The Haunted Highlands

Fruit Pie
Campaign Time: Kiboc 7th, 1352 - 7pm

Our group of adventurers spends the next few days at the Roadhouse recovering from their time on the road and preparing for their journey north. It is during this rest that our troupe discovers Holly’s delicious fruit pie, with its mixture of peaches from the south and local berries.

One evening in the beer garden, Bull approaches the group regarding their plans to visit the Crater of Umeshti. During the conversation he warns them not to take the perils of the crater too lightly, as kobalds, necromancers and other unmentionable things call the sinkhole home. He also tells them that the site of the crater was once a great city, but it was destroyed nearly a millennia ago during a war between the gods. Finally, he tells them to speak with Brother Frosk before they leave, as he is searching for a strange egg found only in the crater. Naela offers to reward Bull with a piece of Holly’s famous fruit pie for his trouble…which Bull gladly accepts. The next day our little group meets Brother Frosk in the common room, who as fate would have it, also has a sweet tooth for Holly’s fruit pie. The strange and brightly dressed cleric offers the character’s a quest. It seems he has been searching for a large egg with a bloodstone shell. He offers the characters a reward of 200gp for each surviving member of the expedition that returns with the egg. Our little group eagerly accepts his offer.

The next morning the adventurers set out to the northwest for the Crater of Umeshti. The group quickly covers the 80 mile journey on horseback in two days time (much faster than the slow moving caravan to Dro Mandras). The journey passes quickly and is uneventful and the group spends the evening at the foot of the mountain. The next morning they scale the slope and reach the rim of the crater, some 3500 feet above the forest below. As our group is moving down into the bowl of the crater to reach the sinkhole in the middle, they are attached by a group of kobalds. They quickly dispatch the foul creatures and take one prisoner. Reaching the sinkhole in the center of the crater they find a mechanical lift with a cage large enough to lower 6 medium sized creatures down into the blackness below.

Our group descends into the black pit and within a hundred feet the cage comes to rest on a lift dock. As the characters exit the lift cage, they are attacked by a group of kobalds. Their prisoner escapes during the struggle with one of the surviving attackers. The characters attempt to follow, but the small creatures disappear into a tiny tunnel system. When the group takes bowshots from these same tunnels, they quickly vacate the area, choosing to explore a heavy oaken door leading to another section of the complex.

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The Adventurers Head North...
Campaign Time: Kiboc 1st, 1352 - 6pm

Following their adventures in the sewers, our little troupe decides to spend a few days resting at The Four Helms. During this time, Naela receives a message from Maksim requesting a private meeting with her. When she returns, Naela meets with the party members. Maksim’s two adventuring sons (Borvya and Corpus) have been missing for some time following their last adventure excursion into the Crater of Umeshti (which is a few days travel northwest of Dirty Bowbie’s). Maksim has requested the adventurer’s help in finding his sons and is offering a 1,000gp reward to the party for proof they still live or the return of their remains in the event they are dead. After much discussion, the group decides to accept Maksim’s offer and plan to set out with his caravan for the Roadhouse the following morning.

Unexpectantly, the group is awakened in the wee hours of the morning by one of the stable boys. He tells them the City Watch is here for the half-orc and that Asalia is stalling the guards downstairs. The group immediately exits out the backdoor into the dark alleys of Dro Mandrus. They make their way to the Northwestern gate and after a few perilous moments with the guards exit the city. The next morning, Naela catches up with the group at the crossroads near the village of Shackleford after notifying Maksim of their situation. After a lenghty debate, the group decides to travel directly to the Roadhouse in hopes of meeting Maksim’s caravan there. Despite trailing guardsmen and a passing encounter with Karboskian Miliamen the group makes the trek to Dirty Bowbie’s with minor delays as they avoid both encounters.

The characters enter the main gate of Dirty’s, as this month’s session ends…

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Basil's Demise...
Campaign Time: Rire 26th, 1352 - 9am

Following their battle in the temple, our little group retreats back to the Four Helms to heal up and replenish spells. After a night’s rest and no sign of Cyrus, our group returns to the sewers. This time entering through the secret door in the abandonded shop. Advancing further down the hallway they discover a robing room. Along the eastern wall hang numerous ceremonial robes. Esaleth recognizes the black robes as those of Nartarus’ Clergy and Naela quickly stows one of the robes in her pack. The party pushes deeper into the complex, until they discover a locked chamber. Bashing down the door, the adventurers find a preparation chamber for entombing the dead. In the center of the room, a mysterious green fog bellows from a large cauldron and vents through a grate in the ceiling. The group is immediately attacked by orcish bowmen, while two dark robed clerics of Nartarus begin casting spells. The group has their hands full with their opponents and the cleric’s spells prove to be quite effective. However, the heroes wear down their evil opponents and eventually prevail. As the group investigates the room, they find a dead body chained to the wall. The dagger tattoo on the left forearm confirms their fears…it is indeed Basil.

After a lengthy discussion, the adventures decide to stow the body in the entry shaft of the original entrance to the sewers while Xena makes contact with Cyrus and brings him back to confirm the body. Upon his arrival Cyrus immediately identifies the corpse as Basil. He checks the body and quickly packs an unidentified item into his pouch. Cyrus then thanks the party for their service and pays the reward as promised. Dismissing the adventurers, Cyrus disappears into the dark streets of the Western Docks.

So ends this month’s adventure…

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An Ancient Temple...
Campaign Time: Rire 25th, 1352 - 4pm

Following their encounter with the giant toad, the party quickly exits the ancient warehouse. The group discusses the situation briefly and decide to continue exploring the lost city. After investigating an ancient manse and a partially collapsed inn and discovering little, the group decides to backtrack to the tunnels guarded by the orcish archers.

Our brave adventurers follow the entry tunnel deeper into the unexplored section of the sewers. Taking the first door, they enter into an empty chamber with a spiral stair ascending into the ceiling. After a brief investigation, it is quickly determined the spiral stair leads to an abandoned storefront in the Docks district of Dro Mandras.

While part of the party investigates the storefront above, Xena Vellacus discovers a secret door on the northern wall of the chamber below. Once reunited, the characters decide to explore beyond the secret door. They descend a set of stairs and enter a large temple. The temple has a strange altar at the far end of the room and skeletal remains line the walls. The group advances into the room and Xena quickly investigates the altar. The minute she touches the dark altar, the skeletal remains spring to life and attack the group. Esaleth immediately tries to turn the undead creatures with partial success. A long battle ensues and the adventurers eventually destroy the skeletal foes.

So ends this month’s session…

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Into the Sewers...
Campaign Time: Rire 25th, 1352 - 11am

Our group of brave adventurers find themselves in the city of Dro Mandras. Having completed their mission as caravan guards they spend their days and nights at The Four Helms, a rough and ready inn & tavern popular among locals and adventurers alike. Their short time in Dro Mandras has dampened their enthusiasm for the big city however. The once great city is now under siege, with the orcish armies occupying the eastern half of the city. The western city lives in fear, while crime, bigotry and totalitarian rule dominate the lives of the citizens.

It is at the Helms that our troupe is approached by a mysterious figure known as Cyrus. The stranger is looking to hire a group of adventurers to descend into the sewers and locate his associate, Basil. Always short on gold, our group accepts Cyrus’ offer of 25gp each to locate Basil. They must descend into the sewers and return Basil or his corpse and possessions to Cyrus, who awaits their return at the Four Helms.

Cyrus escorts the adventurers to the eastern edge of the city and within a ruined building near the riverbank, he shows them the stone trapdoor into which Basil descended. The group climbs down the entry shaft and is astounded to find a series of chambers and hallways. It is here that they encounter The Vagabond King, a bugbear who has been tormenting the tramps and refugees who attempt to take refuge in his chambers. The party quickly defeats the bugbear and only learn of his true nature from another tramp (Kol) hiding in one of the rooms, whom they help escape back to the surface. Investigating the area further, the group finds a strange chamber behind a secret door. The room is filled with antiquities, consisting mostly of furniture and ornamental objects. However, they do locate what appears to be a magical short sword, which the druidess Naela claims as her own.

Moving deeper into the tunnels our group found the true sewers, rivers of filth running though the maze of tunnels. Bree, the trusty halfling thief scouted ahead and appeared to pickup a mysterious dagger. The rest of the group, hot on her heels caught up with her just in time to be ambushed by a pair of orcish archers, who appeared to be hold up in a separate section of chambers. The adventurers quickly dispatched the two orcs and then noticed a strange sight. The other bank of the river of filth opens up into a giant cavern, which appears to be filled with…buildings! Our group quickly crosses a small ford and investigates the first building. Within the old warehouse, they find a garden of strange fungus and moss covering the floor and interior of the structure. Shortly after the discovery they are attacked by a giant toad, which had been hiding within the garden. They quickly dispatch the beast with minor incident.

So ends this months session…

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What has gone before...
Campaign Time: Kymaz 10th, 1352 - 8am

Our brave group of adventurers met at Dirty Bowbie’s Roadhouse. Although each has their own reason for travelling the Karboskian Marches, all long for adventure and the freedom that the open road can provide. For mutual benefit, they have banded together, forming an adventuring company to fulfill their lust for excitement and the riches that only a life of adventure can provide.

Following a request from Bull, the barbarian proprietor of Dirty Bowbie’s, our intrepid troupe of adventures set out to investigate the kidnapping of Tabika, one of the dancing girls at the Roadhouse. Following an initial confrontation at an isolated crossroads west of the Roadhouse, the adventurers tracked the bandits back to their cavern lair within Red Rock hill. The party methodically investigated the complex, destroying the Red Rock Bandits and defeating their leader Ulrich the Red and his mysterious Face Mace. They rescued Tabika and set off for the return journey to Dirty’s. During the return trip, they happened upon an ambush. They quickly defeated the orc raiding party, but were unable to locate the suspected survivors which had hidden in the tall grass north of the area. As a gesture of good will, they left a single scarf at the scene and instructions to any survivors to return it at the Roadhouse and claim their only remaining wagon and goods.

A few days after returning to Dirty Bowbie’s, a haggard rider appeared at the Roadhouse. The injured rider, named Myskip told his fantastic tale of survival. It seems he was part of a caravan of settlers looking to establish a community west of the Roadhouse. They were attacked and destroyed by an orcish raiding party. Myskip and his niece, Yolanda were the only survivors. A group of adventures happened upon the ambush and ultimately defeated the orcs. This group left a scarf at the scene and instructed survivors to make their way to the Roadhouse. During their journey to Dirty’s, Myskip and Yolanda were again ambushed, this time near the Witch Fens by a group of Gnolls. Myskip escaped, but Yolanda was captured and dragged into the marsh. Myskip pleads for assistance to rescue his niece and the party agrees.

With the assistance of the Ranger Jebedia, the adventurers track the gnolls deep into the swamp. The party has a number of dangerous encounters while tracking the gnolls, including a strange encounter with fen fog during which Jebedia becomes bewildered and wanders into the fog. Although the group recovers the ranger, he remains ever fearful of the Witch Fens. The trail ultimately leads to a Gnoll village. Following a failed assault at the front gate and ultimate infiltration of the encampment by Grugosh and Jebedia, the group finds Yolanda tied to a stake in the center of the village. Grugosh orchestras a daring rescue and escape and our little troupe of adventurers disappears back into the swamp. Returning to Dirty Bowbie’s, the party reunites Yolanda with her uncle Myskip.

Our little adventuring troupe then turns their attention to a rumor that a prominent merchant, named Maksim Ipati is hiring guards for his trip to the city of Dro Mandras. Although not currently at the Roadhouse, upon his return the rumors prove to be true and he quickly hires the adventurers on. The druidess Naela has a strange encounter with Maksim, in which she confronts him regarding his two sons, Borvya and Corpus. Maksim appears to become beset and heavy hearted at the mention of his sons. Clearly, Naela seems to have some info regarding the matter, but has not spoken openly with the rest of the group.

Maksim’s caravan, accompanied by our hearty adventurers, sets out for the great city of Dro Mandras. During the journey south, it quickly becomes clear that all is not right in the area. The group receives warnings from a small group of Centaurs, led by Braunn, to beware orc raiding parties crossing the Mandras River. A few days later, the caravan encounters one of the raiding parties, as a mounted half-orc attempts to ride down a ragged halfling. At Maksim’s order, the adventurers rescue the pitiful halfling and are led into a nearby grove, where they find more slaves guarded by their orcish captors. The party quickly defeats the orcs, frees the slaves and pledge to accompany them to safety in Dro Mandras. Shortly there after the group meets the ranger Rohn, who is in the employ of Sheriff Arn Porski. He is hunting orcs, half-orcs and other raiders at the request of Dro Mandras’ Sheriff. He agrees to investigate the slave’s village, known as Shackleford, then meet up with the refugees in the city. The rest of the journey is uneventful, though upon reaching the city it quickly becomes apparent that Dro Mandras has a hatred toward all orcs and half-orcs. After completing the caravan’s journey to Maksim’s warehouse, the group accompanies the refugees to the safety of the Hospitaller’s Keep. The party then retires to the Four Helms inn. Their half-orc companion, Kroll Longfingers is smuggled into the inn and goes into immediate hiding. While the party settles in at the Helms, they debate their future. Will they explore the city or return to Dirty’s with Maksim in a few days…

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