son of the innkeeper that a local halfling boy had seen The Redbrands come out of a tunnel leading to the ruins of Tresendar Manor. The gang is using the cellars as a base, while spending most of their free time at a taphouse called The Sleeping Giant. The party got Carp, the halfling boy, to show them the tunnel and are about to enter.

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The Shadowgate Ruins
Deal with the Cult of Death and Close the Shadowgate

After the party had returned from Dimwood they had a few short days to recover. During that time a darkness fell on the land, intially over Dimwood, but it started to spread. Everyone was concerned. Then bodies from the local cemetery started to stir and attack the living. A decree was made that all bodies should be burned to death.

The village council sent their agents into Dimwood to investigate and stop whatever was going on there. They already had a good idea of what was happening from the information the goblins had given them. On the way they encountered a group of cultists who had been attacked by a couple of ogres. All the cultists were dead except one, and the party managed to surprise the ogres and kill them. The remaining cultist had a strange stone sphere, about the size of a large grapefruit, in his pack. The sphere was covered with runes and a magic was detected by Fizbo emanating from it.
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Fizbo also cast a charm spell on the cultist, who told them the following:
In the ruins under the keep lies a Shadowgate, a portal to the undead realm of Orcus the Demon Prince.
Kalarel the cult leader has been instructed through dreams and his demonic familiar to open the Shadowgate. He has done so by removing and scattering the Guardian Stones which kept the gate closed and by performing a ceremony where half his cultists were slain to provide blood. The cultists have now been animated as various undead and Kalarel is an undead creature himself, transformed by the power of the Shadowgate. The portal of the Shadowgate is becoming solid and will soon remain permanently open. Already some small undead and demons have come through and other, larger ones will follow. The living cultists have been abandoned by Kalarel, now that his mission is complete, but is using them to guard the ruins. They are confused and unsure what to do, and too scared to enter the ruins. The charmed cultist had been told to take one of the Guardian Stones and hide it so that the portal cannot be closed, and the other Guardian Stones were hidden in the dungeons under the ruins.

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The party, now led by the charmed cultist, went to the ruins and bluffed their way past the other cultists guarding the entrance, who had been thoroughly spooked by the wails and shrieks coming from the dungeons below the ruins. A zombie cultist had emerged an hour ago and they had hacked it down. They only needed a little excuse to go running and the party gave it to them.

Inside the dungeon the charmed cultist fell victim to the first lot of undead they encountered. They searched for and found the other remaining Guardian Stones, and then confronted Kalarel with his undead minions at the Shadowgate. The Shadowgate itself pulsed with dark energy, with tentacles of shadow lashing out and anyone nearby, grappling them and dragging them shrieking into the portal. Shapes, too large and strange to be human, tried to push through from the other side. The battle was joined and the party was victorious after a hard fought battle, and just in time too. The Guardian Stones were replaced and Kalarel was killed (again), his ceremony interrupted. The Shadowgate was quiet once again, and the dead stayed dead across the land.
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First Adventure - A Time for Heroes
Avert the Second Goblin War

The Red Fang Mauraders – a goblin tribe – burned farms and performed hit and run attacks on the village. They grew bolder with each attack, and eventually attacked Wayfork itself some years ago but were massacred by a group of powerful adventurers. Now the tribe are only a shadow of their former glory days. They breed and grow quickly though, and villagers from Wayfolk say it’s only a matter of time. Their words seemed prophetic as one night Kerna, a farmer’s wife, arrived in the village calling loudly for aid. Kerna told of how goblins raided her home, stealing livestock and foodstuffs and slaying Otto, her husband. The family fled while their home burned.

The village was put on alert, the militia summoned to protect the village. However as the night hours dragged on, there was no attack on the village. The village council formed a plan and asked for volunteers to go and investigate what happened at Otto’s farm. It appeared no other farms were attacked either, so this did not appear to be a new goblin war. However something had obviously happened to make the goblins attack after nearly a decade of peace. The volunteers were a ragtag bunch, apprentices and acolytes of local dignitaries, a couple of out of town volunteers, and two members of the militia, including Bonnie Basher, the militia corporal and deputy militia commander.

As soon as the volunteer team arrived at the farm they could see something was odd. The barn had been burned down, and footstuff stolen from the house, but Otto’s body looked like someone had tried to give him first aid using herbs and medicines found in the forest. This indicated it was the goblins who had tried to save Otto’s life.

Tracks led away from the farm, and Igo Puepue, the elven ranger was able to easily follow them. It wasn’t long until the goblins were found, making a temporary camp near Dimwood. Contact was made, and the goblins explained their situation. Undead were roaming through Dimwood – skeletons and zombies were coming from the inner, darker area of Dimwood. The goblins could handle these, but then an undead bear arrived at their cave and killed many, including the chief, and drove off the rest. The tribe then splintered into several small bands, each led by a goblin war captain. Rather than combat the bear any longer, the bands fled to different areas of the forest. One band, led by Thrask Three-Teeth, son of Usok One-Fang, fled to a field situated at the forest edge. Thrask was the goblin the party were talking to. He wanted the party to deal with the undead bear, and they would go back to their cave. If the party couldn’t, then the goblins would have no choice but to raid another farm. It wouldn’t be long until other goblin bands joined in and the risk of another goblin war would be increased. Igo Puepue believed Thrask. He had seen a skeleton shambling through Dimwood during a hunting trip and had reported it back to the militia. However Igo had been laughed at and not believed.

The party promised to assist, and returned to the Wayfork to inform the anxious town council of the state of matters. The town council were relieved the goblin war was not imminent, but divided on how to manage it. The party themselves were concerned about how they could tackle a living bear, let alone an undead bear. Goldirocks was a historian and had heard about a weapon that was effective against the undead. It was hidden in Ammakyl Ruins behind something called “a moon door”. Goldi had looked for it previously, but had been unable to move some of the larger stones. Deciding this was a good lead to follow while the Wayfork council bickered, the party got permission from the steward of Ammakyl Estate, William Derleson to explore the ruins, on the proviso that any gems or jewellry rightly belonged to the Ammakyl Estate and should be given back to him. He would allow the party to keep any weapons as reward however. The party agreed and set off, knowing it was a full moon tonight. According to Goldi a moon door would only open on nights of the full moon. They arrived at the ruins and spent a few hours clearing some of the collapsed stonework away, and finally the moon door was discovered on the floor, its outline glowing in the light of the full moon. It was opened and the crypts underneath it were explored. Some of the bodies started moving, and the party had a few battles destroying ancient skeletons in armour. In addition some very large spiders had settled in the crypts, feasting on rats that also inhabited the area, but were also up for human flesh. In the end all foes were defeated, and a magic battleaxe which did extra damage against undead was recovered. Bonnie Basher, already proficient in the weapon, took custody of it.

The next day the village council gave permission for the party to kill the undead bear, with the understanding that the party were to kill all of the goblins if they did not return back to Dimwood afterwards. The party contacted Thrask and explained the situation, and then set off to Dimwood and the cave lair (as explained on a mud map by Thrask). After getting lost only a couple of times, exploring the wrong ruins, running away from an owlbear, encountering and killing undead, and having Igo charmed by a dryad, they finally found the cave. Guinne the rogue went in to investigate and unfortunately triggered one of the few goblin traps that the bear had not yet blundered into. She wasn’t hurt but it made noise and the bear charged after her out of the cave. A battle ensued and the undead bear was killed.

The goblins were delighted, and returned immediately to their cave. Before they went they advised that they were aware humans in robes had been moving through Dimwood, heading for an old keep on a hill at the centre. They thought they might be responsible for the undead stirring, as Dimwood was different, darker somehow.

The party returned triumphant (and wounded) to the village of Wayfork.

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