Scales of War

Treasure of Talon Pass

There were some rumors of troubles with orcs far to the west, and that the city of Overlook was looking for adventurers and mercenaries. The group decided to travel to Overlook. As they approached the foothills to the mountains which protected the Elsir Vale from the hordes of orcs on the other side, Fulk noticed a gathering of carrion birds some distance off the road. Investigating, they found a human close to death. They stabilized him and got him to a nearby town, and the next morning he was well enough to tell them his story.

He had been with a caravan traveling the back trails. They had been attacked by kobolds, led by a kobold wizard. The kobolds had seemed to know exactly what they were after – the most expensive piece of merchandise in the caravan, a jade chalice – and had retreated after getting it, inflicting minimal casualties. Unfortunately for the caravan, their bad luck was not over for the day, as soon they were again beset, this time by a group of orcs which had somehow gotten over the mountains. The merchants tried to buy their lives by telling the orcs about the kobolds and the chalice, but the orcs slaughtered them nonetheless. The man had received a vicious wound which had rendered him unconscious, but he regained consciousness some time later, as the orcs had been sloppy and not made sure everybody was dead. The man tried to make it to the main road, but his strength had failed him before he made it.

The group debated for a short time whether this was something they could do anything about, but ultimately decided to go after the orcs. Fulk’s great outdoor skills allowed them not only to follow the orcs, but to take some shortcuts the orcs had missed, gaining a great deal of time on the orcs.

They made their way to the kobolds’ lair, an abandoned dwarven outpost in Talon Pass. They found the entrance already broken open by the orcs, and soon came upon a group of orcs recovering from a battle with the kobolds. The group defeated the orcs, not even letting their pet wolves run away. In the next room, they found an orc pinned down by kobold slingers. The kobolds quickly turned their attention to the newcomers, calling for reinforcements, and the orc attempted to break free. A pair of kobold warriors soon entered, but both orc and kobolds were soon defeated, with one of the slingers succeeding in retreating.

They soon faced the slinger and another group of kobolds in the next pair of rooms. The rooms were separated by a set of curtains, which Fulk promptly tore down, which helped the group focus their fire. After defeating the kobolds, the group descended down a flight of stairs. The first room they found was empty, but in the next chamber, they found an imp who tried to goad the group into approaching him across some rubble. The attempt failed, and the imp was soon severely injured by ranged attacks. The imp descended and a trio of metallic dogs attacked from around the corner. The imp reappeared in the middle of the combat and was swiftly slain. After the dogs were defeated, the group explored a set of rooms which had apparently been inhabited by the kobold leaders. In one chest they found a dwarven holy symbol which had apparently been too valuable to throw away and too repugnant to keep close.

Proceeding through a pair of double doors and down a flight of stairs and through another set of double doors, the group found themselves at the bottom of pit with spikes on the walls and sets of ladders to a second level, but no easy way to the top. A voice declared that they would be tested to see if they would win the Jade Chalice. Subsequently, wall panels opened which released first zombies, then guard drakes, and finally a blazing skeleton. Meanwhile their tormentor, a kobold wizard, would sometimes appear and cast down spells at them, along with a magical crossbow on a tripod. Fulk and Usgald made their way up walls of the pit to try to get at the wizard, while the rest of the group dealt with the threats in the pit. Strange magical effects kept happening to those within the pit, but the adventurers ultimately prevailed, defeating the kobold menace and winning the Jade Chalice.

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Rescue at Rivenroar

A group of adventurous friends were relaxing in the town of Brindol. They were waiting the arrival of two friends who they expected to arrive several days later. Suddenly, goblins and hobgoblins burst into their inn and attacked the patrons. The adventurers defeated the goblinoids and exited the inn to find the whole town under attack. Moving to help the defenders, they engaged and killed an ogre pulling a cart and throwing burning casks of pitch. Soon after, the hobgoblin forces retreated into the night.

The next morning, they were approached by Councilmember Eoffram Troyas, who wished to hire them to recover some kidnapped townsfolk and also several Red Hand relics the hobgoblins had taken from a museum. After convincing the Councilmember that they were capable of taken the job, and interrogating a hobgoblin prisoner, they set off after the hobgoblins. The skill of their elven ranger, Fulk, kept them on the trail and out of trouble, and they made good time.

Finding the hobgoblin’s refuge – the catacombs beneath the ruined skeleton of Castle Rivenroar – they ventured inside. On their first incursion, they defeated several groups of goblins and hobgoblins, a pair of trained carnivorous apes in a chamber full of dangerous mushrooms, and some flame scorpions which were paired with some gnomes. In addition they rescued Sertanian and Zerriksa. They managed to learn that there seemed to be a whole group of gnomes who were working with the hobgoblins for some unknown reason, also that there were undead deeper within the catacombs, and the prisoners were fated to be given to the undead.

To recover their strength, the adventurers retreated outside and hid in one of Rivenroar’s ruined tower bases. Then they descended once again, leaving Usgald to protect the rescued captives. They found a new group of hobgoblins guarding the entrance, this time with a large hound and archers. Heading a different direction, they first fought another gnome, trained dire rats and a horde of vicious weasels. In the next chamber, they not only found Andronsius, but also their comrades, Glimer and Astalf. Apparently, they had arrived in the area early, but had the misfortune of coming across the hobgoblin troupe returning from their foray into Brindol. With their friends bolstering their numbers, they pushed on, and found that at least some of the gnomes were wererats, and they first faced two of these wererats along with a bound demon that was released upon the party, then they faced two more gnome wererats along with two more gnomes, one of which was a spellcaster.

Moving back the other direction, they found the hobgoblins main living space. By this time, the tribe’s numbers had been severely depleted, and they faced off against several hobgoblins, a pair of spitting drakes, a goblin spellcaster, and a sneaky goblin that had escaped from them twice the previous day. Their strength having been depleted by their battles with the gnomes, the group thought to once again retreat to the tower. As they were leaving they heard the rush of a heavy, clanking figure, and Sinruth, chieftain of the hobgoblins descended upon them. Fortunately for them, Sinruth had a hard time landing a solid blow on either of the heavily armored paladins, and the group’s superior numbers quickly laid the tyrant low. They then found Jalissa in the next chamber over, who told them that Mirtala had been given to the undead. They also found the Red Hand relics in the crypt that Sinruth had taken as his own chamber, as well as a mysterious note.

Despite his being on his last legs, Sune thought it would be best to press on and try to rescue some more of the prisoners, three of whom were still unaccounted for. They found a patrol of zombies and ghouls in a room with a shadowy sunburst pattern which seemed to strengthen the undead, but they defeated them. Now in no condition to press on, they retreated to regather their strength. Unknown to them, Thurann had managed to free himself and the defeat of the undead patrol allowed him to make his own way out of his hiding place, and he emerged from the catacombs half an hour after the party had. Despite his young age and having heard Mirtala die, he put on a brave face, confident in the fact that his father was still alive somewhere below.

After resting, the group advanced into the last area of the catacombs. In the last chamber, they fought a powerful group of undead – a skeleton which shot out boneshards, and a number of other skeletons which fell easily to blows, but refused to remain defeated. Mirtala was also there – after having been partially eaten by the ghouls, she had been raised as a zombie. The entire group was led by a deathlock master of death, who was able to shield his undead minions from holy power and was able to reraise the boneshard after its defeat. In the end, the undead menace was defeated, and the body of Kartenix was also discovered.

With all the townsfolk rescued or the bodies recovered, they returned to Brindol. They were hailed as heroes and rewarded handsomely. There was an undercurrent of sorrow to the celebration due to the death’s of Kartenix and Mirtala, but everybody knew the heroes had done the best they could. As Thurann had no family left, Sune took him on as his page.

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