Perils of the Nentir Vale

The Ghost Tower, Part I
What Lies Beneath?

Ghost tower
In the southernmost reaches of the Nentir Vale, on the eastern edge of the Witchlight Fens lies the long-abandoned Kalton estate. Of late, rumors have found their way up to the taverns and streets of Fallcrest of a strange tower on those lands whose stones produce an eerie glow in the light of the moon.

These tales captured the attention of Yzerman, a follower of Sehanine. With Ressilmae Starlight’s encouragement, he recruited a drow ranger named Syndriel, and a half-elf druid named Miyeu to accompany him to investigate this mysterious phenomenon.

Meanwhile, unknown to this trio of adventurers, an eladrin bladesinger named Feyr had also been sent to explore the tower by a small contingent of eladrin currently situated in Fallcrest. Arriving shortly before the others, he made his way into the spectral tower. Within, he discovered a stairwell, partly hidden by luminous rubble. He had only just reached the base of the stairs when he was approached from behind by Syn.

In the midst of a brusque and guarded exchange, the four were interrupted by undead approaching from the next chamber. A handful of zombies shambled forward, wasting no time in attacking and grabbing at the adventurers! They were destroyed fairly quickly, and a quick search of the room they originated from revealed little but rusty cages, long emptied. (700 XP)

Agreeing to work together, they pressed forward, only to find a large, empty room awaiting them. Proceeding cautiously, the room’s secrets revealed themselves as a false step triggered large, scything blades to swing from the ceiling at the unsuspecting occupants. Although a control mechanism was discovered in the opposite wall, they were unable to disarm the device and instead forced the doors adjacent to the device open and fled the room with haste. (0 XP)

Their exit led to another room, populated by four sarcophagi and several piles of bone, which sprang to life, assembling into armed and armored skeletons. As the adventurers fought them off, they were attacked from above by a shadowhunter bat that had been lurking in the darkness near the ceiling. Once every threat was put down, searching each sarcophagus revealed them to be the final resting place of members of the Kalton family. From one, they recovered a golden circlet and a Frost Longsword with markings dating it back to the earliest days of the Nentir Vale. (625 XP)

The remaining two sarcophagi proved to be bottomless, and within each an old, fraying rope ladder descended into a chamber below. Two sets of heavy doors also offered ways out of the tomb. But the adventurers attention was first drawn to a strange, swirling, opaque mist at the far end of the room. Feyr determined it to be a magical ward, and that they would need some sort of key to dispel it.
Dire rat
Opting to explore what lay beyond the northern set of doors first, they forced the heavy oak open and made their way down a dark hallway which split and ended in two rooms. In the first they were ambushed by a pair of deathjump spiders, and in the second they were nearly done in by several dire rats and swarms of their smaller kin. As things began to look bleak, they were joined by a strange dwarf who later introduced himself as Traevus. Wielding necromantic magics, he assisted them in slaying the unusually sized rodents. (950 XP)

The rat infested room appeared to once be an arcane laboratory, though most of the materials were ruined by the animals. As Traevus searched the ancient bookcases, the adventurers managed to salvage an Orb of Sanguinary Repercussions, an odd metal bar (with a faint hit of magic to it), and a tome bound in brick red leather, titled simply, “Orcus”.

Related Quests: Weird Lights On the Moor
Session XP: 2275 (570 per PC)
Session GP: 50gp
Other Treasure: gold circlet (90gp), +1 Frost Longsword, +1 Orb of Sanguinary Repercussions, Healing Potion (Heroic Tier)

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The Ghost Tower, Part II
Unraveling Fortunes

Ghost tower small Their initial foray into the dungeon beneath the Ghost Tower having left them exhausted, the adventurers found a suitable place in the cold, damp rooms to rest for a time before exploring further. When they were ready, they pressed on with the added company of the dwarf, Traevus.

They began by exploring beyond the second set of doors in the crypt room, where they ventured down a hallway, past an antechamber that filled with green flame and a noxious smoke when they entered, and into a large room where statues of bugbears crowded from wall to wall. Beyond the statues, green fire flickered in the clawed, stone hands of a vrock statue. At the feet of the demon lay a large pile of silver that reflected the light of the flames.

As Yzerman stepped forward into the room, he was attacked and grabbed by one of the bugbear statues. Their obstacle revealed, the adventurers carefully made their way through the room, working their way through the statues, feeling out their weaknesses as the stone creatures attempted to impede their progress. Only after destroying two thirds of the statues, with Traevus watching from the hallway, were they finally able to reach the vrock. Syndriel wasted no time in scaling the beast to pry out its amethyst eyes. (500 XP)

Amidst the silver coins lay another of the strange bluish metal bars, which Syn also claimed. The room cleared, Yzerman led the group back to the tombs and down through one of the bottomless sarcophagi into a small room, illuminated only by the faint blue light of an arcane circle, within which a third metal bar hovered. WraithSensing they would be of little or no help, Yzerman, Syndriel and Miyeu left Traevus and Feyr alone in the room. The dwarf proved little help as he stood by and watched the eladrin work to unbind the circle’s magic.

The magic shifted in hue from blue, to purple, to red… and finally to black as Feyr’s efforts failed. In the darkness, shadows coalesced and spawned two wraiths, which quickly moved to attack the bladesinger. Though the other three rejoined him in the room to destroy the shadowy creatures, the wraiths took a toll on the adventurers before they were defeated and the third bar could be claimed. (400 XP)

Descending into the chamber beneath the second sarcophagus, they found a large statue of a marilith, holding in its hands a crystal platform. Upon the platform stood four smaller statues: a dretch made of brick, a dust devil made of clay, an ochre jelly made of amber, and a specter made of glass.
Dretch
Once Feyr determined that the statues were designed to summon the creatures they represented, the adventurers tested the magic by conjuring the dretch. Yzerman stepped forward to banish the demon, but doing so only sent it back to its statuette. So, one by one, the creatures were brought forth and slain. (750 XP)

Feeling taxed, they chose to pause before using the collected pieces of the ward key on the strange purple mist. Resting twice in the uncomfortable crypt left them feeling worn and aching as Feyr assembled the four pieces and, once together, they expanded to part the curtain of magical fog.

In the chamber beyond, they were confronted by a strange sight: a spectral figure with no head. The ghost named them thieves and ordered its skeletal servants to attack. The battle proved fierce, as the skeletons defended their master while he cackled and taunted the foursome with vague rants about “revenge”. In the midst of the battle, it was revealed that the dwarf, Traevus was with them, hiding behind one of the sarcophagi. As the ghost advanced to attack the dwarf, though, he was stopped by Feyr and Yzerman.

Enraged, the ghostly necromancer turned the full might of his powers and the undead warriors upon the adventurers. Though they managed to slay him, the toll was high. Each of the adventurers fell under the brunt of the assault, as did their mysterious dwarf companion. Only by a stroke of luck did Feyr and Syn manage to survive.

The duo regrouped outside of the skeletons sight and managed to finish the creatures off, collecting a large share of wealth that had been hidden in two more unfinished sarcophagi beyond the mist, as well as a skull with arcane markings that had been in the dwarf’s possession… (1,300 XP)

Related Quests: Weird Lights On the Moor
Session XP: 2950 + 125 quest XP (863 per PC)
Cumulative XP: 5225 (1433 per PC)
Session GP: 90gp, 600sp
Cumulative GP: 140gp, 600sp
Other Treasure: amethysts x2 (100gp/each), onyx stones x2 (100gp/each), 20 ancient gold pieces, +2 Amulet of Protection, Hedge Wizard’s Gloves, Healing Potion (Heroic Tier), The Anarusi Codex, Skull of Anarus

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Reavers of Harkenwold, Chapter I
On The Road To Adventure

Upon returning to Fallcrest after their ordeal in the dungeon of the Ghost Tower, Syndriel and Feyr spent a couple days recuperating at the Silver Unicorn Inn. Feyr was notified that the contingent of eladrin he had traveled from the Feywild with had departed, and his contact (after taking delivery of the tome) notified him that their patron wished him to stay behind to spread “good will” with the locals. He was left with a generous sum to cover expenses. Syn also found herself alone, having lost her druid acquaintance and a brief adventuring partner to the undead of the Tower.

Meanwhile, a handful of dwarf masons arrived from Hammerfast and departed for a destination south of Fallcrest shortly thereafter. They left behind two adventurous kin who had journeyed with them, offering protection along the Trade Road. When a notice went up on behalf of Lord Warden Markelhay, requesting adventurers report to the Silver Unicorn and promising reward, both the fey and the dwarfs responded.
Silver unicorn inn   small
Having arrived first, Feyr entered negotiations with the Lord Warden’s representative. She informed him that the job offered was to investigate rumors of attacks on the steadings to the south, collectively known as Harkenwold. Heffgar and Vistra arrived from the Nentir Inn, and agreed to accompany the drow and the eladrin. Vistra in particular was concerned that her sister (one of the dwarf masons headed south barely a week prior) might have been caught up in this violence.

Setting out the next day, despite the ground turned to mud from an unseasonal storm the night before, they made decent time past the Moon Hills and through the western reaches of Harken Forest. They were only a few miles out of the woods when a plume of smoke arose from behind a low hill in the distance. Investigating, they came upon a small house with a walled courtyard. Within the yard, several armed humanoid figures approached the home with burning torches as the roof of a small shed burned.

The foursome routed the bandits in short order, much to the surprise of the steading’s resident, Ilyana, a half-elf, and her two sons. She thanked them and suggested they seek out a man by the name of Dar Gremath in the village of Albridge to the south, or Reithann, a druid living in a small wooded area nearby if they were indeed interested in these soldiers. She named as members of the Iron Circle, and said they had been terrorizing the local villagers for several weeks now. (650 XP)

After interrogating and getting limited information from the one surviving soldier, they buried the dead and left him bound in the forest. Upon arriving in Albridge, they sought out and were tasked with ambushing a cadre of soldiers transporting valuables to Harken by Dar Gremath. They also found the druid, who suggested that exterminating a band a bullywugs in the west would be beneficial to the cause. Before they left her small hut, Heffgar requested a drink. She happily offered him tea. The dwarf was not impressed.
Iron defender
The next morning they set out along the road south of Albridge to a ring of standing stones, where they laid their ambush for the Iron Circle. The wagon appeared on the road as scheduled, led by a construct of metal and magic; an iron defender in the shape of a powerful hound. The soldiers and the beast put up a fight, and by the skin of their teeth Heffgar and Feyr managed to stop the cart when their commander attempted to escape with it. (700 XP)

Taking three prisoner, including the commander, they led the wagon back to Albridge. Feyr found Dar Gremath at the local inn, The Mallard, and turned the strongbox full of tax money over to him at his house before the group left with their captives back to the druid’s grove. Reithann was reluctant to agree to tend to the Circle soldiers, but agreed when Feyr offered her custody of the horse and wagon.

The adventurers stayed the night at the grove, planning to set out the next day for the Toadwallow Caverns.

Related Quests: Opening Salvos
Session XP: 1350 + 100 quest XP (438 per PC)
Cumulative XP: 6575 (1870 per PC)
Session GP: 100gp (+50gp each to Heffgar & Vistra)
Cumulative GP: 240gp, 600sp
Other Treasure: healing potion (Heroic Tier), level 2 magic item, 2 red glass eyes

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Reavers of Harkenwold, Chapter II
Making Enemies

The trek west from Reithann’s grove to the westernmost reaches of Harkenwold was the better part of a day’s journey for Syndriel, Heffgar, Vistra, and Feyr.
Bullywug leaper
They crossed a small bridge over a stream slowly working its way to join the White River as the sun was setting. Syn spotted a waterfall to the north, cascading down from an elevated cave mouth. Believing this to match the description of the Toadwallow Caverns that they were given, the group approached cautiously. They scaled the slick, rocky, vine covered cliff-side and were greeted by the javelins and spears of several bullywugs. Though the amphibious humanoids were joined by a small swarm of stirges, the adventurers dispatched all of the creatures and moved deeper into the cave. (700 XP)

An adult black dragon’s skull sat in the middle of the large cavern. Accompanied by a deep and menacing croak, bolts and bursts of magical energy crackled and struck at the adventurers from one of the skull’s empty eye sockets. A half dozen more bullywugs emerged from the shadows, and after another commanding croak, two gray oozes crept up and out of a refuse pit to join the toadmen. When only the thing in the skull remained, it croaked a plea of surrender, offering to share its hoard with the group in exchange for its life. (740 XP)

They agreed, and from the skull crawled another bullywug, a gnarled staff in its hand. They were led to a side cavern, where, beneath a pile of skulls, they discovered hundreds of gold pieces. As they dug out the coins, a muffled plea caught their attention and from the bottom of the pile they rescued a bound and gagged pixie. The group inquired with the bullywug as to how this came about, the creature could only shrug and say, spitefully, “Thought it was big bug! Tried to eat it, but it hit me with its axe!” Once freed of his bindings, he thanked the adventurers and declared himself a “prince” of the pixies. In thanks, he handed his small axe to Vistra, bestowed a boon upon Syn, and with a dash of dust set Heffgar floating above the floor before flying off into the night.
Bullywug leaders
They sent the lone remaining bullywug off on his way and as they made their own way out of the cave, a bellowing croak echoed throughout the damp rock walls. Near the entrance, another three bullywugs had gathered, led by the largest thus far. With them were two huge frogs the size of bears and a young halfling kept on a rope by the largest of the frogmen. In the distance, the released bullywug watched on.

As the battle began, Heffgar quickly found himself swallowed up by one of the frogs, which then leaped off with him in its gullet. Feyr nearly found himself in a similar predicament, but escaped from the jaws of the beast, and saved Heffgar as well while Syn and Vistra dealt with the others. (750 XP)

Feyr and Heffgar cornered the lone bullywug they had let go, and upon learning that there were no other bullywugs and that he was the chieftan, Feyr quickly put an end to him. The halfling had run away during the fight, but they found him not far off and although it was already late, agreed to see him home. Hours later, as they walked the banks of the White River, they found a Reedfoot Clan keelboat and sent the halfling back to his worried mother. The clan elder, Merric, suggested they seek out Tor’s Hold, due north if they needed safe lodgings for the night. Resignedly, they made the march and found a small inn by a fishing pond to end their long day.

Related Quests: Opening Salvos, Reedfoot Rescue
Session XP: 2190 + 125 & 150 quest XP (823 per PC)
Cumulative XP: 8765 (2693 per PC)
Session GP: 195gp, 160sp
Cumulative GP: 435gp, 760sp
Other Treasure: healing potion (Heroic Tier), level 3 magic item, level 4 magic item, sapphire (100gp), flawed emerald (100gp)

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Reavers of Harkenwold, Chapter III
Gathering Allies: Part 1

Morning in Tor’s Hold came quicker for the fey than the dwarves, and Syn stole downstairs where she rented a pole and bait to fish at the nearby pond. When the scent of breakfast wafted its way upstairs, Feyr had his food delivered to his room. Syn returned some hours later with a handful of freshly caught fish. She offered them to her hosts at the inn, who graciously accepted and cooked them for the party’s breakfast. She then brought Heffgar and Vistra a pitcher of ale to get them on their feet.
Circle soldier
As the adventurers planned out their next moves, a half dozen Iron Circle soldiers arrived in the common room and began harassing the locals and the owners of the inn. The commotion did not go unnoticed by the party. As they attempted to quietly exit, intending to draw the soldiers out of the establishment after them, one of the Circle footmen pointed them out to his superior. She took one quick look at the group and addressed them harshly, reprimanding them for going about armed. “We can discuss this outside, away from the common folk,” Feyr suggested. “I don’t care about this rabble,” she replied, “but, sure. You first.” She motioned to the door as the soldiers rose, hands on their weapons.

The two groups met on the field in front of the old building, the ground partially shadowed as the late morning sun danced behind clouds in the sky above. The Circle footmen traded words with the party until finally the party’s refusal to give up their weapons and Feyr’s decision to make it known that they were responsible for waylaying the Circle’s tax collection wagon brought them to blows.

Only one young human footman remained standing when the dust had settled. The party brought him to the villagers for justice, and the villagers in turn named him a traitor. He was promptly hauled off to his family for punishment. The party was then introduced to Bran Torsson, the elder of Tor’s Hold. The old man was flustered at the mention of Circle soldiers in the area, and ranted a bit about the grief the frog men were causing their small enclave before the party calmed him and explained what they had accomplished in the last few days.

Once assured that the bullywugs were no longer a threat and reassured that the resistance was continuing apace, Bran was happy to volunteer what he could to break the Iron Circle’s grip on Harkenwold.

The party returned straightaway to deliver the news to Reithann, who congratulated them and then sent them back (but not before offering refreshments) to Dar Gremath in Albridge, suggesting they inquire about the Woodsinger Elves. Dar was more than pleased to see them again, and agreed that their help in recruiting the elves to the south would be appreciated. Like the people of Tor’s Hold, the Woodsingers were reluctant to offer their aid due to problems of their own, which they would not discuss with outsiders.

On the road from Albridge to the southern reaches of Harken Forest, the party came across the remains of the village Marl. As they observed the charred ruins of the village from a distance, they saw a dire rat run past in the empty street, then a bloodseeker drake followed in its path and returned moments later with the rodent’s limp body gripped in its scaled jaws. Syn went ahead to investigate and look for survivors, and returned to report the presence of goblins in one of the buildings.

What they found when they went to confirm this was several goblins laying in wait for them. A brief scuffle later, they smashed through a pair of barred cellar doors and into a storage room where another handful of goblins and their trained drakes failed to defend their stolen stores of foodstuffs. A quick sweep of the village turned up only more rodents.

By the end of the day, they found themselves just inside the border of Harken Wood, where a band of elven scouts, led by Israfen intercepted them. Once assured of their motives, he led them to the Woodsinger encampment, where Eriyel challenged them to end the harassment her people were suffering from the Daggerburg goblins to the west. She agreed that she would consider joining the strength of her people to the efforts in Harkenwold if the party was successful in dispelling this problem. She granted them permission to spend the night within the camp, and under the light of the moon, Israfen came to them to warn them that some dark magics may be bolstering the courage of the goblins…

Related Quests: Gathering Allies
Session XP: 1242 (310 per PC)
Cumulative XP: 10007 (3003 per PC)
Session GP: 20gp
Cumulative GP: 455gp, 760sp
Other Treasure: small blue topaz and silver brooch (50gp)

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