Keep on the Peninsula

...and back to our story

When last we left the party, they were in a corridor of standing sarcophagi. The rogue had started to examine the sarcophagi, which prompty all opened up.

Skeletons climb out of the sarcophagi and start attacking the party immediately. Gresh charges forward to stand next to the rogue, and they fight side-by-side. The cleric steps forward and manages to take out several of the skeletons, and Graden manages to take out several others. However, more are coming in from the sarcophagi every couple seconds. Gresh rushes down the corridor to try to block off one end, and notices that the end of the corridor has a temple. From the carvings, he realizes it is a temple to Bahamut. He kneels down to offer a blessing to Bahamut, which releases a blast of light throughout the corridor. No more skeletons appear.

The party finds a door at the end of the corridor, and the rogue opens it. They find a room with a single sarcophagus, which they examine. The rogue suggests opening it to find if anything is useful, but the cleric and paladin veto that. The party starts to leave – but a skeleton rises from the lid and demands that they explain themselves. The skeleton quizes Gresh and the rest of the party, and they manage to convince him that they are there to close the portal. The skeleton gives Gresh a magical sword and tells the party they may get a blessing from the temple outside the door. While praying, the priest notices a gleaming section on the altar, but can’t find anything. After a careful search, the rogue points out a secret latch. On opening, they find four platinum dragon statues. Each party member takes one.

The party continues through unexplored areas, and encounters a symbol covering the floor. Graden summons a magical disc to move everyone over the symbol without touching it, although the rogue decides to jump across. While moving himself over a symbol and around a corner, Graden finds several zombies. Trying to cast one of his spells, Graden falls off and activates the symbol – which lets out a shriek. Gresh, the rogue, and the priest run in terror leaving Graden to fight the zombies. Graden manages to survive until the party returns, but one of the zombies manages to grab Graden. One of the priest’s spells throws the zombie and Graden almost to the stairs down. The zombies do manage to knock Graden out, but the cleric heals Graden before anything happens. The party takes out the rest of the zombies handily.

Continuing on, the rogue finds a secret door, and after a long search finds a lever on the cieling to open it. However, when it opens they don’t find anything. While searching the room, the rogue’s hand passes through one of the walls. He steps through, and is immediately attacked by several zombies. The rest of the party tries to help. Graden is grabbed once again, and one of his powers thrusts the zombie and himself back again. However, the party does manage to take down the rest of the zombies without major incident.

Saving the town one step at a time

Gresh and Graden both wake up with dreams. As the party starts heading for the unexplored area that Balgrun said leads down, they come across Splug – who informs them that the town is in danger. After a short discussion about the imminent peril from below, they decide to save the town. The townsfolk have the city gates closed, and inform the group that the dead have risen from the nearby graveyard. The party comes in to re-equip, and is met by a messenger for Cenedra. Cenedra informs the party that she has to go home, and Falkrunn and the warlock decide to go with her. An adventurer also comes up, and informs the party he was sent by Mr. Cranewing to check on the party’s progress. Both the messenger (a cleric) and adventurer (a rogue) decide to go with the party to try to determine the problem at the graveyard.

In the graveyard, the party is attacked by undead and Ninaran, the elven archer they previously met in town. The party manages to dispatch all the undead, only after the combat realizing that a glowing green circle was how the undead were raised. Graden dispells the glowing green circle to make sure that no other undead can be created. Gresh manages to kill Ninaran before he runs off, and finds a note from Kalarel with a password after searching the body.

The party returns back to the keep, and continues into the unexplored area. Around a corner they encounter several zombies, but manage to take care of them fairly easily with assistance from their new cleric. The group continues on to a large corridor with multiple sarcophagi in pairs along the walls. Becoming cautious, the rogue starts scouting ahead – but as soon as he goes in between the first pair, all the sarcophagi open with a bang.

New friends

The party decides to do what Splug suggests. They follow him into a large room where other goblins have been mining for quite some time. The party fights the goblins, but encounters trouble since the goblins are on top of un-dug areas that are hard to get to. Gresh tries to charge in, but once again goes down (after taking out two guard beasts). Falkrunn manages to heal Gresh just in time. After more fighting, during which once again most of the party is hurt, the goblins are finally vanquished.

With the secret door to Balgrun now unprotected, Cenedra goes through the corridor to kidnap the goblin leader. She succeeds, and brings him back where the party proceeds to terrorize and intimidate Balgrun into giving the party a map of the top level of the dungeon – at least, as much as he knows. Balgrun also says he has been following the directions of Kalarel, but at this point he is just going to run as far away as possible. The party discusses killing Balgrun for a long time – Gresh thinks that Balgrun has been marked by the Raven Queen for death, and most of the party agrees – however, Gresh wants to kill him immediately while most of the others want to use Balgrun to find any traps on the way down. After a long discussion, they finally let Balgrun go. (During this discussion, Splug has also run away) The party then decides to sleep in the secret corridor.

First sight

The party gets together after various resurections and shopping, and decides to finally investigate the keep they originally came out for. They travel down the road, and up the overgrown path to the keep. There, they discover some of the ruins have been cleared away and a stairway leading down revealed.

Once heading down the stairs, they find a goblin. Falkrunn charges forward to attack, but falls into a pit trap. Everyone else maneuvers around the trap, trying to take out four goblins that dodge around for quite some time. The party eventually manages to kill all four – only barely keeping one from escaping out a previously-unopened door. The party then closes that door and goes down another corridor, finding a blood trail leading through another door with voices coming through it. Everyone lines up and prepares attacks as Graden opens the door.

When the door opens, the party confronts several goblins and a hobgoblin torturer in a torture chamber. After a couple of bullrushes, the hobgoblin manages to get Gresh into the iron maden, and one of the goblin closes the door. The rest of the party concentrates on the hobgoblin and takes him down, and Gresh manages to break out and help clean up the rest of the goblins. Cenedra and Gresh find a goblin in a cell, and release it. He says his name is Splug. After a lot of intimidation (including threatened torture) and some diplomacy, he tells the party he can lead them to his ‘boss’, Balgrun the Fat. He also leads them to an amulet of Healing.

Entering the danger zone

Everyone races after the last Kobold. The warlock teleports into the cavern and starts trying to area effect from behind, but gets dogpiled. Everyone else is met just after exiting the waterfall by a host of Kobolds. After several frantic seconds, the warlock is taken out – but Falkrunn manages to revive him. The somewhat thinned-out kobolds are reinforced by several tougher ones, plus a goblin. At this point, most of the party is injured (except Graden). The party proceeds to take out the rest of the kobolds – Cenedra goes around back to concentrate on the goblin leader until she is almost killed, while Gresh finally wades through the minions, only to be tag-teamed by the goblin and the tougher kobolds. The warlock is taken down yet again, and finally bleeds to death since Falkrunn is out of healing. Gresh takes down the goblin, who cries out ‘Kalarel and Lord Orcus, prepare my way!’ Gresh goes down after helping to take out all but two of the kobolds – a wizard and a bruiser. The bruiser goes down fairly quickly – but during a wizardly duel, Graden is taken out just before the kobold wizard is finished off by Falkrunn and Cenedra. Falkrunn manages to revive everyone besides the warlock.

The rest of the party loots the kobold’s lair, and Falkrunn preserves the warlock’s corpse. The party travels back to Winterhaven uneventfully.

In Winterhaven, the villagers have become very nervous. The party goes to Lord Padraig and bargains for a resurection for the warlock, in return for all the kobold’s weapons. Back at the inn, Cenedra and Falkrunn talk to Valthrun about the Keep of the Shadowfells, finding out more information about the history (including a portal to a evil area of the Shadowfells dimension that the keep was protecting.)

Gresh goes out shopping with the treasure from the Kobold’s lair. After not finding any magical items that could help him, he finds a protective amulet that he gives to Graden.

On the road

The party gets up the next day. Loudarin has had a dream where Asmodeus lets him know that, as Orcus and himself has a pact, souls gathered add instead of subtract from his remaining soul count. Loudarin decides to leave the party.

Everyone else decides that the watch from the Fallcrest is no longer looking for them, so they decide to make for the main road to Winterhaven instead of staying in the countryside. Not long after they reach the road, a dwarf catches up with them. She introduces himself as Falkrunn, and has been sent by the church and Parle Cranewing. She has a letter informing the party that the Fallcrest watch have determined that the people they killed were not actual guards. The party continues on, and comes to an old abandoned village that still has one building standing. There they meet Graden, who seems to have several imaginary friends. They allow him to come along.

Traveling down the road, Cenedra and several others notice scratches in the ground. As they try to figure out what caused them, kobolds leap out from the bushes and charge the party. Combat rages, and once again Gresh goes down – this time Falkrunn is able to heal him. The party dispatches the rest of the kobolds, and continues on to Winterhaven.

In Winterhaven the party go to the inn, and talk to several of the people there. Valthrun tells them he will research the keep that Parle asked them to investigate. Eilian tells several stories, none of which are of interest to the party. Just after everyone finishes eating, Lord Padraig comes in and buys drinks in honor of the newcomers. Gresh and several others talk to Padraig, finding out that kobolds have been attacking more often lately, and asks the adventurers to clear out their lair. The party agrees, and decides to set out the next morning.

After setting out the next day, the party is ambushed by more kobolds – this time no-one notices them soon enough. This time, several people take damage (although once again Gresh is the only one to get bloodied.) The party continues on to the kobold’s lair, and notices many of them gathered near a waterfall. This time the party is able to surprise the kobolds – using several daily powers to good effect. Almost all the kobolds are dispatched – but one dodges back through the waterfall after several last-ditch attacks miss.

First steps

July 17th game session

Gresh has been asked by the leadership of his church to investigate rumors of a cult of death worshipers operating near the town of Winterhaven. They can’t offer any monetary reward, but they suggest also getting in touch with Parle Cranewing. The rest of the characters have been contacted by Parle and asked to get a complete rendering of the old keep near Winterhaven. Everyone is asked to meet each other at an inn in Fallcrest and wait a messenger who will have a general map with directions to Winterhaven and the keep. Gresh and Loudarin meet and start drinking ale right away – Cenedra jumps right in. A dragonborn warlock sits in a corner – from their rarity in town, it is obvious he is the fourth member of the party. After some introductions, the time arrives to meet the me ssenger. Everyone but the dragonborn warlock head outside when they see the messenger coming down the road – however, the messenger is intercepted by a small group of guards led by a large sergeant and a slighter guard.

The slight guard attacks and kills the messenger before anyone can stop him, and then the rest of the guards attack Gresh and Cenedra (while bellowing ‘Bandits!’). Gresh and others notice that the “guards” armor doesn’t really fit well, so they wade right in. Gresh and the sergeant go toe-to-toe, while the others spread out. The party manages to take out all of the guards, but not before Gresh is first knocked down and then taken out! Luckily, Gresh recovers almost instantly. (Very lucky critical success on a saving throw!)

Just as the party takes out the sergeant, a whole phalanx of guards come charging towards the just-finished melee. Being surrounded by bodies of supposed guards, the party decides that discretion is the better part of valor and runs down an alleyway – but not before Loudarin searches the messenger to find the map and Cenedra recovers everything she threw. Gresh’s luck continues, and he leads everyone out of the city (with some assistance from others).

The party travels cross-country to confuse anyone following, and ends up in the Cloak Wood in a clearing. Just as they are setting up camp, a young white dragon flies down. Everyone besides Gresh scatters to the sides of the clearing, so the youngster hesitates (he doesn’t want to attack a half-dragon in armor, with unknown allies in the woods!) Gresh and the dragonborn warlock are exceptionally intimidating, especially after Cenedra and Loudarin notice he is being rather cautious.

Out of game notes

This was the first game I have run in many years, and only the second time I’ve played 4th edition. So, there are several learning points for me:

1. I forgot that everyone has the choice, when taking down an opponent, to declare their attack either kills or just knocks them out.
2. It was very interesting throwing together what I remembered from the demo D&D adventure I was in before as an 'impromptu' introduction.
3. The skill challenges are definitely interesting to throw into adventures.
4. If the party stays in it's current configuration, dragonbreath may need to be depended upon and extra healing procured.  (The first combat was a level 1 encounter - which should have been moderately easy for the party.  If Gresh hadn't been very lucky on his recovery roll, he may have easily died.)
5. When the party gets better at it's tactics, I will need to as well.  For example, the grunts in the first combat should have swarmed Gresh, instead of doing smaller attacks against whomever was close.

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