Princes of the Apocalypse Wed Night

Rivergard Runs Dry

We arrive at the Rivergard Keep, where those wet bastards live protected behind their gates and iron bars. Sneaking in a window, I create havok and allow the rest of the party the opportunity to bluff the guards into opening the gates and iron bars. So much for protection.
“What’s the first rule of owning a Keep?”

That’s right. Never open the door.

Sweeping through the compound, we slay everyone in a matter of minutes. Unknown to us, some of the watery slime hide themselves and others escape out of the harbor in the large ship.

That seems of little concern to the new owners of Rivergard.

It’s not long before the Crushing Wave Reavers feel their oats rising and they attempt to kill us as we are cleaning he Keep of vermin. It turns out we cannot tell them from vermin, and they are exterminated.

Now it is time to sleep and enjoy the spoils of our war!

Tollard visits from the river. He trades food with us, then departs.

We sent the old cooks to Womford to gather a force of guards to man the Rivergard while we are on our travels. We negotiate a price with them and they depart, but not after we have to kill one of them that has been eyeing the bag of gold with a twisted demeanor.

In the evening, something swims under the chains and into the Keep’s Harbor. A squirrel from the surrounding woodlands comes to me and tells me there is something in the water. How strange. I want to kill and eat the squirrel, but maybe it has a point.

The initiative tracker starts, so there must be something to this squirrel’s warning! “Into battle!”

Merrow, obviously the stooges of the old water cultists, try to attack by sneaking ashore. I raise the alarm and the fighting lasts a short time as the Merrow discover they are not ready for a land battle (in central Asia). They die.

The Silver-greaves, led by Targen, return and take control of the Keep for us. We prepare to depart for Red Larch to return the tomes to our Dwarven compatriot.

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The Black Earth Cultists

In short order we crush several of the cultists and their leadership. But this appears to worry the smaller races in the party. They fear their own deaths, as if that is likely to be avoided by some cowardly avoidance of heroic opportunities.

Forced to retreat by those who whine, we move back up to the upper temple and search it for trinkets. Do gargoyles count as trinkets? We find those. It turns out they have nothing in their pockets, which we check after we kill them.

A search of the upper temple locates a captive! The small reaches want to keep the captives locked up for their own protection while we clear the evil-doers. That seems like a rather racist thing to do. “You will be safer if we keep you locked up. No. Really.”

Instead, we free the captive and discover he is none other than…

Nightfall comes, or what we have been calling nightfall when it comes every 2 hours. Sleep heals the weary and we are ready to descend down into the Black Earth once again.

Down in the hot bowels of the earth, we find the Black Earth Cultists have erected a portcullis to prevent our passage. A blast of elemental air pushes that to the ground and allows Rawr and Alrian to advance upon Ogres, cultists and Duergar.

It is not long after the initial contact that most of the party is unceremoniously slain. RUN AWAY!

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The Hidey Hole of the Earth Cultists

We travel on foot to a hidden canyon where there is a sprawling monastary ringed by sandstone cliffs.

We walk up to the front door. We introduce ourselves as emmissaries of Comander Thurl Merosska of the Feather Gale Spire, but they are having none of it. We introduce our boots to their door.

Nearby, there are monks at writing desks inside who are alerted as we kill the entry guards. They hop to. Several monks fight us in the hallway. Then one of the leaders, Hellenrae, comes around the corner and starts attacking. She’s tough, but we put her down.

There are several rooms

Stone stairs descend ten feet to a landing, turn, and continue to descend beyond your sight. Several large buckets are stacked unevenly on the landing. To the north, a staircase descends ten feet to a door.

Piles of firewood are stacked neatly against one wall of this room, and four large copper kettles stand in iron frames above iron fireboxes. Copper tubing in long coils leads from one kettle to the next. Several large wooden casks stand at the south end of the room, and shelves on the eastern wall hold scores of brown bottles sealed with red wax.

Straw mats cover the floor of this large exercise room, and wooden racks along the walls hold quarterstaffs, polearms, and various weapons commonly associated with martial arts. Doors exit to the north and the east. A triangular symbol is carved into the center of the rooms western wall.

An Ogre comes up the stairs as we are blocking them. So we have to retreat into the hills. We rest there. After a few hours, we return to the building and sneak around the eastern perimeter, which appears to be delapidated. There is a garden gate we enter. The garden is unused and unkept so we slip through it.

It turns out the garden is less unused and abandoned than we thought. Look! Gargoyles!

The stone hides of the creatures make it difficult to bring them down. Also, they roll max damage almost every hit. Oh, and we roll minimum healing on almost every heal.

We retreat to the mountains. After midnight we are joined by some Dwarves who were frightened by the Feather Gale Spire warriors. They seek our grouped protection. As typical thieves and murderers, we are wary. The Feather Gale Knights already found them lacking. So we keep an eye on them but they wisely decide to keep their unreputable activities at bay while in our presence…except for one mouthy dwarf who attempts to convince us they are anything other than the worst of peoples. Strangely, I admire his perseverence…though not his ignorance.

There is a call for a rest, but I am pretty certain we just slept. So WTF? Oh look…a door.
We enter to find a room full of zombies. Why is it always zombies?

In the lower level we find a crypt that has a marker for one of the dead, Samular Caradoon, Defender of the North. There isn’t anything interesting there. We move on. There is a very odd room nearby protected by a blinded creature.

The floor of this large chamber consists of loose red earth. A column of natural stone stands near the middle of the room, and a row of sturdy iron bars with a sliding cage door (currently shut) walls off the western portion of the room. A door of iron plate stands in the western wall behind the iron bars, while a similar door exits to the east. To the south, a wide set of stairs leads up.

Behind the iron bars stands a monstrous creature that resembles a cross between a huge ape and a beetle. It has wicked mandibles, powerful claws, and four eye sockets-but two of its eyes have been put out, and its claws are bronze blades. The creature bellows and thrashes in rage, constantly testing the bars and clawing at the walls.

We release the creature (an Umber Hulk) and when we do the stairs going up turn into a slide. It cannoot climb the stairs, so we decide to just kill it. Rawr does that pretty quickly. Some Stone Monks come down to engage us and we kill them as well.

A short rest allows us to recover a little. We find some ancient dwarven stairs leading down and we head that direction. Willowsmasher whines…a lot. He thinks we are headed to our doom. I think it smells like heroism down there.

There are gargoyles ahead, so we decide to rest. It goes well, and we recover compeltely! An ogre tries to interrupt our nap, but we wax him. Now, on to the deeper, darker, dangers!

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On the Trail of the Delegation from Mirabar

On the morning of the 6th day of Mirtul, in the year of Old Shire Reckoning 1489, we took to the Cairn Road east and ventured off the road to investigate the shallow graves that Larmen told us exist in a green vale. There are four freshly dugged graves with soil nearby. The graves are marked with stones.

The four immportant people in the Mirabaran Delegation were a dwarf historian named Bruldenthar, a diplomat Moon Elf from Silverymoon, another Shield Dwarf from Miribar and a Human Noble of Waterdeep (last name Majarra).

Yunari opens a grave and finds an artisan dwarf wearing the colors of Miribar. Perhaps a dwarven smith. There are arrow wounds that appear to be the cause of death. We find a female human warrior dressed with black axe clothing and same symbol marked on her arm. Next is a human warrior with stoney armor like the Dark Earth priests. Finally male human in white robe with feathers that has been bludgeoned to death.

There is a confused collection of tracks that indicate the battle may have happened nearby. We find a tattered grey robe, not of one of the four who were buried. To the north is a tower circled by birds. The shephard says it is Feather Gale Spire where hippogriff riders from Waterdeep visit.

It is with little discourse that we decide to travel to the Tower and see if we can learn something valuable concerning the inhabitants. Perhaps they wear grey robes or witnessed some battle involving the fallen Miribarans and decided to bury them. There is a canyon that runs the valley and a drawbridge goes from the canyon edge to the tower. The base of the tower does not appear to have an entry.

Above the tower there are giant vultures circling with white-robed riders similar to one of the dead we found. They are not hippogriffs, which are the usual winged creatures visiting the tower. We warily investigate, allowing Willowsmasher to change into the animal form of a mouse. He scurries to the lower level and finds several stall doors with hippogriffs in the stables.

We ring the Tower bell. A woman from within invites us to enter the tower and speak to the Commander, who may know something about the neaby skirmish. Her name is Savrah. There are two there as well. Savrah takes us to the tower pinnacle to meet the Commander. They did not note the fight, and they are not missing one of the white-robed members of the tower. We spend the evening with the Knights.

While having dinner the riders burst in and announce that a Manticore is on the run. A prize to the one who brings the head of the creature to the Commander. He holds aloft a feather-inscribed ring. We go to the pinnacle and get on hippogriffs to ride and intercept the Manticore.

Rawr kills it.

The Commander knows the location of the Earth Cultists. He commissions us to investigate and possibly attack the cultists. That seems like a good idea, and it hardly distracts us at all from our primary objective of investigating the Delegation from Mirabar…

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Back in Red Larch with the Air Cultist

The odd Air Cultist is slung over the strong shoulder of Rawr and we return to Red Larch.
The Constable takes the prisoner and tells us that a caravan from Mirabar has been taken captive. We should inquire at the Inn for specifics. It is a trade delegation.

Content Not Found: kaylesa introduces to a male elf who may know something. Brother Eardon, of Lathander, God of the Dawn. He saw the delegation in Beliard 20 days ago. They were headed to Summit Hall to conduct a burial, then to go further south. He heard from a passing caravan through Red Larch that the delegation disappeared.

Across the street to the Helm, Rawr investigates a female half-orc who may know something. She heard from wagonmasters at market place.

Wagonmaster heard from travellers that the Mirabaran trade delegation did not arrive at Summit Hall. Someone in the wagonmaster’s crew eyes Yunari and she thinks they might have more information. She knows someone who is in the Harpers and there was a reknown Drawf in the trade delegation who was taking manuscripts to Womford. The Harpers were caring for the transfer of the manuscript, and they are a group interested in watching out for freedoms. They are scattered network of spies and spellcasters who oppose the abuse of power.

If we find something out, send a runner toward Amphail on the information.
Brother Eardon knows a bit about the Harpers. There are plenty of people who support them. They are interested in making sure freedom and equality reign. Eardon knows nothing about the elemental symbols. Kaylesa recommends we check with the tradesmen in town.

We discover that the delegation was 4 and that one of the townsmen saw them recently. He offers to take us to where he last saw them.

Eldron the blacksmith and his wife heard the delegation is missing. She feels life is darkened by such matters. She does not wish to speak on the matter.

At Ironhead Arms, the Half-Orc Ironhead trades with us to purchase our gathered swords. Ironhead heard about the Miribarans were lost and knew the delegation was strong. Nothing else.

At Vallivoes Sundries, we meet Endreth Vallivoe. He sells sundry goods. He heard that one of the Mandever kids saw a ghost near town. About the trade delegation, he saw a merchant come through town that sold him a book written in Dwarvish. We think it might be the Dwarven Emmissary’s manuscript that was being carried along. We buy it!

It is a geneology of the Dwarf Clans of Miribar. The author is recognized by Lanner. It is a Shield Dwarf historian named Bruldenthar. That is the same dwarf who was carrying the manuscripts! Vallivoes bought it from a peddler, who bought it from a keelboat captain in Womford. The captain supposedly had a dozen other manuscripts.

We question the Hurricane: He is a member of the Cult of Howling Hatred. He was going to make us servants to their cult. He knows of the Earth cultists, from the Cult of Black Earth. He will not tell us the cult location, but says the Lady Aerisi would not forgive him. This, even after we threaten him with Rawr sodomy. That means he is really a mental basket case completely indoctrinated by the Hurricanes.

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On The Way To Red Larch After Bandits

It’s been a pretty good morning. What would make it better is a random encounter on the way back to Red Larch…

Your Wish Is Granted!

Near the city we come upon strange creatures called Hurricanes. I decide to name them Rita, Sam, and Tina.

These men appear to be some kind of magically enhanced cultists of Air. They want us to surrender to them so they can probably do some kind of kinky air thing to us in private. That doesn’t seem like a good idea to anyone. After a short consultation, we decide to see if they bleed.

Turns out that they do! Rawr makes them bleed faster than they can stop bleeding. Most fall quickly after they start blowing us, which is really strange because that’s usually a good thing. In this case, it is NOT enjoyable.

When the last one forgets to run away, I grapple it so Rawr can knock it unconcious. Time to loot and then we will question the unlucky cultist after the goodies are put away.

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The Constable Gives Us Bandits

The Constable tells us there are bandits to the SE on the Cairn road. We decide to lend our considerable aid to his problem. Also, we still need 380XP.

There is a dell in front of a cave entrance with surly rogues about it. There is also a dancing bear in a cage. Actually, we assume it must be a dancing a bear. What other kinds of bears are there? I hope it puts on a show for us.

The bandits try to jump us, but we kill them as they are putting on their pants.

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Investigating the Wagonworks

“The workshop is a cluttered, untidy shed surrounded by dozens of wagons shrouded in worn canvas tarpaulins. A crudely hand-lettered sign over the wide main door proclaims this to be “Waelvurs Wagonworks.”

We sneak up to view the tunnel. I have some challenges upon losing the rest of the party as they hide, causing me to become anxious and paranoid.

Lanner suddenly sprouts a weasel. That makes everyone uncomfortable. The critter has an odd attitude as well. I’ll probably kill it later, as it is likely possessed.

There is a cellar door that is closed with stuff stacked on it. We are close to it. So we use Rawr as a catapult to help us into the yard.

Rawr opens the cellar door with a creak. There are steps into the earth. We enter the Tomb of Moving Stones!

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Fraggle Rock
The Lance Rock

In the town we learn that a nearby rocky location contains a possible cave infested with some creatures threatening the town. Investigating, we located Lance Rock, heretofore dubbed ’Fraggle Rock" and we delve inside. There is a warning that if we come inside, we will be infected.

We ignore that.

Inside we found the Lord of Fraggle Rock and kill his minions.

_Bare grey rock jutting out at 60 degree angle. It is grey granite.

The Lord of Lancerock has a sign warning off visitors who may catch his plague. This is in a nearby ravine.

We enter a cave and find a body, which turns out to be a zombie! We kill it.

There is a large chamber with a flat boulder inside. Two zombies wait in ambush from above and drop a box on us. We avoid!

We then kill the two zombies.

There is a room with amarked rock, stained with dried blood. To the north is a room with old weapons and maybe some target dummies. I investigate. They turn out to be skeletons! We kill 3 skeletons. The armor and weapons are ruined.

We find a craggy room. It has 3 undead dressed as actors. We kill them.

A little further south we find a large room with the Lord of Fraggle Rock and his undead horde. The Lord runs away as we slay his evil minions. I am dropped by a wicked zombie smash to my solar plexus. Then Rawr falls. Uh oh. Willowsmasher runs forward and heals Rawr to keep us fighting. Then slashes a whole group of undead as if he is a frontline fighter.

Olioth, the Lord of Fraggle Rock, hides in a room with a large hand that has an inverted ziggurat and an eye on it. He says it is watching us, but we do not see anything. We see him hiding, so we kill him. We steal his stuff and discover new abilities (level up)._

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Goblins on the Road

Two goblin bosses lead several goblins against us. I have noted the bosses are cruel to their charges, pulling lesser goblins in front of themselves to block carefully aimed attacks. However, when the smaller goblins are cut down by the brutish Rawr, the bosses have little recourse but to perish.

Now to explain the nuances of this combat to these new troupe members, and help them select their performance skill to support entertaining those we come upon.

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