Scales of War: Umbraforge
From the journal of Ackuntu
We go back to overlook, and put some investigation into someone with a name beginning with M thats important - that would be the towns leader: Magnar Stonefist...
Kronk notices someone watching us, they see him noticing and walk away quickly, we try to follow him. We hear a voice behind us as we turn around "took a wrong turn, too bad it's your last!" There are a trio of thugs behind us, target practice! I blast them all with a burst of fire then knock 2 of them on their ass with an icy terrian. Arindan engages the one still standing - in come the meat shields. Kronk steps up and stabs the one in the middle who goes beserk and tries to attack Kronk but gets a mouth full of greave. Min moves up, forming a comcplete line of expendibles in front of me and stabs the middle man. Kal comes up behind them and stabns him with a spear, killing him before he can get up. Rangrim charges forward and stops the guy who was trialing us from going anywhere.
Then the rest of the ambush triggers - 3 more guys armed with crossbows and one in mages robes. They shoot at randgrim but the bolts fly over the shortasses head. The new guy, Ozzeric goes charging after Rangrim and whacks the one who we were chasing. The meat shields can handle the thugs at the back, I after the guy we were tailing and summon the flames of hell over his body, it is deeply satisfying to watch his flesh burn. Arindan orders Kronk to hit the thugs, one of whom goes into a besek fury. Kronk insults them as they faily dysmally to hit him. Min hits the one that hasn't lost it, and he prompty goes ballistic at her, and fails dysmally again.
Rangrim finishes off the leader, and I surge my curse into the wizard and 2 of the crossbowers. The dwarf charges forward and attacks the wizard. Kal moves up to the crossbowman and breathes all over them. Ozzeric goes to help him. Now I've left them, Kronk, Alleric and Min seem to be going nowhere with the beserker thugs, but they are making an admirable meat wall again them so that's the important thing. Min manages to get her act together and finishes off one of them.
The wizard waves his wand and blasts Rangrim with a lightning bolt but it misses me, - good meat shield with the lightning attracting metal armour! I blast him with hellish flames and he dies screaming, I blow the smoke off my blasting finger. Arrindan and Kronk whack the thug they are fighting. Min comes leaping over the barrels the crossbowmen are hiding behind and stabs one of them in the chest. He grabs a halberd and hits her back, while one of the others strikes Kal and the last attacks Ozzeric. Ozzy whacks him right back, killing him outright and knocking another one staggering, who Kal prompty stabs with his spear.
Kronk finishes off the last thug behind us, leaving just 2 crossbowmen who are now fighting with halberds. I point and blast one with some eldritch energy. Kronk goes charging at them and min flips down off the barrel and swings, knocking one of them out. Kal kills the other.
We find a note on the mages corpse, it has a picture of the key that we have - to recover it and give it to Modra. We interrogate the survivor and find he is a thieves guild member and they were hired by the mage to get us.
From the journal of Ackuntu
We decide to quiz some of the city's residents about the identity of 'Modra'. First port of call is the Temple of the Raven Queen, where Kal diploms with the priests. We hear a rumour that someone is supplying weapons to the orcs. There are dark ones who are sometimes seen in the company of the thieves guild.
We find the seediest pub in the district, it's too seedy for Kal and Arindan. We hear a rumour that someone called Modra was looking for people with mining experience. Modra's a dark creeper - well known in the criminal underworld.
We head to the artisans area and find info from a pub there. Discussion talks abut trouble for the traders on the roads and rising cults.
In the adventurers district we hear the Modra is supplying weapons and armour from the overlook black market.
We are down a path when 2 crossbow bolts from buildings either side embed themselves into Kal. Kronk kicks down the door to one of the buildings and goes charging inside. Min goes scrambling up the wall and ends just below the roof. Arindan teleports onto the roof and tries to stab one but misses.
Randgim shoots back with his crossbow, while maintaining the proper position for a meatshield and blocking the road in case anyone else comes. Osserik throws a hammer at one of them.
Kronk runs up and hauls himself into the loft of one of the buildings as some thugs come charging up. I send one screaming straight to hell and spread my eldritch curse onto the others. Kal then kills 3 of them with his dragonbreath and then another with sacred flame. Arindan and Min fight with one crossobwer on the roofs.
Oserik finishes off the last of the toughs on the ground while kronk breaks out of the roof and attacks the other crossbower. One one fighting min creates a cloud of darkness then retreats off the back of the roof, min chases after him. Kronk shoves his opponent back and nearly off the roof. Rangrim and Min have run down the crossbower in the nearby street.
The crossbower fighting kronk summons darkness and leaps off the building, Knronk whacks him as he leaps and slows him down. I run after him. Rangrim runs after me and then gets in front bwhere he belongs and whacks the sniper, wounding him in the leg. The other tries to run and Min and Oserik beat him into submission. I can't be bothered with this, I blast my attacker into pieces.
We drag the survivor somewhere quiet and I have words with him. Modra is only a front for the arms shipping which is huge. Last he was doing a deal with a shadow witch over weapons. He was last seen before the end of the attack on boadrins watch and is now keeping his head down after a deal that went bad.
Kal bribes him and lets him go, learning that Modra was last seen in the Laughing Begger - an Alm House. We head there. It's like the shithole bar, except it's teatotal. We are just in time to tea and prayers. Oh dear god, it's sickening. It's run by 2 ex-paladins, scrupulously honest. Ozzeric slips Min and I some brandy to help the tea go down while Kal diploms with the paladins. One of the patrons has heard about him. The old man gives some random information.
Kal and min head downstairs, while Kal distracts the cook Min opens one of the doors and finds it leads to a blocked passageway. It used to lead to a cellar which has collapsed, there is a load of negotations with Kal giving them a load more money and we start pulling up floorboards and get in there. It's a cellar, it's plain, boring and not used in years. There is a lot of flogging a dead horse. Then it is flogged some more, followed by more flogging. Eventually a secret passage is found. Rangrim goes sliding down it, the rest of us follow. It leads to a subterranain cavern. We form a big pile at the bottom and are attacked by bats. It's a batcave.
The meatshields are pretty useless here, they just swing at the bats when the creatures come down, I walk in and send a firy bolt into a group. Then Kal comes falling down and knocks me flying into the room. Oh crap, now I'm going to have to deal with attacks! Useless cleric! you meatshields stand IN FRONT of me. IN FRONT! 2 of the bats attack me.
The party decide just to head to the passageway at the other side of the cavern, down a short cliff. I teleport myself downwards, the meatshields do some faffings with ropes and eating the mushrooms. Min leaps and spins down a stalagmite, looking pretty impressive despite a heavy landing. I hold up a small card with a 7 on it. Kronk comes afterwards, spinning with far more grace and landing perfectly on his toes. I hold up a 9.
We head down the passway to an artifical chamber that looks like ti used to be a temple but is now a store room. There are 3 shadow beings poking some shadow dogs in a cage.
From the journal of Ackuntu
Kronk charges in and hits one of the shadow things. One of the others unlocks the doors of the cage and they all either teleport or leap behind the cage as the dogs come out and attack cronk.
There is a shadowky witch further back who moves next to the dark creepers and they are all concelaed in shadows. I create icy terrian that knocks both dogs on their ass. Min charges up next to kronk and stabs one, then Oserik piles in to increase the pain.
One of the dogs teleprots behind Kronk and they both attack him, the shadow creepers do some shuffling but generally miss. Although one of them maanages to dazzle kronk so he can't see very far. I blast at them but miss. Min stabs one of the dogs killing it, then moves to stab another. Ozerik moves around to threaten the dark creepers which attack him.
I scorch a few of them then Min leaps next to the witch and stabs her several times. Osserik sends one of the dark creepers flying through the portal, it vanishes. The witch runs through the door at the back and touches another portal. which spawns a host of wraiths. I blast them with fire but they are all still standing. Min charges past me and stabs the witch to death. At least she is going to get killed by wraiths instead of me.
Oserik changes into a big bear then goes to help out Kronk, but misses like an idiot. Leaving me with 2 shadow gribblies ot deal with. STUPID MEATSHIELD. YOU ARE MEANT TO STAND IN FRONT OF ME.
The other gribbly comes back out of the portal then all 3 of them pile on me. OUCH! STUPID MEATSHIELD. I am bleeding and going to unleash a world of infernal wrath in a minute. Then a pair of wriaths charge me and suck my life out and I fall over.
Min gets pulled down by wriaths. Useless meatshields 1 and 2 decide to leg it and leap through the portal. I bleed to death slowly while Min rises as a wraith.
Conclusion: steve gets new dice. 2 party members killed.
From the journal of Chana
I am sipping some wine in a tavern when my aquiantenace Osserik comes in, looking like he's been through hell. He needs some help to save the city. Of course I agree and a human named Uvaa agrees as well. They take us to a warehouse that has a portal, we hop through and are quickly attacked by a whole host of wriaths that surround Kronk. Oserik causes massive plant grouth in the area, granting us cover.
I rase my rod and channel holy power, driving the abominations back. One, that looks very much like a tiefling, gets blasted into a thousand pieces, screaming as they are banished to hell. The rest are dazed by the holy power. Uvaa uses a cold burst that slows them, dazed and slowed they are scattered when they come back in. Kronk swings at the one in front of him then sends him back. Ozerik releases a huge burst of power that scatters them again. I blast the mad wriath and knock it further backwards.
They regroup and come in again, Kronk sends the first screaming back to hell. They move in and we focus our fire on the mad wriath and it explodes into fragments. The rest are scattered and we finish them off.
The portal in the back of the room goes to the shadowfell and has an indentation that matches our key,
From the journal of Chana
We head into the shadowfell, it's like our world but inverted - the colours are opposite. The other portal works and shows an image of twisted trees surrounded by shadow. We open the exit door and see another chamber where there has obviously been a fight - overturned furniture and the body of a dark creeper with a load of poisoned daggers. There is an exit that leads to a cave mouth.
The landscape we see is a vista of grey, black grass, the entire world is overcast. Before us is a giant military camp, behind which is a black mountain rent by a volcanic rift. We have arrived in Mordor! There is a quick check on the portal, which repells us.
We decide to investigate the army, I put a big black cloak on to hide myself. A pair of sentries challenge us and tell us that all mercenaries must remain within the borders of the camp. We hurry in and investigate - it is a typical army - training, sleeping, merchants. We notice that the army is made of all races, particually monsterus ones - this is not a shadowki army, it is mercenary. We find a tavern and try and get some info.
We are in umbraforge which is the domain of Sarshan, a trader of great weath and reputation. The camps are those of the mercenaries and slaves that serve him and get his goods from a to b.
Sarshan is a shade-archi who was an outcast but made his reputation by creating a very successful mercenary unit, so successful and feared that he was often hired for ludicus sums, then paid by the other side to stand down.
Modra is well known, he was a successful leutenant, but tried to broker a weapons deal that Sarshan had turned down, so is in the doghouse.
Sarshan refused an orc kings raid on a dwarven citadel. Sarshan never makes a deal that might come back to him, now everybody knows that Modra sold the weapons and it went bad.
We head to one of the training grounds so the fighters can gather some information, but we get challenged by 4 ogres with their giant beetle. Now we have to fight without me revealing myself. The orgres charge and the beetle covers ozrick in sticky gunk. Kronk and Ozrick are knocked down. Uvaa is bullied by 2 of them, Rangrim goes to help.
I raise holy chains to bind 2 of the ogres and the beetle while pulling Uvaa out of danger. Kronk gets up and shifts out of range of their clubs, Ozerik teleports so we can concentrate on the ones that attacked Uvaa. Uvaa, now clear of the ogres blasts it and it falls over dead.
The beetle splats kronk with sticky stuff as it and one of the ogres break free of my chains. Rangrim moves on and attacks the other standing one of pair we were picking on. Ozerirk spins, lashes out with throns and pulls the remaining ogre immobilised towards him and away from everyone else before spinning across the battlefield and knokcing one of the now mobile ogres backward. We are stunned by Ozrick the dwarven dervish.
Knronk throws a javlin at one, then I sear it with a beam of light that knocks it back allowing Ozerik to disengage and go back to helping rangrim. Just as the ogre and beetle are about to charge forward Uvaa raises an ice dragon that slows them right back down. Rangrim takes his opponent down with a brutal axe blow.
Ozrick knocks one of the ogres flying to the immobilised kronk, I summon more binding chains to slow them all. Rangrim charges in and destroys the ogre and beetle with a single axe swing. Ozerik takes down the last of the ogres with a charge. The Ogre crowd cheers.
General view is that Modra has done a runner and that Sangrim is pissed and has a long arm - he would have to be insane to come back here.
The foundry here is Sarhans new toy - it is powered by lava and his mages make magic beasties and weapons, born killers.
It used to be that Sarshan brokered mercenaries only within the shadowfell. Now it is changing - shadowki are still his elites but he is pulling in things from other planes to train and send off to unknown places.
The Shadowfell is only a stopping place for his mercenaries - there have been a lot of things coming in from all place - chaos archons.
He is using his slave bizaree is only the first step - he is turning the salves into warrior beasts.
His operations have tripled but its not in the shadowfell - they are bound to portals to the world. Wars are going to be fought in the world, but the armies that fight it are already moving unseen in the shadowfell.
We are approached by a shadki witch. Modra is planning to disrupt the operation - there is a secret tunnel between the fortress and the foundary. He is going to vent the foundary through the tunnels. There is an army moving out this evening, he is going to use that as a disguise to get into the foundary.
We rest up until the army moves out, this lowers the guard round the forge. Uvaa tries to bluff us through but it doesn't seem to work, to Ozerik headbutts his way through the door. Inside there are some gribblies working with tubes to redirect the lava.
From the journal of Uvaa
(Note: Seranna & Arindan tag out with Kronk & Chana. High five!)
Ahh gribblies, you must die I am afraid, for the greater good. Hobgoblins swarm the doors, blocking our way. They attack and we respond, taking out the first line. I unload a burst of ice on a group further inside, killing 3 of 4. Some nastier hobgoblins move in and start imobilising our defenders, Rangrim and Osric. A sneaky type thhing opens a door in the distance and a two headed boar roars and advances over one of the walkways spanning the lava.
Arindan heals Rangrim and attacks, with our defenders struggling. The boar charges, knocking Osric and Rangrim back. Seranna and I continue fireing over the heads of the dwarves, and Arindan charges in to melee with the boar. Osric teleports into a flanking position, attacking the boar, when Modra appears and stabs Osric in the back, using the boar as a flanker! Git!
Arindan gets knocked to the floor and Rangrim runs in to straddle his body smacking the boar as he does so. Arindan stands and orders Rangrim to attack again, scoring another hit on the boar. We pepper the boar with attacks, killing it, after which Modra gets annoyed, slamming Osric with attacks until the dwarf-cum-bear is almost dead, ending with a globe of swirling darkness that engulfs them both. Rangrim advances on the remaining archer types, and Modra attacks Osric again, knocking the dwarf down uncoscious and bleeding.
Seranna runs over and administers a healing potion to Osric, while rangrim flails at the archer. I continue to blast Modra and Osric falls over again. Modra advances on Seranna, who yeilds ground and unleashes some arrows on him. I blast Modra again, a surge of wild magic knocking the remaining archer to the ground, and I advance on the fallen Osric. The archer stands and fires, missing me, and Modra moves to escape, swiftly followed by Arindan and Rangrim. Modra escapes out of the door, yet Seranna persues him and takes him out with a pair of well aimed arrows, Rangrim cleaving the archer in two. We bring Osric around.
We rest up, for longer than normal due to Osric's injuries, then look around the foundry. Around half of the the vats contain mutant humanoids, with extra body parts and growths. We examine Modra and find some leather armor and short sword that are magical (+2 Alluring Withdrawl Leather & +2 Fleshseeking Short Sword). Searching the blisteringly hot foundry for the secret passage that we know exixsts - it's in the far corner. We move into it and Osric descides to try and bash one of the pipes leading to the vats. All this does id create a lou clattering sound, so we move on and find out where the secret passage takes us...
The passage opens into a library, filled with Shadar Kai around a table. They jump back in surprise as we open the door. we move in so we're not in such a disadvantagous position, and shout that we've killed Modra. They don't believe us and attack. I pull out the head from my sack and tell them that "We've killed Modra, we do not wish to fight!" I talk for a few moments, and we all hold still, poised to see their reaction. "Drop your weapons!".
I unleash a Chaos Bolt on the nearest Shadar Kai, knocking him prone, and bouncing of a few mors targets. Osric kills the prone warrior then moves to block the entrance to the library. Rangrim moves in and forgets to mark the warrior, who thanks him and attacks Osric, as do his friends. The female at the back who was talking to me move sand presses a place on the wall, ominously.
Moments later black darts of shadow fill the library, right after the last warrior teleports out of the room. All but the dwarves are hit by necrotic damage. We continue the assault against the 3 Shadar Kai blocking our route to the female, Osric summoning roots to drag him to the floor. The female summons shadows around her, as we spread apart to attack. We all miss miserably, apart from the trap. There's more shuffling in melee as the defenders and warlord surround a Shadar Kai in a corner. I blow up the injured warrior, opening a space for Rangrim to charge the Witch. With the favour of the gods on his side, and cheers of support from the party, he summons previously unknown resolves of martial prowess to mark her.
We seperate the remaining two Shadar Kai, one defender on each of them. The rooms darts miss everyone, except myself who is hiding in the secret passage out of range. Seranna fills the warrior with arrows, but he's still standing somehow! We easily finish off the pair of them, and I get lucky while fiddling with the trap and turn it off.
From the journal of Arindan
We take an extended rest in the secret passage, and in the morning venture back into the library. The bodies are still there. So we continue our exploration of this floor of the tower. Opening the door towards the centre of the tower we find a very large room with couches, a huge table, tapestries and an open oddly tiled area in the middle of the room with an opening above. There are 3 shadar-kai chain fighters, a spectral wraith and one other shadowy humanoid. Rumble!
The enemies are fast off the mark and the combat is soon spread out across the room. Being in the aura of the wraith is both painful and disconcerting as dark whispers make it hard for us to concentrate. We need to take it down quickly. Fortunately we all get to focus on it and almost immediately dispatch it. We also change our focus to the shadowy humanoid and take it out almost immediately too. We are left with the three shadar-kai chain fighters dancing around the room that we are slowly wearing down and now outnumber.
Just when it looks like we have the upper hand a gang of gnolls pile into the room and we are now hard pressed. We decide to try and reduce the numbers quickly by concentrating on the already wounded. Amusingly Osric pushes one of the gnolls into the fire and we all pound on him until he drops and sizzles. Barbecued Gnoll is such an interesting smell.
The enemies also seem to be focussing their attacks and Unkas, not helped by losing two incarnations of his spirit dog, goes down in a heap. So I heal him to get him back in the fight as we need all hands on deck. We maintain our focus on the already wounded and take out another two quickly. Then it is a slow fight of attrition as we take the gnolls down one by one. Rangrim comes so close to dying he has to pull out of combat, grumbling.
After the combat we search the gnolls room which look like guest quarters. They are also quite wealthy. One of the gnolls has a letter outlining a proposed deal with Sarshan.
Exploring some more we rooms we find several more guest quarters and laboratories. Three of the four towers have stairs going up. We choose one of the towers and ascend one floor to another laboratory. The inner passageway opens up on an internal grassy courtyard. Dimly lit globes cast shadowy light on a dark garden with defeomed bushes, flowers and slime covered pool. A large hole is in the middle of the floor and ceiling. A teleport portal is also visible. Masses of beetles swarm out of the bushes and a huge beetle also emerges. Rumble.
Swarms of small beetles surround our front line making it hard for us to move in. Enraged Osric pushes them back and we surge into the garden. Time to do some gardening. The big beetle sprays us with some nasty stuff that burns and immbobilizes some of us. However we then focus on it and it dies surprisingly quickly. The swarms prove more difficult to finish off. The combat seemingly drags on and on. Eventually the lat swarm dissipates.
At that moment we hear a sound of alarm and running feet. Four shadar kai emerge from the pit in the middle and a captain comes up the stairs flanked by two panthers. Stand down or die he commands, and feeling unable to take another encounter, we comply.
A figure emerges from the teleport, he is Sharsan who offers us a deal.
From the journal of Chana
Sharshan doesn't believe peoples bluff about joining him. Then the foundary explodes. Guards go running everywhere, Sharshan giving them orders. He turns to us, "If I was as cruel as you make me out, I would let you go back to your world to watch it die." He turns to his leutenant, "kill them."
The flunkee has a group of panthers with him, they charge forward, 2 of them attack rangrim who falls straight down. We have a problem. Our warden moves forward into the breach, I summon binding chains and astral blades against them, immobilising some and slowing the others. Unkas uses his spirt to attack and heals Rangrim. Kronk swings forward. Uuva unleashes his magic, chaotic bolts and poison fangs. Oserik takes upon the form of the bear and knocks the leutenant backward, charging forward into his space. Rangrim gets up and attacks immidately, striking a panther. Uuva lets rip with another bolt of chaos that bounces all across the line, damaging all of them. I send forth chains that damage a group and slow them. The panthers surge forward and rangrim falls, then the leutenant stabs Kronk dropping him.
I manage to get a potion to Rangrim while Unkas heals Kronk. The panthers surge over Oserik and he falls. Uuva sends out another chaos bolt that drops the leutenant, finally. We try to focus on the panthers one at a time. Kronk drops one. We continue, everyone is looking tired and bloodied. Rangrim kills one, Kronk slays another, Uuva blasts the last to pieces, just after it drops Oserik.
Uuva and I go to the portal in the side and try to reconfigure it. We can't, it;s too complex. So we leg it down the stairs and get running. Outside it's chaos - the foundary is an inferno, lava is falling from the sky. We start pegging it, going across the bridge we get showered by lava and rangrim falls. We grab him and drag him and Oserik through the chaos back to the portal. We catch our breath.
There is another quake and the teleport portal crumbles, triggering and arane burst that blasts the shadowfell portal. 6 wraiths are summoned through it. Now we have to fight through them to reach it. They move forward and their psychic blasts knock several of us to the floor. I get back up and knock them back with holy power then summon more chains to slow them. We run through the gaps this has opened and seal the portal behind us.
When we get back to overlook and inform them the place is investigated, it used to be a place of demon worship.