- Lost Souls.
- In Search of Thilas Baccan.
- The Battle of Greenspire.
- Return to Eldridge.
- Rescuing the Speaker.
- The Speaker's Cure.
- The Confrontation.
- The Temple of Balor.
- Rhein Hareld's Revenge.
- The Way Home.
The battered party rest the night, healing wounds and recovering spell power. The next morning they wake to find Tanith packed and ready to leave. The momentous events have shocked her to the core and she finds herself unable to continue with the party. The remaining party trek northwards, following the trail of Baccan's giants.
Sparrow tracks the giants north. Bucky, seeking to forget his failure of the previous day, leads an attack on the giants. The giants are overcome and the leader is captured. Callum uses his magic to search the giants memories in an attempt to find Thilas Baccan's lair. The giants memories are unclear, he was trained in a castle and teleported to his current location. Callum gleans enough information to allow the party to place the castle somewhere in the Wyrmsdown, on the eastern slopes of the Lythdaen mountains. They also discover that the giants were headed to the farmlands to the west of Westgate for further orders. Buoyed by good news, the party head north.
The party travel north to the spot used by the giants. They find a burned out farmhouse, where the inhabitants have been mutilated and murdered. Sparrow summons a crow, to use it as a spy and search the farm. Inside the crow sees four strange ghostly figures. The apparitions appear to be men dressed in a variety of weapons and armour, their fashions span a gap of over three centuries. The youngest is familiar and appears to be identical to the body last used by Addryn Thane. The party correctly surmise that these ghosts are the spirits of the men 'taken' by Addryn Thane.
Alex is convinced that the spirits may turn against Thane if given the chance. Against Bucky's better judgment, the party ride out to meet the spirits. Bucky's fears are proved right when the four spirits immediately turn on the party. Caught by surprise, Bucky, Callum and Sparrow are overcome by fear and flee the battle, leaving Huw and Alex to fight for their lives. All seems lost for the two until Bucky and Sparrow manage to overcome their fear and return to the fray. Bucky calls upon the power of his God and destroys the undead.
After burying the dead farmer and his family, the party head for Westgate, the principal city of the Vale. Here they search through the church libraries and come across several probable sites for Baccan's lair. They spend several days preparing for an extended trip into the wilderness and set off. They take ship south along the great River Tooze and head through the Tormoth Pass into the Wyrmsdown.
They spend several weeks skirting the eastern foothills of the Lythdaen, heading north and east. As the weeks pass, the party begin to see an increase in goblin raiding parties. Callum recognises many of the clan banners and is puzzled by the fact that the Goblins are from many different tribes, both local and from the far south.
The first three castles the party investigate prove to be empty. As they approach the fourth, Greenspire, They come across patrols of mutant giants. They have found Thilas' lair.
The party investigate Greenspire from a distance, using Sparrow's ability to use animal senses. They find a bustling castle controlled by Thilas Baccan. Unfortunately there is also a priest of Balor with an entourage of five Knights of Chaos. As they are investigating, a patrol of giants returns to the castle chased by a large force of nearly one thousand goblins. The goblin raiding parties seen by the party have joined together. The goblins proceed to lay siege to the castle.
The party sit back and watch the ongoing siege. They are alarmed to see that the goblins are fighting as a cohesive fighting force, far removed from their normal chaotic approach to war. They also seem to be equipped with a wide array of magic users. After several hours of failed attacks, the goblin mages draw their power together and create an earthquake. One side of the castle falls away as the land is rocked by tremors.
The battle reaches it's peak. The goblins mages are stunned by the aftereffects of their great spell, but the infantry attack regardless. Without the help of the mages, the goblins are unable to fully defeat the defenders and soon a stalemate is reached with the few remaining defenders holed up in the keep. The part decide that now is their best opportunity and infiltrate the castle. In the keep, Thilas sees victory at hand and orders the remaining defenders to sally forth against the goblins. The party strike against Baccan, slaying his demonic familiar. Baccan is stunned by the loss of his familiar and succumbs to the parties attack.
With Baccan defeated, the party slip out of the castle. Without Baccan's help the defenders stumble in their attack against the goblins, but manage to rout the remainder leaving only the Knights of Chaos. Bucky leads an assault on the castle to defeat the Knights. They search the castle and Baccan's personal effects. They find his encrypted diaries and a strange staff. The staff is warped and twisted and decorated with images of Balor. Huw surmises that it is what Baccan used to mutate the giants. Having gained as much as possible, they leave for the Vale.
Here is a short piece of fiction describing the Battle of Greenspire.
With their hopes high the party head north for the city of Caerlyn, the easternmost defences of the Vale. On the way the PCs find signs of a large force of heavy cavalry heading south east. Perplexed at the strangeness of this the party continue north. A few days later they come across another strange sight. Sparrow, during his usual scouting missions, comes across the scene of a battle where a group of light cavalry have been massacred. They are kitted in strange armour: thin leather vests studded with old bronze coins. On their left arms they wear wide, bronze arm-guards while their right arms are protected by thin bronze chain. Their weapons, javelins and short swords, are also bronze.
Callum the bard, a master of information gathering magic, examines the bronze equipment. He identifies them as the Shamot, a bronze age tribe coming from the Starkwood. They live near the city of Tantalon which Huw knows of as an ancient Annan city that fell to the goblins a thousand years ago.
The party arrives in Caerlyn and seeks an audience with the military commanders there. They present to them the standards and trophies they took from the dead goblins at Greenspire. The officer confirms Callum's belief that many of the goblin tribes present are out of their territory. The decide to increase their defences, Alex offers to take word westwards as they are heading that way. Bucky inquires about a group of heavy cavalry heading east. The officer tells Bucky that they were paladins of Orloth.
After spending a night of luxury in the nearest inn, the party head west. As they pass through the rich farmlands of the Vale, Bucky searches for information on his Church. A strange story unfolds, unusual numbers of personnel moves have been taking place and paladins and priests have been heading west to Eldridge. Also on the journey, Huw and Callum finally manage to break Baccan's code and decipher his diaries. They discover that Baccan was meticulous in his record keeping and extremely paranoid about being betrayed by Addryn Thane. Baccan included the names of dozens of his contacts in the diaries, both in the church of Orloth and civilians. To Bucky's horror, it seems that the paladins heading west were mentioned in Baccan's diaries, loyal to Orloth and being sent to their death.
They arrive a few days later in Westgate. Alex passes on the message to the military there while Buckminster visits his church. There, he finds a message from the Speaker, ordering him back to Eldridge. The party set off again and on the eve of the midsummer celebrations they arrive in the great city of Eldridge.
Bucky is convinced by the rest of his companions to enter Eldridge in secret. Bucky agrees and they carefully enter the city. They investigate the Grand Temple of Orloth and find Gwedoc Gorvan, the Speaker, a prisoner in his own chambers and suffering from some mental affliction. The church is being run by Aeric Naev, the Lord Commander of the Legions and a traitor listed in Baccan's diaries. The companions hold a council of war. Bucky wants to denounce the traitors to the world but his more cautious companions try to curb his impulsiveness. They agree to take council with the church of Phaedra.
After lengthy consultation the part convince the high priestess of their honesty. She agrees to help them but not overtly. During the midsummer festival in two days, she and her entourage will enter the various churches and temples in the city. She will allow some of them to join her party and enter the Orlothian stronghold. The day of the festival arrives and the party put their plan into action. Callum enters the crowds waiting in the temple grounds and Huw and Sparrow join the procession. Huw and Sparrow infiltrate the temple and find the Speaker. They spirit him away at the height of the ceremonies.
Back in the temple of Phaedra, the priestesses are unable to heal the Speaker's injuries. The high priestess tells them to travel to the city-state of Yarn, the site of the Grand Temple of Phaedra. There they will find the order's best healers. As they are about to leave they hear that the city has been sealed and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of the heretic Buckminster Fullerene and his known associates for the foul murder of the Speaker, Gwedoc Gorvan.
The party slip out of the city, hoping to reach the nearby city of Vanlor before word arrives of their 'deeds'. On the way they come across the Orlothian couriers bearing their arrest warrants northwards. They ambush the couriers and head north believing they have bought themselves a period of respite. Unknown to them they have been tracked by a bounty hunter, Arilan Viali, from Eldridge. Viali follows the party to Vanlor and when they hire a ship to take them to Pendaran, he hires some pirates he knows for a cut of his profits.
After a day sailing, the pirates catch the slower merchant ship. The party, thinking them simple pirates attempt to frighten them away with a show of force. They themselves are ambushed by Viali and his allies and the party are captured. They are imprisoned on the ship 'Zeryths Revenge' which heads back to the coast while the other pirate ship, 'The Cutter' attacks the merchantman, which it captures. They party manage to escape from their warded cabin and wait for the ship to approach land. They escape 'The Revenge' and wait for 'The Cutter'. As the cutter approaches they enter the ship and free the captured crew of the merchantman. They stage a mutiny and take the ship just as Viali on the 'Revenge' realises they have escaped.
'The Cutter' is turned westwards to Pendaran, closely followed by the Revenge. Aided by magic, the 'Revenge' gains on 'The Cutter' rapidly. Huw, Sparrow and Alex launch an invisible attack on the 'Revenge'. Huw incapacitates the ship with fireballs while Alex and Sparrow kill Viali. With the threat removed, 'The Cutter' continues on to Pendaran.
They arrive in Berabor, the port closest to Yarn, a week later and head off immediately for Yarn. In Yarn they gain access to the temple of Phaedra and inform the Light of Phaedra, the Most Radiant Yolanna, of the events in Eldridge. Yolanna tells the party that she has received word of the Speaker's 'death' and will be traveling to Eldridge for the funeral and investiture of the new Speaker, Aeric Naev. She summons her best healers and travels to Eldridge, with the party hidden in her entourage.
In Eldridge, the Phaedran healers discover that the Speaker has been repeatedly dosed with a poison derived from a Jehillan cobra. The Speaker's physical ailments will recover but not his mental faculties. The healer tells the party that only three cures are available: Phaedra's Kiss, Thorza Grass and pollen of Dreamvine flowers. The PCs opt for Dreamvine pollen, the closest of the three but still in the deep south of the Wyrmsdown. The party conducts a frantic ride south through Tanglewood, using spells and enchantments to speed up their horses. Evading the false Orlothian patrols, they reach the southern Wyrmsdown in a couple of weeks. they scour the countryside and find the Dreamvine. They secure a sample.
On the return trip they come across a group of Orloth Paladins. They are survivors of a large group who were massacred by goblins in the Wyrmsdown several months ago. These were the heavy cavalry whose tracks the party saw after the battle of Greenspire. The paladin's are loyal to the Speaker and were sent out here to their deaths by Aeric Naev. Bucky informs them of events, telling them to find other loyal paladins and muster them outside Eldridge as quickly as possible. The party returns to Eldridge, again using the speed magic. Back in the temple, the Dreamvine antidote is given to the Speaker. He slowly recovers from the poison in time for the investiture of the new Speaker.
Yolanna and Gwedoc make contact with the priests of the lesser gods, who are in Eldridge for the investiture. They concoct a plan to confront Aeric Naev in the High Temple of Orloth in the middle of the ceremony. Bucky, Alex and Sparrow hide themselves amongst the Phaedran entourage while Callum and Huw lead the assembled Paladins of Orloth through the sewers underneath the temple. In the middle of the ceremony the trap is sprung and the old Speaker reveals that he is still alive. In the ensuing chaos, Naev disappears.
The party track Naev's transport spell to his manor outside the city. The party break into the manor, fighting Naev's chaos warrior servants. They find Naev in a large underground chamber summoning a chaos demon. Sparrow launches an arrow at Naev, striking him through the neck, but not before he finishes his spell. The party defeats the summoned demon and chaos warriors.
The party search Naev's home looking for clues. His diaries and notes show the full extent of his treachery. In particular are a regular series of orders sending his minions to a remote spot east of Midwinter. The party travel south to Midwinter. From there they head east into the badlands searching for the mysterious place mentioned in Naev's diaries. After searching for many days the party come across a strange rock-hewn building in a secluded canyon. The set up watch and discover that it's inhabitants are warriors of Balor and a number of priests. It is a temple of Balor.
Outnumbered, they return to Midwinter. They hire a group of mercenaries and return to the temple. They assault the temple and defeat the evil occupants. Beneath the temple they discover a strange magical portal, beyond which they can see a tranquil forest glade and a cottage. The party heads through the portal. Sparrow believes they have traveled many miles from their previous location and they are somewhere in the north-eastern part of the Wyrmsdown. They enter the cottage and find it has been abandoned for some time. They leave the cottage to find themselves surrounded by trolls, who attack immediately.
Battle ensues and it soon becomes apparent that the trolls are being aided by an invisible mage. As he casts a spell, he momentarily appears and then disappears again. The trolls are defeated but the mage continues to pelt the party with spells. Bucky, Sparrow and Alex spread out waiting for the mage's next appearance. Fortunately his next spell puts him close to Bucky, who leaps upon him and slays him with a single blow.
The corpse that appears is that of a middle-aged man. He is carrying two magical items that grab the party's attention. The first is his staff, identical to Huw's and obviously one of the Thirteen Staves. The second is a strange opaque gem four inches across set in a mithril frame. The party scours the area, but finds no signs of life, so they decide to return to the temple beyond the gate. Unfortunately upon entering the gate they appear in a cold dark cave.
They explore the cave and the caverns beyond to find that the place is inhabited by a clan of goblins. Huw enspells the goblins to sleep and the party continues. They come across one passage that ends in a stout iron door. They break open the door and enter what appears to be the mage's abode. They explore the complex finding cells with starving human occupants, a shrine to Balor, an extensive Library and some Goblin mages, who are quickly dispatched. In the Library they find a writing desk and on the desk are five letters, one addressed to each of the party members.
Bucky shows the rest his letter. The mage they killed was Rhein Hareld, the same mage who was involved in Addryn Thane's plot several centuries ago to resurrect his wife. In the letter he explains that the gem they found on him was called the Dreamglass. He had used it to aid Thane in his plots, but had also seen his own defeat by the party. He explains that he was training goblin mages for Addryn Thane's army. He was also responsible for finding and preparing new bodies for Thane to inhabit. He ends by saying that he regrets his past actions and will help the party in their quest to defeat Thane. He tells them to seek "Thorgad's Mirrors" or "The Ring of Ellcidar", as both have the ability to trap Thane.
They head off again, searching for a way out. They come across a strange room. The door is emblazoned with the symbol of Orloth. The door shows signs of someone attempting to break through. As Bucky approaches, the door swings open as if it had never been locked. Inside there are three stone biers. On the first is the body of a stately middle-aged woman. The second is a tall, broad-shouldered man. On his chest is a holy symbol of Orloth and an ornate sword lies at his side. The third is an old, bearded man. He wears the rune covered robes and a spell book lies on his chest. All three are obviously dead, and they are surrounded by a glowing blue aura. At the foot of the middle bier is a bronze plaque, reading 'Here lies the result of human folly. None shall meddle in the affairs of the Gods.' They have obviously found the bodies of Thane, his wife and Rhein Hareld.
Baffled at the meaning of what they have seen, they continue their search. Soon, they come across another gate. This leads to a maze like system of gates and caverns. They fight their way through snow trolls, ice hounds and finally an Ice Drake before finding their way out to the edge of a glacier. In the distance, on the glacier they can see a structure made of ice. They rest to heal their wounds and Bucky uses the Dreamglass to divine Thane's location. In a dream he sees the image of an ancient port city, swarming with goblins. See 'The Dream' for more details of the dream. The next day they set off across the glacier.
They reach the structure, a huge dome of solid, dirty ice. In one side are a huge pair of doors. Wary, the party investigates with magic and find the place to be home to a family of frost giants. They find the location of the gate at the top of the building and teleport in. They are attacked by frost giants guarding the gate and more from the floor below. The battle goes badly and Bucky is struck down by a huge frost giant. His companions leap to his aid, but too late to save Bucky's life. The remaining party rally and defeat the last of the giants. They gather up Bucky's lifeless body and head back through the gate. They find themselves back in the temple of Balor. They gather their equipment and return to Midwinter. Bucky is cremated soon after.
Winter is approaching, and with Bucky's death on their minds the companions prepare for the next stage of their campaign. Thane is somewhere in the east, gathering and training his Goblin forces. The means of Thane's defeat have been hinted at by Hareld. They have the coming winter to recruit new companions and prepare for the spring.
On to Part 3 of the Chronicle.