Thursday, May 21, 2015

Session 22 Synopsis

Previously, on Phoenix Rising...
About a day into their return travel, in a particularly desolate area, the party caught a glimpse of several creatures. But they were too late to act for they had walked into a clever and well prepared ambush! They saw four werewolves stand up and throw what looked like stones into the midst of the group. But these made a horrendous noise and were in fact thuderstones! At the same time a web spell was cast upon the party! Then, right on cue, another spell erupted in their midst just after the web took hold. And it was....

... A fireball! The web wasn't about attempting to capture our heroes at all! It was about causing as much damage in as short amount of time to as many individuals as possible! These werewolves were out for blood and not looking to take any prisoners, alive that is. No one was stuck by the webs but nearly everyone took at least some damage from the blast and then the flames. Another spell caster summoned up three giant spiders in the rear of the party to help box them in, while five of the werewolves in front and to the sides of the party trained their crossbows on Blackwell almost exclusively.

The spiders kept Zola, Jobi and Zerak busy long enough for the two spell casters to hit the the party with lightning bolts, empowered burning hands, and magic missiles spells. While all this was going on Asphodel was getting acquainted with the werewolves up at the front of the paty, concentrating on one at a time until they fell, then moving onto the next one. Kel, meanwhile, also began attacking one one at the front of the group but was also in the line of fire for the lightning bolt spells and was taking heavy damage.

The spiders kept Zola busy long enough so that the spell casters were able to nearly kill Jobi. Zerak helped her by using his healing abilities but it wouldn't last for long. Blackwell was being targeted so much that he had to start moving and drinking healing potions just to stay upright, let alone do any actual fighting. When he moved in close to where Jobi, Zerak, and Zola were, the rest of the werewolves shifted their positions to get a better aim at Blackwell. In addition the commander of the werewolves showed his face just about this time and started targeting Blackwell as well.

Zerak was able to put the spiders to sleep using one of his hexes which allowed him and Jobi to move away from Blackwell. It also allowed Zola to move against one of the spell casters and she began to pursue him basically at a 5 foot hack-n-slash at a time pace. Asphodel was able to kill a couple of the werewovles but not before Kel was struck down and out of the fight. Then she ended up focusing her attention on the commander to try and keep him away from any of the less robust party members. But another one of the werewolves came through and dropped Zerak before going after Zola and Jobi. While this was going on, Blackwell had resorted to using his Card from the Deck so he could teleport out of danger and drink a potion - doing this several times until ending up in melee combat with one.

And just when it was beginning to look like the rest of the party was in real danger of being taken down, something snapped in Asphodel and a blood-crazed fury erupted from her. She slaughered the commander, then went after the one attacking Blackwell, who was happy to get out of the way. And Zola with some help from Jobi was able to bring low the last remaining werewolf just before Asphodel pounced from above on the one that had turned to run away and tore it limb from limb.

With the battle over, they looked for a more defensible position to make camp. They gathered up everything that was of value (magic silver weapons and bolts, magic armor, etc) and healed each other up as best as they could and rested for the night. And by morning were pretty much good as new.

when they arrived back in Winterhaven later that day, they went straight to Lord Padraig's estate to meet with him and tell him everything that had happened. They were surprised to see many people in Padraig's audience room, several dozen in fact, all talking at the same time. It was chaos. Then Padraig spotted our heroes and all eyes followed. When the crowd saw the party, they all began talking to them at the same time, until Lord Padraig shouted for silence and told the crowd that HE was going to talk with the party IN PRIVATE before ANY of THEM would get a chance. Then whisked away the party into a side chamber and slammed the door.

"I am sooo glad that you're back," he started out saying. "As soon as I talked with the city council and told them that you were helping me to gather allies to fight the orcs, all of a sudden it seemed that all these others came out with 'other requests.' So first let's discuss what you found with the elves and then we'll go deal with the others."

The party showed Lord Padraig the claim that the elves had on the forested area of Gardmore Abbey and that they requested the claim to be officially recognized before they would agree to an alliance. Padraig readily agreed to honor the request after reading the parchment document the party presented to him. Then he asked about what happened to Zerak's arm. Zerak described the encounter with the beholder in the watchtower and asked Padraig if there was anyone that could regenerate his arm and if it could be done for less gold, since he did lose it in his service. Lord Padraig said that this could be done for him and mentioned that one of the people requesting an audience with them was the head of the temple here in Winterhaven. With that the group rejoined the crowd in the main audience chamber. Padraig then very sternly told the crowd that only one at a time would speak and he would tell who would speak when, and if things got out of hand, everyone would be dismissed. So the crowd was completely quiet.

"Now," Padraig began. "We have five people that want to speak their case to the group. They are completely free to either accept or reject your requests and what they decide on each one is final. There will be no arguing about anything. So let's begin."

The first one to speak was Valthruun, Winterhaven's mage and local historian. "Lord Padraig tells me that you found some kind of mystic tower in the village connected to the abbey. I wonder if you'd do me a favor. If you find yourself inside that tower, keep your eyes peeled for a tome bound in white dragon scales. It's called the Winterbole Codex, and I'd sure like a look inside its pages before I die. I can pay you for the book, say 300 gold each."

Asphodel asked if Valthruun could do some research into dragons pertaining to her amulet and half-dragons. He said that he thought he had somethings on those subjects but it would take him a while to dig through his library, but he would do it for her. The party agreed to take on this request.

Next up was Kharas the Just, the head of Winterhaven's temple and a cleric of Abadar. "According to my research, Gardmore Abbey was established on the site of an ancient temple built by minotaurs hundreds of years before humans ever settled these lands, back when it was reported that minotaurs were not worshipping the demon Baphomet. I am in search of hardy souls, such as yourselves, who are willing to explore the abbey and unearth the ruins of that temple. If you bring me useful knowledge or relics of the minotaur civilization, 1 will pay you handsomely - 400 gold each for each relic or substantial information."

The party was inclined to do this for Kharas as long as he would also agree to regenerate Zerak's arm before they went back to the Abbey. He agreed to this and soon after the meeting was over Zerak had a new arm regrown in mere minutes.

The third petitioner was named Grundelmar, a priest of Sarenrae from the northern city of Threndarr, and he had something very interesting to bring up. "Sarenrae urges all people of good heart to be constantly on guard against the encroachment of evil. Among the most insidious evils are those that take root in the hearts of our communities and grow like a canker. Years ago, up near the city of Fallscrest, a group of right-thinking adventurers such as yourselves rooted out one of those cankers, a cult of Urgathoa that had spread through a certain stratum of society. The cult leader escaped, though: a man named Vadin Cartwright. It was assumed that he fled the area and would pose no more danger. Well, Sarenrae has spoken in my dreams to let me know that Cartwright is still a danger. He's dabbling with forces beyond mortal understanding, and the results could be disastrous. I don't know any more than that, except to seek him among the dead in old Gardmore Abbey. But if you find him, don't hesitate to kill him. I cannot offer a reward, just a warning that he must be stopped before he unleashes any more evil upon the world."

Our heroes made a note of Vadin's name and said that they would keep an eye out for him and take care of him with Jobi and Kel paying particular attention to the details of Grundelmar's request.

Next to speak was a woman named Alira Vond. "As you probably know, the knights who built Gardmore Abbey were overzealous crusaders who killed innocents and plundered sacred sites for treasure." The crowd voiced their complaints about this statement and Alira had to raise her voice to continue before the crowd quieted down. "Don't get me wrong - they started off as well-meaning champions of truth and justice, but the more powerful they became, the more greedy and corrupt they grew. Believe me, my ancestors witnessed their rapacious ways firsthand. Now I just want to recover the items they stole from our lands - two in particular. One is a silver dagger with a large amethyst, deep purple in color, set in the pommel. The other is a sort of rod or scepter crafted of adamantine. Bring these items to me, and I'll pay you well - 1000 gold pieces for each one of the items."

The party also made note of this request while Blackwell was secretly thinking about how much more those heirlooms would bring on the black, errr, open market. They agreed to keep watch for anything that may match Alira's descriptions.

The last petitioner was Winterhaven's captain of the guard, an old dwarf named Murgeddin. Sergeant Murgeddin started off by telling the group a little about the last major battles at Gardmore Abbey. "I'm a veteran of the Blood spear War - the orc invasion that resulted in the destruction of Fallscrest ninety years ago. One of the major battlefields of that war was among the ruins of Gardmore Abbey. I stood with the forces of Fallscrest at the summit of the temple mount, and terrible things I saw, too. I watched Lord Markelhay, who was the great-grandfather of the current Lord Padraig, disappear into the catacombs beneath the temple. He was clutching the ancestral sword of his line, the sword of Aranda Markelhay, called Moonbane. I don't know why he went down there - he never did emerge from those catacombs, and neither did the sword, so far as anyone knows. If Moonbane could be recovered, we would have a great weapon to help protect the entire area against invaders like those stinking orcs! The city council will definitely pay you a reward for recovery of the sword."

And with that the audience was over. Zerak got his arm regrown and the party went around town to make some purchases of healing items, protection items, and other things. Then they retired to the Wrafton Inn for some food, drink and to catch up on any local rumors, etc. One of the waitresses made mention that they were the second group to come through saying something about collecting some strange cards or something. This piqued our heroes' interest and asked her to describe these other people. She recalled that they had been in a couple of days ago. She thought that one was a large male half-orc, one male dwarf, two female humans though only one of them seemed to do all the talking, and a male elf that had a very dark complexion. She said that they said they were going to explore the Abbey and get lots of treasure out of the place.

And so our heroes search for the other cards, the three sacred vessels of Bahamut, and what seems like so many other things continues next week. Same time, same channel. Be there. Don't miss it.

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