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.

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.
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


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.

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 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.