The Reign of Darkness

Entry 11

The lower portion of the first level was unlighted and colder. Ryn frequently scouted ahead, only to discover zombies and skeletons throughout. The heroes battled undead around every corner, were plagued by necromantic spell-traps placed throughout and finally found an abandoned chapel to Him Above.

When the heroes paid their respects to this deity and made their way further into the chapel, they found the tomb of Sir Keegan Arkoshian. The undead knight challenged the heroes but once assured of their dedication and ability to face the Order of the Ebon Hand bestowed upon them the legendary greatsword Aecris.

Further exploration of an excavated portion of the level saw the death of Hiro when the party battled a blue pudding. Examining the remains of a human and a hobgoblin in the creature’s lair, the party found a map to a place called Saruun Khel and the following note:

Remember, don’t wet the nodule – unless Kalarel is not receptive to the offer. Then, wet it only from a distance, and then, turn and run! Water will bring the creature out of its dormancy, and it will consume anything it can reach.

Before descending down a staircase, the heroes discovered a hidden armory at the end of a small labyrinth – within it was an enchanted suit of dwarven full plate armor that Gryffin Farstryder took for himself.

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Entry 10

Presence

After handing over Grelm Wundelman to Constable Arthol in Threshold, the heroes looked after a personal favor requested by Lord Padraig Kovosar to clear the Old Mill on Fogor Isle of vermin. The vermin turned out to be stirge and the basement was haunted by a presence. Successfully clearing the Old Mill, the heroes enlisted the aid of Ol’ Tarlach to ferry them to the other side of Cairngorm Lake on their way to Shadowguard Keep.

Reaching Shadowguard Keep, the heroes found the upper level infested with goblins. Some human prisoners were discovered (the goblins intending to sell them to Iron Ring slavers) and an incarcerated goblin. Despite the heroes’ desire to question the goblin (whose only words had been, “Splug help! Splug help!”), Thalin in a fit of rage slew the creature on the spot.

Later, the heroes rested, setting up a hidden camp on the surface while some of the party members returned the prisoners to Threshold.

The next day, the party reunited and descended further below the ruins of Shadowguard Keep.

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Entry 9

The following day, the heroes set out for the dragon burial site in search of Yasir bin Hassan’s father. There they found a group of humans led by a halfling named Knute Tombseeker. The group feigned friendship until the heroes were close enough to be attacked. Grelm Wundelman, a human sniper hidden on a ridge, supported the halfling when battle ensued.

The heroes defeated their foes and took Grelm Wundelman captive. Exploring the site, they discovered a powerfully enchanted crystal orb and the body of Yasir’s father in a barrel with a false compartment.

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Entry 8

Order of the ebon hand

Spending the night in the kobold lair, the heroes set back for Threshold the following day. Collecting their reward for solving the kobold problem, they began to investigate the meaning of the letter they had found and follow up on other concerns they had over a few days.

They discovered that Lord Kalarel was the leader of a cult called the Order of the Ebon Hand and had been seen in the vicinity months ago; that the term “pallid princess” referred to Urgathoa, goddess of undeath; and that Shadowguard Keep was built upon the site where the Order of the Ebon Hand was active over 200-years ago – but that it had since fallen into ruin.

They also discovered that Yasir’s mother, Yamane, had taken residence in the Guild House while his father Hassan bin Fared was exploring a nearby dragon burial site.

Minor Quest – Missing Merchant

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Entry 7

Following a brief rest and some preparation, the heroes set out for the kobold lair. But before reaching the lair they were set upon by kobolds once again. In defeating this second ambush, the party recovered an enchanted arcane staff.

The kobold lair was found in a wooded area, behind a waterfall. The heroes attacked the sentries outside, overcoming them – but not before one rushed into the cave. Quickly following it inside, they confronted the rest of the kobolds and the creatures’ leader – Abithriax the Dragonborn.

The fighting was intense, but the heroes won – severing the head of Abithriax in the process. The monster’s lair was filled with coins, an enchanted suit of leather armor and a letter that read:

Abithriax,

The Bone Knight indicates there are strangers in the area. It probably does not matter; in just a few more days, I’ll completely open the portal. Then Threshold’s people will serve as food for all those the Pallid Princess sends to do my bidding.

Lord Kalarel

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Entry 6

Arriving in Threshold, the heroes met with Constable Arthol. Showing their royal adventuring charter, the letter from Moonstone Keep and telling the tale of the kobolds’ attack they were directed to Lord Padraig Kovosar at Tarnskeep. Some of the heroes went to speak with the lord while others went to Threshold Cathedral to discuss the “undead threat” the Bone Knight posed.

At these two locations the heroes received quests to solve the problem with the kobolds who still had a lair in the area and to defeat the apparent “undead threat” to Threshold.

Story Hook – Ominous Signs

Minor Quest – Kobold Problem

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Entry 5

Gypsy

While en route to Threshold, the heroes encountered a Vistani encampment. Attempting to befriend the gypsies, they noticed many of them were ill and attempted to help but were unsuccessful. The Vistani did not extend the heroes their hospitality and insisted they move on.

During one of the nights of travel, Yasir bin Hassan and Ryn experienced divine dreams. In them, they saw the actions of the shadar-kai in Endless Night Abbey that they had not borne witness to when they were there. In the dreams, they saw that the shadar-kai had uncovered a black, mummified heart that then beat once – stealing the lives of those nearby. After that, the heart then simply faded away as did the dream.

A few days later, within a few miles of Threshold, the heroes found themselves ambushed by kobolds. Thalin and Ryn had noticed evidence of the ambush and warned the party. The kobolds were hesitant to fight an armed and prepared force until the Bone Knight commanded them to attack, before then riding away.

The heroes were victorious over the kobold ambush and identified it as the reason communication from Threshold had been cut off. But the mystery of the Bone Knight and the matter of delivering the letter still remained.

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Entry 4

Shadarkai illo

Making their way about the village, the heroes discovered a trading post had been broken into and overheard rumors of digging sounds coming from Endless Night Abbey.

Investigating the abbey, they found shadar-kai intruders had entered town under the guise of monks, charmed the caretaker Abbess Naenia and broken their way into a hidden reliquary beneath the ancient structure. Thalin, a half-elf ranger who frequented the village, joined the heroes at this point.

Confronting the shadar-kai, the party defeated a number of them before being overcome themselves. The shadar-kai subsequently departed, mysteriously choosing to leave the heroes alive.

With the strangers gone, Stubbs Plattermann considered his request fulfilled and the heroes collected their reward.

The following day, as they were departing Rifflian, the group met The Furtherners.

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Entry 3

Stubbs plattermann

Travel from Gnome’s Crossing to the elven village of Rifflian was arduous as the rain rolling down from the Cloudscape Mountains was relentless and the terrain of the Gray Downs offered no shelter.

The comfort of the Silver Swan Inn and the hospitality of its proprietor Stubbs Plattermann were welcome change to what the heroes had experienced their past few days. While he waited upon them and asked of happenings outside the village, Stubbs Plattermann also spoke of recent goings on within – especially of strangers that had been poking around that the villagers were simply not fond of.

The heroes were asked to look into these strangers’ activities and run them out of town.

Minor Quest – Monk-ey Business

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Entry 2

Wolves

Traveling south, the heroes approached Gnome’s Crossing as the sun set when a horrific howl was heard across the rolling hills of the Gray Downs. Additional howls answered the first. A gnome proprietor at the crossing hurriedly rang a large bell, screaming to the heroes: “Run!”

Huge, shadowy beasts approached on four legs in the waning light… two were the size of small ponies with eyes that glowed like hot coals. The heroes ran, making it to Gnome’s Crossing just in time.

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