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