Pathfinder: A New Hope

Part 10: Cathedral of Minderhal

“The map ends right ahead, boys…” Valgoth said with a grin, as Fydon’s mouth dropped open at the prospect of the riches within.

The heroes prepared at dawn , sharpening blades, tightening armor straps, preparing arcane powers, and praying to their gods. This was the culmination of weeks of perseverance, and they would not stumble now. The wind swept field before them was a daunting sight; moving across a snow white field would make them targets for whatever evil lay ahead behind the great wall surrounding the mountain entrance.

Alas, as usual, Fydon needed no prompting to head out alone to survey get a closer look at their goal. The half elf darted from bush, to snowdrift, to rock with grace. Had the party not been intently watching his progress, they would surely have lost track of the rogues movements. Even still, had Fydon not signaled back an all clear, they too would had been oblivious to his location once he settled in.

The smoke to the north showed no sign of and immediate danger, and the muddy tracks in the ice and snow heading south along the mountains at least showed that a large force had recently left the walled mountain stronghold; but for how long? There was no secure route to take that was obvious, even after Gage reached out with his powers of vision. The way in would need to be direct to avoid lingering in the open, where none of the party had the same knack for remaining unseen as Fydon.

Jogging forward as briskly as they could, they knew it was inevitable that their approach be noticed. The blare of a great horn broke the silence of the snowy plain, and from the great gate ahead the beastly sentries made themselves know. A hill giant hoisted the large portcullis, as hobgoblin longbowman readied themselves at his side. The truly horrific danger was a two headed beast known as an ettin, strolling out to all but block the gateway with its massive girth.

There would be no melee; Dorian would not risk open combat before reaching a more advantageous position. The arcanist reached into his pouch to draw fourth one of the alchemical black rattlecap mushroom components. Drawing on his power and that of the fey mushroom, Dorian let loose a fireball of magnificent power. The spell melted a path of snow from the field as it sailed directly at the guardians of the gateway. Within an instant the hobgoblins were no more, and the ettin dropped, still smoldering. The giant dropped the now flaming pile of rubble that was the portcullis, and fell back in a shriek of fear and pain. The way was clear, or was it?

Coming from the North like phantoms from the snow, a line of riders appeared. Hobgoblin heavy cavalry assumed a charge positon and lowered their lances. Astride a behemoth wooly rhino, the commander led the way as they barreled forward, shaking the very ground beneath them. “Scatter” was the echo screamed by several of the heroes, yet one did not. Dorian, still holding the fey mushrooms, began the same incantation as moments before. Again a great ball of flame flew from his outstretched hands towards his enemies. The great blast was just as massive as the last, but the enemies were better suited to evade the fiery explosion.


The line of cavalry broke, and the three riders to the left of the commanders were annihilated by the explosion. The remaining riders pressed on through the flames continuing their deadly charge, and scattered among the heroes. The hobgoblin commander and his great beast stayed on course, and met the cleric Bor head on. The lance skewered the battle priest, as the artic rhino trampled the brave cleric underfoot. Bor’s blood left the snow crimson around him, as he grasped his holy symbol, voicing a prayer to Gorum to heal his faithful. Bor would not die without a fight.

The remaining horsemen likewise lanced at the scattered heroes, inflicting dire wounds and charging past to circle around for another strike. The advantage still belonged to the hobgoblins, but the party was not without options. The blast from the fireball had forced them to break their line, leaving them singled out among the party. This allowed a much needed counter attack, which came without pause. Valgoth lunged out with the hammer Agrimmosh, crushing through the armor of one rider to fell him. Cyrus assumed a defensive posture, almost daring his enemies to attempt their charge again.

Spells flew, blades swung, and soon the field was still once more. The grunts of the wooly rhino almost muted the sound of Fydon piercing the throat of a downed adversary, as Cyrus looked at the rogue coldly. The displeasure with the rogue’s callous disregard for honor was visible in the paladins eyes. “We need to clear the field immediately” Valgoth barked, as if trying to clear the tension between his comrades.

The great entrance to the mountain complex was ancient carved stone, the runes around it denoting prayers to Minderhal, god of the stone giants. This was clearly a place holy to stone giants, and was indeed ancient, as the runes dated to the great giant kingdoms of antiquity.

It took half the party to shoulder the great doorway open, revealing the massive cathedral beyond. Awe inspiring stonework created a giant sized temple, complete with a massive domed ceiling, pews, and amphitheater. A grand stone statue of Minderhal stood watch along the far wall, while a great anvil and forge dominated the cathedrals center. The forge was cold, and a reservoir of hardened slag ringed the platform. Its magical aura astounded Dorian, and Valgoth too sensed its power. Valgoth was haunted by blinks of visions and a swelling of power in his hands; the forge called to Agrimmosh…

The heroes investigated the forge area, and the grand statue as well, which revealed hidden door at the base of the statue. During the discussion, Fydon took it upon himself to check the far areas of the massive cathedral. He investigated a stairwell that descended to a dark chamber choked with flies; the room divided by large drapes. To one side were large barrels, and to the other were a pair of sleeping giants. Fydon decided to take matters into his own hands, and drew his rapier. He stalked over to the larger male giant, and drove his blade into its thick neck. With a roar and gurgle of blood, the giant rose in a frenzy, waking its mate. Fydon began to flee, but the long arms of the brute grabbed him before he could make it to the stairs.

The bloody hulk squeezed with great strength and slammed the rogue to the cold floor, while his mate moved in with a large rock. “Hold it steady, I squish with rock. It die” the ugly female grumbled as she cruelly grinned. The rock smacked into the half elf with a wet crunch, as blood sprayed from Fydon’s face. The giants laughed as the female lifted the rock yet again for another deadly blow.


Without pause or fear, Fydon’s party charged into the chamber, engaging the giants with ferocity. Quickly, Dorian cast an enchantment on the weak mined brutes, causing them to lash out at each other. The unforeseen consequence however, was the feeble minded creature used Fydon as a weapon to do so. Now free from the grasp of the male, Fydon staggered away as the warriors moved in and cut down the pair of giants.

Gage began to heal the gravely injured Fydon, just as Cyrus became furious at the rogue. The paladin had enough with his fellow’s irresponsible actions, as he felt the jeopardized the entire party. Bor stood firmly behind the paladin, as Valgoth lend his support to his long time companion. The debate eventually ended, but both walked away with cold eyes for the other.

Moving forward, Bor ended the debate by entering the staircase hidden within the statue of Minderhal. The party quickly regained their composure and followed suit. The passage led below the dais and forge area of the cathedral, and an oval chamber housing the belly of the great forge lay before them. But the chamber was not without an occupant. Lit by numerous candles, an elderly stone giantess kneeled as she worked metallic powders into runes on the floor.

“In times now lost, my ancestors built the sacred forge in the cathedral above to honor He Who Makes and Unmakes. Minderhal’s Forge is a repository of awesome power, but long have its fires lain cold. Only with Minderhal’s great hammer, Agrimmosh—which I sense in your hands— can the effects of long ages be unmade and the flames restored. I, Etena, am Keeper of the Forge. I inherited my position from those who walked this world before me, and those before them. I am the guardian of the sacred forge, but I am not its creator. Were that the case, I would have long ago renewed its fire, but this task is beyond my ability. You, however—you, the bearers of the Hammer of Unmaking—you have the power to relight the forge".


The stoic giantess went on to speak of the duergar that have come to this land seeking the power of the forge, and it is they that brought the hobgoblins. She seemed forthcoming with the heroes in her statements, in that she wished to see the forge relit once more. Agrimmosh was needed, but so was dragon fire, which she claimed the duergar possessed. She bid the heroes return to her with the power of dragonfire, and she would assist them in the task ahead.

Armed with this new knowledge, the party was invigorated with purpose once again. They began to sweep the cathedral in search of where these duergar were held up, but instead found more giants within a feasthall. The giants were so perplexed at the entrance of the party, that they met them only with confused stares. This was all it took for the heroes to gain the upper hand, and they flew into an all out assault on their foes. Valgoth and Cyrus fearlessly strode towards the hill and massive frost giant, but Fydon, overzealously hurled a smoke stick at the towering frost giant. The smoke choked the air, but did indeed give pause to the giant as Cyrus attacked.

Valgoth began his trained maneuvers of giant fighting, using traditional dwarven techniques for battling the oversized brutes. Bor summoned creatures of fire to assist the paladin, and Dorian and Gage harnessed spells once more. Quickly, the frost giant was slain under the assault, and the remaining hill giant, fearful for its own life, pointed the party towards a far doorway in exchange for its release. It fled through the doors back into the snowy valley, as the heroes nodded at each other’s efficiency in combat.
“Together no evil can stand against the righteous” Cyrus said, as he glanced at Fydon.
“See, he loves ya after all” Valgoth exclaimed as he slapped the rogue on the back. “Now tighten your boots, we’ve duergar to chat with”…

Part 9: Keep on the Borderlands

The cold winds and snow swept through the valley as the party questioned their captive, with the ancient keep just ahead. Through charm magic, Dorian was able to coerce the hobgoblin to give some information, vague as it was, about what lay ahead for the group. They gave the defeated warrior his gear and sent him back the way they had come, and moved in on the keep, now known to them as Vraath Keep.

The stronghold was indeed ancient, and bore the scars of a furious battle long ago. Collapsed walls, ruined towers, and remnants of the siege littered the grounds around the keep. The snow provided some cover as Fydon moved into position along the front of the ruined gates. A lone sentry was spotted atop the parapets, but it was unclear who or what it was.

The rest of the group followed in behind their rogue companion, with the warriors Cyrus and Valgoth skirting around the side of the keep towards a collapsed wall. Gage and Dorian cautiously followed, awaiting Fydon to lob his fire flask over the wall as a lure to any would be defenders of the keep.

The alchemical weapon flew easily over the old walls, and its fiery contents did indeed ignite. The heroes waited, as the sentry, now seen to be yet another hobgoblin, moved in to investigate before seemingly leaving his post to move in for a closer look. Fydon quickly moved in through the ruined façade of the entry tower, surprising the sentry as it descended from its post. A hard thrust from his rapier pierced the hobgoblin thoroughly, not giving it a chance to yell an alarm.

The others took the opportunity to enter the keep as well, with the warriors finding entrance into a chamber through yet another ruined wall. This chamber was unlike the exterior of the keep, in that the fire burning in a pit, and the furnishings were home to more hobgoblins. Before the creatures could protest, Valgoth and Cyrus dispatched two with deadly strikes. The remaining two began to rouse from their cots, but were cut down before they too, could sound off. Valgoth made to secure the chamber,moving to a closed tower door, while Cyrus wiped the gore from his blade.

The paladin had a moment of pause while he considered his actions. Was this how a high born knight was to act? Was slaying a foe in its bed within the code of righteousness and honor set fourth by the paladins of Iomedae? He stared at the corpse of the hobgoblin, but was roused by Valgoth, “they’d be slitting your throat without so much as a thought!” and motioned for the paladin to regain himself and take position.

Breaking the locked door free with a crowbar, the warriors entered the tower chamber to find it unoccupied, but lived in. Gage and Dorian had circled around the abandoned courtyard to join the warriors, just as another door on the far end of the barracks burst open! Hobgoblin soldiers flanked a minotaur, and accompanied by viciously fast undead engaged the heroes.


The minotaur charged Cyrus, knocking him clear across the floor, crashing into the tower chamber. Before the beast could wheel its great axe around to face Valgoth, the dwarf spun in his heels crushing his adversary with an uppercut swing from his magic hammer. The crack of the minotaur’s skull was followed by the thud of a second blow that knocked the creature to the ground, dead.

Spells flew as the hobgoblins and zombies moved in, and Fydon found himself entering right into the fray. Trying to dodge free of the melee proved too difficult as the hobgoblins stabbed at him as he fumbled for his blade. Fydon and Gage both were pressed into melee, just as Dorian magically repositioned himself and let loose a fireball that scorched his enemies, turning the tide of the battle.

This battle raged, and alerted several more hobgoblins which chose to flee astride their dire weasel mounts. It would seem that the hobgoblins would escape to give away the position of the party, but Dorian was not done. Calling on the power of his magic rod, he empowered yet another fireball to the fullest of his potential to drop the escaping foes. Fydon rushed in to ensure they were indeed slain, and watched a lone weasel mount run off into the snowy valley. Hopefully no other humanoid forces found the riderless mount before the party vacated the region.

With the keep clear, the party began business as usual and investigated the chambers for answers and supplies. With practiced eyes, Valgoth found a hidden staircase with the aid of Dorians spell sensing powerful magic below. Indeed a long hidden chamber had not been disturbed by the humanoids that took the ancient keep as their own.

The lone chamber was now an unlikely tomb for a dwarven warrior that succumbed to his wounds here long ago. Still gripping his magic blade, the dwarf also wore the secret keys to this treasure chamber. Coins, historical documents, and a superbly powerful staff were some of the valuables the dwarf gave his life to keep from his ancient foes before sealing them away. A dwarven citadel with the marks of Janderhoff here in the Mindspin mountains? Things were indeed looking like the treasure map was leading to something important. Perhaps the forge the hobgoblin spoke of was also of ancient dwarven make?


There was no time to linger, and the snow was not slowing. Covered in new furs, and armed with the knowledge that giants walked among the hobgoblins at the behest of cruel dueregar, heroes came at last to their destination. A massive structure carved into a mountainside lay just ahead. Campfires glowed in the distance, giving away the position of yet more foes. The party would need to move cautiously from here on, lest they bring down the full force of humanoids on them. This “cathedral” was the end point of the map, but must not be the end of the heroes….

Part 8: The Battle of Hobgoblin Pass

The heroes pressed on through the mountain valley, heading south towards the unknown destination on the ancient map. They stayed true to the most direct route, not veering off on the numerous splits in the valley. It was midday when the group came across a curious sight before them, and sent Fydon to investigate.

Here among a briar patch, and hanging from some nearby trees, were what appeared to be the remains of slain dwarves. Fydon moved in cautiously, and seeing no immediate danger, the rest of the companions moved in. The dwarves were clearly taken down recently by blade and bow, and 2 of the bodies were hung from trees, possibly as a warning to others.

Valgoth and Cyrus began to cut the hanging bodies down, while the others prepared to light a pyre to burn the fallen. It was here where the calmness of the valley turned to a battle cry, as a small force of hobgoblins sprung from their well hidden positions. Without warning a flurry of crossbow bolts swarmed the warriors Valgoth and Cyrus, as more sinister alchemical firebombs were lobbed towards the other heroes. The trap was sprung!

Upon the nearby hill, the sinister giantess that had escaped the party a day earlier oversaw the assault; flanked by hobgoblins possessing divine magic. Her well armed and disciplined hobgoblin warriors had positioned themselves well, hidden behind rocks and within the bramble patch. Others with swords, spears, and more gruesome weapons moved in to create a perimeter while their comrades let loose their bolts and fire.


Fydon drew his bow and began letting magic arrows fly, but his targets were well defended. Valgoth and Cyrus pressed on towards the closest position of enemies, and were met with heavy fire and a coordinated defense. Bolts sunk deep into his dwarven shield, and glanced clean off his thick armor; Valgoth moved in like siege tower covering his allies advance. Cyrus, seeing his chance opted to take a flanking position, but was quickly met by hobgoblin warriors, halting his advance.

Dorian and Gage took cover, but were enveloped by the vicious firebombs the hobgoblins had unleashed. Gage was forced to retreat, seeking cover in the trees, while the flames took Dorian down- but not out. The arcanist had fire of his own, and rolled from the clinging flames of the alchemical fire, to unleash a fireball towards the hidden bramble bunker.

The fireball exploded within the ranks of the hobgoblins, setting the bramble patch and hobgoblins alike, aflame with arcane fire. Several of the beasts were overcome, while others writhed in pain, looking to extinguish the flames that overtook them.

The heroes pressed the attack against the dire odds, and the warriors began to thin ranks of hobgoblin vanguard with hammer and blade. It would have seemed in that moment that the heroes would recover from the initial assault, but it was not the case. Boulders flew overheard, hurled by the giant, now known as “Gristlecrack”, as heard from the hobgoblin commanders using her name. The hobgoblin clerics also hurled dark magic into the fray, as a second group of warriors flanked around the flaming bramble patch to engage the spellcasters and the rogue.

Fydon ducked, dodge, and rolled away from the counterattack; still managing to let fly arrows as he evaded his pursuers. Gage and Dorian were forced to defend themselves, and were overrun by the menacing brutes. Seeing this, Cyrus called upon Iomedae’s magic to goad the hobgoblin commanded to face him in combat over all others. The paladin turned his attention back towards his allies, and during this chaos Valgoth continued to press on towards the crossbow nest that was targeting the party.

His hammer knocked the hobgoblin line open, but before he could break their position, dark magic enveloped the dwarf. Darkness overtook him, and the warrior found himself struck blind by the evil magic. Alone and surrounded, Valgoth could hear the bloodthirsty growls and laughs of his enemies. He backed up, forcing the brutes to come at him head on, and was able to defend the first slashes and stabs. But hobgoblins were no mindless beasts, and Valgoth could hear them moving through the trees to encircle him.


The battle raged on, with spells on both sides being hurled effectively. The evil clerics summoned columns of flame, and ghostly weapons to harry the party, while the foot soldiers pressed their advantage. The party managed to regroup behind Cyrus’ defeat of one of the hobgoblin officers, and with the aid of magic began their counter attack in earnest.

Fydon took to the sky, flying high above the melee, where his skillful aim was not hindered by the hobgoblin defensive positions. Dorian and Gage began to heal their wounds, and then turned their spells towards aiding their allies, and it was desperately needed. Cyrus seeing an opening in the ranks, moved deep into their position, only to fall prey to a deadfall trap. His situation seemed grim, and he called on Michael the archon servant of Iomedae to his side.

With most spells hurled at the evil clerics, one was used timely in aiding Valgoth. With the magical blindness lifted, the dwarf raged towards the remaining cluster of hobgoblins surrounding their trapped prey within the pit. From within the deep pit, Cyrus watched a hobgoblin drop to his death beside him, seemingly stepping into the deadfall as if possessed? Most certainly magic of his allies! Others howled as the were felled by hammer strikes, with the last being skewered by a diving blow from a still airborne Fydon.

The bloody and beaten heroes formed up, and with all of the hobgoblin foot soldiers and archers slain, began to advance on the enemy leaders. Gristlecrack landed solid hits on those heroes within sight, and the clerics’ powerful spells shielded them well from harm. The gap would need to be crossed, or the party would not be able to hold.

Beaten but not downed, Cyrus and Valgoth engaged the clerics blow for blow. It was a devastating exchange, with the hobgoblins holding their ground thanks to their many layered enchantments. Hammer, sword, arrows and spells, came at the villains without pause. The first cleric collapsed dead on the hill, and at the sight of this, Gristlecrack downed a potion yet again, and evaporated into a foul mists to be carried off by the wind.

The now abandoned cleric, wide eyed with fear, found no quarter from Valgoth. The warrior shouted a dwarven call for justice as he crushed the skull of the final enemy, avenging his slain kin. The battle was over, and the valley was once again deathly quiet, save for the crackling sounds of burning brambles, grass, and trees.

The smoke loomed large in the clear sky, and Valgoth warned to post haste in gathering valuables from the dead. Surely all within the valley could see the dark plume of smoke, and within the cradle of the mountain walls, sounds of battle would have echoed far.

The fallen were well equipped with masterfully crafted arms and armor, and magic was also in no short supply. This was no rag tag band of raiders to be sure. Gage investigated several fallen enemies looking for anything noteworthy, and was startled….

ONE STILL LIVES! Its wounds are fatal, but it draws breath… for now”

Valgoth raised his hammer, to be calmed by Cyrus and Dorian. Valgoth knew why they stopped his hand; better to pry information from it, than to continue forward blindly. Fydon on the other hand, simply said “ask it where they keep their loot…”

Part 7: Melfish

The Wave Dancer reached Melfesh with haste, and without incident. Captain Lyssa made it clear to all, that the shore leave would be but a single evening, as she had decided to continue East along the river to the Mindspin Mountains. It was the least she could do for the party, and admittedly craved for some excitement herself. If the party was on a quest for fortune and glory, she would see to it that the bard’s songs mentioned the ship Wave Dancer!


The restocking would be no bother, and Captain Lyssa strolled off for some time to herself on dry land. The Mindspin Mountains lay within sight to the East, and with it the great City of Janderhoff. The heroes would reach its legendary walls within 2 days, and from there, the true adventure would begin.


Crowded around a candlelit table, the heroes rolled the bloodstained handle of Valgoth’s hammer relic along the incomplete map. The overlay of blood seemed to drunk in by the ancient leather, and the details of the map became clear. Now all that was left was to decipher its secrets….

Valgoth slammed his tankard down on the table- " TO JANDERHOFF…. AND GLORY!"

Part 6: Haunted Halls

The party entered the watery cave cautiously, and spread out among the debris within. Fydon quickly moved towards the rear near a wrecked ship, and discovered why captain Lyssa had called these the haunted shores. An apparition formed from the very waters, attempting to drown the rogue, and the companions sprung into action. Dorian and Gage surmised that the restless spirit was linked to the corpse within the wreckage, and with a blessing, the group move on from the haunt.
The next obstacle was more familiar, yet still confounding to the group as the magically trapped entrance revealed this was no ordinary cave. Moving forward, the cave became stone halls. Curiously old and odd chambers spread our beyond the doorway, and still even more spirits were drawn to the life force of the heroes. Wraiths, monstrous zombies, and an insidiously wicked ghost assaulted them at every turn.
The deeper the adventurers explored, the more clear the picture became to them. They were within the ancient refuge of a Thassilonian mage, that seemingly was attempting an arcane ritual to cheat death and become undead; become a lich.
It had appeared that the ritual failed, or perhaps was thwarted, yet the soul of the mage persisted within the subterranean ruins as a ghost; a ghost that harried the party at every turn. Even after leaving the tunnels, the ghost and the undead it commanded, followed the heroes to their ship.


A host of undead assaulted the ship, seemingly after the magic hammer Valgoth looted from the ruins. Its value was far greater than they had expected; the ghost stopping at nothing to reclaim the artifact.
Captain Lyssa however, was adamant in not allowing the heroes to continue in the journey East while a vengeful spirit hunted what they possessed. After heated debate, the party was sent ashore to either rectify the haunting, or continue on as they please without the aid of Captain Lyssa and her superstitious crew.
One final foray into yet another entrance of the expansive cave network had led the group to come across a mass grave, as well as the resting place of the would be lich. Ancient dead, water elementals, and the ghost itself assaulted the party is waves. The fighting was vicious but swift, as the combined might of the heroes vanquished the undead and expelled the ghostly spirit the netherworld.

Upon exiting, the cool air of the lake was calm; the storm seemingly dissipating as if linked the hatred of the undead within the ruins. A break in the clouds revealed a welcome sunset, and the sails of the WAVE DANCER, anchored just off of the coast. A rowboat was moored on the rocky beach below where a clearly impressed Captain Lyssa stood.
“Something told me to have faith in you; something I had left of, until this moment. The storms end heralded your return, my friends. It would be in bad form to leave you stranded here, and my crew informs me that a pox would certainly befall us if we did. Well done lads”


And so the Wave Dancer hoisted its sails, the winds heavy behind her. With smooth water and full sails, Melfesh would be seen sooner than expected. Lyssa and her crew’s demeanor had changed to one of respect. During the 2 days to Melfesh, the entertainment of the night was a barrel of ale being tapped, while listening to the heroes tales of adventure!

Part 5: Eastdown and bound

The group had spent many days resting and pursuing their own interests in Wartle after returning Turra home safely. The celebration was long lived, and the down time welcome. But as always, there were other interests to be da, and more adventure to be found. Wanderlust called…

Several members of the group sailed to Nybor, north of Wartle to stretch their legs. While there, they learned that the owlbear threat was indeed real, and the fabled menace Featherclaw was quite real. After an offer of bounty was made, the heroes decided that other matters called to them, and left this matter to itself for the time being.

On their return to Wartle, they learned that Turra has set off in search of answers to his dilemma of this “Fellnight Queen” and likewise so had their companion Enril. Both left to follow their own paths as their faith had dictated, so the party had decided to move on without them. But with every loss, a gain is to be found. In this case, a wanderer. A odd fellow named Gage sought out the group, Dorian in particular, and explained his travels to them. Gage was what was known as an oracle; a seer of what is to come, and his destiny had guided him to Dorian and his companions. Seeking only to walk the path of his visions, Gage pledged to accompany the group as one of them.

Valgoth had acquired an old map, believed to be of dwarven make, from Breeg the smith. A deal was struck, and plans were drawn; the expedition would begin immediately. The course of action decided on was to travel far east to the citadel city of Janderhoff, where the group was hopeful more information concerning the map could be found.

Pattson and young Ruppert yet again assisted the party with passage on their river barge upstream towards Whistledown. Whistledown was a small yet thriving town on the west shore of Lake Syrantula, a massive freshwater lake of unknown depths. The bounty of fish the lake provides, and its connection between major Varisian cities have made it well travelled and home to several settlements.

On the third day of travel, the danger of the Mushfens reached out one last time, as if to remind the heroes the bog would not suffer them to pass. The barbaric boggards of the fens, cruel frog men, swarmed the barge as it passed a narrow in the river. The beast men assaulted the barge on all sides, with the aid of two large crabs holding the vessel fast in the river.

The fight was fierce with both Pattson and Ruppert being gravely wounded during the initial raid. The boggards swarmed Cyrus as he attempted to rescue Pattson, and almost overtook him. With aid from his archon guide Michael, and his fellow Fydon, Cyrus was able to fend off the creatures.

Valgoth took to the stern of the ship, engaging the boggards head on while Dorian and Gage unleashed spell after spell to safeguard the vessels from the swarming savages. And through steadfast determination, the tide came to favor the party, sending what few enemies remaining diving back into the murky depths of the river.


Whistledown was not Wartle, this much was clear. Whereas Wartle was a quiet town, and generally civil, Whistledown, or at least the docks and their locale, were rowdy and unwelcoming. The tavern of “The Mad Bunyip” was full of gruff, seaworthy fellows that drank swill by the gallon. A quick trading of words with the barkeep, and a few dropped coins, left the group with the scantest of information regarding where they were going, but did somewhat reaffirm a vision their new companion Gage has foretold.

Cyrus, as always, sought out to use his cordial ways to book a new vessel, seaworthy enough to cross the great expanse of Lake Syrantula. However, Cyrus was not prepared for Captain Lyssa. A breathtakingly beautiful half elven woman was the last thing he expected; and a sharp and stern captain too boot no less. She did agree to terms with the paladin, and once the rest of the companions arrived, Captain Lyssa found herself in the middle of a discussion of barter.

Despite Fydon’s best efforts to impress her, captain Lyssa was steadfast in her price and how far she would go. She eventually agreed to take the party to the desolate stretch of beach along the shores of the Fenwall mountains, but gave warning that only one days time was all she would wait. Anchoring in a stormy cove, believed to be haunted and curse, was not something she was willing to risk for too long.


The storm that surrounded the beach was like no storm any of the heroes had ever seen. The howl of the wind was lifelike, and the purple hue of the lightning strikes bathed the shore in an eerie shroud. The rocky beach was slick, and gave way to sheer cliffs of the Fenwall mountains. The stink in the air was foul, and seemed to pour from the cavern opening beneath the statue ruins that was their destination.

It was here that the rumors of this cove became truths. Scampering out of the rocks and fetid tidal pools came the undead. Ghouls, scavengers of the dead, blocked their way, only parting for their foul champion. An armor clad warrior of darkness, brandishing a massive horsemans axe, strode from the cavern ruins atop a feral giant boar. Both rider and mount sent chills down the spine of all who dared look. And with a gesture, his pack raced forward, tongues hanging from their vicious maws, as the fog grew dense around the beach, lending a foul energy to the undead.


The two groups collided in a blitz of fury. Fydon unleashed flame and lightning from his magic arrows, one after another into the creatures as Valgoth stalked into their midst shield high, his hammer pulverizing the bloated flesh of the ghouls with each swing.

Gage and Dorian fell back, recognizing the fog for the evil spell it was, calling on their own magic to aid their allies. Spell after spell was hurled at the undead champion, but the creature shrugged off the brunt of their magical assault.

The battle raged on, with Cyrus, however outmatched, holding his ground under the brutal attacks of this ungodly warrior. With dark power guiding its strikes, the ghoul knight struck down the paladin, and wheeled his fiendish mount next towards Valgoth. The dwarf and the ghoul traded blows, while the new companion Gage rushed to aid the fallen paladin Cyrus. Valgoth did his job of holding the line, until the brave dwarf succumbed to the unholy magi empowering the ghoul knight.
Dorian and Fydon continued to harass the ghoul knight, and finally felled the fiendish boar, dropping the anti-paladin to the stony ground. And as the undead creature began to rise, Cyrus, healed through divine magic of Gage, struck down the creature with holy power. The battle was over…

Yet now the question loomed… what lay before them inside the ruins of the sea cave?

Part 4: Once more unto the breach...

The time had come to set off to the Leadbelly mines, and the party was prepared after two days spent in Wartle. Stocked well, Pattson and Ruppert ferried the heroes south through the swamp towards the location Ygritte Leadbelly marked on maps of the area.

Upon reaching the site, Valgoth and Fydon took to the task of scouting the entrance. Their caution was justified, and Fydon quickly did away with deadfall traps guarding the tunnel leading below. With some magic, Dorian was able to manipulate a counter-lever that disabled the traps for good, which put the party at ease.

They descended through the narrow, sloping tunnel and were immediately set upon by the most curiously foul creatures. Spriggan gnomes, that had been “infected” with an odd malady with caused them to grow vile, poisonous growths of plantlife from their very skin. The warriors rushed in, and even as the evil fey began to grow to giant sized beasts, they were cut down in timely fashion. The magical sword Valgoth had reforged proved its worth.


Venturing deeper still, a more curious cave revealed strange growths and amazingly large beetles normally found in the deep. It was here that the party knew the evil within these warrens was calculating and plotting their deaths. A illusion masked a trap to lure the party to accepting one of the blighted fey into their group, disguised as Turra Natal. The group saw through this and dealt with the beast easily.

The final cavern they entered was massive, and what seemed to be the lair of the fey. Neither side held back, and within moments, spells were hurled and blades lashed out. Fydon peppered the fey with arrows while Cyrus and Valgoth moved in to engage their enemies. The spriggans here were all but taken out of the fight under the combined magic of Dorian and Enril, and even the great cat Diego tore through his adversaries, taking out the rust monster they fey had released to defeat the parties mighty warriors.

The battle was all but won, when an eerie song began to echo throughout the cavern. Its haunting melody began to muddle the thoughts of the heroes, with Dorian, Fydon and even Cyrus falling under its magical lure. It was then the horrid visage of a satyr that was blighted by some evil corruption entered the fray. The monster quickly commanded those under its spell to turn on their allies, and so they did. The battle was out of control and about to turn against the party when Cyrus heard the plea of Enril to spare his companion Diego from his blade; and this cry gave Cyrus the strength of will to break the spell. Cyrus instead swung his sword at the satyr, gravely wounding it. And this opening allowed Valgoth too, to land a vicious blow that sent the fey into retreat.


The creature dove back into the filth from which it came shouting one last threat “we shall never return to our prison!” and was gone…

Turra was indeed here, held within a cocoon of fungal growths, as was his boar companion. The day was won, Turra was rescued. But what now….

Part 3: The Drake, the Witch, and the Mushrooms

Ever pressing forward, the party closed in on the location of the forest drake within the western reaches of the Mushfens. Believing they would surprise the draconic beast, the party prepared an ambush at its lair with magic and traps.
However the drake was no mere animal, and became well aware of the groups presence within its abode. Dorian called forth phantasms to lure the drake into the waiting trap, but instead the keen eyes of Enril saw that it was THEY who were being ambushed! Immediately, spells were hurled, and warriors rushed in to counter the drake’s attack on their flank.
The drake, as most dragon kin do, spat its vile spittle towards the onslaught of arrows and bolts being hurled its way, but was struck down within druidic spells ensnaring it to the ground. Under a steady barrage of magic and might, the beast fell to a final smite of holy power by the Paladin Cyrus.
Returning with the head of the drake to present to the woodsmen, the second task to resolve the matter of the Coachwood Pond was acquiring the magic tokens to restore the felled trees. Melianse the nixie wished the party to venture to the cottage of the witch Old Beldame. And venture there they did.
The witches home and appearance were appropriate to a sorcerous hag of a woman known to all as a witch. The old crone clearly had become less of a human and more of a creature of the First World over her years, and her magic seemed to as well. The oddities she displayed, such as her animate scarecrow, and odd trinkets were unsettling to most of the party.
After a rigorous haggle of requests and offers, the witch bade the party to retrieve rare components for her- yet another task! Alas, the group needed to comply if they were to help Melianse as promised, and the set off towards a landmark now known to them as the Mud Bowl, armed with the knowledge of the guardian here was a powerful monstrosity of the First World; a TENDRICULOS, a carnivorous plant with alien intelligence.
And it was here that things went wrong; horribly wrong….
Knowing full well the beast was within the mud pool, Fydon agreed to be the one to collect the valuable “Black Rattlecap” mushrooms, growing so dangerously close to the deadly mud pool. And so they approached, weapon and spells at the ready, with Dorian firing the first salvo of magic. The beast roared to life, towering to a size unthinkable by the brave warriors at the vanguard of the attack. The bravely strode towards the creature to allow Fydon precious time to reach his goal, but were all dropped low by the poisonous nature of the very valley in which the Mud Bowl festered.
Valgoth and Enril both succumbed to the vile air, but Cyrus fought through the pain to engage the beast- but the tendriculos was a ravenous predator and quickly lashed out with its powerful and horrific maw, snatching up the paladin and forcing the brave warrior down its gullet. The great cat Diego leaped to his aid, only to be likewise be overpowered by the massive creature.
With great apprehension, Dorian hurled magical fire from his enchanted necklace again, and again, damaging the beast enough to free the tiger. All looked doomed, as other spells were failing, and the melee was decidedly going against them, when Valgoth roared back into the battle still spitting bile from his beard as he rushed towards the tendriculos with reckless abandon. Again and again Valgoth swung his dwarven hammer until the deadly creature was felled like a perverse tree.
Without hesitation, Valgoth continued to eviscerate the monster and pulled brave Cyrus from its foul gut. They day was won, but the victory was paid for with blood. All the heroes were gravely wounded; in spirit if not in body. Cyrus and Valgoth cleaned themselves off as they debated the points of the battle, each learning hard lessons from the experience.

The battles had been fierce, and the journey arduous to say the least. The quest at hand to find the druid Tura Natal still stood, and Melianse was eager to help. Revealing the true power of the Coachwood Pond, she allowed the party to pass through the Fey Crossroads within, magically spiriting the heroes from the cool waters of the pond, to the spring within the town of Wartle.
The group was home for the first time in a tenday, and now had a clear understanding of what lay ahead of them. These “mines” the Leadbelly dwarves had discovered had been much more than mines, and whatever they allowed to enter the surface world from the Darklands, had its hand in the druids disappearance. They would prepare, gather their strength, and finally set out with tools and knowledge needed to return Tura Natal to the lands that needed their druid.

Part 2: Barrow of the Lonely Warrior

The party set out into the Mushfens, this time with a clear purpose; to find the “mines” Ygritte Leadbelly spoke of. Slowed by storm and the treacherous terrain of the fens, the party followed the lead of Enril through the wilderness.
While following a riverbank towards the locale of the mines, a curious encounter was happened upon. A group of lumberjacks from Wartle had crossed paths with a odd fey creature within a pristine pool. A standoff had occurred with the creature claiming domain over the land and its trees, while the men of Wartle claimed necessity for the valuable lumber.
Through a generous offering of coins and diplomatic compromise, the party had put a respite on the hostilities by assuming the roles of hunters and couriers.
Agreeing to seek of this “forest drake” from the woodsmen, and to acquire “tree tokens” from a local with by the name of “Old Beldame”. It was decided that the party would take the days long trek through the fens to the grove of the drake…

It was on this journey that within a night, the deadly nature of the Mushfens became apparent. Travelling through the bogs was not to be taken lightly, and the appearance of a sickly Bog Giant during the first evening was a vicious battle. Valgoth and Fydon were both injured, but the group was able to fell the monstrosity. Luckily, the beast carried signs of the Red Ache, making it less formidable than the beasts normally are.

Continuing undeterred, the group pushed forward through the swampland for another full day before finally reaching dry land. It was here that the entrance to the barrow was discovered. Not knowing what they had discovered, they group investigated thoroughly, and unearthed an entrance to a long buried barrow down, and curious metal artifacts believed to be part of a blade. Braving the ancient tomb, the party descended to explore the darkness below. However, for all their caution, a long standing magic still guarded the burial place from would be robbers. The magic leached the strength from Fydon, Valgoth and the great cat Diego; and only through restorative magic were they cured.
The true danger was yet to come, when disturbed the Cairn Wight rose to defend its resting place, along with its skeletal servitors. The undead swarmed while the restless warrior struck out with his broken blade. The creature fought without remorse, attempting to drain the very life from those that dared enter its crypt, but again the party had fought as one to emerge victorious.
And so, with a potent weapon in hand, and the lair of the drake drawing closer, the party was as determined as ever to succeed at their quest…

Part 1: Into the Mushfens

The party had set out from the river crossing to continue their search for the druid Turra Natal in the wild swamps of the Mushfens. Young Ruppert, the party guide, had become somewhat lost by this time. Perhaps the encounter with the carnivorous musk creeper had shaken him. Nevertheless, Enril was able to survey the land, and able to get the group back on track towards the landmark Ruppert had mentioned. The landmark in this case, was a impressively large willow tree within a dryer stretch of the Mushfens.

Upon reaching the area and spotting the tree, Fydon had moved ahead to scout the area for danger. It soon became apparent that they were not alone, as Fydon easily spotted two large creatures stalking the valley. Merrows, large orge-kin, were hunting. The party agreed that such vile creatures could not be left to roam free, especially since the whereabouts of Turra were still unknown.

The battle came about swiftly, with both merrows being set on by the full force of the party. Within seconds Valgoth and Fydon had engaged the beasts, with Enril and Dorian lending magic to the fray. 

Be it the sounds of battle, or the druid’s entangling magic, a new combatant entered the melee from behind the willow tree. A armor clad warrior wielding a greatsword burst forward to put down one of the merrows with a single stroke. The other, fell under arrows and the claws of the great cat Diego.

The newcomer introduced himself as a friend, the paladin Cyrus. The introductions ended with Cyrus explaining that his personal quest to find his place, while bringing justice to the wild lands would best be served by assisting the party in their rightesously motivated journey. And so they set out once again.

While resting, an obvious opening was spotted within the massive roots of the great tree. All signs pointed to there being activity here, leading down into the opening beneath the willow. Again, Fydon was sent to scout, and the party followed him below into these catacombs. It was not long after that the denizens of these root choked tunnels were viciously territorial. 

Mites, spitefully wicked fey with horridly deformed shapes filled these warrens with their vermin creatures. They were little more than a inconvenience until the evil fey surpised the group in a blindspot with their pet; a giant tick.

The vermin pounced and horribly wounded the paladin Cyrus, but without fear, the party pressed the attack and emerged victorious. Enril felt that the paladins wounds would need treatment, and so he took it upon himself to administer druidic healing to his new companion.


The journey into the tunnels ended across a small chasm into a chamber where the dwarven treasure hunters were found. Ygritte Leadbelly, the lone survivor, was rescued and tended for her wounds. She explained how her and her father were overwhelmed by evil fey and creatures from the Darklands while mining for treasure nearby. They had set out for gold, but instead opened a tunnel that ran deep to the Darklands. This tunnel unleashed foul creatures, blocked off from the world above, and this is why they had sought out the Druid Turra for aid.

And so, the party helped Ygritte bury her father within the Shrine of the Elk, and saw to the safe return of her, Pattson, and young Ruppert. Ruppert did seem keen on joining the party, but it was unclear how dangerous the path ahead was. The mines the Leadbelly family has discovered was close, and so must the answer to the mystery of where the druid of Wartle had gone.


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