Tears of Destruction

The summer festival

The Tringlee summer festival got under-way but by midday the town Mayor seemed agitated, and not just by his 16 year old daughters floozy flirting with anything in trousers.  He summoned you guys to his inn and informed you of smoke seen out at the Heathstone Brothers farmstead (15 miles out of town).  The brothers were due in town two days ago so the Marshal and his son Pete had gone yesterday to investigate and they were due back by now too.  When pressed he revealed that a local hunter, Stanley Prand, had spouted crazy-talk about bandits attacking the farmstead and eating the brothers; the Mayor didn’t believe a word of that though.

He asked you all to head out and see if there was any trouble.  He kitted you out with fancy weapons and armour, the likes of which aren’t ever seen in these parts but were kept in a secret cache under Black Jack’s smithy.  He led you to a local monument called Kimbertons Circle (supposedly magical) where following an unknown and not-understood town tradition he said some words and “lent gravitas to the situation” by asking you to do your best for your friends and community.

You headed off, hoping not to miss too much of the summer fair, travelled until night fall and camped for the night.  Setting off the next morning you arrived at the smoking remains of the farm stead just before midday.  There you found no signs of the Marshal or his son, but two Ghouls were feasting upon the remains of the two Heathstone brothers.  You destroyed the undead and recovered a blessed trinket (+1 Holy Symbol of Daring – Adv. Vault 2, P29) from around the neck of one of the brothers.  Examining the body also showed that the Ghouls had not killed the brothers but a flaming sword had.

View
The dead walk

Session write up provided by Scoff whom plays Ragnar

The group of adventurers surveyed the scene before them, a pair of ravenous undead lay motionless on the ground, their likes of which had not been seen or heard of in these lands for thousands of years. 
 
While Ragnar disposed of the bodies, Riley, Mathas and Jack gave good burials to the murdered villagers, Jingle in the meantime scoured the scene for clues, he was soon whooping in delight, ‘jingle!’ he cried as he pointed out to the rest of the group that he had found some tracks leading away from the farmstead up into the hills.  The footprints were not of booted feet and likely not the Marshall so we assumed it was the fiend who wielded the flaming blade.
 
The group headed off after the tracks up the wooded hillside, after a couple of hours travel, they came to a small clearing, laying propped up against a couple of boulders were two bodies who we recognised as the Marshall Tom and his son Pete, they both looked like they had been attacked by the creature with the faming blade, luckily for us we found that Pete still lived and after Ragnar prayed to Kord to revitalise him, Pete soon came too.  He told a harrowing tale of how they had been ambushed by this monster with a flaming blade. He and his father had fled from the thing for a number of hours until it caught them around sun-rise. It killed his father and the sun rose as it was about to finish Pete off. The last thing he saw was this creature retreating from the sunlight, in pain, into a cave a little way up the hill.
 
Promising Pete they would rid the world of this menace and avenge his fathers death the group headed into the cave, which extended a way back into the hillside, as we entered the final cavern we heard a shuffling and moaning that could only be the creature we sought.
 
We attacked in two prongs, Jingle leading the charge down the left flank, Ragnar to the right, the creature we saw was tall at least 7ft and skeletal in nature, previously Human with black shadowy tendrils flicking around its ribcage, it wore chain armour and brandished a flaming blade.  It fought as though it had a shield on it’s arm but no shield was present causing it to parry a number of blows with it’s shield arm and lose said arm in the first half of the fight. The combat was long and arduous the creature taking several solid blows and dishing out damage of his own, at one point it had Jingle wrapped in its shadows tendrils.
 
Eventually, we defeated the creature, Ragnar finishing it with a blow that removed its head.  We found that its armour and sword were both magical and we took them before Ragnar destroyed and blessed the corpse, to hopefully prevent it from rising again.
 
As we left the cave Pete was waiting for us despite us telling him to head back to Tringlee. he told us that the monster had come from further up the hill and that there maybe more there.
 
So making sure Pete headed off, we then went further up the hill, we came to a ridge with a strange stone ring carved into the cliff face, we investigated this strange thing, it showed signs of recent usage. Ivy had been growing over the face of it, but something had severed the ivy covering it and the Ivy cuttings laid dead in a pile in front of the ring. Riley judged the cuttings to be done 7-10 days ago.

We also found a single set of footprints heading away (and not back) from the stone circle. Jingle pointed out that they were slightly unusual footprints in that they had way more weight on the forefoot than the rear part of the foot. Or they were “evil footprints” as Blackjack summarised. From the fact the ring was magical in nature, that there was one set of foot prints walking away and from Mathas’ study of artifacts you came to a fairly certain (although un-proven) conclusion that the stone circle somehow allowed magical travel through it.

The footprints headed towards a hill over the valley, as we looked over we saw across the valley an area of dead vegetation, that was about 100 metres in diameter. It stood out against the lush green landscape, we headed towards it, on our way traversing a rickety old rope bridge which jingle had great fun swinging around on while Riley was trying to cross. 
 
As we approached the area a malaise fell over us, and both Riley and Mathas informed us that this was necrotic energy that would harm us if we spent longer than an hour in the area.  we hurried to the centre of the area, where we found a Dwarven made stone doorway in the hillside, leading into what looked like a tomb. The doors to this had been blown inwards by four or five boulder sized blasts that were comprised of raw magical energy infused with both fire and acid (with Riley’s excellent Arcana check he guessed around 2d10+20 damage per bolt).

As we wondered what could do this Jingle hacked away at an Ivy mound 20 foot from the crypt doorway. Under it he uncovered a big crystal set into the ground.  As he cleared the vegetation off this the sunlight hit the crystal which focussed the rays into the tomb and illuminated it, from which we heard screams. Rushing in through the doorway we were ambushed by necrotic vines hanging above the entrance way, we entered combat and the session ended there. 

View
The Crypt of the Crimson Shield

Write up provided by Scoff whom plays Ragnar

We resumed our encounter with the necrotic vines, however we soon overcame the threat and hacked the entrance way clear.  Realising that we only had a few minutes before we lost the benefits of the sunlight we moved swiftly into the Dwarven crypt.
 
The entrance chamber was vast, two side chambers supported by pillars stretched from the sides of the main room, while a corridor stretched away in the far wall. With no threat immediately visible we investigated the chamber, the first thing that struck us was a vast wall carving stretching all the way around the perimeter of the chamber, although badly eroded by age we managed to discern that it recounted the life of an adventuring party known as the ‘Crimson shield’.  This group consisted of four members, one of whom was unnaturally tall (7ft) and wielded what looked like a crimson shield and a flaming sword, we soon deduced that this fellow had been reanimated and was the undead that we had fought earlier and named marshal bane skeleton.  We reasoned that there must be three more out there.
 
Further investigation showed an interesting conundrum in the right chamber, a chasm created by tectonic movement of the mountain range, was laced with freshly spun web, however temptingly close to this chasm was an alcove full of treasure.  We decided to leave this for the moment as we had more pressing concerns, reasoning it to be a trap.
 
Peering down the far corridor we saw some ghoulish eyes peering back, but soon scuttling away from us and the sunlight, we decided to head down the corridor and end their threat while we had the benefit of the sun. 
 
The corridor stretched on a while, but eventually opened onto a balcony that was above a large circular tomb room, the balcony to the left ended in stairs down to the room, to the right, the same although the stairs had collapsed and while could still be used they were hazardous.  Before we could reach either set of stairs on our level were three corridors running off.

There is a green crystal suspended from the ceiling in the centre of the room, bathing the room in green daylight. In the large circular room we could see three sarcophagi, smashed open from the inside, and at the very far end a plinth that supported a small tear shaped black stone, the proximity to this stone seemed to increase the effects of the necrotic energy, and we could spend only a few minutes here before falling ill, we reasoned this stone was emanating the energy and possibly causing the corpses to animate.
 
We investigated the three side corridors, it was a short corridor that opened into a small tomb, and in there were three undead, beckoning us in with their foul cries. We noticed two ghoul like creatures and what looked like a Marshall bane skeleton, deciding we need to remove the threat we entered the room, however it was a tough combat as the rooms size meant that they could easily flank us and limit our attacks against them, this tactics played into their hands as with they could easily tie us down, but luckily our skill prevailed, with Jack and Ragnar soaking up a lot of attacks, while Jingle burst into the room, and while drawing a few attacks was able to get into a good attacking position, eventually we over came them, but it had taken its toil, as we were all battered and bruised.  The corpses yielded a hammer and amulet.
 
Without resting we healed as best we could, and entered the second corridor, it was a similar set-up to the first however the Skeleton had range in the form of a crossbow, the combat was a long affair with the necrotic energy seemingly draining the heroes, as a lot of blows were tired and inaccurate, fortunately the undead were equally effected, perhaps affected by years of being entombed.  We eventually overcame hem, but at a cost, we had expended a lot of resource, and we knew we must rest up before continuing, we decided to to move out of this chamber and heal up, before we did, we took the crossbow and some leather armour from the undead.

View
Necrotic Nuke

Write up provided by Scoff whom plays Ragnar

Having rested and regrouped the party entered the main chamber, edging around the balcony toward the final ante-chamber we had yet to clear.  Anticipating a set-up the same as the other two rooms Jack and Ragnar lead the way, hoping to rush in and push the creatures away from their ambush positions. 
 
This tactic paid dividends, as the Jack struck the first blow of combat, hitting a ghoul hard and forcing him from his flanking position, without taking a hit, this was further backed up when Riley, spoke some arcane mutterings which produced a radiant glow forcing the undead even further back into the room, this allowed Jingle and Ragnar to enter the chamber unimpeded, and gain good positions against the creatures.  The combat ebbed and flowed, but the party soon gained the upper hand, landing a series of telling melee blows, well backed up with ranged and enchantments from both Riley and Mathas.
 
As the combat was soon to be over, Riley believing his work done decided to descend into the main chamber to examine the tear-gem.  As he approached within 5ft of the gem, the necrotic energy grew and seeped into him, causing a small amount of discomfort, Riley noticed the outline of a shield made by moss on the floor, indicating that once a shield had rested on this plinth, probably for thousands of years.  Meanwhile the rest of the characters finished of the undead and on them they found a rod and a belt.  Noticing Riley deep in concentration at downstairs the group headed down.
 
While Riley continued to examine the gem, the rest of the party searched the chamber and the sarcophagi, their eagle eyes spotting a badge and an amulet hidden away. Mathas then aided Riley with the gem, confirming his theory that it could be damaged by radiant energy.  Hearing this Ragnar boldly proclaimed that the power of Kord could destroy this hell cursed abomination, Hearing this Riley sneered ‘ha oh really? I’d like to see him try’ hearing this as a challenge to his god and his might, Ragnar strode toward the gem, lofted his sword high above his head, and brought it down in a swift arc onto the gem, invoking the name of Kord as he did so.
 
As the Blade made contact radiant lightning arced between it and the gem, gradually forcing a crack to appear in the gem.  As this happened the gem started to hum and vibrate, the more learned of the party knew the gem was about to explode and suggested the group leave the crypt.
 
This retreat soon descended into chaos, as the gem began to vibrate and hum at an alarming rate, soon making the whole chamber shudder. this was not the worst of it, the small trickle of necrotic energy leaking out so became a jet propelling the gem around the chamber and leaving a miasma of necrotic energy around it.  This fog was expanding to fill the room, touching the vines and animating them as a necrotic vine we had encountered earlier, this was right in the path of the groups retreat.  Luckily Riley and Mathas managed to avoid its grasp and slip down the corridor toward safety, unfortunately Jingle was not so lucky, the vine wrapped round him, holding fast and squeezing the breath out of him. 
  
Ragnar, charged up the balcony, slashing hard at the vine and exposing its evil core, sensing the time was of the essence, he called fourth all his strength and that of Kord into a mighty blow, the effort was visible as blood flowed from his mouth and nose, the gods smiling upon him guided his blade with devastating accuracy and great power, as the blow connected destroying the vine in one hit. the evil core seeping away leaving behind only a dead husk.  Jack used this to advantage and scaled the now dead vine onto the balcony above and worked to free jingle who was still wrapped up in one of its stalks, sadly he could not free him, Ragnar moved over and luckily enabled Jingle to escape its grasp and head to safety down the corridor. Pieces of masonry were now falling from the chamber as the vibrations hit a new high, and both Ragnar and Jack knew they didn’t have long left before the gem exploded destroying the crypt.
 
Almost sensing the groups desperation the gem seemed to move with a malevolent intelligence towards the remaining members of the party.  coming with in touching distance on the balcony, the necrotic energy coating the area in an inky blackness, this touch of death was enough to send jack into unconsciousness as he fought valiantly against his earlier wounds.  Sensing he only had limited time, Ragnar hoisted up Jacks body and sprinted down the corridor.
 
Just as he exited the crypt and met the rest of the group the gem exploded in a catastrophic burst of energy, lifting the crypt off the hillside, and then collapsing in upon itself, the shock wave sending the beleaguered party tumbling down the hill.  Mathas notices a shaft of light shot from the cloud and embedded itself in a tree trunk not far from the group.
 
As they regained their senses the group looked back seeing a mushroom cloud rising from the ruins of the crypt, rising higher and higher, as the group look in awe at the unleashed power, the hear a clapping echo towards them, its is a condescending slow hand clap.
 
The group look toward the source of the noise, they see an elderly Tiefling standing off in the distance, approximately a mile away, gesturing the Tiefling grows in size, soon dominating the hillside. His dress is unlike anything any of the group have set their eyes on, such resplendence! Gloves and cloak that visibly glimmer, Jewellery of the finest ornamentation, all topped of with a blade of such malevolent beauty the group find it hard to take their eyes off it, this blade makes all the other finery look like cheap baubles.
 
The Tiefling speaks, congratulating the rag tag bunch on seeing his experiment through to a perfect conclusion, impressed that such insignificant creatures  could survive. Ragnar shouts up to challenge him, but the creature treats him with contempt and feigns deafness.
 
suddenly a  second more hoarse voice speaks up, barely audible to the group, but coming from the Tiefling’s direction “It is past time you announced yourself to the world.  Tell them your name and we move to the next phase”. At this the Tiefling visibly bristles and then asks, “can any of you simple villages write”, Mathas responds by waving a book in the air, very well the Tiefling replies ‘write this, Barbatos Malphas’ pauses and then says, “before that write, this devastation was caused by and your pitiful existence was ended by”
“Well now you have that” he continued “I have a world to bring to its knees and kingdoms to crush”
 
Making some arcane gestures, he opens a portal, allowing two Hell Hounds to step through, using his free hand to conjure a ball of hell fire (magic infused with fire and acid) using it to convince the hell hounds to hunt us down and kill us.
 
The party realise that the group are not in a fit state to fight, they decided to head back to the rope bridge and set up ambush there.  Its a tough slog maintaining a good pace and stay ahead of the hounds, luckily we all make it across the bridge and set about cutting the ropes, unluckily one of the hell hounds does to, the other plummeting to its doom along with the bridge.  Ragnar now fully full of rage, stands firm readying himself for the hell hound. As the hound approaches he swings his armoured foot, catching it plush under the jaw sending it sprawling back and over the cliff edge, despite the hounds frantic clawing it cannot find purchase and joins its colleague at the bottom of the ravine. 
 
The party breath a collective sigh of relief, and set down to rest and identify the magic we have found. 

View
To the free city of Greyhawk

After the frantic events not long passed a sombre silence descended upon the group as they took time to draw breath and reflect upon what had just befallen them. 
 
As they gathered their senses, thoughts turned as to what they should do next, with the choices narrowed to head back to the village, or search for the mysterious item they had seen escape the necrotic cloud.
 
After a few moments discussion, Riley took the lead by collapsing against the nearest boulder and proclaiming he wasn’t going anywhere until morning.  The rest of the group, too weary to argue, set up camp.
 
As they camp the discussion turned to the magic items the group had discovered, such rare trinkets had most of the group in awe as the like had not been seen before, Mathas, however took a more practical bent that was bourne from a lifetime in study.
 
He mentioned that he had a way of transferring the dwearmors from one item to another, however to do so would require resources that we currently did not have access to, however he said pointing at the symbol of daring, he could use that, but doing so would destroy it.
 
Ragner bristled at the comment, saying that the symbol should be given to Pete the Marshalls son as a reward for his bravery, and hopefully Ragner believed setting him on the path to Kord. After a heated debate the group decided it was more prudent to put their needs ahead of that of Pete. Throwing the symbol at Mathas’ feet, Ragnar stormed off saying he was off to search the ruined crypt for what they had seen, mumbling that if he did find it the group could sell that too.
 
Mathas retried the symbol and pulling out his spellbook set about preparing the rituals he needed, stating he would require a couple of hours the rest of the group set up camp and started to relax.
 
Meanwhile Ragnar made steady progress to the crypt, noticing the cloud was starting to disapate, he set about searching and soon found telltale signs of the item, a hole burned through a tree trunk, leading into a boulder. looking into this boulder, he saw a gleaming gem stone. reaching in he pulled out a half tear shaped gem around 3 inches in size, the gem looked liked it had been cracked by a blow of great force.
 
Back at the camp, the rituals reached a crescendo, and jingle grew more excited thrusting his hammer towards mathas, while making a crackling sound.  A few moments later it was enchanted with the power of lightning, also Jacks blade burst into flame.
 
Ragnar return the camp and passes the gem he found around the group, Riley taking a special interest in it begins to study it, he speaks to the group saying that given time, he believes he can unlock its secrets. Mathas agrees to aid him in whatever way he can.
 
Now that the group has the gem, the decision of what to do next is an easy one, they will head back to the village and report upon what has happened, hoping that this will give them insight into what to do next.
 
After an uninterupted and very welcome nights sleep, the group head of early for Tringlee, the journey is relatively uneventful, until the group get close to town and there they see for the first time in history a guard posted on the road into Tringlee,  taken aback by such developments, Jack approaches the guard, who is fast asleep propped up against his pitchfork.
 
A conversation ensues, with Jack questioning the man, who he knows from town about what he is doing, it turns out thats Petes stories of events combined with the dark cloud had spooked the townsfolk and mayor Bran had ordered a guard watch the road.
 
undaunted the group head into town, the festival is starting up, but feels somehow drained of cheers most of the towns folk instead of talking in cheery voices are whipering and sending furtive glances the groups way.
 
Heading int othe tavern, Mayor Brann greeted us with a mixed air of expectation and aprehension, wanting to know all the details of what had happened.  Between them the group recalled all the details, and despite Branns initial disbelief, he found it hard to deny the facts.
 
Unsure what to do he calledfor a town council meeting, gather the town elders to decide what to do, this we were told was a rare occurance. While he set this in motion, the group decided to toast their success with some fine spirits.
 
Soon the elders gathered and we once again prepared to recount the events, before we could start however Emily interrupted us, saying a rider had arrived wishing to speak to the council about recent events, Brann motioned for the stranger to enter, as he did we noticed a well travelled man wearing an emblem that we identified as the crest of greyhawk, he had a uniform and carried no weapons. He introduced himself as Gareth Brown, an agent tasked with ensuring the safety of Greyhawk and its outlying lands.  The tremor and mushroom cloud had been seen and felt in lands further afield than Tringlee and he had come to investigate.  A few questions later seemed to show he was genuine.
 
we told the story once more and this garnered pretty much the same response as previous tellings from most of the council. however one of the members ??, an Eladrin who Mathas knew well and Gareth both seemed genuinely concerned, The Eladrin had heard of the devil we encountered believing they may have spent some time studying together in Greyhawk.  It was at this point we noticed that the locals of tringlee were using any vantage point to pry upon us.
 
Ignoring the massed hordes outside, Gareth told us that what we had encountered did not seem to be unique, and that plans had been set in motion to investigate further, he requested that we travel to Greyhawk to give details to the powers there.  After a period of debate we decided to leave in the morning, giving us the remainder of the afternoon and the night to put our affairs in order.
 
As we left the Inn the villages swarmed us, hailing us as heroes, which didn’t sit well with the group Ragnar pushing through the group, paying them little heed, Riley and Mathas seeking to steer clear of the limelight, Jack however issued a rallying cry for the town to arm itself in face of the oncoming darkness.  This seemed to disperse the group as they looked for weapons.
 
The night passed differently for many members of the group, Ragner retold sagas and psalms of Kord to those willing to listen. Mathas studied his books, Jack offered advice to his apprentice, Jingle said his goodbyes to his family and stocked up Jingle juice.  however Riley perhaps had the most interesting night, often ignored by most of the towns folk he was surprised to find a visitor waiting for him as he made his way back home, it was Rose the mayors daughter, at first Riley thought she was there out of some sort of morbid curiosity, but a they talk it became clear she had become enamoured by him and his tales of braves deeds.  The small talk soon turned into a more physical attraction and Riley got very little sleep that night.
 
As the group meet early the plan was to travel to the earest northern village and acquire horses there. So with the sun rising on a fine summers day the group set off, the first part of the journey was pretty uneventful, mainly spent traversing the mountains, the pace picking up when the horses were bought.
 
Approaching the last leg of our journey we had to cross a great woods, it was then that Gareth told us of another part of his quest, he had been tasked to find some old ruins that belonged to the king and recover certain items from there.   He expalined he had visited all three, but had trouble with one of them. It turned out that a tribe of goblins had set up home there and were very suspicous of strangers, however now he had us in tow, he thought they maybe  more reasonable, this was backed up when Mathas revealed he knew a few words of goblinoid.
 
As we approached we saw the ruined manor of which Gareth spoke, onlt a few crumbling walls remained now, however it was also easy to spot the goblin camp. As the creatures saw us most of them scuttled into a cave at the rear of the camp, however one of the braver ones stepped forward and negotiated with Mathas
 
The negotioations lasted a while, it appeared that the lower vaults had become inhabited by what the goblins called ‘Banes burrowers’ and wanted our assurance that should we go down there, we would clear these out. Mathas told us these burrowers were a form of giant ant.
 
Agreeing to the task the group headed down into the vaults, the first part of this journey was not plesent, as it appeared that the goblins had been using excriment as a deterrent to the Ants, wading our way through we soon got into a natural cavern, its main feature being a large door facing us, we also notice a smaller passageway in the far corner, aided by Ranar and Jack, Jingle tried to force the door open, however it seemed age had seeled it tight. Lighting his blade, Jack braved the passage, it was a tight fit but we all managed to squeeze through this opened into a similar chamber, but with an extra exit in the south east corner.  Luckily this time Jingle opend the door with ease, while he did this, we got our first clance of the ‘Banes Burrowers’ as they came down the northern passage. 
 
As the door opened it seemed we had stumbled into the queens chambers, as she was sat in the room, surrounded by workers and a clutch of eggs, she did not seem pleased to see us…..

View
Banes Burrowers

Session was one long combat against the Banes Burrowers.

Session begun with initiative for combat with the queen and ended when the queen plus escorts were slain. Players taking a short rest.

View
Arriving in Greyhawk

After defeating the Queen ant, the heroes advance into the next chamber where they are attacked by a large cube of blue slime and a couple more ant drones. They dispatch these final foes without too much trouble and open the royal vault. Gareth enters and gathers up all the items on his manifest, putting things into a magical bag.

He discovers that some of the ants acid has destroyed the bottom part of the list, so that leaves some items unaccounted for, which he turns a blind eye to and lets the heroes help themselves as a well deserved reward.

They emerge from the vault and Mathas informs the ‘ Four-wall clan’ of goblins that the ant threat has been neutralised.  They reward Mathas with a very poor quality spear that is probably a liability to anyone whom uses it in a life and death situation.

They resume their journey to Greyhawk and arrive bone-weary 28 long tiring days after leaving Tringlee. They pass freely through the city gates, with the gate guard only noticing them as Gareth engaged him in conversation to check for news.

They head into the town and stop briefly at Gareths house, a humble wooden shack in the poorer side of town. They are introduced to his wife and son and assured that there will always be shelter and a meal for them under his roof. He swears so on his Sentinels Oath.

They move on and briefly stop at the Sentinel head quarters, a plain three-storey stone building displaying the Greyhawk coat of arms either side of the door. Gareths commander is briefed but stops them only a couple of minutes into the story, takes them straight to Castle Greyhawk and sends a servant to fetch the king. He also arranges rooms, meals and a bath for them at the Horn Blowers inn when they are ready, and has their horses taken there too.

They wait for fifteen minutes andthe King appears with another man carrying a book, whom introduces himself as Advisor Sodor. The king is a jolly man that seems to find their story a very entertaining tale but doesn’t come across as completely convincing that he understands and appreciates the threat it reveals.

A middle aged man wearing robes decorated with arcane symbols joins the discussion about half way through and peers over Advisor Sodor’s notes to catch up on what he has missed. He seems initially sceptical and amused but eventually concludes that their must be truth in their tale as the detail of the story is too plausible for non-arcane folk to make up. The magical items that they bear also helps convince him.

Advisor Sodor seems to remain dismissive and non-impressed during the whole tale. Taking notes and huffing and blowing in disbelief.

The king wants to reward the heroes with “the key to the city” but Advisor Sodor quotes an ancient by-law that insists on recipients of the key needing to perform their deed within the city limits. The king counters with a suggestion that they look into the disappearance of a local stonemason, he can then reward them justly.

The king also agrees to recruit 50% more guards and increase the level of military training that city guards receive. In the mean time the arcane man agrees to look into the facts of their story and see if he can find anything about a Tiefling named Barbatos Malphas.

The king also commissions Blackjack to craft him a set of armour worthy of royalty.

They agree to meet and discuss again in two nights time at a celebratory feast in honour of our heroes. A number of visiting dignitaries will be in town by then and it will have given everyone time to research the information and decide how best to move forward.

In the mean time they are to look into the missing citizens and are to have the help of another of the kings advisors to act as a guide and aid for them in the city.

View
Long Latch Lane

So the week before we left it with you just having had an audience with the king. You were walked out of the Greyhawk keep and were met by a Gnomish chronicler named Larkel Backslinger. He had been sent by Advisor Sodor to act as a guide and aid you in your search for the missing Stone Masons.

First of all you went to the home of the head mason. His wife, Tered Stonesong, a Dwarven woman answered the door and let you in as you asked her questions. You managed to discover that her husband Naram, also a dwarf was a skilled stone mason that had six other dwarven masons work with him as a team. They had all gone missing.

Naram had a study that contained various diagrams of stonework ideas and plans, many of them being types of fountains or stone work that combined water functions. None of the designs seemed to stand out was being odd or drawing attention to it.

Ragnar noticed that there were a number of new looking items around the house and that those items seemed better quality items than you would expect to see in the neighbourhood. Tered confirmed that he husbands recent job was paying well and that was affording them a better quality of living. She didn’t know what he was doing though as he’d been a bit secretive, she assumed it was due to excitement and pride at working on something he was going to have a grand unveiling of.

He’s not been seen now for 11 days and has never been missing for more than one before. His current job was doing shift work, mainly during the nights. Tered was very helpful and answered all questions but didn’t provide any solid leads. Mathas (I think?) asked if there was someone that Naram went for a drink with work colleagues that might know. You were told yes, to check an inn called The Graveyard. You left and headed straight there.

The gnomish scribe guided you there, all the time grumbling about getting dusty from the road, tired from the walking around and worried that he match catch-something or have to talk to unsavoury, dirty people.

You found the Graveyard Inn, located in the cellars below a grain warehouse. Heading down some steps you walking into a 40 foot by 60 foot virtually dark room. The only light source being three candles, one at each side of the room and where light shone through the floorboard from the warehouse above. The low ceiling and short stools obviously showed that the place catered for folks of shorter stature.

After buying a drink from the barman you talked to a group of other Dwarven stone masons, sat around a table in a dark corner. They immediately seemed agitated and nervous but clearly stated they knew nothing of the missing people and could not be of help. They stated it so clearly that it was obvious they did know something and were nervous at being questioned. One of the dwarves sat at the table managed to pass Ragnar a slip of paper before you left.

You emerged from the cellar into the bright day light, stumbling around with your hands in front of your eyes to shade from the sun, feeling a little like a zombie and beginning to understand why the inn was called the Graveyard. Checking the note revealed a simple sentence: There is a house at the end of Long Latch Lane.

Larkel guided you to Long Latch Lane, complaining even more about the state his robes were getting into, and how the accounts back in his office weren’t going to add themselves up and how he’s bound to have caught several diseases by now.

Once there the house in question is easily found. All the other houses along the street are clearly lived in, with open windows, signs of furnishings within, children playing in the street and even plants in some of the window troughs. The one house though at the end, on the right, built adjoining the city wall has boarded shut windows and doors, dirt and cobwebs everywhere and no sign of life.

Mathas spots several tracks of dusty white boot prints leading in and out of a side door to the house. Ragnar decides to use some barbarian diplomacy though and smashes the front door in with a mighty kick. At the sound of the exploding doorway Larkel faints in the street, where Riley accidentally helps him gain a fresh coating of dust and dirt. He comes around moments later and hides behind a plant pot across the street quivering in terror.

Ragnar and Blackjack lead the way into the house, quickly establishing that the ground floor is clear and empty. Very clear in fact, not even any sign of the dusty boot prints coming in through the side door. It’s as if the house has been thoroughly cleaned inside.

The two defenders head up the stairs and begin to look around upstairs whilst the other members of the group come in through the front door and have a second check of the ground floor.

Upstairs Blackjack and and Ragnar explore different routes from the top of the stair, one turning left, one right and both find themselves quickly approaching the room overlooking the street that they had entered from. In that room, looking out of the window is a human sized figure, covered in robes.

“You are trespassing, leave now and you shall live. This is your only warning.” the figure states in an elderly, cold voice. Ragnar goes to respond but the figure turns and chants arcane word, summoning the dead. Suddenly the shadows around the house shift and twist, more shadows emerge from cracks in the walls and all coalesce into swarms of undead rats and severed hands, biting and grasping at everyone within.

A bloody battle ensues, with both Ragnar and Blackjack being beaten down in only a few seconds. The rest of the group, are trapped on the narrow stairway, with the swarms preventing them from moving to aid their allies. Eventually they break free and Riley calls forth a wall of radiant light that turns the tide of the battle and enables Mathas to get his two fallen allies back on their feet.

The battle is surprisingly brutal but you manage to disperse the swarms and beat down the robed figure that (those trained in Religion) identify as being a Wight. Quiet falls as you take a few minutes to recover….with the rats and hands melted back to the shadows and the Wight reduced to a pile of dust within some robes, almost nothing remains to show their was a fight, save for the vicious wounds you sustained.

Session ended there…..you’re up to 3rd level and assume that you’ve short-rested after that combat.

View
Beneath the city

In your quest to discover what had happened to the missing Dwarven Stonemasons, you had followed leads to an old house adjoining the city wall at the end of Long Latch Lane.  You had entered and defeated an undead gate keeper.

You searched the robes that the Gatekeeper Wight had been wearing and found an iron key and two ritual scrolls of Unseen Servant.  The key opened an iron door embedded in the city wall that the DM had forgotten to mention the previous week.  You unlocked it and ventured inside.

Illuminating the pitch black with your magical lantern, you discovered a 10 foot by 10 foot room hollowed out in the heart of the city wall.  In the room was only one feature, an iron platform with a lever attached to it that went in two directions.  You all boarded the platform and moved the lever from one side to the next.  Experimenting a little you discovered that the two lever positions were “up” and “down”.

When set to “down” the platform descended in perfect silence at a speed of 1/2 foot per second.  When set to “up” the platform came up in perfect silence at a speed of around 1 foot per 20 seconds.  With the shaft appearing to be about 100 foot deep, this meant that the ride to the bottom would take a couple of minutes but the ride back up would take half an hour!

You descended on the platform until it came to a stop in another 10 foot by 10 foot room.  In that room were the inner workings of the lift.  It became clear that the lift was powered by an underground water supply.  The water filled a tank and the lever controlled when it was emptied over a fly-wheel, causing the platform to go up down.  Given the half hour wait to head back up, you thought it best to explore a little first.

You took the only exit from the room, a passageway that wound around for 50 foot, descending slightly and ending at a door.  A smell of animals and rotting flesh came from the other side.  You opened the door and manoeuvred into the room to be confronted by a grey-skinned humanoid that had many spiked protruding from its flesh all over it’s body.  The spiked humanoid was feeding a severed dwarf leg to a creature in a cage.  In total there were five cages with four of them having occupants.  An imp was also seen sitting on the shoulder of the humanoid.

A messy combat followed against foul creatures not seen for thousands of years.  Demons from the abyss!  From old tomes and fire-side stories you guessed them to be Dretch’s and Abyssal Scavengers, not to mention the imp.

You eventually triumphed and silence descended allowing you a few minutes to catch your breath.  During the rest you found a couple of healing potions and some gold & silver coins in the possessions of the Bladeling.  A quick scan of the pile of Dwarven body parts in the corner also suggested that you may have found some or all of the missing Dwarven stone masons.

View
Meeting the annointed

Having finished watching the Unseen Servant copying the proclamations, Jingle grabbed the quill and modifies the original text so that at the end it includes something along the lines of ‘And the Tringlee crew are going to sort Barbatos out’.  The unseen servant then mindlessly includes this new text onto the remaining copies it produces.

Feeling proud of himself Jingle then heads out of the room to explore the dark passageway and what sounds like an audience beyond it.  He proceeds cautiously and manages to travel the 100 foot of winding passageway and reach the next room without being detected.

The passageway opens up on a ledge about 60 foot high in the side of a natural cavern.  The cavern is 200 foot wide and 300 foot long and dimly lit by six flaming braziers, three along either side, equally spaced.  At the right hand end of the cavern is a raised area, almost like a natural stage and upon the stage stands a vertical stone circle….like the teleportation circle you found near the Crypt of the Crimson Shield.  This one however is clearly brand new, not thousands of years old.  A path slopes away to Jingles left, curving around the cavern edge and circling to eventually meet the floor.

The cavern also contains some beings.

On the main floor area are 80 to 90 shadowy winged creatures, looking exactly like this.

Each one of them holds a rolled up sheet of paper that looks likely to be a copy of the proclamation that the unseen servant was reproducing.  They also stand facing the stage area where two more figures stand.

The Tiefling, Barbatos Malphas stands with his back to his audience.  He is busy chanting and making arcane gestures at the teleportation circle.  Between him and the shadowy hoard stands a ferocious looking Dragonborn, wearing full plate and with a great axe strapped to his back.  Jingle overhears some of his words addressed to the crowd:

“…have your copies of the terms of surrender, and you all know your assigned targets.  You should not expect compliance when you first hand the terms over.  However you will return to your targets every turn of the moon and offer the same terms again.  Return once surrender has been offered, it will happen sooner or later.  cruel laugh  Inform them that surrendering sooner will be more favourable for their citizens, but brook no negotiations, offer no concessions….”

Jingle then creeps back along the tunnel before he is discovered.  He reports back in Jingle-fashion to his colleagues and Riley and Mathas stumble and stagger along the corridor to let their more educated minds take a look at the creatures on the cavern floor.  They make it to the cavern and view the creatures…..deciding they are demonic (not undead) in nature, at which point an Imp appears next to them and shrieks “Intruders!!!!!!” at the top of it’s whiney voice.

Several things happen quickly….the Tiefling completes his ritual and the teleportation circle is activated.  He gestures to the host of shadowy demons and orders them through the portal.  They stream forward, merging into almost a single black cloud, overlapping and mingling, making as fast as the wind.

The Dragonborn turns to the Tiefling and insists on being granted permission to deal with the intruders himself.  He mentions “given the tight schedule we are on and the importance of his mission”.  The Tiefling replies with “You are one of her ”/campaign/tears-of-destruction/wikis/the-annointed" class=“wiki-page-link”> anointed, you have seen her and know the truth, so you know what is at stake and what fate will await you if you fail."  The Dragonborn replies “I will not fail master”.  The Tiefling replies “Good, this location is of strategic importance, and its location should remain a secret”

The Dragonborn then starts running towards the path leading up to the ledge that Riley and Mathas are stood on….whom naturally make a hasty retreat to their colleagues and issue a battle cry of “Incoming!!!”

The heroes take tactical positions in the room with the unseen servant and prepare for the Dragonborn.  They don’t have to wait long, although he does not come alone.  A bloody battle ensues with six Bladelings and the Dragonborn all being slain.  Ragnar removed the Dragonborns head uttering the lines: “Tell whoever you work for that they are next, Ragnar champion of Kord will have his vengeance”.

The bloody remains of the corpse is soon stripped of it’s magic armour and weapon, which Mathas and Riley quickly identify between them.

With the threat neutralised, you head down and explore the cavern.  There is nothing new to see that couldn’t be seen from the ledge.  Jingle puts the severed Dragonborn skull by on the floor by the portal though and then spends half an hour banging away…..at the portal, and eventually causes enough damage to cause it to collapse and be rendered useless.

With nothing else left to do you head back up on the lift and out of the house on Long Latch Lane.  You emerge and are greeted by about twenty very nervous guards pointing crossbows in your direction.  Your gnomish guide emerges from behind a plant pot and assures the guards that you are the good guys.

You inform him of what you’ve found and between passing-out spells he eventually gathers his wits and insists that you report all of this to the king at once.  You head to the Keep and await his presence in the same meeting room as before.  Again he joins you after a few minutes wait, accompanied by Advisor Sodor and the head mage.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.