The Cult of Orcus

In Which The Party Establishes The Business End of A Pint Glass

Upon arriving in the township of Fallcrest, the party quickly sets up shop between two locations; the Nentir Inn and Lucky Gnome Ale House.

The group took some of it purse money and went to the local calligrapher to have posters and business cards drawn up. They put the posters around town and along the roads in the surround areas, passed out the business cards, sat back, and waited for the jobs to start rolling in. And waited. And waited.

The days following were spent tracking down leads on jobs (which mostly ended with the potential client balking at the fees demanded, and services un-rendered). The nights that followed were spent in the Lucky Gnome, drinking away whatever funds they had, carousing with the locals, and taking in the “colorful” nightlife that populated the tavern.

Eventually, coinage started running light. Although the pints were cheap at the Gnome, and the rooms in the Nentir Inn cheaper, the party decided to start lowering their fee scale to “bargain pricing”.

Jobs were few and far between, but what mundane jobs happened were just barely enough to keep them afloat in Fallcrest. The party was nearly ready to cash it in and head back to Douven at the Guardmore Abbey, when early one evening, a dwarf walked through the backdoor of the Gnome carrying a cask of ale over his shoulder…

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A Dwarf Walks Into A Bar...

The party is sitting around a table at the Lucky Gnome early one evening when a dwarven merchant named Gimral comes in to deliver a couple of barrels of ale. He sits at the bar collecting his payment and begins to tell Kelson, the bartender, of the problems that he and the rest of his town’s people are having with a pack of goblins.

The party, over hearing this (and being very light on work lately), saunter up to the dwarf and offer their services, convincing Gimral that they are a famous and well-renowned band of adventures. Gimral joins them at there table, tells them of the trouble in his town of Harkenwold and directs them to see his uncle at the Cliffside Brewery once they arrive. The dwarf finishes his ale, bids them farewell, and heads back out into the rainy evening.

The party calls it an early night, preps their packs, and head out the following morning on the 4 day journey down the King’s road to Harkenwold.

As they arrive to the walled keep of the village, they are greeted by a guard asking them what there business is in the town. The party tells him that they have been sent by Gimral to speak with Old Kellar at the Cliffside Brewery. The guard is amicable and directs them to the brewery.

Brandis pipes up, asking the guard about the goblin problems that the town is having. The guard appears slightly surprised that these strangers know of their troubles, but attempts to mask this by confidently assuring them that they are safe in the village, and that there is no goblin trouble to speak of.

Opening the door to the brewery they are met with the strong musty scent of hops and barley. A stout, older dwarven woman stands behind the bar, and offers to pour them a drink. The party obliges and asks if Kellar is around. The woman bellows into the backroom and moments later Keller emerges, wiping his hands clean with a rag.

Introductions are made and the party explains why they are there. Kellar ushers them to a secluded, empty table in the corner, as if to keep the matter quiet. His wife brings out fresh bread and cheese, which the tired adventures devour as they speak with Kellar.

Kellar explains that a band of goblins have taken up residence in the ruins beneath the city. The townsfolk have tried to board up and bar any exit from the ruins, but the goblins seem to keep finding ways of passage. He says that the goblins have been robbing under cover of night and have left some of the town’s people near death after attacks. They are famers, not great defenders, and the problem is beyond their handle. The matter of payment is discussed and after several offers and counter offers, a sum of 200gp for the party is decided upon.

Kellar leads the party to a dell just outside the city walls. Along a low cliff an ancient entrance is seen, looking decrepit, and hastily boarded over. Kellar grabs a pick axe and begins prying away boards until there is enough room for the party members to duck down and enter the shaft.

Walking down a low lit hall, ahead the party hears the sound of raucous laughter and shouting from two voices. They attempt to sneak up, but chainmail gets the better of them and the sound clatters through the chamber. The party abandons stealth and charges around the corner to see the two seated goblins are staring right at them.

Battle ensues, blackblades appear, and all the goblins are dispatched. The party finds a bag of gold pieces and scoops some coin from the table where the goblins were sitting.

Down a long hallway the party comes upon a rubble filled room. Three goblins are gathered around a glowing brazier in the corner of the room. The hexer raises is staff and commands his minions to attack. The party engages and shortly thereafter giant rats and fire beetles appear from two rubble piles. As battle continues the cleric approaches the hexer. Using his mace, he uppercuts the brazier, knocking it into the hexer, who is lit on fire by the flaming coals. The party continues to loose the brigands from this mortal plane. The hexer is struck down as he attempts to flee the room and a valuable jewel is found amid the hot embers of the brazier, as the players heal themselves.

At the entrance of the next room the party attempts to peer in through two slightly ajar doors, but the hinges creak loudly and alert the room to the invaders presence. Inside the room a large statue of a swordsman looms over a pit. On the far wall are two sets of closed doors, and a dire wolf bashes himself against a closed portcullis in an attempt to get to the adventurers.

Charging into battle, the player perceptively notice a switch on the wall by the portcullis that is used to control the gate. The player make their way across the room, taking a slash here and there from the minion’s short swords. Several attempts are made to read the rune script above the switch while defenders ward off attacks from the hobgoblin warcaster nearby. Finally the script is deciphered and the gnome disables the device. The gears in the mechanism click and whir for a moment until a screeching sounds is heard as the wrought iron gate rises about an inch, only to suddenly grind to a halt.

As the battle rages on the warcaster continues to take damage from the half-orc ranger, when finally Brandis looses his boar companion on the warcaster, knocking him into the 10 foot deep pit. A final command is made to the boar who dives into the pit and with it’s dying breath tears out the warcaster’s throat.

The battle nears it’s end as the party disarms the lock on one set of doors. The doors open to a dark hallway that only extends 20 feet before it is met with a collapsed section of rock, blocking passage. The doors that they entered the room from slam shut and lock, as grinding noise echoes through the room. The portcullis rises and the dire wolf bolts from his cage.

The party battles the wolf, and is finally killed when Brandis transforms into beast form, delivering one final swipe to the bloodied animal.

The party finds more gold coin. David takes a large tooth from the fled beast as a souvenir. The party picks the lock to the door, and returns to the brewery to let Kellar know that the town is safe once again.

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Two Kobolds, One Stone, Part I

The party returns to Fallcrest after spending an extra day in Harken to take in the gratitude and hospitality of the townsfolk.

Upon returning, the party, with their chests puffed up and more coin jingling in their pockets, head straight to the Lucky Gnome for a round of celebratory drinks.

While ordering their mugs, they take notice of the only other patron in the tavern; an older priestly-garbed elf who is staring at a lit candle on the table. He appears to be deep in thought. In front of him is a parchment that he occasional scribbles a note or two on.

The PCs recognize him as Ressilmae Starlight, the high priest of the Moonsong Temple, the elven temple in Fallcrest.

The party approaches him, and Ressilmae greets them warm. They ask what seems to be troubling him so greatly, and Ressilmae responds, telling them that he is concerned by the ever-growing kobold attacks in the area. They seem more organized and atypical of the usual attacks that are found in the region. He is unsure what to make of this. He fears that there is some greater evil that is plotting the steps of these creatures and asks the adventurers to investigate.

The party accepts and assures the priest that they have the problem well in hand. A short negotiation over the matter of payment follows, and the priest is willing to pull 100gp from the temple’s coffers, grant the use of his teleportation device to move them directly to the source of the kobolds, and is willing to offer up magical aid in the future should the party need his help. They agree, and Ressilmae asks them to meet him in his tower shortly.

The party finishes their pints and heads to the Half Moon Trading Company to have the gem that they recovered in the goblin stronghold appraised. Inside they speak with Teldorthan Goldcap, the dwarven owner.

Druuk sets the gem on the counter. Teldorthan looks up, grasps the gem, and begins inspecting it. He asks the party where they found such a rare gem, and the party begins to relay the story of how they took down a gang of goblins in Harken, and won the favor of the townsfolk.

Teldorthan asks them if they are interested in any more work. The party listens to his offer. He tells them that some kobold brigands attacked a merchant wagon on the road last night. The merchants were killed and the wagon looted. Among the goods stolen was a green dragon hide that Teldorthan had already paid for, and which he would like recovered from the kobolds.

The party realizes that they are being offered two payments for essentially the same job. They accept and Teldorthan offers 200gp for the return of the hide.

The party returns to Ressilmae’s temple. They walk to the back and knock on the door to the tower. Ressilmae answers and guides them to the top of a spiral staircase and into his private chamber.

Through another set of doors and into a second room off to the side, the PCs are presented with a large circle on the floor that glows with blue crackling energy. The whole room seems to vibrate. Ressilmae asks the party to step into the circle. After doing so, the priest bids them farewell and good luck. And with that there is a brilliant flash of light and the PCs instantly appear on a quiet road along the Cloakwood Forest.

Brocc feels nauseas and expels the contents of his gnome stomach onto the road.

The party can see that around the bend in the road is the merchant cart they are looking for. It has been shoved off of the road and is halfway sitting in a small ditch. Along the side of the wagon is a white skull that was sloppily painted by kobold hands as a warning. More curious though is the lone kobold that is in the back of the wagon attempting to pry open a locked box.

Several of the PCs approach stealthily, but the kobold is alerted when the cleric’s clanging armor gives away position. The PCs are able to determine the direction of the kobold hold, and intimidate the kobold into taking them to the Hall where the other kobolds reside.

Up the hill, the PCs follow a path beaten down by many kobold feet. The captured kobold leads them through some underbrush and up to the tree line, where they can see between breaks in the keep’s wall that more than a half dozen kobolds seem to be milling around, near an excavated hole in the ground. The captured kobold cackles, believing he’ll be freed by his friends who outnumber the PCs by more than two to one. The party’s recent battle with the goblins seems to have honed their skills considerably. They are able to deal a swift blow to the kobolds before heading down the rope ladder into the tunnel below.

The first room they come upon is dimly lit. Centered in the room is a large pit of glowing sludge. Along the far side of the pit stand two kobolds. They screech a warning and pull their spears. They engage the invaders as a slinger launches glue pots from behind a portcullis. The battle ensues and Brocc is able to run under one of the openings in the grating of the portcullis, and engages the slinger. Several more kobolds spill out from the adjoining room. The threat is eliminated, the switch is thrown on the portcullis, and the party continues deeper.

Peering the next room, the party sees four stone coffins in the middle of the room. Two sets of armor stand in alcoves along the east and west wall. Brandish is able to determine that the sets of armor have dart-firing mechanisms behind the faceplates. He also notices that one of the stones on the floor isn’t quite level with the rest of the floor and is a trigger for the dart trap. He is certain that there are more triggering squares in the floor. He cautions the rest of the party members. In addition to the traps, several kobolds pepper the room, including a wyrmpriest standing near an altar at the back of the room. Along with these creatures, a set of iron spiked jaws about five feet tall sit idle near the priest.

The priest raises his staff into the air. The jaws grind to life, and start slowly moving forward. Kobolds dart around the room, too small and light to trigger the floor panels. When the priest is hit with an attack the chomping jaws jerk and shudder. The party continues to batter away at the wyrmpriest until he falls dead. At that same moment, the magic spell is released from the jaws and they screech to a halt. The party deftly picks off the last of the kobolds in the room. After this they disable the armor traps. In searching the room they locate two healing potions and 60gp in a bag on top of the altar.

The party bars the doors and settles in for an extended rest before searching the rest of the complex.

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Two Kobolds, One Stone, Part II

After a night of fitful sleep the party prepares a small breakfast from their packs and readies themselves to move on. Sleeping on the hard stone floor causes aches in their bones, and the occasional rattling of the barred doors, roused them from their sleep as a kobold tried to make his way through the dungeon. Shaking of the previous night the PCs set forth.

They work their way deeper into the winding corridors and down decrepit staircases. Soon they come across the whoops and shouts of a group of kobolds at play. Inside the room the kobolds stand on two raised platforms swinging a skull tied to a rope from the ceiling. The skull bashes into a pile of sticky skulls and bones piled atop four stone coffins arranged around a pool of sticky goo. It then grabs a sticky skull, swinging is back up to the other platform where a kobold catches it and pulls the skull free. They continue this game like a macabre tetherball competition.

When the kobolds take notice of the party they shout a battle cry and prepare to use the swinging skull against the invaders.

The PCs take notice that these kobolds are wearing white face paint made to look like skulls.

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The party battles forward. Shivionne moves toward the kobolds and uses mage hand to grab the skull. The kobold struggles momentarily to maintain its grasp, but is no match for the Eladrin wizard’s arcane powers. The spectral hand engulfs the skull and tears it away, carefully returning it to the elf.

Kobolds fall during the battle, but are quickly replaced by more soldiers who continue to hurl a bevy of glue pots and javelins at the party. Eventually the last of the enemies expire. The PCs kick in the double doors between the platforms only to be greeted by three guard drakes.

A short battle ensues. They drakes bunch up, dealing heavy damage on the gnome defender. The cleric shouts healing words at the gnome, as the party crushes in, making short work of the drakes.

After a short rest the party continues forward.

The next room they enter is larger in size. The ceiling rises up higher, and two platforms mark the edges of the room. A small walled keep stands in the center of the area. Kobolds stand along a platform. These too wear the white skull face paint.

As the PCs press in, a wyrmpriest on the first platform raises a war cry, and his soldiers prepare for the fight. The party enters the room as two slingers climb from the inside of the keep up onto the wide walls. They prep their glue pots.

The wyrmpriest raises his staff and speaks in draconic. A warm blast radiates from his staff and the kobold soldiers are given an extra resilience. He then attacks with his fiery orb.

Moments later, as the PCs engage clash in the battle, the sound of thunderous rolling and splitting of timber echoes through the room as the wooden panels below the platform on the south end of the room tear apart and a huge boulder bounds through the area. It smacks up against the keep, and begins its perpetual travel around the keep, crushing everything in its path.

Kobolds are pulled down from their raised positions by the wizard, into the path of the boulder. The gnome is narrowly missed when he presses up against the wall, and the boulder passes inches from his face.

The gnome bounds up onto the walled keep and engages the slingers. A spiretop drake hovers above Brocc attempting several attacks against him, until finally it makes contact. It pecks at the gnomes face and snatches a healing potion from his pack, flying it directly over to the bloodied wyrmpriest. Unfortunately the priest is felled before he is able to imbibe the elixir.

The gnome leaps into the center of the walled keep, but catches his foot on the ledge and face-plants into the dirt. Looking around he spots a switch in the floor. Shivionne climbs the wall and teleports to the switch. She pulls it and the boulder is halted by four iron pins rising up from the floor.

The last of the kobolds are dealt with. Brocc recovers his healing potion from the wyrmpriest’s body along with his war staff and a key that opens the door at the northern corridor.

The party continues deeper into the depths of the hold, until the corridors give way to cavernous walls. As they descend the temperature continues to plummet to the point where icicles have formed on the walls and thin ice crunches under foot.

Finally the path opens into a wide open cavern. Two burning pikes dimly illuminate the room. Upon closer inspection the party sees that the pikes are actually topped with oil filled kobold skulls. In the center of the room is a large frozen pond.

The PCs spot the tip of a scaled white tail from behind a giant stalagmite. The flutter of leathery wings can be heard, and the white dragon lumbers out from hiding.

White dragon

The dragon demands that the adventurers leave, otherwise their lives will not be spared.

The party rushes forward, determined to best the dragon. Druuk positions himself away from the action and launches ranged attacks, striking the dragon mightily.

The dragon casts a freezing breath against part of the group, slowing some. His frightful presence stuns several of the party.

The party works together, boxing in the dragon with Brandish’s boar, Shivionne’s sphere, and Jurich. A blast of energy from the Eladrin, causes the beast to emit a final spray of red frost from it’s nostrils as it collapses onto the ground.

The party searches the room, and uncovers a chest that contains the stolen dragon hide. Among other items found is a letter written in a draconic script that none of the adventurers are able to discern. They pack all of the items away and begin their journey back to Fallcrest.

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