The Once & Future Realms

12-16-2016
Ding Ding all about the Vermilion Bass Express

Everyone is 6th level! Yay!!
(Except Bugsy… he’s still just a bugbear)

The party travels East North East from Mnt. Hotenow in the direction of Mithril Hall. They pass through Griffon’s Nest, a semi-permanent trading outpost and continue on across the Shining Creek and the Goblintide tributaries. Shortly after passing the Goblintide the party comes across a small encampment, perhaps that of a family traveling through the wilds. It shows signs that they were attacked and carried away, and being righteous murder hobos they vote to follow the trails left by the raiders.

This trail leads them into the Lurkwood, and as evening approaches their path is blocked by a brawny human clad in wolfskins accompanied by a pair of wolves. He tells them that there is nothing for them here, the lands belong to the Wolf clan, and that no one has come this way… despite literally standing on the trail the party is following. Non plussed, Grace tells him to let them pass. Ultimately he vanishes in a swirl of leaves, promising the party will meet their fates on the claws of Malar.

The party travels on, a short while later as they enter a narrowing of the path crunching and rustling can be heard as many somethings crash through the woods, with howls a band of humans and wolves come into sight… and we leave the party…

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9/10/16 notes

The party returns to the Temple of Kossuth located on the slopes of Mount Hotenow to dispose of swords and machine pieces recovered in thier travels. They are intercepted by one of Grace’s fellow Kossuthians who leads them to the head of her order. He requests that they do not destroy the sword, but instead use a ritual provided by Kossuth’s servants to “enter” the sword and defeat the spirit within and claim it as Kossuth’s own.

Having entered the domain of the spirit they encounter minor spirits of watery natures that attempt to hinder thier progress. This proves ineffectual and after a struggle with the spirit of the sword Grace unleashes the spark of Kossuth and claims the sword as her own.

XP: 1500

Fervis, flaming greatsword

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And lo, the pot spoke...

Rezmir had been sent here to retrieve a piece of a mechanism to open up a set of dwarven ruins that had served as a focus point for the funnel.

Rezmir is part of a small clan of dopplegangers that servers an abolith by the name of Pha-zoth. This being is from the far realm (a place beyond this reality), and it’s motives are… hazy, though it is said to “Speak the will of Olyhydra”. But it seems to wants access to places of old magic, places used to forge great weapons. It first sought to gain control of the forge at Wave Echo Cave, but having been thwarted set it’s sites on larger prey… the forges of Gauntlgrym. It seems it wishes to flood the city in order to facilitate its travel to the city. And to do this, it seeks to co-opt the old “funnel” that feeds water elementals into the forge.

Of the doppelganger clan, 3 remain free. One has been sent to Luskan to gain a place of leadership in Ship Kurth, in order to watch over the Arcane Brotherhood as it rebuilds. The second was sent to Mithril Hall to find information on Gauntlgrym. The last has traveled to Waterdeep in the guise of a merchant, though it’s specific goals are unknown to Rezmir.

The party was tracked, first using the coin then using the sword Grace claimed from the previous doppelganger. Pha-zoth opened the portal here, and Rezmir was to use the puzzle cube to return to a staging area in the Spine of the World and to await further orders. The lodge there is guarded by a person called Talis, along with a few body guards.

The Watery Eye is a key to Pha-zoths realm.

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Things and stuff

The party makes it’s way silently into the caverns below the fortress, there they find a teleportation circle, utilize the dwarven token and teleport themselves… somewhere.

The room they arrive in is octagonal, 8 doors leading out but otherwise empty. A faint light seems to emanate from nowhere in particular. As one of the doors are approached there rumble as two elementals rise from the floor and attack. Krest is instantly killed, the poor lizard, and the fight proves to be quiet challenging for the group but they win out in the end.

Behind each door a small room holds a single stone bier embossed with dwarven carvings. Eventually piercing together a riddle “To open the door, spill what we have spilled” the group assumes it must be dwarven blood, and Amber, being the only dwarf, is volunteered to try this theory out. Luckily for them she decides to get herself drunk prior to slicing open her hand as it turns out it actually refers to alcohol…

This triggers a dwarven spirit to appear who comments on the tangential way of fulfilling the riddle. Through some conversation the party finds out they are somewhere near Gauntlgrym, that this place is former temple to Dumathoin, and that the dwarves were being placed here till after the fall of the dwarven kingdom of Delzoun. The spirit implies there is nothing here for the party, at least nothing they should touch and bids them on their way vanishing as last of the hidden stairs grinds into place.

The party makes their way through a small complex, only 3 rooms, that seem bare and long untouched. The tunnel passage opens up onto a small plateau that overlooks the northern Neverwinter Wood, seemingly just Northeast of Mount Hotenow. Here they are ambushed by Rezmir and a handful of odd elemental creatures. Some heavy magic is tossed back and forth and the party comes out victorious, captures Rezmir who obviously wanted to get at something inside the temple.

XP: 2900xp

Hazirawn
A sentient NE spirit that worships Olyhydra resides in this Greatsword. It functions as a +1 greatsword that deals an extra d6 necrotic damage so long as the spirit is not aligned with the bearer. If the spirit is aligned with the bearer it serves as a +2 greatsword and anyone struck with it must make a dc 15 Con check of have their HP max reduced by the amount of necrotic damage they took on that strike. Additionally it has 4 charges it can use to cast Detect good/evil(1), Detect magic(1) and Detect thoughts(2).

Puzzle Cube
This 2" metal cube has intricate carvings on the sides and makes a clicking sound as it’s faces are turned. It is a bound device, set with a single charge that will teleport anything with in a 10’ radius of it to a preset location. it is currently unknown where it is set to return to or if it might be re-purposed to another location.

Robes
These elaborate purple robes are reinforced with light metal plates. It provides a +2 AC bonus if worth without armor. This does not stack with other similar items.

The Watery Eye
A a smooth pale blue translucent irregularly shaped crystal is attached to a simple silver necklace. It radiates a fair amount of power but seems to be tied to Olyhydra, operating only for her devote followers. The only useful bit of information regarding it’s powers is that it also seems to serve as some sort of key, though to what precisely the party is not sure.

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Feb 20th, 2016 First session of the year

After a brief examination of the tower the party decides to proceed with plan “Go forward, if something gets in the way… hit it.” by dressing up their warlock as a Host Tower wizard and barging into Rezmir’s house.

This barging works fairly well, the guards being unsuspecting and confused. The crashing wave tapestries trigger a memory in Xarath, a vision of his old master giving him a lesson about old powerful magics and ways beyond the elven mythals that were used to power advanced spells. Coming out of this he attempts to cover the delay by demanding to be taken to “him”… which triggers a bit of suspicion in the guards since Rezmir is actually a “her”.

Fighting ensues, eventually the party works it’s way through the tower killing 7 guardsmen and capturing on acolyte of “Umberlee”. They also discover a distinct lack of Rezmir, though there are signs of a somewhat hasty leaving within the past couple of days.

Some enhanced interrogation of their prisoner reveals
Rezmir left about a day ago in a hurry, left no instructions
He is a follower of Olhydra, lord of watery destruction, elemental prince of evil as is Rezmir

Ritual of Preservation
Costs 100gps in prepared oils and salts
Lasts one year, provides a single book with protection from environmental and natural damage. Dampness, heat, cold, rain, dirt, vermin, etc. will all be protected against.

Plate Mail of Acid Resistance
Created of an odd ceramic like material, this dull grey suit of articulated plate will re size itself to fit a medium size create. It provides the standard protection of plate in addition to the acid resistance.

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No, it's to much... let us sum up

Hired to guard a caravan by Gundren Rockseeker, the party rescues Lord Hallwinter from some goblins, they make their way to Phandalin, there they route the Redbrand gang of thugs and first hear of the Blackspider. Some other minor events clear out some dangers of the area. They are attacked by some assassin types but don’t gain any leads. They route a dragon in the ruins of Thundertree and discover the route to Wave Echo Cave. Therein they defeat undead, Grace is unfortunately killed, then fortunately raised by returning her to her monastery. They return to the cave and finish off some undead and then encounter the Blackspider, rescue Nundro Rockseeker and recruit Bugsy the bugbear (who’s actual name is Gerk). They then proceed to route the goblins of Cragmaw castle, rescue Gundren Rockseeker and then there is a resting while Gundren recovers. The Rockseekers decide to head to Mithril Hall, with the party tagging along as guards. Along the way the are attacked by some lizardmen and bullywugs and discover another doppelganger in lead of them. They decide to fallow some scant clues to try and track where they came from. They encounter a friendly (mostly) lizardman and convince him to take them into the castle where the raiders came from in exchange for helping his people throw off the shackles of bullywug oppression (or something like that anyways). Making their way into the castle they encounter and defeat a mage claiming to be from a rebuilt Host Tower.

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Sessions the 20th and 21st

In the aftermath of the battle the party asks the Rockseekers abut the “Dwarven Key” and find no answers. The do however find an odd clay disk, worn with age and use, that bears an inscription to the dwarven god Marthammor Duin (the god of travel and protection). Through a bit of deduction they come to feel that the token is actually a portal key, and perhaps the missing part of this puzzle.

After a brief post battle rest the party decides to head into the swamp to retrace the trail of the assassins that had beset them. Using the map, along with a borrowed skiff, they penetrate into the swamp find the remnants of a camp site, confirming their heading the right direction.

Along the way they encounter a duo of lizardfolk and decide to attempt parley. While one is reluctant, the other (a warrior named Kresst) sees in the party an opportunity and gives them much information on the state of things in the swamp. It seems that the skin takers (his word for Doppelganger) had allied with the frog men (Bullywugs) and wrested control of the lizard tribe by slaying the previous chief and taking their spawn hostage. They resided in a ruined castle in the swamp, and while he did not seem to know their ultimate plans, he was quite willing to aid the party in their mission of slaying the doppelgangers if it meant freeing his tribe.

Leading the party deeper into the swamp Kresst talks them past a lizardman guard post, and conceals the party in the shadows of a lizard-pen while he goes to make contact with the others of his tribe.

While they wait the party is stumbled upon by a returning bullywug patrol. The fight is brief, and violent, and while one manages to scamper into the open area between the lizard pen and the rest of the castle, no alarm appears to be raised.

After disposing of the bodies amongst the lizards the party relocates to an area more concealed by bushes and waits for Kresst’s return.

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Session the... 19th? Something like that... lets go with 19

The brothers Rockseeker continue their association with the party, retaining them as guards on a trip to Mithril hall. This trip starts off simple enough, over land to the town of Yartar and from there up the River Surbin towards Mithril hall. Roughly a ten day has passed, and by mid Flamerule the boat they’ve hired to carry them north is gliding past the Evermoors. While the weather has generally been good, the nights prove dark and the ships captain anchors the boat as he feels traveling at night poses to great a danger of accident.

The unfortunate side effect is that it allows a group of amphibian humanoids to attack the party. A combination of frogmen and lizardmen assault the party, though they prove to be quite outmatched by the might of the adventuring troupe. In the end they discover that the leader of the amphibious assault was actually a doppelganger.

Of note two items are recovered from the creatures, one a sword of odd construction and the other a rough map from somewhere in the moors to the river with a note instructing the bearer to “Return the dwarven key to me.” The party decides they need to ask the Rockseekers some questions and there we leave it…

The Squirming Blade
Crafted of an odd silvery-black material the blade appears to be carved with an odd swirling pattern which seems to shift at the corners of your vision. The material is nonferrous and does not rust. The sword is well balanced, though while wielded odd vibrations can be felt through the pommel.
Greatsword 2d6 slashing
Qualities: Heavy, two-handed
The sword functions as a magic weapon as far as overcoming damage resistances, and against living creatures (i.e. without the elemental, undead or construct types) it’s critical range is increased by 1 (19-20).

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An interlude...

(A summary of the transitional time…)
The group heads to Crawmaw castle and with Gerk’s help frees Gundan, routing the goblins that once dominated the ruins. Gundran informs them that a female drow had been here to retrieve him for the Black Spider but the goblin king had held out for more money and they had been debating that… they find some elven tracks that flee into the woods but of the dark elf herself no so sign.

They return to Phandelvar with enough XP to gain level 5 (6,500 total) as well as goods and coin worth 550 gps as well as a scroll of reviviify, 3 potions of healing and a scroll of silence. There they settle in to rest up and spend some time evaluating what comes next for the group.

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Sessions the 16th and 17th

After a bit of research and work the party gathers and creates the items they need to attempt the ritual. The Watcher… watches them, but does not interfere until the forge starts to sputter and flicker during the ritual. It tells them to stop, and after a brief internal debate Xarath does so. The party decides to trek to the temple of Kossuth that lies not far from Thundertree, as opposed to possibly damaging the forge.
This trip is largely uneventfull, and with the party providing the materials needed to power the spell Grace’s status as a member of the temple allows them to raise her at no additional fee. They spend a day to allow Grace to recover some of her strength and then head back to the caves.

They head back to the forge and discover that the Black Spider did in fact make a brief attempt to enter the forge area, but was rebuffed by the Watcher, who appears to have killed a couple of bugbears. The group heads off, following the tracks back to the NE area of the caves.

They proceed through a small barracks area containing a half dozen bugbears, and then further into a rough area that appears to be being excavated. There a drow watches over a small group of bugbears. The drow attempts to warn the party of, calling to Xarath by his name and promising the Black Spider’s leniency if they leave now. The party quickly dispatches two of the bugbears and the drow flees… spending only a moment to finish ioff the final bugbear the party gives chase, and though his lead is short they hear yelled from ahead “Intruders come!”.

With a quick peek into a closed door, in which appears to lie a crumpled dwarf, the party continues on to what seems to be an old temple of Dumathoin. Inside two bugbear are readying for combat, a dwarf cowers near the statue of Dumathoin, and a number of spiders lurk behind pillars (though not all see them).

Xarath uses a scroll to charm Gerk the bugbear, who quickly comes to his aid and frees him from the webs of a spider. Grace charges forward to confront the remaining bugbear, striking him with might blows. The spiders advance upon the party, but their assaults prove ineffective… the black spider himself appears, launching magic missiles then mental assaults though these are all rebuffed and he attempts to flee under the cover of a darkness spell. At this point the dwarf has also apparently decided that fear is the better part of survival and is also trying to flee… Unfortunately for the Black Spider the party manages to catch him and slays him with much slaying. They also stop the dwarf, who at first appears to be Gundran (Their original employer) and says he was captured and brought here…

Xarath is skeptical, but for the moment passes as they start to examine the room and bodies, questioning Gerk a bit. Amber and Lani go to check on the crumpled dwarf, finding the final cousin Nundro. As Lani wakes him, he is confused and then suddenly started by something as Gundran turns into a lanky blue, near featureless creature that attempts to flee… only to be brought down by Fire Bolt (and other miscellaneous attacks).

Now having a captive the party attempts to find out some info. Gerk is a mercenary hired in the markets of Skull port, and has no particular loyalty to “The boss”. The boss is a drow by the name of Nezznar, who came from a city in the underdark and seems to be the mastermind behind this scheme. His interest lay solely in the forge, though no one knows for sure what he sought. The fo-Gundran is a doppleganger by the name of Vhalak, though that is irrelevant now that his attempts to buy his life with revenge plans plucked from Grace’s mind is soundly rejected by Amber’s hammer… Gerk however, proves to be a true member of his species and accepts Xarath’s offer of amnesty and food in exchange for helping them get Gundran from Cragmaw castle.

After a brief stop by the Watcher’s room ,where Nundro argues with it over the ownership of the mine and eventually “fires” it the party returns to Phandelvar with Nundro. They take a brief time to bury the dead dwarf Tharden in a cairn near the entrance, Nundro saying that is a fitting place for his brother to rest. Nundro also offers the party a share of the mine in exchange for tracking down and rescuing his remaining brother.

Loots

Arrow Breaker
This small round steel shield bears the carving of arrows breaking upon an anvil in it’s center front. As well as dwarven runes of protection around the rim. The words “Arrow Breaker” are carved on the inside. In addition to being a +1 shield, when the user is struck by a ranged attack (including spells) they may spend a reaction to cause the attacker to roll again (as if they had disadvantage).

Silverbeard’s Fists
Appearing to be plate gauntlets of fine manufacture these gauntlets provider the wearer with a 19 strength.

Spider Staff
The top of this metallic black staff is shaped like a stylized spider. The staff weighs 6 pounds. When wielded as a quarterstaff it counts as a magic weapon and deals Id6 extra poison damage on a hit.The staff has 10 charges, which are used to fuel the spells within it. With the staff in hand, you can use your action to cast one of the following spells from the staff if the spell is on your class’s spell list: spider climb (1 charge) or web (2 charges, spell save DC 15). No components are required.The staff regains Id6 + 4 expended charges each day at dusk. If you expend the staff’s last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the staff crumbles to dust and is destroyed.

Wand of Magic Missiles
This wand of about 18” appears to be made of wood that narrows to a point on one end. A “grip” of runic symbols twists around the wider base. This wand has 7 charges. With the wand in hand, you can use your action to fire the magic missile spell from the wand-no components required-and expend 1 to 3 of the wand’s charges. For each charge you expend beyond 1, the spell’s level increases by 1. You can use this wand even if you are incapable of casting spells.
The wand regains Id6 + 1 expended charges each day at dawn. If you expend the wand’s last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the wand crumbles into ash and is destroyed.

Warden’s Staff
At first look this staff appears to be made of oak or some other hardwood, but is as hard and dense as iron. It’s surface is carved with a vine and claw motif as well as elven runes declaring it’s name. It functions as a +1 quarterstaff, but with two twists in the hands of a druid. The first is that it functions as if shillelagh had been cast upon it, allowing them to use their wisdom in place of their strength when attacking. The second is that while in animal for their natural attacks are treated as if they were +1 magical weapons.

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