Adventures in the Nentir Vale

Orc Ambush

The party escaped the collapsing keep by heading down into a well, which led to an underground river. The journey back to daylight was made difficut by a large section of the river with no air to breathe above the surface, and several characters struggled to make it through.

Once out in the falling dusk, Enna found a good campsite for everyone to rest, before heading back to Winterhaven at dawn.

The party had travelled for a few hours when Enna spotted an orc in the undergrowth, and after a few more minutes, the party made their way into a fully fledged ambush.

Gonad son of Groin and Draco both struggled to hold the orc leader, a huge beast of an orc, back, but eventually the party prevailed, not least thanks to Cersei casting a well-timed sleep on the enemy artillery who were throwing fire-bombs into the fray.

A note in an script not intelligible to anyone in the party was found on the bodies, which the party took back to Winterhaven where Cersei could use her arcane knowledge to decipher the message.

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Showdown with Kalarel

The party moved beyond the bodies of the undead and into a room from which blood flowed from many giant vats into a grate in the floor.

Numerous enemies were defeated, including a number of vampires, Orcus Beserkers and Priest of Orcus.

The party then decended blood-slick chains into the chamber below to halt the ritual being performed by Kalarel.

A furious fight saw Kalarel hit by everything the party could throw at him, taking him down quickly, to see him sucked through his half-created portal to the Shadowfell, and presumable, into oblivion as he died.

The destruction of the portal released such great energy as to destroy the keystones of the chamber, causing the keep to begin collapsing. The party grabbed what they could, and made their way to what appeared to be a well at the far end of the room.

Sonny threw a rope around a nearby statue, and the party decended 40 feet into darkness as the chamber began to collapse around them.

They managed to grap Kalarel’s horned helm and his amulet and cloak before while Splug managed to find a magic dagger before they left.

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The Undead Horde

Having made their way past the traps in the previous chamber, the party moved on, opening a door into a mass of undead.

Some nifty tactics meant that the zombies and ghoul were dealt with quickly.

Sonny explored a tunnel leading the ghouls lair, where amoung the filth and gore, he found a bag of holding.

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Trapped

During the rest Enna saw some hobgoblins sneak away.

After the rest, the party moved on, ignoring a branching pathway to the right and into a large room dominated by a large statue

The statue was a trap, and attacked the party members as they moved close to it, and dragon statues on the far side of the room blasted out at them.

The party snuck past these these statues, and Sonny dived in to disable the statue.

Then Draco stepped into an area surrounded by cherub statues which turned out to be a trap, an invisible wall closed trapping Draco and the statues began pouring water into the enclosed space at an alarming rate.

Sora teleported into the trap to help Draco smash the statues, causing the wall to collapse and water flow to cease.

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The Level Below

The party began to make their way down the steps, and a few stairs down humanoid legs came into view, and the party were challenged with the call “Shadow seeks shadow” and when they were unable to provide the required pass phrase, heard it followed up by a should of “Release the beast!”.

Hector and Sonny made their to the foot of the stairs and engaged what the party recognised to be Hobgoblins. Cersei recognised them to be soldiers and grunts, however they could see two of the grunts trying to open a cage at the back of the room containing a Deathjump Spider.

The party fought hard against the hobgoblins, and several had fallen before the spider was released. Sonny engaged the spider, and injured it severely, before being able to just about dodge a savage thrust from the spiders fangs. Once the spider was dead, the remaining hobgoblins were quickly finished off, but not before Sonny had fallen unconcious.

While Hector and Sonny bound their wounds from the fight, Enna, Cersei and Sora searched the hobgoblins’ lair and found 20gp and some change. Once ready to move on, the party passed through the first few rooms of the lower level.

Sonny was scouting ahead, and saw one path off to the right which seemed to have a pressure plate trap in the floor, but he couldn’t see a way to disable it.

Hector and Enna jumped over the plate and investiagated the room, which seems to have a well used great table, and two rooms coming off it, with a pile of detritus in the corner.

As they moved over to the stuff in corner, a should of “Now – get them” was head from behind the doors, and the advance party was again beset by hobgoblins. Sonny tried to jump the pressure plate to assist, but didn’t make the distance and triggered the plate, causing a portcullis to come crashing down blocking off the passageway and stranding the others.

Enraged by his mistake, a feat of super-halfling strength followed as he ripped a bar free from the portculis and bent another, leaving enough space for even Sora to pass.

The leader emerged, a grizzled looking hobgoblin, clearly superior to the others and commanded them to take “the horned one first”. Hector but up sterling resistance, but eventaully succumbed surrounded by three foes. The leader commanded the remaning hobgoblins to go for “the Elf next”. Enna loosed a shaft from her bow which split in air and thudded into the neck of both the leader and his remaning soldier, leaving them both greivously injured.

After that, it was a matter of time until the heroes prevailed, and got Hector back to his feat, however after a few tough fights, the heroes needed time to rest again as they were on their last legs. The used the remainder of the great table, which had caught fire in the battle to reinforce the ruined portculis. They checked over the cheif’s chambers and found a +1 Vicious Fullblade before setting up camp to rest.

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The Crypt of Shadows

The party quickly fled the Deep Cave after forcing the young dragon to retreat, taking refuge once again in the dark of the cavern above, taking a few minutes to recover their breath. The then pressed on, back into the main keep of the castle finding a doorway from the entry hall which they had not yet taken.

The room beyond was again in darkness, and the party advanced carefully, with Cersei throwing lights ahead in the corridor to light the way.

Sonny moved ahead and peered round a corner to see a group of Zombies waiting in the dark. Trying to pass on the message to the trailing party quietly, fear seemed to get the better of him as he yelped out, alerting the creatures to the party’s presence.

The fight was going well, with only 5 zombies to contend with, even if they seemed able to continue rising. Sonny began cutting off their heads to make sure they stayed down, when suddenly two more approached them from the darkness behind, going straight for Cersei and Enna who were standing back to use their ranged attacks.

Cersei was enranged, and spun around, unleasing a 25 foot gout of flame from her hands, burning and charring not only the 2 attackers that the party had seen, but a further 4 zombies who were still lurching through the darkness.

Only 2 zombies remained at this point, and they were quickly taken down, with Cersei tearing the head off the last one with her bear hands, tearing the rotting flesh and sinew away from the body.

The party pressed on, finding the next room to appear to be a shrine or chapel of some sort, however as they advanced towards the silvery light and paintings of a silver dragon, Skeletons began to emerge from the sarcophagi lining the walls.

The enemies seemed to have no end, after 10 initially emerged from tombs, 10 more arrived in waves and the party were overwhelmed. Sonny was severly injured and fell unconcious, while Cersei was bloodied in the fight. Hector was able to assist the injured, and save Sonny from death, before Enna caught one of the tougher skeletons full-on with a well placed arrow, leaving it easily finished off by Cersei.

As the final skeletons were being destroyed, Cersei finally managed to push forwards into the main part of the chapel, and found the following inscription on the Altar:

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

Duly, Cersei knelt and offered a prayer to the Platinum Dragon, at which point the fait silvery glow from dome of the altars puled brightly and passed down the corridor from which the skeltons were emerging, bathing the sarcophagi in it’s holy light.

Weary, the companions searched the room, finding a secret compartment in the altars, containing 8 small silver figurines depicting the Platinum Dragon. Sonny was aprehensive about taking them at first, but Cersei reminded him that the Platinum Dragon would aid all of those fighting for good and justice, and that by carrying these statuettes, they may carry some of that blessing with them.

Desipite not being ready to rest properly, the party felt that they could go no further immediately, and set up camp under the faint glow of the chapel devoted to the Platinum Dragon.

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Sir Keegan's Tomb

While in the chapel, the party discussed the natures of some of the gods, both good and evil. In addition to the Platinum Dragon, they discussed what they knew of Corellon, Erathis, The Raven Queen, Vecna, Lolth and Zehir.

After a time they began to grow weary and rested, protected from the evils which have infested the keep by grace of the Platinum Dragon. When they awoke, they opened the ornate doors at the end of the hall and some went in while others waited at the doors.

There appeared to be just a large sarcophagus with the image of a warrior bearing the symbols of the Platinum Dragon engraven on it. The party respectfully left tomb, however as they turned to leave, the stone lid of the sarcophagos exploded into dust and when the party turned back, the shade of a warrior stood beside the tomb, and accused them of trying to open the portal to The Shadowfell.

The party claimed their innocence, however, Cersei was very confrontational, and the encounter nearly came to blows, however the Shade revaled himself as Sir Keegan, and described his fall from protector and Captain of the Keep, to murdered and slayer of his family. He lives a half-life of regret and shame, and can no longer fulful his duties, but once he had questioned the party one by one to be appeased that they were geniunely heroes, he offered them his ancient sword Aecris, his thanks, and wishes of good luck.

The party left the tomb and made their way back towards the South East of the tomb, making thier way through the darkness outside the chapel where they had previously cleared the zombies.

They were very wary of the traps that they had found on the floor, looking to avoid setting any off, Hector jumped over one easily, Sora was able to teleport across the traps and it was found that Splug was able to simply walk over them without triggering them.

The advance party found a hidden door that opened into what at first glance appeared to be no more than a small store cupboard, but both Sora and Hector were not fooled by the illusory wall which disguised a secret armory. Unfortunately, there were 4 zombies guarding what remained of the hidden store.

Hector yelled out for help, and Splug begain to scream for his mistress as the two party members began to take on the zombies alone. The zombies had the better of it, and Hector was beset as the rest of the party struggled to clear the terror runes, becoming scattered in the darkness.

Eventually Tarquin was able to make his way into the room and with a holy word broke the resolve of the undead monsters, allowing them to be finished quickly.

A riddle protected what was left of the armory, which the party correctly answered and were rewarded with +1 Black Iron Scale Armor.

After this, the party made thier way back to a set of stairs down which they had passed by in their haste to aid the remaining party members, and peered down, seeing lights below, beyond a high vaulted arch…

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The Deep Cave

The party decided to make the most of the hidden lair that they had found, and took an extended rest, setting watches in pairs. Cersei and Draco took the first watch, and began to notice a burrowing sound within the first hour. The watches continued and the burrowing did not relent, until after almost 8 hours of digging, when a sudden booming crash awoke everyone.

When the party left the seclusion of the hidden lair, it became apparent that something had been digging the cause the collapse of the tunnel leading southward out of the cave. Leaving the party with the decision to either head back towards Kalarel’s lair, or investigate the door on which the stark message “Keep out. Really” had been scratched.

The door was given closer inspection and it was thought that the message had been scratched into the door with a blade within the last year. The party were split on which way to go, and cast a split vote. Somehow Splug was asked his opinion, so he immediately said he would vote with his mistress, referring to Sora, who of the party has been the nicest to him.

Gonad son of Groin pushed open the doors without great effort, finding them to open onto a landing at the top of a spiral staircase. The stairs went downwards in the darkness for 3 and half turns, with the party led by the light cast by Cersei on Draco’s armor. At the bottom of the stairs, the passage continued as a long corridor.

The party passed along for at least a minute before Enna began to notice the smell of stagnant water and decay, which was soon detected by the others too. The passageway abruptly opened up into a huge cavern, as the stench began to get stronger. The cavern appeared to have collapsed at the rear, open to the dawn, or dusk sky – the party were unsure which having been underground for at least a day.

Tarquin at the head of the party on the right flank was the first to see, to the left of the entrance to cave, a gigantic black skeleton, which appeared to be that of a dragon. Then a figure, standing before a pool of dark water spoke:

_“Almighty Tiamat has sent you to us. Worthless pawns bearing treasure for the hoard of Maûzebel, reclaimer of the Lair of Grûzon!"

At these words, a horned head emerged from the dark pool, dripping with foul water and eminating a terrible stench, red eyes afixed on the intruders, who the party could only assume was Maûzebel.

Upon evocation of the name of Tiamat, the followers of the Platinum Dragon flew into action, led by Draco who had been apprehensive about exploring the cavern from the start, but immediately charged at this diciple of evil. Enna immediately identified the young Black Dragon emerging from the pool and began to relay all that she new about dragon’s to her companions.

Cersei was able to identify the shadowy figure as a Dark Creeper Necromancer, as he began to chant in a language unintelligble to all of the members of the party.

The fight quickly took a turn for the worse as the dragon fully emerged from the pool, eminating an aura which sapped the srength of those within 25 feet, and unleashed a gout of acid over Hector, Gonad son of Groin, and Tarquin leaving them all severely injured.

After consideration of fleeing, the party were steeled into action, and began to face their main foe at close quarters, while Draco threw her full weight into the Necromancer, forcing him back into the pool, where he was lost from sight under the dark and murky water.

The party threw everything they had at the dragon, and upon Tarquin evoking the name of Bahamut and promising divine judgement to the dragon, the dragon began to beat it’s wings to flee, allowing Draco, Gonad son of Groin and Hector the chance to swing at it. Gonad son of Groin connected, and the dragon finally appeared to be injured, with acid blood covering those around it, and in it’s rage it unleashed another breath of acid.

As this was happening, the necromance re-emerged from the pool, looking far worse for wear, but looking for vengance he begain to use his wicked blade to cut through the party, causing several to fall unconcious.

The dragon continued to flee, making for the fissure to the rear of the cavern as Enna, Sora and Cersei continued to attack from range, however it did manage to escape, despite being severely injured.

The fallen party members were stabilised after the necromancer was finally dispatched, and the cavern was searched for treasure while Enna identfied the dragon bones as being large enough to have been the bones of an ancient dragon.

The dragon hoard was found to be somewhat modest, containing 1,254gp, a pair of Catstep Boots and a +1 Floating Shield, while the dagger used by the necromancer was taken and given to Sonny since it was a +1 Duelist’s Dagger.

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The Maze of Caves

The first attack was over in a flash, no sooner had 4 giant rats decended from the stalctites to surround Draco, than they were themselves surrounded by the party who reacted very quickly, and dispatched the rats before they could react.

The fight was not over however, as Hector scanned the room and found yet more rats and noticed a flash of movement in the darkness beyond the lights spread by the party. The party worked through the rats and Enna moved to the edge of the light and was aware of something close-by making a gurgly, sucking sound.

She was then attacked by the creature, which had been disturbed, but was able to spring back with her nimble ranger reflexes. As Draco moved closer to shine light on the fray both Cersei and Enna were able to identify the creature as an Ochre Jelly.

Meanwhile Gonad son of Groin had begun to explore the other corners of the cave, and at the edge of the party’s light was beset by 5 more giant rats, while another 3 of the hideous creatures had snuck behind the party and attacked Cersei.

The served as a minor distraction only, and between Enna’s greatbow, Sonny’s knife, Draco’s longsword and Sora’s eldritch powers, the Jelly was beset, and even after making a final desperate ploy of splitting in two, it was unable to resist for long.

After tidying up the rats, the party explored the cave in more detail, after a first pass they had noted a bronze door greening with age and covered with a think purple-blue moss, into which was scratched in common “Keep Out. Really”.

Leaving the mysterious door for now, the party had noticed one exit from the cavern leading further into the darkness, and the steps down which they had originally decended when Cersei realised that the giant central pillar of the cave was easily large enough to conceal a room. A detailed check around the area uncovered the hidden door, and Enna spotted small tracks leading into the door, but not out.

Draco burst in, and with a dragonborn snarl and righteous fury was able to intimidate the two goblins in the room. They immidiately surrendered, and revealed that Kalarel allowed them to live in the upper level of the keep, guarding his work on the lower levels. They revealed that the entrance to the lower levels was back past the entrance to the keep, and accessible from the southwest exit of the entry hall.

Unfortunately for the goblins, this informationwas not enough to satisfy Draco that they were worthy of mercy, and were cut down as a result, however there was some tension in the party as not everyone felt that the goblins deserved their fate.

Regardless, the party found a set of keys on the fallen goblin leader, identified by Splug as Balgron, the cheif of the goblins at the keep.

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The Excavation Site

As Gonad son of Groin shouts alound, the party prepare for another fight, charging into the room at the end of the corridor, the party discover the excavation site which Splug had mentioned earlier. Insider are a few goblins who carry Alchemist’s Fire items, which are thrown vials that explode intro a firey blast when the shatter.

Shortly after the battle commences, a graceful Elf Ranger name Enna joined the fray, assisting the party in the fight.

The party kill the goblin’s guard drakes, and 2 of the 3 goblins working on the site before the third yields to them, proffering the treasure that he has found in exchange for his life. He hands over a +1 Symbol of Battle which is taken by Tarquin before Draco asks the captive what he will do with his spared life. The Paladin of the Platinum Dragon found his answer unworthy, and executed the captive.

After catching their breath and discussing Enna’s goals and welcoming her into the group, the party moved onto into a darkened natural cavern which opened up off of the corridor which they had passed in their haste to engage the enemy.

Using a light cast on the Draco’s sword by Cersei at the front, and a torch carried by Splug at the rear, the company formed up to investigate the cave. The more perceptive amongst the party noticed scurrying quaraped figures in the darkness, before Draco took a couple of steps away from the rest of the group…

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