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 30th through Marpenoth 3rd - Thornwaste to Dunesend

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PostSubject: Eleint 30th through Marpenoth 3rd - Thornwaste to Dunesend   Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:40 am

Kalad, now a sergeant in the Overlook watch, escorts the heroes to a private room in an upscale Elftown tavern, introducing them to a well-dressed dwarf wearing the rich robes of a successful merchant, his golden beard braided with silver bands.

“Greetings, Heroes of Overlook. I am Bram Ironfell of the Clan Ironfell and representative of the Elsir Consortium. Your reputations precede you, and for your actions, you have my personal thanks in addition to that of the city. I have a tale I wish to share with you, over dinner and drinks of course.

Here is the adventure background related to the heroes:

The city of Overlook stands in the middle of the Nether Mountains along the Silverymoon Pass in the middle of the Silver Marches. This age-old redoubt was the center of the ancient dwarf-kingdom that once dominated the area, but which faded into obscurity generations ago.

Though little is remembered of this lost kingdom, its folk ventured far and wide in their day. One dwarf clan – The Ironfell – made forays in search of mineral wealth in the deserts to the east. There, they established a mine they called the Karak Lode, after the first dwarf of Clan Ironfell to fall in its defense.

Over the long year, Karak became a legendary source of wealth as it folk pulled rich deposits of gold, silver, and other precious metals from beneath the desert sands. A supply depot was established at the desert’s edge to service the caravans traveling between the mine and the rest of the Silver Marches, but the location of the Karak Lode was a closely guarded secret. Only oath-sworn members of Clan Ironfell ever made the final leg of the journey across the sands.

Dwarves hold their secrets close, and their grip is doubly tight where wealth is concerned. So it was that Karak’s secrecy eventually became its downfall. Eventually the dwarven kingdom declined and as its resources were taxed past the breaking point, the kingdom’s borders began to contract until little more than the territory immediately surrounding Overlook was left. In time, sandstorms struck the southern wastes and the Karak supply depot was abandoned. Soon, all contact with the mine was lost, and the Karak Lode was consigned to history.

“The location of the Karak Lode was known to few even within the clan, and it was thought that all who had such knowledge were lost when the mines were reclaimed by the desert. Even within the clan, Karak is all but forgotten. However, recent events might change that.”

“The destruction of Sarshan’s operations in Overlook saw the shadar-kai’s many warehouses and transit points raided. In one of those raids, the watch uncovered documents connected to Sarshan’s operations, including an ancient fragment of parchment. On it was written a list of landmarks and bearings for a journey, along with the name of Clan Ironfell. I had never seen this parchment before. However, at the watch’s request, I undertook a bit of research into my family’s achieves. If what I discovered there holds true, this parchment holds the directions to the Karak Lode.”

“Discovering what became of my kin would end a sad chapter in Ironfell history, but that is not my primary motive in seeking your aid. If the Karak Lode can be found, its wealth offers the means to shore up the defenses of Overlook and the Silver Marches. However, it is anyone’s guess what manner of creatures might lair there, or what defenses that last of the clan left to guard the mines. This is not a job for the city watch, I fear.”

Bram offered the PCs 1000 gp upfront for undertaking this search for Karak Lode. The group set out later that day.

The broken ground of the Thornwaste proved a challenge for the heroes. Ridges of knife-edged stone spread as far as the eye can see, interspersed with heavy growths of twisted brambles.

After two days of travel the heroes ran into a fellow by the name of Mag Blackthorn, who declared himself protector of the Thornwaste. He had no knowledge of any mines but said he could help them find Dunesend, the only settlement in the vicinity of the heroes route.

Along the way the group was ambushed by dwarves of the Hammerfist clan, long time rivals of the Ironfells. One of the dwarves carried a journal hinting at the clan’s hunger to claim the lost Karak Lode in defiance of Clan Ironfell. The journal made note of “the secret route to the mine” being discovered months before, but makes no mentions of who did so.

On the second of Marpenoth (October) the heroes arrived in Dunesend at a critical moment. A massive gnoll stands above a dead villager next to a behir. A group of villagers look on in fear.

The heroes jump to action and attack the village oppressors. Three satyrs jump out from hiding and assist the gnoll and behir in the attack. The fight was tough, but the heroes triumphed.

Expecting to bask in the glow of adoration from the villagers, the heroes are shocked to be met with coldness. “The queen’s wrath will surely come down on us. Where will you outsiders be then, I wonder!” shouts a villager as he shakes his fist at you.

A stunned Umberto walks over to a man who gathers up the remains of the villager slain by the gnoll, asking him about the gnoll and what the heck is going on here.

“That creature was the Warden, a foul tyrant that serves the Queen of the Drylands. The blue worm was his steed and enforcer, and it has slain several among us in recent months. The others were creatures of the Thornwaste in league with the Warden. They are the ones that prevent us from fleeing this place or seeking aid for our plight.”

“The Warden was here to make his monthly collection of tribute. Poor weather has delayed our crops, but he accused us of holding out. He used poor Vaudnim (he gestures to the dead body) to set an example for us all.”

Umberto thinks for a minute before asking about this Queen of the Drylands and the Warden’s collections.

Darkus Comahni finishes wrapping up the body of his friend as he answers, “The Warden first appeared from the desert a year ago, stating that Queen Shephatiah had come to reclaim her ancient throne. The name meant nothing to us, but the Warden slew several of our strongest when we stood against him. Now he orders us to pay tribute and food or his blue worm will devour us.”

Umberto takes a long breath, “Where can this Queen Shephatiah be found, are there more of her followers?”

“The satyrs live within the Thornwaste along the desert frontier. Like the shifter brigands of the desert, they have eagerly pledged themselves to the Warden’s service. The Warden comes always from the desert to the south. Where his queen is, we do not know, but he and his followers carry no more than a few days’ water to get here. A few of our folk tried to follow the Warden’s trail when he first appeared, but they never returned. All I can tell you is that the Warden came once with a shifter who spoke loud of returning to somewhere called Karak. This creature was soundly beaten by the Warden for his slip.”

Reluctantly the villagers of Dunesend take the heroes in and put them up for the night in the caravansary. They seem pessimistically hopeful that you can save their village from Queen Shephatiah.

The following morning, on the third of Marpenoth, the heroes set out from Dunesend into the desert. Though the arid sands are inhospitable, their hard-packed dunes make for easier going that the Thornwaste.
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Eleint 30th through Marpenoth 3rd - Thornwaste to Dunesend
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