Scaled Down Scales

Back from Hiatus...
...as a 1st-level campaign

We went into Hiatus for a while (due to the gamemaster’s job going crazy) and re-emerged as a 1st-level campaign.

When we returned to the campaign, the new characters found themselves cleaning up some Kobold Problems near Fallcrest.

The key they found around the neck of the dragon who was behind the kobold infestation turned out to have a match. The matching key was delivered by an emissary of The Order of the Black Feather who presented it to the Lord Warden of Fallcrest. When the adventuresome daughter made off with a key, a diplomatic/spy assignment ensued.

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Orcs at the Gate
The Horned Hold...

…proved to be situated on both sides of a deep chasm.

The adventurers took full advantage of this situation. They were surprised to discover that the portcullis to the installation was guarded by orcs, not duergar slavers. Paine once again demonstrated her considerable physical prowess by holding up the heavy iron gate one-handed while Ki’sho forced orcs off the edge of the cliff.

In the end, only one orc got away. Seeing his friends take a long fall was enough to convince him to run for help.

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A PR Campaign...
...for the Order of the Black Feather

Meanwhile, Blackguard’s Bane has begun really improving the image of The Order of the Black Feather by speaking out on their behalf at big meeting in Overlook. He got them a good assignment in the effort to close the tunnels under the mountains, playing on his reputation and knowledge gleaned from the destruction of the New Red Hand. Some of the other adventuring guilds seem a little put out at this development.

When they were assigned to evacuate the Monastery of the Sundered Chain, they found that most of the dwarves there had been killed (although one named Khalad survived long enough to collapse the tunnels and be rescued by Blackguard’s Bane. Khalad, a dwarven paladin told them they needed to rush to the Vents to make sure the guild assigned to close them were able to complete the job. It seems the Order of the Sundered Chain has long anticipated the possibility that the tunnels might have to be closed for defensive reasons and has made preparations.

Khalad believes he is the only one left who knows how to close them and urges the Black Feathers to take him there immediately.

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Grimmerzhul Trading Post
Back at the 7-Pillared Hall...

…the brave adventurers easily cleaned out the Dark Dwarves’ Trading Post.

Turned out to be nothing more than a front for the slaving operation, but the a map was discovered pointing them toward The Horned Hold.

Which appears to be the center of action in the Duergars’ slaving operation.

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15 Yards
Sure enough...

…the main boss of the Chamber of Eyes was waiting for the party as they came through the door. He had organized the two main rooms. As soon as the party went through one door, the call to release the hounds was heard and a large Dire Warg was set loose through the other door.

The party made quick work of the boss though (even though he had duergar help), so when reinforcements from the third room showed up, the first thing they heard was despairing shouts about the boss’s fall. Being mercenaries unlikely to see money from a dead paymaster, they made for the exits.

They did not count on the persistence of Ki’sho‘s hatred for slavers, however: The Lost Zerth soloed the runners while the rest of the party cleaned up a hobgoblin/warg infestation. Augustus went down in the final seconds of battle, having tanked the party’s exposed flank for the entire fight.

But Visage was able to heal the defender once the warg went down.

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The Shouting
Wherein Visage gets called...

...for excessive celebration.

Yes, it’s true: Visage did celebrate the party’s victory very loudly, right in front of a door. No one knows who is on the other side of that door, but if they were close they surely heard his shouting.

We’ll have to wait until next time to see what consequences his display will have.

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Narthexology
Wherein the brave adventurers...

…learn obscure architectural terms and how to make puns based on them.

The adventurers pushed onward to the Chamber of Eyes and discovered it was constructed like a small shrine with an outer narthex where the faithful (or faithless, since no one is certain yet what kind of religion was practiced here) could gather and be addressed from a raised platform. Visage helped Zell climb to the podium, where he listened at the back door.

Zell, however (apparently intimidated by past failures as a scout) climbed back down. It wasn’t an act of pure cowardice, but we all know certain gnomes would have been glad to characterize it has such.

When the guards overheard the party discussing strategy, they began shouting challenges through the main door (which was adorned with a large eye symbol). A quick-thinking Li Sun tried to convince them he was a slaver on an assignment from Krand himself. While the rest of the party tried to arrange themselves to look like Li Sun’s slaves, Visage failed to apply his considerable charisma to the challenge of convincing the guards of their bonafides. Li Sun was unable to carry to deception off by himself.

The guards, perceiving the fraud, rushed off to alert their boss, a bugbear of considerable talent (well, for a bugbear, anyway) who was sleeping nearby. Fortunately, while the rest of the party dithered over a wait-and-come-back-later strategy, Visage and Paine forced the back entrance (well, it was actually opened by a hobgoblin guard trying assess the enemy before he ran off to alert the big boss).

By this time, Li Sun had the front door open and the main hallway exposed. No sign of the retreating guards, however, as they had gone to wake the sleeping bugbear. The back way, on the other hand, was crawling with guards rushing for heavy reinforcements. It might have been all over were it not for the quick thinking of Paine and Visage. Paine bottled up the two guards most likely to get away with a timely Ice Stalagmites spell, and Visage finished the job by using a draconic leap to get past them and block the door they were trying to flee through.

Then the rest of the party moved up and sealed off the other route of escape. It was all over but the shouting.

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Into the Labyrinth
The 7-Pillar Hall...

...welcomed the Heroes of Falcrest with an underwhelming introduction the local bureaucracy. Although the Ordinator Arcanis was mysteriously absent from the Customshouse when the adventurers arrived, he did put in an enigmatic appearance before the party went to an inn where Rendil’s aunt put them up for the night ...er, day.

Ki’sho was able to ferret out the urban legend that the Ordinator is not really a single individual (as he purports to be) but rather a role that different member of the Mages of Saruun plays at different times. Rendil told Ki’sho the Ordinator’s omnipresence in the Customshouse would be hard to explain otherwise. But Ki’sho couldn’t help noticing the mage was not in the building when the party first arrived at the Customshouse.

Further investigation revealed the urban legend is fairly widely held…

...and most of those who hold it attribute it to precisely the evidence that the Ordinator is always in the Customshouse. So Rendil’s version seems to hold up, even though it doesn’t quite square with what the party has seen.

While the rest of the party took a daytime siesta to recover from the first battle with the Bloodreavers, Paine and Ki’sho explored the Seven-Pillared Hall and got the lay of the land.

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Back to Nentir Vale

After an interesting fox-chicken-grain puzzle appeared spontaneously during the rush back to Nentir Vale (where our brave adventurers have obligations inside Thunderspire Labyrinth), the solution produced an unexpected advancement of several plotlines.

The three heroes (Blackguard’s Bane, Ki’sho and Visage who stayed longer in Elsir Vale were able to help improve the image of The Order of the Black Feather as well as finding out much about the Emissary who seems to be behind the Red Hand’s foolish attack on Brindol. Besides determining their potential nemesis is probably a dark creeper, they may even have stumbled onto a clue as to who he might be an emissary of.

All those who hurried on to Nentir Vale were healed of the mysterious elemental infection which has dogged Ayaz’s days on the material plane…

...except Ayaz himself. Even Sister Linora was unable to heal him with the help of Ki’sho, who has some knowledge of the underlying metaphysics of diseases of the Elemental Chaos.

In a room near the entrance to Thunderspire Labyrinth, a halfling was rescued from some Bloodreavers. So glad to be rescued from the slavers (and so eager to help our heroes eliminate those slavers), the halfling gave his rescuers a map to the Chamber of the Eyes where he believes the slavers are headquartered.

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Castle Rivenroar cleared...

…except for the gnomes.

The adventurers rescued all the hostages and found all the relics (with Zell at the brink of death in the final fight). They returned to Brindol, where they were feted with a banquet at the restored museum. As each relic was returned to its proper place with great ceremony, the adventurers were hailed as heroes. Though they may never have the same place in the hearts of Brindolians as those the museum was created to honor, their efforts have now tied them to the heroes of the Battle of Brindol in the hearts of the current generation at least.

That cannot help but burnish their reputation in the Elsir Vale at least.

But a minor tarnish has arisen over the presence of a revenant in their midst. Jen (a leader of the rival Freeriders adventuring group) has warned them that Blackguard’s Bane is a member of The Order of the Black Feather, an upstart adventuring group in Overlook which is suspected of being nothing more than a cover for a criminal gang.

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