A Kind of Homecoming

Help Arrives from Helgabal

With the dramatic events of the past weeks finally seemed to come to an end, the party seeks some much needed rest. The town of Fallcrest itself seems to exhale and lapses into a kind of torpor. Sickened townfolk slowly recover their strength after the diseased rain, and the Porters and Swiftwater clan’s ongoing fight comes to a sullen halt, both sides content to lick their wounds and let each other pass peacefully on the street. At least for now. Lord Markelhay is often seen about the town, lending a hand here and offering up alms and comfort to those in need. His reassuring presence around town does much to calm the fears raised by the spirit master, One Eye’s goblin army, and the shocking appearance of the dracolich above the town.

Ten days pass as Fallcrest attempt to right itself. After some days, word comes back from the front that after leaving Fallcrest, the dracolich was spotted above Sevenwinds Pass but never returned. When scouts were sent up to the pass to investigate, a great slaughter was seen. Numerous encampments of goblins, orcs, and hobgoblins were wiped out and hundreds of the goblinoids slaughtered. The survivors appear to have fled back to the north, deeper into the Giantspire Mountains. Miraculously, it would seem, Fallcrest appears to be out of danger from the armies being raised by the illusive Garuk One-Eye.

At last, there was no longer an excuse for not celebrating. On a moment’s notice, Lord Markelhay declared a day of celebration and threw open his personal cellars to the townspeople. Great casks of ale and beer were hauled down to Low Town and High Town was hung with garlands of spring flowers. Musicians wandered the streets and taverns threw open their doors, letting their patrons spill joyfully out into the streets. After the darkness and gloom of the previous weeks and months, Fallcrest at last seemed safe—though few were willing to think much on the nature of their salvation. Spring had arrived in more ways than the simple changing of the season!

At the castle, Lord Markelhay hosted a feast for the most prominent townsfolk: merchants, priests, landholders, and more, including the adventurers who were responsible for the defeat of the spiritmaster. The celebrations at the castle and across Fallcrest went long into the night.

As the party at the castle was beginning to wind down and many partygoers had slipped into a drunken sleep under the tables, a sweaty and winded officer of the town guard slipped into the hall to speak with Lord Markelhay, who was seated at a table in the front of the room. After some hurried words, Markelhay nodded sharply to the officer and dismissed him. Moments later, the large doors at the far end of the hall slammed open. Through the dark doorway strode a burly, armed and armored dragonborn bearing the royal blue and white colors of King Yarin Frostmantle. Behind him came a handful of armored soldiers in tabards of royal blue and white and carrying the banner of King Frostmantle. Finally, striding casually in from the night came a richly dressed man with a gold and silver chain of office hung around his neck, and the royal seal of Damara on his tabard. He walked across the room and stood before Lord Markelhay’s table.

Markelhay was the first to speak, bowing his head in respect. “Welcome to Fallcrest, Viscount Istvan. My town is glad to have you in it.”

The viscount smiled lazily. “It is King Frostmantle’s town, Markelhay. You rule it only by his pleasure. Your king in Helgabal has heard your request for assistance against the goblins that are agitating against our kingdom, and he has sent me and a batallion of his soliders to help defend these holdings. This is Captain Hazan Razorscale of the Royal Guard, who commands these loyal soldiers. We are in need of shelter and provisions. I shall also need a place to stay and set up my command post. See that it happens, and happens quickly, Lord Markelhay.”

Lord Markelhay smiled and nodded. “Of course, Viscount. We are honored by your presence. You may have rooms in the castle and I will instruct my watchmen to provide for your troops.”

“Good”, said Viscount Istvaan. “In the morning we have much to discuss. Some of my men will be taking over the duties of your watchmen about town, which will allow them to join your armies already in the field. I have also heard of some of the, ah, chaos that has plagued your streets as of late. We will be putting an end to that. Your troubles have now ended, Lord Markelhay. Your king has heard of your need and has provided.”

With an oily smile, Viscount Istvaan turned and strode from the hall, leaving Lord Markelhay and the other partygoers in stunned silence.

Help, it seems, has arrived. But what kind of help is this?



  • after killing the Spiritmaster, they find one particularly compelling item on his person—a crown of cold forged steel, set with a single brilliant cut smokey quartz. no-one needs Elestrynna to tell them that considerable power resides within.
  • Rassimohn finds himself strangely drawn to the cold crown and, with no particular objections from anyone else in the group, claims it for his own.
  • only time will tell the true nature this artifact…


  • the ghostly dwarven apparition is still there, hovering and wandering about the battlefield. Karnak tries to communicate with the spirit, but it does not communicate. it does, however, seem able to follow the Paladin when encouraged to do so.
  • upon emerging from the catacombs and the smuggler’s tunnels, the heroes are relieved to see that the town has not been razed by the Dracolich—but where is it?!?
  • with spirit in tow, Karnak and the others make their way to Hightown and to the abandoned temple. sure enough, the crazy dwarf is still there, shaking his fist at the sky and at passersby—until the group approaches and it suddenly goes stock still.
  • with an eerie sense of inevitability, the spirit floats towards the dwarf and the dwarf stumbles towards the spirit. with a wrenching woosh that the heroes can feel deep in their souls, the two merge into one. the dwarf’s eyes briefly lose their crazy unfocused quality, before he collapses to the ground, unconscious but very much alive.

The Fate of the Orcs

  • over the next several days, news trickles in from the mountains where the Nentir Vale’s soldiers are arrayed against the coming orc army. amazingly, a dragon flew over the human army into the mountains, directly in the direction of the orcish horde.
  • fearing that their enemies had just been horribly reinforced, Markelhay’s general sent scouts into the passes to discover the truth of the matter—and fought absolute carnage. Orcish bodies lay strewn about everywhere, horribly torn asunder.

Kedrun Blackforge

  • while Karnak and Sharat were intially caring for the crazy dwarf, a representative of the Dwarven ambassador arrived at the Inn and offered (well, sorta demanded) that the dwarf be given into his care and transported to the Keep.
  • with no particular reason to say no, they gave up the still sleeping dwarf into the custody of the ambassador’s people
  • when they tried to check up on the dwarf at the keep, they were initially given the run-around by the ambassador. fortunately, the Lord’s steward had taken a liking the group and managed to sneak them in to see the dwarf, who was now awake and preparing to travel back to Hammerfast.
  • in a sunny room in the back of the castle, the group finally gets to talk to the previously insane dwarf whom they rescued.
  • introducing himself as Kedrun Blackforge, the dwarf seems genuinely confused as to how exactly he arrived in Fallcrest. they last thing he remembered was working at his smithy in Hammerfast and meeting with one of the Ancestor Priests. (in Hammerfast, reverence for their ancestors is a big part of their cultural and religious heritage)
  • as the group quizzed the dwarf, Karnak and Rassimohn got a sneaking suspicious that the crusty older dwarf was not being completely honest with them. and when Rassimohn let slip about the cold iron crown they took from the Spiritmaster, they spied a sparkle of knowledge hidden in the wizened eyes of the dwarf.
  • but despite their further inquiries, Kedrun was not forthcoming with further information. despite the Paladin and Warlord’s considerable charisma, they felt a bit outmatched in the presence of this canny blacksmith from Hammerfast…
Final Confrontation

A Dracolich? ! ? !

  • as the group carefully makes their way through the catacomb tunnels they hear a heart-stopping roar up ahead. the tunnel shakes and loose dirt and stone falls from the walls and ceiling as something huge approaches.
  • the heroes are huddled in the mouth of a smaller tunnel that connects with a much larger tunnel leading to the south, at the end of which can be seen the faint glimmer of sunlight. down the tunnel from the north, blocking out the entire tunnel with its size comes an impossible creature, a creature only told about in stories of legend and nightmares of the insane—a draconic form, dripping with torn flesh and reeking of the tomb, a DRACOLICH pulls itself along the narrow confines of the tunnel, barely large enough to allow it to pass.
  • before the heroes can even contemplate a course of action (gods help them, good thing no-one decided to attack the creature), the Dracolich spies them in the shadow and speaks, with a voice of tombstones scraping together, “you’re not part of the bargain little ones. perhaps we’ll meet again and I’ll get to eat your souls”
  • with that, it slithers to the south and with a burst of sunshine, bursts through the vines hanging over the tunnel opening, taking flight over lowtown. it hovers in the air briefly, stretching its wings after the close quarters of the tunnel and flies at speed to north-east.

The Spiritmaster

  • to the north, the group can hear voices. the Spiritmaster and several more servants are bustling about, now that his ritual is complete.
  • without a lot of preamble, the heroes attack! although they’re too late to stop the Dracolich, they’re not too late to make the Spiritmaster pay for what havoc the creature is no doubt wreaking upon Fallcrest.
  • the Spiritmaster immediately summons his spiritual retinue, but this time takes an extra step; commanding them to merge into a horrific construct of souls, a Damned Choir screaming and shrieking with the agony of lost souls.
  • together with two particularly competent looking dwarven bodyguards, the Spiritmaster is a formidable enemy. when the going gets tough, he even coerces some spirits of the catacombs to rise up as Wraiths and attack Theros and Elestrynna who were pelting destruction from safely behind Jai and Karnak’s defensive wall.
  • interestingly, one of the Spiritmaster’s retinue does not join in the fight. a ghostly form hovers nearby to the ritual circle floating aimlessly about, not focussed on anything in particular. in the heat of the battle, it’s tempting to strike down the ghost and move on, but Karnak recognizes the spirit—it looks just like the crazy dwarf they might on the steps of the abandoned temple in Fallcrest.
  • although things are touch and go for a bit, the heroes eventually prevail. the Spiritmaster is last to fall, and as the group surrounds him to deliver the killing blows, he rails against them in frustration. “You ungrateful humans! This is the thanks I get for helping you. I should have let the orcs have you and your filthy city.”
The Smugglers Den

Settling Accounts with the Tiefling

  • in the narrow confines of the smuggler tunnels, the fight is tough and without quarter. the Hammerfast dwarves are intent to prevent the heroes from advancing. the fighters with shield and hammer, have a nasty habit of shield bashing their opponents into the ground and the crossbowmen are brutal against anyone not in cover.
  • but the heroes are just as determined, gradually pushing the dwarves back.
  • Serim Selduzar enters the fray with his Imp, both of them teleporting and sneaky, with poisoned blade and poisoned tail.
  • Rassimohn thinks that he has the tiefling stuck, after a particularly clever move with his glaive shifts the battle so that Selduzar is suddenly surrounded by Jai and Karnak—but the tiefling vanishes again, teleporting to safety and they can hear running footsteps leading away
  • meanwhile Trek, under the cover of his Gloaming Shroud has snuck into the smugglers store-room. an underground river to the north makes enough noise to help mask his approach, and Trek takes advantage of his stealth to backstab an unsuspecting smuggler.
  • unfortunately, Trek has overestimated his advantage, as the rest of the smugglers converge on his position. which might still have been manageable if Serim Selduzar hadn’t appeared just then.
  • with Trek between him and the ladder of escape, the Tiefling wades into the fight, nimbly coordinating with the other smugglers to pin down the pesky halfing
  • fortunately, the rest of the heroes arrive just in time before Trek is gone for good, and the Selduzar is not able to make good his escape. with no more teleporting tricks up his sleeve, the treacherous tiefling is finally struck down.

Into the Catacombs—AGAIN?

  • after catching their breath, the heroes look for where the Spiritmaster could be. knowing that time is running out… if the Souleater is to be believed, another ritual is under way and they could already be too late
  • on the other side of the underground river, a small path can be seen leading east and north and a ladder disappears up into the darkness
  • at the top of the ladder, a tunnel continues, slowly giving way from dug out stone and dirt to the now familiar ancient stonework of the catacombs. looks like they’ve discovered yet another entrance to the catacombs of Fallcrest
  • it’s pitch dark, and careful to not let their light sources give them away, they carefully make their way foreward, when they begin to hear the echo of chanting up ahead.
Sandercot's Provisioners

Fighting the Rats where they Hide

  • it’s clear that the River Rats are tangled up with the Spiritmaster somehow, and the Sandercots are tangled up with the River Rats—time to pick up some provisions, and hopefully some information
  • approaching the Sandercots Provisioners, the shop seems shut-up tight; not surprising considering that the town has barely begun to recover from the effects of the diseased rain. Karnak keeps an eye out front, while Rassimohn, Jai and Elestrynna go ‘round back.
  • standing idly near the back-door, a couple roughians stand guard, talking quietly and only vaguely watch the surrounding woods.
  • Rassimohn approaches and the Warlord tries to Diplomatically start a dialogue, however at the first sign that the guards are going to call for help… “THUNDERWAVE”
  • Karnak stands watch out-front, as he hears his allies starting trouble out-back. when noises and flashes of light appear though the windows of the main shop room, Karnak charges and, not too gracefully, dives through a window to find his friends across the room, squared off against River Rat thugs, and several unconscious bodies scattered about. these mooks stand no chance against seasoned adventurers.
  • from a back-room, however, emerges a more serious individual: Marken Sandercot, with several more substantial bodyguards in tow.
  • although Marken is no push-over, he’s still no match for the heroes and as the tide turns against him he does something surprising… calling out for help, he’s answered by the appearance of a impish devil!
  • the Imp flies directly towards the back-room and Jai fails to connect with a thwarting attack to stop it. the Imp flies down a trap-door and, no doubt, warns whoever is below.
  • knowing that he’s beaten, Marken pleads for mercy. until then, the heroes had been attacking with non-lethal intents, not knowing the extent to which the River Rats where in bed with EVIL… at the appearance of the Imp, the group is sorely tempted to issue judgement right then and there, but they refrain and instead tie up Marken and his goons and question about the trap door and what lies below… “SPINED DEVILS and THE TIEFLING!”

Devils in the Basement

  • with the River Rat upstairs dispatched, the heroes head downstairs, knowing that whoever (or whatever) is there knows that they’re coming…
  • but in the storage room below: it’s empty. well, except for a crossbow trap that pops out of a barrel and starts firing. cursing Marken for not mentioning this, Karnak charges the device and pummels it until it stops functioning.
  • there’s no apparent exit from the room. “Marken, what the hell?!?” to which the rogue explains about how to open the secret door. “now he tells us”
  • Jai and Karnak open the secret door and find what they were looking for: the room beyond is heavily populated with more River Rats, several horribly prickly looking Spined Devils, a familiar Tiefling: Serim Selduzar, and lastly a man that Jai recognizes as Kelson, the head of the River Rats
  • Jai stands in the doorway and takes the brunt of the initial assault from the enemy, before Elestrynna fires a FIREBALL into the narrow confines of the room ahead. Ouch, the River Rats drop like burning flies—but the Spined Devils appear to shrug off the bulk of the fire damage.
  • with the bulk of the enemy line in ruins, the heroes advance into the room, still taking shots from the devilish artillery in the backline. also something strange… standing behind the others, Kelson exhibits an uncharacteristic aptitude for necrotic magic, firing paralyzing bolts of energy—ack, could it be the Spiritmaster in disguise!
  • as the tide of battle turns against the villains, Selduzar and the Imp turn invisible. “this was not in the bargain, Kelson, or whoever you are. our arrangement is concluded” to which Kelson replies, “flee if you must, cowardly Tiefling, but leave your develish pets to finish what you can’t - and warn the others at the river”. with that, Kelson’s image shimers and is replaced by a dwarven figure in robes - although a different looking dwarf than the one the heroes faced in the catacombs.
  • the remaining River Rats try to flee, but the Devils and the dwarf remain to fight. as the battle progresses, Elestrynna identifies their foe as a Souleater—a creature similar to the Spiritmaster, and quite likely in service to the latter.
  • although the Souleater is a formidable foe, the heroes came through their fight with the River Rats relatively unscathed and they are still fresh to the fight. as the Souleater faces the inevitable, he collapses and with his dying breaths says “you’re too late, you ungrateful humans. my master’s ritual is no doubt complete.”

Meanwhile Topside

  • meanwhile, Trek has been following his own leads… knowing that the Sandercots are smugglers of questionable goods, he also knows about a shack in the woods north of the Provisioner’s shop and Trek decides to investigate
  • sure enough, he finds the shack, but while he’s staking it out, he hears voices: some of the River Rats are coming along a path from the south. They’re in a hurry and saying something about a Half-Elf and an Eladrin and needing to warn the others—sounds like his friends have started the fun without him.
  • Trek jumps the ruffians and makes short-work of them with his daggers, and before they could flee to the safety of the shack. Skulking up to the shack himself, he spies another River Rat standing guard near a trap-door. Trek successfully dispatches him as well, without alerting anyone.
  • poking his head into the hole, he sees a storehouse of sorts, with piles of crates and barrels, all laid out along the rushing water of an underground river. There are several River Rats there, loitering about.
  • as he’s watching, though, there’s a ruccus from a doorway to the south, yelling and screaming and a commanding voice tells some of the River Rats to come with ‘him’, whoever that is. the remaining River Rats take up defensive positions behind crates, all watching the southern doorway intently.
  • activating his Gloaming Shroud, Trek slinks down the ladder into the room.

The Underground River

  • the rest of our heroes catch their breath and head north out of the basement of the Provisioners building, following a tunnel to the north. along the twists and turns, they can’t see too far ahead… when suddenly crossbow bolts come whistling through the darkness, then a strange thump-thump-thump: a wooden rolling sound.
  • a barrel comes rolling down the tunnel towards them, jostling and sloshing along, and a piece of firey cloth sticking out of a knothole. with a bump and a crash, it hits rock and explodes, sending a firey explosion to fill the tunnel.
  • Jai braves the flames, leaping through to engage the crossbowmen in the shadows—to find the enemy are dwarves, in the livery of Hammerfast and no-doubt in the service of the Spiritmaster.
Complicity of the River Rats

Exploring Low Town

  • the next day, the group splits up and explores Low Town, interviewing townspeople and looking for more of them with the pinch-faced evidence of the Spiritmaster’s influence.
  • also in Low Town, they remember something leanred from the Temple priestess—the possible involvement of the young girl in stealing the ritual components: Mashel Nistral. her family hails from Low Town. at the Nistral home, there’s no answer at the door . . . busting in, they find the Nistral family dead, all of them with completely pinched faces, like the Shadar Kai in the catacombs. clearly the Spiritmaster wanted to silinece ths particular loose end.

A little Scrying goes a Long Way

  • while the others explore Low Town, Elestrynna conducts a ritual that can show the history of an object—she selects one of the crates that contained ritual components, specifically the Swiftwater Clan crates, hoping to find the culprits behind the robbery.
  • as part of the ritual, she asks a specific question: “show me: the person that moved the create off the Caravan after the attack”—and as if she was there sitting the cart, she can see a scruffy human reaching toward the crate. behind his shoulder, she can see a horrible creature, covered in spines and clearly of a daemonic origin. the human seems afraid of the creature and nervously going about the business of unloading the cart.
  • although Elestrynna doesn’t recognize the man she saw, she hopes that someone else might.

All Roads Lead To . . .

  • that evening, the group gathers at the inn to compare notes…
  • with a scrawled map of Low Town, they plotted out where the various pinch-faced townspeople lived, and when they had their bad-dreams. looking at the pattern, it clearly radiates outward from the market green.
  • Elestrynna then relates the results of her ritual. Jai recognizes the description of the man—he’s a thug that works with the River Rats, the criminal gang that works in Low Town, and headquartered at Sandercot Provisioners.
  • “So where’s this Sandercots place?” Jai points on the map to one of storefronts bordering the market green
The SpiritMaster

The Militia and The Dwarves

  • as Elestrynna and Karnak tried to shut down the ritual, the Militia and the Hammerfast Dwarves come marching down the hallway leading to the sarcophagi room, this time with the Dwarven sergeant leading the way.
  • Rassimohn steps forward in the doorway to greet them (and keep them from interrupting the activities in the next room over), while Theros takes cover in the shadows, bow at the ready.
  • the Dwarven sergeant calls a halt to his men and demands to know who the gruop is and what business they have in the catacombs. as the dwarf steps into view, Rassimohn recognizes him: he looks just like the dead dwarf in the pile of corpses one room over.
  • Rassimohn diplomatically attempts to get the militia to stand-down, accusing the dwarven leader of deception, and bravely assures the dwarf that his evil ritual is being undone as they speak.
  • at that, the sergeant orders his mean to seize Rassimohn and battle is joined!!!

Rituals are Tricky

  • as the sounds of battle come from the room to the north, Elestrynn and Karnak try to finish their work as quickly as possible, without going too fast, screwing up, and possibly tearing a hole in the fabric of space between worlds.
  • while Elestrynna’s arcane skills are up to the task, Karnak’s religious manipulations are not able to keep pace.
  • finally Elestrynna is able to shut down the ritual with a dramatic display of arcane power, but at the very end, a burst of necrotic energy from the shadowfell blasts outward and hits both Karnak and herself… and some of the other items in the room.
  • with a crash and a thinkle, the sound of breaking glass comes from one of the crates, and two ghostly figures materialize. as Karak attackes them, they transform from insubstantial ghosts into murderous Phantom Warriors intent on killing the living.

The SpiritMaster Revealed

  • meanwhile, Jai steps forward into the doorway and meets the charge from the dwarven soldiers, while Rassimohn pokes at them with his glaive, and Theros carefully fires arrows past all of them, aiming for the sergeant.
  • fortunately, the militia hang back, confused, and do not enter the fray on either side of the fight. unfortunately, for them, the Dwarven sergeant turns to them and in a theatrically loud voice, clearly meant for his men, he cries “beware, these villians have summoned the undead to help them” and with a flick of the wrist, and a burst of necrotic power, four horrific spirits appear and immediately assault the shocked human militia.
  • while Jai and Rassimohn had their hands full with the dwarven soldiers, Theros’ keen eyes notice a strange thing right before the spirits appeared: the appearance of the Dwarven sergeant ever-so-briefly shimmered and was replaced by a completely different looking dwarf and then was just as quickly replaced by a nightmarish creature, at once smoke and sinew, graveyard rags, wispy hair and bony arms ending in hand with impossibly long fingers. and just as quickly, it’s the dwarven sergeant again.

Fortunate Escape

  • the summoned spirits make short work of the militia-men and the dwarven soldiers are clearly shaken by this otherworldy turn-of-events, though this only makes them more intent on taking down the supposed cause of the trouble. Rassimohn tries talking sense to them, but everyone is too busy trying to kill each other for it to sink in.
  • Elestrynna and Karnak have their hands full in the ritual room with the Phantom Warriors. Theros has to re-direct his fire into the other room to lend a hand.
  • the Dwarven Sergeant, or whatever he is, pretends to fight the creatures he summoned, but also directs necrotic attacks towards the heroes engaged with his men.
  • with Theros’ help, Eleystynna and Karnak manage to finish off the ghosts and join the fight. the tide quickly turns in the favor of the heroes and the dwarven sergeant begins to flee.
  • not wanting him to get away, Elestrynna fey steps past the melee in the doorway and chases after, just in time to see the dwarf standing over the body of the militia leader, a ghostly energy transferring from the human’ face into the dwarf’s mouth and right before her eyes, the dwarven sergeant is replaced by the human militia—though briefly, before the final step, Elestrynna sees a different dwarf and a ghoulish figure.
  • it is now that Elestrynna recognizes what it is that they face: a Spiritmaster! not good.
  • the Spiritmaster, now in the guise of the human milita-man, smiles at her then runs down the hallway and Elestrynna gives chase. when the Spiritmaster realizes that only Elestrynna is following him, he turns and attacks!
  • fortunately for Elestrynna, Jai has managed, with the help of Rassimohn’s warlord skills, to extricate himself from the scrum in the doorway and arrives on the scene just in time to save the outmatched wizard.
  • with a wave and a nod, the Spiritmaster turns completey insubstantial and flies upward through the solid rock of the catacombs.

After the Battle

  • the remaining Hammerfast dwarves surrender to the conquering heroes, the fighting spirit already having left them with all the confusion about their Segeant’s loyalties.
  • unfortunately, all of the Fallcrest militia are dead, at the hands of the Spiritmaster and his ghastly minions.
  • Karnak investigates the crates where the Ghosts had materialized. inside, he founds enchanted containers, inside which are retained the spirits of the villain’s victims, kept in stasis no doubt to power his nefarious rituals.
  • while the rest of the group gathers up the ritual components for transport, Karnak sets about to free the captive spirits and send them on their way to Kelimvor, where they belong.

Discovery at the Temple

  • with the ritual components in tow, the heroes return victorious to the Lord’s keep. the magical rain has ceased, though the town is still in the poisonous grip of its effects.
  • with this in mind, Lord Markelhay sends them to the Temple to provide the components as resources for the Priestess’ healing prayers—a service that the last remaining diseased adventurers take advantage of.
  • the temple is even more crowded than when they were there last—and this time they notice something strange and disturbing: several townsfolk have a pinch-faced look about them. whle not as extreme as the look of the dead Shadar-Kai in the catacombs, the similarity can’t be denied.
  • interviewing the affected townspeople, they figured it was just an effect of the same disease that everyone else seems to have. they can’t recall anything else unusual that happened to them. well… except for some bad dreams lately—independantly, each person describes a similar dream, featuring a shadowy figure standing over their beds.
  • furthermore—all of the pinch-faced affected hail from Low Town.
Into the Catacombs

Guards in the Tombwood

  • at a bit of an impasse, the adventurers are trying to figure out what to do next . . . one clue as yet unexplored is the ramblings of the Septarch about something bad happening in the catacombs, something about a weakness in the barrier between us and the Shadowfell.
  • Lord Markelhay explains that after the heroes had killed the vampire and his forces, he has been slowly cleaning out the newly discovered portions of the catacombs, and while his soldiers don’t enjoy being assigned to the post, they have not reported anything special or sinister.
  • hoping to find out more information, they trek through the rain to the Septarch’s tower and find that not only is he not receiving visitors, he has fired up all of his tower’s defenses. a magical barrier midway across the bridge bars them entrance. high in the tower, an owl perches watching them, no doubt a familiar.
  • Elestrynna calls out to get the wizard’s attention via the owl. then magical letters appear on the outside of the tower, saying, essentially “go away”.
  • Elestrynna tries to yell out a rational plea for help against whatever evil forces seek ill will upon Fallcrest and that the Septarch’s suspicions about the catacombs could be right. the response “glad to hear i was right. let me know how it goes in the catacombs. i’m staying safe in here.”
  • disgruntled, the adventurers head to the catacombs. rather than the ‘front door’, they head to the entrance they previously discovered in the Tombwood. sure enough, the entrance appears to have been widened and shored up. inside, torches at periodic intervals light the way.
  • Theros, glad to be free of the confines of the palanquin, scouts on ahead. at the end of the winding natural tunnels, he arrives at the man-made passages and hears voices up ahead—human voices.
  • Stealthing ahead, he hears snatches of their conversation. “Hate guarding these catacombs”, “we’re overdue for the end of our shift”, “the seargant says we can’t go out in the rain”, “what’s that supposed to mean?”, “who knows…”
  • Theros returns with a report and the group decides the direct approach will work. they are, after all, deputies of the Lord and here on his orders.
  • arriving in the burial room, they adventurers startle the guards there. several humans and several dwarves. after the initial shock of their arrival, Rassimohn strikes a commanding tone and diplomatically seeks passage deeper into the catacombs on behalf of the Lord.
  • the senior-most human guard is ready to let them pass, but the dwarves are having none of it. upon closer perception the group can see the dwarves are dressed in livery of Hammerfast. “Sgt Tranick says no one passes”
  • despite their best diplomacy and intimidation, the dwarves are determined to wait until Sgt Tranick’s return. they’re expecting him shortly.
  • the group returns to the tunnels to outside, trying to figure out what to do next, when one of the human guards arrives. he’s willing to have him and his men offer a distraction, so the group can get by.
  • following his lead, they wait in the shadows as the human guards make as if to leave the catacombs via the western exit from the room, and the dwarves following yelling at them to remain at their post, and allowing the group to enter the room and head out the eastern exit of the room.

Stolen Goods Recovered

  • following the same path of rooms they recognize from several months ago, they eventually arrive in a room filled with standing sarcophagi. in the room to the south a purplish-bluish glow eminates . . .
  • approaching carefully, the next room is dominated by a massive pillar of magical energy: a column of swirling colors fills floor to ceiling, almost 10 feet in diameter, and surrounding its base on the floor of the room is an intricate circle of runic writing. looking closer, the magic in the circle is a raging storm cloud with lashing rains and flashes of lightning.
  • the impressive ritual appears to be contained in the runic circle, so the group looks around the rest of the room. they find numerous boxes and crates: some with the markings of the swiftwater clan, some from the Temple of Torm and Chauntea, and some others with markings of Hammerfast. many are opened and half-empty, and numerous empty containers of ritual components lay about on tables and the floor.
  • at the far southern end of the room is a huge pile of skulls and bones, and on top of the pile are a half-dozen bodies: four strange humanoids with pale skill, and strange tattoos and piercings, one shadowy panther creature, and finally a dwarf. thinking back to the witch they fought in the orc cave, they recognize the humanoids as Shadar-Kai.
  • one strange thing about the corpses though, the faces of the Shadar-Kai and the dwarf look strangely pinched. like something sucked all of their features forward.
  • looking through a pile of Shadar-kai clothes and weapons, they find a familiar silvery orb—like the one they found at the Orc cave, that they took for some kind of communication device from Garuk One-eye.

The Storm Ritual

  • with the source of the mystically diseased rain in front of them, Elestrynna and Karnak seek to unravel its power, without distroying themselves in the process.
  • through Karnak’s knowledge of Religion, he can sense the weakness in the veil between this plane and the Shadowfell. in fact, the ritual seems to be drawing its dark power from that place, imbueing the rain with the essence of that dismal place
  • through Elestrynna Arcane skills, she examines the ritual and deduces an approach to dismantling it piece by piece, with Karnak’s help to keep the connection to the Shadowfell in check.
  • as Karnak and Elestrynna begin the delicate process of tearing apart the ritual, the others stand well away in the room to the north, providing ‘moral support’ at least.
  • then Theros, who was keeping an eye on the passage behind them, hears voices echoing down the hall . . .
Is it STILL raining???

Recovering at The Silver Unicorn

  • as the haunting rain falls outside, the group stays sheltered at the fanciest inn in Fallcrest, the Silver Unicorn, much to the chagrin of its proprieter, looking at the soaked and, for some, unconcious guests
  • Rassimohn explains the situation and gets some rooms. as the night progresses, everyone fights off the effects of the magical disease attacking their bodies. Karnak makes the best progress, while Elestrynna, Rassimohn, and Trek get worse.
  • disease effects:
  • initial effect: speed reduced by 2, -2 to WILL defense until cured
  • improved one step: speed reduced by 1, still the -2 to WILL
  • worse one step: Slowed, still the -2 to WILL, and vulnerable 5 psychic dmg until cured
  • meanwhile . . . at the Nentir Inn, Theros wonders where everyone is. with the heavy rain falling outside, he doesn’t feel like wandering around getting wet trying to find them. and when some patrons of the Inn arrive, soaked and growing sickened, Theros realizes that the rain is not Natural.
  • the next day, the rain still falling, the group decides that it’s worth risking going to the nearest temple to try to seek divine assistance in fighting the disease

Crazy Dwarf

  • on the way to the Temple of Chauntea & Torm, the group passes another temple along the way, this one an abandoned temple, boarded up for many years now. but on the stairs leading into the temple, stands a single dwarf—yelling at them in gibberish.
  • Karnak approaches his kinsman but the crazy dwarf, disheveled and looking cold in the rain, is completely out of his wits, babbling in nonsense words; not some unknown language, just crazy half-words and grunts.
  • with a shrug, the heroes figure they have more pressing problems to address just then.

The Temple of Chauntea & Torm

  • at the Temple, they find a crowded sanctuary, with many other city residents having the same idea. the priest, Dirina Mornbrow, looks exhausted as she walks among the sick trying to treat and comfort them.
  • the adventurers explain to Dirina that they are interested in more extrema treatment—the Cure Disease ritual.
  • when Dirina returns from fetching the ritual components, she’s very upset. most of her store of components have been stolen! she only has enough for 2 rituals.
  • immediately the group starts connecting the dots: Naerumar’s shop was robbed of its store of components, the caravan carrying his restock was destroyed, this temple was robbed of the components it needs for its rituals—and now a diseased rain assaults the entire city. Coincidence? not likely!
  • Streetwise asking Dirina more about missing components, she immediately suspects a young girl that she’d had to let go a few weeks ago. Mashel Nistral, a girl from low-town who she’d taken as a servent but she was incompetent and so Dirina fired her. Mashel would have had access to the missing components.
  • Jai recognizes the name, at least the last name: a man named Nistral would often bet on the barenuckle brawling that Jai competed in. the man never bet on Jai and no doubt lost quite a bit of coin along the way.
  • but more pressing, they set about to get at least Rassimohn and Elestrynna cured. the others will just have to soldier on.

Theros and the Palanquin

  • leaving the temple, the group finally makes their way back to the Nentir Inn to meet up with Theros.
  • resting the night, Karnak manages to shake off the final effects of the disease, but Trek and Jai are still affected.
  • contemplating next steps, they decide that they should check in with Lord Markelhay and explain what they know about the rain. having been cured, they are confident that the rain won’t re-sicken them. but Theros hasn’t ventured outside yet.
  • amusingly, Elestrynna comes up with an idea . . . casting Tenser’s Floating Disk, they raise a tent on the disk and Theros crawls inside. with Theros sitting comfortably on his magical Plalanquin, the group makes their way to the keep.
When it Rains it Pours

Checking in with Lord Markelhay

  • the following morning is a dim dawn, in sharp contrast to the last several sunny days. a heavy cloud cover has come in over night and casts a grim shadow over the town.
  • splitting up, some of the group head over to the North Quays to talk with the Porters and the rest return to Lord Markelhay to catch him up on events
  • they also ask the Lord what the Septarch was discussing with him the other day. he explains that the Septarch was upset about the Catacombs being off-limits.
  • after the adventurers had defeated the vampire who had taken up residence there, Lord Markelhay had sent his men to further investigate the newly opened portions of the catacombs, to clean it up, put disturbed bodies to rest and just make extra sure that all threats had been eliminated
  • the Septarch had been spouting some paranoid nonsense about the veil to the Shadowfell growing thin. Lord Markelhey considers the Septarch to be a worrier and a dramatist of the highest order and while he tried to assure the wizards that all was well in the catacombs, he was still upset.
  • after leaving the Keep, they went to the Septarch’s tower but found out that he was not receiving visitors

Confirming Suspicions with Barstomun

  • arriving at the northern quays, Barstomum is willing to meet with the group. while he puts on quite the show of resisting meeting with them, once behind closes doors away from his men, he’s more than willing to talk without losing face.
  • as the group suspected, Barstomun claims to be innocent of the attack on the caravan and is eager for the adventurers to catch the true culprit.
  • Barstomun can’t, however, back down from the situation that he’s in. his men would lose all respect for his leadership if he did that.
  • he does, however, agree to at least try to keep his men from escalating the violence any further.
  • unfortunately, the leader of the Porters has no useful information to point the group in the right direction.

PC’s Present: Elestrynna, Jai, Trek, Rassimohn, Karnak

Street Fight

  • meeting up at the Nentir Inn that evening, the group tries to figure out what to do next . . .
  • several ideas come to mind: try to find this missing Bree, try (harder) to meet with the Septarch, follow-up on the suspicious man they met in the bar in Low-town: Sandercot, check out the catacombs . . .
  • as they discussed all this, suddenly a halfling burst into the inn announcing that a big fight was going down right across the bridge. gathering up their gear, the Deputies set out to see what they could do to keep order
  • crossing the bridge into town, a light rain began to fall as the morning clouds had turned into a dark and forboding roiling sky
  • at the north end of town, in the clearing south of the gate, Halfings and Porters squared off in the street as the townspeople scattered.
  • despite their best efforts, Rassimohn and Karnak could not persuade the warring factions to put down their arms.
  • fortunately, despite the air of violence, both groups were not going for the kill, but were pulling their punches. nevertheless, things could definitely escalate and Jai and Karnak threw themselves into harms way to try to break things up, while Elestrynna threw magic missiles into the fray to dissuade the violence
  • as the fight progressed, the rain began to fall harder, pools of water forming in the muddy street, making footing more treacherous.
  • all efforts at Diplomacy & Intimidation were failing, as more Halfings and Porters began arriving to add to the fight
  • suddenly the skies opened up and a deluge began . . . and with a sinking sensation in the pit of their stomachs, the adventurers knew that something was wrong. as the rain soaked their clothes and skin, a unnatural lethargy settled into their bones. they were diseased!
  • as quickly as the fight had begun to escalate, it soon scattered, as the rain dampened the spirits of the combatants. and the adventurers gathered up the unconscious men and halfings and dragged them into the shelter of the nearby Silver Unicorn Inn

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