Scales of War

Scales of War - Session 14
The Lost Mines of Karak (continued)

After chasing off the harpies, the party decided to doubleback a bit and explore the gate houses at the front of the fortress to ensure they weren’t surprised from behind. Quietly making your way through the stone hallways, you stumbled upon some odoriferous troglodytes in the undermanned guard towers. They didn’t expect you coming from inside the fortress, and the strawmen they had set up to disguise their lack of numbers didn’t help them once you were inside. It seemed it would be a fairly quick, simple fight, even after the arrival of their reinforcements in the form of a shaman and some spear wielding warriors , but apparently the stench they emitted distracted everyone more than expected. Eventually, however, your superior skills and training prevailed, and the troglodytes were put down.

You began exploring the rooms upstairs, but only found two symmetrical hallways blocked by portcullis. Back on the ground level you found what used to be a stable, and where the bahir that you defeated back in Dunsand used to spend it’s free time (when not terrorizing villages nearby). In the piles of garbage you found 2 dwarven statues, 250 gold and 2 potions of healing. You also found the room where the gnoll used to live, although there were no valuables there. Oh, and you also discovered the storage area that was used recently…

Finally, you went to explore the east wing of the fortress and stumbled upon a human that didn’t look very friendly…

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Scales of War - Session 13
The Lost Mines of Karak (continued)

You began in the village of Dunsend and discovered that the gnoll you killed (he was called ‘The Warden’) was serving Queen Shephitiah. Nobody in the village could tell you anything about the queen herself, but you figured the she probably is the current inhabitant of the mines you are looking for.

Also a young boy (or at least somebody who looks like a young boy) joined your party here – Remington. The villagers looked relieved when you were leaving, and you weren’t sure if it was because your party was leaving or because you took the boy with you… Your new companion offered to lead you through the wastelands to the place where the mines supposedly are.

After leaving Dunsend you encountered a nasty old hag in the wastelands, but she was no match for such skilled party of heroes.

Three days after leaving Dunsen you finally made it to the mines. The front gates seemed closed, so you climbed on the basalt bluff to discover a hole in the floor/ceiling leading you right into the courtyard. There you were attacked by an unfortunate carrion crawler and a pack of even less fortunate harpies…

No sign of treasures yet, but you are finally in the mines, that were famous for it’s riches!

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Scales of War - Session 12
The Lost Mines of Karak

Now back in Overlook and with what seems like a small respite from any immediate threats, the members of Arcane Asylum have a chance to pursue some individual tasks that require their attention. Sedge tells the group that she and Reniss have been discussing some important business and they are off to track down those leads. Malferro fails to show up at brunch the following Sunday, and in his place sends a ‘trusted friend’ with a fine letter of recommendation – a large half-orc named Kyton. Abraxus and Poly are tasked by Bram Ironfell to help with security around his warehouses since much needs to be cleared of Sarshan’s illicit goods. The Kacer is a bit uneasy being back in the natural world, having been in the Shadowfell for so long. He stays around town assisting with some of the former slaves, having known some or many of them from Umbraforge, but little is seen of him by the other members of the Arcane Asylum. Brandis receives a somewhat disturbing letter from his former mentor, Isabella Grimaldi asking him to make haste back to Brindol to investigate some odd goings on with the items that the hobgoblin Sinruth had stolen, and he does so at his earliest opportunity.

As a party, you also report back to the city officials on all you had learned while in Umbraforge. You tell the Council of the rumors you heard regarding large armies movements through the Shadowfell using portals to different parts of the world. They listen attentively and begin to make plans to ensure the city is fully fortified.

After a week or two, Bram Ironfell calls upon the available members of the Asylum, specifically, Abraxus and Malferro’s friend Kyton. It seems Bram has somehow came across the knowledge of where the Lost mines of the Karak Lode, clan Ironfell’s most valued fortress, is located. Nobody really knows what happened, but the mines are rumored to be filled with riches, that could help the city of Overlook and the entire Elsir Vale to fight in the upcoming war. He also introduces you to two other of his trusted hired hands – an odd little gnome (too appropriately) named Noiyo Yammercraw and a large human barbarian that goes by Kaemer (?). After explaining to you that he would like you to head east and check out what he believes is a possible location of the Karak Lode, you purchase some mounts with the 1000 gold he advanced to you, and head out of town.

Along the road you met a slightly hostile ranger, Meg Blackthorn, who still helped you to get through Thornwaste. You defeated a companh of dwarfs (and a hell hound) from a rival clan of Hammerfist along the way and were right on time to reach the village of Dunsend to kill a large gnoll that the villagers apparently referred to as “The Warden” and its’ pet behir, who were collecting the tribute from the unwilling villagers (one was executed right in front of you). You hope to discover who this brute was working for and find some more nasty creatures to destroy!

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Scales of War - Session 11
The Shadow Rift of Umbraforge (continued)

Inside the tower, after killing the guards at the door, you overheard a loud argument between two gnolls (who were apparently guests of Sarshan’s) and two of Sarshan’s henchmen. You heard something about advisors and training… But none of them lived long enough to tell you much more. You made your way up to the second level of the tower to a beautiful shadow garden. Malferro found the shadow beetle and a couple of swarms of shadow insects lurking in the bushes. You all made quick work of Sarshan’s pet, but before the insects were dispatched, you were suddenly surprised by huge numbers of Sarshan’s troops, led by a very transformed shadow-Narsh and his two pet shadow cats.

Sarshan, impressed by your skill in battle and ability to mess up his plans, appeared and offered you the chance to join his army, warning that your world would be a very unpleasant place in the near future, so you might as well be on the winning side… Before you could agree on an answer, a large quake hit the tower and one of Sarshan’s lieutenants rushed in yelling that the Foundry was on fire – The Kacer’s friends had been successful in their sabatoge! Sarshan’s started screaming orders at his troops, finally leaving Narsh and his pets to deal with you while he went to manage the chaos.

Narsh was happy to be given the opportunity to exact his revenge – He blamed the Arcane Asylum for apparently being given over to Sarshan as an unwilling subject for one of Sarshan’s transformative experiments. Abraxus did an excellent job absorbing all the damages and even banishing Narsh to a demiplane for a couple of rounds. Sedge stepped up when he went down, and Mal delivered many daggers worth of pain. The Kacer was also extremely helpful, feeding healing potions to unconscious party members. Finally, after many closes calls, the good guys prevailed, and just in time. The destruction of the Foundry set off a chain reaction with the chaos lava and the entire camp, including the tower began to explode and crumble in around itself. As Brandis and Poly led the slaves back to the portal, you ran to meet them and escaped with approximately 50 former slaves.

Passing back through the portal, you were greeted by a troop of dwarven city guards, who quickly arranged for healers for you and the new refugees… The immediate threat seems to have passed, but Sarshan has escaped. But you can rest for now.

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Scales of War - Session 10
The Shadow Rift of Umbraforge (continued)

The battle between the Arcane Asylum and Eluron Bladewhisper and the mutant two-headed boar was suddenly disrupted by the appearance of two additional combatants. Their appearance seemed to freeze the action as everyone tried to figure out which side the newcomers were there to join. Eluron recognized them from the mercenary camps and the adventurers recognizing The Kacer from their earlier talks. These questions were answered when Gia, the tortured, twitchy hamadryad insisted to the Asylum members that the other slaves needed to be freed as well. Brandis and Polytheris volunteered to go to the slave pens while the rest of the company finished their business in the Foundry.

The battle was quickly rejoined – Eluron disappeared a couple times, but with Abraxus cornering the boar, the rest of the party was able to concentrate their fire on her until she was finally pulled to her death in the chaos/lava river by Sedge. The boar followed a couple of rounds later.

The Kacer’s friends began setting their charges on the Foundry while the party entered the secret door and down the hallway to Sarshan’s tower. Bursting through the door and startling the guards and witch just inside, a frantic melee ensued. The witch flipped a nasty dart trap that took its toll on the party, but Malferro was eventually able to disable it and turn the tide. With the guards and witch defeated, the party found an extraordinary pair of eyeglasses that Abraxus pocketed.

The sounds of a heated argument can be heard through the closed door, and the adventurers must now decide how to proceed through the tower if they want to confront and stop Sarshan and his plans…

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Scales of War - Session 9
The Shadow Rift of Umbraforge (continued)

Modra was very forthcoming in providing any information he possibly could in an attempt to save his own skin. He pointed you to a warehouse full of goodies (a sword, some armor, a pair of boots) and then told you about the portal to the Shadowfell under the Temple of Zehir. Morda was apparently too trusting, however, as you ended up slicing his throat in exchange for his cooperation, and thus fulfilling Mal’s contract and allowing him to become “fully armed.” (Crumley said he’d find a use for Modra’s body, even sans head). You were much kinder to his witch adviser, and handed her over to the dwarves for a ‘fair’ trial…or to be left to rot in a small dungeon cave somewhere. It turns out, Sarshan has good security protocols in place, however, since he changed his password to the Temple Portal once he found out his network had been compromised. The Venomers were warned about you… Warned, but not ready as you made short work of their slithery tails.

Upon passing through the portal, and Brandis’s staff flashing a brilliant white, you found yourselves in a desperate land – The Shadowfell – its gloominess immediately palpable . Stepping out of the portal room, you saw before you Umbraforge, the domain of Sarshan and his vast mercenary army. You blended in with the motley groups around the camps easily enough, even defeating the nasty Bonecrusher ogre clan without so much as breaking a sweat (there were also some elemental beasts that popped out of a smaller rift, but they are hardly even worth mentioning!). You learned a great deal about Sarshan and his operation after gaining the respect of the rest of the camp – specifically how he is using the Foundry to transform slaves and beasts into living, grotesque war machines. You learned even more from an unexpected … ally?…. The Kacer – a mysterious shade who took an immediate liking to Malferro and seemed eager to leave Sarshan’s army. Together, you hatched a plan to destroy the Foundry and infiltrate the tower of Sarshan. As a group of mercenaries moved out of the camp, you made your move – stealthily attacking the Foundry guards through the secret passage that The Kacer directed you to. Now you must eliminate the elite swordfighter, Eluron Bladewhisper, and contend with a giant mutant boar she released before you can storm the dark tower… at present, the outcome is still in doubt.

Sarshan’s Secrets:
1. This is Umbraforge, dominion of Sarshan, a trader of great reputation and even greater wealth. The tower, foundry, and forges are his. The camps are those of the mercenaries and slaves whose services he sells across the Shadowfell and the world.

2. Sarshan is shadar-kai, an outcast who made a name for himself as the leader of a legendary mercenary band known as the Black Arrow. At their height, the Arrow put so much fear in generals and kings alike that Sarshan would take payment to fight for one group, then take a bigger payment from their foe to stand down.

3. Modra is known well in Umbraforge, but for all the wrong reasons now. He was one of Sarshan’s trusted lieutenants before she tried to a broker a weapons deal that Sarshan had already turned down.

4. The job that Sarshan refused was some orc king’s raid on a dwarven citadel. Sarshan never makes a sale if it has a chance of coming back to him, and for good reason. This job went bad, they say, and people know that Modra sold the orc his weapons.

5. Modra is long gone from Umbraforge and the Shadowfell, believe me. Sarshan’s got a long arm and a longer memory. He will never be seen in the Shadowfell again.

6. The foundry is the new jewel of Sarshan’s operations. Its power comes from the fire and shadow driving its furnaces. Sarshan’s sages create beasts of battle there, born killers with magic in their blood.

7. It used to be that Sarshan brokered mercenaries mostly within the Shadowfell, but that’s changing. Dark ones and shadar-kai are still his elite troops, but more and more, he brings creatures from the world to Umbraforge for training, then marches them off to places unknown.

8. The Shadowfell is only a stopping-off place for Sarshan’s mercenaries. A force of archons from the Elemental Chaos was here not six ago. I saw githzerai from the Astral Sea in Umbraforge once. I don’t know what job they took for Sarshan, but woe be to whoever got in their way.

9. Sarshan’s slave bazaar is about more than just servants and soldiers. His experiments in the foundry only begin with dumb beasts. He’s building new soldier races there, born from the slaves he traffics.

10. Sarshan’s mercenary operations have tripled in size in months past, but it’s not the Shadowfell they’re fighting in. When his forces are bought and sent on the march, they’re bound for portals to the world. Shadar-kai, dark ones, undead, giants, ogres, trolls, gnolls, orcs— Sarshan has the armies of two planes on the march. War is brewing in the world, but the forces that will fight it are moving into position in the Shadowfell, unseen.

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Scales of War - Session 8
The Shadow Rift of Umbraforge

Tasked by Szagyn, the tiefling ‘business associate’ of Malferro, to hunt down Modra – mutually beneficial to you and “the organization.” Scoured the city using all of your various talents and heard numerous rumors. Finally met Reniss, the sister of Jen from the Farstriders, who said she had looked everywhere but the Grey Redoubt of Rufus Crumley. Negotiated with Rufus who eventually pointed you to Modra who had been staying in Rufus’s basement and providing him with interesting objects from the Shadowfell. Fought Modra and his friends in a pitched battle, emerging victorious!

Full Summary – here are the rumors you learned that might help pull some of the story together:

1. The threat of the orcs might be ended after the siege of Bordrin’s Watch, but word from the frontier is there’s more trouble on the march. Just like Tusk’s army, the rabble of the mountains are getting their hands on good-grade weapons and armor, and they’re looking to use it!
2. You get all races in Overlook, but the dark ones that pass through the city keep to themselves. More often than not, those you do see are in the company of Lost Ones bodyguards and enforcers.
3. Someone named Modra was said to be buying information a few months back, looking for those with experience mining the old caverns of the Stonehome.
4. Modra is a dark creeper, and well known in the city’s criminal underworld.
5. It’s said that the dark creeper Modra brokers weapons and armor through the Overlook black markets.
6. Modra met up with a shadar-kai witch a month ago. Some said she was doing a deal for weapons, but she didn’t look much like a warrior.
7. The far traders coming into Overlook talk of more and more trouble on the roads. They say the Red Hand of Doom was behind what happened in Brindol a few months past, but theres more cults than that on the rise across the frontier… almost as if someone is intentionally riling up trouble.
8. The dark creeper is just the front man for arms dealing in the city. No one knows who’s behind the operation, but rumor says it’s bigger than anyone in Overlook will ever know.
9. Modra was in the city three weeks past, but he was keeping a low profile. He had a squad of dark creepers with him, must have figured they’d stand out.
10. Last time anyone saw Modra was just before the raid on Bordrin’s Watch. I heard he’s been on the run since then. Some job that went bad…

Basically, Modra is the one who brokered the weapons deal with Tusk. He met Tusk’s lover/witch awhile back to do so. In addition, he had been asking around about tunnels in the mountains, which are the tunnels Tusk planned to use that you had sealed, so he probably provided that info to him as well. But it seems there is more going on then just the orcs…and now Modra is even more “underground.” You were told by Szagyn that Modra’s boss was unhappy with him…

Crumley’s price was painful, and you’ll have to decide if it was worth it. He did give you Modra – apparently he had provided all the info and items he could. Or at least less valuable info and items then what you gave him in exchange. Modra’s posse was tough, but could not withstand the full force and might of THE ARCANE ASYLUM! Roar.

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Scales of War - Session 7
Siege at Bordrin's Watch (continued)

Finished off Tusk; made your way through the tunnel to Bordrin’s Watch proper; engaged and destroyed the group of Orc Troll Shaman and turned the tide of battle leading to a full retreat by the orc horde. Received huge accolades at the reception back in Overlook, much to the chagrin of Megan Swiftblade. Engaged in some well-deserved revelry at the local pubs. A couple of days later, however, you were all jumped by a group of doppelganger assassins carrying a note – “Bring the key as proof they are dead – Modra” Brass_Key.jpg

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Scales of War - Session 6
Siege at Bordrin's Watch (continued)

Found the Vents, killed more orcs, found a troll eating the Farstriders and killed it; pushed Tusk and his minions off the scaffolding ledge many, many, many, many times and sealed the Nexus. Hooray!

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Scales of War - Session 5
Siege at Bordrin's Watch (continued)

Your victory over the advance force of orcs and orogs was decisive, but there is little joy within and around the Monastery. Kalad has a haunted look to him. He is gruff, saddened, frustrated, guilt and grief stricken… Yet he steadfastly and humbly goes about the macabre task of collecting his Brothers and Sisters’ remains and giving them a proper send off. You occasionally overhear his muttered (and CONSTANT!!) prayers to Moradin giving thanks for sending your group. It is clear that he truly believes your all were divinely sent to rescue him and save the Vale from the orc incursion. If any of you approach or speak with him, he looks to you with complete reverence and does nearly anything that is asked of him (aside from abandoning the task at hand, of course). If you give it, he accepts your assistance in constructing a huge pyre in the Monastery courtyard and laying the corpses (or what remains he can find) on top of it. After a lengthy and tear-filled sermon in which he names and speaks the praises of each and every slain dwarf, he drops to his knees in despair. When he is able to collect himself, he sets it ablaze. After it has burned itself nearly out, he silently retires to one of the bedchambers and collapses in complete exhaustion.

The following morning, Kalad remains quiet and distant, but his demeanor is now one of a man on a mission. He is respectful and gracious to the group, but it is clear he is eager to get underway.

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