Adventures in the Colony of Nerath

Shadowfell, Session 11
Hobgoblin Patrols

After waiting in the hidden armory, the party attempted an extended rest. However, it was interrupted by an intrusion of a hobgoblin patrol. Initially, the hobgoblins did not discover the party due to an invisibility field, but a returning patrol discovered the transparent wall. The party was able to fend off an attack and stabilize Magnus before retreating to a torture chamber to the north. The party stashed Magnus in one of the cells while guarding him against future attacks.

After completing an extended rest, the party again maneuvered through the rune-traps in the western corridors , taking further damage. They descended to the second level of Shadowfell Keep and lit a sunrod. They detected a hobgoblin scout and were ambushed, but prevailed over their foes.

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Shadowfell, Session 10
Traps Immemorial, Ambush

The party continued its search for Kalarel on the second floor of the Keep on the Shadowfell. They entered a room with a large memorial to a warrior, garbed in armor traditional to the time of Lord Keegan. Once it attacked them, Magnus was able to disable it, having already noted an access panel. Dragon statues began spouting fire at the party, and Vermundur became trapped in a vessel, cornered by statues of cherubim, that began to quickly fill with water. Fortunately, Vermundur destroyed the cherubim just before his final breath, releasing him from the trap, and Magnus was able to disable the dragon-trap.

After a short rest, the party returned to Splug in the hidden armory for an extended rest. The party could hear hobgoblin patrols looking for them, but they were not discovered. Having recovered from his wounds, Splug gathered some javelins from the armory and joined the party for its next foray further into the Keep.

A group of hobgoblins ambushed the party and Magnus was wounded almost to the death. Once Magnus was stabilized, Vermundur carried him as the party fled back to its hiding spot in the armory. Meanwhile, the remaining hobgoblin escaped to gather reinforcements. The party took a short rest.

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Shadowfell, Session 9
Shadow Seeks Shadow

The party traveled to the northwest corridors of the first level of Shadowfell Keep. There they encountered a series of rune-traps, one of which Vermundur triggered, resulting in injury. Afterwards, the party discovered the hidden armory to which they were directed by Lord Keegan. After defeating zombies waiting in the armory, the party failed to solve a riddle that would have provided them with a magical suit of armor.

After a short rest, the party fought another wave of zombies and proceeded down the staircase to the Keep’s second level. A guard challenged them with the passphrase, “Shadow seeks shadow,” to which Andrei replied, “I am shadow.” A battle ensued between the party and hobgoblins, as well as a monstrous spider. Splug was greviously injured. After a short rest, the party returned to the hidden armory on the first level in order to leave Splug there to stabilize while the group carried on its mission to find Kalarel and stop him from opening the Rift to the Shadowfell.

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Shadowfell, Session 8
The Crypt of Lord Keegan

Vermundur, Magnus and the party continued their exploration of Shadowfell Keep, making their way northward through its halls. There they encountered giant rats and an ochre jelly. After a short rest, the party explored further and discovered a crypt wherein they were beset by zombies.

After defeating the zombies, the party proceeded south into a giant room full of sarcophagi. Hinrik, using a ritual of Comprehend Languages, deciphered an unknown script on the sarcophagi. It read, in Draconic:

The Platinum Dragon is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my armor against the foes of life. I need only kneel and offer him my praise.

The sarcophagi opened and living skeletons emerged. After giving some battle, Vermundur offered praise at a nearby altar of Bahamut and the skeletons stopped appearing. After a short rest, the party discovered a secret compartment in the altar, wherein was found five small dragon statuettes of silver and platinum. These were distributed among the group (later to prove life-saving).

After an extended rest, the party discovered a crypt to the east with only a single coffin. There they encountered the shade of Lord Keegan, who impressed upon the adventurers that the Rift must never be re-opened. Lord Keegan explained that, while he does not know Kalarel, the Rift could be opened levels below. He also informed the party as to a hidden armory in the crypts before the stairs leading down to the second level. As for his own story, Lord Keegan explained that the taint of Orcus had seeped into him and he started killing. He presented the party with Aecris, the sword given to him by King Elidyr to purge the Keep of those who sought to open the Rift.

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(Return to) Shadowfell, Session 7
Rats, Blue Slime, and the Kruthik

After searching the excavation area, Vermundur, Magnus and the party journeyed down into the area that Splug identified as being the goblins’ trash bin. On the lookout for giant rats, the party discovered a pair of double doors into which was inscribed in the common tongue, “Stay out. Really.” Not heeding this warning, the party opened the doors to discover an underground lake with a small island in its midst. They were attacked by a blue slime, which they defeated after also fending off rat attacks.

Upon searching the blue slime’s lair, the party found a potion of healing (given to Magnus), a shield of protection (given to Osvald), and a map of Shadowfell Keep. In a wooden cylinder, the party found, along with the foregoing map, a message in the common tongue and a letter in the same hand.

The message read, Remember, don’t wet the nodule unless Kalarel is not receptive to the offer. Wet it only from a distance and then turn and run. Water will bring the creature out of its dormancy and it will consume anything it can reach.

The letter was addressed to Kalarel from Chief Krand of the Bloodreavers. It indicates that Krand had learned of Kalarel’s recent activity in the area and is willing to buy as slaves any humanoids that Kalarel captures. Krand apparently has Duergar allies in Thunderspire as potential buyers. Krand requests that Kalarel send an envoy if he is interested.

After a short rest, the party discover a room with apparent pit-traps. Inside one of the pits was a dead kruthik. Several of the creatures’ strange burrows could be seen in the walls. The party quickly found the kruthiks’ lair and dispatched them. Upon searching the room, Splug discovered the body of a dead goblin, who he identified as Cousin Krap. “I didn’t like my old friends,” Splug related to the party. “I like you.”

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The Hallowed, Session 2
The Throne Room

After a short rest, the party searched the bodies of its foes on the second floor of the tower. Among other things, they found an Architect Staff +1, which was given to Ivolgin.

The third floor of the tower was a ruined throne room with a glowing circle of runes (later revealed to be of a healing nature). There the party defeated a bugbear, two goblins and two wolves, although Grisha almost died. After a short rest, Villisvina and others removed the bodies of the fallen from the tower and burned them on a pyre. A suit of Exalted scale armor +1 was discovered and given to Einar. Ivol also presented to Einar the Nylandan a token of friendship with the sigrin: a wooden amulet in the shape of an unbroken tower. Einar accepted the gift with grace and now wears it.

The party then took an extended rest in the tower. Afterwards, Einar began the journey back to Woodhaven to return to his father, Gunnar. Grisha plans to accompany Sascha back to Fallcrest, where he hopes to continue his investigation into the disappearance of his sister-in-law and nephew.

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The Hallowed, Session 1
The Howling Wood

In Fallcrest, Grisha and Einar met with Sascha. She informed them that Ivolgin was to meet them at an appointed spot on the outskirts of the Howling Forest, leaving a red feather at the designated spot of entry, the The Road of Bears. This led to Notok Stream. With this understanding, the party traveled to the Forest and, finding the red feather, struck straight into its heart. Sascha explained that the Forest is named for the enchanted bats that reside there, which cause fear with their eerie howling. According to Sascha, their destination was the village within which was located the Hallowed, an ancient tower built by elves and sigrin as a sacred site for pilgrimage. After several wars, and particularly regional colonization by the Sacred Empire of Nylandu, the sigrin were forced to flee the area.

At first, the forest seemed like any light woods with chirping birds. However, it soon became dark and more dense, and the party began to hear the bats. They wrapped linens around their ears to muffle the sound, but did struggle with the fear effects. Eventually, the party made its way to Ivol, a half-elf shaman and guardian of the Howling Wood. Already possessing knowledge of Ivol’s reputation, Grisha vouched for Einar; the shaman was suspicious of the Nylandu paladin, but accepted his help.

Ivol informed the party that, on their way to the Hallowed, they would pass through a dense forest containing hallucinogenic mushrooms and spores. Then they would enter the village, which is pregnant with snares set by both sigrin and the goblins who have tunneled underground into the ancient tower. Ivol collapsed the tunnels with the aid of Villisvina, a half-elf druid and protector of the forest for many centuries. Ivol informed the party that he would help them through the spores and to the village, where they would meet Vina. Vina, he said, was the last of a royal line; her family’s history and heritage were in the structure below. In the meantime, the party rested on Borhetap, “the Stage of God,” an enormous flat rock.

After a rest, the party made its way through the spores, although not without suffering their ill effects. Einar experienced violent hallucinations; Grisha, non-violent hallucinations; Sascha, sadness; and Ivol, laughter. They spotted a goblin corpse on their way out of the area of spores. The party arrived at a once-beautiful village, now in ruins. Old barricades still stood in its streets; Ivol’s family’s defenses had been reinforced by the goblins. The party arrived at a small hut on the edge of the village. Ivol knocked on the door and uttered the pass-call. They were admitted into the hut, where they met Vina. She informed the party that there were humanoids inside the tower, which is the only entrance to the Hallowed.

After making their way through several snares and traps, both druidic and goblin, the party arrived at a crumbled three-story tower; its upper floors were in ruins and there was no roof. They could hear goblins speaking inside. They approached in the shadows and burst through the door. There they encountered many goblins and a hobgoblin, Big Grigbad, whom they dispatched. After a short rest, the party proceeded upstairs, where they defeated undead skeletons and more goblins.

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Interlude, The Hallowed
The Hallowed

Grisha pads silently along the crumbling cobblestones of Fallcrest, passing dark buildings with windows lit orange in the dusk. The sounds of laughter and the murmur of conversations is all around him, as well as the smells of roasted meat, garlic and spices.

A dark figure hurtles from an alley and outstretched arms grab for Grisha — he is well-trained and always on guard. He instinctively sidesteps, and leans into the motion, attempting to pull the perpetrator into a roll, but the assailant has spectacular balance, and shifts, tumbling to the side out of Grisha’s reach. She looks up smiling, and says, “Still got it, Gri-Gri.”

As they both straighten up and face each other, Grisha simply says, “You.”

The woman’s dramatically-arched eyebrows rise, “I haven’t seen you in—what—three years? And all I get is, ‘You’?”

Grisha sighs heavily, and begins to walk on.

“Not feeling like banter, then?” the woman continues, following along, “That’s alright I’ll talk and you listen…”

Grisha tilts his head slightly and says, “Not now, Sascha. I don’t have any patience for your…games. The last time I saw you we were both nearly killed and for no good purpose. I have other concerns, now. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want something from me—I know you well enough for that. So, find someone else for your mischief this time.”

Undeterred, Sascha continues, “Well that isn’t exactly fair, is it? If you had stuck to the plan and not decided to improvise….anyway, when you hear what I have to say you’ll have no alternative…”

“Then I don’t want to hear it!” Grisha stops and turns on Sascha, towering over her. She faces him boldly, square-shoulders, without flinching. He continues, “I have other concerns now, and a friend needs my help.” He walks on.

“Well I need your help too; I thought we were friends.” Sascha scowls as she follows.

Grisha sighs again, “You don’t understand, it’s Einar.”

“Oh,” she chuckles, “are you still babysitting that kid, then?”

“No you miserable—” he slows and stops and looks at her. “His sister was killed not long ago. He’s been a mess.”

Sascha looks down and smooths her black hunting outfit, “Oh. Gods be damned. You mean that little pigtailed thing, Eira? How? What happened?”

“Kobolds,” answers Grisha, “And he needs my support right now, I can’t go off with you on some quest to steal art from a Nylandan noble, or intercept supplies meant for the imperial guard. That stuff is in my past.”

Sascha says, “What if I said, you might be able to help me, AND help your friend Einar? Because what I have to say to you affects us both deeply. It affects…our kin. Our shared heritage. And I need you for this. I can only come to you.”

Grisha growls low, and then simply says, “Come with me.”

  • * *

Seated at a pitted table in the Nentir Inn, a flagon of ale between them, one of Sascha’s boots up on the next seat, she says, “Goblins have The Hallowed.”

“What? How?” Grisha instantly sits up straighter, elbows on the table between them.

“Not sure. But somehow they got past the forest defenses, and took the tower – or what’s left of it. You remember Ivoljin? He came to find me. He needs help clearing the infestation – and he and I can’t do it alone. The goblins have….they have Grigbad with them,” Sascha shudders.

“Big Grigbad? That is very bad. He’s a psychopath even among goblins. But what could they ever want with The Hallowed? Do they even know what it is?”

“That isn’t clear,” Sascha leans in, “but Ivol says that countless priceless, powerful artifacts of the old Sindran empire are hidden there. What could happen if they fell into the hands of a goblin clan chief? These goblins are clearly desperate in the first place, to brave the ancient defenses of the Howling Forest. Besides the precious artifacts of our kin and the preservation of this ancient home of our people, this is perhaps a chance to help Einar find his footing again. Grisha—put a sword in his hand and give him a purpose! He will never get better wallowing in his grief here in Fallcrest.”

“Yes but Ivoljin views the Nylandans as occupiers and hates them for all their injustices! What makes you think he would even accept Einar’s help, assuming he agreed and could be motivated?”

Sascha bites her lower lip, “I’m not sure. I will talk to Ivol. I can be very persuasive. And besides – I don’t see any other options presenting themselves, and we are out of time. We need to move first thing tomorrow. I’ll let you know where I’m meeting Ivoljin at 8am. If you can join us, we will wait until 8:30 for you. If you do not come, I will go with Ivol alone.” Sascha places a hand on Grisha’s arm. “I know you have no patience for games—and I wouldn’t have come to you for something like that. I need you now more than ever. Do this one thing for me?”

Grisha shifts heavily and scowls at the table, mind racing as the sounds of laughter and music surround him.

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Shadowfell, Session 6
Balgron the Fat

Still Saturday afternoon.

Party searched fallen goblins and took a short break while Vermundur took a door off it’s hinges to use to shore up a barricade in front of the doorway to the lower level, but never completed that.

They heard some yelling and some banging of weapons, and then mobs of goblins started appearing from both sides of the main entry chamber. The party split into two groups to fight them off, but being already sapped of resources, they found they were becoming quickly overwhelmed.

The party retreated up the stairs to the surface and the goblins followed. Hinrik created a static pillar at the top of the stairs that would only allow one enemy to pass at a time, and Vermundur stood guard to help the others escape. This bottleneck gave the party a major strategic advantage, and they gradually wore down the goblin forces, and fought and killed the goblin’s chieftain, Balgron the Fat.

The party searched the bodies and then retreated to Winterhaven, following a short rest. They met some Sindran men on the road that initially threatened the party, but Osvald talked them out of trouble as a known Sindran sympathizer. The party continued on their way to Winterhaven.

Upon arrival, the gates were barred and Lord Padraig informed them that the town had come under attach from undead that were rising from the dead in the cemetery outside town. The party asked to be let in for healing. They were admitted and Sister Linora healed their wounds. The party went to the graveyard, and fought over a dozen skeletons and the elf woman Ninaran they had seen earlier in Wrafton’s Inn. They searched Ninaran’s body and found a letter from Kalarel, asking her to raise the undead in order to catch the adventurer’s returning to town. The letter indicated that his work was nearly complete. He also provided a pass-phrase to the second subterranean level beneath the ruined keep, “______________________________________________”.

The party rested and slept, visiting Valthruun on Sunday morning, and purchased a few rituals for Hinrik, and sold some equipment. Then they returned to the Keep around lunchtime.

They entered and found the place to be as they had left it – bodies of fallen goblins all about. They heard a noise coming from an open door and investigated, discovering a goblin named Splug who had been left behind in a jail cell for having stolen rations from his fellow goblins. He begged for release, and offered information and assistance to the party. The party agreed and let him out. He escorted them through the stronghold to Balgron’s chamber, and showed them the location of secret doors. In Balgron’s chamber, the party used keys recovered from Balgron to open a chest, in which they found 560 gp and a magic wand +1. While there, Splug armed himself with a spear and 5 javelins, and donned leather armor. The party was a little uneasy with this, but he assured them he would be loyal to them.

Next they checked the excavation room, where a number of goblins had been working tirelessly to search for a powerful, buried magical treasure. Splug said no treasure was found, and he doesn’t know what it was supposed to be, or even look like.

The session ended here. Game time: Sunday afternoon around 1pm. Characters at 2088 XP, fully healed with 1 action point each. Plan is to continue exploring level 1 and find the way to descend to level 2, and find and stop Kalarel.

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Shadowfell, Session 5
The Second Wave

Re-entered Keep on the Shadowfell basement.

Party fought more Goblins as well as Drakes.

8 Goblins were killed in the battles. 3 Goblins and 2 Drakes ran off back down the steps to the left – possibly for reinforcements or to find another way around. To the right, the hallway turns right again and leads to three doors, the center one was left open by goblins that ran in to join the fray. Party has not explored. They are considering barricading themselves in.

Party is injured and sapped of resources, but were able to complete a short rest and earned an Action Point. XP total after the session is 18__. Party has not yet searched the bodies of the fallen goblins.

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