Raunalyn's Princes of the Apocalypse

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The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

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That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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Princes of the Apocalypse
Beginnings

Graeyd, Dwarven Cleric of Kord – Graeyd is searching for a delegation from Axegard. The group consisted of several of his clansmen, a few human merchants, and some Elvish dignitaries. Because they are so long overdue, he has begun following their trail, which leads him to Hommlet

Alexander Titan, Rogue – Alexander is in the city of Enstad and is contacted by a fellow rogue. A caravan was attacked recently near the village of Hommlet. His contact hands him a drawing of a symbol, one that Alexander recognized from his past.

Gilbane, Half-elven Paladin – Gilbane the wanderer begins seeing dire omens while travelling through the Kron Hills. Something is amiss here, and he travels to the nearest village, the village of Hommlet, to discover what is happening

Ciandara, Elven cleric of Pelor – Ciandara was a member of the Elvish dignitaries that were ambushed on their journey to Verbobonc. Through luck, or maybe through the grace of Pelor, she was thrown from her horse and knocked unconscious. A local druid, Jaroo Ashstaff, found her and brought her to Hommlet to recover. All she remembers from the attack is that one of the attackers was wearing a strange symbol.

Sulannus, Elven Warrior – Sulannus is journeying to Hommlet to discover more about the Battle of Emridy Meadows, which took place a little over 10 years ago. She believes that her brother may have been lost in the battle, and she wishes to find the site of the battle and pay her respects.

Graeyd, Alexander, Gilbane, and Sulannus meet on the road to Hommlet. For safety during their journey, they decide to band together while they finish their travels. Arriving, they immediately head to the Inn of the Welcome Wench.

They discover that the townsfolk are suspicious of strangers when an elven woman, Ciandara, begins asking around about a delegation that had gone missing a few weeks ago. Hearing this, Graeyd begins asking for details, learning that Ciandara was a member of the very delegation that he is searching for. Further questions to the townsfolk residing in the Inn meets with stony silence.

Ostler Gundigoot, the innkeep, informs the group that they won’t get anything from the townsfolk unless they can prove that they are trustworthy. He suggests talking to Elmo, the town constable, to see if there’s anything he can do to put in a good word.

Graeyd spends a few minutes speaking with the young constable. Elmo says that he is undermanned, and he would like Graeyd to investigate the rumors of a group of bandits to the south. If Graeyd can do this, Elmo will talk with several townsfolk to let everyone know that the group is trustworthy.

Alexander spends a few hours walking around the inn, hiding in shadowy corners and listening to conversations. He learns of the bandit attacks, and also hears tales of a young girl and a haunted crypt, and learns of a potential plague at a place called Lance Rock. He also overhears a group of miners who work at the quarry discussing men in strange stone masks who watch them when they work at night.

Gilbane, Ciandara and Sulannus go and visit Jaroo. The druid offers them dinner and spends a while talking with Sulannus about the Battle of Emridy Meadows and the rise of the Temple of Elemental Evil. Gilbane asks Jaroo if he suspects that the Temple may not have been destroyed. Jaroo is unsure, but he intends to do a ritual that would allow him to commune with the elements. The three of them decide to help Graeyd deal with the bandits on the following day.

The next day, the group heads south, meeting a group of Knights of the Hart along the way. Graeyd and Ciandara find them to be suspicious, but the rest of the group sees nothing out of the ordinary. The knights continue on to Hommlet.

Eventually, Alexander hears a commotion off the main road; a loud roar of an enraged beast followed by the sounds of raucous laughter. Investigating, he discovers a small band of rugged men poking a spear into a wooden cage, within which a black bear is imprisoned.
Thinking that these might be the bandits they are looking for, the group moves in to attack. Smelling blood, the black bear suddenly breaks free of its cage, immediately pouncing on one of the bandits and brutally mauling it.

Ciandara yells to the group that they need to keep one of the bandits alive for questioning. Alexander wisely incapacitates one of the bandits while the bear rushes toward Gilbane. The Paladin, who wishes to follow the Oath of the Ancients, attempts to calm the raging animal. The bear doesn’t attack, but growls menacingly at Gilbane.

Meanwhile, the final bandit attempts to fire his crossbow at the bear, hoping to use the enraged beast as a distraction so that he can escape. He fails miserably and is soon brought down by Sulannus and Ciandara. The bear, no longer seeing its tormentors, growls one last time at Gilbane and slinks off into the woods.

The party takes the time to interrogate the sole remaining bandit. When Ciandara’s honeyed words fail to persuade the criminal, Graeyd gets a bit more forceful. The eventually discover that this particular group of bandits was just a small band. The prisoner describes that there are several such groups, and that his group was paid anonymously, the blind drop being at a place called Lance Rock. After further interrogation, Ciandara and Graeyd learn that the group that attacked the delegation was another of these bandit groups, and that several of the members wore strange armor made entirely of stone.

Getting nothing else from their prisoner, they bind him and drag him back to Hommlet so that he can face justice.

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Session 2
The Bear and the Maiden (un)Fair

The group arrives back in Hommlet with their prisoner. Immediately, they notice that many of the townsfolk are looking at them with a new-found respect. Constable Elmo is pleased with their report and tells them that he will begin talking with the townsfolk and investigating the disappearance of the delegation. Until then, he encourages the party to begin talking to a few townsfolk.

Curious about these men in the stone masks, the group heads to the quarry on the east end of town. Meeting with the foreman, they ask if he’s seen any unusual activity at night. The foreman rudely dismisses them, and when they press, he shakes his head, mumbling something about “conspiracy theories” and telling the group that if they were really that bored, they could head out to Tricklerock cave…there’s supposed to be some type of famous treasure there. Ciandara notices that the worker that the foreman was talking to, an older halfling man, looked nervous and uncomfortable during the discussion, but when she tries to pull the halfling away, he tells her that he can’t discuss things here…the boss is watching. Ciandara tells him that the group will be at the Inn of the Welcome Wench during the evening if he wants to talk.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group walks amongst the workers in the quarry. Two of the workers tell them of the mysterious watchers…though they were frightening, they did not do anything overly aggressive. They workers were unable to tell if the watchers were male or female…they wore heavy robes and stone masks.

Finding this avenue of investigation to have closed for now, the group decides to head out to Lance Rock to see if they can find the dead drop.

The journey takes a little more than an hour, and it is still early afternoon when they arrive. They notice an old cave beneath Lance Rock, and they move in to investigate, noticing tracks heading into the cavern.

Cautiously entering the cave, they notice a dead body against one wall. The body looks to be fairly old…a few weeks at least, and that it is dressed similarly to the bandits that they encountered. Gilbane closes his eyes, sensing death and corruption all around him. Suspecting that the body is undead, he bends down to investigate. The body begins moving and attempts to attack him. The rest of the crew, having prepared attacks, immediately destroy the zombie.

Concerned that the cave has undead, the group decides to move deeper into the caverns and destroy any undead that they find. They eventually come to a room that has a large, flat rock in the center…obviously used as a place of sacrifice by the bloodstains covering it. As they move in to investigate Ciandara and Grayd are surprised as several large rocks tumble on them from above. Grayd is fortunate enough to jump out of the way, but Ciandara is knocked unconscious as two zombies leap down from above the group and attack. They take a few moments to dispatch the creatures, then heal Ciandara and continue on.

Soon, they arrive and a strange sight. Within a star-shaped chamber, three zombies caper about in an insane dance. One is dressed as a jester, bells tinkling from his hat; one is dressed in a bear costume; the last is dressed as a maiden, in a rotting ball dress and makeup. The group is stunned by this bizarre sight, and suspecting a trap, they begin pelting the zombies with arrows and bolts, quickly dispatching them.

Moving further into the caves, the group eventually comes to a large, well lit cavern. Within, a man in heavy robes moves amongst three large tables, each with a body on it. Beyond, a table is covered with various tools and implements. Further into the room, a man stands surrounded by several skeletons.

Gilbane immediately senses more undead, knowing that the man walking between the tables with the bodies on them is undead, and that the bodies themselves may also be undead. The group moves into the room to attack as the man on the far end of the room shouts at them, “Bow before the Lord of Lance Rock! Behold my dark terrors!”

He shouts to the skeletons to “Kill them all!!” and then runs further into the cave. Grayd rushes forward to deal with the zombie at the tables, only to be surprised as several hands erupt from the bodies. Soon, he’s completely surrounded by crawling claws.

Gilbane and Alexander move in, trying to help Grayd dispatch the zombie and the claws. Meanwhile, the skeletons rush forward to attack.

Eventually, the group defeats the undead. Now, wounded and out of spells and resources, they chase down the crazed human and self-stylized “Lord of Lance Rock.”

The find a room, obviously a study of some type. The room is roughly oval shaped, and the walls are draped with long, purple curtains. In the center of the room is a glowing orb that rests in a twisted sculpture of dead arms and hands. The orb contains a strange symbol; an inverted purple ziggurat that has a slitted eye in the middle. As the group moves forward, they hear a crazed shout from behind one of the curtains, “Can’t you see it? It’s the Eye! It sees your every move! Don’t you fear it?”

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The Lord of Lance Rock attacks, using a wand to fire multiple magic missiles at the group. Grayd and Gilbane move in to surround the mage, while Alexander slips behind the curtain in the hopes that he can get a surprise attack on their enemy. Sullanus and Ciandara pepper the mage with arrows and bolts.

After a fierce battle, the mage dies, bursting into black flames and withering to dust. The party, triumphant but greatly weakened, begin searching for clues about the mysterious mage.

The group is now 2nd level.

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Session 3
There's a hole in the ground, and I don't wanna go in.

The group begins searching through the Necromancer’s cave, looking for clues as to his identity and his purpose. Eventually, they discover his notes, discovering that he was the one funding the bandits so that they could provide him with bodies. With those bodies, he was going to create a nation of undead, with himself at its head. All to the glory of the Eye!

Finding little else, the group heads back to Hommlet. By this time, it’s evening, and they decide to head to the Inn of the Welcome Wench in the hopes that the Halfling they met at the quarry would be there. Finding him in a secluded corner, they ask him about the strange men in the stone masks. He informs them that he has observed his boss disappearing behind the stonemason’s home; the same place that he suspects the men with the stone masks are coming from.

The group waits until early morning to investigate, getting some much needed rest after their trials at Lance Rock. Several hours before dawn, they head to the stonemason’s home. After a short search, they are able to find a tunnel that descends to the south, below the stonemason’s home and several hundred feet further south. Graeyd suspects that the tunnel is relatively new, so the group follows the tunnel to see where it goes. They soon emerge in a larger cavern, also recently new, with a large iron door on the east side. Several dark cloaks hang next to the door.

The group decides to open the door, which opens into a large hallway that stretches to the east. Graeyd, using his dwarven knowledge of stonework, suspects that this area is much, much older than the tunnel they came in from. Suspecting that the hallway goes beneath the keep of the town’s protectors, Rufus and Burne, the group decides to hold off on investigating for a while, and leaves the tunnel.

The group then decides to investigate the rumors of a young girl in Hommlet who allegedly saw a ghost in a nearby crypt. The girl, Pell, gives directions to where the crypt is, and the group heads out.

The crypt is not too far from the town proper, it turns out. They quickly find the entrance, noticing that the door is opened just wide enough for a small person to fit through. Pushing the door open, they are startled by a loud clanging as a metal wagon wheel crashes to the floor. When nothing else happens, the group enters the tomb.

Within, they find a small, square room. On the eastern wall is a stone door that’s engraved with holy symbols and runes that tell tales of the life and bravery of the knight entombed within. When the group approaches, a ghostly form of a knight appears. It asks the party to leave, entreating them not to disturb the knight’s tomb. The group readily agrees, and leaves the tomb.

Outside, they are immediately attacked. Emerging from a nearby rocky area, a goblin riding on the shoulders of a half-ogre rushes the group. With almost comical ease, the group dispatches the pair, realizing that these are likely the culprits behind the makeshift alarm. Finding nothing else, the group heads back to Hommlet.

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Session 4
The Tomb of Moving Stones

Hoping to get more information regarding the tomb, the party seeks out Jaroo Ashstaff, only to learn that he’s gone on one of his many journeys. Realizing that Elmo is still in the midst of finding more information for the group, they decide that it’s time to investigate the tunnel beneath the Stone Mason’s home.

Moving through the tunnel, Graeyd recognizes the stonework as being Dwarven made, and quite ancient. Eventually, the group comes to an intersection; a passage north, south, and one that continues east. Investigating the south passage, they come to a privy, so they decide to search the north passage next.

They emerge in a room that reeks of death. Three corpses, likely human, lie in the middle of this room. Around them, several large rats chew on the remains, hissing as the group approaches. The party quickly dispatches the rats and searches the corpses. There’s very little of interest, though one corpse has a strange symbol carved in its forehead…a symbol that Alexander recognizes as one that he found when his family was attacked many years ago.

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The passage curves back to the east, and the group emerges into a room with a single rock floating in the very center. Thinking it’s a trap, Sulannus begins to carefully investigate. Meanwhile Gilbane pokes at the floating stone, finding it’s ordinary. Eventually, they discover that the stone is resting on an invisible pedestal. Finding no reason for this odd occurrence, the group moves on.

The passage moves south, and the group emerges into a large square room. In the very center, a statue of a dwarf rests. Around the statue is a circle of dirt and pebbles, and a pile of coins, gems, and a dagger rests just outside of the circle to the north. Investigating, the group finds an inscription:

Petrified Gray (?) Dwarf
Found 578 CY in Hommlet West Quarry
in broken condition

The statue looks to be held together by an elaborate wooden frame. The party takes the coins, gems and dagger (a magical dagger that has the word Reszur on the hilt. It makes no sound when it strikes, and speaking the word causes the dagger to emit a dim light out to 10 feet…Alexander snatches this up pretty quickly).

Two other doors (other than the one they entered from) lead from this room; one to the east and one to the west. The group heads west first, back toward the entrance to the tombs. Within, they find a large, rectangular stone in the middle of the room. Opposite the door they are entering is another door where a half orc sits. The half-orc is looking through a narrow slit out into the hallway to the west. When he hears the party, he is very much surprised, shouting, “You should not be here. You have to go!” as he stands up.

Gilbane rushes forward, grappling the half-orc and quickly pinning him to the ground. The party moves to grab his weapons and bind him while they investigate the room.

On the other side of the strange stone, the group sees a young boy, about eleven years old, who is lying flat on his back. Heavy stones pin his arms and legs down, and he looks to be hungry and dehydrated. Sullanus and Ciandara work to free him, offering him food and water while they talk.

The boy introduces himself as Braelen Hatherhand, the son of Baragustas. Braelen tells the group that he was being disobedient, so his father, a member of The Believers, placed him here as punishment. The Believers are a secret group made up of some of the most important people in town. They guard the moving stones, and make sure no one disturbs the Delvers, who are entombed here. The Believers watch the moving stones carefully, because it’s a bad sign when they move, and they have to figure out what it means to avert danger. He mentions several other prominent townsfolk that belong to the Believers.
After freeing the boy, encouraging him to go see Constable Elmo, the group turns their attention to the half-orc. He tells them his name is Grund, and it’s clear that he isn’t very bright. Grund’s job was to watch the hallway to the west; anyone not wearing one of the Believer cloaks would have a cage dropped on him. The group decides that Grund is really quite harmless, so they let him go.

The group then turns east, past the room with the petrified dwarf, and find a small room with a single man within. The man, seeing a group of well-armed adventurers, immediately surrenders. He introduces himself as Baragustas and begs the group not to invoke the wrath of the Delvers by entering the room to the east. He explains that the Believers can only enter the room at night, and that they look to see if the Delvers have moved any of the stones within. If the stones have been moved, then it means that the Delvers are trying to warn the Believers, and that danger will soon be coming. He explains that an Earth Priest, Larrakh, helps them determine the meanings behind the moving stones.

Sullanus, ignoring the man’s pleas, enters the eastern room.

Within is an enormous chamber with numerous stone monoliths scattered across the floor. Along the walls are several stone benches with skeletal remains atop them. In the center of the room is a single lit lantern. As the party moves into the chamber, they are attacked by a man wearing stone armor.

The Earth Priest is a fearsome opponent, and what follows is an epic showdown with the party and a single, powerful enemy. At one point, Larrakh casts a spell that brings down Graeyd, nearly killing him. Fortunately, Ciandara is able to heal him quickly. Larrakh, realizing that he is outnumbered, tries to run, only to be brutally killed by one of Sullanus’s arrows.

The party begins searching the room. However, after a few moments, six more figures burst into the chamber and attack. Gilbane is almost immediately knocked unconscious. Ciandara, realizing that the circumstances are dire, steps forward and calls on Pelor, hoping that his wrath will smite her enemies. The resulting explosion of light kills five of the six enemies, and Sullanus’s arrows kills the final one.

The party finds a small hidden door to the south-east that leads out of the tomb and decides to head up to talk to Elmo, letting him know what they’ve discovered.

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Session 5
The party's fear of heights has taken off

Returning to Hommlet, the party immediately rushes to find Elmo. There, they find Baragustas trying to gather his son. The party quickly relates their story, revealing to Elmo the location of the dead bodies they found; bodies that they suspect are ritual sacrifices of some kind.

Several hours later, Elmo returns to the group with the results of his investigation. With Baragustas’s interrogation, he was able to gather the names of all of the members of the Believers (it turns out that the Believers were the town elders) and arrest them. Hommlet is, of course, scandalized. However, the group notices that the townsfolk are much friendlier toward them.

The following day, the group is approached by a shepherd named Larmon Greenboot, who explains to the group that the Constable was a bit too busy to hear him out, what with the arrest of the Believers and all. He’d heard what the group has been doing for the town, and wanted to bring to their attention some shallow graves he had found not too far from the Kron hills. If the party wants to investigate, he’d be more than happy to show them where they are.

The group considers this, but first decides to go speak with Jaroo (who has just returned) to get his news. Jaroo tells the group that evil is again stirring in the area, but he’s not sure if it’s associated with the old temple or not. He asks Gilbane if he would like to join the Old Faith. Gilbane accepts, and Jaroo asks him to investigate rumors of a bandit camp near Hommlet in the hopes that Gilbane can learn more information.

The group decides to head to the graves first. Following the kind shepherd, they come to a hill that rests in the shadow of a large tower that Larmon identifies as Feathergale Spire. A group of nobles from Verbobonc resides there, helping to patrol and defend the countryside while riding on their monstrous mounts; hippogrifs and giant vultures, mostly. They call themselves the Feathergale Knights.

The hill holds four shallow graves. One grave has been partially dug up by local wildlife, and the group sees that the body is that of one of the dwarves in the delegation. Digging up the other three, they find that one is a human female that Ciandara recognizes as one of the guards in the delegation. One of the other bodies wears the strange stone armor that the group has now seen numerous times, and one of them wears a white robe with black crow feathers at the shoulders.

Hoping that the nearby tower has further information, the group works its way up the mountainside, leaving the shepherd Larmon behind.

Once the group reveals that they are peaceful, the Feathergale Knights lower their drawbridge and invite the group in. The Knight Lieutenant, Savra Belabranta, tells the group that their arrival is fortuitous, as today is the day of the tenth anniversary of the Feathergale Knights. She guides the group upstairs to the pinnacle of the tower to meet the Lord Commander, Thurl Merosska.

Merosska is an older man, still in his prime. He boisterously greets the group and spends a short amount of time describing the Knights. He then asks the group if they would like to partake of his hospitality and join him and his knights for a celebratory dinner.

In the dining hall, Merosska asks the group to tell him the tale of their journeys. Gilbane spends the next few minutes explaining their journey; the bandits, finding the necromancer at Lance Rock, the tomb of the fallen knight, and the tale of the Believers. Merosska, impressed, calls a toast to the party’s valor. At this time, a guard bursts into the room and shouts, “Manticore! It’s on the move!”

Merosska and the other knights immediately scramble, leaving their food untouched. Merosska holds up a ring, saying, “We should take the opportunity to slay this beast! A prize to the one who brings me its head.”

There is a loud cheer from the knights, and they rush to the stables. Merosska asks the group if they would like to join in the hunt, and Sulannus, Grayd, and Gilbane readily agree. Alexander and Ciandara decide to stay behind, wishing to investigate their suspicions.

Merosska graciously offers three hippogrifs, and the group takes to the sky. Since it is night, they only have the full moon as their guide, and the thick fog and clouds that blanket the canyons below them make it difficult to see their prey. Gathering into formation with four of the Feathergale knights, each riding giant vultures, the group begins tracking the manticore. Eventually, they see it moving closer to the canyons and dive down to attack.

The manticore is a much slower flyer than the vultures and hippogrifs. The four knights move in close, attacking with their spears, and the manticore retaliates, forcing two of the knights to withdraw with serious injuries. Sulannus and Gilbane attack from a distance with bows, and Graeyd calls out a blessing to make their attacks more accurate. The knights attack again, once again wounding the manticore, and it strikes back, killing one of the vultures, causing the vulture’s rider to fall to his death, despite Sulannus’s valiant efforts to dive and save the knight. The fourth knight is forced to withdraw, leaving only Gilbane, Sulannus, and Graeyd to defeat the creature. Victorious, the group descends to the body and retrieve its head so that they can return to the tower.

Meanwhile, Alexander and Ciandara begin their investigation. Starting on the bottom floor, they move their way upward, finding several rooms with men wearing white cloaks with black feathers at their shoulders, similar to the one they found in the grave outside. Ciandara, now suspicious, goes to the kitchen to ask for some tea as a distraction, allowing Alexander to roam the tower more freely. Alexander eventually finds the Lord Commander’s rooms, finding a letter that gives him pause:

“Merosska,
We are pleased to hear about the outcome of your altercation with the Black Earth cult, and we praise you for the capture of one of their prisoners. This noblewoman from Veluna has an interesting tale to tell, and we shall enjoy interrogating her further. Keep a close watch on the Sacred Stone Monastery. I want to know what our enemy is planning next.
Your beloved queen,
Aerisi Kalinoth”

Keeping this letter in mind, Alexander returns to Ciandara, and the two of them head to the tower’s pinnacle.

Merosska praises the returning hunters, handing Sulannus his ring. He then pulls her aside, going over to a spyglass and briefly angling. Looking in, he nods to himself and asks Sulannus to look.

In the moonlight, she can just make out a large building; what looks like a monastery. Behind her, Merosska says, “Great evil lurks in these hills. Depraved cultists led by wretched monsters. I believe that the source of the evil that you seek lies in that monastery below. It is known as the Sacred Stone Monastery, and I believe that they are tied to those men with the strange stone armor that you found. If you wish to investigate, I wish you good fortune.”

He offers to allow the group to rest here for the night so that they can continue their journey in the morning. The party agrees, and guides the group downstairs.

Savra pulls Sulannus aside, telling her that she and Merosska are both greatly impressed with her deeds. She would like to know if Sulannus would be willing to join the Feathergale Knights, revealing that they seek to master Elemental Air so that they can defeat the enemies of Verbobonc. Sulannus promises to consider the offer, and the group gathers together to discuss Alexander’s revelations before resting for the night.

The party is now 3rd level.

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Session 6 and 7
Are you sure those are fists and not stones?

The following morning, the group decides to head out, moving to find the bandits that Jaroo was looking for. Merosska again offers his hospitality and encourages them to investigate the Sacred Stone monastery.

A few hours after leaving the spire, Sulannus mentions her encounter with the lieutenant and the offer she received to join the Feathergale Knights. Alexander explains what he found in the letter, and the group determines that the knights were likely not the beneficent group they were pretending to be. This is further confirmed soon after when a pair of winged humanoids descends on the group and asks to parlay.

The pair are creatures known as Aarakocra. The leader introduces himself as K’Rawk. He spends several minutes asking what the group was doing at the spire. After determining that the group are, in fact, not members of the Feathergale Knights, K’Rawk begins telling them of many of the things that he and his fellow tribe members have witnessed. He informs them of the sacrifices to a being known as Yan-C-Bin, shows them the symbol that the air cultists are using, and asks them to be careful if they return. The group bids K’Rawk farewell, and continues on.

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A day later, several hours south of Hommlet, the group finds a large party of bandits camped out near the Velverdyva river, which leads up to Hommlet. Apparently, the bandits were using this well fortified area to attack any river boats heading to the village.
Alexander spends some time sneaking around the camp, identifying one strange individual who was apparently the leader of the group. He then heads back to the party and describes the area. Because it is now evening, the party moves to try to ambush the bandits.

The party sets themselves up for an ambush, easily surprising the bandits. However, the enemy quickly mobilizes and mounts a dangerous defense; the enemy leader casts a light spell out into the woods to illuminate the party, and the bandits use archers to target the group. Meanwhile, several warriors move forward to intercept the companions. Fortunately, the ambush is successful, and the companions swiftly dispatch the enemy.

The leader, they find, seems to be some sort of priest. Considering his skill at casting spells of water, the group determines that this must be a member of the water cultists after finding a fourth symbol. The group is now certain that the old temple must be awakening; if it’s not the one near Nulb, then it must be a new one that the cultists are trying to bring into power. Sulannus suspects that the cultists must be at war with each other, too, especially considering the efforts that the Feathergale knights were going through to get the group to investigate the Sacred Stone monastery.

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After some discussion, the group decides to head there.

The journey through the Kron hills is difficult, but eventually they arrive at the small building. After doing a brief survey of the monastery and the surrounding countryside, the group finds 2 entrances and a walled garden in the back.

The group knocks on the front door, and a short time later a small panel opens. Peering out is a person wearing a golden gargoyle mask. She rudely asks what they want.

“We are looking for the delegation that went missing near here,” Graeyd remarks.

“They aren’t here,” the woman says before slamming the panel closed.

Several more attempts at conversation are rudely rebuffed, and the party withdraws, deciding to wait until nightfall to try to sneak into the building.

That evening, the group sneaks around to the garden. Alexander spends a few minutes struggling with the lock on the gate, but eventually they are able to move in.

The garden is not very well maintained. Most of the plants here are dying or overgrown, though it is clear that the monks have cleared out a few footpaths through the overgrowth. Several statues stand amongst the weeds and foliage, however, and the party carefully moves in.

Immediately, three of the statues spring to life. The gargoyles descend on the group, who find that their weapons are not very effective against the creatures. Alexander seems to be the only one who can effective wound the beasts, and only when he uses his new dagger.
After finally defeating the monsters, the group moves to one of the two doors that lead into the building. They take the south one, moving down a dark hallway that has several closed doors.

One door opens into an obvious distillery; casks of wine, presses, and copper tubing crowd the room. A second door opens into a small dormitory. One corner has a cot, the other a desk, which is occupied by a robed woman. Ciandara tries to pretend to be one of the monks within the monastery, but the woman immediately knows she is lying and shouts an alarm.

Ciandara, Alexander, and Gilbane move to surround the woman, who then proceeds to soundly thrash the three of them with her fists.

Meanwhile, a group of monks bursts into the hallway, hearing the alarm. Seeing Sulannus and Graeyd, they move forward to attack. Sulannus and Graeyd move into the room with the rest of their group and slam the door shut.

Soon, Ciandara is unconscious. The woman continues to single-handedly attack Gilbane and Alexander, and the other monks break down the door, surrounding Graeyd. Sulannus uses a Burning Hands to scorch several of the enemy, and then moves to another corner so that she can help the paladin and rogue against the woman.

Eventually, the party defeats the group. Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, the battered group withdraws to lick their wounds.

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Session 8
An Earth-sized Beat-down

The group rests for the night, recovering from their battle with the Abbess. The following day, they head back to the monastery for further reconnaissance.

Alexander climbs on the roof, only finding a single chimney from which he can smell bread baking. Finding little of interest on the roof, he heads back to the garden. There, he sees no one moving, so he signals the rest of the group, and they all pile into the garden.

Alexander spends a few moments opening the western door in the garden, and then steps into a large room, obviously some type of shrine. For large, natural earth columns support the ceiling, and a large slab of stone rests in the center of the room, clearly an altar. Before the altar, wide steps descend below.

Three figures in stone armor stand behind the altar. Noticing Alexander, one of the figures calls out to him.

“I see you there. Enter!”

Cautious, Alexander enters the room. Two of the men, clearly guards of some type, move forward to place themselves between Alexander and their leader.

“I am Qarbo, priest of the Black Earth. Who are you and what are you doing here?”

Qarbo is oily and sarcastic, speaking with a smirk on his face. Alexander attempts to bluff him, trying to convince Qarbo that he was sent to help the monks here with against the Feathergale Knights.

“Who sent you? Are you here alone?”

Alexander mentions that he has a companion waiting in the garden.

“Tell your friend to come forward so that we can speak.”

Alexander tries to stall while Gilbane, Graeyd, Sulannus, and Ciandara get into position out in the garden. Qarbo clearly knows that Alexander is lying, so he motions to his guards to attack.

The rogue deftly slips away, running out into the garden. He and his companions wait tersely for Qarbo and his companions.

One of the guards moves by the door that leads out to the garden while the other moves to the opposite door, disappearing further into the monastery.

Qarbo steps in front of the door leading out to the garden and casts a spell. A loud, ringing sound erupts, catching Alexander, Gilbane, and Graeyd in the area. Nearly deafened and slightly damaged by the spell, Gilbane and Graeyd rush forward, only to be intercepted by the guard. Ciandara steps forward, casting Hold Person on Qarbo and succeeding. Seeing that the priest is paralyzed, Gilbane allows Graeyd and Alexander to take care of the guard while he smites the priest. Qarbo quickly falls.

Unfortunately, the second guard comes back into the room with a large number of reinforcements.

A large number of monks, along with a few more of the men dressed in the stone armor rush into the room and quickly surround the party. One of the stone-armored men casts slow on the group, hitting Alexander and Sulannus. Graeyd soon falls to the concerted attacks, then Alexander, and Gilbane soon after that. Realizing that the monks have the situation handled, the priest tells the group to capture them and then leaves the room.

Ciandara moves forward, quickly healing Gilbane. Gilbane remains on the ground, pretending to be unconscious while Ciandara uses her Channel Divinity to damage a large number of the monks. Meanwhile, Sulannus, still slowed, attempts to fire into the room, hoping to clear some of the enemies before they are completely overwhelmed. Ciandara casts burning hands, killing two of the monks, but she then falls to their efforts. Gilbane quietly uses lay on hands to heal himself, but continues to pretend to be unconscious. The last of the monks quickly surround Sulannus and beat her into unconsciousness, and then they drag the group down the stairs into a large room.

The floor here is simple packed, red earth. The west end of the room is dominated by a row of thick iron bars, beyond which a large, insectile creature hisses at the group. The creature is clearly blinded, but its claws have been replaced with large, serrated blades. Beyond the strange creature, an iron door leads further to the west, and a similar closed iron door exits to the east.

The party is quickly stripped of their armor and equipment and bound. Two of the stone armored guards remain behind, and the monks head back upstairs. The guards spend several minutes talking, smirking about the two elven women.

Gilbane, still pretending to be unconscious, attempts to break his bonds. Finding a loose stone on the floor, he spends several moments rubbing the ropes binding his hands against the stone. Eventually, he breaks free without the guards noticing.

One of the guards decides that he’s bored and heads upstairs, hoping to get something to eat. The second guard calls up that he wants a tankard of ale, then goes back to roaming the room. As he passes Gilbane, the paladin leaps up, using his Channel Divinity to cause mystical vines to wrap around the guard. He utters a Healing Word to awaken Graeyd, then yanks the guard’s Morningstar out of his hands and starts beating on the guard.

Graeyd awakens, using his channel divinity to heal all of his companions in the room. Alexander moves over to help Gilbane, and the two of them trade off the Morningstar between them so that they can beat on the guard. The guard struggles against the mystical bindings, so Ciandara moves in behind him to hinder his escape efforts. Sulannus also steps in, using Shocking Grasp to assist.

Soon, the guard is knocked into unconsciousness. Gilbane, getting an idea, begins stripping the guard of his stone armor.

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Session 9
Umber Hulk SMASH!!!!

Sulannus and Ciandara assist Gilbane in donning the pilfered stone armor. Meanwhile, Alexander and Graeyd drag the guard’s body behind the stone pillar.

Gilbane makes his way upstairs, dropping the visor on the helmet. Soon, he encounters the second guard, who offers him a cup of ale. Nodding with thanks, Gilbane follows the guard downstairs into the waiting ambush of the rest of the party. Between the five of them, the guard is soon down. Graeyd takes the stone breastplate and hands Gilbane the second Morningstar. Thus armed, the group then debates on what to do next.

While the rest of the group debates, Alexander notices that the cage with the Umber Hulk likely has a switch nearby that will open the cage. Gilbane remembers seeing a lever upstairs directly above the location of the cage. Revealing this knowledge to the group, the party tests to see if the blinded Umber Hulk can smell the dead body of the guard. Realizing that it can, the group devises a plan that could help even the odds.

Dragging the bodies upstairs, the group leaves a trail of blood leading from the stairs and all the way to the nearby kitchen, dropping one body close to the stairwell, and the second near the door to the kitchen. Then, the group waits outside in the garden while Sulannus and Ciandara open the cage using the lever upstairs. They immediately bolt outside, closing the door. Then they wait.

Within an hour, they begin hearing faint shouts. With their distraction now in place, the group begins searching the eastern wing of the monastery for their equipment.

They soon find a small dojo where the monks likely train. Seeing that it’s empty, the group takes several spears and clubs in the chance that they will run into anyone who might be patrolling.

Gilbane remains disguised, moving from room to room investigating. He enters a small library where a small group of monks is quietly working. Pretending to be a guard, he warns the monks to stay in the library; there are several armed invaders attempting to kill all of the monks, and that an armed group is currently looking for said invaders. He wants the group to remain here and lock the doors behind him in case the invaders head this way. The monks in the library readily agree.

The group continues along the southern portion of the monastery, making their way west, doing their best to avoid the area where the kitchen lies. Gilbane moves ahead, finding the front foyer, which is guarded by two monks wearing gold masks. Again pretending to be one of the guards, Gilbane asks the monks if they have seen the intruders, and heads to the door to the west. As he moves past the 2nd monk, he immediately attacks, signaling for the rest of the party to rush in and take the second monk. The monks, surprised, don’t even get the chance to fight back.

Ciandara suggests that they take the monks’ robes and masks. She and Alexander quickly disguise themselves, and then she, Gilbane, and Alexander continue searching.

Soon, they find the room where their equipment is being held. Gilbane stands out in the hallway on watch while the party re-equips themselves.

Soon after, a group of monks enters the hallway, helping to drag an injured companion to a nearby room. Apparently, the umber hulk was able to do a good bit of damage before it was taken down. As they move into the infirmary, Gilbane and the party attack.

The battle doesn’t last long. The party, now fully equipped, is able to swiftly take out the injured monks, as well as the reinforcements who show up from an adjoining room.

Finally, out of spells and injured, the party withdraws, hoping to finish off the last of the monks and explore downstairs. Perhaps there, they will find further clues about the missing delegation.

The group is now 4th level.

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Session 10

After their rest, the group re-enters the monastery to finish cleaning it out. Realizing that they have yet to find the prisoners they are looking for, they decide to descend to the lower level of the monastery and clear it. Alexander and Sulannus climb down into the courtyard so that they can open the barred door to the garden. Immediately, they are attacked by two gargoyles. While Sulannus struggles to hold them off, Alexander runs deeper into the monastery to open the barred doors and let the rest of the party in. As soon as he’s able to, Gilbane rushes to assist Sulannus, noticing that the Gargoyles are completely ignoring him. He then gets the idea to command the gargoyles to return to their perches, and they immediately back off.

To the north of the courtyard, they can hear some type of ceremony going on in the main chapel. Knowing that the majority of the monks and priests will likely be in there, they decide to leave it alone for now and continue their investigation.

Upon descending a set of stairs near the Abbess’s old quarters, they enter a small guard room. 3 orogs and one ogre reside here. The lead orog asks for the password, and Gilbane sets his fingers into a triangular shape (the symbol of the Earth temple). The orog nods and moves back. It’s at this moment that the party attacks.

The orogs are extremely skilled opponents. Alexander uses the surprise to attempt an assassination, gravely wounding one of the orogs. However, he is soon surrounded by the one he attacked and a second one, and together they are able to knock him unconscious.
Meanwhile, Gilbane, Graeyd and Ciandara quickly dispatch the ogre, then with Sulannus, they turn their attention to the remaining enemies. Now that they are able to focus their fire, they are able to quickly dispatch the three orogs and heal Alexander from his wounds.

Soon, they discover the prison cells. Using the key they found on one of the orogs, they release the prisoners; twenty or so human males and females, all cruelly emaciated and ragged…and one dwarf. Ciandara and Graeyd recognize him as one of the delegates who were heading to Verbobonc, one Bruldenthar.

Bruldenthar explains that the delegation was ambushed just a few days south of Hommlet. He and several other delegation members were then dragged toward the Kron hills by the earth cultists, who were ferried up the Velverdyva river by water cultists. Soon after reaching the hills, they were ambushed by bandits on giant flying vultures. The bandits captured the elven delegate, Deseyna Norvael, and escaped. Bruldenthar and the rest of the delegates were brought here. The dwarf remained here to work the mines while the other two delegates, Rhundorth and Teresiel, were taken below to an unknown fate. The dwarf tells the party that there is a gate to the northwest that opens to a staircase that descends further down.

The group frees the prisoners, helping them upstairs and showing them where to escape the valley where the monastery rests. On their way back inside, they run into a small group of monks. Soon after dispatching them, they again descend, slowly winding their way through the lower levels, the maze-like mines (which Graeyd notes have absolutely no valuable ore), and eventually find the gate that Brundelthar mentioned.

Using the key they found on the Abbess, they open the gate. Graeyd notices that the stonework here is much older than the mines, and that it looks to be similar to the stonework that the party found in the tomb beneath Hommlet. Noting this, the group decides to wait on going further down and finish clearing out the monastery.

Moving east, they eventually find an old crypt. Within, several zombies awaken and attack the party and are quickly dispatched. The group searches the area and eventually find a ring on one of the corpses that turns out to be a Ring of Resistance.

Realizing that the lower level of the monastery is now clear, they begin discussing plans on clearing out the upper level.

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