Princes of the Apocalypse 5th Ed D&D Paradice

Recap on the story so far.

This is a copy and paste from the Facebook group updates

PART 1

You all started your adventures in Red Larch, a small town near the Sumber Hills. After encountering a small secret group of townsfolk you discover the remains of an ancient dwarf temple with odd moving stones in it. The led you to encounter a earth magic cult who have harried your actions since discovering them by sending large ankhegs to destroy you. This attempt failed, and you managed to advance further by discovering a delegation from the city of Mirabar is missing and the factions that the players belong to have a vested interest in their well being. This has led the party to investigate what happened to them, which has resulted in an ambush from a fire cult and the discovery of some shallow graves.
In the last session the members of the party who swear fealty to the Zhentarim faction found themselves in a tight spot at the Bargewright Inn near Womford. The Inn keeper decided the take his leave after party members revealed they had found the remains of the delegation, but not the delegates themselves. He left it in the care of Eldearnth Faran and his half brother, Ranor Haedrin. A plot to frame the inn keeper and his chief of security was thwarted by the brothers (along with the some help from the rest of the party) and the Bargewright Inn has now become a strong base from which to continue the party’s adventures.

In addition to crime busting, the party also hit some skulls in the form of water cultists. A river boat captain was dispatched rather brutally along with his crew. After the battle a map was found that had the location of the water cult’s keep marked upon it. It’s name is Riverguard Keep and it is only accessible by water.

For now the party’s attention is drawn to Feathergale Spire and they now prepare to investigate who dwells in that cloud piercing structure to the north.

PART 2

The party made its way north from Bargewright Inn towards Feathergale Spire and initially nothing much happened. Sadly on the day before they arrived at the spire the party was attacked by a trio of hell hounds. The party did dispatch them, but at some cost.
Eventually they did find the spire only to see its defences were quite considerable. The main entrance had a draw bridge that none of the party were keen on traversing. Instead they decided to make their way around to the base of the spire to mount a assault on it.

As they made their way into the Sighing Valley they encountered Trellarch, a member of the Aarakocra avian race. He along with two others spoke of the sacrifices the dwellers of the Feathergale Spire had made in the name of their elemental god and how they wished to annihilate the occupants of the spire. Sadly they lacked resources to do this, but the presence of the Heroes of Red Larch has afforded them a chance to do this very thing.
Trellarch hatches a plan (no pun intended) to remove the air cultists from Feathergale Spire. They agree to have the party take on the spire at its base while they attack it from its top. This would create a great deal of confusion and reduce the effectiveness of their defences. The Heroes of Red Larch needed some form of disguise to get into the spire, so a passing patrol from the air cultists was intercepted by Trellarch and the party had to kill the patrol.
This battle lasted for quite a while, with a Feathergale Knight showing some magical abilities that were not expected by the party. The battle was eventually won, but again at significant cost.

With disguises in hand, the Heroes of Red Larch make their way towards the base of the spire, all the while glancing nervously in the sky for any signs of manitcores that are known to be present in the valley.

PART 3

The Feathergale Spire loomed before the Heroes of Red Larch like a big loomy thing that looms. Undeterred they marched into the spire with malicious and vengeful intent. Well I say ‘marched’, it was more like a stumble, a trip and a sprained ankle kind of entrance. But enter the spire the party did, with intentions of ridding it of the influence of the Air cult.
As they entered they discovered a sleeping hippogryph, which was rapidly dispatched before it awoke as well as any other creatures that rested within the stables. Just as they did so their new found avian allies attacked the pinnacle of the spire and the assault on the Feathergale Spire was initiated, much to the horror and confusion of its residence.
The Heroes of Red Larch assassinated a distracted guard and then found themselves surrounded by large winged beasts that slept in the stables. While some wounds were inflicted, the party fought back valiantly with only a single hippogryph managing to escape the carnage.

Eventually the party ran up the spiral staircase to the ground level where they once again encountered initiates as well as a monk. Ranor took great exception to this new foe and focused all of his attention onto him. He did this not realising that these monks wielded magic thanks to their devotion to the evil air cult. During the battle the monk emitted a thunderous wave of sound that inflicted great harm to many in the party and deafened them also. Ranor took great exception to this and was not prepared for this display of sorcery seeing as Trellarch, the leader of the avian allies had assured the party no magic was present in the spire.

Also during the battle a knight was engaged with by Strath who detected something was amiss about her, as did Ranor. It was as if she was compelled to fight, but did not want to. Ranor ignored the pleas of Strath to not harm her and instead brought to her knees and knocked her unconscious. She eventually reawakened and fled the battle to the upper reaches of the spire.

The Heroes of Red Larch eventually held sway over the ground floor of the spire and the battle in the upper levels could be heard as well as alarm bells declaring a full scale assault was occurring. After taking a brief rest the party made it to the first level of the spire, only to see one of the avian allies fall as they tumbled down onto Garrett, the bird obsessed sorcerer, who was standing in the spiral staircase.

Upon entering the first level the party saw Trellarch engaged with the leader of the Feathergale Knights, Thurl Merosska. A full pitched battle was being had in the great hall of the spire and ranged against the party were 4 knights and another monk. Without hesitation the Heroes of Red Larch lived up to their fearless reputation by piling into the knights, but they soon found their attacks were becoming ineffectual and were being beaten back!

Both of the brothers Eldearnth and Ranor fell under the blows of both the knights and Thurl and the party stared defeat in the face. Is this how it ends? Killed by a bunch of bird brained lunatics (no offence Garrett). No, not like this; the Aarakocra warriors killed the remaining knights and gave an opening for the party to kill Thurl, but not before the mysterious knight who was being compelled fled the scene eastward across the Sighing Valley.

With the spire’s occupants vanquished the Aarakocra declared it to now fall upon them to hold it as it was a perfect outpost for them. Weapons and armour were discovered in the spire as well as a treasure chest filled with gold, potions and scrolls of mysterious magic etched upon them.

Also found was a letter to the now deceased Thurl from a person called Aerisi Kalinoth, a name muttered by initiates before they were executed by Eldearnth during the assault. The letter spoke of the Black Earth Cultists and the Sacred Stone Monastery as well as the member of the Minbar delegation the air cult has apparently captured.

The Heroes of Red Larch have won a significant victory against the Elemental Evil they are clearly facing, but it is but one of many they need to gain in order to bring it to an end. Their next target is Riverguard Keep and if the fate of Feathergale Spire reaches the occupants of this stronghold, they would do well to prepare for the worst…

PART 4

Feathergale Spire was cleansed of its cultist occupants and the Heroes of Red Larch continued their mission to vanquish the Sumber Hills of the pox that is the Elemental Evil. Dispatched by Trellarch, the leader of the the company’s new Aarakocra allies to the home of the Crushing Wave cult that goes by the name of Riverguard Keep.

The parties journey heads south along the Cairn Road where they happen upon another Fire Cult raiding party. Eldearnth managed to dispatch a fire priest, but not before he exploded, flinging his brother Ranor into the air as he did so. The remaining fire cultists were dispatched quickly and the journey along the Cairn road was uninterrupted. Save for the discovery of a dead ankheg along with it a corpse of blue skinned orc. Clearly a battle had taken place here, but with whom and why was a mystery.

The Bargewright Inn was the destination of the company and the inn keeper was keen to aid them in their attack on Riverguard Keep. Provisions were provided as well as a river boat, named Rivermaid and a genesai captain. Sadly this did not sit well with Garrett who tried to attack the captain with a fire ball spell. The company had to gather their wits else the vengeful sorcerer cause significant harm to their cause. It took a great deal of effort to curtail his efforts, with Ranor eventually shoving him into the river and drowning him to make him unconscious.

Eventually Strath convinced Garrett that the captain can be trusted, but Garrett was eventually tied up in the hold under the orders of the captain for the sake of his boat and safety of its passengers. The boat travelled north from Womford along the Dessarin River where the party encountered a group of ghouls that attacked the boat. One of these ghouls had a crown made of barnacles and Zoro managed to get his hands onto it after Strath managed to turn them from the power of his faith.

The crown, when touched, provided Zoro with vivid images of the Riverguard Keep that appears to have some strange secret underground jetty that is guarded by very powerful ghouls. Zoro saw cultists make a strange hand gesture that appeared to appease the ghouls, granting them passage.

The crown was tossed overboard for fear of it being cursed and the Rivermaid pressed on north with no further incident.

Eventually the party reached the keep and a plan was hatched to gain entry to it without drawing attention to the party’s presence before it was too late for the garrison to react. While the genesai captain distracted the gate keeper, who apparently went by the name of ‘Reace’, Eldearnth and Ranor used the magical flight suits to fly onto the top of the gatehouse in an attempt to dispatch the occupants. Sadly they discover the gatekeeper is not alone and they now face three heavily armed guards along with the gatekeeper.

Will the brothers fight off the guards and gatekeeper? How will those on the Rivermaid get into the keep without raising the alarm? Will Garrett actually get a bird companion? Will Ranor stop punching people? All these questions will likely be answered, provided you survive to ask them in the first place.

PART 5

With Dellmon Ranch secured, The Heroes of Red Larch strike out towards Summit Hall. Their travels are plagued by visions of beings from the four elements the cults they are fighting against worship. During the party’s long march they are attacked by bugbear bandits. While fending these beasts off air cultists attack the group in an attempt to put an end to their assaults against the four cults. This failed, as is typical with these engagements, and The Heroes of Red Larch pressed on to Summit Hall.

The party stops off at Beliard, where a message has been dropped off for Strath. The cleric reads the message and his reaction is one of both satisfaction and surprise. Eldearnth meanwhile discovers that there is more to Beliard than meets the eye, with it being built on a fissure that linked this realm to another. Rumours of a vast treasure hidden within the town persist, but no one has discovered its whereabouts. This maddens Eldearnth and his focus moves from the cultists to this treasure.

This doesn’t stop the rogue from stealing the note Strath received and trying to read it, only to find it blank. He secretes it onto Garrett’s person who denies stealing the note and hands it back to Strath. The cleric reads the note again, with the words clearly visible to him.

From Beliard The Heroes of Red Larch arrive at Summit Hall. Upon arrival they are met with Lady Ushien Stormbanner, the leader of the Knights of Samular, named after Samular Caradoon a Paladin of Tyr who died many centuries ago during the Troll Wars.

Lady Stormbanner requests an audience with the party, but only after they have rested and secured provisions for their onward journey. During this time Zoro seeks out a blacksmith who can silver his weapon so that he is properly prepared to take on magical beasts, like the one he encountered at Riverguard Keep. The blacksmith is a dwarf who offers a rusty sword that is festooned with dwarven runes. Not being familiar with this language, Zoro pays them no heed and examines the sword. As he does so he hears whispering in his ear that grows louder and louder the longer he holds the blade. Eventually the whispers become fully formed words in a language Zoro cannot understand.

Drawn to the blade, Zoro asks how much it will cost to buy from the blacksmith. He is promptly told is will cost 800 gp and Zoro’s heart sinks. He knows he cannot afford such a sum and tries to hand back the sword, only to discover that he is unable to let go of it. By this time the voice is becoming almost deafening as it barks at Zoro incomprehensibly. Eventually the blacksmith pries Zoro’s hand from the hilt and retrieves the sword. Zoro vows to return with the rest of the party to discuss terms of the sale.

Return he does with everyone in tow. Many discussions are had concerning the sword, with the revelation that the runes say ‘Zenth’ on one side and ‘Bane’ on the other. Strath half recalls an ancient tale concerning a great dwarven warrior who had a squire by the name of Zenth. This may be the same Zenth who’s spirit, or at least part of it, resides in the sword.
The blacksmith agrees to sell the sword at a reduced price of 500 gp to Zoro. Others in the party try to wield it, but find it hot to touch and are forced to drop it. It is clear that this sword is for Zoro alone. The blacksmith agrees to repair and sharpen the blade and will hand it back to Zoro in 4-5 days. The party agrees to this and hands over the money and a collection of gems. The blacksmith informs Zoro that the sword can speak common, while yelling at it to ‘shut up’ as he disappears into the depths of his forge.

Eldearnth decides to make contact with some unsavoury contacts to secure a large diamond. He is successful, but is also told that his presence is required at the Bargewright Inn near Womford. The Zhentarim are eager to speak with him and his brother over a matter the details of which they cannot reveal. Begrudgingly Eldearnth agrees to this, knowing the journey takes the party far away from their intended target of Sacred Stone Monastery and even further away from Beliard!

Eldearnth makes his way to the apothecary within the walls of Summit Hall Keep and encounters an old woman, who agrees to give him a vial of poison. She tells him to use it sparingly as it is extremely potent.

Towards the end of the day The Heroes of Red Larch meet with Lady Stormbanner and she tells them about the link between a being in the Sacred Stone Monastery and her order of knights.

This being is Renwick Caradoon, brother of Samular Caradoon. He fought alongside his sibling during the Troll Wars and Samular could not bear to see his brother die, so gave him a lich potion that turned him into one. Renwick is not malevolent or indeed insane, he is simply a lich who studies within the Sacred Stone Monastery. Lady Stormbanner does not believe Renwick has allied himself to the Black Earth Cult.

The body of Samular is placed within the foundations of Summit Hall and Renwick wishes it to be interned with him in the Monastery. The Knights of Samular are not keen on this at all as they regard it as their sacred duty to protect their patron’s remains.

Finally Lady Stormbanner asks to see the map Lord Corleth of the High Elves passed to the party after the Siege of Dellmon Ranch that points to the location of Sacred Stone Monastery. She notices that the map is not correct, as Lord Corleth actually located Scarlet Moon Hall, a stronghold of the Cult of the Eternal Flame. She does not know why Lord Corleth did this, but she corrects the map and passes it back to the party.

The Heroes of Red Larch discuss how they are to reach Sacred Stone Monastery only to hear Ranor and Eldearnth demand they had to The Bargewright Inn as they have business to attend to there. There is some disagreement in the party over this as it is some distance from the monastery. Nevertheless an agreement is reached where the party will take to the river via Riverguard Keep. Zoro is keen to return to Summit Hall to retrieve his sword, so the time taken to go to Bargewright Inn and return is seen to be well spent.

Sounds like a great plan, if only the waters of the the Dessarin River weren’t so treacherous…

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Kropotkin

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