PREVIOUSLY: The heroes arrive in Three Pines Ford. After meeting with a shady elven inn-keeper, known by Evarl to be a retired assassin, the heroes come across a call for help from a druid who is keen to learn why one of the ancient three Dyrad Trees, after which the town is named, has begun to die. The druid provides a guide in the form of a fighter named Voldar Riffolk, who agrees to assist the heroes. Shortly after accepting the druid’s call for assistance, the heroes stumble across a tunnel under one of the trees. Upon investigating further, the heroes learn that the trees are being somehow magically poisoned with ritualistic necromancy, but not before being set upon by several tainted fey. After defeating the creatures, the heroes return to the druid who confirms their theory, but explains she would need to examine the site further. In the meantime, the druid suggests the heroes visit the magic shop called the Ageng and Elyelen’s Vault where some of the supplies for the evil ritual may have been purchased from…
As night fell, the heroes bid their fare-well to the druid and her assistant Voldar Riffolk, and made their way back to the Black Mist. Given the late hour, the four aimed to return to their investigations in the morning at the alchemist shop. During the evening, Evarl and Nell noticed that the ship was under surveillance by a cloaked individual. Rather than starting an incident, the heroes kept the man under close watch, but by the end of first watch, the man had disappeared.
As dawn broke, those heroes who were not on watch were awoken to the sounds and smells of cooking bacon and eggs, courtesy of the Black Mist‘s first mate, Ewem. After breakfast, the heroes made their way through the busy morning markets to the alchemists store, known as Ageng and Elyelen’s Vault. There, they met an aging female dwarf shop keeper named Ageng after whom the shop was named. Kal and Sam engaged the shopkeeper in conversation whilst Evarl and Nell looked about the store. Eve noticed that the store was well stocked, but was dusty in some areas. In a corner, in a particularly dusty section, both she and Nell noticed a rectangular shaped print indicating that something had been there recently. Meanwhile, during the discussion with the shop keeper, Kal discovered that the powder was definitely sold at the store, and that powder and wax of the kind that was found at the tree would be contained in an alchemist kit. When Kal asked if one had been sold recently, the shopkeeper became tight lipped, claiming that she may know more if a purchase of some goods was had. After sampling the store’s wares, Kal made a purchase of some Oil of Bless Weapon for 50gp, after which the the shopkeeper became more loose lipped.
The aging dwarf revealed that a pale skinned gnome had attended her shop just over a day ago, and had made a purchase of a portable alchemists kit, and points to where Evarl and Nell were examining. She further explained that the gnome said little, paid extra for the purchase of the kits, and left. Nothing else was purchased.
During the conversation with the shopkeeper, a man enters the store, remaining near the front door and examining books. Evarl noticed the man to be similar shape and build to the humanoid who had been watching the Black Mist the previous evening. Evarl slipped up next to the man without him noticing, and carefully watched his movements. Suddenly the man turned his head towards the young elf, nodded, and then bolted for the front door, dropping the book as he ran.
The man dashed across the road, with Evarl in hot pursuit. Nell and Sam following closely behind. Evarl caught the man slipping into a general store across the road, and followed. As she approached however, she heard commotion from within. As Evarl darted into the store, she noticed the shopkeeper assaulting the would-be-spy with a broom, and a tray of eggs smashed on the floor beside them. The woman was yelling for the man to get out. Evarl took advantage of the situation, and grabbed a hessian bag from the counter. Whilst the man was otherwise occupied, Evarl forced the bag over the man’s head in an attempt to drag him to the ground. The shopkeeper, an elderly woman, went to threaten Evarl, thinking that she was about to be robbed, but through fast talking, Evarl convinced the woman her that she was there to apprehend the would-be criminal.
Nell remained on the roadway, as Sam dashed across the road to join Evarl in the store. Kal and the dwarven store owner joined Nell on the street to see what was going on. Suddenly from around the corner, three guards barreling towards the direction of the disturbance. Nell engaged the guards in conversation, claiming that it was only her Uncle that was have a reaction of some bad stew. The guards, somewhat bedazzled by the red-haired sorcerer’s words, held their ground, seeming to believe her.
Meanwhile inside the store, the man had escaped by cutting open the bag with a concealed knife. The man spun to face his attackers, and the old shopkeeper backed away. Evarl drew her sword, and threatened the man to surrender. At that moment, Sam burst through the front door, his intimidating prowess convincing the man that surrender was a good option. Evarl quickly questioned the man, but he was more that tight lipped that the dwarven shop-keeper. With a few jarring blows from Sam‘s fists, and the fact that he saw the guards awaiting him outside, the would-be spy loosened his tongue. The man, named Ewis Arrerk, spilled the story, stating that he worked for an accountant named Andre Colton who was a spy for the Molthune Government. The man claimed that he was regularly paid by Andre to keep a watchful eye on the new-comers to the town, and report back any unusual activities. He claimed he had been tracking the heroes since they arrived, but did not expect them to be as resourceful and perceptive as they had been. When asked about the gnome, the man knew nothing, although had heard them talking about it in the magic shop.
With this confession, Evarl and Sam took the man outside and handed him over to the authorities. Nell, not wnating to be accusing of lying to the guards, and perhaps thereafter being dragged away, slunk back into the magic store until they had left. Meanwhile Evarl, Kal and Sam followed the guards back to the Three Pines Ford Keep and spoke with the Captain of the Guard. The heroes told them of the story and what the man had confessed. The heroes were commended for their efforts, and awarded 400gp as a reward for apprehending a Molthune spy.
Meanwhile Nell commenced her return to the Black Mist. Whilst making her way through the docks, Nell overheard a group of sailors claiming that they were from a ship called the Grinning Parrot and that had come from up river a few days earlier. She further heard that some were claiming that they had be haunted during their trip by what they identified as a ghouling halfling with pale skin and eyes. Nell deduced that this was a similar description of the gnome the magic shop owner had seen previously. Nell then returned to the boat and was later joined by the other three heroes. After sharing the reward for the capture of the spy, the heroes and Captain Walren’s crew prepared to set sail. Shortly before leaving, the heroes learned that the Molthune spy, who had been acting as an accountant had got wind of the situation, and had fled the town. The crew then fare-welled the town, and the Black Mist then headed off down the Tourondel River to continue its journey to Tamran.
Th third day was relatively uneventful, as the crew made their way through the mouth of the river an into Lake Encarthen. As night fell, the eerie light show of bright green and blue flashes on the horizon from the direction of what was known as the Isle of Terror haunted the heroes. This prompted Kal to seek guidance from Erastil, after which he cast a divine spell which provided him with the fore-sight to predict the oncoming weather.
The evening of the forth day saw a violent store reek havoc on the ship. Crewman Anthond Bowe was injured during the storm, and was taken below decks to rest and recover. The rest of the crew handled themselves remarkably well, gaining the praises of Captain Walren.
On the evening of the last day, approximately 2 hours out from Tamran, a mist had formed, which Kal had also predicted, which blocked the way into Tamran‘s bay. Captain Waldren was wary, and readied everyone, except crewman Bowe who was still unwell, for battle. Evarl was the first to spot the ambush, a cutter vessel flying a Molthune Privateer flag came into view.
Evarl warned the crew, and Nell yelled out, claiming that the Black Mist was a plague ship, and not to come closer. Evarl could clearly see the crew of the incoming vessel, who comprised of seven soldiers, and a Captain. Evarl confirmed that Nell’s plan appeared to have worked, as most of the men aboard the vessel appeared uneasy. However, instead of the ship moving away, the Molthuni Captain yelled for his men to burn the boat. With that, two alchemist’s fires were thrown at the ship. Evarl and Sam were quick enough to move to a position where the containers would land. Evarl caught the first, but Sam was not nimble enough, the flask slipping through his fingers, and the contents smashing on the ground under him. The explosion engulfed the young warrior, however the discharge was not as bad as he first though although he was now covered in partially flaming goo.
However, Nell‘s distraction was enough to allow her to unleash a burning hands spell, across the middle section of the Molthuni ship, which caused the deaths of several of the Molthuni crewmen. Ewem flung a spear in the direction of another crewman, which collected the sailor in the chest, sending him skittering across the deck. Several of the sailors attempted to swing across to the Black Mist, with two reaching their intended target, and another making it only to the side rail. Evarl took it upon herself to deal with this poor sap, while Nell stepped back to again flame the advancing sailors. Meanwhile, the Molthuni Captain had swung across the stern of the ship to engage Captain Walren himself in combat. The two traded blows, but clearly the aged dwarven captain was no match for the much younger Molthuni. Kal quickly cast a spell on Sam to further protect him in the fight, as Sam raced to protect Captain Waldren. Several of the sailors continued their advance, with Ewen receiving several severe wounds from Molthuni blades. But the attacks were not enough to sway the Kellid’s respove to protect his ship, and with the assistance of Kal, and Nell‘s magic missile spells from her wand, two of the would be pirates fell. Sam bravely defended Captain Walren, and soon after beheaded the Molthuni Captain. Having seen his captain beheaded, the last surviving privateer jumped into the shadowy depths of Lake Encarthen.
The heroes initially considered taking possession of the Molthuni ship, but upon further inspection found that it was heavily damaged, and not just from the fire caused by Nell’s spell, but because it had been neglected and severely damaged through attacks from other vessels. The heroes, after some suggestions from Captain Walren, cleared the ship of its cargo and supplies, and sent the boat to the depths of Lake Encarthen.
During the search, a locked safe was located, the contents of which were a small treasure of coins, a magical feather token, and a letter of marquee from the Molthuni Government. Also found board were supplies, and a series of military orders pertaining to ship movements in the area. Captain Walren informed the heroes that this would be an advantage as they would be able to claim several rewards for the recovery of those documents, and for the heads of the Mothuni Privateers from the Tamran council.
With that, the heroes and the crew of the Black Mist continued on their journey, and soon after arrived at Tamran…
PREVIOUSLY: The heroes race into the forest near Morrie’s Farm in an attempt to track down the remaining orcs and their possible leader, a young mage named Aroth Mentinjek. It is not long that they discover the camp and set about to attack. After a harrowing battle, the orc leader, Zulgha Bloodbone lay dead at Sam‘s feat, while Evarl grappled the young mage to the ground to answer for his crimes. As the dust settled, the mage explained the misunderstanding, all caused by him using a charm spell on the unsuspecting orc leader. This lead to a chain of events whereby the orc leader thought the young mage wanted the owner of Morrie’s Farm’s daughter, Jessika as his bride. The heroes soon after returned to the farm, and after a short rest over-night, continued their journey down the river towards their final destination of Tamran…
The heroes arrive in Three Pines Ford. Captain Walren advises them to follow his lead as he introduces them to harbour master Braffolk Gysby. The talk slender gentleman is quick to explain the need for calm in the town and although stern is pleasant to the heroes, encouraging them to stay.
As dusk was well underway, Sam was the first to mention his thirst and asked the others where the closest pub was. Evarl, who had formerly travelled the area, mentioned the Sly Harlequin, an inn nearby to the docks which, although somewhat unsavoury, could be a good place to learn more information and gain an ale. Before leaving, Kal asks the harbourmaster whom should the heroes should tell about an orc attack they witnessed recently. The harbourmaster thanks them for the information, but states it would be better delivered to Lieutenant Boarhelm in The Keep. Eve volunteers to do that, after she guides the heroes to the inn.
Whilst making their way there, Evarl explains that he plans to introduce the rest of the party to the elven proprietor named La’Slaan, whom he explains is a retired assassin, and then afterwards will go to the keep to offer information about the orcs that attacked Morrie’s Farm. The others agree, and they soon arrive.
The Inn is in full swing, with many of the dock workers and proprietors finished for the day. It is not long after the heroes enter that they greeted by the softly spoken and far from talkative La’Slaan. Evarl explains to La’Slaan about what had happened in Kassen, and why they were in Three Pines Ford. It is not long before Evarl realises that without speaking a word, he had perhaps revealed too much. La’Slaan thanks them for stopping by, and offers them a free ale, after which she disappears to mingle with the crowd. As the drinks arrived, Evarl checks to ensure the drinks were not poisoned, to which they were not.
Whilst drinking the somewhat putrid brew, Sam spots a sign asking for assistance. The signs was completed by a local druid, who is offering a substantial amount of gold for further assistance. Knowing that any leads at the inn may have dried up, the heroes grab the flyer and make their was to the Herbalist’s shop called Wolfmourne’s Elixirs & Herbs.
Upon arrival they are greeted by it proprietor, a middle-aged half-elven woman named An’lau Wolfmourne. An’lau explained that she had recently discovered that one of the ancient Dryad trees was dying and that she could not explain why. She states that she was in the middle of concocting an Elixir to use on the trees, but would like assistance with identifying the cause. The heroes accept her call for assistance, to which she then offers the guide of her employee Voldar Riffolk.
Voldar looked clearly out of place pruning flowers and the like for An’lau. En-route to the Dryad Grove, he explained that he had lost a couple of gambling debts and was faced with having to sell his precious swords to make ends meet. Voldar explained that An’lau was nice enough to take him on, but it was the swing of his sword that he missed most.
As the heroes arrived, they examined the area. Sam took to making an attempt to talk to the trees, at one stage stabbing the ground beneath the tree. This action produced a thick foul smelling oil like substance coming from the ground, like the ground was somehow bleeding. Kal and Nell examined the magic properties of the area and the trees, establishing that the trees had somehow been magically affected with some type of necromantic effect and also poisoned. Nell suggested that it was cursed perhaps similar to the trees in Southern Fangwood, but could not back up her theory. The two also learned that the trees were free from disease, proving that it was not a naturally occurring effect. Evarl and Voldar looked around the area and found a depression in the ground approximately 50 feet from the tree itself. A closer examination showed that it was perhaps a sinkhole of some kind, caused by something burying under the ground.
The heroes moved to examine Evarl‘s find. Sam searched the area for a fallen branch in order to prod the hole to see if it would collapse. Soon after, the hole collapsed revealing a sink-hole leading some 20 feet beneath the surface. One by one, the heroes disappeared down the hole, with Sam lowing each down, before lowering himself.
Inside the tunnel, the heroes discovered that its creation was only recent but was completed by unknown means. Evarl identified that was last used only recently. Upon moving down further, Kal and Evarl discovered that at the end of a tunnel lead directly towards the tree, and ended in what appeared to be a small room. The tunnel and room were somewhat cramped, but Evarl spotted tiny footprints similar to that of a small humanoid such as a halfling, goblin or gnome. It was Voldar who correctly identified the tracks as that belonging to a gnome.
Kal meanwhile discovered what appeared to be a makeshift alter standing close the the tree root system. The alter appeared to have been recently used and had remnants of a red powder and a purple wax.
As the heroes examine the room, five creatures emerge from the brambles. Having been under the employ of An’lau, Voldar had learned a thing or two about Fey creatures and quickly identified the larger creatures as a Debased Dryad and the smaller ones as Twig Blights.
The fey creatures caught all by Evarl by surprise, the Debased Dryad ensnaring them all in an entangle spell. The heroes fought valiantly, and eventually eliminated the threat. At the end of the battle, Kal was the worst for ware, having been poisoned by the scratches from the Twig Blights.
Upon closer examination of the area, Evarl discovered that the red powder and wax were placed specifically in a pattern of some sort. Kal identified its placement as some type of religious ritual. The exact purpose remained a mystery to the heroes, and after taking some sample, they returned to report their findings to the the druid An’lau.
The heroes arrived back at the town at night and took up with An’lau in her shop as she was packing up for the night. The heroes provided An’lau with the samples they had found, and she identified them as being spell components of a type of ritual. She would examine what the heroes had found later the following morning, but stated that the only place items like the powder and wax could only be sold at Ageng and Elyelen’s Vault, a magic shop in the middle of town.
An’lau explained that the store was named after Ageng and Elyelen Dankwater, after two elderly dwarves, one of which, the dwarven man named Elyelen, had died some years back, but that Ageng his female companion, had continued on at the shop. The heroes agree that they would follow that lead and report back to her in the morning. An’lau thanked them against for their assistance, and soon after the heroes made their way back towards the harbour…
PREVIOUSLY: The heroes begin their journey down the Tourondel River on their way to Tamran. Along the way the heroes discover that orcs have moved into the Fangwood forest, and later their discoveries became more real when they realised that the outpost they were due to collect supplies from had been attacked by those same orcs. Things become more strange when the heroes learn that the orcs are being commanded by a young Mage who had only visited the outpost hours earlier…
Having healed from the wounds inflicted by the orcs, Zevan and Kal make their intents clear in that wish to move into the forest to hunt the orcs back to their camp before night falls. The rest of the group agree, whilst Captain Walren decided to remain at the farm to protect Morrie and his daughter.
Zevan leads the group into the forest, following the still quite visible orc tracks. Zevan notices that the orcs are using an established path which is unusual for them as they would normally move through the undergrowth to hide their numbers and their approach. After a hour, as the last of the light disappears through the trees, the heroes come across an encampment nearby to the ruins of an old cabin in the woods.
Zevan and Evarl both notice a number of orcs hidden in the ruins, and Evarl attempts to climb the tree to get a better look. Although she managed to keep herself hidden, a sudden noise from Evarl trying to climb the tree, alerted the orcs to something in the forest. Suddenly, a large orc steps out of the tent, and three orcs step out using the ruins and undergrowth as cover.
Evarl, Nell and Zevan open the attack with missile fire, both by arrows and Nell‘s newly found wand of magic missiles. The chieftain, Zulgha Bloodbone, quickly retreats into the tent. With that, Kal sees an opportunity, as several more orcs spring up within the confines of the ruins. Kal then yells out, in Orc tongue, that the Orc Leader had fled the battlefield like a coward and that he would soon be felled in great combat. Sam took queue of Kal’s words, at least to his level of understanding, and ran down the path in order to reach the orc chieftain’s tent. Whilst still attempting to climb a tree, Evarl heard a high pitched voice yell the words, “No!”, coming from the direction of the tent. A moment later, the orc leader appeared and bellowed his war horn. More orcs appeared, with Evarl and Zevan counting at least 8 in total.
Meanwhile, Evarl managed to make her way into the tree, and whilst assisting Nell and Zevan by keeping a watchful eye for further orcs appearing from the ruins, she spotted someone else inside the tent. Could this be the mage Jessika and Morrie were talking about?
Nell and Zevan continued keeping any orcs advancing through the forest at bay, while Sam continued his advance towards the tent. Eventually, the young warrior arrived, and sized up to the huge orc chieftain. The orc chieftain raises his menacing great-axe and bellowed at Sam and to his orc horde, in an attempt to intimidate the young warrior, and rally his troops who by this stage were somewhat confused, as Kal continued to embellish the exploits of what he hopes Sam would do. Unfortunately, after a few blows, it quickly became clear to Kal, that Sam may have met his match.
Kal cast a divine spell to shield his friend from injury, transferring any blows against Sam to Kal instead. It did not take long for this to become a reality, with 2 further blows landing solidly against Sam‘s body, both of which caused not even a scratch on the young warrior. However as the spell was meant to work, wounds suddenly opened on Kal’s hardened skin, almost bringing the young Cleric to his knees. Kal realised that he was meant for this task as his Orc blood kept him awake throughout the ordeal.
Nell, continued firing her wand against those orcs who were yet to believe Kal‘s words, and Zevan continued firing arrows in support. Evarl, now in the treetops, made her way across to the clearing where the orc was fighting with Sam. Evarl let off a couple of arrows to assist the young warrior. Seeing that it would take more than a few to fell the mighty orc, Evarl thought it best to try a different approach, and ran behind the tent, to get a better look inside.
As Evarl moved under the lip of the tent, she was surprised to see a young man dressed in traveling robes, and glasses seated on a small makeshift chair. The young man was as surprised as Evarl, and said, “Help me!”. Evarl, not trusting the man, after all, she had built a distrust of mages over the years since witnessing her parent’s death at the hands of Iramine. No wanting to kill the man, nor allow him to be casting spells, she quickly tackled the man to the ground. The man let out a squeal, and attempted to cast a spell at Evarl, but without success. Evarlquickly pinned him to the ground. There was to be no further attempts to cast a spell this time.
Meanwhile, outside, with several solid hits, Sam eventually brought the orc chieftain to the ground, with the final blow removing the orc’s head from its shoulders. With their chieftain dead, and many of their numbers lost, the remaining few orcs fled into the forest.
Evarl in the meantime brought the mage out from the tent to be interrogated by the group. The man, clearly a bit distraught, saw the dead orc chieftain, and thanked the heroes for their efforts. He introduced himself as Aroth Mentinjek, a mage who was travelling from Tamran to a small town called Kassen where he hoped to meet with a wizard. He explained the story that he was travelling along the river and came across Morrie’s Farm. He further explained that he was greeted by their hospitality and met Morrie and his daughter. He and Jessika immediately became friends, and he felt they could be more romantically between them. So after dinner, he made his move. Unfortunately, when she rejected him, he took off, ashamed and embarrassed, and ran into the forest. By the time, he realised what he had done, he was well and truly lost. Whilst searching for a way back, he was set upon by the orcs and their leader. He only did what he thought was his best chance of survival, and attempted to charm the orc chieftain. He did not realise however that his actions would cause the orc leader to treat him as his best friend. The young man spoke no orc-tongue and he believes that whilst trying to convince the orcs to let him escape, he somehow gave them the impression that they should attack the farm and bring Jessika to him. By the time, he realised what was going on, 5 of the orcs had headed off down towards the east, and the orc chieftain brought him to his tent.
Aroth apologised for his actions, and asked for the heroes to take him back to the farm so that he may apologise to them as well.
The heroes then made their way back to the farm, and allowed Aroth to speak with Morrie and his daughter. Aroth was shocked with what had occurred, and offered to help in any way he could. After a long discussion into the night, the heroes, Aroth, Captain Walren, Jessika and Morrie got some sleep. At dawn, Zevan spoke with the rest of the heroes, and let them know that he would escort the young mage to Kassen, and that if he was able, would catch up with them later. With that, Evarl, Kal, Nell and Sam departed Morrie’s Farm with Captain Walren and his crew to continue their journey along the Tourondel River to their final destination of Tamran…
PREVIOUSLY: The heroes investigate the history behind the two pieces of the amulet stolen from Kassen’s crypt along with rumours of undead walking the Kassen graveyard at night. Whilst staking out the graveyard, numerous zombies scramble from the graves of recently deceased townsfolk, including those who died in the lumber mill accident. After banishing a number of zombies, and then fleeing back to the town, the heroes give warning to the village elders and the city watch. A battle occurs outside the town walls with the zombies, throughout the evening. The next morning the mayor pleads with the heroes to travel to Tamran to seek aid from the Forest Marshal to which they agree. The following morning, the heroes prepare to leave for their long journey to Tamran.
The heroes assemble at the docks and are greeted by the Mayor. Soon after, he introduces them to owner of the vessel they would be travelling on in order to reach Tamran, namely the Black Mist. The ship’s owner, Captain Walren, a surly dwarf with an eye patch, and peg leg; a mysterious Kellid man named Ewem; and their man-at-arms Anthond Bowe. Before they set sail, the Captain put his new seamen through their paces. Zevan and Evarl are found to be excellent all rounders, but their keen eye-sight makes them perfect for work in the crows nest. The others however are given positions as deck hands.
The Captain explains that the trip will take approximately 7 days to reach Tamran, and their first stop will be at a farm and reply station called Morrie’s Farm, almost two days travel from Kassen. From there, they would travel and do a short stop off at Three Pines Ford, before continuing along the Nirmathas coast until they reach Tamran.
In the morning of the first day, the heroes, attempt a spot of fishing, with all by Nell and Sam catching at least one fish. Around lunch time, several of the heroes spot a group of large crocodiles, lying motionless on the shores of the river. As the ship passes, the crocodiles head into the water, but cause little hindrance to the heroes. On the afternoon of the second day, Nell spots 5 canoes hidden in the bushes and reeds along the edge of the river. When pointed out, Zevan identifies the canoes as being of Orc design and requests a closer look. The heroes bring the ship to a halt and head along the shoreline to examine the canoes more closely. Evarl heads to the trees in order to keep a watchful eye out for an ambush, while Zevan leads the others to the canoes.
Closer inspection of the canoes show that they are designed to hold a maximum of 3 orcs each, and Zevan confirms tracks indicating that approximately 15 orcs headed from that location into the forest a mere day earlier. Kal asks how many settlements are around the immediate vicinity, to which Zevan states that there is only one, that being Morrie’s Farm.
The heroes return to the Black Mist, and soon after continue their trek down river. At dusk on day 2, the heroes arrive at Morrie’s Farm. As they round a bend in the river, they notice smoke coming from what appears to be the location of the farm. The heroes dock with the short jetty, and along with Walren, carefully make their way to towards the homestead.
Zevan and Evarl stealthily make their way through the crops, while Nell, Kal, Sam, and the Captain walk up the roadway to the farm. Zevan is the first to hear the sounds of Orc, identifying two in the adjacent barn. Nell, attempting to move quietly, gave Zevan‘s position away, and a short fight ensued, with Zevan felling one, and injuring the other, whilst Nell fired off two bolts from her wand, which appeared to annoy the beast more than injure him. The second orc however was determined to rid the world of the human and advanced hastily towards the young ranger. Evarl in the meantime watched two orcs in the main bedroom, ransacking clothes and various items within. Evarl spotted the orcs as they rushed Zevan’s position, and so moved briskly to a position where she could not be seen. Through the undergrowth, Evarl unleashed an arrow into the last of the two surviving orcs, firmly placing the arrow where the orc’s brain should be. The body of the orc, in turn, fell quickly at Zevan‘s feet.
Meanwhile Kal and the others move towards the house, with Kal banging his shield loudly in an attempt to gain the attention of the orcs. Evarl moves back to her position, and again sees the orcs, completely oblivious to Kal’s disturbance.
Zevan, Nell and Evarl hear the distant sound of a scream, and make their way around the homestead to find the front of the house on fire. Between the forest line and the homestead Zevan spots an orc carrying a young woman who is screaming. While Nell attempts to dowse the flames with a nearby pail, Zevan and Evarl set upon the fleeing orc, and rescue the girl. Kal, Sam and the Captain make their way to the rear of the homestead. Sam, who by this stage is keen for a fight, leaps through the bedroom window and attacks the orcs. A short battle ensues, and as the dust clears, two headless orc corpses lie motionless on the bedroom floor.
Sam enters the main area of the home and locates an unconscious older man, and 3 dead bodies. Whilst Zevan comforts the woman, Evarl and Nell head into the house and meet up with Kal, Sam and the Captain. Walren identifies the older man as Moritz “Morrie” Woldeng, and the young woman as Morrie’s daughter Jessika. Kal lends some divine magic to revive Morrie and heal his more serious wounds.
After a short time, the heroes ensure the premises is secure, and soon after Kal gathers the group and the survivors in order to heal their remaining wounds in particular those of Morrie, Jessika and Sam. Morrie and Jessika meanwhile explain that as they were sitting down for supper, 6 orcs barged through the front door demanding that they hand over Jessika as she belonged to Aroth. Morrie further explains that Aroth is name of a young Wizard who arrived the previous night, stating that he was traveling to Kassen in search of a wizard named Holgast. During dinner, he and Jessika appeared to be bonding but later, when the young man made romantic motions towards the young woman, she explained that she was already betrothed. The young man, who was obviously devastated, fled into the forest. Jessika, who is clearly confused at what the orcs had demanded, pleaded with the heroes to find Aroth, and attempt to explain why he has sided with the Orcs. The heroes help clean the homestead whilst pondering their next move…
PREVIOUSLY: The heroes begun their journey back to Kassen, a two day travel over ever so familiar ground. Whilst travelling, Kal became ill and diagnosed that he was infected with the plague from the rotted zombies. Kal soldiered on, and the heroes soon arrived at Kassen to a heroes’ welcome. Celebration turned to sorrow as the heroes revealed that many of the townsfolk were attacked by ruthless undead. As the festivities dwindled, the heroes returned to their homes to speak with their mentors and families. The heroes purchased new equipment and resupplied their used resources. During that time, it was found that strange happenings were occurring around the village. Sightings of ghosts and skeletal forms moving through the night were coming to the notice of the town hall. Meanwhile, Zevan and Asina Silvers begun sharing more time together, something that Kal has not taken kindly to…
The following morning the heroes meet up at the riverbank as they have done for many years. They decide that they should start an investigation into the stolen amulets. Kal notes that there are several other things which have been going on around Kassen such as the diseased brownies and their connection to the Fey Queen that they claim is returning, and the poisoned honey.
The heroes split up and start their investigations. Evarl says he will keep an ear out as to what is going on at the bar; Nell says she will ask her father what he knows about the amulets; Kal agrees to speak with Father Prasst; and Sam agrees to find out what he can about the Browie situation.
Sam finds little to nothing about the current situation with the happenings in the woods, other than the logging operation is still in shut-down much to the dismay of Colbin Vetnar.
Kal speaks with his mentor Father Prasst and establishes that he knows little to nothing about the undead rising other than to confirm Kal‘s suspicions that it would have possibly something to do with stolen amulets. Kal questions Father Prasst about Tamran, specifically about the Ranger’s Lament, querying the fact that the priest had spent some time there. Father Prasst, somewhat dismayed about this line of questioning, claims to never have heard of the Rangers Lament and suggests that Kal continue with his studies instead of worrying about what goes on in the capital.
Meanwhile Nell returned home, and spoke at length with her father, Moltus Vargidan about the history of the area, specifically that of the amulets. Moltus explained that years ago, before the town of Kassen existed, three heroes – an elven sorceress, a great and mighty warrior and a holy knight by the name of Kassen found an amulet in an ancient dwarven crypt, in the distant Mindspin Mountains to the west. The heroes were able to establish that the key was to a treasure beyond their wildest dreams, however its location was a mystery. Moltus continued that before the three could find out where the treasure was, the three had a falling out. The three split the treasure they had accumulated over their time together evenly, including the key. As fortune would have it, the key split into three parts, and each of the three gained a piece so that none of the three would ever be able to gain access to the treasure without the other’s knowledge. And so, time passed, and Kassen founded a new home on the side of the Tourondel River, which eventually became the town which bore his name.
Moltus continued, stating that what was not readily known was that Kassen’s former friend Asar had become a warlord of sorts, accumulating a loyal army of followers. Asar’s yearning for power and wealth took new meaning as he turned his sights on Kassen, for in his mind, Kassen would never leave his new home to seek out the riches the key would unlock. Instead Asar chose to take Kassen’s piece by force, which resulted in the deaths of many villagers, Asar’s forces, Asar himself and of course Kassen.
When asked, Moltus told his daughter that he did not know the whereabouts of Iramine nor the location of the treasure that the key unlocks.
Evarl meanwhile delved further into his subconscious in an attempt to recall the events of his parents death and that of Iramine. Coming up with a black, other than Iramine was definitely responsible, but not in the way he first though. Evarl learns that Iramine was after him and when his parents refused, that was the reason she killed them. Evarl also learned, that due to spending some time tending bar, that a number of farmers, hoping to quench their thirst over lunch, were speaking of rumours concerning undead walking the Kassen graveyard at night.
Later that afternoon, the heroes, less Zevan who was spending even more time with Asina, returned to their secret rendezvous point on the riverbank of the Tourondel River a short distance out of town, and shared what they had found. It became apparent that the most pressing matter was that of the undead.
Later that night, the heroes, again less Zevan, staked out the graveyard. Evarl kept first watch, whilst the others rested. It was not long before Evarl woke his friends regarding the numerous zombies that were scrambling from the graves of recently deceased townsfolk, including those who died in the lumber mill accident.
The fight was swift, with only Nell suffering severe cuts from a ravenous zombie. With more zombies than the heroes could handle, the group fled back to the city to warm the city watch.
During the evening, several battles occur outside the town walls with the zombies, and skeletons of even older corpses through to the early hours of the morning. By daylight, numerous bodies lay at the gates to the village.
The next morning the mayor pleads with the heroes to travel to Tamran to seek aid from the Forest Marshal in order to deal with the potential unrising of undead. The heroes agree and so later that afternoon, the heroes prepare to leave for their long journey to Tamran…
PREVIOUSLY: The heroes, having narrowly avoided the trap set to protect Kassen’s final resting place, have come face to face with Kassen’s enemy, the Mighty Asar and a small army of skeletal warriors. The battle was fierce and bloody, with some of the heroes falling with near fatal wounds, but eventually Asar, and his minions were laid low. As the heroes recover, and light the lantern with the Everflame, the spirit of Kassen appeared with a warning that his and Asar’s amulets had been stolen, and that their removal had created a tear between the plane of negative energy and the mortal world. He explained that the only way to reverse the tears effects, and seal the rift, was to return the amulets to the crypt. With this information, and a small reward of treasure from Kassen in their possession, the heroes begin their journey home.
The heroes begun their journey back to Kassen, a two day travel over ever so familiar ground. Whilst travelling, Kal became ill and diagnosed that he was infected with the plague from the bite of one of the rotted zombies. Kal soldiered on, and the heroes soon arrived at Kassen to a heroes’ welcome. Celebration turned to sorrow as the heroes revealed that prior to their arrival at the crypt, that many of the townsfolk had been attacked by ruthless undead. As the festivities dwindled, the heroes returned to their homes to speak with their mentors and families.
The heroes purchased new equipment and resupplied their used resources. During that time, it was found that strange happenings were occurring around the village. Sightings of ghosts and skeletal forms moving through the night were coming to the notice of the town hall, happenings that the heroes felt were best dealt with by them…
PREVIOUSLY: After dealing with three large carnivorous frogs, the heroes pushed on through knee high water in an attempt to find what they believed to be a wheel which would help them raise the gate preventing access to Kassen’s Tomb. They soon discovered the room, but not before disturbing eight angry skeletons, hell bent on preventing them from reaching their goal. The heroes were successful and successful raised the gate, but now only destiny can tell what fate lies beyond…
The heroes, enter a long room with deep pits on either side. Two statues stand idol on the other side of a narrow bridge, both seeming poised in protection of it. Sam is the first to step across the bridge, but not before one of the statues races forward pushing the young warrior back.
Clearing another test or trap set to protect Kassen’s final resting place, the heroes manage to work around the trap by dexterously avoiding it, and using rope to swing across the chasm. Two large brass doors greeted the heroes at the other end of the room, their markings showing that this was a door of great importance. Sam, again, was the first to push them aside o reveal the heroes worst nightmare.
Now in undead form, Kassen’s mortal enemy, the Mighty Asar reveals himself to the heroes, leading a gang of skeletons against them. The battle was fierce and bloody, with some of the heroes falling with near fatal wounds. Eventually Asar was laid to rest permanently, and the heroes were victorious. As the heroes paused to count their losses, Zevan lent forward to light the lantern with the Everflame and an apparition of Kassen appeared before them.
Kassen explained that many years ago there was a battle that he and his fellow villagers fought against the Might Asar and his legion of men. Kassen knew that Asar was not satisfied with the arrangement that had been made between himself, our companion Iramine and Kassen himself regarding the search for the treasure they had worked so hard to find. All that he wanted was Kassen’s part of the key to seek the treasure for himself. This hatred and yearning for wealth was his undoing. Eventually both he and Asar, along with many men and women fell in the battle for defence of the village. This crypt, an ancient, long abandoned and unused dwarven burial crypt had been used by Asar as a launching point for raids on Kassen’s village. It seemed apt that the crypt be the place where all of the dead be laid to rest.
Kassen further explains that some of the bandits who were slain by the raised Asar took both Kassen and Asar’s amulets, but nothing more. Kassen warns that the raising of The Mighty Asar is not the only thing that has been released with the removing of the amulets, and he hopes that the heroes can find them, and return them to re-seal the link between the world of undeath and the mortal world. The heroes agree.
The heroes are presented with part of Kassen’s burial gifts, and Kassen provides a final warning that the raising of The Mighty Asar is not the only thing that has been released with the removing of the amulets…
PREVIOUSLY: Upon dealing with festering zombies, and discovering that some of the bodies were the same as the body they found near the Lake whilst heading towards the crypt, the heroes moved further into the dungeon only to have Eve confront her greatest fear – the fear of aging and turning on her friends. As Kal attempted to calm her down, Nell disturbed a nest of bats who promptly attacked them. With only minor injuries sustained, the heroes leaned that a portcullis blocked their advance, and so consulted the riddle stone at the cross roads to the level. Realising that the opposite direction lead to a wheel of sorts, the heroes moved down the water logged corridor and discovered a room filled with an azure coloured fungus. Zevan explained that the fungus had, as part of its properties, the ability to let of a static charge if disturbed. Hoping to avoid the fungus, the group made their way into another room with doors that were water-logged and closed shut. Inside however, the group were attacked by a giant frog. Nell was swallowed whole in the melee but not before being rescued by Sam’s deathly blows to the frog. As Sam quickly knelt down to check upon Nell’s welfare, two more frogs, appeared on the scene…
After dealing with three large carnivorous frogs, the heroes pushed on through knee high water in an attempt to find what they believed to be a wheel which would help them raise the gate preventing access to Kassen’s Tomb. They soon discovered the room, but not before disturbing eight angry skeletons, hell bent on preventing them from reaching their goal. The heroes were successful and successful raised the gate, but now only destiny can tell what fate lies beyond…
PREVIOUSLY: The heroes came face to face with more of the Undead horde which had somehow risen to take over Kassen’s tomb. They quickly dealt with the menace, and although battered and bruised, pressed on further into the tomb now is search of Zeven’s sister, a minor Cleric of Erastil, and friend of Kal. As the heroes descended into the bowls of the crypt, they found old text which lead them to an ancient magic fountain, blessed by the gods with healing powers. After a short rest, the heroes pushed on into a room smelling of death. Here, the heroes were set upon by ravenous zombies which exploded upon their destruction. Having dealt with this further menace, it was further discovered that the crypt appeared to have been at least visited by mercenaries as well as the villagers. For what purpose was unknown and perhaps there was more going on, that initially first thought. For now though, it was time to rescue the kidnapped Cleric…
Having cleaned themselves as best they could after dealing with the risen mercenaries, the heroes opened another door which lead south. Inside the room was a elongated pool filled with what appeared to be fetid water. Eve was the first to enter the room along with Zevan. Bother Zevna dna Eve felt almost compelled to look in the water, and although Zevan resisted, Eve could not. As she looked into the pool, she was confronted with a haunting vision of her aging and all of her friends dying around her as she gradually turned against them. This realisation hit Eve to the core, and the elf fled the room screaming.
Kal followed after her in order to calm her down.Nell and Sam meanwhile entered the room to follow Zevan. Both Sam and Nell also felt compelled to look into the water, however apart from feeling uneasy, they were no worse for ware. At the end of the room, a heavy steel portcullis blocked their entry to the next room. Nell peered through, using her staff as a light source to get a better look. The next room appeared to be similar to that of the room to the north where they had encountered zombies. The room was also the nesting place for a colony of bats. The bats immediately flew into a rage and attacked the heroes by swooping in and out of the room.
Zevan and Sam took cover under their cloaks which appeared to protect they, whilst Nell was exposed to the bats fury which in turn caused severe scratches and distracted her ability to cast spells for a short time. Eventually, Nell was able to get into a position where she could cast her burning hands spell which quickly eliminated the threat.
With only minor injuries sustained, the heroes learned that the portcullis could not be lifted and so blocked their advance. The heroes then returned to to the riddle stone at the cross roads they encountered earlier, only to find a now calm Eve speaking with Kal. Upon examination, it was found to say:
To the south you might take your ease,
To rest and reflect on Kassen’s deeds.
To the east lies the wheel, to open the gate.
To the west is the Hero of Fangwood’s resting place.
Realising that the opposite direction lead to a wheel of sorts, the heroes moved down the water logged corridor and discovered a room filled with an azure coloured fungus. Zevan explained that the fungus had, as part of its properties, the ability to let off a static charge if disturbed. Hoping to avoid the fungus, the group made their way into another room with doors that were water-logged and closed shut.
Inside however, the group were attacked by a giant frog. Nell was the first at he door, and therefore the first on the frog’s menu. During the battle, Nell was swallowed whole. Sam quickly moved forward, and with a few deathly blows, the frog lay dead, and Nell was able to be rescued. As Sam quickly knelt down to check upon Nell’s welfare, two more frogs, appeared out of the undergrowth, hunger clearly in their eyes…
PREVIOUSLY: The heroes continued their journey of discovery as they moved deeper into the crypt, in search of the cause of the restless undead. During their journey, a mystery is presented in the form of an ancient mural depicting Kassen and the battle with the mercenary army. Meanwhile a new threat looms as the heroes come face to face with more minions who have risen from death…
The heroes enter the room having dealt with the spinning arrow trap. Sam is first into the room while the wiser Kal cautions the others to wait for a signal. Eve peered through the darkness and saw what Sam had come face to face with – skeletons covered in sickly, thick blood.
The skeletons soon after charged the young warrior, however he was ready. Positioning himself, Sam quickly commenced dispatching the foul beings. Nell sent forth several magic missiles to soften the creatures up, whilst Zevan and Eve fired arrows, both failing the see the blunted arrows surrounding them on the floor from the arrow trap. Zevan soon realised the folly of his bow, and charged in, his newly acquired magic sword at the ready. Sam collapsed from the wounds suffered, however Kal was about to provide a much needed spell to bring him back from the brink of death once more.
It was not long before all 5 of the creatures were vanquished, with only few party members suffering minor wounds. Kal identified the creatures as having a stronger connection with their undeath, explaining to the others that if they were not dealt with, they would soon rise to seek further revenge. Kal trusted in Erastil’s wisdom, and a burst of positive energy shot forth, turning the skeletons to dust. The heroes examined the room and found further carvings on the walls depicting a great battle, and further down, mourners who appear to be weeping for the loss of their Hero Kassen.
The party, slightly battered, and running low on spells, considered their options. Kal and Zevan pointed out that Zevan’s sister was still missing, and that they must press on. The party quietly moved down the set of stairs at the end of the room, its decent protected by a pair of statues standing solemn on either side. The stairs lead to a circular room with three passageways veering off in easterly, southerly, and westerly directions. From the east, the sound of running water could be heard along with a musty swell of mildew covered furnishing. From the south, a soft bubbling sound along with a softer light. To the west, there was no mistaking the foul smell of death and decay.
Also in the centre of the circular room stood a pedestal, surrounded on the floor by a verse covered in dust and blood. The heroes examined the carvings and found them to be in common. The inscriptions said, “To the south you might take your ease, to rest and reflect on Kassen’s deeds. To the east lies the wheel, to open the gate. To the west is the resting place of Kassen, hero of the Fangwood.”
It was decided to take heed of the wording presented and the heroes nervously made their way down the southern corridor. It was here that they located a fountain of sorts. Inscribed above it were the words, “Kassen’s legacy lives on with his people. Drink and be refreshed.” Sam was the first to try, and the wounds that he had suffered healed, and the debilitating loss of strength he suffered at the hands of the shadow, swept away. Each of the heroes took turn to cleanse from the fountain. Kal soon detected that the fountain was a holy sight. Eve confirmed that she had heard of this small temple dedicated to Kassen and of its healing powers. Kal further discovered that the magical energy was such that they could rest for a short period which would allow them a full night’s rest in only a short period.
With that, the heroes rested quietly contemplating what they had learned since arriving at the crypt.
A couple of hours later, the heroes, now refreshed continued their search. They made their way towards what they felt was the way to the main burial place of Kassen. The room they entered was not what they expected – a vast room of winding catacombs, each crypt space filled with the remains of what was once a noble warrior in the service of Kassen. However something else lurked in the shadows.
As the heroes entered the room, and begun making their way through, horrific undead humans, with bloated and diseased flesh stumbled from the darkness. The heroes barely managed to escape however Kal, with the assistance of Sam and Eve, battled through, and eliminated the zombie threat. Unfortunately it was too late to realise what sort of threat was being seen. As the zombies were dispatched, each exploded covering those around it in diseased filth and flesh. Sam managed to be covered in the goop, but was otherwise unaffected. Kal however was not so lucky, and started feeling the effects of the disease.
With the room cleared, the heroes were able to more closely examine the area. Each of the zombies were found to be wearing similar clothes to those worn by the body found days before near the lake, and each was also possession of small bags with the same embroidered masked face. Eve and Zevan pocketed the pouches which contained a handful of silver coins each. Nell however located the remains of a human torso, still carrying a backpack. Upon examination, Nell discovered it contained rotten rations, a map detailing the area surrounding Kassen’s Crypt as well as pointing out the entrance to the crypt, a potion labeled cure moderate wounds, a pouch with 13 gold pieces, and a small handbill of a type typically found posted in taverns. Although faded, the handbill clearly reads as a notice of employment, telling all those interested to meet at “The Ranger’s Lament”, a name which seemed unfamiliar to everyone. The heroes also discovered a closed door seemingly leading further into the crypt, and perhaps Kassen’s final resting place…