SKT - Follow The Cleric

Valkyrie Hangovers
Atarah; "And Justice For All" Scenario 7

Korotir’s face smashing into the bar was a jolt to her system; Atarah whipped around, the drinks she’d been ordering abruptly forgotten. That guard captain, the one who had it out for all of them, apparently, was holding her shieldmate face-down against the floor. The half-orc warrior growled, fighting off the disorientation from the blow to get free. Righteous anger boiled over into action.

“You’re under arrest -”

“Oh no, he’s fracking not – .” Atarah shoved away from the bar and slammed into the captain’s shoulders, knocking him back and away from her friend. The Captain overbalanced, tripped over a stool with Atarah still tangled with him, sending them both crashing to the ground and half into the circle of guards behind him. Her armored knee ended pressed to the Captain’s throat. “What do you think you’re doing?! Arresting someone who’s done nothing- .”

“Nothing! Lies, you’re a fecking liar – you and him and that blasted tiefling you came in with-”

Atarah heard the other guards hitting Korotir behind her, but she could spare no attention for anything else while the Captain pitted his strength against hers. The ground shook as the half-orc stomped to his feet, shoving a guard flying across the room with a vicious front kick.

“Nobody leave,” Korotir said from behind her. His voice was a snarl around his tusks, full of the promise of proper violence. “I’ll be back.”

“Caught your tiefling, we did,” the Captain was saying as he thrashed beneath Atarah’s weight and choking knee. She heard Korotir move off – did he leave her alone? Had he left, just like –  She couldn’t look, couldn’t take her attention away from the fight – “Arrested him for murder. Done nothing! You’re all lying-”

“I am a Paladin,” Atarah said, wrapping her fingers in the Captain’s forelock and thunking his head good against the wood floor a couple of times for emphasis. “We do not lie!”

There was a yelp and the kind of death-rattle gurgle that Atarah had heard one too many times from her own throat lately.  She turned involuntarily, looked, caught a flash of Natalia’s silvery blue healing light before she was flipped, flat on her face against the wood floor. Captain Strog was strong - he wrenched her arms back and pinned them.

“And now you’re under arrest – for disturbing the peace, accessory to murder and obstructing justice-”

“I am Justice-!” something fierce and hot blazed behind Atarah’s eyes, something frustrated and restless, flowing under her skin until she thought she might combust. She twisted to get free and Strog recoiled from her; when she rose all the guards were staring at her.  In fact, a quick scan showed the entire room was staring at her. Good, let them look. Let them see how a godstouched acted in the face of… well, she wasn’t sure what exactly it was, other than bad.

“No one touches my team-” There was a very discreet, very proper throat-clearing sound from her left, where Natalia knelt. Atarah amended hastily. “-Lady Natalia of House Cuvelier’s Company. You want to arrest somebody, you come back with a warrant. And proof. And you come to me… to Lady Natalia… first.”

Firelight, brilliant and gold, flickered over the faces of the guards and their Captain, and for a second Atarah thought the fight wasn’t over. That they’d come at her. A clatter on the staircase and the thud of Korotir’s boots, the now-familiar creak of iron and wood from the half-orc’s iconic shield reported his presence, and Atarah felt a little easier, ready for the fight again. He hadn’t left her-

The inn’s doors bounced open and Father Ellardin strode through, full of civil authority. “Captain! What in the name of Blessed Chauntea is going on? What are you doing here? Have you completed the increased city defenses against giant attack — as ordered?”

“No, sir, we were arresting this trouble-maker-”

“Oh, is that what you were doing? Certainly looked like an unprovoked attack to me-”

Ellardin and Natalia took control of the situation with the kind of deft maneuvering and honey-coated words Atarah had witnessed a thousand times before and never been able to mimic. She was happier with a sword, anyways. In the morning became the watchword – we’ll attend to this accusation in the morning. We’ll have a trial for the tiefling in the morning… Atarah let it pass over her, confident they’d find nothing against her shieldmate.


One of the guards – the one with a dusty boot print marring his armor – had an ugly gash across his throat; closed, but still bloody and angry. As he passed her, heading for the door, Atarah clapped a hand on his shoulder, murmuring an invocation to Papa Summerheart. Light flared from beneath her palm, soaking through his armor to the skin beneath, pooling up to the wound. It healed over completely, leaving only pink, new skin. “Sorry about that.”

“I… buh… Sure—” the guard backpedaled hastily into the cluster of his fellows. The light went out in her hands and the inn seemed somehow darker and less welcoming.

“Right!” Atarah said cheerfully, once the Captain and his goons were definitely gone. Time to dispel a little of the gloom that had settled on her. She tossed down too much gold onto the polished wood bar. “Where were we? Drinks!”

- -

She woke from nightmares again, fingers spasming closed around the chunk of quartz gravel she’d picked up from the Dripping Caves and kept. Atarah sat up and tried to calm her heartbeat, to keep from gasping in air like a drowning man. She’d been drowning, far out to sea beneath a black storm and an angry ocean, darkness so thick she could hardly tell what was sky and what was water. She turned towards the wall, away from her friend, and bent over her knees.

It was too dark. Too dark in the room, it was going to close in on her, suck her away – Atarah willed and the stone in her hand flared with light, streaming out in thin bands beneath her white-knuckled grip. Just enough to pin the shadows back against the walls where they belonged. Atarah breathed, slowly, deeply, waited for the panic to subside.

One of the bands of light caught on a piece of grubby white, stuffed into her belt pouch where it lay discarded beside the bed. Atarah fished it out with her free hand and stuffed the rock under her blanket where it wouldn’t be quite so blinding. Scrawled in what looked like charcoal on a worn torn-off piece of paper was a note, delivered to her by one of the city children earlier that evening (“from your friend in the jail”). She unfolded it and read for what seemed like the hundredth time:

Atarah
The Left Hand are
in the city. Find them
before they find you.
-T

T. T for Titan? He’d been right there with them in the Inn, not in jail (though not for lack of cause, sometimes… and she wasn’t even sure if Titan was literate). Or T for Tiefling… for Tranled. It’d explain a lot about the Captain’s… distress. The Left Hand though…

The Left Hand had featured in the stories about papa, one of his primary adversaries. She’d been convinced they’d all died with him, twenty years ago. It was why he’d been sent back, after all. Surely she didn’t have to keep fighting papa’s battles. She’d get her own, right? Maybe this was a different group, or copycats with the same name…  

It’d keep. Till dawn, when she’d be getting up anyways. She’d go down to the jail at dawn, figure out what was going on. Why the note was sent to her. Why now. Atarah leaned over, put the note away, and started to settle back down. To nightmare-free sleep.

“Attack! Attack! We’re under attack— Ogres!” A fist pounded on their door; Envar’s voice called down the hall. Atarah was already scrambling to her feet, to her armor. Natalia took a little longer but then she was up too, both girls rushing for their gear, out the door -

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And Justice For All
Scenario 7

24 Eleint 1486

After their welcome to Goldenfields, the party begins to drift off on their various errands. The townspeople explain they are readying for the Harvest festival and invite the party to stay until then, and ask for their help preparing the feasts. Titan agrees, is given a knife and a potato to peel, and does a terrible job while wandering through the kitchens eating all the best stuff.

Korotir stays behind to question Abbot Ellardin, who presided over his trial when he was last in Goldenfields, intimidating the Father into revealing the others involved in his exile. Ellardin tells him about a Zhentarim agent who bribed the other guards to open the gate to the assassins. It was a man called the Snail, who works out of Bargewright Inn, a town upstream on the Dessarin River from Goldenfields. Korotir also offers the party’s services while they are in town, a tactic Natalia seems bemused by – isn’t it her adventuring company? A woman attached to the temple, Zhi, agitates for hiring them, citing lax security on the walls. Ellardin agrees to pay them 2g per guard shift on the wall.

Natalia steers the conversation to the previous trouble in the city; Ellardin and Zhi explain that last week a group of hill giants came and threw rocks at the wall, damaging it. The guards filled them full of arrows and eventually they left. One might have been named Lob but it’s hard to tell.

Stuffed full and bored of filching food, Titan decides to go looking for an apothecary to replenish his supply of rogue-ly poisons. He accosts a passerby, “Hey, peasant!” and is given the location of a druid’s shop, rather confusedly. (“I hate Goldenfields. It’s too wholesome”)

The druid specializes in growing exceptionally spicy peppers, and he’s very protective of them, especially the one named Bartholomew. Eventually, through many back-and-forths with the befuddled druid (“…that’s not how bargaining works…”), Titan acquires a sack full of very spicy peppers. He returns to their rooms at the Inn to experiment.

Meanwhile, Tranled, now in the custody of Captain Strog, is arrested for murder after one of the guards discovered the burned and severed head of the Zhentarim agent Shalvus. He is hauled off to jail, and a local child is sent running to fetch Maxine, the resident wizard, to put out the fire in the blacksmith’s shed.

Atarah, followed by Envar, finally arrive at the smithy, after being detained by curious townsfolk. Envar eventually stares them down so they can get on with errands. The smith comments on the exoticness of the blade, fangirls over it a bit when Atarah tells him it’s her dad’s, and agrees to repair it, though it will take a few days. When Korotir and Natalia arrive to purchase a weapon for Korotir, the smith pays very little attention to them, very intent on the sword.

Back at Nightfurrows Inn, Titan successfully makes powder from his spicy peppers, but only after getting burned himself. Miros, familiar with the effects of Druid Stone’s produce, holds the halfling down and pours milk over his face to wash out the burn.

The party gathers for dinner and drinks after completing their errands for the day, wondering about their tiefling travel companion. Should they look for him? Natalia sends a child to look for him, promising coin in return.

Orin, the local bard, pesters the group for stories about themselves. Titan regales the bard with the tale of how he heroically saved Natalia from an invisible stalker, going on at length and with little regard to the actual facts. Atarah says there’s no stories about her, yet, but that Orin probably knows ones about her dad, since he used to live in Goldenfields twenty years ago. Titan is grumpy about not having a dad, Atarah invites him to visit hers on the next Solstice.

Natalia notices their loud conversations are drawing attention from a shady group in the corner. While Envar goes to investigate, Natalia informs Atarah who fails to be discreet and heads to the bar – partially to get drinks, partially to check out the group in the corner. Korotir goes with her.

Both of them fail to notice Captain Strog until he slams Korotir’s head into the bar. “You’re under arrest!”

A fight breaks out. Atarah grapples the captain off of Korotir, the guards kick at Korotir, who gets up and Sparta-kicks a guard backwards, then dashes off for his gear. Titan jumps onto the kicked guard and stabs him in the throat. Atarah yells at the captain, talking with him while she holds him pinned to the floor.

Envar knocks Titan off the downed guard in time for Natalia to reach him and heal him, to keep him from dying (“Let’s not add murder charges, it’s bad for PR”). Distracted, Atarah is knocked over and flipped by the Captain, who starts to arrest her – “…for obstructing justice—” “I AM JUSTICE!” – and her celestial wings flare.

The wings distract everyone long enough for Father Ellardin to arrive (warned and summoned by Natalia), and for the two to negotiate a truce until morning. That runner child returns, tells them their friend is in jail, and throws a note at Atarah from a safe distance.

Everyone retires for the evening…

25 Eleint 1486, before dawn

Orin, as per his habit, goes on a drunken ramble late at night. He nearly runs into half a dozen very tall siege-weapon ogres, plus goblins and bugbears. He runs to the Inn, yelling once he gets there, “We’re under attack!”

Envar and Titan go scouting, discover the invaders are searching for something. They’ve split into groups, and the bugbears have vanished.

Titan goes to break Tranled out of jail, deciding the party will need him in the fight to come. He succeeds after a few encounters with guards, including knocking one out by throwing pixie dust at him and jerking a door open in front of the flying guard’s face. The pair head back to the Inn once Tranled’s things are recovered.

Back at the Inn, the ogres have fixated on the building. It’s going to be a long night..

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A Warm Welcome
Scenario 6

Natalia, Tranled, and Atarah spend some time talking to the captured Cultist of Howling Hatred.  They eventually win him over to their side and recruit him as part of the adventuring team.  He introduces himself as Lata, and spends the rest of the day trying to summon back his Giant Vulture.  


As they are approaching Goldenfields, Lata runs in to warn them of a Silver Dragon carrying six Dwarves from the Lord’s Alliance.  The dwarves use Gaseous Form to seep under the closed giant door and nearly get into combat with the party.  Zephyros is paralyzed by the Dragon’s breath while Natalia hastily tries to use her authority with Lord’s Alliance to dissuade them.  Zephyros manages to break the paralysis, block the dragon, and float downstairs to join the standoff.  Atarah and Natalia manage to convince the dwarves that Zephyros poses no real threat and that he is actually helping them solve the ‘giant problem’.  Tensions are replaced by awkwardness as the Dwarves return to Clarion (the Dragon) and leave for Gauntlgrym keep.


Arriving over Goldenfields, Zephyros decides to repay the party’s kindness by providing them with a grand entrance.  They Featherfall down from the sky into the main town square and are immediately surrounded by a large, slightly nervous crowd.  Zephyros introduces them as the “chosen ones of the prophecy” (that he just made up right now) and promises that they’ll restore good relations with the giants.  Captain Strog Thunderblade is immediately disgruntled with the new arrivals and his mood only darkens when he spots Korotir amongst them.  Strog tries to have Korotir thrown out, but Abbott Darovik shuts him down and points out that he still hasn’t updated the defenses after the “recent giant attack”.  Oren, a halfling bard, declares that this is grounds for a party and escorts them back to Miros Xelbrin’s Inn.


Tranled slips away to make contact with the Zhentarim and finds Shalvus Martholo. Shalvus brings him into a private shed near blacksmith’s and offers him a job; turns out there’s a hefty bounty on Atarah and all her family.  Tranled finds out the bounty is from The Left Hand, the same organization that killed his family. Tranled flips out, kills Shalvus with fire, and burns down the shed in the process.  He then stumbles out of the smoke and into the cold air to be greeted by the recently spurned Captain Strog Thunderblade and four guards…

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On Cloud Nine
Scenario 5

20 Eleint 1486

The two groups – the ones who went with the villagers and the party who stayed behind to clear out the caves and rescue whoever was left – reunite back at Nightstone. There's conversations to have, a town to rebuild, and the next steps to take.

Tranled and Nano reunite with Dexter, who has some news for them about the future plans the Zhentarim have for Nightstone. With such vigorous defenders, they've decided to take a less overt approach to taking over the place as a base of operations.

Tranled had a conversation with his sister, Destiny, in the main square, as conspicuously as possible, when she reported someone had broken into her house and stolen her holy symbol and their savings. He makes a big show about it. "Wait, stole from your house? The house I placed a hex on to prevent that very thing? Who could be stupid enough to not read the warning about burning for a thousand years and freezing for a thousand more?"

Titan (the thief in question) has a panic attack and hides behind the nearest building, but after examining the golden symbol once more decides it's totally worth it and saunters out like nothing's wrong except that bad cheese and mushrooms again.

Natalia pulls aside Morag into the temple and explains to him the sad news of Lady Velrosa. He agrees it's not best to blurt it out and will speak to the village himself. He has tallied up the dead and missing in the meantime and explains the town apothecaries (the Xeldrin, who were also the owners of the winged cat, Rillix) have a son in Goldenfields. Would Natalia bring news of Miros' parents' death and also return the tressym cat to him? Natalia agrees provisionally, but she'd like to return to Waterdeep first.

Natalia also reassures Morag of the current defense of Nightstone, explaining the truce with the keep guards and the Seven Snakes. Tranled, happening by at this point, interjects with voluble recommendations of the Zhentarim Benevolence Society and their assistance to Nightstone.

Envar, being the only one left in the village with any blacksmithing ability, attempts to repair the damage done to the party's weapons and armor by the black pudding in the Dripping Caves. Korotir's shield is first up, and while it may not be aesthetically pleasing, the repair is sound.  Atarah, judging by Korotir's reaction, decides to wait until they're in a larger city to have her father's sword repaired.

While the party settles in for the night, to depart to Goldenfields, Waterdeep, or wherever else in the morning, various winged messengers arrive with mail.

The Lords' Alliance has sent Natalia a missive: "We appreciate the information about Nightstone and the attack on it, but we cannot spare the manpower to assist. All our energies are currently being directed to pre-emptive attacks on the restless giants."

The Emerald Enclave contacts Envar: "Fire giants have been reported burning forests to the north. Tell us if you discover any large metallic objects embedded in the ground, we believe they may be related."

 

21 Eleint 1486 – Autumn Equinox

In the morning, Natalia wakes to the winged serpent she'd sent to her mother hovering over her. After only a very small scream, she retrieves the message it bears from Lady Crystal: "Letting Lady Velrosa die looks very bad. Don't come back to Waterdeep until you've actually accomplished something."

Atarah commiserates. "I've never liked your mother."

Natalia resolves to go to Goldenfields after all, and her loyal three are accompanying her. Envar, Nano, and Tranled also come along; Envar ostensibly to look for new work, Tranled because he's a restless soul, and Nano… because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Dexter stays behind with the snakes, Aliza to care for the temple.

Morag gives Envar a scroll of "Speak With Animals" – in case of emergency on the trip. It takes five days to get to Goldenfields on foot; the party packs appropriately.

Half a day out from Nightstone, the party is greeted by a… floating… tower…  It rests on a cloud bank and its top is shaped like a wizard's conical hat, a thousand feet or so above the ground. A spiral staircase made out of more cloud extends down from the bank and follows the party, enticing them upward. Titan immediately wants to climb it to the riches presumably beyond.

The rest of the party is skeptical.

"…that's a trap, isn't it."

"Well, knowing it's a trap is one way to get out of a trap."

"Alright, fine, so long as we're all agreed: trap. Let's go."

They climb to the top of the stairs, some of them wheezing more than others, the door is open but there's no one there. Atarah waits for precisely three seconds before getting bored and banging on the door with the pommel of her greatsword. BOOM BOOM BOOM. "Hello? You wanted us here, we're here, what do you want?"

Titan facepalms. "Now you've wrecked it."

A twenty foot tall elderly grey-skinned giant floats out of a hole in the ceiling of the room. "Oh! Hello! Who are you?"

"You… kind of invited us? Your staircase?"

"Oh! Right!…"

"Who are you?"

"What? Who are you?…"

Giant eventually introduces himself as Zephyros, a wizard. He hardly ever finishes a sentence, instead trailing off to stare into space. He knows most of the party once they introduce themselves, although he mentions "Oh, we're in the future where Dexter isn't here."

He sets the cloud tower to fly to Goldenfields (shaving two days off the party's trip, to three days instead of five) and, in his own broken fashion and prompted by many questions, explains that the Deity of the Giants has shattered their Ordining – their enforced social hierarchy between the different races of giants. As a result, all the races are vying for power and control over the others, leading to all the problems hinted at in the missives Envar and Natalia received earlier.

He does make lovely tea in tiny ice cups for the group though. He asks no one come up to the second floor (where there's no stairs, anyways), though the halflings attempt to hide clinging to the hem of his robes when he floats up there. They don't make it up.

The party spends three days on the bottom floor of the tower, a circular room approximately a hundred feet in diameter and devoid of pretty much anything but a few pieces of Giant-sized furniture. Atarah walks the outside, pesters Envar, Korotir, and whoever else wants to into sparring with her when she gets bored. Titan engages Zephyros in conversation about hill giants, slang, bribery, and prunes.

 

23 Eleint 1486

On the second to last morning, nine giant vultures with armored human riders touch down on the cloud. Atarah goes to look and recognizes their branding: they’re members of the Cult of Howling Hatred, an air-element aligned cult bent on summoning their evil patron, Yan-C-Bin. She's fought them before while still a novice in the Halls of Justice. Atarah calls on the rest of the party to help her close the door.

The Cultists throw themselves against the door and the two forces stalemate with a slim gap remaining. A Cultist from outside calls, "Let us in, we're friendly, we've brought gifts!"

Atarah calls, "No follower of the Howling Hatred is ever friendly!"

"Uh, look, I dunno what she's told you, but—"

A cultist slips in through the gap and attempts to grab Envar, who stabs him. A fight breaks out. Korotir and Atarah hold the door as best they can while cultists slip in one at a time through the gap. The rest of the party deals with the intruders. Korotir is ripped from the door by an invisible force, leaving Atarah holding it alone. She manages to get it closed but not latched – and then is Commanded to open it. The door swings fully open.

Titan, suffering under a curse, gets hit by Tranled's fiery magics and is burned to unconsciousness; Natalia gets the flames out with her cloak and heals him, but then gets hit by the same invisible force that attacked Korotir. The tiefling jumps to Korotir's shoulders to get a better vantage at the cultists yet outside and casts a cloud of poison spray onto them. Korotir is unruffled by being used so.

Those within scuffle with four cultists and an invisible elemental of some kind – Titan throws Natalia's cloak over it to make it visible. Natalia Commands the invisible creature to grovel in her best Noble Authority voice, and it drops to the floor, kowtowing before her for a few valuable moments.

Eventually, after being hit on all sides with daggers, axes, arrows and sacred flames, the invisible force departs, heading back to its master.

Korotir and Tranled run out of the tower to confront the last few cultists and nearly slide off the edge. Envar follows, more cautiously. They take out one of the vultures and its rider. Atarah, suffering under a Hold Person spell, is burned by the Compelled cultist, but breaks his arm when she finally breaks the spell. His vulture carries him away but Envar ends his suffering with a well-placed shot.

They end with one unconscious cultist and a bunch of dead ones, who are promptly stripped of all valuables. The unconscious cultist is revived and interrogated, but reveals little of value. His name is Yenoth. The party is not done with him yet, but leaves him restrained on Zephyros' floor.

Zephyros finally appears and accepts the party's account of what happened, hmmphs, and goes back up to the second floor. Goldenfields is yet a day away…

 

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You Don't Guano Know
Scenario 4

20 Eleint, DR 1486

As the Ogre advances, Titan quickly strings a rope across the passage, just at ogre-ankle height. The ploy works, the Ogre falls to the ground with an echoing BOOM and Titan cheers and gloats. From further back in the caves, another Ogre voice calls out. "Nob? Are you ok?"

Korotir, Atarah, and Natalia waste no time in attacking the downed Ogre, stabbing with spear and blade and divine fire. The Ogre is tough, however, and rolls to its feet, making a grab for Atarah on the way. He attempts to use her as a club against Korotir, but loses his grip due to the slick mud and ends up tossing Atarah twenty feet down the corridor instead. "It is not nice to throw people!" 

Natalia, thoroughly grossed out by nude, muddy ogre, calls down the sacred fires again. The Ogre falls with another boom. 

"NOB!" Another Ogre – a female – loomed out of the dark in revenge or defense of her mate. Enraged at the sight of her crisped mate and Natalia's still glowing form, she swung her club and connected with a heavy thud. 

The darkness beyond is lit by flashes of fire and squealing goblin voices. Other taller forms are silhouetted by the eldritch flame. Every so often, arrows hiss out of the dark, aimed by Natalia's light. The Ogre Wife is slow but tough and hits hard; Korotir breaks off a spear in her hide. Korotir and Atarah are getting the rhythm of each other's fighting now; staying close to duck behind or interpose a shield.

When the Ogre Wife finally falls, it is to the sight of flaming bats flying in dizzy circles, charred goblin corpses, and a small running figure out of the dark. 

"Hi! Hi! Titan, is that you? I want to join your party!" 

"Korotir, how hard did that Orge hit me? Pretty sure I'm seeing double."

The villagers stream out of one of the back tunnels, led by a cloaked man and a woman in armor. The woman is another Paladin from Atarah's class of trainees, Aliza. The other introduces himself as Tranled.

The leader of the villagers, Morak, informs the party that two of their number are missing, but that the rest are injured. Arrangements are made for Envar and Titan to escort Morak and the other villagers back to Nightstone. The rest of the party, including Aliza, Tranled, and a halfling named Nano, search the caves for the missing villagers (and their gear, in the case of the three newcomers). One of the villagers, a Tiefling named Destiny, seems very interested in Titan.

Searching the rest of the caves, the party encounters a tunnel with stripped-clean goblin skeletons. Natalia recalls information about things that could have done that, including Black Puddings (and not the eating kind) – and that sometimes they're invisible. Party is grossed out and gets very suspicious of the otherwise clean cave. Atarah scoops up gravel and starts tossing it in small handfuls to check their forward path. Korotir retrieves hacked-off Ogre fingers and copies her.

Pudding erupts from a porous stalagmite in the center of an area in the tunnel. The party quickly discovers that stabbing at it just makes more of it, and it eats pits into their gear and dissolves clothing. Korotir moves to protect Natalia and Atarah in her frustration tries a smite. Their new friend Tranled killed it by submerging his hands in the ooze and blasting it with fire. 

By the time that fight is completed, the party is tired and grumpy. Atarah is upset that her father's sword is damaged, Korotir that his shield is. So when they find the goblin leader, Boss Hark, they're in no mood to negotiate – well, except Natalia. Boss Hark has a cage of giant pet rats, who are eating what is definitely a villager. 

Atarah tossed an overly ambitious goblin who claimed the party were here to kill Hark at Boss Hark's head. He ducked, Natalia negotiated, Tranled shook on it… only his hands are burning and then everything up on Hark's platform is burning too, including the tiefling. Atarah offers a congratulatory hand and a divine burst of healing. 

The victorious party rescues the remaining villager (Daphne Featherstone) from her captivity, divvies up Boss Hark's treasure hoard, and heads back to Nightstone. 

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Oh, _That_ Army
Scenario 3

20 Eleint, DR 1486

The party and their new entourage spend a more-or-less restful night in the Keep. Natalia sends a message to her mother via flying snake, rotating watches are assigned and the drawbridge raised. Korotir contemplates the ethics of bribery while fashioning his new Worg-fur cloak and staring into the campfire….

…flashback…

A glimpse of Korotir's past. He, a gate guard, is on trial for accepting a bribe to let assassins and their magical weaponry into the city of Goldenfields. There was an unsuccessful attack on the city's prestigious wizard resident (Kolstaag), who now demands someone be blamed for it all. 

Amid blatant orcish racism and obvious incompetence on behalf of citizens and fellow guards of the primarily human city, the magistrate in charge reluctantly rules against Korotir. He is expelled from post and city alike. 

…back to the present…

Early the next morning, the guards on watch sound the alarm. The remnants of an orc warband is attacking the town. Atarah asks Korotir if he can talk to them; "They are led by Gruumsh. The only language they will listen to is blood."

The Snakes take positions at the watchtowers, firing arrows on any orcs in range. Envar and Natalia start at the watchtower by the drawbridge, where the elven fighter Envar (played by Andy) is hit by a javelin but healed by Natalia. Korotir and Titan go to the center of town to ambush any orcs who have scaled the walls and enter the town. The orcs flood around to the broken bridge leading to the Keep, the only gap in the palisade. 

Atarah and some of the guards are at the gap to meet them. Atarah's great sword cleaves through the orcs climbing up in bursts of fire, but she is quickly overwhelmed. The other guards get struck down or pulled into the moat. 

Natalia, Envar, Korotir and Titan arrive to reinforce the gap. Titan begins throwing improvised Molotov cocktails, lighting more orcs on fire. Natalia heals the downed guards, Envar fires arrows into the mass. Atarah and Korotir between them down the last few orcs and clear the bridge for a few moments. 

The Orc warlord mounts the bridge with more of his people. He takes out Atarah with one blow to the chest with his great axe; a second cuts completely through her armor. The blows fling her backwards into Natalia's reach. Korotir and the warlord square off, helped by the constant hail of arrows from the Snakes. After a hard series of exchanged blows, Korotir ends the fight with a spear through the warlord's throat and a boot to the chest. As their leader falls, the other orcs break and run.

In the aftermath, they find that Lydia, the head guard from the Keep, has been slain. Envar helps them clean and repair their gear at the forge. The party decides after a short rest they must go to the nearby caves to find and rescue the remaining villagers of Nightstone, leaving the Snakes and remaining guards behind to fortify the town. 

The Weeping Caves are only two hours from the town. Titan discovers several entrances, but following the tracks of the villagers, they go in through the main, largest, opening. A nude ogre greets them with hostility for interrupting his mudbath… 

 

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You And What Army?
Scenario 2

19 Eleint, DR 1486

After their vicious battle with the two Worgs, the group of adventurers quickly mopped up the remaining Goblins.  Korotir (Rob) considers how good he would look in a Worg cloak.  Titan (Austin), still set on looting, broke into a house warded with Infernal runes and hides a cursed golden figure he doesn’t recognize.  A group of bandits called the Seven Snakes rides into Nightstone.  They are led by Xolkin, whose second in command is Dexter (played by Antonia), a dwarven Wizard who is dissatisfied with Xolkin’s incompetence.  They were sent to secure Nightstone for the Black Network.  Dexter splits off with the adventurers while Xolkin makes doe eyes at Kella.  The group fixes the bridge and gains access to the Keep where they find a dying Lady Velrosa buried in the rubble.  Velrosa begs Natalia (Victoria) to protect her legacy and bequeaths her a valuable ring.  


Dexter tells them that Xolkin will kill Natalia and the four remaining guards in order to wrest control of the village, so they hatch a plan.  Titan admits to being paid off by Kella and implicates Korotir “so she’ll trust us”.  Natalia absorbs this information and tries to decide whether this is a double triple cross.  Dexter, Titan, and Korotir are sent to capture Kella and hold her for ransom.  Dexter uses Kella’s irritation with Xolkin to lure her away and hit her with a Sleep spell.  They run across the bridge as the Seven Snakes come charging in after them.  Behind the fortifications, Korotir taunts Xolkin and he’s called in to negotiate alone.  But with Dexter’s betrayal and the guards in control of the Keep, he has little negotiating power.  Xolkin pays for Kella’s safe return and offers the Seven Snakes a chance to choose their leader.  Thoroughly humiliated, all the Snakes leave Xolkin and he rides off alone with a sleeping Kella draped over the horse, muttering darkly.  With Nightstone successfully defended, the party stands five strong with Dexter plus five of the Snakes and four castle guards, at least as long as the alliance holds.

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Welcome to Nightstone
Introductions & Scenario One

19 Eleint, DR 1486

The Lady Natalia of Waterdeep has set out with her ally Atarah on a coming of age journey to prove her worth as a noble. Her mother Crystal (based on possibly dubious advice) has hired protectors to ensure her safe return. Brock is the Hunter and wilderness guide. Titan, the Halfling rogue and Korotir the Half-Orc fighter  are her bodyguards. Together, they journeyed to assist Lady Velrosa Nandar and the people of Nightstone.

Upon arriving, they found Nightstone pummeled with giant rocks, deserted by the villagers, and infested with Goblin raiders. They fought through through the goblins and their two warg pets, rescuing Kella Darkhope, a spy for the Black Network, in the process. Kella told them the village was attacked by giants dropping stone from the sky and that the eponymous Nightstone obelisk has been taken. She then privately offered Titan and Korotir bribes in exchange for their service securing the village for the Black Network.

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