When Last We Left Our Heroes
The story so far has left our heroes within an ancient elven crypt, facing off against three powerful specters, with one party member on her last legs as a specter drains her of her life force. To get here, the party had already met up at the stereotypical inn, cleansed a dungeon of it goblin denizens, and saved a town from a skeletal attack.
To begin, we come upon our first adventurer – A changeling by the name of Dox. Dressed in midnight black, the young man sits quietly at the bar of an inn, in the town of Waekefield. Settled down with a pint of ale, the man hears a ruckus outside that follows up to the door of the quiet inn, before it enters with a grumble. A dragonborn, a rare sight in the lands of Vennar, walks in quietly but not inconspicuously – The scaled man is geared in the armor of a paladin, his holy symbol apparent on his chest. The large creature sits beside Dox, and not long after the few discover they already know each other. Dox had once worked with the dragonborn and his partner, a lizardman that Dox had lost in the forest to the east. Before long, the two had overheard talk of missing cattle from the farms to the east, the talk exacerbated by a young half-elf woman who bribed out further information with drink and sweet words. Before long, the young woman had left for the bounty board, followed not far behind by the two men. Meeting at the board, the three agreed to work together to find the missing cattle, take care of a bounty on goblin heads, and returned back to town for the money. They also learned the name of the young rogue – Saje.
They group set off after haggling with a ragged old alchemist for healing potions, and left east for the forests at the foot of a short mountain range. Traveling through the corrupted and dying forests, ever watchful but unmolested, the group came upon a strange, hooded figure that copied their voices. Without much further issue, they brought the figure into their group to go after the bounty, learning from the creature that a group of goblins had taken up refuge in an old watchtower to the south.
Coming upon a bridge over a short river between them and the tower, they stopped and took note of their surroundings. Goblins infested the tower, keeping watch outside and atop the fortifications above. It was clear the old wooden tower that had stood before the Infernal invasion of the land had been fortified with stone in recent days, with crude tools and understanding.
Without much delay save to plan and commit, the group attacked the goblins outside the tower, killing each before they could run inside for back up. Understanding that the calls of the goblins and the sounds of battle would alert those inside, and hurrying to stay out of sight of the archers above, the group moved inside the tower. Bursting in, the group slew the few goblins on the ground floor and shuffled inside. There they found a store room with a modest amount of loot. With a stairwell down and a ladder up, the dragonborn investigated down the stairwell, coming face to face with a swarm of rats kept barely at bay by a simple fire upon the ground, both held within a sizeable earthen basement, recently dug out. Not wanting to take the swarm on alone, he hurried back up to the ground floor to find Dox and the figure, now revealed to be a Kenku named for the sound of a Ticking Clock, hurrying up to the next floor of the tower, and taking care of further goblins and a few giant rats.
Struggling with a trap door, Dox and Kenku failed to budge what the dragonborn simply walked up to and smacked open. Soon enough, the group was up upon the third and final floor of the tower, face-to-face with several goblin archers atop the fortifications of the tower. Ending the fight swiftly, the group took note of their surroundings, scavenged what valuables they could from the goblin corpses, and took the ears of each goblin they'd killed thus far before heading down below.
Dox led the group down to the basement, told of its contents by the paladin. Taking on the swarm of rats with his revealed arcane gunslinging abilities, the swarm of rats was quickly reduced to much smaller numbers, though the changeling himself was harmed with the final blast, miscalculating the range at which he'd been shooting. The group met up down below, and cleared out the room before moving on to the next.
The group found two more goblins, these ones well-armed and armored, and militarily trained. The two veteran goblins put up a fight, and the group took quite the beating, but in the end the party came out victorious over the two enemies and collected themselves before heading down the finally stairway of the basement below the tower.
Finally, the party came upon a sizeable library, built of stone and proper materials rather than the dug out, earthen tunnels of the basement above. In the corner opposite the stairway, surrounded by book shelves and standing above a ritual circle, was a hobgoblin clad in scaled armor with a greatsword upon his back, chanting words in a language unknown to the party. A great battle ensued, with the paladin falling unconscious from a blow across the left side of his face with the hobgoblin's greatsword. Right before the goblinoid warrior could end the life of the young Saje, the kenku inquisitive pierced the warrior's back with his rapier, and Dox shot out the head of the fiend, the Hobgoblin crumpling to the ground before them.
With a little investigation, Ticking Clock discovered a secret doorway at the bottom of the stairs along the wall, and upon finding the book that was keyed to the doorway, the party found within a small chamber holding piles of gold, silver, and copper, left over from the prospectors that once called the tower their own. Among the riches within, the party also found a silver locket – Locked by some magic, but beautiful and set with a single moonstone gem.
The party healed their newly scarred paladin and returned to town with their riches, goblin ears, and the remains of the hobgoblin's head. Upon their return, however, they found the town had been attacked by a force of undead, nearly all skeletal in nature. Finding their way to the council building, they turned in their ears for the bounty, gained further reward from the hobgoblin leader's head, and gained a new quest from the council head – Abeth Daleheart. They were charged with discovering the source of the undead force, and ending whatever caused the attack. The group agreed, in exchange for monetary gain and free room and board at any inn within the town's borders.
The next morning, after having slept at the the same inn for the night, the group began preparing for the fight ahead of them. Once they'd left the inn, however, shouts and cries brought them up short just in time to notice two horses running straight for them, and a group of animated skeletons attacking a farmer's wagon. Taking quick action, Dox grabbed the reigns of one fleeing horse, reigning her in and charging back towards the wagon. Saje, meanwhile, had snuck back to the wagon while Dox was busy, and had successfully attacked a skeleton from the shadows, injuring it greatly before Dox galloped back and shot it through the skull. Together, the two adventurers took at the group of skeletons and saved the town from further harm at their hands.
The group continued on, preparing for their journey. Dox purchased holy oil, Saje sharpened her weapons, and Ticking Clock prepared his own equipment at the inn. The dragonborn paladin split from the group, deciding to stay in the town and take care of the injured from the attack the day before. With their preparations set, the group agreed to travel through the night, so they might come upon their quarry in the morning, and patrolled the borders of the town through the day, taking out several groups of skeletal warriors in that time.
Before leaving, the group hired their own horses and ponies, traveling out from the town and heading to the west, towards rumors of an ancient elven cemetery deep in the corrupted forests. On their way the group came upon a half-elven woman, dressed in the clothes of a bard with a drum and lute, riding upon her own horse towards town. After introductions and a quick discussion, the bard, named Ophinara, decided to join them and the party made their way west once again.
Encountering some resistance in the form of further skeletal warriors, the party came upon the cemetery of the elves. The walled in cemetery was indeed ancient, at least a few centuries old, and the gates had been broken inwards. Inside the cemetery, the party could see dozens of more skeletal warriors, each wielding weaponry older than any they'd seen, with the occasional member of the horde wandering out of the cemetery and heading out of the confines of the surrounding glade. With the sun newly risen, the party hurried towards the entrance of the cemetery, and headed in – At first, only the first few skeletal warriors nearest the gate had noticed them, before before long with the sounds of battle raging on, the rest of the horde took notice and hurried towards them. Dox stayed to fight as the rest of the party circled 'round to the side of the cemetery holding a large crypt, Dox making use of his skills and shooting out large explosions to reduce the undead numbers. As he saw the rest of his party jump the fence, and as the undead began to pile up and block their own numbers in the gateway, Dox used the opportunity to escape and followed the rest of his fellows, jumping the fence near the crypt.
The party then found themselves near the doors of the elven crypt, which were stuck shut. Using a crowbar and combined muscle of the group, the doors were unstuck and opened inward, without the rush of stagnant air so normal with unopened tombs. It became clear why quite soon, as through the misty interior they soon found the body of another hobgoblin warrior, pale faced and very very dead, bleeding from the ears. Ticking Clock looked over the corpse and, disturbing the body, removed something from it. Before the rest of the party could stop him, a wail erupted from within the crypt, and soon three specters rose from the sarcophagi along the walls and set upon the party. The party fought back, and Saje was heavily injured by the grasp of a specter, her life force being stolen from her very being before the session came to a close.
The next installment is soon to come, and hopefully will see the death of the specters and further clues about the dead hobgoblin, the elven cemetery, and the skeletal warriors.