Northern Lights

Seventh Game Session, Jan 21
New Friends

Beliard was devastated. The small community had been hit hard by the earthquake and many buildings had collapsed, several with people still in them.  As the party passed through the broken gates they were met with bedlam. A building was burning, people were franticly pulling rubble from ruined structures, animals ran amok, and the wounded seemed to be everywhere. Immediately they set about organizing the townsfolk and methodically working to clear rubble and get to those trapped within. An afternoon of labor put out the fire, saved the two children of Elliot Roadik (Joel and little Eluthia), and up in the Calling Horns Inn the wounded were treated and prayed over for miracle healing of the critically wounded. Exhausted the group all met together in the makeshift hospital which was the inn's taproom, and were fed a warm meal by a grateful populace. Oswald, Rurik, and Ilse, whose efforts with the town bonded them with the rest of the party, chatted late into the night with our heroes and it was decided that, at least for a time, they would travel with them to attempt to unravel the mysteries of the unleashing of the elements and the cults rumored to be behind them. 

That night a conversation was held with Belidard's Mayor Janus Fithers in which he expressed his gratitude and was glad to share some information valuable to the group in locating the Emissary Caravan from Mirabar. This put the party, the next day, on the south Dessarian road heading to Summit Hall, a military monastery held by the Order of the Gauntlet. Upon the way (encountering gentler, but still strange weather) they encountered a battlefield off the road west by about a mile. The guards wore the livery of Mirabar, and Tanis was able to track the attacking party, identifying them as a strong contingent of Bugbears. Making camp that night, the group was the victim of a pair of hunting Ankheg's who were put down by the combined might of the hero's, wherin Emiya was gravely wounded but saved by the healing power of Moradin. Howevedr not before she had gravely wounded the beast which had lifted her from the ground in its acid filled mandibles. 

It was soon discovered that the Bugbears had escaped by embarking upon boats into the Dessarin river, however a tall white spire was spotted in the distance which gathered the attention and curiosity of the party, and it was decided to head there. Approaching the tower they were met by a woman in knightly dress and two odd servants who were emaciated and skeletal, but moved without any signs of illness. She led them atop the spire and introduced them to the captain of their fellowship, the Featherdale Knights who had named this tower, Featherdale Spire. His name is Sir Thorle, and he greeted them graciously and showed them the grand view into Dessarin valley from the heights of the tower. Afterwards he charmingly invited the party to dine and refresh themselves within.  

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Sixth Game Session
Wherein Sparks was slain

The world has gone mad. The weather has taken on a dangerous and unpredictable dimension that is causing great havoc across the north. The unusually late winter has given way to a Spring that is alternating rapidly between cool and warm weather and is generating storms of unpredictable and unheard of power. It is if the heavens have gone to war. Poor Sparks was lost to a storm, lightning from the sky felled the mighty priest of Moradin, and she was later buried by her companions.

Returning from the woods with both a captive Arbor Grail under the effects of a powerful sleeping potion, and having rescued Dim's father whose mental and physical health is very poor, lodging was sought in the Gilded Horse Shoe Inn under the care of good Master Pug. The innkeeper was a bit taken aback by the presence of an unconcious prisoner, and there was a tense moment where you thought he might refuse you service, but Dim and Roland smoothed it over with some fast talking and a promise that it was but for one evening.

The next day Grail was delivered to Master Renfrin and rewards were distributed. Renfrin seemed quite pleased to have a chance to speak with Grail, and had him sequestered in a separate room. Questions were asked and answered, stories told, and Master Renfrin was asked about the unusual weather. He asked the group to meet him the next day for a more complete explanation.

The next day they met with him again and he related a story about a lost company of scholars from Mirabar, and that finding them would give revelations about the strange weather. Cults to the elemental God's have been gathering in the area, and the great powers of the north were beginning to take notice. He told them to begin their investigations in the town of Beliard, and so the party planned their trip and left two days hence.

First the party passed through Red Larch and made arrangements for the care of Glim Timbers with "Mother" Yolanda at her boarding house. She sympathized with Roland and promised to take good care of Glim and to nurse him back to health, at least in body. The Roland farm was visited and Roland's father gifted Velvet to him to aid him in his further adventures. After reprovisioning they continued the journey to Beliard.

Upon the way more weather disasters were met with, including a massive earthquake that shook the region to its foundations. So far they have endured a massive wind and rainstorm that flooded the region and blew over trees, fences, and even livestock. Now a earth event has happened and the party scholars are fearing some kind of fire disaster may soon be upon them. The session ended at the sight of the now cracked walls of Beliard. Smoke is rising from behind it's walls. 

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Fifth game session, Nov 12th
Where our companions nearly died in the snow

 

GM Report

The temperature had plummeted to a sub-zero freeze, and the gentle snowfall had rapidly picked up in volume. The forest was dark and quiet, the kind of quiet that only thick snow can provide, and visibility was about sixty feet under the trees. Errol was slapping his arms against his sides to warm himself, a futile gesture in this chill, and contemplating the warmth of his sleeping furs yet another hour and a half away. An eternity.

He thought he saw movement out in the snow, yet still no sound emerged from the woods. Straining his eyes, he could see a figure moving toward the camp shambling through the dense icy snowpack, but it was too dark to make it out clearly. Leaning over he woke Tanis, hoping his friend’s keen vision might help. More figures began to be seen, also heading to the camp. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes Tanis was just able to make out the features of the first figure when Arturius shot bolt upright out of his furs, eyes wide and face pale, “To arms, to arms,” he cried, “the foul thing is upon us!” ~

The fight was between hordes of zombies that emerged from an unnatural snowstorm that seemed to follow the creatures into camp. Ancient undead corpses frozen solid in the cold, yet still able to move and fight, stumbled out of roiling flurries of dense snowfall. Clumsy and slow, they still overran the camp and when a blow from one of their frozen weapons landed, it did terrible damage to its victims.

As the party battled, and slowly it appeared they would have the better of the fight, the dense snowfall parted away from the camp to reveal an ancient Wight dressed in antique elven armor entering the fray. He lifted one claw-like hand and out of the snowstorm ran undead goblins sporting terrible wounds in their flesh. The melee became desperate, and it began to look as though it all would end here in these frozen woods. Then a mighty brown bear charged into the fray and set upon the zombies, and a white owl sailed into the fight and transformed into Alannah the Druidess. With healing spells and a magical staff she helped to turn the tied and the zombies were put down, however the Wight remained. Every strike from its mighty mace laid low one of the companions, though they circled the ancient knight and laid blow upon blow against its armored hide. Spell, missile and blade clashed against the abomination seemingly doing nothing to slow it down.

Then, after receiving a mighty attack from the Wight that demolished his shield, Arturius impaled the knight with his glowing magical blade, and there was a flash of light, and the baroque armor collapsed in an empty heap with no sign remaining of the Wight which had occupied it. Wounded, exhausted, and numb with cold, the companions retired to their tents for the remainder of the night and in the morning decided to divide the loot.

The trip back to Longsaddle was uneventful and a warm welcome was had at the Gilded Horseshoe from Master Pug and his family. There was an uncomfortable moment when the good innkeeper objected to a bound criminal being kept in his establishment, but it was smoothed over with soft words and promises of immediate resolution in the morning. The next day Arbor Grayle was taken to Master Renfrin and much was discussed…. (to be revealed next session).

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Fourth Game Session Oct 22nd
Wherein Glim was found

 

GM's Report

   Arbor Grayle proved to be quite the warrior in the end. Grappled to the hard stone floor by Arturious and assaulted by various members of the party (some more or less accurately), he-never the-less managed to wiggle free and leap to his feet dagger in hand, all the while yelling curses at Chief Brokenear for him to come help him. Several times the party assaulted the wiley Grayle, and each time he was able to wiggle free, at one point tumbling in a stunning display of acrobatics past the entire company of adventurers and fleeing to the end of the hall, beating on a door there. It was here that he was finally cornered and pummeled into unconsciousness.

   In the quiet that followed it was found that something was unchaining the door Grayle had pounded upon from the other side, and Errol attempted to open that heavy oak door before it could emerge, but found it was jammed by heavy chain, so he put his back into it and pushed it open only to have his bell rung as a blade crashed down upon his helm. Thus began another furious combat as Brokenear was revealed along with two unusually large female goblins, both armed with scimitars. Brokenear was huge for a goblin, standing as tall as a man and well-muscled. He was dressed in a heavy chain shirt and wielded a longsword made of dark metal that glowed with a strong blue-white radiance (about the strength of a torch). His right ear was more than half missing and his eyes were full of fury.

  

   Errol, dazed and standing in the door frame charged into the room past Brokenear to discover the second goblin woman and was engaged by both females, while Brokenear continued to fight the party in the hallway. Brokenear’s talent with the blade was astonishing, he wielded it moved in a blurr in his blade striking like a pile hammer and slicing through armor and flesh. The party fought valiantly but even so Sparkles was heavily wounded and Arturious was cut down.

   During the fight, Sparkles fell back and healed herself and then noticed a light behind them. Moving to investigate she found a young human make, obviously a prisoner of the goblins, in the pit that opened nearly trapping Dim earlier. Also with him was Glim Timbers, in a fast sleep. Using a rope she managed to help both out of the pit trap, and they quickly decided to rush back to the fight.

   Errol, in the Goblins room, ignored the two females that were ineffectually beating on his armor and attacked Brokenear causing the Chieftain to back away from the doorway enough that he had the whole party and Errol on either side of him, then he began to beat upon both with broad sweeps of his glowing blade. Though he punished the party near to the breaking point, he also was taking terrible wounds and in a very quick maneuver he reached out and grabbed a nearby concubine and changed places with her right as Tanis attacked with his dagger, which he thrust in her belly instead of the chief’s. Brokenear then disappeared into the room, but not before laying Errol low with a sword stroke.

  The wounded goblin consort attempted to flee, but turned to give her lord and the other female time to escape at the cost of her life. There then came a pause, wounds were tended to, the door into the chamber was chained off, and a hurried discussion was had regarding what to do next. During that time, from deep within the complex, a drumbeat was heard. A single reverberating boom heard through the rock that was shortly repeated again and again. This caused the group to decide to flee down the secret passage, however they soon learned that Brokenear was not finished. He had armored himself with plates and picked up an enormous shield and had returned to finish the fight. Tanis, Rince, Errol, and Dim began to pepper him with bowfire, to which he sacrificed his last consort in a move like the one he made earlier. Charging down the passage he was ultimately finished by the various missiles that were launched at him.

   Looting his body, his sword and a magical pouch were procured from Brokenear, and further down the passage a room was found with chests of coin and a great deal of random gear. Rince’s equipment was found, though the search was quick, and the party made it to the end of the passage, and eventually escaped the goblin nest.

   Deciding that distance from the complex was needed they pushed on past early nightfall and shortly thereafter made camp; they fell exhausted into bed leaving guards left to watch for pursuit, and pursuit did indeed come. First horn calls were heard, and when it was obvious that they were getting closer, and the howling of wargs was in the air. Camp was struck with haste and the group began to run in the darkness through the snow. Then something odd happened, there was the sound of an engagement behind them, the goblins had been intercepted by some force, the wargs were heard growling and clashes of arms danced through the trees. Arturious felt a familiar bane nearby but controlled his panic. Pausing only momentarily to assess what they could with their ears, the group then  again to flee until early dawn, when complete exhaustion finally overtook them. A camp was struck, and some sleep was had, but not much.

   Errol spied movement during his watch in the trees following the party’s trail. Five zombies, with glowing eyes and frost and ice clinging to skin and clothes were ambling slowly forwards through the winter woods seemingly intent on the camp. Depleted of resources, exhausted and frightened, we wait until next session to see what the fate of these adventurer’s shall be.

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Third Game Session October 8th
The Thick of it

   Leaving the clear cut the party followed Wind in the Brush into the Neverwinter forest. Travel was slowed by the thick covering of snow, and often the large buck vanished from view (in fact he was unseen more often than seen), however his trail was easy to spot, and where it might have been more difficult, Wind in the  Bush had used his large rack to disturb the snow even further to make it obvious. Dangerous in a forest just emerging from a long winter filled with hungry predators, but obviously for the benefit of the party. A cold camp followed a day of difficult packing into the woods, which was interrupted once by a dire boar who had no interest in harassing a large well armed group of adventurers.

   In the morning the travelers continued and by midmorning it was discovered that they were paralleling a trail that had recently been stamped down but a large party of goblins. Wind in the Bush kept his path far enough away not to be easily spied by anyone on this trail, but he was also clearly following it. Soon thereafter the party came across a goblin watch post built up on some high branches, though it was thankfully empty and had been so for some time. Likely it was a post manned only in warmer weather. Then, forty minutes or so past the post, a clearing was spied. The goblin nest had been uncovered. Wind in the Bush stayed inside the perimeter of the trees and stamped his fore hoof in either a salute or an acknowledgement that he had accomplished his task, and vanished back into the forest.

   The nest appears to have been set up in a natural fissure in the side of a cliff. A large pile of ice and snow covered scree rested against that cliff, creating a navigateable ramp to the top, and which also had a post of guards atop it. Two bow armed and very sleepy goblin warriors kept watach from the post. Other than the assortments of debris one expects from such a filthy place, the ground was cleared for fifty yards in all directions about the front of the entrance and it was very quiet, so (naturally) a full frontal assault was quickly decided. The two guards were driven from their post up into the forest above the nest after having been caught unawares by stealthy adventurers (ie. they were asleep), however one had a horn with him which he constantly sounded. The goblins escaped up into the tree line at the top of the cliff, and the chase after those two was abandoned in favor of taking the entrance of the nest by force This plan ultimately resulted in the party being flanked on both sides as the two warriors doubled back to attack from behind once the adventurers had entered the fight with the goblin guards inside the entrance room of the nest. 

   Eventually the goblin sentries were defeated in both the clearing outside and in the entrance room, and from there the group tried to quietly investigate the foul smelling nest. Small skirmishes erupted with goblin guards and many nasty traps were encountered as well. Soon the adventurers learned that though this is a small tribe of greenskins, there were still a large number of them here. As it was day outside, most of the tribe was in its furs sleeping, with only a few guards scattered about. The party skirted these chambers and made its way to a door which held one of the men they had been searching for, Arbor Grayle! He was found sleeping on a cot behind a reinforced and locked door which Dim adroitly picked open. 

   Arbor engaged the group in banter, seemingly pleasantly suprised by the group's rescue of him from the goblins. Mostly he was concerned about Glim whom he quickly picked out as Dim's father, and spun a tale of having rescued Glim in the wilds only to have been captured by Brokenear's tribe of goblins. The selling of Glim's lutes was a scheme he and the gnome had hatched to ensure they both remained valuable to the goblin chief and thus spared. He offered to help the party get Glim out of the nest if they would help him to escape the wrath of the goblin chief. Not trusting him, he was allowed only a dagger for his defense and was kept contained amidst the party as they continued on to find Glim. Arbor directed them into a small hall which ended at a curious door, when Dim tripped a pit trap which he only narrowly avoided. Arbor then began to yell "Brokenear, help!" and was tackled by Artorius to prevent his escape.

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Second Game Session Sept 24
Wherin a promise is made

GM's Report

The second session started on the 23rd of Mirtul, and winter is just starting to give way its grip upon the land. Dim, Errol, and Roland were in the main hall of the Gilded Horseshoe when their three friends arrived, Spark, Tanis, and Artorius (a friend of Dim’s from the family with whom he is hiding from). Greetings were quickly shared and Dim brought the newcomers up to speed on events. An night was spent at the Horseshoe for the weary travelers to have hot bathes and rest, and then after a sumptuous breakfast the were out the door and off upon the quest, Tanis ahead by half a mile marking the trail with sticks through the snow.

   Half a day out the party spied a homestead eight hundred yards from the trail and decided to stop in to gather what information they could. The Farmer Andy and his hands were suspicious at first until the party had taken their first ritual drink from them and established the peace of hospitality as guests, and then enjoyed their company for the rest of the evening. None there had ever heard of Arbor Grayle, and many were interested in what the party had to say about Master Renfrin. What could be learned of Neverwinter was a bit confusing, most warning them not to enter the haunted woods which were inhabited by the dead spirits of those who were slaughtered there two and a half decades before. Others reported that they knew folks who gathered fallen wood for firewood in the forest and came back out unharmed. Frustrated that they could not get solid information they stayed for a warm night’s sleep in the bunkhouse with the hands while Dim entertained the farmer’s family for the evening, satisfying the tradition of guests leaving a gift for their hosts.

   Tanis again took point the next day, and near the end of the day had an encounter with four hunting silver timber wolves. Obviously starved from the long winter the animals circled the Ranger who was much too far from the main party to be able to receive aid from them. He successfully managed to wound the entire pack of four wolves with arrows and blade and drove them off. There were other trail mishaps before the party reached the Neverwinter wood by following the old longing road beside the Sorrow river, but all were overcome.

   The wood proved ominous in that there was a sense upon entering the forest proper of being watched, critically. For two hours the party pushed through, staying upon the snow covered logging trail. They encountered remnants of logging activity in the form of immense rotting (and frozen) stumps, identified by Tanis as sequoias. The decomposing remnants of a logging wagon was seen off the side of the trail and eventually a gargantuan tree (20ft diameter) which had fallen across the river and lay upon the trail with a cutout where the it passed through.

   Soon the party entered a gigantic clear cut, miles wide and deep where no trees stood at all, only brush and choking brambles. Artorius insisted that the feeling of foreboding increased in this area, though no one else could sense it growing stronger. From the edge of the tree line the group could see several buildings down in the shallow valley and decided to investigate. First the stone foreman’s house was searched revealing nothing but a giant spider which was quickly killed by the combined effort of all the group. The dilapidated and collapsed Mill and Kitchen provided little, however in the rotted bunkhouse a chest was found containing a good bit of gold and an ivory carving of the God Moradin.

   Deciding to investigate a strangely unfrozen pond, the group left the lumber camp and headed over, only to be interrupted by the flight of a snow owl which landed ahead of them and transformed into a beautiful woman who identified herself as Alannah, clearly a Druidess. She elicited a promise form the party, sworn upon their Gods, to help her with the pond which she identified as the source of the disruption in the logging camp. Something inside the water was poisoning the land, allowing only brush and thorny brambles to grow in the clear-cut. It is beyond the power of the Druids to extract the malaise. This promise was given with the bargain that she would provide help in locating Arbor Grayle and the Goblin camp that she confirmed was staying there. When Arbor returned from his every other month trip to Longsaddle to sell his wares to Master Renfrin, he would always stop here to stash something in the bunkhouse (the treasure the party found), and then head north into the woods to the Goblin nest. Alannah summoned a magnificent twelve-point buck to the clearing and told the party to follow him to the Goblins. She warned the group not to approach “Wind in the Bush” nor harm him in any way, but to follow the deer to their goal. She then transformed back into the snow owl and flew off.

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First Game Session Sept 10th
Winter has long fingers.

GM’s Report

Game Session #1 Sept 10

 

   The campaign start date was DR1491, the 2nd of Mirtul, and as the Northern saying goes, “Winter has long fingers”. Typically, there is freezing weather and snow from Uktar (sometimes late Marpenoth) to Mirtul, and this year has been no exception. All members of the group began this day in or around Red Larch, two of them in The Inn of the Swinging Sword, awakening to the sound of an early caravan stopping in town. Dim quickly learned that the master of the venture had carried a letter to him from Waterdeep, in which the news was given that his father may still be alive somewhere and not dead these past six years as he had thought. Lutes with his father’s craftsmanship had begun appearing in Waterdeep. The only information given was that they were sold by a merchant in Longsaddle by the name of Olin Renfrin

   Though the snow lay heavily upon the ground and the nights are yet dangerously cold, it was decided to set out at once to Longsaddle, and Roland’s father reluctantly provided Velvet, a mule for the journey. The tenday venture became a twelve day journey in which Dim became very ill with pneumonia. The party met with the Innkeeper of the Gilded Horseshoe, one Nathan Pug and his twin sons Girt and Hewey, as well as his young daughters Miriam and Golden Gelda. The girls nursed Dim back to health over eight days, while the party weathered a late winter storm at the Inn, getting to know the proprietor and his family as good and honest people.

   Once nursed back to health and the storm had blown over, the party then crossed the small town to the old Harspell mansion which had been purchased a year ago and remodeled into a private abode fronted by an unusual shop, the name of which is Treasure Hill. Once inside they met the proprietor Master Renfrin, who appears as an older gentleman  who walks with the assistance of a cane. Refined, dignified, and world wise, there was something about the man that set the party on edge. Dim explained their purpose and the party was sent packing with a promise of a meeting the next day. At that meeting Master Renfrin met with them in his shop, and he was upset. Discovering that he had likely been swindled by the individual selling him the lutes, he commissioned the party to find the fellow (Arbor Grayle) and bring him back alive. Again, the party had the impression this time of sublime power of a frightening intensity from Master Renfrin, and the sense that disappointing him might be unhealthy.

   The melt has begun in earnest and the grass of the fields is starting to appear above the now diminished snowpack. The party is prepared to set off in pursuit of Grayle and Glim, Dim’s father, when two friends arrive in town looking for them.

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