Rock Hammer Hold

A private D&D Campaign for the LOD set in the Silver Marches of the Forgotten Realms.
 
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 Eleint 19th - Shadow of Umbraforge

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Sam the DM
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PostSubject: Eleint 19th - Shadow of Umbraforge   Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:57 am



H 76/L 61

Patrols Today: C3
Captain Thulver travels from Rock Hammer to Silverymoon
Captain Dominic rests at Rock Hammer
Captain Aito travels from Cholnudon to Rock Hammer
Captain Ensyer defends Rock Hammer


The following morning the party gets up and begins their investigation into who Bezias is and what he is up to. A skill challenge was handled beautifully by the heroes and they found all they could find in the rumor list.

  • The threat of the orcs might be ended after the siege of Bordrin’s Watch, but word from the frontier is there’s more trouble on the march. Just like Karg’s Clan, the rabble of the mountains are getting their hands on good-grade weapons and armor, and they’re looking to use it.

  • You get all races in Overlook, but the dark ones that pass through the city keep to themselves. More often than not, those you do see are in the company of Lost Ones bodyguards and enforcers.

  • Someone by the name ‘Bezias’ was said to be buying information a few months back, looking for those with experience mining the old caverns of the Stonehome.

  • Bezias is a dark creeper, and well known in the city’s criminal underworld.

  • It’s said that the dark creeper Bezias brokers weapons and armor through the Overlook black markets

  • Bezias met up with a shadar-kai witch a month ago. Some said she was doing a deal for weapons, but she didn’t look much like a warrior.

  • The far traders coming into Overlook talk of more and more trouble on the roads. They say the Broken Tusks was behind what happened in Temel a few months past, but there’s more cults than that on the rise across the Silver Marches.

  • The dark creeper is just the front man for arms dealing in the city. No one knows who’s behind the operation, but rumor says it’s bigger than anyone in Overlook will ever know.

  • Bezias was in the city three weeks past, but he was keeping a low profile. He had a squad of dark creepers with him, but have figured they’d stand out.

  • Last time anyone saw Bezias was just before the raid on Bordrin’s Watch. I heard he’s been on the run since then. Some job that went bad.


During their investigation they ran into a half-elf named Reniss that heard that they too were looking for Bezias. Reniss was the sister of a woman named Jenn who was a member of the Glorious Defenders. Just before Jenn died, she sent a sending message to her sister with one word. “Bezias”. Reniss and the heroes compared notes and it was revealed that the Happy Beggar, an almshouse in the Tradetown district, is said to be where Bezias was last seen.

The heroes headed down there only to find two former paladin adventurers serving porridge and tea and songs of devotion. As they were poking around, then ran into an old man with scars on his face named Brenat. He told them the following when they mentioned they were looking for Bezias:

Quote :
“I know the one you mean. A dark creeper, and none as dark as him, or so I’ve heard. Time was, he use the Happy Beggar as a meeting place, but I reckon he hasn’t been seen here in two years or more. I ran him off one time myself. I might not look it, but I fought off dark creepers in the mountains as a younger man, sellsword to a dozen lords. Much as yourselves, I’d wager. Adventurers all have a price, eh?”

Later, as Brenat got up, he left the heroes with this information:

Quote :
“Wherever you find this Bezias, heed me. He’s a black-hearted one – make no mistake and strike no bargains with him. Kill him quickly before he gets the chance to return the favor.”

After the old man left, Lozigee attempted to tail him but lost him eventually. When the heroes reconvened at the Happy Beggar, they learned from one of the owners that Brenat was asking about Bezias just a half-hour before they arrived.

Behind a locked door in the kitchen, the group found a secret door what was recently used. The group entered and tumbled down into a cavern full of shadowhunter bats.

The group dealt with them and headed to the next room which contained a teleportation portal, three dark creepers, two shadow hounds locked in a teleportation proof cage, and a shadar-kai witch.

The battle was on and eventually the heroes dropped all the foes except the shadar-kai witch who turned insubstantial and left to the next room. The group never got a chance to investigate this room and therefore never learned that the teleportation portal led a warehouse a few blocks away in the Tradetown district that someone was using to transport illegal weapons and goods. They also didn’t get a chance to search the body of the witch or look through the crates to find a suit of +2 elven battle armor.

Instead, Lozigee immediately opened the door to the next room, thus continuing the encounter. At first it seemed like a terrible idea; the heroes never got a short rest inbetween fights, thus not getting a chance to heal up or recover encounter powers. However, this also meant that the shadar-kai witch never got a chance to recover her encounter power (Deep Shadows, her aura 2 power) an more importantly, it maintained Kregnok’s daily of resist five to all damage for Umberto, Lozigee, and himself. This would later save their lives.

This next room contained two portals. One similar to the one in the previous room, but it seemed inert. The other was a gate of some sort. Hiding behind this gate was the witch who brought in more bad guys when she said, “Protect this place with shadow’s claws!”. As she did, five wraiths and one seething wraith appeared and swarmed Umberto. Things were looking bleak when an unseen voiced called out from the corner, “Give me the brass key and I will call off the wraiths!”

The heroes ignored his pleas and went on to defeat the wraiths and the witch. But just before this happened, they saw a brief flash of light come from the gate, followed by a low rumble. Just before the last wraith was dropped, the noise grew louder and the darkness from the gate enveloped the heroes.

Darkness swallowed them and when the light returned, the found themselves in a strange inversion of the room they were just in. The walls and ceiling in here jet black when previously the room was completely white. Overturned stools and a burning brazier were signs of a recent struggle in here.

The group never learned that they were so close to their target, and that it was Bezias that called out to them from the darkened corner of that room demanding the brass key. Nor did they know that he, while invisible, found another brass key on the shadar-kai witch and activated the Shadow Fell Gate to escape but inadvertently sucked the heroes through the same gate as well.

The heroes poked their heads out of the mouth of the chamber and found they were on a rocky hillside in the Shadowfell. And saw this:



The land before you is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. A wide plain of gray-green grass and stunted black trees spreads beneath a sky scoured by fast-moving clouds. The sun is bright above but somehow doesn’t cut the darkness that drapes every rock and every blade of grass in gray gloom. This is the Shadowfell.

From the mouth of the cavern, a wide and well traveled road runs in a curving line to the north. There, perhaps a quarter-mile away, a military cap spreads. Buildings are scattered here and there, with tents and pavilions spreading between them. Torches and fires burn brightly against the ever-present shadow, and lone trees and tall stands of gray-green grass are whipped by a hissing wind.

Looming above it all, a rise of black rock to the west is rent by a seething volcanic rift. Black-streaked lava courses from it to descend into a narrow channel, and a permanent pall of glowing red-black smoke rises above it. Over this molten flow, a great stone bridge is arched. This wide east-west road meets the road north from the cavern. North of the bridge, a tall tower stands and a lower building spreads in its shadow.

You stand in amazement at this new world you have never even heard about, longing for your peaceful keep in the Rock Hammer Valley.

A voice rings out, and two dark creeper sentries suddenly appear where the shadows of the tall grass had hidden them, “All mercenaries stay within the borders of the camps!” one shouts angrily. “Next time you go wandering, you get shot, sellswords!”
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PostSubject: Re: Eleint 19th - Shadow of Umbraforge   Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:44 pm

Damn...that armor would have been perfect for Jordan's barbarian...bummer
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PostSubject: Re: Eleint 19th - Shadow of Umbraforge   Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:58 pm

The group shrugged their shoulders and wandering into camp, appearing just like any other group of mercenaries. Quickly they began an investigation into what is going on here. Eventually, they learned the following rumors:

  • - This is Umbraforge, dominion of Sarshan, a trader of great reputation and even greater wealth. The tower, foundry, and forges are his. The camps are those of the mercenaries and slaves whose services he sells across the Shadowfell and the world.

  • - Sarshan is shadar-kai, an outcast who made a name for himself as the leader of a legendary mercenary band known as the Black Arrow. At their height, the Arrow put so much fear in generals and kings alike that Sarshan would take payment to fight for one group, then take a bigger payment from their foe to stand down.

  • - Bezias is known well in Umbraforge, but for all the wrong reasons now. He was one of Sarshan’s trusted lieutenants before he tried to broker a weapons deal that Sarshan had already turned down.

  • - The job that Sarshan refused was some orc king’s raid in another world. Sarshan never makes a sale if it has a chance of coming back to him, and for a good reason. This job went bad, they say, and people know that Bezias sold the orc his weapons.

  • - Bezias is long gone from Umbraforge and the Shadowfell, believe me. Sarshan’s got a long arm and a longer memory. The creeper would have to be crazy to come back here.

  • - The foundry is the new jewel of Sarshan’s operations. Its power comes from the fire and shadow driving its furnaces. Sarshan’s sages create beasts of battle there, born killers with magic in their blood.

  • - It used to be that Sarshan brokered mercenaries mostly within the Shadowfell, but that’s changing. Dark ones and shadar-kai are still his elite troops, but more and more, he brings creatures from the world to Umbraforge for training, then marches them off to places unknown.

  • - The Shadowfell in only a stopping-off place for Sarshan’s mercenaries. A force or archons from the Elemental Chaos was here not six months ago. I saw githzerai from the Astral Sea in Umbraforge once. I don’t know what job they took for Sarshan, but woe be to whoever got in their way.

  • - Sarshan’s slave bazaar is about more than just servants and soldiers. His experiments in the foundry only begin with dumb beasts. He’s building new soldier races there, born from the slaves he traffics.

  • - Sarshan’s mercenary operations have tripled in size in months past, but it’s not the Shadowfell they’re fighting in. When his forces are bought and sent on the march, they’re bound for portals to the world. Shadar-kai, dark ones, undead, giants, ogres, trolls, gnolls, orcs – Sarshan has the armies of two planes on the march. War is brewing in the world, but the forces that will fight it are moving into position in the Shadowfell, unseen.


During the investigation, the group had a couple of encounters. The first was a challenge from a bunch of ogres with a pet beetle. The heroes made quick work of them, granting them no mercy in this harsh environment.

The second encounter took place after another of the frequent tremors in the Shadowfell. Seconds later, several beasts of shadow and fire emerged from the earth to attack.

Last, they met a shadar-kai witch named Leena who told them that Bezias was here in Umbraforge and planned on getting revenge on Sarshan by attacking the dark foundry under the cover of the armies moving out. She also pointed out a possible secondary entrance to the foundry.

The Heroes found the entrance and executed a well planned attack on Bezias and his shadowgoblin cohorts. Bezias himself and the death bore, proved to be formidable opponents but they were taken down. A quick search of the area revealed the secret tunnel that Leena told them would lead to the dark tower.

The gods of fortune smiled upon the heroes as they discovered an ancient and lost shrine and they were able to take an extended rest before pushing on.
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