2/9/09: 7 players, we are maxed out~
Alain Cuthbert Rocannon – Human Warlord
Bhardran – Dragonborn Paladin
Cedric – Dwarf Cleric
Celodorn – Eladrin Wizard
Dikari – Eladrin Warlock
Devilock – Tiefling Bard
Lia Cendoria – Elven Ranger
The adventurers were still on the trail of Modra. They saw him run through a gate to the realm known as The Shadowfell, but were too injured after a fight with undead to pursue him. The heroes took a rest. Dayreth the wizard headed up into The Happy Beggar and got a lead on the whereabouts if his missing master. A bard called Devilock gave him the information, and in exchange Devilock took Dayreth’s place in the group (I went the extra mile to explain John switching characters here. I think I deserve some kind of special reward).
After resting, Lia used her brass key to activate the portal to the Shadowfell. Alain stepped through to test it, then reached his flaming hand back through, beckoning for the others to follow.
On the other side of the portal was a room that was like a mirror image of the one they’d just exited. After some careful searching, they saw signs of a struggle and tracks leading out of the room.
Devilock held a torch with his tail for light, and the heroes headed out of the room and through a long tunnel. The tunnel brought them outside, and they got their first look at The Shadowfell. Here is the flavor text:
“The land before you is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. A wide plain of gray-green grass and stunted black trees spreads beneath a sky scoured by fast-moving clouds. The sun is bright above but somehow doesn’t cut the darkness that drapes every rock and every blade of grass in gray gloom. This is the Shadowfell.
From the mouth of the cavern, a wide and well-traveled road runs in a curving line to the north. There, perhaps a quarter-mile away, a military camp spreads. Buildings are scattered here and there, with tents and pavilions spreading between them. Torches and fires burn brightly against the ever-present shadow, and lone trees and tall stands of graygreen grass are whipped by a hissing wind.
Looming above it all, a rise of black rock to the west is rent by a seething volcanic rift. Black-streaked lava courses from it to descend into a narrow channel, and a permanent pall of glowing red-black smoke rises above it. Over this molten flow, a great stone bridge is arched. This wide eastwest road meets the road north from the cavern. North of the bridge, a tall tower stands and a lower building spreads in its shadow. “
Lia scouted 50 feet ahead of the heroes, and they made their way toward the camp. Two guards were heading toward them. The heroes hid behind rocks, except for Bhardran and Celodorn (and Alain, who tried to hide behind a rock but was in plain sight due to a bad roll). The guards assumed the heroes were mercenaries and shouted at them to get back to the camp.
The heroes headed to the camp, realizing they could pass through freely as “mercenaries”. They headed into the camp and began to ask around as to where Modra was. They also learned much about the camp. They learned that Sarshan (the fellow Lia ran into in town who told her to kill Modra) ran the whole place, and that he was a weapons dealer. He also had mercenary armies for hire.
The camp was over-run with the mercenaries: Shadar kai, dark creepers, ogres, lizardpeople, and others. They eventually learned that Modra was a lieutenant of Sarshan’s, who had sold weapons to Tusk’s orc army (from the second adventure) despite orders from Sarshan not to. Modra was now on the run from Sarshan, but rumor had it Modra was going to try to strike back against Sarshan using the foundry somehow.
During the investigation,the heroes came upon a slave bazaar. One auctioneer had a bunch of slaves for sale, including 3 dragonborn, a human, and a withered female elf. Alain began to bid for the elf. A lizardman got into a bidding war. Bhardran walked over to the lizardman and stared him down. He stopped bidding, and Alain won the slave.
The heroes headed out into the training grounds, muddy fields full of broken weapons and armor. They ran afoul of an ogre clan (the Bonecrushers), and ended up in a fight against six ogres and their pet giant beetle. They were surrounded by a ring of ogres (24 of them) who shoved the heroes back into the fray if they tried to escape.
The ogres laid down their challenge, and Alain began to insult them. Bhardran charged the leader,while Devilock used his wand to trip up the leader. Bhardran slit the leader’s throat, and it fell backward. It’s head tilted back like a pez dispenser and flipped off as the body hit the ground (criticals and tons of attacks).
The rest of the ogres flung javelins and charged forward, with many of them surrounding the paladin. Before long, he was prone on the ground as clubs rained down on him. As the ogres pressed, Celodorn got too close to the circle of ogres, and they shoved him forward into an ogre. Celodorn quickly made a dramatic cry and fell to the ground, hoping to trick the dim-witted ogre into thinking he was dead. The ogre fell for it completely.
Alain helped Bhardran up, and set up an attack for the paladin (another critical, which gave Bhardran a +4 to his AC until the end of his next round). Dikari fired an eldritch blast that also scorched one of the ogre’s javelin holders, causing them to spill into the mud.
As the battle wore on, it became clear that the ogres were doomed. The circle dispersed, not wanting to see their kin get slaughtered. The heroes finished off the ogres and knocked out the beetle.
The heroes discussed what to do with the beetle as Lia muzzled it. Some wanted to keep it and try to train it. Celodorn wanted to bring it to his necromancer master, Rufus Crumley, to turn it into an undead horror. Others thought it best to sell it in the camp. The lure of gold was too great. The heroes headed to the marketplace.
After haggling with a miserly dark creeper, the heroes found a shadar kai interested in making the purchase. They settled on the princely sum of 950 gold. The heroes divvied up the gold and continued to ask around about Modra.
They headed toward the foundry, a place where the lava and shadow magic were used to create magical beasts to serve in Sarshan’s army. Celodorn met Alsop, a shadar kai who worked in the foundry, and befriended him. Celodorn offered to share the secrets of grafting with the shadar kai, in exchange for learning some of their magic. Alsop agreed, and took Celodorn and Devilock into the foundry and showed them around.
After that, the heroes walked around and did more investigating. They met a shadar kai named Leena, who used to work with Modra. She knew much of Modra’s plans and told the heroes about a secret passage that lead from the foundry into Sarshan’s tower. She said:
“He has a plan to disrupt Sarshan’s operations by destroying the foundry, then the tower. Sarshan has a private tunnel connecting the two, and Modra is planning on venting the foundry’s destructive energy there. A mass of mercenaries is moving out tonight. He’ll be using that as cover when he goes inside.”
She also pointed out that Modra had loyalists in the camp. Devilock got all smooth with her and she seemed receptive. But when she took them for a meal, only Alain joined her. And he made his slave test the food before he ate it.
After learning what Leena knew, the heroes decided to wait until the mercenaries headed out, and enter the foundry through a wall crack that Leena knew about.
Celodorn however wanted more knowledge. He decided to go back to the foundry right away, to speak more with Alsop. The poor eladrin walked alone, right into Modra’s clutches.
As the heroes ate with Leena, Modra had made his move in the foundry. His shadow goblins turned on Alsop, and Modra used his invisibility and darkness to make quick work of Alsop. Celodorn walked right into the foundry and was blasted with shadowy arrows that immboliized him. He teleported to the door, but was tossed back into the room.
The shadowgoblins made a circle as Modra approached, wanting to fight Celodorn one on one. He bantered with Celodorn for a moment, then bathed him in darkness and slashed into the wizard with each of his blades. Celodorn fell to the ground.
Modra shrugged, unsatisfied with the quick fight and ordered his flunkies to throw Celodorn into one of the vats used to make mutant monsters. Celodorn was plopped into a vat.. and died.
Later, the heroes made their way through the crack (with good rolls from Lia and Bhardran, so that the wall did not collapse). While they didn’t realize that their ally was dead, they knew they were in for quite a battle.