Westlaws 2.0 - The Devouring

Westlaws Update 2.0
"Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness."

A short journey wherein the intrepid PCs get lost in an effort to find Passy, and eventually discover just how dark the Underdark can be…

The Group returned to their Underdark “home” of the Serpent Hold, spending the night in safety and catching-up with their Dwarven DawnRock allies who watch the place. Over morning ales, the group voted on their next direction, and chose to take the slaver’s boat down-river to try and find Passy and the other prisoners.

Taking the boat, they travel for a couple days along the ancient trade canal to pass a pair of traders camping on a shrine, a human and a halfling, who give them some information regarding local customs (Goblins make for great gifts to Drow, apparently), and answer a few questions about Drow Houses and their power structure. They also pass by a gaping maw of a cavern, from which the stench of an Underdark swamp can be smelt, known locally as “The Hole”.

15th of Hammer : The group reach the “Lake”, and following around its edges, eventually reach the ruins of the City of Fountains. The ancient ruined dwarven city has vast swaths of fallen stone covering it, and wild mushrooms have grown wildly across the entire area. Investigating a strange “lighthouse” seen on a rocky island near the docks, they discover dozens of troglodytes and worse… and realize they might be out-classed by the creatures living in the ruins of this war zone. They camp on their boat, and quickly leave the docks.

16th of Hammer : Fleeing deeper into the Underdark along the trade canal that they believe led to the trade city of Pedastal, they eventually come to a vast, unfathomable stretch of briny water: they have uncovered the Great Sunless Sea. Braving waves and storm-tossed waters, they make good time and eventually reach a minor canal leading off. They rested for a short time at the entrance, and then poled their way along for a day, encountering a trade barge of Drow, getting directions.

17th of Hammer : The PCs canal joins a major trade canal, and following the directions given by the traders, they quickly follow it “upstream” to discover the mysterious fastness of Pedastal.

The city rose like a patch of mushrooms, growing about the bulk of “The Pedastal”, a vast pillar of stone stretching from the floor of the cavern to its misty ceiling. Numerous other pillars can be seen along the edges, and beyond the city lies the vast bulk of the Sunless Sea. The outer edges of the cavern are a series of mushroom forests and open cultivated fields and small villages, supporting the city. The PCs discovered what appeared to be mists, were actually the smoke from countless fires, and despite its ruin and age, still housed a respectable number of Drow and other races.

Travelling to the ancient ruins of the docks, the PCs managed to barter “protection” for their boat, and immediately hit the markets to spend their hard-earned gold and platinum. The market proved to have most anything, though they were not interested in trained Gelatinus Cubes and other rare “collectibles”. Girgnak managed to find information on his “Eye of the Serpent”, and Brommik was able to find bags of residium for sale. They inquired about “new slaves”, but could find nothing definitive regarding Passy or any others they were looking for. Spending the night in an abandoned shop, they took a well-needed rest to examine their new bobbles and discuss their next actions.

18th of Hammer : Acquiring their goods, and discussing matters, they agree they have come too far, and should return to Slaveport. They discovered the central pillar was a fortress for their fave Serpent Cult, and that the local drow house, House Dusklorn, controls the former “Noble District” surrounding the Pillar, due mostly to their control of the farms and mercenaries in the city. The PCs return to the docks and retrieve their boat from the duergar, heading out into the Sunless Sea…

They promptly got lost. Massive waves and a strong current pushed them far into the Sunless Sea, forcing them to paddle and pole for their very lives. For two days they fought illness and the dark creatures of the Underdark. Eventually, praying to every goddess they knew, they made it back to shore and into the trade canal leading to Slaveport.

21st of Hammer : The trip back up the trade canal was hard going, but after seven days of travel they managed to pole back to Slaveport, avoiding anything that looked remotely like trouble. At one point near the Sunless Sea, they encountered a trade barge of worn and weary drow commoners, who simply stared at the PCs as they passed, one old matron whispering “Kr-o-o-o-o-ol” as they passed…

27th of Hammer : The PCs rest at the Serpent Hold, and resupply themselves for a quick trip up the “backdoor” into Sentinel.

29th of Hammer : Brommik immediately seeks out the sage in the Undergarth and discovers the name of his Ritual to activate his relic sword : Enduring Vigor. Many potions of Healing are procured. Vani travels off to Broadwell with several hundred gold to continue his planned inn, and discovers it did not go well on his plans to raise a kobold. Many Healing potions are acquired.

30th of Hammer The PCs returned to their base above the Goblin Warrens, to find the kobolds have been busy, assembling a small arsenal of bolts and spears, as well as constructing several traps and teaching more tricks to their lizard ward. Grubby had been busy too, having finished his “storeroom” off the kitchens, having decorated it and even drilled a smoke hole to the surface, to provide for the PCs cooking. Brommik retrieves numerous coins from his hoard, and makes plans to visit with Lady Ravenhair in the Blessed Woods to finalize his ritual.

1st of Alturik The PCs travel to the Blessed Woods, finding it as hospitable as usual, and visit with Lady Ravenhair for a bit. She confides in the secrets of the ritual to activate Brommik’s sword, and leads them through an ancient nature ritual. Many nuts and berries later, and having spent a night under the open winter stars, Brommik does the “Dance of Stinging Nettles”.

2nd of Alturik The PCs return to Sentinel, and spend several days in research, resting, and general happy times.

5th of Alturik : Travelling back down the hidden tunnel to Sentinel, they travel to Slaveport. They then spend many days travelling down one of the main tunnels to the Rogue Crypts.

12th of Alturik The PCs encounter a few slimes, but otherwise reach the Crypts and travel into the Lesser Warrens, searching for the Orog Caves. Several days of travel along major and minor trails later, they get lost, avoiding a dangerous band of heavily armed ogres with an army of orcish mercenaries. Eventually they encounter a small “hunting party” of Drow with a handful of bugbear thralls, who answer a few questions, but generally avoid the PCs and hurry on into the Warrens.

Eventually the PCs managed to find a large cavern filled with muchroom trees, and following the main trail through the fungal growths, they discover a less-used trail leading to a clearing along one side of the cave. Close examination of the clearing revealed a hidden entrance to a small dwarven hold. Within were countless supplies, a small stable for Grignak’s Guar, and a dozen orog guards who were mostly slain. The survivors were interrogated, and revealed directions to the main Orog Caves, as well as the purpose behind this hidden fort; Hlethveg, the Halfling merchant met earlier, keeps it to supply his trade expeditions. The orog draw additional passages on Grignak’s map, including the names of the various locations. Resting there for the night, the PCs replenish their stores, leaving the crates of cloth and other rare trade goods intact.

19th of Alturik : The PCs proceed along the main trade route into the Warrens, but promptly get lost, spending eight days travelling lost among the catacombs near the Orog Caves. Eventually, they meet another band of hunting drow and their bugbear thralls, who direct them back along the tunnels until the PCs once more find their way into the Orog Caves.

27th of Alturik : A vast, open cave of broken fungal woodlands, the Orog Caves are quickly travelled through, until the PCs reached the massive stone doors of the Rageskull Orogs, lead tribe of the orog in the caves. Opening the doors, the PCs sneak into the caves beyond, and try to negotiate for information with the door guards. Eventually, they bring their “captain” Garunder to talk with the PCs. He, of course, smells of fish, and Brommik starts insulting him. Garunder demands the PCs wait for him, and he storms out, returning shortly bearing a massive red-glowing longspear/lance, and riding his large riding lizard, Slithertooth. He challenges Brommik for control of his tribe, and charges into combat. One painful assault later, the PCs panic and begin to slaughter all the guards in the chamber, including the dozen or so who storm into the chamber soon thereafter. A grand melee ensues, with the PCs victoriously seizing the outer caves of the Rageskull Orog, capturing Slithertooth and a handful of pack Guar, as well as a large collection of silver and gold coins from the purses of the orog.

The PCs flee the caves to return to Hlethveg’s Storeroom, resting and resupplying themselves. They discussed their next moves, with Brommik demanding the PCs return to Slaveport and try using the boat to pole up-stream from the trade fort, since it is the only direction they have not yet explored, and Passy’s trail has to be within 10 days of the town. Grignak fondles his new Guar. The PCs also realize, however, that with most of the Rageskulls guards removed, they might be able to seize control of the Orog Caves, and the lesser tribes under their control…

Decisions, decisions…

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Westlaws Update 1.9
"Evil has no substance of its own, but is only the defect, excess, perversion, or corruption of that which has substance. "

The PCs return to the Slaveport Inn, “The Dark Man”, to move their things into the Serpent Hold, and discover that the Mysterious Slave Lord has visited there, taking the corpse of Markessa with him, and leaving a message of vengeance with their drugged-out prisoner. They turn her over to the Dawn Rocks, and hurry through the deep caves to their Goblin Hold, hoping it will save a day or two to take a direct route to their lair. Hiring Shorn, their Hill Giant “friend” to haul themselves and their stuff across the Roaring Chasm, they sneak back into their lair through the deep passages, and dumping much treasure there, travel to Sentinel.

Sentinel is in an uproar. There was a drow raid on the castle undergarth, that did indeed make-off with Passara and several other people from the castle and town. They also slew the castle cleric and a visiting paladin that was in her chambers at the time. It was unknown how they managed to get into the castle, but they left a strange sigil; believed to be the soldiers’ brooch of an Unknown Drow House.

Unable to acquire some of the resources they need to investigate this further, they visit the Nolomite Shrine in Sentinel, and discover something odd… the caretaker smells deeply of the fishy smell they’ve encountered elsewhere as servants of the serpent’s cult. The PCs proceed to sack the shrine, finding them engaged in various nefarious deeds, and an odd tunnel leading off under the city. They contact the Marshal, whom they’ve met through the previous “wererat incident”, and he gets the authority of the Thane to investigate this matter, while he posts guards in the shrine.

Resting for the night, the PCs get authority to search the tunnels, and find it leads to the Nolomite “Dawning Glory Hostel” across the street. It becomes apparent that many of the small traders and tinkers and pilgrims that have been disappearing were likely taken by the Serpent Cultists who have corrupted the Nolomite Shrine. In addition to many quarters underground for visiting slavers and their guards, they find a large “planning” room and a library of various minor books; and a tunnel that goes deeper into the Underdark.

This tunnel leads for many hours travel, going deeper and deeper, having been hewn crudely but shored like a mine shaft, eventually opening into a large “fort” similar in style and decoration to Slaveport, hinting at its origins. The site is protected by numerous “bad” dwarves and another “shadow fey”, who escapes back up the tunnel into Sentinel. They also slay a small, but powerful, lizard shaman, who carries a note offering much gold to the dwarves for “…more surface children…”. In addition to a collection of mundane supplies and some gold, they capture a number of small children kept as slaves (though some die in the fight). Lastly, a strange stone disc limned in silvery runes is recovered from the supply chamber, later identified as being a “travel stone” to some unknown destination, taking one person on a one-way trip, once per day…

The PCs return to the surface, and turn the children over to the orphanarium at North Gate Townhouse. They report to the Marshal, and turn over their prisoner, the lead dwarf Zark, to his care. Brommik takes the Deva to Cragrapid Keep to warn the knights there of what is going on, while Illuria and the Goliath search the library found in the Hostel for clues, though they only find a large ritual book of Nolom, abandoned there. Brommik and company manage to travel to Cragrapid without incident, and it becomes apparent in their discussions that there are many, many tunnels under all of the Westlaws, even under Cragrapid Keep.

Several days later, the PCs gather together and decide to explore where the tunnel leading from the abandoned fort leads, returning to the dwarven outpost they’ve just discovered. A short days travel down the tunnels, they encounter a war band of ogres from the Viper’s Crown slaver faction, and engage in a tough little fight with the warhulk and his cronies. Resting there, they travel another day’s journey further down the tunnel to discover another access to Slaveport; this one is only two-three days trip from the town above…

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Westlaws Update 1.8
“Unless a serpent devour a serpent it will not become a dragon. Unless one power absorb another, it will not become great.”

Having determined the “Serpent Hold” is actually the lair of a band of slavers in Slaveport, the PCs decide to raid it; they construct a makeshift raft and sneak in the “backway”, as their contact, the rat-catcher Moctallen suggests. They encounter various shadow-guards, a monstrous Otyugh, and other shadowy creatures, including many snakes. They capture a prisoner, a drugged “follower” of the “Mistress”, wh relates that many slaves leave through the “backdoor”, and the boat takes a ten-day to make the round-trip to wherever they might be going.

Deeper into the Serpent Hold, the PCs encounter a shadow-gate, and “Markessa” and her shadow guards, who is captured. When she gives nothing of importance and it is revealed she is a slaver, a torturer and worse, she is slain and the corpse kept for future “interrogation”. Further in, they find various quarters for priests, and a large, sacked library. They also find a strange shrine to a serpent-goddess named “Explicitica Defilius”, that the PCs determine must be a Naga. The main entrance is found to be guarded by a shadowy female statue, various shattered holy vessels and relics that form into a shadow elemental when disturbed.

Interrogating their one prisoner, they find that there is a good chance that Brommik’s girlfriend, Passara Elventree and possibly Forgia, the street rat from Sentinel might have been recent prisoners sent by boat out into the wilds, to wherever they might go. A sense of urgency enters everyones thoughts, and plans are made to return to Sentinel as soon as the Hold is secured and determine the truth of these matters.

The Upper Levels are guarded by some automata, and a large meeting hall where the Captain of the Upper Halls, a Duergar/Troll half-breed rules forces a large combat, with many orcish thrall soldiers. Also, the Mysterious Slave Lord is discovered in one chamber, guarding a magic orb : The Serpent’s Eye. He, as usual, escapes. A large foundrry and forge with some slaves is uncovered, as well as a secret armory and treasure chamber. The Outer Court is abandoned, its orcish thrall soldiers having fled in the face of the PCs might and magics.

Claiming the Serpent Hold for themselves, the PCs invite the nearby Dawn Rocks to move into the facility and use it to protect their dependents, though they claim the lower levels of the site for themselves, warning of the dangers therein. Many of the slaves found in the Hold stay to help the Dawn Rock clan, especially since they have lost loved ones or have nowhere else to go.

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Westlaws Update 1.7
“Suppose we have only dreamed these things like sun, sky, stars, and moon,... it seems to me that the made-up things are a good deal better than the real ones... And if this black pit of a kingdom is the best you can make, then it's a poor world..."

A series of trips, where-in the intrepid PCs investigate the ruined catacombs under the fallen shrine in the forests, which lead to numerous “wormholes” tearing apart the deep earth below the Westlaws. Most of these seem to congregate in a nexus of tunnels, and following the map they pulled from the Bugbear explorer, leads them to a hidden town known as “Slaveport”.

Slaveport is revealed to be a ruined dwarven fort, with many drow merchants and duergar farmers, all “commoners” living in relative squalor. The fort appears to be a frontier trade site, well beyond the control of the drow Houses, but remains important to the region. A powerful band of earth cultists have a base here, as do a group of gnoll mercenaries. “Wild Goblins” seem to live in the fringes of the caves, and it is rumored several small dwarf tribes live nearby.

In the nearby caves, they encounter a dwarven band, the “Dawn Rock” clan mining a major cave with a huge fissure in one side, and befriend them. Exploration also leads to a band of bugbears who are lairing at “the Watchpost” along a trail the PCs assume leads to their own goblin warrens. Eventually, the PCs explore most of the nearby caves, and even make a fleeting, if friendly contact with a drow House, House Morcane, through trade.

Lastly, they learn the true depths of the Underdark, its unlimited space and that many days away is a fallen dwarven city, “The City of Fountains”, wherein various factions are fighting for control of this once important port. Beyond these lands, lay the “Drow Borderlands”, where various minor Houses rule the caves, and beyond that, the lands of House Vrama and the “Drow Deeps”.

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Westlaws Update 1.6
“ The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Westlaws Update 1.6

They met under typical circumstances; in the service to the Castle and its Marshal. But before that they each had tales to tell. The adventurers were unusual; they included many races and origins, but they all were in Sentinel trying to solve the situation they each uniquely found themselves in.

28th of Uktar, Evening : Comfortably ensconced in their favorite inn, the PCs rest from days spent wandering the Dagger Hills and hunting owlbear. Before their meal is finished, Forgia materializes at Grignak’s elbow, and informs him the young acolyte will meet him in his quarters immediately. Grignak heads to the room, and completed his purchase of the Blastpatch alchemical recipe and the ritual Detect Secret Doors, trading some coin and a bright holy symbol of Nolom pulled from a kobold lair. The young acolyte seems as frightened as usual, but practically beams at his new holy symbol, and leaves once the work has been completed. Grignak hurries into town to find and purchase a large, heavy crockery pot, as a means of capturing a live ochre jelly to work in their waste-management facility in the Lair.
Vani and Illuiria try spreading rumors of the ancient bronze bell (dumped just outside the doors to the inn) being a valuable artifact, though it doesn’t seem like a topic of popular opportunity. Brommik convinces the group to help him haul the bell to Cragrapid Keep as a donation to the Order of Avarkiel based from the ancient fort. The group also discusses how to try and lure the local bandits into attacking their caravan, but cannot agree as to the particulars.

29th of Uktar : Brommik hired a local carter to assist the PCs in hauling the bell to the border fort of Cargrapid Keep. The group had private hopes of being attacked by the bandits in the valley, with Vani hiding in the wagon as back-up. Taking the old cart path north-west, they eventually entered the northern Iron Rock Ridges, and the village and fort of Cragrapid, perched above the vast swath of the central Border Forest. The view was spectacular.
Cragrapid proved to be a strong stone tower fort built of ancient and thick masonry, hauntingly empty with only a handful of knights and a company of mercenaries to guard the facility. The PCs were welcomed as honored guests, met the local chapter’s Knight Commander, Kyrian Applecross, and after a night of simple feasting, and the donation of the ancient bronze bell, they were welcomed back any time they might need assistance or a roof. Brommik also donated his secondary magic longsword taken from the bandit lair located under the warehouses in Sentinel. There was much rejoicing.

30th of Uktar : The PCs travel back to Sentinel, and spend the remainder of the day acquiring new supplies and various furnishings for the Lair. They spent the night at the inn, discussing options, including; travel to the heart of the forest; exploring the water tunnel in the goblin warrens; and heading into the Underdark through their ooze tunnel.

1st of Echos : Group returns to the Lair. They assign proper sleeping quarters and settle in doing various maintenance tasks. Vani and Brommik discover their kobold minions, Itlik and Igix, are deeply engaged in training their lizard… to climb walls… Upon being noticed, they beat the lizard off the wall with their spears, and listened to Brommik and Vani ask their questions. They informed the pair, that they could do a lot of things, if they only had tools and, even make bolts for them.

The PCs decide to search the forest for the evils hidden in the heart.

2nd of Echos : Gathering supplies, the PCs headed east out of the Warrens, travelling down into the forest, and eventually wandering out to the eastern section of the woods until they reached the ancient stone bridge crossing the Moonbrook. They searched around the area for a while but could find no trace of road or other paths. Camp under the bridge for the night.

3rd of Echos : Following the Moonbrook back west, the psionically talented begin to feel the hackles rise on the back of their necks. Searching south of the area, they find nothing, but they thought they were in the right place.

4th of Echos : Moving north of the Moonbrook, everyone in the group begins to feel very poorly, with vague nightmarish thoughts taking much of their waking thoughts. They search the area, finding a few bits of rubble, but nothing conclusive.

5th of Echos : The night was horrible, with the feelings of being watched and the horrible nightmares affecting everyone, some even getting no rest and losing a healing surge…
By noon, however, they find a series of ruins that lead to a number of natural-seeming mounds standing before a vast stone monastery. The grassy hills turned-out to be burial mounds, two of the three with intact portcullis; the third missing its iron portal. Illuria remembers the kobolds in the “smart” lair having a similar portal ruined by Brommik.
Entering the echoing halls, the first chamber is a vast place with several ruined statues, thick pillars and always sporting the mosaics of the elements. The first chamber bore a massive statue of a female goddess holding a large gold bowl of burning flames, covered in thick, black moss. The group was struck by numerous psionic attacks, and the group avoids the area along the wings of the halls.
They investigated a series of small rooms, some holding intact miniature statuettes of people, others holding smashed statuettes, and others being dank and empty. At first several PCs gathered a few to keep, but when it was brought to their attention that they were likely memorial pieces marking the dead, they put them back with apologies.
Near these rooms, they entered a pool chamber where they were attacked by a mass of mossy sludge, then another that had numerous stone tables in it, that summoned a large earth elemental, with which Grignak discussed various matters regarding the elements. They entered another chamber with censors hanging from the roof, and finally an open courtyard filled with ashes, leading to a small exterior shrine. When the PCs entered the courtyard, a pair of small fire elementals came out and tried to burn them; though Brommik’s immunity to flame made them bored, and they happily accepted the keystone the PCs brought with them of a firebloom, carrying it back into the small shrine.

The rest of the halls held a ruined library on the upper level with a few books and scrolls, a large central courtyard with a strange pair of trees that seemed suspiciously “awake” and a complex at the back that once housed workshops, a feast hall and storage chambers… along with a troll, that the PCs were able to defeat though it was scary.
They also found a stairwell leading into the deeper cellars, guarded by a tri of male soldiers and a female goddess figure beckoning them deeper. Beyond was a rusted and ruined iron portcullis, and a pair of trapped corridors leading away from a central goddess figure welcoming them to the crypts. Along one side was a guard room, and several preparation chambers led along a wide non-trapped corridor, with several narrow halls leading off into darkness. Using the right-hand rule the PCs began to wander the tunnels.
Each tunnel was lined with a series of narrow niches holding clay urns of various sizes and shapes holding ashes and bones. From time to time, rounded tunnels had broken into and out of the burial tunnels in random places. Also, during their explorations, there began to be actual voices heard from time to time, seemingly matching the horrible visions the PCs had felt off-and-on over the past few days. They were getting close to the corruption in the heart of the Forest!

Exploring one of the rough “worm” tunnels, they found they meander back and forth through the area, sometimes heading a few hundred feet into the earth beyond the crypts. At one point, they heard distant “digging” noises, and at another, they encountered a pair of armadillo-like creatures that rusted the PCs weapons and armor (and making all of them toss their relics to the rear and pull-out back-ups and lesser weapons), but eventually they managed to chase the pair off.
Returning back to the main crypt tunnels, they encountered a large chamber filled with sarcophagi and mounds of bones, but their journey was otherwise uneventful. Eventually, the group tripped into a dead-end tunnel with the “voices” seemingly very loud. Vani examined the tunnel’s end, and found a secret door, which when opened, they discovered the source of the great horror that was rotting the heart of the woods.
The first was a pit chamber with the remains of countless victims psyches smeared into its walls and the deep cells carved into its center. Beyond was a torture chamber covered in filth with a large throne overlooking the chamber. Guarding a tunnel leading away from the chamber of horrors was a robed skeleton, that when attacked clawed at the PCs and sent several of them (Vani and Brommik) on a blind teleport into the ruined crypts beyond. Quickly battered, it took a while to gather the PCs back together again, before they proceeded into the deep shrine beyond.
A central altar of mottled stone lay before hideous statue of a ram-headed beast wielding a sceptre of skulls. Bones, blood and worse lay in heaps before and around the statue. The focus of horror was identified coming from the altar, and as the PCs watched, the stone molded and bubbled turning itself into a hideous creature of pure chaos; a Chaos Beast!
In an anti-climactic battle, the group surrounded the beast, and proceeded to batter it into submission. In a stunning couple rounds <<in>>, the beast that has haunted the depths of the ruined monastery died in a gout of icky death-stuff.
The PCs cast the idol to the ground and looted the hoard of treasures (hundreds of pounds of silver and gold coins and gems) beneath. Assured the secret door and the depth of the PCs exploration ensured the PCs would rest safely, they camped in a corner of the shrine and tried to rest. Victory!!

6th of Echos : The continuing images of horror and nightmares, and the ever-present stench of rotting Chaos Beast, made the night a horrible one with little rest. Grignak suggested the PCs try and haul the corpse of the Chaos Beast out to his little flame elemental friends for disposal. Point of Order called, as to its massive size. It was then suggested the PCs carve it up and carry it out in bits… Another Point of Order called on how simply icky that was. The corpse was abandoned and the treasure was divided for carrying.
Wandering out into the corridors of crypts the PCs eventually followed the right-hand rule to lead out of the maze and back to the nexus of corridors that was the central beckoning statue. Vani swore he saw something down one corridor, but upon examination, could see nothing. He told the PCs and they quietly agreed to camp for dinner under the statue, while Vani and Colo kept an eye open. The two soon spotted a goblin head poke around the corridor to spy on them. Informing the PCs, the two approached the corridor and spotted a tall bugbear cajoling a pair of goblins with massive packs on their backs. It was telling them to keep an eye on the PCs.
Vani took advantage of the opportunity of their surprise to fire a couple shots at the bugbear. The resulting horror of a bugbear, charged into the group, dropping Vani and eventually Brommik, with its horrible strength. It summoned a pair of dire rats who inflicted filthy fevered wounds, while the two goblins curled into nearby tunnels and cried for their lives. <<mercy>. The fight was long, but eventually its minions dies, and it too went down. One of the toughest fights in the monastery!

The goblins were identified as being porter slaves. They seemed unable to comprehend the concept of the surface world, nor did they have any appreciable skills beyond fetching and carrying. The goblin’s packs were massive constructs, holding fish, strange goods, such as rags and broken tambourines.

The bugbear bore a magical morning star, strange hide armor and a map! The map was drawn of charcoal on parchment, and consisted of several lines and images of sorts along with diamonds and squares marking off chambers and tunnels. One symbol became noted, along the far left of the map, as the symbol for “Elemental Water”.
Gathering their belongings, the PCs convinced the goblins to lead them to where the bugbear came out. A ways along the left-hand wall, another worm tunnel pierced the crypts, and after clearing a little rubble, the group headed into a long, narrow tunnel leading down, deep underground. Knowing it likely led elsewhere.
The group then left the complex of tunnels, and headed back to the Lair for some partying and with a pair of disgruntled goblin porters in tow. Their first view of the surface was a raging blizzard…

7th of Echos : The day was spent in personal tasks, such as Blastpatch making, potion brewing, watching the kobolds fish and rummaging through the large, heavy packs the goblins were toting. There is a kobold-goblin summit, in which the kobolds re-iterate their need for tools, and the fact that the goblins are slaves is made clear to them… <<“they>s room, eventually finding a small tapestry of fine make hidden in a bench. This relic, sewn with gold and silver threads, depicted a city of the underdark, dominated by a large central pillar, built along a lake or sea of the deeps. A masterwork, it was easily worth 900 gp without even knowing its origins. Nothing spoke that the goblins were servants of the drow.
The PCs asked how the goblins had originally fled from upper Warrens, and the chief led the PCs to the original entrance, where the trash-filled niche lay. He revealed a hidden door, leading to a carved circular stair that led up to another hidden switch… and into the main stair entrance to the Upper Warrens and the PCs own lair!!! Grignak looked for another even lower entrance, but failed to find anything. The Lower Warrens were, apparently, yet another section of hidden carved halls from the original Elemental Shrine that the PCs claimed as their Lair!

The PCs retreated to their Lair, a little less secure about the origins of their claimed lair, knowing that drow indeed were somewhere nearby, and that there was a whole world lying below their very noses…

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Westlaws Update 1.5
“Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great..."

Westlaws Update 1.5

They met under typical circumstances; in the service to the Castle and its Marshal. But before that they each had tales to tell. The adventurers were unusual; they included many races and origins, but they all were in Sentinel trying to solve the situation they each uniquely found themselves in.

The cries and scampering sounds of kobolds deeper in the tunnels resounded through the cramped complex, as PCs took stock of their position and resources. Brommik argued loudly that they retreat and rest from the horrible fight they had just engaged in. After some discussion on the matter, the group agreed. The PCs slipped down the trapped tunnels leading to the common kobold’s living chambers, past the hated scorpion (which was battered into scrap by Brommik), and out of the caves to their encampment north of the hill.
The PCs returned to find their kobold minions clustered around the roaring fire, with the lizard tied and wrapped in a bedroll. Guards were set and the group settled in for a cold night.

22nd of Uktar : All through the night, distant cries and sounds could be heard leading off north in the woods. By morning, the cold rain had ceased, to be replaced by a freezing ice fog. The kobolds had nestled next to the lizard and were buried under a pile of spare canvas sheets and blankets from various sources (Where did they get all those blankets?). The smells of cooking bacon awakened them enough to nestle close about Grignak and beg him for food.
A discussion of the sounds from last night, followed by the fact there might be a hidden exit from the lair no one had yet seen, prodded the PCs to begin a search of the entire circumference of the hill, looking for something that might be such a back door. After several hours of fruitless searching, they returned to the main entrance, and agreed to travel deeper into the lair. Quick observation of the corpse outside didn’t reveal anything new, so in they went.

Passing through the trapped passages, the group noticed that the only changes were the inner incredibly average door had been spiked shut once more. In the chambers beyond, the eggs and females had evacuated as well, and many of the easy to loot supplies and weapons had been taken from the numerous kobold corpses during the past day. The dog corpses seemed to have been hacked and chewed a bit as well.
In the chambers beyond, they found a refuse chasm filled with trash, an arena of some sort, and its connected pit and kennel. Once home to about a dozen dogs, the filthy chamber had a single kobold corpse mauled by a sole-remaining shaggy wolf-hound. The dog was frightfully wounded, though it responded to a number of soothing words and rough jerky from Brommik’s pouch. He managed to coax it to follow him and though it seemed to distrust anyone else, it became approachable to Brommik, who took a little time to examine its wounds and do a little martial healing.
Further down the tunnel, they found a small, rough-hewn chamber of clay and stone with a large “altar” of some sort along the south wall. It consisted of a mass of rubble, sticks, branches, antlers and countless other items, like rocks, leaves, dried flowers and strips of cloth tied into a large jumble. Resting over a pot of dried blood, it was noticed by Colo that the stone block had an ancient “Firebloom” carving in its sides; something he identified as the mark of elemental fire, an ancient symbol from Galana’s Nature cult. Colo salvaged the block, since it did not belong here, with hopes to find how or why it was in this place.

Eventually the passage ended, with a large double door sealed from this side, made of thick, rough timbers. After a quick examination, they pulled the doors open to reveal a long, narrow natural chamber strewn with thick webbing and various cocoons. Illuria gleefully moved into the chamber, lighting one of the group’s precious torches, intent on burning some webs. Just then a large fanged spider leapt from the sheets of webbing along the walls to the attack. Movement into the webs proved them to be difficult to escape from when blundered into. As the group engaged the spider, forcing it back, its poisonous spittle did grevious wounds to everyone, but the brutal attacks from the whole gang made it retreat, until it fled from the chamber through a rock tunnel leading sharply up to the top of the hill. They tried to follow after it a ways up the tunnel, but it proved to be too steep, and so it escaped.

After a short rest, a discussion again began, talking about where the retreating kobolds had fled to. Finding no entrances anywhere other than the tiny rat passages back in the commons rooms, they realized they needed to examine some walls. Illuria presented her tried and proven technique of prodding the walls, and this revealed two separate secret tunnels in the dead-end corridor next to the spider chamber.
The first revealed a narrow crawl-tunnel dropping straight and quickly down into the dark. The other revealed a small chamber with a large hide nest in its center, and a cobbled section along one wall, as though someone was improving the chamber’s clay walls and floor. The group examined the stone floor, and Vani identified a strange octagonal carving in the center. He determined it was a strange key of some sort, and proceeded to open it… setting off a flurry of needles from the cracks in the walls, striking everyone present nearby. There was obviously poison of some sort on the needles, but the group resisted the effects easily.
Beyond the door revealed by opening the lock, was a round chamber of clay and stone with numerous rough-spun sacks, a pair of small chests, and a finely carved wooden box. There were also the two missing children, bound and gagged and lying on huddled together! Both were hungry, thirsty and scared, having been left here for nearly two days alone and bound in the dark. Identifying themselves as Hala and Aldy, they begged to be taken home to Dewmount.
The chests and sacks were filled with silver and copper coins, each carefully polished and shining brightly, many ancient and worn with time. The box was a masterwork item depicting a trio of monks praying (20 gp), and contained an ancient lizard figurine of jade with obsidian eyes, golden claws and tongue (320 gp).
The group gathered up the loot and the children, and discussed whether they should follow the new obvious exit from the kobold complex, or retreat back to camp through the route they already knew. They decided it was safer for the two children to go back the way they had come, and so, returned to camp without incident. The need to get the children home to Dewmount took priority over returning to the complex, and so deciding they had broken the backs of the “Tearing Claws” tribe, they packed camp and began moving out of the Dimholt Woods to return to Dewmount.
Packing the children and numerous chests, sacks and other loot on a pair of Grignak’s Floating Looters, they had the kobolds their guard lizard along with their crude spears (they made spears while we were in the tunnels?!?) and bundled in blankets on another, while the group slowly trudged through the cold and wet ice fogs in what seemed to be the correct direction. Vani seemed to know where to go, anyways.
As darkness fell, they eventually reached the Moonbrook, and followed it south to the “Mooncut Ravine”. Wading through the dark chasm, and thence to the Crookwinde Stream, they followed it up over the ridge to Dewmount village. Heading straight to the local inn, the “The Roaring Lion”, they found the place warm and welcoming.
Explaining their tale to the local innkeeper, they feasted on roast mutton and ale, while the kobolds and lizard lay bundled in a corner by the hearth. Eventually, Sir Redhall, the local knight arrived with a couple guardsmen, and after thanking the PCs for finding the children, he had the guards escort them back to their families, while hearing of their tale. He listened intently, and hearing of the demise of two kobold tribes in the woodlands, promised to tell Thane Pike of their exploits in his next visit (Yay for +2 Reputation!). He noted the group has already been amply rewarded for their efforts, but paid for the group’s stay at the inn, and welcomed them to visit him in his hall anytime they needed to, shaking their hands and bidding them a good night.

23rd of Uktar : Over a morning meal of mutton stew and more ale, the group planned their next actions, and after Vani expressed his interest to return to Broadwell and his relatives there, the group decided they would head due north to the Blessed Woods, where they might talk to the druid who laired there about the stone Colo had recovered. From there, they could slip over to their own lair in the Goblin Warrens, depositing their mounds of treasure and minions, and on the morrow, travel to Sentinel market and get some much needed supplies. From there, they could travel north into the Dagger Hills visit Broadwell and return to Caer Pyrestone to hunt down the elusive owlbear and recover Colo’s lost equipment and pride.

The morning was clear, but still freezing, and they made good time crossing the ridge to the southern edge of the Blessed Woods, towing the lizards and loot on a pair of Floating Looters. An impenetrable wall of ancient hardwoods, they camped along the edge of the woods, calling into them and trying to get the attention of the local mistress, the Druid Ravenhair. They waited several hours, but eventually a lone figure emerged from the dark woodlands, revealing herself to be their quarry.
She revealed herself to be a female elf of stunning beauty, with amber-glowing tresses, and wearing a simple wool tunic of brown and white with a long cloak of fine winter-wolf fur. She bore an ornate longsword with a handle of horn and a green stones on its pommel and hilts on her belt. Greeting the group, she asked their business, to which they explained who they were and that they had come to her with a question, regarding the block of stone buried under the treasure. She thought for a moment, eyeing the party, and agreed, offering to take them someplace warm and private. The PCs were warned to stay close and harm no living thing.
Moving into the heart of the Blessed Woods, they found portions of the ancient woodlands slumbering in pre-winter sleep, but others were awake and seemingly warm, snapshots as the Feywild must appear. The forest was quiet, sometimes a haunting cry or other beast could be seen along the edges of ones vision, but nothing showed itself in their journey. After an hour or two of travel through the trackless woods, a diffuse green light appeared to the north. It quickly revealed itself to be a glowing woodland in the warm embrace of late spring, with a large wooden structure having a peaked roof but neither door nor window in its open sides. At its center lay a stone altar carved with the image of a stag’s head, its horns ablaze in a silver light, like a blooming tree. She motioned for the PCs to make themselves comfortable along the near side, and hung her cloak next to a bedroll and various small chests.
Lady Ravenhair made a clicking and whistling in the air, while she readied wwoden and silver platters and goblets for the party from some of the chests. From the woodlands around her a number of animals appeared, squirrels carrying nuts, wolves bearing cold, roast meat, a stag with a platter of odd, fresh crimson leaves, and a badger carrying a clay jug of wine. They served these items before the players, before retreating back into the forest once more, and the Lady encouraged everyone to refresh themselves while they told of their tale and journey.

As the PCs tale progressed, the cares of the last ten-day in the wilds of Silt-Laws sloughed-away and the strange repast filled their food starved tummies. The question of the stone block came up, and when revealed to her from the jumble of loot, made her ponder for a minute. She agreed it was indeed a “Firebloom”; a rare flower seen as an early symbol of the cult of Galana, but always representing the elemental aspect of “Fire”. She agreed that it should not have been in the middle of a kobold lair, but that it must have been recovered by the Tearing Claws from a forgotten ruin in the depths of the Dimholt Woods, known as “Githil Adlan”.
Githil Adlan, she said, was a forgotten monastery once home to the Ilii su Marel Andira_** (commonly known in elvish as the Marel Andira), or the Brotherhood of the Crimson Sash_, a monastic order of druids dedicated to the worship and honor of nature and the elements. In its early years, it was a place of quiet and peace, where unity existed between the new human folk that had come to the once swaths of woodland and the elves that tried to live in tune with nature.
After humanity came in greater and greater numbers to these woodlands, the place was generally abandoned and faded to the knowledge of humanity. Soon thereafter, a new and far more sinister religious order arose. These folk brought evil to a place of harmony, and their corrupting presence still lingers in the ancient ruins. These black-robed priests, known to history as the Hisrin Aroth, or the “Black Winter”, brought desecration to the hallowed shrines, and practiced blood rites that required the living to die on their altars. At their height, the woodlands festered with evil creatures, and the heart of the Dimholt has never fully recovered from their presence.
At some point, unclear as to when in her tale, a great force of humanity and elves raided the site, and purged the creatures that dwelt in Githil Adlan, sending them back from whence they had come. She would not speak of the horrors these warriors found, but admitted it was around the time of the Battle of the Great Burn. Gone were the wicked cultists, but the plague of their foul deeds remained heavy upon the ruins and the woodlands.
Lady Ravenhair admitted that the PCs might very well have been led by destiny to find the stone in the kobold lair, and return it from where it came, perhaps only because it was fated they find it and be led to the heart of the forest. She promised that as long as you harmed no living thing within the heart of the woodland, travel there would be possible, and that the great guardian treant of the forest would allow them passage. They agreed to return the stone once they had concluded a few personal matters, and finished their feast.
After they had gathered their belongings and bundled back up once more, the Lady led them out of her home, past the great menhir encircled shrine of Galana to a faint trail she promised would open almost due south of their lair in the Goblin Warrens. In need, she said, entrance to her woodland refuge could be gained by following along that path, but she warned not to stray far into the woodlands themselves without escort. They waved to her and left the forests through the ancient, pathway, finding their home with ease.

The party re-explored their lair for intruders, dropping the kobolds and guard lizard in the lower warrens, and taking their piles of loot upstairs to the former shrine of Frogmoth, where they piled their takings. Grignak sorted through the piles of coins and divided it into large portions for the group to have a personal share each, and then settled in for a night of comradeship and tale swapping. Discussions about options resulted in four possibilites; dealing with the owlbear,
travelling into the heart of the woodlands to Githil Adlan, hunting down an ochre jelly in the deep passages beneath the Goblin Warrens, and just generally exploring the caverns under their home, including finding where the water bubbling from the cave spring leads deeper into the Underdark. It was agreed to visit Sentinel and push on to Broadwell tomorrow, and then onwards to Caer Pyrestone to deal with the horrid owlbear.

24th of Uktar : The morning proved another freezing day of ice fogs and cloudy weather. Leaving their minions and some of their treasure and loot behind, they travelled to Sentinel alog the eaves of the Blessed Woods. They visited various shops in town, buying potions of healing, various supplies (Winter coats and bedrolls! Yay!), and hunting for news, following their extended absence in the woodlands.
Grignak nosed around town searching for the elusive Forgia, seeking to spend some coins on a few new rituals (OH! You mean FORGIA!), while Illuria bought a magic crossbow (for only 250 gp!) from the Chandler/Locksmith Master Darklighter. Brommik made arrangements to donate large amounts of copper coins (over 20 lbs worth!) to the town orphanage at the Northgate Townhouse. He also left several bolts of cloth taken from the first kobold lair, to be made into a couple dresses for his beloved Passy, with the castle seamstresses, along with some silver for their efforts.
Eventually gathering again in the Whisp for the night, many rumors were heard regarding a recent raid on some merchants way to the south. It seemed someone attacked a middling trade caravan near the crossroads about a day away, and carried off everything, except the wagons. Animals, merchants, guards, goods and loot all disappeared without a trace. Most agree it was some sort of dragon or other flying creature. A few say it’s the Slaughter Crew going after big targets before winter settles and trade disappears for the season. Whatever the source, its like has not been seen before…

25th of Uktar : The morning dawned cool and clearing. Forgia was waiting for the PCs when they came down for breakfast, appearing from the shadows and approaching Grignak. He requested a couple of rituals from her contacts in the Shrine of Nolom (that nervous young acolyte he’d met on Market Day), and she agreed, accurately pricing their value and demanding 10% up front for the visit. He agreed, giving her a couple sacks of copper and silver coins as down-payment, and then agreed to meet her contact on the evening of the 28th of Uktar, when they had returned from Caer Pyrestone.
The trip north to Crossing and north-east into the Dagger Hills went quickly on frozen roads, and they reached Braodwell early in the evening. They met Vani’s aged uncle, who gave them space in the stockbarn of his homestead – warm and snug, it was actually quite comfortable, while Vani and he talked late into the evening.

26th of Uktar : Unusually warm, but cloudy, the PCs made quick travel time along the old trade raod to Caer Pyrestone, well familiar with the route by now. The ruins remained quiet, and they chose to closely examine the fallen bronze bell lying in the shadow of the old chapel. A brief discussion of Pyrestone’s history, led them to agree the bell was indeed something of a relic that the Brommik’s Order of Avarkiel might be interested in recovering. They examined the chapel ruins, finding it small, but mostly intact, and had obviously once been a place dedicated to Larani, and since desecrated to Agrik.
The group then slipped quietly into the main tower itself, and entered the lower levels, travelling deep underground past the small rockfall to the door from which they’d heard roaring and scratching sounds. Opening it, they found a large stone chamber, strewn with bones, rusted weapons and even bits of Colo lying around, from which he was able to salvage some of his old equipment (This is the first time I’ve ever actually handled my own corpse…). One corner had collapsed in, revealing a sharply sloped tunnel to the surface, and bearing the marks of owlbear claws. The secret of how it had gotten 30’-below ground was resolved! They planned strategy and waited in ambush.
No one saw or heard its stealthy approach, and it appeared at the mouth of the chamber with a loud ROAR! The battle was fierce, and it tore into Brommik with a savage grapple and rend, knocking him unconscious. The group battered away on it, however, and as its defenses were being worn down, Illuria woke Brommik from his near death experience, to have him stand and masterfully rend back into the owlbear with his magical relic blade, dropping it at last.
Battered and bruised, the PCs secured the lower tower and rested for the day to replenish their reserves from the nasty skirmish with the owlbear. They discussed salvaging the owlbear hide, but the butchery had been sufficient to make it worth little enough.

27th of Uktar : The morning was warm and foggy, with ice melting from the ground enough to actually help excavating the 800 lbs bronze bell. They loaded it onto another of Grignak’s Looters, and hauled the whole thing to Broadwell late in the day. Again camping in Vani’s uncle’s barn, they rested the remainder of the day.

28th of Uktar : The day dawned hot and muggy, fog obscuring sight beyond a few hundred feet. They said their goodbyes to the kind halflings of Broadwell, and again summoning a Looter, hauled the bronze bell out of the Dagger Hills, past Crossing and into Sentinel. Victory!

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Westlaws update 1.4
“ Restless thoughts, like a deadly swarm of kobolds arm'd, no sooner found alone, but rush upon me thronging.”

Westlaws Update 1.4

They met under typical circumstances; in the service to the Castle and its Marshal. But before that they each had tales to tell. The adventurers were unusual; they included many races and origins, but they all were in Sentinel trying to solve the situation they each uniquely found themselves in.

19th of Uktar : The cold mists of morning drifted under the bridge awakening everyone. Everyone, that is except the kobolds Itlik and Igix, and their charge, the giant rusty-colored lizard. Covered in a filthy tarp, the three slumbered on as the PCs prepared their morning meals and got the fire burning once more. The eventual warmth of the fire roused the two kobolds, and hunkered about the fire against the gloomy chill of the morning mists.
Grignak had been pndering a topic, and he asked the kobolds if they were (once) the only tribe of “scaly little brethren” in the forest, to which the two gabbled together for a minute, and then a look of understanding came over them. “Oh! You mean the sneaky-smart Tearing Claws? Them live away south.”, stated Itlik, between chews on his strip of jerky.
Vani immediately crawled from under the dry stone bridge the PCs had camped under, to search around the tracks they had followed here, looking for any other trails heading in another direction. He soon found them. It appeared that about a dozen small kobold tracks had indeed gone to the main entrance of the previous, Barkscale tribe of kobolds, but that they had likely returned here and traveled off to the south. The group realized they had been set-up, someone had wanted them to trail the way to the Barkscale tribal lair and have them take the blame. It would have succeeded, except the PCs had captured a couple who knew nothing about the kidnappings, but knew there was another, smarter tribe somewhere else in the forest, and much closer to Dewmount.
The group broke camp, loading the giant lizard and trunks of loot onto another of “Grignak’s Floating Looters”, ensuring it was well-fed and tied securely, and followed the directions the kobolds suggested, with Vani finding a few tracks now and again to prove they were headed in the right direction. The group crossed along the fringe of the heart of the Dimholt Woods, eventually reaching the southern edges several wet and long hours later.
They approached a large mound of earth that was covered in bracken and thorny growth, but mostly devoid of larger growth like oaks and hickory. They scouted around the outskirts of the hill, finding an obvious tunnel entrance, with a kobold corpse hanging outside like a warning of some sort to trespassers. They retreated back to the forest-line, and Vani sent the rest of the day gathering materials and built a masterfully designed camouflaged camp for the group to hide their supplies and pets, and settled in for the night.

20th of Uktar : Morning dawned clear and warmer, invigorating everyone for the coming tunnel crawling they knew would occur. Leaving the kobolds and their lizard charge behind to watch their supplies and trunks of loot. They entered the tunnel to find a wide earthen cave with a pool of muddy water along one side and a strange carved ladder leading up to a flat stone embedded in the ceiling. After a cursory search of the pool, they decided to have a look at the ladder. Illuria poked it with her spear, causing it to fall in front of them and revealing a hole leading up. From the hole shot a pair of javelins and the cries of a pair of kobolds as the darted away out of sight.
Illuria struggled up the ladder, but fell when the top of the ladder broke away. Carefully, the PCs slipped up into a narrow tunnel, spear prodding ahead. They found a tunnel leading up, then suddenly dropping down into a slick gravel-floored tunnel that led into a pit. Further across the pit was a pool of water. It took some time to worm the PCs up and then down and across towards the pool, and after roping Grignak, let him slip into and through the pool into a tunnel on the other side.
The group could hear kobolds speaking harshly down the tunnel beyond, and after gathering together, made their way up the tunnel to a crude wooden grate, from behind which came the sounds of a scorpion firing multiple bolts at them. Brommik smashed open the portcullis and found a T-intersection beyond. The PCs made their way right, following a tunnel that turned right again, and led down a long passage. Suddenly the passageway collapsed on top of several members, filling the area with rubble and a thick cloud of moist dust. Vani found a secret door to one side, that might have allowed them to avoid the trap, and took note.
The tunnel beyond led to small earthen chamber with a door at the far side. Carefully investigating the door, Vani determined it was safe, and opened it… to reveal a narrow niche in the earth beyond. Nothing. Illuria started to curse the “trappiness” of kobolds and the group investigated the niche, but eventually found a secret door of canvas and earth along the left wall leading into another tunnel that curved off further to the left. This tunnel led some ways, eventually ending in a mass of large spidery cobwebs that blocked the passage.
Searches for secret doors back down the passage revealed nothing, so the group began to systematically push, prod and poke the tunnels all the way back towards the scorpion chamber. They headed down the other passage from here, and found another mass of cobwebs, similar to what they found behind them. They also realized they didn’t have any torches to burn them out, having left most of those back in the PCs lair north of the Blessed Woods.
Returning to the first set of webs, they constructed crude torches from cloth and some scraps of wood, and took some time to slowly burn the webs away from the tunnel… revealing a door. The PCs carefully examined the door for traps, and pried it open despite barricades from the other side, to reveal… another door. They carefully examined and pried this door open to reveal… yet another door. Generally smashing and otherwise breaking this door open to reveal a T-intersection, with a shelf of mighty trophies along the opposite wall; fox, wolf, badger, chipmunk and squirrel. In frustration, Illuria again poked the wall in front of her… to reveal a secret door with a scale armored kobold hiding behind it, watching them!
Cries went up, and as the kobold retreated a short distance, several small groups of kobolds swarmed around the tunnels to the right and left, engaging the PCs. The group put up a respectable fight, but the kobold’s trap had not been sprung, and they all eventually fell to blade, and bow and spell. Vani looted the armor, shield and sword from the dragonscale kobold, and the group uncovered the corridors converged on a single door. An impressively average door.
After careful work on opening the door, they discovered the tunnel beyond broke into two separate chambers. The group jostled for position, and promptly came under assault from both directions by several shaggy dogs and shortbow-armed kobolds in a pair of large chambers with numerous exits. Coming under repeated sleets of arrows and the viscous attacks of the half-dozen dogs tearing into the lead PCs. The ebb and flow of combat took its toll, and eventually Colo fell guarding the rear from attacks. A general call for retreat came, after the last dog was slain, and Vani dragged Colo outside, while Brommik held the rear guard and used the spikes in his climbing kit to seal the door behind them. The group retreated outside, and made their way carefully to their camp on the north side of the clearing, and healed wounds. They put out their fires for the night, and made sure they were secure, before taking an extended rest.
During the night, the watches swore they heard and saw movement along the edges of the forest, but the work done by Vani seemed superior to the kobolds efforts to find their camp.

21st of Uktar : Cold and rainy, the morning ruined most of their tracks, and the PCs started a fire again to keep their charges warm. They discussed strategy, and agreed to go back and attack along one side only, concentrating on the dogs, then the archers.
The passage back was less eventful, though the kobolds had taken the time to reset the scorpion and do rudimentary repairs to the wooden portcullis and the doors near the lair proper. They took some damage from the scorpion and the doors gave the kobolds plenty of warning. At the final impressively average door, they found the spikes had been used to secure it from the kobolds side…
Opening the door and slipping into the chamber, they moved into the left-hand corridor, and very quickly engaged the four new dogs present, and then began to take down the common javelin-wielding kobolds and the left-hand archers. The right-hand kobolds filtered into the chamber through the multiple small tunnels, while a couple sniped at the PCs from the entry corridor. Sleets of arrows and the vicious dogs took some toll, however, depleting the groups resources and dropping Brommik and Colo, and nearly doing the others in.
Finally, most of the kobold archers slain and the dogs eliminated, the kobold nerve broke and they slipped back through to the right-hand cavern and retreated deeper into the lair, granting the battered PCs the outer common chambers.
Quick exploration revealed several “officer” lairs, an abandoned smaller sleeping cave, a warm pool-dominated cave with a handful of non-combative kobold females protecting a clutter of eggs in decaying nests, and a large storage chamber filled with building materials of many kinds.
Vani looted the storage chamber of fletching supplies to replace his depleted quivers, and the others took some time to rest and seek anything else in the few chambers they had been left. Twin passages leading off to the north (?) remained unexplored, and a trio of narrow tiny tunnels wormed their way off the the east. The PCs were battered, but they had taken the commons of the Tearing Claws tribe of kobolds…

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Westlaws Update 1.3
“Sentinel is a festival and a lamentation. It's song is a sigh across the ages, a delicate, robust, mournful psalm at the great junction of spiritual cultures.” - Of Mournful Origins, Ketta Evermask, TR 1052

Westlaws Update 1.3

They met under typical circumstances; in the service to the Castle and its Marshal. But before that they each had tales to tell. The adventurers were unusual; they included many races and origins, but they all were in Sentinel trying to solve the situation they each uniquely found themselves in.

As night was falling on Sentinel, a horn call went up from the south of town. The PCs, followed many of the locals outside the inn headed towards the sound of the commotion, and discovered a small group of nobles and their guards were approaching the castle, with much fanfare. Among them were: Sir Darrek Redhall, of Dewmount, resplendent in his magical plate armor and great mane of hair and furs; Dame Rianna Flameruin and her companion knight Dame Taris Gloweaver, of Mosstone; Herald Ketta Evermask along with her personal body guards, the Iron Maidens; Lord Aimar Bloodhawk of Berryshore, Sentinel’s eastern neighbor; and several minor nobles and travelling knights here for the fair.
Notably, a banner of the Royal Warduke Clan was raised in their midst, and protected by a pair of High Guard knights of Phaedra was the person of Prince Valen Warduke, the Duchess’ youngest brother and rumored suitor of Thane Pike. A young dark-haired man, he wore an expression of perpetual amusement and was simply outfitted in costly, though simple attire. The rumors were true; a member of the Royal House was present for the festival.
As the band made their way to the castle gates, Brommik was surprised to see a lone figure separate themselves from the group, and “Passy”, his girlfriend Passara Elventree rode over to talk with him. They exchanged a few pleasantries, she dismounted, and they walked hand-in-hand over to the town gates “…to share a few at the Flask”. The group of onlookers broke-up and everyone made their way back to the inn and town.

Returning to the crowded inn outside town (The Whispering Whisp), the rest of the PCs settled in trying to ply the crowds for information, but the conversations remained similar to previous nights; pie-stealing kobolds are getting uppity; the recent rash of disappearances thought to be due to a small bandit-gang called “The Slayers”, talk about the morrow’s festivities and the great harvest the region has had this year.
A band of five young nobles, likely having accompanied Prince Valen, and a grizzled dwarf swept into the Inn. They accosted the young innkeeper for rooms, tossing a sack of gold at him and proceeded to occupy the far end of the table that the PCs used as a place of honor before the fire, after staring-down the farmers sitting there. Their leader, a young knight named Sir Bruil Argent, noted “…you have the look of adventurers! Tell me, what glory is there to be had in this borderland?” Hearing the incredulous tales of oozes and “Rat-bandits” that seemed to be the typical fare of adventurers in these parts, he informed the PCs that he and his kin were off to Ashenvale to hunt orcs “…the finest sport of adventurers, you know…”. The PCs noted he paid close attention to his “advisor” the good dwarf Master Crownshield, and after a while trudged off to see about their rooms. The rest of the group seemed less talkative, though the PCs inquired after the young Lady Kara Cauldron and her pet raven, whom she introduced as Essilios. It seemed to regard the PCs with intelligent, capable eyes.
Grignak asked the dwarf about the shard of blue topaz they had collected in the wererat Willard’s treasure heap, and after examining it, he commented “..an unusual piece, this is the shard of a much larger stone. It must be truly immense, especially since they rarely grow this large. It’s a curiosity despite the number of faults and inclusions in it, though.” Sir Argent’s return broke up any further conversations, and after Master Crownshield apologized for his charges activities, the noble adventurers headed upstairs to their room.

Intrigued by the conversation between the adventurers, a young halfling named Vani Ander approached the PCs and offered his services in any “thievery” that might need doing. Strangely enough, the group did have a couple things they needed those skills for, and offered to take him up on the offer, since their new home had a couple traps in need of fixing. They promised to take him to their home in a couple days, after the festival.

Sir Brommik, spending the night in the fine tavern “The Golden Flask” off the markets in Sentinel town, spent some quality time with his beloved. He inquired after the happenings at court, and though Passara remained a little evasive, she mentioned the state of the realm was rather quiet. The folk of Elmshire (the rebel Waterthorn clan) were keeping much to themselves, especially in the face of the numerous mercenary forces that had settled the bordering forests from land-grants given to them by the Warduchess. Skirmishing continued in the eastern Republic of the Raven, as nobles vied for control over some of the scattered resources in the region, and rumor had it that ogres had formed a coalition in an effort to keep the humans from exterminating them. In the north, the hobgoblins that infested the lands near Starfall were all but eliminated, following a couple years of raiding and pillage. Adventurers were believed to be the cause of their decline, despite heavy patrols and an army in the vicinity of Starfall itself.

Passara hinted that Brommik should win the archery competition for her, but he could not promise that he would succeed, despite her gentle poking of his ego. They otherwise had a fine night of soft words and gentle emotion, before she headed back up to the castle. Brommik returned to the Whisp and heard tell of the adventurers and their plans.

15th of Uktar : The morning was broken by the harsh clamor of horns, drums and pipes and a crier wandering town calling all to come to the festival. The first event of the day was the crossbow competition, in which most everyone entered, but did not do well enough to place. Grignak waited back at the Whisp until his contact, Forgia arrived and introduced him to a young acolyte of Nolom, who was willing to share some of his alchemical formulae for a goodly sum. He seemed distracted and concerned with people seeing him, so they met up in the PCs room where he traded his Alchemist’s Fire formula for 140 gp. Although evasive, he was willing to meet again if need be for trade, telling Grignak to contact Forgia if he sought more.
Since most of the PCs had lost early in the crossbow competition, they wandered off to the market in search of bargains, finding a number of specialist traders selling scrolls, magic items and rare leather armors. Brommik purchased a heap of toys from the toymaker, and made arrangements to deliver them with Passara to the orphanage in the Northgate Townhouse. A special feast was laid for the community at the castle’s expense, and much nibbling was had by all.
In the afternoon, there was a Longbow competition, in which Vani placed exceptionally well, making the finals, despite his using only a shortbow (something that was virtually unheard of before). Competing against about a dozen others, only Captain Caradoc, of Dame Jacinth of Stony Acres guards and Lady Dana Korsdotter of Archenshield placing better than Vani. He did, however, lose to Caradoc whose aim was almost perfect in every shot. In the background, there were several other small competitions, including a poetry competition, a baking competition and a livestock competition, though none had any effect on the PCs.
With night, the markets closed, and general feasting commenced, accompanied by music, dancing and other boisterous activities. Eventually the PCs made their way back to the Whisp and slept for a few hours.

16th of Uktar : In the morning, the group filled a handcart with supplies and furnishings and collecting Vani they headed out to their dungeon complex in the Goblin Warrens. The trip past the Blessed Woods was uneventful, and allowed some to recover from their activities of the night before.
Vani was given the grand tour, including the Under Warrens, and was shown the pit trap the PCs needed closed and fixed. He did so very handily, and the PCs spent the rest of the night moving furniture and goods into their quarters, followed by a long, restful sleep.

17th of Uktar : Having discussed options, the PCs ate and had two options: investigate the recent problems with kobolds from the Dimholt Woods or try exploring the caves beneath their home… a rumored entrance to the Underdark. They chose the Dimholt, and proceeded to equip themselves for a journey through the woods.
Heading down off the ridgeline into the rough valley to the east, they quickly reached the woods edge and followed the Moonbrook south along the forest fringe. Unable to locate any kobold tracks along the west bank, they eventually entered a narrow canyon where the Moonbrook had cut a passage through the ridge. Though wet, they travelled along the stream through the canyon, eventually exiting out the south side, where they headed west through a gap in the hills that led to the village of Dewmount, place where the recent rash of pie thefts had occurred.
The village was rather large, with an inn and a fortified manor house built with a tall, ancient tower being rebuilt. The village was rather quiet, and the PCs visited the manor, speaking with one of the servants, who told how the guards and militia were all out hunting for the kobolds that had just kidnapped a couple of local children!
The PCs visited the farm of Sreth Turnbuck, a witness to the horrible events. He related a tale of woe, in which he had been down along the Crookwinde Stream digging out clay for some repairs to his home, when he saw a band of kobolds attack and subdue a group of playing children. He saw them head down the Crookwinde, heading northeast towards the Dimholt, and then ran to alert the local Lord of the attack.

The group headed back down the Crookwinde and quickly found the site of the attack. Vani began tracking the kobolds and their trail led back down to the Moonbrook and upstream. The group headed back through the canyon, and found the tracks leave the stream to travel directly northeast into the Dimholt. They promptly got lost.
Following what seemed to be the trail, Vani stumbled into a mass of spider webs in the opening to a dark, mossy clearing. Brommik called for Lo-Keg to move forward off the trail, and large spiders suddenly leapt into the party ranks and began to shew and rend anything they could. They discovered a large rock outcropping swarming with tiny hatchlings, and another large spider emerged from the swarm to leap onto the party. Throughout the combat, the spiders seemed to hiss and chitter back and forth amongst themselves, and at one point even swore at Colo regarding Larani (he swears!). They also took es[pecial interest in Colo’s mace, and attacked him whenever possible. Eventually, concentrated blasts and hard strikes broke apart the swarm and slew all the spiders, to reveal a cave dropping sharply beneath the clearing; the spider’s lair.
Taking a quick rest, the group then dropped down below, while Illuria stayed above to mind the entrance. A wet series of caves strewn with flooded pools and strange, icy cold moss that fed from the very body heat of the adventurers. Thankfully he group had been using sunrods and light spells, as Grignak eventually identified the moss as “Brown Mold”, a horrible plant that would likely have hurt them harshly if they had been using torches or lanterns.
Using the long rope Lo-Keg carried, they managed to drop into a very mossy and moist cave with an odd pool deep under the ground. Grignak, lacking the need to breathe, was tied-off with a rope and he poked his head into a tunnel travelling off under the pool, to emerge into a dark cave having a massive trunk half-buried at one end. The trunk was made of ancient oak and iron, and wrapped securely with thick, iron chains and padlocks. The air smelled faintly of ozone.
Grignak reported back to the group, and they decided he should tie off the rope so they could all investigate. He returned to the cave, and decided to tie off the rope on the chest, and as he left the pool tunnel, two large skittering insects jumped from behind it and started shooting poisoned spikes at him. He teleported into the pool, freeing himself of the rope, which slackness made Brommik to investigate. As Brommik rounded the tunnel, he saw Grignak take several more pikes and fall unconscious. Chaos erupted, as communication was difficult and no one knew what was going on. Most of the party headed into the tunnel, though Vani retreated around the corner in time to see one of the insects burrow through the wall and move into the outer cave. Warning Lo-Keg, he and the goliath attacked the creature, finishing it off after a sharp fight. In the tunnel, Colo took a severe series of spikes but he and Brommik managed to defeat the other insect.

Examining the creatures, Lo-Keg identified them as “Kruthiks” a known scourge of the Underdark, who often form hives of hundreds of creatures given food resources. A tunnel had been burrowed behind the chest that likely led deep into a kruthik hive.
Vani, accessing the cave through the kruthik’s recently burrowed tunnel, tried to dismantle the locks and chains, but they were too old and corroded. Using a flask of alcemical acid found originally in the PCs home, they burned off the locks and threw off the chains to pry open the trunk. It revealed a mas of copper, silver, gold and even a handful of platinum coins of ancient elven make, a couple gemstones and a pair of statues. One, depicting a ram-headed man holding an ornate scepter and a sheaf of some sort of grain, and the other, a rampant golden dragon holding a smooth crystal orb in one claw and strangling a human-headed snake around its base with the other. There was also a continual light torch, and buried in the trunk, a gleaming steel longsword etched and fitted with gold and a large emerald in its pommel. The majestic blade was covered in arcane runes, that evaded Grignak’s understanding in the poor light of the cave.
The group crawled back out of the deep caves with their treasures, and decided to camp in the creepy clearing, feeling that having eliminated the local predators would buy them a peaceful night’s sleep.

18th of Uktar : A bitter and cold wind blew through the darkened clearing, and a drizzle awakened the group to a stormy day ahead. Following Vani’s advice, they headed due north-east into the heart of the forest, avoiding much of the bad weather due to the thick cover of the trees and brush around them. Eventually they reached a swift stream, where despite the time involved, Vani was able to eventually locate a cluster of small clawed humanoid tracks heading east about two-three days previous.
Taking the stream east, they passed through what Vani felt was the heart of the forest, when they noticed something moving ahead of them. It seemed to loom over the forest, thumping along and shaking the ground as it approached. Everyone hid (or tried to hide), while Vani moved off towards it hoping to spy this oddity. He finally identified a large pair of trees that led upwards to reveal themselves to be a massive tree-shaped humanoid: a Treant! It rumbled a little, seemingly looking in the direction of where the party lay hidden, mumbled to itself, and then moved off away from the stream into the deep heart of the forest. Vani was amazed, having heard rumors of the walking trees of the Dimholt, but never having seen their actual like before. Grignak identified it as a “Tree Herder”, and as it moved off to the south west, the PCs slipped further upstream once more.
Eventually the tracks led under a large stone bridge that crossed the stream, though no trail or road was apparent. It seemed the kobolds had encamped here for the night and feasted on… something… before moving on upstream. Following the tracks eventually led the group to a hidden burrow in the stream bank, leading deep into a burrow of kobolds.

The caves here were small and narrow, forcing everyone except Vani to be hunched and fight with difficulty. Taking only the left-hand passages, the PCs quickly managed to enter a nesting chamber, and strode forward to demand they give up the “human babies!”. A pair, tending to a large lizard in the far corner called out something in draconic and then screamed “You die humans!” Wielding crude javelins, the mass of kobolds began scurry about, flinging javelins when possible while the tougher ones leapt in front to keep them safe. Lo-Keg moved to close-off the far tunnel, while Brommik, Illuria and Colo started to chew through the lines of guards to get at the main group. The large lizard laid into Lo-Keg, while Grignak tired to capture both it and the handlers alive. It became apparent that the smaller ones were trying to save their clutches of eggs, but unable to escape, they all fell to blade, and bow and spell. Brommik made certain the lizard died, but helped secure the two handlers for questioning.
He and Lo-Keg intimidated them sufficiently to get them to boot-licking sychophants. They claimed to know nothing about any human babies, and vehemently refused to acknowledge they had any in the tunnels. They were bound, gagged and told to lead the group to their leader, which they did, warning “Big-big Ik is tough and sleeps beyond hordes of true scales!”. They led them through the cramped tunnels to eventually enter another large living chamber with several exits and a pit on the far side. Once more, the PCs tried to negotiate, demanding the kobolds give-up their human babies, to which the kobolds cired out in draconic and leapt once more to the attack. A series of waves of kobolds began to assault the PCs, and some grabbed eggs and scattered off into the other tunnels of the complex. Several scale-armored kobolds, some slingers and an army of simple minions attacked, along with a pair of large lizards and their handlers, along several connected caves of living quarters. Mounds of kobold bodies littered the tunnels, especially in the final chamber, where the PCs had managed to defeat the last group, forming a virtual wall of kobold bodies outside the entrance.
While the PCs moved off to confront the last group (which felled Brommik in several volleys of javelins), Grignak saved one large lizard, bound it with ropes from his pack and rounded up the two handlers to keep watch over it, getting them to assist him in bundling it onto a Tenser’s Floating Looter which he summoned. The group gathered in the last cave, and discussed options.
They had not found the children, nor any proof of their whereabouts (no lizard gullet stuffed with teddy-bears), and the two cowed kobold handlers continued to swear they knew nothing about any kidnapped children. The group decided to push on into the last chamber of the kobold chief, and see if they or any evidence could be found there.

The last chamber was a large open chamber, with a great pile of furs, moss and cloth acting as chief Ik’s bed, and he was guarded by numerous scale-armored and slinger kobold guards. Holding nothing back, they PCs pushed Ik and his guards around the chamber with blasts and ranged powers, and though a difficult fight, managed to kill all the kobolds. The bodies possessed several unusual weapons, but each of them had pouches stuffed with silver and gold coins, marked with spidery symbols, the first such treasure any kobold had held in the entire complex of tunnels.
One of the tunnels led off into a large cave stuffed with pottery, heaps of cloth, and other odd items (including a wheelbarrow!). The combined wealth of the clan was here, wrapped in burlap sacks and in several locked chests. Three intact bolts of fine cloth, sacks of silver coins, a holy symbol of Nolom, a master’s set of carpenter’s tools, a rusted suit of plate armor, and a finely crafted longsword. The chests unlocked to reveal thousands of copper and silver coins (some dating back centuries), and a few handfuls of gold coins of similar spidery designs. One fine wooden coffer held several Potions of Healing, and leaning against the trunks was a fine steel and gold craghammer, identified as Humhunzan, a lost dwarven relic. No trace of children could be found in the complex at all…
Based on the sounds of retreating kobolds diminishing in the distance, a quick search of nearby caves revealed that any remaining kobolds (except for Grignak’s two new minions, Itlik and Igix) had fled with eggs and tools in tow. It seemed the power of the kobolds had been broken for the next few months. The group fled the tunnels to camp under the stone bridge in the fading twilight and mists of a rainy night, and rested until the morrow, to decide what to do next…

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Westlaws Update 1.2
“When it began to grow dark, the Rat, with an air of excitement and mystery, summoned them back into his parlour, stood each of them up alongside of his little heap, and proceeded to dress them up for the coming expedition. ”

Westlaws Update 1.2

They met under typical circumstances; in the service to the Castle and its Marshal. But before that they each had tales to tell. The adventurers were unusual; they included many races and origins, but they all were in Sentinel trying to solve the situation they each uniquely found themselves in.

With two days before the Harvest Festival, the PCs awoke and discussed their plans in the Whisp’s Commons. They decided to do a little shopping before finding a route into any Warrens under Sentinel. Searching for potions, dungeoneering equipment and other things like sunrods, they managed to find most of it, though Grignak had some difficulty finding alchemical formulae. After asking at Tannen’s chandlery and striking-out, he was approached from the shadows by a young slip of a girl. Her short, curly hair and ragged clothing hinted at her desperation, but there was something about her eyes that hinted she might be more than appeared at first.
Identifying herself as “Forgia”, she queried “Hey, Rock! You one of them adventurers… you lookin’ for rare stuff?” Grignak mentioned he was searching for alchemical formulae, particularly Alchemical Fire, and she offered to get him in touch with the right people for the right price: 150 gp, with 10 gp up front. He agreed and they were to meet the morning of the Harvest Festival at the Whisp, two days hence. She quickly vanished back into the darkness of the alleys.
The group met back up and visited the castle, intent on asking the Constable for any rumors on accessing tunnels below Sentinel. They met with him shortly in the Lady’s Tower Hall, and he told them of two possible entrances: both north of the town and in close proximity to the cliffs. The first was a series of tunnels leading through the cliffs into deeper caves, and the second is above it near the cliffs, in the cellars of the ruins of the “White Tower”, a ruined fortress that pre-dated the construction of Sentinel. Since the latter was also the town midden, it seemed like a place where rats might live.

Travelling north of town along the cliffs they came to the over-grown ruins of the White Tower, a simple fortress built on a slight rise over the cliffs. The trail leading to it showed fresh tracks of all sorts, and although the place was indeed being used to dump trash from the town, it was eerily silent and lacking in vermin… One corner of the main tower of the fort had been excavated at some time in the past, and accessed a rough-hewn spiral stair leading down through the cliffs below.
Slipping down the ancient stairs, they eventually emerged into a natural chamber with a bubbling pool to the south, a number of large glowing mushrooms in a niche against the east wall, and a passage leading off to the north. The mushrooms seemed to be growing from a pile of humanoid corpses, and the pool was filled with hard mineral water. Taking the north passage, they started investigating numerous chambers and passages in the area.

The first led to a broken stone statue of a large cat. Investigation showed there was blood on its paws and muzzle, but had been battered to pieces. Beyond this was a long, narrow stairway that led straight down into a large humid chamber strewn with debris and webbings all over the ceiling and floors. Leaving that lower chamber they returned up inot the main halls and found a smooth, wet chamber with a great black pool in its center. Illuria poked the pool with her greatspear, and awoke a large black blob of ooze that attacked the party. It spawned little goopy blobs of itself whenever struck with a weapon, and spattered acid across the explorers. Eventually it was smashed and chopped into a pile of goo.
The next hall was a wet, muddy chamber with savaged crates, barrels and boxes rotting against the far wall. Bats squeaked from their roosts in a narrow chute leading up and out into the cliffs. Eventually they found a long, wide hallway sloping along its east side, and boasting a 20’-long keelboat built on stilts <<wtf>>. Following along the high point of this hallway, the PCs came to a couple other debris-filled caves, one that reeked of rats and had various bits of cloth and the skeletons of local game animals all over it. This led to a long, narrow tunnel that had been relatively recently dug into the earth.

The tunnel led to a series of low, cramped passages, reeking of rat and decay. The first larger area they entered had a pair of cloth rat nests, and quickly spawned a couple swarms of rats and a half-dozen dire rats, that promptly attacked. Space was limited, but several well-placed mental blasts later, the swarms had broken-up and the dire rats lay dead. Beyond the room opened a great cavern, a wet living stone chamber with several ledges, fungal “gardens” and a central pool of black water. Ignoring the narrow rat passages for now, the group travelled down another cramped passageway to encounter a large chamber with a pool on one end. This led to several more rat crawl-ways and a larger chamber that served as a dire rat warren, complete with dire rat pups, which were exterminated.
As the group decided to try crawling through one of the narrow passages, several dire rats attacked, followed closely by a pair of crossbow-wielding rat-men. Dire rats quickly appeared in the narrow crawlways, attacking the group from the front. While Lo-Keg and Brommik held the lines, Grignak slipped off into the open portion of the caves near the pool, and took cover while attacking with his psionic powers. Colo moved into position in front of the wererats, while Illuria provided back-up from behind with her spear. Colo got in a solid smash with the Moon Mace, but took a savage bite and a couple crossbow bolts, before falling unconscious. The wererat gave off a hideous keening cry after it had been struck, and began to look worried. Illuria managed to heal Colo quickly, while Brommik changed targets to provide cover, and Colo crawled back to his feet and struck a vicious blow with the Moon Mace on the lead wererat. With a couple more blows from Illuria and Brommik, the lead wererat collpased, and the rear one changed into a dire rat and scurried back down the passageway he’d come. The remaining dire rats died defending its retreat.
The corpse of the wererat changed back to appear as nothing more than a thin and filthy young human man, wearing tattered leather armor and wielding a wickedly barbed repeating crossbow. Examining the crossbow they found a forge-mark of a sword wrapped in chains, which meant nothing to anyone. They also found a handful of foreign gold coins in his belt pouch. The coins were shaped like an octagon and bore an image of a spider and strange underdark markings praising “The Spider Queen”. Around his neck was an odd amulet of stone, carved with a crude rendition of a snake eating its own tail. Brommik identified it as a rough symbol of the “Earth Dragon”, a deity worshipped by the Tulwynese, but of little importance elsewhere. <<see>>. The PCs began exploring all the narrow crawlways, finding a series of smaller nesting chambers, and some filled with caches of rotting food, but other than a few more common rat pups they were abandoned.

Travelling back to the Great Cavern, the group dropped a rope down the first ledge and carefully made their way down… except for Illuria, whose strength gave-out and she fell for a little damage to her pride. They sent Lo-Keg up into the glowing garden ledge, though he encountered various footpuffs in his explorations, eventually taking a face full of poisonous spores before climbing back down. They poked the lake and found it polluted and filthy. A large pile of rat feces had been mounded along the southeast wall, and a couple rusty shovels lay there, leading Illuria to comment on the caves being someones “garden”. Eventually they retrieved the first rope and set another on the remaining ledge to continue exploring.
The new passage they entered was wide, and all the troubles they’d had with cramping and crowding were gone. The passage proved long and curled upwards higher and higher, eventually leading to an open chamber with more rat nests along the middle of the main hall, a scattering of stalactites and stalagmites, and a series of iron hooks hammered into the wall to provide access to a wooden hatch in the ceiling. Along the south wall was a pile of rotted and rusted equipment, and a couple of skeletons. Guarding the chamber were a handful of direrats, a couple of ratmen, and the older wererat dubbed “Willard” by the PCs. Next to the ladder and behind him lay a rusted trunk.
The group slowly worked their way through the direrats undergoing fire from the repeating crossbows of the wererats. Brommik poured his vial of alchemical silver over his magic longsword, and everyone waded into the fray. One of the wererats unleashed a stone trap over the rat nests, but it only caught a couple of the party, doing limited harm. Using every power they had they managed to work themselves through the guardian dire rats and up to combat the wererats directly. Using his ability to teleport, Grignak slipped right up to Willard, and in a stunning critical series of strikes, dropped him unconscious. Though he struggled back awake, Brommik and Illuria quickly dropped one of the guards while Lo-Keg and Colo finished off the other, and finally all the wererats were down and dead.

The wererats soon turned back to humans, two young men and Willard an older farmer of no specific identity. Among their possessions were a handful of more foreign gold coins, a pair of stone amulets of the “Earth Dragon”, and on Willard a finely made, if corroded copper amulet of the same, gilded. Each also wore ragged leather armor and the same repeating crossbows found before. Searching the pile of debris the PCs recovered a magical black pearl, a magic Hand Crossbow +2, a gold cloak clasp of a lion with obsidian eyes, a finely forged silver collar studded with garnets, a sack of silver coins and a scattering of other loose coins. The unlocked trunk held a mass of copper and silver coins of local manufacture, a sack of 200 of the foreign gold coins, a shard of blue topaz (10 gp), and a collection of hand crossbow bolts.

Retrieving their loot, the PCs headed up the ladder and found it leading to a stone herders hut next to a small woodland copse about a half-mile from the castle of Caer Sentinel. It was drawing to the close of day, so the group went straight to the castle and reported in to the Constable, who returned to the hut with a handful of guards and some rangers to investigate the site and retrieve the corpses. They were assured that in a day or two, once it was obvious that the rat problem had been resolved, they would get their rewards, and they returned to the Whispering Whisp to rest and recover from their trip through the caves under Sentinel.

Illuria used her skills and some previously purchased herbal wrappings to treat the PCs of their diseased wounds, and in the morning tries to ensure they were filth free. Everyone had recovered, except Illuria herself, who had actually gotten worse, riddled with a hot fever. The PCs visited the local physician, a gruff veteran known locally as good though more interested in solving the illness whatever the damage done. He began treating Illuria, and after applying a heap of leeches and foul smelling-concoctions, sent her away, saying that the fever would likely break in a day or or so, and that she should rest today, and come back on the morrow (During the Harvest Festival), to get the leeches removed and change her dressings. She seemed to be better on the morning of the Harvest Festival, healed and feeling on the mend…

Party time!

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Westlaws Update 1.1
“Abandoned ruins never are...”

Westlaws Update 1.1

They met under typical circumstances; in the service to the Castle and its Marshal. But before that they each had tales to tell. The adventurers were unusual; they included many races and origins, but they all were in Sentinel trying to solve the situation they each uniquely found themselves in.

After discussing what-to-do-next, the group agreed to visit Sentinel and look for good-paying work. Travelling into town, the group spent a few coins on minor matters and visited the Whispering Whisp for dinner and to take rooms.
The commons at the inn were packed. Numerous farmers, with two tables occupied by a group of off-duty castle guards and another filled with many visiting merchants were noted. The merchants seemed concerned about the recent trade demands for silver, and the rumors of a bandit group called “Slaughter’s Crew” that had been preying on tinkers and other small merchants of late. The guards seemed unconcerned about most anything, though they speculated on the recent kobold sightings out towards Dewmount.
Asking the closest serving maid for more information, they learned little more. Seemed victims of the “Slaughter’s Crew” were never seen again, and they were usually the type of merchant or tinker that one never expected to ever see again…
The first screams erupted from the kitchens, when a sudden swarm of hundreds of rats spilled into the Commons. Quickly swarming all the people in the room, a small horde of giant rats accompanied the clawing, biting, scratching horde of rodents, and seemed drawn to the PCs. Using the clear tables as a pathway around the room, the PCs were able to mount a credible defense against the mass of rats, eventually breaking the swarms up and then defeating the giant rats attacking the PCs.
Following screams from the kitchens, the PCs approached the room, seeing a woman run shrieking through the back door, babbling about “They’re horrid!”. Having seen the merchants escape out the front windows and the guardsmen manage to survive their own swarms, mostly intact, the group headed into the kitchen cellars…
These stone-lined pits were filled with food, and a stream of rats moved down the stairs and through the cellars to the far wall. As the PCs approached down the main corridor, they noticed a group of hideous humanoids with rat heads and claws hiding in the shadows of the far wall. Armed with strange self-loading crossbows and wearing ragged leather armor, they reacted to an attempt at diplomacy by shooting their crossbows at the PCs. As the front rank of Lo-Keg and Solo approached the rat-men, they noticed a fishy odor about them, and that their crossbows bore strange jagged spikes for hand-to-hand work. It was also noticed, that though they took damaging wounds, they seemed to heal themselves very quickly, and the scars and injuries were cured at a rapid speed. The older looking silver one in the back summoned a couple rat swarms from the diminishing piles of rodents streaming away into the hole behind them, and when the lead rat-men began to suffer serious wounds, he called them to “Fall back boys! We won’t triumph today!” They turned one by one into giant rats and squeezed back down the narrow hole behind them in the cellar wall.
In the carnage of the inn, Illuria helped bind some wounds and the rest cleaned things up somewhat, before retreating to their rooms to rest.

In the morning, the group dined in the battered horror that was now the common room, and were approached by Constable Companion, the chief knight of the castle, and the man who had rewarded the PCs for their efforts at the Marshal’s request. He begged leave of their time, stating that the Marshal and the local Mangai had offered a reward of 5000 sp for the PCs if they can solve the situation by tracking these horrid rats to their lair and destroying them utterly before the coming Harvest Festival. He also added that based on what the PCs related regarding rat-men, they might want to speak with Master Silvermane, a local cottar farmer who is known to have knowledge of many creatures and fey matters.
Illuria searched the town apothecary for cures to the fevers that were afflicting the party, but was informed that she should have been there earlier, since the town has bought all his wolfsbane and other common aids. The group then tried to help overcome the fevers afflicting the group, and were successful in curing any affected in the group. <<yay>>.
Travelling north of town, they found the garden-covered cottage of Master Silvermane, and after meeting a pack of questioning kids, they were led into his home and began pestering him with questions. He admitted, based on their descriptions, they were indeed facing lycanthropes, and listed that their regeneration could be overcome using a silver weapon… something, unfortunately, that was difficult to impossible to resolved. He then hinted that there might be a magical silvered weapon, known as The Moon Mace, and that it was lost along with Sir Gerrad himself, though both were last noted as fighting among the ruins of Caer Pyrestone. He further warned, that there was also a wizard serving the Lord, though he too was never seen again after the siege…

On the morrow, the group headed north along the trade road, passing through the thorps of Swan Manor and Crossing and eventually taking the mine road up into the Dagger Hills. Travelling along the old mine road, bypassing the silver mines at Bloodfeather, the PCs eventually passed along the ridges to drop down into the vales around the isolated village of Broadwell.
Braodwell, a village of mounded burrows with a large central stone well and a ruined inn, consisted of orchards and barley fields maintained by halflings. The PCs avoided the village proper, noting that the lcoals warily watched them pass, and headed up the ancient track leading to Caer Pyrestone. They camped a few hours away from the ruins, resting uneventfully.
Next morning, they apporached the ruins of Caer Pyrestone, a simple shell keep with numerous breaches in the walls, a couple towers and a large circular fortress next to the gate. Entering through the main gates to the east, they noticed many ruined outbuildings, one intact building later identified as a shrine of Agrik, and a large iron bell that had fallen from a metal-work lattice on the chapel roof. Lo-Keg swore he heard something roaring in the distance, but noone else could agree.
Searching the towers revealed one had been gutted by fire, and the other had been filled with webbing and looked ready to collapse. Lo-Keg again swore he heard something, a low, steady hooting, and that it came from off to the west. The PCs climbed the area over the gate, and looked around, but could see nothing, except for some sort of metal mass under the bell lattice on the chapel roof.
Returning to the castle garth, the group decided to investigate the main keep, and as they approached its battered oaken door, an shallow roar sounded from the gateway, and a large, vicious-looking bear creature with claws and a sharp beak strode into the courtyard. Brommik strode forward and swung at it, while Grignak tried to metally assault it, but both realized the creature to be an image. A few seconds later, as it roared a challenge again, a deep, echoing raor came from the west, and soon thereafter, a smaller version of the same creature crawled through the hole in that wall and roared a challenge to everyone in the castle. The PCs learned to quickly ignore the figment, and charged the “owlbear” as it reached the well in the western portion of the castle.
The beast focused its attentions on Lo-Keg, who kept distracting it, and for some time it continued to grab him, try to tear him to bits while time and again, he escaped. As Illuria, and Solo joined Lo-Keg, Brommik moved around to flank the owlbear, and Grignak moved up onto the wall and then the chapel roof, noticing the mass of metal thereon was in reality a ballistae with several heavy iron bolts wrapped with tarred cloth.
Trying a shot with the scorpion (and missing), Grignak came under fire by a pair of sling-wielding kobolds who jumped from the walls wreckage behind the chapel. After exchanging glue shots with Grignak’s mental assaults, they eventually lost one slinger to his attacks, and a second to a well-placed shot from the scorpion. A small ball of acid flew from the keep tower and smacked Grginak on the noggin, accompanied by shouted draconic commands from the keep. Grignak dropped a burst attack on the keep, striking whatever had tossed the orb at him.
In the compound, the group was busy chewing on the owlbear, but its strength was proving greater than they had anticipated. By the time Grignak dispatched his foes and teleported down behind the chapel, seeking cover, they saw Lo-Keg’s great strength crumble and he fell to the ground unconscious. Turning its attentions to Solo, it grabbed ahold of him and tore him into nearly half with its attacks., knocking him to the ground and unconscious as well, just as healing from Illuria healed and woke Lo-Keg back up.
Brommik, seeing that the situation was turning from bad to worse, called for a general retreat, and slipped away from the beast moving quickly through the gap in the western wall. Battered and bruised, Lo-Keg tried to challenge the owlbear again, and brought its full bloodied fury upon himself, suffering numerous harsh wounds and once more falling to the ground unconscious. Grignak, seeing things turning sour, fled through the ruined stables to another hole in the walls, quickly followed by Illuria. Running into the area outside the castle, the three eluded the owlbear, and looked back to watch it feast on the downed corpses of their companions, Solo and Lo-Keg.

The PCs rendezvoused back on the trail leading to the castle ruin, and hunkering down, discussed options. They agreed retrieving the corpses (or some portions of them) was a good idea, giving them a chance to be raised (if a source could be found soon and before the Harvest Festival in five days…). Waiting until nightfall, Grignak (the stealthiest among the three) returned to the site of the massacre, slipping through the west wall gap and searching quickly among the battlefield for something he could identify as being Solo and Lo-Keg. Retrieving them, they rested for the night, and planned to head out in the morning for Sentinel and attempt to gain the favour of the Nolomites.

Next morning, the PCs travelled back down into the valley of Broadwell, along the northern fringe of the Dimholt Woods, and discussed the potential for there being a temple or druid residing in town. They felt their journey was under observation, but could see no one. They approached a local farmer, and explained their friends had become sick and were seeking healing or a priest; the halfling made warding signs and pulled his tunic over his face, seeming concerned about disease. He waved the party into the senter of town, saying to speak with Master Hermannus, the local priest.
The center of town proved larger than at first thought, with numerous small, halfling-sized shops and a large burrow that had stone pillars on either side of its doors and a symbol of a cornucopia above its lintel, the holy symbol of Korg, god of agriculture. Entering the burrow, they found stairs heading down into a deep chamber, larger than it appeared on the surface.
Approaching one of the adepts, they were introduced to the chief priest, who was tending a window-box-like altar filled with blooming plants and flowers of all kinds. Hermannus was told the situation, and he asked if any of these things had reference to bandits, which he was sure were lurking out in the hills somewhere. Assured that it had to do with kobolds and a giant owlbear in the ruins of Caer Pyrestone, and not local bandits, he seemed relieved and offered to help any way he could.
The PCs presented the corpse bits of their companions and discussed leaving tokens (on pawn, sorta) until they could return with the wealth required for the rituals. Hermannus took them and welcomed the PCs to camp in the inn ruins, assuring them it was safe and possibly the only place large enough to fit them. They camped most of that day, subjected to constant halfling child questions and while Grignak turned gold into rock candy and finally ended with a few giggles and dirt clods being tossed at them.

In the morning, Solo and Lo-Keg joined their friends at the camp, accompanied by acolytes from the shrine to Korg. They had been equipped with cloth robes, but seemed a little disoriented, though willing to search for their belongings and sneak into the keep to tackle the kobolds within. They travelled off to the ruined castle, and after an uneventful journey to the ruins, they slipped into the courtyard near the well through the western gap in the walls. Searching quickly around the well, Illuria and Lo-Keg kept watch for the owlbear, while the rest scrounged around for fallen equipment and arms. Gathering what they could, the spotters noticed a “Whoofing” sound come from the rocks around the corner, and alerted their comapnions, as the whole group slipped back out through the southern hole in the wall. They watched the now familiar owlbear sniff around the wall, and follow it to the battlefield around the well. Eventually scavenging the ground, it wandered back out through the west wall and off into the crags in the distance.
The PCs, carefully watching for the return of the massive predator, pondered entry to the tower keep. Realizing only two means of egress existed; the front door or the massive hole in the upper wall where its south section had fallen in. The group chose to go up, noting that there were few crossbow loops over the walls near their planned wall climb along the north wall, which would not hide their climb, but would allow them to slip up without any free shots from the second level.
Lo-Keg clambered up the wall using his great strength and various climbing tools, and fixed a grapple with two hemp ropes to grant aid to his companions efforts. Carefully working their way up the wall, they managed to reach the large collapsed section, and noticed it opened to a sealed door a narrow corridor travelling around the outside for crossbowmen and a round chamber that looped around the stairwell. After a quick search, which revealed a cluster of horrid bat-like creatures roosting in the loop chamber near the stairwell, they decided to “…quietly break the door in…”. Although they promptly burst the door open, it awakened the roosting striges, who promptly swarmed into the ruined area before the stairs, swarming everyone who didn’t flee into the stairs. Lo-Keg remained behind, grasping the door remnants despite having two stirges grabbing him as he moved. Brommik ran down the stairs to his companions, while they ganked the stirge attacking him. Lo-Keg managed to wrestle several iron spikes from his backpack, hammering the door in place, sealing three of the horrible creatures outside, despite their attempts to get at the PCs. The remaining PCs ganked the other pair of stirges clutching Lo-Keg, and they moved down into the second level of the tower keep.
They found another heavy iron-bound door sealed from the outside, and started bashing it in. Bursting open spectacularly, it revealed a corridor looping around the stairwell, showing a rubble-filled chamber filled with clawed tracks and a small barrack with bedrolls and an odd coppery smell, and leading to another sealed door, from behind which cries came in draconic.
Eventually bursting open this portal, they found a large chamber occupying half the level, with a large trunk, several rotting rugs and tapestries and a massive nest of a bed. Arrayed around the chamber were numerous spear-wielding kobolds, three dressed in scale armor and one in tattered robes wearing a bone dragon mask. The PCs quickly waded into combat, eliminating many of the front ranks of kobolds while the leader manuevered to a crossbow loop, The PCs managed to wade into combat, and weaving through the fray, attacked the dragon sorcerer, with Lo-Keg grasping him by the collar and dragging him from escape back into the midst of the party. Eventually all the kobolds fell, and Brommik attempted to save the life of the leader, succeeding due to his extra-ordinary efforts.
The PCs looted the large trunk near where they captured the kobold mage, of severla gems, some coins, a Ritual Scroll – Silence and a glowing glass wand (Wand of Flash of Light +1). Among the coins were three odd platinum coins marked with spiders and an elven woman’s face. It bore the words House Vrama in Undercommon, and seemed fairly new in manufacture. Realizing they couldn’t drag the kobold with them, and unable to speak with the beast, Brommik mercifully slew the creature. Exploring the main level below, they found it filled with twelve piles of blankets and hide bedding mixed with leaves and smelling of copper. The front door was heavily barricaded, and the PCs wound deeper down the central stairwell.
The lower cellars were a central lab of smashed glassware, a workshop filled with clay and stone sculptures and tools, and a fallen library. While Illuria and Gishnak sorted through the rubble of the library, the rest searched the walls and floors for something of note. They examined a stone vat in one corner, but after ten minutes could find nothing of note. Illuria came out of the library and suggested they move the vat away from the wall and examine it closer, and upon dragging it into the room, it opened a secret door in the opposite corner…
The group entered a large stone chamber filled with debris and ruined stone bits, and noticed a trapdoor near the center. Opening it, they headed down the stairwell to another, similarly sized chamber, only this one was filled with trash of pottery and clay sculptures. Moving down into the chamber, Grignak’s light revealed a horrid creature of rotting flesh and ironmongery, that growled at the party in a menacing fashion.
The PCs closed with it and proceeded to smack it around, as it proceeded to smack them around as well. Circling the creature, they discovered it able to resist many slight wounds, though eventually it became enraged and bloodied, striking randomly around at the companions surrounding it. Though a challenge, it finally collapsed in a moldering heap. Near a rusted breastplate at the foot of the stairs they found many shards from a large sword and an effervescent silvery mace of rich design; they had found the Moon Mace.
The Moon Mace : Silvered Mace +1. The Moon Mace is treated as a silvered weapon for all attacks and powers used with it as a melee weapon or an implement. (PHB 220) Omen : The Moon Mace glows with the light of the moon, creating light equal to a torch at-will, undiminished by combat.
A lone door was uncovered in one corner of the lower chamber, and opening it revealed a series of tunnels and rooms left untouched for many years. One was stuffed with various supplies : 500 gp worth of Arcane Ritual goods (15 lbs), several hundred candles, some torches, flasks of lamp oil, and a 200’-long coil of hemp rope. Another held more clay and stone fragments carved into the shape of humanoids. A last door along these haunting passages led to a strange sound of snuffling and hooting… The owlbear! Not certain how the owlbear was discovered behind a thick door two levels underground, but not wanting to really find out why, the PCs retreated up to the ground level with much of their booty and the mace, and slipped out the front door, while Lo-Keg retrieved his ropes and grapple from the tower walls. Jogging off to the trail leading back through Broadwell, they camped once more for the night, and discussed their options…

Next morning, they headed out promptly along the trail, passing by the village of Broadwell and along the mine road west and then south through Crossing and into Sentinel to rest at the Whisp, with two days to spare before the Harvest Festival.

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