Arantus

Mayantus 12, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 42

In the morning, Balasar announces that he is departing from The Company of the Black Wagon. Bidding you a fond farewell and handing off the black cone to Hypatia, he accompanies Bissle, Bledsoe, Meadowbrook, Poppit, Renthro, Katuun, and Valtier Blackthorn to Restwell Keep.

Now with only four adventurers remaining in the company, you travel to The Chaos Scar. You reach the old gatehouse at The King’s Wall and encounter a blind-folded oracle. She tells your fortune for a fee.

From mud wallows comes an earthbound choir,
In this house frogs and toads croak for your blood,
Watchful Spirits caught in the Vortex,
Animal faces drowning in mud!
March swiftly for the Mud Men cometh,
To snatch your prize from your feeble clutches!

A few miles further, you arrive at a crumbling ruins now occupied by the Muckracker Bullywugs. You slay numerous Bullywug Croakers, Muckers, Twitchers, and Guards. You find a pair of magical Wrestler’s Gloves in the undergrowth.

Descending through a trap door in the ground, you enter a former study and defeat more Bullywug Muckers and Twitchers, as well as two Dretches. You open double doors to the south and battle four Bullywug Croakers, a Bullywug Mud Lord, three Gnaw Demons, and a Super Giant Frog. Rook is knocked unconscious and trapped in the jaws of the huge frog, but Wolvar revives him and he rejoins the battle.

You enter a muddy chamber with a mud vortex swirling at the far end. A magical totem with animal faces is trapped in the spinning elemental mud. Numerous Mud Men materialize from the vortex and attack you. After quelling all attacks, you use your knowledge of nature and the arcane to extinguish the mud vortex. Wolvar obtains his long-sought Totem of Watchful Spirits. Hypatia finds a ceramic pot with the label Wormtongue written on it.

After a short rest, you hear screams from behind you. Cookie yells out that Dog Boy is floating in the air and being whisked away. You bolt out of the lair and pursue along a dry stream bed, attempting to keep Dog Boy in sight. Agapanthus races ahead of the pack, passes Cookie, then arrives at a spring and follows it to the edge of a lake. He witnesses Dog Boy float into a misty cloud hovering over the middle of the lake, accompanied by a twisted gleeful laughter that emanates from the mist.

Cookie jumps into the lake and swims toward the mist. After the rest of the party arrives at the lake shore, Wolvar spots a raft with six paddles. As you paddle toward the mist, you are attacked by two Dolgaunt Dark Hailers mounted on Blackwater Serpents. A Water Dervish joins the attack, but you defeat all opponents.

Paddling into the mist, you bump up against a 15 foot high wall of black rock. Cookie is perched on the wall and tells you it is easily climbable. You climb the wall and peer down a deep crater on the other side. You descend sixty feet into a large cavern with fungal growths dimly illuminating the cavern walls. You are attacked by a Dolgarr Berserker along with three Dolgrim Warriors and a Mud Lasher. Rook forces the berserker and one of the warriors down a deep sink hole.

You hear the faint screams of Dog Boy from down the sink hole. Rook, Wolvar, and Hypatia attempt to descend by rope but fall into the black lake of a deeper cavern fifty feet below the first cavern. Agapanthus descends into the second cavern without difficulty. Strange things begin to happen to Rook, Wolvar and Hypatia who spend time treading water in the lake. Rook feels compelled to strip off his armor. His toenails grow uncontrollably and agonizingly fast, penetrate through his boots, and curl into a large spiral. Wolvar’s tongue becomes glued to the roof of his mouth and he can’t speak. Hypatia feels compelled to toss her weapons into the lake, and her chain mail armor turns to wax and melts away. Eventually Rook, Wolvar, and Hypatia swim to the lake shore. You spot Dog Boy trapped in a bridge of webs that hangs five feet above the lake surface.

Rook, Wolvar, and Hypatia become drowsy and begin moving back toward the lake. Agapanthus shoves them away from the lake edge and the three fall and pass out. A phase spider grabs Dog Boy and begins encasing him in web. A voice from the lake says, “Agapanthus, so nice of you to drop by!” It’s White Crane, who has transformed into a Dolgaunt Monk, and she is accompanied by Ruby Blue, who herself has just started to transform to Dolguant form. Cookie descends down the sink hole to the ceiling above Dog Boy and White Crane. White Crane tells Agapanthus to surrender and succumb to the powers of the Black Lake of Aberrant Splendor just as she and Ruby Blue have done. White Crane claims that Cookie has been hiding secrets from you from the very beginning, and challenges the Hobgoblin repeatedly with the question, “Is it safe?” Cookie denies any knowledge of White Crane’s allegations.

Cookie addresses Dog Boy as ‘Prince Galerant’, telling him to use the powers that were taught to him by his father, Prince Graid. Wolvar and Hypatia notice a pair of deformed goblins peering out from a secret door in the cavern wall. Wolvar hears one of the goblins say, “Too dangerous, beat feet!” before they close the door behind them. The Dolgarr Berserker and Dolgrim Warrior that Rook had pushed down the sink hole emerge from the lake fully healed. With White Crane, Ruby Blue, and the phase spider, they launch an attack. White Crane, wielding the Chaos Shard, attacks the party with a variety of strange effects and afflictions. Dog Boy teleports out of the web and onto White Crane’s back and begins stabbing her in the eyes with a knife. White Crane screeches loudly, bringing Rook, Wolvar, and Hypatia out of their stupor. Cookie drops onto White Crane from above and the three engage in a frenzied scuffle. Rook is knocked unconscious by the Dolgarr Berserker but later recovers on his own and rejoins the battle. Agapanthus is pulled into the lake but quickly swims back to shore. Ruby Blue falls unconscious, and the spider, berserker, and warrior are killed. Declaring that you haven’t seen the last of her, White Crane escapes from the clutches of Cookie and Dog Boy and jumps into the Black Lake.

You begin to search the bodies but are quickly interrupted by Cookie who spots a huge hoard of phase spiders descending into the cavern from the sink hole above. With just enough time to evade the spiders, Wolvar finds the mechanism to open the secret door. You escape into the relative safety of the tunnels beyond the door, the hungry spiders scratching on the cavern walls behind you. You find a small cave to settle down in and rest the night uneventfully.

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Mayantus 13, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 43

You navigate through a labyrinth of tunnels, successfully locating one room in the lair of the deformed goblins. Entering a cavern with glowing metallic walls, you defeat seven deformed goblins and a Murk Bat Cloud. You kill all but one of the goblins, who calls himself Muckie and agrees to help you find treasure in the other rooms of the goblin lair.

Muckie leads you to a bat cave where you defeat three goblin bat handlers, two mutated shadowhunter bats, and two murk bat clouds. You proceed to a goblin mess hall where you slay two goblin mess cooks, several goblin cutters, and a trash heap golem.

Wolvar’s spirit badger eats through a writhing wall of green-tinged flesh to reveal a marble statue of a human male hidden in the chamber behind it, hand extended as if to shake hands. Hypatia warns Wolvar off from shaking the statue’s hand just as he is about to do so. Hypatia instead bluffs Muckie into shaking the statue’s hand. Upon doing so, Muckie turns into a marble statue while the statue transforms into a human male who identifies himself as Rio the Rogue. You inform Rio that the current year is 1010 A.G. He is in complete disbelief, saying that this is the year 899 A.G. and that he must return to Altazar to marry his fiance in the spring of 900 A.G. As reward for rescuing him, Rio hands a ring over to Hypatia, claiming that it is an extremely coveted magical ring called a Ritualist’s Ring that may be worth as much as 500,000 GP. You direct Rio to an exit and he thanks you and rushes off.

You proceed to a glowing cave featuring a tainted purple pool in its center. You are immediately attacked by Glork, an aberrant female goblin, along with several goblin cutters and warriors. A writhing mass of animated goblin body parts emerges from the pool. Rook is mentally attacked by the pool and feels compelled to enter it, but quickly recovers and steps out of it. After defeating the enemies, you extract a magical vicious longsword that had melded into Glork’s arm. Hypatia also extracts three glowing nodules from the cavern walls. Using your knowledge of nature, arcana, and religion, you heal the area around the pool to negate the aberrant influence of the chaos that emanates from it.

You find your way out of the labyrinth of tunnels and arrive at the surface without attracting attention. You travel back toward the Old Gate at the King’s Wall. A few miles before reaching the gate, you spot a woman in a green and white dress being pursued up a hillock by a pair of Duergar mounted on massive blue scarab beetles infused with necromantic magic. You see that the woman is being aided in her defense by numerous animated orchid-like flowers. You defeat the Duergar and the scarab beetles, but the beetles re-animate as undead and you must defeat them a second time. Rook nearly dies but is stabilized in the nick of time by Hypatia.

After the battle, the woman thanks you and introduces herself as The Chanter, and refers to her animated flower allies as Saprolings. Hypatia determines that the Saprolings are tiny elementals of a good persuasion. The Chanter also thanks you for healing a small part of the Chaos Scar. The Chanter says that she is an assistant to the elderly Oracle of the Old Gate, but that her main responsibility is to guard a sacred grove of everlasting bushes called a Dunn Grove. She encourages you to commit the appearance and smell of the Dunn Grove to memory, because whenever you are near one, you will gain protection from them so long as you do not commit an affront against the world’s Primal Forces.

The Chanter tells you that some of the Saprolings might like to accompany you on your next quest, and that they will give you aid and support. But each of you must personally invite them to join you. Two Saprolings agree to go with Agapanthus, one joins with Hypatia, one accompanies Rook, but none of them join up with Wolvar. The Chanter places the Saprolings in pots formed from hardened peat. She instructs you to keep the peat pots moist, but not too soggy, and to give the Saprolings ample amounts of sunlight as they travel in your backpacks.

The Chanter offers to foretell you future, saying that although she is not as prescient as The Oracle, she does possess some ability in that regard. The Chanter states that your time in the Chaos Scar has reached its end, and that your place in the world lies beyond the Chaos Scar. She tells you that your immediate goals will be in alignment with that of an old enemy, and though others will try to dissuade you, your best course of action will be to cooperate with the enemy for a time. She tells you that you will travel to another place that needs healing, well beyond the Chaos Scar, and in that place there is a lone Dunn Grove that clings to life close to the location of another powerful enemy. The Saprolings will help you find the Dunn Grove, and once there, they will attend to its health. If the nearby enemy can be defeated and the Dunn Grove can be restored, then the entire region might be saved from devastation.

You spend the night resting peacefully near the Dunn Grove in the presence of The Chanter and her Saprolings.

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Mayantus 14, 1010 A.G
Campaign Day 44

In the morning you find that The Chanter is crying, feeling that something tragic has beset the old Oracle of the Gate. You travel to the Old Gate, with The Chanter accompanying you. There you find the old Oracle dead, hanging five feet off the ground in the archway under the gatehouse.

The two albino Eladrin mercenary wizards, Aldrin and Endrin, whisper to you from above. They warn you to be quiet and to come quickly up the stairs of the gate house to see something important. After joining the two wizards and their mercenary Orc accomplice, Turka, you peer through the gatehouse window, east beyond the Old Wall, and see hundreds of Orcs, Ogres, and Giants marching northward in scattered groupings. In the skies above them, hordes of flying monkeys drop burlap bundles fastened to small black parachutes that float gently to the ground.

Turka runs downstairs and out into the field to retrieve one of the burlap bundles, slaying one Orc and scaring off five others in the process. She returns upstairs with the bundle and opens it to find a serrated black shortsword, a serrated black dagger, two uniforms, and a box of eight chocolate Orc soldiers mounted on hickory sticks. Hypatia determines that the chocolate soldiers-on-a-stick are enchanted in some way.

You leave the tower with the three mercenaries, staying on the opposite side of the wall from the traveling armies. Turka and Wolvar begin to bicker. Turka reveals that she killed the Oracle of the Gate because she didn’t like the prophesy that the Oracle gave her. Wolvar expresses his extreme outrage at Turka‘s actions. Failing to understand Wolvar’s concerns, the mercenaries decide to depart and go their own way, heading west back into the Chaos Scar. After they get about 100 feet away, Agapanthus shoots Endrin with his longbow. You engage in battle with the mercenaries. Aldrin and Endrin are dispatched quickly. Turka fights intensely for some time, dealing substantial amounts of damage to Rook, but she is eventually brought down by the party in a four-against-one battle. You begin to search the bodies of the three fallen mercenaries.

A pair of Hill Giants climb to the top of the wall and begin hurling boulders. After three rounds of combat, a flock of eight Mungo intercede. Six carry bundles while two are empty-handed. They drop the bundles (each containing one uniform) to the ground and demand that the party (including the Cookie and Dog Boy) put them on immediately. Upon donning the uniforms, the Hill Giants cease their attacks.

The Mungo say they’ve been looking for you. The Old One is delighted that the Dragon-scum creature named Balasar has been driven away. Because The Old One detests dragons, and all their kin, she is inclined to come to a new arrangement with you.

“Find a place of refuge, and take a little time to rest. Meet us at the western edge of The Smoking Forest in six days time. Don’t worry exactly where; we’ll find you. Then we’ll tell you what you need to do to please The Old One. Meanwhile, keep your uniforms on and treat them with respect; they will grant you safe passage through this territory, without which you have no chance of surviving.”

You proceed to Restwell Keep. At the main gate there is a long line of about forty people. Most are Kenku refugees. The remainder include a small band of bedraggled Elves dressed in gray. A pair of guards and a sergeant go up and down the line keeping order, collecting weapons. They bring the party and other humanoids to the front, bypassing the Kenku. A Kenku woman asks for some scraps of food for her boy; a guard tells her to shut her mouth, whacks her in the beak, and she loses of few of her feathers. The guard tells you not the give her food or you’ll start a riot among the Kenku refugees. You turn in your weapons and enter the keep.

You arrive at The Stumbling Giant Inn and interact with Katuun, Renthro, Poppit, and Meadowbrook, who are all still rehabilitating from their captivity in the stronghold of Tregulus. Renthro and Katuun have completed work on the Battle Standard of Healing they had promised you.

You hear a rumor that two Kenku temples in Graak were fighting over a sacred artifact. The losing flock were driven out. That’s why they’re now refugees. You hear another rumor that a band of Kenku bandits have been harassing travelers to the Keep. They are thought to be a gang formed by refugees from Graak who sought refuge at the Keep but were mistreated, so they’ve turned to banditry instead.

Luthan, a Graythicket Elf, is lean and pale, with dark circles under his eyes. He asks the party to go to The Smoking Forest to slay a Young Green Dragon who is a daughter of the Elder Green Dragon, Kalabaxus. His tribe of elves are starving because the young dragon has poisoned almost everything, and now it is hunting the Elves themselves. Luthan sketches a small map with a pathway leading to an old fortress in the Smoking Forest, where he thinks the dragon lair is located. The dragon is in league with a bandit gang lead by a Tiefling. The bandits dwell at the fortress as guards, and also tithe a large percentage of their treasure to the Young Green Dragon. Luthan speaks of a last, lone Dunn Grove that clings to life just outside the fortress. Despite the Young Green Dragon’s best efforts to poison it, it has somehow endured. If the forest has any chance of not turning into a perpetually poisoned wasteland, the Dragon must be killed and the Dunn Grove nursed back to health. Luthan also warns that a menacing creature called an Owl Bear somehow made its way from the Fey Realm into The Smoking Forest. He suggests that if you come across it, you might consider running in the opposite direction.

The party is observed by a small group of human mages in light blue robes wearing silver masks. The mages send a bottle of fine wine to the party’s table. They invite Hypatia to their table and request that she show them her Ritualist Ring. They invite Hypatia and her companions to dinner at the mages guildhouse tomorrow evening.

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Mayantus 15-16, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Days 45-46

After a quiet day of shopping and ritual study, you go to dinner at the Saruun Guildhouse, a mages guild. The master of the guildhouse is Citirian, who like the other guildhouse mages, wears a silver mask and long, sky blue robes. Citirian tells you that the guild is interested in all forms of arcane knowledge. Convincing Hypatia to let him ogle her Ritualist Ring a second time, Citirian tells you that he suspects the ring once belonged to the Deva Sorceror, Parathion, who is also known as the Sorceror of Altazar. In 899 A.G., the ring was stolen from Parathion by Rio the Rogue at the behest of his paramour, the Lady Gerd. Rio never returned from his quest, however. Filled with bitterness, the Lady Gerd left Altazar to spend her life working at an orphanage and studying alchemy in a small, far-away kingdom called Ardwen.

You spend a pleasant evening feasting and exchanging tales with the Saruun mages. You hear rumors of the new-formed alliance between Parathion and Malevicious. You learn that the reason that Parathion is paying homage to the Overlord of Trollgard is because Malevicious is the first known creature to attain his Epic Destiny, winning a bet with his long-time rival, Parathion. You also learn that The Old One is amassing an army of Orcs, Ogres, Giants, and sundry other creatures to slaughter any and all dragons and their kin found within a hundred miles of Notchwood. To further her goals, The Witch with Three Horns, like Parathion, has formed an alliance with Malevicious. You return to The Stumbling Giant Inn to rest, though your thoughts are troubled at the prospect of an alliance between three powerful enemies.

On the morning of Mayantus 16, you leave Restwell Keep and travel southeast to the western edge of The Smoking Forest. You rest the night uneventfully.

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Mayantus 17, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 47

You awaken to find two Mungo nearby. Greeting you, they carry a black curtain draped over a bee-hive shaped object. They lift the curtain to reveal a bird cage holding a Cockatrice. They instruct you to use the Cockatrice to defeat the Young Green Dragon of The Smoking Forest and its allies. The Mungo tell you that the Cockatrice will not attack you so long as you don the livery of The Old One. To satisfy The Old One’s wishes, you must continue wearing the uniforms for five weeks (30 days) after slaying the dragon, and you must announce to all you come in contact with that you slew the young daughter of the Elder Green Dragon, Kalabaxus, in the name of The Old One. If you comply with all these requests, the Mungo promise that you will be amply rewarded by The Old One.

Shortly after the Mungo leave your campsite, a red-scaled Dragonborn and a Kobold dash out of the forest, pursued by a gang of Kenku bandits. You aid the Dragonborn and Kobold and defeat the bandits. The Dragonborn Sorceror introduces himself as Ki’mat along with his loyal Kobold squire, Ibid.

Using the map that was sketched for you by Luthan, you find the path leading into The Smoking Forest. Wolvar finds a stone marker labeled To Prospect Hill and you realize that this leads to the location of the dragon’s fortress lair. You succeed in not succumbing to the noxious fumes of the poisoned forest and arrive safely at the gates of the old fortress on Prospect Hill. You spot a Dunn Grove outside the fortress walls.

You are immediately attacked by human crossbowmen, lackeys, and guards. Hypatia and Agapanthus succeed in destroying a powerful ballista before the crossbowmen can use it to do any serious damage to you. The Saprolings (sentient orchids) that have been traveling in your backpacks immediately begin tending to the Dunn Grove.

You enter the courtyard and peruse the barracks, spotting nothing of value. You enter the doors to inner keep and are confronted by four Bugbears and the Tiefling bandit leader, Chevkos. As the battle begins, Hypatia shrinks down to one inch tall and is drawn inside the black cone to speak with Adugrain.

The Young Green Dragon bursts out of the pit to defend its lair. The dragon questions Ki’mat, “Glittering Red Child of Tiamat, why do you stand beside the Old One’s hideous minions and attack your own kin?” You slay most of the combatants in a vicious battle, with Wolvar dealing the killing blow to the dragon while a single Bugbear escapes with its life. The dragon’s head is adorned with a platinum band that sparkles with embedded golden topazes, guarding against mental disruption. Ki’mat identifies it as a Circlet of Continuity and tells you that it will protect against dazing and stunning effects. Searching through Chevkos’s treasure room, you find a magical elven-styled Endless Quiver that can create an endless supply of normal arrows or bolts. You remove the dragons talons and head and then burn its body in a massive bonfire.

You leave the fortress and retrace your path westward. You are attacked by six Grigs (tiny flying sprites that appear half human and half cricket) and an Owl Bear. With the aid of spirits’ council, Wolvar lithely escapes the Owl Bears powerful grasp. After slaying one of the Grigs and the Owl Bear, the remaining five Grigs apologize for their attack and fly off. You tell the Grigs that you slew the young daughter of the Elder Green Dragon, Kalabaxus, in the name of The Old One.

You succeed in leaving the forest with no ill effects from the corrupted poisonous atmosphere. Wolvar mounts the dragon’s skull on a sign post at the forest’s western entrance. You set up camp for the night outside the forest’s edge. The night passes uneventfully.

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Mayantus 18-19, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Days 48 and 49

In the morning, Wolvar spots a crossbow bolt shot into a nearby tree. In coarsely worded Common, it reads,

Kalabaxus will hear of this. The tale of the wrath she deals upon you and the vile Witch you serve will live through the Ages, and I will relish in its telling! And by the way, we Bugbears love to eat Elf babies, though if we swallow too fast we sometimes choke a little bit on their bones! Hee, hee!

Hypatia returns from the cone. Adugrain tells her that she will be warned away from approaching a large corn field encompassed by a thick berm, but that she should go there, for there is knowledge to be discovered inside The Shadow Berm, and Hypatia will bring glory to Ioun by confronting its foes rather than skulking away. However, the party must not dwell there long; no more than two short rests should be taken while inside and all search times should be kept to a minimum.

A flock of Mungo return. The leader congratulates you on slaying Kasteria, young daughter of the Green Dragon, Kalabaxus. However, they are perturbed by the presence of the Dragonborn, Ki’mat, and his Kobold assistant, Ibid, in the party. They ask that you leave them treasure in exchange for forgetting to mention this transgression to The Old One.

You travel to the outskirts of Graak where you see a Kenku goat herder a few miles outside the city. He cautions you to avoid the city as it is not safe for outsiders. He tells you that these are violent times in Graak, even among the Kenku themselves, let alone strangers. “I tend to my goats. I sell my goat milk to a trader who sells it at the city market for triple the price he gives me. That’s fine with me. I stay out of the city and I stay out of trouble.” He tells you of the Temple of Pelor a few miles east of the city. “It’s in the direction of the rising sun, of course! I can take you there. I was bringing my goats in that direction anyway.” The cleric there is Moktok. "He will help you overcome your afflictions, though he will, of course, expect a generous contribution to Pelor’s coffers.”

You arrive at the Temple of Pelor, shaped like a giant onion dome. The top is covered in shiny gold leaf reflecting the suns rays and below are painted alien runic symbols around the perimeter in bright yellow on a deep blue background. Numerous open port holes penetrate the dome at seemingly random locations. At the base, about 60 feet in diameter, are two open-air portals, one on the east and one on the west. Moktok charges the standard 250 GP to cast Remove Affliction on each of the three PCs that need it. Rook, Wolvar, and Hypatial each stand in succession in the center of Temple and allow themselves to be scorched by the intensified rays of the Sun as Moktok removes their afflictions.

You spend the night at the temple peacefully. On the morning of the 19th, Moktok reveals that he is sheltering several Kenku refugees. He asks for you aid in helping them travel to a place of refuge they call The Circle Kingdom, which you instantly recognize as your native kingdom of Ardwen. In his gratitude, Moktok allows Ki’mat to make of copy of the Remove Affliction ritual using Ki’mat’s Amanuensis ritual.

You arrive at The Shadow Berm and enter it. You battle numerous Undead, including a talking Scarecrow that claims to have once served with the Empire of Nerath. He pleads with you to slay The Old One, stating that she is the witch that cursed all horses a century ago with the uncurable disease known as Brittle Bones which eventually lead to the decline and fall of Nerath. He tells you that by slaying The Old One the curse will be undone. Agapanthus kills the scarecrow with a single attack, slaying all seven of the Scarecrow Shamblers under its control. You find a suit of magic hide armor on the Scarecrow.

You encounter and defeat numerous zombies and rat-like wolves shambling around a smoking crater. You pass through a gully and are attacked by grasping hands reaching through the corn stalks. Wolvar is pushed into the gully and falls through a narrow crevasse and into a deep cave. You help Wolvar fight off four Corruption Corpses. You take a short rest then climb out of the gully.

You begin crossing an icy pond and are attacked by zombies, skeletons, and a wraith. Ibid is killed and Ki’mat is knocked unconscious but you eventually defeat the enemies after a vicious battle.

You search a rubbish pile and find a belt buckle and other minor treasure. You enter a patch of grasping grass, and gibbering heads on stakes begin their psychic attacks. Rook falls unconscious but is revived by Wolvar.

Meanwhile Krum, a Goliath Barbarian from the Rubric Hills in Ardwen, follows a vision of a badger spirit that leads him to the Shadow Berm. When he arrives, he sees Cookie, Dog Boy, and a cluster of Kenku threatened by a band of four Skeleton Troopers. The Hobgoblins and the Kenku ask for Krum’s help and he proceeds to single-handedly defeat the Skeleton Troopers.

You leave the Shadow Berm and re-unite with Cookie, Dog Boy, and the Kenku who have now been joined by Krum, who is an old acquaintance of Wolvar. An oversized black raven flutters overhead with a red velvet sachet in its talons. The enormous raven drops the sachet gently on the ground, then it perches on one of the corn stalks. The raven tells you that it is a messenger of the Raven Queen. The sachet contains rewards for you for ridding the world of so many Undead. It includes a beautiful silver box containing three Elixirs to right three wrongs.

The ruby red elixir is to be administered to Squire Borrie Bilkins, who honorably served his Prince and was cursed by The Old One of the Wood. After drinking the potion, Borrie will stop transforming into a straw doll, and he will gradually be restored to full health over the course of one year’s time. Also, a few drops of the same potion can be set aside and spared for the pony, Dandelion, which will cure it of Brittle Bones disease. This will bring great joy to the heart of the Halfling’s two children.

The milky pale green elixir is a re-animator potion brewed especially for the Ghoul, Nostone. When freed from his sarcophagus of embalming fluid, administer the potion immediately. As an animated Ghoul, he will faithfully serve the person who administers the potion as their personal guardian for a period of 90 days, after which time the curse of Undeath will be lifted. Should he die during his period of service, his Undeath curse will be lifted as he dies and he will be unbound from the Shadowfell and come to rest in peace in the Astral Sea.

The cobalt blue elixir is to be administered to the Mule with Violet Eyes and Silver Tail that endures a life of torment and hard labor in the land of Giants and Trolls.

Only after all three Elixirs have been administered to their rightful recipients may you assemble the three empty potion flasks to craft your fourth and final gift from the Raven Queen.

A final message from the Raven Queen, When the Deva arrives at her moment of crisis in the Chamber of Tomes, know that Nostone can be relied on. The raven then turns toward Cookie and asks, Is it safe? Before Cookie has a chance to answer, the raven flies off, leaving the entire area around you tinged with an invigorating frost that heals your wounds and brings you back to full health. You spend a peaceful night resting under the stars in the gentle glow of the raven’s refreshing frost.

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Mayantus 20, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 50

At dawn, another Kobold arrives, Idem (pronounced EYE-dem). He tells Ki’mat that he will relieve Ibid but Ki’mat informs Idem that Ibid is dead.

Traveling back toward Ardwen, you encounter a large clan of downtrodden Hobgoblin refugees camping near a stream. As you approach, you hear a gruff voice yell out, “All right ladies, let’s bring on the pain!”, as three marauding Ogre Cave Hunters and six Troll Runts rush toward the refugees. Ki’mat finishes off many of the Troll Runts using his fire and acid attacks. After the battle, the Hobgoblin refugees ask the party for refuge in Ardwen. Among them is a young hobgoblin named Jasper who is a childhood friend of Dog Boy.

The Hobgoblins tell of raids from Trollgard. Overlord Malevicious has annexed Hobgoblin Nation and claimed it as the first Imperial Province of Tr’ome. His first official act was to open it to rape, pillage and plunder by the Trolls and their allies, the Giants. Any Hobgoblin subjects in the province who do not submit to laws of Tr’ome are slaughtered or enslaved. The “laws” basically state that all Trolls and Giants are free to do whatever they want wherever they want to whomever they want unless Malevicious commands otherwise. These Hobgoblin refugees simply want to live peaceable lives, learn a trade, and support their families. Unlike most Hobgoblins, they are not militaristic. They’re aware that Evil creatures are not allowed to pass through The Wards, and though they struggle to control their nature which sometimes gets the best of them, they’d prefer to take their chances and pass through The Wards rather than subject themselves to Troll domination.

You return to Ardwen, arriving at the border near Tower Nine in the West Quadrant. Felgrim Cornerstone is working on The Wards. He is guarded by Ward Sergeant Krengo, a Dragonborn Soldier in black scale armor, and a contingent of five Ward Guards outfitted in Ardwenian livery. They look well trained and prepared to fight, though you notice that they are all a bit gaunt, even the Dwarf engineer and the Dragonborn Ward Sergeant.

Felgrim Cornerstone complains that there is too little residuum in the Rubricium cylinders. They need higher grade residuum or else several of The Wards will not survive through the year. Felgrim sharply chides you, If you want to be doin’ something useful for yer kingdom, delve deep into The Mines of Kog and find us some good supplies of Residuum, rather than goin’ off and slayin’ demented little Goblins in the Chaos Scar and prancin’ about in yer little clown costumes!"

Krengo is reluctant to allow the Hobgoblins to pass into Ardwen, but when Dog Boy asks him to allow it, Krengo bows his head and answers, ’As you wish, young sire. Though you will see that things have become more dire by the day in your grandfather’s Kingdom. This may not be the place of refuge that your brethren had hoped for." He describes food shortages among all except the Halflings, who seem to be as fat as they ever were, and are often seen contentedly nibbling on black truffles.

Krengo tells the party that the chief Hobgoblin slaver, Tregulus, and his Bugbear and Hobgoblin henchmen had raided many small villages throughout western Ardwen, pillaging and plundering at will. They also discovered a small Harefolk warren, capturing dozens of Harefolk. In one village, the Hobgoblins were overheard to boast that The Harefolk are to be sent by Tregulus to the Troll Overlord Malevicious as a coronation gift, and in return Tregulus expects to be appointed Imperial Governor of Hobgoblin Nation by Malevicious. About half of the Bugbears and Hobgoblins were sent back to Hobgoblin Nation with the first wagonload of Harefolk. Tregulus and a contingent of a dozen of his most loyal henchmen are still in Ardwen. They stayed behind because they were enjoying the pillage and plunder so much that, after one of the raids on a farming village, Tregulus was overheard to utter a vile laugh and say, Aye, ye loyal Slavers, let us stay in their land a while longer and remind these dolts and scallywags every day the pain they must be caused to suffer for killing our dear business associate, the hag Mother Gerd, and for interfering with our slave trade, attacking my Fortress Tower, and slaying my beloved Rogda!

Tregulus and his Hobgoblins are roaming Western Ardwen and hunting more Harefolk to eventually facilitate their escape. Krengo wants to personally hunt them down and slay them but he has been ordered to guard Felgrim Cornerstone while he works on maintaining The Wards which, according to the commands of The King’s Council, has higher priority. The King’s Council has not yet mounted a response to the Hobgoblin incursion in the West because they are dealing with food riots in the North and East, so the peoples of Underton and surrounding lands have been left to deal with the raids on their own, and being mostly farmers and lacking experience in such matters, they have not fared well thus far.

Linosa shows up, carrying a jug in one hand and a female Halfling slung over her shoulder with arrows sticking out at all angles. There are tears streaming down Linosa‘s face. She tells the party that she and Pixelator discovered the whereabouts of the Hobgoblin band – it’s the same lair under the waterfall that the Troglodyte and Hyenas had been hiding in. But Pixelator was spotted by Hobgoblin archer sentries and shot through like a pin cushion. Linosa retrieved her body but it was too late to save her life. Pixelator is dead.

Ward Sergeant Krengo wants to accompany you and return to the waterfall lair to battle Tregulus and his henchmen. Krengo promotes Linosa to Ward Sergeant so that she can relieve him of his current assignment.

The Kenku and Hobgoblin refugees bravely cross through The Wards. Two Kenku are obliterated by The Wards while eleven pass through without harm. For the Hobgoblins, twenty-five pass through safely while eight are destroyed by The Wards, including Dog Boy’s friend Jasper.

Felgrim and Ward Sergeant Krengo keeping looking up at the sky and watching the sun. They are waiting for high noon. Felgrim makes numerous adjustments on the Ward plinth. Krengo asks, “Do you think this will really work?” Felgrim replies, “If no harm has come to the dwarven Ward Engineers in the other three quadrants and they were able to complete their mission as I have mine, then yes, Sergeant, it will most certainly work!” Felgrim cranks his final adjustments in place just before noon. The Wards emit a soft blue glow. In addition to protecting Ardwen from Evil, they now have the capability to recharge themselves by sucking in the Residuum from any magic items that pass through them!

With Ward Sergeant Krengo joining you, you travel north to the waterfall lair at the source of the Little Trout River. Before reaching the lair, you camp for the night.

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Mayantus 21, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 51

Hypatia feeds a magic weapon to The Creature of the Cone.

You proceed to the waterfall lair and meet a group of young adventurers. They have just concluded a battle, killing Tregulus and his gang. They carry the head of Tregulus on a pole. Hypatia casts the Speak with Dead scroll and asks the head two questions. The head of Tregulus reveals that Cookie’s daughter Yaeva is a slave to a Mind Flayer named Blackmourn who dwells in place called The Trollhaunt Warrens. The young adventure party also tells you that they spotted flying monkeys headed northeast yesterday.

The Kenku refugees decide to stay at the waterfall lair and settle there, at least temporarily while they adjust to their new lives in Ardwen.

You travel north along the banks of the Little Trout River, heading toward Silverdale. As you reach the village, you see that the people, mostly Halflings, are in a general commotion near the dwelling of Borrie Bilkins. You find that Borrie has been burned and decapitated by the Mungo. The pony Dandelion has been decapitated and its head is missing. Worse still, the Mungo were seen flying off with Borrie‘s two Halfing children, Beka and Boko Bilkins. You attempt to attach Borrie’s head to Dandelion’s body using the Raven Queen’s ruby red potion but your efforts to revive Borrie fail. Suspicious of your bizarre actions, the authorities in Silverdale politely ask you to leave town and you comply. You travel a few miles outside the village and camp for the night.

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Mayantus 22, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 52

You travel east to Braemore, crossing the Little Trout River by ferry. You proceed to the Chiltern River and old Gabbie brings you across in his raft.

You return to Duffington Manor to find that it has been sacked and is now occupied by two dozen riff-raff squatters. Nostone’s sarcophagus has been smashed and Nostone himself has been dismembered. Greeves carries a tray bearing the only surviving remains of Nostone, a hand with its middle finger pointing up.

You fail to persuade the squatters to leave Duffington Manor, but you eventually cajole them into leaving by paying them gold pieces to purchase drinks at The Copper Codpiece. After the squatters depart for their drinking binge, you help the Hobgoblin refugees settle into Duffington Manor. They get busy with the work of fortifying the home’s defenses against the squatters’ return.

You spend the night at Duffington Manor without incident.

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Mayantus 23, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 53

You travel by raft all day as Gabbie escorts you downriver to Ardmore. You travel to the school at the Temple of Ioun. Hethica seems upset that you have been away for so long. She thinks it’s important to travel to Avandra’s sunken temple to procure the The Tomes of Power very soon. You spend the night at the school.

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