Something Big

Episode 29: An Elemental Ending
by james_a_coursey


12-13 Kythorn, 1489DR

The ruins of Tyar-Besil
Daesys, Fyrnask, Gorbek, Wraith

After deliberating during a short rest in the room of the recently killed sea hag Thuluna, Lieutenant to Gar Shatterkeel, prophet of the Water Cult, the Heroes of Phandalin decided to press on northward to Shatterkeel himself, avoiding rooms marked with red X’s on a map found in Thuluna’s chambers thought to be locations where human cultists were stationed. Daesys would lead the way forward, while Gorm would put his nautical knowledge to use to repair the boat back at the shore and make his way along the underground river to the entrance below Rivergard Keep.

Heading north, the party got the drop on four water cultists and made short work of them before they could ring a large gong announcing the party’s presence. As soon as the cultists were dead, their bodies tossed in the nearby water, the lizardfolk leader Tornscale arrived with his lizardfolk warriors, maddened with the beginning of the uprising against Shatterkeel. He and his men opened a door to a room with more cultists, and a battle ensued, the lizardfolk not doing so well against the cultists. The party joined in and quickly turned the tide. A lizardman turned on the party afterward, but Tornscale was able to intimidate him into calming down.

Again heading northward, the party found the large door blocking the entrance to Shatterkeel’s room. A symbol of the water cult barred the door, Gorbek announcing that the symbol could likely be a magical trap. The party told the lizardfolk to go on ahead, hoping to use them as cannon fodder to open the door, but fortunately they knew the gesture that would deactivate the symbol and open the door.

Crossing the bridge into Shatterkeel’s room, a short conversation followed, with Shatterkeel predictably trying to get the party to surrender or face certain death. The party quickly got the upper hand, as Wraith was able to use the magical boomerang gifted by Aerisi to stun Shatterkeel, who was then attacked by the party, forcing him to drop his magical trident, Drowned. Fyrnask kicked the weapon into the water hoping to keep it from Shatterkeel’s reach, but saw the weapon floating away, retrieved it from the water and landed the killing blow on Shatterkeel.

The lizardmen, excited by the death of Shatterkeel, thought Thuluna to be victorious and the new leader of the Cult, but upon seeing the hag’s severed head instead decided that the party were the rightful leaders of the cult. Fyrnask and Daesys swam through a secret passage, finding treasure, some spell scrolls and two bags of dwarven books, later revealed by Gorbek to be the remaining lost books of Bruldenthar, which were put into Wraith’s bag of holding for safe keeping.

The party sent Tornscale and his lizardfolk to root out the rest of the cultists giving them Thuluna’s head to help sway the previously seen trolls to help them in the battle, after he helpfully led the heroes through the eastern part of the Water Cult part of the ruins to the entrance to the Earth Cult. The party took a short rest, and Gorbek meditated on Gar’s trident, Drowned. He knew it to be a powerful weapon, with some discomforting aura about it.

In the earth cult area, the party encountered two beasts that Fyrnask and Wraith knew to be landsharks, and avoided them by heading west. They entered the room of a two-headed ogre known as Broog and Norb. Gorbek pitted the two against one another, and the party killed the ogre. They found a huge, hundred-foot chasm tearing through the center of the ruins, so instead headed southwest.

They came across a torture chamber inhabited by a humanoid covered in stony, armored skin, with one Earth and one Air cultist in cages to be tortured. The heroes made short work of the humanoid, revealed to be Miraj, Lieutenant of the Earth Cult. They decided to let the air cultist remain in the cage, giving her food and water, and set Orna, the Earth cultist, free of her cage, giving her her plate armor (found in the room) but not her sword. She led the party past the sleeping landsharks, calming them, and across the chasm, avoiding another pair of landsharks with her help.

Toward the north end of the Earth Cult area, they encountered Nartham, Orna’s lover and Earth cultist, and his hobgoblin soldiers. A fight followed, the party killing the hobgoblins and Nartham, but not before he could kill Orna, who with her dying breath told the party to continue left, always left. The party looted two sets of plate armor, but found that they were a bit too heavy for Wraith to use and not quite dwarvish enough to suit Gorbek’s taste.

Heading west, they found a statue of a huge boulder monster looming over the broken remains of a more ancient dwarf statue. Beyond that was a staircase spiraling downward, wrapped around a huge, square obsidian column descending into the blackness below. As they began their downward climb an alarm rang out with the roar of a giant. Fearing what might lie ahead, the party returned to the Earth Cult area and spent the night in a barricaded room without issue. Gorbek used the night to attune to Drowned, waking covered in barnacles and feeling an insatiable lust for gold.

In the morning, or as close to it as the party could reckon, they headed down the spiral staircase. At the bottom they found the sarcophagus of an ancient dwarf hero called Hendril Foebreaker, inscribed with the words “BOW YOUR HEAD AND REMEMBER VALOR.” Upon bowing their heads, the party felt emboldened, and ventured forward.

The next room contained two giants engaged in a game of tic-tac-toe. The losing giant invited the party to play for a wager, and feeling that tug of greed, Gorbek obliged and, driven mad by his gold-hunger, managed to lose against the dimwitted creature. He demanded his gold back, and a battle followed, the party killing the giants though taking some damage in the process. Realizing that the trident was leading Gorbek to act unusual, the rest of the party worked to convince him to drop the weapon. He did so, and cast a spell to remove his attunement from the cursed weapon, having prepared the spell in advance with the knowledge that it might wind up being evil beyond his control. The trident was placed in the bag of holding and the party continued forward.

They found a black, impenetrable cloud of magical smoke, and boldly rushed through, finding themselves in another chamber with five entrances, four blocked by the black smoke. In the center of the chamber stood a black statue to the tentacled God of Elemental Evil. Guessing that the party had found the Fane of the Eye and that the four smoke-filled passages connected to each of the four elemental areas, they continued through the clear passage.

Before them stood a blunted pyramid structure topped by the altar to the God of Elemental Evil created by Vizeran DeVir – they had found the Fane of the Eye. But, before them stood Aerisi, Prophet of the Air Cult, with her Lieutenant the bard Windharrow, a pair of cultist monks, and a bound and gagged hostage, surrounded by pools of water topped by burning oil. Aerisi asked the heroes to kill the hostage and join her in serving Elemental Evil, but instead the battle was joined. The party attempted to sway Windharrow to their side to no avail, and despite sustaining heavy damage from Aerisi’s chain lightning and hurricane spells (with Gorbek twice going unconscious but healed by Daesys and stabilized once more by Wraith), were able to kill her, Daesys landing the final blow. Fyrnask told Windharrow to surrender or be killed, but he vanished from the battlefield, not to be seen again.

The party looted Aerisi’s spear, and left through the Earth Cult area to Sacred Stone Monastery, meeting up with Gorm and heading to Summit Hall to tell Lady Ushien Stormhammer of their success.

Ep 28: An Interlude - The Trade Way
by kesmomo


10 Kythorn – 11 Flamerule, 1489DR

The group was set up around the campfire as Orvustia shows up. After taking the hint that the rest of the group was not incredibly excited about her presence, she exited leaving Rinn and Yasmeena to have quite possibly the most awkward and misleading conversation of the entire journey. Bryce then tried to catch up with Orvustia to persuade her to switch her short sword with Yasmeena’s rod.

The next day a herd of deer appeared near a distant hill. Just as a few of the caravan members rode towards the deer, a magnificent stag appeared over the horizon, as if watching over the rest of the herd. Hypnotized, The Pole rushed after the stag in a frenzy that no amount of yelling, bears, or thunderous booms could shake him from. He ran into the forest with Yasmeena following behind. In the forest, The Pole and Yasmeena stumbled upon a wood elf, who had shape shifted into the stag. He relayed a message to Yasmeena about a prophecy regarding a castle in the sky.

“You’re on the right path. Keep following the river of gold and you will find the castle in the sky. The path is dangerous. Not all will survive. There will be blood.”

With that, the wood elf turned back into the mysterious stag and disappeared into the forest. The Pole and Yasmeena walked back to the caravan, the former entranced with his newly found ring, one which Yasmeena tried to steal from him that night, failing in both her mission to steal the ring and in persuading him that she was just calling him for his turn to watch.

Previously, the men had decided that they would stay back with the still distraught and crazed Silk Trader and his caravan to convince/kidnap him into re-joining the caravan that had left them all behind in the dust. The next day, despite their solid attempt, the Silk Trader was gone, sans his clothes. Never to be seen or heard from again.

While continuing on their quest the next day, the caravan stumbled upon a head in the road. Elviar and Bryce decided to stay back and dig up the stranded man to give him a proper burial. They found a tattoo resembling that of the family Harper. The caravan itself moved on, straight into a Giant Spider’s trap. Two Giant Spiders and some Zoidberg Steroid Trolls engaged them in a fight, one which thankfully the remaining group members outlived.

The group rested in a tavern where they happened upon a drunk blonde man named Hank. In his drunken state, he rambled on about a man named Bobby, and a woman, presumably Bobby’s sister, that Hank had loved but had died at his hand. Hank pleaded with the group to check a hidden glade in the forest guarded by a Unicorn and surrounded by graves. There they could find a cloak and a club, which could be used to persuade Bobby to give up his violent ways (he apparently leads a band of orc bandits now). He gave them a message for Bobby and asked them to deliver it.

On the way to Waterdeep, The Pole gave the group some information about the castle emerging from the misty hilltop they passed called Dragonspear. The Pole informed them that old dwarvish ruins used to house some kind of evil presence, possibly a portal to some kind of hell. The Highmoor Orcs who held claim to the castle were destroyed by armies, and a temple was erected in its place. The armies still continue to guard the old ruins/temple just in case the evil presence decides to show its face again.

Once the group arrived in Waterdeep, the caravan guards decided to follow the cultists until they disappeared into a large warehouse on the Northern Edge of town. The group then made their way over to Kalale’s contact, Abigale Wilmont, who was grateful for the information and told them that her spies would keep an eye on the cultists. She mentioned that a group of adventurers, known as the Destroyers of the Feyn, just arrived in Waterdeep.

Ep 27: An Interlude - Escorts
By Chrisdnd


22 Mirtul -10 Kythorn, 1489DR

Bryce, Elviar, Rinn, and Yasmeena had finally made it to the city of Elturel. They made their way to the Black Antlers Tavern looking for the monk, Leosin Erlanthar. They found him sitting down with two other people. One was an old acquaintance of Bryce’s named Onthar Frume and the other was an unfamiliar face. She was a halfling druid named Kalale.

Leosin took the group’s findings from their attack on the Cult of the Dragon camp, and left to study them further. Papers they found indicated that the cultists were heading north with the treasure they had been accumulating from their raids in the south. The group stayed in the tavern and enjoyed eating and drinking after a long journey. Eventually Onthar Frume got drunk and decided to challenge each group member individually to strength contests. Bodies flew and people lay on the ground but in the end the group came out trustworthy and honorable in his eyes.

The following day the group walked around town talking with the locals and doing some shopping. When it was time they went back to the Black Antlers Tavern to meet with Leosin again. Leosin told the group that he had a mission. He wanted the group to find out where the cultists were taking the treasure. It was of the utmost importance that they keep their mission a secret and do nothing that would allow for their cover to be broken. He told them he would send his trustworthy friend, Kalale along, and she would be in charge of the mission.

The group traveled for three days down the Chionthar River, from Eltural to Baldur’s Gate. Once in the city of [[Baldur’s Gate]] the group was tasked with finding a friend of Leosin’s, Ackyn Seleborn. The group found him at the North Gate of the city and convinced him to help. He introduced us to his crafty friend who identified himself as “Robert”. Robert would be the man to help track Cult of the Dragon wagons coming from the south.

After a couple days wait in a cramped room, the group was able to identify the Cult of the Dragon wagons heading into the city from the south. Robert tracked the cultists through the city, and when the group met him at the northern city gates the next day, he pointed them out so they groups could continue following them when they headed north. Ackyn had set it up so that the group would be joining the same caravan as the cultists as hired guards, and after some negotiations with the leader of the caravan, and a few sucker punches, the group was hired to guard a caravan of nine wagons on their thirty-day journey to the city of Waterdeep.

Two of the wagons belonged to the cultists, and contained the treasure they were shipping north. Two wagons carried two small groups of priests who refused to speak to anyone. Three wagons belonged to merchants carrying their goods north. One wagon belonged to a Beyd Sechepol, a half-elf ale-merchant, making his living by selling his good to the other members of the caravan. One wagon belonged to the Banaran family, and their two passengers, one of whom was a young girl setting out for a new life as a city guard in Waterdeep, named Orvustia Esseren, who Bryce had taken under his wing, offering her some basic combat training in their spare time.

After several days on the road the group was ambushed by some perytons (wolfberdeer) from the air. Elviar was made quick work of and tossed to the ground in an unconscious state. Fortunately the group prevailed and Elviar was brought back from unconsciousness. That night the group celebrated the victory with the rest of the caravan but Kalale overheard the cultists talking about Yasmeena. One of them thought he recognized her as the same person who had dueled Langdedrosa Cyanwrath in Greenest.

Post-episode, In-Character Discussion Thread

Important people:

  • Onthar Frume: Leosin’s friend and contact from [[Berdusk.]] Member of the Order of the Guantlet.
  • Dominic Tyler: Captain of the cargo ship that took the party to Baldur’s Gate. Friend of Onthar Frume
  • Ackyn Seleborn: Leosin’s friend in Baldur’s Gate. Owner of a large wagon and travel outfitter outside the north gate.
  • “Robert”: Leosins Erlanthar’s contact who did the dirty work to track the caravan through the city
  • Sulesdeg (The Pole): Caravan Leader
  • Onthar Frume: Leosin contact from Order of the Guantlet
Ep 26: A River Runs Under It
By jonslater2


12 Kythorn, 1489DR

Shortly after the party entered the Cult of the Crashing Wave’s camp in Tyar Besil, they encountered and slew a group of bugbears and got into a running battle with a mysterious mage, a gang of reavers, and some insidious pots of water. After dispatching the mage, and some courageous lid manipulation by Gorbek, they pressed on into the camp-proper and run into an even more formidable foe: a water Troll with regenerative abilities. After a lengthy and confusing battle, Gorm Tanglehair finally succeeded in putting the beast down for good.

After finding some documents in the mage’s chambers reporting on some of the groups early activities in the Valley (the odd writing matching other reports found in Julliver Grimjaw‘s possession in Rivergard Keep) and paying respects to Daesys’ fallen animal companion, the party pushed eastwards into the complex.

Following an amusing interaction with an mentally imbalanced lizard, the party learned that Theluna, the lieutenant of the Water Prophet, Gar Shatterkeel, has been planning a coup against her former ally. In addition, they learned of lizardmen rebellion in the Mere of Dead Men led by an individual known as Snapjaw. Armed with this knowledge and the hope of an alliance of convenience, the group steeled themselves to enter the Sea Hag’s lair.

While they managed to enter into a conversation with Theluna, it became clear early on that the haughty hag would not bend on her unfair terms for an alliance and fighting broke out. The party quickly slew her ogre bodyguard and attempted to interrogate the Hag, but she was killed before any information could be gleaned.

Ep 25: Down in the Air
By GuyFall


11 Kythorn, 1489DR

Panic strikes the party as they face off against an air cultist mounted on a wyvern. Luckily, the cool heads of Gorm, Gorbek, and Daesys prevail and they work together to bring down the rider. Fyrnask (immune to fear) runs to a guardhouse for ‘tactical advantage’ and Wraith moves well away from danger to ‘cover our rear from attack by weakling kenku and starving cultists’. Enraged by Daesys’ parting arrow, the wyvern turns on the party. Gorbek quickly retreats to Fyrnask’s ‘Wondrous Guardhouse of Tactical Advantage’ +1, and Gorm goads the Wyvern into attacking and is grieviously wounded, and with no help in sight foolishly decides to fight to the death.

Alas it was not to be. The battle is interrupted by an air cultist who calls off the wyvern, and summons the party to the court of the Aerisi, the leader of the Air Cultists.

Inside her chambers, the party learns…..

  • Gorm can play the flute damn well, and the party can sing, too.
  • Aerisi wants the party to kill the leader of the Black Earth Cult, Marlos, who has been tranformed into a monster.
  • The leader of the Fire Cultists is named Vanifer.

The party agrees and gets a mirror and a magic boomerang as a parting gift. They are led to some ruins where they are allowed to stay the night.

During the night, Gorm is attacked by a cloaker, but is saved by Wraith and Fearless Fyrnask.

The next day Aerisi’s right-hand, Windharrow, leads the party down a long underground corridor, outside of the air cult’s territory. He mockingly warns the party of the giant octopus and a dragon turtle in the waters ahead.

The party searches ahead and discovers three wrecked boats on a beach in large underground cavern lake, and encounter a den of bugbears who they quickly slay. During the fight with the bugbears, Daesny’s wolf companion is slain. In the next room, they meet an alchemist who is surpised to see them, and quickly retreats back to his laboratory after exchanging a few quick words with Gorm.

Ep: 24. Delving Deeper
By Chrisdnd


10 Kythorn, 1489DR

Wraith, Gorm Tanglehair, and Fyrnask continued towards the meeting point and found Gorbek waiting. After catching up with each other, they headed into the Sighing Valley. Their plan was to head into the ancient ruins of the Dwarven city Tyar-Besil beneath the Sumber Hills, and put an end to the elemental cultists reign of terror in the valley. They intend to follow Bruldenthar‘s suggestion and take one of the elemental prophet’s magical weapons, and destroy it on the altar in the Fane of The Eye, in the lost drow caverns beneath the dwarven city.

They knew of a hidden cave entrance near the air cultist’s keep, Feathergale Spire, and so they began heading north through the canyon valley, when they heard a ruckus in the distance. They could make out an elf and and companion lying on the ground surrounded by gnolls. The group jumped into action to help and made quick work of the gnolls. The group was introduced to Daesys who is an Elf ranger, and her formidable wolf companion named Leikos. After making small talk the group learned that she was sent here to find the man at her feet. Unfortunately for the man she was too late and the group could see he had been dead for some time.

The heroes convinced Daesys to join their group and they continued on towards the secret entrance in the valley. As they were walking they saw a commotion in the distance at Feathergale Spire. The heroes were not able to make out who it was but they could see fighting going on. They later learned that the Air cultists split on their allegiance and were fighting each other.

Continuing on, while trying to keep hidden, a large silver dragon flew over and made eye contact with the group. It continued on its way out of sight. The group, moving forward as stealthily as possible, found themselves ambushed by cultists. The group begins to kill them one by one when they noticed a giant multi-elemental creature coming from the northwest. Friend and Foe both turned toward the secret cave entrance and ran as fast as they could. No one seemed to know where this elemental came from. The party got inside, but the giant creature created and earthquake, causing the collapse of the entrance, thus blocking their only known exit out. The heroes could now only move forward. One of the cultists they had been fighting in the canyon also fled into the cave with them, and he told them about Yan-C-Bin, who is the Prince of the elemental plane of air. They also learned about his prophet, Aerisi Kalinoth.

While they slowly made their way through the old dwarven ruins, it was clear that they had become home to members of the air cult, the Cult of Howling Hatred. They eventually encounter a strange bard and his musical “minions”. Completely annoyed by the horrible music, the group tries to kill the bard. They do some damage but before they can make the killing blow he literally disappears. After he is gone the group interrogates the remaining “minion” cultists and they find out that the bard’s name is Windharrow and he is Aerisi’s right hand man. They continue to interrogate and when finished, toss the cultists over the of a large underground chasm, into the black abyss. Unfortunately, due to the screams from the minions cultusts, they are seen by a wyvern and his rider, perched on top of a large pyramid which dominates the surrounding ruins.

Ep 23: An Interlude - The Raider's Camp
by james_a_coursey


11 Mirtul, 1489DR
(The following events occur approximately one month prior to Episode 21)

Rinn Moonwhisper had just arrived in Greenest a few days before the attack by the Cult of the Dragon. The following day, he encountered some suspicious town guards who took him to the keep for questioning. When they realized who he was, they asked him to try to catch up with Yasmeena and Bryce, who left town earlier that morning, to track the retreating cult army and rescue the monk Leosin Erlanthar.

Rinn met the group as they were resting at a small campsite, and they headed out together and eventually found the raider’s camp in the hollow of a large mesa. They were able to climb to the top of the mesa to get a better view from above, and found the camp full of activity and confusion, as the army was in the midst of packing up and moving out. A caravan of wagons and pack animals was being loaded with large crates and chests from the a cave, which Leosin was sure was where a clutch of dragon eggs were being kept.

Having the information he needed, Leosin, Rinn, and Bryce returned to Greenest so continue his mission and report his findings to his contact in Eltural. He promised to reward the party if they waited until the army moved out, then went back to find and destroy the dragon eggs at the camp. He was confident the eggs were left behind because of the small contingent who remained to guard the cave. That meant the eggs were close to hatching and couldn’t be moved. He asked them to get proof the eggs were destroyed, then ride north to Eltural to meet him and his contact from the Order of the Guantlet, Onthar Frume. Yasmeena spent the night atop the mesa to keep an eye on the camp.

The following morning, Greenest’s sergeant of the guard, Markguth, offered to accompany them in repayment for Yasmeena’s brave duel to release his family from the half-dragon Langdedrosa Cyanwrath the previous day. They found the army had completely abandoned the camp, except for a small contingent left behind inside the cave. They asked Sgt Markguth to stand guard outside, while they proceeded inside.

After encountering a number of traps, cultists, kobolds, and drakes, the party finally found a temple to dragonkind and Tiamat, occupied by Langdedrosa Cyanwrath with two female berserkers at his side. A difficult fight left Yasmeena mortally wounded, but Bryce and Rinn manage to emerge victorious. Unfortunately, Bryce’s youthful enthusiasm almost killed them all, when he attempted to move an ornate chest, springing a trap that filled the room with poison gas. Finding a place to hide and rest, they returned and found the egg nursery in a cold dark cave next to the temple. They killed the two drakes guarding the eggs, then smashed the eggs and watched as the young hatchlings slowly died.

On the way out, they found an abandoned room with a desk full of papers and maps. They indicated that the cults wagon caravan, presumably with all the loot the cult has been accumulating in the camp from it’s various raids in the region, was heading to Baldur’s Gate and then north to Castle Naerytar. They also found the dead body of Sgt. Markguth at the cave entrance. They returned to Greenest to receive their reward, and then set off north to catch up with Leosin in Elturel.

Episode 22: An Interlude - Greenest
by jonslater2


10 Mirtul, 1489DR
(The following events occur approximately one month prior to Episode 21)

A group of adventurers- including Bryce, a young paladin, Yasmeena, a young Half-Elf monk, and Elviar, an Elven wizard- arrived in Greenest following stories of dragon cult activity. While getting to know each other in a quiet inn, the town is suddenly beset by an army of Dragon Cultists who quickly begin massacring the townspeople of Greenest. After a fierce fight outside the tavern with one of the marauding bands, the group manages to reach the safety of the keep in the center of town, where they meet the governor and the head of the city guard.

After a brief rest, the party offers to leave the keep to capture an officer who might be able to shed light on the cause of the attack. Making use of a secret tunnel beneath the keep, they manage to successfully ambush a group of cultists and take an officer captive. It is revealed that the army is sacking Greenest on their way south, to add to their treasure hoard in the hopes of drawing dragons to their cause.

During the night, a blue dragon attacks the keep and slaughters a number of guards before everyone withdraws to the safety of the keep’s interior. At dawn, the defenders are awoken by a massive Half-Dragon lieutenant named Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, who is threatening to kill the captured family of the town’s sergeant of the guard, Markguth, unless his request for a duel is fulfilled. Yasmeena accepts his offer, and manages to blind the beast in one of his eyes before being struck down, grievously wounded. The cultist army departs soon afterward, and the defenders take this time to charm the captive officer into revealing more about the army’s intentions.

Elviar uncovers that the Rezmir is the leader of the army, and she is attempting to call forth the 5-headed dragon, Tiamat. The half-dragon that fought Yasmeena is Rezmir’s lieutenant, a beast named Langdedrosa Cyanwrath. The cultists are attempting to recover a series of powerful masks that are rumored to allow the wearers to control the wills of dragons, in order to bring about a new age of dragon dominance in the world.

Hearing of a mysterious Monk who has infiltrated the enemy camp to learn more about this dangerous threat, the group follows the army south and manages to release from captivity the Monk known as Leosin Erlanthar, who gives them new information about the challenges they face ahead.

Episode 21: On the Road
by JimC


10 Kythorn, 1489DR

After arriving from Nettlebee Ranch the Heroes spend the evening in Beliard, and do some shopping in preparation for their upcoming descent into the dwarven ruins of Tyar-Besil below. Gorbek and Altheon depart toward Red Larch, to search for their contacts there. Gorm Tanglehair and Wraith (the party) decide to head south to Rivergard Keep to check on things. Everyone agrees to rendezvous at the entrance to the Sighing Valley the following day, where they previouysly discovered a secret cave entrance near Feathergale Spire. The party is joined by Fyrnask in Beliard, and they rescue a travelling merchant and a bard on the road outside of town. They arrive at Rivergard and discover it is being abandoned. They are attacked the following day when travelling to the rendezvous, by a group of earth and water cultists who are working together.

  • After learning about the Heroes of Phandalin, Fyrnask tracks them to the Dessarin Valley where he plans to join them in their cause. He meets Wraith and Gorm Tanglehair on the streets as they are preparing to leave Beliard, and offers to join them and help however he can. He mentions that there are some rumors going around that the Heroes of Rivergard are partly to blame for the destruction of Red Larch, due to their seclusion in Rivergard, rather than defending the people of the valley.
  • Shortly after leaving Beliard, the party hears some shouting up ahead, and see an armed woman blocking a small bridge, demanding a travelling merchant pay a toll, to cross with his wagon. Gorm decides to intervene, and blasts the woman’s giant boar companion over the side of the bridge into the gorge below. Enraged, the woman transforms into a wereboar, but is also knocked off the bridge to the gorge below, before she can attack.
  • Winston, the travelling dwarf merchant, and his half-orc companion Jarles, are grateful for the help. Winston offers to sell them some of his goods at a discount. The party acquires a handful of healing potions, and a mini-keg of distinctive ale, that has mysterious healing and charisma properties.
  • Jarles asks if he can travel with the party, to learn more about their adventures, to get some inspiration for his stories and songs. The party tells him many things about their lives and adventures as they travel, and Jarles is quite pleased.
  • Upon their arrival in Rivergard, the party finds a group of fifty or so refugees from Red Larch, being organized by Imdarr Relvaunder for a trip south to Amphail, where they hope to rebuild their lives.
  • They learn that Captain Morningfall has received orders from Ushien Stormbanner, the leader of the Knights of Samular, to gather his men and whatever forces he can muster, and head north to defend Beliard in case it also comes under assault. It has become clear to Morningfall that Rivergard has lost it’s strategic value — if it ever had any in the first place — and there is no reason to leave anyone behind to defend it. The knights are busy training able-bodied men to augment their force heading north to defend Beliard.
  • Men are also working to blockade the entrances from the underground river below. Morningfall is convinced the forces below the keep are gathering for an assault, and he wants to do what he can to cover their retreat. He ordered the remaining keelboat to be sunk against the gate at the underground river entrance, and has other men dumping whatever timbers, boulders, and refuse they can inside the main hall stairway to the boat landing below.
  • The cook Eren Winenc, is apologetic because the beggar boy Max disappeared a few days ago, and she fears her cooking is pathetic in comparison. She is also sad that he left, and worried about what might have happened to him.
  • The following morning, Rivergard Keep is abandoned as the refugees head south, Morningfall’s force heads north to Beliard, and the party heads west to rendezvous with Gorbek and Altheon at the entrance to the Sighing Valley. The bard Jarles decides to accompany them on the road, to learn more about their adventures.
  • Along the way, the party is ambushed by a group of cultists, who have their foreheads tattooed with the words “I am punished.” Strangely, the cultists are a mix of earth cultists and and water cultists working together, who shout “For Haayon!” who will “eat their livers.” The ambush is thwarted, and the party continues west toward the Sighing Valley.
    The party arrives at the entrance to the Sighing Valley canyon, where they meet Gorbek. Jarles departs, heading south toward Waterdeep.
Ep 20: Farming For Clues
by GuyFall


8 Kythorn, 1489DR

Gorbek, Wraith, and Gorm Tanglehair head a few hours northeast of Westbridge to investigate rumors of fire cultists causing trouble at the Nettlebee Ranch. The halfling family’s claims of a “fire witch” living in an ancient barbarian burial mound on their land, are actually part of a conspiracy between the head of the family and the earth cultists. The desecrated remains of the barbarian king found in the burial mound comes to life, and he demands those responsible be put to death. Fortunately, the party is able to negotiate for the safety of the innocent family members, and revenge comes only to the patriarch and first-born son who were responsible.

  • The Party arrives at Nettlebee Ranch and interview the family concerning the burning of the ancient burial mound of the Uthgardt barbarians. They learn that the stone blocking the tomb has been moved and that their livestock is being branded by a fire witch. The symbol on the livestock is recognized as that of the fire cult. They say that the tomb has been entered by the witch. Though they talk of a witch, nobody claims to have actually seen her.
  • The party learns that the son of Bertrum Nettlebee, Watson, has fallen in love with a blind human woman and plans to wed her against the wishes of his parents and grandfather. Feeling suspicious, Gorm tests the woman’s blindness but learns nothing. Meanwhile, Wraith, feeling randy, lures the rancher’s daughter with his box.
  • Deciding that there is nothing more to be learned from the Nettlebees, the party decides to enter the tomb. Indeed, the tomb has been opened and a line of torches light the passage inside. Gorbek casts a detect magic ritual to determine if there are any magical traps and Gorm sends his crab familiar inside to detect any invisible enemies. They learn that the torches are in fact everlasting flames but no sign of traps or ambush.
  • The passage moves directly to the heart of the tomb which has been desecrated. The remains of an elk tribe chief have been scattered about the tomb. 3 altars with the symbols of the wolf, tiger, and elk are in different sides of the tomb. Wraith convinces the party to touch each altar at the same time. Suddenly a tall ghost of a long dead Uthgardt chief appears. Gorbek attempts to parlay with the ghost. The ghost says his name is Javor and wants vengeance for the desecration. Gorbek offers to help the ghost.
  • Suddenly the entrance collapses and the party is trapped. A creature made of stone and earth erupts from the passage and charges toward the burial chamber. Gorm casts bolts of force to push the creature back and Wraith charges. Gorbek cast a whatchamagoo and did a whatchamacallit. Being a creature of elemental energies, Wraith’s attacks are largely ineffectual. Gorm calls for the wounded Wraith to withdraw so he can trap the elemental in the Fey Waters. The elemental escapes into the ground and continues to charge. Gorbek lays his healing hands on Wraith but he is still in bad shape. Luckily, the combined martial prowess and magic of the party is enough to take the elemental down. During the battle, Javor the ghost observes quietly.
  • After the battle, Javor begins to dig a path out of the tomb. The party follows not wanting to be trapped inside the burial mound. Outside they are surprised to meet 12 members of the Uthgardt tribe led by their chieftain. They have been called to the burial mound through strange dreams. They plan on taking revenge on the Nettlebees but the party convinces them that they will do the deed for them. Javor ignores the negotiation and walks toward the ranch to have his revenge.
  • The party follows the ghost to a cellar where the Nettlebee family is huddling in fear. After confronting Wiggan and Bertrum, they confess that they made a deal with the Black Earth Cult to lure the heroes of Riverguard to their deaths. Gorm, losing patience and annoyed that his Fey presence failed to cower them decides to take the direct approach and kill the family patriarch, Wiggan. Gorbek, revels in the ultraviolence and vigorously smashes Bertrum’s head with his maul. Not killed instantly, the two halflings begin casting spells but to no avail as Wraith joins the fray and slices the evil farmers into pieces. With the killing done, the barbarians leave.
  • The party search Wiggan’s office and find a chest containing Javor’s burial treasure and some other loot. Watson, the surviving son, declares that the party should take the treasure for saving the rest of the family from the barbarians’ wrath. The party takes the burial treasure back to the mound and bid farewell to the Javor and the 12 barbarians.
  • Wraith insists on returning to the Nettlebee ranch in order to box the box. Gorbek and Gorm retire to a tree to keep a watch on the blind woman. Gorm sends his familiar to spy on Watson and his blind human girlfriend in order to see if his suspicions are true. He discovers that the blind woman is not actually blind. She storms out of the house and begins walking down the path away from the ranch. Gorm hexes her with a curse and she immediately charges him and dishes out a can of medieval whoopass. Stunned and wounded, Gorm expects to die but is saved by Gorbek who calls forth angels with razor sharp wings, fangs, and switchblades. Wraith hearing the commotion rushes to help his comrades after failing to plug the gap in his halfling heart with the farmer’s daughter. Gorm recovers and tricks the monk with an illusion buying time for Wraith to arrive. Proving that 3 demihuman males are just as tough as a human woman, the heroes dispatch her with angelic, box battle, fey vengeance. Wraith explains to Gorbek and Gorm that he suddenly remembered that he saw her inside the lair of the Black Earth Cult. Her name was Hellnrae and she was a level kerbillion bad ass. Gorm feels relieved that he didn’t just get beat up by a blind beggar girl.
  • The party decides that it is time to delve into the Dwarven city to get to the heart of the problem plaguing the region.

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