Hillfast's Legacy

An Poor NPC Just Trying to Get by in the World!

The door to the library bursts open and the harried supplicant throw himself prostrate in front of the master. Desperately struggling to breathe, the supplicant blurts out “O Glorious Master Kularkuthon, greatest keeper of mystical rites, sovereign ruler of this domain, the machine has been repaired.”

A single eye stalk turns away from the book it was reading to glare menacingly at the tortured creature lying on the ground. A gargled “What has taken you so long to inform me? Time is fleeting, Slopp.” With that the massive orb turns and exits the room, returning on the path that the supplicant had just run.

“I must remember to praise Slopp, there are times when my passion bubble is just too close to the surface. I must contain my rage to focus on the task at hand. At last, I believe I can finally correct the ritual that those ignorant cultists began, before all is lost.” Kularkuthon thought to himself. Minutes later, entering the large chamber, the strange eye beast briefly surveys the hordes of cultists he’s been force to dominate to prevent the completion of summoning ritual.

“Yes, it is here in the text, a specially prepared binding device is required. I don’t have that, but a modified domination cage should do the trick.” the hovering ball murmured to himself. “Now…where was the injection point? Ah yes…” Just then a gargantuan metal bull crashed down into Kularkuthon’s work table, scattering a dozen books in all directions, before disappearing.

“What the fuck?!?!? NOOOOOO!!!!!!! The ritual has been disrupted!!!! My work!!!! All is lost!!!! Who is responsible for this calamity?” Eye stalks all turn searching for a reason that gravity afflicted bovine were appearing. A large dragon-mutant looking man-beast flutters in the space over Kul’s top eye stalk.

“DIE you foul, insolent cultist! DIE!!!”

The dragon beast vomits acid as Kul, which he easily evades. But the attack does slay some of the dragon beast’s cultist allies. Before too long it becomes clear that the cultists have mounted a counter assault to regain control over the summoning chamber. Kul is enraged! Flinging spells from his eye stalks in all directions, he bats down the cultist on the giant fly, sending him reeling against the far wall. A cultist priest speaking the vile tongue of the summoned monster, begging for it to rise up and bring forth its wrath. The priest is mildly stunned at the monster’s response.

While distracted by the exchange, the dragon pest is able to deliver a blow that disorients Kul. Scrambling to put some distance between him and his attacked, Kul retreats higher into the chamber only to discover more cultists hiding on the ledge!_ “The vermin are everywhere!”_ Just the Kul receives a crushing blow from the now fully formed elemental creature. _ “Must move that thing away from me…that tunnel looks safe enough, then I can escape.”_ The eye stalk affectionately known as “Mickey” blasts the elemental with teleportation magic, wedging the beast in the tunnel system a safe distance away.
“Now I can affect my escape…what’s this, one of the smallest vermin has leapt into my mouth…hmm…I suppose a snack is in order.”

The snack as it turned out, was spikier then expected…it is at about this point the Kularkuthon loses his sensibilities and begins a desperate, rage-fuelled, defense of himself…

Will our hero survive? Will help arrive in time?

Tune in next time for the continuation of “An Poor NPC Just Trying to Get by in the World!”

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One Night in Neverwinter

As the party makes their separate ways back to the Winged Scourge, Cam finds himself at the Temple of Tempus. At the center of a growing crowd is the battle savvy Karthas, unmoving, as though petrified in prayer. Attempts to awaken Karthas have been met with consequences as simple as a shock to the eventual barrier of blades, which danced and whirled. After some time, the barrier dissolves and Kathas slumps over. After determining that he is not ill, Cam scoops him up and carries him back to dock where the ship is berthed.

A procession of Tempus followers extends several blocks behind Cam as he walks. Arriving at the boat, several party members have varying iterations of a vision in a wheat field. Karthas is placed in his rack and Glorfindall is charged with his wellbeing.

The next morning the party moves to act upon the intelligence collected the previous evening. They find a warehouse on the wharves, owned by the same merchant that traded in Hillfast. Entering illegally, they discover that the warehouse contains the most mundane cargo, but that the ledger seemed to have some overpriced items, all being sold to the same noble.

Moving on to an import/export shop with some shady ties to an arms dealer (Sharshan), the party convinces the shop keeper that a meeting with his weapons maker (Modra) was in order. The time was set for sundown the next night. With that the party returned to their ship.

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The Taking of Blood Island Tower

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

After surviving the golem laboratory, the party enters the lowest point of the tower, a room well lit by two giant flaming spheres. Cautiously, the party investigates the room, opening closets and an arcane dissection room. Having tripped some sort of safety mechanism, the living spheres move about the room doing quite a lot of damage to the flammable party.
Pius’ brother comes down to investigate only to be shadow-jacked by Cicero, and promptly put down by the damage dealing party members.

Moving up past the Ground Floor and the Second Floor, the party’s progress is barred by a pair of stone golems guarding what appears to be an arcane library. Having dealt with lesser golems a few floors down, the party concentrates on taking them down one at a time. The library is well stocked and even has a potions table and journaling desk. Careful investigation of the walls, reveals a hidden apartment in the outer perimeter of the floor. Allistar takes a spell book, that proves useful when arriving at the tower’s top floor.

A ritual table has been constructed on the flat, arch covered roof of the tower. Various energy streams are being sucked from the walls and fused over top of the table. Four mages stand at cardinal directions, chanting and guiding the rituals while four drow body guards line the perimeter. It doesn’t take the party too long to defeat the guards and kill enough of the mages to destabilize the ritual, causing the energy to swell and buck. Most of the party takes advantage of their ability to leap off of the top of the tower, while Allistar sets his mind to defraying the amassed energy before it spiked.

Wrestling with the raw power, the Warmage successfully vents off enough to prevent the entire ritual area from exploding. The rest of the party carefully listens for the inevitable ka-boom, which never comes. Allistar, is the hero of the day, saving the Tower and quite possibly half of the city.

The party regroups and secures the tower, seeing the war front coming to the neighboring Market. The party takes on some gang members and insurrectionists in the marketplace, making short work of them. The war effort is drawing to a close as the day ends and the party seeks out their lord.

Welcomed as the man who broke the city’s defenses, Sir Cam is welcomed to the palace and into the King’s confidence. Promoted to Commander for his valiant effort he is rewarded with the deed to the Tower of Blood Island. Karthas, acquitting himself as a fine warrior, is charged with a company of marines, which he promptly names the “Company of the Foehammer”. The Pixie tactician is promoted to Lead Yeoman and reports to the Lord’s General, but is still billeted to Cam’s Daggers. Cicero and Vasq are commissioned in the army as a Scout and as a Black Feather Chaplin. Vasq is also given the task of rebuilding the Temple to the Raven Queen.

The King shares his vision of expansion to the south and charges the Daggers with the task of determining the disposition of Neverwinter. With that Captain El and the Winged Scourge make ready to receive the company and make sail to the south.

Arriving in Neverwinter, the group disembarks and makes their separate ways into town.
Karthas heads to the Temple of Tempus, to seek guidance for the fearsome power he now wields in Whelm. Mal, Cicero, and Alistar investigate the Chasm and Mal grabs a bit of earthmote. Vasq shows up at a sparring center and shows some cocky young men why you never underestimate the guy with the staff.

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Exploding Meat Chunks

The fight rages on…four foul assemblies of meat intent on smashing the intruders and the party beating them back with every tool at their disposal. The deva is successful in finally reviving the dwarven hedge trimmer.

Karthas takes to the battle like a duck to water, jumping into the fray hacking away in the name of Tempus. The pair of Raven Queen disciples, hook, strike, pull, and punish the golems with creative uses of shadow-stuff. Sir Cam, in single combat continues to beat down and knock down his solo monster in the corner. The tactically minded Pixie, continued to call out opportunities for the dragonborn and dwarf to hack away at the monster’s lifeblood. The resident mage, with his aloof and almost comical pink comets of death, dealt quite a bit of damage, chinking away at the constructs.

Finally, one of them falls and the party can focus on the remaining three. It is only moments later, after the party has refocused on the other threats in the room does the fallen golem detonate into flying meat chunks, sinew, bone and other humors does the party realize the danger of destroying these beasts.

One by one, the golems are defeated with superior efforts put forth by the entire party. After taking a moment or two to collect themselves, the party finds a door that leads into the bowels of the tower.

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The Chant of Valkryies

“…kor-ah, syahd-ho. rah-tah-mah, daan-yah. kor-ah, kee-lah, daan-yah…”

Drifting in space, falling, the senses overcome. Like in those battle-rage moments, feeling the power of Tempus coursing through the veins like consumed lightening, every sight intensely colored, every smell heightened, sounds thundering in my ears, the chant “Kor-ah, Daa-nyah. Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah. Nyo-hah, Kee-lah, Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah…. I was a sword in the fist” resounding …in the presence of my Lord Tempus, I can almost reach up and touch his….

CRASH! the dwarf lands on the assistant Lab Keeper, killing him outright. The rest of the party floats, glides, flies down into the laboratory and are attacked by the Tower Guardians.

The broken dwarf lies centrally in lab. Glorfindall quickly moves to straddle him and defend the fallen warrior. Maledixit-ala takes cover in the shadow of the stately deva and prepares to guide the battlefield. Sir Cam takes the frontal assault and charges one of the abominations meaning to decimate it in single combat. Meanwhile across the room, the servants of the Raven Queen prepare their own band of attach against one of the other monsters. Cicero tests the creature’s defenses before turning its own shadow against it, strangling it and dragging it back and forth in combat. Maledixit-ala exploits the dragonborn’s tenancy to back off of his adversary after striking the thing to ground. The pixie uses his years of military service to call out precision strikes that continue to weaken the flesh monstrosity. Allistar, does what Allistar does best, ranged support strikes. Repeatedly, fuchsia and salmon colored rounds slam into the lab from the surface doing predictable damage to the enemy.

As we left off, the party was almost depleted of their special attacks and two of the bruisers were seriously injured. The final two had been successfully repulsed by the combat medic….
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Damn Dice Game

While the Battle for Luskan rages on, Karthas feels the Battle Lord’s call and wades into the fray. Maledixit-ala, follows seeing his chance to fight for the glory of his liege.

Sir Cam and the rest of the company, having recently come into the possession of a nice wagon, leave it secured at the North Gate and charge into battle to help secure the city from the bands of evil entities that have taken up residence.

Wading hip deep into men, beasts, gore, and blood the party cuts a swath south toward the Blood Island. Army engineers work to repair sabotage efforts on the bridge proper. The fighting on the south side of the River sludge is fierce. The party can see the main army is pushing its way from the South Gate towards the market.

Blood Island seems to be held fast by waves of the undead that pour out from the coast of Blood Island and are making their way over the bridge, ignoring their comrade that plummet through holes in the decking. Karthas, Cam, and the guiding light of Bahamut through his vassal Glorfindall lead the charge against the foul corruptions of unlife. A Lance of Faith explodes several ghouls and skeletons long before Karthas’ axe decimates the front ranks. Cam snarls and shears appendages from bodies as he moves and darts through the ranks of undead. Cicero lightfoots on the edges of the bridge, avoiding the swallow of melee, in favor of delivering monstrous damage to various outliers, commending their souls return to the Raven Queen. Maladixit-ala finds his precision arrow placement a fine complement to Karthas’ sheer battle savagery. A friendly competition ensues with Karthas ultimately winning with a total of 17 confirmed kills to Mala’s 14.

As the company presses the undead over the edges of the bridges or pounds them into submission, they approach the end and solid footing once again. Advancing on the tower, vile attacks and curses are flung down from the windows. When the company and the surviving engineers arrive in the shadow of the tower, a great cracking noise is hear and felt. The earth below their feet collapses and the party is plunged into the lower chambers of the tower. Cam, Glorfindall, and Vasq throw themselves at the edges of the ring and cling for dear life as the rest of the party plummets below. (Yes, yes Maladixit-ala just flutters there for a second before moving over solid ground.) The party falls into a laboratory of various creatures living and half living.

As Karthas lands on elderly human male in robes (who kindly breaks his fall) he hears the horrid snapping sound of his right arm being wrenched in a very wrong direction. As his vision fades, he hears the call and response cadence of an old war chant….

Vasq and Allistar find themselves surrounded by half assembled abominations that are partially animated.

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Interlude

So…as a considerate DM, I realize that I had a bit of a gap previous to my last post. So in lieu of a full post, I present a bit of and Interlude here in our story:

In the corner of a journeyman’s tavern sit three men cloaked in deep shadows.

“Our contact is late. Filthy humans, unreliable, may her Blessed webs entangle them all.” Murmers the man seated in the center to his companions in a click-murmer styled language.

“I see him entering.” Clicks the one on the right.

A brute of a man, takes off his officer’s cloak, and settles down on the fourth chair at the table. He leans in and speaks in a conspiratorial tone “Gents, our arrangement must be completed tonight. Thars some tough looking men that’ve come to town. Quick and clean, and they’ll have none the reason to stay.” He passes a short scroll to the man on the left, who slips it into an interior pocket. A “click-murm” and the center man nods in approval.

Raising his hood slightly to better gauge this soldier sitting directly opposite him, and small bag of white slips into view. “Payment has been made to the House. The contract is accepted. Our conversation is at an end.”

The armored soldier takes his cue to leave by pushing back from the table and rising, never feeling the slight pinprick under his arm. He makes his way out of the tavern, where he suddenly feels quite ill.

His breathing becomes labored, and his armor slowly drags him to the earth.

He collapses on the side of the road in a puddle of mud and filth. As his vision begins to fade, he sees three pairs of expensive black boots step into view.

“Click-click-murn” is the last he hears before his heart fails.

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In Mourning, Faith was Found

A broken leader lies dead. The party is at an impasse. It’s martial leader has fallen. The Lich destroyed and the Black Dragon beaten back, the party’s actors make good for themselves. Rook having made good on his quest disappears with aboard the Lich’s flying carpet. Sibrand similarly vanishes in the post battle confusion.

Glorfindall frantically uses all of his battle training healing devices, but the proud dragonborn is no more. A murder of crows descends upon the remain party. An otherworldly essence bloom in the midst of the dead. As an aspect of the The Raven Queen restores health to Sir Cam Lawbringer’s broken body, a small retinue of guides appear as servants of the Raven Queen. A master of battle, the hard nosed dwarf, Karthas Ironnose is tasked with bringing a fierce edge to the protection of this group. He is haunted though, by visions, visions of a battle yet to come, with thousands of men and beasts throwing themselves at the jaws of war. The ever serene Vasq, brings a peaceful tranquility to the group. Ever faithful to his mistress, Vasq seeks to serve in the capacity of channeler, as needed. The ever so deft, Cicero presents himself with a particular panache and flair. Equally graceful and fluid in motion, Cicero is as persistent as a sharp wind, and possibly as deadly.

With his new found health restored to him, Sir Cam seeks to reform the troops and take a tactical assessment of his resources. The party mounts their horses to return to Longsaddle. Along the road they find a dying Gregor Von Lerron and his already dead aide-de-camp. With Gregor’s dying words he bequeaths his title and lands to his trusted knight, Sir Cam Lawbringer, leaving Cam in charge of a fractured army.

After arriving in Longsaddle, Cam sets about to take stock of his assets while the rest of the party take a moment or two to recover from the harrowing attack they survived. In the wee hours of the morning, the call of the city watch rouses the hardened adventurers. The city’s wall is under attack from a mob of the undead! Without a coordinated plan, and with remarkable effect, the party wipes out the two dozen or so skeletons without a scratch.

The next day, Cicero’s dreams lead the party back to the blasted tower on the edge of town. They descend in the the bowels to find the once tight passageway has been sufficiently improved that the members can walk two abreast. Careful investigation lead the party to the store room and the ash colored portal, where their decorations have since been removed. Cicero, ever curious, finds himself passing through the portal with some experimentation. Upon entering the Shadowfell, Cicero saw in the near distance a huge army encampment. Opting to retreat back and report what he found, Cicero shimmered back into existence in the Mundane World. The party took the news in stride (and why not, the week had already been booked with a Lich and a Dragon…why not a Shadowfell Army…) and opted to demolish the room and seal the Shadowfell portal. A trio of army sappers were located in a bar in town and brought down to set the explosive charges. Once the pyramid was lit, the room was evacuated. Except for Sir Cam, wanting to see this through to completion, waited patiently next to the Warehouse portal. As the fuse burned down close to the charges, the Shadowfell portal rippled. Stepping through, a tall Shadar-kai warrior and his two shadow beasts appeared.

Immediately, aware of that things were not as they should be the hounds descended upon Sir Cam. A furious fight ensued. Cam’s ferocity allowed him to swoop past the first beast an engage the master. The two locked in mortal combat. As the two traded blows, the Warehouse portal shimmered and Glorfindel appeared. Seeing the brave knight gripped in the arms of martial fervor, the cleric summoned the power of his god to knock the foul creatures to the ground for their insolence.

Meanwhile, in town: Cicero and several of the town watch are enjoying mimosas and commenting on how nice the weather is.

Back in the subterranean storeroom, it is a fierce fight. The shadar-kai scoring repeated massive strikes sinking the Dragonborn knight deeper into his primal blood rage.

In town: Hubert is trying on a new hat and gloves.

In the storeroom, the fight rages on. Glorfindel keeps Cam in the fight as the fuse burns ever shorter. Just as the fuse disappears from sight, Cam and Glorfindel leap through the Warehouse portal to safety. In the distance they hear a massive explosion and several townspeople notice smoke and dust rising from a spot deep in the woods outside of town.

The momentary distraction is enough for the shadar-kai to emerge from the portal, hellbent on the destruction of dragonborn interloper. The shadow beast is cut down early in the renewed fight. The rest of the party makes its way toward the sounds of combat within the warehouse. They arrive just in time to gang up on the fierce-some warrior. It is noble Hubert who scores the killing blow as the shadar-kai attempts to retreat through the silvery portal. The party verifies that the room is completely filled in with the earthworks that were, until very recently, situated above it.

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Everything was fine, until the dragon showed up…

In Waterdeep: Hubert spends an uncomfortable night sleeping in the lich’s lair.

On Merchant’s Pass: at the place that will become known as “The Fields of Seared Souls”, Gregor’s Army and the Daggers plot their attack. Glorfindall prepares a vessel filled with fluid blessed by his hand to help repel the undead wizard. Cam renews his commitment to Gregor and they talk about tactics to take down the lich. The rest of the party and army attempt to rest with anxiety running high about the following day’s encounter.

Dawn breaks on a clear and sunny day. The army goes about its normal encamped routine. The first hint that something is amiss is a stray dark cloud that seems to travel of its own volition…straight up the road. The cloud stops in a hover above the camp and as the cloud dissipates, an ornate flying carpet with the goblin menace astride can be seen.
Gregor give the order for archers to loose their arrows. The goblin vanishes and the arrows hit very little but the carpet itself.

Dox’ilbis brings the carpet lower and unleashes his opening attack. The party responds and a fierce battle ensues. Allistar is able to dismount the lich from the carpet and bring the fight within reach of the soldiers. Rook seeing his prize readily available mounts the carpet and swoops into combat. The pitched fight looks to be in the party’s favor until a large black shadow passes over the battle and the roiling, visceral dragonfear swept amoungst the combatants. Cam hurls an arcane blast at the lich as he attempts to escape during the distraction, easily destroying the damned creature. The lich’s kit falling to the ground proves too attractive a prize for the dragon who swoops in to gather up the loot.

Things get a little fuzzy here…somehow Allistar summons into being a huge Carrion Crawler who proceeds to attack the dragon. In the next instant the dragon is behind the cleric and Cam is in the Crawler’s clutches. Then Sibrand…in his wisdom mounts the dragon without a saddle and is promptly bitten for his trouble. With his (or hers…did anyone check the gender of the dragon?) attempts to leave with his newly acquired magical loot thwarted by the Crawler, the dragon rains down a torrent of burning acid that all but decimates the party its troops. Cam falls, Sibrand falls, Hubert falls (wait…when did he get here?), but lo and behold…Rook is bebopping around on his flying carpet all fine and dandy like… Glorfindall is able to get Hubert and Sibrand back into the fight with his strong connection to Bahamut energized by a fight with an evil dragon. Rook barely escapes the dragon’s attempt to snatch the carpet, ironically from below his feet. The treasure hunter finds safe harbor in the woods, away from the fight.

The black dragon takes to the air once again after punishing the crawler for its repeated insolence. As the dragon escapes, Glorfindall goes about healing the most injured.

Brave Sir Cam Lawbringer lies badly injured. The cleric prays and channels his strongest healing magics into the dragonborn knight, but he expires due to injuries sustained in combat.

In a sea of broken and charred bodies, amoungst the flith of war, the pools of acid stands this small group of heroes, mourning the loss of their once proud leader.

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The Trap is Set!
Me, the lich, and my doom.

In the aftermath of keeping the town watch on the street and out of his bar, Tawny closes the Splitthead Tavern for the day. With no one to keep tabs on him, he proceeds to move all of the liquor from the bar into his magical bag. Sibrand, Allistar, and Rook return to the bar to confront the mysterious barman about his apparent slaying of a party member. Sibrand and Tawny get into a heated exchange as the knight returns after getting bandaged up. Stepping into the middle of a full on interrogation, Cam waits for a moment to break into the conversation and refocus his people.

Waiting a minute too long, Tawny has had enough and creates a protective barrier of flames. Within seconds, Allistar has put out half the flames starting to spread across the floor with streaks of ice, then promptly disappears. On his heels Rook, beats feet for the back door. Sibrand, now assured he is dealing with a dangerous man, quick draws his sword and stabs the bar keep. Cam, always the tactician, puts out the rest of the flames with a blast of icy wind and juxtaposes positions with Tawny, now standing toe to toe with the ranger.
The shock of the rapidly unfolding events, draws the group back together and it is revealed that Hubert had infiltrated the bar and taken on the guise of the bar keep for the meeting with Kreelo. Now the planning to take down the Lich began in earnest. Several plans were crafted and discarded as outright foolishness, then only one was left.

Cam, Sibrand, Allistar, and Rook would take their horses and ride north to find Gregor’s Army and set an ambush for the lich at the roadside hitch where Imre the dwarf had teleported them to Waterdeep. Hubert, the ever faithful squire, would in four days time, approach the lich and attempt to lure him into the prepared trap. Upon approaching the lich’s residence, he is not slain on the spot and actually invited into the home.

Will the party prevail? Will Dox’ilbis be brought to justice? Until next time…

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