Raunalyn's Princes of the Apocalypse

Sessions 14, 15, 16, and 17
Taking their power for granite, the invasion has a rocky start

The following day, the party returns to the Scarlet Moon encampment, only to discover that the camp is empty. Moving into the tower, the group soon finds that a tunnel has been excavated beneath the central tower, but that it has been collapsed. Digging it would take several days, and the group decides that it would likely be wasted effort.

They head to Verbobonc, hoping to find work there, and hoping to gain a little money and perhaps a little bit of experience before they attempt their assault on the cults. There, Alexander speaks with his contacts in the Thieves Guild. He learns that there is a former guild member who lives in Nulb who is trying to sell off a magical artifact. He also learns of a caravan travelling south past Hommlet that could use a few guards to help protect them from bandits.

The group takes the caravan job, and begins heading south. On the second day of their journey, they are attacked by a large group of bandits. As the group help to defeat the bandits, Ciandara and Sulannus capture a single bandit. After the battle, the party interrogates the bandit, who proceeds to tell them that the caravan is not what it seems.

Alexander and Graeyd decide to investigate the caravan. Alexander is caught trying to look through the wagons, and the caravan leader and guards draw their weapons. It seems like the caravan leader and guards are going to back down when Graeyd insults the leader. Battle ensues.

After barely defeating the caravan leader and his guards, the group searches the wagons. Within, they find several cases with gold bars stamped with the symbol of the Scarlet Brotherhood, which the group knows is a vile organization of power-hungry humans, racists, and cruel manipulators. Returning to the captured bandit, they let him free. The bandit thanks them, telling the companions that he will let his group know what they have done, and promises to find the party soon to offer his services.

Now that the group is 5th level, they decide to return to the Sacred Stone Monastery and descend deeper into the temple below.

The Earth temple is obviously dwarven made, the ancient stone still sturdy despite the large crevices that scar the underground. The group finds themselves fighting a small group of gargoyles on a narrow bridge. Despite the gargoyles trying to push them from the bridge into the yawning chasm below, the party is able to defeat the monsters and continue into the temple proper.

Soon, they encounter a group of hobgoblins being led by a human cultist. As the group moves in to attack, they are peppered with crossbow bolts from arrow slits to their east and west. Meanwhile, the cultist climbs onto his mount, a menacing bullette, and begins to attack the party.

After a fierce battle, the group moves to the east in the hopes that they can find whomever is attacking them from the arrow slits. There, they encounter a small force of duergar and then proceed to handily defeat them.

Moving south, they find a large room filled with statues depicting dwarven warriors. Within, a grey-skinned man is working at an alchemy table. As the group enters, he distractedly asks them to leave and go about their business as he’s too busy to talk to them right now. After a brief exchange, Gilbane moves into the room and casually attacks the mage, who then unleashes his fury on the group. Soon, the party is fighting for their lives against the mage, who is clearly quite powerful, and one of the statues, which animates at the mage’s command. Finally, they are triumphant. Exhausted, they camp in the room for the evening and set watch.

The following day, they move out into the temple again. In the room they had just cleared, a small group of cultists are installing a portcullis while a priest over-sees the work. The group attacks them, then heads south. There, they encounter a group of three bullettes chained to large columns. Gathering together in the ten foot wide hallway, they use the confined space to prevent the large creatures from surrounding them and handily defeat the shark-like monsters. Seeing that the room they have entered has a large chasm that splits it, they decide to head back to the north, encountering another group of cultists along the way, and another mage who greatly injures the party before fleeing.

Eventually, they enter another chamber that has a large number of statues within. This time, the statues are people of various races, all extremely lifelike and with expressions that denote fear.

As the group looks on, a man steps out from behind one of the statues. Arrogantly, he proclaims that they are fools for entering his temple. He motions to one of the statues, and a gargoyle leaps to attack the group. Pulling back his hood, he hefts a large, intimidating iron pick and moves forward to attack.

To the party’s surprise, the man is a medusa. Doing their best to avoid his gaze, Graeyd and Gilbane rush forward to fight him. Meanwhile, Alexander, Sulannus, and Ciandara fight off the gargoyle.

Within moments, the party realizes that they may be in trouble. Weakened and running low on resources from their previous battle, they realize that the creature that they recognize as the Earth Prophet may be more powerful than they, especially after he drops both Graeyd and Gilbane with a mighty swing from his military pick.

Quickly killing the gargoyle, Sulannus starts peppering the Earth Prophet with arrows while Alexander and Ciandara move in to assist Gilbane and Graeyd. Between the two of them, they awaken their fallen companions and team up against the Earth Prophet. The Prophet decided to withdraw, warning the group that he will not forget their impudence and that this battle isn’t over. Injured and bloody, the party is more than happy to let him withdraw, and they do the same. Returning to the surface, they head back to Hommlet to rest and recover.

The party spends the rest of the day recovering. Later that evening, they are brought down to the common room of their inn. An injured man is there, exhausted and nearly dead. The man describes a scene of horror as he tells the group of what happened in the village of Nulb.

Earlier that afternoon, he witnessed a group of men dressed in grey robes run into the village, dropping a small orb into the center of the village before quickly fleeing. Before the villager could do anything else, there was a terrible earthquake that swallowed the small fishing village.

The group decides to head straight there. As they land, they notice that almost all of the village has been swallowed by the surrounding marsh. They spend the rest of the night tracking down any survivors, discovering that the few people still alive are little better than thieves. Alexander talks with a few of them, learning that the village was mostly a corrupt little berg that housed a small thieves guild and was mostly populated by pirates.

The group then decides to head back to the Earth temple and finish clearing it out. After attacking a small group of cultists and smashing down their makeshift portcullis, they head south, crossing the chasm there before heading to the areas they had not explored. They come upon an Ettin there, who proceeds to attack them for invading his lair. After his defeat, the party moves to a large room with several exits to the north and west.

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Session 13
Ah, I love the smell of burning wolf hair in the morning...

In the midst of their battle, druids from the nearby camp rush to the bonfire that the group is fighting around to see what’s happening. Realizing that the party has the situation in hand, and recognizing the bugbears and worgs, they make sure to stay clear of the battle.

Soon after their victory, the companions move west, keeping themselves away from the central tower. There, they encounter a young woman playing a fiddle with two sprites that dance wildly above the bonfire. After brief introductions, the fiddler asks if the group would like to stay and celebrate. Ciandara politely asks if she’s seen Jaroo, and she mentions that she knows he’s around somewhere, but doesn’t know where he’s at. She says that the circle of druids here are fairly new and that they are known as the Circle of the Scarlet Moon. They did a general call to all of the druids in the area so that they could assist with a grand ritual. Sulannus asks if she knows what this ritual is for, and the woman frowns thoughtfully.

“It does seem that the ritual is taking some time, doesn’t it? I mean, the burning man up there has been burning for two days now. And how is it that I’ve never heard of this Rite of the Wicker Giant? It’s supposed to balance the elements, whatever that means, but I’ve never heard of it…”

Thanking the woman, the group moves over toward the central camp.

As they approach, they notice that the central tower has wooden scaffolding that ascends from the ground and 30 feet up. Two guards roam the upper scaffolding. Not too far from the burning wicker man, two robed forms quietly pray toward the burning figure, one man, one woman.

As soon as they get closer, they hear the woman intone, “Arise, and cleanse this place of the unworthy!” The male turns and looks at the group, telling them that they don’t belong here before he attacks.

As the party struggles to defeat the two robed humans, the guards on the towers begin raining crossbow bolts down upon them. The woman again cries, “Arise, and cleanse this place of the unworthy!” before the combined attacks of Sulannus, Graeyd and Gilbane take her down.

Seeing his companion fall, the male yells, “Arise, and cleans this place of the unworthy!” before falling to Alexander and Ciandara.

The wicker giant comes to life…at least the fire does. The elemental immediately begins to attack the group. Graeyd, realizing that he can is the most resilient against the elemental’s attacks, steps forward to attack.

Meanwhile, rangers from the nearby camp make it to the central tower. Seeing the group attacking the robed forms and the fire elemental, the rangers shift into werewolves and attack.

Graeyd stays in front, doing his best to take the brunt of the elemental’s attacks. He moves back, hoping that the elemental will also attack the two werewolves, and the party is pleased to discover that it does. Now a three way battle, the group desperately tries to kill off the werewolves before they can harm or injure anyone, all while the elemental attacks Graeyd and the werewolves. Unfortunately, before the werewolves are taken down, one of them bites Sulannus.

Now that the werewolves are dead, the group moves away from the tower, trying to get away from the archers. The elemental chases them, and Graeyd remains up front to keep it from attacking his group. Gilbane runs to ask for help from the other druids, and Sulannus, Ciandara, and Alexander attempt to whittle the creature down. Eventually, the druids from several camps rush in to assist with the attack, and together, the group is able to defeat the elemental.

Realizing that the Circle of the Scarlet Moon is likely a front for the Fire Cult, the group discusses what their next steps will be.

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Session 11 and 12
My god is stronger. He is the everlasting sky! Your god lives underneath him.

That night, the group moves upstairs, working their way back toward the areas they have not investigated yet. They begin going room by room, hoping to catch the remaining monks while they are resting. They run into a large group of Duergar, who then proceed to wake the rest of the monks within the monastery. Soon, the group is surrounded on all sides in a narrow hallway, fighting off Duergar, monks, and the last of the Earth guards and one final Earth priest.

After defeating them, the group returns to Hommlet with the prisoners. There, they resupply and discuss their next steps. They learn the Jaroo went to go discuss matters with a circle of druids in the Kron hills. The high priest at the Temple of St. Cuthbert, Terjon, promises to send word to Verbobonc to let them know about the reawakening of the Temple of Elemental Evil. Meanwhile, the group decides to return to Feathergale Spire to tell them of the success of their mission to clear out the monks at the Sacred Stone Monastery. Even though they know that the Feathergale Knights are likely nefarious, the group decides to continue their deception in the hopes that they will be able to gather further information about the inner workings of the various temples.

Meroska is impressed with their victory and asks the group if they would like to join the knighthood. The group declines, asking to have time to consider. Meroska then asks them to at least meet with Aerisi. The party agrees.

The following day, Meroska takes the lot of them down into the Sighing Valley to a place called Knifepoint Gulley. There, they descend a long crevice, eventually emerging into a large, underground cavern. A massive waterfall can be heard crashing in the distance, and the group can just make out a massive dwarven city before them.

Winding their way through the streets while being led by Meroska, the party hears screaming in the distance. Meroska explains that some spies were capture, Kenku, and that they were in the process of learning what the spies know. As they pass a cluster of obelisks, the group sees several people strapped to the large stones. Each of them looks to be starving, and Meroska says that they displeased Aerisi, and that they are now trying to show their devotion to the Prophetess by subsisting only on air.

Eventually, they arrive at a large pyramid. Within, several robed forms sing, and two large stairwells reach upward into the area above. There, they find a long room. On either side are long curtains, behind which the group can see several men and women reclining in the strange smelling incense that permeates the room. On the far end of the room is a throne, upon which sits an elven woman of cold beauty. Long lustrous black hair, covered with valuable jewelry, the woman dispassionately watches the party approach. As they reach the foot of the stairs that lead to the woman’s throne, she leans forward, and they can see two large, beautiful wings spread out behind her.

“Who do you bring before me Meroska?”

The Knight Commander explains that the party is responsible for the defeat of the Sacred Stone Monks and wish to join the Feathergale Knights. Ciandara interrupts and corrects him, saying that they are still considering and only wished to meet the prophetess. Aerisi mentions that she is pleased with their prowess and offers to reward the group if they are willing to finish off the Earth temple, defeating their leader, a man named Marlos Urnrayle.

After agreeing, Aerisi says that she will provide a few air priests to assist them, and then tells Meroska to provide the party with hippogriff mounts. Finally, she dismisses them.

Arriving back to the surface, Meroska looks disappointed that the party was unwilling to join the temple, but provides them with the required mounts. As they prepare to head out, he tells them to head back to the Spire when they are ready to begin their assault on the Earth temple.

The group decides to see if they can find where Jaroo is, and using their new mounts, they fly carefully over the Kron hills. Eventually, they see a large camp to the north. Several bonfires surround a small tower under construction with a large wicker man before it.

The group dismounts and begins to ask around, meeting several druids. The druids offer the group food, brandy, and some righteous herb if they want to hang out. They also mention that Jaroo was around somewhere. The druids of the Scarlet Moon are preparing for a great ritual that would help right the elemental imbalance.

The group continues on, heading to a few more camps. Eventually, they arrive at a bonfire that has several robed forms sitting before it. At the edge of the fire light, several worgs watch casually. As Alexander attempts to speak with the robed figures, he catches a glimpse of a bestial face beneath the cowl of the robe. As he steps back in startlement, the robed figures pull out weapons, and the disguised bugbears attack.

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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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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 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 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 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 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 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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