A Kind of Homecoming

Return to Fallcrest

After leaving Avalia, Karnak, Sharat and Jai met up with the rest of the party who were waiting in the wilderness with Cathra Hallstatt, the daughter of the Avalian lord. Theros volunteered to escort Cathra to wherever it is that she wanted to go to get away from her father and then catch up with the group in Fallcrest.

Ten or so days pass fairly uneventfully, until the group is a day or so outside of Fallcrest… when they see that the road up ahead is blocked by a broken down cart. Suspecting a trap, they dismount and, sure enough, are confronted by a Halfing and his Hound.

Rassimohn chats up the Halfling, trying to figure out if they’re about to be ambushed. Turns out the Halfling, name of Thannigan, is looking for adventurers just like them to deter them from coming to Fallcrest. Over the course of their conversation, then Thannigan reveals that the Porter’s Guild and the Swiftwater Clan are feuding and the Porters have sent word for mercenaries to come to Fallcrest and help them. Thannigan is watching the road to prevent that from happening.

Rassimohn eventually persuades the Halfling that he and his compatriots are merely returning home, and Thannigan eventually realizes that this is the very group of adventurers who killed the vampire in the Tombwood—pretty much making them good-guys in his book.

SKILL CHALLENGE
Diplomacy primary 2 Successes
Intimidate primary 1 Success
Bluff primary 1 Failure
History primary 2 Successes
Streetwise primary 1 Success
Insight secondary 1 Success
Perception secondary 1 Failure
Total XP 400xp

PC’s present: Elestrynna, Karnak, Rassimohn, Sharat (100xp each)

Over a late breakfast, the group hears word of what’s been happening in Fallcrest since they left… – the Swiftwater Clan of Halfings do brisk trade up and down the Nentir River – the Porter’s Guild runs the warehouses above and below the falls in Fallcrest, portaging goods to and from the quays on either side of the falls. – the Porters and the Swiftwater Clan have long had disagreements on their mutual territory of commerce, and the Porters would often make grand claims of certain Merchants being ‘off limits’ to the Swiftwater Clan – a week or so ago, a caravan of the Swiftwater Clan was brutally assaulted and blame fell on the Porters—although this extreme act was well beyond anything that had been done before – so the Swiftwater Clan and its many extended family have converged on Fallcrest to protect their interests. things are very tense in the city.

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Do we not revenge?

One final place in the caves remained unexplored. At the end of a long tunnel, the lights of torches flickered and hard voices echoed. The companions steeled themselves one last time and set off down the tunnel. Theros led, his bow held at the ready, creeping down the cave tunnel to see what might lie in wait for them. The cave the light came from was lined with crude orcish art and dimly lit by torches held by iron sconces hammered into the rock walls. Voices came from the far end, but Theros dared not go further for fear of being seen. As he turned to go, his foot slipped and splashed into a small pool of water on the floor. The voices went quiet. With a quick sign, the others crept forward but as they neared the cave, a rough, cruel voice shouted out:

Come in, murderers and betrayers! Come into my chambers so the killing can start!

With quick glances, the companions cautiously entered the large cavern. About 80 feet away, at the far side of the cavern sat a huge orc that was flanked by a hulking shaman on one side and a lithe, dark shadar-kai witch on the other. At the foot of the dias these three were on were two other orc warriors holding huge axes. In the shadows near the three, chained to a wall, was a girl, barely a woman, with dirty blonde hair and haunted, sunken blue eyes. As she looked up it was easy to see that this was Cathra Halstadt, daughter of the lord of Avalia. The large orc surged to his feet, grabbing a double-bitted, rune etched axe by his seat and pointed furiously at the companions.

Betrayers! Murderers! Come into my home and slay my people for your own trechery, will you? Revenge is for me and mine, and not your kind!

With looks of confusion and a little fear, the companions defended themselves agains the orcish onslaught!

Valrak: Orc Chieftain 600xp
1 Eye of Gruumsh 200xp
2 Orc Raiders 150xp each
1 Shadar-Kai Witch 300xp
Total XP 1400xp

PC’s present: Elestrynna, Karnak, Rassimohn, Theros (350xp each)

Loot
  • Battlecrazed battleaxe +1
  • 3500sp
  • 2×100gp gems
  • Letter from Lord Hallstatt

The orcs and the shadar-kai witch were defeated. The orcs that had been plaguing the town of Avalia were, it seemed, defeated. But before he fell, the orc chieftain, Valrak, had made some disturbing comments that confirmed many of the suspicions. The companions set Cathra free from her bonds and, after binding her wounds, heard the same comments from her. Her father, Lord Hallstatt had decided to renig on a long-standing agreement between the orcs and the lords of Avalia: in exchange for leaving the town and the mine alone, a monthly tribute of silver was sent. But Lord Hallstatt decided to change the bargain and rather than send silver, he would send the orcs people – beggars, farmers, those who would not be missed. After failing to stop her father, Cathra would have nothing to do with it and fled the town but was captured by Valrak, who was angered by an alteration of the bargain that he did not support.

After searching Valrak’s chambers, a letter from Lord Hallstatt was discovered that supported Cathra and Valrak’s story. After collecting the treasure and binding their own wounds, the companions painfully made their way back out of the orc caverns and into daylight once again. A decision lay before them: what to do about Lord Hallstatt?

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Entrails r us

Turning from the captives, the companions returned to the work of clearing out the orc caves. They pushed deeper into the cave system, eventually coming upon a large cave with orc voices coming from it. Grimly tightening their grip on their weapons, they burst into the room! Before them was a grisly sight: an orc shaman stood over a crude stone table, his arms glistening with dark blood in the torchlight. On the table was a man, his entrails streaming from the shaman’s fingers as he worked his evil divinations upon them. A huge ogre, tusks chased in copper and iron gleaming, and a cluster of other orcs stood nearby. They turned as the adventurers came into the room and with angry howls, they charged!

1 Ogre Savage 350xp
1 Eye of Gruumsh 200xp
2 Orc Raiders 150xp each
1 Orc Berzerker 175xp
Total XP 1025xp

PC’s present: Elestrynna, Karnak, Sharat, Rassimohn, Theros (205xp each)

Loot
  • Amulet of Resolution +2 (lvl 7)
  • 225gp
  • 250sp (Avalian silver coins)
  • Potion of Healing
  • Pendant/badge of an Avalian guardsman

With the bodies of the dead goblinoids laying at their feet, Elestrynna’s face turned cold and hard as marble and a look of righteous rage took hold of her features. With a flick of her wrist and a twitch of her chin, the flaming sphere her sorceries had summoned, bore down on the orc corpses, incinerating them. The others looked on as they rummaged around the room, looking for any clues that might shed light on the strange situation between the orcs and the lord of Avalia. As the moon elf carried out the vengeance of Corellon on the followers of Gruumsh, the others bound their wounds and prepared to set out once more.

Retracing their steps through the dark cave system, the companions returned to the crude steps that had been discovered the previous day near the orc champion’s chambers. Quietly and quickly the descended deeper into the darkness and found a long hall, at one end was a rough but strong double door set into the stone while at the other, firelight flickered from a cave and the sounds of harsh orcish voices emerged. Further explorations revealed a hellish kitchen where gits of meat, humanoid limbs, and other unknown substances stewed in huge pots. The companions fell upon the few orcish cooks in the room, slaying them before turning from the room and returning to the large double doors.

Beyond the door were the sounds of orcish voices, male, female, and young. Her face still a mask of rage, Elestrynna led the others through the doors in a rush into a large living cave. Many orcs clustered in groups around small cooking fires and filthy beds, faces peered out from smaller nooks and crannies at the edges, and orcish mothers drew growled fiercely, showing their yellowed tusks as they gathered their children close. With battle cries ringing, Karnak, Sharat, and the others charged into the room to engage the few warriors that had lept to their feet and were picking up axes and swords to defend the others!

3 Orc Raiders 150xp each
2 Orc Berzerkers 175xp each
Total XP 975xp

PC’s present: Elestrynna, Karnak, Sharat, Rassimohn, Theros (195xp each)

Loot
  • 25gp

With the last warrior dispatched, the other orcs shrank back fearfully from Elestrynna’s fury.

“For the innocent lives of my people that were ended by you, servants of Gruumsh, I will become an instrument of vengeance. Blood must be paid by blood and yours will serve.”

She spat the words out from her clenched jaws, while the glow of mystical energies began to dance around her hands and arms…

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Once more unto the breach

After debating their next course of action, the companions made the decision to attempt to return to town rather than press on in their exhausted state. With Sharat in the lead, they retraced their steps to the room where Corinn waited for them and, with her guidance, returned to the prison chamber where the other captives were being held. Inside were an exhausted mix of six men and women, many in terrible condition, awaiting their fate in the next orc stew pot. While Sharat tended the worst of the wounded, Karnak spoke to their de-facto leader, a farmer named Varis Rolen, and convinced them all to follow the companions out of their orc caves. So out they went into the bright morning sun, collecting weapons for those that could wield them from the dead orcs.

Unfortunately, Cathra Halstadt was not among the prisonsers. And, while they had hacked the head from the orc that had been assaulting Corinn, the companions knew that there work was unfinished. The lord’s daughter had not been found nor had the orc chieften been sent to his grave. After descending into the valley and finding a place for a secret and safe camp, the former prisoners and companions rested. It was agreed, then, that Varis Rolen would lead the prisonser back to Avalia while the companions rested before returning to the orc caves once again to finish their work. So off the prisoners went, returning to Avalia by the most secret ways they knew and the adventurers collapsed, exhausted.

After a few hours rest and fresh bandages on their wounds, they steadied themselves to return to the orc caves, vowing not to leave until Cathra was safe and the orc chieftan’s head was on a spike. Additionally, they were reinforced by Theros, had joined them while they rested. He had finally arrived from Fallcrest after leaving a few days after the others and picking up news in Avalia as to their whereabouts.

When they had returned to the cave, it was immediately obvious that this assault would not be as easy as the previous one as two orcs stood watch at the entrance of the cave, alert for intruders. But shouldering their weapons, the companions crept to the edge of the treeline, nodded tightly to one another, and attacked! More guards boiled out of the cave as the first orc’s death cry rang out…

2 Orc Raiders 150xp each
1 Orc Berzerker 175xp
1 Orc Drudge (minion) 44xp
1 Dire Wolf 200xp
1 Grey Wolf 125xp
Total XP 844xp

PC’s present: Elestrynna, Karnak, Sharat, Rassimohn, Theros (169xp each)

Loot
  • None given

Wiping the blood from their weapons, the companions pushed on into the cave, retracing their steps from earlier. Two orcs stood guard outside of the cave that had housed the prisoners and, after setting up a quick ambush, the companions fell upon them!

2 Orc Berzerkers 175xp each
Total XP 350xp

PC’s present: Elestrynna, Karnak, Sharat, Rassimohn, Theros (70xp each)

Loot
  • None given

Unfortunately, there were four more prisoners in the cave and one fell under the knife of one of the orcs as it sought to parlay for its life. Karnak administered Kelemvor’s last rites to the fallen woman while Rassimohn convinced the prisoner to flee back to Avalia as best they could.

There were more work to be done in orcs’ caves before they themselves could return…

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Gnoll Raider's Hideout (side adv)

Chamber of Sand

2 Gnoll Clawfighers 125xp each
1 Gnoll Huntmaster 125xp
Sand Cascade Trap 125xp
Total XP 500xp

PC’s present: Jai, Rassimohn, Theros (165xp each)

Throne Chamber

1 Gnoll Huntmaster 125xp
2 Gnoll Marauders 125xp each
2 Hyenas 25xp each
Total XP 425xp

PC’s present: Jai, Rassimohn, Theros (140xp each)

Well of the Hungry One

1 Gnoll Demonic Scourge 250xp
1 Gnoll Huntmaster 150xp each
1 Gnoll Huntmaster 175xp each
1 Grell 400xp
Total XP 975xp

PC’s present: Jai, Rassimohn, Theros (325xp each)

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Exploring the orc caves

After digging through the refuse in the orcs’ living chamber, the company moved on, pushing deeper into the network of caves where the orcs lived. The next few caves held little of interest but the stink of orc refuse and the scattered junk that indicated orcs were about. Finally, the companions came to a larger cave with a stout door leading out of it. Sneaking up to it, Elestrynna listened carefully and heard from behind it growling noises along the frightened sobs of a woman. Gripping their weapons tighter, the companions forced their way through the door, weapons drawn and saw a huge orc assaulting a human woman that was bound and helpless in the corner.

Solo Orc Bloodrager 1000xp

PC’s present: Elestrynna, Karnak, Sharat, Rassimohn (250xp each)

Loot
  • Scale Armor of Fortification +1
  • 50 gp

After a long and brutal fight, the tired companions untied the woman while Rassimohn calmed her down. When she was calm enough, she told them her name was Corinn, a farm girl from Avalia. She described how almost a dozen other captives were being held in another cave and that the orcs had been taking the captives one by one and none returned.

At this point, the companions (especially Karnak) recognized that they were all becoming exhausted by the numerous skirmishes with the orcs, and they knew that the captives would still need their help to escape. Not wanting to leave any other orcs alive in the caves before leaving, though, they decided to press on into the next chamber. Corinn was left behind, secreted in the orc leader’s chamber where she could remain safe until the companions returned for her. Within the next cave the team alerted a group of hobgoblins when Sharat’s shield clanged against a rock outcropping. The hobgoblins, led by their commander, attacked!

1 Hobgoblin archer 150xp
1 Hobgoblin soldier 150xp
1 Hobgoblin warcaster 150xp
1 Hobgoblin commander 200xp
Total XP 650xp

PC’s present: Elestrynna, Karnak, Sharat, Rassimohn (162xp each)

Loot
  • Casque of Tactics
  • A letter in goblinoid, found on the commander
  • A shiney metallic sphere, also from the commander

Gathering themselves following the fight with the hobgoblins, the companions searched the bodies and discovered the two strange objects: a silvery sphere about the size of an apple in a pouch on the hobgoblin warmaster’s belt along with a letter, written in some goblinoid language. Clearly something of importance was happening here—hobgoblins and orcs together? And what was this sphere? The party bound their wounds, caught their breaths, and then tried to decide what to do next. With blood oozing from a cut high on his forehead, Karnak finally shook his head and wiped at the sweat and blood staining his beard.

“I can’t go much further, lads. I’m nearly spent. The next fight might see a sword go through my head instead of just grazing me.”

Looking at each other, the decision was made. It was time to turn back and make sure that they and the captives got back to Avalia alive.

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Into the orc den

With the orc cave in sight, Sgt. Eravan convinced the others to let him go back to town to inform the militia that the cave had been found. Despite some serious misgivings, and suspecting that far too many of the orcs’ activities were by accident or good fortune, the party agreed and Eravan headed back down the slope to Avalia.

The company then turned their attention to the cave entrance and approached cautiously. Beyond the entrance was a large cave and within lurked three orcs and a huge dire wolf! An unfortunate CLANK! of Karnak’s plate armor was enough to alert the guards and they charged with bloodthirsty battlecries!

2 Orc Raider 150xp each
1 Orc Berserker 175xp
1 Dire Wolf 200xp
Total XP 675xp
Loot
  • 10gp
  • Meliorating Chainmail +1

PC’s Present: Sharat, Rassimohn, Karnak, Elestrynna (175xp each)

With the fight over and the orcs and dire wolf slain, the party explored the guard chamber and tripped a magical automaton trap that sprang from the wall, blades whirling!

1 Spinning blade trap 250xp
Total XP 250xp

PC’s Present: Sharat, Rassimohn, Karnak, Elestrynna (62xp each)

After dismantling the automaton the explorations continued. An empty living chamber was found as was a door, locked from the outside, with muffled, unidentifiable sounds coming from it. Leaving the locked door for later the company found yet another orcish living cave, this one filled with orcs and another hulking dire wolf!

2 Orc Raider 150xp each
2 Orc Berserker 175xp each
1 Dire Wolf 200xp
Total XP 850xp
Loot
  • 25gp
  • 100gp gem

PC’s Present: Sharat, Rassimohn, Karnak, Elestrynna (187xp each)

The Map So Far

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An orc hunt

After speaking with Captain Danum and Lord Halstadt and agreeing to seek out the orcs and the lord’s daughter, the company went in search of Sergeant Eravan at the militia barracks. Once found, Eravan told of how the militia’s patrols that were being planned by Captain Danum were failing to locate and engage the orcs. When pressed about his patrol that had fought the orcs, he described how the patrol had been forced to deviate from their planned route and had stumbled upon a raider band. Most of the orcs were slain, though militiamen lost their lives as well. Eravan was also able to confirm that the spear brooch taken from the band that attacked Regdar’s caravan was the same as the ones carried by the orcs Eravan’s patrol had encountered. They had been named the “Shattered Spear” tribe.

The company was able to convince Eravan to guide them into the wilderness to where the fight had taken place and early the next morning they set out. Bushwhacking through the broken mountain slopes and the sparse pine forest was slow going but eventually they picked up signs of the orcs and the hunt was on!

SKILL CHALLENGE
Primary Skills Endurance, Nature, Religion, Arana, others
Reward 300xp

PC’s Present: Sharat, Elestrynna, Karnak (100xp each)

After tracking the orc trail through the mountain forests for the entire day, the company finally followed it back to cave set into the base of a cliff. Surely the orcs must make their home here!

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Welcome to Avalia

Late in the afternoon the caravan arrived in Avalia. The town, about the size of Fallcrest, had seen better times. A sizable shanty town had sprung up on the edge of town along the road and businesses seemed depressed. The arrival of Regdar’s caravan was a big event, with people crowding around looking for work and supplies. After pushing their way into town, Regdar led the caravan to the inn, Waukeen’s Gate, where the group settled in and began exploring the town. From Blazar, the inkeeper, they learned of a bounty placed on the heads of the orcs that had been plaguing the town by Lord Halstadt of Avalia, and directions to his home in the center of town.

Leaving Regdar with a loose agreement to talk again before leaving town, the company split up. Sharat and Rassimohn seeking buyers for the goods pilfered from the orc raiders while Karnak, as a priest of Kelemvor, went to serve the residents of the shanty town. Sharat’s efforts were as successful as they were in Fallcrest, though he did manage to offload the brik-a-brak. Karnak and Elestrynna did what they could for the people before returning to the inn and resting for the remainder of the evening.

The next day all four companions went in search of Lord Halstadt to learn more of the orc attacks. They were ushered into the lord’s home where they met Captain Danum of the town militia, who told them more of the orc attacks. The orcs were preying on unguarded merchants and homesteads outside of town and rumors were that they were also carrying people off. The militia had been unable to locate the orc’s home nor engage them in a direct fight, despite numerous patrols. Only once had the orcs been directly engaged by a patrol led by Sergeant Eravan. When Lord Halstadt himself finally showed up, he and Danum also told of the lord’s daughter, Cathra, and how she had disappeared some time ago while riding outside of town. A reward was offered for the safe return of Cathra Halstadt and the destruction of the orcs and the party left, agreeing to do so.

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A trip to Avalia

Orcs raidersFor the next nine days, the caravan made its way across the rolling hills of southern Damara. Regdar Quinn’s three wagons were lashed together and pulled by a team of horses while the adventurers rode on their newly purchased horses and wagon. The going was easy and quick once the thick trees of the Dunwood were behind them and the caravan entered more civilized lands. On the third day they crossed the wide Great Imphras River and continued southeast into the foothills of the Earthspur Mountains.

Once the caravan began to climb up into the rocky foothills, the trip became much more difficult. Regdar’s heavily burdened horses strained to pull his three rickety wagons up the rough road and the pace slowed to a crawl. On the second night in the mountains, camp was made in the usual way by circling the wagons and posting a watch. In the darkest hours of the night, the still of the pine forest was shattered when the ever-alert Elestrynna caught site of a band of orcish raiders lurking in the trees. The alarm was raised and the company sprang into action as the orcs rushed to attack!

1 Orc Eye of Gruumsh 200xp
2 Orc Raiders 150xp each)
1 Orc Berserker 175xp
3 Orc Drudge 44xp each
Total XP earned 807xp

PC’s present: Karnak, Elestrynna, Rassimahn, Sharat (202 xp each)

Loot
  • 35gp (in silver)
  • 4 sets of leather armor
  • 1 spear
  • 3 great axes

With the orcish raiders dispatched, the party searched the bodies before burning them on a pyre. On the shaman’s body something appearing to be a clan symbol was found—an amulet in the shape of a shattered red spear. Taking this token along with the rest of the goods, the caravan set off again the next morning to Avalia. They spent one more uneasy night in the rocky hills before finally arriving in Avalia.

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