Session 5: Grim Manor Part I

Grim Manor 1

(Note: This adventure took place in October 2016.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure occurred the next day after Session 4: The Barrow Tomb of the Karpath Brothers).

After clearing out the Barrow Tomb of the Karpath Brothers, Kulo, Tanin, Velnius, and Jana returned to Edgewood.  To their surprise, they found Belladore at the Axe and Saw Inn.  She hinted at not being very successful in her pursuits as a bard in Valerius and was heading back to Cyr. Velnius, the ranger, successfully persuaded a Valeriun guard at the garrison to sell him a mastiff.  Velnius named his new animal companion, Xerbo (though out of earshot, some in the party simply referred to him as “the dog”).

Xerbo the dog

After getting caught up on what had transpired over the last few days, the party packed up their provisions and started to leave Edgewood bound for Cyr.

Meanwhile, Xrax who had accompanied Enna Moonwhisper back to Cyr with Okkar Ironeyes, decided to travel to Edgewood to find his fellow companions.  He was getting impatient waiting on the party in Cyr.

As the party passed the final buildings that make up Edgewood, a deep fog shrouded them.  Day turned into night.  Visibility dropped to no more than 50 feet around them.

Similarly, as Xrax traversed the gates of Cyr, a thick fog enveloped him.  He edged his horse on at a mere walk, not wanting to be surprised by anything suddenly appearing in the mist.

In less than an hour travel, the party saw a dim, yet imposing figure on a horse at the very edge of the fog bank.  Arrows were knocked and crossbow bolts loaded.  As the figure came into view, however, the party saw that the man on the horse was their old companion, Xrax! Somehow he had traveled a distance that should have taken about four days in mere minutes!  The party, now reconvened, continued on their way to Cyr.  After about a half-hour of travel as the fog grew denser and denser, a break in the murky shroud appeared.  As if congealing out of the swirling mist stood a two-story manor home, a house with a grim reputation–the Karpath Brothers estate!  The party waited right outside the gates of the manor house.  Normally, the house was under guard by the Valeriun garrison, but no soldiers could be seen.  Other than the manor house, all was swirling darkness.

Entering the grounds, the party immediately examined the small cemetery in front and to the left of the manor.  The investigation stirred the undead as five zombies attacked!  Easy to hit and cause damage the zombies sometimes returned to their feet after being felled.  Nonetheless, the party eventually hacked them enough to guarantee they would not arise again.

The party next examined the front door while Belladore sneaked around to the side finding a servant’s entrance.  Xrax, not trusting the malefic nature of this place, gave one of the gargoyle statues flanking the front steps a swift kick.  He was rewarded with a hard shock of pain as his foot connected with solid stone.  He turned to the party with a shrug as if saying, “you can’t be too sure.”  Meanwhile, Belladore, finding the side door unlocked, propped the door open with a torch before heading back to the rest of the party. Taking point, Xrax opened the door to the great manse.  As soon as the door opened, three collections of red candles ignited, illuminating the room dimly in an eerily manner.  Crossing the threshold, the party heard the squeeking and rustling of vermin as beady eyes could be seen emerging in the candlelight.  Six giant rats assaulted the party!  While no match for the party’s strength, the giant rats did inflict some injury, nearly killing Xerbo!

The party avoided the large staircase in front of them and instead entered a door on their immediate left.  The small 20′ × 20′ room was pitch black except for the slight ambient light coming from two broken windows.  In the center of the room sat a table with three chairs.  The north wall held a cold, dark hearth.  Sitting at the table were three humanoid figures who arose at the opening of the door.  Filing in, the party soon found themselves fighting zombies again, apparently battling the undead servants of the house.  Sustaining some injury, the party vanquished the zombies.

Barricading both doors, the party decided that this room would make a good place for a short rest to recover from their wounds.  However, as soon as they settled down a swarm of bats attacked from the hearth.  After slicing the bats into little bits, the party moved the table in front of the hearth to block it.  Feeling that nothing could go wrong now, they started to relax only to be attacked by a giant bat that flew in through on of the large windows.  After defeating that bat, the party abandoned the room crawling out the windows and moving to the small graveyard on the manor grounds.  What could go wrong?  Again, a swarm of bats descended on the party.  After picking bat gore out of their eyes, the party came to the realization that they would find no rest on these grounds.

Grim Manor Bat

The party returned to the manor through the side door.  They opened the door to their immediate left, peering into what appeared to be a storage area filled with barrels and seeing a number of beady eyes staring at them.  They closed the kitchen door and proceeded down the hall to the next door.  Opening the door to another storage area, a pantry, a flood of rats came pouring out.  The swarm enveloped Xrax, but the party quickly chopped, diced, and squished the vermin.

Moving on, the party retraced their steps to the foyer avoiding the stairs to the second floor in order to clear the first floor.  They entered the door closest to the right of the stairs.  Once again, as soon as the door was opened, eerie candles on a desk at the back of the room suddenly ignited.  The room appeared to be a library with bookshelves lining the walls.  No evidence of rats or undead, the party caught their breath but maintained their vigilance.  Xrax, the stalwart fighter, stepped inside, maul at the ready.  The evil that lurks within sometimes comes from underfoot!  The rug on the floor suddenly animated and began attacking Xrax, trying to smother him.  With the help from Tanin who set the rug partially on fire with a torch, Xrax finally beat the animated life out from the rug and it collapsed in a smoldering heap on the floor.  A search of the shelves turned up mostly ledgers of the Karpath Brothers lumber operations, but a more careful search by Tanin revealed, hidden among the various ledgers, a particularly interesting yet grisly find: a tome bound in flesh (perhaps human) on abyssal arcana.  Tanin placed it in his pack. On the desk was a diagram of a barrow tomb.

Karpath Barrow Tomb.jpg

Finding no other doors or items of interest in the small library, the party moved to the adjoining room through the door in the foyer.  Opening the door revealed a larger room, 30′ × 40′.  The hearth on the far wall suddenly became ablaze, giving the room a menacing appearance as the light and shadow alternated on the large, mounted stag heads on the wall and the bear rug on the floor.  Two plush leather chairs sat near the hearth with bench seats around the bear rug in the center of the room.  Three chests sat along the walls and two suits of armor stood sentry in the far corners.  Three large windows, their panes broken in pieces, brought in a little ambient light from outside into this hunter’s den.

The party, wary of the bear rug given their most recent experience in the library, entered the room cautiously.  Once all of the party members were in the room, the mounted stag head above the hearth whispered, “I’ll swallow your soul!”  Kulo examined the stag head and hearth but no more threats seemed present.  Xrax moved to the rug and gave it a kick.  The bear rug remained a bear rug.  Calming down, the party started to examine the chests.  As soon as one of them was opened, the two suits of armor animated and attacked the party.  A hard fight ensued, but the party prevailed leaving two busted and battered suits of armor on the floor.  The chests ended up holding an assortment of goblets, a jug with dark liquid, a light crossbow, and a hand crossbow with 20 bolts.  The dark liquid had a strong smell of anise and tasted like something a hunting master would drink to toast the acquisition of his recent trophies.

After scouring the den for loot, the party exited the room through the remaining unopened door.  This small room appeared to be a privy with a chamber pot in the corner.  The party filed through to the door at the back wall.

Ready for danger, the party proceeded into this large 25′ × 35′ room.  As soon as the door was opened, six red candles ignited on the long dining table in the center of the room and the hearth became ablaze with a roaring fire.  On top of the dining table sat a bowl with perfectly ripe apples.  In the southwest corner stood a suit of armor.  The windows were intact in this room, and a winding staircase connected this room to the upper floor.  Wary of another attack by animated armor, the party entered cautiously.  Tanin inspected the bowl of fruit.  The rest of the party prepared for battle with the suit of armor.  The apples looked and smelled normal and delicious.  Tanin took a bite out of one.  The apple not only tasted delicious, Tanin felt a magical palliative coursing through his blood, healing his wounds and restoring his energy.  As Tanin ate the apple, an apparition materialized in the room near the table.

The ghostly woman addressed the party, “My name is Mina.  Please eat the apples.  They will heal your wounds.” She smiled kindly as the party began to eat the apples and continued, “I’m afraid I have need of your help.”

Tanin replied, “How may we assist, my lady?”

The ghost said, “Years ago, my husband and I were murdered by my brother-in-law, Vladislav.  Gaining eldritch powers from a pact with a demon, Vlad transformed Brom and my body into ghoulish forms and sealed them in a tomb he built for himself and his brother.  The vile treachery sundered my spirit from my body so that I might gain vengeance against Vlad.  Alas, I managed to trap him in a room in the cellar, but I too am trapped in this room.  As long as he continues to exist, I am a captive to this manor, to this room.  I beg of you to please end his evil existence, and free my spirit to be reunited with my husband, Brom.”

The party agreed to help Mina, asking if she knew the dangers they had yet to face in the house.

“I’m afraid, I cannot help you there.  All I can do is offer you this room as a safe haven. You will not be harmed here.”  The ghost offered one clue to help the party complete its task, “In order for you to open his room in the cellar, you must first go to the upper floors of the house.”

The party took a short rest in the room.  Mina animated the armor in the corner and directed it to bar the door to the kitchen.

After resting, the party headed up the stairs to the second floor.  The party tried the door closest to the top of the stairs finding it locked.  Deciding to come back to this room later, the party proceeded down the hallway to the right of the stairs.  Around the corner stood another suit of armor that animated and attacked the party as soon as they came within five feet of it.  A short battle later and the armor was a pile of dented and punctured metal on the floor.

The party turned a corner and found themselves in front of a door.  Unlocked, the party entered the large, master bedroom.  On the floor near the hearth, more eerie red candles ignited, the faint light revealing a pair of ghouls who rose from the large bed in the center of the room.  The ghastly creatures seemed almost like the reanimated versions of the two undead that were found in the barrow tomb.  Returning the ghouls back to their unholy abyss with slashes, stabbings, and bludgeoning, the party examined the chest along the west wall.  Underneath linens, Belladore found a very well-made dagger (+1 magical dagger).  A second door in the bedroom led to an adjoining room.  The party rushed in to face whatever danger lurked within.

A couple of the ever-present candles lit up on a writing desk to the left.  But before the party could examine the study, shambling forms reached out to spill their blood.  Defending their life-sustaining essence, the party slew the zombies.  An examination of the room revealed two spell scrolls among books in the shelves, a potion of healing in an unlocked chest, and a letter on the desk.

Letter to Brom.jpg

At that moment, each member of the party felt a searing pain in their head.  Massaging the pain out of their eyes, a daemonic image appeared in their mind’s eye. Surrounded by darkness as black as pitch a shimmering figure stood–A giant beast-man, distended belly, rotted ram’s skull, cloven hoofs, eyes glowing like fire. He pointed his wand and the image swept to a coffin surrounded by glowing red candles. A rushing sound filled each party member’s ears. Feeling paralyzed in place a skeletal warrior arose from the coffin. The fever-image ended with the sound of a harrowing, malevolent laughter piercing each person’s skull like a dark blade used to commit horrific deeds.

Terrain: Heroic Maps

Bats and Zombies Paper Miniatures: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Rug of Smothering Paper Miniature: Printable Heroes

Inspiration: Curse of Strahd and Ravenloft





Session 4: The Barrow Tomb of the Karpath Brothers

Karpath Barrow Tomb

(Note: This adventure took place in October 2016.  In campaign time, this adventure took place the next day after the Steelhand Clan Redoubt).

After the night of rest, Xrax and Okkar agreed to accompany Enna Moonwhisper back to Cyr.  Her recent captivity at the hands of the orcs had troubled her deeply and she had no intention of returning to her adventuring life, at least at this point.

Kulo, Tanin, Velnius, and Jana decided to travel to Edgewood (lumber town in the King’s Wood between Cyr and Valerius).  Jana had recently acquired the location of the Barrow Tomb of the Karpath Brothers, rumored to be filled with treasure.

The Karpath Brothers, Brom and Vladislav, were wealthy noblemen from Valerius who made their fortunes in Edgewood on the burgeoning lumber trade.  Edgewood’s location along the Hyperborean River made floating lumber down the river to Cyr easy.  As a major port city, Cyr has great need for lumber for shipbuilding.  According to local lore, the Karpath Brothers’ noble heritage and wealth as lumber barons did not satisfy their desire for power.  Rumor had it that the brothers were involved in evil activities, perhaps at the behest of a demonic patron.  This bit of information helped to assuage Kulo and Velnius over the morality of raiding a gravesite.  Tanin agreed, although he didn’t seem necessarily bothered before learning about the possible demon pact.

Travel to Edgewood would take two days from the Steelhand Clan Redoubt.  During the first day of travel, the party was accosted by a group of rough looking fellows, ostensibly bandits, who demanded the party pay a toll to continue on their way.  Tanin attempted to gently persuade the leader to let them pass unmolested but his sweet tongue did little but upset the bandits, who then decided to take what they wanted by force.  The ensuing battle was short-lived.  The ruffians poor weapons and armor made them an easy obstacle to overcome.


Arriving in Edgewood, the party sought accommodations at the Axe and Saw Inn to rest before seeking the location of the barrow tomb.  In town, the party asked around for more information about the Karpath Brothers.  They learned that the brothers were involved in a pact with Orcus, specifically.  Their abandoned manor house, called “Grim Manor,” was under constant guard by the Valeriun garrison, despite the death of the brothers for years.  Residents have reported seeing and hearing strange things from the manor house.  The house is under constant watch since the brothers were nobility of Valerius.

The next day, the party traveled to the location of the tomb according to Jana’s information.  On a grassy knoll, they found a stone staircase descending to a door.  As soon as the party crossed an invisible threshold onto the knoll, two animated skeletons emerged as if bubbling from the ground.  The party fought the skeletons but as quickly as they could dispatch the skeletons, new ones would bubble out of the ground.  Tanin quickly realized that they needed to get inside the tomb–the skeletons would continue to spawn as long as they stood near the entrance of the tomb.

Barrow Tomb Entrance

Opening the door to the tomb revealed a hallway that lead to openings both to the left and right, as well as a second entrance to a room on the right.   A suit of armor stood at the end of the hallway.  As soon as the party crossed the threshold of the room, the suit of armor animated and attacked them.  Eventually the suit of armor collapsed into a heap on the floor after the party hacked away at it for some time.

Karpath Barrow Tomb 2

The party entered the room to their immediate right and set about exploring for treasure.  Unfortunately, the room contained mostly broken shards of pottery and a pile of bones in the corner.  Tanin moved up to examine the bones, at which point the bones collectively pulled together to form a skeleton warrior.  Despite the close quarters, the skeleton was quickly reduced back to a pile of bones.

Karpath Barrow Tomb 3

After the skeleton fight, the party peered into the room that was on their left when entering the tomb.  They could see a dark figure hunkering down along the far wall.  Not taking any chances, Kulo unleashed a crossbow bolt into the creature’s back.  The attack brought the ghoul to undead life as it turned and moved to assault the party.  Hack and slash, hack and slash, the party returned the thing from the crypt back whence it came.  On a table in the tomb, the party discovered two potions.  From a taste, the PCs new one was a potion of healing.  The other potion had separate bands of brown, silver, and gray layers.

Barrow Tomb Ghoul

Turning back to the half of the tomb yet unexplored, the party proceeded single-file down a narrow corridor.  As soon as they entered the corridor, an animated scimitar came hurtling at the party.  The flying scimitar caused some damage to the party.  Eventually the scimitar’s animated magic succumbed and it clanged to the ground.  However, unlike the animated armor, the scimitar appeared to be undamaged after the fight.  In fact, it gleamed with an otherworldly shine in the dark and decrepit corridor.  Tanin grabbed the blade and put it in his belt.

Barrow Tomb Scimitar

With no further obstacle in their way, the party continued down the narrow corridor.  At the threshold to the remaining room, the party tried to peer into it and see if they could see another creature like before.  But the hard corner of the wall prevented them from seeing anything.  Rounding the corner, another ghoulish figure assaulted the party.  This walking dead appeared stronger than the other, but was ultimately vanquished by the party.

Scouring this part of the tomb for loot, the party found Boots of Elvenkind, a Helm of Telepathy, 360 GP, and an obsidian statue of a goat-headed demon.  Jana ended up taking the two potions.  Velnius grabbed the boots.  And Tanin took the Helm and the Scimitar (later learned to be the Blade of Dark Deeds).  The party returned to Edgewood with their loot and greater adventuring experience.  Tanin and Kulo advanced to 3rd-level.

Paper Terrain and Skeletons (by Kiladecus): Inked Adventures

Bandit Paper Miniatures: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Ghoul Paper Miniatures: Brave Adventures

Animated Armor and Scimitar Paper Miniatures: Printable Heroes

Paper Miniatures for Kulo and Jana: Permes

Paper Miniatures for Velnius and Tanin: Kev’s Lounge Paper Miniatures

Inspiration for Adventure: Adventure Shorts, Vol 3 by R&D Adventures


Session 3: Steelhand Clan Redoubt

Steelhand Clan Redoubt

(Note: This adventure was run in September 2016.  In campaign time, this adventure took place one week after the Bandit Hideout.)

A week passed since the assassination attempt at the Weary Traveler with the PCs feeling a bit stir crazy, largely hunkering down in the inn.  As far as the rest of the party knew, Belladore had left Cyr for Valerius looking for work performing as a traveling bard. Okkar Ironeyes offered the PCs some relief from feeling trapped in the Weary Traveler with an adventuring prospect.  Okkar, a dwarf who grew up as a refugee, has a life-long mission of discovering all of the old dwarven strongholds and mines. He recently received some information about the possible location of a dwarven stronghold belonging to the Steelhand Clan in the northern foothills of the Hammerfall Mountains.  Xrax, Kulo, Tanin, and a newcomer, Velnius who overheard Okkar speaking with the party, decided to accompany Okkar to the Hammer Fall Mountains.   At the least, it would give them a break from the monotony of life at the inn.  They were ready to stretch their legs and likely, bash some heads.

The journey to the reported location of the stronghold took two and a half days to get there.  The journey was mostly uneventful except for accidentally surprising a cockatrice that was feeding.  The party tried to avoid a battle, but the large bird charged them aggressively and they had no choice but to defend themselves.  They all managed to avoid being petrified by the cockatrice’s bite.

As the party approached the foothills of the Hammer Fall Mountains the party discovered a grisly sight: three spears stuck in the ground each one with a severed and rotten head attached.  A medicine check revealed two of the skulls were human and one was an elf.  The party camped without incident along the way to the redoubt.  But on the morning of the second day, they heard distant drumming.  The party’s knowledge, limited as it might be by this point in their adventuring careers, led them to suspect orcs were the source of the drumming.

Around mid-day of the third day, the party approached the reported entrance of the stronghold.  Moving stealthily, the party discovered what appeared to be a cave entrance in the foothills.  Not seeing any humanoids or other creatures enter or exit the cave, they quietly moved up to the entrance, discovering humanoid footprints around the cave opening.  From the size of the footprints and the drumming they heard that morning, they surmised the footprints to be from orcs.

Kulo skulked forward in the cave to discover a wooden door about 20 feet at the back of the cave.  Listening at the door, Kulo heard gruff voices in what sounded like an argument.  Suspecting orcs, the party planned to get the jump on them with a stealthy surprise attack.  Bursting through the door, the party had the drop on the orcs!  In the middle of a game of dice, the three orcs scrambled to grab their weapons to defend themselves.  The party made short work of the orcs, slaying them with little injury to themselves.  Examining the room by the light of a brazier in the corner, the party found weapons racks containing mostly crudely crafted pole arms and swords, except one finely made and unusual glaive and a well-made elven bow.  There were also a few standard longswords, long bows, and well-made arrows and quivers not of orc design.  The orcs had been playing dice at a table in the center of the guard room when the PCs interrupted them.

Steelhand Clan Redoubt 2

After killing off the orc guards, the PCs continued to stealthily examine the stronghold, finding a hallway on the other side of the door in the guard room.  The hallway led to two doors: one wooden and one steel.  The party could hear a number of voices coming from the room with the wooden door, all gruff orc-like voices from before.  Quietly peaking in the door, Kulo observed a large room that looked like the orcs sleeping quarters and kitchen.  A large pot simmered over hot coals in one corner, churning a pungent stew that filled the room with a sickening aroma.  The orcs were busy arguing and playing dice games so they did not notice the door opening.  Two cages sat near the far wall near the bubbling stew pot.  Each held a woman, and one of the orcs was taking pleasure poking one of the women repeatedly with a sharp stick.  The casual torture of the woman disgusted Kulo.

Like before, the party sprung into the room surprising the orcs who quickly rallied to defend their quarters.  The party now faced eight orcs, double the number in the guardroom.  Thanks to the judicious use of a sleep spell from Tanin, the number quickly dropped to six.  After a hard fought battle, the PCs emerged victorious.

Steelhand Clan Redoubt 3

Kulo and Velnius quickly worked to free the two women in the cages while Xrax and Okkar stood guard at the door.  One of the women turned out to be human, Jana, very muscular and stern, while the other was an elf named Enna Moonwhisper. Jana and Enna related to the party how they were searching for some goblin caves with their adventuring party when they were ambushed by the orcs in the foothills of the Hammerfall Mountains.  Three of their party were killed in the ensuing battle.  Their halfling companion ended up in the stewpot.  As Jana said this, the party turned to observe Tanin ladling a small taste of the stew to his lips.  He grimaced at the sickly sweet flavor and dropped the spoon into the bubbling pot as a little hand rose to the surface of the broth and as quickly sunk back into the murky liquid.

The party returned Jana (glaive) and Enna’s (well-made Elven bow) weapons before attempting to enter the metal door.  The party found this door to be locked.  Nary a sound could be heard across the threshold.  Xrax took point and attempted to force the door.  Despite being a stout, iron door, it yielded to Xrax’s mighty strength.  Within the room, three orcs stood ready for action: a guard, an apparent sorcerer, an unmistakably the leader of this band of orcs.  After dispatching the guard, the party focused on the spellcaster, quickly eviscerating him.   The leader, standing taller and burlier than the other orcs, was unrelenting, however.  Tasha’s hideous laughter, cast by Tanin, incapacitated the leader.  The leader recovered from the spell only to be felled by one of the many blows coming from the party who surrounded him on all sides.

Searching the room, the party examined the leader’s throne of bone, finding no secret compartments but realizing the throne covered another door.  Moving the throne out of the way, the party found another stout, metal door.  This one had dwarven runes inscribed on its face.  Okkar quickly translated the runes to read, “Hammer” and “Fist.”  Kulo, drawing upon some esoteric knowledge of folklore, suggested the words be spoken aloud.  Xrax enunciated the words.  The door opened!

Upon entering the room, magical light illuminated a shrine.  At the far end of this 25 × 40 foot room sat a dais flanked on either side by a statue of a dwarven warrior.  Lamps in recessed alcoves along the far wall provided the magical light.  As the PCs stepped forward, a mouth appeared on the statue to the left of the dais and proclaimed, “This shrine is dedicated to Moradin, built by the Steelhand Clan of the Hammerfall Mountains.  This stronghold was our final redoubt after the Glitterdoom.”  The second statue continued, “The Knuckle is cursed.  We are but few.  When the mountain passes are clear of winter’s snows, we head back to the Steelhand Hall.”

Dwarven Guardian Statue

The PCs elected to rest overnight in the stronghold.  Tanin took the orc sorcerer’s staff which turned out to be a Staff of Fear. Velnius advanced to 2nd-level.

Terrain and Furniture: Fat Dragon E-Z Dungeons

Brazier, stew pot, and statue paper miniatures: Kev’s Lounge Paper Craft

Pewter Orcs: Ral Partha/Iron Wind Metals

Paper Mini Orcs: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper and Permes

NPCs: Nord Games

Session 2: Bandit Hideout

Bandit Hideout

(Note: This session took place in June 2016.  In terms of the world calendar, this adventure took place 4 days after Help Wanted.)

The player characters’ success in exterminating the vermin in their previous adventure, Session 1: Help Wanted, resulted in Master Makriyannis offering the PCs a new job in about a month as guards for his daughter’s wedding caravan to Valerius.  Okkar Ironeyes was given permanent employment as a guard of the Makriyannis Manor as long as a were-rat infestation of the city was ongoing.  In addition, the chief constable deputized the PCs for their efforts of killing two were-rats.  The benefit of being deputized allows the characters to open carry in Cyr (otherwise, only concealed carry is allowed for those willing to pay the fee).  As newly deputized constables, the Chief Constable Demetrios had a job for the characters.  A number of trade caravans from Cyr had been raided recently by bandits on the road between Cyr and Valerius. The constable had a lead that a city guard who works the Eastern Gate of Cyr was responsible for feeding information to the bandits about certain trade caravans.  The constable wanted the PCs to stake out the guard.

The PCs successfully discovered the guard who appeared to be informing the bandits of the caravan trips.  The PCs tailed a guard who suspiciously walked a few miles east of the city and met with an armed man on horseback.  After an exchange of what appeared to be a parchment, the guard headed back to the city while the man on horseback headed off along the road between Cyr and Valerius.  As night fell, the PCs camped for the night without a fire.  Their rest did not last long.  A buzzing sound that grew louder and louder presaged the attack of 5 stirges (locally called spear beaks)!  As unsightly as the spear beaks were, the PCs killed them with little effort and little injury.

The next day the PCs continued along as the road entered the King’s Woods.  Shortly after entering the woods, the PCs saw evidence that the trail of the man on horseback had diverged from the road into the woods.  The PCs carefully followed the trail at the ready for any ambush. Before going much further, the PCs encountered a bedraggled woman named Brienne, who appeared to suddenly from some brush.  After calming her down, the woman explained that she had been held captive in the bandit camp, but managed to escape.  At this point, her ordeal got the best of her and she passed out.  The party revived her and inquired more about the bandit camp.  She told them where the camp was located and that her friend was still be held by the bandits and pleaded with the PCs to rescue her friend.  Brienne told the PCs that she and her friend were both harlots from one of the brothels in Cyr.  They were hired as entertainment for the brigands, but were quickly abused and locked up in a cage.  The PCs learned more of the layout and number of bandits in the camp.  They left Brienne hiding in some brush and told her to remain quiet.  They would return shortly to escort her back to Cyr after they dealt with the brigands.

At the edge of the encampment, the party found the hideout to be eerily quiet.  From their vantage point, they could see a small cabin-like building and six tents.  Underneath a large tree, a rusted cage could be seen.  Belladore snuck into the camp to investigate further.  Her movement caught the attention of a woman in the cage who began calling for help.  Belladore told her she would help her soon, but before moving to the cage, made small slits in the nearest tents to see if she could see anyone inside.  Finding no one, she moved to the cage.  As Belladore began to inspect the lock on the cage, a net dropped from the tree!  Ambush!

Bandit Hideout 2

The rest of the PCs entered the fray.  The bandits were spread out across the camp with most hiding behind hedges and bushes and one crossbow sniper in the large tree who dropped the net on Belladore.  As the fighting raged on, the woman in the cage made an attempt to flee (apparently the cage was unlocked), but was shot and killed by Kulo using his crossbow.  As the PCs gained the upper hand on the brigands, two survivors tried to escape only to be captured by the party.

Searching the encampment, the party found a letter instructing the bandits to raid only certain trade caravans and the times when they would be passing on the road.  The letter listed Master Makriyannis’s caravans among others to be raided.  The PCs found three horses from the bandits.  With the letter and the two captives, the PCs headed back to Cyr feeling like they had done a good job and were in for a rewarding reception from Chief Constable Demetrios.

The party checked in with the constabulary when they returned to Cyr only to find themselves and Chief Constable Demetrios implicated in the bandit raids they themselves were investigating.  Demetrios had gone into hiding in the meantime.  Yannis, the new head constable, instructed the PCs they were essentially under house arrest and were to remain at the Weary Traveler Inn until the prisoners they had returned with had been thoroughly interrogated.  Their newly deputized status as constables was revoked but he did not confiscate their arms.

With this unexpected turn of events, the party returned to the Weary Traveler Inn to gather themselves and try to figure out what was going on.  Their contemplation was short-lived, however.  While mulling over what Yannis had said and wondering what became of Demetrios, the party was attacked in their home base.  Three members of the Red Cloak Cutthroats sprung an assassination attempt.  After a short but brutal fight, Kulo Hu was severely injured.  Alerted by the Innkeeper, the City Guard burst into the Inn.  The remaining assassin fled through an open window.  The PCs attempted to give chase but failed.

Weary Traveler Inn

After the dust cleared, the PCs were led to the captain of the city guard, Jorg (a Valeriun), to be interrogated.  Jorg informed the PCs that he knew of their investigation by the constabulary .  He said he was skeptical of their involvement, but that a merchant-noble who was part of the Lesser House of the city government was pushing hard for the prosecution of Demetrios and his ragged band of deputies. The assassination attempt by the Red Cloaks made him even more skeptical of their involvement since it appeared the accusation of their involvement in the banditry was merely a ruse to kill them at the Weary Traveler Inn.  The description of the Red Cloak who escaped surprised Jorg.  He told the PCs that the assassin was infamous in Cyr–Mag Blackscar, a half-orc.  He told them they were lucky to be alive.  Jorg recommended that the PCs leave Cyr as soon as possible suggesting Valerius as perhaps a more welcoming locale.  He even gave them a letter to be presented to the guard in Valerius recommending employment from the king for any adventuring tasks needed.  Jorg also suggested the PCs largely stay put at the Weary Traveler until they leave for Valerius.  He would post extra guard there.  He also would let them open carry their weapons, even though they were no longer constables.

Kulo Hu, Tanin, Xrax, and Belladore all advanced to second level.

Paper Terrain:  Fat Dragon E-Z Terrain

3D Miniatures: Reaper Miniatures

Bandits and Assassins Reaper

Paper Miniatures: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper Townsfolk

Crafting of Stirges and cage: DM’s Craft Youtube Channel

Session 1: Help Wanted

Help Wanted

(Note: This adventure was run in May of 2016.  In terms of the campaign world calendar the time frame is the same–it is late spring).

Tanin Cormander (half-elf bard), Kulo Hu (human rogue), Xrax (human fighter), Belladore (halfling bard), and Okkar Ironeyes (dwarf fighter NPC) answered the call of a help wanted poster in the city of Cyr.  A merchant-nobleman (Cyr is a plutocracy and all merchants of considerable wealth are considered “nobility”) sought a stalwart band of adventurers with a personal problem only to be discussed at his manor home.  The adventurers met at the Weary Traveler and were brought to the manor house escorted by the merchant-nobleman’s chamberlain.

Help Wanted Hand Bill.jpg

Alexandros Makriyannis, a lesser merchant, explained to the party that his home had been plagued by giant rats pillaging his cellar.  His chamberlain, Sandor, had managed to bludgeon one to death with a broom handle before barring the door to the cellar.  Since then the door has remained shut.  Makriyannis offered the party 25 GP for successfully eradicating the giant rats and to find out where they were coming from, although he suspected they were coming from the well in his cellar that connected to the city’s aquifer.

The party made its way to the cellar.  Belladore, somewhat of a kleptomaniac, decided to pocket a few silver knives from the kitchen of Master Makriyannis along the way.  The party descended into the storage room of the cellar (the upper right-hand room in the photo–stairs not visible).  Searching around the crates, the party found sure evidence of what Makriyannis had been talking about as 5 giant rats attacked.  The stalwart adventurers slayed the rats in relatively short order.

The party discovered the outer door of the cellar, leading to the streets of Cyr, unlocked.  They next opened the door to the wine cellar (small room in the upper left) only to discover that a swarm of rats had been shut in the room and were now starving!  They immediately swarmed Xrax who opened the door.  After dispensing with the swarm of rats, the party made its way to the only other door of the storage room, but not before Belladore and Kulo absconded with a bottle or two of Makriyannis’s finer bottles of wine.

The party found the well room empty of creatures, at its center a well down to the city’s aqueduct and along its Eastern wall a table with what appeared to be a sword.  Xrax explored the table while Tanin investigated the well.  As soon as Tanin got within 5 feet of the well, 4 giant rats emerged to attack.  As the party dealt with the threat, another giant rat emerged from the well and hid underneath the table.  Tanin sustained enough damage from the rats that he lost consciousness.  After reviving Tanin, Xrax investigated a small crevice underneath the table.  In the darkness he could see little beady eyes looking at him.  He stabbed at those eyes, only to find a giant rat emerging from the crevice.  Before his eyes, the giant rat transformed into a humanoid rat (lesser were-rat), grabbed the rusty sword on the table, and attacked!  Belladore’s klepto tendencies saved the day as the silver knives were the only weapons that could do damage to the humanoid rat.

After defeating the lesser were-rat, the party informed Makriyannis of their discovery, requested more silver knives from the kitchen, and brought him down to the well room to show the aftermath.  Unfortunately, the lesser wererat upon death reverted back to giant rat shape.  Makriyannis appeared dubious given the party’s description of a humanoid rat, assuming they were trying to fleece him out of more money.  But they managed to persuade him it was true.  The party noticed that once Makriyannis believed them about the were-rat, he started to nervously eyeing the Western wall.  The party suspected something was hidden there.  After getting Makriyannis to return to his study upstairs, the party discovered a secret door to Makriyannis’s treasure room.  Inside, another were-rat (lesser) could be seen pilfering a treasure chest.  The party, now better armed with more silver knives, easily dispatched this final monster.

The party honorably left the treasure chest intact since it belonged to their employer (although unbeknownst to the rest of the party, Belladore filched a few gems–who would know?).  They explained the final encounter with Makriyannis in his study.  Xrax suspected that some criminal group of were-rats were sneaking into merchant houses via the sewers/aqueduct of the city to steal valuables.  Makriyannis called for the chief constable of Cyr, Demetrios Kellergis, to investigate.

Paper Terrain: Fat Dragon E-Z Dungeons

Miniatures: Ral Partha/Iron Wind Metals

Ral Partha Rats