Rise of the Twilight Empire

Arrival in Gorizbadd
Season 5, Session 2

Our heroes returned the giant boar Abigail to Ulthand Deepgem, who was extremely grateful. He rewarded the group with a sack of gems and a map to an abandoned silver mine deep in goblin territory, rumored to be haunted.

Since the storm hadn’t let up yet, the group decided to look for other work in Thunderspire to pass the time. The party approached the Architects of Victory, who had posted a request for hired muscle to retrieve a stolen rod from them which had yet to be enchanted. The party met with Oberith Mishann, who offered a cache of potions and promise of more work if the party slew the kobolds who stole the rod and captured their souls for him. After tracking down the kobolds, a hilariously short fight ensued, and the party returned with the soulgem. Mishann had another request for the party: recover a book called the Liber Molis Exitium (Book of Mass Destruction) from the ruins of the old wizard’s tower in Gorizbadd, and he would craft a magic weapon of the party’s choice in return.

The next day, the storm began to let up and the roads began to thaw. Before the group left, however, Terran was approached by Phaledra Vesna, the priestess of Erathis. She asked that the party recover a relic of the goddess from the ruined temple in Gorizbadd. In return, she promised a blessing from Erathis.

The party visited a provisioner to stock up on supplies, including a new pack horse. Then they set off for goblin territory. They decided to make a detour to investigate the old silver mine before going to the town. Inside, they found a host of undead led by a viciously angry spirit. A couple battles later, the spirit was banished, a cache of silver was found, and Horc found a new weapon, Skullcrusher. Upon leaving the mine, however, the party found a pair of goblin scouts mounted on worgs that had discovered their horses. Both Luen Ying and Horc tried unsuccessfully to scare them off, and the goblins tried to leave with the pack horse. A short skirmish later, and the goblins and their mounts lay dead.

A day later, the party arrived in Gorizbadd. After paying a toll to the gate guards to pass, the party decided to visit Tyristys the dragon first. Finding her lair behind a waterfall, the party approached the sleeping dragon, who woke and invited her guests for tea. She assumed a comely humanoid form, she and the party sat down for negotiations. In exchange for the 10,000 gp writ, she agreed to provide three days of service, though she refused to participate in an extended siege. She provided the party with a talisman which could be used to summon her.

Next, the group decided to investigate the ruined wizard tower. After stumbling through a trap, they arrived in the library. It was guarded by a pair of animated suits of armor which Horc activated by knocking on one of them. Once they were dispatched, the Book of Mass Destruction was found, along with a couple spell scrolls, and a strange tome Luen Ying recognized from his dreams.

Exiled from Hammerfall
Season 5, Session 1

From the journal of Anva’alar

We wake up the morning following our victory over the band of deserters, and overhear of two deserters being hung that morning in the square. Our party goes to investigate and finds that some of the knights are whispering and pointing at us.
Suddenly Content Not Found: yuen-ling (Abe) felt a strong hand on his shoulder, and we were requested to speak with Sir Justin Melenikus in the Temple of Moradin. After speaking with him, he reveals to us that one of the deserters (man wearing the breastplate) was the son of a noble. The noble is very distraught over his son’s death, and is causing unnecessary stress for Sir Justin and the Brotherhood of the Temple Knights. Therefore Sir Justin feels he has to exile our party from Hammerfall for the time being, but would like to send us on a quest that upon success, could lead to the reinstatement of our rights to be in the city. The mission he wants us to complete is getting the goblins and/or a dragon that both make their home in Gorizbadd to side with the Hammerfall. Sir Justin provides us with 50 Gold for our party to get provisions for our trip in addition to a writ for 10,000 Gold pieces to try to convince the goblins or dragon to join. He tells us to go to the Fiveleague House to get our provisions and to rest up before our long trip to Gorizbadd. Since it is only a one-day trip to get to the Fiveleague House, we leave after our meeting with Sir Justin while the day is still young.

Fiveleague House:
We arrive to the Fiveleague House with no problem, and meet Linney Halflocke, the Head of the establishment. We tell her our mission and she tells us of a problem with someone (or something) that has been stealing her livestock. She reveals to us that she sent two of her “boys” to go try to track down this creature, but they have not returned. She makes the offer of giving us our supplies for the journey free of charge. In exchange, we must first find this livestock thief. After she shows us the pen and a little investigation, we find the tracks of the thief and the two boys who went after it. A little ways into the forest, we find the snow and trees stained red, we look around and find a human leg in the snow, severed from below the knee. We continue following the tracks until we find a cave that appears to be housing the thief. Terran (Andrew) sneaks up with stealth he never thought he had, and sees a humanoid like thing vigorously eating a human leg. After setting up a trap at the entrance of the cave, Anva’alar (Antonio) tries to lure the monster out and into the trap, but the trap fails. After a short battle, our party leaves victorious, carrying with us a boot of one of the fallen boys, and the head of the ghoul we slayed.
We show Linney the head of her thief, and when she asks what happened to her boys, we reveal the boot. She seems slightly saddened by the loss of her comrades, but thanks us for taking care of the ghoul. We rest in the 5-League House overnight. We wake in the morning to find a fully packed horse, with plenty of rations and other supplies we may need on our journey. We set off for Gorizbadd.
Day 1 on the road: No encounters
Day 2:
Around midday, we notice a strange shadow above our heads. We look up and see a hippogriff start diving for our supply horse. We try our best to take down the beast before it can take down our extra horse, but it kills it before we have a chance to take down the beast. We eat a meal using the meat of our downed horse, take what rations we can hold, and continue on our journey.
Mid-afternoon; snow begins to fall. We make camp for the night, and hope that the snow passes
Day 3: Morning; snow gets much worse. Our party is slowed on our journey, our party decides to continue to Thunderspire and take refuge there until the storm blows over. We make camp in the wilderness one last night before our final push to the city.
Day 4: Evening; We make it to Thunder Spire. Horc (Eric) and Anva’alar
(Antonio) immediately head to the inn, as they are both exhausted from the journey the just undertook to get to Thunder Spire. Terran (Andrew) and Yeun Ling (Abe) eventually follow the others to the Inn.
At the Inn, Horc finds a dwarf sobbing into his drink. He overhears the man saying; “Abigail” over and over. Upon talking with the man, he finds that Abagail was a Pig that could smell out gems in the mines. He finds out the mans name is Ulthand Deepgem, owner of Deepgem mining. While Terran and Yuen Ling talk to some of the others in the party, they learn of a Dwarven Mining party getting ambushed that day, resulting in the Dispatching of several dwarves, and the stealing of Abigail. We agree to investigate and return the pig, but only for a price. Ulthand agrees. Terran hears of the infirmary at the Temple of Hidden Light being overworked and sees if he can offer any help. After surpassing the nurse’s expectations, he is given a scroll of Bless. Terran returns to the inn to get a small amount of rest before their quest to find the pig the following morning.
Deepgem mines:
We awake the next morning and meet the dwarves at the entrance to the mines. They take us to the spot of the fight and we see Dwarven bodies dismembered all over the floor. we notice that the heads of these dwarves are stacked on top of each other as if to mock the massacre. After checking around a bit, we notice the tracks of what seems to be a LARGE boar. and also find tufts of animal hair around the scene. The dwarves return to work, and we tell them if any trouble happens, to try and find us. We follow the tracks for about an hour or so until we hear the voices and see a flame flickering. Tarren, a master of stealth, goes to investigate. He sees three gnolls, making a fire, and a large pig tied down to the ground. After devising a plan, Terran, Anva’alar, and Yuen Ling are setting up a trap deep in the tunnel as a back up plan in case a confrontation with the gnolls doesn’t go as planned. Horc starts to get into position when the gnolls notice him, they prepare for a fight. Seeing Horc is part orc, they instead invite him to join them in eating the pig. The other members of the party proceed as planned, and Horc betrays the gnolls. Abigail is released during the confrontation, and deals the final blow to the last standing gnoll. Using his ability to talk to animals, Anva’alar calms Abigail. The party returns the pig safely to Ulthand.

From the Diary of Kaia Hearthwarden
Season 5 begins!

The war is not going well.

It has been nearly a year since the House of Chains, the slave masters of Drudgehold began taking folk from the outlying villages under Hammerfall’s protectorate. Of course we had to respond with all the force we could muster. We called up every able bodied man who could hold a sword and told them, “Fight, or your wives and children will end up in the brothels of Surt, and you shall be thrown into the gladitorial pits of Arkhos, or the iron mines of Valstok.” Most chose to fight.

We called in every ally we had made in the fifty years since the founding of the city. Our ranks swelled with the bows of elves and the axes of dwarves. We contracted the ancient mercenary band, the Devil’s Teeth, hardened veterans to be the backbone of our forces. And leading them all were the Temple Knights of Moradin, their holy light a beacon of hope for us all.

It was not enough.

The forces of tyranny are not only vast, but wealthy. Men with more greed than scruples flocked to the dark banner of the House of Chains, a horde of mercenaries bought with the blood of slaves. They outnumbered us three to one, but we could have managed if not for the demons, bound by ancient pacts to serve the warlocks of the House. They carved through us and took town after town. They would be at the gates of Hammerfall today if not for the only force that could slow them – winter.

The winter has been colder and more bitter than many in recent memory, but we relish each frozen day. Each day of snow is another day that the armies of the House of Chains are not upon us. Come springtime, we shall be under siege.

- Excerpt from the diary of Kaia Hearthwarden, first Temple Knight of Moradin

The First Enchanter's Lament
Season 4 Begins!

I hate peace. It’s terrible for business.

And oh, we have had a lot of peace these last 20 years since the Devil’s Teeth drove the demons from Hammerfall and put the traitor Thoren Brighthammer to the sword. Hammerfall has flourished, expanding its influence all through the Nentir Vale. Even the goblins of Gorizbadd and we here in Thunderspire rely on Hammerfall soldiers when the monsters come to our gates. The Vale is safer than it has been in a hundred and fifty years. Oh sure, there’s still the occasional beastman pack from the Ashwood, or band of brigands looking for an easy mark, and we’ll never be fully rid of the displacer beasts and owlbears. But that should tell you how bad the last one hundred and fifty years have been. I should know, I was there for most of it.

It’s the worst. How is an honest weaponsmith like me to make a living?

There is a silver lining in all this. Hammerfall has become powerful. And power makes enemies. The Iron Hold to the south did not receive Hammerfall’s envoys with friendship. They must have given some insult to the Iron Prince, for he sent their heads back with a warning: “We are coming for you.”

So strike up the Hellforges! Relight the Flames of Spite! We shall weave magic and hate into steel once more! The Council of Three has commissioned a grand weapon, and I intend to deliver!

We may have a war just yet.

-Oberith Mishann, First Enchanter of the Architects of Victory to his daughter, Rosabeth

Sessions 8-12
Shit hits the fan

In the Ashwood, the party found a ruined tower containing a half-burned tree, home of Adrastea, a dryad nearly driven mad from the pain of her home. She claimed to have information about Brighthammer, but first the party would have to do a favor for her: kill the beastmen defiling the sacred pool at the heart of the old elven citadel. The party dispatched the brutes, and Adrastea revealed that she knew the location of Brighthammer’s Pact Stone: the ancient contract that he would have had to swear upon to gain his power. It lay at the heart of the Sword Barrow.

Julevive chose to stay with Adrastea to aid in the healing of the Ashwood, which was already showing signs of new growth. On the way to the Sword Barrow, however, the group came upon a halfling gambler named Forsythia being set upon by Iron Circle thugs trying to collect their debts. In gratitude, she chose to join the Teeth and offer her services as a scout and thief.

The party evaded or cut their way through the copious undead milling about the Sword Barrow, and found the tomb beneath the ruin where the Pact Stone lay. Brighthammer had wards surrounding the stone to alert him of intruders, however, and arrived astride the reanimated corpse of the dragon that killed Sgt. Maximillian with Phalagar in tow. A desperate battle ensued, and the tide was turned only when Cog shattered the Pact Stone by toppling it onto the dragon. Brighthammer’s power was instantly broken, and Phalagar whisked him away with an emergency teleport.

The stone destroyed, the group rendezvoused with the rest of the Devil’s Teeth in Thunderspire. They brought news that Brighthammer’s arcane power was broken, but he himself escaped their grasp. Asking around town to see if Brighthammer had made any stops in Thunderspire, the party learned that he’d met with the local chapterhouse of the Architects of Victory. After being casually dismissed by him, the party chose to beat the information they wanted out of Oberith Mishann. He revealed that Brighthammer had commissioned the construction of a focusing circle for a Slaying Stone. The party realized that he was planning on retrieving the stone from the vaults of Hammerfall and using it to obliterate the goblins of Gorizbadd. The party sent out a group of smugglers with letters to both Elder Varthanas and Elder Avery, warning them not to allow Brighthammer access to the stone.

The party learned that Brighthammer had also visited the Brotherhood of the Red Scales, an assassin’s guild. There, they learned that Brighthammer had hired two assassins on retainer. The party tried to convince the Red Scales to cancel their contract, but an arrow, once loosed, cannot be stopped in flight. The Red Scales always see the job through. So the party tried to hire them to assassinate Brighthammer themselves, but lacked the funds. On the way back to request the funds from the company coffers, the party was ambushed by a group of warforged sent by the Architects of Victory, who were understandably upset that the party had beat up their Chief Magister. They spared their leader, Gear, and Cog convinced him to join the Devil’s Teeth.

Upon returning to camp, the party found that Captain Bell was missing. They tracked him, and found that he had been taken captive by a group of elves, led by Jossi Clearwater. She had been sent by Elder Varthanas to learn the truth of the situation. The party talked the elves down by telling them about the restored Ashwood. The elves left to investigate and conferred a message: that Elder Avery wanted to meet at the Five-League House. The party got the authorization to use company money to hire the Red Scales, and set out for the meeting.

Session 7
Fate is averted, and a plan is hatched

The party received one more boon from Ljota, the Last Frost Before Spring, a counter-charm against scrying, so that their hunter could no longer send demons after them from afar. The party set forth and got to know their strange new companion, Kuanu the minotaur, a little better. They were ambushed in a mountain pass by a pair of bulettes, which nearly chewed Cog to pieces and surely would have killed the remaining pair of Devil’s Teeth, were it not for their beastman companion.

They met up with the main host of the Teeth, camped near the host of the Bone Spear Tribe, nearly 100 strong. After much deliberation with Captain Bell, they decided to share their findings with the goblins, including the information that it was one of the Council of Elders who murdered their kin. Jareth Irontooth, leader of the Bone Spears, managed to barely keep his men in check when they learned this. A hair’s breadth away from war, the Teeth hatched a plan with the goblins: they would split up and search the nearby ruined Nerathi watchtowers in an attempt to catch Brighthammer the next time he left Hammerfall. Their squad was assigned to search the two towers located in the burned elven forest, with Kuanu as their escort.

Session 6
Death and Destiny

The group emerged from the Bowels of Hammerfall into an icy cold night with no provisions and little in the way of cold weather gear. They agreed that the wisest course of action was to send Julevive ahead of them as a wolf, since she could run over the snowy landscape so much faster than they, and she could warn the Devil’s Teeth of Thoren Brighthammer’s betrayal. With a forlorn look, she left her squad mates behind and raced off under the pale moonlight. The rest of the squad spent a frigid night out of doors, though due to their tough constitutions, they could all handle it.

The morning brought success with their hunting, as Sgt. Maximillian bagged a large deer that would keep them fed and warm for the rest of the trip. Their elation at his success was soon cut short, however, by the heavy beat of dragon wings on the horizon. The white dragon whose hoard the squad had plundered only nights before, brought forth by a tip whispered upon the wind, landed before them. It gave them one last chance to keep their lives: strip naked and walk back to their heathen city. Cog chose to taunt the dragon instead.

A fatal mistake.

The battle was brutal, and the dragon by far the most fearsome opponent the squad had yet faced. It killed Sgt. Maximillian with its icy breath, and crushed Grimdark the Frostbitten in its mighty jaws and left him bleeding upon the ground. Cog himself was mere inches away from destruction, but he buried his axe in the dragon’s onrushing jaws, and the beast lay still.

Cog and Grimdark mourned for their fallen sergeant as they stripped the dragon of its parts. They promised to craft arms and armor from the great beast worthy of honoring their comrade’s life. They traveled a ways across the winter landscape, and bedded down using the roots of a fallen tree for shelter, confident they would rendezvous with the main host of the company on the morrow. A bone-chilling howl interrupted their dinner, however, and Cog and Grimdark soon found themselves facing a pair of yeti. One rough brawl later, and the yeti lay dead, and the pair went off in search of their lair in hopes of finding better shelter than a rotting log.

The yeti’s path was easy to backtrack to a cave, but it was not at all what they were expecting. As Cog and Grimdark descended into the cave, they found it got colder and brighter and more dreamlike. They eventually emerged into a chamber of hewn ice, with delicately decorated frozen pillars lining the hall. A fur covered throne sat at the back of the hall, upon which sat Ljota, the Last Frost Before Spring, a Snow Nymph. She was flanked by her menagerie of strange creatures, which included a tamed beastman minotaur named Kuonu.

She first asked her guests for a taste of dragon’s blood, since it had been so long since she had tasted it. She then explained that a battle was coming, and she was not talking about the one in Hammerfall, but the one that heralded the end of the world. She explained that if the Devil’s Teeth are present at the final battle, it could tip the scales back in creation’s favor, but for them to be present at that battle, they would have to not be annihilated in the next month, which would surely happen if Cog and Grimdark were to die tomorrow, which surely would happen without her help. But it is no simple thing for a mortal to ask a duchess of the Winter Court for help – they had to demonstrate their worthiness to survive. Namely, by being interesting. They regaled Ljota with stories of their past and boasts of their deeds, and in the end convinced her that the world was interesting enough to be worth saving after all.

So she sent with them Kuanu, her pet beastman, to ensure that they would live to see another sunset. She also ordered her gnomes to craft the dragon’s bones into a hammer for Grimdark, and the dragon’s hide into armor for Cog.

Session 5
An Enemy Revealed

The group decided that the information that the warlock was in Hammerfall was too crucial to waste any time meeting up with the rest of the company and explaining things to the goblins, so they decided to rush back to Hammerfall to inform the council and to hunt the warlock. Sgt. Gaunt’s squad had been left behind to look after Julevive, who the party returned to find awake. While the rest of the party scoured the dwarven quarter, trying to sense any trace of dark magics, Grimdark went to consult with Elder Brighthammer, to explain in private what was going on so as not to embarrass the dwarven community. Brighthammer offered Grimdark a deal: lie, cover up the evidence that it was a dwarf, perhaps even implicating the goblins, and Brighthammer would see about getting his clan reinstated. When Grimdark balked, Brighthammer laughed it off and tried to pass the whole deal as a test of honor.

Meanwhile, a search of one of Hammerfall’s apothecaries revealed that a dwarven manservant had purchased reagents that possibly could be used in summoning rituals. Grimdark rejoined the party, and their search brought them to a brothel in the noble quarter. Grimdark got the madam boasting of her clientele, which included Elder Brighthammer, who had been out of town of late, but had just returned. Alarmed by this information, the Teeth were about to set out to investigate Brighthammer’s estate, but a group of Iron Circle thugs entered the brothel, demanding the arrest of the Teeth on suspicion of treason and collusion with goblins.

Of course the group handed the Circle their asses again, and tried to make their way back to the barracks. However, they found a large contingent of Iron Circle mercenaries taking Sgt. Gaunt’s squad into custody. The group decided it would be wisest to escape the city through the Bowels of Hammerfall so that they might warn the rest of the Teeth before they walked into a trap. Navigating through the Bowels is always tricky, of course, and this time the group felt a distinct feeling of being watched, followed by an Abyssal hit squad being summoned right in front of them. The Veil was rent asunder, and a pair of Abyssal Scavengers and a Beholder Gauth appeared. A desperate battle ensued, but the demons were eventually defeated and the party escaped into the cold winter’s night.

Session 4
It seemed like a good idea at the time

With the antidote administered, Julevive recovered, but was not well enough to join the company as they set off to rendezvous with the goblins. Captain Bell sent Sgt. Maximillian’s squad to examine the shattered bridge where they were ambushed by the figure in black. Examining the scene, Maximillian tasted the foul stench of demonic magic, similar to what he experienced back at the ambush site. They also found a torn bit of black velvet and tracks leading back toward Hammerfall.

Following the tracks, they came upon an old Nerathi watchtower that was partially collapsed. In the watchtower, they encountered several undead, led by a ghoul. The stench of demonic magic was almost overpowering to Maximillian, which led him to a trap door beneath the tower.

In the cellar, they found a bowl full of black ice that had been used as a scrying device, and a summoning circle that had been half scuffed out. Something about the circle jogged a rusted bit of Cog’s memory banks, and he identified the ritual as one that had been used by warlocks pledged to the Abyss, whose like had not been seen since the fall of the White City. He also knew enough about the ritual that they could reconstruct the circle if they so chose, and recall the last creature to have been summoned to it.

After much deliberation, the group decided that the potential information gained outweighed the risks that summoning the demon would entail. With the help of a bit of Grimdark’s blood, the circle was completed, and Phalagar was summoned. The little imp taunted the group, trying to magically stoke their rage so they would break the circle, which Cog eventually did. Before that happened, however, the group learned a few crucial pieces of information:

  • The demon’s summoner was a dwarf
  • The dwarf’s home base was in Hammerfall
  • The dwarf hated the goblins for occupying the city back when it was Hammerfast and forcing the dwarves to rely on the humans and elves for defense
  • The warlock had been granted powers of necromancy and summoning in return for sowing chaos and bloodshed

After a battle in which the demon put up much more of a fight than its size would have suggested, the creature exploded into ichor and seeped back into the earth.

Session 3
The Hangover

The recon group under Sgt. Maximillian visited the Dragon’s Teat tavern to celebrate their return to Hammerfall with all their limbs miraculously intact, and to drink to their fallen comrades. Julevive, being an elf, did not hold her liquor well and passed out early. Several thugs of the Iron Circle tried to take advantage of her unconscious state, when her brothers in arms stepped in and a massive brawl ensued.

The toughs of the Iron Circle thoroughly routed, Cog, Grimdark, and Maximillian brought Julevive back to the barracks and turned in for the night. In the morning, they were brought before the Council of Elders to present their case for allowing the Devil’s Teeth to march out in force to scour the countryside for their brothers’ murderer. The elven councilman, Teristel Varthanas, opposed sending the company out, worried that it might provoke a war with the goblins. Tristan Avery, the human councilman, was also opposed to sending out the company, but for different reasons – he was worried that there is a larger game afoot. Dwarven councilman Thoren Brighthammer was for sending the Teeth out in force, as he was more concerned with matters of justice and honor than anything else. Eventually the PCs swayed Avery to their side, and the company was sent out in a 2-1 vote.

There was another problem back at the barracks, however. Julevive had still not awoken from the night before, and upon closer examination, showed signs of having been poisoned. She was near death, but in an act of quick thinking, Maximillian placed his Periapt of Proof Against Poison around her neck, halting the advance of the poison. She still required an antidote, however, and since it was the dead of winter, the only place nearby that it could feasibly be found was in the Bowels of Hammerfall.

So the company descended into the tunnels beneath the city, where the Veil is thin. They found the bluecap mushroom they needed for the antidote near the lair of an Id Fiend. The heroes faced their nightmares, slew the beast, and returned with their prize.


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