The Nether Scrolls

Episode 2: Raiders Camp
Session 1: Tracking the Raiders

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Greenest Aftermath

The group took a much needed rest at the bequest of Governor Nighthill. The raiders retreated to the southeast and their trail burned a scar into the pristine fields below. Looking down from a perch on the keep’s wall, a wide swath of grassland is crushed and broken marking the prairie like a well worn game trail. As the new dawn breaks upon Greenest, the reality of what just transpired begins to sink in. Lazy columns of smoke billow up from the town below. Bodies can be seen strewn about in the streets; both friend and foe. Those who did not find refuge in the keep lay either smote upon the ground or on a death march to the raiders lair. The devastation is soul crushing. The moans of wounded and those mourning the loss of their homes and families can be heard within the courtyard below.

A familiar voice rises from behind them, “A small, stealthy group could easily follow that trail.” Turning the group sees Governor Nighthill approaching with the stout Escobert the Red at his side. Both look haggard, but determined. “Aye, we need information,” Escobert interjects. “Yes, Red, we do,” answers the Governor as he looks to his side. “I want to know where their camp is located, how many raiders remain…” With each point his voice tenses, frustration building, “…what has motivated this Godsforsaken attack…” He slams his fist into the palm of his hand for emphasis. “…WHO their leaders are, and WHERE they plan to strike next.” Huffing deeply he strides forward parting the group and stopping at the wall. Placing his outstretched arms upon the crenelated spire and scanning the horizon he catches his breath. With clenched teeth he seethes, “They must pay for this.” From behind, the gravelly, brogue of the the dwarf breaks in, “We must send word, my Lord.” Looking over his shoulder slightly the Governor answers quickly, “Yes, send riders…to Berdusk and Iriaebor. The Flaming FIst must be notified.” With a slight bow, the dwarf turns quickly and descends down the stairs to the courtyard below. Escobert’s voice rises in commanding fashion, “Riders! Riders!”

tarbaw_nighthill_port.jpgTurning, Governor NIghthill considers the group before him. With his hands clasped behind his back he begins pacing back and forth looking down at the ground. “You have proven your mettle this night. Admittedly, I wasn’t confident in your qualities, but at each turn you seemed a step ahead of our enemies. First and foremost, I thank you for your efforts and I wish to reward you. Our healers and Brolin our quartermaster will be at your service. Please heal up, get your rest, and restock as you see need.”

Stopping abruptly he turns and meets the gaze of the group. “Our coffers have been severely diminished by the raiders, but I have put together a reward of 250 gold for each man willing to track these bastards to their lair. Time is of the essence, so you must move quickly. I fear our people are in grave danger and I will not see another soul lost. Are you in?”

The group agrees and sets about to tending to their wounds and gearing up. It is decided that they would depart at midday giving them a few short hours of rest and recuperation. Killkax is able to requisition a suit of fine scale mail which is fitted for his frame by the Quartermaster Brolin. It will take three days to make the adjustments for Killkax.

The Barbarian

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Bernardrick is practicing at the archery range in the courtyard when the doors to the lower storage area burst open. Two guards emerge dragging with heavy hand a prisoner, bound, with a sackcloth hood upon his head. He doesn’t seem to resist their efforts despite their rough treatment. A fine wolf skin cloak hangs from the lithe frame of what looks to be an elf. Governor Nighthill and Escobert approach from the other side of the courtyard meeting the guards in the middle. The guards remove the hood. Dreadlocks dangle around a tanned wood elf’s face. He is marked by facial tattoos and piercings that hint at his tribal heritage. His expression is emotionless as he seems resigned to his fate.

It seems the elf was captured in the night but put down his arms willingly and without a fight. After some questioning by the Governor he tells the guards to release him saying, “The elf is no threat to us. In fact, he may be able to help us.” Turning to the group he proposes, “I think you will need all the help you can get.” He then offers the elf the same deal as the rest of the group.

Leosin

A young man approached the group, limping heavily on his bandaged left leg, “I hear that you intend to follow the raiders and see where they’ve gone. I’d like nothing better than to come with you, but in this condition, I’d slow you down. In the midst of all this tragedy, there’s no reason you would have heard about the fate of my master, Leosin Erlanthor, but its important you know.”

At the mention of Leosin, Kage looks up intently and steps closer to the group. The young man notices the attention of the group and says, “You know him, yes?” Kage responds from behind the rest of the group, “Yes, we were to meet him here.” Nodding, the young man continues, “He is a monk from Bedusk. He disappeared last night, after we fought a particularly savage battle against raiders. A few others and I fought our way to the keep, barely. Leosin didn’t make it at all. We went back this morning to look for him, but all we found was his broken staff and this choker, which he always wore.” He tosses the items at the feet of the group. Pushing through the group Kage kneels down and inspects the items. Standing, a look of concern stretches across his face as he holds out the choker to the rest of the group, it’s tattered, ragged ends torn as if it was roughly torn off his neck.

“I know of the Half-elf you speak of,” Governor Nighthill interjects. “He arrived here several days ago and was asking many questions. I was concerned that he may be unnecessarily alarming the townsfolk, but it turns out he may have known something we didn’t. He is a good soul.”

The young man introduces himself as Nesim Waladra, a disciple of Leosin and a fellow monk. He explains that the monks were returning to Berdusk from the great library at Candlekeep. Leosin was consulting the librarians and researching ancient writings on dragon folklore. Dragon Cults are his special interest. Nesim seems to have a high sense of urgency and encourages the group to move quickly.

With that Kage can be seen kneeling and packing his travelpack. With quarterstaff in hand he rises and begins making his way at a brisk pace to the front gate of the keep as the rest of the group discusses their next move. Kage shouts over his shoulder, “Every minute longer we wait could mean the life of an innocent lost.” After several failed attempts by Killkax to hail Kage the group begins to reluctantly follow.

Stragglers

After half a days travel the sun begins to set. The topography has changed from rolling grasslands to a more rugged region of steep-sided, rocky plateaus. The land between the plateaus is largely flat , broken only by outcroppings and wandering streams in steep sided gullies. The plateaus jut fifty to one hundred feet above the surroundings and are difficult to climb except where rock falls and subsistence created natural ramps. The crumbling sides of the plateaus are dotted with caves and tumbled boulder fields.

The rising plume of a cooking fire catches the interest of the group several miles off. They use stealth to get closer where they spot of group of 4 cultists and 8 kobolds making camp and attempting to prepare a meal of game hens. The cutists and kobolds seem disjointed and at odds. A pile of weapons are just out of reach of the cultists against a rock. They are bickering about how to prepare their meal while the Kobolds have separated off to create their own camp.

Siezing on the opportunity the group strikes and quickly dispatches the group. Two kobolds do escape, but the group manages to capture one of the cultists alive. Zoroc, after revealing his drow nature, rattles the cultist into begging for his life. He freely shares details about the camps location and the “Rear Guard”. He gives the group the Rear Guards location so as to either gain an upper hand or avoid all together. He also reveals that a half-elf monk was among the prisoners. He also tells them that their primary mission was to find gold, gems , and other valuables to help prepare the great hoard to honor the Dragon Queen.

United we Stand, Divided we Fall

As the prisoner begged for his life, he promised to leave and never return if they agreed to let him go. He thought the cult would give his life purpose, but it has only brought heartache. Kage encouraged him to work to overthrow such tyranny, not join forces with such evil. Killkax, Kage, and Bernardrick want to let the man go, but are met with heavy resistance from Zoroc, Eos, Ervan, and Raiden.

Unable to compromise the group erupts in a scuffle. After nearly killing the prisoner and each other they came to their senses and forged a truce. Raiden and Eos shrewdly recognized that despite their prideful scuffle they could use this to their advantage by pretending to be initiate cultists who are trickling in to the camp from the raid on Greenest. It is agreed that the group would proceed to Greenest under this guise avoiding the Rear Guard with the intel they learned.

We left off at this point and will pick up next time at The Camp.

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Episode 1: Session 2
Greenest in Flames

Seek the Keep

Without warning, five humans dash out from between two buildings on your left. A limping man and three young children race across the street into more shadows, and a woman carrying a round shield and a broken spear turns and faces back in the direction from which they came. Eight kobolds stream out of the alley on the family’s heels and fan out around the woman, who looks determined to delay the creatures for as long as possible.
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Episode 1: Session 1
Greenest in Flames

The Approach

  • At the end of the third day of travel along the Coast Way south out of Baldur’s Gate, the group finally nears their destination of Greenest.
    For the past several days, you have been traveling a road that winds lazily across the rolling grasslands of the Greenfields. Sundown is approaching when you top a rise and see the town of Greenest just a few short miles away. But instead of the pleasant, welcoming town you expected, you see columns of black smoke rising from burning buildings, running figures that are little more than dots at this distance, and a dark, winged shape wheeling low over the keep that rises above the center of the town. Greenest is being attacked by a dragon!
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  • After the initial shock of the unnerving site, the group steals it’s wits. Kane is able to get the horses calm and they tie up the horses under a tree a few miles west of town.
  • The group approaches cautiously in stealth an angles toward the north side of town.

Meanwhile in Greenest…

  • Zoroc, anticipating the attack, heads out of town to the north. He is soon greeted by the dark shape of a diving blue dragon. As it passes over-top it creates a gale force that knocks Zoroc off his feet. Looking back the town can be seen under attack. A passing group of cultists sees you and beckons you to join them. After an uncomfortable few moments you fall in and head back into town.
    The sun has set by the time characters reach the edge of town. Burning buildings and a half moon provide dim light throughout the town. The cultists tried to set buildings ablaze as they moved through town, but thatch isn’t as flammable as it looks. When characters arrive, most of the flames come from haystacks and barns, not from homes or shops.
  • The Group of Kane, Killkax, and Bernardrick are able to remain undetected making their way through the streets. The town is filled with panic. Villagers can be seen running and being chased by cultists. They are going house to house making their way toward the center of the town and the Keep. The Dragon also seems to be providing support by merely a show of it’s frightful presence. It seems to be concentrating it’s efforts around the keep as well.

First Encounter

  • The group comes upon two villagers being harassed by a group of 6 cultists being led by an acolyte. Utilizing surprise they are able to easily dispatch the acolyte in the first round and the cultists several rounds later.
  • To their surprise one of the cultists turns on the others and helps the group – he is unfortunately knocked unconscious by one of the cultists.
  • Killkax is able to stabilize him once the skirmish ends. When laying on hands he notices that the individual is of drow descent. Kane also makes this obseration.
    *Upon being revived he takes on the guise of a high elf mage. Kane is quick to confront him on this illusion.
  • Zoroc introduces himself and comes clean about his background and heritage as a slave to both the drow magisters of Ssamath and now the Cult of the Dragon after being sold by the drow.
  • Kane is able to insight check that he is telling the truth and he is invited into the group.
  • The group decides to make their way slowly toward the keep – they bring the two villagers along for protection.
  • The Session is ended here to be picked up with an encounter at the next session
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And So It Begins...
Assembling the Co-hort

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Baldur’s Gate


The Blushing Mermaid

  • Benardrick Kerkoff has recently made his way to Baldur’s Gate. He has heard rumors that his close childhood friend, a half-elf named Talis, has been kidnapped by a strange group of dragon cultists. His investigations into the cult have pointed to the town of Greenest.
  • Roadworn and weary of the city, Benardrick is eager for some rest. After asking around for a local watering hole, Benardrick is recommended The Blushing Mermaid: Located in the Northeast corner of the Upper City. The_Blushing_Mermaid.jpg
  • Benardrick gets more than he bargains for soon realizing that The Blushing Mermaid is not for the feint of heart. Before long he is approached and challenged by two hooligans.
  • Not a slouch in his own rite, Benardrick is able to fend off the attackers leaving them squirming on the tavern floor and licking their wounds.
  • Benardrick is approached by a massive human, standing nearly 7 feet tall. The man has a braided pony tail that extends halfway down his back and a flowing beard. With a wide grin, he approaches Benardrick and in a think northern accent greets him, “I see you know how to handle yourself, my friend. You don’t look like you’re from around here, but the Flaming Fist could use a man like you.” Extending his hand he slaps a gold coin in Benardrick’s palm. It bares the insignia of the Flaming Fist Mercenary Company. “If you’re interested, present this at the eastern barracks and tell them Seth sent you.” With that Seth, casually steps over the sods on the floor and strolls out the door as the crowd parts in his wake.

Eastern Gate Barracks

  • Benardrick makes his way to the barracks per Seth’s request. He is quickly greeted by Seth who introduces him to his commanding officer, Varic, “This is the bruiser I told you about! He left two sods drowning in their own blood and piss!” Varic is a pretentious looking man; in stark contrast to Seth he barely stands 6 feet, with a finely manicured goatee, and dark black hair slicked back. His lips are tightly pursed as he intensely sizes Benardrick up, “Come with me…we’ll see if you’re Flaming Fist material.”
  • Varic leads Benardrick into the Barrack tower to his office. It is lined with ornamental armor, weapons, and various oddities; maps, naval regalia, and prominently placed behind his desk the head of a dire boar. His desk has documents strewn about it. Varic gets right down to business and fires off a line of questions regarding Benardrick’s heritage and reasons for being in Baldur’s Gate. Making little headway, he acquiesces, “There is someone I’d like to introduce you, too. He’s unlike anyone you’ve probably met, but don’t let that fool you. He’s one of my best.” With that he leaves the room.
  • A short while later Varic emerges in the door way and stands to the side, gesturing for someone to enter. A large, barrel chested creature strides proudly through the door, slightly ducking under the doorway. Varic was right, Benardrick had only heard of such creatures, Dragonborn; dragons that walked on two feet among men. His gold scales hints at his noble heritage. Wearing chainmail, a shield strapped to his back, and a longsword at his side. “Benardrick, this is Lietenant Kilkax. He is on respite from his most recent tour this past ride. You’re in luck. He just happens to be down a man since his squad was ambushed by some gnolls near the Wood of Sharp Teeth. Nasty bit of business from the report I just read.” After some awkward introductions, Varic continues, “Kilkax, I need you to evaluate this young man’s prowess and make a recommendation for duty.”

Test of Arms

  • After walking back out into the training yard, Kilkax is heckled by some of the men, “Look, Kilkax has fresh meat.” Quickly, a group of mercenaries has gathered round. Killkax not one to be outdone says to Benardrick, “Let’s test your mettle – draw your weapons!”
  • Benardrick holds his own enduring a menacing charge, and shield bash from Killkax. With daring persistence, Benardrick pommel bashes Kilkax and drops him to a knee. With that, Kilkax knows he has a man worthy to carry a sword in league with him. Benardrick extends his hand in a gesture of respect to Kilkax. Kilkax graciously accepts his hand, rising with a newfound respect.

In the Shadow

  • Road worn, Kane approaches Baldur’s Gate seeking his friend, Leosin Erlanthar, a wandering half-elf monk, who once saved his life from a band of drow slavers. Leosin’s note spoke of a small town, Greenest, that was in danger, but directed Kane to meet him in Baldur’s Gate first.
  • As Kane reaches the gates, he overhears several excited passerby’s rushing toward a “contest at the barracks”. A crowd can be heard cheering as he passes under the Gatehouse and wall of Baldur’s Gate. A large gold scaled Dragonborn, something you’ve only heard of in passing tales, can be seen standing a full head above the gathered crowed of Flaming FIst mercenaries, merchants, and civilians. He is charging forward longsword drawn and leading with his shield. After a moment the crowd parts and a strange looking man falls to the ground in a cloud of dust. His clothing and dark skin are unlike anything you’ve seen in your travels. He deftly jumps to his feet, drawing two exotic looking short swords and charges boldly back at the Dragonborn. Deftly, Kane blends into the crowd drawing his cloak about his head.
  • Within a few moments the dark-skinned human stands over the Dragonborn offering his hand. After a moment, the Dragonborn accepts his hand and rises to his feet. Both men are breathing hard, but smiling in satisfaction. The crowd erupts and a voice rises above the rest, “Killkax! I told you to test his mettle, not brawl with the boy. Now once your done measuring your manhood come see me in my office.” The Dragonborn, Killkax, nods then turns and looks in your direction. As you feel his gaze fall upon you, you realize a presence standing motionless off your right shoulder.leosin.jpg
  • Turning, the familiar gaze and wry smile of Leosin meets Kane’s stone cold stare. In a moment, the icy cool of Kane’s demeanor melts and an amused grin parts his lips as he breaths, “Leosin…” In an instant Leosin, not one for containing his emotions, embraces Kane lifting him off his feet.
  • Kilkax sees the half-elf monk, Leosin, standing behind a mysterious stranger. In an instant, Killkax recognizes the mysterious stranger from his dreams – his pupil-less eyes. Leosin has been training the men on hand to hand combat the past two months and has proven a boon for his men. Unexpectedly, Leosin picks up the stranger and they both begin laughing in a joyful greeting. Leosin seeing Killkax approaching, shouts, “Killkax, no doubt Varic has some important business for you attend to. Once you are finished with his blustering, meet me at the Elfsong Tavern and all will be explained.” In an instant Leosin and the strange human disappear into the crowd.
  • After agreeing to meet Leosin at the Elfsong, Kilkax and Bernardrick return to Varic. Varic produces some documents, looks to Bernardrick, and says, “I suppose if you can best Kilkax then you’re good enough for the Flaming Fist.” He directs Bernardrick to sign a contract and gives him requisition for 20 gp of goods from the Flaming Fist Quartermaster. Handing him a tunic with the emblem of the Flaming Fist he hands him over to Killkax. “I’d like to have a word with you Killkax about your request,” Varic adds while opening a drawer in his desk. Bernardrick heads to the Quartermaster leaving Killkax to visit with Varic.
  • Pulling another document out of his drawer, Varic says with a tinge of disappointment, “I’ve been considering your request, Killkax, but I have one question…” After a slight pause he shoots Kilkax a puzzled look, “…why on earth would you want to go to that podunk town of Greenest?” After some discussion regarding the direction of his career and his potential, Varic acquiesces, and signs his transfer. Kilkax inquires about taking his regimend with him, but is immediately shot down by Varic. Undeterred, Kilkax requests Bernardrick to accompany him to Greenest. “If you can convince him then I don’t see any reason why he can’t go.”

The Elfsong Tavern

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  • After some time catching up, Leosin explains to Kane that a dangerous group, the Cult of the Dragon, has been active in the region, and they have taken an interest in the town of Greenest for some reason. “It’s time to fullfill that debt,” Leosin says with a twinkle in his eyes. He instructs the group to meet him in Greenest in three days time at the local taven. He has some business to attend to and will be shortly behind the group. Leosin invites Kane to stay with him at the tavern.
  • The group decides to meet first thing in the morning at the Eastern Gate near the Flaming Fist Barracks.
  • Leosin and Kane talk late into the night. Kane notices a strange pin affixed discreetly under the lapel of his tunic – it is a gold image of a crescent moon and a harp. Kane confronts Leosin on the pin, “You have a keen eye, my friend, I see my indiscretion has gotten the better of me.” Leosin looks Kane squarely in the eye and says flatly, almost rehearsed, “Down with Tyranny. Fairness and equality for all.” After measuring Kane’s response he goes on to explain that he is operating in the area as an agent of the Harpers and explains the major tenants of the secret group: 1) One can never have too much information 2) Too much power leads to corruption 3) No one should be powerless
  • With that Leosin produces a small gold pin of a harp, “Take this as a gift. We can discuss this in more detail in Greenest. Think on what we’ve discussed.”
  • The group convenes at daybreak and begins making their way to Greenest that proves to be an uneventful journey.greenest_locmap.png

    Meanwhile in Greenest…

  • Zoroc sits quietly in a dark corner of the pub. His mind preoccupied by the words of the elf-witch that the time would be soon. The last few months have flown by as the zealots have tried to indoctrinate you. They have tried and failed. Your time is coming to be free of their tyranny. A comely elf maid approaches the table. It’s her. Shaz. She sternly instructed you not to make any contact. Averting your eyes you are surprised to see her approach you, “What are you drinking?” she says with a smile and a wink. After giving her your order, she soon returns with an ale. As she sets the drink on the table you see a note inconspicuously placed under the flagon. Grasping the flagon with one hand and quick swipe of the hand with the other you deftly move the note into your lap. Unfolding the note with one hand you see a single word inscribed on the parchment, “Tonight.”
  • “You must be stuck in this town – I’ve seen you here the last few weeks. What brings you to town?” Startled, you look up to see a portly, balding man, stinking of a tannery. He’s a regular and you see him most days over the noon hour taking a break from his tannery. Surprised, you stumble through an explanation. After some curious and awkward discussion he leaves you to your peace. You’re not sure if he suspected anything or not, but one thing is for sure. Things will be different after tonight.



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