Erstril

Events occuring within Kher Badir
Presence of the Cult of Skartho

The past few days have passed quickly. We needed to move ahead in order to acquire the next pyramid. Thus the Order has instructed me to a hill dwarven township a few days travel from the capital.

The journey to a lakeside township went with little fuss. Duke Varsdaag agreed to grant us an audience with the king in return for a favour. This favour was an investigation into the drop in the fishing industry. This was also connected to the disappearances of dwarves along the docks. A disproportionate number of mountain dwarves were in the list of disappearances. Exploring under the lake Caelano and Sledge found an undersea cavern. Moving through the tunnels we found what was left of the missing persons, and an emerging slave trade involving ‘grey’ dwarves.

We met with a halfling named Merida. Her presence has been a welcome addition to our group and appears eager to aid us in our cause.

My oath as a paladin has both knighted and bound me, but I do not know what my station is in the eyes of Gods, especially the Lord Desztus. I have not lost my abilities as a cleric of the Order, and for that I count my blessings still.

Kher Badir has moved little since we have arrived, but events have quickly arisen. We quickly managed to secure audience with the king and came to an arrangement for the pyramid’s use at a later date. A demon that has called itself ‘Dave’ who appeared in the middle of the night, tracking us via the cultist daggers. It claimed that it was trying to stop Skartho from entering this realm. A demon is not to be trusted, but it is prudent to investigate potential cultist presence in the region.

There two houses of note that the ‘Dave’ collected: Dalas and Rhondet. The house Dalas, of a smithing background, was investigated in case one of their members was a cultist. The youngest son has cultist paraphernalia due to a romance the family would rather not talk about. And thus the investigation continues. The house Rhondet has business in gems, from cutting to selling.

(Scrawled hastily with a rushed hand)

I’ve been thinking ‘bout my station due to walking the Path. I remember talking to others who’ve taken the oath when I was younger. The meaning of the oath was different to many of them, but t’was definitely the seal that places the Knighted on the Path, bound to never stray. Its like a seal of a letter, I guess. As I trained this information was interesting but mattered little due to the direction of my training. A truly devout cleric ascends to the heavens to be at Desztus’ side after all, while paladins were known to live mortal lives.

What does this mean for me? Was any of the devout meant to commit themselves to training in both, and how are they rewarded? In any case, I’ve time to spare. I’ll create a legacy such that future generations can benefit from my efforts.

(Neatly written in small text along the edge of the page)

Give me the will to withstand the darkness,
Grant me the strength to fight back,
But provide me with the wisdom to tell right from wrong
Praise Desztus

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Returning to Kerh Badir
Sister swords

The party took the island back from the north. When they arrived on the island they found that most of the jungle looked rather sickly and quickly found that there was no game to be found to supliment their dwindling supplies. Thankfully Darius preformed miricals of Destus and kept the party feed until they arrived back at Kerh Badir.

Brother Darius Spend some time at the temple of Destus on arrival and asked an elder if they could get the party an meeting with the king. The elder refused the request but did suggest that lord ? may be willing to get an audence for them if they did somethign for him. Brother Darius Asked for the privilage of delivering the next message to Lord ? and was told it would be ready in a couple of days. Caelano Jassan insisted on good food and a good bed so the party headed off to (name) for a meal. This meal was rudely interupted as a Man with two half orc body guards burst in threw his sword on the ground, which surprisingly turned to point at Horven Torgaxe, picked it up and demanded its “the other one”. This quickly dissentegrated into a fight and the party made quick work of him and his tow half orc buddies quickly decided to flee. They draged the man outside and woke him up to demand to know what was going on. it eventually came out that his sword and Horven Torgaxe’s single sword were sister swords and much stronger together. After much debate it was decided to take him to the guard and get him locked up until after the party had departed.

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Notes from a Green Dragon

Plot-relevant things we learned from the green dragon:

  • The lichgon was sealed on the island because if you destroy it’s body it will just come back. You need to destroy it’s soul but they had no way to do that.
  • There were extra-big elder dragons of each colour, it appears the lichgon was the white one that went rogue. The others provided the magic to seal it up.
  • I don’t remember their names. Apparently they’re all still alive though.
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Dagdurhal PROPER

Apon reaching Dagdurhal the party descended several levels in search of the throne room. Each level was patrolled by groups of Giants, some avoided some engaged.

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Entering the Ogre Lands
Excerpt from the journal of Darius, cleric of Desztus.

Setting our boat on the shore we started to walk towards the capital of the former Dagdurhal, we expected that it would take over a week. This involved traveling through magic-induced winter with steep mountains.

We found a village in the tundra area filled with the bones of the fallen, which includes humans and mountain dwarves. Caelano determined they were murdered due to their cracked skulls. There was a lack of stone walled houses, but many structures were still intact despite its age. One of them was considered as a place to stay for the night with a fireplace, small enough so it doesn’t take long to heat up.

The next building was the town hall. Its large door was smashed in with numerous bones scattered among the pulverised fittings. Looking for places that were mostly untouched and may have secret compartments we encountered the record room. We found the town was called Gorgvhagdon 1500 years ago. It was active due to its connection to the capital. Once the capital fell it suffered economically before finally falling to raids. Art (500GP) was also found but all other records (particularly) scrolls were reduced to dust.

Sledge’s search yielded items of interest: 300GP in ancient, obsolete currency, corked bottle of alcohol and an unknown potion. Returning to Caelano the bottle contained brandy and the potion temporarily increased the drinker’s intelligence.

A final search included the mayor’s office, checking the walls for hidden sections. A quick search yielded a hidden room opened by a sconce. It contained a rank smell, mostly unharmed compared to those outside. The individual appeared to be a regal character by appearance. Caelano’s spell detected a magical item on their person: a ring. It was revealed to be a Ring of the Ram. Horven’s search in the room yielded:

  • 100 (ancient) platinum pieces
  • 300 (ancient) electrum pieces
  • bag of polished stones (12x 50GP)
  • 4 rings (3x 20GP, 1x 30GP)

I decided to take a look through the local temple for items of note, particularly artifacts. Nothing except spare holy symbols were found. Seeing no personal use for them, they were let behind for those who could use them and the various shrines were dusted off and roughly cleaned up. There was too much dust.

Looking for something to celebrate or enjoy the pubs were checked. The first contained a half barrel of mead (moderate quality) and about 12 bottles of spirits and wine of varying quality. The second had nothing, and reasonably content I returned to camp. Luckily we managed to wrap up our search by late afternoon and the rest of the day was free.

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Last days in Margnacht
Excerpt from the journal of Darius, cleric of Desztus.

Sledge managed to find an area to ambush: a hill with a small trench up the slope. The sun also rises over the hill possibly impairing vision if enemies try and attack uphill. Caelano and I collected and drove a cart full of vegetables, along with paperwork (to exit and re-enter Margnacht) to the ambush point and set up the ambush. Cart was set along the road with an illusion of a broken cart.

The guards with a weapons shipment arrived, setting itself a distance away. Included an adventurer with a crossbow and a blade. All dwarves. Three approached towards the cart, inquiring about the situation. One of them broke the illusion by testing it with a rock.

An attempt to persuade them to surrender. Upon failing that, Caelano set up another illusion with a set of archers up the hill. A final attempt to plead for their surrender was a success and all the guards lay down their arms, but not before setting fire to their cart. The adversaries were tied up and the weapons retrieved and hidden in the vegetables. They were in the following condition:

  • 10 superficially damaged
  • 2 worthless
  • 2 usable for spare parts
  • 34 working weapons in pristine condition

Upon arrival back into Margnacht we met with our contact (Zark) at the drop off point. We were paid 300GP as a ‘finders fee’ and checked on our boat. Once in working condition the next day we left for our destination towards the capital of Dagduhral.

The shore was chilly, but not freezing. Setting our boat upon the sand we trudged onward.

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Dealing with the Margnacht job market
Excerpt from the journal of Darius, cleric of Desztus.

As the ship remains in port to be fixed the group decided to look for work. First the town guard was consulted; who advised of small jobs with clearing goblin warrens for little pay. On top of that an adventurers’ permit was required to take the job. Getting annoyed with the possibility of more paperwork a trip to the Temple of Desztus was in order. There were no jobs of note available but some hard labour was offered.

Meanwhile Horven made use of his skills to contact the local thieves’ guild. Putting a root vegetable over his shoulder, a signal of the left hand, and his right pocket out was used as a message for parlay while wandering streets full of official vendors. A while later a wooden symbol with dwarven style art of a rat with an eye patch was given.

Collecting the rest of the group, we travelled through a derelict alleyway. Seeing the symbol of on the token on a door with a sleeping dwarf below it the group contemplated what on what to do next. Taking the initiative I greeted the dwarf who grabbed my arm with a vice-like grip. Thinking quickly Horven showed the token and the dwarf nodded in acknowledgement and we proceeded through the door.

We were met with a small room with a thick wooden shutter at the end. A slider opened with eyes peering out before shutting and the slider opening. We were met with a dwarf who wanted weapons handed over before proceeding further. Reluctantly agreeing a chit was given in response.

Doors opened and another two dwarves entered to pat us down for further items. Seeing nothing we entered the next room, which appeared to be used for lounging. Horven was told, “she will met with you soon” and proceeded to gamble, winning 10GP. Resigning to wait Caelano and I took to couches while Sledge and Tinfoil lounged by a fireplace.

A middle-aged redheaded dwarf walks in with an elf by her side. A discussion was made to ask for paying jobs. We made an interesting pitch, but rejected a job to silence a gnome. The dwarf offered to contact us on any more jobs if still interested. Seeing a chance to liven up the place she offered a few rounds of three-dragon ante, betting platinum pieces. Horven’s luck (and skill) pulled through and won 5PP. The token was offered to be kept as a door pass to see the Rat Queen.

Seeing no immediate jobs to be done the group looked around for information (on the female dwarf) and jobs. Trawling around a pub and the town guard fell short as Caelano’s lack of discretion cost any chances for information. A few hours, 20GP (on bribes and drinks) and a few pubs later the following information was found:

  • The Rat Queen has a bad reputation
  • No warrants (so no information from the town guard
  • Don’t double cross
  • Ruthless, but a decent employer who pays well
  • Well networked, with interests around the city
  • Doesn’t shy from brute force or murder, but uses it as a last resort

The group drew interest from a human who offered better pay than the Rat Queen. The pay was for extortion. Quickly leaving and discussing what to do next Horven was bumped by an elf who passed a note within a small, well-made box. The note said to, “get close to them.” Seeing that as a sign of employment the group went back inside and stated an interest in taking a job after thinking about it. The human was interested, and we stated that we could do better than collecting from an extortion racket. Seemingly agreeing another job was offered: ambush a caravan with goods in it, protected by a group (8) of the town guard. The goods were weapons and a caravan with vegetables would be provided to us to smuggle them into the city. Paperwork would be provided, but we have the set up the ambush ourselves. Asking the deadline the caravan would arrive the next evening, indicating a very tight time frame.

The plan is to set an ambush with caltrops, intending to slow down and stop the caravan. Non-lethal opportunities including illusions, sleep spells and an opportunity to surrender were considered. Hopefully this job doesn’t cost any lives.

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And now we are dealing with smugglers
Excerpt from the journal of Darius, cleric of Desztus.

After making preparations we brought a boat (3000GP) and made sail towards the northern point of the continent in order to make our way to the Ogre Lands.

However, a freak storm near a peninsula forced us to dock into the city of Margnacht. The group’s arrival was met with an officer demanding papers allowing the boat to port. Not knowing of any requirements for paperwork, a plead was made that the current weather forced the boat to port and if a waiver of the fees be made due to the need of repairs in the morning. The officer quickly gave over papers for requisition to port (20GP), and charges for improper port (40GP) and bribery (70GP).

The group arrived at the nearby inn, the Sixth Bridge, as a place to stay overnight. Tinfoil was let out to move around. A discussion within the group arrived at a certain problem: what if the boat was damage enough to be taking in water and not be seaworthy. I decided to ask the barkeep about locals who would be able to help. Pointing out a shabby, oily elf I decided to tip the barkeep (3CP) and ask the individual about fixing the boat.

A discussion followed, where services could be made to get through the paperwork and any future paperwork in order to get the boat to be fixed, seaworthy and to leave the city. Asking to meet tomorrow morning and discuss payment an offer was made to stay at another inn a couple doors down: the Scalded Mermaid. Taking the offer the group stayed there overnight met the elf in the morning.

A large stack of paperwork was offered for 700GP, which was reluctantly paid. The paperwork allowed for the ship to be towed to a dry dock and inspected (20GP). The inspection was not good: the keel was torn off and needed replacing. It could be done but parts were not available and needed to be retrieved – the two were smugglers and contraband was missing. The approximate location was in the city’s sewers, and an offer was made to help if it helped to speed up the boat being fixed and the group leaving the Margnacht.

The sewers had only a ’a trio of giant crocodiles stopping the party from reaching the goods. Once they were finished the boxes were retrieved and delivered without incident.

There should be a way to get the costs of repair waived as part of assisting the recovery of their goods.

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We have reached Kher Badir
Excerpt from the journal of Darius, cleric of Desztus.

The rest of the trip went without incident and the group arrived at the capital of Kher Badir, home of the (Hill) Dwarves and the location of Sapphire pyramid sought to obtain.

The city goes up from a while with a hill surrounding it, built for protection against giants and ogres. Established, older structures are underground (e.g. King’s Residence) while newer, affluent houses are above groud (such as the town hall) and nearer to the top of the hill. All buildings, especially the underground ones, are constructed from stone – even the doors.

Seeing the impact that Chag-Thru-Tonaket had on the region, I sought the need for Desztus’ guidance for the entity within the moving island, if it is deemed to be greater threat. The local temple provided the space and quiet necessary for prayer.

Meanwhile Caelano sought out the city’s records on information about events around the time period of the pyramids’ use (5000 years ago), and the Sapphire and Emerald pyramid. Horven and Sledge moved toward the Bards’ College, seeking information from songs and tales of legends that may not be recorded in the strict, academic study of sages.

With deep records spanning the ages, Caelano found out about an undead scourge that occurred during the time period, with a winter in Dagduhral that exists to this day. The Dwarves held large troves of treasure and therefore did not keep their pyramid in significant regard, with it only appearing as a sign of office during the time period before ‘going out of fashion.’

The Bards’ College is located underground (for the acoustics). Horven and Sledge were met with a mountain dwarf named Maester Kargen – dressed in comfortable, but ornate clothing. Asking about the pyramids did not work. Upon inquiring about Dagduhral before its fall, the bard stated that stories do exist of King Gart, the Fallen and last king of the Mountain Dwarves, but any more information would only be provided for a donation to the college. Five gold was the price agreed upon as a private audience for a performance by the college. Tales recounted the following points:

  • Gart was king of an icey realm, and leader of a decimated race
  • a freak winter occurred, many lifetimes long
  • frost giants struck, taking the kingdom
  • The king died defending his hall, and fell with many of his trusted knights.

The inquiry about a moving island was met with some confusion, initially interpreted as the Wild Isles for the orcs’ tendency to move around a lot. Sledge’s correction did not help.

Ending the prayer I met up with Caelano, hoping to help. Once brought up to speed, the silver raven was used to send the information about the undead scourge and ask about dwarven-owned draconic artifacts. The raven arrived, delivering its message. The bird’s arrival attracted Tinfoil, whose amulet created a scene of light comedy with the Maester. Inquiry about the scourge added the following (important) piece of information: its cause, a dragon that was also a lich. Pleased with the visit, an additional tip of two gold pieces was paid and the group met up is discuss plans.

Seeing an opportunity to obtain the pyramid in Dagduhral without any politicking, an expedition up north could be made, giving more credentials to the quest when the group arrives back to Kher Badir. The approach would be to avoid a long overland excursion by taking a boat to a northern coast and moving towards Dagduhral from there. Preparations would be made, which include:

  • Map of the capital and Gart’s hall
  • Map of the surrounding area, including terrain
  • Clothing and equipment for the cold weather, including crampons for walking on ice

Checking the value of the dragon teeth, horns, scales and the acid gland came to a value of 400GP. Seeing a better use for them the group did not take the offer and used them on armour. New platemail would be commissioned with the following details:

  • teeth, or at least pieces of it, would be applied onto the pauldrons and gauntlets
  • scales, reworked into feather-like shapes would be applied around the armour (such as pauldrons and greaves)

The horns would be worked into a new framework for Sledge’s new shield. Teeth would also be applied to provide piercing capability when shield bashing. No current use has been found for the acid gland.

We hope the preparation is enough.

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Freedom Restored: a dragon has been slain!
Excerpt from the journal of Darius, cleric of Desztus.

Some lizardmen traveled with us, helping us distract the giant as we entered the dragon’s lair. Kassett also appeared to wear the amulet that their chief wore.

We traveled towards the dragon’s lair from morning to the afternoon, eventually encountering the giant who stood guard in front of the cave’s entrance. Splitting off into two groups, allowing us to flank around and sneak into the cave as the lizardmen lured the giant away from its post. The giant appeared to wear similar attire as the last one, but had a much more ornate mace in its possession instead of the standard club.

Entering the cave we wandered a bit, using Light (on Sledge’s shield) to illuminate the darkness and Sigmund to scout ahead. We eventually encountered a well-armed undead. It was dispatched quickly, but not without having an effect on Horven’s lifeforce. We ran into a couple more before meeting some more lizardmen. These seem to don slightly different attire, which we suspected that they were from a different tribe from the one we talked to before. The following fight revealed that some of their individuals contained those who were proficient in magic. The last man surrendered and he was allowed to leave once he dropped his weapons. Once the fight ended we found ourselves in the middle of the supply/common room, filled with food and various large bugs (probably a delicacy).

After a couple of bends through the cave we heard heavy breathing, an strong indicator of a dragon. Chag-Thru-Tonaket also managed to noticed our light source and come into view: a black dragon, as we expected.

“Tyrant! I am Darius a cleric of the lord Desztus, God of Messages, and conduit of His will. Through me, your oppression ends here and freedom will be restored to these lands”
-Darius

The dragon responded with a threat, rising off the ground and wind beat against the party. The party made use of attracting Chag-Thru-Tonaket’s attention with Caelano casting Fireball spells, Horven firing a shortbow from range and Sledge directly facing the enemy. Sparked with a bolt of inspiration (from Desztus) and rope in hand, I dashed towards the dragon and leapt onto its back. Chag-Thru-Tonaket was no pushover, rising off the ground, and flying across the room towards Caelano, pinning him and inquiring about an item containing ‘draconic magic.’ Sledge almost took the full brunt of the dragon’s breath weapon (acid), but made use of its shield. Quick work ended the dragon’s life with Darius still on its back. The dragon was ‘harvested’ for parts: teeth, horns, scales and its acid gland.

The room Chag-Thru-Tonaket came from contained its hoard:

  • 800CP
  • 9000SP
  • 2300GP
  • 160PP
  • Six art objects worth 25GP each (bracelets, vestments, engraved bone dice, a small mirror in a wooden frame)
  • 120 gems worth 100GP each (assortment of garnets, amethysts, jades and pearls)
  • Headband of Intellect*
  • Cloak of Elvenkind*
  • Cloak of Protection*
  • Figurine of Wonderous Power – silver raven
  • Ring of Warmth*
  • Gem of Brightness
  • Winged Boots*
  • +1 heavy crossbow
  • +2 greatclub
    *requires attunement

The Figurine of Wonderous Power required activation through speaking “send word” in Halfling.

The Gem of Brightness was activated using gnomish terms: illuminate, dazzle, and flare.

The greatclub was carved from obsidian with runes along the weapon that glowed blue. The runes look to be ceremonial. It looks to be slightly larger than typical greatclubs. When held a faint muttering can be heard. It is in giant… Which the bearer of the club can understand regardless of their languages.

The heavy crossbow is made of black iron with flame sigils carved into it. It is warm to the touch and when you hold it you feel comfortably warm.. But whenever it is fired it results in a flash of burning pain.

The cloak of protection looks to be made from fabric but on closer inspection it is very fine fish scales. They’re primarily blue but the hood has some purple scales as well, and they’re used to create some kind of arcane mark. its clasp is a sea shell. It grants a +2 to initiative by whispering warnings. Despite it looking and smelling perfectly fine, donning the cloak feels inherently slimy and unpleasant.

The mace is incredibly lightweight, but no less effective. There is a vine motif running up the handle. there are runes on it that look elven at first glance but could mean more. When wielded it’s bearer feels more conscientious and self-assured

Leaving the cave we were met by a few of the lizardmen from the village.. and the giant preparing an ambush from above. One of them had the chief’s amulet on them and explained that Kessett wanted to go against the chief and was killed accordingly, bargaining with the giant for dominion over territory. The chief had plans, but did not expect the party to survive. Combat ensued with a successful Phantasmal Image spell (with an illusion of Chag-Thru-Tonaket) being used to distract the giant before dying. A couple of lizardmen quickly died soon after and the last one attempted to flee, but was captured and held prisoner. The chief seemed to have plans of her own in case Chag-Thru-Tonaket died and Gargdoon was being held prisoner in case the group returned. Seeing darkness setting in, the giant’s enchanted item (+1 mace) and the amulet were looted, and camp was made at the cave.

Morning was met with other tribes of lizardmen bringing their tribute to Chag-Thru-Tonaket, but quickly found that the giant who used to hold guard the cave was dead. Awkward conversation followed and the lizardmen were told of their freedom and were let go.

Prisoner in tow the party made their way back to the village, met with guards who had clubs at the ready and shields raised. The chief arrived and an exchange of hostages were made at the other end of the village with safe passage promised. Although Gargdoon was a little roughed up he was fine and we reached the rest of the camp in safety. The dragon’s hoard was distributed as followed with no negotiations required:

  • 90 gems, 90PP, 58GP and all the magic items to the party
  • 10000GP worth of the rest of the items divided evenly across the rest of the five people.

The amulet was used on Tinfoil, and it was determined that it allowed for the communication of common. Maybe attuning the headband and careful study in the arcane may allow for Tinfoil to cast spells.

At camp the magic items were distributed accordingly:

  • Sledge: Headband of Intellect, Cloak of Protection, +1 Heavy Crossbow, +1 Mace
  • Horven: Cloak of Elvenkind, Winged Boots
  • Darius: Figurine of Wonderous Power (silver raven), Ring of Warmth, +2 Greatclub
  • Caelano: Gem of Brightness
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