Dem-Dem'Aras

Leander and the Stone Bears
Straight outta Lowtown

The party decides to return the Ojar’t Collection to the Whitecaps, leaving out all mention of the Travellers Guild, the murders, and the Necromancer. The Guild and the City sing your praises while the still-hidden Necromancer is greatly displeased at your choice to remain silent.

To discharge their duty to the resident Sage, the group heads to back to maze of cramped dirty streets that make up Lowtown. Arriving at Leander’s house you see a group of thugs vandalizing the house. The front and back doors have been smashed open. In the back alley you see an elderly drow being violently shoved into a waiting rickshaw. With a yell from the thugs, the rickshaw starts to pull away. The driver only gets a few steps before Shelldrax leaps atop him, rapier slashing.

The party wades into the gang of Stone Bear Thugs that vandalized the house, and although they get a few powerful blows in, the party is able to defeat the ruffians. The last two thugs drop their weapons and plead for mercy.

Mercy is not granted to one thug, who is dispatched. The other squeals like a stuck pig and is brought to the local Watch and handed over. The bored looking guardsman at the watch can identify the Stone Bears and gives the party some leads: Berronar’s Haven Orphanage (where the Stone Bears have been recruiting) and Old Jellain (a busybody who keeps tabs on the local gangs).

The woman in charge of Berronar’s Haven confirms that many of the orphans have been involved in the gang, but does not know where to find them. She says the Stone Bears have been taking over a lot of territory from the Red Ragers, a less violent gang in the area. She gives you directions to Cold Forge Street where the Red Rages hang out at an abandoned blacksmith’s shop. *Insert the thing with the thing here*

Old Jellain thinks the Stone Bears have been moving lots of stuff back and forth between Lowtown and the Docks but offers no other assistance so the party heads to Cold Forge Street. The graffiti laden slum hosts a dozen or so drow and duergar in and around the shop; one of which “Trinket” steps forward to see what the party wants. The gang wants no part of armed adventurers and they want you to go away with no trouble.

A fancy throw at “Mumblety-Peg” and the ruffian is willing to share what he knows. The Stone Bears were usually just involved in local thuggery but recently have taken to kidnapping people off the street. They hate arcane spellcasters, and they have been moving boxes to and from an alchemical factory on Reagent’s Row.

Reagents Row consists mostly of large buildings used for the processing and manufacture of alchemical items. The acrid smell and taste of an assortment of chemicals hangs heavily in the air. The entrance to one of the factories is flanked by two large stone statues of bears.

An’s Book Imp peeks inside the building and sends back a cryptic message about liquid fire and mean men. The party boldly stides into the factory. A wave of chemical stench and oppressive heat rolls out from the open door. inside the factory are bubbling and hissing vats of alchemical fire. Gaunt factory workers mindlessly stir the vats, their bodies scarred with numerous burn marks. Several cold eyed men walk th efloor of the factory, keeping an eye on the chained workers. A fascinating whirlwind of energy encomasses the ceiling and greedily sucks up the acrid vapors.

One taskmaster confronts the party and asks your business. A bold bluff and the party gains hesitant entry to the interior. The alchemist in charge reviews his listings and eventually sees the intruders for what they are. He shouts a warning to the guards, pulls a lever, and a creaking trapdoor opens and a carrion crawler slithers forth.

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The Ardent Purveyor

The party heads to Lowtown to figure out exactly where the Ardent Purveyor sank in Deepwater Harbor. First they check in on the “Spotted Man” who was spotted drinking at a tavern. While the Avenger shows compassion in alleviating the man’s spellscar symptoms, the Duergar makes sure his massive hammer doesn’t get left out of the conversation. He tells you he is a former treasure hunter, that he had located the Ardent Purveyor, and was about to launch an expedition to find it when he was stricken with the spellplague. He draws you a map that appears good enough to locate the wreck.

To ensure their dive is a success the party also contacts Leander, a middle aged drow scholar whose specialty is the commercial aspects of Dem-Dem’Aras. He willingly provides corroborating information about the location of the sunken ship in exchange for a future favor (regarding an ongoing investigation about the sudden rise of the Stone Bears). Reasonably assured of the Ardent Purveyor’s location, the party head to a dockside temple to Umberlee to meet with her Waveservant.

For a significant donation to the Church of the Bitch Queen the party procures not only a water breathing ritual, but six riding shark mounts to ensure the dive is a success. The Travellers Guild grudgingly pays these expenses.

Heading out to Deepwater Harbor, the party searches the bottom of a rocky trench covered in seaweed. Seeing the mostly buried hull of the ship the party descends into the trench to find a dozen sea wraiths swarming the trench. With the added mobility of the sharks, the party is able to dispatch the wraiths and searches the decaying shipwreck. Acquiring two large watertight chests and the Captains Journal among the bodies of the deceased sailors, Zzareex removes the Ardent Purveyors nameplate from the hull as additional evidence.

Heading back to the city, the chests are opened and the Journal studied. The chests prove to be watertight and the Ojar’t Collection was indeed the most precious cargo on the ship. The waterproofing enchantment placed on the Journal of Captain Morn had partially failed, and most of the pages are severely damaged. The legible portions of the journal detail the captain’s discovering of the plot to steal the Ojar’t Collection and smuggle it out of the city. He had sailed to recover it for the benefit of the city. It is also evident from the journal that Captain Morn had a son studiying the arcane arts, but he was too young to sail with his father.

By checking in with contacts at the Scholar the Wizard is able to determine that the Necromancer who enchanted the talking skulls was probably Azu Morn, son of Darden Morn. Azu had studied at the Scholar, but left the institution 14 years ago. No other more recent records of Azu’s activities exist, nor has he been recorded as deceased.

Daundratha Hornhand is dismayed by the news presented to her. Guildmaster Sabbar speaks up: “Traitors in our guilds, this is dark news.” The Lady Hornhand says “The Master Mariner and I must take a closer look at our respective guilds and weed out those who chose not to discharge their duties faithfully and profitably. We do ask a boon of you: would you keep what you have learned to yourself. We swear we will not rest until the corrupt in our guilds have been discharged.” Guildmaster Sabbar continues “Yes, we will look into these charges and act swiftly. Also if you did find anything that belongs to the city, you should return it to the Whitecaps.”

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The Mystery of Deepwater Harbor

The mad scene at the party is quickly controlled by the stalwart adventurers in attendance. Over a score of guests lie dead at the hands of the invading ghouls, but it is obvious the survivors owe a great deal of gratitude for having their lives spared.

Daundratha separates herself from the confusion and tangled mess of bodies, and along with one other, pulls you aside. She introduces Sabbar, Guildmaster of the Watermen’s Union. He is a short, heavyset drow with close cropped hair. He looks more than a little drunk, and his balled fists and angry eyes thinly veil his rage.

Guildmaster Hornhand continues: “In addition to the attack you witnessed, I’ve learned that both of our guild halls and several of our private residences were attacked by assailants this evening. People were killed, and the buildings themselves were severely damaged. The Travellers Guild would like you to investigate these attacks and determine who might be behind them. If you find them, capture the perpetrators and turn them in to the Whitecaps with whatever evidence you have. If you can’t find them, bring me back whatever information you can. It is very important that I learn as much as I can about who is behind this and what grudge they bear against us.”

Guildmaster Sabbar also says:”Just prior to the attack, when I went to retrieve the awards they were to give tonight, I found that three of the awards were swapped for tiny statuettes of skeletons stretched out on a torturer’s rack. There was also found a skull shaped brooch.” He unrolls a dark red cloth revealing medals, pins and the four grisly clues.

The statuettes contain powerful magic. Anyone holding a statuette gets a feeling of pain and agony. Each statuette contains a soul that is bound to the statuette so it cannot reach the afterlife. The binding inflicts pain onto the bound soul. Any attempt to disenchant the statuette or otherwise free the soul via a ritual runs a significant risk of damaging or destroying the bound soul.

The skull brooch is normal, with a variation of the magic mouth ritual cast on it. When the skull is picked up, it says in a mocking tone: “Good evening. I hope no one is enjoying themselves. I imagine you’re wondering about your three honorees. I have them. If you want to help them, you’ll need to convince them to confess. They’ve all been very naughty boys. Of course if they don’t confess, they’ll suffer for their crimes for a long, long time. You can find most of them on the ship, the Fugue, in Mistshore. Don’t forget to bring along the gifts I have left for you.”

Mistshore is located at the east end of Mistborne Lake. It has been a dumping ground for damaged ships, junk, and refugees. Winding rickety wooden pathways connect the wrecks. Some sections are more stable than others and conditions can change quickly. Poor, desperate people looking for cheap lodging built this ramshackle slum in, on, and around the wrecked ships. Mistshore is by far the mostly openly violent and lawless area in Dem-Dem’Aras.

The Fugue was beached in Mistshore 12 years ago. The mercantile company that owned it went broke, and no one wanted the ship because it was not seaworthy. A family of mushroom farmers used to live in the ship until about a month ago. Rumor has it they came upon some money suddenly and moved to Lowtown. Other groups tried to move in but were scared away by ghosts, and rumors started up that a sea wraith was haunting the ship.

The party also gathers detailed information about the three missing members and scouts out the area of Mistshore before heading there in force.

The buzzing sound of flies feasting on bloated fish carcasses serenades you as you make your way though the mix of wrecked ships and shacks that make up Mistshore. As you begin to get used to stench of decay, you arrive at the Fugue.

In the belly of the ship you see three victims, each killed by their own personal deathtrap. One trap flayed a man to death; something tore the second person limb from limb. The final victim apparently was gutted and then hung with his own entrails.

Scrawled on the wall, in blood, are these words: “For those demanding an understanding of this night’s unwholesome delights, follow the trail of betrayal starting with these turncoats. All I ask is that you complete this task to undo the theft which left me bereft of kin.”

The three tiny torturer’s racks you carry change in the presence of this gruesome sight. The mouths of the skeletons open up, and a fine mist begins to issue forth from the skeleton on the rack. The mist eventually resolves itself into three separate ghosts, each one resembling one of the victims. The ghosts attempt to move about the room but find themselves restrained by an insubstantial chain that links them to the tiny torturer’s racks you hold. The ghosts then turn to you.

Perceiving the tiny torturer’s racks not only bind the trap haunts souls but are also preventing them from speaking on their own, Maelekos steps boldly into the spirit that had its flesh stripped from its body. Her eyes roll up and she says in a disembodied voice “Speak”

In life, Daimion Nayal was an expert negotiator, but he was always willing to listen to a coherent argument. His belief that these events are noteworth enough to be recorded into history convinces him to reluctantly confess his sins. "Business can be messy, especially in a competitive environment like Dem-Dem’Aras. My humble beginnings were particularly messy. It was simple, really. I helped ruin a small, independent trading company, and in exchange I got the trading contracts of that company. The company traded exclusively with Silvergrove, and those contracts were quite lucrative. So I talked to some friends in the guild, and the next time the Red Diamonds Trading Company came into port, they were caught smuggling illegal goods. At least the city inspectors said they were. A quick trial and off to jail for the leaders of the Red Diamonds Trading Company. They died in jail soon after. Food poisoning, I heard. I was able to buy the company cheap. All I had to do for this deal was have one of my ships transport a couple of chests to Silvergrove off the books; no questions asked. It helps to have an Iron Eye on your side.” The spirit releases its grip on the Avenger and the tiny skeleton on the torturer’s rack closes its mouth.

Rezworn Hammersmith notices that the rest of the party is looking at him expectantly, and sullenly steps forward to be possessed by the second spirit. Daylor Korring never worked well with others and never liked talking, but was forced to confess by the party.

“I once implemented a hostile takeover in my early days. Worked out nice for me. So there, I confessed… Fine. You want me to say it, I’ll say it! I set up Scrimshaw and took over his trading company. All I had to do was vouch for a new guy to the guild as a master navigator with a magic item that drove off the sea wraiths that have been a problem in Deepwater Harbor. Well, guess that magic item summoned sea wraiths rather than repelled them for old Scrimshaw. Found himself smack dab in the middle of a sea wraith swarm. You could hear the screams all the way in Dock Ward. The widow signed over the company to me for next to nothing. That new guild member remained for six or eight months; I recall he left after another ship sunk in the harbor several months later.”

“Apparently old Scrimshaw wouldn’t do a job for one of the Iron Eyes; some chests needed to go to Silvergrove. I heard that the Ojar’t Collection was stolen; just guessing that’s what might have been in the chests. Curious, now that I remember, the second ship that sunk was said to have been returning from Silvergrove and lots of rumors that its Captain might have recovered the Ojar’t Collection.”

A small argument ensues about who will volunteer to be possessed by the tiefling spirit, the Wizard finally steps forward. With a mixture of threats and hard bargaining, the party convinces the haunt to confess.

“I rose quickly in the Watermen’s guild. It’s possible some people got hurt along the way. An Iron Eye visited me one evening 20 years ago, promising gold if I would do one tiny task for him. See, four Watermen working the night shift on the docks smuggled a couple of chests onto a ship bound for Silvergrove. Not a big deal, really, but the problem was a month or so later they got drunk and told a captain who was asking questions about some stolen valuables in the chests. Word is that captain set sail for Silvergrove the next day to find those chests. Anyway, the Iron Eye wanted me to arrange for those Watermen to go drinking in a certain tavern the next night. How was I to know that during a bar fight, all four would be stabbed to death? Yeah, I think the Iron Eye was covering his tracks, so I kept my mouth shut and started thinking about my faith. A month later, I got paid more gold and gained support for higher guild office for getting some new Watermen onto the guild rolls. ‘Course they weren’t much of Watermen, more like assassins. No harm doing a favor.”

The three spirits fade from view, the trinkets’ magic fades, and the party discusses the clues they have discovered. HEading out to the Travellers Guild Hall to find out more of the ships and voyages in question, An is able to quickly and efficiently peruse the documents to discover the ship that sank is most likely the Ardent Purveyor, helmed by Captain Darden Morn (who was a meticulous record keeper on all aspects of his ship and there are probably additional records like a ships log that may still lie in the wreckage). The Ardent Purveyor is listed as having sunk in Deepwater Harbor during a severse storm. All hands were lost. The records suggest the ship sank near Umberlee’s Cache, so no attempt was made to dive on the wreck and retrieve cargo.

By asking around, you also found that the Waveservant of Umberlee would be willing (and able) to cast the Water Breathing ritual.

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The Travellers Restless Tomb

Bruised and diseased (and leaking various fluids) the party stops to regain their breath and to inspect the room. Noting the bodies originally interred in this room were the cold zombies, the party starts to believe that some of the undead must have been brought to the tomb. Small clues point to more vengeance against the guild, and possibly against Lolth.

The short hallway behind the un-secret door opens into a larger, but still unfinished chamber supported by four columns. The stonework is very rough, and is probably intended for future use. The furthest wall appears peculiar to the very perceptive rogue and avenger. The wall dissolves entirely when Shelldrax fires off a crossbow bolt.

The other side of the illusionary wall reveals further unused space. However, this room has a grotesque scene. A large stone has been used as a makeshift altar for some dark deity, as the corpse of a pig lies sprawled across it. The corpse has been skinned, and fresh blood is evident. A few feet from the stone lies a male halfling, neatly decapitated, with a note pinned to his chest. The pig’s head has replaced the halfling’s, neatly sewn together at the spine. The halfling’s own head lies haphazardly discarded in the corner.

Menacing the party are three simple skeletons, two scimitar weilding skeletons, one large undead with three skulls orbiting its empty shoulders and two fireball-throwing flaming skulls. The party charges into the room to engage the undead. The back line is threatened by the fireballs exploding in the room, but the party manages to keep the more dangerous enemies in check before destroying the undead entirely.

The grotesquely misplaced pig’s head suddenly begins to speak, a haughty, amused voice magically projecting from its mouth. “Hello, I’m Vogu Sarwin. It is a shame I had to die, but I couldn’t be allowed to ruin this surprise, could I? I had to open the door with my key; otherwise my suffering was completely unnecessary, as was my trip from Silvergrove. Kind of like
my killer’s suffering: avoidable. The voice chuckles, and continues, becoming quieter. “What I had was little, and it was taken away. What you had was much, and you and others took from
me. I hope your ceremony is ruined, and that the sycophants in attendance have had their appetites ruined as well. As for me, my work is not yet done.”

More clues lead the party to believe the undead are the work of a single source bent on vengeance. Now armed with information, the party returns to Daundratha Hornhand to make their report and to receive their reward (including finery!)

As Guildmaster Hornhand hears your report, her brow is furrowed with concentration. At its conclusion, she nods and says, “It looks like you have made some good headway on the source of this event. Apparently, this is not the last we will hear of this necromancer. I would like to commission you to get to the bottom of this, on behalf of my guild. As it is, the funeral can continue without incident. Thank you for all your help. Here is the rest of your fee, and you are welcome to attend the funeral if you would like.”

With nothing better to do, the party heads over to the guild tomb for the funeral, which goes off without incident.

As you enter the gaily decorated tavern, The Dancing Mermaid, the scent of jasmine caresses your nose. Shimmering sea green everburning torches accent the coral reefs that make up the tavern walls. You can hear faint music being played by magically animated musical instruments. What’s most unusual is that several partygoers appear to be lazily swimming through the air over a large buffet table that is being set up. Clearly someone has gone to great expense to make the Dancing Mermaid look and feel like an underwater paradise. The elevation of Guildmaster and the promotion of several members ensure this will be a party to talk about for a long time.

As you mingle with the crowd, you hear a strange snuffling sound coming from the roasted boar on the buffet table. The boar suddenly lurches to its feet, giving of a strange, strangled cry of defiance. While this is going on, a ghostly form rises up from the centerpiece, a disturbing melody of death and destruction on its unliving lips. Finally, a horde of ghouls bursts out of the coral reef decorations that line the walls. The creatures survey the room briefly, and launch themselves into the crowd with claws and tusks.

A disembodied voice says: “Roll for initiative”

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Back to Civilization
And off to the City of the Dead (Blackpillars)

The party concludes negotiations with Daundratha Hornhand and after buying some holy water heads out to the City of the Dead. The area outside appears orderly, but the workers footprints are not the only ones in the area. The key to the vault snaps open the planar portal to the Demonweb Pits and silently whisks the party to the tomb.

The tomb is ornate and unquestionably the property of the travellers guild. Frescoes depicting caves, rivers, and the cavernous underdark line the walls and two rows of pillars are fashioned to resemble stalactites and stalagmites. Up ahead the passage splits into two sections. In front of the fork is a small stone shrine to Waukeen, the Merchant’s Friend.

As you travel down the right fork the air seems noticeably chill. This path leads to a long room with an alcove to the left providing additional space. The cold is more intense here but of more immediate concern are several rotting corpses standing alert and apparently ready to shamble toward you.

Four medium zombies infused with unnatural cold and one larger zombie hulk try to push their way into the group of adventurers, but are rebuffed in their advances. The aura of freezing cold surrounding the monsters provides the only obstacle as the zombies are cut down.

Reviewing the room it seems at least one casket has been obviously desecrated. Clearly visible, scrawled in Common across a casket in bright red dye is, “HA! Now we BOTH know that SHEV still lives!” The casket itself is unopened, and a placard reads simply “Shevya Rochu, a friend to all, 1368 – 1413”. No other caskets have been similarly altered, but one drawing of a mink in the forest scene nearby has been altered with the same ink to give it a goofy, exaggerated grin.

The ink is identified as being from Shithole Island. It is a mixture of a plant resin and rat blood. More likely “Shev” would refer to Shevarash, the unaligned Exarch of vengence. None of the caskets have been opened or marked (except the unfortunate Rochu).

Without the benefit of any rest whatsoever, the party heads towards an easily identifiable doorway that opens into a corridor that widens into a foyer area with a large ornate offering urn. The room past this has a large crack in the floor,and near that crack a vase that probably once held cremated remains lies smashed. Enormous stone coffins with ornate carvings dominate the room. The coffins’ lids sit ajar. A painting of a deathjump, perhaps 15 feet in length, is
prominent on the ceiling, and a gouge is cut haphazardly out of the stone, ruining the painting. The cut removed the rock in a single shard, which was discarded to the corner. From the corners of the trapezoidal room creatures, oddly dressed in ornate woolen wrappings, are marching purposefully your way while the sound of ominous and frightening voices rise softly around you.

These abominable undead prove very difficult to destroy and although victorious, the party is left very low on health and infected with a disease from the mummies.

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The Second Day
Bloodeye

Dusting themselves off from the encounter with the Black Blood warband, the party (and the surviving miners) decapitate the corpses before piling the bodies and burning them. The heads are bagged, tagged, and ready for the pikes.

Heading back to Langmuir the PC’s are able to recruit 2 additional miners, loot the towns alchemical supplies, and quickly head out to the beacon. The heavy fog and (natural) smoke hang heavy over the area, obstructing views of the area and making anyone more than 25 feet away nothing more than a white blur.

Shelldrax sneaks ahead of the party to see if he can get an advantage over Bloodeye, and whoever may be standing with him. Spotting one of the missing town militiamen wandering around randomly, the thief manages to slide in right behind the unsuspecting man. Fate is not with the Drow as his attack does nothing more than alert the guard to his presence. Shouting in alarm, the battle is joined.

The Avenger strides into battle to stand next to his fellow, but soon finds an oversized wolf charging out of the mist to slam into his side before morphing into a bipedal monstrosity. Bitten by the shapechanger, Maelekos knows he now shares the beasts disease. Picking his way over the uneven ground, the Duergar engages Bloodeye while the Bard stands boldly by his side. Three miners charge the beast but are brutally killed.

Two more guards emerge from the mist and are quickly dispached by the striker team and although Bloodeye is a whirling mass of claws and teeth, he is too hard pressed to turn his attention away from Rezworn Hammersmith. The PC’s gather around the lycanthrope and deliver a heavy beating enough to fell the creature. The fighter and avenger shake off their trepidation at becoming diseased like the militia: “No time for that now.”

Gathering their breath (and another head) the team investigates the Beacon and the surrounding area, even gaining a glimpse into the recent past of one unfortunate militaman.
The top floor of the building is what used to house the arcane equipment that guided the ships. It appears a large explosion ripped some of the apparatus and more of the wall out. The apparatus looks like it could be salvaged with enough time and effort, although it looks like the power source for the beacon is missing. The rest of the room has been trashed in a more common sense; overturned bookcases, shredded furniture, and piles of refuse and garbage fill the corners of the room.

Picking up what useful items they can, the team heads back to the relative safety of the port town. It is chaos as you arrive back in the walled city. You note small teams of miners hurrying about, pulling equipment and tone. Injured militiamen lie in a makeshift hospital on the street outside the Inn.

Daffyd and Keeron exit the Inn carrying a load of bandages and waving you over start tending the wounds of the guards. Daffyd tells you “The monsters attacked at dawn. They blew holes in the wall with some fiendish magic or war – tool. We stood against them. Many of my comrades, more of the miners, and my good uncle Kalander all fell to the dirty scum. Come inside and tell me what happened to the Beacon."

Many of the councilors are inside. After you finish telling the story of what you found. The meeting is ending and you are approached by a few council members who offer to buy you food, drink, and lodging for as long as you are on the island. The Head Councilor Keeron Innis raises his voice to say “Friends, recent events have brought much tragedy to our village, but these heroes have led us back from the brink of total disaster. We owe them a great debt, and Im sure we are all grateful.” With grim nods, the Council, guards, and miners raise their mugs in a dour toast in your honor before everyone returns to pondering what has befallen them. The Council turns to the discussion of rebuilding and improving defenses both for the village and for the beacon.

Daffyd approaches you and says “Grim business lies ahead for everyone here. The Council will busy themselves in rebuilding and arguing over profits. I head to Dem-Dem’Aras aboard the Shockwave bringing Kalander’s body back to his guild and to his family. I have spoken to the new Guildmaster, and I have ensured you will receive the full reward you are due. Once we arrive back in the city, head over to the Travellers Guildhall to finalize your mission and receive your pay." With nobody left to kill, the party divides treasure, cures their diseases and boards the Shockwave. They quickly and safely arrive back in Dem-Dem’Aras.

When the Shockwave settles into its berth at the Black Pier, Daffyd says “Head straight over to the Guildhall. As for me, I head to the Orcskull Mining Consortium to recruit more miners, guards, and workers for Moray. But I plan more than that… seek me out before I return to the Langmuir, I will not let my Uncle’s death go unavenged. The Black Bloods will pay dearly for their attempted war.”

The placard outside identifies an ornate stone two-story building as the Guildhall. Inside, a clerk scowls at your presence but checks an appointment book and, still sitting behind his desk, directs you upstairs. In a small office there waits Guildmaster Daundratha Hornhand. She is a middle aged drow, somewhat short, her short white hair is studded with small twinkling jewels. Her attire is impeccable and stylish and the heavy rings on her fingers obviously are not slowing down the flood of paperwork piled on the desk. She sets her pen down and turns her attention to you. “Ah the adventurers who briefly saved Kalander. So, I have not heard the whole story from .. shall we say an impartial source? Can you tell me what happened to my husband?"

The rogues not-too outlandish story of the events on the island seem to satisfy the new Guildmaster.

Daundratha continues: “The former Guildmaster Kalander Hornhand’s funeral is scheduled for tomorrow at dawn. The guild maintains a tomb in the City of the Dead, in which he will be interred. The tomb has not been opened in several years, and when our staff went to prepare the tomb this morning, they were chased from the tomb by undead. These undead were not previously in our tomb as guardians or sentinels, and as such should be considered dangerous. They may even not be the bodies of our guildsmen. We need you to clear the tomb of any dangers by mid-afternoon today so that reparations can resume and the tomb can be cleaned. If you can, find out why our tomb has been so violated.”

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The First Day
Off to the Island of Moray

Poster

The party arrives at the Hostel of the Sacred Stone, a popular establishment and one of the few places to escape from the lighless, cheerless Underdark.
Hearty food and invigorating drink fuel the lively and freindly atmosphere. Boisterous tales of past adventure can be heard at every table, and it seems as though each patron competes to tell the most daring account of their greatest quest.

A young drow, barely more than a boy, sings tales of glory and lost love, accompanying his voice with an exquisite lyre. He draws a mixed reaction from the crowd, and a hurled mug from the surly duergar.

You notice a large drow and his entourage moving slowly and confidently among the crowds of the inn. He is broad-shouldered and has long hair with a small blue gem circling his head. At his side is a sheathed silvered sword with a magnificently crafterd hilt. On his back he wears a rugged bearskin cload that is intricately decorated with silver threads. The locals treat him with thte same deference and respect they would offer to a king.

THis man approaches you and introduces himself as Kalander Hornhand HE offeres to buy you all a round of drinks if you are willing to listen to his simple offer.

“I and my men will launch from the docks tomorrow at four on the clock. I captain the lightning, which brings supplies to the fortified port of Langmuir or the island of Moray. We will travel quickly over Mistborne Lake and will return carrying a boatload of ore taken from the mines on the island. I need you as marines for this upcoming trip.”

I will offer you each 150 gold, to be paid upon our return. You will be expected to keep the cargo secure en route and in port and to protect the crew and cargo should the need arise. Unless you have any questions, can I count on you?"

Well the party did have a lot of questions: The supplies were mainly food, medicine, and alchemical supplies to a “mostly” barren island. What the island does apparently have is a werecreature and undead problem. Historically, 2 of 3 forts on the islands are currently ruins. The ship, the crew, the ships mage, and the area all check out and the PC’s anxiously accept the offer. “Very well then! We leave in the morning, find the Lightning at the Black Peir in the Docks District. With any luck, you will be back in these chairs in one week, adventuring permit in hand.”

The party and the crew board the Lightning and ship off to Mistborne Lake. The longboat silently navigates he treacherous lake and makes good time toward Langmuir. It is early morning as you near the southern shore of Moray. THe fog has grown unnervingly thick. Although no one can see land, the crew trusts the captain’s bearings.

A commotion arises between the captain and the ships mage. The mage is animated but speaking very softly but you can overhear Captain Hornhand saying: "What do you mean the beacon is gone? That can’t just happen! Are you telling me we have no eyes? Ugh! So what are you doing? Well… go and do it!

Suddenly the ship lurches to a halt and the unmistakable din of shattering timbers can mean onlly one thing: the Lighning has run afoul of the treacherous rocks off the coast of Moray. With a loud CRACK? The Lightning breaks into a thousand pieces, dropping you, the crew and all the cargo into the fog-covered water below. The sailors try to swim or hang onto pieces of debris.

The wizard and rogue have difficulty reaching shore, but the crew seems to be in worse condition. Most of the sailors made it to shore, but many are hurt. The Ships wizard is nowhere to be seen. Kalander comes to you. "Try and salvage the most caluable cargo – the alchemical equpment. We’ll burn the rest; I wont leave it for scavengers to steal. But make sure you save everything you can.

The mist is thinner right here at the shore, but the crew doesnt look like they care much. The cargo is drifting to the shore, mixed with the shattered wreck of the lightning. The first mate approaches Kalander, and after a quick discussion Kalander saya: “IF you can recover anyones body from the water, do so as well. Beter to burn on the shore than to rise again the mist. I will gather my men. WE must not stay here too long.” HE looks at the dark caves near the shore nervously.

Lucky for Kalander the team launches into action around the Duergar and wizard. After doing the robot dance, An searches for survivors and pulls some valuable cargo out of the surf. The rogue moves among the crates on the shore and the avenger helps identify who needs healing and who is beyond help. Latching the gear to a sled the team takes off into the swamp.

Navigation through the swamp proves easy for the heros as they make their way toward the walls of Langmuir. Hiding their tracks, helping out the crew, the team finds a path through the swamp (with only a small stopoff to point out a mob of rampaging undead.

Finding a weather-beaten road is the last clue the team needs and Kalander roars “YES! Well done boys and girls, now lets get behind those walls! Double Quick!”
The crew takes heart in being on the right path and the mist is even letting up a little.
After about an hour at the brisk pace, the high walls of Langmuir fade into view as you top the last rise before the coast. Set on a small hill, the lights in the windows are a much welcomed sight. The gates are drawn and two guards stand ready in heavy armor.

As you near the gate one guard steps forward noisily and declares “By order of the council, who goes there? Declare yourselves!”
Kalander pushes his way forward muttering “I will deal with this.” The guards noticeably relax as Kalander seems to be well known to them.
The guard produces a small steel dagger from his belt and offers it to Kalander, “Even for you, all who wish to enter must cut themselves and show the blood. Daily we fight the Black Bloods outside our walls, and woe is the day when we fight them inside as well.”
Kalander nods solemnly and runs the knife over his open palm. Wincing only a little, he shows the red blood welling in his palm. “C’mon lads, no fear and no trouble will come to you.” He hands the dagger off to his crew for them to do the same. With only a little noise, the party is admitted.

Once inside Kalander points to the Once Dry Inn and says “that’s where we can rest and recover, and that is going to take a lot of beef and a lot of beer! It is all covered, rooms too.”
The crew sends up a cheer, and patting you on the back, they pour inside.

The inside of the Once Dry Inn is warm and inviting. Few windows line the outside, and the smoky fire in the hearth sheds more light and heat than you have seen for days. Nearly every table and chair has been piled in the corner to make way for a press of bodies. Over a dozen men and a few women loudly argue over a map splayed across the one central table.

One of the men, clad in a short red cape wearing a heavy pummeled sword, approaches and embraced Kalander with a shout of “Uncle! How great it is you made it! We feared you would be lost once we lost the light of the beacon.” Kalander eyes his nephew warily and smiles, “If not for our marines, we would be nothing more than another missing crew. We wrecked on the rocks well outside the city and dragged our sorry butts through the swamp to get here. It has been days with cold food, no drink, and little sleep. Get me one of those tables and a chair for these old bones, and get me something from the kitchen! We can deal with your beacon after.”

Kalander turns to you and introduces the man as “Daffyd Lyrr, member of the Travellers Guild and my own nephew. Daffyd here was to return with us on the Lightning, before … things changed. So tell me, what happened to the Beacon, where is Carrik, and what the hell is going on here?”

Daffyd takes a deep breath before beginning his tale: “The Black Blood tribe of werecreatures has been terrorizing the area for the last few months. Recently a particularly vicious werewolf named Bloodeye has been attacking caravans and ore shipments with increasing boldness and success. Three days ago, Bloodeye took over the Beacon before extinguishing the signal it sends. The council sent a group of militiamen headed by Carrik to the beacon. They failed to return and are feared dead.
Without the beacon, Langmuir will not receive shipments of food and water, the mines will go unworked, and the town will cease to exist. The council is in charge here (you notice him roll his eyes and nod towards the commotion behind him), but they are split about what to do. Half want to send the remaining militia to take out Bloodeye and recapture the beacon. The rest want to stay and defend the town. Both sides make good arguments but both know time is running short. Keeron says…”

Bursting through the door of the Inn, the guardsman from the front gate looks frantically around, and spotting Daffyd, runs over to him and speaks quickly. “Scouts have spotted a large band of Black Bloods on the hilltop west of the village. From that hill, they could set up war machines that could attack the town.”

This news sends the council into further uproar until Daffyd pounds the pommel of his sword on the table for quiet.
The councilmen argue: “Bloodeye is using the beacon to lure the defenses of the town away so he can attack without opposition”
“The beast is trying to weaken all of Moray by destroying the beacon, and so he has us pinned in our town while he achieves his true goal”
“The Black Bloods wont just destroy the beacon, they could fortify their position and use it as a base to attack Langmuir and the local mines”

Daffyd, Kalander, and some of the councilmen try to discuss some plan, moving among the inn trying to gain consensus.

Finally, Keeron, the most senior councilman stands, and raises his hands for quiet. “We all agree that the militia must stay within Langmuir. But at the same time, we all agree that we cannot stay idle while this half-beast fortifies and readies his forces for an attack on our city and region. Kalander, you said your men were at our disposal? Adventurers, Langmuir is in dire need of assistance. Your captain has offered your services to us. Where would you strike first, at this war band or at the beacon itself? The decision is yours.”

The party decides the closest threat is the most important one, and prepares to attack the warband before they can launch an assault on the walls of the city. The militia are confined to the city, but the party convinces three miners to accompany the Duergar during the attack.

The roar of the Fighter springs the ambush and the Avenger, Bard, Rogue and Wizard launch a devastating assault on the creatures massed on the hilltop; followed shortly by the Duergar and miners. One enemy dissolves into a pile of filty vermin and manages to bite and infect the Warforged Bard. The other enemies offer little resistance and are slaughtered with little effort.

Victorious, the party turns its attention to the diseased An, and to the other threats brought by the Black Blood Tribe.

shoulda taken a picture. darn. and that is way too much info for one update. dont expect that!

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