Headhunters

Urwol's smithy

Not wasting any time following the fleeing orchs deeper into the hold, the adventurers boldly pushed forward. Not before long they could se the flickering light of flames, and over the thundering strokes of heavy hammers hear orchs excitedly speaking to each other. Apparently the orchs had fled to warn their friends in the smithy.

Before they could organize a more proper defense the adventurers rushed into the the smithy, where they amongst other things saw a dark skinned dwarf with fiery beard beating the living daylights out of a piece of molten metal. Enraged by this sight Germanicus undauntingly lunged forward to send the dwarf to dwarf heaven (or maybe dwarf hell in this case). Arsznagog, the brilliant tactician, immediately realised that this wasn’t a feasable tactics and followed suit, trying to protect the poor cleric’s back. That turned out to be a dangerous, but ultimately wise choise.

When the people in the room noticed the party combat immediately ensued. Also, something very strange happened as the dwarf suddenly vanished – he had become completely invisible. Also, he and the orcs were not the only foes in the room, which the two rushers were soon to find out.

From another opening the master smith came running to aid his allies (although cursing the incompetence of them, as well as deriding the adventurers, promising a one way ticked to the Nine Hells). The following battle was fierce… Arzshagog took heavy damage from the orchs, and were only a hair’s breadth from getting his head chopped off by a greataxe. While the melee fighters were busy in the room, the casters of the party attacked from the adjacent corridor. Eventually the foes were slain, but the two dwarves that could turn invisible were no where to be seen (doh)!

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Arriving at the Hold

Once again the adventurers enter the myriad of tunnels stretching out in all directions from the Seven Pillared Hall. Once again using the map that Chemosh acquired from Charrak they follow the Road of Shadows until it branches off southward into a minor tunnel. The tunnel emerges on the ledge of a chasm which eventually leads to the first of the strongholds.

From a safe distance they can see the imposing fortress of the closest stronghold, but also that the only entrance from this direction is a portecullis guarded by a group of orchs. When the adventurers prepare to sneak closer to the portecullis, Germanicus bravely decides not to do so by hurling a brilliant radiant Lance of Faith at the guards.

Although the guards have some protection from the portecullis and are able to use their longspears to their advantage, the adventurers eventually gain the upper hand, kill two of the guards, and force the remaining two to flee deeper into the hold…

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New acquaintances

With Terrlen still unconscious the party returns to the Seven Pillared Hall. After some thought they decide to hand Therrlen over to Phaledra in The Temple of Hidden Light to keep the denizens safe from his curse, but also to keep him from harming himself. However, Phaledra didn’t know much about lychantrophy so the party decided to speak to Vadriar to see if he had more information. Vadriar was able to tell that lychantrophy as such wasn’t contagious, and in this case probably derived from a curse connected to the bronze gong Therrlen had seen in his visions.

When the party is sitting in the Halfmoon Inn, the tavern door suddenly opens and in steps an elven ranger with a huge boar by her side, tighly followed by an imposing warrior fully clad in a shining platemail armor. The two introduce themselves as Brienn and Arzshnagog. Although the party is a bit suspicious at first both Brienn and Arzshnagog seem to be honorable and trustworthy, and are as such a welcome addition to the party (because Barrack had to be present at the annual celebrations of Bahamut’s birthday).

With this addtion, the party is once again a force to be reckoned with, and thus they again set out to investigate the Horned Hold…

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Exploring Seven Pillared Hall

After successfully having cleared out the Chamber of Eyes, the party returns to the Seven Pillared Hall.

This being virtually the first time they get to take a closer look at the hall, the party eagerly explores what it has to offer – maybe they’ll even find clues as to where the Duergar might be hiding…

A good place to start looking seems to be the Halfmoon Inn, and the party is really lucky since it is a very busy day with several of the Hall’s prominent guests being present.

The first one they speak to is a somewhat worn down knight who introduces himself as Therrlen Darkseeker. Apparently he used to be a part of the Cormyrian elite force “The Purple Dragons”, but he has lost interest in their internal political schemes to advance in the heirarchy. He also tells them about his strange memory losses, and describes a place with a giant bronze gong, held in place by massive minotaur statues.

While Germanicus and Barrak sit down and speak to Therrlen, Chemosh manages to find some information about the Duergar hideout by himself.

Present in the inn is also Vadriar the sage who seems to almost be afraid the Hall’s roof will cave in (any sensible person will realise that that is quite impossible), and mumbles about troglodyte shamans in the Cisterns.

The party convinces Therrlen to follow them to vanquish the Duergar, but he needs to close up his business for a couple of days before he can leave. So the earliest point when the party could set out is in the morning the following day.

From Vadriar the party learns about Surina, a Dragonborn Warlock that spends a lot of time in the temple. She nurtures the crazy idea of exterminating the Underdark.. good luck to her…

In the morning the following day, the party is called to see Orontor, one of the Mages of Saruun. They learn that one of his adepts Paldemar has gone missing, and is suspected to be involved in some sort of cult. The party will be rewarded handsomely if Paldemar could be returned, dead or alive.

Finally, after a lot of discussions about how to best convert the loot into more useful loot, the party sets out towards the Horned Hold (strangely enough Chemosh has a map!). On the way there they are attacked by hyenas, lead by a gnoll. What is more strange is that Therrlen suddenly tranforms into a werewolf. After the battle the party notices that Barrack is attending to quite a nasty bite wound.

After the battle is won, Therrlen is still living, but is unconscious and seemingly not aware of his horrible curse…

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The Chamber of Eyes

The party reaches the Chamber of Eyes without running into any encounters. After miserably failing to kick in the unlocked door that leads from the narthex further into the chamber, the party quickly dispatches the goblins and their bugbear leader that guard the door. However, one of the goblins escape to warn their leader Krand, and the other hobgoblins within the chamber.

Because the party stops to interrogate a prisoner for several minutes the general alarm puts the whole chamber afoot.

After an epic battle, the party is victorious… however, Krand and the rest of his party mangage to escape.

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The Seven Pillared Hall

The big road from the entrance leads to the Seven Pillared Hall, but before reaching the hall the party rescue the halfling Rendil Halfmoon, who had been captured by some Bloodraider Hobgoblins.

He gives them directions how to reach the Chamber of Eyes, where the hobgoblins are supposed to have their headquarters. He’s also very friendly towards the party and shows them around in the Seven Pillared Hall and buys them drinks in “The Halfmoon Inn”

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Travelling to Thunderspire Labyrinth

The party sets out on their journey to Thunderspire Mountain. On the way there they are ambushed by a couple of brigands, who were quickly defeated. Finally they arrive at the giant gates into Saruum Khel.

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Business in Fallcrest

In Fallcrest the party meets up with Parle Cranewing and hands him the completed map of Shadowfell Keep. Satisfied with the party’s performance he tells them that he’s looking for more recent information about the ancient Minotaur city Saruum Khel than he is currently in possession of.

The party also sees to that Sister Marla is safely escorted to Moonsong Temple, where they are personally thanked by High Priest Ressilmae Starlight. Ressilmae also appeals to the party’s benevolence to head back to Thunderspire and look for the captured caravan.

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Travelling to Fallcrest

The caravan had been ambushed on the juction between the East Road and Vale Road, that leads to Thunderspire Mountain. But before reaching that spot the party almost comes under attack from a red dragon. This dragon is quite well known and goes by the name of Cazakk the Blessed. Luckily for the party Cazakk is chased off by a much larger dragon – the legendary beast Aurgloroasa.

From the other travellers in the caravan the party learns that Cazakk has been harassing the town Harkenwold, just on the outskirts of Hullak Forest. Apparently the dragon has effectively forbidden worship of any other god(s) than Tiamat, from whom he seems to derive special powers.

The party learns that the Baron Stockmer, the current ruler of Harkenwold village might have more information about the dragon scourge.

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Wrapping up Shadowfell

After having killed Kalarel in Shadowfell Keep, the party returned to Winterhaven to get some help completing the mapping of the Keep. Keegan also promised to be the safe-keeper of Shadowfell Keep and to warn the party if there should be new troubles stirring there.

Shortly after the festivities in Winterhaven a caraven arrived. They had originally set out from Fallcrest, but had been ambushed on the way by bandits affiliated to the BloodReavers. The only survivor was Sister Marla, a follower of Sel√ľne. To assure a save journey back to Fallcrest, Lord Padraig kindly asked the party to take on the mission of escorting her back. Since the party had other unfinished business in Fallcrest, they readily agreed to do this.

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