Scales of War

Moving on....

So, the update after 2 sessions….
Meeting your mysterious visitors you found that Reniss escaped the Shadowfel in one piece, and that you had been summoned to speak with the high council of Overlook.

Bram Ironfell, Morgoff Stonefist, and Cadrick sent you off in search of the long lost Karak Lode Mine, the legacy of Bram’s clan, to help fund the war effort in the Vale. To guide you, they translated clues from a book you found in Sarshan’s library. Sending you off, you traveled south west to the Thornwaste, a massive area of thick thorny vines, and jagged rocky outcroppings. There you met a wanderer by the name of Mag Blackthorn, a disciple of the Druid lich Ghostlord. He helped you guys along, and left you as you exited…..right into a dwarven ambush. The dwarves were from the Hammerfist clan….though speculation as to who was behind the attacks is rife. Anyways, you reached the town of Dunesend, which served as a caravan point between overlook and the Karak mine. The town had been abandoned and forgotten by all, except a new threat out of the desert. In town stood a massive gnoll, and his pet behir (a large snakelike beast). The gnoll, who called himself the Warden, was demanding tribute from the townspeople from a mysterious Queen of the sands.

So taking the initiative, the party attacked, and killed the behir (after it swallowed Dexter), and captured the Warden with Crumley’s silver collar. Leaving him with the townsfolk (who were very happy about torturing the poor bastard), you set off into the the harsh desert sands.

An arduous trek though the desert saw you waylaid by a screeching hag, and 3 razorclaws, though they were less a threat than the harsh heat, and the fierce desert winds. Thankfully you made it through, via Father Bills sacrifice for his friends, and soon came to Fortress Ironfel, the keep built over the entrance to the Karak Lode mine. On approach, Dexter spotted dark figures in front of arrow slits, and cautiously you attempted to sneak in. The guards were on alert, and quickly trapped you between two iron gates. That was little match for Cutter, teleporting through arrow slits, to find all but 1 of the dark figures, were dummy’s. Meanwhile, guards above rained magic and javelins upon you, while hulkish Troglodyte brutes beat you into a corner with their massive clubs. A perfect spot for Glenn to unleash fiery magic upon the guards, as slowly and surely, they were beaten down.

Rest & Recovery

The following morning you are woken up by knocking on your doors, and Reggen bustles in with a hearty breakfast for each of you. The plates are piled high with grilled steaks of an unknown meat, and a hard bread. Reggen sees you eyeing it suspiciously, and answers your unspoken question.
“bear steaks” she says. “He was an old bugger but I got him cheap from the skinners. And as a real treat you’ve got my best dwarf bread! Nothing but the finest for the heroes of the Shadowfel. In fact this loafs been in my family for near 200 years!”
The bear steaks are nutritious and tough, but compared to the dwarf bread they’re as tender as the finest wagyu fillet. “When you’re done, there’s a couple of lass’ downstairs in the bar waitin fer yer” she adds.

As you make your way downstairs, you’re greeted by a chorus of cheers and well wishes from the various patrons already in the Mountains Hearth Inn. It would seem that Reggen is profiting well well from her offer of free accommodation. There are even extra staff carrying drinks and serving food. Reggen points to one corner, where a young woman in a hooded cloak is sitting on her own. A mug of ale is in her hand, and she is spinning a coin with an unusual symbol around on the table.
“She showed up not long after you all disappeared chasing that Modra fella” Reggen explains. Prashant over at the Happy Beggar sent her here, seemed like she had been trying to track you down for a while. Weird ting is, she won’t giver her name, don’t talk to anyone, just sits down over a mug all day waitin’, then disappears at night. Shifty, to say the least. The other one came in yesterday, and seems to know a lot about you."
Reggen directs your attention to the bar where Reniss is standing with a small group, clearly sharing stories of your adventure.

The Obsidian Tower

After a very thorough search of Sarshan’s private library, you found a swathe of reading material including:

  • A book in Dwarven titled “The Mines of Karak”
  • Another regarding the Gods, with a brief description of each
  • A scroll written in deep speak, containing a ritual
  • Another tome regarding portals between the shadowfel and the real world.

Some earthquakes ended this search, and you then found an emissary and some of Sarshan’s guards having an argument about a deal gone bad. Looking to interrupt you then opened a can on them…only to find out it was the crady dazing ghost again. After tearing them apart, you set to work searching the nearby rooms. Most had nothing of value, though there were some of Sarshan’s scribes who were very willing to join you, and some sages who weren’t, but were persuaded to join. Lastly, some Gnolls had taken residence in a guest room, and on their corpses you found a diplomatic message from Sarshan, welcoming them into his empire, and telling him the supplies he requested had been sent.

After all that was done, you floated your way upstairs into Sarshan’s garden, and found some beetles to fight, along with a creepy portal. After killing the beetles, the party was accosted by the rest of Sarshan’s guards and then the man himself showed up, through the portal…..only you had met him before. Brenat, the bum in the Happy Beggar was actually Sarshan. Anyways, he thanked you for killing Modra, and offered you join him saying “the world will not be a happy place soon”. You accepted, however Thanuu, the captain of the guard didn’t believe you. After another quake, the foundry started to explode, and most of the guards left to investigate. You decided to try and escape, however Thanuu and his pet panthers were in your way. The panthers went down without too much trouble, though Thanuu was able to escape through the garden portal.

Reconfiguring the portal, you stepped through, into the black shrine next to the Shadowfel gate. The portal then died, but out of it came 5 spectres, who then followed you back into the real world. Just as you managed to defeat them, reinforcements arrived, in the form of Captain Aerun, Kalad (now a member of the watch) and 6 other burly Dwarf watchmen. Jubilant at your successes, they carried you out of the Happy Beggar, back to Reggen’s inn. as they laid you in your beds for a well deserved rest, Kalad mentioned there were two young ladies looking to speak with them in the morning.

Into the Shadowfel

So while chilling in Overlook, you were attacked again by the Lost Ones, after the brass key you found in the vents. After some looking around and questioning, youfound that a chap named Modra was behind the attacked. It was then you were joined by a Half Elf ranger, the sister of Jen (of the Farstriders). She too had heard of Modra through Jen’s sending stone, and had heard of a place called the Happy beggar that might provide more information.

You went there, and questioned the owners, a couple of retired Pelor paladins. Both of them were happy enough to answer your questions, and let you explore. You also met a sickly bum named Brenat, who claimed he’d had run ins with Modra before, and advised you to kill first,a nd ask questions later (like you need any encouragement).

Investigating further, you found a series of tunnels underneath the alms house, leading to a Shadowfel portal, and Modra. Modra offered a deal for your brass key, and when you refused, he simply beat the snot out of you and took it. Then using the key, he escaped into the Shadowfel.

Travelling through the Shadowfel, you came across a large mustering of soldiers, all marching under the banner of the warlord Sarshan. Asking around, you found that Modra had been seen, and that he betrayed Sarshan by selling weapons to Tuskk and Sinruth, after Sarshan forbade him to do it. With this information you’ve found the link between the attacks on Brindol, and the Nexus. While asking around, you met a lieutenant named Leena, and she asked you to investigate the foundry and dispatch Modra in case he tried to sabotage the place. Reniss, the ranger accompanying you advised you against the foundry’s destruction, as she was sent into the Shadowfel to search for intel on Sarshan’s armies. You still don’t know who sent her, or what she was promised in return, but she has a score to settle with Modra, who’s Shadar kai killed her sister (Jen of the Farstriders).

So you dispatched Modra, but not before the sabotage to the foundry was partially complete. Finding a hidden tunnel, you’ve managed to come across a secrret back door into Sarshan’s tower. You entered through the library, and dispatched the guards, and some shadar kai doing research.

Preparing for battle

Diomedes ushers you into the war room to go over the preparations for the battle tomorrow. He tasks you with the critical job of holding of the gatehouse, and assigns you 4 squads of 5 soldiers to command.

The enemy attack is expected to come in 3 waves, each of these must be beaten back all along the walls, for if one section fails, the enemy will pour into the breech and swarm us all. All along the line our artillery will fire once each wave comes in range, and any that make it to the wall will need to be beaten back with cold steel. You will need to decide where each squad will be assigned, and you will also have to position yourselves either directing the fire, defending the gate, or taking tactical command of your section.

As dawn breaks there is already a nervous tension in the air as you take your place along the battlements. In the distance along the horizon, you can see smoke as the army marches forth setting ablaze everything in sight to set fear in the hearts of the defenders. As the first wave marches on towards the walls, you move to take your position for the defence.

Preparing for the Siege

So after your triumphant return to Overlook, the militia leaders are rounding up every able bodied man and sending the off to Borodins Watch to defend the walls. As heroes already, you are obliged to go as well, and as you ride towards the front lines, many a soldier you pass cries out their good wishes to you.

As you come up the mountain path, you pass massive siege works entrenched back from the lines, and tents and campfires for a mile around. The fort itself is a squat trapezoid nestled behind a thick wall of stone standing 60 feet high. As you approach the fort, several messengers and junior officers run out and usher you inside. Apparently with your reputation preceeding you, you have been given a some quarters in the watch house. Shortly after you are taken into a dimly lit room, with tables covered in map, and various reports lining the walls. A young dwarf (by dwarven standards) looms over the table, and when he sees you enter, motions you to come closer.

He introduces himself as Diomedes, a Major who is overseeing the deployment of the mercanaries and adventuring parties who joined up to fight. “The amount of bad blood between some of these groups goes back a long time, and it’s proving to be a nightmare in sorting them out. At any rate, my scouts predict we have only 1 day before the orc forces arrive en masse. You have that time to prepare us for that assault. Everyone else have their duties, but from what I’ve heard you are jack’s of all trades, and can handle any pressing tasks.”

He points to the map of the area surrounding Borodins watch. “we’ve had some torrential rain in the last 2 months, and our intel on the surrounding area is out of date. If you were to scout outside the walls, and map any features, that would be a great help. We also need the walls strengthened in a number of places, if any of you are fit enough to handle the physical labour. In the medical tent there are a number of wounded soldiers, getting them on the battlefield is also a high priority. Also you could strip the barracks of any linen, and craft decoys for the walls, and fool the orcs into thinking we have greater numbers. There may also be potions still in our store houses that weren’t looted by the other mercenaries here. You could have a look through the crates for any of use. Lastly, the forges below are extensive and can be put to use making caltrops and other traps. The choice is yours on what you do”

Closing the Nexus

Bolstered by the addition of Liloki and Kalad, our heroes delved further intho the complex of the nexus, to stop Tuskk and seal the caverns under the mountains.

In the next room our heroes came across a sinister Dark One emissary, agent of Modra and creature of the Shadowfel. They also found the body of Jen (the Farstriders warlock), and surprisingly a relatively fresh zombie. Although Jen’s equipment had been removed, clutched in her hand was a sending stone. Further along they found the rest of the farstriders, all dead and half chewed by an enormous troll. The troll and it’s allies were dispatched, along with others in the small Dwarf barracks.This lead our heroes to the Nexus. An enormous chamber, with a path running up around the outer wall to meet in the centre, with a huge spiral of shining silver. While making their way up, orcs rushed out from small caverns along the path to hampertheir progress. After a short while, Tuskk entered the fray, along with his Shadra-Kai mistress, Myrassa . These two held the centre while orcs were cut down left and right. They finally went toe to toe with Cohen (who didn’t fare so well) and then the rest of the party, who managed to cut them down, and activate the Nexus. Boiling hot water started running in from the pipes, slowly filling up the chamber and blocking off access to the smaller caverns. UponTuskk and Myrissa were a variety of magic items, along with a non-descript small brass key. Our heroes then climbed out the escape hatch, and took the Farstriders horses back to Overlook to share their triumph and the Farstriders tragedy.

The slaughter of the Sundered Chain

Our heroes ventured further into the monastery, and found the sole survivor bound and beaten, alongside Cohen who mounted an ineffectual rescue mission. There you met Og, who had led a detachment of Orcs through the mountains, and into the temple to slaughter everyone. He and his cohorts got killed, and you rescued Cohen, but unfortunately Kalad, the last dwarf standing, died. At any rate, you took him back to Overlook, chatted with his spirit, and then raised him from the dead by your new pal, Rufus Crumley. The downside of this is that you had to kill 4 members of the watch to do it, so now I doubt they are too pleased with you all. You also made a new enemy in the “Lost Ones”, a gang of thieves lead by a mysterious Modra. You have found a new ally inReggen , a dwarf who runs the Mountains Hearth Inn, a decent establishment in the Blister. Lastly, you did some ghost busting in the basement of the Coxen Spirits, and trapped the unruly wraith in a magical box of souls.

Then, with finger removed, you finally travelled off to the vents, Kalad in tow, to seal the Nexus, and prevent any other orcs from reaching in Elsir vale.Once you navigated your way through the vents, you ran into a band of orcs heading out. Also in one blood filled corner, you found the head of one of the Farstriders, Jen, the warlock, along with more weapons with the black arrow.

kalad explains that while taking his beating from Og, there was a lot of interrogation over the location of the Nexus, and how to work it. They kept making mention of Tuskk, their brutish leader, and how the Orcs were going to overrun these lands. As a true son of Moradin, Kalad held out against this interrogation, though he believes he was only beaten unconscious, before you whisked him off to the vents. He has noticed that you now bear his weapons, and explains his thoughts in an old dwarf warrior’s philosophy.
“A weapon is not just some tool that is forged and swung in battle. It is the living embodiment of power and strength. A weapon hung upon a shelf is dead inside. Only by cutting down its foes can it gain life. I have not done my axe the justice it deserves, and I believe that you adventurers will do it great honour. You have many foes ahead of you, more than I will encounter in my lifetime. May Moradin watch over all of us on our journey”

Kalad goes on to explain the importance of sealing the Nexus, and how Tuskk must be stopped at all costs. After his humiliation and shame in the Monastery, he owes a debt to his brothers that needs to be repaid, and will follow this through to the end alongside you.

To Overlook and beyond

Our brave heroes set forth along the Elsir river about the Madien, a cargo ship ferrying supplies towards Overlook. On the boat they discovered a more sinister cargo, people who had been drafted to fight against the Orcs at Borodins Watch. One night whilst sailing, they noticed armed men had snuck aboard the ship. They sounded the alarm, and the ships crew sprang into action repelling the invaders. heading below decks, they talked a guard into abandoning his post to join the fracas, and freed the prisoners.

They then cut down the ships crew, but not before the captain made a mad dash for the side of the boat and got away. In his cabin was a chest of amazing strength andunlockability. The y sailed on to the end of the line, a town called Sodden, and then wandered into the splendour of Shantytown, a place for the poor and dejected on the outskirts of Overlook. After spying a small tower, and deducing a wizard MUST live there, they repeatedly knocked on his door to get him to open the chest. As it turned out he was actually a necromancer, and unable to perform this task, but said ifthe group got him some fresh corpses, he can perform some healing and even bring slain people back from the dead. Armed with this information, they went to the Bonyard in Overlook, only to find the night watch was already there, due to some previous gravediggers.

So they wandered around to the Blister, a mercenary and adventurer playground, and after getting into a barfight, decided to burn the bar to the ground. Then next day they attended the muster of adventurers, met some familiarfaces , one of which picked the lock, for a nice fee of 50g and a broken card cheating device. Also you met the Free Riders, and the Famous Farstriders, who havekilled a black dragon, been into teh Shadowfel, and done other awesome stuff. They were also given their assignment to rescue monks and ensure the tunnels below the monastery were sealed from Orc invaders.

So off they went, and found the orcs had already set up camp in the monastery, and slaughtered all the Dwarf priests and paladins there.They managed to fight their way through to the tunnels below without incident, but ran into a little trouble on the staircase down into the depths, and we left with them huddled against a rock face in the gloom.

Mission Accomplished

Having delved deeper into the catacombs of Rivenroar castle, our heroes finally confronted Sinruth in his lair, and despite the hobgoblin stomping in some heads, they managed to dispatch him will littletrouble. For their efforts, they recovered 2 of the treasures taken from the Hall of Valour, and found an ominous note to Sinruth, extolling his recent actions, and signed only by “The Emissary”.

Having sorted that they then found a captive demon, and despite their best efforts, it was released by their handlers, and managed to beat up on everyone, along with it’s wererat handlers. One of them managed to escape into the next room and alert more of the undead, before a magicmissile tore him apart, but the damage was already done. The undead poured out and attacked with gusto, not giving the heroes a chance to rest. Still, they dispatched them, and found a couple of magic itemswithin their throne room. Still feeling bold, they traveled to the lowest level of the catacombs, and amongst the mushrooms, and rage drakes, they rescued the crone Zerikssa. She was a cranky old bitch, so they headed back to town, following one of the maps Sinruth had.

They trekked out once moreand finally found the boy, guarded by zombies and ghouls. The ghouls put up quite a fight, but it wasn’t good enough, and finally the child was rescued. Cutter destroyed his spirit by blurting out his father was dead, and he broke into sobs for the rest of the day. Dragging him along, they came to the chapel in the catacombs, and although a gnome managed to escape, they recovered the last of the stolen treasures, including a platinum longsword.

Once returned, the castellan of the museum present this to Cutter, as it’s time amongst the undead and hobgoblins had unlocked a strange, and as yet unknown magic within. Having collected their rewards, our heroes were offered free passage to Overwatch on a supply caravan, or a paid berth on a cargo shiptravelling along the Elsir River.


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