Monday, May 22, 2017

Zhents Session 14: The Taking of Castle Enneth

Riders On The Storm
We begin this week’s session with the characters starting an early morning return to Green Orb on day three; 27 days until Guthbert is due to arrive at the Flaming Tower. The first hour saw the beginning drops of what was going to be showers and thunderstorms off and on all day. Eventually the characters draw nearer to Castle Enneth where they see two mounted sentries atop the tallest hill about an hour ride west from the Castle. The characters enter the area which causes one of the watchmen to ride east for Castle Ennith.

The characters split up leaving Rancor and Havaok behind. The others approach the Castle and are eventually confronted by six riders each wearing banded mail, shields, swords and spears, while two of them had lances. The characters speak with an individual named Mccray who puts the characters back on track after the characters give the riders a fabricated cover story.

Dylan, Lucas and El Guapo back track to rendezvous with the other characters after learning security around Castle Enneth has stepped up. Skirting south around Castle Enneth the characters arrive to Green Orb around 3 pm and to the Town Hall to find Heldarn Dernesch and Eragyn speaking with Ulric Estone one of the Zhentirim lead by Red Morgan and the cleric of Bane Mara Trollsblood. Dylan recognizes the man from the caravan.
 
Ulric Estone
Ulric’s story was that the caravan wandered too close to the castle and were approached by riders lead by Gamel from Castle Enneth. When Mara was recognized as a cleric of Bane swords were drawn and we were ordered to surrender as enemies of the dale. When a fight broke out Red Morgan ordered Ulric to make haste for Green Orb and tell everyone of what occurred. 

Meanwhile, outside in the rainy streets of Green Orb, as this story was being told someone notices a leather clad halfling dropping eves outside the town hall building. A chase ensues around the back alley as well as the front streets where the characters trap Balbo Flambard in an alley and capture the resistance’s scout and spy.

Havaok uses the iron rope to restrain the halfling while the characters take poor Balbo back to Town Hall. For the next few hours the characters question Balbo and learn a few things about Castle Enneth and how he came to be in Green Orb. Balbo was deployed from Castle Enneth where Lint Delmiskyr commands a score of freedom riders and followed Ulric to Green Orb. The halfling proved to be a devout resistance member during the questioning until Rancor showed him a fate worse than death; that and the loss of a few digits and the characters believed they had enough information to try to take Castle Enneth. (Balbo: unidentified magic short sword, cloak, armor and bracers.)
RIP Balbo


Waiting for sundown the characters walk to Castle Enneth and wait for darkness before finding a door high up along the outer wall of the Castle. In the meantime Havaok speaks into the shadows and makes contact with Hess. The antipaladin spoke with the kenku about fighting a dragon. Later, as a caravan is being processed in the castle courtyard, the characters make their way into the high entrance leaving Eragyn the Dark and Ulric Estone hidden outside the castle.

After killing a hapless dwarf servant the characters find an unused secret passage with three access points that eventually ends at the inner courtyard where a single wagon is currently being offloaded. Backtracking the characters find the dungeons were Red Morgan, Mara Trollsblood as well as Zhents Mornan and Timrurko were being held, killing two dwarf guards in the process.

After freeing them the characters backtrack the way they came and ascend to the uppermost floor and the rooftop garden and aviary where they get the drop on Aldrich Gundwynd; they take his shit and throw his body off the plateau. Back down the stairs the characters discover the castle resistance occupants are finding the dwarf bodies left behind by their antics; then the giant attacked Castle Enneth shaking the very plateau. (Aldrich: unidentified cloak, bracers, headband, pearl. Wand of Magic Missiles, 2 CMW potions, masterwork swordcane, and a message *see below.)

In the end the characters defeated three dwarfs, ten freedom riders (two were leaders), they finish off a strange hill giant, and drive off who the characters confirm to be Lint Delmiskyr a huge silver dragon.

We pick up a few minutes after combat in Castle Enneth’s courtyard in the company of Eragyn the Dark and Red Morgan, Mara Trollsblood as well as Zhents Ulric Estone, Mornan, and Timrurko.



Castle Enneth

Create 154 Goods, 27 Influence, 142 Labor, 2 Magic (6,930 gp)
Rooms 1 Armory, 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bunks, 1 Cell, 1 Courtyard, 1 Crypt, 4 Defensive Walls, 1 Escape Route (Courtyard), 1 Garden, 1 Gatehouse, 1 Gauntlet, 1 Kitchen, 1 Lavatory, 1 Office, 1 Sitting Room, 2 Stalls, 2 Storages
Animals 10 Horses, 2 Draft Horses, 1 Donkey, 6 Chickens, 1 Cow, 1 Goat, 2 Ravens, 2 Dogs, 4 Oxen


"A. G.- Dark agents in the Dale again my friend. Zhentarim and or followers of Cyric, undead among them include a possible devil. -S.M."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gamel and The Dragon

Gamel Emerson
Two Years Ago..

All of Kellet was on fire. Flickering red and crimson shadows reflected off pale stone walls like dancing fairies with wings of flame. Gamel Emerson, a humble rancher who had come to Kellet to sell his brand, surprised himself with his heroics tonight and, quite frankly did not know he had it in him. Emerson did not run like most folk did when the fires began; but in his opinion the Zhentarim or anyone who collaborates with the Black Network are spineless lowfolk at any rate, power-hungry cowards.

When Emerson first saw the terrible red dragon it was perched on the southern stretch of wall that surrounded the small walled city while he was finishing up the days market business. The dragon beat its wings and flayed its tail ferociously. The dragon went for easy prey and plucked a bison from a nearby pen, obviously hungry. With its hunger immediately stated Emerson caught a mischievous look in the dragon’s eye and saw the dragon’s penchant for mayhem reflected in them. 

As men ran to and fro Emerson lost sight of the dragon behind Buxton’s Mercantile when an unexpected instinct came over him. Instead of running Emerson, clear of head and heart, saved four women and three children while the dragon rampaged unchecked on the south east side. Emerson gathered up who he could as he drove his wagon with all haste down Kellet’s main street. When Emerson exited through the south gate he saw something that lifted his spirits to soaring heights.

A silver rider on what seemed like a giant palomino war horse charged out of the night focused on the red dragon; both rider and steed were drenched in fiery colors as they entered the radiance of Kellet as it burned. As Emerson rode for safety, his past life literally going up in flames, he passed the silver hero Emerson would come to know as Lint Delmiskyr.



Today..

Gamel Emerson made his way through the stone walls of the castle where Captain Delmiskyr’s large parlor was to be found, the smooth stone halls reminded the former rancher of Kellet which brought thoughts of the dragon.

A short rise of stairs brought Gamel to the parlor door, a great behemoth of a door made from Shadowtop wood and banded with decorative ironworks. Opposite the great door was a painting that rivaled the door in proportions, a depiction of Sir Delhorn Enneth leading scores of followers under a banner of Torm against the vampires of Merrydale. The image was both horrifying and inspirational when Emerson considers the heroics one man is capable of.
Lint Delmiskyr

Before Gamel could knock a voice rose from the parlor, “Gamel Emerson, enter and speak.” The words were well spoken, clear but with a twinge of accent.

The door clicked open revealing a large great hall Lint used as his parlor. The room was draped in alternating purple and silver velvet curtains trimmed in black satin lattice work. Double stitched geometric patterns spiraled out adding a subtle extra dimension to the featured Cormyrean Noble family crest.
               
“Captain Delmiskyr.” Gamel said saluting as he greeted his commander. “Activity at the Dragon’s Skeleton was reported from the south watch post. Haunting sounds, black Green Orb horses, and as strange as it sounds, the tree looks have been felled at that site.” Gamel waited for a reply, but what happened next surprised him.

Lint closed his eyes and appeared to focus then suddenly opened them revealing silver eyes that, as far as Gamel knew, reflected the entire world like two perfect mirrors. Gamel could hardly behold him because at that moment Lint seemed larger than he was and brimmed with power. Gamel was overcome with joy.

“Thank you Gamel. Your words speak true.” Lint’s voice now had a resonance that was not an effect of the large parlor, his eyes had returned to their normal grey color of rain. “You are to take Rodolfo, Atticus, Jess Green, Burch, Cameron , and Mccray and search the area- return with anything you think is interesting or will be useful."

Friday, May 12, 2017

Zhents Session 13: Raiders of the Lost Tomb

Green Orb
We catch up with the Zhent Deputies this week as they re-enter the humble town of Green Orb. Eragyn asked to be taken to the Schnapps Queen to pray and recover her abilities. (It didn’t come out but she has a permanent room here.) She was taken in by Nella, to whom Eragyn has a sister-like relationship.

As Eragyn busied herself, the characters passed the time eating in the Schnapps Queen common room where towns folk came and went helping themselves to stew and apple beer. Some overheard talk of riders seen along neighboring hills heading north.

About an hour later Eragyn returns from her meditations obviously refreshed, determined. She spoke of a strongbox that was at the ruined church that will help rebuild, Tiberius adds a modest amount of funds to this endeavor as a tithe.

Without further delay the characters leave Green Orb for Shraevyn’s Tomb. Their westerly path of travel is devoid of a road or even a trail. A few hours and countless hills later, around midday the characters find a huge skeleton of a dragon laying across a low hill, a dark tree standing sentential waiting for curious victims. A dark cousin to the treant but feeds off the blood of its victims; an example of flora grown awry under the red ring in the sky. The dragon skeleton, a remnant from the godsfall, had a torn piece of horse barding that had the family crest emblazoned on it. 
Red Morgan and Mara Trollsblood

It was then the dark tree attacked instigating a tough fight but after it was over the characters investigated the surrounding area. It was possible the nostril opening in the dragon skull was a message drop where the horse barding was found. Not only did it have a Cormyrean family crest emblazoned upon it, on the back written in blood was the word dragon.

Turning once again west (and slightly north) the characters come within sight of Castle Enneth and a flag flying overhead that looks like the same as the barding found- a Cormyrean family crest. The characters decide not to investigate at this time. 

With Castle Enneth at their backs the characters eventually enter mountainous foothills and encounter a Zhentish caravan who had wandered off the path avoiding monsters. After Dylan made the initial contact, the rest of the characters introduced themselves to the roguish caravan master Red Morgan, a priest of Bane named Mara Trollsblood as well as seven drovers/guards and several oxen. They were road weary from a trip across the desert and ready to be relieved of their cargo: raw building supplies from the west.

The characters identified the need for these goods for rebuilding the church of Bane in Green Orb and Havaok redirected the caravan not to Dagger Falls as was their destination, but to Green Orb instead.
 
To Shraevyn's Tomb
As the sun disappeared behind the Desertmouth Mountains the characters find narrow stairs that lead up to a tomb built into the side of a mountain. The tomb had twenty foot tall statues, one a graceful woman who’s statue had been damaged in an avalanche and the other, a warrior male standing regal and vigilant. The opening to the tomb lie broken revealing a dark interior, there was obvious signs of recent passage.

Inside the characters find a mosaic of a piece of Daggerdale history, but without reference. Deeper in the tomb the characters encounter two cursts, unfortunate undead humanoids trapped under a curse that will not let them die. The encounter was not as challenging as the dark tree, but yielded some magic, the body of Ilthond and some information in a personal journal Ilthond kept.

While some of the information is in Ilthond’s code, the characters were able to discover the mage was hoping to find the soul of Shraevyn hoping that with the soul of the individual who enchanted the Sword of the Dales Ilthond could overcome the sword’s powerful defenses. Unfortunately Ilthond met his end with the undying cursts and Shraevyn’s body, as well as (according to Ilthond's notes) the known deceased Morn family linage has been moved to unknown locations.


The characters decide to rest, taking turns on watch and begin next week’s session on the third day with an overland return trip to Green Orb. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Zhents Session 12: Castle Daggerdale

The Hills of Daggerdale
Our session in Daggerdale begins in front of Green Orb’s town hall where Heldarn Dernesch, Hieb Jenton and Danus Treagh had gathered seventeen of the town’s residents and farmers. Some came on horses while most walked answering the call of the town bell. In front of the gathered folk Heldarn swore the characters as deputies of Green Orb and announced that they will henceforth bring justice to those who burned down their church, and harried ‘the cause’ implicating heavily that the freedom riders and the Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu (referred to collectively as the resistance) to be the enemies.

The deputy characters set up a line where folk could testify to the crimes committed, but all seemed hesitant except a man who introduced himself as Gwayne, the big rancher. Meanwhile, Havaok searched for good souls in the crowd and came away with two: Cris and Regine Rolst, brother and sister who lived on a farm house on Gwayne’s property and who worked repairing farms and stables. 

As Tiberus, Havaok and El Guapo talked with the big rancher, Lucas and Dylan followed Cris and Regine to their farmhouse and staked them out until the other characters caught up with them a while later retrieving horses from Gwayne. While they were being watched Regine busied herself on the porch while after a few minutes Cris grabbed a horse and rode north. Back at the town hall Gwayne was doing all he could to speak for the town because as far as Gwayne knew Heldarn was the man everyone reported to as constable.

After the purchasing of black horses, stark mounts that would surely spook if taken into combat, from Gwayne and the gift of excess potions from the characters- the deputies rode east for Castle Daggerdale in hopes of finding Iceheart the half white dragon of Daggerhills. Along the way the characters take in the rolling landscape of Daggerdale, appreciating both the cover the hills provide as well as the danger that may lurk behind every hill.
Iceheart- Half Drow White Dragon

After a few hours of travel the characters come to the Ashaba River and a mated pair of owlbears enjoying a refreshing drink from the running waters. The characters attack and defeat the owlbears and encounter tall half-elf wildings. The wildings were odd in appearance; tall in stature they dusted their hair and skin with bone dust giving them a ghostly appearance while also disguising their half drow heritage. They asked the characters what they were going to discard the owlbear carcasses, if they were going to just leave them behind. That turned out to be the case as the characters continued for Castle Daggerdale leaving the dead owlbears for the wildings.

An hour later, on a well-traveled path up to the castle, the deputies encountered more drow wildings who said their queen-mother was under a dream-curse. The characters decided to aid the wildings and see to Iceheart and over the next twenty-one hours learned what transpired here, the price that was exacted, and discovered they held Eragyn as their prisoner.

Three days ago, the night the meteor fell, Ilthond came to Castle Daggerdale looking for information on the Morn family. He held audience with the queen-mother who demanded a carnal price from the Zhent wizard. While this was going on Eragyn mistakenly thought Ilthond sought Iceheart for explicit reasons and jealously fought the two after finding them together. In the end Eragyn was captured and Ilthond put Iceheart in a sleep-curse to be woken only by a kiss from a man after he found what he was looking for: The burial mound for Delgar Morn, Randall’s great-great-great-great grandfather and the identity of the mage who enchanted the Sword of the Dales, Shraevyn. The characters notice a ‘Shraevyn's Tomb’ on the map Guthbert gave them. 

In other information: Eragyn, while weakened and dispirited was not forsaken and was still a cleric capable of seeing to rebuilding the church in Green Orb. The Ice ‘queen’ has been in Castle Daggerdale since the time of troubles, the half-drow wildings came as her servants after. That night the characters feasted on owlbear meat and rested.

Midmorning the next day the deputies traveled back to Greeb Orb with Eragyn the Dark and discuss heading to Shraevyn's Tomb after Green Orb by way of Castle Ennith. 

Castle Enneth

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Meeting Resistance

Some dwarves were known for their stone or metal working, some are known for their divine magical abilities, no Kharva Stonefist was famous, albiet locally so, for her biscuits. Kharva worked at The Hall for decades, and breakfast was her specialty. The Hall is a feasthouse that served the local community in many capacities ranging from stage plays to weddings and of course meals at anytime of the day. The dwarf woman had watched generations of local boys and girls grow up to become farmers, craftsmen, and housewives; then there were the other children who took up the sword and shield whose lives were cut short by the encroachment of evil. Cut short by the Zhentlar.

Kharva worked this early morning to make all her guests as comfortable as possible; resistance members summoned in secret to hear the motivating words of Randall Morn and to exchange information and this morning The Hall was today’s venue.



As Kharva swept the planked wooden boardwalk the first of the dalesman came just before dawn, a devotee of the Benevolence, Melfar of Lathander. Dressed in the new gold dragon motif, the field chaplain worshiped the sun openly singing in draconic to the sun as it crested the Dagger Hills.

Balbo Flambard
Also eager to worship that morning was Realgar Runeguard of the Brightblade dwarves who arrived soon after; however his devotions, Kharva lamented, involved copious amounts of the local brew. 

Kharva started breakfast and soon The Hall was filled with the smells of eggs, biscuits and sausage. She soon heard the sound of approaching horses and before Kharva knew it Balbo Flambard was there, the halfling scout was true to his name and arrived undetected using the sound of Lint Delmiskyr and Vacek Kordova’s arrival; the two handsome riders greeted everyone cheerily. 

Finally, as was usual, Aldrich Gundwynd arrived an hour in advance of Randall. The wizened man entered The Hall and immediately began casting protective and divination spells after which Aldrich sent his falcon to signal the leader of the Freedom Riders and the rightful ruler of Daggerdale that all was well.
Lint Delmiskyr

As morning began in earnest Kharva could detect a faint gallop along the pasture, the approach of the seventh guest was nigh. The men prepared themselves finishing their breakfast and washing it down with the last of the coffee while Kharva started brewing a fresh kettle.

Kharva heard the dales hero dismount and step up the boardwalk, Randall entered The Hall and pleasantly greeted each individual. As he did this each attendee touched the blade of the Sword of the Dales in fealty. This excited even Kharva as she cleaned up, it was no wonder the folk of the dale looked to Randall as their protector and leader.

He looked to the assemblage, “Thank you all for coming.” Randal Morn began, his voice clear and sure. “I will hear any news you have brought me.” As he said this he handed his sword’s scabbard to Melfar as a speaking token conveying to everyone that the cleric of Lathander had the floor.

At this act Melfar spoke up, “The safehouses in Sunstone are secure I'm glad to report, those who wish shelter from the oppression will find food and shelter there.” Melfar handed the scabbard to the dwarf.

Realgar had less than good news to report to the resistance, “Dwarf scouts report orcs have began to settle in Galders and goblins have returned to Stonehome."

Aldrich Gyndwynd
“Dwarf scouts..” Balbo harrumphed deftly swiping the scabbard from Realgar. “.. my rump. Anyway, some interesting news out of Black Switch; a newcomer, from another dale, is looking to buy the old Mage’s Ruse building. If he’s a true dalesman then I’m sure he can be an ally.” 

It was Lint’s turn with the scabbard, “A mage has decided to settle the old Shadowtop Estate at Serpents Bridge and like Balbo’s new friend, not much is known about this one at this time.”

As the morning sunlight illuminated the east wall of the feasthall the scabbard changed hands again, this time to Vacek the Rider of Mistledale.

“As you know both Kellet and Teshmere were destroyed by at least one dragon during the godsfall, while initially assessed as total losses one merchant was overheard at Fulgath’s there were efforts to stage Zhentlar there since there is no reason to go there as both towns are in ruins.”

Finally it was Aldrich who took the scabbard and briefed everyone on what he and Randall discussed before the meeting. Gentlemen, every farm and settlement is important; however, Nettle is more so because it produces much of our food. Any threats against it or its people should be reported at the next meeting.”
Randall Morn

Randall took the scabbard and sheathed the Sword of the Dales and regarded the attendees- his friends, “We have come a long way since the Zhentarim overran Daggerdale and held us under its aegis; we must stay vigilant else our victory will be short lived. I estimate we have four weeks before we see an increase in hostilities.”

“Against more stinking Zhents?” Kharva asked in a rare moment of incredulity.

“Aye, good lady spring fast approaches which is when the Zhentairm reinforcements arrive and I believe if we can thwart them, and if we can keep them from taking Daggerdale this summer- we will have dealt them such a loss they cannot hope to recover from.”

Randall looked to his friends, “Lint, I want you to find out who this new individual is at Shadowtop Manor by tonight’s meeting, we need assets in the dale. Balbo you too, find out who the new merchant is in Black Switch.  The rest of you, my friends keep your ears to the wind and I’ll see you at tonight’s meeting at the arranged location.” 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Zhents Session 11: The Shadow Road and Green Orb

Our session catches up with the characters about an hour after the battle at the abandoned drow outpost. There was one last landmark to overcome however, and that was the compound of the Dark Talon Lizardfolk Tribe led by their fierce female shaman. While the Vrag'ral and one of the drow were knocked unconscious, what remain of the Dark Talon Tribe was now extinct. Dividing up the spoils the characters gathered small valuable quartz gemstones and the drow took the drow weaponry the lizardfolk were wielding, the next stop along the six hour downward travel was the gravely shore of the Shadowlake.

The Shadowlake
Confronted with the Shadowlake the characters discovered a narrow shoreline at the bottom of a deep chasm where two stone pillars marking the ‘entrance’ to the shadowlake stood. After casting the requisite magical ring into the dark waters, the Keeper was summoned. Surrounded by archaic symbology of Bane, the mythic banelar revealed her true price for crossing the shadow road and that was a soul. The drow having left before the Keeper was summoned, left only Vrag’ral the Orog to be the cost.

After the Keeper beckoned Vrag’ral in to the shadowy waters; the node she was the ‘keeper’ of was revealed and an opening to the shadow road was opened. What lay beyond was a monochromatic landscape that seemed populated by various kinds of darkfolk as well as the spirit of Trebek.
 
The Shadow Road
After a time the characters emerge from the shadow road, a mythic journey that granted the characters their first tier. Touching a shadow node on the other side they enter the world of light and an altar to Bane in a burned out church in a village called Green Orb. When the characters arrive, just before first dawn, the altar breaks in the presence of Heldarn Dernesch a Zhent agent.

Dernesch, after composing himself in a moment of weakness before the characters arrived, lead your characters to a small civic building that also served as town hall with and office and a single jail cell. Here the characters learned of some of the people of note in Daggerdale, where the characters are, what the day is, and the overall status of the dale. 

Simply put, Daggerdale is controlled by no one. Today freedom riders rally behind Randall Morn who wields the icon of leadership- the Sword of the Dales. Folk have risen up from their farmhouses to support the ‘rightful’ ruler of Daggerdale. Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu are separate from but aid support to Randall the freedom riders, their leaders have personal connections to the Morn family. There are also several neutral factions that maintain small collectives around the dale.


Meanwhile Dylan catches sight of a smoky red ring, miles in diameter, hanging lazily over western Daggerdale. After pointing this out the characters learn the mysterious anomaly appeared during the Time of Troubles; it casts a strange light on the countryside during the day and seems to cause the vegetation in the region to grow wild.  

Eventually two other Zhents were gathered in the hall; Hieb Jenton and Danus Treagh, both ‘fallen’ agents from Tilverton eager to earn Zhent prestige in the eyes of an anti-paladin. Hieb brings his ledgers of Zhent assets and names and their last known assignments before the godsfall. Danus says there has not been any communication since the coming of Randal Morn and the freedom riders. Among these Zhents is the familiar name Ilthond and Eragyn the dark and cleric of Bane, the on again/ off again lovers.

Word is Eragyn, the cleric of the now burned out Bane church in Green Orb, went in search for Ilthond. Eragyn discovered Ilthond went into Dagger Hills and believed he went looking for Iceheart, a half white dragon. This brought questions of Dagger Hills from the characters and some of its features and locations:

Bloodstone, orignially called Highstone- not a lot is known about the ancient ruins of this village high in the Dagger Hills, Hieb admits. It is said that Highstone was one of the first settlements of Merrydale (the original name of Daggerdale) to be completely taken over by vampires in the Year of the Gray Mists. It supposedly was destroyed two years later by high elven mages and powerful elven warriors from Cormanthor. Also in Dagger Hills is the looming Castle Daggerdale, the traditional seat of the ruling family Morn. Decades ago the Zhent usurper Malyk gutted the castle in the Year of the Wandering Wyrm, after driving the Morn family from rule and taking over Daggerdale himself during the first Zhent occupation years ago. 

Talk waned on what to do next and restoring the church of Bane in Green Orb seemed to be one of the first goals and that talk led to finding Eragyn and heading to Castle Daggerdale was the next agreed upon place to go. This is where we begin next session.  

Castle Daggerdale

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

People of Note - Daggerdale

Aldrich Gundwynd: A wise old wizard and advisor to Randall, a man of Oghma and ‘Friend of Shadowdale’. He was involved in the godswar around Hillsfar where he says he actually spoke in person with the Binder and rescued Randall's sister Silver Morn. He is often seen with his falcon named David

Chaz Sawer
Chaz Sawer: A strange fey creature; self-proclaimed ranger and protector of Daggerdale and is also known to be adept at many languages. Travels with a hybsil named Zean and a green warder called Logus
Cris and Regine Rolst: Brother and Sister warrior team new to Green Orb, they have been helpful in repairing farmsteads and rebuilding lives. 
 
Danus Treagh
Danus Treagh: Danus was the secret head of Zhentarim operations in Tilverton, until the Black Network learned that a Harper agent from Twilight Hall in Berdusk was given the mission to eliminate Danus. He was then moved by the Black Network to Green Orb to run the local mill.
Delbert Hiel: says he's retired militia from Deepingdale, new in Black Switch. Has been asking questions about the local closed down inn: the Mage's Ruse. 
Dulwar Deepdelve: Dwarven black smith and animal trainer, he has a large shop with attached kennels and said to be expensive but is said to be the best at both. He is one of few shop owners in Dagger Falls to outright refuse the protection of the Cavaliers.
  
Eragyn The Dark
Eragyn the Dark: priestess of evil and Ilthond’s on again/ off again lover, she is the daughter of ‘Ruinlord’ Radargh the cleric who reopened the temple in Green Orb before the godsfall.
Fulgath: a widely hated man with a reputation of overcharging everything. Fulgath’s Caravan Supplies in Dagger Falls has basic provisions and anything useful to merchants on the road can be purchased here.

The Gilded Gentleman
The Gilded Gentleman: Tren’s lieutenant of the militia and all around man-at-arms. It is unknown what the Gentleman actually is; however he is totally loyal to Tren and gets his name from the very unusual and exotic armor wears.
Harndarr Oryn: Mornmaster and ranking cleric at Lathander’s Light in Dagger Falls.

Heldarn Dernesch
Heldarn Dernesch: The main Zhent agent in Green Orb serving as town councilor and sheriff; he also owns the tavern called Schnapps Queen.

Hieb Jenton
Hieb Jenton: A master distiller who owns a controlling interest in the distillery cooperative along with the farmers of Green Orb who also own the vast fruit orchards. Hieb was a successful businessman in Tilverton, heading the distillery there, until his cover as a master agent of the Zhentarim threatened to be undone. The Black Network spirited him out and to Green Orb last just before the godsfall.
Iceheart: Half white dragon 'queen' who controls much of Dagger Hills, her subjects pay her homage with vile rituals at each equinox and each solstice. 
 
Kessla Lass
Kessla Lass: A retired minstrel and owner of Red Rock Inn a tavern in Dagger Falls frequented by folk of the surrounding dale. Openly known to oppose the resistance.
Lint Delmiskyr: Co-Captain of the Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu and rumored childhood friend of Randall Morn. Lint is very unpopular with the Zhents because of his Cormyrean family roots and his open taunting combat tactics during his patrols in the valley.


Luth Melennon
Luth Mlennon: Teshford Arms’ most popular barkeeper and long-time resident of Dagger Falls. Always ready with a joke and a mug of Schnapps; somewhat a fool.
 
Mestin "Trollbane" Durmark
Mestin "Trollbane" Durmark: She is the founder and Co-Captain of the Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu and can be found leading resistance fighters all across the dale.
Nella Weibhardt: Waitress at the Schnapps Queen in Green Orb and Heldarn's lover. If one is bound and determined to spend the night indoors in Green Orb, a deal with Nella usually is the only road to success.
Olavia Tsardruyn: A harsh woman owner of the cold and uninviting Teshford Arms, an Inn Dagger Falls that has fallen on hard times since the Time of Troubles.
Peitra Damaken: Investigator and suspected Harper who hails from Berdusk; the Zhentarim have a bounty on her after the Time of Troubles. 
 
Randall Morn
Randall Morn: Patron of the Morn family and Daggerdale’s rightful leader. Dark hair and deep blue eyes and in his mid-forty’s this dalesman warrior stands tall, brave and valiant. He is also the leader of the resistance who stands firm against Zhentish control of Daggerdale.
Reiner Trall: Mestin’s partner as well as strategist of the Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu who currently hold the hills of western Daggerdale.
 
Silver Morn

Silver Morn: In her mid-thirty’s, she has only recently returned to the Dale after the events of the Time of Troubles allowed her to escape the imprisoning enchantment of an evil wizard in Hillsfar. It is rumored she is with child. 
Tharwin “one-eye” Dynter: half ogre proprietor of the Broken Dagger in Dagger Falls, a rough-and-tumble bar usually favored by many Zhent and orc mercenaries.

Tren Noemfor
Tren Noemfor: Constable of Dagger Falls, he insures that trade flows smooth and undisturbed through the Dale. Not much is known of this man due to his ability to rule from behind the golden curtain of The Gilded Gentleman and the protective eye of the Cavaliers of the Order of the Lammasu.
Tristarm: Road marshal along the Tethyamar trail from Anathar's Dell to Dagger Falls. Flying colors of neutrality, Tristarm and his band of hunters keep the trail safe from marauding monsters.

Vacek Kordova
Vacek Kordova: Friend of Randall, Vacek as well as many other Riders of Mistledale joined Randall's resistance against the Zhentarim and helped win over much of Dagger Hills.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Zhents Session 10: Plans Set In Motion and the Drow Outpost

This week's session begins with the characters split up: Tiberius and Dylan crafting, El Guapo following up on leads, and Lucas seeking a quiet chapel while Havaok looked for Audry.

Lucas finds his familiar chapel under duress as Monsignor Seymour (a secret cleric of Bane!), Arton Delmis, and a Zhent named Grodvoth trying to grapple and pin a screaming and thrashing Commander Orgauth Veruni who was just attacked by a ‘seed of insanity’- a detached eye from a youngling beholder. Lucas jumped in to aid, moments later as did Havaok and soon they had the foreign eyeball plucked from Orgauth’s now unconscious body.

After some discussion it was learned that a five-eyed creature resembling Elazarin attacked Orgauth by having one of its tentacle eyes detach from its orb body and fly into Orgauth’s empty eye socket. The event was maddening to Grodvoth.

Soon Audry arrived to join Arton in his activity only to learn of the attack and a chance encounter with Havaok. Audry learned of the attack and of Havaoks pending departure. She has not been affirmed by the Ministry nor does she believe she will be; she expressed interest in leaving the Citadel of the Raven post haste but is stuck like most everyone else. She attempts to press Havaok on the details of his travels, but he is not forthcoming. She will hopefully be returning to Mulmaster soon with Yorel (High Commander of Castle Burmstone) to fight the infestation taking place there.

Lucas suggests spreading word of this attack on the Zhentarim to the leadership and they (the characters) should take this dead beholder eye to the Magisters. Seymour agrees to heal and care for Orgauth until Grodvoth brings help. Arton and Audry continue work on a magical item and Audry says goodbye to Havaok.

Lucas and Havaok eventually find Dylan and Tiberius and locate El Guapo who is sill at the Tesseract talking with Rylestrum and Velmarius who provide much information on the beholders and their four stages of development and growth cycle into a true eye tyrant.

Next the characters travel to Greystone where Magister of the Cloak Tedric Vexx awaits with his apprentice. Without any pretext Tedric leads the characters through the winding halls of Greystone until you reach a deep chamber where the drow Aunrae and Zaida await with an underdark trail map. The map featured an abandoned drow outpost and a deep body of water labeled the Shadlowlake and The Keeper.

The characters give Tedric the seed of insanity eyeball and begin exchanging information on beholders and the deep route out of the Dragonspine Mountains. The route to the Shadowlake would take all night (approx 6 hours) taking them past the drow outpost, but the characters learn the Keeper exacts a payment to cross the Shadowlake. At this realization, a visit to the black market is suggested to attempt to purchase a suitable ring or wand for the Keeper. As far as the beholders are concerned, when El Guapo asked why after over 50 years of no aberrations are the beholders attacking now? Tedric suggested it is because Elminster was believed dead.

It was evening when the characters arrive at Bridgeton and search for ‘Broadnax’ and the black market. Lucas made contact with a striking woman who, after an exchange of key phrases, led the characters under Bridgeton and a secret corridor in the hollow inside the bridge archways. Here the characters find carpeted areas where items of artistic expression are displayed- items the Ministry would consider contraband. Dylan fences an amulet, Havaok purchases a ring for the Keeper, and the other characters purchase an array of alchemical items and potions.

Later, the characters visit Castle Hawkehelm presumably for the last time to retrieve personal items and to report to their Commander Guthbert who has some follow up information on Daggerdale. The Zhentarim, in a region such as Daggerdale, will typically relocate low folk who do not cooperate with Zhent directives; those who do remain become part of the Zhentarim peripherally if not directly. Guthbert gives the characters a thirty day timetable to bring the dale back under Zhentarim control. In addition the characters are issued Vrag’ral a cunning and obedient Orog and information on Daggerdale agents to look for. 

After visiting the property department, where the characters learn Castle Brumstone was under attack by trolls or ogres or even cyclops; the characters return to Castle Greystone where your characters set out into the underdark.

The travel underground was swift thanks to two drow and an orog who could see in the dark. It was not long before the characters eventually found the abandoned drow outpost. The outpost, covered in webbing, was now home to a hand full of chitine and a choldrith priestess. The combat lasted less than a minute and yielded some treasure that was divided out.

We begin next session here at the drow outpost. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Zhents Session 9: A Way Out of The Dragonspine


This week’s session begins with the characters entering Dameron’s territory after defeating his fungal guardian the shambling mound. The characters were able to bypass the next obstacle, a corridor of insects with torches, making their way with ease. Beyond that were the glowing fungus fields, carefully tended to by strange bugs and guarded by brutish and stout myconids ready to defend the fields to the death. Above was a nine foot long deep bat that looked like a black manta ray (a Sinister). Each opponent had an odd amount of eyes.

After some confusing rounds of combat including Havaok being attacked by a darting eye from a myconid (that tried to enter his body) and unexpected aid from two drow, the characters proved victorious. However Dameron’s body was found headless (like Elazarin’s fate), the fungus fields seemed intact.

Aunrae
The drow were named Aunrae (male) and Zaida (Female), and they were sent by Tedric Vexx as insurance that all was well in the deep druid department. They seem comfortable interacting with humanity and spoke in the shadowtongue. The two drow claimed to be from a nearby community outside the Dragonspine Mountains that regularly traded with some of the Magisters and were hunting the deep bat. It was agreed that the characters would not share knowledge of their interactions, but left the drow to their own to decide to share this interaction with Tedric.

After, the characters spend the next few hours blocking alternate routes to the fungus fields as well as harvesting raw fungus components to take to the magisters before leaving for the surface.

Once outside the characters find it is dusk and encounter a group of undying zombies, discovering for themselves what they would later learn; the zombies the Zhentarim was trying to hide from the Ministry have gotten loose after the cometfall impact. They also meet Anders and Clemons along the way.

Back at Hawkehelm, the characters enjoy a fitful night as Niss visits each character differently imparting to each supernatural powers that focus on shadow granting your characters their next class level. This brings change in El Guapo’s sword as it goes black and a consciousness emerges: Ravenshadow, Havok’s oracle brother.
 
Zaida
After practice at swordplay, spell preparation, and prayers the characters leave for Greyskull and Ampherd who wanted the characters to report on the condition of Dameron and the fungus fields after the odd events that resulted in Elazarins death. There, in the company of the five other Magisters the characters report their findings to Ampherd leaving out the encounter with the drow.

At the meeting Zelda expressed her disgust with the deep druid’s methods and fears what sickness or curse will come of it. Brisbane agreed as did Istaleus however each expressed concern for their obligations to Tenloss. Tedric suggested an alternate source for materials with a sly smile. The characters were paid 1,000 gp each for their excellent work. Dylan gives back some fungus/potions after some reconsideration. 

Later (or maybe it was before the meeting with the Magisters) the characters report to Commander Guthbert for a costume change and reassignment. Orders included leading orog teams to clear the snow from the trails between castles and routes out of the Dragonspine; investigating the meteor impact site; and or gathering the nearly ten scores of undying zombies that now roam the Dragonspine Mountains.

However El Guapo had other ideas, he suggested (with Havok’s blessing) to commander Guthbert that if there’s a way to get a small group out of the mountains ahead of the main campaign, that group could be the difference in the spring. He seemed to agree because the commander immediately laid out a timetable for ‘this small group’ to adhere to. The characters are given the name of Ilthond (commander of Zhentish assets in Daggerdale) as well as Rylestrum, a venerable librarian and occult medium, he is also blind but ornery as ever.

Midday the characters split up: Lucas spends the rest of the day at the chapel then the Copper Calf to reunite with the rest of the characters in the early evening; Tiberius crafts a set of mule back cords; Havaok searches for Audry (all next game session); while Dylan and El Guapo travel to the tesseract to seek Rylestrum.

At the Tesseract the characters find Rylestrum working with Velmarius working on maps that indicate other meteor impact sites across the realms. Before the characters speak of Ilthond, Rylestrum inform them that Ilthond will be dead by time the characters find him, but to use what resources and items Ilthond has to fight the evil fight. Hail Bane.
  
Dagger Falls 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Daggerdale


For more than fifty years, Daggerdale has been battling to survive against hostile raiders, bandits, and monsters. Zhentarim spies and agents have infiltrated the dale in years past, and the men of Daggerdale have been decimated by the attacks.They want nothing more than to be left alone.

Located in the upper reaches of the Tesh valley, Daggerdale lies between the Desertsmouth mountains and the Dagger Hills, remote and hard to reach. Paths lead south to Shadowdale and east to Teshwave, but little traffic passes through the dale. Merchants of other lands have found the trip to Dagdangerous and unprofitable. The Zhentarim are the most frequent visitors.

The people of Daggerdale are hunters and farmers, but many homesteads are abandoned. Large areas of the dale are heavily wooded; the open farmlands and manors of the other dales are not found in Daggerdale. Instead, people huddle together in small stockaded settlements for protection. Small villages lie in isolated areas. The villagers farm the land nearby and send hunting parties into the dark forests and hills. The Dalesmen barely produce enough to keep themselves alive and have little to offer foreign traders.

During the godsfall Daggerdale's rightful ruler, a resistance fighter named Randal Morn, led a band of adventurers from Tragidore against the invaders of the Dale; and Daggerdale was once again free from Zhentarim control- for now.

Session 8: Tengu in the Night, what the Hess

Ampherd the new Magister of Potions
On the rooftop of Hawkehelm Castle Ampherd and the rest ofthe magisters lead the characters into an empty chapel to regroup.  A couple other attendees were lead into the chapel along with the other rooftop survivors.  Battle could be heard echoing throughout the castle.  Seeing that the castle was littered with broken furniture and litter, the group decides to barricade themselves in the chapel and discuss events.   One of the new roommates, El Guapo asks Ampherd if he had suspected his fathers possession or transformation.  Ampherd indicated he had no advance warning but admitted he had noticed a change in his father since the godsfall.  Upon further questioning Ampherd stated that Elazarin had a falling out with Velmaris and the brother of Rylestrum, Ilthond, though he didn’t know the nature of their disagreement.  As the discussion dies down the Magisters called an emergency meeting to appoint a new Magister of Potions.  Ampherd was put forth as the nominee and a vote was held by placing stones in a bag, white for yes, black for no.  The motion was carried four to one and Ampherd was elevated to his father’s former position. 

Once the vote is complete, Ampherd expresses his concern about the vaults in Castle Greystone as well as the deep druid Demeron who supplies many of the raw materials Ampherd would require.  His concerns would be expressed through action, and he calls upon the Roommates to visit the druid and report back.  It takes a couple hours for order to be restored in Hawkehelm but soon after the Magisters supply the Roommates with potions and alchemical items before returning to Greyskull.   Once the Magisters depart a Silvertail Tengu named Hess makes his presence known and begins speaking in Shadowtongue with Dylan and eventually El Guapo.   Hess provides Dylan with a bag of equipment tricks and shares the knowledge that the Tengu share a connection in shadow, a shadow that has ancient vampiric roots.  He then provides El Guapo with the scabbard that goes along with his sword.  Hess warns us that the ancient shadow is opposed by a group known as the Necrophagists.  The Tengu Hess explains that should we discover a need for training we should just whisper to the shadows and he will find us.   All of the shadow tongue discussion calls forth eight vile dark folk from the Shadowroad and a short battle ensues during which Hess aids the Roommates with magical spells that enhance each member.
Hess

After the battle, Hess departs via the Shadowroad and the Roommates return to their quarters where Lucas is surprised by a half dozen Myrmidons there to congratulate him on his completion of the Proving Grounds obstacle course.  An enjoyable celebration is had before the characters enjoy a well deserved rest. 


The next morning when the characters leave for the deep druid’s territory, the characters see three teams of three man explorer teams. With avalanches blocking many minor paths, these teams are going to appraise the condition of the main trails out of the Dragonspine.   Other than some difficult terrain, travel to the underground is uneventful until the characters reach the druid’s territory and the moldy shambling mound.  The session ended with the Shambling Mound’s defeat.   
Shambling Mound

Terror on Thorncliffe Trail

Anders
Anders agreed by repeating Clemons’ assessment, “It could take a team of orogs a week to clear all this out.”

Piled before the trio of Zhentish surveyors was a huge slope of clumped snow and broken timber that thoroughly blocked the trail out of the Dragonspine Mountains. The smell of splintered spruces and firs peppered the air with its distinctive aroma as overhead birds flew in all directions, still disorientated from the shock of the meteor impact.

“Is there no other way around?” Came the next question but before someone could answer, “Look there.” Burns, the brutish master of the obvious said as he pointed and clumsily drew his weapon.

“What in hell?” Clemons asked.

Along the hillside were four individuals run-climbing up the wild scruff towards them. Clemons reached for his crossbow, notching a bolt in one impressive move and sighted on the nearest unidentified individual.

Anders marveled at their endurance because it did not look like they were tiring as the four seem to move with supernatural tenacity.  They were closer now; Anders could see they were each uniformly dressed in tightly wrapped clothing. Men in all black with helms who made them easy to see against the pale white snow.

Almost upon them now Clemons voiced a warning, “Halt! Identify yourself in the name of the Ministry.”

“yea!” Burns agreed.

Anders cringed at the mention of the Ministry, but on they came climbing through the deep snow. Clemons loosed his bolt catching the trailing individual in the shoulder; it did not slow him down.

Sudden realization struck Anders as he remembered working a late night duty for Heathyard herding undying zombies away from the eyes of the Ministry. The zombies have somehow gotten loose after the comet impact Anders surmised as he stabbed Burns in the back with his dagger and looked to Clemons.


“Let us make haste back to Hawkehelm,” Anders said to Clemons as they left Burns to die by the vicious flesh eating undying zombies. 


Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Currency of The Gods

Audry Lanchester
Audry Lanchester, Ironsister and matriarch of the Black Lord’s Altar, found herself among the thralls of Zhentarim soldiers and spectators who had gathered around a side arena away from the main obstacles of the Proving Grounds. No one seemed to pay her any heed during her prerituals as Braidwood and Havaok stood nose to nose their mouths moving as they exchanged insults heightening the tension between the two antipaladins.

One, a storm cloud of primordial evil from Mulmaster and the other, a contemporary tyrant of the old ways from Zhentil Keep. It was no wonder she favored the tyrant, an adherent of the Lord Bane. 

Audry brought forth a yellow jewel wrapped in copper thread and held it in accordance with the ritual and waited repeating the words of power. The chant of the crowd drowned out her words as well as the combatants verbal exchange, but all that soon turned to blood and gore. 

At first it looked like Braidwood would win drawing first blood following up with a strike that had Havaok reeling, but Havaok came with a vengeance striking back several times and finally taking advantage of Braidwoods critical mistake that cost the antipaladin his weapon, Havaok beheaded the storm cloud Braidwood in grotesque fashion.

The feeling was exquisite, better than the greatest of physical pleasures, as the spell was completed. Audry slowly opened her eyes, oblivious to the excitement around her, and looked to the yellow jewel and the tiny light now encased within- Braidwood’s poor unfortunate soul.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Zhents 6 & 7: New Face of Insantiy

After the battle in Lake Village Havaok, Dylan, and Lucas take the beast of Malar heartsblood, the body of Ravenshadow, and Trebek’s head and return to Hawkehelm; but not before the Hunter Kascar hails the party and after some brief bartering 1,500 gold for Trebek’s head. The character’s later learn, through insight from Tiberius, that the ones looking for Trebek are necrophagists and are antithetical to the shadow entity Niss, who seems to be the origin of your character’s supernatural powers.

Later at Hawkehelm Havaok, Dylan, and Lucas encounter and debrief Rutledge and Sememmon along with two other property control individuals. Havaok handles his brother’s remains (cremation) and consoles Dorsha who at this time is slipping into madness. Meanwhile Lucas meets a monsignor and learns more about the Ministry’s pantheon worship and the high value they place on human life and the correlation on the value of the human soul. There are seven deities in the Ministry’s pantheon. The characters later visit Bridgeton several times to deliver the Heartsblood to Cambolton or to visit Glinda at the Copper Calf.

The characters also met with Ampherd who was plotting something sinister against his father and wanted to insure the character’s did not interfere but actually delay those who would interfere with whatever Ampherd had planned for his father’s nameday celebration. This prompted Havaok to meet with Rutledge again and inform him of the character’s past exploits- namely retrieving three peryton eggs. 

The next morning dorsha dies but not before she draws a single harrow card for everyone.
The new characters El Guapo and Tiberius were ordered by Rutledge to gather up Ravenshadow and Trebek’s belongings and bring them to property control. An accidental slip caused the Box of Niss to spill its supernatural contents.

A magical maelstrom encircled El Guapo and Tiberius granting them their heroic class, magical items, and insight into what Niss was, as well as the character’s who came before El Guapo and Tiberius, as well as knowledge of the necrophagists. Rutledge as well as a mysterious tengu watched all this in silence. Rutledge had a basic understanding of what he just witnessed saw this as an opportunity to reinforce Havaok’s group of Zhents. And to insure this he sent El Guapo and Tiberius to Blair Castle to get advanced information on the proving grounds for Havaok, Dylan, and Lucas who were surely participating.

 
At Castle Blair the characters El Guapo and Tiberius examine each obstacle and water pool, even watching as Arton, Braidwood, and Audry add an undead to each water pool including the addition of a Bane symbol to one of the obstacles (reroll of a skill check).

The rest of the afternoon was filled with preparing for the evening competition, the awards ceremony, and the Zhent general /Elazarin’s nameday dinner atop Hawkehelm Castle.

Later that night scores of zhent soldiers and agents lined the cobbled road into Blair Castle where torches and braziers lit the proving grounds under the night’s constellations. As Havaok was entering Audry slipped him a hide from undead potion.

Once inside the characters were brought to a staging area when eventually Dylan went into the proving ground first not lasting much past the fourth obstacle, next Lucas who skillfully finished the course. Then finally Havaok who also did not finish the obstacle course but would publicly challenge Braidwood in single combat and eventually win becoming the undisputed antipaladin. What followed next was two hours of celebration and camaraderie as the characters waited to see witch Zhentarim general would select them to join the cause for the Ministry.

It was not long when the character’s would learn that Guthbert Golthammer has selected them and that would mean a summer campaign in Daggerdale to defeat the usurpers and restore Daggerdale to Zhentarim control.

Later, atop Hawkehelm, it was the General’s dinner where the eight treasures were laid out each were guarded by armored undead. As the dinner progressed, Elazarin and the Magisters came out and eventually gifts were displayed before the Magister of Potions. There were several rounds of uncomfortable toasts to Elazarin preceded the opening of the last gift, Ampherd’s gift of preyton eggs.

But when the dribble glass spilled the potion of ageing on the eggs, they immediately hatched into young adult preytons surprising everyone. What happened next tested the sanity of everyone who was at that table as the surprise startled the thing that had taken on the guise of Elazarin for so long. Elazarin’s left eye became impossibly large and filled the center of its head, it’s right eye raised up on a tiny stalk of pink flesh to join three other grotesque eyes on fleshy stalks that hid under Elazarin’s white wig. The body of Elazarin fell to the table and then to the floor as fleshy tendrils under the now floating head released the headless corpse. As this occurred a tremendous boom and fireball erupted in the night sky as the meteorite seen in the sky collided with Faerun’s atmosphere and descended changing the mountainous landscape forever.

Combat erupted, the eye-orb thing escaped, and the preytons were killed by the characters. The rooftop is evacuated and this is where we will begin next game session.