Our Story Thus Far…(encompassing the first year, real world time, of adventuring)…
Like most adventuring groups our company first met out on the road looking for adventure, in this case heading towards Loudwater. It was a rather motley crew, but then that only meant there was plenty of room for improvement.
The road leads down many paths, but to what end? Come along and see.
Upon first entering the town the group was able to thwart a goblin raid.
For many years, goblins have laired in a nearby dungeon hidden in the boughs of the South Wood. This dungeon is known to some as the Barrow of the Ogre King. The barrow is a remnant of the vanished dwarven kingdom of Ammarindar.
A local wizard named Curuvar the Brazen, recently sold to Garwain’s Curiosities a dagger made from the pointed horn of some creature. This dagger is the horn totem, which Curuvar stole from the Barrow of the Ogre King, prompting the goblins to attack Loudwater! The Goblins were agitated by the theft of their relic and attacked the town to recover the item.
The group journeyed to the Barrow of the Ogre King and after clearing out the dungeon, where they almost met their end at the hands of the Shaman, returned to town only to find that winter had returned.
About a mile east of the Dire Wood in a tower sealed beneath a layer of magic ice stands Draigdurroch Tower. Beneath its frozen cocoon, the tower stands three stories tall and is capped by a windowless spire. At night, witchlights sometimes dance above the tower, accompanied by delicate lyre notes. A warlock named Draigdurroch built the tower thirty years ago on the edge of the Dire Wood, hoping to enhance his own magic by studying the strange phenomena of the forest.
Draigdurroch amassed a personal library of rituals and lore and was said to have forged a warlock pact of mysterious origin. Before he finished his studies, magical weather boiled out of the Dire Wood and sealed his tower in a layer of ice. None have seen him since.
The real story is that about 30 years ago, a dwarf warlock named Draigdurroch came to the Gray Vale. Draigdurroch was part of a cabal of warlocks, and his particular research dealt with the creation of new types of eldritch pacts. He believed that the Dire Wood contained a particularly potent source of untapped energy—the remains of a failed deity. Thousands of years before the Spellplague, a Netherese city called Karse stood in the area, and the demigod Karsus was its patron. Karsus tried and failed to ascend to full godhood, dying in the process, and his city (along with the rest of the ancient Empire of Netheril) fell not long thereafter. Draigdurroch’s research suggested that the petrified remains of Karsus yet lie beneath the forest’s heart. Draigdurroch hoped that he could tap into the latent energy that Karsus had accumulated and use it to power his new pact. The dwarf warlock built a tower about a mile outside the Dire Wood and began his experiments in earnest.
Draigdurroch’s hunch turned out to be correct. A powerful nexus of magical energy is beneath the heart of the Dire Wood. However, the fey spirits who dwell within the Dire Wood have long been aware of how dangerous the remnants of Karsus could be if the demigod’s power fell into the wrong hands. They have appointed themselves as guardians to ensure that no one tampers with the failed deity’s resting place. When Draigdurroch’s efforts began to bear fruit and the dwarf warlock drew upon the latent echoes of Karsus’s power to form a dark pact, the fey approached him and warned him to cease his meddling. The warlock was confident in his powers and ignored the warning. For his temerity, the fey punished him. Draigdurroch was imprisoned within the Feywild and his tower was sealed in a block of magic ice as a warning to others. The fey set a powerful gemstone holding a spirit of winter to act as the keystone holding the icy barrier.
The ritual enacted by the fey was designed to have a limited area of effect—Draigdurroch’s tower was encased in ice, but the surrounding lands were not supposed to be affected. Unfortunately, such a powerful spell cannot go unnoticed forever. Draigdurroch’s tower contains several small rifts to the Elemental Chaos that he had created as part of his arcane research. Recently, a group of ice warriors discovered one of these rifts when they were drawn by the
strength of the cold energy emanating from the gemstone. They have taken up residence in Draigdurroch’s tower, finding it a most hospitable environment thanks to the perpetual layer of ice. The warriors have begun to modify the ritual that the fey created, increasing its
power and spreading the effects of the magical frost over a larger area. If they are not stopped, a permanent winter will come to the entire Gray Vale.
Traveling to the Icy Spire the group was able to defeat the permanent return of winter to the Grey Vale and recover the gem known as “Winter’s Heart”.
Upon returning to Loudwater the group then went about investigating the Lady of Shadows. The Lady of Shadows was running the underground black market in the town. Everything from theft to extortion was firmly under her thumb. Once again the group was able to defeat this threat , but unfortunately the Lady of Shadows escaped. They did however manage to acquire the tenement house( see also maps) that she had been in and are using this as their base of operations.
Notes in the Lady of Shadows lair led our band of adventurers to trek to the Scepter Tower of Spellgard. They managed to finally get into the tower through the catacombs. They were able to negotiate with the wererats to have their curse lifted to safely travel through the catacombs. The tower led to several epic battles in which the group was finally able to defeat the green dragon “pet” of the Lady of Shadows. Unfortunately, the Lady of Shadows (once again) and the dragon (now revived) were able to make good their escape.
Prophecy of Lady Saharel
And lo, it came to pass that the gates of chaos burst open and those who dwelt within burst forth, bringing desolation and darkness to the world.
To the righteous shall fall the task of sealing the gate and woe to those who shall seek to secure the maw, for their champion is neither alive nor dead, neither friend nor foe, neither pure nor wicked.
Not thus until his allegiance is claimed, making fealty sworn and bound until the end comes nigh.
Great shall be the power of his blood, with power to see the hidden and the lost, and he shall seek his enemy and become one.
The group returned to town after much argument about how much loot they would be able to transport back. After spending time recovering in their house they were attacked by a group of bounty hunters as well as assassins. Trying to get to the bottom of the bounty on their heads they re-visited the Icy Spire, now inhabited by the Wicked Tooth Gnoll tribe, only to be turned back by a vicious defense. The Drow was able to find out that the Lady of Shadows was behind the bounty on the party.
They then proceeded to the Star of Darkness where they were able to clean out the Tower of the Black Spear and eventually kill the Dwarven artificer Kaebel. The party went on to disable the Star of Darkness by destroying the artifact powering the Creation Forge at the heart of the pentagram located in the Forbidden Forge Complex.
After their return to town the adventurers were accosted by a grandfatherly old hermit wearing shabby green skins who wanted them to clear the Grandfather Tree of its current occupants, so that its portals could not be used for nefarious purposes. The party was able to clear out the labyrinth beneath the roots of the gargantuan old tree after much fighting. As a matter fact this is where the the barbarian slew a Dire Bear single handed and acquired the rightful ownership of the Blue Bear Barbarian Tribe Regalia. To ensure the completion of their mission the party waited a month before leaving to ensure no new dangers arose, or no fleeing adversaries returned.
While back in Loudwater recuperating the party was accosted by Roger an emissary from Argent. They were able to overcome the elemental foes sent to kill him before he could find suitable guardians for the now besieged and beleaguered city of Argent. The group has temporarily accepted the Silver Cloaks and has been able to stop the current attacks by ridding the giants of their leadership at the Steading of the Hill Giant King located in the southern portion of the Greypeak Mountains.
While the characters were in Waterdeep, a tall, pale·skinned eladrin with raven hair, wearing leather engraved with shimmering runes accosts the party. He holds his arms out, palms up, to show that he holds no weapons, and addresses the group in Elven. "I bring you greetings, strangers whom I hope to call friends. I have heard tales of your exploits. You should be proud indeed, for my home lies far from here, and only the names of worthy mortals reach my ears. “I would speak with you on a matter of great importance to both our peoples. Will you hear me?” The characters agree to speak with him. The eladrin, whose name is Paelias, tells them of the Garden of Graves, formerly a holy site and a cemetery for his people. He then explains how the site has been corrupted by a malignant outside power that has taken it over and remade the region. driving many of the fey mad and enslaving others. He explains that this corruption will soon have an impact in this region of the mortal world, if it has not done so already, but his people are afraid to fight back by themselves, so he is asking for the characters’ help. The party, being fully occupied with the impending war with the giants, declined to help.
The party’s plans to go after the giants, was interrupted by their house in Loudwater being detsroyed. Later investigation into this catastrophe revealed this graffitti scrawled on the town wall near the party’s house.
Bow down before the might of KARSUS for his divine resurrection is nigh upon us!!
“Long Live Netheril!!”
Netherese plans found in Lady of Shadows possession.
Description of Bael-Turath as the group is transported back through time to retrieve the supernal silver needed to re-make the Guardian Items.
“Bael-Turath isn’t just a destination; it’s the end of fortune. Travelers never set out with Bael Turath in mind, but they end up here just the same. It’s like a little slice of Hell clinging to the outer crescent of civilization, a forgotten town of stone and brick, blood and dust. But when the sun is slanting low in the west and the wolves are howling, even a place like this can seem a welcome sight. After days in the wilderness someone might even mistake it for civilization. But they’d be wrong.
The city looks inviting from a distance, less hospitable up close. Two squat towers frame a wide gateway, but the stonework is riddled with crumbling mortar and creeping ivy. ‘All hail Bael Turath, jewel of the Empire!’ proclaims the gateway arch in marble letters a foot tall. Outside the gate three severed heads sit impaled on spikes, flyblown and glassy eyed. Wooden placards advertise their crimes. ‘Thief’, says one. ‘Murderer’, says another, and the third, ‘Blasphemer.’ Guards lounge in the shade, playing at dice, stopping only to claim the toll from travelers passing through. One silver a foot, man or beast. One-legged beggars pay half price.
The main street is lined with inns and taverns, gambling halls and dens of vice. Street vendors hawk their wares without much enthusiasm, and the prostitutes do likewise. A man lays in the gutter, face down. Is he passed out or dead? No one cares. It doesn’t look like the kind of town where they’d execute a man for blasphemy.
The main thoroughfare is deceptively short, ending in a square with a fountain. In the center stands a statue of a horned man, majestic and imperious. Tall, narrow buildings ring the square, shops of a more reputable sort. Between the shops a half-dozen cobbled streets snake into the neighborhoods of the city. This square is the lowest part of the city, closed in by hills, giving it a claustrophobic air. Old stone and wooden buildings climb up into the hills, following roads that meander out of sight. Above everything looms an old keep, frowning down on the city. It sits atop the tallest hill, towers thrusting up through the tangle of an overgrown orchard. Not a friendly looking kind of place. Naturally this is the groups destination. Welcome to Bael Turath."