Heroes of Fallcrest

Reavers of Harkenwold Part 4
Attack of the Iron Circle

After returning from the Woodsinger elf camp, with the promise of 50 elf bows for their cause, the party rested while the free folk of Harkenwold poured into Allbridge. The leaders of these people argued with Dar Gremath and each other, about how the defences should be laid out, who would lead, who would put their forces where. Seeing nothing was being achieved the party threw their weight behind Dar Gremath, and cajoled, bullied and persuaded the others to fall in line. The party helped with the plans, suggested where to dig trenches, where to put the elven archers. Non combatants were sent from the town to stay in other communities. Dar Gremath asked that the party be held in reserve, to be sent if or when the Iron Circle broke through the defences. The Druid Reithann and her apprentices would guard the woods to the west, but would need more help. Bobo and Sivkin offered to help her and the druid gratefully accepted. The Riverboat halflings would form a skirmishing group operating on the roads throughout the village. Should the Iron Circle break through they would try and harass and break up the groups, even if the halflings had to goad the Iron Circle into chasing them. They could then be picked off more easily by a second group waiting in ambush.

Finally scouts reported that the Iron Circle had been sighted on the road to Allbridge. It was a smaller force than expected, leading everyone to suspect that an attack from another direction would take place. The bridge across the river was barracaded and archers protected it. It was a clear day, and so archers on both sides had no trouble seeing targets. The Iron Circle used tower shields for protection to try and make it across the bridge, while at the same time rough cut rafts containing men landed on the Allbridge side of the river having come from upstream. Dar Gremath ordered them to be pushed back into the river and the battle was truly joined.

The party saw that a late arriving raft was landing some distance from the main battle. Their intent was obviously to flank the defenders, and the party rushed to intercept them.


The battle went better than expected. There was only one veteran combatant, and he had a reptilian creature following him around that spat acid at anyone who came close. The rest, despite their numbers, were rascals and thugs who had joined the Iron Circle as a way of increasing their power, but they were quickly butchered by the more experienced party. The acid spitting drake was next, and the Iron Circle veteran was the last to be chopped down, surrounded by the party.

The rest of the Iron Circle had not fared any better, they had been pushed back into the river by the forces of Allbridge, and had been stuck with arrows from ten elven archers set to watch that area. Some had drowned in the river, others were slain, although a few had jumped back onto the rafts and reached the far side where they joined their fellows.

After a brief rest where wounds were bandaged, there came a whistling sound, followed by an explosion of rock. A large boulder had been flung from somewhere and had landed in the village, shattering and sending splinters of rock everywhere. While they tried to figure it out, someone shouted “look!” and they saw a flaming object, as large as a man arcing through the air and landing on a house, exploding in flame.

“It must be some kind of catapult!” Dar Gremath exclaimed. “You must find it and stop it before it reduces Allbridge to rubble!”

The party headed off eastward, where they found a trebuchet and crew across a tributary river. The bridge had been dusted with caltrops, and several creatures stood waiting to guard it.


The battle was fierce! The trebuchet crew fired a barrel of oil at the party, but luckily it was easy to dodge and only a couple got splashed by the burning oil. Some swam the river, some walked slowly across, avoiding the caltrops, some balanced on the wall of the bridge and came across that way. Waiting for them were two tar devils, creatures that oozed hot tar and radiated heat. They could fashion the tar into a ropey net that ensnared their foe and brought them close where they could be stabbed with their khopeshes. Two cutthroats lurked in the trees near the river, giving Leshanna, Suvlaka and Gauthak a nasty surprise. An Iron Circle adept cast spells at the party from behind a wall until he was run down and killed by Tor. Tor and Leshanna also killed the trebuchet crew, and Leshanna destroyed the trebuchet. By the end of the battle Tor and Gauthak were unconscious – Gauthak close to death – and Suvlaka had died of his wounds from the cutthroat.

The battle was won, the trebuchet destoryed, but the war was still to be won.

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Reavers of Harkenwold Part 3
Friends and Fiends in the Forest

Marl was a wreck. As a community it may never be the same again. Stories say there was resistance here, and The Iron Circle used it as an example. Burnt out buildings outnumbered habitable ones, there were numerous graves along the road, fields were untended or burnt, fences and gates smashed, farm animals slaughtered and left to rot. The few people the party did see hurried away and hid, or slammed doors in their faces.

The sun had just gone down when the party arrived at Marl’s Tavern. Where a sign should be showing the name of the tavern was just a lonely sign bracket. Light spilled out from the windows and door, but the friendly bustle of tavern noise was missing. Someone was complaining in a loud, coarse voice. Ione and Gauthak went in first, the plan being that if there were any Iron Circle brigands there, they would probably start trouble when faced with just two adventurers. And so it proved. Trouble started and Bobo, Leshana, Tor and Suvalaka poured in. Two more Iron Circle cut throats, rummaging through the tavern keeper’s house and stables heard the commotion. By then the fight – a deadly fight with weapons, not a tavern brawl – was nearly over, so Gauthak and Bobo, each trying to out do each other, launched themselves through the tavern windows to attack these new foe (Leshanna helped out afterwards using a “mend” ritual to repair the damage). They captured the last Iron Circle survivor and sent him back to Harken Village naked and with a message for the Iron Circle leader Nazin Redthorn – “Your days are numbered. We will take back Harkenwold!”
“That should get him moving,” laughed Gauthak.

They stayed the night in the stables in Marl, and then continued their journey to the Woodsinger camp. Farmland gave way to woodland, and soon they were in the Harken Forest. The ancient road was not well travelled here, and was in poor shape. Within a few hours they had encountered a Woodsinger elven patrol and had been taken to the Woodsinger chief, a dark eyed elf female named Eriyel. Initially she is reluctant to commit to the human conflict, but did acknowledge the danger the Iron Circle may eventually pose.


Eriyel asked that if her people were to fight and die in the battle on the side of the rebels, she wanted her people to have an immediate benefit from it. She told the party of an eladrin ruin where an undead necromancer had made his lair. The necromancer was forging a relationship with the Daggerburg goblins, which was going to be trouble for Harken Wood in general, and the Woodsinger elves in particular. If they would go and deal with this undead necromancer, Eriyel would provide archers for the battle.

The party accepted this and after being given directions and instructions, set out for the eladrin ruins. En route they were attacked by goblins and giant spiders. However they were easily dispatched by the party. Once at the stone circle the ritual was conducted, and the party were teleported into the dungeons underground. Here they fought goblins first, and then (after falling into a trap, bouncing off a locked door, and getting in each other’s way) finally faced Yasril the undead necromancer and his minions. As well as his undead soldiers, Yasril had a glimmer spider under his control.


The glimmer spider had various abilities, including the ability to throw a radiant web, become invisible, and to teleport. Yasril himself was no pushover, having many spells, and the skeleton warriors were tough.

In the end the party prevailed, although all the warriors had been unconsious at one time or another, and the prospect of death for them had perhaps never been closer. But in the end the lair was looted, and a passage was found out of the dungeon.

Back at the Woodsinger elven camp Eriyel promised to gather her forces and would send 50 elven archers within a few days to Albridge. The party began their trip back to Albridge. Surely they had done enough to force The Iron Circle into a battle!

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Reavers of Harkenwold Part 2
The Resistance

The party tracked the bullywugs trail to a steading that was still burning. People were there putting out the fires and helping round up livestock that had escaped. The party handed over the child’s body to the grieving parents. Pixin was about to ask if there was a reward but was silenced by the looming, glowering figure of Gauthak.

Leaving the steading behind the party travelled back to Tor’s Hold and informed them the bullywug threat was no more. Tor’s Hold could now release a score of warriors for the resistance and would do so in the next few days. After staying overnight the party returned to Reithann the Druid, and gave her the staff of the Bullywug chieftan. She clapped her hands together with joy, and gave the party some magic armour as a reward. Reithann directed the party to Albridge, and told them to contact Dar Gremath.

In Albridge Dar Gremath, an aging and retired adventurer worked at his stables. The village was openly resistant to The Iron Circle, and Dar Gremath advised them to stay in the Mallard Inn, but not to speak too openly as the Iron Circle often sent spies there. Plus the owner Onneth was good hearted but unable to keep a secret.

Later that night, after the party were fed and lodged, they met Dar Gremath and his lieutenants back at the stables.
“If we’re going to beat the Iron Circle, we’ve got to draw Redthorn, the Iron Circle leader, out of his keep. We need to get him angry. There’s a supply caravan heading out to Easthill tomorrow. You could rob it. Gods, just picking a fight with Iron Circle goons in any tavern in Harkenwold would be a good start!”
The plan was set, and the party set out to attack an Iron Circle supply caravan. They set up an ambush on the road, and attacked. The fight was tough, and the Iron Circle had a spellcaster as well as a metal construct in dog shape called an Iron Defender, but in the end the Iron Circle were defeated. The caravan contained weapons, rope, some magic items and coinage, perhaps pay for Iron Circle troops or maybe bribe money for locals. Either way all the caravan went to the resistance in Albridge.
Pleased with the party’s success, Dar Gremath suggested resting for a few days. He had an idea that the Iron Circle would not be happy with the defeat of their bullywug allies or the caravan robbery. His own information network advised him that there was movement at the keep in Harken Village. Dar Gremath asked the party to swing by the village of Marl, south of Albridge, rile the Iron Circle up by attacking them there – perhaps at the tavern – and then make for the Woodsinger Elves camp in Harken Forest and ask them for aid. If the elves would assist the resistance it would be a great help in the coming battle.

Rested and ready to go, the party headed for Marl. The weather turned bad, and the overcast sky darkened. Rain began to fall, light at first and then heavy. If that wasnt bad enough, a chill fog rose from the land. The road became muddy and slippery. While passing through an abandoned steading which flanked the road, the party spotted a figure through the fog holding a lantern. Further on the road an Iron Circle mercenary was riding a large red lizard. The lizard roared, and an evil looking woman in a red surcoat appeared from some bushes.
“There they are!” she pointed. “Take them!”
This hunting party had obviously been looking for them. Once again battle was joined. The rain and fog and mud made the battle difficult for all, but once again the party were victorious. Pixin was looking particularly pleased with himself after fey-stepping onto the back of the red lizard, behind the rider and kicking him off into the mud. The elf barbarian was then able to plunge his blades in the back of the lizard, piercing its lungs and organs.

After a short rest, and some bandaging of wounds, the party continued to Marl.

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Reavers of Harkenwold Part 1
Toadwallow Caverns

Reavers of Harkenwold Part 1 – Toadwallow Caverns

The party arrived back at Fallcrest expecting to rest and recuperate for a couple of weeks before Traevus would be ready to start the ritual to retrieve his brother from the Shadowfell. Instead within a day of returning they were summoned before Lord Warden Markelhay. The Lord Warden of Fallcrest had heard of the party’s exploits and requested their assistance in dealing with the problem of Harkenwold.

Harkenwold had been overrun by a band of brigands calling themselves “The Iron Circle” and had imprisoned the rightful ruler of Harkenwold, Baron Stockmer, in the dungeons of his own keep. Lord Markelhay commissioned the party to travel to Harkenwold and work against the Iron Circle with an aim to rescuing Baron Stockmer, and restoring him as ruler of Harkenwold.

The following day the party set out for Harkenwold. They travelled the next two days along The King’s Road through Harken Forest, and eventually left the forest behind as they entered the valley of Harkenwold. Sometime around midday the party saw smoke coming from behind a small hill. A dirt track led in that direction, where they found brigands wearing a black cloak with an grey circle insignia about to set fire to a farm building which had a woman and her children inside. They had already set fire to an outbuilding. The party defeated the brigands and their pet wolves (with some difficulty – the wolves particularly liked double teaming on Vennerzad and continually knocking him prone and then savaging him), and rescued the woman and her two boys.

The woman’s name was Ilyana and after putting out the fire in the outbuilding she told them that the Iron Circle were sellswords and cutthroats who seized Harkenwold over a month ago. Since imprisoning Baron Stockmer they had been plundering the land, stating they were collecting “taxes”. Ilyana advised them to avoid the town of Harken, which had the most amount of Iron Circle soldiers and suggested they speak to either the druid Reithann in her grove closeby, or continue to Albridge and speak to Dar Gremath, an ex adventurer who is organising the resistance movement. Ilyana advised that the folk of Harkenwold were ready to rebel – they just needed a spark to set things off.

The party decided to see the druid Reithann first. They soon found her grove, with her humble cottage. Reithann turned out to be a spry 80 year old woman with two apprentices. She was firmly on the side of the rebels and suggested that the first blow should fall on the bullywugs of Toadwallow Caverns. They are unnatural creatures, and by harassing the people of western Harkenwold they were preventing the people of the village of Tor’s Hold from joining Albridge in open resistance. She offered a magic suit of armour if the party could return with the bullywug chieftan’s staff as proof of their conquest. Reithann also provided three healing potions.

The party set off west and spent the night in Tor’s Hold. Tor’s Hold held about 140 people and their elder was Bran Torsson, a big boisterous man of 60 years who was willing to muster the fighting folk of the Torsson clan and march to aid Dar Gremath in Albridge, but had been unable to do so because of the bullywug raids on his family’s homes and fields.

The next day the party continued west and found themselves at Toadwallow Caverns. The battle with the bullywugs was joined immediately they entered the caverns, and the second wave coming from deeper in the caverns included the chieftan with his staff. The chieftan was difficult to put down, and had a croaking firey burp that singed the party a few times and delivered the killing blow to Vennerzad who had already been knocked unconscious from a lightning spell unleashed by the bullywug chieftan. But finally all bullywugs appear vanquished, and it is left now to bury Vennerzad and explore the caverns.

As well as some treasure, gathered by the bullywugs by their raids, the caverns also revealed a surprise. The Bullywugs had captured a shifter by the name of Tor. The party freed him and he explained he had been captured while exploring. Further explorations revealed a large hole, which the bullywugs had been using as a rubbish tip and latrine by the smell of it. However two grey oozes flowed out of the hole to attack the party, obviously wanting some fresh meat instead of offal and refuse for a change. The party made short work of them and were congratulating themselves when a loud croak, like a challenge, was heard from the front of the caverns. The party rushed out to find a massive bullywug, with some of its smaller cousins spoiling for a fight. The battle was brutal, but the addition of Tor to the party was a welcome one as he was proficient with thrown weapons. As they picked through the bodies a small child, hands bound, was found lying on the grass. With a shock Leshanna remembered casting magic missile at a barely glimpsed figure at the back of the bullywug group. The party decided to return the child’s body back to his family, by following the bullywug trail backwards.

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The Ghost Tower
Recover the Anurasi Codex

Traevus asked the party to find The Anarusi Codex, a powerful tome which could be powerful in the wrong hands. He knows it is in the dungeons of The Ghost Tower, part of the ruins that make up Kalton Manor.

The party spent a day and a half travelling down the Kings Road east, and then taking the track from The Kings Road down to Kalton Manor, which is situated between Harken Forest and Witchlight Fens. It was around this time that Franklin announced to all that he should now be addressed as Bobo. Everyone rolled their eyes and agreed. Traevus told you the goblins lurk in the western part of the Harken Forest and are always fighting with the Woodsinger Clan elves in the east. The goblins sometimes fight with and sometimes ally with the lizardfolk who live in the swamp. Traevus tells you the goblins who were working for Malareth were from the Harken Forest.

Despite strange noises coming from both the Harken Forest and the Swamplight Fens, the trek was uneventful. Finally the party reached the ruins of Kalton Manor, named after the Kalton family who built it. All the buildings were in ruins – the manor, servants quarters, stables, barns, all derelict and empty, without roofs. The tower itself was on a hill overlooking the rest of the ruins, but it too was just a shell.

Once inside the tower Traevus indicated that the greatest challenge will be the intial guardians, and that he would assist the party with this encounter, and then return to the top to wait for them to find the Anarusi Codex. Traevus explained with a rueful grin that he’s not as young as he used to be and not as powerful as the party.

The party descended the stairs and indeed, the first guardians were seven wild eyed zombies with blackened claws. Traevus reached into his bag and pulled out the skull that the party had recovered in the adventure Entering the Twisted Halls. He exerted his power through the skull and the zombies were transfixed and under his command. Traevus explained he would command the zombies to walk into the swamp. It wouldnt kill them but it would get them out of the way, and who knows, they might take out a few lizardfolk too. Traevus left back up the stairs with the obedient zombies following.

The party explored the ruins, there were more undead to slay, traps to overcome, and they found a mystical barrier that required a multi part key to bypass. So far two parts of the key were recovered, and the party had to battle a minor demon, a dust devil, a spectre, an ochre jelly, and overcome a magic guardian circle to do it.
zombies
Tired and battered the party returned to the surface where Traevus waited. He praised the party for their efforts and said they could take a rest for a day or so. The dwarf said he had command over the zombies and that he would recall them and set them to guard the camp at a distance.

The next day the party descended once again to look for the next two parts of the key. They found one part in a room full of statues that animated when someone got too close. They were fragile though, little more than clay warriors and were easily despatched. The last part of the key was more difficult to obtain, and there were rat swarms, dire rats and pony sized spiders to deal with first. They also found a magical amulet of health along with the key.

With all the parts of the key obtained it fitted together in a square. There did not appear to be any place to place the key, so they went back to the surface to ask Traveus. He appeared unusually knowledgeable and told them how to activate it. They returned to the purple mist barrier and activated the key. Beyond was a room where a headless ghost thanked them for freeing him. He claimed to be the necromancer Anarus Kalton (from the Kalton family which Kalton Manor was named after) and that Traveus and Malareth were both his apprentices. He further claimed that Travaus had killed him and taken his skull because he wanted to bring his brother back from the dead. To do that he also needed the Anarusi Codex, which Anarus had hidden before he was killed by Traveus.

There was no reasoning with the insane undead necromancer, and the ghost of Anarus Kalton and his undead minions fought fiercely. The battle raged but the party were victorious in the end. The Anarusi Codex was found along with a ring of protection and some gold and silver coins.

They returned to the surface and decided they needed to hear Traevus’ side of the story. Depending on what they heard would decide whether they would give him the necromantic book or refuse to give it to him.

Traevus admitted to killing Anarus Kalton but claimed he had committed the deed with Malareth because Anarus was evil and was going to enter into a pact with the Lizardfolk of The Witchlight Fens to attack Nentir Vale. Traevus also admitted to becoming a necromancer so that he could bring his twin brother back from the dead, through a portal to the Shadowfell. However because he had killed Anarus Kalton, he needed the Anarusi Codex to study to give him the information he needed to create a ritual to do this.

After a discussion the party agreed to give Traevus the Anarusi Codex, but on the proviso that they be there when he performed the ritual in case anything went wrong. Traevus agreed enthusiastically, he had been going to ask the party do this anyway.

The party slept there at the ruins one more night. During the night they heard the guardian zombies fighting with something that was hissing – lizardfolk raiding party Traevus said – but nothing attacked the camp. The zombies were doing their job.

The next day they returned to Fallcrest. Traevus released the zombies into the swamp where they would probably die at the hands of swamp denizens sooner or later (he said).

They were ready for their next adventure, which would happen much sooner than anticipated.

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Adventure Log for The Heroes of Fallcrest
A blog for our campaign

This is the adventure log for our group of adventurers. Rather than describe blow by blow the details of the adventure, it’s more about a general overview of what happened and the continuation of the overall story.

Like most blogs, this one has the newest posts at the top, so you can read from the start by scrolling down to the bottom and then reading up.

Enjoy reminiscing about your adventures!

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Traevus and the Black Box
Find Traevus' Treasure

On the way back to Fallcrest after making a courier delivery to other communities and trading posts on behalf of The Halfmoon Trading House, the party (minus Dworkin who stayed in Fallcrest) encountered others travelling the same way. The most striking and unusual of these was Vennezad the wilden druid. While plant like in physiology Vennezad was similar in many ways to his mammalian friends – he knew the same emotions – love, hate, anger, joy. He loved the land, it was important to him, every tree and hill and squirrel, and he valued good company. Leshanna the eladrin war wizard, beautiful and powerful, Ushma the dwarven warlord from the great dwarven city of Hammerfast, and Gorthak the goliath fighter. Initially the others were seen as rivals – was Fallcrest big enough for two bands of heroes? But after spending time with them on the road it seemed they had more in common than differences and a bond between them was created. It was about this time that Bob the minotaur decided he wanted to be known as Franklin.
Goblins
Not far from Fallcrest the party found a wagon being attacked by goblins and a pack of wolves under their control. The party fought them off and saw in the distance a man wearing a black cape with a skull motiff riding a black horse disappear over the hill with the surviving goblins. The party had rescued Traevus, the dwarf who owned the wagon and who had been hit and knocked unconscious. Most of his belongings were strewn everywhere, but as he awoke he was most concerned with a small black chest which was missing. When the man on the horse was described to him, Traevus swore and named the man as Malareth, a necromancer and an old rival. Traevus offered the party gold coin to follow Malareth and recover the black chest.
Traevus
The party followed the tracks to an old ruin, made of huge stone blocks, which Franklin identified as minotaur built. Two tunnels in the hill under the ruin led to a still intact underground area. Here the party made their way through Malareth’s goblin guards until they faced the necromancer himself and his giant undead guardians, as well as his bugbear bodyguard. The battle was fierce and many of the party were smashed to the ground by the hulking undead, Ushma the dwarf was so badly battered he would never rise again. In the end the foe were defeated, but only just. The black box was located (it was opened and a human skull sat inside on velvet lining), and other information pointed to the fact that Malareth was a member of a group called The Iron Circle. This group appeared to have designs on Harkenwold, a collection of villages east of Fallcrest.
Bugbear
Traevus was overjoyed to receive his black chest back, and explained the skull was an artifact of necromancy. Traevus had previously travelled to Sunderpeak Temple to store the skull there, however it had been attacked and destroyed by orcs commanded by a black dragon. Traevus had returned to his home of Hammerfast but it soon became apparent that someone was trying to steal the skull from him. He therefore fled in the middle of the night in his horse and cart, intending to live in Fallcrest where he had no rivals or enemies and could hide it more successfully.

Traevus also offered the party more employment – he knew of another item he would like to retrieve in a ruined tower in Witchlight Fens to the southwest of Fallcrest.

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Heroes of Fallcrest - The Beginning
Rescue the two boys

It started with the two missing boys. Quin Stasi, a Fallcrest local silversmith, publicly sought help to find his two missing boys. A band came together, some local folk, some outsiders, and headed towards the Shadowhaunt Mausoleum. They were Ione the warlock, Pixin the eladrin warrior, Dworkin the dwarven invoker, and Bob the Minotaur.
Helvic
In the Shadowhaunt they found an evil tiefling called Helvic who planned to sacrifice the two lads as part of a ritual to summon and bind a demon. The tiefling and his hobgoblin allies were defeated by the heroic band, and the two boys were returned safely to their father. The heroes told the story of a spirit who was guarding the mausoleum – that of Johan Kaius IV, the last of the Kaius line, one time rulers of Nentir Vale, and that after speaking respectfully to the spirit, it aided them in their battle against Helvic.

The party came away with two animated statues, under control of whoever wields Helvic’s Rod. In recent weeks the party has hired out the two animated statues as muscle to builders, blacksmiths, farmers and merchants.

Ione and the others also spent time guarding merchants and caravans to and from Fallcrest. It was after one of these jobs that they encountered their second adventure…

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