The Isle of Adraan

More sneaky dryads?
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!

Spiders are pouring out of the portal: more black scuttling swarms and some large flesh spiders with snapping, venomous mandibles. Elgold, quick as lightning, casts a necrotic spell around the portal. Ghastly hands reach up from the earth and drag the flesh spiders down to oblivion. With another magic word Elgold seals the portal and it winks out of existence, leaving only the remaining swarms to be stamped out by the party.

Once the last of the spiders has been squashed, everyone takes a moment to catch their breath. Then Haleth, now free of the metal spider’s influence, announces he needs some sleep. He drags himself over to the shade of a large stone and soon falls unconscious.

Beneath the morning sun Enna and Elgold pick amongst the remains of the spiders. Expertly, they find useful parts, such as venom sacs, that will sell well when they return to town. The wizard pokes at the inert remains of the mechanical spider and determines that it has no magical energy remaining. However, Enna feels uncomfortable in its presence. Elgold obliges her by using his fire magic to melt the thing into a vapour that drifts off in the breeze.

It is afternoon when Haleth eventually wakes up. He looks and feels so much better. The party have made camp and have kept watch over him. They have been untroubled by any unwanted visitors, though Enna suspects that they are still being watched by something in the treeline a mile away.

Ilwyn cartoonThe group discusses what to do next. Enna would like to travel on to the place marked on the Sea Devils’ map found in the underwater cave. However, Ilwyn would rather return to the forest temple to search and loot it. Enna is reticent about this and convinces Elgold her scheme is better. But Ilwyn persuades Haleth that the temple would be a more profitable (and closer) target. In the end Caecius holds the deciding vote and elects to explore the temple.

Enna’s reticence seems to come from her belief that there is a great danger in the forest she’d rather not face. The dryads they fought beneath the earth represent a primal natural power more terrible in its own way than the gods the party worships. In spite of her fears the elf leads the way back to the temple of Lolth. The first time they’d seen it it had appeared to be a beautiful shrine to Angharrad. Now it appears as a squat and menacing pyramid in a shadowy glade.

Enna’s intuition tells her they have been tracked all the way to this place, but she cannot not see any enemies. Gingerly, the party activate their magical light sources and step down into the dark interior of the temple.

The old temple to Lolth seems as overrun by nature as when they’d last seen it. Enna, attuned to the subtle ways of nature, at first thinks that the forest has tried to conquer the spider goddess’s lair. But after a while she begins to wonder whether she had got it wrong all along. Could it have been that the temple’s malign influence is actually overpowering the local ecology?

There is no time to speculate further. Turning a corner into a corridor broken by protruding roots and vines, the group see the figure of a man in front of them. He is lying on the floor, injured and weeping. On seeing the party he reaches out imploringly.

“Please help!” he cries. “I managed to get away, but they are coming!”

“Don’t get close to him!” says Enna. “I recognise this man. This is another deception!”

“Who is he?” asks Haleth.

“He resembles a man names Boreas,” the elf replies. “He is a man I was sent to hunt down…”

“Enna!” cries Boreas. “Will you not help me? They hurt Eruwen! Did terrible things to her!”

Enna bites her lip, unconvinced by the performance. Carefully she asks: “Do you know why I have hunted you here?”

“Yes,” says the young man. “It is because I know the secret of the White Way…”

“What’s that?” says Haleth, his interest piqued.

“None of your business!” spits back the elf ranger at the fighter, who bristles. “This one is false,” she says, raising her bow and aiming at a point near the injured man’s left eye. “He’s another glamour, like the Lady Eruwen we saw before…”

“His wounds look real,” notes Caecius, closely inspecting the many cuts and slashes on the man’s body.

“And look, he bleeds!” shouts Ilwyn, gleefully darting in to slash at Boreas’s leg. Boreas cries out in pain and whimpers at the fresh injury, which wells up on his skin.

“But…” whispers Enna, her fey senses picking up every minute detail of the scene, “if he is real, how did he crawl here leaving no blood trail…”

The party falls silent, their eyes all focussed on the man whose pained face folds into a snarl.

“Why do you have to make it so hard!” he shouts. And then his form begins to flow like water and he sinks into the wall.

Moments later new shapes begin to flood out of the walls, appearing where any root or plant has broken through the stone. There are moving vines and the woody bulks of hamadryads advancing on them. Then the great form of a dryad emerges from a wall and begins to slash at Elgold, saying: “Why resist? Why do you not submit?”

Enna, standing by the wizard, jumps back and looses a biting volley into the dryad’s vitals. “Submit to what?” she cries.

“To the Lady Lolth, you stupid creature!” the dryad roars in pain just as Caecius charges in and knocks her over.

Elgold, free of the dryad’s distraction, makes a few deft hand gestures to magically armour himself then looks over to where Haleth and Ilwyn are desperately fighting a group of snapping vines and the hamadryads. Then he drops a blast of fire and a cloud of steaming acid directly on top of the fighter.

The plant creatures burn under the onslaught. So does Haleth who swears he now hates goblins, elves and wizards equally for all they’ve done to him recently. But with a few deft strokes he chops down the burning creatures.

While everyone is distracted by the magical explosion, the dryad absorbs herself back into the roots in the walls and disappears, only to emerge moments later near Haleth. Ilwyn, battling a vine that is trying to grasp and hold him with long plant tendrils, manages to fire off shuriken at the bloodied dryad.

“Don’t kill her!” shouts Enna. “I need to ask her where Eruwen and Boreas are!” But it is too late. The goblin’s attack shreds the dryad and its carcass falls to the floor, lifeless. The battle is over.

Kills

  • 4 x Bloodweb Spider Swarms
  • 8 x Flesh Spiders
  • 3 x Hamadryads
  • 3 x Greenvise Vines
  • 1 x Dryad

Loot

  • 100gp of spider parts.
  • 150gp

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 480 XP
  • Encounter 2 – 350 XP
  • Bonus – 400 XP
  • Running Total – 16,633 XP (Level Up!)
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Spiders!
Why is it always Spiders?

Our heroes, blinded by acrid smoke, are grabbed by vines that begin to squeeze the breath out of them. Enna, using hearing alone, skewers one of the nearby vine horrors with an arrow. Haleth, who was fortunate enough to avoid the acid, swiftly finishes it off with his sword.

Meanwhile the rest of our heroes shake off the blindness and the vines and begin to pin back the remaining horrors. As Caecius charges and Ilwyn jabs, Elgold burns them with arcane fire and flays them with necrotic magics. Rapidly the vine horrors fall and it’s left to Enna and Haleth to chase down the final survivor and finish it off.

Everyone takes a brief rest and an opportunity to patch themselves up. It’s clear that Haleth and Caecius have almost no reserves of energy left and desperately need rest. This is toughest on Haleth, since the fighter is unable to sleep until he has the spider construct removed from his arm. His remaining life energy is diminishing and it’s vital Elgold perform the ritual to dispel the curse.

Everyone agrees to push on and they stumble up and out of the ruined temple into the dappled mid-day light of a forest glade. No-one wants to hang around this portion of the forest any longer. They fear that Ansrel Ambrare might return and ambush them. So with Enna in the lead the party begins to track south out towards the edge of the woodlands.

Their travel goes unhindered, though Enna’s keen fey senses pick up something shadowing their movement. However, she cannot get a good look at it. Whatever it is, it does not follow them out of the trees into the grassland between the woods and sea. Here, the party sets up camp and rests as best they can. Elgold has no intention of performing the ritual until he has studied it in detail and everyone save Haleth has had a good night’s sleep.

The dawn breaks and the heroes are safe. Nothing tried to breach the camp’s security in the night. After breaking fast Elgold announces he will try the ritual to remove the curse from Haleth. He asks for people to lend some of their life-essence to the spell. Caecius steps up and volunteers. As does Enna, still guilt-ridden from letting the rest of the party down. Only Ilwyn stands aloof, saying he will keep watch while the others concentrate on the magic.

As Elgold chants the first words of the ritual, Enna feels some of her life force be drained away. An uneasy Caecius disturbs the ceremony momentarily, enough that he is unable to contribute any of his life energy to the spell. Arcane symbols and sephiroths glow and hang in the air, and then the metal spider on Haleth’s arm begins to glow.

Suddenly, there is a burst of light and the spider falls away to clatter inert on the ground a couple of yards away. However, the incantation was not perfect-maybe Caecius’s disturbance broke the spell-and Haleth lies dying on the grass.

Enna darts in, pulling out a potion which she quickly administers to Haleth’s lips and bring him back to the land of the living. She doesn’t notice, as the others do, the spider construct cracking and the dark shapes pouring out.

The shapes are spiders, a swarm of tiny poisonous creatures. In moments everyone—even the weakened Haleth, is up on their feet and backing away from the black mass.

Elgold realizes that the spider has sucked up enough of Haleth’s vital energies that it can create a portal to some place that only Lolth knows of. Immediately he begins to recite the words of some arcane spell that will close the portal, but before he can finish the portal grows, and from it new spiders begin to spawn…

Kills

  • 4 x Vine Horrors
  • 3 x Vine Horror Spellfiends

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 340 XP
  • Bonus – 200 XP
  • Running Total – 15403 XP
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Evil Elves?
Enna's crisis of faith

“Lady Eruwen, I had not expected to find you here. Lady Angharrad has led me to you.”

Enna kneels before the Eladrin priestess, head bowed in deference to a noble of the House of Tyrthym. The party behind her looks around at the altar room, and at the elf guardian known as Ambrarae.

“Why are you here?” Asks the fey priestess, imperiously.

Enna explains that her companion Haleth has a weapon of Lolth attached to his arm and he needs the temple’s aid to remove it. Lady Eruwen motions to Haleth to lie on the altar, and the fighter does as he is bid.

The moment he is prone the Eladrin steps to the altar and says: “You mortals make it so easy for me.” With a sweep of her hand a great wall of thick vines shoots up from the floor to the ceiling and barring the altar from the rest of the party. Haleth suddenly finds himself grabbed by vines that fly up from the floor and wrap around, pinning him to the altar.

As the party goes into a combat stance, the elf Ambrare disappears from view, swallowed by the vines. In her place two beautiful elves step out, jabbing at Enna and Ilwyn with short swords.

Enna is shocked and it is all she can do to defend herself against one of the elves. She is so shaken that her arrows miss entirely. She cries out to the Eladrin on the far side of the vine wall: “My lady! What is this? Why are you doing this?”

But the eladrin simply laughs and mocks the elf: “Poor Enna, don’t you understand what’s happening? This is clearly beyond you…”

ElgoldThe rest of the heroes are fighting for their lives. Elgold stands in the ante-chamber, launching magic into the vine wall, trying to burn it away with fire. But suddenly he finds himself under attack from Ambrarae, who has just stepped magically out of a wall. Fortunately, Caecius is on hand to tackle her and knock the guardian elf to the ground.

Meanwhile Haleth is trying to cut himself free from the altar. He manages to draw Lady Eruwen close enough to him to give her a mighty clout that makes the priestess screech with anger. She backs off and conjures another mass of vines to grip the fighter more tightly and hold him down.

“Why do you struggle?” She asks, in evident frustration.

On the other side of the wine wall the two elves attacking the main party are soon cut down. As they do so the heroes see the bodies shift and change into the plant forms of hamadryads. Ambrarae is badly hurt by Elgold and Caecius and calls to her mistress for help. Lady Eruwen launches magic to bind Ilwyn and causes enough distraction for the elf to run away, diving safely into a nearby wall.

With nothing else to trouble them the party can focus on saving Haleth. Elgold’s magic lances its way through the vine wall and Caecius runs in, injuring himself on spines sticking up from the floor.

It is beginning to dawn on many of the party that the eladrin might not be what she seems. But as Caecius and Ilwyn bear down on her Lady Eruwen calls out to Enna for help.

Enna is completely paralyzed, confused by the chain of events. She cannot believe a priestess of Angharrad would attack them. But her religious vows and devotion to Lady Eruwen’s noble house prevent her from attacking the eladrin. Horrified, she leans helplessly against a wall at the far end of the altar room, weeping and crying out in vain for a sign from her goddess as to what to do. But she senses nothing of the triune goddess, as if her connection to her had been cut.

Disgusted by Enna’s failure to help, the rest of the party pile in on the priestess, hacking at her. in moments she is bloodied, and as the first drops of blood are shed the alter room seems to waver and shift for a moment.

Lady Eruwen turns and begins to run, disappearing into the remaining wall of vines and reapparating in the ante-chamber. But the party are too fast for her. They charge the eladrin down and in moments bundle her to the floor, unconscious. Ilwyn sticks his blade into her to finish her off.

As the priestess dies her form wavers and in moments becomes that of a briar witch dryad. Then the rest of the altar room shifts and changes from the white-marbelled facade of a temple of Angharrad into that of a deserted temple of Lolth. Everywhere tree roots stick out from the walls, as if the place had been invaded by nature. The statues change from those of elf heroes into those of spiders. Everything looks decayed and corrupt.

Enna comes to miserably realize that she had been fooled by the Dryad. That her memories had been plundered to create this simulacrum with the aid of glamour magic. Caecius tries to reach out to her but when Enna starts crying again he throws his spear down in anger and starts to storm out.

Meanwhile the rest of the party are searching the altar room. Beneath the altar Elgold finds a book with the ritual to remove affliction. He thinks he may be able to use this on Haleth, or at least take it back to Rothem Alder in Tendre, who may be able to do the ritual.

Everyone agrees that they should all get safely out of the temple first. And then they notice Caecius is missing. Enna steps forward lightly toward the stairs back into the main part of the temple and finds that Caecius has been grabbed by small plants and is struggling to move. As the others follow up and rush to Caecius’s aid, Enna notices other such plant traps around the stairs and cuts their heads off with well-aimed bowshot.

Caecius, dragged from the plant’s tendrils by Haleth, gets up and charges it. However, the plant lashes out at him, knocking him to the ground. Haleth cuts its head off and then begins to apply first aid to the unconscious Caecius. Caecius’s eyes flicker open, but it’s clear the attacks have taken a lot out of him and he should not try to fight again until he is properly rested. Everyone agrees to quit the creepy temple as fast as they can.

Carefully, the party climbs the stairs, using magical lights to illuminate a gloomy warren of stone, overrun with plants and tree roots. Negotiating their way through narrow corridors they are about to enter a chamber when there is a rustling. Looking around they see plant shapes begin to shiver and detach from the walls. These are vine horrors; evil plant monsters thirsty for victims.

Enna, at the front of the party, fires an arrow into the nearest vine horror, almost pinning it to the wall. Ilwyn follows up with his crafty blade, neatly finishing it. Elgold casts a fire shield to protect him, but these horrors have magic of their own and a cloud of acid launches into the party, blinding them and making them reel…

Kills

  • 1 x Briar Witch Dryad
  • 1 x Female Elf (escaped)
  • 2 x Hamadryad

Loot

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 460 XP
  • Bonus – 200 XP
  • Running Total – 14863 XP
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I had a dream!
But Haleth didn't. He can't sleep!

Our heroes are making good progress against the swarm of Ambush Drakes. Between them, Haleth and Elgold have bloodied most of the pack and the rest of the party are preparing to mop up the survivors.

Just then there is a roar and two large drakes, including a monstrous scytheclaw, erupt from the brush and charge down Elgold. The wizard is raked by the scytheclaw and thrown to the floor, while the second, a pack leader, spits poison at Enna, throwing her off her aim.

For a moment, the party wavers, but quickly regroups. Haleth and Caecius start to tear the remaining drakes apart while Ilwyn again deals devastating damage against the lizards. In a few moments both the pack leader and scytheclaw are hacked down and the last of the monsters slain.

Standing amidst the wreckage of the battle, the party realize that the hide of the scytheclaw is worth a lot to them. The Tendre smith Ealni Oabeta will pay well for its recovery. So Haleth shoulders the carcass and carries it back to Tendre. The rest of the trip back is peaceful. They are hailed by friendly patrols on the Summergrass Plains and soon find themselves back inside the fortified town. There, they grab some rest and restock with supplies. Ealni Oabeta pays handsomely for the scytheclaw and declares she should be able to produce Drakescale armour should anyone wish it. Many of the party members take the time to rearm and re-equip.

However, Lieutenant Krimari has no new jobs for them. And on visiting Rothem Alder it’s clear the sage has no advice for the party on how to deal with the spider construct fastened to Haleth’s arm.

EnnaThat night, Enna is troubled by a dream. She receives a vision of a temple in a forest, though she can’t quite place the temple or its location. Believing this to be a sign from the goddess Angharrad, she goes to Elgold to ask his advice. Can he interpret the dream? Elgold has little to go on from Enna’s description but asks Rothem for some rituals that might help divine their meaning and purchases something from the sage.

Enna says she is prepared to travel to the Shiverfang Forest and see if her goddess will guide her further. The rest of the party agrees to follow and so they all set out the next day.

On the second night the group is deep in the forest to the west of the road. Traveling on a hunch they are headed towards the southwest coastal region marked on the map they found in the Sahuagin caves. They camp down and Enna decides to sleep that night rather than trance her way through it. As the others keep a peaceful watch, Enna has another dream. She can see herself travel through the forest to the temple she’d seen a few nights before. When she wakes up she thinks she knows where she is and can follow the trail to the temple.

Everyone packs up and strikes out westward, following Enna’s lead. She treads lightly through the dappled forest, as if following some partly-remembered trail. And then the group emerges in a clearing. Ahead of them is a pyramidal temple, with an entrance that Enna realizes was the exact same one in her dream.

She approaches the entrance with the rest of the party in trail. The entrance looks overgrown but there’s signs it has been recently used. Suddenly a voice rings out demanding, in the elven tongue, that they stop.

Enna can see an elven woman with a bow. An arrow is nocked, drawn and aimed at her. The archer tells Enna to stop moving or she will shoot. Translating, Ilwyn relays the command to the rest of the group, who freeze.

Caecius rashly tries to fly towards the mysterious archer as if to challenge or treat with her. But the elf-woman lets fly a deliberate glancing shot that knocks the Genasi out of the air. Enna sharply orders the Warlord to stop moving and not escalate the matter any further.

Cautiously, her arms raised, Enna gives her name and the traditional elven greeting to the archer. She also says that she is an acolyte of the triple-goddess on a quest and that the rest of the party are her friends. The elf-woman hesitates, then tells the party to leave, as their presence is forbidden there.

Enna responds by saying that she has been led to the temple by a dream from the Lady Angharrad. She asks to enter and pray at the altar for another sign to lead her on her quest. Again the archer hesitates before refusing. But just then she sees the metal spider on Haleth’s arm. There is an intake of breath and she cries out that this changes everything. This thing is a weapon of the goddess Lolth. Unless the construct is removed Haleth will perish. Only the priests of the temple can do this. The elf lowers her bow and gives her name as Ansrel Ambrarae. Then she ushers the party into the temple.

The temple interior is a serene place of bright, white stone. From the icons and statues Enna recognizes the place as a temple to her own deity, Angharrad. As the party walks the halls and corridors there are many elven maidens in the temple precincts. Ansrel leads them down into the holiest places.

They are ushered into an altar room, where a beautiful eladrin priestess kneels. At Ansrel’s greeting, the priestess rises, turns and looks at the party members one-by-one. Then her eyes alight on Enna. The elf is stunned for a moment; she recognizes this priestess, but bites her tongue. Then the eladrin says sweetly: Enna... what brings you here?’

Kills

  • 7 Ambush Drakes
  • 1 Ambush Drake Packleader
  • 1 Scytheclaw Drake

Loot

  • 3600 gp (quest reward)
  • Scytheclaw Drake Corpse

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 520 XP
  • Bonus – 600 XP
  • Running Total – 14203 XP
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Anyone Have Arachnophobia?
Haleth does? Oh dear!

As the party lies stunned on the floor, wraiths drift about the great cavern. They are a shadowy menace intent on turning their victims into new wraiths. They appear to be led by an imperious figure-some kind of necromantic lord. He raises a hand and a chill grips the entire party, leeching life from each of them.

CaeciusCaecius is first to his feet, charging and dispatching one of the wraith warriors, before striking at the Wraith Lord, knocking it over. Then Enna leaps from the floor and strikes at the Lord with a quick arrow shot.

Despite this show of defiance the fell spirits quickly gain the upper hand. Three of them float towards Caecius, engulfing him in their shadows and pulling all warmth from him until he collapses to the floor, his life fading. Then Haleth is stuck by the necrotic energies of the Lord and two of the companion wraiths, dazing the fighter momentarily.

It is the goblin Ilwyn who turns the battle. Rushing at the Wraith Lord across the dank cavern the former slave jabs it with his short sword, striking a great blow. The Lord carelessly decides to ignore the tiny rogue and begins to drift towards the weakening Haleth, hoping to take his life. But Ilwyn sees an opening in the wraith’s shadowy armour, and strikes with all his might, slashing the spirit in twain so that it evaporates into the air.

With the Wraith Lord dispatched, both Elgold and Enna strike at the wraiths hovering over Caecius’s dying form. A storm of arrows and magic wink them out of existence. This allows Haleth a moment to recover and come back into the fight. As the rest of the party launch magic and steel-tipped shafts in support, the remaining spirits boil away before Haleth’s sword-slashes.

Ilwyn rushes to Caecius and tips a healing potion into his mouth. Coughing and spluttering, the Genasi jerks back to life, though he seems curiously ungrateful to the party for saving him.

The party is hurt and exhausted. They are too tired even to check out the pit. They decide to take a long rest to recover. Enna orders Ilwyn to set traps at the entrance to the dragon cavern and everyone settles down to rest. Soon, only the sound of heavy sleepers can be heard.

On watch, in the light from Haleth’s shield, Enna fancies she can hear a clicking noise somewhere in the cavern. She cannot see anything and so dismisses the sound. Suddenly there is a great scream. It comes from Haleth, who is writhing on the ground.

Everyone wakes and rushes to help and they soon see the problem. The statuette of the spider that they had seen the day before in the pit is now clamped to Haleth’s arm. Its legs are wrapped around his forearm and its fangs have pierced his armour, deep into the flesh. Elgold is wise in religious lore and divines that the thing is some kind of construct created by devotees of Lolth, the spider goddess. However, its function and powers are unknown. The immediate pain subsides, but the spider’s fangs remain firmly embedded in Haleth’s arm. Attempts to pull the thing off fail and only hurt him more.

Ilwyn decides to check out the pit to see if there are any clues to the spider there. He rappels down to the bottom and returns with some bones-one with a pair of puncture marks in, as if struck by the spider. Also the goblin brings back a magical Dice of Auspicious Fortune – a wondrous item that Elgold and Enna agree to use between them.

Following the spider attack no one wants to abide in the caves a moment longer. They decide to return to Tendre and see if Rothem Alder has any wisdom that might help remove the construct from Haleth’s arm. Dismantling Ilwyn’s traps, the party head back to the water’s edge and begin the arduous swim back to the outside world.

It’s a long swim and Elgold needs to be saved by Enna, while Haleth has to drag an increasingly ungrateful Caecius from drowning. Back on land the heroes dry out, and then start the three-day journey back to Tendre. They make good time, though it’s clear that Haleth is looking increasingly unwell, his health somehow sapped by the spider.

In the Shiverfang Forest they spot a lone ambush drake but decide not to pursue it, figuring that it is not a good time to get involved in a brawl when their main fighter was looking so weak. The drake’s companions have no intention of allowing the party to pass, however, and leap out from the trees and undergrowth.

The monsters throw themselves into a storm of steel and magic, as the party, in no mood to play around, grimly begin to chop the beasts to pieces…

Kills

  • 3 Sea Wraith Warriors
  • 3 Sea Wraiths
  • 1 Sea Wraith Lord

Loot

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 342 XP
  • Bonus – 100 XP
  • Running Total – 13083 XP (Level Up!)
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Its Damp in Here
And Elgold fell down!

The mage Elgold dries everyone out with a minor cantrip, sucking all the moisture from their sodden clothing. Though they are no longer drenched they still feel cold in this dank, dripping cavern. After a rest the party set off into the cave, with Enna and Ilwyn reconnoitering ahead, illuminated by magic.

The tunnels snake deep into the cliff and the scouts have to concentrate to avoid being disoriented. However, they come across a fork in the tunnels, with one bending off to the north and west towards the sound of water, while the other strikes due south towards the sound of rushing wind. The party pauses a moment, and then begins to creep south.

As they advance the passage narrows, but before the scouts can reach the narrowest point Enna flings an arm out to prevent Ilwyn going any further. She has spotted runes on the wall. The elf summons Elgold who soon determines that these are some kind of warding runes, but against what?

The party are reluctant to pass the runes. Who knows what ward might be triggered or warning sounded? Elgold decides to summon an Imp from Hell and use it to test the ward. A bitter-tongued creature appears in the air and Elgold commands it to flutter south.

There is silence. Nothing happens and no ward is triggered. Gingerly, Elgold follows the imp past the runes. As nothing seems to happen the rest of the party join him.

They come out in a sizeable cavern. Near one end is the skull of a giant creature. Enna identifies it as the head of a dragon but cannot identify what type. It is an ancient skull from a monstrous beast and cannot be that of the juvenile dragon Nightscale.

At the far end of the cavern is a pit from which the sound of rushing wind comes. It is circled by glowing runes that form an invisible barrier. Elgold tries to order his imp through the barrier but it is fended off. It seems that no creature can pass these runes. At the bottom of the pit Enna can see bones, and also the glint of precious objects-what looks like a metal dice and a statuette of a spider.

Elgold believes he could dispel the runes protecting the pit. Fearing what dangers might lie down there, Enna tries to dissuade him. The rest of the party agree that they should search the rest of the cave complex first, so reluctantly the wizard tears himself away.

Now the party retraces its steps and takes the alternate path from the fork, heading northwards towards the sound of water. They have to cross a narrow stream at one point and just past this emerge into another cavern, comprising a number of tents huddled around some pools of water. Gingerly, the group begins to search the tents, finding signs of recent habitation, but no more sea devils.

Suddenly a trident is hurled out of the dark at Caecius, who has hung back to protect the group’s rear. All around, Sahuagin begin to emerge from the pools, surrounding the party.

Our heroes are alert enough to avoid surprise and swing into action like a well-oiled machine. Their fighting is efficient, dispatching the Sea Devil guards swiftly and dicing up the tougher raiders with little trouble. Elgold’s scorpion-tailed imp proves invaluable at times. Only Ilwyn finds himself in serious trouble, badly bloodied in an encounter with a Sahuagin priest. So quick is the fight that a second priest, seeing his comrades butchered, runs for it, flapping away down the tunnels.

The party mounts a pursuit with Enna and Ilwyn in the lead, but they cannot catch the creature. They hear it splash into the pool at the cavern entrance and make its getaway. In the bustle, Elgold falls in a stream and has to be hauled out, coughing and spluttering, by Haleth.

Taking time to rest and loot the bodies and tents in the cave of pools, the heroes discover another tome of masterwork armour, a magical medallion and a crude map showing a mark on the southwest coast of Adraan.

Having recovered from the fight, everyone troops to the dragon cave. In spite of Enna’s increasingly insistent warnings Elgold is set on recovering whatever is at the bottom of the pit and he sets about dispelling the runes. It doesn’t take long. The moment the glow from the runes dies there is a great rushing sound and a blast of air erupts from the pit, knocking everyone but Ilwyn from their feet. As their eyes open the party sees they are surrounded by smoky shapes that have emerged from the pit. These are foul wraiths-several of them, with malevolent glowing eyes-and they begin to drift about the party, preparing to strike…

Kills

  • 8 Sahuagin Guards
  • 4 Sahuagin Raiders
  • 2 Sahuagin Priests (1 Escaped)

Loot

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 440 XP
  • Bonus – 400 XP
  • Running Total – 12641 XP
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On the Trail of the Sea Devils
Night Swimming

The party are still spread out, desperately fighting off the final waves of Dire Wolves and down to their last reserves of strength and cunning. Then Elgold calmly begins to weave his magics, bringing down lightning and fire on the wolves, and even on his comrades, in a desperate attempt to battle the creatures. The gamble pays off as Haleth and Caecius are able to shake off the explosions and fire bursts that incinerate the wolves around them. Even Enna is able to get back into the fight as the party grind down the last of the beasts.

As the final wolf is dispatched the party sink to the ground, relieved. This was one of their toughest battles yet and they barely survived it. Elgold’s deft wizardry had saved them. However, Enna is troubled. She cannot put her finger on it but there was something strange about the wolf attack. Normally the alpha males would lead the attack, but here it was the smallest and weakest wolves that led the pack. Enna felt that something was not right.

Now the woodcutters are put back to work, felling the great firs for the masts of Captain Dielan’s ship. Untroubled, the party gets the carts loaded, along with pelts cut from the wolves, and rolls back to Tendre.

The journey is uneventful on on their return the party is thanked profusely by Lord Filarris, who pays the fifteen hundred gold they’d agreed. Neither the Lord nor any of people of Tendre have any clue as to why the wolves attacked the way they did. It was an unusual event with no precedent during the colonisation of the island.

Lord Filarris has no further work for the party. Even Lieutenant Krimari has no jobs for such an expensive mercenary band, as she is trying to regain order with her own troops. So Enna proposes they continue to quest for the Black Dragon, and starting by investigating the Sea Devils. Ilwyn the goblin wonders why they they should bother with the Sahuagin until it is pointed out that there may be gold in it, and possibly more of Ealni Oabeta’s lost armourer’s books to be found. The party unanimously agrees to the plan.

After stocking with rations the adventurers set out, with the aim of travelling to the mouth of the Wildedell River and searching the coastline north of there. It takes a couple of days of march to reach the river and there Enna finds some sign of the Sea Devils on the river bank. Though it is not recent, it certainly seems to have occurred since the party last encountered the Sahuagin.

That night the party camps near the river. Again, while on watch Enna’s sensitive hearing picks up distant calls from the ocean to the northeast. It sounds much like she’d heard four or five days before near the Shiverfang forest. She wonders whether the eerie sound is the cries of the Sahuagin.

In the morning the heroes agree to strike out for the coast in the direction of the sounds Enna heard in the night, to see what it there. It doesn’t take long before they reach the green-topped cliffs overlooking the sparking sea, but there’s no sign of any hostile creatures there. Just sea and sky and keening gulls.

The group decide to continue northward along the coast, searching for signs of Sea Devil settlement. They travel a day and see almost nothing, aside from a few places where the creatures may have stepped ashore at some time in the past.

They continue travelling around the bay to the north and towards a great headland. Maybe the monsters can be found there? That night Ilwyn, keeping watch, fancies he can see something glinting in the sea by the headland. He resolves to take a look the next day.

The following morning the party stand near the water’s edge close to the headland where Ilwyn swears he saw something glint. Enna cannot see anything and suggests the party moves on, but Ilwyn is insistent that something was there in the water and after being granted a magical light by Elgold he dives into the sea to take a look. Caecius joins the goblin in the water while everyone else waits on land.

Ilwyn dives beneath the sea and, lookig back towards land, sees the dim, dark space of an underwater cave entrance. He strikes out for the cave with Caecius in tow. It’s quite a swim but soon the pair emerge into air in a small cave. After getting his breath back Ilwyn suggests Caecius stays where he is while Ilwyn returns and gets the others.

Back on shore Enna, Elgold and Haleth listen to Ilwyn’s breathless account of the cave. They all dive in (with Enna being the most reluctant of all) and swim for the cave.

Meanwhile Caecius lights his everlasting torch and scans the empty cave. Suddenly, from the dark a trident lashes out. He is not alone—there are Sea Devils in there with him and he’s fighting for his life.

Elgold finds swimming difficult and must be helped through the water by the strong fighter, Haleth. Only Enna is fast, lithely darting through the water towards the cave. She emerges from the water just in time to see Caecius engaging three Sahuagin, and draws her bow, sending an arrow into the pack of sea creatures.

This gives Caecius enough time to get his second wind and redouble his attacks on the beasts. Very soon the rest of the party arrive, rising up from the waters, and quickly take down the evil monsters.

Everyone takes a moment to rest, to wring out heavy, sodden clothing and empty boots of water. The cavern ahead looks forbidding and is almost certainly full of peril…

Kills

  • 5 Gray Wolves
  • 5 Shadow Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 3 Vicious Dire Wolves
  • 2 Sahuagin Guards
  • 1 Sahuagin Raider

Loot

  • 200gp of wolf pelts

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 655 XP
  • Encounter 2 – 75 XP
  • Bonus – 300 XP
  • Running Total – 11801 XP
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I'm a Lumberjack and I'm Okay
Hungry like the wolf

Resting a while in Tendre, the party invest in some new items, having the mage Elgold enchant them with powerful magics. They visit Rothem Alder to see if he has discovered any new information on the Sahuagin. He has found some information on a possible source of the creatures and a description of their social habbits.

The party then decide to continue their investigation of the Sahuagin by launching an expedition to search the northern coastline. But as they leave Rothem’s shop, a guard approaches to tell them that Lord Devarran Filarris and Captain Dielain wish to speak with them.

Proceeding to Devarran’s home, they are greeted warmly by the pair. Devarran explains that the repairs to Dielain’s vessel requires some fir trees with which to make new ship masts. Until the ship is repaired it is unable to sail. The trees are located to the north west of Tendre, a few miles into the Shiverfang Forest. With all the recent trouble, guard numbers are still too few to spare an escort for a detachment of lumberjacks. Devarran therefore requests that the party escort the workers, for a thousand gold. Some quick bartering increases the payment to fifteen hundred and the party retires to the The Scarlet Dagger for a good nights’ rest before embarking early the next morning.

The party takes command of a group of carts and woodcutters. Two days of travel pass before the group is camped on the border of the Shiverfang Forest. They prepare to enter and fell the trees at first light the next day. During the night, Enna’s keen elven hearing detects some odd sounds coming from the ocean. They sound like calls, but no sooner does she hear them than they are gone. Unable to determine their distance, Enna informs the rest of the party and then settles down to keep guard for the rest of the night.

At first light, the detachment hikes a few miles into the forest to the site of a stand of large fir trees. The workers begin their preparations while the party spreads out to stand guard, Ilwyn setting some rudimentary traps.

The moment the first axe hits the trunk of a tree the forest comes alive. Wolf howls echo all around and moments later the party detects the approach of several grey wolves. The beasts advance from all directions. A couple of wolves bound towards the workers, a couple of whom are wounded. Haleth quickly instructs the workers to rally around him for protection and the party are soon on top of the wolves, hacking or shooting deadly accurate arrows. They are helped by Ilwyn’s traps, which snare a couple of the creatures.

The party dispatches the first wave of wolves swiftly but a second wave of Shadow Wolves appears, shifting through the shady forest. Most of the party are now dangerously spread out but are just managing to keep the wolves’ attention and protect the workers.

Another wolf is caught in a trap as a new wave of Dire wolves approach, snapping at the party members. Enna begins to become overwhelmed and tries to make a strategic retreat. This is cut short as she accidentally stumbles through one of Ilwyn’s traps. She is flung into the air and dumped to the floor at the mercy of the wolves. Caecius rushes to the aid of the vulnerable elf woman.

Another set of howls heralds the arrival of a final group of wolves. These seem tougher and more vicious than any before them. The workers are safe for now, but are our heroes?

Experience per Member

  • Bonus – 200 XP
  • Running Total – 10771 XP
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Quelling the Northlander Threat
A great battle in the forest

After regaining their breath the party searches the Northlander’ ambush site. The piles of pelts and deer make it clear that this is a Northlander trapper encampment astride an animal trail. The trappers have no packs or supplies, suggesting their camp is nearby. Enna searches about and finds footprints leading to the northeast. After a brief rest the party gather themselves and begin to file through the forest.

Soon they come across the enemy camp—some tents, a wooden store and a crude shack. There are several Northlander standing about. They seem to feel secure, judging by their lack of alertness.

Undetected, the party tries to creep closer with Enna and the goblin Ilwyn in the vanguard. However, Enna’s sure step fails her this time and she stumbles, making a sound that alerts the camp. Immediately the elf is charged by three of the Northlanders, wielding their weapons and making fierce cries. Caecius has to dive in and pull her out of the melee before she is badly hurt.

Meanwhile, Northlander archers emerge from the tents and begin to search for targets. Skillfully-aimed arrows hit Ilwyn and Enna, dazing them both. Caecius and Haleth wade into the Northlander front line, swiftly dispatching a couple of barbarians with longswords. Their efforts swing the battle towards the heroes… and then reinforcements arrive.

From the shack emerges a great Northman, a feral-looking leader who rallies his men with a bellow and presses them forward. He is accompanied by a lithe woman in robes, who clearly possesses mystic powers. The leader charges into battle and soon the party are pressed back.

With Enna still dazed and Ilwyn bloodied, it falls to Caecius and Haleth to hold the line while Elgold bombards the cunning mystic and the Northlander archers with magic fire. Haleth tries to advance on the witch and cut her down, but she stops him in his tracks with great magic—polymorphing the warrior into a rat before he can reach her.

Now the heroes are badly hurt and a few querulous voices are heard suggesting they retreat. Oddly, it is Ilwyn, the badly injured goblin, who steadies the party and, taking a chug from a magical healing potion, suggests they continue to battle it out a little while longer.

Slowly, the fight begins to turn. The Northlander’s leader hurts himself trying to pierce Elgold’s magic field as Ilwyn darts in to inflict a hamstring wound that topples the barbarian to the ground. Then Enna’s head clears and she strikes the leader with a magical arrow that pierces his vitals, doing great damage. A second swift arrow dispatches the brute and now the battle turns.

While the mystic is engaged with turning Elgold into a frog, the transformation magic on Haleth wears off. Finding himself human again he charges into the unprotected witch, felling her with a few blows. This leaves only a few archers, who are soon mopped up.

All is quiet again. Enna announces her magical bow shall henceforth be known as ‘Foe of the Northmen’. The party takes time to pick amongst the corpses, looting some magical items. Inside the shack they discover a book that might be of interest to the armourer Ealni Oabeta in Tendre. They also discover a parchment with orders for the barbarians, telling them to set up an outpost in the forest and raid the colony. Enna suggests they head back to Tendre and pass on this intelligence. The party decides they need to recover and after a good night’s rest in the camp they begin the day’s trip back to the Tendre outpost.

Back behind the safety of the palisade they are received warmly. Lieutenant Krimari pays each of the party 500 gold as agreed for their work. Ealni Oabeta is grateful for the recovery of the armourer’s book and promises the party the first item she makes will be for them. The heroes decide to spend some time resting and recouping before their next adventure.

Kills

  • 4 Human Ambushers
  • 3 Human Archers
  • 1 Human Hexer
  • 1 Northlander Leader

Loot

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 580 XP
  • Bonus – 400 XP
  • Running Total – 10571 XP (Level Up!)
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Tooth and Claw
A tale of two ambushes

As the rain falls the party make hurry towards the Shiverfang Forest and the spot where their cart was ambushed almost a week ago. At the ambush site all seems peaceful. Enna and Ilwyn scout about, finding trails that suggest the bodies of the Northlander ambushers have been dragged off.

Just as they begin to follow the trail, a pack of wolves strike from in front, snapping at Enna and Ilwyn. Haleth and Caecius rush in to help leaving Elgold to be overwhelmed by a second pack of Shadow Wolves that leap from behind. An attack by one wolf blinds the mage, who responds by bringing down fire and necromantic magics on himself. The magical assault is devastating. By the time Haleth reverses course to help, almost all the shadow wolves are dead, leaving the rest of the party to mop up the remainder of the pack.

A search reveals that the wolves had come here to dine on the barbarians’ bodies and had dragged them away. There’s no sign of any Northlander camp around here, but Enna picks up the trail of someone traveling East—maybe the ambusher who had fled from the previous fight.

The party set off east, with Enna finding plenty of trailsign in the broad, shady woodland. Eventually they find a place where it looks as if the trail splits. A group of humans have headed east, towards the coast. A second trail heads due south, towards Tendre and the Summergrass Plains. Enna reasons that a small band of raiders may have gone that way and persuades the rest of the band of heroes to follow.

The group travels south for a while, Enna and Ilwyn in the vanguard, moving softly like shadows in the forest. Suddenly they come across a series of cunning traps: pits dug into the ground and tripwires strung between the trees. Enna, expecting trouble, ducks into the undergrowth, using her elven camouflage to advance unseen. Ilwyn does likewise, trying to dismantle some of the traps. And then the elven scout spots a glint, as if off armour or a man’s war-harness.

At that moment Caecius falls into one of the traps. This is the signal for a band of Northlanders to attack. Arrows snake out of the undergrowth and men rush at the party, yelling fierce war-cries.

The attackers fail to see Enna. As they pass she stands and dashes up a nearby tree, to balance effortlessly on one of the branches, taking a bead on a bowman who she fells with a single shot. However, she is spotted by two more attackers, who deftly throw a rope over the branch and pull, cracking the limb of the tree and spilling the elf to the ground. As she picks herself up and begins to loose off more arrows she is helped by Elgold, who is launching magical missiles into the melee. Haleth defends himself from an assault by a pair of ambushers, and Caecius flies up out of the pit-trap to help, his calming presence inspiring the others. Ilwyn dodges about in the undergrowth, taking every opportunity to make a sneak attack on his foes.

The end is not long coming, as the party carve their way through the ambushers. A couple of Northlanders try to make a getaway, but the heroes are too fast for them. The last one succumbs to Enna’s bow and soon the party can slump to the ground, exhausted by the workout…

Kills

  • 5 Human Lackeys
  • 1 Human Bowman Lackey
  • 1 Human Archer
  • 3 Human Ambushers

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 330 XP
  • Bonus – 100 XP
  • Running Total – 9591 XP
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