Shadows over Wintermist

The Heroes Arrive

Our band of adventures were traveling from Fallcrest to Winterhavenin search of their missing mentor Douven Stahl (aka Splinter). After a largely uneventful trip along the decaying King’s Road, they encountered a kobold ambush. Ghesh was the first to spot the scaly sub-humans lurking in the underbrush. With their ambush ruined, the kobolds were quickly laid to waste.

After the ambush the journey quickly took an ominous turn. Farms lay ruined and burnt out on the side of the road. Farmers and their families lay slain in their own homes. Around each torched farm was a cluster of kobold tracks.

After finally arriving in Winterhaven, the party gravitated to Wrafton’s Inn and set up lodging for the evening. After asking a few questions of Salvana Wrafton (the proprietor), they discovered that Douven Stahl had made it to Winterhaven, and that he had taken off after a dragon burial site. After questioning Elian the Old (the town drunk) they received a map, the same map that Elian had drawn for their mentor. The innkeeper also provided the group with the personal affects that Douven Stahl had left behind when he failed to return.

The party discovered that no contact had been had with the south-western farms for some time. They decided to go to Lord Paddington (local Lord) and see if he needed assistance as food supplies in the town were beginning to get low. Kesh bluffed the guards at the inner gate, gaining the party access to see the lord. Here they learned that the Winterhaven Regulars (town guard) had been assaulted by kobolds when trying to contact the southern farms. Lord Paddington offered a reward of 100 gold and 5 gold per kobold head should the adventurers make contact with the farmers to the south and bring back word of the missing Regular.

As the party headed south they encountered a blockade manned by kobolds, a similar ambush to the one they massacred on their way to Winterhaven. They struck from behind, taking the kobolds largely unawares, with the small exception of a drug addled warning from Kesh. Here Ghesh hewed one sneaky kobold in half, while Fred incinerated another leaving only his head behind. Kesh showed off his surprisingly competent opportunity attack, and Daar gave a rousing ancient draconic chant to keep the party motivated while dealing devastatingly accurate strikes.

Exploring south along the road after the ambush, the party discovered more smoldering farms. Most of the farms were sites of obvious murder, with blood spatter all around, but no bodies could be found. As they rounded a bend in the road they discovered why: a wight. The wight was raising the farm-folk to serve as a fresh and terrifying army.

Ghesh flew into a rage at the sight, charging the enemy and slaying many in a flurry of blows. With the rest of the party aiding him the wight was soon no more. Tattooed onto the Wights flesh were the following arcane commands:

Slay the living
Raise the dead
Seal Winterhaven
Keep their eyes on the south

Total XP: 1754 XP per PC: 438

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Dragons should stay buried

Our party of heroes returned to Wintercrest, with the body of the slain former guardsmen in tow. The townspeople were very upset by this turn of events, many placing flowers on the body as it was taken with solemn reverence to Paddington’s manor. Paddington filled the 100gp reward as promised, then said that he would send out a patrol of 5 of Winterhaven’s Regulars to make contact with the southern farms and get provisions for the town.

Next the heroes decided to look through the equipment that Douven Stahl had left behind. They discovered a partially finished letter to his wife explaining his discoveries, and a well detailed map to the excavation of the dragon burial site. His letter speaks of seeing many different dragon and drake bones in the site, he hopes to find treasure still buried within.

After resting in the Inn, our heroes head ot the South East, looking for the dragon burial site. They find a camp, with the gnome Agrid sitting atop a crate and smoking his pipe. Agrid tries to convince the party to follow him down into the excavation, but the party is not fooled and is ready for his ambush. After a tough fight, Agrid is captured, and the other monsters lie dead. Douven is discovered under a nearby blanket. Agrid doesnt seem to know much beyond the name of his employer: Kalarel.

When the party headed up to investigate Agrid’s campsite, they discovered a group of kobolds attempting to remove the crate that Agrid had been sitting on. Ghesh charged after the kobolds fleeing with the crate, taking one down before succumbing himself. Kesh, Fred, and Daar barely held off the other 5 kobolds. Fred bravely risked his life to apply first aid to Ghesh, and the heroes defeated the majority of the kobolds.

The last remaining kobold runs off to the northeast with the crate intact . . .

Total XP: 2088 XP per PC: 522

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Caves are for Kobolds

Our heros sat and rested after their climactic battle with the kobolds. They decided to track down the escaped kobold, while Douven Stahl took the captured gnome Agrid off to Winterhaven for questioning.

Before he left, the characters quizzed Douven about his captivity, and about the necklace that they found on one of the kobolds. He revealed that it was as they suspected a rendering of the Demon Prince of the Undead: Orcus. A cult of Orcus used to operate in this vicinity in the times of the old dragonborn empire. The empire sent in a legion and destroyed the cult, then constructed the keep to the north of Winterhaven to keep the region safe.

Not being used to being out of the city, the Dragon Brothers had some difficulty navigating the forested hills, but eventually succeeded in tracking the kobold back to its lair. They lay in wait for the evening, watching what the kobolds were up to. Their observations paid off, and they observed the trap that was laid out for them.

After resting for the evening, the Dragon Brothers headed south, and crossed the river away from the kobold lair. This allowed them to sneak up behind the waiting ambush and annihilate the kobolds from the rear. Two kobold slingers retreated inside the cave, summoning more kobold footsoldiers. They pelted the party with javelins and spears but to no effect. The Dragon Brothers handily crushed them.

After the fight was over they had an opportunity to explore the cavern. The first two chambers seemed to be carved from the natural rock, perhaps an old bed of the stream outside. At the back of the second chamber however, it looked as if the kobolds had used picks to open up the wall and break into an ancient fane.

The walls inside are of sturdy but weathered masonry, and on everything hangs a chilling dew. In this damp environment the Dragon Brothers stumbled across another group of kobolds: a priest, the rogue who had escaped them the previous day, and a swarm of skeletal drakes. Though the skeletal drakes proved very dangerous, the party prevailed, readying themselves for the final fight of the kobold lair. . .

Total XP: 1325 XP per PC: 331

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Iron teeth Rust

Our heroes throw open the next set of doors and discover Irontooth, the leader of this vicious band of kobolds. Gathered around him are his trusted lieutenants and a skeletal spitting drake. Noticing that they are outnumbered, the heros pull the door shut again. Soon a heated ranged conflict erupts, with both sides opening the doors and lobbing explosive energies back and forth.

The heroes push inside, hewing their way through the crowd of kobolds to claim Irontooths head. The skeletal spitting drake is particularly nasty, using necrotic energy to drain the life of the party. The heroes dispatch their foes and then explore this last area of the kobold lair.

To the north they find a barricaded door. It looks like it was barricaded from this side, and the doors themselves are warped and twisted as if from some massive impact. The heroes clear the debris and open the doors. Inside is an ancient altar. It looks like the kobolds had tried to repurpose it from some other god to the Orcus. Strewn about the chamber were mutilated bodies of kobolds. The altar itself was slick with blood and in the center was lodged a bone dagger. Above the altar something had torn its way out of this room, leaving a gaping hole open to the sky. Fred the Gray pried the dagger out of the altar and claimed it as his own.

To the east was Irontooths private chamber. Here he had a stockpile of gold and armor, as well as a note from his employer:

“My spy in Winterhaven suggests we keep an eye out for visitors to the area. It probably does not matter. In a few more days, I’ll completely open the rift. Then Winterhaven’s people will serve as food for those Lord Orcus sends to do my bidding.”

The heroes return to Winterhaven victorious and carrying Irontooth’s severed head. The roads are finally free to travel on again. The people of the town are overjoyed, throwing an impromptu celebration with what meager supplies they have. The heroes also learn that contact has been made with the southern farms, and food will soon be coming to the village.

After the celebration the heroes sat down with Douven Stahl and Vorenthal the Sage. Both have been alarmed by the discovery of Orcus related artifacts and altars and have been doing some research in Vorenthal’s library. They have discovered that the true purpose of the keep weas to keep watch over a rift into the Shadowfel. The last commander of the keep, Sir Keegan killed his family and descended in maddness into the bowls of the keep. Kalarel is likely trying to re-open this rift.

Total XP: 1175 XP per PC: 294

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Grinding Goblins

The next morning dawns gray and drizzly as the Dragon Brothers head north towards the ruined keep. Ever since Sir Keegan disappeared into the Keep’s depths smeared with the blood of his own family, there has been no watch on the rift it was meant to protect. The Brothers fear that the shadowy figure of Kalarel may be trying to open this rift to the Shadow Fel.

Surveying the keep, they find an opening down into the crypts below. The rest of the keep has been reduced to a jumbled heap of rubble. As they descend into the crypts below the former keep, they can see hints of torchlight ahead.

Goblins. The entryway to the crypts reeks of them. Daar spots a pit trap that the goblins have laid out for our heroes, and they avoid it easily. They make quick work of the 4 goblins and the swarm of rats at the entranceway.

After dispatching the goblins our heroes are faced with a choice: descend one of two stairways going into darkness, or proceed to the North-East in torchlight. They choose the North-East, and come across a goblin torture chamber. The Brothers fight in the doorway, limiting the attacks of the torturer and his guards and dispatch them all quickly. All of them, except for Splug.

It seems Splug has had enough of working for Balgron the Fat and wishes to seek greener pastures with the heroes. He describes the next room for them, where Balgron has his headquarters. The guards there use a bell as an alarm system to warn of intruders.

Armed with this information, the Dragon Brothers charge into Balgron’s room and snatch the bell before it can be rung. This buys them a few rounds to clean up the guards before proceeding to the inner chamber. Unfortunately Balgron fled at the sounds of battle.

Searching Balgron’s room, the heroes uncover a secret passage, and a chest with no key . . .

Total XP: 1675 XP per PC: 418

Campaign Total so far: 2003

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Slimes Suffer Silently

When the Dragon Brothers emerge from Balgron’s room, they discover that someone else is exploring this ancient ruin. Kriv the Dragonborn Paladin is searching all over the fallen empire of Nerath for neglected shrines of Bahamut. He has heard that one is located in the crypts of this old keep, and joins the brothers on their quest to purge the place.

Our heroes continue their search for the recently fled Balgron the Fat. There are no obvious tracks to follow, so the heroes proceed towards the hushed sounds of goblin voices they can hear around a corner. With the element of surprise, they charge around the corner into an excavated room. The goblins and gaurd drakes fall swiftly, the last goblin begging for its pathetic life. It offers up an ancient holy symbol of Bahamut in exchange for its life.

Splug reveals that the surrendered goblin is one of his former tormentors, and demands retribution. The heroes give him a club to sort it out with and he chases the other goblin out of the room, returning with a savage and satisfied grin on his face.

With no luck in the lit chambers of the crypts, the heroes backtrack slightly to a stair that descends into darkness and dank caves. Snapping a sun rod they head down into the darkness. They slowly explore the cavern, watching the giant rats flee before them. They find a door covered in mold with the words: “Keep Out. Really.” scratched into it. It is so difficult to see that an Ochre Jelly is on top of them before they are aware of it.

The Jelly puts up a tough fight. Once it has engaged the heroes, the giant rats begin to harry the parties flanks. Kesh is clobered by the Jellys brutal attacks, but a quick word from Daar brings him back from the brink of death.

When the Jelly splits, Balgron the Fat emerges from his hiding place, firing round after round from his crossbow into the rear of the party. Its a chaotic hectic fight, and the heroes emerge bruised and bloody but victorious. They decide to sleep for the night in Balgron’s secret chamber.

Waking the next morning and feeling refreshed, our heroes decide to finish exploring the cave system. They head south, and stumble into a kruthik nest. The ability of the kruthik to burrow lets them get into the back of the party and seriously injure Fred the Gray, while the Adult kruthik fires spine after spine of deadly poison into the parties front line. Kriv makes excellent use of his martial training shoving the adult into one of the crude pits the goblins have dug in the area. Finally the nest is destroyed.

Total XP: 2436 XP per PC: 487

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Keep Out is for Sissies

So the heroes return to the fungus covered doors. Ignoring the “Keep out. Really.” message scratched on its surface, they push their way into the room. Immediately suspicious of the treasure sitting on the island in the middle of the chamber they examine the pool in detail. They notice ripples moving in the brackish water, as if something stirs beneath the surface.

Daar decides that fortune favors the bold and viciously mocks the watery entity. A Blue Slime boils to the surface of the pool and its foul stench overwhelms some of the party. The party is worried about the slime using the watery terrain to its advantage. Ghesh and Fred gather a few corpses of the giant rats they killed yesterday and tie them to a rope, while the rest of the party begins getting clobbered by the slime. Ghesh tosses the homemade lure directly into the heart of the slime, and they start a deadly tug of war. Soon the rest of the party is hauling on the rope, and they drag the slime out into the corridor.

Enraged, the slime begins to spray acid everywhere, lashing out with its pseudopods at the same time. The party is trapped in the close space of the corridors, and takes a beating from the slime. Almost everyone is severely bloodied by the time the slime is finally beaten into submission.

Undaunted, the heroes retrace their steps to the entrance, and then head south. From down a stairway comes the sickly sweet smell of decay. When the players descend they find themselves in a maze, a maze adorned with strange luminescent glyphs in the floor. After investigating the glyphs the heroes find that they are activated by touch, and Daar decides to touch one to see what happens. A screaming skull erupts from the floor and sends Ghesh and Fred running straight into the arms of waiting zombies.

Zombies come running out of the depths of the maze at the sound, swarming the party. Most of the zombies are rotten however, and the party quickly cuts them down.

They continue to explore the rest of the maze, eventually working their way through the glyphs. They discover that the glyphs only seem to be able to affect someone once, so they inoculate themselves and move on.

At the northern end of the maze, the sharp eyes of the group pick out a secret doorway. Inside they find four more zombies quickly dispatched and a riddle over an old piece of armor. Debate rages among the group about the solution to the riddle, but Kesh eventually emerges with the correct answer. The armor knits itself back together and Kesh slips on his new magical armor.

Seeing another stairway down into the depths, the party backtracks through the maze, and finds a partially lit area with many sarcophagi. When they attempt to pry one open, all of them fly open disgorging a flood of skeletons. The heroes beat the skeletons back, but more pour forth every round. Noticing an altar in the next room, Kesh teleports through the mob and offers a prayer to Bahamut, ending the skeletal onslaught.

Total XP: 2830 XP per PC: 566

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