Return to Southmoor...via the Shadowfel

Session 1, Character Worksheets

The players found out that they will be beginning the game together on a river raft, working it, but not liking it. 

Here's what was established in Session 1:

The characters once served at the Outpost in one capacity or other. Currently, however, they work for the Raftman.

Our heroes, in alphabetical order:


Agresiv ~ Warforged Fighter

  • Resolv was a fellow Warforged who was manufactured and deployed at the same time as Agresiv – a companion he dearly misses. 
  • The concept of unconsciousness concerns him. 
  • At the Lost Village Agresiv knows a young Dwarf soldier, Sasert Paul, who taught him some basic skills at the Outpost before resigning a year later. 
  • Agresiv likes to keep a certain child’s toy always on his person.  It’s a reminder of a failed mission in which he was supposed to track down a young missing girl four years ago.


Brok ~ Bugbear Rogue

  • The rest of the party knows that Brok is truly good, but the rest of the world mostly views him as an evil out-sider. 
  • Although accepted by Ghesh, he still longs for a place to belong. 
  • The mere idea of imprisonment is enough to fill him with dread.


Mana ~ Human Shaman

  • Mana was forced to drink an amnesiac potion and exiled from his multi-racial tribe for breaking a tribal taboo, which he cannot remember…
  • Prior to being at the Outpost, Mana didn’t know how to handle his uncanny connection with the spirit world until Ghesh mentored him.  The truth is, he hates spirits but works with them because he’s good at it.  Sometimes, when he’s really angry he’ll even fight with his own spirit companion, but no one knows about this.
  • He has fond memories of a hazel-eyed woman but is unable to remember anything more.  Although, he dreams of seeing her in the midst of a snow storm while a group of violent voices pull them apart.
  • Mana fears closed-in spaces.
  • He happens to know Dug, the half-orc rat catcher in the Lost Village.


Noorwyn of the Fey ~ Gnome Bard

  • A very creative Gnome, Noorwyn loves to play his tin whistle.
  • Noorwyn is tired of being in the same place for too long; he yearns for adventure to satiate his wander-lust.
  • He’s a strong leader, though cunning and has been a trusted counsellor for many a soldier already in his short career (no pun intended).
  • He originally arrived at the Outpost at the behest of one called Noora, who entertained at the Topsy Tavern, where Noorwyn also worked at the time.
  • Noorwyn has an almost uncontrollable repulsion for other people’s phlegm.
  • He has developed a keen taste for kingswater urchins, a rare fruit that grows in the sea.
  • In the Lost Village, Noorwyn knows the beautiful serving girl, Looras, at the Hole In The Water Inn.
  • Ghesh Gozer was Noorwyn’s Mentor in leadership, grooming him to inherit his Mentor’s gorget upon his death.

The NPCs 

Ghesh Gozer, the Mentor ~ Dragonborn Paladin

A Paladin of Melora and deeply spiritual, Ghesh Gozer is the former Mentor of the PCs at the Outpost. 

The Mentor of PCs is wise, experienced, generally loved and trusted. He is well known for always wearing a gorget.  (A crescent-shaped ornament worn on a chain around the neck as a badge of rank representing Dragonborn heritage.)  No one recalls ever having seen him without it. The gorget is inlaid with four metals: gold, silver, copper and steel. On the back of the gorget there is a dedication inscribed to Melora. As a knight of Melora, he had special interest in and learned some knowledge of nature. 

To Agresiv, Gozer was his owner for a period of five years, after which he earned his freedom.  Agresiv always respected his noble demeanour.  Sleepless, Agresiv was often assigned to watch duty.  He also served as one of the primary defenders of the Outpost.

To Brok, Gozer was his captor who gave him a chance to prove his loyalty to the civilized races.  Brok is outcast from the goblinoid tribes, having mortally betrayed them.  At the Outpost he was a soldier and guard.  Brok's feelings of gratitude to his Mentor border on indebtedness; he holds Ghesh Gozer in the highest regard.  However, he was lured away from the Outpost by the lies of Durgan and now he fears to return, believing that those remaining at the Outpost now consider Brok to be a deserter.

To Mana, Gozer was his Mentor in the primal spirits under Melora's domain.  The Mentor's knowledge of the primal spirits within nature nurtured Mana in his shamanism.  Mana worked as the stable-hand at the Outpost.  Also ambassador/sacrifice to Fey spirit denizens.

To Noorwyn of the Fey, Gozer was a trusted friend and confidant.  Alongside his soldiering duties, Noorwyn entertained the other soldiers at the Outpost for two years.


Durgan “Skunk,” the Raftman ~ Shifter

A drunk and a jerk, he always wears the same leather clothes. His b.o. is offensive.

Skunk is the current employer of the PCs. Respected, but not well liked. He has floated his raft down the river from towards the Lost Village with the PCs as crew. The Blackwater Cat is the name of his raft.

Brok is employed as Skunk’s scout. But he learned that Durgan lied to him and Durgan's blatant racism towards Brok is finally about to drive him away.

Noorwyn the Fey is employed as his watchman. But after seeing Durgan's animal behaviour in the Topsy Tavern where Noorwyn used to work, he has grown disgusted with his employer.

Mana fishes for the crew of the raft.  He also communicates with the river spirits and water Fey.  Durgan lured him into his employ with the promise of telling Mana about his forgotten past. Suffering from amnesia, Mana believed him.  But now he grows suspicious that all Durgan told him were lies.

Agresive is Durgan's guard and also does equipment maintenance.  Agresiv finds the work rather boring and his employer repulsive.  He lost in a wager of cards with Skunk and feels cheated.


Gordie Ostran “The Lucky,” ~ retired Halfling Ranger

Now owner-operator of the Hole In The Water Inn.

A former adventurer, the Halfling Ranger that runs the Hole on the Water Inn retired from adventuring some time ago. Rumour has it that it was after a particularly bad quest that ended very badly. He doesn't talk about it. 

He walks with a pronounced limp.


Brief glossary:

The Outpost is a hardened fort set on the northern edge of the Lost Bog in the Southmoor. It is there primarily to defend against creatures and pirates coming into the Southmoor from the Sea. At the Outpost, all the PCs had a relationship with the Mentor. There are a number of Outposts along the northern edge of the Lost Bog, next to the Sea. The PCs were at the oldest, "main" outpost.

The Blackwater Cat is a medium-sized river raft made of wooden logs, with a large central shelter. There is tarpaulin-covered cargo all over the raft, even strapped on top of the shelter.

The Southmoor is a large region of rolling hills, cold wind, and peat bogs, known for it's mysteriously high gold content. The southern half of Southmoor is taken up by the Lost Bog. The Lost Bog The largest bog in the Northmoor, it is a vast region of semi-solid land, sodden and dark. Although there is a lot of gold to be found amongst the peat, many prospectors never come back. A thousand years ago when the world was warmer, it was the primary seat of the Old People.

The Old People are an ancient race that once inhabited the Northmoor area. Not much is known about them, although most suspect that the gold that is found in the Lost Bog is actually actifacts from their civilization.

The Lost Village is a vibrant community of prospectors, adventure seekers, and farmers who live life on the very edge of the dangerous Lost Bog. A popular entertainment spot there is the seasonally docked Hole on the Water Inn.

The Hole on the Water Inn is a large, multi-tiered raft with a rooftop bar that is a popular party spot for folks working the river, as well as prospectors of the bog. It is run by the Ranger.


Session Two ~ The Narrows

We role-played life on the Blackwater Cat a little bit, and the characters’ reasons for leaving it soon.

The Blackwater Cat is heavily laden, and there are rumours that this might be Durgan the Skunk’s last trip, he's hinted that he has a big payoff coming at the Lost Village.

At the narrowest part of the river, another raft became stuck on a sandbar, and is blocking the Blackwater Cat from continuing. So the Blackwater Cat parked on a sandbar on the side of the river, which (unbeknownst to the PCs, was undermined by Jet Crabs, and was unstable.

The Raftman took his small dinghy over to the other raft to chat with its captain, an old friend of his.

The PCs manage to keep the raft safe, and fend off the Jet Crabs.  But while Durgan was away Brok was sneaking about and opened one of the crates.  They find an ornate red box in a small crate on the Blackwater Cat.  Finding it generated much discussion and role-playing.  Mana reached in, took out the small red box and opened it, triggering a poison trap!

What they discovered was what appeared to be their Mentor’s gorget!  They had little time to ponder it, however…

There were strange tracks on the sandbar as well as stray duck feathers (previous prey of the crabs). These crabs had fed well on ducks this season but the last few weeks there have been few ducks, so they are very hungry.

Eventually, the PCs noticed movement under the surface of the sandbar. The sandbar had been undermined by the crabs digging around in it and slurping up water for their jets, so it was on the verge of becoming quicksand.  They were 3' diameter horseshoe crabs with a thick fleshy water jet underneath (like an octopus),

swivelling eye stalks that shoot poisonous blood, and a long, whip-like tail.

They hid under the sand and waited for a character to be near. Then they used their Eruption Attack, then their Blood Spray. Finally, the crabs are defeated, although Mana’s fight with the poison was the most difficult part of the battle.

Then the characters debated as to how to confront Skunk, although they didn’t have much time to plan, as Durgan was already on his way back to the raft.

When they confronted the Shifty Raftman, Noorwyn’s insight couldn’t detect any obvious lie, so they agreed to go along with him up to the Lost Village.

Later, they establish camp on the side of the river, next to Durgan’s friend’s raft, the Crystal Carp. The Blackwater Cat pulled up to dock on the shore as evening approached, and the PCs set up camp.  The crew of the Crystal Carp had a big fire going on the shore.  Soon, Durgan and the other boat captain, Tiaeng, went off by themselves to chat so as not to cramp the style of the crew.  Singing and dancing ensued and Noorwyn grew “cozy” with a Halfling from the other crew named, Radathadra.

Some Information/Rumours the PCs gleaned from the evening:

  • Rumour has it that Durgan is getting a big payoff for something he is delivering to the Lost Village – enough that he was considering selling the Cat to their Captain once they arrived.
  • The friendly rivalry between the main Outpost and the smaller outposts along the coast is starting to turn ugly. One soldier was killed when a rampart was greased.
  • The merchant cartel from Fallcrest sent a group of around 6 people to the lost village to start searching the bog for money to shore up their coffers. So far the bog has taken at least 2 of them. (Soft city boys)
  • The old Cartel leader is going to die soon. He has no heir, despite 4 wives. Some say he's hired people to try and find a way to extend his life through magic, and that he's cursed.
  • There is a crazy man who actually lives in the bog and seems to have strange powers over the creatures there.
  • The old civilization whose ruins now lie under the bog were devout worshippers of Erathis.

Later that night, a Homonculus was sent by forces unknown to steal the gorget from the Blackwater Cat.  Agresiv, being sleepless, noticed it and confronted it.  The Homonculus was a construct, an automaton, and knew nothing of its creator. It only knew that it needed to get the gorget, and return it somewhere by 1AM.  The creature offered a platinum plate worth 100gp to Agresiv in exchange for the gorget. When the Homonculus started to show signs of aggression, Brok won the initiative and snuck up from behind and smashed it to smithereens with one blow!

Skunk remained asleep for the entire encounter.

The Homonculus was carrying a short brass rod (about the size of a roll of dimes), and referred to it when Agresiv tried to bluff, saying it was with Durgan.

Just as the Homonculus died, they heard a terrible shriek from the other crew.  Radathadra (and a package of green dragon hide from Skunk’s dubious payload) had been scooped up by a band of kobolds and carried away into the forest!

Durgan and Tiaeng implored the PCs to pursue the kobolds and retrieve the dragon hide (oh, and the Halfling too, while you’re at it).  They would stay behind with the rest of the crew to guard the rafts.  They agreed to wait not more than two days for the PCs to return.

The PCs followed the kobolds without difficulty to Kobold Hall, and the underground passages beneath an old abandoned manor, as Noorwyn’s learning in history was able to tell them.

They descended into the kobolds’ lair and defeated a small band of them in the front guard room.  The pursuit continues deeper beneath the earth…

Session 3 ~ Kobold Hall

The party descended further beneath the ruins of Nimozaran, into Kobold Hall.

In their second encounter in the kobolds' lair they find several in a large room with coffins; alcoves on the sides; and an altar to Tiamat in the far corner.

In an alcove on either side of the room there were trapped suits of armour that harried the party, depending on where they stood or moved.  Brok was especially harried and frustrated by these traps, until all he could do was smash the last, already dead kobold as it slid to his feet from Agresiv's deadly blows.

They destroyed the armour traps and Brok found 60 gp on the altar of Tiamat before desecrating it.

Moving on, they descended further and found themselves walking into a game of "skull-skull." More ruined coffins and another pool of green sludge separated them from their enemies here: six kobolds and two guard drakes!  This fight was a little tougher, but at least everyone managed to stay out of the sludge this time.  Brok again found the treasure: 100 gp and a few gems scattered on the floor of one of the platforms from which the playful kobolds competed in "skull-skull."

From there, the Fab Four snuck along the corridor to the next area where a huge, round boulder trap chased them around in a circle.  Agresiv took advantage of the situation to drop a hapless kobold in its path.  The kobolds had their revenge, however, almost killing the warforged twice.  Brok and Noorwyn of the Fey took care of the slingers and the spiretop drake, while Mana and the fighter (barely) managed the Wyrmpriest and his dragonshields.  Brok found the halfling prisoner, Radathdra, who almost despaired at seeing the bugbear, but was over-joyed to see Noorwyn again.

The adventurers found a couple of interesting magic items here: and augmenting whetstone and an elixir of aptitude.  They also found a silver key and a note describing the location of a secret door.  Hoping for more treasure and the stolen dragon hide, they crept down the dark passage to its terminus and they illuminated a large cavern with a sunrod.  Who or what will greet them here…?

Session 4 ~ Young Sharks

Agresiv, Brok, Mana, Noorwyn and Radathdra stood at the opening of a large, cold cavern. Agresiv threw his sun rod into the cavern to illuminate a small frozen lake in the middle. Then they saw Szartharrax, of whom Radathdra had spoken of when they rescued her.  And now they knew Szartharrax was a young white dragon!  Having thrown the sun rod into the cavern, the party knew that the dragon was aware of their presence and that there was no turning back. They moved in, and Szartharrax moved onto the ice to meet them.

The adventurers worked as a team and bloodied it well before they themselves had been hurt too much.  Having spent most of their daily powers in the previous encounter with the Kobold priest, they needed to be resourceful, coordinated and strategic – and Radathdra’s sling stones helped too.  The dragon was finally brought down.

Brok immediately searched for treasure and found a locked chest.  He finally got it open without too much trouble and recovered the green dragon hide for Skunk. Gold, a pearl and a magical morning star were also in the large chest.

Mana decided to apply his knowledge and experience of the wild to attempt skinning the hide off the white dragon they had just slain.  After many hours, and a gory mess, the entire hide was quite ruined.   :(

The group finally made its way back to the river.  Radathdra was happily reunited with her captain and crew. Agresiv, Brok, Mana and Noorwyn returned the green dragon hide to an impatient Skunk.

Back on the raft, the party and their captain headed on towards their destination, The Lost Village.  The short remainder of the voyage, however, was not peaceful: mutiny was afoot on the deck of the raft…

Brok demanded to “see” the “orders”, which Durgan was unable to produce.  Heated arguments ensued and the big bugbear dropped him in the river!  The quick-witted Mana helped Durgan out with the pole, not wanting their band to be charged with murder upon arrival at the Lost Village.  However, by this time tempers had blown through the roof and the differences between this captain and his crew were irreconcilable. Skunk was set adrift in an empty crate and the party sailed down the river without him!

As the captain-less raft came up over the last hill before the Bog begins, the party of adventurers got their first glimpse of the Bog off in the distance, as well as the Lost Village perched along the river just this side of the bog.  Peat smoke rose from chimneys in the village, mixing with the odd-colored gases rising up from the bog. There were odd reddish-brown tendrils reaching through the water from the bog up into the calm pools near the Lost Village. 

Something must have disturbed the bottom of the bog to stir up so much mud…

The docks were quite deserted, as was the rest of the Lost Village. One other raft docked at the moment was the Hole on the Water Inn.  A number of reports of a massive amount of new gold appearing in the bog last night sent everyone out searching that morning.

There was a warehouse near where the Blackwater Cat docked.  Fearing that officials in the Lost Village would arrest the crew for mutiny (or even worse, murder), Mana had cut up his bed roll and made a hood out of it to cover his head and face.  He posed as a very sick Durgan and remained quiet while Noorwyn bluffed to Gordie Ostran “the lucky” Halfling Ranger, and to the clerk in the warehouse.  

Gordie runs the Hole on the Water Inn, a large 2-tier raft which is really more of a tavern, since there are no sleeping rooms, just two floors of common area, and a bar. The PCs have all met the Ranger in the past, as he has been docked in towns along the river for years.

The warehouse is where the adventuring band unloaded the cargo, after trying to bluff the warehouse clerk into paying them.  Noorwyn’s bluff was pretty good, but the clerk was not the buyer whom Durgan was planning to meet.

There is an Inn near the docks as well, in which Mana took a room, pretending to be the sick Durgan. The Inn is run by a friend of the Ranger, who is 'on vacation', and has been for a while. The Ranger accepts a small payment (20 sp) on behalf of his friend to allow them to sleep there. Up the street from the docks, about a 10 minute leisurely walk, is the town square.

Rumours heard at the Hole in the Water Inn:

Rumour has it that the Hole on the Water Inn has been docked here for a long time – almost 6 months. Usually, it's about 3 months in any place – perhaps it's waiting for higher waters to pole back up river.

Rumour is that a huge iron door knocker was found floating in the bog recently, as if ripped from a massive door. Why it was floating remains unclear. It was too heavy to recover. Rumour has it that the Main Outpost (where the adventurers used to work) on the north side of the town was raided about 4 days ago, and that the Sahuagin took about 15 captives.

The Ranger is rumored to have once done many special missions for the King long ago…he received some injury he was never able to heal from and retired. He walks with a limp, and doesn't talk about where he got it.

Just around dusk, as the PCs were settling in to some good conversation with Gordie “the lucky,” alarm bells were heard from the town square.  After a few moments, a screaming halfling (Lou) ran down the street, chased by a vicious Needlefang Drake Swarm that seemingly burst out of the swamp and tore into the town square.  Noorwyn was one of the first to respond, being the “saviour of halflings” that he is.  Unfortunately, he got a little too close and the swarm of small reptiles made a meal out of him too!  The poor gnome really panicked.  Then, as the brave heros burst out of Gordie’s establishment to respond to this threat, a gang of ten young Sahuagin climbed up out of the river and onto the Blackwater Cat, the Hole on the Water Inn, and the shore. Two of them managed to invade the Hole on the Water Inn and ran-sacked a trunk full of blankets.  They were clearly looking for something…  It was a gruesome battle on the docks, especially for Lou and Noorwyn, who almost didn’t make it!

While Noorwyn was getting eaten alive, Brok went upstairs in the Hole in the Water Inn to see if he could find what the Sahuagin were looking for.  In an old barrel he found an odd-looking orange box that was left with Gordie, but he decided to leave it where he found it – at least for now.  Perhaps the Ranger will reveal more later…

When they searched the dead Sahuagin they found that one of them was carrying the Mentor's Signature Item. Not just one like it, but the exact one.  The party is sure this time because of the inscription to Melora on the back; the other one they found on the raft had an inscription to Erathis, which they didn’t recognize and had given them doubt.  Could the Sahuagin have kidnapped the Mentor from the Outpost?

The Sahuagin were carrying 60 gp and much of the gold appears to be the sort of thing typically found in the bog (misshapen ancient gold artifacts for example).

But the night was not over yet.  Just as things seemed to be settling down after the attack on the docks another scream was heard – this time coming from the warehouse.  The clerk came running out, shouting, “he’s dead! He’s dead!”  The party investigated and the clerk led them back to the warehouse where they found Durgan’s dead body, hanging by the neck from a rope tied to the rafters.

Was this incident related to the attacks?  Were the Sahuagin and the swarm connected?  What will further investigation reveal…?


Session 5 ~ Wagon Ambush, Hobgoblin slavers

Picking up where we left off, Agresiv and Noorwyn try to answer to the night watch as best they can.  After briefly fumbling through the facts (with Agresiv’s help, Noorwyn manages to blame his drinking on why his story doesn’t quite jive with the way the warehouse clerk (accurately) remembers things), they manage to side-step guilt in Durgan’s demise.  They help the night watch take the body down and they discover what may well have been originally intended as their pay, plus a silver key.

The rest of the night was uneventful.

In the morning they gather for breakfast with Gordie Ostran in the Hole in the Water Inn.  Just as the adventurers were about to settle into some interesting conversation, in which they hoped to learn more about the gorget they carry and the attacks on the village.

But their breakfast was rudely interrupted by Tomas, a wounded man-at-arms who had just stumbled into town.  He was quickly stabilized, but he reported that kobolds attacked a shipment of supplies destined for the Outpost in the bog.  Tomas also said that the other guards and the merchant were likely still alive, as he saw them taken prisoner, not killed.  Lucky Gordie and the Lost Village Watch begged the adventurers to pursue on a rescue mission, since the village was so deserted.

The adventurers agreed to do it for a small sum.  On the way out of town the watchmen showed them a large over-turned barrel on the edge of town with claw marks on the inside.  The watchmen feel certain that the drake swarm was released on the village from this barrel.

They proceeded on the narrow track out of town, following after the wagon of provisions.

But they didn’t get far before they encountered a road block.  Luckily, Mana’s long ears were able to detect sibilant whispers in draconic coming from behind the wagons.  He whispered over his shoulder to Brok, “it’s kobolds!”

Brok immediately sprang to action, leaping atop one of the wagons, ready to spring down on the enemy, but when he was able to see the other side of the barrier all he could shout was, “lot’s of kobolds!”  The would-be ambushers turned out to be more than they expected but not enough to be a match for our band of explorers.

Soon after the combat they investigated a nearby campsite and found large boot prints leading down a very narrow path deeper into the bog, away from the wagon track.  The path finally led them to a hideout among some trees deep in the bog.  Again, Mana’s acute perception noticed hobgoblins in the woods.  Battle ensued, and the hobgoblins put up a good fight, although their captain was slain fairly early on.  A skulking gnome named Feygis was helping the hobgoblins, and just as the captain fell he called to Feygis for “the dancer.”

The gnome disappeared from the fight until Brok saw him from the top of the rock out-cropping where he was trying to take on the hobgoblin archer.  Fegis opened a large cage that was hidden behind the rocks and out came a massive bugbear wardancer.  The fight took a turn for the worse and Agresiv went down twice.  Luckily Mana and Noorwyn kept everyone breathing and due to some well-coordinated tactics the party defeated their adversaries and freed the prisoners who had been destined for slavery.


Session 6 ~ Tale of the Star Temples

After defeating the hobgoblin slavers, the band of adventurers took stock of their surroundings, the loot (which wasn’t much) and the prisoners.  Then they headed back to town and reached the Lost Vilage at the end of the day.

The large barrel they previously found on the northern edge of the Lost Village, which seemed to once contain the Needlefang Drake Swarm, was still there.  From this angle, as they approached it, it was clear that someone or something intentionally loosed it upon the village.  They also noticed Sahuagin tracks around the barrel, but they led only to the watery bog.

While examining the barrel again, Mana noticed his contact, Doug, the half-orc rat catcher looking curiously at them from around the corner of a nearby building.  Mana asked Noorwyn to go invite him for a drink.  As Noorwyn turned to approach, Doug disappeared back around the corner.  Brok then jumped on the roof and Agresiv went around the back to block Doug’s escape while Mana (the one who – believe it or not – actually had the acquaintance with the rat catcher) waited in the street.  However, Noorwyn simply found the half-orc with a burlap sack and a stick, poking around in the garbage in the ally.

Noorwyn easily convinced Doug to join him for a drink in the Hole on the Water Inn and Mana joined them inside while Agresiv and Brok pontificated to each other about ways to die (or about nothing, one could just as easily say) on the dock outside.

Inside, the rat catcher told Mana that the Raftman had actually paid some of the less scrupulous people in town (including Doug, Doug confessed) to spread false rumors about treasure in the bog the night before they made it into town. No one knows how he got the communication to the Village.

Doug left the tavern, leaving Mana to ponder this news and Agresiv and Brok finally joined him and Noorwyn inside.  Then Gordie appeared on the stairs and invited them to the upper level of the tavern to have a private discussion.

Sergeant Rose's Tale 

Upstairs they met Sergeant Rose, one of the people stationed at the Outpost when it was attacked.  When the PCs find him, he is writing a letter to them, explaining what happened at the outpost, and telling them that he found a note from their Mentor on the floor under the table with instructions that “the menace” had to be stopped, that he needs their help, and they should meet him in Winterhaven.

Sergeant Rose and 2 young fighters had left early the night of the attack to go and turn the flag on the middle outpost upside- down as a practical joke.  When they returned in the wee hours of the morning, the outpost was almost completely destroyed – of the garrison of 55, only 40 bodies were found, which meant that 15 remained alive, missing, and presumably kidnapped by the Sahuagin.  There was a huge, six-armed Sahuagin dead in the middle of the outpost courtyard.  Many men from the other outposts have been sent to cover the main outpost, but now they are all understaffed.  Rose also tells them that Nolar, the former sword-teacher of the King, is now in charge of the outpost, and he has no love for Gozer or his friends.

When Sergeant Rose’s tale was over Gordie asked him to leave them alone to discuss some other matters, then he pulled out the orange box…

The Ranger's Tale of the Star Temples

Gordie Ostran “The Lucky” and a group of others (the druid, now simply known as The Bogman (the crazy man who lives in the Bog from the rumors in Session 2), who is thought to be still seeking out the Star Temple, hoping to find a new way in and a way to remove the rod in his arm; Ghesh Gozer; The Tiefling Wizardess, Amara, and her late lover Rennar, The Rogue; and their Torchbearer, an aspiring Warlord – also dead – killed in the Temple by traps before the group was attacked) were all sent by the King to locate the Star Wand, an artifact supposedly allowing the wielder to harness the power of the stars.  The Star Wand was supposed to be in one of five old world Star Temples that were only hinted at in ancient texts. One of the temples was rumored to be in the mountains far to the east.  The group eventually found that particular Star Temple, and after much danger and losing their torchbearer to a trap, they found their way inside.  Inside, they found the Star Wand.  When the Amara took it from a dais, a portal opened, and tall purple creatures stepped out and easily captured the group.  The creatures took them to a hidden chamber of the Star Temple, and did horrible experiments and alterations to them, ending with implanting a copper rod in each of them in different locations of their bodies.  The rods prevent them from fully using their Powers, and they seem unable to gain any new power.  The group found themselves outside the temple, without the Star Wand, and found they could not reenter, no matter what they tried.  They returned home in shame, and the group split up.  By the time he returned from the Star Temple, Rennar was insane, and the group agreed to let the Wizardess try and remove the rod from him to save him (which was in his hand) didn't work. Amara did remove the rod from her lover, but the process killed him and destroyed his soul.  Prayers to restore him went unanswered.  Amara was spiritually destroyed by the incident, and publicly blamed the rest of the group for ruining her life.  Then, about a year ago, each of the former adventurers received a gorget in a box. It appeared on their doorsteps one morning. They were accompanied by a message that said it was poisoned and should not be touched, and it someday could be used to free them from the rods, and that it should not be lost or stolen if they wanted to be normal again.

At this point Gordie pulled out his own gorget from the box and pleaded with the party to take it and keep it safe for him.  He felt it was far too dangerous for him to keep it by himself in the Lost Village now that the Sahuagin had been bold enough to attack the Outpost and the village too. 

So Agresiv, Brok, Mana and Noorwyn headed for Winterhaven the next morning. 

On the second day of their journey another group of kobolds tried to ambush them.  The ambush didn’t exactly catch them by surprise, but the fight was challenging nonetheless.  It was ended with a dramatic finish when Agresiv threw down his kopesh at his enemy’s feet near the end of the fight.  Then he charged and leaped upon him with a roar, driving the blunt edge of his shield down on the terrified kobold.

The next day they reached Winterhaven.


Session 7 ~ Burial Site

The rutted King’s Road leads to the foot of a broad hill that holds the walled village of Winterhaven.  The village is nestled in the southern foothills of the Cairngorm Peaks. The walls are weathered stone topped by defensive palisades.  Small thatched homes stand around Winterhaven, each fronting a small piece of farmland or pasture.  Beyond the farms to the west and south lie dark woods, and to the north, tall mountain peaks. 


On entering Winterhaven, the band was immediately confronted by Wrafton’s Inn.  Mana circled around and headed straight to the local temple (after trying to buy some fine clothes on credit and being rescued by Noorwyn’s coin and cultured airs). On reaching the temple, he found out that Sister Linora would be holding a service to the gods, chiefly Avandra, later in the evening.


Mana returned to the tavern where the others had already entered and chatted up some of the townsfolk in an effort to try to find their Mentor.  Noorwyn had wasted no time unleashing his charms on Salvan Wrafton and he quickly developed a couple of leads: Gesh Gozer had had dealings with Eilian the Old; and Lord Padraig might also know more.


Then a quiet elf hunter, Ninaran entered the tavern.  Without acknowledging anyone she stiffly walked straight to her favourite corner to drink alone with a bitter countenance.  Noorwyn, however, was feeling lucky and couldn’t resist a challenge.  He invited himself to her table, ordered drinks and hammed it up with sour Ninaran as best he could.  Ninaran confirmed knowledge of mauraders on the road but that they didn’t bother her, and little else.


Agresiv kept watch over Brok while Mana spoke to Eilian the Old and learned that Ghesh had likely followed a lead to an old dragon burial site SE of the town.  Mana also found out that there was a sage in town, Valthrun the Prescient.  He bought a round of drinks for all the farmers.


Just then Lord Padraig entered the tavern and Noorwyn turned his attention to the town’s warlord.  Lord Padraig didn’t know anything about Gozer, but he did want to talk about the kobold problem and offered Noorwyn 100 gold and all the treasure they find in the lair if they rid the area of the kobold menace.  He also gave Noorwyn a map, showing the location of the kobold lair.


By this time the service at the temple had already begun and Mana hurried back to the temple to catch the tail end of the service.  When it was over he spoke at length with Linora, telling her their story in the hopes that she could shed some light on it all.  But he disguised his name, calling himself Aman.  Linora wasn’t much help, but implored him to help rid the town of the kobolds, if he could.


Brok had wandered over to the temple, feeling a little left out.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), he didn’t find Mana, as Linora had taken him into an antechamber at the back of the temple for their lengthy conversation.


Mana exited the temple after speaking with Linora and headed straight for the tower, where he surmised Valthrun lived.  Brok and Agresiv met up with him and Mana asked Brok to knock on the door with the butt of his morning star.  No answer came from within, so they decided to call it a night.  Returning to the tavern they found Eilian the Old still there, drinking.  They showed him the map to the kobold lair and asked him if the dragon burial site was at the same place.  Eilian explained that it was not the same and sketched the location of the dragon burial site on their map.


Next day, at Brok’s urging, the group decided to first explore the dragon burial site.  However, before leaving town, Mana insisted on visiting Valthrun the Prescient and Noorwyn insisted on calling on Lord Padraig.  At Valthrun’s tower the old sage finally answered the door.  Although not excited to see the adventurer’s before having his morning tea, Mana was able to catch his attention with the pendant he had picked up from the kobold ambushers.  Valthrun took the offered pendant and said he would consult his library and give them more information when next they meet.  At Lord Padraig’s manor Noorwyn insisted on a written contract before tackling the town’s kobold problem.  Padraig was annoyed by agreed nonetheless, eager as he is to be rid of the menace to his townsfolk and travelers.


So then off they went to the dragon burial site, about an hour’s walk through the wilderness SE from town.  Finally they came upon a steep-sided crater puncturing the wilderness.  Near the centre of the depression were several humanoid figures clustering around a collection of bones.  Two small, dragonlike creatures near the crater rim stood alert and stared as the band of adventurers approached.


A gnome called to them from below, “You can’t fully appreciate what we’ve uncovered from up above.  Come down toward the dragon bones and see what the workers have discovered.”  They recognized him – it was Feygis!  They descended into the crater and battle ensued.


The fasted one to move was a human behind the others who had been concentrating on something when they arrived.  When the fight began he looked up and called out to the adventurers, “Did you come seeking your precious ‘Mentor’?  I have personally seen to it that you will never find him!” and with that, he lifted a blanket that had been covering a bundle on the ground – it was Gesh Gozer, bound and gagged!  Magic runes glowed yellow on the charred floor of the crater in a circle around the mysterious man and in an instant they were gone, the human and the dragonborn.  In reply to their vanishing Feygis shouted,  “I’ll dispatch of them easily, Master, and rejoin you at the Keep very soon…”  Little did Feygis know that his life was soon to end.  


The adventurers soon dispatched the rag-tag band of dragon grave robbers and Noorwyn found a magic +1 amulet of health.


What to do now?  


Brok wants to press on immediately to the Keep in pursuit of their Mentor and his captor.  


Noorwyn wants to find the kobold treasure.  


Mana wants to return to Valthrun the Prescient for further investigation.  


How will the party decide?






Session 8 ~ The Kobold Lair


The party of adventurers collectively elected to return to Winterhaven from the old dragon burial site.  At the town gates they split up.


Mana headed straight back to Valthrune the Prescient’s tower. Agresiv paced back and forth through the market square, making notes for chapter one of his book. Noorwyn turned away from the gates and followed the cry of a falcon he saw circling in the sky over a distant hill outside town.  That left Brok standing at the gate by himself.


At the sage’s tower, Mana found the old man at home. He quickly called Agresiv over to join him and they both got invited in for tea.  Valthrune confessed that he knew more about the old keep than he had let on before. He told them that there was an ancient rift to the Shadowfel deep under the keep, although it had been magically sealed long ago. He further explained that he felt fairly certain that the symbol he found carved on the pendant was a representation of Orcus, lord of demons. “This does not bode well! If servants of Orcus are active in the area, they are likely interested in nothing less that re-opening the rift! this is terrible! If death cultists unseal the rift, a tide of undead could descend on Winterhaven. And there’s another thing: I found out that someone will need to participate in a ritual to unbind a faltering divine energy source from the Crystal Nexus, a massive pillar of enchanted quartz that protects the surrounding area from the encroachment of chaos. At the same time, you need to seek out a willing nature spirit and attempt to convince it to join the with the nexus. While the nature spirit binds itself, you reweave the freed divine energies to create a protective enchantment. Unfortunately, the text gave no indication as to where this Crystal Nexus is located. Today, we have no empire to call for aid. The death cult will overwhelm us and establish a kingdom of death in this world if they’re not stopped. Can you help eliminate this evil threat?”


Meanwhile, outside the town walls, Noorwyn followed the cry of the falcon over the hill where he saw it dive down. Upon cresting the hill, he saw the falcon on the arm of a hunter. Bird and gnome were transfixed for a moment by each other’s gaze. Noorwyn took out his flute and began to play. Within moments of releasing the magical notes to the air, the falcon  flew to him and landed on his raised arm as he held his instrument. The hunter turned to see where her bird had gone. She was furious when she saw the falcon on Noorwyn’s arm. “You!” she cried, “give me back my falcon!” It was Ninaran, and she was in a foul mood, as usual. Noorwyn felt a magical bond forming between himself and the falcon. He simply said, “I think the bird has made its choice.” Ninaran looked as though she was ready to pounce on the gnome and throttle him then and there. Looking past him, to the town’s walls not so far off, she thought better of it. “You haven’t seen the last of me!” she scowled, and went sulking off to the forested are North West.


As these events were unfolding, a woman ran crying through the gates of the town, almost colliding with Brok, who was still loitering about between the tavern and the gate, just inside the town. “Murderers! Thieves!” she cried, “I barely escaped with my life!”

“What happened?” asked the concerned bugbear.

“They’ve burned and pillaged my brother’s farm!” she wailed.

“Who? Where?” asked Brok.

“My brother’s farm! My brother’s farm! Over there, they’ve burned my brother’s farm!” she answered.

“Who? Where?” asked Brok again. She waved her arm vaguely to the east. “Are there any survivors?” continued Brok. But the woman just burst into tears.


It was about this time when Mana, Agresiv, and Noorwyn were all heading back to the tavern. They saw Brok and the woman in distress. Pretty soon they sorted out what had happened and they headed off toward her family’s farm. They didn’t have to go far before they saw smoke rising from burning buildings. As they approached, they saw the kobolds ransacking the place – about ten of them. The monsters grouped up and headed south. Accompanying them was an ogre!


The adventurers followed the band of monsters for a few kilometers. Small glades of trees led up to a cliffside waterfall, where a stream tumbled from the top of a rocky overhang. The water descended the side of the hill and flowed away to the southwest. Mana and Agresiv noticed that the ogre stood beneath the falling water for a moment, then disappeared. They (except Brok) heard the sound of many voices just barely audible over the din of the waterfall, and several kobolds were visible through the trees.


Battle ensued. And there, beside the river, standing in a circle of magical runes, was the Crystal Nexus of enchanted quartz, surrounded by standing stones.


The adventurers the band of kobold robbers without too much difficulty. Noorwyn and Mana then turned to the pillar of quartz. Noorwyn used his arcane power to discern its purpose and energy. He called to Mana to help and by and by they were able to begin the ritual. Mana called a nature spirit from the stream and he was able to convince it to join with the quartz pillar. The divine energy was released and together he and Noorwyn managed to complete the ritual and restore the proper flow of energy. And Brok and Agresiv helped a little too.


With that done, they turned their attention to their surroundings and found a way behind the waterfall into a large cavern. It was the kobold lair they had been hired to find! Brok was immediately swarmed by the little dragonlings but his new-found primal powers destroyed many of them with waves of thunder almost immediately. But then more powerful kobold leaders, and Irontooth himself emerged from the deeper recesses of the cave, followed by their secret weapon: the ogre!


The battle was long and gory. Brok went down at least once, but Mana kept him alive. Agresiv went toe to toe with the ogre, but his blade could not find its mark. Finally, Noorwyn came to his side and the little gnome almost single-handedly bloodied the smelly giant beast! Meanwhile, Mana was skirting with the idea of flight, until Agresiv’s missing streak finally passed, the ogre was brought down, and it eventually became clear that the tide of the battle was turning, and that they just might survive, victorious. Eventually they did overcome, and found a small hoard of hard-earned treasure.


Session 9 ~ Goblin Guard Room

After cleansing the kobold lair, the group returned triumphantly to Winterhaven. Noorwyn used his charm to get an audience with Lord Padraig at an inconvenient hour, but he couldn’t get him to pay the reward without proof of the deed having been done. He demanded the goblin head of Irontooth to be produced. Noorwyn insisted it was done, but that they didn’t have time to go back for the head because they had other pressing business. Padraig said he would have to send his own men to verify it and Noorwyn could collect his fee next time they passed through Winterhaven.

Meanwhile (unbeknownst to the others), Mana used his own charm to hire Ninaran as a guide up to the Keep for the next morning.

Next morning they set out for the Keep, Ninaran leading the way. Noorwyn and Brok were unable to be civil with the elf, although Mana tried to keep the peace. As they approached, the narrow track widened into a clearing.

The forest suddenly fell silent. Animal and insect sounds stopped, and even the wind died down so that not even a leaf moved in the branches overhead. It was unnaturally cold, and they felt like someone—or something—was watching them, although they knew there was no one else nearby.

Ninaran was just interested in the gold and was content to walk with them for the morning up to the edge of the dead clearing around the spooky Keep, then she took her payment and left.

Great piles of shattered stone blocks and scorched timbers dominated the clearing, sprawling out from its center to the edge of the woods. No plants grew among the ruins or within the clearing. The ground was bare dirt, and although the forest had begun to reclaim the path leading here, it had not intruded into the ruins of Shadowfell Keep.

Yet clearly someone had tampered with the ruins. In the center of the debris, stone blocks and timbers had been gathered into a pile. Someone had cleared a path through the rubble and pulled aside the wreckage to reveal a stone staircase. The staircase descended into darkness.

With the barest minimum of caution the adventurers descended into the dungeons below the ruins of the Keep. The stairway leading down consisted of finely crafted stone, perhaps the work of dwarves. A breeze chilled the brave adventurers to the bone as they

took each step down. The flicker of torchlight spilled from a room at the bottom of the stairs.

After taking a few steps into the centre of the room, Brok fell into a concealed pit and was attacked by a swarm of rats. His primal thunder soon was the end of the vermin, but more deadly vermin took advantage of the trap to spring their attack on the rest of the party – goblins!

There were four: a couple of snipers and a couple of soldiers. It should have been nothing for our stalwart group, yet these four little critters put up quite the fight! Whether due to over-confidence or just bad luck, it was a battle that left them more bloody than they’d anticipated. Luckily, Brok kept the last one from escaping to find help.

And so our group ended this session, licking their wounds in the first guard chamber of the first level beneath Shadowfell Keep…



Session 10 ~ Torture Chamber & Chieftain's Lair

The adventurer’s needed a small breather after finally dispatching the goblin guards. Then, from the guardroom, they cautiously ventured east, then around the corner to north, following the excited babble of goblin voices beyond a door at the end of the corridor.

The corridor widened into a long, narrow chamber. They found doors set in the northern and western walls, and iron double doors standing to the east. Faint bloodstains streaked the floor between the western door and the northern door.

With barely a pause, Brok decided he should knock on the northern door, calling to those within in goblin as he did. And the door was opened by the scarred and burned hobgoblin executioner himself wearing a black leather mask over his abominable face and head!

The bluff barely lasted a breath, however, and soon Brok and the black-masked executioner were exchanging blows in the doorway. Before long Brok and Agresiv had forced their way into the room, battling the grim, foul-mouthed executioner and his side-kick goblin warrior, while a couple of goblin snipers took pot-shots from behind the cover of the rack – upon which wailed Splug!

The party took a few solid hits.  The executioner hurled gruesome insults and  stabbed Brok with a burning poker, which burned and burned. But the brave party struck back hard at the goblin torturers. Mana even tried to go after one of the shooters with one of the executioner’s own weapons: a hot poker! He grabbed it out of the burning brazier and brandished it at the goblin and his crossbow. The monster easily stepped aside, slipped back and shot Mana solidly –  almost point-blank. Then Mana, fulfilling his role as the cowardly shaman being Mana, dropped the useless poker, backed away and dove under the torture table to take cover from the shooting goblin while waving his lightning-shooting totem with at his wiry, snarling enemy.

Meanwhile, Agresiv cornered one of them. It ran into the cage in the corner of the chamber and locked itself in, hoping to shoot the adventurer’s from the safety of its cage. The warforged took it as sport to pursue the goblin and with a mighty heave, smashed open the gate of the cage. The trapped goblin squealed in fear. The powerful fighter easily grabbed the miserable creature and slowly dragged it over to the iron maiden, into which he stuffed the hapless, evil monster. It perished inside with a whimper.

They found valuable treasure from the executioner, but no clues yet as to the location of their paladin mentor, whom they believe to have been abducted to the keep.

The heroes questioned the goblin, Splug, who they rescued from the torture table, but he professed to know nothing of Gozer, their mentor. Splug eagerly offered to show them the way out, but “out” was not where our adventurers wanted to go! Splug squealed and begged for mercy when Mana threatened to kill him. Splug persuaded them that he was a “good” goblin, which, as luck would have it (or was it by design?), was the only thing he could have said to touch Brok’s heart and the bugbear even offered him a weapon so he could help them. Noorwyn too, argued for his life, but the gnome was less trusting and found that Splug already had three daggers on him (although he had declared he had no weapons). So Noorwyn hobbled the miserable Splug and then tied the goblin to himself.

From there the party opened the east door of the narrow entrance room of the torture chamber. Brok tried to be sneaky. He silently inched his way down the long, narrow hall beyond the door. It opened up on a small room and he peeked around the corner. Two goblins sat at a table, playing cards, their weapons close at hand. Across the room to the east, thick tapestries covered the walls. On the table between the goblins sat a small bronze bell.

Brok signalled the others that there were two enemies. Then he introduced himself to the goblin guards by jumping out from his hiding spot up onto the goblin’s card table and putting his foot solidly on the bell! Agresiv followed hot on his heels and the two guards were dispatched of fairly quickly, but not before they were able to yell a warning to whoever might be lurking beyond the tapestries…

Mana entered the card-playing room and was curious about what was beyond the tapestries. Noorwyn was following behind, slowed by the hobbled goblin tied to him for safe-keeping. Mana, being Mana,  shape-changed into an elk and casually walked behind the nearest tapestry into the hall behind it.

Agresiv looked over his shoulder, “Interesting,” he mused.

There was a door on the south wall of the hall immediately behind the tapestry. As Mana-the-elk entered the hall – all by himself – the door burst open revealing a crowd of alarmed goblins! Caught like a deer in headlights, the musky  wapiti was momentarily at a loss but he tried to play it smooth. The elk-shaman coolly sauntered on down the hall past the goblins (who were perhaps even more surprised to see the elk than the elk was to see the goblins), following the hall in a U-turn around two left corners, past a solid-looking door further to the east, to stop in front of another door on the north wall that also burst open with a crowd of goblins behind it!

Luckily for the shaman, however, it was only a matter of moments before Agresiv and Brok each moved in to take a position in front of a threatened doorway. The goblin warriors and their gang of miserable minions were all too easily overcome.

Meanwhile, Noorwyn was dragging Splug down the hall towards the solid eastern door that Mana had passed by. The authoritative gnome demanded to know what was behind it. Splug cowered and pleaded, “It’s Balgron the Fat. He’s horrible! Please don’t take me in there, please!” Heedless of the whining monster, Noorwyn reached for the door. It was locked!

By this time, the others were on the scene and everyone wanted to know who or what was behind the locked door. The monstrous barbarian threw his weight at the barrier, feeling certain that treasure and perhaps information leading to Gozer was almost within his grasp. With a roar and a heavy push he forced the door open.

The room beyond was indeed the personal quarters of Balgron the Fat. A goblin warrior challenged the party from the centre of the room and yelled over his shoulder to a corner curtained-off by more hanging tapestries, “They’re here!” Mana and Noorwyn heard sliding stone quietly moving from behind the old, strung-up rugs, and they alerted the others. Brok immediately rushed to the curtained-off corner with Mana close behind while Agresiv engaged the goblin warrior. Noorwyn, tied to Splug, remained in the doorway.

Behind the tapestries they found a chest and the bare walls of the corner of the room. With a quick search Mana found and opened a secret door. At the end of a long, downward staircase they saw what could only be Balgron, standing at a dead end. Leaving Mana and Noorwyn to deal the goblin guard, Brok and Agresiv pursued Balgron to the bottom of the stairs. Balgron pleaded for his life, offering his key to the treasure chest and the password to the lower levels of the Keep, if only they would spare him. They questioned Balgron about a paladin taken prisoner. He seemed to know nothing and Brok decided the password wasn’t worth it. They drew swords!

Mana had been left behind the tapestries with the goblin guard, while our gnome friend remained hobbled with

Splug. The shaman, however, was certainly not about to go toe-to-toe with the goblin warrior. While unable to speak the monster’s language, Mana (being Mana) put up his empty hands, made a clear gesture towards the chest and then motioned to the door. The goblin got the hint. Glancing down the stairs and clearly seeing the fate of his superior at the hands of the barbarian and the warforged, he grabbed the small chest and ran for the door.

Although Brok was in the middle of dealing with Balgron, it did not go beyond his notice that Mana had (yet again) chosen to forego the loot – this time on behalf of everyone! Noorwyn tried to get himself and Splug manoeuvred into a position to stop the fleeing, treasure-bearing goblin. And Brok dashed back up the stairs in hot pursuit. Luckily, the monster did not escape with the treasure and both goblins soon met their gory end. The gold and magic in the chest was worth it!



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