Entering the Keep
The crawl begins!

The PC’s discovered among the kobold treasure the slumbering form of Shakuras Tassadar, who joined the party. They first freed him from fine silver chain (it’s actually important).Returning to Winterhaven, they claimed their reward from Lord Padraig. They followed the lead of the letter, and learned of a local keep’s dark history. A shadow rift lies within! Half the party (Carric and Shakuras) returned to the stables, scared the living daylights out of the stable boy, and stole ALL the horses.

Meanwhile, Dravian tried to convince Lord Padraig to raise the alert level of the town. He laughed off the threat, then became upset about the disturbance, demanding proof. Dravian left, only to discover that the party had left him behind, taking all the horses with them. He followed on foot, catching them while they rested. He blew out the fire, then fell asleep. The others woke first, and stole his portion of the chain.
When they reached the keep, they nosed around, but found only one entrance. They tried to convince the first goblin guards that they were legitimate party entertainers, but the effect was ruined when Carric fell into a pit trap. Combat ensued. Carric was almost killed by rats (he refused to climb out of the pit). Dravian was almost killed by crossbow bolts. Aurora had a desperate time trying to heal them all before the party collapsed into that country from whose bourn, etc. Eventually, they managed to dispatch the goblins. Whew. While Carric was unconscious, Dravian stole back the fine silver chain.
Having looted the bodies, the party tried to take an extended rest. Heh. Within five minutes, they were awoken by a goblin patrolman, who they promptly killed. The encounter inspired them to continue searching the complex, leading to an excavation site. Debate about what to do was inconclusive.

Trader, not Traitor
In which blows are dealt.

The victorious adventurers returned to Winterhaven, eager to glean more information. They found a much more subdued village than they had left, everyone seeming depressed for no apparent reason. Consultation with Salvana Wrafton and Elian the Old led them into the employ of Lord Padraig, who hired them to combat the kobold menace. Outside, Mikal Sternmark nearly came to blows with Aja Quickstep after mishearing his occupation of trader as traitor. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and Mikal was chained up and dragged away by the rest of the party.

The heroes decided that the best course of action would be to “rent” a horse to replace the beloved Biscuits. They managed to bluff an unsuspecting stablehand into giving them Lord Padraig’s best mare. Their next port of call was to reclaim the wagon they had lost in Arrival in Winterhaven. Upon arriving, however, they discovered that it had been taken over by the kobold bandits, and was being used as a base of operations.Combat ensued, and the only kobold survivor was a lone wyrmpriest, who managed to scamper off into the undergrowth.

Deciding against pursuit, the party changed course and set out for the main bandit lair, as identified by Lord Padraig. They found the area around the stronghold swarming with kobolds, and only managed to defeat them through coordinated attacks and the self-sacrificing tactics of Dravian Serpitine. The area was cleared, but the leader of the bandits was yet to be found. Aurora discovered that the waterfall behind the battleground actually concealed a secret entrance. Carric attempted to sneak in, but ended up alerting the guards within, who reacted with overwhelming force. Initiative was rolled again!

The combat in the bandit lair went well at first, up until reinforcements arrived, including the bandit leader: a goblin named Irontooth. His first action was to charge Dravian and slam him in the face with a greataxe, bloodying him with one blow! The encounter went downhill from there, with Dravian taking round after round of beatings just to keep Irontooth off the other, “squishier” PCs. Gallindan Hadarai summoned a huge ball of fire, finishing off most of the rest of the kobolds, but the fight’s outcome was still uncertain. The wyrmpriest the party had failed to finish off earlier reappeared with a vengeance, reducing poor Gallindan to only 2 hp. In a rare display of tactics, however, the party maneuvered him out of harm’s way while simultaneously luring Irontooth into the reach of the massive fireball. Even alight, however, the goblin leader was a force to be reconed with. He struck out at Dravian again, cutting right through his regeneration and knocking him down to 0 hp! He immediately began taking death saving throws, his sacrifice only alleviated by the fact that Irontooth himself immediately succumbed to the roaring flames around him. In a final show of defiance, however, the wyrmpriest charged through the flames, stabbing Dravian’s unconscious form and nearly killing him. Aurora, an accomplished healer, saved his life while the others took revenge on the hapless kobold. Victory was theirs! On Irontooth’s body, they discovered a mysterious letter from someone known as “Kalarel.”

Arrival in Winterhaven
A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!

The directions the PCs recieved from the villager (see The Pursuit) were very vague, leading them farther and farther north through the Nentir Vale. Along the way, tragedy struck, and at the worst possible time. Not a day away from the village of Winterhaven, Kobolds ambushed the party and, while little threat to the PCs, managed to kill Biscuits!
Nooooo! Biscuits!!!!!

The party was forced to slog on foot into the village, where they resupplied. While staying at Wrafton’s Inn, They heard news of Douven Staul. He had been in town very recently! They managed to figure out where he had been headed, and traveled there themselves. A large force of enemies waited at the excavation site, but the PCs fought them off and freed Douven. They found instructions to a mysterious transportation ritual that involved blood, pain, and other sundry elements. Presumably, it had been intended for teleporting the loot the villains uncovered. It did not work for transporting party members. With Staul freed and the villains dead, they headed back toward Winterhaven to search for more clues.

The Pursuit
Giddy-up, Biscuits!

The PCs pursued the Village Elder across the forests and plains of the Nentir Vale, all the way to the town of Fallcrest. Up until then, they had been able to track him by the trail of smoke his ornithopter left across the sky, but there that trail ended. From locals, they gathered that he had ejected from the vehicle before crashing it into Lake Nen, which caused quite a hubbub. No one, however, had seen where the pilot went.

While searching for clues, the PCs came across Dravian Serpitine in the town stocks. They were unsure what to do about this; whether they should help him or leave him. A failed attempt by Carric to pickpocket a city guard decided the issue, and also led to his being hauled off to jail, an action which the other PCs did nothing to prevent. While the guard was absent, they freed Dravian, who joined the party. After a rest, the PCs went to the jail to try to rescue Carric. Their methods were simple: They asked for a visit, robbed him, and used the money to bribe the jailers. Once he regained consciousness, of course, he wanted the money back, but they would not return it. He then attempted to “go rob somebody” to recoup his lost gold, and was only restrained by being returned half the money.

Having learned from a townsperson which direction the Village Elder had gone, the PCs had the problem of smuggling Dravian, still a known criminal, out of the city. They solved the conundrum by tying him to the bottom of their cart (still hauled by loyal Biscuits!). On the way out, they picked up a quest from a woman whose husband had last been seen traveling in the same direction they were going. He had yet to return. Off they went, farther into the Northern portions of the Vale.

The Elder's Mission
The Adventure Begins

For the first session of the campaign, Mikal, Gallindan, Aurora, and Carric met up in Striujimenstrade, summoned by the Village Elder. He assigned them a mission: to journey into the mountains and investigate the ruins of castle Korvald, which goblins were using as a base of operations for kidnapping villagers and looting homesteads. The adventures accepted.

Having made the difficult journey to the castle, they descended into the dungeon (the keep was a ruin). They battled their way through several groups of goblins (as well as a baby dragon) before arriving at a mysterious hole in the dungeon wall, leading into a cave complex. They chose to move along without exploring. Having found the main body of raiders and defeated them, however, they were confronted with the mysterious last words of the chieftan: “You’ll never get through the gate. The dragon has the key! Hahahaha… gurgle.” Sure enough, set into the wall was a huge, ominous-looking door of solid obsidian, with no markings but a small indentation in the shape of a ram’s skull.

So, back to the mysterious cave went the party, hoping to find the key amongst the hoard of the baby dragon they had slain. While in the cave complex, which was, in fact, a frozen underground river, they found a room of dead creatures. It turned deadly, however, after the attempted removal of a valuable fur (Carric!!!!) triggered the rising of several zombies. Braaaains.

The adventurers finally found the hoard, unfortunately, it still had a dragon on it— an ancient white dragon at that! Pow! Mikal found himself sliding down the river at high speeds, bleeding profusely, whil the rest of the party legged it after him. As he went over a frozen waterfall, Mikal was lucky enough to find a powerful magic sword. He wasn’t quite sure of how to control it, however, and ended up releasing a blast of radiant energy that collapsed the entire cave. Luckily, the players escaped unharmed.

With the key they got from the hoard (as well as lots of gold!) they got through the gate, which rematerialized behind them. No going back. Onward they pressed, through a mysterious temple (where they fought a wraith.) and into a rat-infested teleportation chamber. Escaping the angry rodents, they found that they had been teleported to… the Village Elder’s house? While they stood around in shock, he summoned two magical servants to delay them and set off back the way they had come. The chased him all the way back to the outside of castle Korvald before bringing him to battle. He pwnd them all, and escaped in an ornithopter. They pursued in a wagon drawn by the beloved horse Biscuits, who, while well-liked, was not quite as fast.


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