Rock Hammer Hold

A private D&D Campaign for the LOD set in the Silver Marches of the Forgotten Realms.
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 Confrontations, Demons, Societies, Special Books - 9th Sessi

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Sam the DM

Number of posts : 953
Age : 49
Registration date : 2007-05-19

Character Sheet
Name: Almighty DM
Level: Infinite
Race/Class: Very

PostSubject: Confrontations, Demons, Societies, Special Books - 9th Sessi   Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:21 pm

The confrontation of the traitor Troy Percival

It was another week on the Black March before the Brigade reached the Pillars of Naarash where they scoped things out for a few days. They learned that a good 500 cult members lived here amongst the ruins of an old giant city. A majority of the cultists were human and hobgoblin, but dragonborn, dwarf, and teiflings were also present. Due to their isolation and their arrogance, no one checked on the Brigade when they donned cloaks of Bane and walked right into the village.

The Brigade blended right in and worked and chanted side by side with the cultists for about a week, trying gain a glimpse of what is going on here. They heard many rumors during this time:

  • “I was here when Troy was dragged up the Black March in chains. I was here, too, when he stood atop the Dark Stairs as the Voice of Naarash.”

  • “Troy and Larkazh met between the river and the Black March. Two dozen of Bane’s best against the paladin and his tiefling, and in the end, Larkazh was the only one standing.”

  • “Larkazh’s two brothers were cut down by Troy’s own hand. He brought Troy and the tiefling back alive and to the inner temple, a sacrifice to Bane. Come morning, Troy walks out, the tiefling one step behind him, and Larkazh’s head in Troy’s hand.”

  • “Everything changed under Troy. Used to be, the death squads ran the temple, killed each other as fast as they could. Troy got them under control and made them an army.”

  • “The armies will be on the move soon. I keep hearing rumors of a magical shortcut of sorts but I don’t know any details.”

  • In the midst of the day’s labor’s you witness a group descending the mountain stairs. A ceremonial procession takes them to the head of the Black March, down which they depart to cheers from the assembled cultists. Their livery marks them as a death squad. Around their necks, they wear the blood-red stone talismans.

  • “Troy might look human, but he’s not. Bane’s blood flows in those veins. The chosen one, he is.”

  • “Bane’s voice speaks through Troy, and his word welcomes the darkness of a new age. He is the god arisen, Naarash’s heir. The strong shall inherit this world, while the weak shall fall before them and be lost.”

By the end of the week, two sash-wearing wardens approached the Brigade and told them that they serve Bane with diligence and dedication. There were to partake in the Rite of the Eye ceremony at dusk.

Each member was given a sunrod and told to climb the stairs into the temple. However, about halfway up a commotion erupted from the village. In the distance, a sash-wearing dwarf with a few runes on his arms, was seen bolting for the stairs. It was Vorn the Exile, formerly of clan Oakbeard, son of Uled Oakbeard, who was caught by the Brigade as the thief of the Nok & Nak’s Magic Potion…Yea recipe. Vorn spotted them and shouted, “Heathens! Kill them all!”

The guards at the bottom of the stairs drew their weapons and quickly climbed the stairs. The Brigade, not wanting to fight 500 people, ascended the stairs, shut the doors, and threw the bolt to close the doors. They eventually shut the doors as Xune had to save the day, run over and slam it shut herself. Then the doors magically sealed and opened the next two rooms.

One of the next rooms had the remains of a campfire from years ago. That was actually the campsite of Anak who first discovered this temple five years ago, and was the first Voice of Bane here at Naarash.

In the Hall of History, Baern and Homba were able to decipher the script written on the walls:

Quote :
The earliest writing talks about a beneficial faith dedicated to the weal of the giants and other sentient peoples. By the time of the later inscriptions, the giants’ faith had become warlike and unforgiving of weakness. The group’s core faithful were identified as soldiers in an army called the Hand of Naarash.

The writing on the western wall claims the Hand to be the creation of the shaman Anak. Its apocalyptic tone speaks of Bane’s faithful seizing the world from heathen races.

Another room revealed a piece of a journal that read:

Quote :
This piece is from a journal of one of the priests who died here. It reveals that the temple collapsed to anarchy in the end. The writer blamed the Eye of Naarash for the destruction of his people and hoped sealing the temple would keep this evil contained.

Back in the Hall of History the Brigade discovered a secret door that lead to the main temple and the Eye of Naarash. They didn’t get two steps into the door when they were attacked by a mix of human beserkers, hobgoblins war casters, and a blazing skeleton.

During the battle, Xune happened to move in to a position with a good view of the main altar where she saw:

Quote :
A wide staircase to the west leads up to an altar, an immense red stone glowing there. On the topmost step, a figure stands – you immediately recognize Troy Percival. He holds a greatsword beside him, watching your fight with a weary intensity.

The Brigade was triumphant and Troy began the annoying slow, sarcastic clap before speaking:

Quote :
“You have had a long journey, I expect. I knew that my time here would be limited, but I did not expect the challenge so soon. Please, sit. Rest and refresh yourself before the end.”

He offered them each some wine that restored a healing surge to each that drank (and needed it). The Brigade was able to take a short rest and converse with Troy for a bit:

What is this place? “The temple is older than human history. It is a place a great power, and from it, a great power will rise.”

What is the stone on the altar? “The Eye of Naarash is the material embodiment of Bane’s might. It is the source of the strength the god grants us. The giants discovered it, but they were not worthy.”

What is the Rite of the Eye? “The Rite of the Eye binds the faithful to Bane. Those who take the rite bear the talisman that commits their own life force to Naarash and the greater glory of the Hand.”

Why did you let your guards die? What do you mean by a challenge? “The faith of Bane allows no weakness. Only the strongest can lead the Hand, I was made Voice of Naarash by the blood of Larkazh, even as he slew the master before him. You are here by Bane’s will to challenge me. Should you succeed, you are destined to build on what I have built until you are challenged in turn.”

What happened to you to change your faith? “My faith has not changed. It has simply been refocused. The fall of Nerath marked the end of this world, but humanity lingers like the condemned man who cannot accept the end. Torm is dead. The good, the normal, the light – these things are no more.”

Why have you taken control of the cult? “Humanity’s lot in this new world is struggle and death, but not all are suited to such hardship. Those who are strong will inherit the mantle of humanity. Those who cannot embrace the darkness will suffer. My way ends the torment for them. My way is mercy.”

Sensing they were rested and out of questions, Troy replied:

Quote :
The paladin stands, pacing away from you as he hefts his sword. “I have told you what I can, and you now know what you must know to stand in my place – if indeed that is your fate. I commend your bravery, friends. Now let us end this.”

The battle wasn’t really much of a battle, Troy (level 9 elite solider) was unable to unleash all of his powers as it was over very quickly (I think the killing blow was a “pew-pew” from Homba’s Never Missing Magic Missile. When he did die, he offered these prophetic words:

Quote :
“Beware of the rune priest Vorn the Exile. Torm, forgive me!”

The Brigade could have worked on a skill challenge during the fight to convince Troy back from his insanity. With two “fails” Troy would have become enraged and attack with a +1 on all attacks for the rest of the encounter. But with four “successes” Troy would have committed suicide by ripping the talisman from his neck.

And then a Demon appeared!

The Brigade didn’t have two seconds to catch their breath. The everburning torches suddenly flicker and dim. At the top of the western stairs, the Eye of Naarash flares brighter, a sickly blood-red. Then a fountain of flame erupts from the stone, scouring the upper landing and the ceiling above as a misshapen figure appears. The apelike creature stands 10 feet tall, ropes of twisted muscle rippling beneath its mangy red fur. Its foul voice echoes from the stones as it hisses.

Quote :
“You have slain my champion and have shown your worth. Who among you accepts the mantle of Voice of Bane?”

The Brigade, or some members of it, almost seemed to consider it for a moment, but in the end they declined. Naarash, a Barlgra (8th level solo brute) attacked. Naarash was only formidable when he finally became bloodied (he starts with 360 HPs), when he deals double damage, recharges Tormenting Howl, and as retaliates when hit by melee weapons.

The Brigade was hobbled at this point. The two biggest, Dokanor and Logan, were dropped and the rest of the team was out of healing. But they defeated the demon and survived the explosion afterwards when it died.

When it died, so did the Eye of Naarash on the altar, and when that happened, the entire temple started to come down. The heroes found a secret door that lead to a one-way portal. They entered it just as the temple and portal were destroyed.

They found themselves in the secret base of Bane underneath Rock Hammer. The key they recovered from the Bane spy months ago finally came in handy as they found the huge underground door.

The Brigade wins the popularity contest

Back in town the Brigade was even more aware of their quickly growing popularity. Everyone in town knows them and most of them are quite thankful of their efforts to save the valley city.

The Rock Hammer Trade Coalition invited the Brigade to lunch at the ultra-fancy restaurant, The Sly Flourish and the nicest hotel in town, The Green Fields. Here Milo Bologard, father of Lendri and Homba, and CEO of the Trade Coalition, invited the Brigade to join a partnership with them for the better of Rock Hammer. Needless to say the Brigade was skeptical of this. Milo tried his best to reassure them and went as far as to offer them a mug of the new beer they brewed, The President’s Cup.

Logan took one sip of the beer and realized it was exactly the same as the Nok & Nak’s Magic Potion…Yea! This was a deal breaker for the Brigade as they left. A visibly upset Milo told them to reconsider.

A few days later the Brigade was approached by three people who represent a newly formed organization called the Kingdom Society. They are like-minded people who want to see Rock Hammer better off by having Baern Coldforge crowned as King.

Aughis, was the organizer of this society and he was with Yumi (half-elf) and Osath Stronghammer of Clan Stronghammer and cousin of Torin Stronghammer (non-adventuring character of Wil). They boasted that they, just after a week of existence, already have over 50 members. Fifty-one if you include it’s latest addition, Logan the Huge. Aughis offered to assist in gaining support from the various guilds in town.

Baern seemed a bit reluctant, but offered his blessings for their efforts.

Shagold Gatecrasher visited the next day with news of who hired the wererat named Franco. He informed them that the “T” in the note was Tabitha Bologard.

The Recovery of the Septasigilurue

A few days later a message arrived from Silverymoon. It was from Blaynden Darhunson of the Vault of Sages. He had information regarding some stolen books from the library that contained very important information regarding the defenses of Silverymoon.

After a quick trip to Silverymoon, Blaynden was able to recap what happened:

  • Several months ago, the Vault of Sages was broken into. Several books were stolen or copied. Most were recovered but a few valuable resources disappeared.

  • One of these was a set of documents that is invaluable to the safety of Silverymoon.

  • The documents ended up in the hands of a Netherese agent, who left the area.

  • They were thought lost, and there was a fear that the documents were already in Shade Enclave, until they were spotted in Sundabar, only several days ago.

  • A scribe who was ordered to copy the documents realized their value, and alerted a fellow scribe named Deylsina. She immediately used a Sending ritual to alert me and ask for aid to recover the documents.

  • I want you to travel to Sundabar with as much speed as you can muster. There you are to meet Deylsina in the Gates of Ascalhorn, an inn near Sundabar. You need to aid her in finding and recovering the documents.

At this point, Coura the construct they freed before was able to answer some questions, with some interruptions from Blaynden:

The Break-In: “Of all the tomes and documents that were taken away, most were copied and then returned. I recorded the disappearances of all those tomes. Most were significant but not endangering. Only two books were not recovered: a binder of documents referred to as the Septasigilurue, and an unaccredited ancient tome on ritual language and true names titled Asterwun’kaseel (Drow for ‘the truth in names’). After a successful Insight check it seems Coura is more worried about the latter document, but she gives no explanation when asked, and Blaynden does not share her concern.

The Septasigilurue: “The tome is two-hundred and forty-two years old. It was penned by Alustial Silverhand after the Battle of Tumberskulls in the Year of the Black Horde, and originally contained the descriptions of wards placed at that time for the protection of Silverymoon. It was expanded by her in the Year of the Silent Death to include additional wards place by the Spellguard that pertain to…” Blaynden interrupts, adding, “Yes, as I said…an important document.”

The Netherese: “The Netheril empire is ruled from the city of Thulthantar – a Lorross word meaning “Shade”, by twelve princess, who in turn answer to the Most High Prince, Talamont Thantul. The Netherese are seen as the main enemy of Luruar, and the first suspect of many a dark plotting…even if common sense would point out their involvement to be unlikely.” Blaynden bristles, but says, “Even though the thief of the Septasigilurue was not Netherese, We know the Shadovar brought it and have it in their possession. Right?” Coura pauses a moment to consider, then adds: “Right.”

Deylsina: “From my information, Deylsina is a female human of average height, with dark hair and brown eyes, and…” Blaynden interrupts: “…and that is more than you need to know about her already. She’ll contact you.”

If the PCs ask if Deylsina is a Harper: “This is most probable.” Blaynden groans.

Sundabar: “Sundabar is economically strong and very independent. Its military defenses have increased over the past years and the walls have been reinforced. Netherese are unwelcome there, but with the city located in the shadow of the empire, anyone who would invite conflict with them are closely watched.” Blaynden is relieved when she stops. However, just when he relaxes she adds “…like, say, the Harpers.”

The Gates of Ascalhorn: The Gates in a large inn that lies several hours rise to the north-west of Sundabar, at a tributary to the River Rauvin. It lies close to the village of Avaundell, just outside Silverymoon Pass in the Nether Mountains. Dor Terpeck, a former adventurer, owns it. It is named after the old city of Ascalhorn – which later fell and became known as Hellgate Keep. Most of Sundabar’s human population descends from that realm. It is a popular meeting point for agents of…” – she catches Blaynden’s look and continues, “…various organizations.”

The Harpers: “Originally an organization of bards who promoted good and preserved history, music, and art, they are now, according to my information, a small resistance group whose main fight is with the Netherese threat. Those Who Harp are unknown to the common man, thought I do have a list of names that I deduced from…” Blaynden hastily waves at her and breaks in: “Yes, yes…I am sure you do…but let us stop speculating and focus at the issue at hand, shall we?”

Blaynden asks that you leave at once and will provide the group with horses. Since the group rescued Coura previously she offers her services to the group. She can establish a connection to one PC, allowing him to ask her one question in the course of this adventure. This functions as if the PC uses a Sending ritual, but it takes only a standard action to use and does not take components. Coura can easily answer any Knowledge question up to a DC of 25.
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