Princes of the Apocalypse (TN 5e)

Dogs and Halfbreeds
From Warm Hands' Perspective

The trail has gone too cold. We find ourselves following yet another rumor. It will most likely be another wasted month. My once powerful house, now a ragtag caravan, sets out from Waterdeep to the north along Long Road.

On our fifth night, our hunting party is beset by a pack of wolves. Thought Chaser acquitted himself well by slaying two of the beasts outright and claiming the honor of the kill. The halfbreed bastard wizard (Tharkun) barely survived the assault, bedazzling the last beast with his colorful lights.

Two days later we arrive at the hamlet of Content Not Found: red-larch. Another unremarkable town that traders and merchants stop to drink and fuck until their hearts are content. Al’halan makes arrangements at the Singing Sword and orders dinner feast for our party.

Snow Sitter and I make our pilgrimage to the shrine, where we met Imdarr Relvaunder and Lymmura Auldarhk, and pray that some clue may be found to aid our cause.

I lament that their is but one good tailor in town, his best wares are barely serviceable, but his craftswoman has really skill.

In the morning we will begin running this rumor to ground. I pray Red Larch bears fruit.

Warm Hands

Today Was a Good Day
From Zook's Perspective

Today was a good day. Made contact with, well, let’s call him a “local businessman” who should help me grow my money.

More importantly, I rode a bear. This risks establishing a pattern, but I think I can live with that. A Crystalfist does not shy from danger.

I also helped kill some bandits, but nobody cares about that.

Bandits and Rumors
From Rolfo Stoneweaver's Perspective

Much is happening in the crosstown of Red Larch. Already a number of things that this town has happening around it but there does not seem to be any problems within the town itself. These are a simple folk, with their minds on their role within the town and their business. As a whole it is a pretty peaceful town with allot of activity around it.

So far in talking to the people of the town there are a number of leads for us to follow.

First was the issue of Bandits: Those 7 bandits have been brought to justice for their crimes. It was a good battle, they were offer the chance to come peacefully but that was not something that they were going to do that day. For that they were judged and sentenced to mean death as punishment.

Second. is the tale of the Tricklerlock Cave, it is some 4 to 5 hours to the East of Red Larch. While I spoke to Elak Dornen, he told me, he had heard stories of a lost treasure and mysterious villain(s) lucking about in the area of the Tricklerlock Cave. Sounds like something that should be looked into and maybe we will.

Third, was the information from the owner of Vallivoe’s Sundries. A skull was pinned to a tree by a black arrow. It was a warning or ill omen about those that travel in that area. It was about a 1/2 walk down the Larch Path and then another 4 miles East into the hills.

The last bit of information I was able to find out was about a Ghost that seems to have been wandering about. Would need to get more information on that one.

The group as a whole seems to be connected. It time I am sure that connection will grow and provide more of a relationship of friends.

Banter and Brigands
From Warm Hands' Perspective

Sweet Thought Chaser, his mind damaged, brings me to a paltry armorer’s shops to look at rags. He is intent on one particular suit of worn leather armor. It seems so important to him that I see it. I am hopefully that one day his mind will heal and more clues to the attack will reveal themselves. I worry for my brother, like a child he stares at things then acts out, as though his mind and body are not one. I pray to Ilmater for the strength to carry my brother until his mind and body are once more whole, or that his body is at glorious peace, finally.

The armor that he’s taken a fancy to, unremarkable, common, poor. I inquire of the shop keep (a half orc), if there was a story to this armor. Something to make it seem so much less than it is. He tells his tale of acquiring the suit. A caravan of men headed to Yartar stopped off within the past month. One of the men attached to the caravan bought a better suit and traded this one in for credit (he couldn’t have gotten much in the trade I suppose). I may purchase this suit, it may keep Thought Chaser’s mind active, may cause another memory to unveil itself.

For now, he has done well. We return to the Singing Sword to sup with Lord Stoneweaver. The lovely proprietress, Kaylessa, remarks on how the Bandit issue seems to be intensifying, more caravan reporting attacks on the outskirts of town. Lord Stoneweaver suggests that we rid the town of this vermin. As any caravan may bring another lead to finding the villains responsible…any day now.

As a party we set off to investigate, we leave behind the half breed warlock and the halfling as neither have proven themselves in combat. The first bandit hide is long abandoned.

The second, though, was not. Bizan readied Marigold as Zook, my malformed infiltrator, prepared a surprise for the highwaymen. Lord Stoneweaver called upon the blessings of his god and Clan Vei-mei Laga waded into battle, Bumblebee striking down one of the fiends. We were indeed blessed in our righteousness. Thought Chaser brought swift cleaving justice and Marigold struck slew several of the subhumans.

Zook and Snowsitter releases an abused caged bear that brought nature’s justice to one of its tormentors. The might of the Clan broke the bandits, and they began to scatter. Snowsitter, as a leaf on the wind, moved with the grace and fury of an angel to thwart their escape.

To power and natural beauty of the prince of the forest was besmirched a bit when Zook, ever the court jester of our band, mounted the brute as though a pony. I did not feel pity when he was thrown, he underestimated the power of the creature.

Brother, still in his blood rage, wanted single combat with the animal, but it was too wounded and fled the field of battle.

We brought the cut throats’ bodies back to the constable for an accounting of justice. After the parceling of payment, Al’halan took charge of the company purse.

Something Is Rotten in the Hamlet of Red Larch
A Missive to the Mother House of the Brothers of the Ballroom

Lady Marigold.

There is indeed something to the rumors coming from Red Larch. But I cannot tell if a dance is needed as yet.

There is a lot of activity beyond the town proper, but there does not seem to be any connection to the elders of the town itself. There is the usual trepidation that any town feels when an armed, lawless, band of ‘adventurers’ comes calling, but that is not suspicious.

There is a certain…flatness here. As if there is a lack of depth to the people. This may be bleed-over from any foul influence, corrupting the folk. Sadly, they could just be slow, perhaps malnourished or mentally damaged. Again, impossible to tell.

There is darkness here, however. I found a parchment in the mouth of a skull stapled to a tree, and this is disturbing. There were dreams of skulls and darkness, but I feel that there is more to know. I need to ask the village – and plan to do so tonight in the taproom.

Ilikahn “Snowsitter” Vai-mei-Laga

Tharkun's Memoirs...
From Tharkun Tosil's Perspective

I arrived in the town of Red Larch traveling with not one or even two but three Goliath and they are all brothers. The other is a smallish creature who is apparently our scout but seems to disappear much of the time. He also seems to have a weak bladder. I believe he is a Deep Gnome. The other member of our group is a priest of Tyr who blessedly was nearby to save my hide, whom I know to be a dwarf but I am not sure if he is of mountain or hill blood. I shall research this more. There is supposed to be another member of our group but he has yet to join us and I know nothing about him.

Upon our arrival I made contact with a member of the Faction I belong to. I also ordered a sling for my crossbow which I hope is ready soon. We heard some rumors of some bandit activity which we promptly looked into. I was unable to provide much in that encounter as I was recovering from my wounds taken in the battle with wolves but our esteemed Goliath’s made short work of them.

We went in search of the truth concerning a ghost that proved to be a sentry for an old tomb. (Side note) I personally love any mysteries especially if they involve old Books, scrolls, or Tombs. As we conversed with this Spectre about the merits of ignoring its warning or not it took um-bridge to the comment made by Snowsitter (the middle Goliath brother whom I believe is a Monk) and decided to attack me for some reason. Its attack was futile against me as I unleashed my never miss projectiles against it. It did faze it but it was able to survive while it struck at me again this time battering my defenses and almost killing me. It took a blessing from Tyr and his priest who happened to be nearby to revive me. I wrote down the experience of what it felt like to be hit by this creature for future reference. While lying on my back I finished it off with a blast of fire from my small but never ending pool of power that sits inside me. While Warm Hands (a noble Paladin) and I discussed the merits of disturbing the tomb and of destroying its guardian, Zook ( our scout) took this time to scout out the tomb and found only a rusty small chest and left it alone. To prevent further tampering Thought Chaser (the youngest of the Goliath brothers and gentlest) asked me to make sure the doors would be hard to open which I agreed. I melted the hinges of that door and the one outside.

Once outside which was the site of an ambush when we first arrived, we looted the bodies of the goblin and half-ogre that surprised us when we first arrived. Sadly for them I shot my crossbow true and hard on the first shot and skewered the Goblin thru its eye and killed it dead. The others made short work of the larger half-ogre. I made notes that the brothers seem to take great pride in their killing. There is some ceremony after and they seem to take trophies from the bodies. Interesting I shall investigate the meaning of this. The brothers seem to be the last of their clan as they seem to have suffered some calamity. They seem to be looking for those responsible and are eager for any news concerning this.

I was out voted as the rest of our members decided to look into some rumor about a great treasure. I of course was right in my skepticism of this Treasure although it did not start out that way. Our scout was doing his duty when he suddenly left off into the shrub to apparently relieve himself and so Snowsitter took his spot when he discovered some knolls which after a short pitched battle we came out on top. We entered a small cave and were immediately attacked by strange flying creatures which I remembered from a book I once read on spelunking, which turned out to be Stirges. We made short work out of them and much to our irritation found the rumor of the treasure to be just that. The entire cave was empty except for the few dead remains that we gave proper burial to. As we left I threw a gold coin near the rear of the cave so at least now there was some small treasure to be found in this cave.

Finally we went to investigate what was more appealing to me and that was the skull pinned to the tree with a black arrow. We found it along with a strange note. After some moments of searching the others threw the black arrow away and decided to head back to town. I on a hunch retrieved the black arrow and showed it around town to certain professionals but they were scared and offered no clues. Later that night during a restless sleep I dreamt of black skulls flying toward me. There is more to this than meets the eye…

Ghosts and Goblins

This town lacks the will to rid itself of the scourges at its fringes. My brothers and I ride out to confront the nightmares of children. Some uncouth younglings in town were spooked by an apparition while meddling with a crypt a fair clip from the town proper.

Upon arrive, we were beset by a pair of demi-humans, filth of the underworld. Their destruction was barely worthy of our time, little glory was to come from smiting them. The crypt was unprotected. An unrested spirit presented a confrontation, seeking to protect its master’s resting place. Before were could retire, the halfbreed provoked the undead thing and there was little to do, but defend my siblings. Immediately after, Zook mentioned spoils, which I convinced him, that there were no spoils of battle here and to desecrate the tomb would be tantamount to grave robbing. He understood, so there was no need to remind him the penalty for tomb robbery was finger splitting. The halfbreed took umbrage after a heated dialog, back down from his position on despoiling the grave. Even agreeing with Thought Chaser’s suggestion to weld the hinges closed, preventing future intrusions.

On our way back to Red Larch, Zook veered off in to the wilderness alerting us to an ambush. A trio of jackelmen pounced, but were rebuked. Snowsitter, Thought Chaser, and I quite easily slayed the beasts.

We also investigated a cave that beheld “a legendary treasure” only to be attacked by flying blood suckers. Vile little things. Not more than flies, but befouling in their grotesquery. No treasure to be found, but plenty of disintegrating bone piles to suggest many previous failed treasure hunters.

The last distraction of the day, was to find a skull tacked to a post with a parchment in it’s mouth. Snowsitter took the note and the halfbreed revealed his arrow fetish. Quite unsettling to me.

Upon return to the Singing Sword, I request that Lord Stoneweaver be looked after. He did not look well and was not performing at the level of his previous outing. Perhaps he lacks the constitution that I’ve come to expect in dwarves.

Tharkun's Memoirs...2
From Tharkun Tosil's Perspective

The day started bad and got progressively worse. I made a visit to the local temple and neither person were much help on the subject of the black arrow. I found out something though that of course sparked my interest. The black coating on the arrow was alchemical in nature and probably poisoned the Monk and myself. I spoke to our supposed leader about it and of course he acted bored that I even spoke to him. I do not think he likes me but no skin off my nose.

The brothers Grimm, the cleric, scout, and myself set off toward Lance Rock a place with evil emoting from it. Our trip there was uneventful and we found ourselves in a ravine with the obvious landmark and a cave entrance chocked by weeds. Our fearless leader suggested I lead the exploration into the cave because I can see in darkness. Fine a sorcerer leads three Goliath’s and a Dwarf into a dark cave. Well we found 3 dead bodies with no apparent wounds and when I cast light on one they all rose up to greet us with battle. I lead us to an open cavern with a rough altar and I side stepped into a corner after I looked up and was covered in stones from the large box I failed to see and fell into unconsciousness. I was healed and woke up in time to help finish the battle against the undead bodies that fell from above. We searched the paths that lead from the cavern and cleaned them out of their costumed undead and found another path.

Bumblings and Betrayal
Lance Rock Encounter

The Righteous Purge of Lance Rock.

A great and evil plague had beset an extraordinary road side feature some many miles from Red Larch. We arrived at a most peculiar looking formation. A standing stone tilted at an angle of the afternoon sun, stood anchored to the earth at though the gods themselves had cast it from the heavens. At its base was a cave and only discernible entrance to the base of the stone. As we approach, Tharkun attempts to hail the Lord of Lance Rock.

With no replay after a couple of hails, I dispatched the half breed to investigate. Ilmater has truly blessed this endeavor to provide a creature with the powers to pierce the shadows. I am certain he will prevent my brothers and comrades from stumbling upon any nefarious traps that may have been left.

It seems that the half breed lacks the common sense that most dogs are given, he somehow finds himself in the midst of three undead corpses. It takes Thought Chaser and I but moments to cut down the foul creatures and rescue pointy ears from himself.

The party advances into the subsequent and larger cave. Torm take me, the misbred fool must be some sort of undead beacon as three more walking dead drop from the ceiling upon him. Again, my brothers and I destroy the creatures and Lord Stoneweaver revived the fool who had sustained serious injury (from rocks falling).

Looking with instructions to not touch anything, the half breed reports that the third cave is clear. He tosses a lit stone into the room, apparently rousing the inanimate skeletons to wakefulness and violence.

It is as though he is intentionally trying to get the party killed. If we survive this, I may have to flay the poor creature.

More costumes mockeries of the living shamble forward down a long corridor as Thought Chaser, Snowsitter and I create a defensible picket that wears down their numbers. Lord Stonewearver, still recovering from his illness was able to present capable arms until succumbing to weakness again.

The next room we entered was a crypt of some sort. With no trap for the half breed to set off in this rook we launch ourselves at the two zombies and the assorted disembodied hands in the room. We make very short work of the sickly creatures.

Lastly, the lord of this place…a wizards with the cowardly ability to teleport. Thought Chaser attempted in a moment of pure brilliance that I remembered from our younger days, to open field tackle the the mage. That was when we learned of his deceitful tactic to flee to another part of the room and not face us honorably. I noted that my youngest brother had entered a state of feral bloodlust, a state that I have observed only occasionally since finding his broken body in the desolation of our home.

Something here, in this place, perhaps even the necromancer had triggered a long hidden memory in his shattered mind. The depth of fury in his stance and tactics would get most men killed, the recklessness of it, the abandon…it is these time that haunt my dreams and fill my prayers with pleas of assistance.

The raw destruction that Youngest reeks ultimately destroys the necromancer before I realize it.

I keep the wizard’s wand and globe, the last remnants of the necromancer, in case they can be used to ushers more memories to the surface for my brother.

I have growing concern over the employment of Tharkun, though. His fixation on the cursed arrow from the other day and the subsequent nightmares incurred by all who touched it, his desire to hail the lord of lance rock (was it to hail, or to alert?), his setting off literally every trap in the necromancer’s caves, his “collapsing during combat” and needing to be revived, his covetous desire for an evil doer’s tools of power, and most alarmingly, his statement that he researches and owns a tome of occult knowledge…all indictments that he may be in league with evil forces. His separation is imminent, unless he can convince me that their is a logical explanation to all that I have observed. If need be, I will be prepared to separate his head from his body if he is an agent of evil sent to skulk within my campaign.

He will be watched, he will be judged, and if necessary…he shall be redeemed.

Secrets and Stone Porn

Upon return to Red Larch, a sinkhole opens up in the middle of the market, children plummet into the crevasse.

Thought Chaser executes a ballistic entry so quickly Snowsitter and I have barely time to catch the rope he used to slow his decent. Thought Chaser, always sentimental of children, took great pains to comfort them and help them back to the surface where Tharkun was marking the area a hazard. My brother and I descend into the hole with Lord Stoneweaver to check the structural integrity of the underground area.

I short way from the surface entrance, we find a small room with several decaying bodies being EarthLogo.png feasted upon by feral rodents. They are dispatched quickly and we investigate the bodies. The only thing of note is the symbol carved deeply in their foreheads. The next room holds a rock floating by some sort of magics. This makes for an amusing few moments as we test the rock’s ability to float and sustain weight. We make our way into a larger room with a dwarf statue. A sign reads that this was a real dwarf from the Ironstar Clan, now petrified, that was brought out of the Western Quarry almost 30 years previously. A gang of humans, self named the “Bringers of Woe” confronted us during our investigation. They were offered the opportunity to surrender, they declined. After the first exchange, Thought Chaser and I had slain two of the villains outright, leaving their four to our four remaining. Lord Stoneweaver, Snowsitter, and I dropped three more before Snowsitter subdued the last one with a brutal strike to the jaw that crumpled the man.

The next room was even more peculiar. A 1/2 Orc stood watch over a human boy who was being corporeally punished with rocks pressing him to the ground. After several intense moments of combat the 1/2 Orc is beaten into submission and tied up. The boy, Braelen, proceeds to tell us about a group, a cult really, of earth worshipers that have infiltrated this town quite thoroughly.

We return to the sinkhole opening and leave the boy in the care of {Tony’s PC} until we can sort out who can be trusted in this town. Making our way back to the Dwarf Statue Room, we explore the next large room and an old man guarding the door tells us to leave. Since we’ve on just become aware of this conspiratorial lot, we ignore his warning and press on into the next room. Lord Stoneweaver’s immediate and primal reaction to the stonework and arrangement is quite clear through this leggings. As a young goliath might notice the fairer points of a potential mate for the first time. It does suggest why dwarves fail to breed more readily, too much ale and shapely stones distract them from viable partners.

We enter the room to discover some sort of cairns around the perimeter of the room. It is about this time that we notice movement in the room…


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