The adventure begins on the 1st Day of October (or its equivalent in the game world).
Fallcrest: Our heroes start off in Fallcrest, talking to Frieda Stahl, wife of Marcus Stahl. Frieda runs a general goods store in Fallcrest, and her husband Marcus is an occasional “treasure hunter.” Marcus last ventured off to Winterhaven, and has not been back for three months. Frieda is concerned, and has asked Niall MacFarlane, among others, for help.
Niall is a dwarven knight who has been ousted from his family home in Hammerfell, and in the past few months, has been picking up work as a caravan guard, using Frieda’s contacts to get the jobs. He is recently back from a recent caravan run to and from the Harkenwold, and has learned that Marcus has not yet returned from his expedition. He ponders going off to Winterhaven to look for Marcus himself, but in making his preparations, runs into a young eladrin named Aramil Goldleaf who by chance is also looking to head out to Winterhaven. Aramil has picked up an assignment from Parle Cranewing, who is looking for a detailed map of an old keep near Winterhaven, and is willing to pay 250 gold pieces for such a map. Aramil, being a young wizard of only nineteen, knows the risks are too great to go on his own. While he does have a companion, the mysterious drow Malkyr Kaldra’iv, he seeks Niall’s assistance. Before Niall and company can leave, Frieda contacts them again. Two of Marcus’ old friends from his mercenary days have dropped in to visit him, only to learn, to their dismay, of his disappearance; they now look to find him as well. Merrick Feverfew is a handsome and charming half-elf, lightly armored but strong and nimble. His companion, Theron Redgrave, is a huge, strongly-muscled human, the epitome of a leader and a fighter. Together, this unlikely group, with common interests in the western Nentir Vale, set off for Winterhaven in early autumn.
Approaching Winterhaven: Only a few miles outside Winterhaven, the group was set upon by a group of eight kobolds, five weak-looking ones carrying spears, another armed with a sling, and two sporting a sword and shield. The party took on the kobolds, absorbed some hits, but none were serious, so they generally made quick work of them. Most of the kobolds had a hard time getting past Niall’s defenses, his shield absorbing slung fire pots and weapon strikes alike. Theron dispatched the first with a beheading swipe of his sword, shortly followed by Merrick, who plunged his rapier through a kobold’s eye into his brain. Niall’s whirling craghammer ended another’s life, while Merrick deftly ran another through. Aramil conjured up shadowy claws that killed another of the spear-wielders, while Niall crushed the skull of the slinger. Finally, Malkyr struck stealthily to choke one of the heavily-armored kobold warriors to death, and Niall knocked the last standing kobold. The heroes tied up the remaining survivor and interrogated him, but didn’t get much from him. Merrick dispatched the kobold, who was no use and annoying. After the group looted the bodies, Merrick collected the kobolds’ ears as souvenirs.
Entering Winterhaven: Upon arriving in Winterhaven at about 5:00 p.m., the party was questioned by the front gate guards on duty at that time, Tim and Jim. They explained that they were looking for Marcus, but neither guard had a good recollection of him. Since he was not from Winterhaven, they suggested checking out Wrafton’s Inn, which is where he would have likely stayed. It seemed like the guards were going to cause problems for Malkyr at first, they not being familiar with drow and bent upon denying him entry. Merrick, however, vouched for him and convinced the guards let the group in.
Dining at Wrafton’s Inn: The inn was fairly busy that evening, with a few customers: Elian the Old, a very old farmer that lived just outside the walls; Valthrun the Prescient, a local sage; and a female elf sitting by herself that Merrick tried to sweet-talk (to no avail). Salvana Wrafton, the inn’s owner, sat them down to drink. The group bought Elian an ale, and he joined them for a drink. When asked, he remembered Marcus and told our heroes that he had given him directions to a dragon burial site, which Marcus had gone to about three weeks ago; nobody had seen him since. Our heroes also spoke to Valthrun when Aramil approached him, in an innocent and overly curious way, to ask about the book he was reading. Valthrun explained that he was a historian and chronicler of the Nentir Vale, and he told the group what he knew about the dragon burial site and the keep when questioned. Although he knew only a bit about both, his curiosity was piqued, and he promised to research the issues and further discuss it with them the following day.
Request from Lord Padraig: While the party was speaking to Elian, Lord Padraig and his captain of the guard, Rond Kelfem, had entered the inn to sit down for a meal. Just before the group was headed off to bed for the night, Rond approached them on behalf of Lord Padraig. The group talked about the increasing frequency of kobold attacks, and the town’s inability to deal with the problem. Ultimately, they agreed to help out Lord Padraig and search for the kobold’s lair in exchange for a commission of 250 gold pieces.
Kobold Ambush: After resting for the evening, the party headed out to find Marcus. Shortly after getting out of Winterhaven, the party was ambushed by five kobolds — three of the sword and shield variety, as well as a nimble, skirmishing spearwielder and their leader: a Wyrmpriest wearing a bone mask resembling a dragon, who had acidc breath and hurled magical balls of acid. The party used teamwork to whittle down the various kobolds’ defenses, and Malkyr, cloaked in magical darkness, stabbed the wounded Wyrmpriest in the throat. The remaining kobolds fought on after their leader was killed, but it was all for naught: with Theron directing them and wounding the creatures, the rest of the heroes finished them off. Aramil melted one of the kobold’s brains, while Merrick stabbed another in the face. Niall knocked out the last swordwielder with a blow to the head with his craghammer, while Merrick chased down the fleeing spear-kobold to backstab him, right in the spine. The group searched the bodies, finding little coin, but they did find a dragon figurine necklace worn by the Wyrmpriest, which, on the underside, had carved into it a figure of a skull with ram horns. Aramil recognized this symbol as the sign of Orcus, Prince of the Undead. The group questioned the last kobold, who said that he would not take them directly to their lair, because Irontooth would kill him. He did agree, though, to take them near the lair and point them in the right direction if they would set him free. The party agreed to the kobold’s request, but not before trying to rescue Marcus.
The Dragon Burial Site: As they approached the location of the burial site, they tied the bound and gagged kobold prisoner to a tree and headed up a hill where they heard the clanging of picks on stone. When they got there, they observed a number of people working in a pit of sorts, four humans digging for something with pickaxes with a gnome overseeing the work in conjunction with a shadowy apparition. The group surprised the workers, but not the two guard drakes that were at the top of the pit. The party had a rough go of it at first, as one guard drake found many weak spots in Niall’s armor, but the party’s teamwork and the skill of the young mage Aramil saved everyone’s hide. Aramil first dispatched two of the workers, who died with fright from the magical, shadowy tendrils he conjured up. Next, as the rest of the group fought the two drakes, Aramil killed the remaining two workers that had set upon Niall and Theron with an arcing bolt of lightning that leaped from one enemy to the next (before they could even do any real damage to the heroes). While the rest of the group battled the drakes, Malkyr focused on the gnome and the apparition, which had conjured up shadowy claws to grasp and immobilize Niall, inflicting pain with necrotic magic. Aramil let loose another blast of lightning to hit the gnome and the apparition, but when it struck the gnome, he disappeared from view. Although Niall looked to be in trouble, he took a deep breath to steady himself and was further rallied on by Theron’s inspiring words. Merrick ultimately proved to be the drake killer, first stabbing the one attacking him in the heart, and then saving Niall (who had been trading massive blows with his drake) by running the drake through with his rapier. As the rest of the group dealt with the apparition, the gnome re-appeared to shoot at Malkyr, who dodged the bolt. Merrick knocked out the gnome, while Aramil finished off the apparition with another blast of lightning. The party searched the bodies, and found, among other things, that the gnome was wearing a magic Amulet of Health +1. They also found that this amulet had a locket, and inside was a small painting of Frieda. As they continued to search the area, they found Marcus under some blankets, battered and bruised, but alive.
Finding Marcus (Alive!): Marcus, glad to be alive, gave Merrick and Theron handshakes and hugs. He recognized Niall, but did not know the other heroes, who introduced themselves. Marcus explained that it took him a while to find the site, but when he did, he was set upon by the group the party just dispatched. He did not know what they were trying to find. When Niall offered to give Marcus back his amulet, Marcus simply took the picture of Frieda out, and gave it back to them as a reward for saving them. Seeing the picture of Frieda made him realize that he needed to get back to Fallcrst soon to rejoin his wife. He decided to retire from treasure-hunting, which he explained was harder and more dangerous work than being a merc, since nobody has your back. Marcus thus implored them to go back to Winterhaven, because he wanted to catch the first caravan back to Fallcrest.
Questioning the Gnome: Before awakening the gnome, the group searched a wooden crate and found a valuable silver mirror inside, clearly which had been dug up from the burial site, that Merrck recognized would be worth a hefty sum of money — more than even the bounty that they would get from Lord Padraig. When they woke up the bound gnome, he proved to be somewhat insane. He did reveal that he was working for Kalarel, whose goal was to bring Orcus into the world. The gnome did not know exactly for what kind of artifact they were seeking, as Kalarel’s apparition directed them. He then told the party they would all die, and did not give them a huge amount of information. The gnome could not be intimidated into giving up any information, and with that, frustrated, Malkyr slit his throat. As he died, the gnome, grasping his throat, said, “Orcus, I come to be your faithful servant.”
Return to Winterhaven: After digging around a bit at the burial site and coming up with nothing but rocks and more rocks, the party returned to Winterhaven, as it was getting late. When they got to the gates, it was about 6:00 p.m., and Tim and Jim were both on guard duty. They were alarmed by the kobold prisoner, but Jim fetched two other guards — Ted and Fred — who escorted the kobold to their makeshift prison in the barracks area. The group then set off for Wrafton’s Inn to wind up their day. Elian was overjoyed to see Marcus, relieved that he hadn’t sent him off to his death. Before the group retired for the evening, they were approached by Rond Kelfem, who wanted to discuss the matter of the kobold with them.
Total loot claimed:
Money/Valuables: 70 gold pieces, 70 silver pieces (31 spent, 39 remaining), Dragon figurine pendant (worth 80 gp), Ornate silver mirror (worth 550 gp)
Weapons/Apparel: 15 javelins, 1 glue pot, 2 heavy picks, Amulet of Health +1, Crossbow and 17 bolts
Miscellaneous: 24 kobold ears on a necklace, 20 drake teeth (for a necklace)
XP Earned: Total = 2,950, or 590 xp each
475 (Kobold Battle 1 – 2 dragonshields, 5 minions, 1 slinger)
625 (Kobold Ambush – 3 dragonshields, 1 wyrmpriest, 1 skirmisher)
600 (Dragon Burial Site – 4 human rabble, 1 gnome skulk, 2 guard drakes, 1 spectral apparition of Kalarel)
1,250 (Quest: Rescue Marcus Stahl)
Next game date tentatively scheduled for March 24, 2012.