The Lost Lords

Session Nineteen (A): Preparation for Garrison
Training, Darryn Returns, Planning for Garrison

Fallout From The Crypt

The Heroes find their way back to Highwall Hearth late on the 39th to awaken on the 40th of High Heat. They spend most of the morning investigating the items taken from the Ashertons the previous night…  The haul is divided up among the heroes. 

Captain Hargrave is now more back to himself, more attuned with his new prosthetics. He offers some training to the heroes for their service and to help prepare them for the coming tasks. Through their combined lessons they spend the next several days learning to improve their response times and reaction times to help them gain better initiative over their enemies.

In their off time some foraging is done, some research and investigation, some scouting. 

It is on the 4th of Mid Year that Darryn finally returns with a heavy ballista, some more men, and information.

Through his efforts Darryn has learned that the Orcs are now fighting among each other w ith the death of Il Khan Stone Skull. The Garrison is now heavily weakened and there is a limited window for which the heroes may be able to launch an all out attack at the Garrison to retake it and expel the Orcs. If the Il Khan held up there is defeated then the remaining orcs in the city should withdraw or at the very least become much easier to deal with.

 

View
Session Eighteen (Bonus) (A): The Disappeared
Jaren arrives, party sets out Disappeared

Arrival of Jaren

At dawn on the 39th of High Heat our heroes begin awakening after the work of slaying Il-Khan Stone Skull the previous day. On this morning a new adventurer, a heavily clad warrior named Jaren arrives at the Highwall Hearth in search of the heroes, the tales of whose exploits have begun to spread throughout the city. Proper introductions are made  between Des, Krym, Darek, and Jaren and the rest of the figures around the Enclave. JAren "hairy dog" Pride  being a bulky warrior of mid age, Des being a relatively small man with dark hair sporting a rapier, long bow, and burnished yellow cape, belonging to the mercenary company "The Golden Sunrise". Darek talks about his service as a ranger in the army, fighting in the Greatwood initially against the Orc Invasion, an explosion of fire caused by the awakening of a dragon, and his subsequent disorientating existence in between here and The Plain. 

It is decided that Marcellus and Darion will lead a party of the willing North in search of Darek and his men who have been missing for several days now; they assume their disappearance coincides with the rumors of the disappeared in a dead zone to the north.

Adventuring North

It's still early morning when the heroes head out in search of Darek and the Disappeared. Together Darion, Marcellus, Jaren, Des, and Phoebe head out. 

After some time the heroes come upon an unusual sight, an apparently dead body facing up against an iron gate leading into one of Norgas' walled neighborhoods. The small neighborhood being home to a few dozen larger houses of some of the more well-to-do residents unable to find land in Hightown. Weary of an ambush or a trap the party avoids  the gate and begins to shadow the wall around to the north, looking for anymore hints or clues.

Through a large concourse area lined with stalls the heroes continue until they happen upon  a conspicuous sight, bodies that look like they've  been there aged for months as if by some magic or dark power. Not lingering they continue north over a bridge over a small creek coming down from the hillside toward Hightown until they reach the end of the wall, nearby there is a conspicuous building, the Temple of Law. Together they adventure in, finding the bodies of a dozen or so  men and women where they made a desperate last stand against the Orcs. Phoebe helps uncover a secret passage up to the office of one of the magistrates where there are hundreds maybe thousands of books and scrolls containing legal codes, case histories, and other writings related to law. Finding nothing of note they leave and continue.

Upon exiting the temple they continue to where there's a guardhouse outside a barracks, a market, and a  couriers station and announcement board. The goods around the market look picked over or spoiled while nothing of importance is found on the message board… a Small package with 20 silver pieces is found addressed to a lady in Southreach. 

Darion moves into the locked guardhouse. He busts in to a terribly fowl stench as hundreds of flies disperse from the commotion revealing severely decomposed bodies. Spotting the signs of plague, Marcellus warns the others to stay clear as he ventures in to find anything of use in the barracks within… aware of his divine protection against diseases he's the only one able to risk the exposure. Nothing substantial is found within the barracks, there are some 20 or  so guardsmen and 10 soldiers and a lieutenant all dead, all infected with plague. In the locked armory Marcellus finds a lone soldier who apparently chose to starve to death rather than contract plague; Marcellus takes one of the unused Sallets from an armor rack and searches the Lieutenant and other places in the Barracks, failing to find anything of note. Marcellus emerges from the Guard House wearing his knew Sallet in Norgas Colors: Gold, White, and Blue, and hands off his old horned helmet to Jaren to hang onto.

Struggling to find a vantage point to peer over the wall into the neighborhood or to find an alternative entry they double back across the bridge and head back to the main iron gate with the dead body. The body is very decomposed, it is difficult to discern anything about its death other than it was eaten by something through the gates.

the party picks the lock and undoes the chains holding the gate shut and begins to cautiously explore the interior of the neighborhood. 

The Dead Walk

After passing by a few structures and winding their way around a bend in the street the heroes happen upon a commotion of a dozen or so  humanoids gathered around a turned over cart. Some of the creatures begin staggering over towards the heroes and a fight ensues. It is then that Swallows appears, having apparently been shadowing the group through the sewers since they left the inn, he joins in the fight at the first s ign of trouble.

The creatures appear humanoid but look deformed and thrall like, they don't move naturally. They appear to be zombies. They heroes form a line but the new arrivals quickly break ranks and lose cohesion and quickly find themselves in trouble. As Darion and Marcellus cleave away at the zombies one at a time, Jaren is surrounded and almost drug off while Darek struggles to fend off several  at a time. Swallows runs behind the mob and attempts to distract them, which works for a time before he's overwhelmed and dropped to the ground. A desperate Darion stands over his body to defend him from the savagry of the zombies. Phoebe and Des struggle to keep Daren alive while Marcellus does the brunt of the work letting loose divine smites and multiple uses of the Statuette to cut down the zombies. Eventually they are all dispatched and two halflings, Doel and Jess, are rescued.

The halflings explain the situation, how the dead came a week or so ago of dead appearing dead for weeks or months while a second wave of the residents turned zombie followed. They are welcomed into the enclave and given directions as Marcellus and Darion set their wagon right and send them on their way after purchasing some of their bolts and arrows at a generous price. Before  they go Joel and Jess tell them about a man stranded at the bakery up the street… The heroes proceed to the bakery where they find an 8 foot tall Goliath named Harvard, bald, tanned, tatooed, dark skinned, he speaks broken common and explains more about the situation, he describes a band of guards that entered a few days passed that may have matched the description of Darryn and his men, and explains the church atop the hill as being like likely origin of the undead. Marcellus tends to his wounds and he's given directions back to the Highwall Hearth to find relative safety amid the enclave there.

The heroes set out  toward the church atop the hill when the wounds on Darion, Jaren, and Swallows begin to become noticeably worse and an alarmingly rapid pace. Together they make temporary hold up in one of the houses as Marcellus looks to the wounds…. He identifies the problem as Graverot, a terrible disease coming from the dead when there are Necromantic powers present , rumors of devastation wrought by graverot decimating entire armies in teh Gods Wars of old spoke volumes to its danger. Marcellus does his best to alleviate the graverot on them, but it takes days for the affects to subside. In desperate need of help the heroes send a letter attached to Swallow's Parrott and sent back to Highwall Hearth to ask for the others to show up to reinforce them before they push onto the Church.

Help Arrives

After several hours Krym and N'jall show up with the supplies requested, with the promise of Ta following after she returns from patrol.

They are brought up to speed on the situation and together they set out once more up the hill toward the church.  

As they reach the base of the hill beneath the church the road branches left then right. The party opts to take the left path which leads up and around to another fork toward two gates… the left gate is opened with bloodstains beneath it while the gate on the right appears locked and barricaded. The path on the left goes uphill to some buildings that may lead around behind the church through a graveyard. N'jall discerns that the dead have been brought up from necromancy which hasn't existed for hundreds of years according to myth and  shares what limited knowledge he has on the subject, that slashing weapons are less effective and how positive energies can interfere with  animation and that some older undead appear as stripped skeletons. 

As most of the party begins exploring the left passage, Marcellus and Swallows move over to the closed right gate to find it locked, instinctively Swallows jumps up and starts to pull himself over the gate to get at the lock from the other side while Marcellus looks through the bars into the  dark yard to see glowing eyes staring back and the movement of  bodies beginning to move toward the gate,  its too late, Swallows is up and over and attempting to pick the lock before Marcellus can warn him. Its only just after his first failure that the undead start reaching and biting at Swallows who quickly gets pulled down… It is only through the quick thinking of N'jall and the use of a repel undead scroll that pushes the undead back and allows Swallows enough time to climb back over the fence after some help from Pheobe. 

Now infected with recurring graverot, Marcellus hurries Swallows back down to the base of the hill and into a house to work on his condition with the others; Des and Darek go out to scout the other way up, but encounter resistance and after leading the zombies away they return to wait out the hour with the others while the corrupted flesh on Swallows is removed and patched up. After all of this is done the party sets out once more back up the left path, through the open gate, passed some gravediggers quarters and into the graveyard. 

The Graveyard

Through their spyglasses they see no light from inside the abbey, but make out what looks like a hung figure hanging from the ceiling. On the other side of the graveyard they can see what looks like the entrance to a larger crypt with some lit torches around it. As they skirt the perimeter of the graveyard they make out the form of what appear to be skeletons outside the crypt with the presence of evil emanating from the crypt as well as small patches throughout the ground.

They make their way around behind the crypt before making the final approach before being discovered. The skeletons, seemingly unwilling to leave the crypt entrance allow the constantly rising zombies from the  yet-to-be unearthed graves rise up and slowly begin surrounding the heroes. Marcellus takes the lead with Krym and slowly starts  pushing forward while the rest keep the side and rear secured from the slow tide of zombies.

The battle appears to be going in their favor when several of the dispatched zombies begin reanimating where they fall among the heroes. All hell breaks loose and for a short time things look hopeless. N'jall starts opening up scrolls of flaming sphere and pulling flaming speres through the zombies… Darion and Des sprint out of the back before they are completely surrounded. Marcellus pushes his way through some of the zombies and clears a path for Krym and Swallows to escape through before N'jall, Darek and Jaren are left. N'jall summons a Fire Beetle in one last ditch futile effort to slow the zombies down. Darek is called away, back to The Plain, by the keeper and out of harms way… N'jall turns to Jaren and tells him "good luck", He pulls his flaming sphere back through the zombies nearest him, takes out a jar of climbing jell, applies it to his hands and proceeds to climb up the side of the crypt and out of the reach of the zombies…. Leaving just Jaren, helpless and surrounded by zombies.

Now from the relative safety on the edge of the yard, Darion, Marcellus, and Swallows mount a last ditch effort to save Jaren. Marcellus uses the last of the power of the statuette and a path is almost cleared and Jaren makes one last push to get out but is downed at the last by the remaining zombies. It is just then that the remaining zombies fall to the ground, ceasing their animations right before a loud explosion bursts out from the crypt entrance….  slowly Krym and Darion edge their way through the graves toward the front, hesitant to face this new evil… Meanwhile Marcellus gets Jaren  back on his feet before he moves to Darion, while N'jall prepares a spell of feather falling and proceeds to get a running jump off the crypt as the skeletons appear to begin climbing  after him… they instead begin chasing him as soon as he hits the ground.

Out in front, the heroes witness a terrifying sight, a behemoth of patched together orc parts comes barreling out of the crypt and straight at Darion. Darion and Krym start fighting the beast, Marcellus soon joins in… Jaren, Swallows, Des, and N'jall kite the remaining skeletons across the graveyard toward the others. Things appear to be going badly right as Ta and Yenri show up just in time. Ta begins unloading bolts into the behemoth while Yenri starts dispatching skeleton after skeleton. With the help of Krym the others are able to be saved from the skeletons with a few close calls… an enraged Darion is able to finally kill the Behemoth. 

The Crypt

With the outside seemingly cleared the survivors cheer Ta's arrival as they regroup to enter the crypt and end the source of the undead once and for all.

As they go down inside they find the Necromancer, Isaiah Asherton, his undead father Lord Asherton, and 4 grave guard awaiting them. Krym and Darion push in against the Grave Guard while Marcellus tries to take on Lord Asherton while the others try to shoot over and through the melee to kill the necromancer. A few expertly aimed shots from Ta nearly knock out Isaiah, but it is then he starts chnneling undead energies from his thralls to regenerate his health and retaliate in kind against Ta and the others in the back, nearly killing several… N'jall ends up in control spell, unable to breath. A panic'd N'jall looses a counter spell, color spray at the necromancer to no effect, but incapacitating Krym as collateral. With Krym down a grave guard breaks through and starts beating on Des and Swallows.

The fight continues without no gains on either side, but as it looks like the  heroes begin to gain ground Isaiah utters another spell and sucks all light out of the room, blinding everyone in Darkness.

The heroes in the front start waving around in the darkness with limited effect. After a few seconds a frustrated Darion channels his spirit vision and calls out for Marissa to guide him to the necromancer which she does, and Darion is able to finally down the Necromancer… And as Isaiah Asherton falls so to do his 4 tomb guards collapse leaving only the reanimated body of Lord Asherton to deal with. The heroes surround him and start beating the hell out of Lord Asherton who is able to almost take out Des befor ehe goes, a shaken Des flees deeper into the tomb to relative safety, but in one last desperate act of vengeance Lord Asherton charges through the others at Des and is able to put him down before Darion and Krym finish him off over the body of Des.

Marcellus tends to the wounds on Des while the others search the room. N'jall takes an interest in the desk and its notes while Darion and Marcellus stand before a struggling woman chained to the wall, in a white dress and a red stain emanating from her chest… She is undead and evil, there is no saving her, Marcellus thrusts his sword into her and ends her tormented existence. The rest take the valuables off Lord Asherton and Isaiah Asherton, take the notes. The tomb reads R. Asherton.  In the notes they discover the woman to be the love of Isaiah's life, taken unwillingly and turned unwillingly for her refusal to return his love, his dark deeds the culmination of his endeavors to impress her. 

With the tragedy behind the great evil discovered the heroes set out back for Highwall Hearth, it now being very late in the evening on the 39th of Mid Year.

View
Session Eighteen (A) IL-Khan Stone Skull
Darek, Des, Krym, Swallows, Fighting IL-Khan Stone Skull

The Execution of Drunn

As the heroes begin to awake on the 38th of High Heat, Marcellus and Darion assemble the rest together to explain what happened the previous evening with Drunn; they all proceed to the well to interrogate him.

Phoebe insists on questioning Drunn. A now awake Drunn becomes incredibly uncooperative, yelling out all sorts of obscenities and demands at the assembled heroes. Nothing useful is divulged and the others remain unsure as to what to do with him. As Drunn begins to struggle Darion approaches to subdue him while Phoebe draws her weapon. 

Unknown to Darion, Drunn has already slipped his restraints and reaches out at Darion loosing a terrible touch attack at his groin region causing Darion to yell out in pain. Before anyone can do anything Phoebe knocks Drunn unconscious again while Marcellus detects the lingering presence of evil auras from whatever Drunn just did….

Marcellus tends to Darion's wounds while the others stand guard around Drunn.

After a brief confab the heroes look to Marcellus for guidance. They decide he's too dangerous to remain in the enclave and too dangerous to let loose in the city… Normally they'd hand him over to the local authorities for detention and trial, but with Hightown unreachable and the lower districts of Norgas in a state of anarchy, that is impossible. Marcellus takes it upon himself to sentence Drunn to death. 

With no fanfare they take Drunn out into the square in front of the inn and unceremoniously behead him and leave his body under a loose cover. It is as Darion brings his sword down that a random passerby enters the square witnessing the execution.

Darek

The man approaches the heroes as Marcellus does some ceremonial list rites and prayers over  the body and introduces himself as Darek. He's a 5'6" man with the look of burned edges all over him. Introductions are made and he's welcomed into the enclave as he's made aware of the situation.

Back inside the Highwall Hearth they find Hargrave conscious and again standing on his own two feet. Cass helps him steady as he is only just regaining use of his new artificial limbs the Artificer has spent the last few days implanting on him.

Captain Hargrave is made aware of the situation and  with little option the heroes decide to make a second assault on the Warehouse with the newly arrived help of Darek.

The Warehouse District, Again

The Heroes gather up  their strength and set out to South Norgas for their second attempt at killing the Il-Khan there. After a short while traveling through back alleys and side streets the party halts at teh sound of a struggle and roaring against the yapping of gnolls. They manage to surprise and ambush a small group of gnolls attempting to traffic a large lizard creature through Norgas.

The heroes are able to quickly dispatch all of the gnolls and free the creature who introduces himself as Swallows-Food-Whole and explains how he was captured and was a sailor or pirate, and someone with respect for the Bitch of the Waves… Seeing Swallows as being no friend of the orc invaders and needing every bit of help they can get, Swallows is invited into the party and joins them on the raid to kill the Il Khan.

It is not much longer after freeing Swallows that the party finds itself in familiar territory, retracing the paths they took just two days prior as they enter the Warehouse District. This time they scout out in a different direction in an attempt to bypass the orc patrols they met last time. Darek and Swallows head out together, Darek and an Orc meet each other face to face, surprising one another… Darek instinctively grapples the Orc and pulls him aside while muffling any attempted yells to alert. Swallows jumps over and helps end the Orc in the grasp of Darek and proceeds to stuff it in a barrel.

The rest of the heroes come over, seeing the commotion, when Swallows goes up to a door, knocks, and takes a bolt in the gut. Swallows recoils briefly in pain then proceeds to go back to try again… this time the others interrupt and attempt to make contact with the (seemingly not orcish) presence in the building. A door opens and some of the heroes go in; Darek and Phoebe remain outside. Once inside the others find themselves surrounded by a group of bandits or mercenaries armed to the teeth w ith crossbows pointing at them… Marcellus takes the lead in trying to talk down the standoff and tensions are quickly eased. 

Negotiations ensue between the resistance fighters and the heroes and with a little bit of difficulty an agreement is made with the fighters for some of their help. The new plan being to wait just outside for a distraction to lure the orc patrols away, leaving the way to the Il-khan relatively unguarded. 

The heroes wait and it is a short time later that the sound of large explosions nearby sound out and pull the attention of the orc horde that had chased them away last time… After the last orcs sound off into the distance the heroes begin their push to find the Il Khan's hideout.

IL-Khan Stone Skull

With a sense of  where they need to go the heroes follow Darion through a narrow back alley into a larger courtyard where they find the remanent of the guard force defending the front of the Il-Khan's headquarters.

Darion rushes at the first of two ballista before they can fire while the others struggle to break out of the alley in single file. Swallows is the first to break out and attempts to follow Darion while Marcellus remains bottled up at the entrance by a lumbering orc defender. A goblin rogue leaps at Darion from behind plunging its daggers deep into his back while Marcellus struggles to push the defender back and make way for the others to enter the courtyard and join the fight. 

A free for all ensues in the courtyard as no clear battle lines are drawn and fighting is everywhere… it is at this point that two more humans happen into the area and join the fight from the other side: a woman looking to be a heavily armored warrior, and a male dressed somewhat like a ranger with a bright cloak.. With the additional help the orcs are quickly surrounded and massacred, the last to go is the goblin rogue, chased over a wall by Yenri then shot down by Des, the newly arrived ranger. 

It is at this point that Darek disappears in a burst of flame before the eyes of Marcellus and the others. Darion laments the damage done to his brigantine. Introductions are made between the two new arrivals and the rest of the party…. Krym is on the hunt for her father, a captain, lost somewhere in Norgas, Des being a friend she ran into only a few days ago, they have stuck together in their bid to survive and search the city. They are welcomed in to the party and the endeavor to kill the IL-Khan here with the understanding they'll help Krym search for her father.

With no signs of activity in the building from what little they can tell from the outside the heroes burst into the building to find a large, somewhat empty, wagon house with crates that has been transformed into a makeshift kitchen. At the far end they find a goblin cook, surprised, it is quickly killed. Around its station hang the bodies of many, including the now partially decapitated body of Horace the Dwarf, but there is no sign of N'jall. 

With only minutes to act before the main body of Orcs return to find the outside guards dead the heroes do not have the luxury of time on their side. They set up a quick ambush and lure the orcs in the next room through double doors into the main room. The four or so orcs are quickly killed with no real effort from the heroes as the close in on the Il-Khan in the next room. 

Darion leads the way while the others spread out searching the room… It is then that Il-khan  Stone Skull emerges from a side room and begins fighting with Darion. The Il-Khan towers over them waving around a large sword from behind a massive shield, a terrifying sight.

Krym, Des, and Swallows all quickly move in around Darion to help him fight the Il Khan while the others struggle to vie for vantage points to help out over and through the piles of crates laying all over the room. A terrible fight ensues, Swallows takes a devastating blow from the Il-Khan and immediately struggles so scamper away, throwing down a smoke stick to mask himself and clumsily fumbling several others loose on the ground. With Des, Krym, and Swallows masked in smoke the Il-Khan turns to Darion and begins hammering away on him with its massive sword, the two go blow for blow before the Il Khan finally brings down a mighty slash more devastating than the others laying low Darion on the floor in pool of his own blood, struggling to cling to life. It's only then that Marcellus is able to find a way to the Il-Khan, he and Krym are able to finish what Darion started and down the Il-Khan with a series of blows and several smites.

With the Il-Khan dead, Krym, Marcellus, Swallows and Phoebe gather around the brutalized body of Darion and are only able to just stabilize him to save his life. With only moments to spare the party splits up and begin searching the headquarters for anything of value; the unconscious body of N'jall is rescued from chains in an adjoining room while the body of the Il-Khan is stripped and placed on the meat hook Horace is brought down off of… Horace's mangled body is placed on a makeshift pyre of crates and oil to be burned as they make their exit… the heroes taking some small amount of loot from the Il-khan and struggling to make their exit with the unconscious bodies of Darion and N'jall. They leave out a side door after setting fire to the body of Horace.. Ta leads the way as they begin to twist their way through unfamiliar back alleys on their way out of the Warehouse district, successfully avoiding the returning orc bands.

They get close to Highwall Hearth when they discuss with Swallows that it would be best if he remained outside the enclave…. He agrees and descends into the sewers with the Il-khan's armor while the rest arrive safely at the inn. First aid and healing are administered to the wounded while everyone rests, very much exhausted after the fight. Phoebe spends the remainder of the day healing on Darion and N'jall while Marcellus finishes reading the last of the sacred texts.

And it is with that our heroes settle in to rest on the evening of the 38th of High Heat, having successfully slain Il-Khan Stone Skull.

View
Session Seventeen(A): The Warehouse District
Death of Kris and Horace, Drunn Arrives

The Warehouse

It is the morning of the 36th of High Heat when our heroes awake in the enclave and set their plans for the day. Feeling confident with recent triumphs over the Ogre, Wizard's Tower, and Goblin Sniper, they decide its a good day to head out to the Warehouse District in force to hunt down and kill the Il-Khan.

Together Darion, Marcellus, Ta and Yenri, Kris, Horace, N'jall, and Phoebe all begin heading south towards the Warhouse. This time as they cross promenade street they are not interrupted with the sniper now dead… some smoke still rises from the state building. Soon thereafter Kris finds an abandoned cart turned over in an intersection. The heroes cautiously approach, anticipating an ambush, but there is none. Kris finds a well made heavy crossbow in the luggage along with some other mundane supplies that are evenly divided up.

After some more time the  party finds themselves among larger buildings used for businesses and storage they would identify as the Warehouse District. 

Ta ventures up first to begin scouting out the orc strength in the area and begins identifying several small bands of orcs along several streets. An orc is initially alerted to some presence and comes to investigate, but the party kills it quickly and stuffs it in a barrel. Ta contineus back around and sets up in a sniper position with Marcellus while the rest gather in a square around the corner.

Marcellus lets out a loud taunt to pull the orcs into his waiting comrades while Ta begins shooting orcs with her new repeating crossbow, quickly dispatching several. An overconfident Kris leave his position to move up to discover another side street with several more orc bands,  forcing him to create a fog to escape through, he narrowly makes it to the safety of Ta and Marcellus as the bands of Orcs emerge and begin rushing towards the line of heroes in the street. 

Darion, seeing the odds, calls for a retreat and begins fleeing. He's followed by Phoebe and Yenri while an overconfident N'jall and Horace remain at the line, both are impaled by multiple javelins and downed within seconds… Hearing the call for retreat, Marcellus guards the back as Ta and Kris make their way out; Marcellus is jumped by a goblin rogue, but manages to withdraw in time behind the others before anything serious happens.

The party begins fleeing for their lives back to the North.

The Retreat

With the Orcs in hot pursuit the remaining heroes flee north, back the way they came. Marcellus and Darion bring up the rear, Kris slows down to let them catch up as Ta Yenri and Phoebe take off ahead and reach safey. 

Not able to outrun the Orcs the 3 stragglers cut off into a back alley and frantically split up to attempt to lose the orcs. The attempt succeeds, but the 3 find themselves somewhat lost. After a short time they are able to regroup and begin heading back to the inn when they are jumped by some bandits.

About eight bandits surround the three and demand payment for passage; before the others can speak a word an arrogant Kris denies their efforts and tries to vex the leader, failing. A quick fight ensues  with Kris being pulled away while Darion and Marcellus fight back to back in a fog Kris was able to create before disappearing. After a few of the bandits are killed the leader calls out demanding they surrender or Kris dies… Marcellus and Darion don't let up and they hear silence….

As the mist dissipates the remaining bandits are  gone and they find the body of Kris laying at the end of the street, dead.

Being the third lost of the day… Darion brings Kris' corpse back to the inn to await burial along with the rest of the gathered corpses.

It isn't even mid-day yet.

No Time to Mourn

There is no time to greave back at the inn. Wounds are tended to and Marcellus, eager to not waste any time leads a foraging party out around the perimeter to search for supplies to avoid the day being a total loss. 

The foraging party is a relative success, some supplies are brought back to the enclave over the course of several hours.

Later that night, as everyone drifts off into their sleep, a beleaguered Darion attempts to channel his spirit vision again. For what its worth the spirit of Kris is not present, but Melissa makes contact again and divulges some of her personal details to Darion before the connection is lost. With this, Darion eventually drifts off to sleep.

It is night on the 36th of High Heat

Drunn

The survivors from the previous day's failures begin to awake on the 37th of High Heat they are asked to come investigate a body at the front of the inn. 

On the front porch lays a rather pudgy six foot man fanning to be severely wounded and unconscious to gain entry. Marcellus looks over his "wounds" to find there is nothing physically wrong with the man. He yells at him, but he doesn't respond… he begins "searching" the body when all of a sudden the man jumps to life demanding no hands be laid on him.

Contemplating their next moves, Marcellus decides to mediate for the day and spend time in prayer and study with the remaining manuscripts while Darion takes the new arrival, Drunn, out on a foraging mission; Drunn having talked himself into the party with bluffs of being an great orc killer among other things… Darion uses it as an opportunity to test Drunn.

Darion leaves the enclave with Drunn in an attempt to forage as they did the previous day, but Drunn is no Kris… On their way through the back alleys and houses in search of useful items, Drunn continues to exclaim to Darion how he's a very powerful mage, and how he's killed hundreds of orcs, and how's he's a master craftsman and on and on. After some time the clumsiness of Drunn alerts an orc patrol to their presence and they begin fleeing in a manor oddly reminiscent of the previous days disaster.

Being unable to shake the Orcs, Darion splits off and runs ahead with no hard feelings as to the fate of Drunn. As he arrives back at the inn he's somewhat dismayed to find a very much healthy Drunn right behind him. Drunn goes off about how they should have stayed and fought and how he could have killed them all and how he's a very powerful warrior. Darion has none of it and leaves Drunn in the inn to get some peace and quiet in Marissa's house.

Drunn gets a double portion of soup from the innkeeper who's reluctant to give anything to the new arrival… Drunn takes both bowls down into the cellar where Marcellus sits studying next to the corpse of the fallen paladin Sir Aytwolf, still being preserved by the Shroud of Saint Sabinus. Drunn offers the second bowl to Marcellus then promptly gobbles down both bowls before questioning Marcellus on his writings, and the dead paladin, and starts bragging about all of his own accomplishments about being a powerful warrior and holy individual. 

A triggered Marcellus begins poignantly questioning Drunn on his background and catches him in several lies… He's from a town that doesn't exist and serves a god that also doesn't exist. Without any farewell or goodwill, Marcellus packs up his belongings in the Cellar, picks up the body of Sir Aytwolf and proceeds to leave Drunn behind in the cellar. Marcellus goes to the innkeeper and tells him not to trust a word that comes out of the new arrivals mouth and then proceeds to show up at Marrisa's house with the body over his shoulder… A confused Darion gives Marcellus entry.

It is no sooner than Marcellus begins getting settled before a flustered Drunn comes waddling across the alley from the inn… The innkeeper having just threw him out… he bangs on the door to Marissa's house, but Darion and Marcellus do not answer. Drunn quickly gives up and proceeds over toward the apartment. 

A curious Darion peers through a window to watch Drunn disapear around the corner and then reappear, this time pulling a corpse back across toward the apartment building. An alerted Darion grabs Marcellus and the two go over to investigate. When they arrive at the entry to the tenement they see Drunn halfway up the stairs pulling one of the corpses not yet buried.

"Don't just stand there help me!" Drunn demands of the two who are both disturbed and disgusted at Drunn. Marcellus waits at the bottom of the stairs while Darion marches up to confront Drunn. Drunn refuses to stand down and persists with his corpse dragging, exclaiming he must bury the body properly, or something to that nature. Fed up with his failure to comply… Darion attempts to tackle Drunn. A resistent Drunn rebuffs Darion's first attempt and lashes out  verbally at him… Darion tries again, and fails! The large body of Drunn being difficult to  subdue. Darion tries for a third time and begins tackling him to the ground….

Marcellus, perplexed by the situation channels his powers to detect the presence of evil to find that Drunn is in fact giving off an evil aura as he continues to resist Darion on the ground. Marcellus draws his sword and tells darion to bind him, he can't. A frustrated Darion decides to just knock Drunn unconscious. They move the body back to the others and take Drunn around to the well to tie him up until morning to decide what to do with him; they tell the guards to keep an eye on the prisoner and not listen to a word he says.

It is evening on the 37th of High Heat.

View
Session Sixteen (Bonus 2) (A): The Sniper's Nest
Fighting the Sniper, Darion Gets a Bag of Holding

Expanding the Enclave

Back at the inn after having spent the morning putting an Ogre to sleep, the heroes decide to rest to recover their energies exerted over the first half of the day. Darion meditates in Marissa's house while Marcellus continue studying some of the holy manuscripts. After a short time some of the heroes begin doing an extended search around the enclave… A group of ten survivors is rescued and brought back to the Highwall Hearth bringing the total population up to some 52 refugees, 6 veteran militia from Darryn's crew,  4 veteran guards from Hargrave, and the militia from the chapel.

Eventually they come across another enclave of survivors set up similar to the one at Highwall Hearth; they're unwilling to leave and join the heroes, but they do trade and give them some firewood to take back with them to Highwall Hearth.

Upon returning to the inn Marcellus presents them with an ivory inlaid lockbox he has been carrying for a few days and gives it to Kris to attempt to pick. Kris fails but then immediately pulls out some acid  and successfully pops the lock. Inside they find some coin, documents and a deed to the property, a sales license, an alchemical product license, inspection forms, all by the Mages Guild of Norgas. N'jall takes a keen interest in the documents while the four at the table split the coin.

Darion tries to converse with the Ninth Legion veteran and ends up low key trading in the ogre head for 25 silver pieces.

As the sun begins to set the heroes prepare to sleep for the night in Highwall Hearth.

The Sniper's Lair

Our heroes wake up on the 35th of High Heat and prepare to set out in force to deal with the sniper on the Promenade Way that has been plaguing efforts to cross for several days now.

It is only shortly after leaving the Highwall Hearth that the party encounters a strange pigeon with black spikes protruding from its back… Instinctively N'jall looses a fireball that  obliterates the pigeon before anyone has a chance to act.

After a short time the party draws near to Promenade Way, they can see several vantage points where the suspected sniper could be hiding out…. a bell tower on the state building, a Church Tower, a Watch Tower, a Museum. The heroes head to the church, it being the closest. It is a large burned out church with an intact tower Ta decides to ascend to get a vantage point to scout the area. There is no sign of the Sniper. Ta decides to draw a bolt by flashing glint from a mirror toward the other high vantage points… Eventually Ta is able to bait a bolt from the state building.

With their target destination identified, the party must risk crossing Promenade Way again to reach it. Kris crosses first and is only nearly missed by a Bolt. Then follows Ta, then Darion, FInally Marcellus  N'jall, and Yenri rush together across the street. N'jall is singled out and hit by the sniper and hit, but remains standing. Upon reaching the safety of the other side Marcellus heals some of N'jall's injuries as the party proceeds onward toward the state building, using the shadows of the buildings to mask their approach.

Darion, in the lead, identifies a trap and the heroes can only assume the area around the building is littered with traps set up by the sniper. They avoid the traps and come up to the base of the building, identifying a back door they'll enter in to be trapped. Kris tries to disarm the trap but fails and a massive explosion blows out part of the building and sets small fires to portions of the interior. Kris is maimed but still standing as a slightly injured Marcellus rushes over to administer first aid while the others emerge from their cover in anticipation of any would-be enemies inside the structure.

Darion hears a break and a thud around the corner and gives chase, Ta sends Yenri ahead, the others follow in pursuit around a corner after the sound.  At the other end of the alley the Sniper just  disappears through a small open gate leading to the front of the building… Yenri, close in pursuit follows through and triggers a trap that lets off a blinding light and horrible sound; most of the party is now temporarily robbed of their sight and hearing as they stagger forward trying to get their bearings. 

Yenri continues and begins single combat with the sniper who is able to quickly handle the lone wolf before Darion and Kris arrive. Marcellus and Ta are the last to come-to and arrive in time to see Darion standing over the limp bodies of Yenri and the sniper. Marcellus administers some first aid to Yenri while the others search the corpse of the sniper and recover a very nice crossbow Ta claims for Yenri's efforts.

Darion, Marcellus, and Kris begin investigating the partially destroyed building while N'jall and Ta remain outside on watch. From a vantage point on one of the higher floors they spot the held up guard post that was rumored; Ta leads N'jall and Yenri over to the guards to take them back to Highwall Hearth while the rest remain behind to search out the building. 

Marcellus remains on guard while Kris and Darion work their way through stages of traps. An acidic bolt, a door drop, an ice trap that takes both of them some 5 hours to chop through, and eventually a force trap they can't bypass or disarm, Kris loses a knuckle and two nails to the trap. Darion decides to try and climb out one of the higher windows to find a way in from the roof; with some effort Darion is able to scale up the roof and work his way over to a catwalk at the peak with a doorway leading back down inside… Up there Darion is able to find a suspicious bag he takes.

Upon climbing back down the rope and getting back into the window the three see some orcs that have come up from the garrison to investigate the burning state building… running low on time the heroes rush down the steps to the foyer in hopes of beating the orcs out, but they're too late, as they come down onto a landing the orcs bust in the front door and several are immediately killed by a drop trap left by the goblin sniper. As more orcs pile in behind their dead comrades Kris jumps on the nearby ballista and looses a bolt that kills several more orcs and breaks several nearby containers loosing a noxious green gas that begins spreading rapidly through the foyer in every direction, choking out the remaining Orcs. With the way down blocked with gas the three heroes run back up to one of the upper rooms where they shut themselves in, quickly drenching some extra clothing in water and stuffing it around the closed door and shutting the windows sealed. They can see the gas rise up outside the windows and hints of it can be seen getting in passed the door and wet cloth, but not enough to cause any effect. After a short time the gas dissipates and they cautiously venture out… The orcs are gone as some 15 corpses lay around the front entrance.

The three make their escape out the back and quietly make their way back toward Highwall Hearth as the sun begins getting low in the sky. On the way back they encounter a small group of 10 refugees who follow them back to the inn. Once back at the enclave they all settle in for the night, getting the new refugees settled; Darion goes to Marissa's house.

As sun sets on the 35th of high heat, the goblin sniper is taken care of and the heroes all reunite safely at Highwall Hearth.

 

View
Session Sixteen (Bonus 1) (A): Kris and the Ogre
Kris and the Ogre

The coming of Kris

Exhausted from spending the morning clearing the Wizard's Tower the heroes decide to take it easy the rest of the day. Marcellus reads some of the saved holy writings from the chapel while the others spend time gathering information and recovering some wounds from the morning's fighting. The sun begins to set and everyone does their evening preparations.

It is in the middle of the night that a man named Kris arrives at Highwall Hearth, a charismatic mercenary, Kris is allowed in.

The Party wakes up on the 34th of High Heat, Marcellus and Darion decide they will head toward south Norgas to do some reconnaissance with Horace while the others remain around the Highwall Hearth to aid the watches and forage for supplies. An anxious Kris volunteers to join the heroes and he is welcomed into the party as they set out toward South Norgas.

They come upon Promenade Street near where they encountered the sniper the previous morning on their way to the Wizard's Tower, as they cross they are again met with the well aimed shots of what they assume must be the sniper. Down the street to their left, hundreds of yards away they can hear the brutish call of the orcs as they see their yellow and black banners waving as they rush up after the heroes.

In a panic the heroes begin kicking down doors from the back alleys to hide from the advancing orcs. Darion, Marcellus, and Horace rush into one while Kris rushes into another building as the sound of the Orcs draws near. Kris makes a distraction noise inside the third house as he bales out the other side and attempts to find his way back to the others… Meanwhile the three in the other house hear "RUN" whispered from the room they are in… Not sure what else to do they all proceed to run down the stairs and out the front door Kris just passed. Kris sees them through a window as they try to leave.

Together the four heroes move into yet another house and wait out the orc patrols who soon subside and return to the garrison. They continue on their trek to South Norgas.

The Ogre

Eventually the four come upon Gate Street, up to their right they can see the garrison and to their left they can see Riverside Gate. The way appears clear as they cross one at a time as to not draw the attention of the garrison again. 

It is upon safely reaching the other side they begin to hear an Orc searching for a Dwarf in the area. The heroes set up an ambush in a nearby house and use Horace as bait to lure the Orc to his death. The plot works and the Orc is quickly killed. They then search the area for the would-be  dwarf only to surmise there was no Dwarf and the Orc likely just saw Horace crossing the road and came to hunt him.

After some time weaving their way through rows of houses and other buildings they will come to the vicinity of the zoo and quickly begin seeing signs of horrific activity that can only be attributed to the presence of an Ogre.

The heroes follow the bloody streaks and wagons tracks to the Ogre's hideout in a dead-end alley. The party is able to sneak up and get the jump on the Ogre, Kris opens up with  a sleep spell on the Ogre, it works. Darion walks up and then unceremoniously Coup De Gras the Ogre. The fight is over before it begins.

As they investigate the area, there are hundreds of corpses, some have been dead for a long time, maybe since the first day of the invasion. In one of the half-burned-out buildings they find some bloodied loot; on the body of the ogre they find some chain, a maul, and a meat hook. Kris gets some new bracers and a magic belt.

Some oil and timber is used to create a haphazard fire to hopefully burn some of the corpses to stave off disease which is bound to soon set in.

The Death of the "Party Treasury"

As they leave the site of the Ogre Darion hears a whistling tune off their path… They come across an older man tending a cart filled with odds and ends, trinkets, arms and armor. The man appears to be some black market merchant taking advantage of the chaos, although the merchant explains himself much more tactfully and tastefully than that.

Darion spends some time bartering with the merchant back and forth over the cost of a  flaming great sword Darion is enamored with. After some time Darion hands over an assortment of unwanted weapons and not-an-insignificant amount of coin in exchange for the new weapon.

Being satisfied, the heroes part ways with the merchant and proceed back to the Highwall Hearth.

 

 

View
Session Sixteen (A): The Wizard's Tower
The Wizard's Tower

Promenade Street

Our heroes awake on the 33rd of High Heat after having spent several hours the previous night dealing with the BugBear incursion. They conduct their usual morning preparations before setting out to the tower; N'jall leads a party consisting of Ta and Yenri, Marcellus, Darion, and Phoebe. Together they spend about an hour of the early morning to traverse through back alleys to arrive at Promenade Way.

Promenade Street is a phenomenal site especially considering its distance this far out from the center of its Empire. It is a wide  street filled with statues and monuments that stretches from the south of Norgas up to the North, it is a grand Triumphal procession route that now lies littered with the ruined and overturned carts of merchants, torn canvas, and scattered dead.

As the heroes push out across the wide street they come across a patch a dead guards denser than in other areas, an apparent last stand was attempted there by some. Only a moment later arrows begin showering down on them. N'jall is dropped immediately… Marcellus rushes over and attempts a Lay on Hands as he picks up N'jall's limp body and the entire party begins rushing to the far side as arrows continue to rain upon them; the arrows stop when they reach the far side.

The Tower

A few blocks in from Promenade Street the heroes come across the Mages Tower. It's a stone structure about 100 feet in height surrounded with a perimeter wall with an open iron gate at its entrance…. The heroes enter and proceed to the large double wide wooden doors entering into the tower… They enter.

Immediately the doors close behind them and flaming braziers light up inside revealing a large clay golem in the immediate foyer blocking the only passage into the tower… The Golem lets out an alert "Master More Intruders" before beginning its attack on the party. It clubs at Darion and Marcellus while N'jall inspects runes beneat it… Phoebe transforms into a raptor and begins frantically scratching at the runes on the floor. Marcellus and Darion's blades appear to have no real impact on the creature.

Taking a hint from Phoebe, Darion brings up his falchion and strikes at the rune on the floor, unintentionally unleashing a torrent of raw magical energy from the lay-lines beneath the tower. Light leaves the room as the forms of the heroes changes in gruesome and dramatic ways… for a moment they all feel the rending of flesh and breaking of bones as their bodies take on forms not their own… Phoebne appears as a larger more ferocious looking raptor, Darion appears as a frailer sickly version of himself, N'jall as a devil with horns and a tail with long limbs, Marcellus twists with his rib cage and bones turn inside out….

As light returns to the room Ta, Yenri, and the Golem are gone, there are three squirrels. Darion immediately butchers the squirrel standing where the Golem was. N'jall snaps at the others over their ignorance of the power of magic and how destroying the rune almost got everyone killed and how they're all lucky to be alive… Marcellus tries to round up the squirrels presumably being Ta and Yenri into his pouch, but instead they scurry to Phoebe… N'jall leaves the others and heads to a center ring in the adjoining area before being teleported up… Upon arriving he goes to the next room and immediately drops unconscious after a small flame burst. 

 

Quizit

After waiting a few moments Darion, Marcellus, and Phoebe follow with the squirrels, they enter to witness N'jall down in a doorway across the room…. Marcellus rushes over to administer some healing which brings N'jall back as he pulls him away from the doorway. Darion then runs out into the doorway to confront the enemy in the next room, he too is met with a hurl of fire from three small flying flame minions; Darion doesn't drop like N'jall did. Marcellus goes to join Darion in the next room while N'jall begins reading over the bookshelves in the first room with Phoebe protecting the squirrels…. Darion engages the fiends but is quickly forced up onto some low rubble to avoid the pool of molten metal oen transformed into thats now on the ground and creeping towards the library room and N'jall…

As it enters the doorway n'jall and Phoebe begin harassing it with frost energy from their wand. Meanwhile, the other two are quickly dispatched by devastating blows delivered from Darion and Marcellus. Marcellus pours water out on the molten puddle which soon returns to its true form and flies up to the ceiling, out of their reach and calls for parlay. Darion, still enraged, tries to fight the creature but is prevented by Marcellus. N'jall begins talking with the creature that names itself as Quizit… it explains that the mage that lived here before the attack died and nothing good has happened since now with most of the cages in the tower opened, freeing the creatures; it also explains how Darion's strike on the rune disrupted the magical flow and damaged the tower in multiple ways drawing a magical overload from the magical lattice lines running beneath the tower.

N'jall asks Quizit if he will go ahead of the party and scout out the rest of the tower, which he agrees to do and flies off. Phoebe accepts the terrified squirrels into her protection.

After some time Quizit returns and tells N'jall that they have done a number on the rest of the tower and to proceed with caution. With no way down or out, there is no choice but to continue up.

N'jall, Darion, Marcellus, and Phoebe go through the teleporter and come out on a narrow ledge between some suspicious ooze and the hole in the floor that was apprent from the level below…. on the ledge N'jall almost falls in but is pulled back by the others. To their backs a hole in the tower that drops down some 40 feet to the ground lets in a light breeze.

Phoebe is the first the cross the ruined part of the tower to the safety of the other side where some shelves, crates, and a hunched figure at a desk; she crosses with little difficulty. A rope is thrown over to phoebe and she secures it to a table and some crates. N'jall attempts to follow with the safety of the lifeline but halfway across he stumbles and falls to the floor below, he stops moving.

The party yells down to N'jall, but no answer comes.

A disgusted Marcellus is lowered down to the floor by Darion, Marcellus uses a Lay on Hands to revive the unconscious N'jall… the disgruntled N'jall takes them back up the teleporter to Darion. With the help of an additional lifeline N'jall is able to make it across safely, shortly followed by Marcellus and finally Darion who manage to cross with safetly some trouble. 

On the other side of this level Phoebe and N'jall begin searching through crates, the desk, and the dead body at the desk to find a few things… some alchemical equipment, a spellbook, potions, a staff, a necklace, some loose parchment, and some enchanted ingots. After searching and finding nothing else of note the party proceeds to the next teleporter pad leading up, presumably… N'jall is the first to go, followed shortly thereafter by the others.

The Gargoyles

N'jall is the first to arrive at the top floor, he inquisitively moves up to investigate one of two horned statues there. It quickly comes alive and takes a slash at N'jall right as the others come up to the level to face down to gargoyles.

Marcellus instinctively runs up to put himself between the Gargoyles and the N'jall who quickly runs back behind him; Marcellus moves up a gain to begin attacking the lead gargoyle with Darion while the second flies around them  to finish off N'jall who falls to the ground, limp. 

After taking a few devastating hits from Darion the Gargoyles withdraw, Marcellus uses it as an opportunity to revive N'jall who falls back behind the relative safety of some crates closer to Phoebe who continues to hurl some light fire from her hands…. the squirrels squirming terrified in her sack… The gargoyles seem to almost transform into larger, more hulky, versions of themselves and jump back into the fight against Darion and Marcellus.

The first comes at Darion, grabbing him, then taking him up and out over the balcony into the open air outside the tower… the second engages Marcellus. N'jall opens up a scroll and utters some words producing a flaming spear on the one remaining in the tower as it continues to slash at Marcellus with limited effect. Darion, now mid-air some eighty or hundred feet up over the ground below the balcony manages to desperately break free of the grapple and push himself toward the balcony some twenty feet below… the fall hurts, but he's still in the fight… As Darion lands, N'jall's falming spear slams into him to add insult to injury as the Gargoyle descends and lands near Darion to continue attacking him…. The second Gargyle breaks off Marcellus to help the other attack Darion, Marcellus leaps onto a sofa and continues attacking it.

Now annoyed by the produce flames, one of the gargoyles takes flight, circumvents Darion and Marcellus, and proceeds to lunge at N'jall. Marcellus tries to block it, but the effort is futile. N'jall goes down again, once down the gargoyle continues slashing at his lifeless body. A horrified Marcellus is able to run over and finish off the Gargoyle over N'jall with the continued help of Phoebe while Darion finishes off the other….

The Gargoyles crumble dead, the fight apparently over.

The survivors stand over the bloody mangled body of N'jall who Phoebe pronounces as being very much dead.

Marcellus pulls a sheet over his body and begins uttering some holy prayers in some haphazard embarkation of N'jall's soul, giving some last rites to his fallen comrade… as he does this N'jalls body begins convulsing as the disgusting smells of sulfur and death fill the area, the sheet begins soaking up dark liquid as apparently black blood runs from his  corpse…. Marcellus continues praying nervously and then stops as the body ceases movement… A disturbed phoebe pulls back the sheet to nervously look upon N'jall… After a short time his eyes open as he sits up, gasping for air.

Marcellus pulls his sword, unsure of what's happening,  but it quickly becomes apparent that N'jall is very much alive once more, whether through some dark magic, or the workings of his own prayers, or perhaps a misdiagnosis on their part prematurely pronouncing him dead…. whatever the case N'jall is alive and the party is thankful.

"Give me the squirrels." N'jall exclaims… a hesitant phoebe lowers the sack and lets the squirrels out as a black mists emanates from N'jall's fingers and shrouds the squirrels… as the dark mist fades the squirrels return to their previous forms of Ta and Yenri, who both are very much disturbed having spent the last several hours in the body of a squirrel.

They begin quickly searching through the room for any hints as to the fate of the tower, any arcane loot, and most importantly a way down off the tower.

In an end-table next to the bed N'jall finds some loose gems and other items Darion will hold for him. A confident Darion  heads over to the desk and proceeds to pull open a drawer, he ceases moving. The others rush over and try talking to Darion, even slapping him to no avail. Marcellus lasso's Darion and pulls him away, it works, but very slowly… Darion spends the next 5 minutes or so slowly falling to the ground in what seems to be over an hours worth of time that passes in his time as he's stuck helpless, a prisoner in his own body, the victim of a high level slowing spell…

The others patiently wait as they continue searching the room and contemplating their way down, using the vantage point of the tower to scout out the surrounding area in Norgas.

After some time the spell wares off and Darion comes to, immediately strutting over to the edge of the balcony as he relieves himself, having been holding it in for what feels like days in a terrible agony.

N'jall figures there must be a key for the desk, he demands to be lowered to the surface by rope so he may re-enter the tower and look over the corpse again for the key that must accompany the desk. Darion lowers N'jall who reaches the surface safely and re-enters the tower, passing the splattered remains of the squirrel that once was the Golem, going up the teleporter to find himself in a precarious situation…. he arrives on the second level between the acid and the broken out section of the floor, not having thought through that he'd have to cross the ruined section again, this time without help. Luckily, N'jall manages to tippy toe across some of the  remaining debris without falling this time and safely reaches the other side only to find there is no key anywhere in the room…. A frustrated N'jall gives up and proceeds back to the third level to find the others waiting.

Out of options the group decides they will lower Phoebe, Ta and Yenri, down with rope from the ledge of the balcony. Finally Darion lowers down Marcellus before N'jall casts a slowness spell and he and Darion slowly descend the 80 feet to the surface.

It is now late in the morning, the heroes find themselves more or less safely to the front of the tower they've spent the better part of the morning clearing. They pack it up and head back to the Highwall Hearth.

Back at Highwall Hearth

Upon their return they find that blinders have been set up around Captain Hargrave as the Artificer works on saving his life. The Ninth Legion veteran is still there. 

Darion and N'jall talk to the Artificer  who tell him it would take some time to repair the tower, he explains to them the ingots they found. From the others they learn that Darryn has not returned from his patrol, they learn about a trade estate in the south  overrun with orcs and an ogre near the zoo terrorizing citizens; they also get rumors of strange disappearances to the north where no one who enters ever returns, not even orcs. They also learn more about a resistance in South Norgas and an Orc Sniper somewhere around Promenade Way and a team of guards pinned down there.

 

 

View
Session Fifteen (A): Securing the Enclave
Discovering Marissa, Bugbear GreenJaw, Expanding Enclave

Securing the Enclave

With the recently arrived refugees from the chapel it's clear the already stretched accommodations of the inn are no longer sufficient to shelter the growing population. To address this some of the heroes set out at first light to begin clearing and preparing some of the surrounding buildings; in the immediate area are 5 additional buildings, a tenement, two houses, a illicit den, and a storehouse. First they scrounge through the storehouse with the primary purpose of finding additional food stuffs to feed the refugees… Once entrance is secured N'jall and Ta remain to spend several hours inventorying the hundreds of barrels and crates held within… Darion and Marcellus head back to the enclave to proceed to another house where they find the familiar  Dwar, Huldun conversing with one of the guards.  

Huldun has come out to present Darion with a the new Falchion, recently finished according to his custom specifications as requested in payment for returning Orcbane 2 days prior. Back in the Inn the Runepriest continues his work on Captain Hargrave, by this point screens have been erected around him as the sound of operation are heard throughout the inn.

Ta leads N'jall and Darion over to the tenement… upon opening the rear door they are greeted with what is already becoming an all-to-familiar and grizzly sight: a crowd of humans piled up against the door in an apparent massacre where they tried to escape, all cut down by missiles and claws, the stench is terrible, Ta determines the arrows are of Goblin make. Up the steps they come across a dead Warg… Ta concludes that an expert soldier is responsible for dispatching the Warg in such a clean way. The rooms are already ransacked and stripped down… From the top floor Ta can recognize smoke rising from the Foundry,  the Dwarves have apparently relit the forge and are beginning to use it as evident through the recently presented Falchion brough to Darion.

N'jall wants to check out the den next, he heads over there to find the odd stench of death mixed in with many other lingering aromas…. The Den is cooler as its half sunken into the ground with dim lighting from a few ground level windows peaking into the shoddily made structure where hung sheets act as walls more than any real structural elements… N'jall finds 6 pounds of illicit drugs.

Marissa

Darion and Marcellus clear the back two houses, they're mostly ransacked already and but safe and in need of fortification. In the second house, at the top of the steps, they find a second warg, brutilized with a slain goblin rider atop it… Underneath a busted door they find the remains of a Woman, this woman will come to be recognized as Marissa.  Darion and Marcellus begin moving the bodies out of the Apartment and houses when Darion goes into an involuntary vision; many ghostly forms start to surround him and reach out to him with wispy voices. Darion yells for them to get away…. Nearby Marcellus sees Darion swatting at the air and yelling at nothing apparently…. assuming its the heat wave getting to him Marcellus comes up and slaps him and tries to get him to snap out of it. Darion continues to lose it and it gets worse.

Hearing the commotion a distressed Phoebe comes around the corner to see Darion freaking out and pushing Marcellus away. It gets worse before Lis comes up and clears away the other forms, it's just Liz and Darion… Darion informs them that Liz is amongst them… Marcellus is now convinced he has heat stroke while Phoebe believes him but cannot sense any of it; Liz approaches Phoebe and seems to notice her.

As Liz goes to Phoebe a woman appears and begins conversing with Darion telling him the story of how she died in the house the night of the attack.

Afterwards Darion questions Marcellus about the afterlife, asking him about where souls go after the body dies and any known ways to converse with the dead. Marcellus shares with limited knowledge he has coming from his religious background.

The Bugbear

With the buildings mostly cleared the heroes settle in for the night on the 32nd of High Heat. Phoebe spends the prep time healing while the others set up watches to help secure the perimeter throughout the night. It is sometime deep into the 5th watch that Darion sees some green orbs in the distance in the square… He awakes the others, specifically Ta who is able to discern there is in fact a Bugbear ou in the square by the fountain spying on the inn. 

The heroes and some guards are roused from their sleep and a plan is launched to capture the bugbear, the fear being his escape will bring on a wave of greenskins to the ill-defended inn. Ta leads Phoebe and Horace and some of the guards on a flanking mission to stealthily surround the Bugbear while Darion and Marcellus wait inside the door with Aethor to jump once the trap is sprung.

Once in position Ta casts entangling vines around the Bugbear, tying it into place while the others start loosing bolts to get it down. Light is dim and most shots go wide as Darion and Marcellus rush the Bugbear and with some bit of hassle  the heroes are able to move in and capture the Bugbear alive. Ta throws a bag over its head and its brought down into the cellar of the inn for questioning.

N'jall, Ta, and Darion question the bugbear and through some intimidation paired with a promise of safe passage out of the city… the bugbear talks and reveals his name is GreenJaw and he works for the Stone Skull Clan operating out of the warehouse district an area filled with large vacant buildings with few surviving humans… he was dispatched out to track and report back on the humans the gnolls from the chapel reported on the day before. The Bugbear divulges the secrets of the Il-Khan of the Stone Skulls, how he fights with a large sword and large shield, travels with guards, and loves butchering humans, elves, halflings, and especially dwarves; he keeps no prisoners but trades some to the gnoll captain for his support… the Gnoll captain being stationed in ruins in the "burn out". The other Il-Khan holds the Stone Skulls back from killing everything, but the Stone Skulls were the first in and as such got first rights to kill and loot and feast. It is also revealed that the bad blood between the orc clans is usually ignored when they horde up under one Chieftain as is the case with the different clans attacking Norgas…. GreenJaw doesn't know which Il-Khan is stronger… 

With little else to share the heroes query Greenjaw about his plans after they release him… Greenjaw insists he died beneat the vines and reveals two rows of nasty teeth in an attempt to smile. He draws the heroes a very rough map on the path to the Gnolls through South Norgas, we threaten him for accuracy and in return he pulls out a dead rat from a sack and bites its head off, proceeding to chew on it while drawing. N'jall gives the Bugbear a preserved snake which he promptly eats. 

The interrogation being concluded, the heroes take the bugbear out and release him roughly where they found him by the fountain, he scampers off into the fading darkness as the first signs of light start  breaking through… the heroes go back and sleep for a few more hours to finish resting.

We wake up on the 33 oh high heat to head out to the wizards tower.

 

 

View
Session Fourteen (A): The Chapel of Saint Sabinus
Highwall Hearth, Taking Stock, Foraging, The Chapel

(Combined with October 7 Session)

Around Highwall Hearth

It is still early afternoon on the 30th of High Heat when our heroes arrive back at Highwall Hearth the heroes show the Runepriest to Captain Hargrave where he immediately gets to work on saving his life. With the crisis of the moment taken care of our heroes take a moment to take stock of their situation. Amidst the talks a foul stench begins to waft about the inn; the spider leg is rotten. N'jall searches frantically for a way to preserve the spider leg, but to no avail, he eventually gives up and discards it into the sewer.

Darryn and his men are still out scouting so Ta, Marcellus, and N'jall decide to go off and do some foraging in the immediate area while a wounded Darion and Horace recover in the inn for the rest of the day. They spend the rest of the day exploring the immediate area around the inn, coming to an alchemical shop, an apartment, and a few other houses; some supplies are gained for making potions and a few other goodies are recovered before they return.  Most of the buildings are barricaded or nailed shut, Ta does some additional scouting around the backs and along catwalks to get as much information as possible, in the apartment she discovers a journal outlining the grizzly events a few days past; one group of residents fought another out of paranoia. As they come out to leave one of the buildings a sneaking orc is slain by Aethor's bow from the inn across the square, potentially saving N'jall, the orc having apparently been drawn out to ivnestigate the loud thud and smash of Marcellus failing to kick down one of the doors.

Upon their return they find Darryn having returned with the other guards. 

Everyone is brought up to speed with the latest information from Darryn's scouting mission: Two orc clans are pushing through this part of the city, one Il-Khan is held up in the Garrison with another somewhere in the Warehouse District. There is great destruction everywhere, much of the city is burned down in an area called the "burn out", there are few survivors dispersed throughout. There's another clan in the northern districts of Norgas. 

Darryn cautions against taking on the Il-Khan at the garrison, but does tell of other places in need of assistance, a temple in south Norgas has been known to take in refugees and the is an estate known as Phoenix Place near the warehouses that is also  a point of interest.  Darryn also reports that what is left of the 1st Norgas Legion is holding out in Hightown. The Heroes go on at length for some time debating their best path forward with no consensus being agreed upon…

A New Arrival and More Visions

As evening comes N'jall dedicates his time to brewing some potions at the bar while the others prepare to take shifts on watch through the night. It is at some early in the night during Marcellus' watch that a commotion is heard at the inn door… Aethor and Marcellus reluctantly welcome in a grizzly looking veteran wearing a chain holding some 5 Orc heads as trophies, he wields a greatsword and heavy crossbow, He has a large tattoo on his neck of a crest over a sheild, typical of legionnaires of the 9th… a founding legion of paramilitary fighters loyal to the Empire. Marcellus doesn't wake the others in their sleep but does welcome him to the inn with an introduction, he gives him a bottle of spirits to ease tensions which the veteran accepts; he explains that he's arrived from the south and is here to slay orcs. 

Later in the night Darion awakes for his watch, the watching proceeds without incident so Darion tries to focus his concentration to trigger a vision similar to the one he had the previous night; it takes some time but he does eventually focus enough to get it to work. Darion begins to see wisps in the darkness, forms start to emerge and he sees people moving down the streets, fleeing, he sees the the spirit of an orc with its leg stuck, he looks over at Phoebe and sees the form of Liz cuddled p next to her, then he looks over towards N'jall and makes contact with bright crimson eyes staring back at him, immediately imposing a great feeling of terror right as the vision ends.

The following morning the heroes begin to awake on the 31st of High Heat and go about their daily routines in preparation for the day's challenges, Marcellus conducts his typical morning prayers and comes across a strong urge to reach the location of his order's chapel in South Norgas to look for survivors or any information leading to the location of his comrades. 

In the Inn Darion prompts an awkward conversation with Marcellus about spirits to which Marcellus knows nothing beyond the distant myths of undead and ghosts… Phoebe asks Marcellus about the location of any potential libraries within the city that may contain knowledge that could lead her to finding another companion; Marcellus does inform her and the others of the location of known libraries within the city…. those mostly being the magisterial archives in Hightown that likely only contain municipal records and the predominately theological libraries held within the Houses of Worship in the Temple District. 

The Chapel of Saint Sabinus

With everyone being ready Marcellus asks for volunteers to accompany him to the chapel in South Norgas to which Darion, Phoebe, and N'jall agree to accompany him while the others remain behind to continue shoring up the defenses of the enclave. As they leave the Inn the sun has begun to arrive and it becomes abundantly clear the weather has shifted and a heat wave rests over Norgas.

The four companions opt to travel through the sewers towards South Norgas to aovid any unwated attention… the sewers are a safer and cooler albeit smelly path to travel. After some time they arrive in South Norgas without incident. Coming up they can see smoke rising from the vicinity of the Chapel… Marcellus leads the others to within sight… before them the Chapel is starting to catch fire with a small group of Gnolls and Orcs in front of it tossing burning debris onto the roof.

Already having caught the attention of the enemy, Marcellus charges in immediatley. Many of the Orcs go after Marcellus while the others continue passed to attack N'jall and Phoebe; an in-wait Darion springs upon the first orc, unceremoniously dispatching it before he moves onto a second. It is not long after this that a Goblin Rogue leaps at Darion's exposed back from the rooftop landing a devastating blow. The other skirmishes move and and down N'jall with some javelins while Marcellus continues to dance around with several orcs before the Chapel, both Marcellus and Darion trade blows with the orcs while the Rogue skirts around landing underhanded hit after hit before Marcellus finally squares up and lands a devastating searing smite to down the creature. Darion mops up the Orc Defenders with devastating blows while Phoebe continues to harass the remaining skirmishers with a wand before getting N'jall back up on his feet.

With the Orc Defender very much dead the 2 surviving gnolls flee outside the reach of the others.

With the area clear Marcellus douses himself with a water skin and rushes into the burning chapel.

Laying against the altar is an armored Paladin he recognizes as Ser Aytwolf, the caretaker. He brings his body out with Darion and Phoebe before sprinting back in, this time with N'jall in tow, through the barracks and into the study where he frantically scoops a full sack of papers, texts, scrolls, manuscripts from the tables into his sack… Marcellus bursts into the cellar to find some 34 refugees held up there, hiding. He orders them to flee the chapel before it burns down…. after the last refugee is fled a glint catches Marcellus' eye in the corner… Through a slightly displaced stone in the wall Marcellus unveils a hidden trove of relics of this faith… without much thought he grabs them and rushes out of the burning chapel just in the nick of time, the growing flames beginning to scorch him as he leaves the front.

First he tends to Ser Aytwolf who is not unconscious but instead fallen in defense of the chapel. Not wasting any time out of fear of the Gnolls returning with reinforcements the heroes lead the refugees back into the sewers the way they came and towards Highwall Hearth and safety.

Upon coming back to the inn Marcellus finds most of the survivors too recently traumatized to be of much use, immediate care is administered to them before he and N'jall move on to search over the manuscripts and relics saved from the chapel… The Manuscripts are all religious texts relative to the Order of Saint Sabinus that were in the process of being transcribed, Marcellus will keep them for future reading…. With N'jall's help he's able to identify the powers of Ser Aytwolf's Longsword and Holy Symbol and Steel Shield, as well as the relics from the cellar: a Golden Statue of Saint Sabinus, the Burial Shroud of Saint Sabinus… among the relics are also some Steel Coins minted with the image of Saint Sabinus.

After this N'jall explores the attic of the Inn to find a vantage point from which he does scope out a Mage Tower in the distance he feels drawn towards… He also finds some improvised thieves tools.

With that evening sets on the 31st of High Heat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View
Session Thirteen (A): The Foundry
The Dwarves, the Ogre, The Gnolls

The Foundry

It is the morning on the 31st of  High Heat, our heroes assemble and depart the inn through the sewers toward the Foundry. They are quickly encountered with the familiar sight of the Carrion Crawler from the previous night, again the heroes make no attempt to combat the creature, instead they let it disturbingly slide away and out of their path.

As they continue they come to a strange portion of the sewer… Marcellus, Phoebe, and Ta hear a large backdraft and what sounds almost like a distant roar of fire closing in… RUN one yells as the party sprints to the end of the tunnel… Marcellus, Darion, and Yenri make it out fine, but N'jall, Ta, and Horace are damaged by a burst of flames and are burned…. Phoebe remained safely on the far side and sprints through to join the others, Maracellus tends to the burns. 

After a short time the heroes come to an exit near the Foundry, they ascend, helping Yenri up, to find vacant streets. It is quiet and void of life save for the sound of distant fires.

Horace leads the approach up the street to the Foundry and is able to negotiate a welcome entry inside. The heroes enter through a barred gate into a small courtyard filled with a few dozen dwarves, only a few are soldiers. They have a caravan of wagons drawn by boar like beasts, the Foundry is very fortified. A golden haired dwarf steps forward and becomes visibly angry upon looking at Darion wielding Orcbane. Darion begins speaking in Dwarvish and eases the tension and shares the last words of Baelwynn's father and hands off  Orcbane to Baelwynn. Huldan is also there.

Darion and Horace explain the situation back at the inn and the need for their Artificer to save a Captain. Baelwynn makes an agreement that the Runepriest can accompany the heroes back to the inn and tend to Hargrave in exchange for their help in clearing the rest of the Foundry of the Ogre, Orcs, and Gnolls contained deeper within the structure. The party agrees and Baelwynn calls over a very aged Dwarf in more ornate garb, with white hair, wearing spectacles over his eyes holding a book in one hand… He comes over and imparts a blessing upon the heroes before they are led through a foyer up some rail tracks going up some stairs through a small room with some soldiers guarding the entrance to a much larger room with the far door being barricaded from the Dwarven side. Phoebe transforms into a raptor in anticipation of the  inevitable fight awaiting them. 

The Ogre

The heroes burst into the room and immediately encounter an ogre and a dozen orcs spread throughout. Phoebe immediately casts a spell that begins shaking the foundation stones on the far side of the room, entrapping most of the orcs, the others begin to fan out and take up positions around the ogre, Darion jumps up on a table and taunts the room, drawing most of the orcs…

Horace charges past Marcellus and starts hacking at the Ogre who returns the favor and downs Horace, Marcellus heals him to get him back on his feet. The combined efforts of mostly Yenri and Horace do eventually bring down the ogre with some help from the others, but Yenri is gravely wounded in the fight. Darion and Marcellus mop up the remaining orcs as Yenri is brought back to the safety of the Dwarves…

The room is secured but there is no sign of the Gnolls. The party scavenges the room and the adjoining office before continuing to the other side of the Foundry. Documents are found naming the property to belong to the Thorstein Mining Company Foundry among the numerous ledgers, billing statements, payroll accounts and other documents. 

The Gnolls

Ta volunteers to scout ahead of the others to locate the Gnolls and does so, neither her nor N'jall or Horace can understand the kackling and laughing of their tongue, they fail to lure the gnolls out.

Out of options the party rushes up the stairs to the Gnolls behind the lead of Darion. The Gnoll Blacksmith, the apparent leader of the other six dips its mallet in molten metal and charges Darion, the two engage briefly, after bringing down a savage hit on Darion, Hogger, the blacksmith, falls back and the other gnolls begin pushing over the trough of molten metal that will spill out towards our heroes and towards the party.

Darion instinctively rushes up to try and prevent the Gnolls from tipping it over. Fearing the worst Phoebe, still in her  Raptor form, rushes out and back to the dwarves for immediate reinforcements. Meanwhile Darion, at the tipping point with droplets of molten metal  beginning to drip over the edge of the trough onto the ground and his shoulders lets out one last massive exertion to tip it back over on the three Gnolls behind it, killing them as he drops unconscious of exhaustion, Ta looses an arrow to drop the cauldron down atop the blacksmith, killing him while Marcellus cleans up the other three as Phoebe rushes back with some of the  Dwarves…

Phoebe and the Dwarves look upon the standing heroes; it looks like there was a desperate last stand where everything went right.

With the action subsided N'jall jokingly taunts Marcellus about the Gods helping us, N'jall sulks on a table. Marcellus helps carry a limp Darion and Horace down to the Foyer and places them alongside Yenri; the Runepriest sees to the wounds and then offer a handshake to Marcellus and Ta while some of the Dwarves move in to secure the newly cleared portions of the Foundry.

The party rests in the Foundry for several hours until Darion begins to move and finally gets up, his last memories being partially covered with Molten metal and flipping the trough over on the Gnolls. Words are exchanged with the Dwarves, the samples of the black ore recovered from up in the mountains are left for inspecting and Darion exchanges the goodwill earned for a crafted Falchion the Dwarves will spend days working on before it is ready. With the party able to move again they embark from the Foundry to return back to the Highwall Hearth with the Runepriest in tow.

After a few more hours of traveling back through the sewers the heroes arrive safely back at the inn with the Runepriest.

 

 


 

 

 

 

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.