To Drive Back the Night. To Restore the Light.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Sessions 25 & 26 18-19/10/717 Thunderspire #9 & #10 - End

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#9 Joined by Wilf the elven scout, the party penetrates the Well of Demons, kills the gnoll leader Maldrick Scarmaker, and takes his silver teleport key. Rescue last two Fallcrest captives from Maldrick's  interrupted ritual to rededicate the Well from Baphomet to Yeenoghu.

#10 Party returns to the Seven Pillared Hall for overnight rest at the Inn while Steven & Andraste escort the captives back to Fallcrest. Meet Rakara, a red dragonborn & junior mage of Saruun, on his own quest to deal with the renegade Paldomar.
Group uses the silver key a teleport circle to enter the Tower of Mysteries, passing the challenge of the Aspect of Vecna. Messoria communes with her mother(?) and is blessed by Sehanine.

In a terrible battle at the Temple of Vecna within the Tower of Mysteries, Hengist the Warlord is slain by Paldomar, but the renegade mage's Bronze Warder and his army of carnage demons and norkers fall, until he alone remains. Failing to kill Messoria, Paldomar's nerve cracks and he flees via the teleporter, leaving Rakara Messoria Wilf & Aelar battered but living, and victorious. They destroy the Vecnite temple, ending Paldomar's plan to siphon the draconic energies of Tiamat into control of Saruun's Bronze Warders.

Then they return home.


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Session 24 The Well of Demons 17-18/10/17 Thunderspire #8

17/18/17: Talk with the Ordinator Arcanis, representative of the Mages of Saruun in Thunderspire.
18/18/17: Travel down to the Well of Demons, deal with choker & tentacle beast sentries & gnoll pack.

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Messoria Account - To the Well of Demons 

As the tieflings who had ambushed us had a controller for a Bronze Guardian, we decide to meet with a representative of the Mages of Saruun as we had been of the opinion that only they had access to the amulets enabling control of the Bronze Guardians. After some negotiation with the clerk, we gained an audience with the Ordinator Arcanis, one of the Mages.

Messoria related the story of the ambush and how the amulet had come into our possession. She went on to describe the results of the interrogation of Tears of the Rain, her description of the hooded figure named Paldomar and his instructions for meeting up with him at the Well of Demons. The Ordinator expressed his concern but raised doubts that it was Paldomar who ordered the ambush: perhaps a creature disguised as the wizard or Paldomar himself had been possessed.

He went on to tell us some of the lore surrounding the Well of Demons: it had been a cult centre for the worship of Baphomet, the demon lord of Minotaurs that had been raided and sacked by followers of Baphomet’s rival, Demogorgon. The centre of the Well was shielded and had been created as an area to test Minotaurs in their worship of Baphomet.

Recalling her studies of the area’s history, Andraste tells that the Minotaurs of Saruun Kel had been turning away from the worship of Baphomet in favour of Torog. They were cursed by Baphomet with the Curse of Mindless Fury, sending them mad so that Minotaur fought Minotaur until they were destroyed. The Curse caused the fall of Saruun Kel about 300 years ago.

The next day we head for the Deep Stair and the route to the Well of Demons shown on the tieflings’ map. As we are leaving the Seven Pillared Hall, Aelar spots recent tracks going away from the Deep Stair – we think they belong to the hobgoblin warcaster and his two goblin archer followers.

The Deep Stair winds steeply downwards until we think we are about 500’ below the level of the Seven Pillared Hall. The tunnel opens up into a large, low ceilinged room with five pillars and a dark pit. The ceiling is split by several old cracks about 18’’ wide.

As we wait at the entrance of the room, a voice booms out, greeting us as seekers of Baphomet’s Glory. It makes reference to tests and refers to Mask, Bell, Blade and Tome – perhaps a reference to the particular skills of rogues, priests, warriors and wizards? A moment later we realise that we have all heard the voice in our own language.

Before we can share our thoughts on this introduction, Messoria and Aelar notice a stocky figure, a ghoul, lurking behind a column, while the keen-eyed elf also notices slender creatures skulking on the ceiling, waiting to ambush us. Messoria calls out to focus on the ghoul as it can paralyze its victims, and with only four of us that could turn the tide of a fight. Messoria leads the charge and with the assistance of Aelar and Andraste the ghoul quickly falls. In that moment a strange, tentacle Lurker bursts from beneath the ground trying to snare Aelar in its lashing tentacles. Only Hengist’s timely warning gives the elf time to duck away. Other tentacles reach for Andraste but she calls on her winter fey heritage to dissolve into a flurry of snow to escape its grasp.

The Chokers on the ceiling attack Hengist and Aelar but as they in turn attack their captors, they have little resistance to either sword or arrow and area soon destroyed. Messoria tries to keep the Tentacle Lurker focussed on her, but its tentacles are able to attack everyone in the room. Just as it too is destroyed, a sleepy gnoll archer wanders into the room, perhaps awakened at the sound of the fight. Unfortunately we are unable to stop him from raising the alarm.

With the end of the fight, we are forced to take stock and catch our breath, despite knowing the gnolls are preparing for attack. They come at us from two directions, a hyena pack leading the charge from one corridor and a Dire Boar from the other. Aelar observes the Boar is mad with pain and being forced along at spear point.

He focusses his aim at the attacking groups and showers them with arrows before they can charge. Many of the hyenas are killed along with a couple of the gnoll marauders. The remainder charge at us, but the gnolls’ plan backfires as the other group of hyenas are unable to charge past the Dire Boar, thus halving the effectiveness of their planned two-pronged attack.

Aelar is able to convince the Dire Boar that we are not its enemies, so the Boar turns and charges the frustrated gnolls, trapping them in the corridor as the elf archer rains more arrows down on them. Messoria moves up to support the Boar, calling on Sehanine to heal the valiant beast as it gores its tormentors.

The gnoll marauders and their remaining hyenas close on Andraste and Hengist, but the eladrin rogue blinds them as her magic dagger stabs at their eyes. As they struggle to manoeuver, they are killed one by one. Seeing their comrades fall, the three remaining gnoll archers escape followed by the single surviving hyena.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Aelar's Letter

To whom it may concern: Please forward this letter to any member of the Woodsinger clan in Harkenwood forest, past the White river.
Or bring that letter to Fallcrest on King's road and give it to Leleth Snow, daughter of Lord Faren Markelhay and she will forward it further.
You can expect a reward of a gold piece or its equivalent in food or lodging if you bring that letter intact to its final destination or any part of it for any correspondng milestones.

Dear Mother, dear Father, and possibly, dear cousin Leleth.
I sincerely hope that this message finds you well as I have seem some troubling developments in the world outside our dear mother forest and hope that these haven't caught up with you.
Although I am confident that you would be able to cope with many an assaillant, as our old saying goes: "A hunter forwarned has his arrow already notched".
But first let me tell you what happened to me since I left the ancestral forest: Leleth and I went all the way to Fallcrest where she met the one that we never discussed.
Surprisingly, everything went well and we were offered the charge of guards as his personal armigers. That kept us occupied for some time before we got enrolled in various adventures.
Tne first one allowed us to find some new companions in arms during a Goblin attack in a tavern. This was the first of a long straight of increasingly tenacious fights with Goblins,
but also Hobgoblins, Kobolds, cultists, skeletons, and even later demons.
Fortunately, these companions are powerful allies and some belong to races I had only heard through our songs and lore:
- A Tiefling, some sort of fiercely-looking horned human, called Messoria, with a greatly skilled swordwomanship and a loyalty without a fail.
Gifted with powers that turn a fight always to our advantage.
- The half sister of Leleth, a very stunning lady for a human. She accompanied us in one or two adventures and she seem to arbor unnatural powers.
- A Dragonborn called Arjhan, some sort of scaly ogre who I proudly count as my friends before he succumbed to an ambush in a dark dungeon. May his scales rest in peace in the hall of Bahamut.
These dragonborn come across as sturdy lads but seem to be falling like the arms of a willow on a dry summer. Ghesh, another one of these fellows lost his life in similar unfortunate circumstances.
Maybe it's just that some God doesn't like them very much and sends fateful wishes their way... we'll never know.
The latest addditions to our merry band of adventurers are Andraste, the elegant Eladrin and Hengist, a human, both very battle hardened and skilled in turning a doomed battle
into a debacle for the enemy.
I have learned more in these past few months than I ever had since I was able to walk and track my first hare. And although I miss you terribly as well as our forest and our tribe,
I enjoy immensely the excitement in my life.
But enough of writing about myself. The crux of this missive is to bring to your attention towards the increasing insistence and presence of many forces of evil in the entire Nentir vale and as a result,
the wind of war and suffering that may reach the branches of our beloved forest of Harkenwood.
Be, more than ever, wary of the Daggerburg goblins and maybe species even more noxious from further afield and who could venture in our mother land.
I don't know when they will strike but I can only be sure of their inexorable rise. Prepare yourselves and prepare our tribe.

I hope that these fateful news do not obscure the ray of joy in your hearts. Enjoys your walks in the ferns and the orchards as if I was stepping beside your tracks.
I will come back one day, hopefully soon. And in the meantime, I will watch my back and keep my arrows straight as if you were there to do it for me.

Your son, Aelar.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Session 23 Return to Thunderspire Labyrinth 15-17/10/17 Thunderspire #7

Messoria Account: A Failed Ambush – Paldomar’s Mistake

We leave Steven, Frank and Wanda in Fallcrest to bolster the town’s defences and head back to Thunderspire and the seven Pillared Hall. Lord Markelhay had expressed his concern over the reports we brought of the Black Fang Gnolls and asks us to investigate further, and if the remaining prisoners are alive, to rescue them.

Once back in the Hall we decide to visit Rothar’s Taproom, a less than reputable hostelry patronised by orcs, hobgoblins and the like. On the way we pass the giant minotaur statue and observe that it is the locus for a teleport circle as we see one of the Mages arrive there.

At Rother’s Taproom we see the hobgoblin warcaster who survived the fight in the Chamber of Eyes and invite him to sit with us. We establish an armed truce and learn from him that the Black Fang Gnolls are led by Maldrek Scar-Maker and they lair in a place called the Well of Demons, far below the Seven Pillared Hall. The Well of Demons dates back to the time when the minotaurs built Thunderspire Labyrinth and was apparently an important location in a religious schism related to the minotaur worship of the demon lord Baphomet.

While we are talking, a kobold beggar enters the tavern searching for us. He gives Aelar a note inviting us to a meeting purporting to be an opportunity to gain a hidden ally in the Labyrinth – clearly an invitation to a trap!

Thinking we may be able to turn the tables and gather useful information from our would-be ambushers, we head to the location described which is in a dead end tunnel off the seven Pillared Hall. Messoria and Hengist take the lead while Aelar and Andraste follow in the shadows some thirty feet behind.

In the cave we see the bulk of a Bronze Warder standing next to a large boulder and a tiefling woman on top of a ledge ten feet off the ground that runs around the edge of the cave. Aelar shoots her and tries to trip her so she falls from the ledge but she is able to save herself and instead falls to the ground out of our sight, hidden by the angle of the ledge. He then shoots at the Warder and succeeds in briefly pinning him to that cave wall as he is attempting to roll the boulder on to Messoria and Hengist.

Messoria moves around the boulder and attacks the Warder, striking mighty blows against it with her Flaming Warhammer. Andraste darts forward and tries to climb up the ledge but slips in the loose rubble at its base. Hengist meanwhile holds back calling out his encouragement for Messoria to continue attacking the Warder.

The tiefling woman regains her feet and strikes at Aelar with her magic, attacking him with spectral snakes whose venom is only too real. Then a second tiefling appears from the shadows and blasts Aelar with balefire. Aelar stumbles backwards, seriously wounded, and tries to shoot the tiefling woman again but his injuries make it hard to aim and he misses her but with an effort of will he is able to throw off the worst of the tieflings’ attacks.

The Bronze Warder finally manages to roll the boulder into the doorway, cutting Andraste and Aelar off from the fight. It then turns and knock Messoria to the ground before attacking both she and Hengist with its powerful axe. Messoria is able to deflect its blow with her shield but the axe strikes Hengist, injuring him severely. Messoria gets to her feet, manoeuvres to get the Warder between herself and Hengist, and once more attacks until the cave resonates with the sound of hammer on bronze.

Andraste notices a gap between the top of the boulder and the cave roof and uses it to spot a safe place to fey step back into the cave to attack the now heavily damaged Warder. The tiefling realises that Messoria is likely to be immune to many of her attacks so instead turns her attention to Andraste, despite the burn of Sehanine’s light as she ignores the paladin’s challenge. Andraste is badly scorched and takes refuge behind another large boulder.

Working together Messoria and Hengist finally destroy the Warder and turn their attention to the tieflings who, recognising that the fight had turned against them, had once again ducked back out of sight at the back of the ledge.

Hengist and Andraste both manage to climb up onto the ledge to attack the female tiefling while Aelar, precariously balanced on top of the boulder blocking the entrance, shoots at the other. His arrow finds its mark and the tiefling stumbles forwards only to be assailed by holy light as Sehanine’s challenge makes it tumble over the edge and draws it to Messoria. Within seconds it is all over.

Seeing this the female tiefling offers to surrender, encouraged by the fact that when Framath the Duergar had surrendered we did not kill him. She says her name is Tears of the Rain and that she and her brother were hired by Paldomar to kill us, and even given control of a Bronze Warder to accomplish the task. She shows us a note that tells them to take our bodies and a sealed scroll to the Black Fang Gnolls and gives us a detailed map of (hopefully) the safest route there. She notes that when they spoke with Paldomar, he was always hooded but they saw small tentacles beneath his hood.

Hengist manages to roll the boulder aside, opening our exit, and Messoria orders Tears of the Rain to leave the Nentir Vale.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Session 22 Conquest of the Horned Hold 7/10/17 Thunderspire #6

Messoria Account:

The Defeat of the Duergar 

We rest briefly before continuing onwards. Concerned about the risk of getting surprised by an unexpected group of Duergar so deep in their stronghold, Andraste scouts the area before finding a spot where she can keep watch and warn us of any approaching threat.

The rest of us move forward cautiously, entering an antechamber with two doors. Through one of them we see the Duergar leader Murkelmor and some of his aides, so Aelar takes position by the door while the rest of us charge in. The theurge who had been talking with Murkelmor falls before us while Murkelmor himself is seriously injured.

Clearly deciding discretion to be the better part of valour, Murkelmor retreats to a fireplace blazing unusually hot – even Messoria can feel the heat of the flames - and ducks through a secret door behind it into the large room beyond.

Deducing that the other door from the antechamber leads to the same large room we divide our forces rather than try to force the bottleneck through the fireplace where there would be a risk of us getting trapped in the flames.

We successfully force the door and Steven is able to push his way into the room. We see Murkelmor supported by a group of Duergar guards, another theurge, who we find out is named Framath, and a pair of Spined Devils. The room comprises several pits in which are the prisoners we have been searching for.

Framath the theurge calls on his magic and manages to severely injure, blind and/or poison many of the party. Murkelmor himself is caught in the theurge’s attack, and in his seriously wounded state, it is enough to kill him. Framath calls out to rally the surviving Duergar that with Murkelmor’s death, he is now their leader.

Murkelmor’s death is a turning point for the Duergar and their defences start to crumble. One of the Spined Devils, seeing the way the fight is going, decides to take out its frustrations on the helpless prisoners and manage to kill three before Messoria can reach it to challenge it. Framath too is on the run but before he can escape Aelar’s arrow trips him into a flooded pit where he has no choice but to surrender.

In all we rescue seven prisoners including Herlof the Prospector and Grue the Goblin, sold to the Duergar by the Bloodreaver Goblins. Two further prisoners are missing, apparently taken by Black Fang Gnolls two or three days ago. Not wanting to be encumbered by prisoners, we leave Framath and the surviving Duergar tied up in one of the slave pits. A dagger placed nearly will allow them to free themselves but will give us time to get away.

We return to the Seven Pillared Hall with the rescued prisoners. Grue seeks refuge there while we escort the others back to Fallcrest. We remain in the town several days while Nimozaran uses much of the treasure we have found to fund upgrades to our equipment: Aelar and Andraste’s weapons are improved as is Messoria’s armour. He is also able to resize Murkelmor’s giant flaming maul to a more manageable size so that Messoria can wield it as a Warhammer.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Session 21 7/10/17 Thunderspire #5

Messoria Account - The Raid on the Horned Hold

Even as Messoria draws her sword to attack, she recognises one of the agents of her father, Kallain, disguised as a mercenary. The fight breaks out and Hengist, the mercenary warlord, starts shouting advice to us which we take full advantage of – much to the dismay of our opponents.

The remaining orc slave calls for aid and the three orc guards from the gate rush to help him, but it proves insufficient. Wanda is seriously injured, but is healed by Messoria who then charges the leader of the duergar: the formidable Forgemaster Urwall. Meanwhile Steven the dwarf has been slashing at his enemies with sweeping blows of the mighty dwarven waraxe, against which the orcs have no defence.

Aelar and Andraste snipe effectively from outside the melee, but the eladrin is surprised by a duergar scout who is able to turn invisible and attack her. She survives with minor injuries as the duergar is pursued into a dead end room by Hengist and Messoria where its invisibility is of little use.

With our enemies defeated before an alarm could be raised we take a few minutes to speak with Hengist and search the room. Hengist has been unable to explore the whole Hold as mercenaries are not wholly trusted, but he recalls seeing a group of slaves being taken across the bridge into the main hold, a Halfling amongst them. Andraste and Aelar find Urwall’s treasure which includes the Skull Sceptre which we have heard has been sought by Gendar, the drow merchant, even though it is not magical.

Using duergar cloaks as a basic disguise, and pretending to be either mercenaries or prisoners, we cross the bridge to the main Hold. Andraste attempts to pick the lock on the door but it proves resistant to her efforts. Hengist takes a more straightforward approach and is able to lever it open with a crowbar and brute strength.

From the hall beyond we hear the sounds of unsuspecting duergar sleeping or resting. Following the sound of snoring, Andraste sneaks into a room to attempt a coup de grace. However, as well as a sleeping duergar, an only too awake duergar wizard is on the far side of the room and immediately notices her. Before he can act, Messoria calls on Sehanine’s power and the wizard is compelled to walk towards the Paladin who is able to strike him down. Andraste, Frank and Wanda are meanwhile able to kill the other duergar as it awakens.

Still unnoticed we sneak into a guard room where we see a duergar soldier and two arbalest armed constructs built to resemble female minotaurs. The soldier and one of the minotaurs fall to our attacks, but from behind a wall appears another duergar who sees the situation and, running towards a large pair of double doors, raises the alarm.

Messoria charges after him and kills him even as the doors open revealing a huge ogress accompanied by four orc raiders. Steven rushes forwards to reinforce her and between them they are able defeat the hulking ogre. Trapped by Sehanine’s radiance, the orc raiders make futile attempts to attack Messoria with thrown handaxes, but her armour proves more than sufficient. The ogre however is able to land several telling blows on Messoria before she is killed and it is only Hengist’s intervention that saves her.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Session 20 7/10/17 Thunderspire #4

Carouse in tavern, Attack Grimmerzhul trade post, take duergar prisoner, travel to the Horned Hold. Bluff way in, reach the forge and attack...

Messoria Account - The Pursuit of the Duergar

On our return to the Seven Pillared Hall, Andraste speaks with Bennick the Wanderer, a bard who creates a (somewhat exaggerated) song relating our defeat of the hobgoblins in the Chamber of Eyes. He agrees to ask around and see if he can find out anything on the whereabouts of the Duergar camp.

In the tavern we speak with Vadriar the Sage, one of the most well-travelled of the labyrinth’s explorers. Unfortunately he has paid the price for his knowledge as he is haunted by something he has seen deep in the labyrinth. He is able to tell us that the Duergar are based in the Horned Hold, near a subterranean abyss, and that they travel there via a (not very) secret passage in the Grimmerzhul Trading Post.

On the chance we can foment trouble between the drow and the duergar, both of whom are likely involved in slave trading, we visit the drow trader in the Hall, but he seems disinterested by any potential competition. He is willing to sell information but is very mercenary about it.

With no recourse other than to confront the duergar in the trading post head on, we go in. The rest of us distract the two duergar at the counter while Andraste slips in through a side door. She knocks out the first duergar she sees who falls unconscious into his breakfast. Another duergar sees her and a melee ensues.

We are initially concerned that the bronze minotaur guards in the Hall who are tasked with keeping the peace will hear the fight and interfere, but the local indigents are apparently no allies of the duergar and none of them raise the alarm.

Messoria moves up to support Andraste, and between them they defeat the duergar leader, Kedira, while the rest of the party deal with the duergar guards. We take a survivor named Gurzal prisoner, and after some encouragement he agree to lead us to the Horned Hold and get us past the orc guards on gate duty.

Andraste searches the trading post and finds a letter from Murkelmor to Kedira, instructing her to buy provisions to ‘feed the merchandise’ alongside a map of the labyrinth.

Taking only the time to catch our breath we head off to the Horned Hold. Gurzal co-operates and, with Messoria bluffing that we’re bandits in disguise, we get past the orcs at the gate. Messoria releases Gurzal, warning him against crossing us in the future.

Going deeper into the Hold we find ourselves in a large forge with duergar smiths and orc servants. As our bluff wears thin, Messoria draws her sword and attacks.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Session 19 6-7/10/717Thunderspire Labyrinth #3

Joined by reinforcements* from Fallcrest, Messoria & Aelar mount a second assault on the Chamber of Eyes the following day (6/10). This time they are victorious, only the hobgoblin warcaster and two goblin sharpshooters escape the carnage. A letter in Krand's chest reveals that the slaves have been sold to the Duergar. Return to Seven Pillared Hall and rest overnight.

*Dwarf Sergeant Ftr-4. Frank & Wanda Soldier-3.

Messoria - Death in the Chamber of Eyes

Having returned to the Seven Pillared Hall, we overnight once again at the Half Moon Inn. In the morning we meet with Steven, a dwarf warrior who has travelled from Fallcrest to find us accompanied by two Fallcrest guards: Frank and Wanda. Thus reinforced we believe we can finally defeat the hobgoblin raiders.

As we are readying to leave, Aelar notices that Terrlen Darkseeker, our guide of previous trips to the Camber of Eyes, has grown significantly hairier overnight and, as we now know the route, he asks for a few days off.

Soon we near the Chamber of Eyes. Knowing that the hobgoblins will surely be expecting our return, Aelar sneaks ahead to see what new defences have been put in place against us. He spots a hobgoblin archer who is oblivious to the presence of the sneaky hunter. Aelar’s first arrow seriously wounds him, but as he stumbles forward, the second arrow misses and the hobgoblin is able to raise the alarm.

More hobgoblins rush to reinforce him even as we hurry to catch up with our elven scout who has been wounded in their counterattack. We are somewhat dismayed to notice that the hobgoblins have rounded out their number with a group of human bandits.

The fight rages long and hard; Steven the dwarf and the two Fallcrest guards more than pulling their weight. We defeat the first line of guards and push forward to confront the hobgoblin chief and his pet warg. Finally, with most of us badly wounded, we stand victorious. Having seen the fall of their leader, the hobgoblin warcaster and the last two archers sneak out a side way and escape.

We search the Chamber of Eyes for the captives, including the Halfling who we have been sent to rescue, but our repeated retreats have cost us: the prisoners have been moved on. In the hobgoblin leader’s room we find a letter written in Common (though Steven spots that the handwriting is likely dwarven). It’s an agreement to purchase slaves signed by Murkelmor of Grimmerzhul. The name seems familiar and we recall that there is a Grimmerzhul Trading Post in the Seven Pillared Hall which will be our next stop…

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Session 18 5-6/10/717 Thunderspire Labyrinth #2

Into the Chamber of Eyes
After being delayed in leaving Fallcrest, Messoria reaches Thunderspire Labyrinth and the Seven Pillared Hall. From there she is pointed in the direction of the Chamber of Eyes where Aelar, Andraste and the Dragonborn Warlock Surina have been fighting a band of hobgoblin raiders who have kidnapped a Halfling.
Messoria is able to identify the eye motif of the complex as relating to the worship of Torog, the Patient One, but it seems to no longer be used as a shrine. Aelar updates Messoria on the situation, warning that they had recently fought five hobgoblins, and while they were able to kill two, the others escaped to warn their allies. With that in mind, we suggest Leleth and our guide stand watch outside the complex in case more hobgoblins arrive, while Messoria, Aelar, Andraste and Surina go deeper into the Chamber of Eyes.
As we fall silent for a moment, Aelar listens for the sound of enemies and hears a halfling’s cry of fear amidst hobgoblin jeers and the growl of what is surely a dire wolf. Rather than go in by the direct route through the double doors, we decide to try to find a side route.
Before we get very far we find a room with two duergar relaxing by a fire. We are able to take them by surprise but they prove too tough to kill quickly, despite a lethally placed dagger from Andraste, and they raise the alarm. A few seconds later we are able to kill them but the damage has been done.
The band of hobgoblins starts to muster led by their captain, Krand. The heavily armed soldiers take the lead while archers and warcasters harass us from range. We hear the growls of frustration from the dire wolf as it struggles to force its way through the narrow tunnels to reach us.
As all the party take serious wounds, Messoria quickly realises that we are overmatched and suggests a retreat, but two more hobgoblins have made their way around behind us, blocking our escape. As Messoria positions herself to stop the hobgoblin main body from getting through the narrow tunnel, Aelar, Andraste and Surina focus their attacks on the hobgoblin archer and warcaster who stand between us and escape. The dire wolf squeezes its way into the tunnel ahead of the hobgoblins, slowing their advance.
We were fortunate that the more heavily armoured soldiers had not been able to get around behind us, and the lightly armoured hobgoblins are killed, clearing our escape route. Aelar and Andraste lead the way past them, leaping athletically over the balcony to the floor of the entrance hall. Surina, now badly injured, follows but stumbles on some rubble as she lands, and after her comes Messoria who had been acting as rearguard. A hobgoblin soldier emerges from the double door, the remaining warcaster behind him. Messoria engages the soldier but the warcaster, seeing the bleeding dragonborn warlock, attacks her instead. Surina falls just as the dire wolf finally emerges from the tunnel. Seeing the dragonborn on the ground, the wolf leaps from the balcony but misses its footing on the loose rubble. Unfortunately it falls next to the dragonborn and as soon as it regains its feet, it tears out her throat. Messoria, Aelar and Andraste make good their escape and meet up with Leleth and their guide.
On the way back to the Seven Pillared Hall we are ambushed by three gnoll hunters. They are ideally positioned to pick us off using their powerful bows so we duck into a side tunnel to force them to close the distance if they want to attack us. In the narrow tunnels, we are able to control the battlefield to our advantage. Two of the gnolls are killed and the third runs away. Minutes later we are back in the (relative) safety of the Seven Pillared Hall.
Now we have a clearer idea of the hobgoblins’ strength, we know it will take a stronger force to successfully defeat them and rescue their Halfling prisoner.

Monday, 27 November 2017

PCs end November 2017/M10 717

1. Aelar, Elf Ranger Hunter 5
2. Messoria Dorimant, Tiefling Paladin 5
3. Leleth Snow, Half-Elf Blackguard 4
4. Andraste, Eladrin Rogue 5
5. Mirabelle Markelhay, Human Wizard Mage 4

Monday, 20 November 2017

Session 17 4-5/10/717 Thunderspire Labyrinth #1

Raiders attack outskirts of Fallcrest domain and take slaves. Aelar Leleth & Andraste follow them to Thunderspire Labyrinth... Inside encounter Bloodreaver hobgoblins with a captive halfling. Battle is a draw, enemy retreat with captive. In Seven Pillared Hall the group stay at Half Moon Inn 4-5/10, recruit a guide and a dragonborn warlock, and head east to attack the slavers' base at the Chamber of Eyes.
Initial attack goes well as the outer guards are defeated.

The Seven Pillared Hall

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Session 16 5/5/717 and up to 30/6/17 Cairn of the Winter King #4

Ice Sceptre returned to Winter King, PCs return home, ice melts.

Messoria Account:

Into the Heart of Winter

Our initial forays into the Cairn of the Winter King had met with stiff resistance from his followers, so once Mirabelle had discovered the Teleportation Circle beyond the room guarded by the wraiths, we took the decision to return to Fallcrest for reinforcements.

A couple of days later we returned the same way, accompanied by three Kinghts of Fallcrest: Sir Arren, Sir Berend and Lady Cristin. In case we encounter creatures vulnerable only to magic I loaned Sir Berend the magical Turathi Flail as I was currently carrying the Sword of Thunder.

Together we move deeper into the Cairn. From a room on the right we hear a cry for help and are immediately suspicious, having earlier been tricked by a gnome illusionist. We cautiously enter a cellblock holding corpses, an owlbear and two finely dressed human women, one of whom begged for our help. Seeing the device on my shield she reiterated her plea invoking Sehanine’s aid.

As she spoke the name of the Goddess, I knew immediately she was false and warned the rest of the party who had already reached a similar conclusion. Seeing their ply had failed, the illusion was dropped revealing two gnomes, one of whom we had seen earlier. Four of the corpses scrambled to their feet and, beckoned by one of the gnomes, the owlbear burst from its pen.

Aelar, Leleth and Andraste concentrated on fighting the gnomes, the knights took the battle to the owlbear while Mirabelle and I concentrated on the undead. One of the gnomes soon fell victim to Aelar’s marksmanship, but the other, Zanna, was able to use her magic to bedazzle her attackers. The knights were able to defeat the owlbear although Lady Cristin was badly wounded by its claws. Zanna too was killed and the undead were blasted by Sehanine’s radiance.

We take a few minutes to catch our breath and then proceed futher down the long corridor. In a frozen alchemist’s laboratory we find three healing potions that defrost quickly when removed from the bench. The next room is a huge, high-ceilinged hall filled with frozen warriors in serried ranks. Above them is a frozen white dragon, a similarly frozen key hanging from its neck.

Having earlier in our explorations come upon a massive double door sealed with locks of fire and ice we decide we need the key so Mirabelle uses Mage Hand to remove it from the dragon’s neck. Immediately the dragon awakens.

Recalling her dealings with Szatharax, the white dragon of Fallcrest, Leleth speaks to the dragon in its own tongue using the mixture of bluff and flattery she had learned in her dealings with Szatharax. The dragon, Thrimzan, is soon convinced that the Winter King has played it false and the hoard it was promised will be nothing of the sort.

Enraged it pushes past us and heads down a nearby stairway, shouting that it will see what the Winter King is doing for itself. We quickly decide that an angry white dragon will make an excellent battering ram so follow after it. Before long it is halted by an ettin guard and four barbarian warriors. The dragon’s impatience gets the better of it and it attacks so we join in. Ettin and barbarians prove insufficient to stop Thrimzan and the dragon continues into a vast chamber, at the end of which is the Winter King on a frozen throne.

Thrimzan stops, confused by what he’s seeing, and at the same time we notice the hole in the ice covering the Winter King where his sceptre had been. Hoping that returning the sceptre will assuage the Winter King’s curse of an Always Winter, Mirabelle hurries forward and puts it back in place. Moments later the layers of ice in the room start to thicken. The Winter King’s dire wolf guardians are soon encased and when we turn around we can see that Thrimzan too is covered by a thick layer of ice.

Not wanting to be trapped by the encroaching ice, we speed back to the Teleportation Circle, but when we get there it is below 12’’ of ice. Mirabelle summons a Fountain of Flame to melt the ice and concentrates on activating the Circle. To our relief she is successful and we find ourselves back in Nimozaran’s Tower in Fallcrest.

In just those few minutes the unnatural winter had started retreating from the Nentir Vale and by the end of the day the Vale as far as the eye could see was clear of snow and ice. As a reward for our success Lord Markelhay presented Mirabelle with a Crystal Orb of Insurmountable Force, Aelar was given a suit of Sylvan Leather Armour, while Andraste, Messoria and Leleth received Amulets of Protection.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Session 15 30/4 to 5/5/717 Cairn of the Winter King #3

In Cairn PCs defeat Mad Wraiths, flee back through Portal to Fallcrest. Snow is still falling, monsters are moving south into the Vale. 5 days later return with 3 veteran knights through Portal to take on the Winter King.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Session 14 29-30/4/717 Cairn of the Winter King #2

Flying north, next day the group reaches the frozen cairn of the winter king; enter a feast hall - disguised foulness - and encounter a barbarian, gnome and illusion-clad dire wolves, who almost slay them. They retreat to the boat, where Leleth smashes the head. Camping in boat, are attacked by several undead overnight.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Session 13 28/4/717 Cairn of the Winter King #1

Following victory over the Iron Circle the group returns to Fallcrest - unseasonal snow - flying Draugr skyship in search of missing ice sceptre. PCs defeat undead crew and row the boat north.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Session 12 5-9/4/717 Battle for Easthill village

Leleth Snow heads to Fallcrest to seek aid from the Lord Warden her father, PCs Aelar Andraste & Roarzak the Dragonborn defend Easthill, a Harkenwold village, from an Iron Circle hobgoblin & goblin force, killing the leader Sinruth. The enemy flee with around 23 dead, 17 escape, to 2 villagers fallen - one to a nasty rat. Two days later Leleth Snow arrives at the head of the cavalry - the Knights of Fallcrest are here! The infantry with Lord Markelhay are a day behind.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Session 11 4-5/4/717 The Mad Wizard; to Harkenwold

Aelar account:
Aelar followed his companions towards the entrance of the final hall. Time was pressing upon them to find that human wizard as soon as possible.
The devil that he was threatening to free in our dimension was undoubtedly quite powerful and although Aelar's brother and sisters in arms where fearsome, he was not sure if the group would be a match for this kind of hellish conjuration...
Especially in the state of exhaustion that the mutiple battles with the minions of Gimbolge (and eventually himself) had brought upon them, the group was now quite close to the end of its tether.
A few steps later, when he started to distinguish a big mechanical contraption at the center of the room, his heart sank. Aelar really hated these metal montruosities: Full of spikes and tortured shapes, rusty and noisy... the polar opposite of the wind in the elegant branches of a giant tree when you have a nap on its canopy. Only dwarves could only create these aberrations... no surprises here...
His gaze followed the long chains coming from a hoist in the ceiling and were attached to a crank on the wall on one side, and split into four to link the corners of a stone slab on the ground, on the other side of the hoist.
Around the slab, some ceremonial candles were lit up and radiated with an ominous glow.
"Candles!... Awww this is so romantic!" Aelar joked, just for himself as it was not really a good time for public displays of sarcasm.
It didn't take an arch-mage to guess that the slab could be raised and would irrevocably open up a pit towards the very creature they were trying to prevent entering their realm.
Aelar tightened the grip on the rope of his bow and let the hunter's spirit take over as his first job will be without doubt to disable whoever would attempt to operate that crank.
Sure enough, a few feet away from the crank, in the opposite corner of the room, a human in a long robe was looking at them. And like them, he was gearing up for the final confrontation.
Messoria, Andraste and Roarzac(?) were about to burst into the room when a quatuor of gobelins jumped from the ceiling beams above us, and tried to surprise our elite fighters to not much avail.
Nevertheless that annoying diversion bought the wizard enough time to summon a huge bear out of nowhere.
The game suddenly was changing: Instead of targeting the wizard or raining arrows on these vicious little goblins, Aelar now had to stop that bear from coming to contact with the group or they would never prevent the wizard from pestering them and eventually activating the mechanism.
Aelar took a deep breath, armed his bow and brought the nock of his arrow toward his jawline in a swift motion. A few fractions of a second more, in order to focus for a disruptive shot and the arrow flew over the heads of his companions in a perfect straight line. When it reached the bear, the arrowhead lodged itself in the ankle of the animal, emerged behind the heel and wedged itself right between two floor tiles. The bear was stuck in place, the wound was too painful to allow the creature to extract the arrow or dislodge it from the floor, just yet. But that situation wouldn't last long... "That should buy us just enough time to clean up the room and transform that wizard into a pin cushion", Aelar muttered for himself as the battle was raging between the melee fighters and the pesky goblins. Forced into battle, the wizard was coming over and the fun was about to start....

Friday, 14 July 2017

Session 10 4/4/717 - Tannheim #4 - The Fall of the High Priest, Death of Ghesh

Messoria Account - The Fall of the High Priest

After our earlier foray, we decide to risk a raid on the Temple. Albert remains behind to pray over Arjhan and to try to ensure our hiding place remains secret while the rest of us move through the complex to the Temple via the flooded room where we fought the ghoul dwarves. Sehanine is with us as we manage to make our way to the Temple antechamber without encountering any of the Mountain King’s forces who are all now on the alert.
We make our plan that Aelar and Andraste should deal with any long range threats while Leleth, Ghesh and Messoria form a screen to hold down any melee attackers. Entering the temple we are shot at from a pair a dwarves on a high ledge flanking a weird diabolical statue that might be a representation of Abbathor. Aelar shoots at both and one is knocked from the ledge to fall to his death.
From behind the statue we hear the alarm gong sounding and suddenly a gout of scalding steam blasts from the statue’s mouth. Messoria is the only one in its range and the tiefling resistance to fire is enough to blunt its effect. We see no obvious exits from the room but the walls are covered with tapestries behind which we hear the sound of approaching reinforcements. We ready ourselves to meet a charge and moments later a band of orcs rushes towards us.
They attempt to mob Andraste and Messoria, but two of them are blinded by a cloud of shuriken flung at them by the eladrin. Only seconds after the orcs have closed the range a pack of five gnolls arrive, barking their frustration that the orcs are blocking their way. Only their axe-wielding leader is able to push his way through to challenge Ghesh and Leleth. The other gnolls content themselves with using their bows.
Surrounded by enemies, Messoria calls on the Frosts of Letherna to attack the orcs and many of them fall to the ground dead, covered in glimmering ice. Aelar concentrates his efforts on Gimbolge, the dwarven High Priest who has taken position on the ledge. His first arrow freezes him in place; subsequent arrows finish the job and knock him off the ledge to fall to his death alongside his henchman.
Ghesh falls before the Gnoll chieftain, but Aelar is able to pull him back from the brink of death. The dragonborn rejoins the fight, shouting encouragement to the beleaguered Messoria. Then to our dismay we see Irgut the Trapmaster enter the room, wielding his strange Blade Bow. Unable to get a clear shot at his nemesis, Aelar, he shoots at Ghesh. Messoria shouts a challenge at him and blinded by anger he rushes to fight her.
Too late Irgut realises his anger has brought him too close to his foes for his Blade Bow to be effective, but he still manages to shoot a poisoned bolt at Messoria who is just able to fight off the effects. Gradually the tide starts to turn as the last of the orcs fall to Andraste and Ghesh, but the dragonborn, already bleeding from countless wounds, is set upon by the gnoll pack and falls to the ground. Before we can reach him, a gnoll stabs him in the throat with its scimitar.
Seconds later, though too late for Ghesh, the last of the gnolls falls before us and the remaining dwarf crossbowman surrenders. Messoria interrogates him and he says that there is a devil beneath Tannheim called Azan Zog. He also says that Gimbolge had been working with a mad human wizard who has four goblin slaves, and who Gimbolge had been hoping would be able to make a deal with Azan Zog in order to draw on his power.
Messoria extracts a promise from the dwarf prisoner to turn from the worship of Abbathor and bids him go to Fallcrest to Kallain to take up an honest blacksmith’s trade there. Between Messoria’s castigation and Leleth’s threats, the dwarf swears on Moradin’s name, grabs his arbalest and runs.
We take Ghesh’s body and lay it beside Arjhan where Leleth performs the funeral rites as prescribed by the Raven Queen.

Andraste's Musings
A stroke of luck, meeting this band of adventurers. I've killed and damaged more bottom-dwellers than ever before on my own... The one downside is having to share the loot, but still, I got these understated Gloves of Piercing... The elf is very good with his bow, and the half-elf has potential. The tiefling is surprisingly generous, but shame about the dragonborn, apparently it's not the first one to die here... I need to get to know the humans better, though - they are endemic in this area, where my ancestral home is... There is still time to decide, I haven't even seen it yet!

Friday, 30 June 2017

Session 9 4/4/717 Raiding Tanheim #3

Group is joined that morning by Albert Markelhay, a Cleric of the Silver Falcons and younger brother of Lord Faren, who has been sent by Baron Stockmer of Harkenwold with word of an Iron Circle incursion. Go back through secret door, kill 10 orcs. Go south, kill hobgoblin, 1 goblin & 2 orc berserkers on the stairs, then fall back through secret door again.

At Tanheim
Messoria Dorimant Tiefling Paladin-3 (Judith)
Aelar, Elf Ranger-3 (Philippe)
Ghesh, Dragonborn Warlord-2 (John)
Leleth Snow, Knight. Half-Elf Blackguard-3 (Tiffany)
Mirabelle Markelhay Human Wizard-2 (Jelly) - resting
Andraste, Eladrin Rogue-2 (Jelena)

Albert Markelhay, Cleric-2 (Sid)

& the body of Arjhen the Dragonborn (RIP)

Once More to Tannheim - Messoria

We rest overnight in the hidden room. Early the next day we are disturbed when we hear someone approaching from along the river. It’s an armoured human that Messoria and Leleth both recognise as Albert Markelhay, Lord Markelhay’s brother who for a long time has been away in the south. He tells us that he has come from Baron John Stockmer, Lord of Harkenwold, whose domain has been recently attacked by raiders from the Iron Circle.
We discuss the matter, and though we want to rush immediately to Harkenwold’s aid, our concern over rooting out the rumoured demon worship in Tannheim wins out, though we promise Albert that we will go to Harkenwold as soon as we can. In the meantime, Albert agrees to join our attacks on the soldiers of the Temple and we are all heartened to have a Warpriest of Sehanine fighting alongside us.
Once we are fully rested we go through the secret door but are startled to find a patrol of orcs who had been searching for us. A brisk fight ensues and ten orcs fall before us. Leleth and Andraste search the corpses and the eladrin finds a pair of magical gloves which are determined to be Gloves of Piercing.
Following our plan to defeat the High Priest’s forces individually, we eschew the route to the Temple and instead follow the tunnel next to the Trapmaster’s room. This leads us to a large room with double doors at one end, and at the other a broad stairway flanked by large statues. At the top of the stair we spot three goblins and a much larger hobgoblin. They throw javelins at us, but as we close on their position, the hobgoblin calls for aid.
By the time three orc berserkers arrive we have fought our way to the room at the top of the stairs. The way forward is punctuated by gargoyle statues so Leleth and Messoria take position between the statues to hold the line against the berserkers’ attack. One after another the berserkers fall to our blades but despite Aelar’s efforts, a goblin sneaks past us, shouting for help from dwarves who must be further down the tunnel. He pursues but finds the way blocked by a portcullis so returns to the rest of the party.
With our foes finally defeated we quickly search the room and discover a fragment of a fine dwarven tapestry, a pair of damaged silver candlesticks. The hobgoblin leader was also wearing a decorated belt. After so tough a fight we once more retreat to the hidden room to catch our breath.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Session 8 3-4/4/717 Tannheim #2 - Evil Dwarves

PC Groups

At Tanheim
Messoria Dorimant Tiefling Paladin-3 (Judith)
Aelar, Elf Ranger-3 (Philippe)
Ghesh, Dragonborn Warlord-2 (John)
Leleth Snow Half-Elf Blackguard-2 (Tiffany)

Mirabelle Markelhay Human Wizard-2 (Jelly)
Andraste, Eladrin Rogue-2 (Jelena)

Group attacked by two aquatic dwarf ghouls. Attack and defeat dwarf Blackhammer soldiers, then flee as an alarm gong sounds. Hole up overnight in caves.

Image result for dwarf ghouls

The Dead of Tannheim - Messoria Account
As we retreat from the Dwarven Trapmaster’s room we failed to notice that Ghesh had taken a glancing blow from falling rock until he stumbled and collapsed. For safety we take him back through the secret door to where Draco was guarding Arjhan’s body, knowing the drake would be able to guard the other dragonborn until he recovered.
Outside Tannheim Leleth finally meets up with her sister Mirabelle who has travelled to the mountain lake in company with an eladrin called Andraste. Her family had long ago owned land in the Vale and Andraste had decided to return to investigate and perhaps seek to reclaim her inheritance. Following the instructions left by Aelar they are able to enter the caves avoiding the trap of the Fire Beetle pit and they take the same route as we did, soon meeting up with Messoria and Aelar in the caves.
We spend a few minutes catching up with what everyone has been doing and hear from Andraste that various bands of raiders have been gathering under the banner of the evil Mountain King, amongst them renegade dwarves and even a group of gnolls.
With the added strength of Leleth, Mirabelle and Andraste we decide to try the sodden door we had previously avoided. After much effort we force it open and it leads to a flight of stairs going downwards. The air is warm and damp with a distinctive sulphurous tinge. The stairs descend into a room whose suspended wooden floor has collapsed into the flooded void below. At the far end of the room a small chest floats on some of the broken timbers.
Using the Everburning Torch Leleth tries to determine the depth of the water, Aelar at her side with a nocked arrow in case of ambush. Leleth has time to report that the water is about 4’ deep when grey hands reach up and pull her below the surface. As they are below the surface Aelar had not been able to see the two dwarf ghouls before they attacked.
Leleth is paralysed below the surface of the water, but she’s able to hold her breath. Before we’re able to act both Aelar and Mirabelle are immobilised by the ghouls’ attacks. Shocked by the speed of the undead attack, we nevertheless rally and, aided by Mirabelle using her magic to push the ghouls away from us, are able to manoeuvre so Messoria is able to strike at the undead using the holy light of Sehanine. Aelar’s arrows daze the ghouls and Andraste is able to take full advantage of their distraction.
Once the ghouls are finally defeated Leleth searches under the water and finds an ornate dwarf-made axe that bursts into flame on command. Andraste retrieves the chest but all that is within are the rotting heads of humans and elves.
We take a few minutes to catch our breath and then climb up the stairs at the far side of the room, Messoria in the lead. Unfortunately she fails to hear the sound of chanting from the room beyond and walks in on eight praying dwarves dressed in the colours of the fanatical Black Hammer sect. She orders them to surrender but instead they attack.
Mirabelle sets off a Fountain of Flame in the centre of the room while the rest of us close ranks against the dwarf warriors. Acting quickly Aelar is able to shower the close-packed dwarves with arrows before they can move and several fall dead, struck down by the power of the elven Great Bow. The remainder don’t last much longer but they are soon reinforced by two dwarven initiates from the adjacent Temple. We hear a gong sounding the alarm and the initiates speak of their High Priest Gimbolge before they too are defeated.
Not feeling ourselves strong enough to face the combined forces hurrying to the call of the High Priest we pull back, relying on Mirabelle’s Fountain of Flame to deter pursuers. We fort up in the caves near to where Arjhan’s body rested, using pitons to wedge the secret door into the room while keeping watch on the narrow cave leading to the river. The night passes uneventfully and we plan our next foray into Tannheim with a plan to try to find the individual bands who support the Mountain King and defeat them one at a time.

[Don't think it's really worth doing a seperate Inventory update as the only thing we found was the Flaming Dwarven Waraxe.]

Friday, 9 June 2017

Session 7 2-3/4/717 Tannheim #1 - The Fall of Arjen

Image result for ogre zombie2/4/717
At nightfall group encounters a dragonborn, Ghesh, at the mountain lake, who joins the party.

Group enters Tanheim. Ambushed by earwig-infected zombie ogre who kills Arjen. Ambush and wipe out a group of goblins, then kill the goblin king and his worgs. Encounter a dwarven trapmaster, whose trap collapses his chamber. He retreats after an exchange of shots as rubble fills the room.

The Forges at Tannheim - Messoria Account
Only minutes after we arrive at the mountain lake next to the newly revealed entrance to Tannheim, we see a heavily armoured dragonborn step out to meet us. Arjhan greets him as an old friend and introduces him as the warlord Ghesh Stormbringer. It seems that he too has been drawn by the rumours surrounding Tannheim so we invite him to join us in our exploration. We also receive a message that Mirabelle is hurrying to catch up with us so her sister Leleth offers to wait outside for her. The rest of us agree to leave markers along our route for them to follow us.
Before we rest for the night Aelar spends a few minutes searching the area for any recent tracks. He finds signs that dwarves and even two ogres have been going in and out of Tannheim though he can see nothing from the past couple of days. We go to sleep to the sound of strange dwarven chanting being carried on the wind.
The next morning we approach the gate. Aelar’s preternatural senses soon locate the trap created by wedging a collapsed door across a pit where fire beetles live. Knowing it’s there we are able to avoid it and enter the gatehouse. In each corner of the gatehouse is a statue of a dwarf from which the chanting seems to emanate, rising and falling in tune with the wind. We inform Leleth of the route past the fire beetle trap and then enter Tannheim itself.
Beyond the gatehouse the route skirts a fast flowing stream and we spot the remains of a bridge crossing the stream leading to a similar but narrower path on the far side. Rather than try to vault the gap, we remain on our side of the stream where the path quickly rises. A narrow stairway is cut into the rock in the side of the path leading into the mountain, and as it looks too small for an ogre to use we decide to take that route.
After about ten minutes wandering through tunnels cut into the rock we find the way blocked by a crude hide panel and there’s the unmistakeable stench of rotting meat. Aelar proceeds cautiously but is ambushed by the enormous zombie ogre who had managed to elude his senses. A single mighty blow sends Aelar crashing unconscious into the stone wall. Messoria dashes forward to cover Aelar, calling upon Sehanine’s power to strike the foul undead who turns out to be vulnerable to Sehanine’s searing moonlight.
Ghesh shouts encouragement at Aelar who is able to gather his wits and get back on his feet while he, Arjhan and Messoria tag team the ogre. It falls under their combined assault, but wise to the ways of the undead Messoria knows it is not yet finished. With a roar it gets back to its feet and strikes at Arjhan who had just dealt the blow that felled it. Already wounded, the dragonborn warrior is unable to block the ogre’s crushing fist and falls to the ground, his neck broken.
The ogre does not long survive our rage at seeing our comrade cut down and it is somehow only fitting that Arjhan’s pet drake Draco lands the fatal blow. We take Arjhan’s body down one of the tunnels and commend his spirit to Bahamut, leaving him wrapped in a blanket until we can return his body to Fallcrest for an honourable burial.
We cut off the ogre’s head to make sure it’s not coming back again, and while we do Aelar notices a worm crawl out from its ear. He identifies it as a Dread Earwig, a parasite that eats its way into a creature’s brain, eventually killing it and turning it into a zombie under its control. Knowing to avoid the corpse we search the ogre’s lair and find a huge wooden cudgel studded with bloodied spikes in amongst the debris that we think was perhaps the ogre’s favoured weapon while it was alive. Ghesh is the only one strong enough to wield it and is able to determine that the Bloody Cudgel is magical.
From the next room Aelar hears the sound of goblin chatter so with Messoria in the lead we go in. The goblins are armed as archers so we quickly close to melee range and are able to easily defeat them. Having gone through the ogre zombie’s lair has enabled us to come in to the rear of the goblins’ killing zone. Searching their room we find a potion of healing, a few coins and an ornate scroll case worth 75gp.
The adjoining room is the stable for the goblins’ wargs and the throne of their chief who surprises Messoria as she enters the room to fight the wargs. She kills the leader and the wargs soon fall. At the far end of the room is a throne surrounded by a pile of gold coins that Aelar is quick to spot are no more than painted copper coins. In amongst the hoard are a Thundering Longsword of Eladrin manufacture, a magical crossbow, and a silver chain worth 5gp. Inside a painted skull are two eldritch candles shot through with lines of crimson and silver that we take with us. A loose flagstone under the throne reveals two potions of healing, 250sp, 55gp, 3pp, 2 silver ingots worth 10gp each, a cat’s eye gem worth 50gp and a small plank of wood with “Oz-reax” marked on it.
As the door leading onward is water soaked and riddled with Dread Earwigs we backtrack to where we fought the goblins and take the other passage. This leads to a room lined with tapestries in which is a muttering dwarf of apparently dubious sanity armed with a fearsome crossbow. The ceiling of this room appears to be rigged as a deadfall and Aelar spots a well-hidden cord leading from the dwarf’s belt to the trigger mechanism – a dead man’s switch to set off the deadfall should the dwarf fall to the ground.
Even as he decides to use his formidable skill with the bow to cause the dwarf to stumble and thus fall victim to his own trap, Aelar is shot by a poisoned crossbow bolt and the dwarf’s raven allies flap around him in an attempt to distract him. It doesn’t work and Aelar’s arrow strikes the dwarf in the leg causing him to lose his balance and stumble, setting off the deadfall trap. Falling rocks kill three of the four ravens but the dwarf manages to escape through the opposite tunnel with only a few glancing blows from the falling rocks. To give the rocks time to settle we pull back to the goblins’ room for a rest.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Wand of Orcus

"Aeons ago, in the time of the Dawn War, the ancient heroes Dunstan of Moradin, Dhaunayane of Lolth, Lirael of Mellora and Jareth of Kord struggled against and defeated the Primordial Orcus. The Demon Lord's terrible Wand was cast far across the Multiverse, long lost to the sight of Men. 
But nothing lasts forever..."

Friday, 19 May 2017

Session 6 25/3 to 2/4/717 Questing for Tannheim

1, Leleth Snow, Armiger of Fallcrest, daughter of Alana. Half-elf Blackguard (Tiffany)
2. Messoria Dorimant, Armiger of Fallcrest, daughter of Kallain. Tiefling Paladin (Judith)
3. Arjhen, soldier of Fallcrest. Dragonborn Slayer Fighter (Jelena)
4. Aelar of Harkenwood, soldier of Fallcrest. Elf Hunter Ranger (Philippe)

Bronze Warder
25/3/717 PCs Leleth Arjen and Messoria recover white dragon's treasure from Kobold Hall. Hand over treasure chest, keep the greatsword & armour of fallen Fallcrest knights Sir Egan Vardis & Sir Tal Lorvas. Dragon is persuaded. Lady Diana Sone, Egan's former squire, is very happy.

30/3/717 PCs leave Fallcrest bound for lost dwarf hall of Tanheim, stay night at Thunderspire's Seven Pillared Hall guarded by Bronze minotaurs, meet various traders and Aelar.

31/3/717 PCs stay night at the Fiveleague House Inn.

1/4/717 Leleth leaves horse at Inn, group heads south. Ambushed by 6 Ravenroost brigands. Kill 3, 3 flee. That evening they hear sounds of pursuit, detour into Harken forest to hide.

2/4/717 2 hours before dawn (4am) two bandit scouts find their camp, but guard drake alerts PCs. Aelar chases them down and kills them before they can warn other bandits. Group heads south to Harkenwold, reach a local village and purchase supplies, then head east upriver into the Dawnforge mountains.
At nightfall (ca 6.30pm) the group reach the head of a large mountain lake, and spot an ancient crumbling tower where a stream flows from out of the mountain into the lake. Is this Tanheim?

Messoria Account

The Road to Tannheim
Having been sent on a mission by the priest of Sehanine, Ressilmae Starlight, Messoria returns to Fallcrest in time to see her companions return triumphant from Kobold Hall where they had convinced the Kobolds’ leader, the white dragon Szartharax, to take up residence in the town on an island in the middle of the river.
Recalling the dragon’s hoard, Leleth, Messoria and Arjhan return to the Hall as the return of its treasure may be the best way to keep so fractious a creature good tempered. Leleth is able to bluff a couple of kobold guards that we are in the service of the dragon and that they should direct us to the treasure. Cowed by Leleth’s certainty and the dragon’s name they do so and soon we return to Fallcrest with the dragon’s treasure in a chest in addition to the enchanted armour and greatsword belonging to the knights who had earlier been sent against the kobolds.
It takes a little more flattery on Leleth’s part to convince the dragon to return the sword and armour to the Lord Warden, but she appears to be developing a rapport with the creature. A few days pass in which time we find that Aelar has headed over toward the Harken forest but plans to rendezvous with us at Thunderspire which is where we will be planning to stop on our way to Tannheim. I spend the time collecting the stories about Tannheim that confirm all we had previously heard that the dwarves there consorted with demons or devils in their quest to craft more powerful arms and armour, and that other dwarves had declared them anathema.
We set out from Fallcrest planning to stop at Thunderspire and later at Five League House before cutting south to skirt the Dawnforge Mountains. Once we reach the White River we shall follow it upstream to its source on a mountain lake which is where Tannheim is believed to be located.
On the road we hear rumours of a powerful group of bandits based out of the ruins of Ravenroost. They wear raven masks and some are said to carry the symbol of the Raven Queen. Some are even said to be Shadar Kai, the mysterious cursed race from the Shadowfell. Being in the service of the Raven Queen, Leleth is concerned by these rumours but the level of reward offered for their capture is high enough to warn that they may well be as powerful as we have heard.
We manage to meet up with Aelar as planned in the Hall below Thunderspire where peace is ruthlessly maintained by the Mages of Sarun. Traders whose races would elsewhere kill each other on sight have set up stalls and many interesting items are offered for sale. Leleth voices an interest in a magical Resounding hammer (until she discovers the price), but from whom we do buy a scroll of Comprehend Languages. I meet with a dwarf priest of Moradin called Torgun who had long ago fought alongside my father at the Battle of Gardbury Downs. We tell him of our quest to Tannheim and purchase some Holy water from him.
The next day we travel without incident to Five League House which offers a good deal on ale and food. As we know we are to travel into rough country, we arrange to stable Leleth’s warhouse at the House and continue south on foot.
After only a few miles we are stopped on the road by a bandit demanding our goods. Aelar had managed to warn us of others lying in ambush, but even he had missed on rogue who, as soon as we declared our defiance, whipped a garrotte around Arjhan’s neck. Leleth charged for the leader while Arjhan and I focus on the rogue. Aelar is able to evade the bandits while all the time shooting them with his mighty greatbow.
The rogue soon falls with Arjhan’s pet Draco tearing into her body, so I rush to aid Leleth while Arjhan charges the crossbow-armed bandits. Having apparently expected an easy victory, the bandits’ nerve snaps and they turn to flee. Moments later the bandit leader falls having warned us with his last breath that his masters will be hunting for us. We take what wealth they are carrying: some silver coins and a couple of sapphires before weighting the bodies and tipping them into a nearby pond.
A few hours later it seems his words are prophetic as we hear from behind us the baying of hounds. The forest seems to offer the best scope for escape so we rush for the treeline and are lucky enough to come across a forest stream running north to south. The deviousness that seems to be a part of my tiefling blood pushes me to suggest we go north: elven and human settlements lie to the south, and if the hounds have no trail to follow I believe our pursuers would think we would have headed that way seeking safety.
We splash upstream as quietly as we can and even though the cold seeps into our limbs we are heartened as the sound of the dogs recedes and them goes silent. Above us the moon appears from behind a cloud and I know Sehanine has blessed our escape. We cold camp for the rest of the night. A few hours before dawn Draco alerts Leleth who in turn awaken the rest of us. Aelar alone hears the bandit searchers and ghosts into the trees to confront them.
With his speed and bow skill he is able to kill them both before the rest of us are able to catch up. We leave as soon as we can and around midday arrive at Easthill village where I purchase some bacon to enhance our trail rations while Arjhan buys a whole ham. The villager tells us of slavers working along the Trade Road and of people kidnapped and taken south. He has heard tell it is connected with the same Iron Circle hobgoblins we fought a few weeks earlier.

Now resupplied we follow the stream away from Easthill and up into the Briar Hills. It’s late in the afternoon when we reach the lake so we pitch tents for a good night’s rest before exploring further.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Session 5 22/3/717 Kobold Hall

Group goes to Kobold Hall, kill kobolds. Arjen befriends a guard drake. Go downstairs. Kill more kobolds. Find secret door to the undercaverns. Find a white dragon. Bring it back to Fallcrest. After discussion Lord Markelhay grants it the Tower of Silence in the middle of the river. Leleth Snow is made a Knight of Fallcrest - Lady Leleth.

Image result for kobolds

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Session 4 10-17/3/4717 Tomb of Skoulos. RL2

10/3:PCs teleported to the great tomb of Skoulous, defeat Malalaki and his skeleton minions, flee collapsing tomb with Andara, niece of the Starlight elf priests of the Moonsong Temple of Sehanine.
11/3: Make it back to Fallcrest that afternoon. Messoria debriefed by Seneschal Kallain & Lord Markelhay. Feast in their honour, gifts awarded. Mirabelle de-briefs Talien the True.
17/3: Finished resting & shopping. A scout brings word of a white dragon at kobold hall.  Messoria requests the Temple of Sehanine enchant her armour with warding against cold, they agree.

22/3: Messoria's white armour enchanted by the Starlight elven priests as Armour of Resistance to Cold.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Session 3 10/3/717 (after dark) - The Black Spire

Group defeats a dwarf ranger, mother croc & 2 littler crocs in Nerathi fort. Climb scaffold to Black Spire entrance, topple brazier. Aelar detects two secret doors, leads them down to cave/chamber with idol of Mammon. Attacked by 10 worm-things in the form of Men; defeat them.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Session 2 10/3/717 NR - The Ruined Fort

1, Leleth Snow, Armiger of Fallcrest, daughter of Alana. Half-elf Blackguard (Tiffany)
2. Messoria Dorimant, Armiger of Fallcrest, daughter of Kallain. Tiefling Paladin (Judith)
3. Arjhen, soldier of Fallcrest. Dragonborn Slayer Fighter (Jelena)
4. Aelar of Harkenwood, soldier of Fallcrest. Elf Hunter Ranger (Philippe)
5. Mirabelle Markelhay, daughter of Lord Farren. Human Mage (Jelly)

Messoria's Account

Following our return to Fallcrest after defeating the hobgoblins we are summoned by Lord Markelhay who is instructing his knights to attack a kobold stronghold which they have been using as a base to raid travellers on the road.
Our mission, to be led by Lord Markelay’s daughter Mirabelle, is to investigate reports of a cult based in the swamp that has been abducting merchants travelling by barge to Fallcrest. Most recently a group of elves has gone missing and their barge found sunk on the edge of the swamp. Unfortunately Mirabelle is not present for the briefing and her somewhat exasperated father has to send her teacher, the wizard Nimozaran the Green, to find her.
A few minutes later Nimozaran returns with Mirabelle who is somewhat the worse for wear. We finalise our preparations including borrowing an Everburning Torch while Aelar purchases Buttercup the mule (though we decide the swamp is not a good place to take a pack animal).
We take a few minutes to compare notes on what we’ve heard about the swamp and decide the cultists’ base is probably located towards the north-western part of the swamp as to the south a black dragon holds sway along with tribes of lizardmen. Messoria thinks a logical place for them to be would be the site of a ruined Nerathi Fort said to be at the base of a black stone tower. Most worryingly there is a rumour that the spirit of a Turathi Sorcerer King, Skolos the Undying, haunts that part of the swamp. There are also stories of crocodiles and frog-men, but Mirabelle assures us that crocodiles are a myth dreamed up by the credulous.
Mirabelle is able to call on her drinking buddy, the Halfling Irena Swiftwater, for the loan of a barge to help us investigate the cult. Irena tells us that two Halflings have also gone missing. Following the current of the river we drift south keeping an eye out for the elves’ barge. It is one of the halflings who finally spots it. Aelar scouts around and quickly locates a hidden raft from which tracks about 3 days old lead off into the swamp. He is able to determine that it is about eight humans carrying heavy weights – perhaps bodies.
After a few hours following the tracks we hear the sound of drums. In front of us a fallen tree trunk bridges a creek – one of several we have crossed – but this time Aelar spots movement in the water and what we had originally thought were sunken logs reveal themselves to be crocodiles! Aelar shoots at one and the crocodiles rush to attack. Despite the crocodiles grabbing Arjhan and Leleth and trying to drag them into the swamp, we manage to defeat them and continue towards the sound of the drums.
As we draw near we see the ruined outline of the Nerathi fort. A strange bluish smoke drifts around. To one side a hide-covered hut is surrounded by what Mirabelle identifies as enspelled giant frogs. From within the fort we can hear the drums starting to build to a climax.
Not wanting to be outflanked by the frogs when we attack the fort, we decide to attack them first. Fortunately they are not particularly tough but they do cause some problems as they drag us around with their long, sticky tongues. Despite this they are quickly defeated. Checking the hut we find a healing potion and 22 silver-tipped arrows. Arjhan takes the potion while Aelar takes the arrows, then he sneaks forward to scout the fort.
He soon returns to report that a group of cultists are preparing to sacrifice a female elf. A high priestess seems to be officiating assisted by a mighty half-ogre wielding an enormous sword. Aelar, Arjhan and Mirabelle sneak forward to get into position to attack while Leleth and Messoria remain further back as our heavy armour makes it more likely we would be heard.
Aelar shoots the priestess, dazing her, while Arjhan charges the nearest cultist who falls beneath his sword. Mirabelle summons a Fountain of Flame that burns the priestess, the half-ogre as well as two of the cultists. Still startled by our interrupting their ritual we are able to cut through the cultists. Mirabelle’s magic compels the half-ogre to strike the priestess who is killed by his attack while her enchantments push other cultists into the Flame.
Arjhan fights his way through the cultists to duel the half-ogre but falls before the brute despite slashing him on the arm. A surviving cultist attempts to cut Arjhan’s throat while the dragonborn lies unconscious but is confounded by his armour. Messoria fights her way through to the half-ogre while Aelar and Leleth finish off the rest of the cultists.
The half-ogre falls and somewhat bloodied we stand triumphant. The elf Andara is originally from Fallcrest and we promise to try to return her safely. Messoria then draws on the Light of Sehanine to pull Arjhan back from unconsciousness and he quickly drinks the healing potion as we realise that the rumoured cult leader Malakai the Mad is not amongst the dead. Messoria notes a cave entrance in the wall of the black spire behind the fort and we think he may be within.
Even as we prepare to advance, a giant crocodile emerges from a nearby ruined room and moves to the attack…

Arjhen's Account

Arjhan was keen to leave the small town of Fallcrest for the wilderness of the fens, in hope that he’d be able to find some traces of the great Arkhosian empire. He liked the young quest leader, Mirabelle, the impetuous daughter of the local lord in whose service he had spent the last couple of months. The rest of the group he already bonded with, defending the Antler & Thistle tavern from an organised hobgoblin attack.
On the way to the fens, the Halfling crew of their barge were staring at Arjhan with unbridled curiosity; he managed to overhear that they’ve seen someone similar to him deep in the swamp. Could it be another dragonborn, or even a small dragon? Surely not the mythical beast known as crocodile!
Arjhan was, therefore, astonished when Aelar the elf spotted two of the creatures in front of the group – so much so that his usually deathly greatsword only scratched the thick skin of one of them. The infuriating beasts both latched onto Arjhan’s leg, even with Leleth’s brave attempt to help, and brought him down, biting him in the neck! He was revived thanks to Messoria’s skill, and ready to continue after a short break.
After hacking through some hypnotised giant frogs and finding a quiver of 22 silver-tipped arrows in a tent they were guarding, Arjhan was given a healing draught found by Mirabelle. Alas, he didn’t have time to quaff it as Aelar discovered a horrific sacrifice about to happen, and as soon as the elf shot an arrow into the officiating priestess, Arjhan charged into the room, slaying the nearest cultist. In the melee that followed, Arjhan managed to kill two more human minions with his acid breath and slice off the arm of a half-ogre, but sadly fell from his retaliatory attack combined with the earlier wounds. His soul fought bravely to escape the final frontier, and he vowed not to be as reckless with his recovery in the future.
With the cultists slain and the intended sacrifice freed, Arjhan was once again brought back to the land of the living, just in time to see a giant crocodile advancing towards them. He quickly gulped the healing draught and grabbed his faithful greatsword…

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Leleth Snow (Tiffany)

Leleth Snow
As a young man Lord Faren Markelhay had fought alongside the elves of Harken Forest against the Daggerburg goblins of the west. It was then that he met the beautiful elf maid Alana and as the young are wont to do they fell madly in love, despite the disapproval of Alana’s family. Alana fell head over heels for the young lord and was ready to marry him but alas it was not to be. For young lord Faren was already betrothed to another, the daughter of a neighbouring lord, a dynastic match that had been arranged when they were both children. The old Lord was still alive, and Faren was ever the dutiful son, so it was with a heavy heart that he left the Forest in obedience to his fathers wishes, despite the entreaties of a stricken Alana.
Unbeknownst to him, Alana was with child. The disapproval of the elves lay heavy upon her and she retreated to live in solitude with her child – a daughter whom she called Leleth. Save for her cousin Aelar the elves avoided both of them.
Alana never recovered from Faren’s betrayal and her love turned to hate. Leleth grew up hearing nothing but how her father had betrayed her mother and abandoned them to marry one of his own kind. Leleth’s mother was the centre of her world but she grew to resent her absent father for everything that he had taken from them. She matured into a very conflicted young woman, quick to anger and sudden violence, and totally out of place amongst the elves. Her only friend apart from her mother was her cousin Aelar. He was the only one there for Leleth when Alana became sick with a slow wasting disease. None of the eleven remedies worked and Alana grew weaker and sicker by the day, and Leleth could only watch with impotent fury as her beloved mother withered away before her eyes. Death when finally it came was a mercy and Leleth was thankful that at least Alana’s suffering was finally at an end. Leleth knew that she could not remain with the elves, and she resolved to finally confront the father who had abandoned them. Aelar decided to go with her in the hope of keeping her out of trouble..
When Leleth finally arrived at Fallcrest, Lord Faren got the shock of his life as he had no idea that she existed. The angry young woman that confronted him was the image of her mother with her fiery red hair and forest green eyes, and he knew that he had to at least try and do right by her whilst causing the least possible upset to his wife and legitimate children. The Lord could see how damaged she was and how badly her mother’s death had affected her so he asked Fallcrest’s priest of the Raven Queen to counsel her and hopefully give her some closure. This wise old man did manage to help her channel some of her rage, and after seeing her aptitude with a sword Lord Faren enrolled her amongst his armigers in the hope that she might find a place of her own. Faren’s own interactions with Leleth remained awkward in the extreme and her resentment was clear but he hoped in time she might settle down. She was his daughter after all, but how she would fit in with his family remained to be seen...

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Mirabelle Markelhay (Jelly)

Mirabelle Markelhay, Human Mage Wizard

Wayward and stubborn, Mirabelle was never going to fulfil her poor mother's hopes of being married off to an eligible bachelor of suitable nobility. A clever bookworm with an adventurous streak and a romantic's heart, she instead seemed destined for the mage's path. Lady Aranda therefore decided that Nimorazan the Green should be tasked with Mirabelle's tutelage; and she proved a quick study and an enthusiastic student. Her gift for enchantment spells, particularly, made sneaking out most evenings to the local taverns to practise her illusions and flirt with her favourite bard, Tailean the True, all too easy.

Mirabelle's thirst for knowledge is only surpassed, perhaps, by her magpie's eye for jewellery and expensive gowns. A happy go lucky and gregarious personality, she has a large weakness for fine wine and Elvish men, preferably simultaneously. Recently, Mirabelle has been growing increasingly restless living between the confines of Nimorazan's tower (she has exhausted the small library therein) and the dull clockwork of court life; she is itching for an excuse to escape and put her skills to the test......

Aelar of Harkenwood (Philippe)

Elf Hunter Ranger

Aelar of Harkenwood was a solitary child, hiding in trees or enjoying long runs in the tribe's forest. His parents spent most of their time chasing after him and, as his familiarity with the forest grew, they became less and less successful. Giving up on the idea to keep him close to them, his parents decided it would be wiser to teach him to survive and hunt for himself. His dad showed him how to track animals and recognise plants while his mum, the ancestral art of archery. By the time he reached adulthood, he wanted nothing more than leaving the forest that he knew inside-out and explore "the outside world", unlike his friends and family who he considered too secretive and unnecessarily reserved.
Leleth, his cousin, was the exception. They grew up together and he was like an older brother to her: defending her when other kids would make a nasty comment about her surname. He also was fascinated by the mystery shrouding her origins (and her 'humanity'), just like he was by the world at large. They shared many walks in the forest and Aelar was always delighted to see the soothing effects that it had, bringing the Elven side of her personality for peaceful meditation instead of the angst that was consuming her the rest of the time, especially after her mother died.
One day, Leleth explained to him that she had nothing much to look forward in the community. She wanted to leave for Fallcrest to confront her father who she thought was responsible for her mother's broken heart.
Partly to continue looking after her wellbeing and also to quench his thirst for exploration, he decided to escort her to the human town.
The confrontation went better than he feared and they decided to stay in the foreign land, to his great delight.
Thanks to her father, they both got enrolled into the military where they could earn their keep (a novel concept for Aelar who was used to get food, shelter and fire from the forest) and learn combat training and military tactics. But soon the restless legs of Aelar started to wake up again and he started to wonder when some new adventures would be in sight again...

Elf Hunter wallpaper 5mpx com  Elf Hunter wallpaper HD wallpaper 5mpx

Friday, 3 March 2017

Session 1 9/3/717 NR - Attack on the Antler & Thistle

PCs session 1:
1, Leleth Snow, Armiger of Fallcrest, daughter of Alana. Half-elf Blackguard (Tiffany)
2. Messoria Dorimant, Armiger of Fallcrest, daughter of Kallain. Tiefling Paladin (Judith)
3. Arjhen, soldier of Fallcrest. Dragonborn Slayer Fighter (Jelena)
4. Aelar of Harkenwood, soldier of Fallcrest. Elf Hunter Ranger (Philippe)

PCs are having lunch ca 12.30pm in the Antler & Thistle tavern at the Trade Road/King's Road crossroads about 8 miles walk east of Fallcrest, when hobgoblins attack! 10 hobgoblins & 2 goblins killed, the hobgoblin leader Sinruth escapes, minus his left ear taken by a blow from Arjhen. The tavernkeep Braffle and a farmer called Rancy are also killed. Two dead hobgoblins have black iron rings. Party return to Fallcrest ca 4pm and report to Lord Markelhay, who asks them to investigate cult activity in the Witchlight Fens to the SW.

Sinruth, Hobgoblin Warrior

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Messoria Dorimant (Judith)

Messoria Dorimant

The Dorimant family has its roots in old Nerath, and though not noble themselves, they have often been close to the seat of power as generals or warlords.  Around the time of the downfall of Nerath, the great Warlord Kerne Dorimant treated with a powerful Pit Fiend devil, seeking power and even immortality.  Amused by Kerne’s reckless temerity, the Fiend granted his request and turned him into a Malebranche war devil.  As part of the deal, Kerne’s descendants became Tieflings, and it was one of these descendants, a paladin of Sehanine, who years later finally destroyed Kerne.  

The Dorimants have often been in the forefront of crusades against evil: the Invoker Arean Dorimant was one of the heroes who recovered a dark artefact from a far off land and brought it to Gardmore Abbey for safekeeping.  Although a follower of Sehanine he fought and died alongside the Paladins of Bahamut when the Abbey was attacked by evil.  Other followers of Sehanine known as the Order of the Silver Falcon tried to reach them but were killed in the attempt.

Messoria is Arean’s granddaughter.  Her father Kallain was once Master at Arms to the late Lord Markelhay, Lord Faren’s father, while her human mother Meryn Dorimant had for long years been leader (Commander) of a small band of the Silver Falcon in the fighting far to the south, though since last year there has been no word from her.  Since the Battle of Gardbury Downs, Kallain no longer rides out on quest, instead choosing to remain in Fallcrest to defend the town and support its Lord.

Now she has come of age, Messoria spends a lot of her time training and speaking with the priest of Sehanine, Ressilmae Starlight, preparing for the time that she can follow the family tradition to fight against the dark.  Messoria has followed in her mother’s footsteps pinning on the Silver Falcon badge.

Human Slayer PC stats

Human Slayer Level 1
Languages: Common, Goblin
Initiative +6 Speed 5

AC 17   (10+7 Scale)
Fort 18  (10+1 human+2 Slayer +5 STR)
Ref 13   (10+1 human +2 DEX)
Will 11   (10+1 human)

Hit Points 26  Bloodied 13 Surge Value 6  Surges 9 recover 2-3/day

STR 20 (+5) Athletics +10
CON 11 (+0) Endurance +5
DEX 14 (+2)
INT 8 (-1)
WIS 10 (+0)
CHA 10 (+0) Intimidate +5 Streetwise +5

Human Power:
Heroic Effort (E) +4 to failed attack or save

Class Powers
Add DEX to weapon damage
+1 to weapon attacks
Stances (m)
1. Battle Wrath +2 to weapon damage
2. Poised Assault +1 to hit
Power Strike (E): Add +1 weapon die to melee damage roll

Master at Arms +1 to weapon attacks, swap weapons minor action
Improved Initiative

Scale Armour (45gp) (+7 AC)
Greatsword (30gp) (d10)
Adventurer's Kit (12gp)
Dagger (1gp) (d4, range 5/10)

GP: 12
SP: 0
CP: 0

Battle Wrath Greatsword Attack: +10 to hit, damage d10+9. Charge: move 5 & attack at +11
Poised Assault Greatsword Attack: +11 to hit, damage d10+7. Charge: move 5 & attack at +12
Greatsword Basic Attack: +10, d10+7

Battle Wrath Dagger Attack: +10, d4+9 range 5/10 (thrown +7, d4+6)
Poised Assault Dagger Attack: +11, d4+7 range 5/10 (+8, d4+4)
Dagger Basic Attack: +10, d4+7, range 5/10 (+7, d4+4)

Sample Actions (You get 1 Minor, Move & Standard on your turn each round)
Minor Action: Draw or Swap weapon
Minor Action: Assume Battle Wrath stance or Poised Assault stance
Move Action: Shift - move 1 square without provoking Opportunity Attacks
Move Action: Move 5 squares
Standard Action: Charge - move 5 squares & attack at +1 to hit
Standard Action: make an Attack
Standard Action: Second Wind - spend a healing surge, regain your surge value in hit points, and get +2 to all defences until your next turn, 1/encounter
Standard Action: Ready an action, which can Interrupt an opponent's action
No Action: Power Strike - add +1 weapon die to damage after hitting, 1/encounter
No Action: Heroic Effort: add +4 to failed attack or save, 1/encounter
No Action: Action Point - spend AP for an extra standard action, 1/encounter
No Action: Delay your turn

Rumours 9/3/717 NR

Starting rumours:
1. Kobolds have been raiding the King's Road north of the Cloak Wood. They seem unusually tough and well organised.
2. They say the ancient Dwarf Forge of Tannheim has been discovered in the Dawnforge Mountains, on the slopes of Misty Mountain. What mighty dwarf-forged weapons might still lie within?
3. A dark cult has arisen within the swamps of the Witchlight Fens, kidnapping travellers from boats plying the Nentir River. Some say their leader is a Prophet called Malikai the Mad.

The Nentir Vale

The world’s humans are scattered and divided, engaged in a losing battle against the darkening world and their own ignorance. It wasn’t always so.  Once, the splendour of Nerath lit the world with its culture and accomplishments.  It united races and governed prosperously. Nerathi architects raised marvels of engineering; its artists composed works capturing the imagination; and its philosophy formed the foundation of humanity’s ideologies. Yet none of these feats could save Nerath from destruction. Humans today are the inheritors of this legacy, though few of them realize what their ancestors lost with the empire’s fall. Although Nerath now means little more than ancient legends in the shadows of crumbling ruins, every person of every race alive in the world today shares this common thread to their history—that once, Nerath ruled, and the world was a better place. 

There are those who would see it so again...

The world as you know it is composed of isolated pockets of civilization surrounded by dark areas of untamed wild. The small communities and even largest cities' inhabitants are mostly cut off from the world outside their walls. Travel between cities and villages is dangerous, and most people are ignorant about the rest of the world aside from rumor. Bandits, vicious humanoids, and monsters of all kinds inhabit the darkness between settled areas, and those who wish to venture out do so at their own risk.

Fallcrest lies near the middle of the broad borderland region known as the Nentir Vale. The vale is now mostly empty, with a handful of living villages and towns scattered over this wide area. Abandoned farmsteads, ruined manors, and broken keeps litter the countryside. Bandits, wild animals, and monsters roam freely throughout the vale, threatening anyone who fares more than few miles away from one of the surviving settlements. Travel along the roads or river is usually safe—usually. But every now and then, travelers come to bad ends between towns.
The Nentir Vale is a northern land, but it sees relatively little snow—winters are windy and bitterly cold. The Nentir river is too big to freeze except for a few weeks in the coldest part of the year. Summers are cool and mild.

The Nentir Vale

Fiveleague House
Fiveleague House is more properly known as the Fiveleague Inn. It’s a strongly built innhouse surrounded by a wooden palisade. Fiveleague House caters to travelers and merchants coming or going from Hammerfast, a day’s journey (five leagues) farther east. The proprietor is a big, bearlike human named Barton.

Gardmore Abbey
The Gardbury Downs take their name from this striking ruin, a large monastery and town that has lain in ruins for almost one hundred fifty years (since 580 NR). The abbey was dedicated to Bahamut, and served as a major base of the Imperial Knights of Nerath, a militant order who won great fame fighting in Nerath’s distant crusades. The Knights brought a dark artifact back from a far crusade for safekeeping, and evil forces assaulted the abbey to take it back - it is unknown if they found the artifact, but few Knights survived the battle. Some say the ghosts of their fallen can still be seen on darkened nights, racing across Gardbury Downs under the pale moonlight.

The Sword Barrow
This large burial mound stands near the middle of the Gray Downs, a desolate region. The old human hill-clans who lived in the Vale raised the barrow centuries before civilized folk settled in Fallcrest. The hill-folk are long gone, but their grim barrows remain. The Sword Barrow gained its name because scores of rusted blades of ancient design are buried around its edges, blades pointing inward; a visitor can turn up several in a few minutes of looking around.

A dwarven hold cut from the rock of a deep vale in the Dawnforge Mountains, Hammerfast is the largest and wealthiest town in the region. The Trade Road runs through the citadel gates and continues eastward beyond the Dawnforge Mountains. Hammerfast is governed by a council of masters, each the leaders of one of the town’s powerful guilds. The current High Master is the leader of the merchant guild, a dwarf named Marsinda Goldspinner. Legends say that somewhere in the Dawnforge mountains sleeps the terrible many-headed red dragon Calastryx.

Harken Forest
This large woodland stretches from the Nentir River to the mountains and extends for miles to the south. It separates the Nentir Vale from the more populous coastal towns of the south. A strong goblin keep called Daggerburg lies somewhere in the southwest reaches, not too far from Kalton Manor; the goblins sometimes raid the river-traffic moving along the Nentir, or send small parties of marauders to Harkenwold’s borders. An elf tribe known as the Woodsinger Clan roams the eastern portions of the forest. They occasionally trade with the humans of Harkenwold and keep an eye on travelers along the old King’s road. They have a long-standing feud with the Daggerburg goblins, and the goblins keep to the western parts of the forest to avoid swift and deadly elven arrows. However, the goblins are growing more numerous and have become bolder in recent months.

Half a dozen small villages lie along the upper vales of the White River. Together, they make up the Barony of Harkenwold—a tiny realm whose total population is not much greater than Fallcrest’s. The people of Harkenwold are farmers, woodcutters, and woodworkers; little trade comes up or down the old King’s Road. The ruler of Harkenwold is Baron John Stockmer, an elderly man who was known for his strong sword arm in his youth. He is a just and compassionate ruler.
The infamous Gravelstoke noble family, once among Nerath's most prestigious aristocrats, are rumoured to have a manor somewhere in the Harkenwold.

Kalton Manor
Back in the days when Nerath was settling the Nentir Vale, minor lords in search of land to call their own established manors and holds throughout the area. Kalton Manor was one of these, a small keep raised by Lord Arrol Kalton about two hundred years ago. Lord Arrol intended to settle the lower vale of the White river, but it was not to be—monsters from the Witchlight Fens drove off the tenants Arrol had brought with him. At the end, Arrol and a handful of his servants and family lived alone in a half-finished keep slowly falling into ruin until they disappeared as well. Stories tell of hidden treasure—the old Kalton fortune—hidden in secret chambers beneath the ruined keep. It is said the ancient black dragon Shadowmire had a hand in the downfall of Kalton Manor, and that he still dwells somewhere deep in the fastness of the swamps.

Keep on the Shadowfell
Long ago, soldiers from Nerath built a strong fortress over the Shadowfell rift to protect it. The old keep lies in ruins now, and is rumored to be haunted.

Kobold Hall
Like Kalton Manor, the wreck now known locally as Kobold Hall was the estate of a minor lord who came to Nentir Vale to establish his own demesnes. Ruined during the Bloodspear War, the old castle has been abandoned for almost a century. Kobold tribes from the Cloak Wood are rumored to lurk in its depths.

This tiny human village lies at the east end of Lake Nen. The folk here make a meager living by trading smoked fish to the dwarves of Hammerfast. They also deal with the Tigerclaw barbarians of the Winterbole Forest. When the wild folk choose to trade, they come to Nenlast to barter their pelts and amber for good dwarven metalwork. Evil Frost Witches are said to dwell at the northwest tip of Lake Nen, and somewhere in the Winterbole dwells the white dragon Bitterstrike.

Raven Roost
This small keep stands at the southern end of the Old Hills. Once it was the seat of a small manor, but it fell into ruin long ago. Bandits often harry the Trade Road in this region.

Ruins of Fastormel
Once a prosperous town on the shores of Lake Nen, Fastormel was destroyed by the Bloodspear orcs and has never been resettled. The town was ruled by a Lord Mage (the most powerful wizard in town claimed the ruler’s scepter), and the Mistborn Tower of the last Lord Mage still stands amid the ruins of the town. The tower is shrouded in a strange silver mist that never dissipates, no matter what the weather would otherwise dictate.

The Stonemarch
A rugged land of stony hills and deep gorges cut by white-rushing rivers, the Stonemarch is home to tribes of dangerous humanoids and giants including the Bloodspear Orcs. Orcs, ogres, giants, and trolls haunt the farther reaches of these barren lands. Fortunately for the residents of the Vale, the monsters rarely come east over the Cairngorm Peaks. Notables include the green dragon Vestapalk.

Temple of Yellow Skulls
The ruins of an evil shrine stand in the middle of these desolate hills. Legend tells that a rakshasa prince summoned demons to this place and bound them to his service by imprisoning their vital essences in gold-plated human skulls. None of these have yet been recovered from the ruins, but the story persists.

This striking peak is the largest of the Old Hills. It is said to have extensive caverns within, an ancient minotaur labyrinth ruled by the Mages of Saruun from the fortress of Saruun Khel. Northwest of Thunderspire the Vale is inhabited by a few dozen hardy hunters and trappers. To the northeast the Old Hills are the domain of the Blackfang Gnolls.

Wintergard Manor
Sir Belvar Dorimant is lord of the manor of Wintergard north of Fallcrest town, located at the southernmost point of the Grey Downs where the Winter River joins the Nentir River. Belvar is the youngest brother of Messoria Dorimant's father Kallain and is therefore Messoria's uncle. Belvar's wife Fioral is a distant relative of the Markelhay family. They have twin sons in their early teens: Andrazor and Andradin, who have recently started training as squires.
Wintergard is a small fortified hamlet with a home farm sufficient to supply most of its needs and typically fields eight foot soldiers. Within the palisade is an inn and quay for barges travelling along the river. The total population of Wintergard is about 180 people.
There is rumoured to be a secret knightly order based in the Gray Downs, dedicated to rebuilding the Empire of Nerath. It is unknown if Sir Belvar is a member.

Winterhaven (pop 977, 10 Guard, 50 Militia)
Hard under the Cairngorms at the west end of the Nentir Vale lies the remote town of Winterhaven. Like Fallcrest, Winterhaven is a small town surrounded by a few miles of farmland and pastures. It is ruled by Lord Ernest Padraig. Notable characters include the sage Valthrun the Prescient, Linora the priestess of Avandra, and the guard commander Rond Kelfem. Ernest is an old friend of Lord Faren Markelhay of Fallcrest, who is married to Ernest's younger sister the Lady Allande Aranda Markelhay (qv).


Fallcrest stands amid the Moon Hills at the falls of the Nentir River. Here travelers and traders using the old King’s Road that runs north and south, the dwarven Trade Road from the east, and the river all meet. The surrounding ridges shelter several small valleys where farmers and woodsfolk live; few are more than six or seven miles from the town. In general the people outside Fallcrest’s walls earn their living by farming or keeping livestock, and the people inside the walls are artisans, laborers, or merchants. People with no other prospects can make a hard living as porters, carrying cargo from the Lower Quays to the Upper Quays (or vice versa).

Fallcrest imports finished goods from the larger cities downriver and ironwork from the dwarf town of Hammerfast, and exports timber, leather, fruit, and grain. It also trades with the nearby town of Winterhaven. The surrounding hills hold several marble quarries that once produced a good deal of stone, but the area has little demand for ornamental stone these days, and only a few stonecutters still practice their trade.

A small town built from the ruins of a larger city, Fallcrest is the crossroads of the Nentir Vale.

Population: 1,350; another 9,000 or so live in countryside hamlets and farms within about seven to eight miles of the town, giving the Fallcrest Barony a nominal area of some 200 square miles including about 90 square miles of farmland. The people of Fallcrest are mostly humans, halflings, and dwarves. No dragonborn or eladrin are permanent residents, but travelers of all races pass through on occasion.

GP limit: 400gp/week.
Item Limit:
Level 5/1000gp/3 weeks traded (Orest Naerumar, at 25% markup)
Level 8/3400gp/9 weeks crafted (Nimozaran the Green, at 40% markup)
It typically takes 1 week to acquire a 360gp/level 1 magic item through crafting (including reagant manufacture) or trade. Acquiring a silvered weapon (+500gp) takes +2 weeks.
Magic Items Generally Available (max 8/week)
Sunrod 50gp, Everburning torch 50gp, Journeybread 50gp, Potion of healing 50gp.
Other: Mule (Brute 1 speed 8) & bags 20gp.

Government: The human noble Faren Markelhay is the Lord Warden (hereditary lord) of the town. He is in charge of the town’s justice, defense, and laws. The Lord Warden appoints a town council to look after routine commerce and public projects.
There are around a dozen lesser noble families within the Fallcrest demesne (such as the Tiefling Dorimant, human Lorvas, human Vardis, and mostly half-elf Sone), who provide military service to the Lord Warden in return for land or stipend.

Landed families hold at least one manor (1 square mile, 640 acres) of farmland. Each manor produces enough to support 100 peasants and raise a lance of levy soldiery - 1 mounted knight and 4 footmen or hobilars. Manors more than a mile or two from the city walls typically centre around a thorpe of 20-80. Several manors may centre on a hamlet of 80-400. Hamlets are the largest settlements within Fallcrest demesne outside the town itself. A typical manor produces revenue of around 1,000gp/year in goods and services (only about 50gp-200gp in actual cash), and has a nominal value of around 10-20,000gp.

Defence: Domain population ca 10,350, with around 2,070 adult males and ca 517 combatant females, mostly min 1-2. The Fallcrest Guard numbers sixty warriors (around 12 mounted knights and 48 common foot soldiery with halberd or light crossbow), who also serve as constables. Moonstone Keep is their barracks. The Lord Warden can swiftly call up to another 350 trained levy at need - ca 20% (70) mounted knights, 10% (35) light cavalry & scouts, 10% (35) crossbowmen, and 60% (210) heavy foot, for a total field force of 410. Most soldiery is around minion-3, with 6 tough Human Guard sergeants (soldier-3), including the four town Gate Sergeants and two at the Keep.
Typical Knight:

Knight of Fallcrest
Level 10 Minion Soldier        XPV 125
HP 26/13                              Init +7 Perception +6
AC 25 Fort 23 Ref 22 Will 23
Speed 10 (mounted) 5 (foot)
(Basic) Longsword melee-1 ATT +15 Hit: 9/14 damage
(At Will) Longsword flurry melee-1 ATT +10 (2 attacks) Hit: 9/14 damage
(Encounter) Lance Charge: The knight moves 10 squares towards enemy and makes the following attack: melee-2 ATT +16 Hit: 14/21 damage & a small or medium target is pushed 1 square
Skills: N/A
STR 19 (+9) DE 14 (+7) WI 12 (+6) CO 16 (+8) INT 10 (+5) CH 16 (+8)
Alignment: Any languages: Common
Equipment: Plate armour, heavy shield. lance, longsword, warhorse
Some 10% of knights possess an ancestral magic item (d6):
1-3: +1 longsword ATT +16 Hit 10/15
4-5: +1 plate AC 26
6: +1 amulet of resistance Fort 24 Ref 23 Will 24

Fallcrest Guard 
Level 8 Minion Soldier      XPV 75
Medium human 
HP 21/10                          
Initiative +5  Perception +4                           
AC 23; Fortitude 21; Reflex 21; Will 20
Speed 5
Standard Actions
m Halberd (weapon) • At-Will
Attack: Reach 2, +13 vs. AC
Hit: 9/14 damage.

M Precise Strike (weapon) • At-Will
Attack: Reach 1, +15 vs. AC
Hit: 8/12 damage.
R Crossbow (weapon) • At-Will
Attack: Ranged 15/30; +13 vs. AC
Hit: 8/12 damage.

m Dagger (weapon) At Will
Attack: +13 vs AC
Hit: 6/9 damage.
Skills Streetwise +9
Str 16 (+7) Dex 13 (+5) Wis 11 (+4)
Con 15 (+10) Int 9 (+3) Cha 10 (+4)
Alignment any     Languages Common
Equipment plate armor, either halberd or crossbow & bolts (20), dagger.


Inns: Nentir Inn; Silver Unicorn Inn. The Silver Unicorn is pricier and offers better service; the Nentir Inn sees a more interesting clientele.
Taverns: Blue Moon Alehouse; Lucky Gnome Taphouse; Nentir Inn taproom.
Supplies: Halfmoon Trading House; Sandercot Provisioners.
Temples: Temple of Erathis; Temple of Erathis (Sehanine); Temple of Erathis (Pelor).

Fallcrest's Story
Up until four centuries or so ago (ca 300 NR), the Moon Hills and the surrounding Nentir Vale were thinly settled borderlands, home to quarrelsome human hill-chieftains and remote realms of nonhumans such as dwarves and elves. Giants, minotaurs, orcs, ogres, and goblins plagued the area. Ruins such as those on the Gray Downs or the ring-forts atop the Old Hills date back to these days, as do stories of the hero Vendar and the dragon of the Nentir.

With the rise of the empire of Nerath to the south, human settlers began to move up the Nentir, establishing towns such as Fastormel, Harkenwold, and Winterhaven. A Nerathan hero named Aranda Markelhay obtained a charter to build a keep at the portage of the Nentir Falls. She raised a simple tower at the site of Moonstone Keep three hundred ten years ago (407 NR), and under its protection the town of Fallcrest began to grow.

Over the next two centuries (407-600 NR), Fallcrest grew into a small and prosperous city. It was a natural crossroads for trade, and the Markelhays ruled it well. When the empire of Nerath began to crumble about a century ago (600 NR onwards), Fallcrest continued to flourish—for a time. Ninety years ago (627 NR), a fierce horde of orcs known as the Bloodspears descended from the Stonemarch and swept over the vale. Fallcrest’s army was defeated in a rash attempt to halt the Bloodspears out on Gardbury Downs. The Bloodspears burned and pillaged Fallcrest and went on to wreak havoc all across the Nentir Vale.

In the decades since the Bloodspear War, Fallcrest has struggled to reestablish itself. The town is a shadow of the former city; little trade passes up and down the river these days. The countryside for scores of miles around is dotted with abandoned homesteads and manors from the days of Nerath. Once again the Nentir Vale is a thinly settled borderland where few folk live. This is a place in need of a few heroes.

Key Locations
Fallcrest is divided into two districts by a steep bluff that cuts across the town. The area north of the bluff is known locally as Hightown. This district survived the city’s fall in relatively good shape, and it was the first area resettled. To the south of the bluff lies Lowtown, which tends to be newer and poorer. In the event of a serious threat, people retreat up to Hightown—the bluff and the town walls completely ring this part of Fallcrest, making it highly defensible.

Tower of Waiting (1)
This old fortification was built on a small island in the Nentir to guard the city from any waterborne attack from the north. It fell into ruin even before the sack of the old city, and now is little more than an empty shell overrun by mice and birds.

Upper Quays (2)
Boats proceeding down the Nentir must stop here and offload their cargo, which is then portaged through the town to the Lower Quays and loaded onto boats below the falls. Likewise, cargo heading in the other direction is carried up to these quays and loaded aboard boats bound upstream.

Five-Arch Bridge (3)
Dwarf artisans from the citadel of Hammerfast built a fine stone bridge over the Nentir two hundred years ago. Although the bridge was destroyed when Fallcrest fell, the great stone piers supporting it remained intact, so a few years back the people of the town laid a new timber trestle over the old stone footings.

A small toll house guards the western side of the bridge. Five Fallcrest guards under the command of Sergeant Thurmina watch this post. They collect a toll of 1 cp per head (and 1 sp per mount) making use of the bridge in either direction. Thurmina is a gruff woman who has been known to turn a blind eye to odd cargo moving over the bridge when paid to do so. The river current begins to pick up on the south side of the bridge. Boats (or swimmers) venturing far from the banks are in danger of being carried over the falls.

Nentir Inn (4)
A fine new building constructed of fieldstone and strong timber, the Nentir Inn stands on the west bank of the river. Merchants from Winterhaven or Hammerfast make up the clientele, along with travelers who happen to be passing through. A good room with two single beds goes for 5 sp per night. The Nentir Inn also boasts a lively taproom, which is popular with the folk who live in the vales on the west bank of the river. Owned by the half-elf Erandil Zemoar.

The Nentir Inn

Knight’s Gate (5)
Fallcrest’s northern city gate is known as Knight’s Gate, because the Lord Warden’s riders normally come and go from the city by this road. The gate consists of strong outer doors of iron-reinforced timber and an inner portcullis between a pair of small stone towers. The portcullis is normally lowered at sunset, and the gates close only in times of danger. The gatehouse barracks accommodates five Fallcrest guards plus Sergeant Nereth, who commands this gate. He is a stiff-necked fussbudget who rigorously enforces all rules; the guards stationed here can’t stand their sergeant.

Moxy, Silver Unicorn Serving Girl
Silver Unicorn Inn (6)
For many years, the Silver Unicorn has billed itself as “the Pride of Fallcrest,” charging high rates for its attentive service and well-appointed rooms. The recent opening of the Nentir Inn put a big dent in the Silver Unicorn’s business, and the owner, a stern halfling matriarch named Wisara Osterman, strongly disapproves. She’s certain that there is something shifty about Erandil Zemoar, but can’t put her finger on it. The half-elf Bard Tailean the True performs here regularly. Wisara's serving maids include Moxy, a local orphan she took under her wing. Moxy is determinedly upbeat, if a bit clumsy.
A room in the Silver Unicorn costs 2 gp per night.

Halfmoon Trading House (7)
The Halfmoon family is a large, far-flung clan of halflings who keep small trading posts in several settlements throughout the Nentir Vale. This is the largest and most important of those establishments. It’s under the care of Selarund Halfmoon, a friendly halfling who dispenses a never-ending stream of advice to his customers, such as, “It never rains but as someone gets wet!” or “A nail ain’t afraid of a hammer with no handle!” No one knows what he’s talking about most of the time, but Selarund is more sly than he lets on and keeps a close eye on events all around the town. The Halfmoon Trading House is an excellent place to buy mundane tools, gear, supplies, or clothing.

Moonstone Keep (8)
The seat of Lord Warden Faren Markelhay, Moonstone Keep is an old castle that sits atop a steep-sided hill overlooking the town. The outer bailey includes barracks housing up to sixty Fallcrest guards. At any given time about twenty or so are off-duty. Other buildings in the courtyard include a stable, an armory, a chapel, a smithy, and several storehouses. The keep is the large D-shaped building at the north end of the castle.
Lady Allande Markelhay at 28
Mirabelle Markelhay
Faren Markelhay is a balding, middle-aged (46) human with a keen mind and a dry wit. He is a busy man and sees to local matters personally, so adventurers calling on him are likely to wait a long time for a short interview. However, he is eager for news of other towns in the Vale (and farther lands as well) and never turns away someone who brings him news or waits to see him. (Knight 10, +2 longsword, +2 plate, +1 amulet). At age 19 a young Sir Faren fought in the Daggerburg War, and is rumoured to have fathered a child by an elf-maid of Harkenwood, Leleth Snow - now one of his armigers.
Faren's wife Lady Allande Aranda Markelhay (nee Padraig) is a cool and reserved woman of 36, known to be a student of arcane arts (Wizard 4, +1 Wand). She is the younger sister of Lord Ernest Padraig of Winterhaven (supra). They have four children, the eldest Ernesto is a squire to the Baron of Therund far to the south. Her eldest daughter Mirabelle (PC) is also a trainee Mage.
The elderly Tiefling warrior Kallain Dorimant (Soldier 5) has served the Markelhays since long before the Battle of Gardbury Downs. Today he is Faren's Seneschal, keeping Moonstone Keep secure and well provisioned. Kallain's daughter Messoria (PC) is recently trained as a Silver Falcon, a Paladin of Sehanine. Kallain's human wife, also a Silver Falcon, was lost a year ago crusading against the Order of the Iron Circle in the devil-infested lands of Sarthel to the south.

Diana Sone, Paladin of Bahamut and Knight of Fallcrest.

The Tombwood (9)
Along the southern slopes of Moonstone Hill grows a large thicket that has never been entirely cleared. Within its tangled paths lies the old castle cemetery (now heavily overgrown), as well as a battle-mound dating back centuries.

House of the Sun (10)
When Fallcrest was a larger city, it supported several good-sized temples located in the Hightown districts. With the town’s depopulation, several of these were abandoned, including the House of the Sun, a temple dedicated to Pelor. The place also includes shrines to Kord and Bahamut. Recently, a zealous dwarf priest of Pelor named Grundelmar came to Fallcrest from Hammerfast and reestablished this old temple. Grundelmar is loud and opinionated, a real fire-breather who goes on and on about smiting evil wherever it might lurk.

House Azaer (11)
A small, well-off trading company, House Azaer is owned by the tieflings of the Azaer family. They import goods (including arms and armor) from Hammerfast, Harkenwold, and the lands to the south, and organize caravans up to Winterhaven several times a year. House Azaer is an excellent place to purchase nearly any mundane equipment, although its prices are a little on the high side.
Amara Azaer is in charge of the house business in Fallcrest, and spends her time on the premises. Though young, the tiefling is quite sharp and doesn’t miss an opportunity for profit in running the Azaer business

The Nentir Falls (12)
Here the Nentir River descends nearly 200 feet in three striking shelflike drops. On the small island in the middle of the falls stands the statue of an ancient human hero named Vendar, holding up his hand as if to challenge enemies approaching from downriver. Local legend tells that Vendar slew a dragon whose lair was hidden in caverns beneath the falls.

Rathira Mornbrow, junior priestess of Erathis

Temple of Erathis (13)
This large, impressive stone temple is finished with Fallcrest’s native marble. Its chapel is a large rotunda with a 30-foot-tall dome. The temple of Erathis is the largest and most influential temple in town. The place also includes shrines to Ioun and Moradin. High Priestess Dirina Mornbrow oversees two lesser priestesses (her daughter Rathira (19) and gruff Kellan Mormont (42)) and several acolytes—townsfolk who spend part of their day tending the temple. Dirina is a woman of about sixty who is convinced of the superiority of Erathis’s dogma, and disappointed that more people in Fallcrest don’t pay proper reverence to “our city’s patron god.” She is familiar with several divination and restoration rituals and can aid adventurers with ritual magic at need—for an appropriate gift to Erathis, of course.

The Bluffs (14)
Fallcrest is divided in half by a great cliff snaking northwest to southeast across the town. The bluffs average 150 to 250 feet in height. They are not strictly vertical, but are too tall and steep to be easily climbed.

The Catacombs (15)
The limestone bluffs between Hightown and Lowtown hold a number of caves, which the folk of Fallcrest have used as burial crypts for centuries. As caves fill up, they are walled off and forgotten about. Naturally, stories abound in town about treasure hoards hidden away in the crypts, and the restless undead that guard them.

Moonsong Temple (16)
The third of Fallcrest’s temples is devoted to Sehanine. It also includes shrines to Corellon, Melora, and Avandra. The Markelhays regard Sehanine as their special patron, and over the years they have given generously to the temple. The temple occupies a commanding position atop the bluffs, and its white minarets can be seen from any corner of Lowtown.
The leader of the temple is High Priest Ressilmae Starlight, a wise and compassionate elf who finished adventuring decades ago and retired to a contemplative life. He is a musician of great skill who happily tutors the local children, even those who are poor and can’t afford to pay for their lessons. Ressilmae's sister Syrana Starlight is also a priestess, their brother the elf merchant Andarus recently killed by swamp cultists, their niece Andara Starlight was taken captive.

Fallcrest Stables (17)
Lannar Thistleton owns this business, providing travelers with tack, harness, stabling, shoeing, wagons, and just about anything dealing with horses, mules, or ponies. He keeps a larger corral about a mile outside of town, and at any given time Lannar has several riding horses, draft horses, or mules in his paddock near Wizard’s Gate. The halfling is an excellent source of rumors, since he sees the travelers coming or going by the roads. He is a friendly fellow of about forty, with a large brood of children at his home out in the countryside.

Wizard’s Gate (18)
Fallcrest’s eastern city gate is known as Wizard’s Gate, because it’s the gate most convenient to the Septarch’s Tower. The road to the east travels a few miles into the surrounding hills, linking a number of outlying farms and homesteads with the town.

The gate resembles Knight’s Gate in construction, and is similarly watched by a detachment of five guards and a sergeant. The leader of this detachment is Sergeant Murgeddin, a dwarf veteran who fought in the Bloodspear War and was present at the Battle of Gardbury Downs, where Fallcrest’s army was defeated. A friendly drink goes a long way toward loosening Murgeddin’s tongue about that long-ago war.

Naerumar’s Imports (19)
Considered the finest of Fallcrest’s retail establishments, Naerumar’s Imports deals in gemstones, jewelry, art, and magic trinkets. The owner is Orest Naerumar, a tiefling who displays impeccable manners and discretion. Orest corresponds with relatives and colleagues in several towns and cities outside the Nentir Vale; given a few weeks, he can order in minor magic items (level 1-5), or other items of unusual value. Similarly, Orest purchases interesting items such as these, since other dealers in distant towns or cities might be looking for them.
Naerumar can acquire Common magic items up to Level 5. He can occasionally acquire Uncommon items (25% chance, check 1/month max).
Item Level  Time  Cost
1              1 week  360x1.25=450gp
2              2 weeks 520x1.25=650gp
3              2 weeks 680x1.25=850gp
4              3 weeks 840x1.25=1050gp
5              3 weeks 1000x1.25=1250gp

Kamroth Estate (20)
This is the home of the self-styled “lord” Armos Amroth, a wealthy landowner who collects rents from scores of farmers and herders living in the countryside nearby. Armos is a brusque, balding man of about fifty who makes a show of loaning money in good faith and exacting only what the law allows—but somehow he has quietly bought up dozens of free farms over the years and turned their owners into his tenants.

Moonwash Falls (21)
A small, swift stream known as the Moonwash flows through Fallcrest to meet the Nentir River. The stream is rarely more than 20 feet wide or 5 feet deep. The town’s children love to play in the pool at the base of the falls in the summertime.

Septarch’s Tower (22)
This lonely structure is a tall, oblong tower carved of pale green stone that doesn’t match anything else in the town. In the days before the Bloodspear War, this was the seat of Fallcrest’s mages’ guild—an order of a dozen or so wizards and arcane scholars. Defensive enchantments prevented the orcs from sacking the tower, but the guild’s members died fighting for the city or fled to safer lands.

The tower is now the property of Nimozaran the Green, an elderly wizard (Wiz 8, +2 staff, +2 amulet, +1 robes; Arcana of +14 (+5 Int +5 Prof +4 level) ) who was once apprenticed to the last of the old guild mages. Nimozaran considers himself the “High Septarch of Fallcrest” and master of the Guild, whose membership now includes only himself and a rather unpromising male halfling apprentice named Tobolar Quickfoot. He has recently been training Mirabelle (PC), the eldest Markelhay daughter.
Nimozaran expects any potential new guild members to pay a hefty initiation fee, and so far none of the few other arcanists living in or passing through Fallcrest have seen reason to join. He can teach a limited number of rituals, including Comprehend Language, Eye of Alarm, and Enchant Magic Item.
Nimozaran can enchant Common items up to Level 8:
Item Level  Cost
6           1800x1.4=2520gp
7           2600x1.4=3640gp
8           3400x1.4=4760gp

Blue Moon Alehouse (23)
This brewhouse on the banks of the Moonwash Stream is the best tavern in Fallcrest. The owner is a nervous, easily flustered fellow of fifty or so named Par Winnomer. The true genius behind the Blue Moon is the halfling brewmaster Kemara Brownbottle. She is happy to let Par fret about running the taphouse, while she spends her time perfecting her selection of ales and beers.

The Blue Moon is popular with halfling traders whose boats tie up along the Lower Quay, well-off town merchants, and the farmers who live in the countryside south of Fallcrest. The old dwarves Teldorthan (area 24) and Sergeant Murgeddin (area 18) hoist a tankard or two here on frequent occasion, and both can provide beginning adventurers with good leads on potential adventures.

Teldorthan’s Arms (24)
The dwarf Teldorthan Ironhews is the town’s weaponsmith and armorer. He is a garrulous old fellow who spends his time trading stories with his customers with a pipe clenched in his teeth, while his apprentices (two of whom are his sons) do the work. Make no mistake—Teldorthan is a master armorer, and under his supervision his apprentices turn out work of exceptional quality.

Teldorthan has in stock (or can soon manufacture) just about any mundane weapon or armor, although he advises beginners to try a hammer: “If you can drive a nail, you can kill an orc! You can drive a nail, can’t you?”

King’s Gate (25)
Fallcrest’s southern gate was destroyed in the attack that devastated the city long ago, and it still has not been entirely rebuilt. One of the two paired towers is nothing but rubble, and several large gaps remain in the town walls south of the bluffs through which anyone could enter the city.

Despite its lack of functionality, the King’s Gate is still used as a guardpost by the Fallcrest guards. Sergeant Gerdrand is in charge here; he is a tall, lanky man who doesn’t say much, answering questions with a grunt or a shake of the head.

The Market Green (26)
The majority of Fallcrest’s folk live above the bluffs in Hightown and walk down to do business on the streets of Lowtown, which bustle with commerce. This wide square is an open, grassy meadow where Fallcrest’s merchants and visiting traders do business in good weather. The town’s children gather here for games of tag or kick-stones.

Sandercot Provisioners (27)
The largest general store in Fallcrest, Sandercot’s deals in just about anything—food, clothing, stores, rope, tools, gear, leather goods, and more. Compared to the Halfmoon Trading House, Sandercot’s has slightly cheaper prices but goods of somewhat lower quality.
The owner is Nimena Sandercot, the widow of the late and unlamented Marken Sandercot.

Lucky Gnome Taphouse (28)
The Lucky Gnome is widely regarded as the cheapest and coarsest of Fallcrest’s drinking establishments. It caters to the porters and laborers who work the nearby docks, and fistfights are a nightly occurrence.
The owner of the Lucky Gnome is a dubious character named Kelson.

Lower Quays (29)
Keelboats and similar craft put in here to unload their cargo and portage it up to other boats above the falls. As described above for the Upper Quays, the porters’ guild jealously defends its monopoly on moving cargo around the falls, and it frequently attempts to intimidate local merchants into paying for portage services—whether needed or not. In addition to the porters’ guild, another gang of troublemakers lurks around the Lower Quays: the River Rats. These street toughs and thieves look out for the chance to pilfer from the warehouses or roll a drunk in a dark alleyway.

Boats belonging to a number of different travelers tie up here, the most common of which are the keelboats of the halfling Swiftwater Clan. The Swiftwaters carry cargo all the way down to the Nentir’s mouth, hundreds of miles downriver. They’re more than willing to take passengers for a small fee. Irena Swiftwater is the matriarch of the clan. She passes herself off as an absent-minded reader of fortunes and maker of minor charms but is rumoured to be a sharp merchant.

2013 Punjar Saga mini-campaign also set in the world of Nerath.
Fallen Nerath - Includes historical timeline to present day.
City of Punjar
4e Resources
Printable character sheet
Heroes of the Fallen Lands 
Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms

Campaign House Rules
1. 1 extended rest per day. A typical overnight extended rest in the wilderness or down a dungeon restores all hp but only 1/4 of maximum healing surges. Resting at an inn, hall or temple might restore 1/3. 7 days full rest will always restore all surges. NPCs recover their Surge Value in hp with a typical extended rest; their Bloodied value  in hp (or surge value +1 healing surge) with a comfortable rest. If already at full hp they recover 1 healing surge.
2. A PC at or below 0 hp and with 0 Surges is Critically Wounded, and will normally require at least a week of bed rest and intensive care before they can take an Extended Rest. A PC with 0 surges does not benefit from a power that requires them to spend a healing surge.
3. Gear costs - sun rods cost 50gp, same as an everburning torch, and are usually used only by very wealthy adventurers. Bedrolls cost 1gp. Ammunition costs 5gp for a quiverfull and can normally be recovered post-battle. Adventurer's kit sans sunrods costs 12gp.
4. Action Points - PCs get 1 action point (extra action) in every encounter. They don't need to be tracked.
5. A character who stands from prone may move 1 square as part of the move action.
6. The Nerathi Greatsword may be wielded one-handed as a +2/d10 weapon (same as battleaxe or broadsword), or two-handed as a +3/d10 weapon (as standard greatsword).
7. Falling danage for falls of 10'+ is 5/d10 per 5'/square fallen, to a maximum of 250/50d10 (standard rule) at 250'. Large take x2 damage (max 500), Huge take x4 damage (max 1000). Gargantuan take x8 damage (max 2000).
8. A natural '20' on an attack roll is always a critical hit, unless the target has full concealment.
9. Allies can give partial (1/2) & superior (3/4) cover to enemies.

Class Max Surges (at CON 10-11) & Recovery per Day
Cleric     7     1-2
Fighter    9    2-3
Rogue     6    1-2
Wizard    6    1-2
Druid      7    1-2
Paladin   10   2-3
Ranger     6   1-2
Warlock   6   1-2

Knightly PCs
Young 1st level knightly PCs (of any class) are still considered Armigers, in training. Upon being Knighted by their Lord in a grand ceremony they receive their knightly spurs, a warhorse, saddle and tack. Knighted PCs may eventually be entrusted with a young Squire (noncombatant NPC) for training, who may in time become an Armiger also, and then a Knight.
Middle aged and older 1st level knightly PCs are already Knights, whose battle skills have become rusty through disuse, injury or illness. Such PCs begin play with the benefits of knighthood, including warhorse saddle & tack. If they have a Squire, it is a non-combatant NPC.
Higher level knightly PCs who begin play with a warhorse (purchased from starting funds) are considered to be already Knighted.

PCs starting at higher level
Level 1-2: Standard, 100gp
Level 3-4: 1 Level 1 item, 100gp
Level 5-6: 2 Level 1 items, 200gp
Level 7-8: 3 Level 1 items, 300gp
Level 9-10: 1 Level 6 item, 2 Level 1 items, 500gp
Level 11-12: 2 Level 6 items, 1 Level 1 item, 800gp
Level 13-14: 3 Level 6 items, 1300gp
Level 15-16: 1 Level 11 item, 2 Level 6 items, 2100gp
Level 17-18 : 2 Level 11 items, 1 Level 6 item. 3400gp
Level 19-20: 3 level 11 items, 5700gp

Maximum level for mortals in the Mortal World is 20 - this also constricts immortal demons, devils etc manifesting in the World. Some ancient dragons native to the World may exceed this limit. It is unknown if other creatures may do so, most likely for huge and gargantuan entities.

XP; New and Replacement PCs
XP is individual, the usual maximum level difference is (using the highest level PC for reference):
2 levels at Heroic Tier (levels 1-10)
3 levels at low Paragon Tier (levels 11-15)
4 levels at  high Paragon Tier (levels 16-20)
New and Replacement PCs typically begin at the lowest party level (before any losses that required replacement), so at most 2-4 levels below the highest level PC (current or recently deceased). So if a group of 6-8 level PCs all die, the new PCs typically come in at level 6.

Epic Boons
At 20th level characters no longer earn XP. Instead they may be awarded Epic Boons for legendary achievements such as destroying an evil artifact, defeating an elder dragon, or similar epic task. Possible boons include:
1. An item in the character's possession becomes a magic item, typically of level 16-20 (+4)
2. The character gains a Legendary Boon, typically of level 16-20 (+4)
3. The character gains a Feat.
4. The character gains +2 to any one attribute or +1 to any 2 attributes, to a maximum attribute value of 26 (+8).

GM's Notes February 2017
I'm planning for this to be a mostly Heroic Tier campaign, which should keep things simpler, though it might edge into low Paragon at the end depending on how things go. It's a lower-powered setting than the Forgotten Realms (I will run it like the old Moldvay-Cook level 1-14 Classic D&D). I'll be using the standard bonus rules rather than Inherent Bonuses. If all goes well it could run around 45-50 sessions, ca 2.5 years fortnightly, across maybe levels 1-12 or so. I'll use individual XP and will give session account XP, probably 1/20 of the amount needed to level up to every PC present per account. Following the 'Pendragon' model, it's possible I may run a multi-generational campaign where the children of your initial PCs can eventually take up their parents' mantle. So it may be helpful to think of PCs rooted in the world who might found/continue their dynasty.

Sources - I don't want to restrict stuff much but I want to ensure a PC created with just one of the Essentials books is viable. I won't be using the Backgrounds rules which I think were in the 4e PHB2. The power scaling will be a bit lower than in Forgotten Realms - most foes are likely to be lower level, magic items may be relatively rare especially higher powered and exotic stuff. While they can potentially be crafted, acquiring the resources to create even the lowest powered magic items (eg +1 weapons) would be quite challenging. +2 gear is rare to very rare, and +3 gear is extremely rare to legendary.

Character backgrounds - my original idea for the campaign was that PCs would be family members, knights and retainers to the Lord Warden Markelhay of Fallcrest. That would still be a good idea for a PC background, but I don't want to limit PCs, the main thing is that you start in Fallcrest, and you have good reason to go out battling evil/adventuring/looting dungeons. :)
If you would like your PC to be a member of Fallcrest's ruling Markelhay family, they can be a younger brother or sister of Lord Warden Faren Markelhay (so age 43 or younger), one of Faren's younger children (age 13-17), Faren's nephew/niece (age 25 or younger) or a cousin (any age; should be human, half-elf, or tiefling).

Character Family: If your PC is not a child or sibling of Lord Faren Markelhay, roll 1d6 for the number of your parents' surviving offspring - on a 1 you are an only child. Roll 1d10 for number of the older generations (your parents, uncles, aunts, & grandparents only) still extant - roll of "0" = zero extant.

Masterwork Armour and Superior weapons are rarely available 'off the rack. Crafting typically takes at least 1 week for items of final value up to 25gp, +1 day per additional 25gp, assuming all materials are ready to hand.

Superior Weapons
While a huge Fullblade sword (d12. Superior, 30gp, 8 days) might be crafted to order by a master weaponsmith in Fallcrest or Hammerfast, the mighty 7' long Elven greatbow (d12, Superior, 30gp, 8 days) is crafted from Life Yew found only in the depths of Harken Forest.

Masterwork Armour
Masterwork armour is a labour of love that takes the finest smiths weeks of effort. The listed Heroic Masterwork armours may also be enchanted to +2 at a total final cost of 1800gp (level 6 magic armour). Level 11+ Paragon Masterwork armour is not normally available in the Nentir Vale.
Finemail (chain): +7 AC, 360gp, 3 weeks/21 days.
Drakescale (scale): +8 AC, 540gp, 4 weeks/28 days.
Layered Plate (plate): +9 AC, 720gp, 5 weeks/35 days.
Rimefire Plate (plate): +8 AC, 720gp, 5 weeks/35 days, resist 1 all
Rimefire plate uses elemental energies & requires the assistance of a level 6 enchanter.

Warhorse Barding
Light barding (partial plate): + 1 AC, 75gp, 40 lb, 9 days
Heavy barding (plate & mail): + 2 AC. -2 check, -1 speed, 150gp, 80 lb, 12 days

Holy Water vial
Level 1, 20gp, consumable.
Attack: minor action. Make an attack ranged 3/6,  DEX check or +4 vs Reflex; on a hit the attack does 1d10 radiant damage to an undead creature or demon.

Session Account XP Awards (Maximum, Individual/Group)
Level  XP
1-4     100/50
5-8     200/100
9-12   400/200
13-16  800/400
17-20  1000/500