The Beastmasters

DGRB #5 Chasing Serenity AKA The Blindside
Flamerule 10-13, DR 1492

Session #5, here we go!

From the northern tower, Xolkin repeated "Give me Kella Darkhope!" down to the assembled crowd below.  The party, confused, tried to quickly come up with a plan, but Xolkin had one of his men shoot dead one of the villagers, Brynn Osstra, the rest of whom began panicking and backing away from the palisade walls.  Xolkin once again called out, "Give your weapons to Kella and back away from her!"  One by one, the group handed their weapons to Kella, who awkwardly held Bran's bow and arrows, Stark's thunder cannon, Malagoth's long sword, and Aera's rapier in her outstretched arms.  

As the party took a step back and tried to hide the smaller weapons from view, Kella stepped forward to the edge of the moat. Suddenly, an arrow flashed from the tower and shot into Kella's shoulder.  She lurched forward, dropping into the water below.  At the same time, Xolkin's men shot two more villagers, Barley Summerhawk and Renarra Hulvaarn, as they fled into the forest in a full blown panic.  

Aera grabbed a silk rope and glided over to the other side of the moat, tying it off on a post for hanging lanterns.  Malagoth tied the rope to a sword and slammed it into the ground, then began moving across the moat.  Stark, seeing his precious Serenity plummet into the river with Kella, dove in after it.  Bran sent Smoke after the villagers to protect them and then covered the barbarian as he crossed.

Stark searched beneath the waves for his weapon, but was only able to find the rapier, long sword, and bow and half-empty quiver.  Malagoth finished his crossing as Aera leapt up onto the roof of the northern tower.  From his vantage point, the aarakocra saw two of Xolkin's company, gathering six horses, readying them to run across the drawbridge once it was open.  Malagoth gripped the edge of the bridge with his meaty hands and began pulling the bridge away from the wall. 

Aera moved to the walkway between the towers as the two horsemen on the ground fired volleys of crossbow bolts at her.  Aera injured one of them as two more guards opened trap doors on the tops of each tower.  Outside the walls, Bran began to make his way across the rope, but only made it halfway across when someone inside the towers released the drawbridge, which came crashing down.  Malagoth ran inside and headed for the entrance to the north tower.

Stark kept searching for his weapon, but was still unsuccessful, and was getting pushed downstream.  Aera glided down, killing one of the horsemen.  The other rider, angry at seeing her compatriot die, fired her crossbow blindly with one hand, but missed.  The two guards on top of the tower moved to the middle of the walkway, hoping to jump onto the horses as they rode by.  They fired crossbow bolts at Aera, hitting and wounding her.   As Malagoth rounded the corner and made it to the north tower door, the door was ripped out of his hand as a guard opened the door and just as quickly, slammed it shut.  A sixth guard ran out of the south tower.  

Bran whistled for Smoke, who turned around and ran at breakneck speed back to the bridge. The barbarian tried to break down the door, but failed, somehow.  Aera attacked the other rider's horse, killing it and knocking the rider to the ground.  Bran ran into the gate and moved to intercept the guard at the south tower entrance. As Aera dispatched the fallen rider, Malagoth heard a crashing sound and saw flames lick up from the bottom of the door.  The barbarian joined the ranger in taking down the guard at the south tower, then ran inside. The two crossbowmen on the walkway fired two more bolts at the aarakocra, one of them hitting and nearly killing her.  After they fired their weapons, they turned and dove into the water.  Bran and Mal heard the splash coming from the moat.  Mal hurried outside while the ranger checked the upper floor of the tower and found Alara Winterspell tied up and unconscious.

Outside in the moat, Stark sees the two guards jump into the water and swim to the wall of the moat.  He looks around and sees Kella climbing up a rope ladder that hung on the outer moat wall, west of the keep, Stark's thunder cannon strapped across her back.  Angered, Stark swims for the outer wall and begins to climb.  Back at the north tower, the guard who set the door on fire had climbed through the trap door in the roof and dove into the moat.  

Malagoth ran across the drawbridge and waited for one of the guards to crest the edge of the moat.  Bran, who heard the third splash, decided to return to the gate.  The dragonborn grimaced, flecks of acidic spittle on his lips, as he saw Kella mount a horse and join a second mounted rider and gallop towards the coast.  Aera made her way back to the moat and threw a dagger into one of the guards attempting to stay afloat.  As the first guard pulled himself up over the edge of the moat, the barbarian wound up and struck out at the enemy, killing him.  The guard with the dagger in his shoulder attempted to climb, but fell back into the water and succumbed to the current.  Malagoth threw a rope to the remaining guard, who called out his surrender.  Malagoth tied him up and knocked him senseless.

The party regrouped outside of the village and Stark told the other three adventurers of Kella and the other rider.  The villagers, escorted at arrow point from the forest by the wood elves, returned to the gates of the town.  The party entered Nightstone with the survivors, who scattered to check on their homes.  Morak, the dwarven owner of the Nightstone Inn, approached the group, thanking them for rescuing pretty much the entire town.  The dwarf takes Malagoth aside and tells him that a close friend and neighbor of his, Semile Southwell, was killed in the giant attack.  Apparently, Semile has a brother named Markham who is the sheriff of Bryn Shander of Icewind Dale.  He asked the barbarian if the party could deliver the sad news of Semile's passing to Markham.  Malagoth said yes and gave the party 250 gp as a reward for freeing the villagers.  

Interviewing the prisoner, the party discovered that Xolkin was the leader of a Zhentarim organization named the Seven Snakes, and that they were working with Kella to inflitrate the town of Nightstone and make it into a Black Network outpost.  Kella was inside of Nightstone when the giant attack happened.  The Snake told the group that Kella got a message to Xolkin using the flying snake, which is a symbol of the Zhentarim.   The message told Xolkin that Kella would get their weapons and then take an arrow to distract them and then she would dive into the moat to escape with Stark's thunder cannon, which would be very important in the future of the Black Network.  The party left the prisoner in the custody of Morak, who surmised that he was the leader of Nightstone now.  Morak told the party to replace any lost weapons from the Lionshield Coster's shop, though Stark would not be able to replace Serenity until he tinkered in his shop for three days to build another weapon.

Grabbing horses, the adventurers hurried to the gates of Waterdeep, asking the guards if they had seen the two Zhents.  The guards at the gate hadn't, so they entered the city and discussed their options.  The group decides to split up.  

Malagoth heads to the docks and finds a ship that is heading for the Icewind Dales area and asks if they could deliver a letter explaining Semile's passing to Markham Southwell.  The captain of the ship agrees and takes the letter.

Stark asked Bran to sell the dwarven chain main shirt to raise money for supplies for the dragonborn's new weapon.  Bran visited one shop but suspected that he was being cheated, so he found another armorer's, and managed to sell the chain mail for a good price.

Aera visited her contact with the thieves' guild, asking to be notified at the Whirlpool Tavern in the Dock Ward if anyone in the guild spotted Xolkin and Kella in the city.  Aera's contact doubted that, since the Lords of Waterdeep banned the Black Network from openly operating in the streets of Waterdeep long ago.  Aera now owed the thieves' guild a favor.

Stark returned to his workshop and found the halfling Gizmo minding the shop.  He looked around and found the blueprints for his devices safe and sound.  Sending Gizmo home, he begins the first of three days' work on the new thunder cannon.  

Mal visited Luisa's magic shop and bought a potion of healing as Luisa engaged the goliath in friendly conversation.  As Mal left the shop, he noticed a mysterious figure observing him and the shop from the shadows. Seeing the barbarian notice him, the figure wrapped his cloak close around him and backed into the dark alleyway.  

The party rents the "good" room at the Whirlpool i.e. the one with the least amount of holes in the ceiling.  Aera sat in the common room at the Whirlpool, waiting for word from her contact, but no one showed up.

After an uneventful night, Stark started his second day of tinkering on Serenity Mark 2.  Mal guarded the dragonborn as he worked, watching the street from the shop's dirty window.  Aera returns to the thieves' guild contact, finding a woman this time.  The woman tells her that no one of Kella and Xolkin's description was seen by any of the thieves' guild cells in the city.  However, the woman told the aarakocra that it could be possible that the two Zhents went below the city to the pirate city of Skullport.  Aera was directed to Durnan at the Yawning Portal in the North Ward.  

Aera walked to the Yawning Portal and went inside to talk to Durnan.  The retired adventurer leaned against the bar, a large sword hanging on the wall behind him.  The common room's main feature was a gaping hole in the floor with a three foot barrier containing it, a locked off winch standing next to the wall.  Aera tried to find out information from Durnan and warn him about the Zhents getting Stark's thunder cannon, but the innkeep tired quickly from the roundabout questioning, complaining of the illegal artificer's guild in the city.  Durnan told Aera that the Zhentarim agents would probably blow themselves up trying to figure the contraption out.  Aera asked about Skullkeep, but Durnan assured that all the known entrances to the pirate city was watched and kept closed, and that his tavern was the only entrance to Undermountain, and from there, to Skullport, and besides, anyone foolish enough to enter Undermountain's dungeon halls would have to deal with the lich, Halaster's traps, and possibly the lich himself.  

Meanwhile, Bran and Mal visited the Shrine of the Shining Way to see if Nasisi and Marin had returned from their "safari".  Enid, the halfling answered the door and let the two adventurers in to meet the elven rangers.  Malagoth asked about Captain Ventus, and the rangers told them Ventus' sad story and got his address.  Bran asked the women about the man in the painting who wore the same clasp that Bran wore on his cloak.  The elves told him his name was Ser Richard, and he had a strange accent, and was possibly from Sembia.  Ser Richard left the Shrine twenty years ago.  

The ranger and the goliath went to the address for Captain Ventus, only to find a small dilapidated home. They knocked on the door, and a tired looking man answered, and introduced himself as Ventus.  Ventus told them that he used to ferry passengers from Neverwinter to Waterdeep and back.  Malagoth and the former captain discussed their experiences and discovered that their respective ships were attacked by the same frost giant, the one wearing a red gem on a chain around his neck.  Captain Ventus told the barbarian a legend from the distance past of how the frost giants of the north and white dragons warred on and off for many years, with the white dragons using their icy breath to freeze the giant's longboats into a glacier. Ventus made Malagoth promise to get revenge for the both of him, and gave the barbarian his shield, marked with three wavy green lines, the symbol of the goddess of the ocean.  As Malagoth turned to leave, Ventus told him "May Umberlee guide you on your journey and into clear waters."

The next day, as Stark was finishing his weapon, Luisa visited the shop while Bran and Mal waited and Aera explored the Trade Ward.  Luisa was worried about Stark, somehow gleaning from her brief conversation with Mal that Stark was upset.  She checked in on the dragonborn, and told Bran and Mal that she was only a clerk at the magic shop, and that she took classes and was an apprentice mage at Blackstaff Tower.  Smoke seemed intrigued by Luisa, who took Smoke outside and played with him in the dingy street outside the shop.  

Later that evening after Luisa went home, Stark finished the weapon and test fired it at a crude drawing of Kella Darkhope.  As the three spoke, the sounds of timbers cracking and the tin roof crumbling sounded above their heads.  The ceiling slowly started collapsing on them, and the three of them grabbed their belongings and ran outside, meeting Aera on the street corner outside.

Stretching into the night sky, a tall three hundred foot tower floating atop a cloud descended, crushing Stark's workshop.  The tower was made of white stone with four black arches supporting it from all sides.  Incredulously atop the tower was a giant blue wizard's hat flapping in the breeze and adorned with gold stars.  As the party gaped at the sight, a narrow staircase made of clouds formed in front of them, beckoning them inside.  

The adventurers climbed the stairs and entered the massive and tall doors in the front of the tower.  Inside was a large chamber, lit by several globes, burning with a magical light.  The chamber was one hundred feet high and contained a giant sized table and a stone chair.  From a large hole in the ceiling, a twenty-four foot tall giant with grey skin, wispy hair and beard, floated down to greet them.  The giant was wearing a blue robe and a pointed hat identical to the one that sat atop the tower.  The party stared at the cloud giant as he landed gracefully on the floor and said, "Welcome to my home."

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

 

 

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DGRB #4 Boss Hark's Attempted Revenge AKA Black Puddings aren't so tasty
Flamerule 9-10, DR 1492

Session number 4, here we go!

After the dust from the fight had settled, Bran, Malagoth, Aera, Stark, and Kella gathered to discuss their options.  The goliath looked around the main cave, noticing several passageways leading off of the circular cavern.  Bran used Primeval Awareness and detected a large gathering of goblins to the southwest and only four goblins to the northwest.  As they continued to plan their next move, Bran and Aera noticed a female goblin, heavy with child, observing them from a partially hidden passageway.  

Following her into the southwest tunnel, the party finds a maze of passages, an three pregnant goblins cowering in an alcove.  Angry over the goblins presence, and worried that they would cause harm to the party later, Aera executed the humanoids, which angers Malagoth.  The goliath, who has had enough, threatened the aarakocra and told him such death was unnecessary and would only bring more trouble down on their heads.  Aera stealthily scouted the rest of the tunnels, finding the rest of the goblin's warren, including more mothers and a large group of young ones.  Many were infants and only a few of the goblin children had even begun to walk.  Aera quietly left the warren alone and returned to the chamber.  

The goliath broke off a large stalagmite from the floor of the cavern and used it to partially seal the entrance to the goblin's warren.  The group decided to enter the west passageway, returning to the cave that Bran and Stark used to enter the complex.  

The party returned to the north tunnel, stopping at the four foot round stone that was blocking a westward leading path.  The group examined the stone and listened carefully.  Smoke heard squeaking coming from the north and growled softly, alerting Bran.  

Headed to the north, Bran and the others stumbled across Boss Hark's chamber.  The large muscular goblin sat upon a large broken chair, flanked on either side by two large female goblins named Ratcha and Zukluk.  Surrounding them, seven large giant rats played in the floor beneath their feet.  Hark demanded to know what the party was doing invading their home.

Malagoth countered by demanding if he had sent the raiding party to Nightstone.  Hark told the goliath that he took the villagers captive after they tried to move into their caves.  Once Hark found out about what had happened in Nightstone, the chief sent a force to pillage what was left of the village after the giant's attack.  Hark told the party that he would release the villagers to them if they did the following three things:  1. pay Hark a one gold piece ransom for each villager. 2. Give the goblin chief a working padlock. (The group looked very confused over this request.)  3. Go to the caverns to the southeast of the main chamber and kill "the Blob".  Malagoth pushed for more information and was told that the chambers to the southeast contained the goblin's food storage and water supply.  The party asked Hark what the Blob actually was.  Hark responded that the only thing he knew was that a large shadowy misshapen creature had been killing off goblins as they moved through the chamber.  

The party demanded proof that the villagers were still alive, and Hark commanded Zukluk to retrieve a prisoner who was being kept in the back of Hark's cave.  The bodyguard brought out a red-haired young woman in a nightgown who told the party that she was named Daphne Featherstone.  Daphne told the adventurers that there was a group of almost 30 villagers still alive when she last saw them.  Daphne, a lady in waiting for the Nandar family, also asked them if Lady Velrosa was okay, but Malagoth brushed that line of questioning aside.  The group talked it over for a minute while the giant rats edged closer, sniffing and squeaking at the intruder's feet.  Boss Hark gave them Daphne and the party agreed to the goblin chief's terms.

Returning to the central chamber, Stark and Aera scouted the tunnels leading to the goblin's larder.  Bran, Malagoth, Kella, and Daphne stayed behind, trying to decide on a better plan for rescuing the villagers.  Daphne told them that the villagers were kept in a cave filled with bats and that if they tried to escape or even make a sound, the bats would fill the entire cave and devour them.  

Meanwhile, the bird and the dragon stealthily made their way through a strange stalagmite and stalactite filled chamber.  The pair found a rather large stalagmite that was pitted with holes, and found a pair of useless, badly corroded, scimitars.  Continuing to the southwest, Aera and Stark found a room containing food supplies and a waterfall that fell from the ceiling and pooled in the southern corner.  Stark cautiously threw a rock into the room, hitting some of the crates, but nothing happened.  Seeing nothing else, the pair returned back the way the came, but were ambushed by a large black tentacle from a dark gooey blob hanging on the wall above the western passageway.  

Stark, a dragonborn with black dragon parentage, spit acid at the creature.  Aera raked at the monster with his claws, slashing across its slimy body, which had the side effect of splitting the creature into two.  The two puddings attacked the adventurers with a pseudopod, missing Stark but striking Aera square in the chest. The black puddings were acidic creatures, and the powerful blow damaged Aera's leather armor in addition to nearly killing him further with its acid.  The pair made a tactical withdrawal, outrunning the slow moving monsters and leaving them behind in the chamber with the giant stalagmite.  

Returning to the main chamber, Aera and Stark found the rest of the party searching the northern section of the main chamber for the cave where the villagers were being held. Kella surmises that Boss Hark tried to send them into a trap, to be killed by the Blob.  

After a short time, the reformed group found the cave.  It was a large chamber with a large sinkhole in the middle of the room that seemed to lead to another chamber.  Looking closer, the party could see writhing black forms flitting about in the darkness.  Along the north, east, and south walls of the chamber were alcoves containing the villagers, who were huddled against the back wall, trying to remain as still and quiet as possible.  The adventurers decided to rest and regain their strength before entering the cave.

Aera with his long wingspan was able to reach up to the ledges and help the villagers down off of the ten foot tall alcoves.  Most of the villagers were puzzled by the appearance of the aaracokra, but were able to move quickly and quietly into the main chamber.  A cowardly priest of Lathander nearly tripped and fell, but Aera reacted quickly and caught him.  

A shield dwarf by the name of Morak Ur'gray, owner and proprietor of the Nightstone Inn, approached the party, speaking for the villagers.  Morak asked if Lady Velrosa had hired the adventurers to come to their rescue.  Malagoth informs him of Lady Nandar's demise (to the shocked looks of a couple of villagers who overheard the conversation).  Morak tells them of the families who survived the attack and the goblins, and of those who didn't make it.  In addition to Morak, Destiny Featherstone, Hiral Mystrum (the priest of Lathander), and six grievously wounded town guards, the families are:

Destiny Agganor, a tiefling midwife and her son Grin, who worked in the stables.

The Delfryndel Family, who own the windmill: The surviving family members are Renarra (father, age 64), his youngest son Zalf (age 40), his wife Elize (age 37), and their two adolescent children, Darson (age 17) and Hildy (age 14).  Renarra's oldest son Olaf was killed by the goblins.

The Hulvaarn Family, who are potato and turnip farmers.  The surviving family members are Godrick (age 32), his wife Prennis (age 30), and their three children: daughter Jehanna (age 12) and twin sons Ellis and Ghalt (age 9). The children lost their grandfather, Nestor, in the giant's attack on Nightstone.

The Nesper Family, who are pumpkin and squash farmers.  The surviving family members are Yondra (age 15) and her brother Sarvin (age 11). Their parents and an older sister named Sylda were killed by the goblins and ogres.

The Osstra Family, who are wheat farmers.  The survivors are Thelbin (age 52) and his husband, Brynn (age 52) and their good hearted nephew, Broland (age 23).  Brynn lost his elderly mother and younger sister to the goblins.

The Summerhawks, a family of strongheart halflings.  Taela (age 28, an apothecary) tends four young children, Barley (age 10), Midge (age 8), Nincy (age 6), and Dollop (age 3).  Taela's husband, Larlow, was killed in Nightstone when a rock fell on their house.  

Also killed during the events of the past few days: Semile Southwell, who was killed in the giant's attack; the Xelbrin's, an elderly couple who lived alongside the south palisade wall and was killed when a rock crushed their living room; and Darthag Ulgar, who ran the Lionshield Coster.  Destiny saw Boss Hark give the middle aged woman to his giant rats.

After escorting the survivors outside of the cave and into the treeline, the adventurers decided to lure Boss Hark out into the main chamber and into an ambush.  Aera disguised Malagoth to look as if he barely survived being attacked by the Blob.  While the rest of the group hid in the main chamber, Malagoth entered the tunnel to Boss Hark's lair.  As the goliath neared his destination, he noticed that the round stone that had been blocking a tunnel had been rolled to the side.  The chamber inside was small and had a rather large open and empty chest inside.  Mal squeezed inside, finding a scattering of silver and copper and several empty sacks.  A large rusted and broken padlock leaned against the side of the chest, causing Mal to nod in understanding of Boss Hark's strange request from earlier.

Leaving the treasure chamber behind, Mal walked north, into the goblin chief's lair, only to find it completely deserted.  A quick search yielded nothing, though he was able to find a natural chimney that opened up to the night sky.  Boss Hark, his bodyguards, and his pet rats had fled into the night.  Mal returned to the group, telling them of what happened. 

The party escorted the survivors back to Nightstone, arriving just as the sun was rising over the palisade walls.  The large group approached the raised drawbridge, and they could see guards stationed at the tops of each guard tower.  As they reached the bridge, the villagers sighed in relief to be home.  However, from the top of one of the towers, a struggling body fell, attached by a rope to its neck.  The form came to a sudden stop with a loud crack. The villagers cried out, screaming in dismay, seeing the unmoving body of one of Lady Velrosa's guards, Sydiri Haunlar, hanging dead in front of the entrance to Nightstone.  

From within one of the towers, Xolkin Alassandar's voice called out, "Give us Kella Darkhope!"

TO BE CONTINUED!

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DGRB #3 AKA Smoke Joins the Fight
Flamerule 8, DR 1492

Session #3, here we go!

Right before dawn, Bran and Mal woke up and walked down into the village.  Their first stop was to be the gatehouse, where they checked on the winches for the drawbridge. Finding their sabotage to be still in place, they walked north to the temple.  Bran moved to the front of the church and knelt, offering up a prayer to the goddess, Mielikki.   After finishing his supplication, Bran was pleased to hear a familiar sounding wolf howling in the distance.

The pair of warriors returned to the keep, noticing Stark resting in the keep's gatehouse, Kella resting outside against the outer palisade wall, and Aera and the guards sleeping inside the keep proper.  As the sun rose, Bran heard the sounds of horse's hooves against the dirt road leading to the drawbridge.  Waking everyone, the party ran down to the gatehouse as seven mounted riders neared the drawbridge.  

Kella, Stark, and Aera hid behind the gatehouse tower as Malagoth and Stark looked through the windows of the tower at the approaching group.  The riders consisted of five men and two women, all dressed in leathers, their saddlebags depleted from their journey.  Their leader was a swarthy handsome man named Xolkin Alassandar.  Xolkin called for the gatehouse guards to lower the drawbridge.  Stark answered, bluffing that the winches were damaged and it would take a few minutes to repair them.  Asking about Xolkin's business, the half-elf replied that they were in search of a wanted criminal from Daggerford, a thief named Kella Darkhold.  Kella looked visible shaken, and asked the party not to give her up to the seven riders.  Xolkin told Stark that they were hunting a thief and that Lady Morwen Daggerford herself sent Xolkin and his men after Kella.  The party delayed them as long as possible, while Aera successfully disguised Kella as a man.  Aera noticed something squirming beneath the arm of Kella's loose shirt but didn't say anything at first.  Rejoining the group, Kella remarked that she looked like a mage, and said she had just the thing to play the part.  From beneath Kella's sleeve, a flying snake flew out, and landed casually on her shoulder, wrapper part of its tail around her neck.  Kella called the snake Slimy, and said that it was her pet.  The party asked her what was the issue with Lady Morwen, and Kella told them that she had insulted the Lady of Daggerford's twelve year old son and stolen his coin purse.  The party decided to call the disguised Kella, "Tim".

Once the disguise was complete, Mal and Stark lowered the drawbridge and allowed the riders to enter the city.  Bran hid close to the church as not to be seen by the newcomers.  The remaining three party members related the story of the giant's attack on Nightstone and the subsequent raid by the goblin clan.  Shocked by the events, Xolkin offered to help guard the town while the adventurers would travel a mile north of town to rescue the villagers from the Boss Hark and the goblins.  Aera took two of Xolkin's riders, a man and a woman, to the Inn to find some refreshment.  Stark and Kella waited by the gatehouse as Bran hid nearby, watching.  Two of the riders entered the gatehouse and raised the drawbridge and took up posts watching for more goblin raiders.  Meanwhile, Mal led Xolkin to Nandar Keep to meet the four guards that were guarding Lady Velrosa's body.  Xolkin was amazed by the destruction and of the goblin bodies that were left in the street after the battle of the previous night.

Aera and the two men entered the taproom/dining room of the Inn.  A sign with dwarven runes hung askew above the bar.  The roof above had collapsed and a bed and a dresser from the second floor were lying broken in the middle of the taproom.  Also, the body of a goblin with a single crossbow bolt sticking out of his chest rested over a broken table.  As the man and woman searched behind the bar through the broken bottles for an alcoholic beverage, Aera finds a few things on the second floor of a partially destroyed bedroom.  

After Xolkin and Mal spoke with Lady Velrosa's guards, Xolkin agreed to protect the village until the adventurers return with the captives.  With that, Xolkin's men lowered the drawbridge and the quartet plus "Tim" began walking north to the goblin caves.

After a half-mile or so, Bran saw a wood elf standing in the tree line of the Ardeep Forest trying to get his attention.  The ranger carefully approached the elf, who warned Bran not to enter the Ardeep Forest.  As Bran turned to leave, the elf told him, "I believe this is yours," and with a short series of barks, Smoke, the wolf that Bran had raised from a cub while protecting the Cold Wood, bound up to him.  With a final warning to stay out of the forest on pain of pain, the elf retreated into the dark shadowy wood.  WIth a howl, Smoke padded alongside his master, and the two rejoined the party.  

After a mile of travel, the adventures found a rocky hilly cliff face with a gaping cave mouth set into its side. Tall pine trees grew atop the rocky ridge.  Bran surveyed a series of tracks coming and going from the cave mouth and determined that the clan consists of approximately 30 goblins (of which several were killed in the previous night's battle).  The party decided to release Pojo and told him he had ten minutes to get in and get his brother out.  Pojo ran up the hill and disappeared into the cave.  Ten minutes later, Pojo and his brother Tot wave to the party from atop the rocky ridge and disappear from view.  The party deduceed that there must be another entrance into the caves and decide to split up to find it, with Mal, Aera, and Kella (now undisguised) to enter from the front and Smoke, Bran, and Stark finding another entrance.

After walking along the rocky cliff side, Smoke, Bran, and Stark discovered a stream entering the side of the hill.  After alerting the other group, the trio waded into the water and enters the narrow passageway.  Smoke tried to drink the water, but didn't seem to like the taste of it.  Aera, Kella, and Mal approached the mouth of the cave, with Aera scouting ahead.  The large twenty foot high cave held a forest of stalactites, along with several ledges with a goblin archer stationed on each one. The aarakocra stealthly dispatched one goblin archer and noticed a mud pool beneath the first ledge.  A large bald domed head rested in the warm mud bath, only his nose and eyes showing.  The ogre softly snored as Aera moved on to the second sentry, only to lose her footing momentarily, alerting everyone in the cave.

Bran, Smoke, and Stark (who was being led in darkness by Smoke) traced the stream to its endpoint and discovered that the goblins used this as a well.  Carefully moving to the northwest and finding a small tunnel that was blocked by a round boulder, the trio heard the sounds of battle coming from a large chamber to the east.

Malagoth waded into the combat, attacking the ogre in the mud bath, who stood up and pulled his great club from the muck.  The remaining goblin archers hopped down from the walls and moved into to attack.  Bran, Smoke and Stark, who lit a torch, ran into the large chamber to join the battle.  Kella, stayed at the lit entrance of the cave and fired crossbow bolts at the ogre in the mud pit.  Bran, fired one arrow than ran into the cover of the stalagmite forest, only to find the ogre's mate hiding in the area.  Smoke took out two of the goblin archers as Stark killed the first ogre with his thunder cannon.  Angry and devastated, the female ogre left the cover of the stalagmites but was brought low soon after.  Mopping up the last of the archers, the party discovered that the ogres had been feasting on human flesh.

goblin cave battle

TO BE CONTINUED

 

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DGRB #2 AKA Things Go Boom in the Night
Flamerule 7-8, DR 1492

Second session, here we go!

The quartet approached the lowered drawbridge into Nightstone carefully, unsure of what they would find.  The only activity that could be detected was the incessant and irregular ringing of a church bell that could be heard from the steeple that could be seen over the pallisade wall. With Aera scouting ahead, the group crossed the drawbridge and entered the town.  

Upon entering Nightstone proper, they found several large boulders scattered throughout the village, as if they had fallen from the sky, some of which landed on building, damaging them.  While Bran investigated the graveyard to the north of the church (noticing that many of the dates on the gravestones had the exact same dates from five years ago), the rest of the party entered the church to investigate the cause of the church bell's ringing.

As Bran returned to the church to rejoin the group, Aera investigated the door behind the pulpit.  Through the cracked door, Aera found two goblins gleefully dangling from the bell's pull rope, bouncing up and down.  Bran and Stark attempted to subdue the two goblins but they nimbly dodged, one of them knocking Stark unconscious.  The rest of the group managed to take the pesky goblins out, then treated the dragonborn's wounds, stablizing him.  One of the goblins was wearing a pendant of a silver unicorn, the holy symbol for the goddess, Mielikki.

As the sleeping Stark rested, Bran and Malagoth explored the town square, noticing a large 10 foot wide and 5 foot deep crater that looked like something had been ripped out of the muddy ground.  As the pair looked around, two worg wolves padded around the corner of the Inn, and rushed at them.  As Aera joined them, one of the worgs landed a nasty bite on Malagoth, nearly knocking him to the ground.  Several mighty blows later, the two worgs fell to the ground, dead. The remaining party members discussed what to do next, and decided to rest in the church.  Before resting, Aera scouted ahead and peered into the front door window of the Nightstone Inn, noticing that the taproom was in shambles, broken tables, chairs, and bottles everywhere.  Aera decided to return to the temple, and the party rested to heal their wounds.

After resting, the party, including the now restored Stark, investigated the village further. After raising the drawbridge to keep goblin reinforcements from arriving from outside of the town, they found a trading post called The Lionshield Coster.  Inside, a single female goblin was pulling items off the shelves and stuffing them into her backpack.  The adventurers subdued her, and attempted to question her, but no one in the party could speak the language of goblinkind, so they tied her up, gagged her and knocked her unconscious, leaving her against the outside wall of the trading post.  Stark and the others provisioned themselves, finding a few useful everyday items.  

After jumping across the broken bridge, and Malagoth nearly falling off of it, the party made their way to the gatehouse.  Turning around to look at the village below, the quartet noticed that someone had lowered the drawbridge.  Annoyed, they made their way through the gatehouse and into the inner bailey.  The keep had taken a great deal of damage in the attack, with the northwest tower partially collapsed and the southeast one almost entirely destroyed. Stark, Bran, and Aera squeezed their way through the rubble of the northwest tower, which had once been a kitchen.  They found a door that had been barricaded from the other side, so the goliath swiped away enough rubble to squeeze through and into the kitchen.  Using his great size and strength, Malagoth shoved into the rest of the keep, pushing away the furniture that had been piled in front of the door.  

Past the portal was the ruined Great Hall of Nandar Keep. Four guards, named Kaelen Zam, Alara Winterspell, Sydiri Haunlar, and Torem Breck stood protectively in front of a long dining table.  The guards were wearing tabards that marked them as in the employ of the noble house of Nandar.  All four guards were grievously injured in the attack, Alana with a broken leg.  After the party allayed the guards' fears that they were being attacked again, the guards moved aside to reveal the broken and crushed body of Lady Velrosa Nandar lying on the table.  Her Ladyship had been in the southeast tower at the time of the attack and was killed nearly instantaneously.

Kaelen Zam revealed to the group the events of the attack.  Nightstone was bombarded by rocks dropped by a giant floating castle in the sky.  The keep was attacked first, and a large boulder knocked out the bridge, cutting off access to the village.  In the event of an attack, normally the villagers would retreat into the keep for protection, but with the bridge out, the villagers fled north.  Kaelen reveals that the townfolk probably fled north to some bat filled caves about an mile away.  The guards who were stationed in the towers help the villagers flee the town.  Once Nightstone was deserted, four pale-skinned giants descended from the sky, uprooted the nightstone in the center of the town square, then took it back to their castle.  The cloud castle left soon thereafter, drifting eastward.

Bran helped to heal Alana's broken leg as Stark searched through the rubble of the southeast tower, looking for any clues as to why giants would want to steal the figurative heart of the village, but finding none.  The guards told the party that they were able to see a band of goblins along with two worgs enter the city and begin looting the abandoned houses.  Kaelen pleaded with the group to please help take the village back and roust the goblins from their homes.  

After much discussion, the party decided to try to draw the goblins to the keep in order to bottle them up at the break in the palisade leading to the bridge, which had now been repaired by lashing three ladders together and securing the ends with heavy rubble.  Bran would remain behind on the bridge to provide support with his bow as Aera, Malagoth, and Stark would rouse the goblins and get them to chase the adventurers.

The trio stealthily worked their way around the southwest wall but two goblin archers spotted Malagoth from the top floor of the windmill. Aera rushed the windmill, the aarakocra nimbly jumping up to land beneath the narrow window.  Malagoth and Stark rushed for the entrance to the interior of the windmill, and found a ladder on the inside leading up to the topmost floor.  Aera and the goblins fought and she was joined quickly by the goliath and dragonborn, and together they made quick work of the two archers.  As the fight was happening, Bran lit two fire arrows, planting one into the side of the windmill and another solidly into the middle of the dirt road that connected the town square to the bridge leading to Nandar Keep.

The trio continued up the west palisade wall, making their way to the drawbridge.  After raising the drawbridge once again, Malagoth slammed a javelin through the winch and into the ground, making it difficult to lower the drawbridge once again.  Stark also set a bear trap inside of each tower and covered it with hay to discourage anyone else trying to lower the drawbridge again.

Setting the plan in motion, Malagoth remained in the town square while Aera and Stark moved down to the base of the bridge.  Malagoth was about to start to bang his shield and start yelling to attract the goblins when Stark pulled out his thunder cannon, Serenity, and fired a extremely loud shot into the air.  Almost immediately, nine goblins from all over the village left the residences that they were hiding in, and began running to investigate the thunder like crack that came from the south part of town.

The goblins investigate the loud bang

 

 

 

 

Startled by the unusual weapon that Stark was wielding, Malagoth ran to join his companions while being chased by the goblins.  The goliath dodged shots from the archers, and as he dashed down the dirt path, Malagoth brushed aside one of the goblins in his way.  The goblins continued to pepper Malagoth with arrows, even though two of the enemy's shortbows broke through bad luck.  

The goblins close in on Malagoth.

As several of the goblins ran by Bran's flaming arrow that was burning in the middle of the path, Stark fired Serenity twice, felling two of them.  Malagoth reached the bridge, and turned around taking a defensive stance as Aera readied her dagger and Bran fired arrows into the dark, hoping to hit one of the attackers.  One of the goblins closer to the square suddenly turns around and heads back the opposite way.  

The final push

As the party continued to cut down the goblin attackers, a sharp yelp of pain that suddenly stopped short was heard from the town square.  One by one, the goblins fell until there was only one left, approaching from the east.  With a sudden twang of a crossbow string, the one of the last goblins tumbled to the ground in a heap.  Behind the goblin, a Chondathan woman in her 30's with blonde hair appeared, holding her crossbow at her side.  The woman, introducing herself as Kella Darkhope, approached the party, kicking the corpse of the goblin as she walked by.  

Kella told the group that she had been in town because she had been told about the nightstone from friends and she wanted to see the monument for herself. During the attack, she had been knocked unconscious and trapped beneath a beam that had fallen from the ceiling in her second story room at the Inn.  When she regained her senses, the rest of the villagers had already fled and goblins had begun to pillage Nightstone, preventing her from leaving.  Kella managed to kill one of the goblins who was rummaging through the taproom at the bar.  When the party distracted all of the goblins, Kella was able to sneak out after the one that was hiding in the kitchen of the Inn and kill him with a crossbow bolt.

Malagoth and Stark searched the west wall for the last goblin and found him cowering behind one of the giant's boulders.  Easily subduing him, the party and Kella brought him back to the keep to be questioned.  The goblin's name was Pojo and he revealed that he was a member of a goblin clan ruled by Boss Hark.  The goblins had been run out of Ardeep Forest by the elves who lived there, and had moved into the caves north of town.  During the questioning, Pojo revealed that the goblins had captured the villagers who stumbled into the caves, looking for refuge.  When Boss Hark discovered that Nightstone was undefended, he sent a goblin raiding party to plunder the town.  Malagoth asked what the clan were doing with the captives, and Pojo told him that they were using them for food, which angered the goliath, who backhanded the goblin.  Malagoth told Pojo to take them to the caves, but he refused because he was scared that the group would kill his twin brother, Tot, who was still living in the caves.  Malagoth struck a deal with Pojo that if the goblin would take them to the caves, they would allow Pojo to enter ahead of the party so that he could find his twin brother and get him out of the caves before the party entered the goblin camp.  The company settled in for the evening for a well deserved rest, and they made plans to attack the goblin's cave in the morning.

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First Quest AKA Goliath and Bird Bicker a Bit
Flamerule 6-7, 1492

Here we go!  

After everyone introduced and described their characters and talked about their backgrounds, we started the campaign in earnest.  Having struck out from Balder's Gate, Malagoth arrived at the port in the city of Waterdeep, and began asking around for any information on the brigands who had sunk the Freewind.  The harbormaster told the goliath that a schooner meant for transporting passengers from Neverwinter to Waterdeep limped into port two months ago with a broken mast. Mal discovered that the captain of the schooner was named Captain Ventus, who liked to frequent a not so nice tavern called the Whirlpool, which was located across the alley from the dragonborn Stark's tinkerer's shop.

Stark, fiddling with his widgets, watched the goliath enter the Whirlpool, thinking to himself that a bar brawl was certain.  Inside the Whirlpool, Bran ,who arrived in Waterdeep the day before as he tracked the movements of his parents across their travels along the Sword Coast, watched Mal order a drink from the put-upon dwarven barmaid, Avon.  After a quick bribe, and after a first lesson from a strange birdwoman who deftly snatched Mal's coin purse (causing some of the customers to flee the tavern, and drawing Stark's curiosity), the barbarian learned that Capt. Ventus was hired to transport elven hunters and rangers from Neverwinter to Waterdeep.  Mal also learned from Avon that it was a giant ballista bolt that damaged Ventus's mast in the attack, and that they managed to outrun and lose the attackers before the mast gave way.  

The talk of elven hunters drew the attention of the half-elven ranger Bran, who introduced himself to the goliath, even as the goliath and the aarakocra continued to bicker back and forth.  The birdwoman, who hasn't offered her name as of yet, had been placed in the dock ward by the Thieves' Guild in order to test her ability at maintaining a disguise.  On their way to the North Ward, the group passed a magic and potion shoppe, run by a friend of Stark's, a silver-haired half-elf named Luisa, who waved at the group as they passed by.

Bran and Mal were told of a fellowship hall in the North Ward called the Shrine of the Shining Way, a waystation for adventurers built many years ago on the ruins of a former tavern.  Stark, having lived in the City of Splendors for the past few years, guided them to the Shrine, followed by the birdwoman who found the whole situation interesting.

Arriving at the Shrine, which was a cozy one-room meeting hall with a few birch trees standing to the west of the property, the group met the caretaker, a halfling woman named Enid. Enid invited them in and told them that she was the only one around for a while, as all of the members were on missions or quests, taking Waterdhavian nobles on "adventure safaris" to various locations along the Sword Coast.  Enid told the group that a few of their company had taken some nobles to a small town called Nightstone, which lay 10 miles down a trail off of the High Road, south of the city.  

On a wall inside the shrine, Bran noticed a painting of a group of adventurers from decades ago. However, in the painting, Bran noticed a male elf wearing a cloak that had a clasp made of a smooth black stone with runes etched into it.  As the birdwoman left to con a carriage rental place into giving up one of their carriages to make the short trip even shorter, Bran questioned Enid on the painting.  Enid told Bran that the painting was twenty or thirty years old and she had no idea who the elven man was.  However, depicted in the painting,  there were two elven women called Nasisi and Marin who were still active members for the Shining Way, perhaps they knew more about the mysterious man in the painting?

The birdwoman returned with a fast carriage and a large horse for the barbarian to ride.  After retrieving Stark's gear from his shop, the carriage struck out on the High Road.  After Mal's horse slowed down and grew tired from lugging around 400 lbs of barbarian, Mal realized that it would be just as fast for him to run in order to keep up with the carriage.  Several hours of travel later, the carriage arrived close to the signpost for Nightstone and could go no further without camping for the night.  The group thanked the carriage driver for his assistance and parted ways, continuing along the path and camping for the night close to the crossroads. 

The next morning, the group continued 10 miles down the dirt road, growing closer to the Ardeep Forest.  As they approached, a bell could be heard tolling in the distance and as they neared the motte and bailey settlement, they could see part of the wall of the keep and the connecting bridge to the village partially collapsed.

TO BE CONTINUED

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Adventure Start

Flamerule 6, 1492.  Year of the Three Ships Sailing.  Summer in Waterdeep

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Map of the Campaign

Here is a high def map of the Sword Coast area and a large portion of Faerun for your perusal!

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

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.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

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

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