Slaughtergarde

Post session - Return to Sumberton

The intrepid party hauls the eight spice crates and their bruised bodies back into the afternoon sunlight. With welcome warmth on their faces and the oppressive evil behind them, the search begins for their wagon and horses. A hacked and beaten horse carcass marks the location of their camp. The wagon is easy to track. Only a short way down the gulley trail it stands immobile – its demise a damaged wheel. Dahmel makes temporary repairs to the wagon making it roadworthy while Calael tracks the missing horses. Only Kark’s riding horse is found. Without a proper draft horse and pulling a jury-rigged wagon, the road to Sumberton is slow.

By midday a caravan catches the party’s hobbled wagon along the Sumberton Road. The merchants offer to transport the party’s cargo on one of their wagons – they are eager to make better time through the bandit-infested Kurkle Ridge. There is an ease among caravan now that they have joined with the well armed party and the remaining road passes uneventfully.

The party is stopped at the Sumberton gate. Guards demand a tax on all goods entering the city. Thorail debates with the guards to no avail as the cargo is diverted to a holding area. Word is sent to the Chicane guild and Mr. Wagstick arrives quickly. A few words, a few coins and the matter is resolved. Wagstick encourages the party to clean up and refresh themselves before a dinner with Lady Vintra. She has invited them to the Chicane Guildhouse for a well deserved feast.

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Session 2.2 - Slaughtergarde

Healed and rested the party returns to the altar room where they are confronted by the reformed skeletons. This battle is as quick as their first encounter. Not keen to meet their undead foes again they wrap the skeletons in the gauzy strips and set them aflame for proper destruction. Beyond the room is a small muddy pit. Dahmel’s war dog Rouckan falls into the muck while crossing the narrow plank bridge. Dahmel comes to his companion’s rescue, pulling him to the far side. Kark is last to cross. His cantrip is quite useful as he simply floats across the mud – a messy affair, but quite safe.

There is light in the chamber ahead. Tiertan scouts ahead. He finds a muddy library with thick red carpeting. Loose pages and messy tomes are scattered around. From the darkness above a spider, as large as Rouckan, drops onto the scout. Its stinger finds purchase in Tiertan’s abdomen sending searing pains through his body. While reeling from the surprise attack, a mailed goblin charges from another passageway savagely wounding the elf. The party mobilizes quickly. The goblin and spider fight as one, with the goblin issuing commands as a series of clicks and chitters. Combatants deal fierce blows from either side, but the vile creatures are no match for the rested party.

Realizing that the exit passage connects back to the entrance the party turns its attention to solving the puzzle of the cube. After some experimentation it appears that the cube absorbs the glow of nearby light sources, but fades quickly. The inscription above the cube-sized depression is their only other clue. After a few attempts to absorb the purple glow from the runes in the Howler’s chamber Ulmfor realizes that his seemingly insignificant cantrip is the key. Able to control the color of his glowing eyes he finds the right shade of purple. The cube slides neatly into place. A great stone slab wall retracts into the floor revealing a chamber beyond. It is a circular chamber. Eight glowing footprints are arrayed around a column in the center of the space. Purple runes light up each place. Red glowing runes appear in the column at each position. Thorail is the first to test his bravery. He steps into a footprints and touches the handprint – he winks out of existence. Madly the party debates their next move. After many long moments of discussion the others take the same sudden journey. Kark is the first to appear in another domed chamber slightly larger than the prior chamber. Thorail already lies unconscious on the floor. Two fresh corpses are also present; a mailed fellow in a blue surcoat and badly beaten elf in bloodied gold robes. A glowing purple sphere lights the room.

Cold hands grip Kark’s neck. Wheeling Kark is unable to see his attacker. Tiertan and Dahmel watch the shadows on the wall cast by the purplish light. Kark’s shadow reveals a creature with its grip on his neck and another holding his blade hand at bay. When it is realized that the shadows are the real threat, Ulmfor takes on a dark smoke form and blankets the sphere. A dim glow lights the room and the attacks stop. Dhamel tosses his cloak over the sphere as a more permanent solution. Calael finds a bright silver blade on the body of the mailed corpse. He is suddenly fraught with a notion to destroy undead. The sword has a purpose. Kark recognizes the sword as Utterlight a sword forged by a legendary Luminary Knight named Isidra who died in the destruction of Slaughtergarde. The spirit of Isidra now inhabits the blade, urging its user to finish the oath he took to defeat undead wherever it lurked. With the sword in hand Kark destroys the shadow creatures once and for all.

The party leaves Slaughtergarde taking the cube-key with them for safe keeping. They recovered eight spice crates in all and a tidy sum of treasure.

Next… the road back to Sumberton

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Session 2.1 - Slaughtergarde

Four zombies lumber forward. Kark establishes the frontline just outside the entry hallway to the chamber. Smoking corpses fall to the ground as Thorail and Ulmfor launch spells into the ranks of their foes. In short order the battle is won. The room is dominated by a large, apparently dormant, gate depicting a demon. Its sigil stones are dark. A small 4” square depression is in the eastern wall with an inscription above, “A heart of amethyst opens the way.” It is surmised that the gate is activated by finding the proper key. Chanting echoes into the room from another chamber further on.

Tiertan scouts the next chamber. Humanoid forms are seen through gauzy strips hanging from the ceiling, they are a mystery. The party is scattered between the chambers when the forms become aware of Tiertan’s presence. Skeletons emerge from behind the thin veils as the one remaining mysterious form backs away. Once again Kark charges forward to hold the line. With the skeletons dropped Dahlmel is the first to see their next foe: a large hobgoblin in black mail holds a pulsating black mace – a red handprint adorns his surcoat. Kark charges ahead. Inky tendrils of magic leap from the hobgoblins hand at Dahmel. The tendrils seem to drain his life, giving it to the hobgoblin in return. Even surrounded their foe handles his attackers adeptly, stunning Kark and felling Dahmel and Tiertan in turn. A well placed spell by Ulmfor provides an opportunity for Kark to open up his assault. The battle turns quickly against the hobgoblin.

A search of the room finds treasure on an altar, an offering to some cruel goblin deity named Maglubiyet. Among the treasure is a small glowing cube, no doubt the key to the demonic portal. Rouckan, Dahmel’s dog, senses danger behind the doors to the north. Ulmfor opts to investigate in smoke form. It is dark beyond the door. He moves cautiously through the blackness. He perceives a small humanoid form against the back wall as a dagger hurtles toward him, passing harmlessly through his misty body. A chase ensues. The small creature dashes into a narrow passage. Ulmfor pursues navigates the cramped passage easily in his smoke form. They reach the surface where the creature cowers from the midmorning sun and turns to face its pursuer. The black cloaked creature stands half as tall as a man with pale white skin and dark hateful eyes, its legs bent backward like a dog. Deciding not to pursue further, Ulmfor returns to the party. Entering the room they find a small desk with a map left behind. It is a map of the valley with the Slaughtergarde ruins and the Surrinack hunting lodge circled. Hasty notes are scrawled on it: “Slaughtergarde – no usable sigils found” and “Surrinack Lodge – hearthstone passage.”

Wounded and low on power the party decides to rest and recover in the protection of the Maug’s pit.

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Session 1 - Spices
slaughtergarde spices

Party: Calael, Dahmel, Kark, Thorail, Tiertan and Ulmfor.

Through various connections each party member receives an invitation to the Chicane Guild for possible employment. Despite their disparate motivations they accept the task, all save a hung-over dwarf named Glorin. Lady Vintra Marktunsel explains that a Chicane Guild caravan was waylaid by goblin bandits on the road to the south while en route from Tulvercross. Expensive spices were taken and she desperately wants their return. The party assembles quickly, purchasing a horse and a wagon and then leaves that afternoon. With the advance of pay, Calael has time to buy his elvish bow out of hoc.

On the road, soon they are surrounded by the stark rolling hills of the Kurkel Ridge. In late afternoon the scouts spot a Hippogriph circling high in the sky, riding the hot midday updrafts. It passes overhead to give them (or perhaps their steeds) a look, and then disappears to the south.

Before dusk they find the wreckage of the caravan along the road. The scouts in the party piece together the method of the attackers and the direction of their retreat thanks to Roukan’s canine nose. Following the trail Dahmel divines that the path ends at a dark cave mouth. In the waning light they set camp.

In the morning they hobble the horses and camouflage the wagon in a small gulley before approaching the cave. The entry tunnel is steep and movement is slow going. Calael sneaks ahead where he spies two hobgoblins guarding some burnished copper doors. In a deft move Calael plugs one hobgoblin with an arrow enticing the other to pursue him up the entry tunnel. The party springs from its hiding place taking the hobgoblins by surprise. The battle goes quickly; even the hidden hobgoblin archer is no match for the fledgling party.

Ulmfor transforms into a smoky apparition, seeping under the door for some advanced scouting. Within he sees three goblins playing cards. The party bursts into the room, again making short work of the guards. Amongst the supplies they uncover three of the missing Chicane guild spice crates. Further down the hall they battle two more goblins and discover three more spice crates, bringing the total to six.

Pressing on they cross a chasm to enter another excavated area of the dungeon. Up a short flight of stairs they are ambushed by two more goblins. In the ensuing battle a viscous axe hews a goblin in twain from a bordering sunken room. With some trepidation Thorail approaches the threshold revealing a stone guardian in the sunken chamber below. Ulmfor recognizes him as a Maug – a magical construct sent across the planes to slay demons in a place called Slaughtergarde. As a Luminary Knight, Kark recalls that Slaughtergarde was a fortress of evil that existed between two planes, issuing forth hordes of demons into the valley. The Knights Luminous shattered the evil fortress scattering its pieces across the planes. Until now it was assumed to be completely annihilated. Sections have survived – this is ill news.

Two intact mirrors are in the ambush chamber. The first shows a window into another place where steam fills a room, with only glimpses of a stone like form within. The other cracked mirror holds three faces in its jagged panels: a woman of unequaled beauty, a huge toad like demon and a mysterious bearded man with an obscuring hood. Kark recognizes the first two as a succubus and a Hezrou demon respectively – the bearded man remains an enigma.

Beyond the Maug’s chamber they encounter a strange pattern of runes containing a creature called a Howler. It throws one burst of quills before being taken down with the aid of the Maug. On a balcony overlooking the runes more hobgoblins await. During the battle, goblins ambush from the shadows at the order of the hobgoblins. Thorail is nearly killed by a javelin to the throat. Ulmfor buys time by distracting the goblins in smoke form while Kark and Dahmel hack their way through the hobgoblins to rescue their fallen companion. The room is a bloody mess. In a small area that appears to be a torture chamber they find strange masterwork implements, three of the daggers emit a small continuous drip of blood. Ulmfor is able to determine that they are used in some sort of ritual and that they store small amounts of power that can be used by the bearer of the blade.

Onward down a dark passage, Tiertan spots four rotting hobgoblins standing erect in a large chamber. Alert to his presence they start to move…

…to be continued.

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