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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2455 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2023 :  05:49:50  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
This is the compilation of my Forgotten Realms campaign set in the city of Neverwinter, using the Neverwinter Campaign Setting (4th Edition) as it basis, as well as drawing from all form other 4th Edition materials (Forgotten Realms mainly, but also a few Eberron and “Core” materials were used), with some homebrew additions and random D&D community inspirations. I wanted to share it here for the posterity.

It originally started as a weekly campaign back in late July 2012, and lasted until 2017, after the players went to live their lives in the real world. However, back in February 2018, some of them returned to play again, “rewriting” the story to fit their new choices now playing with 5th Edition rules, while maintaining some of the elements of the original story. After some months, however, we switched back to 4th Edition rules.

This “new” campaign is still ongoing, although it has been interrupted by a few hiatuses over the years. For the sake of continuity, this compilation will use the “second iteration” of the story, retconning the initial chapters of the “original” campaign to fit the new narrative.

While compiling, I started going over my old campaign notes to remind myself of what has happened over the last 11 years, and also to do things like note down loose ends and past information that might become relevant in future sessions. I will include some new developments and even a few “plot-twists” to surprise my players in the next sessions.

Below is the result. I'm not sure if I'll ever fully catch up with the current story, but I'll do my best.



Background information

Once known as the City of Skilled Hands and the Jewel of the North, Neverwinter sits on the northern Sword Coast between Waterdeep and Luskan. The legendary traveler and storyteller Volo once described it as the most cosmopolitan and the most civilized city in all of Faerûn, but that was a long time ago. Neverwinter weathered the Spellplague reasonably well, but the eruption of Mount Hotenow in the Year of Knowledge Unearthed (1451 DR, 419 NR) was cataclysmic for the city.

The volcanic eruption rained ash and fire upon the city and teared it apart from below with a great earthquake, opening a mighty chasm from which bubbled horrors from the world below. Roughly half of the city's population perished, including its ruling family, the House of Alagondar. Many survivors fled to other cities, leaving only a desperate few to carve out an ill existence among the ruins. All believed the Crown of Neverwinter—the symbol of the city’s power and influence—forever lost.

Ten years ago, in the Year of Splendors Burning (1469 DR, 437 NR), Dagult Neverember, the Open Lord of Waterdeep, came to the city with a small army of mercenaries from Mintarn and massive funding from Waterdeep to help rebuild the city. His first order of business was to construct a wall to keep the worst of the terrors at bay—a strategy that has proved successful thus far.

As refugees returned, Lord Neverember promised them that peace and order will be restored, and the city will return to her glory days—as long as they accept him as the Lord Protector of the city. So far, he has been successful in restoring security in the Protector's Enclave, the southwest quarter of the city.

But not everyone in Neverwinter believes Lord Neverember is the answer to the city's prayers. The Sons of Alagondar is the most organized rebel group in the city, but it doesn’t have the strength to challenge Neverember’s power without a legitimate claimant to the throne. Some believe the only one who might be able to challenge Neverember’s rule is a true heir of Alagondar, who could reclaim the city by right of birth. Such a task would not, however, be easy...

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 28 Jul 2023 06:08:10

Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2455 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2023 :  06:14:40  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 1: The Gates of Neverdeath


The very first adventure we played was “The Gates of Neverdeath”, an adventure module for the D&D Game Day in Summer 2011, for 4th Edition. This module served as an introduction to the Neverwinter Campaign Setting storyline.




The Year of the Ageless One (1479 DR, 447 NR)
28 years after the eruption of Mount Hotenow...


At highsun of the 3rd day of Alturiak, a group of adventurers gathered at the Yawning Portal Inn, in Waterdeep. They had all seen the following notice:

"ADVENTURERS WANTED. Seldra Tylmarande of Neverwinter is seeking adventurers to undertake an important mission. Interested parties should present themselves to her at the Yawning Portal Inn at highsun on the 3rd of Alturiak."


Their would-be employer, Seldra Tylmarande, is a red-haired half-elf who prides to be an ex-adventurer herself, and has some standards at the time of hiring people. She has already rejected two “less-than-worthy” candidates, who are deep in their cups in the inn -- much to the exasperation of the inn's serving girls.

To the remaining adventurers, who had already spent some time sizing each other up, Seldra explains the nature of the job: she is hiring them to be her bodyguards on a sea voyage from Waterdeep to Neverwinter. She reveals to them that she is transporting a small box that holds an item of great importance to her. Seldra offers them a fee of 300 gp per adventurer, half payable immediately and the other half coming due when she and her package are delivered safely to Neverwinter.

After some debate, all the adventurers agree that the job is worth taking. Seldra then requires that each of them introduce themselves and inform her how they can aid her if the worst happens and they have to defend her; she has rejected the other candidates based on their poor performance.

Kaylara Thann, a young red-haired human, goes first, proclaiming her knowledge of stories and song, which would be important for the morale of the group. Not to mention her skills with the crossbow and shortsword, which Seldra thought more to the point.

Alongside her is a hulking dragonborn named Dargor, who says that he is a warrior who mastered a fighting style that is common in his faraway homeland, Laerakond. Seldra judges that his intimidating figure would really help her during her travel.

Xandor Keth, another human, presents himself as a fine and brave warrior, whose sword would swing to deadly effect against his enemies.

Kara of the Goldenfields, also a half-elf, proudly states that she follows the teachings of Oghma, the God of Knowledge. Her clerical powers immediately caught the attention of Seldra.

Finally, Ratzo the halfling says that he is a “locksmith” and experienced with all manner of devices, as well as other abilities “of the street”. He also says that he is from Neverwinter and would welcome the chance to pay a visit to his hometown. Seldra tells Ratzo that he could be very handy for this job.

Deeming them worthy of her time, Seldra hired all of them and instructs them to meet with her the next day at the docks of Waterdeep, where the sea vessel Pride of Baldur’s Gate is moored...

The journey from Waterdeep to Neverwinter turned out to be uneventful, and the adventurers used this time to learn more about the current condition of Neverwinter, asking Seldra about it when they had the opportunity. Kaylara is especially interested in the topic. Dargor also learns that, like him, Seldra is an spellscarred.

They reached the docks of Neverwinter at tharsun of the 8th of Alturiak, and just when they believed that they had reached their destination safely, but just before the ship was pulled into the dock, they were ambushed by a group of skeletons and a trio of zombies that came out of the sea. While the adventurers deal with the undead, their master, a Red Wizard of Thay, is able to steal Seldra’s box and flees the area succesfully.

While the Neverwinter Guards appear in the dock to try to restore order, the adventurers try to track down the Red Wizard. Seldra cannot accompany them as she was injured during the fight and needs to recover her strength. The adventurers are able to track down the Red Wizard all the way throught the Protector’s Enclave to the Neverdeath Graveyard.

There, they find the Red Wizard tampering with a beautiful jeweled crown. While he seems surprised at first, he quicly summons a small horde of undead (mostly ash zombies, a special kind of zombie that appeared in Neverwinter after the eruption of Mount Hotenow) to protect him and give him enough time to do something to the crown (the adventurers were busy dealing with the undead to pay attention to whatever the Red Wizard was doing). Eventually the Red Wizard joins the fray, and is killed by the joined efforts of Dargor and Ratzo. They recover the crown just in time to learn that the death of the Red Wizard doesn’t stop the corpses from raising from their graves.

Luckily for them, a group of Neverwinter Guards arrives at the graveyard shortly afterwards, and with the help of the guards the adventurers are able to finish all the zombies after a long and tiring battle.

Seldra appears after the battle and, after retrieving her crown from Ratzo’s hands, she thanks the adventurers for their services and hands over the other half of their payment. Without a further word, she turns and melts back into the crowd of onlookers that has gathered outside the graveyard. With their work done, the adventurers decide is time to find a tavern to celebrate their first victory in Neverwinter.



Notes
The PCs are:

Kaylara Thann:
Female human bard - Neverwinter Noble theme

Though most know Kaylara as the only daughter of Oraskar Thann, current patriarch of the Thanns of Waterdeep, her true mother was Emmera Alagondar, a member of Neverwinter’s royal family who barely escaped the cataclysm that destroyed Neverwinter and made her way to Waterdeep, seeking refuge from House Thann. She died shortly after giving birth to her daughter, who was adopted by the Thanns and raised as one of their own. Inspired by tales of her "ancestor", Danilo Thann, Kaylara studied the bardic arts in the college of New Olamn.

After learning about the truth of her lineage, Kaylara decided to go to Neverwinter to reclaim whatever remains of her past family... and perhaps even the crowwn of Neverwinter.

Clanless Dargor:
Male dragonborn swordmage - Spellscarred Harbinger theme

An escaped slave from the Laerakondan realm of Skelkor, who by chance of fate was teleported to Waterdeep while fleeing from his former masters. The magic that transported him also gave him an spellscar. He was trained in the arcane arts of the swordmagic to be a guard to one of the dragon lords of Skelkor, and now uses his talents as a sellsword.

After reaching Waterdeep, he was hired by the Thanns to serve as Kaylara's bodyguard. His spellscar allows him to alter his fate, and Dargor is training to make it even more powerful.

Kara of the Goldenfields:
Female half-elf cleric of Oghma - Faithful of Oghma theme

An Oghmanite cleric from Waterdeep who traveled to Neverwinter after having some prophetic dreams about the House of Knowledge, Oghma's temple in the city. Her goal is to help with the restoration of the temple and the city, to recover old relics and uncover secret knowledge.

Ratzo:
Male halfling rogue - Dead Rats Deserter theme

A member of the Dead Rats gang's cell in Neverwinter, he was in Waterdeep for a job that went down. Now that he needs to lay low, he accepted a job that may allow him to return to Neverwinter.

Xandor Keth:
Male human fighter - Mercenary theme (Dragon 399)

A sword-for-hire and fortune seeker that had the bad luck to travel to Neverwinter...

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 30 Jul 2023 08:04:13
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2455 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2023 :  07:17:12  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 2: Tears of Selûne


This chapter is based in the adventure “Shards of Selûne”, published in Dungeon Magazine 193.



Session 1:
9 Alturiak


Something wondrous happened the night of the 8th of Alturiak, while the folk of Neverwinter was sleeping and dreaming the bizarre dreams that were so common since the eruption of Mount Hotenow. The goddess Selûne gazed down upon the city and despaired, so great were the evil forces arrayed against its recovery. While worthy individuals walked its streets, they did not see the evils for what they were. The goddess shed three tears that, in the form of shooting stars, fell amid the bleakest parts of the city...

The following morning the adventurers met again at the tavern of the Beached Leviathan, the inn where they were staying. As they talked about the weird dreams they all had last night, they see an errand boy delivering a poster to Harrag, the innkeeper. The poster was an advertisement requesting the aid of adventurers on behalf of the Temple of Selûne. As the Beached Leviathan was a popular inn for adventurers and sellswords, it recieved such requests frequently. With nothing better to do, our heroes decided to go to the Temple to take the job.

In the Temple they met with an elven priestess, Lady Jasmine, who tells them that last night three shooting stars fell into the city, and that she believes these were neither portents nor mere celestial bodies, but actually true tears of Selûne come to earth in solid form. She asks them to recover these shards and deliver them safely to the Temple.

Spies of Lord Neverember report the group's meeting with Lady Jasmine to him, as he is suspicious of Kaylara (she is a Thann, a noble from Waterdeep, and he is wondering what is she doing in Neverwinter). Shortly afterwards, while the group is investigating clues about the shards in the streets of the Protector’s Enclave, a messenger of Lord Neverember arrives and invites them to the Hall of Justice to meet with him.

Lord Neverember tells them that he knows they are searching the shards and that their needs coincide with his: one of the shards fell into the ruins beyond the Wall, just on the other side from the Protector's Enclave. The plaguechanged monstrosities that roam that area seem to find the gem’s light alluring, and a number of them have gathered in the shard’s vicinity. This presents a risk to the safety of the good folk of Neverwinter, and Lord Nevermber asks them to lead a platoon of his Mintarn mercenaries to deal with the monster problem. As she knows Lord Neverember for his position as Open Lord of Waterdeep, Kaylara convinces the group to accept his request.

As the group reach the Wall’s section where the shard has fell, they learn that the situation has changed since the last report and the defenses of the Wall have been breached. Although initially interested in the shard, the plaguechanged creatures are now fighting with a militia force made out of volunteer citizens that is in charge of the Wall’s defenses, and the defenders are losing. The Mintarn mercenaries quickly take command of the militia, while the adventurers go into the fray.

After a long battle, the combined forces of adventurers, militia and mercenaries are able to defeat all the monsters, but suffering some loses. Of the adventurers, Xandor Keth was fatally wounded during the battle and passes away before Kara the cleric can help him. Neverember’s soldiers say they will take care of his corpse (but not before Ratzo looted him) while Kaylara retrieved the first shard.

Meanwhile, Dargor has a vision of a plaguechanged human who is in great pain, begging to the gods to deliver him from his condition in the nearby ruins, but then is suddenly trapped by tendrils of blue fire that dragged the screaming human toward the Chasm. After the vision ended, one of the defenders of the Wall, a half-elf lass named Cymril, approach Dargor with an interesting offer...

Session 2:
9 Alturiak - 10 Alturiak


Cymril reveals to Dargor that she is an agent of the Harpers, a secret group that opposes the rule of Lord Neverember. While the adventurers arrived there with Neverember’s soldiers, she believes that they don't know all what is happening in Neverwinter, and that they would make fine Harpers agents, praising his ability with swordmagic. She then tells him that the second shard is located in the Blacklake District and leaves.

With this information, the adventurers return to the Beached Leviathan to rest and prepare for the next day. The following morning they met with Eralt Gavin, a patron of the tavern that leads the Friends of Blacklake Association, an civic organization whose goal is to clean the Blacklake. Eralt tells them about the night when the shards fell, and reveals that he saw Palas, a local thief, taking the shard that fell in the Blacklake.

While searching for clues about Palas’ whereabouts, the group passes through an area where houses and street signs have been painted with the symbol of Asmodeus. Residents of the area have no idea why they’ve been marked, but they’re afraid. Some have begun leaving offerings at a makeshift shrine to appease the Lord of the Nine.

A few streets later, the group meets the elven sisters Sylvara and Ayala, who lead a band of elves in the area. They challenge the party to a friendly duel of skill “for the honor of Neverwinter.” The elves want to test themselves before attempting to join the drow encampment in Castle Never’s courtyard. After besting them in the duel, Kaylara asks them about Palas, but the elven sisters don’t know anything about him.

A few hours later, the party stumbles across a street rally against Lord Neverember led by the Nashers, an insurgent faction in the city. The Nashers recognize Kaylara as that “petty noble that works for the Lord Pretender”, and the mob attacks the adventurers. During the battle, they are helped by a wizard named Olivar, who says that the protesters are working for a “dark force,” based on the pendants they all wear.

A detachment of Mintarn mercenaries arrives shortly after to forcibly break up the gathering, and the protesters flee because the numerical advantage of their adversaries. Olivar joins the party after the battle. After interrogating one of the defeated Nashers, they discover the location of Palas’ hideout as the Nashers sent some members to retrieve something from the thief, but they haven’t returned yet.

Session 3:
10 Alturiak


After reaching the old Docks, the party witness an all-out battle between Palas and his minions and members of the factions that desire to keep the shard for themselves. Their enemies are a few members of the Nashers (mostly dwarves, led by a human fighter), some wererats, a group of Mintarn soldiers, and some undead from Castle Never that had been attracted to the shards’ magic.

Ratzo recognizes the wererats as members of the Dead Rats (a gang of thieves that operates in the underworld of Neverwinter and other cities of the Sword Coast), being himself a former member of this gang, and is able to convice them to help the party. Likewise, Kaylara convinces the Mintarn soldiers to help her in the name of Lord Neverember. In the end, the party and their allies are able to kill all their enemies, including Palas. However, the Dead Rats members turn on the party when they were about to retrieve the shard, and had to be dealt with.

As the party loots Palas' hideout, they find a journal with research about Gauntlgrym and a waterclock from the now defunct Waterclock Guild of Neverwinter. They take these treasures as well as some gold coins while sharing the rest of the loot with the Mintarn soldiers. Meanwhile, Olivar discovers that the zombies they fought were of Thayan make, as he is familiar with their necromantic arts being a renegade Red Wizard himself.

Session 4:
12 Alturiak


Cymril contacts Dargor on the morning of the 12th of Alturiak, when he was buying some groceries for the party. She gives him information about the whereabouts of the last shard: it fell over the River District, a part of Neverwinter that is ocuppated by orcs from Many-Arrows.

The group goes to the River District and deal with the orcs guarding the gates “diplomatically” (they had to pay 50 gp for entry into the district, something they did to “avoid problems between Many-Arrows and Neverwinter”). From one of the orcs they learn that Vagdru One-Ear, the bartender of The Fallen Tower, may have information about the shard.

After impressing the orcs present at the Fallen Tower (as Dargor defeated one of them in an ale drinking contest), Vagdru directs the party to the Shard of Night, a floating tower that was once part of Selûne’s great temple, Moonshadow Hall. The tower is now a tool of the Netherese agents in the city, although it sees little use at the moment. According to the orcs scouts watching the place, the last shard fell there.

Dargor also befriends Vansi, the orog leader of the Many-Arrows orcs in Neverwinter. She felt Dargor’s “blessing of power” (his spellscar) and reveals to him that she is also one of the “blessed”. After a round of drinks, she says that she is pleased to speak with another of the spellscarred and orders a small group of orcs to help the party against the Shadovar agents in the temple.

The preparations for this task include returning to the Protector’s Enclave to speak to Lord Neverember and asking the aid of some griffon riders to get to the Shard of Night. A few hours later, the party and the orcs (who climbed up to the Shard of Night using their own methods) stormed the Shard of Night.

The place was watched over by a few shadow wraiths and two werewolves, making the place hard to be breached. But in the end they were able to destroy the teleportation circle to the Shadovar base, kill all the defenders and retrieve the last shard of Selûne. The group also retrieved some of the treasures stored there by the Shadovar, including a white griffon pup the Netherese were training.

With all the shards gathered, the party returns to the Temple of Selûne and give the shards to Lady Jasmine, who plans to use them to reconsecrate the Shard of Night to Selûne.

In the meantime, Kaylara decides to adopt the griffon, naming him Crookytail. With the new addition to the group, they decide its time for their adventuring company to have a name: the White Griffons are born.




Notes:
The player playing the fighter grow bored of him and decided to change the character. We ended up killing him on a whim, The fighter was replaced with Olivar.

Olivar
Male human Mage (wizard sub-class) - Renegade Red Wizard theme

A renegade Red Wizard that is fleeing from his countrymen after realizing that what the Thayans are doing is wrong. Olivar was hiding in Neverwinter until fate reunited him with the rest of the would-be White Griffons.

All characters leveled up to lv. 2

Edit:
Added some stuff from the retcon notes. The most notable change is that originally Dargor was a paladin with the Harper Agent theme, then my brother (who was playing him) changed it to a swordmage. After the retcon, he changed its theme for the Spellscarred Harbinger, as he didn't feel Dargor was "trickster enough" to be a Harper.

The Harper Agent theme was then passed to another character, Bren Hornraven.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 28 Jul 2023 05:29:04
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2455 Posts

Posted - 28 Jul 2023 :  07:28:18  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 3: The Lost Heir Affair


This chapter is based in the “Lost Crown of Neverwinter”, the adventure module published for the sixth season of the D&D Encounters program.



Background developments:

A tenday after the White Griffons recovered the Shards of Selûne, the Sons of Alagondar (the insurgent group of which the Nashers are part) were dealt a serious blow with the death of several members of their leadership, including the Harper Cymril. Rumors claim infighting over who was in charge led to drawn swords and bloodletting. Others say hired mercenaries ambushed a meeting of the group. Lord Neverember hailed the news as a victory for law and order in the city and promised to pursue the remnants of the insurgency.

However, nobody knows that a sole survivor was able to flee the carnage and knows the truth of what happened that night. This survivor is also one of the Harpers, a warrior named Bren Hornraven...

Session 1:
10 Ches


Kaylara, Dargor and Kara are at the market buying supplies and mingling with the good folk of Neverwinter. There they meet Jarvin, the halfling tart vendor, and Aothir, the dwarf armorer who claims to be an heir of Delzoun. They also talk with Nagda, a reserved half-orc weaponsmith, and Clorde, a merchant, is trying to fix the wheel of his wagon.

Then, suddenly a group of plaguechanged monsters appear from out of the sewers and take the Neverwinter Guard by surprise. Although initially at disadvantage, the group is joined by a warrior named Bren Hornraven, who helps them to protect the citizens from the rampaging beasts. Things get worse, however, when a second horde of plaguechanged creatures burst forth from the sewers, overwhelming the defenders.

When everything seems lost, a mysterious man clad in full plate armor appears, and while he is wearing a helmet to obscure his face, he is donned with the Crown of Neverwinter, to Kaylara's shock. “For Neverwinter,” the man cries in a rasping voice, and raises his sword. Icy cold flames flare from the crown into the blade, as he charges toward the plaguechanged monsters.

As the excited crowd claims that the armored knight as the “Lost Heir of Alagondar”, a plaguechanged white dragon appears amid the market square. The “Lost Heir” fights the beast valiantly, but he cannot face the challenge alone. Dargor and Kara urge Kaylara to recover from the shock, and the party helps the “Lost Heir” to defeat the dragon, who turns it into stone.

The crowd begins to hail the "Lost Heir" as their rightful king, and the "Lost Heir" hands over some badges to Kaylara and her group, saying that they are now his and Neverwinter's allies. The “Lost Heir” deflects any questions the adventurers have and leaves the market square while followed by the cheering crowd.

Bren then asks the adventurers if he can join them. When asked why he wants to join their group, Bren says that he knew Cymril helped them with the search of the shards, and now he needs their help.

A few hours later, Bren meets with the adventurers in the Beached Leviathan inn and tells them what happened to Cymril. He reveals that Cymril was a traitor, probably a double agent working for Neverember, and she led a group of Mintarn mercenaries to the gathering to kill some of the most important members the Sons of Alagondar. However, she was killed by one of the rebels before he too was killed by the mercenaries. Bren was the only survivor because he was able to hide before the mercenaries arrived. However, the other Harpers in the city don’t believe his version of the story and accuse him of betraying Cymril and his oath. He needs the groups’ help to clear his name.

After a short debate, the adventurers allow Bren to join the White Griffons company.

Session 2:
20 Ches - highsun


It has been a tenday since the apparition of the Lost Heir, and with each passing day, the Lost Heir’s popularity grows, while Lord Neverember’s support base wanes. There have been more attacks by plaguechanged creatures taking place inside the supposedly warded Protector’s Enclave—and every time, the Lost Heir is there, fighting against the creatures.

Whether intentionally or not, the Lost Heir is building support in the city. The Sons of Alagondar, a group of rebels who oppose Lord Neverember and his New Neverwinter government, seem to have thrown its support behind the Heir. Businesses are under pressure to choose a side—Neverember or the Lost Heir—and those who maintain loyalty to the Lord Protector have been targeted by vandalism, harassment, and destruction of property.

Kaylara has also been confused and depressed all these days, as she doesn't know how to deal with the Lost Heir, who could be a relative she didn't knew she had until now. More importantly, he is wearing the Crown of Neverwinter, an artifact that gives him the right to claim the throne once Lord Neverember is ousted of the city, making her travel to the city pointless (at this point, Kaylara realizes that she has been harboring the hope of someday claiming the throne of the city for herself).

At highsun of the 20th of Ches, the White Griffons are having a meal at the tavern of the Beached Leviathan inn. Things are tense, and Harrag, the innkeeper, as well as some patrons are worried about a clash between the Lost Heir supporters and those of Lord Neverember, which would put them at a difficult position, as the Beached Leviathan is a haven for those loyal to the Lord Protector, and also houses one of Neverember’s chief bureaucrats, a genasi called Len-jes, the harbormaster.

To make things worse, a group of young, drunk men has taken over a couple tables in the tavern, where they carouse and jest loudly. Based on their bravado and the disparaging statements they make about the New Neverwinter government, they are clearly loyal to the emergent Lost Heir. Aware of Harrag’s loyalties, they spew insults at him and his staff.

Is at this point when General Sabine, the commander of the Mintarn mercenaries, arrives at the Beached Leviathan, accompanied by two of her soldiers. She is there to escort the White Griffons to an audience with the Lord Protector. This infuriates the young drunkards, who attack the White Griffons and Sabine and her men.

After dealing with them (in a rather easy fight), General Sabine urges the Griffons to accompany her to meet with Lord Neverember. Sabine ferries them by boat across the harbor to meet with the Lord Protector at the Hall of Justice. She is tight-lipped on the specifics of Lord Neverember’s summons, but she lets out that Neverember wants to hire them to investigate this “Lost Heir” business.

When they met with him, Lord Neverember reminds them of their collaboration during the incident with the shards of Selûne. As he already knows of what they are capable of, Lord Neverember wants to hire them to investigate this allegedly “Lost Heir”, who has already declined to parlay diplomatically with him. Lord Neverember argues that he is doing this to avoid further unrest in the city, and that while he has a claim to the throne through his ancestor, Vers Never, he will gladly give the position to a direct heir of the Alagondar bloodline, if the legitimacy of the claim can be validated. However, given how the Lost Heir has joined the rebellion instead of trying to parlay with the lawful authorities of the city, he believes that the Lost Heir is actually a charlatan.

He is willing to pay them a great sum of coin for this service: 500 gp each (with 100 gp up front). He also notices that Ratzo has a more flexible morality than the rest of the group, and privately speaks with him, offering an extra 200 gp if he is able to obtain information that can damage the reputation of the Lost Heir. Bren disagrees with this, Kaylara convinces him to accept Lord Neverember’s offer (as she also wants to find more information about the Lost Heir). The rest of the group agrees with her.

Lord Neverember suggests they begin by inspecting the Wall and then the Blacklake District, as those are the places where the Lost Heir has been most active. He also gives the party a badge with his seal, which allows them to pass through certain security checkpoints around the city. He then orders a carriage brought to carry the Griffons to the Wall.

Session 3:
20 Ches - thulsun


When the White Griffons arrive at the Wall, they discover that a group of bandits have killed the guards posted at one of the doors, and were about to open the gates to let the plaguechanged monsters into the Protector's Enclave. The Griffons arrived just in time to stop the bandits.

After the battle ends, they meet again with their former employer, Seldra Tylmarande, who reveals that she is also one of the agents working for Lord Neverember. However, she supports the Lost Heir, and she admits that she was the one who found the Lost Heir and gave him the Crown, that she reminds the group that they helped her to bring it from Waterdeep a month ago. She says that she wants to arrange a meeting between the Griffons and the Lost Heir, so they can speak with him and see his side of the story.

Regardless, there are more pressing matters at the moment: Seldra says that those bandits were members of the Dead Rats, as she has been investigating them for days. According to Seldra, the Dead Rats want to let loose the plaguechanged monsters into the Protector’s Enclave and therefore must be stopped. She ask the Griffons for help and they accept her request, Seldra directs them to the House of a Thousand Faces, a popular inn in the Blacklake District, were she believes the Dead Rats have an ally. She cannot accompany them as she has to remain in the Wall's door until a new group of guards arrives to protect the door.

Session 4:
20 Ches - tharsun


The White Griffons have to cross the Winged Wyvern Bridge to reach the Blacklake District, however they discover that the south end of the bridge is heavily guarded by Mintarn mercenaries. The mercenaries tell the Griffons that due to recent rebel activity and attacks by plaguechanged monsters, only people on official business are currently allowed to cross. They Griffons show the badge given to them by Lord Neverember, and the mercenaries allow them to pass.

While crossing the bridge, they are attacked by a group of plaguechanged creatures, but they defeat them easily.

At the House of a Thousand Faces, Bren receives a cold welcome from the half-elf Toram and his half-sister, the high elf Theryis, the only two official Harper agents remaining in the city, because of his involvement in Cymril's death. Toram don't want to make a scene (as they lack actual proof of Bren’s involvement in the crime) and when he is asked about the Dead Rats, Toram points the Griffons to talk with a halfling named Charl.

Charl recognizes them as Lord Neverember's allies and rallies a crowd to face them. The Griffons are able to defeat (but not kill) the crowd and spare Charl, leaving his destiny to Toram and Theryis to decide. While interrogating Charl, he reveals the location of a Dead Rats' hideout in an abandoned house in the Blacklake's beach. However, the hideout can only be used at night.

Seeing Bren sparing Charl’s life makes Theryis reconsider her opinion about him. She offers the Griffons to stay in the House of a Thousand Faces to prepare and wait for the night.

Session 5:
20 Ches - night / 21 Ches - predawn


The White Griffons have been resting and preparing for their next move at the House of a Thousand Faces. During that time, they have been interacting with the Harper siblings. Toram is still mad at Bren and says that he’s looking for proof of what “Bren did” to send to the High Harpers in Moongleam Tower, so he should tread carefully. Theryis (more practical and patient than her brother), thanks the Griffons for sparing Charl. While she dislikes the halfling, she do not wants to see him killed. She says that they should make fine Harpers, and offers them some healing potions and access to her shop, should they need to buy some equipment.

Theryis also says that some dark rumors plague the streets of Blacklake District, suggesting that the Lost Heir will soon declare open war on Lord Neverember. She doesn’t want that and urges the Griffons to accomplish their mission quickly. She also mentions that not all of those who rebel against the Lord Protector’s rule are as disruptive as Charl. The Sons of Alagondar have the best interests of Neverwinter at heart, but have allowed themselves to be swayed to violence by “new, unsavory allies” (the Dead Rats).

At night, Seldra Tylmarande arrives to the House of a Thousand Faces to meet with the Griffons, with additional information for them. She confirms Charl’s information, and also says that she has learned that the Nashers, the most aggressive faction within the Sons of Alagondar, are allied with the Dead Rats. She claims that she does not know what the Lost Heir thinks of this relationship, but she doubts he would approve of their alliance. She urges the Griffons again to consider supporting the Lost Heir before leaving.

The White Griffons leave the House of a Thousand Faces at predawn of the 21st of Ches. While exploring the Blacklake’s park, the Griffons had to deal with the mutant creatures (corrupted primal spirits trapped in the plant-life of the lake) that now dwell in the area around the contaminated lake. The hideout of the Dead Rats was apparently abandoned, and the Griffons discover a secret passage to the Blacklake sewers under a dusty, half-rotted rug in the middle of the room. This reveals a tunnel leading down to the sewers.

Unbeknownst to the Griffons, someone has already informed the Dead Rats about their intentions to attack the bandits...

Session 6:
21 Ches - predawn


As a result of the seismic activity of twenty-eight years ago, the Blacklake sewers suffered estructural damage and were largely closed off from the rest of the city, creating a dungeon of sorts. During their exploration of the sewers, the Griffons come across bodies in various states of decay, unfortunates who met with a terrible end at the hands of the Dead Rats.

Eventually they reach into a small chamber, which adjoins the sewers proper. Dominating the room is a statue of a halfling with a sly, knowing expression, who Ratzo recognizes as Toytere, the leader of the Dead Rats of Luskan. There they are attacked by the rats and crocodiles that have made the sewers their home. During the battle, Olivar is bitten by one of the rats and gets infected by filth fever. After defeating the critters, the Griffons enter into the Dead Rats hideout proper.

There, they are ambushed by a group of halflings members of the Dead Rats. The leader of this particular cell recognizes Ratzo as a deserter. Ratzo did not part with the gang on the best of terms, and the leader relishes the idea of killing him and be hailed by Toytere as a hero. The halflings transform into wererats and attack the group. The battle ends as expected and, when the Griffons were about to wipe out the bandits, a dying wererat activates the drainage system triggering a massive flood as the waters of Blacklake rush in from above, drowning the sewers.

The Griffons are caught up in the current and take a bruising trip through the sewers, eventually reaching a system of natural tunnels beneath Neverwinter...

Session 7:
21 Ches?


The White Griffons and a surviving wererat wake up a few hours later in an underground natural chamber. Ratzo recognizes the place as the hideout of the Kraken Society, a criminal organization that used to operate in Neverwinter before the eruption of Mount Hotenow. The wererat pleads for his life, revealing that the Lost Heir was the one who warned them about the incoming Griffons. When asked why the Dead Rats allied with the Lost Heir, the wererat says that he promised them “the power of the Blue Fire”.

The tunnels are inhabited by an old, half-mad kraken, once the pet of a cell of the Kraken Society, and the creature is awakened by the smell of the Griffons and the wererat. The Griffons are able to survive its attack long enough for a group of Nashers to arrive to the tunnels. The Nashers have magical amulets that allow them to control the kraken, and save the Griffons from certain death.

Among them is Arlon Bladeshaper, the current leader of the Sons of Alagondar. He says that he wants to parley with the adventurers and asks them to follow him to the rebels’ hideout, a former Kraken Society’s building. Outnumbered, the Griffons accept his proposal.

Session 8:
21 Ches - tharsun / 22 Ches - dawn


In the Sons of Alagondar’s base, Arlon Bladeshaper tells the Griffons that he doesn’t trust the Lost Heir anymore, as the Lost Heir has been inciting the rebels to war, something that will be detrimental to Neverwinter in the end. He says that he wants to make a temporary alliance with the Griffons, and asks them to help him to talk with the Lost Heir, as he wants to try to stop the war.

After a short debate, the Griffons ask Arlon about the Sons of Alagondar. Arlon says that the group was created by Neverwintan patriots who want Neverwinter to be independent from Waterdeep’s tyranny. They claim to be descendants of the servants of the House of Alagondar; Arlon himself claims to a descendant of one of the fabled Neverwinter Nine, and he finds Kaylara oddly “familiar”, and think that she may also be a descendant of someone related to the Alagondars. Kaylara remains shut about her true origins, however.

Arlon also says that the Sons of Alagondar are divided into two factions. His are the Nashers, those who believe in a more active, and sometimes more violent, approach to oust Lord Neverember from the city. The other faction is called the Greycloaks, a group of older Neverwinter loyalists who use more peaceable means. The groups disagree about how to liberate Neverwinter. For example, the Greycloaks never supported the Lost Heir. Arlon is beginning to think they were right.

The White Griffons decide to help Arlon, and he says that they have an appointed with the Lost Heir the next morning. From the time being, the Griffons are welcomed to rest in the rebels’ base. After a good rest, Olivar recuperates from his filth fever with the help of Kara the cleric.

At the morning of the 22nd of Ches, Arlon asks the Griffons to allow themselves to be blindfolded, as he doesn’t wants Lord Neverember to know the whereabouts of the rebellion. He says that the rebels will guide them to the exit, and the Griffons accept (not without Ratzo trying to resist in vain). Once outside of the sewers, the Griffons are released of their blindfolds, and realize that Arlon is not alongside the rebels that guided them to the surface.

Dargor begins to sense the presence of plaguechanged creatures nearby, and the Lost Heir arrives. Believing the Nashers have betrayed him, the Lost Heir begins to insult them, calling them “Hounds of the Usurper”—as Dargor realizes too late that the spellscarred creature he has been sensing all this time was the Lost Heir.

The Lost Heir uses his powerful spellscar to transform the Nashers into plaguechanged creatures, and uses them to attack the Griffons while he leaves, summoning more plaguechanged creatures from the nearby buildings. In that moment, all becomes clear: the Lost Heir is the one who has been controlling the plaguechanged monsters from the start.

After defeating the plaguechanged Nashers, the Griffons rush to stop the attack on Protector’s Enclave, but more plaguechanged creatures get in the way: some of the inhabitants and domestic animals of the Blacklake District have been transformed by the Lost Heir into plaguechanged creatures. Buildings are on fire and people is being attacked by more plaguechanged monsters. The whole city has fallen into chaos...

Session 9:
22 Ches - harbright


The Lost Heir has left a trail of azure flames that the Griffons can follow to track him down. His destination is clear: the Wall’s door, were the plaguechanged from the Chasm can be released into the Protector’s Enclave.

When the Griffons arrive to the Wall, they discover with horror that most of the Wall defenders have been either killed or transformed into plaguechanged creatures, and the remaining defenders are struggling to stop the numerous plaguechanged that come from the Chasm.

Being so close to the Chasm overwhelms Dargor, having visions of enormous blue tentacles reaching out of the depths and into the city. The vision changes to show an army of plaguechanged charging through the ruins, the ground bubbling and mutating in the creatures’ wake... and then, he is helped to recover by Kaylara and Kara the cleric.

The Griffons meet with Deegan, a member of the Graycloaks rebels, who is leading the surviving defenders in an attempt to defend the Wall’s door. The Griffons help the defenders long enough for reinforcements to arrive, led by General Sabine herself.

After the fight is over, Deegan recognizes Bren as the rogue Harper suspected of having killed Cymril. As seeing him defending the Wall has changed his opinion about him, Deegan invites Bren to talk with the leader of the Graycloaks at the Driftwood Tavern when he has the time.

Before they resume their pursuit, some civilian survivors tell the Griffons that the Lost Heir is not a man but a woman (as the Lost Heir had removed her helmet at some point during the chaos), but they don’t know more about her identity. The Griffons, however, have their suspicions. They go to fight the Lost Heir at the market square in Protector’s Enclave while General Sabine takes charge of the defense of the Wall...

Session 10:
22 Ches - elsun


At the market square, the Griffons find the Lost Heir using her spellscar to release the plaguechanged white dragon from its petrified state, while a crowd of terrified citizens watch from afar. At that moment they learn her true identity: the Lost Heir is none other than Seldra Tylmarande, their former employer. Seldra is protected by a powerful magical barrier, and cannot be interacted with.

Olivar then notices that the Crown is cursed by a particular spell known only to the Red Wizards of Thay, and the group remembers that the Red Wizard who stole the Crown a month ago was tampering with it when they encountered him. Meanwhile, Kara the cleric has a vision from her god, who shows her the moment when Seldra put the Crown on and was affected by the curse. Kaylara then has a moment of inspiration and encourages the brave people of Neverwinter to have hope while urging them to seek safe shelter, as Dargor, Bren and Olivar destroy the barrier.

The Griffons confront Seldra, who summons fire elementals to aid her, and in the end Olivar is able to use one of his Bigby’s hands spells to remove the Crown from Seldra’s head.

Free from the curse of the Crown, Seldra regains her consciousness and admits that the Crown is fake. She reveals that she is the greatniece of the infamous paladin Aribeth Tylmarande, who betrayed Neverwinter a century ago, and all what she wanted was to redeem her family name. However, in a moment of weakness she put on the Crown, and was affected by a madness induced by a curse. She suspects she was used by a noble from Waterdeep to create chaos in Neverwinter (the same noble that gave her the false Crown) and to depose Lord Neverember. Olivar suspects that the curse was only part of a bigger plot of the Thayans, although he is not sure what the Thayans are planning to do next.

What Seldra did to the white dragon is irreversible, and now the Griffons have to deal with the rampaging beast (this time, not controlled by Seldra). Kaylara allows Seldra to redeem herself by helping the group fight the dragon.

After killing the dragon, General Sabine arrives at the market square. She orders her men to detain a repentant Seldra, while Sabine ask the Griffons to accompany her to talk with Lord Neverember, who wants to thanks them for their efforts. Before the Griffons leave, the cheering crowd hail them as “The Heroes of Neverwinter”.

As a reward for their heroism, Lord Neverember recognizes the White Griffons as a legitimate adventuring company, giving them legal recognition under the laws of Neverwinter.

As Seldra was cursed and therefore coming to the conclusion that all she did wasn't under her own volition, Lord Neverember spares her. However, since she is an spellscarred, the Protector's Law is clear: she has to be sent to Helm’s Hold, as per Lord Neverember’s order that any afflicted with the Spellplague should be sent there for treatment.

The false Crown of Neverwinter is publicly destroyed a few days later, by a group of Lord Neverember’s wizards and clerics of Torm, to put an end to the civil unrest.




Notes:

Bren Hornraven:
Male human fighter - Harper Agent theme

An aspiring member of the Harpers who was sent from their HQ in Everlund to help Cymril in Neverwinter in order to earn his Harper pin. After being blamed of her death, Bren is trying to clear his name. He keeps Cymril's pin (he took it from her body after the mercenaries left).

Edit:
Added sessions 2 to 4.

The characters leveled up to lv. 3 after session 3.

Edit 2
Added the remaining sessions.

The PCs leveled up to lv.4 after session 7

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 30 Jul 2023 08:13:00
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2455 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2023 :  05:05:11  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 4: That Which Never Sleeps


This chapter is based in the adventure “That Which Never Sleeps”, published in Dungeon Magazine 195.




Background developments:

It has been a tenday since what is called now “The Lost Heir Affair”, and Neverwinter has being slowly recovering from this ordeal. During this time, the White Griffons have been helping with public order, dealing with Nashers that want to take advantage of the weakened state of the city to cause chaos, or helping the defenders of the Wall, as casualties were high during the plaguechanged invasion, and there are few defenders patrolling the Wall now.

During this time, the relationship between Bren and the Harpers of Neverwinter has been improving. Theryis has become a close ally of the Griffons, but Toram avoids him, however, as he is still mourning Cymril. Thanks to Bren, the Harpers and the Graycloaks have been talking again, and there is a possibility that they join forces once again to deal with Lord Neverember.

As the incident with the false Crown of Neverwinter has revealed a plot of the nobles of Waterdeep (perhaps even the Masked Lords themselves) to damage Lord Neverember’s operation on Neverwinter, he has ordered his spies to secretly investigate Kaylara, as she is a noble from House Thann.

The people is unaware of a new threat to Neverwinter. Although most within the city believe that the plaguechanged creatures wandering in the Chasm to be a natural manifestation of the Spellplague, the truth is far darker. When the ground heaved and broke apart twenty-eight years ago, it opened a passage to the Underdark, where a cabal of aboleths known as the Abolethic Sovereignty was experimenting with a trapped pocket of Spellplague. The aberrations had been studying the node in hopes of turning its power to their advantage, and they had no intention of relinquishing it to the surface-dwelling vermin. So they began releasing the twisted results of their failed experiments into the Chasm to deter any from investigating further.

Some tendays ago, one of the aboleths was exposed to the unfettered energy of the Spellplague and was transformed into a plaguechanged. Its companions had exiled it to the Chasm to die, as they had done before with other aboleths that have suffered the same fate. However, this particular aboleth survived long enough to reach the sewers of Neverwinter. In its madness, the aboleth wants to release the full power of the Symphony of Madness, the great experiment of the Abolethic Sovereignty, and the fact that this would certainly spell a horrible death for itself, the rest of the aboleth cabal, and most of Neverwinter is immaterial to it. In essence, it wants to do this because it can.

The mad aboleth has been using its psionic powers, now enhanced by its plaguechanged mutation, to create slaves from the citizens of Neverwinter to work its evil and protect its new lair until it could complete its ritual. The final stage of its plan requires a number of thralls on the surface of the city—thralls that have demonstrated their worth by perpetrating a string of gruesome murders...

Session 1:
5 Tarsakh


The White Griffons receive a letter from an aide to Lord Neverember named Telliann. She asks the adventurers to meet her in the Protector’s Enclave market to discuss some business the city might have for them. However, as the Griffons are waiting for her, they witness the latest murder firsthand amid the crowded market: an usually good citizen suddenly kills a Mintarn mercenary. The Neverwinter Guard responds quickly to the disturbance, but it its too late to save the mercenary’s life.

Telliann (a young, dark-haired female human) appears shortly afterwards, and explains to them that this was the sixth murder committed in the past week, and that she wanted their help to investigate this situation. Fears are running rampant that the murders are somehow connected to the False Heir and are part of the ongoing resistance to Lord Neverember’s reign, since two of the victims were Mintarn soldiers in his service and another a wealthy merchant who supported Neverember. She recalls their heroic deeds during the plaguechanged invasion and thinks that none other than them are best suited for solving this mystery. She also offers them a hefty reward (1,500 gp) as a payment for this job. The White Griffons accept the quest and begin the investigation inmediately.

Initially the investigation is mundane enough, though the murders appear to have no rhyme or reason. The victims are totally unrelated and their their deaths make no sense. However, when seen together, the clues point out to some common threads: there are traces of mind-control magic in the scenes of crime, as well as Spellplague energy. This may confirm Telliann’s fears that more is happening here than a string of common murders.

As the aboleth becomes aware that the Griffons could interfere with its plans, it sends a mob of dominated citizens to take care of the nosey heroes. The Griffons subdue the citizens without harming them too much. Unfortunately, during the battle the Griffons were exposed to the insidious influence of the deranged aboleth, whose subtle whispers of madness and probing tendrils of psionic power now contaminate their minds....

Session 2:
5 Tarsakh - tharsun


The information the Griffons have uncovered during their investigation, coupled with the recent encounter with a mob of mentally dominated townsfolk, confirms that these were no ordinary crimes of revenge or passion. Olivar determines that this sudden attack was under the influence of an outside magical force, casting the recent murders in a new light: it is clear that a third party is enthralling conveniently located bystanders to carry out bizarrely formulaic atrocities. They have no idea on who is the puppet master, though.

As the Griffons report their findings back to Telliann in the market square, she is impressed with what they have gathered in such a short amount of time, but her congratulatory speech is interrupted by a powerful psychic blast that renders Telliann and all the town guards in the market square unconscious. After the attack, some plaguechanged creatures (including some nothics) backed up by mind-controlled civilians appear.

As the Griffons fight against the attackers, the mad aboleth uses a portion of the Spellplague to attempt to use its psionic-connection with the Griffons to exert control over them with subtle whispers of madness and psychic attacks, slowly wearing at the edges of their sanity. Dargor is the one who suffers the most from these attacks, as his spellscar began to terribly ache, and he had vivid visions of the aboleth and the plaguechanged creatures accompanying it.

After the Griffons defeated their attackers, they descend into the sewers to track the plaguechanged back to their lair, and they have to face mind-blanked thralls, plaguechanged monsters, aberrant horrors, and madness-inducing hallucinations on their way...

Session 3:
5 Tarsakh - tharsun / 6 Tarsakh - dawn?


The Griffons continue exploring the sewers and fighting against the aberrant creatures and their thralls, while dealing with the whispers of madness coming from the alien mind of the aboleth. Eventually, they had to rest in one of the tunnels beneath the city to recover their strength.

In the place where the sewers connect to the natural caves below the Chasm, there are more aberrations and plaguechanged creatures than normal monsters. Among these aberrations are a group of nothics. The Spellplague energy leaking from the lair of the plaguechanged aboleth has amplified the deteriorating effect the nothics have on “normal reality”, rendering the concept of space in these caves somewhat “warped”, and distances there can be crossed in the blink of an eye.*

The Griffons eventually defeat the aberrations and their plaguechanged minions, and are ready to finally face the mad aboleth...

Session 4:
6 Tarsakh


The Griffons eventually arrive to the aboleth’s lair, in the caves that connect the sewers of Neverwinter with the Chasm. Reality within the caves has ceased to make sense because of the energies of the Spellplague accumulated there. Space is completely warped, forming a surreal landscape of blue fire and materialized madness.

The Griffons are able to defeat the aboleth and his plaguechanged minions channeling the Symphony of Madness, and reality begins to heal itself as the Spellplague energies dissipate (actually, the energies return to the main pocket of Spellplague in the Underdark). In a couple of hours, the sewers return to normalcy. However, when the ordeal ends and the Griffons are free from the curse of madness of the now dead aboleth, they discover with horror that Ratzo lies in the floor, lifeless...

With the aboleth slain, the immediate threat to Neverwinter is ended. The White Griffons return to the Protector’s Enclave, where they are greeted by Telliann, who is eager to hear the details of their recent adventure.

Despite the fact that the aboleth they killed wasn't important, the actions of the Griffons had earned them the attention of the Abolethic Sovereignty...




* Basically, some squares in the map served as teleportation points, connected to other squares in other places of the map. This effect could be used by both the players and the monsters.

Notes:
"That Which Never Sleeps" is an adventure for lvs. 3-5. As the players were nearing lv.5 by that point, I increased the difficulty of the adventure by modifying the monsters and skill challenges a bit. That resulted in a more difficult experience for the players than intended. Ratzo died by a combination of this increased difficulty and plain bad luck (I remember the player was really bad with the dice that night). The players liked the challenge, however. It also started a meme with the many look-alike cousins of Ratzo that appeared later in the campaign...

The party leveled up to lv.5, anyways.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 01 Aug 2023 07:01:08
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2455 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2023 :  05:28:41  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 5: Gauntlgrym


This chapter is based on the Living Forgotten Realms adaptation of the adventure “The Gauntlgrym Gambit”, published in Dungeon Magazine 193.



Background developments:

On 12 Ches, the Abolethic Sovereignty advanced their plans to conquer Gauntlgrym by releasing toxic slimes and oozes to attack a far-flung outpost of the city held by the duergar. Rather than expend their resources combating the infection directly from a strategically unimportant location, the duergar resolved to quarantine the affected area by blasting shut the passages leading back to the rest of Gauntlgrym.

The tremors caused by their ongoing demolitions unintendedly opened the uppermost section of the outpost to a natural sinkhole that leads to the surface. Tales of the sudden appearance on the surface of native Underdark creatures, which were fleeing the encroaching oozes, filtered back to Neverwinter and caught the attention of the Ashmadai. When the scouts that were dispatched returned with confirmation that not only were the stories true, but that an entrance to fabled Gauntlgrym had been uncovered, the Ashmadai assembled an expedition to claim the city for the glory of their infernal master...

Session 1:
18 Ches - 21 Ches


Norin Hammerfist, a dwarf adventurer who has traveled to Neverwinter answering the summons of the spirits of ancient Delzoum, is having a meal on the Beached Leviathan when he is approached by a regular of the tavern, a man named Rodrik. Rodrik tells Norin that he has discovered that his rival and twin brother Gustaf has been selling spoils of an expedition into Mount Hotenow in the Black Market of Neverwinter. Rumors say the items came from a dungeon complex that leads into Gauntlgrym. Coupled with rumors of dire corbies attacking people in Neverwinter Wood, and the Ashmadai having sent an expedition to Mount Hotenow in recent days, Rodrik assures Norin that an entrance to Gauntlgrym has been found.

Knowing Norin has reasons for finding the ancient city, Rodrik ask him to investigate the Ashmadai expedition as he believes an elf friend of his may be part of the Ashmadai. Excited about this information, Norin hires an adventuring band composed by the moon elf wizard Alara Moonwell, the human fighter Garek Tallstag, the rogue half-elf Bendis. and Nig Azai, a gnome cleric of Tymora, to follow the rumors and find fabled Gauntlgrym.

After three days of exploring Neverwinter Wood in search for clues about the Ashmadai, the adventurers are ambushed by a group of Illyuanbruen eladrin who ask them about their business in their territory. When Norin tells them his story, one of them, Erevan Sulbrandil, decides to help them to search the Ashmadai.

With the help of Erevan, the adventurers find the entrance to Gauntlgrym: a natural cave found near Mount Hotenow. However, just in front of the entrance, the Ashmadai have made an encampment, and the adventurers have to fight with the devil worshipers and their summoned devils before having an opportunity to enter to the cave.

After the battle, the adventurers decide to spend the night in the encampment.

Session 2:
22 Ches - dawn


The Ashmadai had built an elevator system to reach Gauntlgrym, and is the fastest and safest way into the city below. After a debate, the adventurers decide the use it.

The ride down is uneventful until, about halfway through the 200-foot descent, the adventurers encounter a band of Ashmadai riding to the surface in another elevator, and the crazed devil worshipers are willing to fight to the death in this precarious arena; they will do anything to prevent the group from reaching the bottom of the shaft in one piece. The noise of the resulting combat disturbs a small flock of stirges nesting in the shaft, making the encounter more difficult, but in the end the adventurers are able to kill all their enemies and continue their ride down.

After reaching the subterranean chamber, the adventurers have to defeat another group of Ashmadai encamped there. Those Ashmadai were the forward group tasked to deal with the duergar living in Gauntlgrym. As the adventurers question the few cultists who survived their assault, they find that a fair amount of the cultists died in confrontation with traps and monstrous spiders. Tremors have been felt in the depths, and the cultists fear that these may cause tunnels to collapse, closing down entrances to Gauntlgrym. A group of cultists went to investigate the deeper caverns to verify, but did not return and are presumed slain. Among the missing cultists was a sun elf, as Rodrik had surmised.

Session 3:
22 Ches


The adventurers advance into the labyrinthine caverns that lead to Gauntlgrym. One of the caves they explore is the home of monstrous spiders. After killing them, the adventurers find the corpses of several dead cultists. One of these is a male sun elf. An impression on the broken ring finger of his left hand suggests he wore a ring, but it was pulled off with some force.

Another cave was infested by slimes and a gelatinous cube, and there was a group of straggled duergar trying to flee from there. However, the duergar don’t want anyone, much less a dwarf, to enter Gauntlgrym, so they attack the adventurers as well.

Session 4:
22 Ches


The farther into the city the adventurers travel, the worse the ooze infestation becomes. After dealing with another cave full with toxic oozes, they find a ragged chasm opened by Hotenow’s eruption, filled with slime bubbling up from deeper layers. An enormous statue, uprooted and toppled in the same earthquake, is the only means of negotiating the crevasse. The adventurers have to cross this improvised bridge while dealing with a black pudding that has its lair in the cave.

While fighting the black pudding, a team of duergar began to blast shut the final passageway that leads out of the contaminated area of the city. The powerful explosions reverberate through the stone of nearby chambers, causing the ground to leap already weak stonework to collapse, sealing that path into Gauntlgrym for good, while trapping the adventurers in the now sealed tunnels.

This chamber has a secret passageway that leads to the surface, luckily for the adventurers, and soon they are able to escape. Before reaching the exit of the tunnels, the adventurers run on the duergar group that sealed the cavern. After defeating them, Norin finds a coded missive, written in a strange dialect of Dwarven, in one of the duergar’s belongings. While the actual instructions are a jumble of vague references, code phrases, and allusions, they appear to be a guide for getting the demolition team from the surface back to Gauntlgrym proper.

The duergar have done their jobs admirably, sealing off the ooze-infested section of the city behind untold tons of stone and leaving Gauntlgrym out of reach, at least for now. With the missive in their power, Norin and the adventurers decide to return to Neverwinter to inform Rodrik about his dead friend.



Notes:

This adventure was run for a different group of players in the store I used to play back in the day, but I later adapted its story to be part of my regular campaign. Some characters from this adventure were later used as "pre-mades" for use in my campaign. These are:

Norin Hammerfist
Male dwarf slayer (fighter sub-class) - Heir of Delzoum theme

As already mentioned, Norin was visited by the spirits of his ancestors twenty-eight years, who tasked him with searching Gauntlgrym. Norin is not the only dwarf to have been summoned, but is one of the few that is still searching for the fabled city.

Alara Moonwell
Female moon elf (eladrin sub-race) mage (wizard sub-class) - Blackstaff Apprentice theme (Dragon 409)

Alara is one of the apprentices of the current Blackstaff, Vajra Safhar. After Vajra mysteriously vanished from Waterdeep, Alara became and adventurer and went to Neverwinter in search of new challenges.

Erevan Sulbrandil
Male eladrin hunter (ranger sub-class) - Iliyanbruen Guardian theme

One of the inhabitants of New Sharandar, Erevan is tasked with searching from the ancient relics that were stolen from the ruins of old Sharandar. He joined Norin's group to go to Neverwinter to investigate further.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 04 Aug 2023 07:23:54
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Zeromaru X
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Colombia
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Posted - 03 Aug 2023 :  08:28:07  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 6: Siege of Bordrin’s Watch


This chapter is based on the adventure “Siege of Bordrin’s Watch” (core), published in Dungeon Magazine 157, that I adapted to the Forgotten Realms



Background:

Amid the eternally snow-capped peaks of the Spine of the World Mountains is the Kingdom of Many-Arrows, an orc realm ruled by peaceable kings uncommon for their kind. The region suffered a few civil wars in the past, but for the last 20 years or so the orcs have maintained a single kingdom of their own. So, when rumors of a new orc horde began, most discarded them at first—perhaps a new civil war among the orcs was about to start once again.

This army, though, is different. Its leader, Tusk, is an ambitious chieftain who wishes to unseat King Obould XVII and replace him as the ruler of Many-Arrows. Tusk is an orog, which makes him eminently more dangerous than a normal orc. Over the last six months, Tusk assembled an orc horde by slaughtering half a dozen orc chieftains and conquering their tribes to bolster his own, with the goal to mount an offensive against Luruar to lay claim to the “soft lands of the humans and dwarves”, in search of power and prestige to win the support of the more powerful tribes of Many-Arrows. However, his new army was still not powerful enough to defeat the armies of Luruar.

When the Netherese discovered Tusk’s plans thanks to the divinations of the clerics of Shar, they sent one of their agents, a shadar-kai witch named Myrissa, to assist him, as a war between Many-Arrows and Luruar and their allies would be beneficial for their future plans. Myrissa offered Tusk the aid of a small army of dark creepers, which Tusk gladly welcomed as he believed this alliance was his key to victory.

To avoid the dwarves of Mithral Hall, Tusk decided to march around the mountains and attack Sundabar Vale, with the plans of conquering the city of Sundabar and turning it as his stronghold from where to launch an invasion to the rest of Luruar. However, the only pass in the Rauvin Mountains that would allow his horde to reach Sundabar without being detected is protected by an ancient dwarven stronghold named Bordrin’s Watch.

The leader of the dark creepers, a mysterious and sinister dark creeper known as The Emissary, offered to assist Tusk in exchange for an exclusive arrangement in which they would supply Tusk’s armies with weaponry for whatever price the dark creeper and his fellows asked, and in exchange, the dark creepers would find a way through the mountains. Tusk readily agreed and paid the exorbitant price, gaining high-quality equipment for his troops.

Not long after, the dark creepers discovered a number of tunnels below the Rauvin Mountains that would allow Tusk’s forces to pass undetected by the armies of Luruar. No tunnel was large enough to accommodate his entire army, however, so Tusk gave his forces their marching orders, while his scouts moved ahead to secure the tunnels and prepare the way for Tusk and his elite warriors to strike Sundabar from below.

On the 10th of Tarsakh, the Harpers of Everlund discovered the movements of Myrissa and learned about Tuks’ horde. Even though the dwarves have successfully contained the orc hordes in the past, this time it’s different and the dwarves of Sundabar are concerned that the walls of the Bordrin’s Watch might not be enough to staunch the flood. All their misgivings stem from the reports brought back by the Harpers, who mention endless ranks of orcs, trolls, and worse marching inexorably to the Rauvin Mountains.

It was too late to assemble the armies on Luruar in time to save the Sundabar Vale, so the Harpers of Everlund sent an emergency call to the other Harpers’ cells in Faerûn, asking them to summon warriors to help defend the Bordrin’s Watch. Adventurer bands from all over Faerûn gathered in Sundabar post haste (using teleportation circles provided by the Harpers), to plan for a counteroffensive...

Session 1:
15 Tarsakh


When Bren informed his companions about the Harpers’ call for aid, Kaylara decided to enlist other adventurers of Neverwinter to bolster the White Griffons numbers. Among the new recruits were Norin Hammerfist, Alara Moonwell, and Erevan Sunstrider, who had gained notoriety since their return from Mount Hotenow; as well as Retzo the Grey, the cousin of the late Ratzo.

Alongside the new recruits, Kaylara and Dargor went to Sundabar (via a teleportation circle located in the Hall of Justice), leaving the rest of the Griffons to protect Neverwinter from other threats.

After reaching Sundabar, the White Griffons of Neverwinter have some time to meet with the other adventurer bands. Among the many bands gathered, the Farstriders of Suzail are far and above the most relevant. They’ve slain a black dragon, wiped out tribes of savage humanoids, recovered fabled relics, and even undertaken an expedition into the Shadowfell. While talking with the leader of the Farstriders, the Griffons learn that currently Cormyr is in turmoil, as King Foril has died and people suspects that he was assassinated. There is a conflict between the heirs to the crown and this has caused civil unrest.

Their talk is interrupted when a messenger summons the leaders of the militia forces and the adventurer bands to meet with the Council of Elders (the rulers of Sundabar). In the meeting, the Council shared with them the dire truth of the situation: Bordrin’s Watch had already been compromised—advanced parties of orcs had uncovered tunnels beneath the mountains and were already coming through to harass supply trains and reinforcements bound for the fortress.

The Council had devised a plan that consisted in sending the militias and most of the adventurer bands to bolster the dwarven forces in Bordrin’s Watch and, as orc trailblazers infested the tunnels below, they tasked the Farstriders to secure those passages. The White Griffons are tasked with the evacuation of an old monastery on the other side of the mountains, where they could also secure another access to the tunnels below.

Built centuries ago to house an elite fighting force of Moradin dedicates, the Monastery of the Sundered Chain preserves the memories of the hardships the dwarves endured against the orc hordes of the past, and it trains initiates in fighting arts useful for battling these foes. For generations, the monastery has stood as a symbol of dwarven perseverance and expertise in the fighting arts and one who trains there not only receives an excellent education in religion and combat, but also gains a mark of pride and honor. The monastery is located to the northeast of Sundabar, higher up in the Rauvin Mountains, and just beneath the Hammer, a great peak that loosely resembles a downturned hammer.

When the Griffons arrive to the monastery orcs had already overrun the place. The orcs took the dwarf defenders by surprise, coming up from below through a hidden passage connected to the deeper tunnels under the mountain. The orcs discovered this passage in their searching beneath the mountain and took the dwarves unaware by using their own hidden doors against them, slaughtering first the dwarven artisans and priests working in the inner chambers as they raced into the complex to finish off the other defenders. The battle was vicious and the dwarves were eventually slain.

Their haste to overrun the Monastery caused them to miss Kalad, a devout dwarf paladin. While the orcs fought his kin upstairs, Kalad activated the Monastery’s traps and collapsed the tunnel, thus cutting off the route for more orcs to breach the mountain. When Og, the orog commander of this orc detachment, returned and found the tunnel caved-in, he was enraged and has spent the last few hours beating Kalad, bringing him to the brink of death.

The Griffons had to fight with a group of orcs sentries before being able to enter into the Monastery. There, they discover an orc witch and her minions, who were trying to desecrate the altar of Moradin. The Griffons successfully dealt with them before going into the other chambers of the Monastery.

Session 2:
15 Tarsakh - thulsun


In the aftermath of the violence, a group of orcs are scouring the Hall of Heroes in search of treasure, hidden enemies, and a way to unseal the passage through the mountain. The Griffons have to deal with them before gaining access to the inner rooms of the Monastery.

After fighting a series of violent battles against the orc defenders in the inner rooms, the Griffons are able to reach the Chamber of Works, the forge of the Monastery. They arrived in time to kill Og and save Kalad’s life. Upon rescuing Kalad, the Griffons learn that the dwarf paladin has already sealed two of the three possible routes through the mountain a few days ago, after the news of the approaching army grew dire. However, the third route, called the Nexus, is still open.

The soldiers at the Bordrin’s Watch built the Nexus to move beneath the mountains freely, which means the Nexus is connected to many other places beyond Bordrin’s Watch. This passage hasn’t been used in centuries and only a scant few know of its existence. Being one of them, Kalad knows how to seal the Nexus, thus closing off all the passages through the mountains and forcing the orcs to face the defenders’ army gathered at Bordrin’s Watch.

The Griffons decide to rest for the night in the Monastery, as they need to recover their strength. With a score to settle against the orcs, Kalad gladly offers to accompany them on the final leg of their mission with no convincing required.

Session 3:
16 Tarsakh - harbright


Kalad guides the Griffons to the Vents, a series of fissures and tunnels that vent steam from a superheated underground lake (hence the name), located several miles away near the foot of the mountains. Kaylara then remembers that this was the place the Farstriders were assigned to secure. Unknown to the Griffons, these adventurers went in and never came out again, falling victim to the orcs already infesting the maze-like tunnels. As the Griffons make ready to plunge into the misty tunnels, Tusk and his cadre are even now closing in on the Nexus, leading a large force through the western tunnels to take Bordrin’s Watch from behind.

After successfully making their way through the Vents, the Griffons reach an old passage into the Nexus chamber, where a band of orcs, having survived a gauntlet of traps, argue about their next course of action. They abandoned their dispute as soon as they saw the Griffons, who have to deal with them.

The next corridor is a gauntlet of traps designed by the dwarves to protect the Nexus. With the help of Kalad, the Griffons are able to avoid most of the traps, but they have to dealt with the homunculi defenders before being able to leave the corridor.

The next room is the Boiler Room, a place designed to close off the Nexus by filling that room with water. The Emissary, the leader of the dark creepers, is studying this room with some of his troops when the Griffons arrive. After a hard battle, the Griffons are able to kill their enemies and continue advancing.

Session 4:
16 Tarsakh


After exploring the other chambers and dealing with orcs invaders in the warriors quarters, the Griffons had to fight with a cave troll and his orc handlers at the altar to Moradin. This group was the one who killed the Farstriders, and the troll is eating their remains. After defeating their enemies, the altar of Moradin shines, as if the god is thanking them from purifying his altar. The Griffons and Kalad feel invigorated and ready to reach the Nexus chamber...

Session 5:
16 Tarsakh


When the Griffons arrived in the Nexus, they have to fight with the orc and dark creeper forces already in the chamber, led by Tusk and Myrissa themselves, who refuse to give in and fight to the death. With the help of Kalad, the Griffons are able to activate the safety mechanism (a complex trap that causes the doors to seal shut and the door’s room to fill with boiling water), drowning the remaining enemies.

Conclusion:
With the Nexus sealed and Tusk defeated, the Griffons delivered a deathblow to the orc horde. With their leader dead and cut off from the tunnels, the orcs have no choice but to attack Bordrin’s Watch. The fighting is brutal, for even though the orcs have lost their advantage, they are still numerous and powerful. After five days of fighting, the defenders on the walls turn back the horde, sending them back into the Spine of the World Mountains once more.

A tenday later, a letter from King Obould XVII is sent to the Confederation of Luruar, proclaiming that Tusk was a traitor who slaughtered his fellow orcs and that the Kingdom of Many-Arrows have had no part in Tusk’s attacks. With no formal reason to declare a war against Many-Arrows, the peace is maintained in the North. At least for now…

With the threat ended, and hailed as heroes in Sundabar, the White Griffons return to Neverwinter and celebrate their victory while toasting for their fallen friends. During the celebration, the Griffons can’t help but feel like they’re being watched…



Notes:
This chapter was originally a homebrew adventure based in the siege of Neverwinter from the MMO, however when we started to play the retconned campaign, I noticed a few continuity problems with that session. After talking to the players, we decided that this chapter was the first to be played in the reboot. Siege of Bordrin's Watch is a level 3 adventure, so I had to adapt it to the level of the PCs (they were lv.5).

Playing with the Essentials rules, some characters were changed to fit their Essentials classes, as follows:

Kaylara:
She was changed into a skald, the bard sub-class from Heroes of the Feywild.

Dargor:
My brother had struggled with Dargor during the original campaign, because a dragonborn swordmage is sub-optimized and my brother has a bit of a powergamer. With the retcon, he saw the opportunity to fix this. He changed Dargor into a Hexblade (warlock sub-class) with the Star Pact (something like the Old One Patron of 5e) from Dragon 393. This decision had some impact in the future, as we fleshed out Dargor background and interactions with his patron (Ulban, the comet from the Far Realm). For instance, my brother decided that it was Ulban who teleported Dargor to Waterdeep using Spellplague energy, which gave Dargor his spellscar.

Retzo the Grey:
Male halfling thief (rogue sub-class) with the Son of Alagondar theme (Dragon 402)

A member of the Sons of Alagondar, specifically from the Nashers faction, who decided to leave the rebels and join the White Griffons instead, after reading a letter from his late cousin Ratzo. Retzo is physically identical to the late Ratzo.

-----
This is also where my campaign begins to deviate from established canon, as, for instance, I killed King Foril, something that in canon happens much later.

By the end of the adventure, the characters leveled to lv. 6

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 12 Aug 2023 06:00:56
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
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Posted - 04 Aug 2023 :  07:29:41  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interlude: Griffon Keep


This chapter was a full roleplaying session



18 Tarsakh

Tired of having to pay for rooms in the inns of Neverwinter, the White Griffons decide to use all the money they have been saving (from rewards and treasure they have got in their adventures so far) to buy a place to serve as their home. Kaylara decides to use her influences and ask Lord Neverember to help her get a cheap place to buy in the city.

They go to the Hall of Justice to talk to Lord Neverember, but they learn that he has traveled to Waterdeep and won’t return until the next month or so. They have to talk to Mayor Soman Galt instead. When Dargor sees Mayor Galt, he feels nauseated and instinctively is unable to trust the dwarf, and he doesn’t know why. The Mayor is helpful with the Griffons and says that in recognition for their past services to the city, they can buy for a relatively cheap price whatever unoccupied and unused building they want from the areas near the Wall. It is a dangerous zone, yes, but adventurers of their skill will have not to worry about the plaguechanged creatures. Also, their presence near the Wall should be helpful in case of emergency.

The Griffons gladly accept and go to the areas near the Wall to search for a building of their liking. Unbeknownst to the Griffons, Mayor Galt is actually an agent of the Abolethic Sovereignty, and sent them to that zone just to put them in danger, something that the aboleths hoped would eventually kill the adventurers, or at least keep them occupied.

After a few hours of searching, the Griffons eventually found a two storied building in the southeastern side of the Protector’s Enclave, near the Wall, that the Griffons decided to re-purpose as their headquarters of sorts. After buying it, they jokingly named it “Griffon Keep” and hire local workers to repair it.

Rumors
Traders from the Heartlands say that Irvel Obarskyr has been crowned as the new king of Cormyr, and that is now putting an end to the rebellion in the Forest Kingdom.



Chapter 7: New Sharandar


This chapter is based on the Living Forgotten Realms adventures “Hound’s Baying”, “Serpent’s Kiss” and “Spider’s Web”.



Session 1:
3 Mirtul


Most of the Griffons were on patrol duty when Rodrik went to Griffon Keep (still in process of rebuilding) to ask for their help. Several months ago, Mayara Sulbrandil, an eladrin priestess of Sehanine Moonbow (and Eravan’s lost sister), disappeared after a botched investigation. According to Rodrik, she was investigating his evil twin brother, Gustaf, who was making deals with the Ashmadai. He believes Mayara was captured and brought to General Sabine, but since then Rodrik knows nothing about the whereabouts of his friend. He asks the Griffons to search for her.

As not all Griffons are free to wander Neverwinter while searching for Mayara, Kaylara hires the adventurers Bendis and Garek to supplement her team (Dargor, Erevan and Kara the cleric). Rodrik suggest them to find out the mercenaries hired by Gustaf, who is also a regular of the Beached Leviathan. There, the patrons provide clues that point out to Driftwood Tavern.

While searching for rumors in Blacklake District, the Griffons are pointed out to the Shard of the Moon (the reconsecrated Shard of Night). There, Lady Jasmine tells them of her nightmares about Mayara, who turns out to be Jasmine’s old acquiescence and fellow priestess of Sehanine. Jasmine reveals that Mayara is a criminal wanted in New Sharandar and that forces from Iliyanbruen have been dispatched to Neverwinter to apprehended her, although Lady Jasmine knows nothing about the crimes imputed to her friend.

At Driftwood Tavern, Madame Rosene tells them that the mercenaries they are searching for are the twin sisters Ayala and Sylvara. Madame Rosene points them up to the Moonstone Mask, where the twins went to look for a new job. At the Moonstone Mask, the Griffons meet with their old ally Telliann. Telliann points them to Castle Never, as the sisters where last to be seen there. She also tells them about Lord Neverember’s new project: the creation of an official guild of adventurers known as the “Protectors of Neverwinter”. Telliann wants the Griffons to be part of this project.

As the Griffons are moving across the Sleeping Dragon Bridge to reach Castle Never, they are attacked by a group of Ashmadai. The Griffons easily defeat the devil worshipers, and learn that Mayara is an Ashmadai and that she was captured for reconditioning. Without any other clues, they have no other option than to find the twin elves.

Session 2:
3 Mirtul


In Castle Never, the drow of Bregan D’aerthe tell Kaylara that the twins are inside the castle. The Griffons go to search for them in the crypts of Castle Never, and find them in time to help them battle against some undead. In return for their help, Ayala and Sylvara tell them about the person who employed them to get Mayara: an odd-looking sun elf named Hurloon. They also confirm what Lady Jasmine had told then about Mayara. While on their way out of Castle Never, a few ghosts of the former inhabitants recognize Kaylara as one of the line of Alagondar and bow down to her, to the shock of Garek and the elven twins.

The twin’s directions bring the Griffons to a manor on the edge of the Blacklake District. The manor is crawling with Ashmadai, more than the Griffons can handle. So, they decide to infiltrate the manor instead of full-front confrontation. As the Griffons reach the basement, they discover that not only the Ashmadai are about to kill Mayara, but also plan to sacrifice Rodrik as well! They are held in a circle connected to Cania (one of the Nine Hells), and the temperature in the room is low.

The Griffons intervene and in the following battle they kill Hurloon and his minions, as well as some Ashmadai cultists that appear to help the cult masters. When they destroy the circle, the surviving Ashmadai are overwhelmed and either flee or collapse. After defeating a huge number of Ashmadai and surviving somehow, the Griffons rescue Mayara and Rodrik... who turns out to be Gustaf, Rodrik’s twin!

To Erevan’s horror, his sister is branded with the mark of Asmodeus. She doesn’t remember much of what happened to her in the weeks before she came to Neverwinter. Mayara says that she has had horrible hallucinations and that she fears she may have done something horrible. She also says she was not an Ashmadai, although she was trying to infiltrate the cult to discover what happened to her.

As the Griffons are leaving the manor, a group of armed eladrin confronts them. The leader, identifying herself as Lady Merrisara Winterwhite, asks them to hand over Mayara. General Sabine is with them, and asks them to do what she asks, as Lady Merrisara is the leader of the forces from New Sharandar and Mayara is a wanted criminal in Iliyanbruen…

Session 3:
3-6 Mirtul


Things don’t look well. The eladrin are adamant, they want Mayara to submit to New Sharandar’s justice. She has been charged for murdering a group of eladrin knights and a wizard, and for being an Ashmadai cultist. Worst, she seems to be possessed by a devil.

Merrisara Winterwhite assures the Griffons that Mayara will have a fair trial. When Erevan demands that his sister be judged by Neverwinter’s law instead, General Sabine says that not only Lord Neverember is not in the city, but also that he cannot afford to displease the eladrin. However, Lady Jasmine has convinced Merrisara Winterwhite to allow someone to represent Mayara at the trial, and Lady Merrisara allowed the Griffons to accompany her. Gustaf is also captured to serve as a witness, and Rodrik will not allow leaving his brother alone, regardless of his crimes.

Kaylara appoints Kara the cleric as her second and leaves her in charge of Griffon Keep while she and a few other Griffons (Erevan, Dargor, Bendis, Garek and Alara) accompany Lady Jasmine. When the preparations are finished, the caravan departs for Neverwinter Wood.

After two days of travel across the Neverwinter Wood, the caravan reaches the glade where the trial will take place. Fandalwyl, a dryad, will preside over the trial as an impartial arbiter. However, the trial will not take place until next day. When the trial begins, the evidence against Mayara is mounting, but something doesn’t feel right.

After the court adjourns for the midday, Merrisara approaches the Griffons, concerned that Mayara is not receiving a fair trial. According to her, the judges have already decided her guilt, and the trial is more about satisfying the eladrins’ desire for justice than it is about the truth of the charges. However, she is needed in another place and so she tasks the Griffons with searching the scene of Mayara’s crime for evidence that proves her innocence or guilt, and returning before the judges render their verdict at dawn the next day. Her trusted second, Captain Curdailen, and her soldiers, the Starblades Company, serve as the Griffons escort, ensuring both their safety and the integrity of the trial.

When the Griffons reach the scene of the crime, an old Ilyanbruen ruin, the Starblades (save for Curdailen) betray the group and attack them, and the Griffons have to deal with them. Curdailen is injured but he survives the battle.

While exploring the ruins, the Griffons find a group of the Cult of the Dragon trying to convince a young green dragon to join their ranks. The dragon seems to be considering their offer. Bendis slips while spying and is spotted, triggering a fight. The dragon values more his life and flees, leaving the poor human cultists to be massacred…

Session 4:
6-7 Mirtul


After capturing one of the cultists alive, the interrogation reveals nothing of importance, until he says that they were waiting for some Ashmadai to give to them a sword named Aughlathla’vel. Captain Curdailen recognizes Merrisara’s magical sword, whose magic allows anyone holding it to freely enter New Sharandar’s wards. The danger is clear now: the Ashmadai want the sword to attack New Sharandar. Curdailen wants to help his boss, as is possible she has also been attacked by the traitors. Erevan wants to help his sister, however.

Kaylara decides to split up the group. Dargor, Curdailen and herself will go to help Merrisara (who has been already warned of the danger thanks to a sending ritual Alara performs while the group splits), while Erevan, Alara, Bendis and Garek will remain to investigate the ruins.

While investigating the ruins, Alara finds a cache of old Ilyanbruen relics by chance. Erevan, Bendis and Garek find a mass grave many months old (old enough to prove that Mayara didn’t kill those guys) as well as other small evidence. With all that proof, they depart for the glade as the sun begins to rise. Erevan’s group reaches the glade too late, and they watch Mayara’s unjust judgment. Despite the proof, Mayara is judged guilty and sent to New Sharandar to wait for execution.

Meanwhile, a few hours before the trial was finished, Kaylara’s group rides at breakneck speed through the wood but when they reach Merrisara’s convoy it’s too late. Merrisara has been fatally wounded by Ashmadai traitors. Thanks to the warning, Merrisara and the few soldiers loyal to her put enough resistance to kill many Ashmadai, but they were eventually overwhelmed and now only Merrisara stands.

Thanks to Kaylara, Dargor and Curdailen’s intervention, they are able to stop the Ashmadai to steal Aughlathla’vel. The battle is hard, and Kaylara is gravely wounded but in the end the Griffons are able to win when a badly wounded Merrisara joins the fight and kills the leader of the traitors. She also reveals who is the traitor among New Sharandar’s leadership: Addemios Three-Dawn. Merrisara then entrust the sword to Kaylara before succumbing to her wounds.

Kaylara’s group returns after the verdict is announced, and Captain Curdailen offers to escort the Griffons, Lady Jasmine, and the human twins out of the court’s glade. The other eladrin are in a state of panic after learning about Merrisara’s demise, and their acceptance of outsiders wanes with every moment. He suspects Ashmadai traitors have penetrated deep in the heart of New Sharandar. He plans to withdraw in the woods to a hidden shelter, and organize a plan to discover who the Ashmadai are, to expose them, and to return sanity to New Sharandar. He asks the Griffons to come with him, and Kaylara accepts…

Session 5:
10 Mirtul


With Merrisara Winterwhite’s death, a furious civil war among the eladrin of New Sharandar has broken out in the Neverwinter Woods now that the xenophobic Olirien Mistcrown is in charge. In his zeal to eliminate the cultists, Mistcrown is tearing the woods apart, eliminating the innocent as well as the guilty. The war is fed by attacks from the Ashmadai, but the eladrin make little distinction between cultists and normal folk, and the war also threatens to spill over to Neverwinter. In addition, dark fey, fed with information from Addemios, plan to attack New Sharandar from a nearby portal in the Feydark.

Curdailen has taken command of a few eladrin knights loyal to the late Merrisara. They call themselves the Winterwhite Knights. Unfortunately, Mistcrown sees the Winterwhite Knights as traitors and refuses communicate with them or any outsiders.

Curdailen knows about the Feydark portal (although he is unaware of the dark fey’s imminent attack) and he wants to use it to infiltrate New Sharandar and expose Addemios as a traitor, and also to rescue Mayara. However, scouts have reported that the portal was recently discovered and taken by Ashmadai cultists, so it needs to be re-conquered. A token is needed to open the gate (the standard rituals to do so do not work without it due to a Mythal). He knows Aughlathla’vel suffices, but other tools may also be available, so the portal must be guarded. Curdailen wants the Griffons to re-conquer the portal while he leads the Winterwhite Knights on the front lines as a distraction.

While the Winterwhite Knights fight with the bulk of the Ashmadai forces, the Griffons reach the portal, where Favria (one of the leaders of the Ashmadai cell of Neverwinter) and her men are trying to use a magical wand, the chime of opening, to enter to the Feywild. As the Ashmadai outnumber the Griffons, Kaylara decides to parlay with Favria, somehow convincing her that Addemios has betrayed the Ashmadai and that his true loyalties lie with the Cult of the Dragon. Infuriated, Favria gives Kaylara the chime and order the Ashmadai to retreat. With both keys to the portal, the Griffons enter into the Feywild.

Session 6:
10 Mirtul?


The portal leads them to the Feydark, where they meet Mnemnia, one of the hags who once ruled New Sharandar before it was reclaimed by the eladrin, and who also is Addemios’ mother. She tries to parlay with them, but Erevan foils any attempts of negotiation, and all of them end cursed by Mnemnia. Despite the horrific nature of their curse, the Griffons are able to enter into New Sharandar when it’s under siege by the dark fey forces. When Addemios recognizes the Griffons, he unleashes the devil inside Mayara to attack them.

During the battle Bendis is killed by a drow, while Kaylara and Garek risk themselves to save a unicorn prisoner the dark fey intended to sacrifice. Garek sacrifices his life to allow Kaylara and the unicorn to get away. When everything seems lost, the bond with her brother allows Mayara to free herself from the devil by using cheer willpower. Erevan and Alara are able kill the devil afterwards.

After a few hours of intense battle, the Winterwhite Knights arrive to help the eladrin defenders to relief the siege. At the same time, Dargor and Alara are able to kill Addemios while the rest of the Griffons force Mnemnia to retreat. Without their leaders, the dark fey forces lost purpose and the eladrin defenders are able to rout them out. New Sharandar has been saved.

Conclusion

After a few hours, all the remaining Ashmadai traitors are exposed and summarily executed. As a reward for the Griffons’ help, the priests of the Seldarine posted in New Sharandar remove Mnemnia’s curse. They are also able to resurrect Merrisara Winterwhite (whose body was preserved by the Winterwhite Knights).

Olirien and Curdailen once again stand side-by-side as friends, and Olirien gladly returns the leadership of New Sharandar to Merrisara in a public speech. Merrisara send her regards to Lord Neverember, stating that New Sharandar will be an ally of Neverwinter from then on. Erevan decides to remain in New Sharandar with his sister, to help the other eladrin with the rebuilding efforts.

After saying their farewells, the White Griffons return to Neverwinter to get a well-deserved rest. They bring with them a letter from New Sharandar’s rulers for Lord Neverember, although its contents aren’t revealed to the public. After they return to the Material Plane, they discover that they have been in the Feywild for a whole tenday...



At this point, my original gaming group has disbanded and this campaign was run for a different group of players (only my brother and one friend remained from the original group). I used the storyline of my former campaign as the background for this adventure, with PCs for that campaign used as pre-mades (so, I consider those PCs as the “canon” protagonists).

The characters reached lv.7 by the end of the adventure

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Alaundo
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Posted - 06 Aug 2023 :  10:27:07  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage Send Alaundo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well met

Thanks for posting these updates, Zeromaru X. Sounds a great campaign. With your permission, if you wish, I'd be happy to include these in our Campaign Logs on the Candlekeep site, itself.

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Zeromaru X
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Posted - 08 Aug 2023 :  05:53:12  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Alaundo

Well met

Thanks for posting these updates, Zeromaru X. Sounds a great campaign. With your permission, if you wish, I'd be happy to include these in our Campaign Logs on the Candlekeep site, itself.



Well met. And yes, you can include it there. Thank you!

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 08 Aug 2023 05:54:13
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Zeromaru X
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Posted - 08 Aug 2023 :  06:29:13  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 8: Storm over Neverwinter


This chapter is based on “Storm over Neverwinter”, the adventure module published for the thirteenth season of the D&D Encounters program.



Background

Over the last few months, the Ashmadai have ramped up their activities. Every day, the symbol of their god, Asmodeus, is seen painted in blood or burned into a new building or fence. And now rumors are blaming the cultists for disappearances: common persons that later are found with the mark of Asmodeus branded on their bodies. Although the victims survive the ordeal, they are never quite the same, and they bear terrible scars, both physical and mental.

Meanwhile, a threatening storm brews over the ocean west of Neverwinter and will arrive soon...

Session 1:
3 Kythorn


As the rain soaks the streets of Neverwinter, Kaylara, Dargor, Olivar and Bren go to the Moonstone Mask in search of some easy job to make some money before the storm hits Neverwinter. They arrive just in time to see General Sabine leave the inn after having politely refused Mordai Vel’s advances for the umpteeth time. Mordai Vell then introduces himself to the White Griffons, saying that he has been itching to meet with the famous “Heroes of Neverwinter”. He invites them to pay a visit to his mansion in the Blacklake District whenever they can stop by before leaving.

In the inn there are other interesting patrons biding their time, like Swordcaptain Muln Horan, a dwarf member of the Mintarn mercenaries who is drowning in alcohol at the moment, and Lady Nidris, a wealthy calishite merchant who is discussing something with another trader, the cormyrian Elden Vargas. The Griffons notice that Lady Nidris has left a poster in the inn’s job board asking for adventurers (there are many sketches of missing people in the board, as well), so they approach her after Vargas left the inn.

The job is simple, they have to escort her to her home in the Blacklake District. Just at that moment, a group of cloaked individuals enter the inn and scream “for Asmodeus!” before attacking. Their goal is to kidnap Lady Nidris, but luckily for her the White Griffons are able to foil their attempt. During the fight, the Griffons are helped by Sarena, a tiefling priest of the Raven Queen (a new deity of death and fate, introduced to Neverwinter in recent months).

After the fight, the Griffons accept Lady Nidris job, and they also hire Sarena for this mission. The other people in the Moonstone praise them for a battle well fought, and Swordcaptain Horan swears to “get to the bottom of this violence!” by investigating the Ashmadai.

When they arrive to Lady Nidris’ mansion, they discover that the house has been ransacked and several of her guards lie dead. What is worse, Lady Nidris’ son has been kidnapped, and the markings in the walls are unmistakable: the culprits are the Ashmadai. Desperate, Lady Nidris hires the Griffons to rescue her son...

Session 2
3 Kythorn - night


After investigating for clues in the mansion and interrogating the surviving guards and staff members, the Griffons determine that the kidnappers came from the Blacklake docks. After arriving at the Docks, they track down the Ashmadai’s lair in the sewers near the Beached Leviathan inn. They infiltrate the lair, but not before the leader of the Ashmadai teleported away.

The Griffons kill all the Ashmadai save for one that they want to interrogate. The guy is clueless, however, and says that the Griffons have wiped out all of his cell (they were the same who attacked the Moonstone Mask inn), and that he doesn’t know the identity of their leader (who ran away), who is only known as “The Tormentor”. Bren kills the last Ashmadai, and the Griffons rescue Lady Nidris’ son. However, “The Tormentor” did something to his mind and the boy is traumatized by the events. Suddenly, the brand of Asmodeus appears in his chest, and the boy calms down. He doesn’t remember anything of what happened and asks who are the Griffons and why is he there.

As the Griffons leave the Ashmadai’s hideout, they find Lady Nidris has followed them with a group of guards. She takes the boy and pays the Griffons the arranged reward for their services. She also says to them that she has talked with Lord Neverember and convinced him to offer a reward of 10000 gp for the head of “The Tormentor”.

As Lady Nidris leaves, the Griffons notice that the storm has eased for the moment, but the dark clouds on the horizon have thickened. It is only a matter of hours before the storm comes to Neverwinter in full force, and they cannot help but think that it has something to do with these kidnappings.

Session 3
3 Kythorn - night


Enticed by the reward Lord Neverember is offering for “The Tormentor”, the Griffons begin to investigate the situation. They decide to visit Mordai Vell in his home, Vellgard Manor. Mordai doesn’t has much information about the Ashmadai and the kidnappings, besides what everyone knows. He warns them, however, about rumors of devils among the Ashmadai cultists.

They leave for the docks again and try to investigate there, but with the same results. People doesn’t know much or doesn’t want to talk. Before deepnight, Swordcaptain Muln Horan appears and invites them to the Beached Leviathan inn. There, Horan asks them to not investigate further, as they are endangering themselves. Suddenly, Horan is attacked by one of the cultists, who is actually a fimbrul devil, followed by an scorch devil and some mind-controlled ruffians. The White Griffons defeat them, but not in time to save the life of the Swordcaptain.

After dealing diplomatically with a group of Mintarn soldiers who blamed them for the dead of the Swordcaptain, they discover that the Mintarn have captured a citizen that was attacking other persons out of the blue. The Mintarn mention that this is not the only case in the city, and more citizens have become aggressive in other parts of Neverwinter...

Session 4
3 Kythorn - deepnight / 4 Kythorn - dawn


As the Griffons depart from the Beached Leviathan, they met with Darla, a human girl (and secretly, a member of the Little Rats, a gang of children working for the Dead Rats) that alerts them of a group that were spying on them during their little raid into the Ashmadai hideout. For a small fee (25 gp), she tells them were those “mysterious spies” are going to strike next. On their way, the Griffons run into many aggressive individuals in the Blacklake District who are disrupting peace. They have to deal with them before going into the next target of the spies.

Eventually, they run into one of Darla’s friends, a half-elf boy named Chadal (and also a member of the Little Rats). He is injured by what Olivar and Dargor identify as hellfire burns. Sarena heals him, and before he faints, Chadal reveals that the “spies” are actually Ashmadai, and that they are going to attack a man named Elden Vargas. The Griffons have heard about him, a Cormyrian trader who has been living in Neverwinter for some time.

The Griffons arrive to Vargas’ home in time to help him deal with the Ashmadai assassins and their leader, a vizier devil. After the fight, Vargas thanks them and reveals to them that he is a retired War Wizard, and that he believes he was attacked by the Ashmadai because he can help the city to dispel the “curse of madness” they have placed upon the citizens. Vargas also mentions that he knows the affected people is going to be sent to Helm’s Hold for recovery, and that his wife is also in Helm’s Hold, afflicted by a similar condition. He has been unable to go to visit her because some “personal circumstances”, and ask the Griffons if they could help him by “putting a good word” of him with the authorities, and he offers to reward them handsomely if they help him.

Outside, the storm subsides, and dawn breaks relatively clear, but the horizon is thick with more dark clouds...

Session 5
6 Kythorn


After what was dubbed the “Night of Madness”, the Griffons have had a break from action for the past couple of days. During that time, they have been receiving letters of gratitude and even some monetary rewards from grateful guards, merchants, and common citizens they helped that night. The Mintarn soldiers rounded up all the crazed survivors of that night and sent them to Helm’s Hold for treatment. No more kidnappings or attacks have been reported, and the Griffon’s defeat of the Ashmadai seems to have driven the cult to ground.

General Sabine is holding a wake for Swordcaptain Muln Horan, who was killed during the Night of Madness, and the Griffons are invited. After the wake ends, she gives them Horan’s prized axe, and says that Horan always admired them for being the “Heroes of Neverwinter” and that he would want they inherited his weapon.

After the wake, the Griffons go to the Beached Leviathan, that has gained notoriety as the “epicenter” of the Night of Madness. Harrag is very happy with the influx of new patrons and treats the “Heroes” with free food and drinks when they arrive. He also tells them that he has heard rumors that something bad has happened in Helm’s Hold.

When they return to Griffon Keep, the Griffons find that Lady Nidris is waiting for them. She tells them that during the Night of Madness, her son became aggressive and tried to kill her. The Mintarn arrested him and sent him to Helm’s Hold. The place has been under lockdown since them, and she has been unable to visit or send a message to her son. She ask them to investigate what is happening and promises to reward them handsomely if they help her.

With Lady Nidris’ plea and Harrag’s rumors of something wrong happening in Helm’s Hold, the Griffons decide to go to Helm’s Hold to investigate. Kaylara, Dargor, Olivar, Sarena, Retzo and Norin are the ones who go to Helm’s Hold, while the rest will remain in Neverwinter (Bren cannot go with them as he has some Harper business to attend to).

While traveling to Helm’s Hold, they stumble upon a group of goblins attacking a young dwarf. The Griffons defeat the goblins, except for their hobgoblin leader, who flees after seeing his minions defeated. The dwarf, named Gorev, is a messenger from Helm’s Hold. He was sent by Satarin, the high priest of the cathedral, to ask Lord Neverember’s help. Gorev tells the Griffons that Helm’s Hold has been seized by a madman, who has kidnapped Rohini the Prophet and is now recruiting the patients of the sanatorium (most of them spellscarred individuals) to build an army.

The situation of Helm’s Hold is growing dire, and the Griffons make haste to arrive in time to avert a catastrophe.

Session 6
7 Kythorn


The Griffons arrive to Helm’s Hold the next day, as the rain begins to fall once again. As they enter the village, they learn that the cathedral of Helm has been sealed and that the formerly peaceful priests have become aggressive and don’t allow people to enter or interact with the patients of the sanatorium. The inhabitants of Helm’s Hold also say that a new high priest is ruling the cathedral. This individual is known as “The Tormentor”.

Retzo is able to influence the crowd of malcontent villagers gathered outside of the cathedral to attack the priests watching the gates, creating a distraction while the Griffons storm the cathedral. There, they have to fight with the cathedral’s guards and some dominated acolytes before they can advance.

They find Brother Satarin (the dwarf high priest) and some “unruly” patients trapped in one of the rooms of the cathedral. Among the patients is an old acquaintance of them: Seldra Tylmarande. Satarin and Seldra tell the Griffons that the patients that resisted The Tormentor are held there to be dealt with after The Tormentor has finished torturing Rohini, the holy Prophet of Helm’s Hold. They point the Griffons to the main hall, were The Tormentor is located. Satarin gives them some magical potions the priests have been hiding in a secret compartment, while Seldra says she cannot help the Griffons this time, as her spellscar has been affecting her health since she used the false Crown of Neverwinter.

The Griffons arrive in the main hall just in time to interrupt The Tormentor’s brainwashing ritual. Besides The Tormentor and Rohini, some dominated patients and a green-skinned elf holding a chained woman are in the hall. The Tormentor is surprised by their sudden arrival, and as he lower his guard to meet them, Rohini kicks him in the face, removing his mask and revealing his true identity: The Tormentor is none other than Elden Vargas...

Session 7
7 Kythorn


Elden Vargas flees with the chained woman, who turns to be his mentally ill wife, Karis, while the dominated patients attack the Griffons. The green elf is also dominated by Vargas and reveals his true form: he is the green dragon Chartilifax, who also attacks the Griffons to cover Vargas’ retreat. While weakened, Rohini decides to help the Griffons by “trying” to subdue the dragon.

During the fight, Dargor notices that something is wrong with Rohini, but can't tell what. Retzo also notices that Rohini is not fighting at her fullest. She admits that she doesn’t want to hurt Chartilifax, as he is one of the patients of the sanatorium, and a friend of hers. Eventually, the Griffons are able to defeat the dominated patients and force Chartilifax to flee.

During their short rest to recover strength, Rohini asks the Griffons to go to the upper levels of the cathedral, as she is sure Vargas has fled there. Rohini says that she is not strong enough to face Vargas, but she knows the Griffons can defeat him. Everyone in Neverwinter knows Rohini’s reputation for prophecies that have a way of coming true, and hearing her bolsters the Griffons’ morale.

Outside of the cathedral, the storm is hitting all of the Sword Coast North with its full fury...

Session 8
7 Kythorn


While ascending the stairs to the second level of the cathedral, the Griffons have to deal with lightning and thunder elementals that have been summoned by the unnatural storm raging outside.

After dealing with the elementals, the Griffons discover that the stairs have been damaged by the storm, and they have to climb their way to the third level while dealing with the strong winds and the occasional lightning bolt. The stairs to the final level are in better conditions, though, and the Griffons run to confront Vargas at last...

Session 9
7 Kythorn


The Griffons reach the platform atop the cathedral, to discover that the eye of the storm has reached Helm’s Hold. Columns of whirling clouds and lightning flare inward from the perimeter of the eye to strike a dark-skinned woman who floats in the center of the eye. The woman is Karis, Vargas’ wife. Her eyes crackle with energy, and she cries out in pain and ecstasy as the power of the storm flows into her.

Vargas appears to stop the Griffons, saying that he will kill them if necessary. Kaylara doesn’t want to fight him, and asks him why is he doing this. Vargas says that it’s the only way to cure his wife. He then tells his story to the Griffons: when he was a War Wizard, he was an interrogator who excelled in mind reading magic. During a diplomatic mission, he met Karis, a witch from Rashemen, and they fell in love. They married shortly afterwards.

However, in his zeal to ferret out Cormyr’s enemies, Vargas went too far, forging a pact with Asmodeus to enhance his psychic abilities. When his superiors found out, the other War Wizards and Ganrahast, the Royal Magician of Cormyr, attacked him. Karis sacrificed herself to save Vargas from a spell cast by Ganrahast, and her mind was shattered. Vargas was exiled from Cormyr, and fled to Neverwinter to try to gather resources to support his ailing wife and finance his eventual revenge.

After arriving to Neverwinter, Vargas found like-minded people in the Ashmadai, and forged a tense alliance with them to ply his talents as an interrogator. When Karis’ condition worsened, the leader of the Ashmadai (Mordai Vell, thought Vargas doesn’t reveal his name to the Griffons) suggested that she be sent to Helm’s Hold for treatment. However, when the leader of the Ashmadai forbade him to go to Helm’s Hold to visit her as a way to manipulate him, and even used his influence in the cathedral to deny him entry, Vargas despaired.

He began to kidnap people to experiment with them, testing his magic to find a cure for his wife's madness. His experiments left the minds of his victims broken almost beyond repair. So, he began to brand his victims with the symbol of Asmodeus so that the Ashmadai were blamed for the crimes. This was the real reason why the Ashmadai were trying to kill him the first time the Griffons meet him.

It was then when he recognized Karis’ power behind the storm gathering in the Sea of Swords. Karis is a storm sorceress and the storm gathered in response to her will. Vargas believes that if she is exposed to the full power of the storm, her mind will recover.

Just at that moment, in her insanity Karis attacks the Griffons by instinct, sending lightning bolts at them. The green dragon Chartilifax also attacks them, seeking revenge on the Griffons with no regard for his own safety. During the battle, Retzo is caught by Chartilifax’s breath weapon and is gravely injured.

When things seems desperate, Dargor is contacted by his patron, the Far Realm’s comet Ulban, who reveals to him that they can channel the power of the storm to force Karis to be disconnected from it. However, using the power of the storm puts them at odds with Vargas, who attacks the Griffons believing they want to kill his wife.

While Olivar and Dargor are able to disconnect Karis from the storm, Vargas attacks Sarena, leaving her gravely injured. Norin and Kaylara try to talk with Vargas one last time, but he is beyond reason and they are forced to kill him. This enrages Karis, who unleash the full power of the storm on the Griffons, sending powerful lightning bolts in all directions, killing Retzo in the process. His body is carried by the strong winds and disappears into the storm. Chartilifax is also damaged by the storm and, seeing that Vargas has been defeated, he takes the opportunity to flee the battlefield.

Kaylara doesn’t want to kill Karis and is able to calm her down. It seems Vargas was right, and exposing Karis to the storm allowed her to recover her mind. As the storm dissipates with remarkable speed, Karis mourns her husband and decides to submit to the authorities of Helm’s Hold to pay for the crimes committed in her name.

With Vargas dead all of his victims, including the priests of Helm’s Hold and those in Neverwinter, are freed of his mind-controlling magic. They still will have to deal with the trauma of having been kidnapped and tortured, but they need never again fear that they will by forced to harm those they love.

The White Griffons are hailed as heroes by the people of Helm’s Hold, and Rohini publicly thanks them, saying that they will always be welcomed at Helm’s Hold. Brother Satarin organizes a feast in their honor. The celebration last all night.

Conclusion:

After taking a day for resting and mourning Retzo, the White Griffons return to Neverwinter, where Lord Neverember publicly hails them as the “Heroes of Neverwinter,” and rewards them with the 10000 gp that were offered to those who were able to stop the evil Tormentor.

Lady Nidris is able to reunite with her son in Helm’s Hold, where the boy will remain for a time, to recover from the trauma. Lady Nidris is really grateful with the Griffons, and says that she will help them with whatever they need and is under her power to provide.

At Helm’s Hold, Karis is judged innocent of all the charges, as she was also a victim of Vargas’ machinations, and is released from prison. With her mind restored, her husband dead and nothing tying her to Neverwinter, she decides to return to her homeland in Rashemen.

Rohini the Prophet takes an interest in the White Griffons and reports to her superiors the recent developments. Unknown to the people of Helm’s Hold, Rohini is actually an agent of the Abolethic Sovereignty, and the actions of the Griffons have unintentionally strengthened Rohini’s position in the region.

Free of Vargas’ mind magic, Chartilifax returns to Helm’s Hold, to continue serving as Rohini’s bodyguard.

The Ashmadai weathered the storm without being damaged too badly. Two of their cells were obliterated and they lost their chief interrogator, the Tormentor, but thanks to the White Griffons, the cult will survive, rebuild and continue.



Notes:

Back in 2013, we had taken a break from the campaign, as real life has reclaimed some of the players' attention. However, when “Storm over Neverwinter” was released, we got hyped and decided to play this adventure as part of our ongoing campaign, with the same PCs we had been using so far (I remember the owner of the store where we played was kind enough to let me borrow the one of the kits of the adventure, that was part of the Encounters program).

However, given that the adventure was for level 3 PCs, we decided to reset the PCs levels to meet the adventure standards. This retcon was explained as “narrative purposes”, and didn't affected anything beyond the levels of the PCs. I also had to adapt some lore of the adventure, as it makes references to stuff that happens many years later in canon (such as the Darkening and the War of the Silver Marches) and that I wanted to avoid, as we wanted to play in the 1479 DR Realms. Therefore, here is when my campaign begins to truly deviate from the canon Realms.

-----
Sarena of the Raven Queen
Female tiefling warpriest of the Domain of Death (Heroes of Shadow) with the Ordained Priest theme (Dragon 399)

Sarena is one of the priests of the Raven Queen that came recently to Neverwinter to help establish the faith of her goddess in the Jewel of the North.

The cult of the Raven Queen, a goddess of death and fate, and a servant of Kelemvor, the god of the dead, started to appear in the Sword Coast around 1470 DR. A small shrine to the Raven Queen was built in the chantry of Kelemvor in the Neverdeath cemetery.
-----

Sarena is the PC of a new player who joined the campaign at this point. She wanted to play a cleric of the Raven Queen, and I saw no problem so I added the goddess to the Forgotten Realms' pantheon, using some lore made by Eric Scott de Bie (IIRC) that I found online (I guess, I found it in this forum, but I'm not sure).

Sarena is named after the Black Sarena, the robot of one of protagonists of the movie "Martian Successor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness".

----
The players "regained" lv. 4 after the 2nd session, lv. 5 at the end of the 4th session, and lv. 6 at the end of the 7th session. After finishing the adventure, they leveled up to lv. 7.

During session 5, Retzo's player re-joins the group. Also, the player using Bren decides to play with Norin instead (as the dwarf was one of the pre-mades I had prepared), as he wanted to try the slayer fighter build.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 10 Aug 2023 07:56:27
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
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Posted - 12 Aug 2023 :  06:02:58  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 9: Rumble in Neverwinter Wood


This chapter is based on the adventure “Rumble in the Valley” (core), published in Dungeon Magazine 193, that I adapted to the Forgotten Realms.



Background:

Kodan is an experienced hobgoblin commander who led band of goblin raiders from the Anauroch known as the Talons, so named for their hit-and-run tactics patterned after those of certain dragons. Hearing of opportunities for easy wealth and power, he took his band to the Neverwinter region. During months, the Talons raided merchant caravans that traveled out of Neverwinter by land. Thanks to Kodan’s tactics, the goblins were able to avoid being caught by the authorities. However, two tendays ago, all of the Talons save for Kodan were killed by the White Griffons when they saved a dwarf messenger on their way to Helm’s Hold.

Realizing that the soldiers of Neverwinter and adventuring parties were constant threats that couldn’t be dealt with as long as all the monstrous factions in the region worked on their own, Kodan was struck with an idea: he could unite all the monstrous inhabitants of the Neverwinter Wood under his banner by proving that he was a smart, capable, and powerful leader. To this end, he began to contact representatives of the different monstrous factions in the forest. Kodan soon encountered others who had experiences similar to his own, and he focused his attention on them.

Using the talents of various monsters seeking revenge on adventurers, Kodan took over a set of caves located to the north of Helm’s Hold and turned them into a massive trap. His plan is to lure a powerful group of adventurers from Neverwinter to the caves and weaken them with the traps, so that he and his now-reinforced Talons can eliminate them, in full view of emissaries from the most influential monstruos factions of the region. If his plan succeeds, it will be Kodan’s first step to rule the Neverwinter Wood...

Session 1
28 Kythorn - 29 Kythorn


The repairing of Griffon Keep has been finished, and Kaylara is in the process of hiring some staff to help her manage the place, when she is approached by her old ally Telliann. She brought with her a wealthy merchant named Marz Dyson, whose trade caravans were raided by monsters on the route to Waterdeep, and he went to Lord Neverember for help. He was unable to get an appointment with the Lord Protector, but Telliann recommended him to hire the White Griffons instead.

Dyson tells them that his men followed the monsters to a cave near Helm’s Hold. However, they didn’t dared to enter the cave, as they were not experienced soldiers. He shares the location of the cave with Kaylara and promises her a handsome reward, as well as a chance to save innocent lives, if they are able to deal with the monsters, and leaves.

Unbeknownst to them, the person who Kaylara and Telliann met with is not actually Marz Dyson, but a doppelganger named Linn, who has replaced the merchant to lure the Griffons (the most famous adventurers in Neverwinter currently) into Kodan’s trap.

Kaylara assembles a team made up of Dargor, Olivar, Norin, Sarena and Ritzo (Retzo’s twin brother and the newest member of the Griffons) and goes to investigate the cave. The map provided by Dyson is detailed and accurate, leading the Griffons right to the cave entrance. Kaylara notices that the cave isn’t entirely natural: Someone has recently done work to improve it. At that moment they hear the screams of someone asking for help and enter the cave.

They discover Marz Dyson (the real one) badly injured amid a big chamber inside the cave. Dyson is located in a well illuminated area, to lure them to enter into the chamber. Once inside, the tunnel leading back out collapses, leaving them trapped in the chamber. They have to deal with a couple of rust monsters, a group of mud elementals, and a big gelatinous cube before they can reach Dyson to help him. The old man barely clings to life and after being healed by Sarena falls unconscious.

The Griffons then move on to the next tunnel, carrying the wounded Dyson with them. After a short time exploring, the Griffons arrive to a spot where the tunnel forks. Both directions are blocked by heavy stone slabs, each connected by a chain to a pulley in the opposite tunnel. Unable to come up with a way around this obstacle, they have no choice but to split into two groups, each passing simultaneously into the opposing tunnels. The next chambers are traps designed by Kodan’s new allies to debilitate the adventurers as much as possible.

The first group is made out of Kaylara, Dargor and Norin (carrying the wounded Dyson). They enter into a trap of unnatural darkness that Norin recognizes as duergar-crafted. As they traverse the chamber, they are attacked by invisible bursts of flame, but they are able to navigate the darkness and leave the chamber with only a few burns.

The second group is made out of Sarena, Olivar and Ritzo. They enter into a chamber filled with supernatural mud infused with elemental evil. They manage to navigate the mud to the other side of the chamber, although they are weakened by the evil-infused mud.

The two tunnels eventually converge, allowing the Griffons to reassemble near the exit of the cave. They hear some monsters outside of the tunnel, and decide to leave Dyson there before advancing.

Session 2
29 Kythorn


As the Griffons exit the tunnel, they are met by a group of duergar, their pet guard drake, some mud elementals, and an ogre brandishing a massive morningstar. The combat takes place on a rocky outcropping 50 feet above a small clearing of the forest. The Griffons can see a small crowd of creatures of all sorts gathering near the bottom of the cliff. They recognize the green dragon Chartilifax among the crowd.

After defeating their enemies in a hard-won battle (designed to exhaust them as much as possible), the Griffons discover some rope ladders that will allow them to climb down from the cliff. While resting for a bit to recover some strength, the group can hear a chant, at first low and growing progressively louder. At first, the words are inaudible and in a variety of rumbling monstrous speech. Gradually, the chant falls into unison, repeating “Talons” in Common over and over until the Griffons decide to descend to the battlefield.

As they begin to descend, the chanting stops. Kodan takes this opportunity to rile up the spectators before the final battle, talking about the injustices the monsters have suffered at the hands of adventurers, and how this is going to change after his impending victory. Alongside Kodan is Linn disguised as “Dyson,” who then changes back to her true form. There is also a duergar warrior who Norin recognizes: he killed him back at Gauntlgrym, but it seems he has been resurrected. The other members of the Talons include a bullywug elemental priest (the one summoning the mud elementals), and the chieftain of the Fireclaw tribe, the biggest kobold tribe in the Neverwinter Wood.

Before the gathered crowd of monsters, the Griffons are about to fight to the dead against the five Talons...

Session 3
29 Kythorn


The battle is hard, long and exhausting, but in the end the Griffons are victorious. All the Talons lie dead on the ground, and the gathered crowd quickly scatters to report to their respective groups that Kodan‘s plan failed.

The Griffons return to the outcropping for Dyson, and then return to Neverwinter, to report to Telliann that the threat of a unified force of monsters from the Neverwinter Wood has ended before it even started.

Left unattended on the battlefield, the corpse of Kodan is eventually recovered by a group of monsters...



Notes:
The character from the same player...

Ritzo
Male halfling thief (rogue sub-class) with the Son of Alagondar theme (Dragon 402)

A member of the Sons of Alagondar, specifically from the Nashers faction, and the twin brother of the late Retzo. He joined the White Griffons after the death of his brother.

------

The players reached lv. 8 by the end of the adventure (I don't remember if I gave them the level ad hoc or if we used the xp system as normal, and that detail is not recorded in my notes).

With this adventure we also reached the first year of the campaign.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 12 Aug 2023 23:17:36
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2455 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2023 :  07:53:35  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 10: To the Shadowfell and back again


This chapter is based on a modified version of the adventure “The Shadow Rift of Umbraforge” (core), published in Dungeon Magazine 158, that I adapted to the Forgotten Realms.



Background:

Three months ago, the White Griffons participated in the defense of the dwarven fortress of Bordrin’s Watch, in Luruar. During the fighting, they discovered that dark creepers had sold arms and tactical intelligence to the orc war chief Tusk, aiding him in his attack against the folk of the Rauvin Mountains.

What the Griffons don’t know is that a month or so before the siege, a certain arms-dealer from the Shadowfell, a shadar-kai named Sarshan, whose base of operations is located a few miles to the east of Evernight (Neverwinter’s equivalent in the Shadowfell), was approached by Myrissa, a shadar-kai agent of the Netherese helping Tusk, who wanted to contract his services. Sarshan declined her offer, as his ability to maintain a low profile in his dealings with clients in the natural world was key to his success, and an attack on Luruar would have a very high risk of exposing his operations.

When the arms-dealer rebuffed Myrissa’s request, one of his assistants, the dark creeper Modra, approached the Netherese agent in secret. He struck with her a deal to supply Tusk with weapons and intelligence, sending in a group of his followers to do the job. Those were the dark creepers who helped Tusk during the siege of Bordrin’s Watch.

In going behind his Sarshan’s back, Modra expected that an overwhelming orc victory (won with the help of dark creeper subterfuge) would win his master’s respect. However, with Tusk’s forces routed and Modra’s servants scattered or killed, the dark creeper has had to go to ground to escape his boss’ wrath. In the aftermath of the sealing of the mountain tunnels below Bordrin's Watch, Modra learned of the White Griffons’ role in thwarting Tusk’s plans. He has quietly kept tabs on them since their return to Neverwinter, and has been planning his revenge ever since...

Session 1:
4 Flamerule - elsun


Kaylara and Dargor meet with their old friend and ally, Erevan Sulbrandil, in the market square of the Protector’s Enclave. Erevan has returned to Neverwinter to investigate clues that will help the eladrin of New Sharandar to discover who is the responsible of the desecration of the ruins of Iliyanbruen. He wanted to asks the Griffons for help in this important mission for his people.

While walking to Griffon Keep, the trio is ambushed by a group of Dead Rats ruffians, who seem to have a vendetta against them. After dealing with the Dead Rats, the group discover a scrap of parchment on one of the assailants. The note has a hastily drawn rendering of a brass key, instructions indicating the importance of its return, orders to kill the White Griffons, and a name—”Modra”. Kaylara remembers that this drawing is similar to a key they got from the dark creepers during their mission in Bordrin’s Watch.

The Griffons decide to investigate who is trying to kill them. Assembling a team made up of Kaylara, Dargor, Erevan, Sarena and Ritzo, the Griffons go to the most dangerous district of Neverwinter, the River District, to search for clues of the mysterious Modra in the seamy underside of the city. Kaylara brings the brass key with her, hoping to learn why it is so important.

After following vague rumors and putting together hard-earned clues from the shady traders, brokers, and black marketeers of the River District, as well as from the orcs of the Fallen Tower, while keeping a low profile, the Griffons discover that some arms-dealer has been secretly smuggling weapons and armor through the black market of the city for a long time.

They also run into Reniss, a half-elf ranger who is also looking for Modra. She blames him for the death of her sister, and is willing to share information with the Griffons if they allow her to accompany them during their search. The Griffons accept and Reniss tell them that she has tracked down Modra to a poorhouse near the Fallen Tower named “The Happy Beggar.”

Session 2:
4 Flamerule - thulsun


The Happy Beggar is an out-of-the-way poorhouse run by Prashant and Ausma, a husband-and-wife team of retired paladins of Amaunator. The Beggar, as is commonly known, is normally the last place to look for potential intrigue, if only because its reputation for piety among the locals means no self-respecting adventurers ever go near it. Yet, the White Griffons go there in search of Modra.

Unbeknownst to the retired paladins, the poorhouse and nearby buildings are being used by Sarshan as the heart of his arms-running enterprise within the city. Though the Happy Beggar sits atop Sarshan’s Shadowfell gate, the almshouse is rarely used as a transit point. Instead, creatures and goods arriving from the Shadowfell are sent through a teleportation portal to one of a number of nearby houses in the area. The Beggar’s paladin proprietors and its patrons thus speak the truth when the Griffons interrogate them and they say they have no knowledge of the dark creeper.

One of the beggars, and doddering old man named Brenat (actually, Sarshan in disguise; he is in Neverwinter meeting with some clients among the Netherese spies on the city, and doing damage control in the aftermath of Modra’s botched deal) talks with the Griffons and gives them new information about Modra: that he “used” to live in the place before it became an almshouse. Ignorant that he Griffons have one of his bronce keys (that serve to activate his Shadowfell portal), “Brenat” leaves The Beggar shortly afterwards.

Eventually, the Griffons and Breniss discover a secret door in the cellar of the Happy Beggar. This door leads to a set of underground tunnels guarded by a group of trained shadowhunter bats and a colony of doomspore fungi. After dealing with them, the Griffons arrive to the teleportation circle’s cave, where they have to deal with a shadar-kai witch and her dark creeper minions, who recently arrived to the natural world and are trying to smuggle a pair of shadow hounds into the teleportation circle at the moment the Griffons arrived. While the Griffons deal with the dark creepers and the hounds, the witch flees to another cave.

Following the witch, they arrive to the Shadowfell portal’s cave, known as the White Shrine. The witch summon the wraiths who watch over the portal to buy her time to activate it. However, when she activated the portal, she is killed by Modra, who has been hiding in the cave, waiting for an opportunity to flee to the Shadowfell. Modra steals the witch’s key and flees. After dealing with the wraiths, the Griffons use their key to activate the portal and pursue Modra.

Session 3:
4 Flamerule?


After crossing the portal, the Griffons arrive to the Black Shrine, the Shadowfell equivalent of the White Shrine below Neverwinter. By the time they arrive, Modra has already fled the area. The dying guards of the chamber tell them that Modra is going to a place called Umbraforge, located not far from of Evernight.

The Griffons exit the caves and discover that they are in Evernight, the dark and twisted reflection of Neverwinter that they only knew by hushed whispers and drunkards’ tales. They have to move carefully, as in Evernight the living are prey for undead creatures. The Griffons have to fight their way through the streets of the shadowy equivalent of the River District, that are full of mindless zombies who hunger for the flesh of the living, while trying to be as sthealty as possible to not caught the attention of the intelligent undead.

Luckily for them, they eventually meet with Lamantha, a human necromancer who has been living in Evernight since the eruption of Mount Hotenow. She has her laboratory (or mortuary, as she calls it) in that part of the city, and was in the streets looking for some “spare parts” for her experiments. Unlike other inhabitants of Evernight, she is not innately hostile to living beings. In exchange for some news of the “world of the living”, Lamantha helps the Griffons to leave the city, and tells them that Umbraforge is located to the east of the city, just beyond the Burning Woods...

Session 4:
6 Flamerule?


The Griffons continue tracking Modra. Thanks to the cooperation between Reniss and Erevan, they are able to track him to a mountain beyond the Burning Woods. The extended stay in the plane of Shadow is wearing at their minds, but they are able to endure it the best they can.

Eventually they reach a mountainous region where the shadow equivalent of Mount Hotenow can be seen in the distance. In the valley below, they see a big military enclave near a shadow rift filled with magma that flows into the River of Magma (the shadow equivalent of the Neverwinter River). This enclave is made up of an obsidian tower surrounded by a chaotic collection of mercenary camps, training grounds, slave pens, and a few marketplaces in between. At this point, they are spotted by a group of dark one sentries, who confuse them for stray mercenaries and invite them to go to “Umbraforge.”

While exploring Umbraforge, the Griffons notice that the mercenaries living there are made up of not only races from the Shadowfell (like shadar-kai, shades, and dark ones), but also from races of the natural world (orcs, goblinoids, kobolds, gnolls, ogres, even a few humans and tieflings, etc.). Representatives of Netheril, Thay, and the Zhentarim, among other shadowy organizations of the natural world, can be seen negotiating with the mercenaries or appraising weapons and armors or slaves, etc.

They also notice that the flow from the magma shadow rift has been tapped by the inhabitants of Umbraforge to fuel the arcane engines within their foundry. Doing so has affected the complex pressure of shadow and elemental fire within the rift. Minor tremors pass through the area at regular intervals, but the residents of the camps around the tower have grown used to these tremors, and pay them no mind.

Investigating around the enclave, they discover that Umbraforge is the dominion of Sarshan, a trader and mercenary of great reputation, who in the past led a 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. Now, Sarshan is selling weapons, armors, slaves, mercenary services and even breeding new beasts of war to sell in the battlefields of the natural world and the planes beyond. Sarshan’s current operations are focusing on the natural world.

As the Griffons wander into one of Umbraforge’s combat training grounds, they inadvertently find themselves targeted by a squad of young ogres, who want to show off for their more powerful kin. They have to deal with them before advancing. When the ogres fall, their disgusted clan kin make no effort at retribution. After the battle, they impress Leena, a shadar-kai war witch working to train combat casters in the mercenary camps. They talk with her for a while and then they continue investigating. Leena suspects that they are not who they pretend to be, and begin to follow them in secret.

While investigating the slave bazaar, the Griffons feel another of Umbraforge’s intermittent earth tremors. However, this tremor is accompanied by a volcanic fissure that acts as a portal to the Elemental Chaos, spewing forth a pack of creatures bent on destruction. After defeating the beasts, they are confronted by Leena, who says that she knows they are not mercenaries, and that they need to talk...

Session 5:
6 Flamerule? - 7 Flamerule?


Leena informs them that she is a follower of Sarshan and a former ally of Modra, but her sense of honor caused her to break with the dark creeper when he decided to work behind Sarshan’s back. She tells them about Modra’s fall from grace and some dark rumors surrounding him in the last days. She believes Modra is going to destroy the dark foundry and the Shadowfell gate to Neverwinter. She asks them to give him a quick death, in the name of their former friendship, and leaves.

Following Leena’s indications, the Griffons go to the foundry, and discover that Modra and a band of shadowgoblins loyal to him have taken control of it after killing the dark creeper guards there. Modra plans to disrupt the great arcane engines that leech power from the flow of fire and shadow, destroying his former master’s operations as a means of ending his threat.

As the Griffons fight the shadowgoblins, Modra releases one of the war beasts being breed in the foundry and unleashes it against them: a double-headed boar. Despite this, the Griffons are able to kill Modra and all of his minions before they can complete their sabotage and destroy the foundry.

Investigating further, the Griffons discover various creatures in the midst of a dark transformation. Half of them are humanoids mutated into horrible warlike forms, confirming the rumors they heard on the enclave. However, the Griffons have to leave the foundry in a hurry when a party of guards arrive to investigate what is happening. The Griffons can flee successfully after they discover a secret door in one of the walls of the foundry. The secret door leads to a tunnel and into Sarshan’s tower.

While traveling the tunnel, the Griffons discover a secret entrance to a subterranean cave. Here, a forgotten shrine to the Raven Queen offers them refuge. They decide to rest here.

The next... day? they continue into Shartan’s tower. The tunnel ends in a secret door in the library of the tower. They have to deal with the guards stationed (a group of shadar-kai warriors) there before advancing.

Session 6:
7 Flamerule?


The Griffons continue exploring the tower and dealing with the guards and mercenaries located there. After killing some gnoll mercenaries, the Griffons discover that Sarshan has hired a gnoll mercenary company to fight in Cormyr on behalf of Netherese contractors. One of such shade agent is also a guest in the tower. After killing him, Erevan discover that the Netherese agent is carrying a relic from Iliyanbruen, alerting him of the Netherese activity in the Neverwinter Wood.

Meanwhile, they have being feeling harmless tremors rippling through the tower...

Session 7:
7 Flamerule?


The Griffons continue fighting their way in the tower, killing more guards, eventually discovering the laboratories where the dark one and shadar-kai sages develop Sarshan’s war experiments. The tremors begin to happen more often than before, but is nothing to be worried by.

Later they explore the gardens of the tower, where they have to kill Sarshan’s pets. However, after they killed the shadow beasts, they are surrounded by numerous shadar-kai guards, who ask them to surrender willingly. Greatly outnumbered, the Griffons surrender and are captured.

At that moment, the garden is illuminated and portal opens, and “old Brenat” (actually, Sarshan in disguise) crosses through it. At the other side of the portal, the Griffons recognize the Black Shrine and the Shadowfell portal to Neverwinter.”Brenat” is surprised at the scene, and the captain of the guards tells him what happened. “Brenat” introduces himself again to the Griffons, this time revealing his true identity. Sarshan is about to order them to be imprisoned, when another guard arrives and reports what happened in the foundry and Modra’s demise.

Pleased by these developments, Sarshan decides to offer the Griffons to join him. He says that this will even things out, as while it’s true that they have killed many of his men, they also have done him a great service by getting rid of the traitorous Modra and stopping whatever plans he had for the magical foundry. They also have impressed him with their skills, resourcefulness and determination, something that will be very useful when war reaches the Sword Coast. Seeing no more options, the Griffons decide to play along and accept Sarshan proposition to learn more about this war.

Even more pleased by this, Sarshan orders his captain to escort the party to the guards’ quarters on the third level of the tower, saying that he will have orders for them once they have rested. Just when they are about the leave the garden, and big tremor happens (strong enough to make some of the Griffons and a few shadar-kai fall on their knees) and an explosion can be heard to the east of the tower. One of the guards informs that the foundry has exploded, and Sarshan leaves immediately to see what happened.

Unable to trust in the Griffons, the captain of the guards summons his two pet umbral panthers and attacks them as soon as Sarshan is out of range. After killing him and his pets, the Griffons decide to open the teleportation portal Sarshan used a few minutes ago and use it to return to Neverwinter...

Session 8:
7 Flamerule?


The Griffons are able to activate the teleportation portal in time to heard another explosion, followed by a more powerful tremor than the last one. After peering from the windows of the tower, the see the Umbraforge’s camps in disarray. The tremors have broken open the slave pens, and the slaves have overthrown their masters and started fleeing to the north, while the mercenaries are trying to regroup and pull back from the destruction.

The Griffons cross the portal and arrive to the Black Shrine, but have to face a group of guardian specters who are watching the Shadowfell portal. After defeating them, the Griffons activate the Shadowfell portal and return to Neverwinter, and just in time. A great surge of shadow magic and elemental fire cross from the teleportation portal to the Shadowfell portal, destroying it just a few seconds after the Griffons returned to the natural world.

After a brief inspection, they confirm that the Shadowfell portal has been permanently destroyed. The Griffons believe that explosion must mean that Umbraforge has been destroyed for good. They decide to go to the Hall of Justice and report to Lord Neverember about Sarshan’s operations in the city.

Conclusion

The discovery and destruction of the Shadowfell portal reveal all the operation of Sarshan in Neverwinter. The Neverwinter Guard quickly raid Sarshan’s safe houses, seizing a lot of his merchandise (weapons, armors and the like), capturing some of his agents in the city, and even rescuing some people that Sarshan was planning to sell as slaves. However, no one of Sarshan’s agents knows anything about his operations outside of Neverwinter, they have no way of contacting him, and there are no documents or any other information about him in the city.

The Griffons begin to think that this will not be the last time they will meet Sarshan...

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 14 Aug 2023 08:02:57
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
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Posted - 18 Aug 2023 :  07:23:33  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Side Story 1: The Chaos Shard


This chapter is based on the adventure “The Tainted Spiral” (core), published in Dungeon Magazine 173, that I adapted to the Forgotten Realms.



Background:

During the eruption of Mount Hotenow, the southeastern district of Neverwinter was destroyed and the ground beneath this part of the city opened up, turning much of it into a seemingly bottomless chasm. The chasm released the chaotic energies of the Spellplague contained in a plagueland located below Neverwinter into the city. Monsters emerge from it regularly, leaving this area of the city an uninhabited ruin.

Over time, some of the energy of the Spellplague condensed in the sewers and the caves below the city, causing clusters of crystals to grow throughout this area. Called warp crystals by the races of the Underdark, these strange luminous crystals grow in areas with a strong connection to the Far Realm. The strange properties of warp crystals strengthen creatures from the Far Realm while weakening those native to other planes of existence.

The biggest of the warp crystals is called the Chaos Shard, a big crystal that exudes a malevolent aura of evil and chaos, and although it is not truly sentient, it does possess a crude, malignant will that draws other evil creatures to it. Recently, the combined influences of the Chaos Shard and the warp crystals have weakened the barriers between the natural world and the Far Realm, allowing a small group of fell taints, drawn by the power of the Chaos Shard, to pass into the mortal realm.

The dim-witted fell taints, believing the Chaos Shard to be a god, now worship it and seek to please it by offering up mortal sacrifices. The fell taints have been venturing out and attacking citizens of the Protector’s Enclave, and their victims are carried back to the sewers below the Chasm District to be either devoured or presented to the Chaos Shard as gruesome gifts. Over the last few tendays, the fell taints have grown bolder with their raids. Tales of horrific tentacled monstrosities attacking travelers in the dead of night are being spread, and a pall of fear has settled over the city.

Ivian the Unpredictable, a notable sorcerer who specializes in wild magic and works for the New Neverwinter government, has sensed the energy given off by the warp crystals and has come to the conclusion that it is connected with the Far Realm. Believing the Far Realm energy is related to tales of the monsters kidnaping citizens, he asks the White Griffons to investigate this matter. He believes that the energy is radiating from a location below the Chasm District and asks the Griffons to investigate and discern the source of the energy.

Session 1:
16 Flamerule


The White Griffons send their newest recruits, Abraxus, Quon, Haldir, Nogu and Fargrad, to investigate the sewers of the Chasm District and determine what it’s causing this strange energy Ivian has felt. Following clues left by the fell taints, the Griffons discover a network of twisting, narrow tunnels that spiral deeper and deeper into the earth, at the point where the sewers of the Protector’s Enclave meet with those in the Chasm District. The Griffons decide to investigate these tunnels.

The tunnels are illuminated by the dire radiation of the warp crystals, that exude the chaotic energies of the Far Realm, making traveling the tunnels an uncomfortable experience, specially for Quon, as her spellscar hurts every time she approaches the crystals. .

While exploring the surface tunnels, the Griffons encounter a cave where a group of fell taints and a dimensional marauder feasting over the corpses of their recent victims, and have to defeat them to continue their investigation.

As they continue exploring the tunnels and descending down into the earth, the Griffons encounter a group of wandering fell taints that they have to defeat in order to advance into the deeper area of the tunnels.

Session 2:
16 Flamerule


The Griffons arrive to a cave where they find the corpses of some male elves, members of the Ironleaf Trading Company that had been reported as missing a few tendays ago. The elves are the dinner of a group fell taints and their not so-friendly neighbors, a pair of chuul nymphs (immature chuuls). The Griffons have to defeat the monsters before being able to inspect the bodies. They recover the personal effects of the elves to report their fates to the authorities.

The Grffons eventually reach the heart of the tunnels, a large cavern home to a huge shard golem, the Chaos Shard. Although it is not actually sentient, the Chaos Shard possesses a crude survival instinct. To gain both mobility and protection, the Chaos Shard long ago constructed an armored, golem-like shell composed of warp crystals. The warp crystal shell is completely mobile and allows the Chaos Shard to channel the destructive energy of the Far Realm. The Chaos Shard has been using the Far Realm energy to “burrow” into the earth, as it is trying to reach the Underdark and return to its “home”, the plagueland below Neverwinter. In the process, the Chaos Shard created the spiraling tunnel network.

The fell taints have been bringing roughly half their victims into this chamber, dumping the corpses into the center ledge as an offering to their “god.” The Chaos Shard is hardly aware of the fell taint’s gifts, but this hasn’t stopped the foul aberrations from bringing it new victims on a regular basis. Four fell taints are guarding their “god” when the Griffons arrive.

After a hard battle, the Griffons are able to kill the fell taints and defeat the Chaos Shard’s golem-like body, leaving exposed its core, the Chaos Shard itself. The Griffons retrieve the Chaos Shard to give it to Ivian for research and leave the tunnels, having ended the threat of the fell taints in Neverwinter...



Notes
This adventure was run for a new group of players at the hobby store I used to play back in the day. Unlike my main Neverwinter campaign, this adventure was played using core 4e rules instead of 4e Essentials rules. It was supposed to be an one-shot, but it ended up lasting two sessions (because 4e battles tend to be time consuming...). I decided to include the events of this adventure to the story of my Neverwinter campaign later, when the players decided that the Griffons should recruit new members and become a larger adventuring band.

The characters are:

Daardendrien Abraxus
Male dragonborn paladin of Bahamut

A dragonborn paladin from Tymanther who left his homeland in search of a better future after his family disowned him for following the teachings of Bahamut. He traveled across the Realms, helping the people in need and fighting for the cause of good, and eventually ended up in Neverwinter. He joined the White Griffons as he felt they are fighting for a good cause.

(This is my character, usually a DMPC - I used him in this adventure because the party needed a defender/tank).

Quon Vrago
Female tiefling warlock (star pact)

A Sembian tiefling that left her homeland after acquiring an spellscar. She later sought out a pact with beings from the Far Realm and became a warlock. She traveled to Neverwinter at the whims of her warlock patron and joined the Griffons...

Haldir Copperleaf
Male half-elf druid

Hailing from the Ardeep Forest, Haldin came to Neverwinter after hearing rumors of the returned eladrin from Iliyanbruen. He joined the White Griffons after meeting Erevan Sulbrandil.

Nogu Proudfist
Female half-orc barbarian

The daughter of a Neverwintan merchant and an orc warrior from the Proudfist tribe (one of the tribes from Many-Arrows that lives in the River District), Nogu always liked her orc heritage, and trained with the orcs from Many-Arrows in their ways of fighting. Impressed with the fame the White Griffons have won, she decided to join them.

Fargrad Steelanvil
Male dwarf warlord

An old warrior from the distant Great Rift, who answered the summons of the Delzoun ancient dwarves. He was invited to join the Griffons by Norin Hammerfist.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2455 Posts

Posted - 23 Mar 2024 :  08:18:02  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
After some time battling against writer's block, it's time to resume my chronicling of my Neverwinter campaign.



Interlude 2: Midsummer


This chapter was a full roleplaying session



Midsummer

The Griffons celebrate midsummer with a party at Griffon Keep. Some of them decide to go to the River District to help the poor with food, money or other stuff they need, while others remain in the manor preparing the party. During the feasting, Alara confesses her love to Dargor. Dargor is unable to answer her, as dragonborn consider interspecies relationships somewhat taboo, but Alara reminds him that in Faerûn's culture relationships are not about politics and "egg-duty" and persuades him to give her an opportunity.

Chapter 11: The Call from the Depths


This chapter is based on a modified version of the adventure “The Last Breaths of Ashenport” (core), published in Dungeon Magazine 156, that I adapted to the Forgotten Realms.


Background:

Ashenport, a small fishing town between Neverwinter and Port Llast, should have died a generation ago, as did the other towns along this rocky coast since the eruption of Mount Hotenow. When the local priests could offer the townsfolk no hope, they turned to a darker patron, the Demon Prince Dagon. Ever since, the people of Ashenport have dwelt, if not in luxury, at least in comfort. Fishing, hunting, and farming are easy. Sunken treasures appear regularly in shallow waters. A trade route long fallen into obscurity has begun once again to show traces of life. But the Prince of the Depths gives nothing for free...

Every autumn, at the lowest tide, the dark waters beyond Ashenport sing a terrible song. The sea resounds with Dagon’s Call, a mystical summon that compels all who hear it—save for Dagon’s own worshipers—to march into the sea and allow themselves to drown. As the time for the sacrifice nears, Ashenport sends word to various communities and merchant guilds, inviting a few travelers to a festival where they trade fish, local crafts, and treasures salvaged from the sea in exchange for various goods difficult to come by so far from civilization. The storms move in, ensuring that those on the road must take shelter at Ashenport, and those already present cannot leave. Nothing now remains but for Dagon’s cultists to let the sea claim its due...

Nothing, of course, except the presence of a few strangers for whom the townsfolk are unprepared...

Session 1:
12 Marpenoth / 13 Marpenoth - dawn


The White Griffons arrive in Ashenport amid a seemingly endless storm. They have been hired as guards by the dwarf merchant Gord Hammerfist, who went to Ashenport to sell fine dwarven crafts, direct from Mithral Hall, in the Trade Fair. Searching for reliable people to watch over his caravans in the north, Gord contacted his cousin Norin for help. Norin in turn decided to contact Kaylara and told her about the Trade Fair. As Gord offered a generous reward for their help, Kaylara gladly accepted his offer.

Only Kaylara, Dargor, Alara, Norin, Sarena and Ritzo went to Ashenport. The rest of the Griffons remained in Neverwinter to help with the rebuilding efforts.

When they arrived to the town, the few townsfolk in the streets told them that despite the storm the mayor still plans to hold the trade fair, but that has decided to wait for the weather to clear up. The townsfolk are only too happy to point the Griffons and the Hammerfist cousins toward the Smooth Sailing Inn and Tavern, the only inn in town. There, they met other merchants from other cities of the Sword Coast and beyond. Most of them have no interest in trading for Ashenport’s fish or lumber, but they are interested in the treasures scrounged from the sea.

Among them, the most prominent are Terza Omoghael (female half-elf), an emissary for the Goldleaf Trading Consortium in the city of Everlund; Matthias Creel (male human), an emissary from Surrens, Creel and Blackwell, based in Waterdeep; and Jandal Phen (male human), a famous jeweler and sculptor from Neverwinter who hopes to sell his services to the folks of Ashenport to restore, reshape, and create duplicates of their various treasures.

Roughly 2 hours before dawn...
Slowly, gradually, a new sound penetrates the pounding of the rain and the howling of the winds. Barely audible at first, it resolves itself into an alien, high-pitched keening. It resounds with loss, with sadness—the lament of a mother who has lost her children or of the sailor stranded far from home. It echoes from over the waves and grows ever louder until the storm has receded into the background, insinuating itself through the minds and souls of those who hear it, until they can think and dream of almost nothing else. It is not beautiful. It is not comforting. And yet they find themselves overcome with an irresistible urge to follow...

Dargor, Alara and Sarena are able to awaken and resist the magic of this mysterious "call", and they help Kaylara, Ritzo and the Hammerfist cousins to overcome the foul magic as well. They also discover that the other guests in the inn are also affected by this "call" and are leaving the building en masse. They are heading to the docks and, once there, they walk into the thrashing tides and allow themselves to drown. A few ones, such as Terza and Jandal, did not succumb to the magic and are trying to stop those intent on drowning themselves. The Griffons help to save a few merchants and caravan guards as well, including Matthias Creel.

The "Call" ends 10 minutes after it begins, fading as gradually as it appeared. As the chaos ended, the few survivors discover that nearly all the merchants and their retinues have killed themselves in the raging waters at the docks of Ashenport...

Session 2:
Marpenoth 13 - morning


Even though there should be no way of leaving, due to the storm, the town appears empty. Nobody walks the streets, none of the tavern staff are present, and nobody answers the doors at the town hall and other buildings. The surviving merchants and caravan guards are frightened and are looking for anyone and everything to protect them. Terza and Jandal offer a hefty reward to the Griffons if they can ensure their safety and that of their people, plus find out what’s happening. Matthias Creel insists that the Griffons must protect him as well, but offers no coin.

The Griffons decide that they should investigate the town. The town seems completely deserted at first sight, but it’s not as abandoned as it appears. Although the official structures and shops are indeed empty, most of the private homes are not. Their inhabitants claim that the strange sound of the previous night has happened before, and they are hiding themselves away until they’re sure it’s safe. Although they do not trust them, the Griffons left them be and continue investigating.

While exploring the Ash Grove in the center of the town, they are attacked by a group of alienated townsfolk who fight to the death. This fight prompts the Griffons to interrogate the citizens they met earlier, but when they return to their houses they find them empty...

Session 3:
Marpenoth 13 - morning / highsun


After a fruitless search, the Griffons decide to return to the Smooth Sailing Inn, where they discover the innkeeper trying to sneak into the building. They interrogate him and discover that he is a member of the cult of Father Dagon, a demonic cult that worships the demon lord Dagon.

He admits that the town leaders are also part of the cult, and have likely gone to prepare for a religious rite that the cult practices once a year. He claims that this rite is meant to protect the townspeople from the "call of the sea". The innkeeper also admits that he was trying to drug the food to make the outsiders more susceptible to Dagon’s Call, though he doesn’t say why.

The innkeeper also warns them about a second Call that will happen at noon (a noon that remains as dark as night due to the storm), and the Griffons decide to reunite with the other survivors and tell them what they have discovered.

Kaylara, Sarena and Alara bolster the Griffons’ magical defenses to withstand the magic of the Call and so they would be able to help the others to resist the magical compulsion. This time, however, Dagon’s followers aren’t content to leave things to chance. As the Call sounds and the Griffons go about trying to save the merchants and others who succumbed, the sea reach out for them in the form of several truly horrific, shambling fish-like humanoid creatures. Thanks to the help of a few caravan guards who either endured the Call or were awakened from it, the Griffons were able to kill the fish-men in time to save Gord, Terza, Jandal and Matthias, and a few of the other merchants and caravan guards, maintaining casualties to a minimum.

The Griffons then left the innkeeper’s fate to Terza and her group to decide, while they go to the Gleaming Dawn Church to try to get answers from the town leaders.

Session 4:
Marpenoth 13 - afternoon


Once the Griffons have braved the winds to get to the church, they find it empty. After a few minutes of investigation, they find a secret door that leads to an underground complex. There, they have to fight against another group of fish-men and their fellow human cultists, among them the mayor of the town and a priestess of the cult.

After defeating them, the Griffons interrogate the mayor and the priestess, who reveal that the entire town belongs to the cult of Dagon. Every single citizen is a member of the cult. The priestess also reveals that she is not the leader of the cult, and that “High Priest Althanis” will punish them for their transgressions.

Ritzo then ruthlessly kills them both to avoid any future unpleasantness from their part. After this battle, the Griffons explore the area and find some books about demon lore, including an abridged translation to common of Iggwilv’s Demonomicon.

Session 5:
Marpenoth 13 - afternoon


The Griffons resume their exploration of the underground complex, and finally reach the chamber of the altar, were High Priest Althanis and his under-priests are conducting some evil ritual. While the non-combatant cultists flee from the chamber, Althanis tries to convince the Griffons to join his cult and partake of Dagon's blessings, but they gallantly refuse and a big battle ensues.

The Griffons have to fight against more fish-men and mad cultists before they can take down Althanis. In his dying breaths, Althanis reveals that he is not the true leader of cult, but just a humble servant of the “Voice”...

They also discover that one of the dead fish-men has the same tattoo the Goldleaf guards sport, and realize the horrible truth: the fish-men are abominations created from the bodies of those who died under the effects of the Call.

The Griffons them decide to return to the to the Smooth Sailing Inn to inform the others of what has transpired, but first have to deal with a group of mad cultists who remained behind to ensure their fellows had enough time to flee.

Session 6:
Marpenoth 13 - night / Marpenoth 14 - morning


As the Griffons leave the church, they fall prey to the third Call of Dagon. This time, all but Norin succumb to the foul magic. Luckily for them, Norin is able to free Kaylara from the Call, and she then uses her bardic magic to free the rest of the group. The Griffons then rush to the inn, just in time to save Gord from drowning himself. They also discover that only a handful of the others have survived until now. Just a few caravan guards and Terza; the rest of the merchants are gone.

The Griffons share all what they have discovered with the survivors, and in turn one the guards reveals that just before the last Call started he spotted several townsfolk going to a rocky area beyond the docks. The Griffons suspect that the true leader of the cult, the “Voice”, must be hiding there and decide to investigate the area, but they must rest first. They prepare as much as they can to resist a fourth Call, including leaving Gord, Terza and the other survivors inside the basement of the inn, that they lock from outside.

Luckily for them, the dawn rises without any new incident and the Griffons are ready to explore the rocky area. There, they find a cave system that is only accessible for a few hours around the year’s lowest tides. Inside the caves there are not only more fish-men waiting for them, but also more powerful aquatic demons as well. After a series of really hard fights against Dagon’s demons, the Griffons finally reach the heart of the cave system and face the “Voice”: an alien, demonic reflection of the ancient, primal evil of Dagon!

Session 7:
Marpenoth 14 - morning


The battle against the "Voice", an avatar of Dagon, and its demonic minions is hard and brutal, but in the end the Griffons prevail. However, Ritzo was killed during the battle and his body is lost to the sea. Only the backpack where he stashed the Demonomicon was recovered by Dargor.

As the lifeless carcass of the “Voice” drowns in the dark waters, the surviving Griffons hear a new Call. It comes from within the water, from beyond the cavern walls, seemingly from beyond the borders of reality itself. A hideous shriek, like the unearthly Call they heard so often since their arrival to Ashenport, but somehow different. It is a cry of rage, of fury unabated. Without pause, without breath, it continues, rises, until they can scarcely hear their own thoughts... And then, just like that, it stops.

This more vicious sound does not entice the Griffons in any way. Rather, this last Call was directed not at the outsiders, but Dagon’s own cultists. The Prince of the Deep does not take kindly to failure, and his wrath is lethal. By the time the Griffons return to the shore the storm abates, as though it, too, was a tool of the Prince of the Depths—and perhaps it was. The pounding of the rain dies into a fine mist, and the clouds shatter like glass, allowing streams of sunlight to pour between them.

And this light illuminates a town truly, finally dead. No sign of life remains, except for Gord, Terza and the few remaining caravan guards still hiding at the Smooth Sailing Inn. There is no trace of any of the town’s demon-enthralled citizens. Nothing except for footprints in the muddy beach that disappear into the tides of the wrathful, raging sea...

Grateful with the White Griffons for saving her life, Terza decides to return with them to Neverwinter, with the intention to open there a new branch of the Goldleaf Trading Consortium.




Notes:
There is a notable timeskip here (two months since the Midsummer session) that was necessary as the lore of the adventure mentions that Dagon's call happens in autumn. The timeskip was justified in-universe as downtime for the characters to train and live their normal lives, and that stuff.

At this point of the campaign, the Ratzo-lookalikes had became a meme in the group. We even theorized that they were not actually cousins, but clones. I suggested the player to change the character to see if his luck would change, as well. He created a kenku character, who ended up being another Ratzo-like rogue in essence.

The players reached lv. 9 during the adventure.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 23 Mar 2024 08:32:40
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Zeromaru X
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Posted - 27 May 2024 :  02:26:11  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A new update after a long time! Sorry for keeping you waiting, my few readers

Chapter 12: Murder in Neverwinter


This chapter is based on a modified version of the adventure “Dead for a Spell” (Eberron), published in Dungeon Magazine 206, that I adapted to the Forgotten Realms.



Background
Lord Neverember has a problem. As both the Open Lord of Waterdeep and the Lord Protector of Neverwinter, it’s his job to keep the peace in and between both cities. Despite his best efforts, crime in both cities is on the rise, and most of the political factions of both cities are rife with corruption. When prominent actress Kelani Roaringhorn is murdered at the Stargazer Theater, in the city of Neverwinter, Lord Neverember faces perhaps his most difficult obstacle to his dream of a unified and peaceful Sword Coast North.

More than just a sensation in the Sword Coast, Lady Kelani has powerful family connections in Cormyr and Waterdeep—connections that could lead to political strife between the already diminished nobility of Neverwinter and the Lords of Waterdeep (and potentially those of Cormyr, as well) unless her killers are caught, and quickly.

Given the importance of the case, Lord Neverember decides to seek the aid of outside investigators, fearing that possible corruption within the City Watch will lead to a diplomatic disaster (as the Lost Heir Affair has already demonstrated that some of his officials in Neverwinter are in the payroll of certain nobles of Waterdeep), prompting Lord Neverember to contact the White Griffons, who have proven themselves true allies in the past.

However, what begins as a murder investigation quickly escalates into a struggle between various major players and organizations operating within Neverwinter...

Session 1:
3 Uktar - night

The White Griffons meet with Lord Neverember at the doors of the Hall of Justice (the team this time is Kaylara, Dargor, Bren, Olivar, Blip and Sarena). Lord Neverember is there to greet them personally, given the complicated situation. While they travel on a coach to the Stargazer Theater, located in the Blacklake District, Lord Neverember quickly briefs them about the situation: Lady Kelani Roaringhorn, a famous half-elven actress and opera singer, was found dead at the Stagazer Theater.

Kelani, as she is popularly known, is the daughter of a powerful waterdhavian noble, Lord Adon Roaringhorn, who has influential connections with the Roaringhorns of Cormyr as well. Kelani is a sensation across the Sword Coast, respected for her acting talent and gifted with great beauty, poise, and intelligence. She is known for her starting roles in several productions, such as Neverwinter Nights, Seven Swords Snarlclash, and Chult. She has many admirers and suitors and, as recent events have demonstrated, apparently some enemies as well.

Although her fame and her father’s power and influence make Kelani’s resurrection all but certain, Lord Neverember believes that her death could have grave consequences unless the murderer is found and swiftly brought to justice. He believes that Lord Roaringhorn’s reaction to the murder might sour the already tense relations between the nobles of Waterdeep and Neverwinter. Solving the case before Lord Roaringhorn arrives to claim his daughter’s body is likely the only way to prevent a diplomatic disaster.

The Stargazer Theater used to be the most prestigious theater in Neverwinter, but that was before the eruption of Mount Hotenow. However, given the sentimental and symbolic significance of the theater, the place is still operational and its shows regularly sell out. The theater was built by Lantana gnomes during the rule of King Bann Alagondar, and is a highly magical place. It’s located on the rooftop of a great tower near the Blacklake zoo, and is open to the sky and protected from the elements by a force dome.

They eventually reach the theater, where four “Protectors of Neverwinter” (agents of Lord Neverember) are leading a detachment of the City Guard to keep things under control. Upon the stage is a grisly sight. A body sprawls on its back in a pool of blood—a young half-elf female, brutally beaten to death. Her hands show marks where rings once were, and her bare neck bears the bloody crease of a necklace harshly ripped away. An empty purse lies a few feet from the corpse. The scene seems obvious at first glance—a wealthy actress was targeted for theft and assault, with deadly consequences.

After searching the scene of the crime, the Griffons find two elements that they consider to be clues to solve the mystery: a very expensive necklace beneath the body (which is weird, as the scene seems to be a theft, but this valuable item was left behind), and what seems to be a crumpled page scraped from an spellbook, containing part of a powerful spell. There was also a costume box protected with a necrotic Glyph of Warding, but whatever the glyph was supposed to protect seems to have been stolen. From what the Griffons can determine after studying the body, Kelani was already dead when most of her injuries were inflicted.

The Griffons reach to the conclusion that the killers wanted to steal whatever Kelani was hiding inside the costume box (most likely an spellbook) and then altered the scene to give the appearance of a theft. When they believe they are done with the investigation, a beholder appears flying through the dome of force that protects the open ceiling of the theater, and attacks them.

The White Griffons deal with the beholder while the City Watch does its best to protect Lord Neverember, and eventually the beholder is forced to retreat.

Session 2:
3 Uktar - night

Some minutes after the beholder left the theater, a human man named Helais Bharauk, a wealthy merchant from Secomber, arrives at the scene. He seems genuinely shocked by the news of Kelani’s demise, and after being interrogated he says he had arranged for a private reunion with the actress. Dargor doesn’t know why, but he feels uncomfortable around this Helais fellow.

After Helais retires, Lord Neverember orders his men to have Kelani’s body taken to the Hall of Justice. Word of her death will be sent to her father in Waterdeep, and Lord Neverember expects that he will come immediately to Neverwinter to oversee the process of raising Kelani from the dead. Lord Neverember also suggests the Griffons that they go to Kelani’s residence in the Upper Lakeside Street and search for additional clues regarding an spellbook in her possession, or any hint of why she was murdered.

Kelani’s residence is a luxurious tower suite located in the Upper Lakeside Street, one of the few areas of the Blacklake District that survived the eruption of Mount Hotenow nearly intact. When the Griffons reach the tower it is currently empty, as the City Watch took Kelani’s servants in for questioning and are keeping them out of the Griffons’ way.

The Griffons investigate the tower until they are ambushed by a group of vampires who attack them. As the Griffons defeat the vampires, their leader surrenders. The vampire leader, a female tiefling, identifies herself as Zaniffer Karissa, a Zhentarim agent working for the Sembian ambassador in the city, Syra Wyndarr (in fact, all the vampires are revealed to be members of the Zhentarim, something that distress Bren, as the Harpers had heard rumors that the senior leadership of the Zhentarim are all vampires). In exchange for being able to flee unharmed, Zanifer reveals that the she was sent there to search for “some ancient spellbook” that was in Kelani’s possession. She also reveals the location of her superior, the Sembian embassy in the Protector’s Enclave.

While the Griffons were unsure to release her, in the end they allowed Zaniffer to flee and went to the Sembian embassy.

Session 3:
3 Uktar - deepnight

The Griffons arrive late in deepnight to the embassy, where they ask the guards to allow them entry, as they have urgent business to discuss with Ambassador Syra. While it is not easy, they manage to bribe the guards into allowing them entry (the bribe cost them 150 gp).

Inside the embassy, the Griffons meet first with Arcanist Malen Torr, a Netherese wizard and “counselor” to ambassador Syra, who quizzes them extensively about Kelani’s murder (he was already aware of it before the Griffons arrived to the embassy, as his actual job is being the spymaster of the Shadovar forces in the city). When asked, he acknowledges sending Zanifer Karissa to Kelani’s home as part of his own investigation on the matter, but shrugs off any violence done to the Griffons as “an unfortunate misunderstanding.”

Once Malen is aware that the Griffons are officially helping Lord Neverember with the investigation of Kelani’s murder, he quickly arranges for the Griffons to meet with ambassador Syra, who meets with them in her office. There, she asks for a full accounting of their involvement in the investigation and their thoughts on Kelani’s murder. She then proceeds to reveal the truth.

Early in Marpenoth, some adventurers working for the Sembian merchant princes (as far as Syra is aware; in truth, these “adventurers” were actually Shadovar agents working for the Princes of Shade) uncovered an ancient spellbook in some ruins in the Neverwinter Wood. It’s believed this spellbook belonged to Trebbe, a legendary Netherese archwizard. The spellbook was left under Syra’s care while arrangements were made to deliver it to an “interested party” in Sembia.

Then Syra reveals she had a secret affair with Kelani, whose family connections in Cormyr, and the animosity between Cormyr and Sembia, made things complicated for both of them. Although Syra’s counselor, Malen Torr, kept their tryst under wraps, the ambassador was hopelessly ensnared by Kelani’s charms. Eventually, the actress enticed the ambitious Syra into her plots by revealing that she was actually a Zhentarim agent. Kelani convinced Syra to lend her the spellbook, promising she would return the tome to her once she managed to improve her position within the Zhentarim.

With the spellbook no longer in the embassy’s vault, Kelani’s death put ambassador Syra in a terrible predicament. Upon learning of the murder, Syra panicked and tasked Arcanist Torr with retrieving the book at all costs, before it is missed. That’s why they sent Zanifer to Kelani’s home.

Syra also reveals that Kelani told her about meeting someone to prove the truth of her possession and this meeting would have allowed her to rise in the ranks of the Zhentarim. However, Kelani never revealed who was her contact, telling Syra that she wanted to keep her out of harm. The Griffons notice that Syra seems to have realized Kelani deceived her, as she seems less convinced of Kelani’s sincere desire to protect her than she lets on.

Syra finishes by offering the Griffons the ultimate lead in a murder investigation—the chance to interview the victim herself. She knows Lord Roaringhorn has been already notified of his daughter’s demise via a Sending spell, and he has instructed that no one is to see or touch the body until he arrives in Neverwinter. However, Kelani’s body is already in the Hall of Justice, and she can call some favors Lord Neverember owes her to allow the Griffons to use the Raise Dead ritual on Kelani.

Session 4:
4 Uktar - godswake / harbright

In the main hall of the Hall of Justice, Kelani’s body lies waiting for her father’s arrival. Over Lord Neverember and Arcanist Torr’s reservations, Ambassador Syra Wyndarr allows Sarena, the cleric of the White Griffons, to raise the actress from the dead against her father’s wishes.

Some hours later, after having rested, the Griffons meet Kelani in the guest quarters of the Hall of Justice. Syra Wyndarr stands quietly some distance away. Whatever conversation these two have had, it seems clear that Syra has reconsidered her feelings for the actress.

After thanking the Griffons for resurrecting her and remarking the irony of solving a murder whose victim was resurrected, Kelani confess that she regrets her involvement with the Zhentarim now that she has experienced death. As the daughter of a powerful waterdhavian lord, she quickly gained acclaim as an actress in Waterdeep and won many friends among the social elite of the Sword Coast. It was then when the Zhentarim contacted her, either because they found her acting skill mesmerizing or because they coveted the political influence of her father. After many years climbing among the Zhentarim ranks the old fashioned way, the acquisition of Trebbe’s spellbook should have guaranteed her initiation into their inner circle, but fate finally caught up with Kelani.

She then reveals that she was murdered by a trio of warforged that work for Belgos, the drow leader of the Bregan D’aerthe cell in Neverwinter. She believes (incorrectly) that Belgos learned about the spellbook and is behind the attack on her, and she begs the Griffons to kill Belgos to “avenge” her death.

After being questioned about what she was doing at the Stargazer Theater before being attacked, she reveals that she had arranged a meeting with Helais Bharauk, the merchant from Secomber. Helais work for “powerful patrons” in Neverwinter that control the underworld of the city (quite literally; while Kelani is not aware of it, Helais is one of the thralls of the Abolethic Sovereignty), and Kelani wanted to use Trebbe’s spellbook to also gain the favor of these patrons. However, she was attacked by the warforged before Helais arrived to the theater.

With this new information, the White Griffons decide it’s time to pay a visit to Belgos of Bregan D’aerthe.

Session 5:
4 Uktar - thulsun

The White Griffons manage to track Belgos in the Lucky Lady, a raucous tavern in the Servants’ Square of the Blacklake District. The Lucky Lady is owned by the Boromar halfling family (and mafia), and the halflings employees have no love for the warforged enforcers the drow of Bregan D’aerthe employ. The Griffons learn about the animosity between the halflings and the warforged by bribing the halfling employees.

The halflings also reveal that Bregan D’aerthe are allies of the Boromar family and that Belgos is talking with the Boromar patriarch, Saidan, in one of the private rooms of the tavern. The Griffons then face Belgos, and when they tell him about the warforged involvement in Kelani’s murder, the warforged attack them, starting a brawl in the tavern. The Griffons have to face the warforged, Belgos and his Bregan D’aerthe bodyguards, and the Boromar halfling guards. Amid the battle, some patrons of the tavern suddenly transform into mindless plaguechanged puppets (they were sleeping agents of the Abolethic Sovereignty), and attack all the fighting parties with suicidal rage.

Saidan Boromar finally intervenes and manages to stop the fight (all the plaguechanged puppets had to be dealt with, however). He then orders the Lucky Lady closed and the warforged to be taken prisoners for interrogation. The warforged reveal that they work for a Zhentarim agent who happens to be a rival of Boromar’s (who is revealed to be an ally of Zhentarim), who wanted Trebbe’s spellbook for herself. They reveal that it was this agent who ordered them to kill Kelani. The Zhentarim agent is someone named Cymril (to Bren’s shock). The warforged don’t know the location of Cymril’s hideout and are taken by Belgos and the Bregan D’aerthe for “judging”.

Boromar promises to help the Griffons learn the location of Cymril’s hideout by asking his Zhentarim contacts, but it’s something that will take time.

Session 6:
5 Uktar - elsun

Cymril’s hideout happens to be located in a ruined house in a street that used to be full of bookshops and the business of scribes, not far from the ruins of the place that used to be known as Maskado’s Maps & Legends Bookshop, in the Chasm District. The place is not only protected by Cymril’s minions, but also by the plaguechanged aberrations that live near the Chasm and that wander the whole street. The White Griffons manage to deal with the plaguechanged monsters and arrive to the ruined house in time to meet with Cymril, the former leader of the Harpers of Neverwinter, who everyone believed dead.

Session 7:
5 Uktar - elsun

Cymril greets the Griffons believing they are working for Helais Bharauk, who had arranged a meeting with Cymril at this place. However, Bren notices that there is something off with Cymril and tricks her into uncovering the truth: this “Cymril” is actually a changeling impersonating her. The Griffons have to deal with her and a contingent of her Zhentarim minions, as well as a group of plaguechanged aberrations that attacks them amid the battle.

Session 8:
5 Uktar - elsun

The Griffons manage to reach to the center of the hideout, where the true Cymril is waiting for them. When Bren confronts her about her deception, Cymril reveals her true story: she has always been a Zhentarim agent. Her mission was to infiltrate the Harpers of Neverwinter and subvert their operations for the benefit of Dagult Neverember (who was unaware of this Zhentarim plot).

The Zhentarim believe that Lord Neverember will eventually unify Waterdeep and Neverwinter, creating an empire on the Sword Coast. Such an empire could not only check the expansion of Netheril, but also would ultimately lay the groundwork for establishing a Banite emperor over the entire region. That was the reason Cymril created the Sons of Alagondar insurgency, to draw out those who opposed Neverember and eliminate them before they could cause problems. Most of the Sons naively accepted the high casualty rate of the missions Cymril led as the price of their revolution, without suspecting that she was delivering them to Neverember’s mercenaries deliberately.

She also confirms the rumors of the inner circle of the Zhentarim being vampires as true. They are all the spawn of a powerful vampire lord named Orbakh, who is the current leader of the Zhentarim. Cymril’s success in Neverwinter allowed her entry in the inner circle and Orbakh turned her into a vampire, that’s why she faked her dead. She offers Bren the opportunity to join her, but he refuses. Cymril doesn't believe this is his definite answer, however.

Dargor and Blip manage to steal the spellbook from Cymril’s hands by using a creative teamwork maneuver that took advantage of Dargor’s spellscar powers, but Cymril manages the battlefield before the Griffons can defeat her. All of her Zhentarim minions fight to the dead to protect her.

Just as the battle ends, two different groups arrive separately (but at the same time) to the hideout: one is a squad of Sembian soldiers led by Arcanist Malen Torr. The other is made up by Helais Bharauk and some bodyguards. Both want the spellbook for themselves.

Session 9:
Aftermath

To avoid further conflicts, Kaylara decides that the book “rightfully” belonged to the Sembians, and gives the spellbook to Malen Torr. Helais Bharauk retreats gracefully, but eyeing warily to the White Griffons.

Lord Roaringhorn arrives to Neverwinter a couple of days later. While furious because his daughter was resurrected without his permission, he publicly praises Lord Neverember for his commitment to justice and thanks the White Griffons for having solving the crime. Lord Roaringhorn and Kelani depart to Waterdeep the next day.

That same day, Syra Wyndarr is recalled to Sembia and she is never seen again. Some tendays later, a new Sembian ambassador arrives to Neverwinter, with Malen Torr still as their “counselor”.

Bren informs Toram and Theryis, the leaders of the Harpers of Neverwinter, the news about Cymril’s true allegiances. The Harpers are shocked and need to counsel with the High Harpers of Everlund to see how to deal with this revelation.

Meanwhile, the Abolethic Sovereignty decides that is time to keep a better watch over the White Griffons, as they are starting to become a nuisance...



Notes
The character of Bren Hornraven returns to the team after a long absence. This absence was explained as Bren having traveled to Everlund to report to the High Harpers there, as he is still a suspect of Cymril’s untimely death (Cymril was the former leader of the Harpers of Neverwinter). While still under investigation by the Harpers, now that Bren has returned to Neverwinter, he has been helping the Griffons again.

As for the warforged NPCs, I decided not to remove them when I adapted the adventure. In my Realms, the warforged originated in Abeir, created by the “engineers” of the kingdom of Shyr, who created the warforged to serve as their soldiers. The secret of creation forges was stolen by the dragon lords of Laerakond (Returned Abeir), who also created warforged for their armies, and they came to Toril with Laerakond during the Spellplague. Many warforged have traveled to Faerûn since then. The artificers of High Imaskar (that still exist in my Realms, given the timeline of my campaign) have managed to unearth the secrets of the Abeiran creation forges and are starting to create their own warforged as well.

As for the changeling, I used the 4e core lore for them. They are a subspecies of the dopplegangers and “always have existed” in my Realms.

All the characters gained lv.10 after the adventure.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 27 May 2024 10:59:06
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Zeromaru X
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Colombia
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Posted - 27 May 2024 :  21:17:26  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chapter 13: Siege of Neverwinter


This chapter is a homebrewed adventure based on my original take on the Siege of Neverwinter event from the MMO



Session 1:
14 Uktar

A tenday has passed since the White Griffons resolved the case of Lady Kelani’s murder, and they had taken a time to rest and recuperate from that mad quest of intrigues and shocking revelations. At 14 Uktar, Kaylara has decided they should return to business, and she reunites the group to talk about what they are going to do. Just in time for a new problem to deal...

Nearly at midday, Thayan forces led by Valindra Shadowmantle herself attack the outer walls of Neverwinter. The Neverwinter City Guard organizes a quick defense and is able to repel the first wave of enemies with the help of some adventurers, but it’s clear that this was just the forward invasion force. Moreover, Valindra has control over a dracolich, what makes the invading forces even more troublesome for the Neverwinter Guard.

The White Griffons are summoned by Lord Neverember to help organize city’s defenses, as Neverember cannot divide his forces in two (a force to deal with the Thayans, while another to watch over the Chasm, that is always full of plaguechanged aberrations looking to invade the city) without weakening the city’s defenses. Other adventurers in the city are also conscripted to bolster the city’s forces. Scouts have brought intelligence that the main force of undead is gathering near the Mere of Dead Men, and would arrive to Neverwinter in the following day or two, so the Griffons and the other adventurers have to deploy immediately.

Meanwhile, the townsfolk of Neverwinter have just heard about the imminent attack. Most of them are scared and confused as to what they should do. Some argue whether Lord Neverember’s decision to stay and fight is wise, while others are preparing to defy the Lord Protector and flee the city. After dealing with public order (calming down the people, and even quell a protest in front of the Hall of Justice), the Griffons then decide what to do. First, they must recruit a militia from volunteer commoners to defend the city. Second, they need to find a safe refuge for the non-combatants. Third, they must secure the outer walls. Lastly, they need to gather supplies to support the defenders.

While other adventurers busy themselves trying to recruit the militia, Kaylara realizes that there is no time to train them properly and decides to approach the leaders of the Sons of Alagondar insurgent group, Arlon Bladeshaper and Madame Rosene, as well as the Harpers Theryis and Toram, to convince the rebels to join forces with the Neverwinter Guard against the Thayans. Although they do not want to cooperate at first, both leaders of the Sons of Alagondar accept to join forces with the Neverwinter Guard to defend the city, under the argument that the Mintarn mercenaries wouldn’t be able to defeat the Thayans and properly protect Neverwinter on their own.

In the meantime, Dargor and Kara the Oghmanite aid the Neverwinter Guard to recruit workers to secure and repair the most crucial parts of the outer walls and the southeastern door, which were neglected since the eruption of Mount Hotenow. Likewise, Alara, Olivar and Sarena help Lord Neverember and mayor Soman Galt with the logistics necessary to sustain the defenders and to coordinate the efforts to help the townspeople to get to secure refuges, and that stuff. The plans are laid to withstand a siege for months if necessary.

However, the defenders are not aware that Mordai Vell and his Ashmadai haven been spying on them all this time while pretending to be helping them, and Vell has reported everything to his superior, Valindra Shadowmantle...

Session 2:
15 Uktar / 18 Uktar

As twilight of the second day begins to descend upon Neverwinter, thousands of undead came down upon the city. The battle for Neverwinter begins. As the battle unfolds, the Griffons have to deal with a number of crises, such as to raise the defenders morale or to help General Sabine with the battle strategy for the defense of the outer walls. One of the diversionary tactics used is to allow the Thayans to invade the southwestern quadrant of the city, as any undead or Thayan soldier trying to reach the city from there must deal first with the plaguechanged creatures from the Chasm.

Dargor, Alara and Olivar even form a kind of “special ops unit” (with the help of some of the other adventurers conscripted by Lord Neverember) to infiltrate the Thayan ranks outside the outer walls and disrupt their chain of command. Meanwhile, the remaining Griffons within the city had to deal with a group of Ashmadai cultists and their Dead Rats allies led by Favria (one of the high ranking leaders of the Ashmadai), sent to thwart the defenders efforts. While the cultists and bandits are killed, Favria manages to flee during the chaos of the battle.

Thanks to the Griffons’ efforts, the combined forces of the Neverwinter Guard, the militia forces, and the Sons of Alagondar rebels can repel the second wave of undead, although with heavy casualties for the defenders. The initial siege last for three days.

Session 3:
18 Uktar / 19 Uktar

The battle for Neverwinter expands during the third day, as a second front opens up in the Docks District. As the Griffons arrive at the docks, the surviving militia and adventurers defending the place are in full retreat. Members of the elite dread warriors of Thay, as well as a huge horde of undead, have managed to reach the docks of Neverwinter by traveling underwater, and so undetected by the defenders. The Griffons have to reorganize the defenders and deal with those invaders as General Sabine and her forces are busy dealing with a third wave of undead attacking the outer walls, this time led by Valindra herself and her dreaded dracolich.

After a hard won fight, the Griffons are able to secure the docks. However, this victory means little as the undead horde outside of the city seems endless. Worst, the Red Wizards are reanimating some of the fallen defenders to bolster their undead army. At midnight of the fourth day of siege, an unexpected ally appears to help Neverwinter, as an army of ghosts and specters arrives to fight against the Thayan forces attacking the outer walls. This force identifies themselves as the Eminence of Araunt.

Session 4:
20 Uktar - godswake / 22 Uktar

As the battle continues, Valindra’s dracolich is able to break through the walls and attacks Protector’s Enclave. With the help of General Sabine and her elite bodyguards, as well as some of the conscripted adventurers, the White Griffons fight the undead dragon but the creature is too powerful for the combined defender forces, and Kaylara is gravely wounded.

When everything seems lost, a death knight wearing the old armor of the Neverwinter Nine appears to protect Kaylara, and with his help the heroes are able to defeat the fearsome dracolich, forcing it to flee from the battlefield. The Neverwinter Nine death knight vanishes from the battlefield after the dracolich flees, as mysteriously as he appeared.

With her most powerful beast defeated, Valindra orders her forces to retreat. Without her to lead them, the other Red Wizards commanders flee the battlefield and the undead horde lost their will to fight, and are utterly destroyed by the combined forces of the defenders of Neverwinter and the undead fighting under the Eminence of Araunt’s banner.

Just before dawn of their seventh day of battle, the combined forces of guards and rebels are able to defeat the remaining Thayan forces near the walls and lift the siege of Neverwinter.

Aftermath
As the White Griffons are hailed as heroes of Neverwinter, the fact that a member of the Neverwinter Nine appeared on the field of battle is not ignored by Lord Neverember and the leaders of the Sons of Alagondar, who noticed that this knight appeared specifically to help Kaylara.

The Eminence of Araunt’s forces mysteriously vanished from the battlefield after dealing with the remaining Thayan forces. Unbeknownst to all, they establish a foothold in Neverdeath graveyard.

Despite all the losses and the mourning for those who gave their lives to defend the city, the White Griffons are once again publicly hailed as “Heroes of Neverwinter”, and their ranks increase when some of the surviving adventurers decide to join them.



Notes
As mentioned before, this “chapter” was originally played way earlier in the campaign, but when I decided to “retcon” and rewrite the story, my brother and I noticed some inconsistencies with the timeline of events, and I decided to retcon it to chronologically take place after the events of the Lady Kelani adventure.

There is not much noteworthy to say about this chapter. It was inspired by the cinematic trailer of the Neverwinter MMO game, and most the “conscripted adventurers” mentioned in the story were NPCs from the MMO used solely for fanservice purposes and they never appeared again in the campaign. I used the excuse of the new recruits as a failsafe to replace any future dead characters.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 27 May 2024 21:18:56
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
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Posted - 30 May 2024 :  07:19:12  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Infodump #1


A bit of background lore from my campaign. This is about my take on the short-lived Kingdom of Neverwinter, in which I try to solve all the mess of the canonical info about this time period of the history of Neverwinter




The Kingdom of Neverwinter

The Kingdom of Neverwinter was "founded" (if can be said that way) in the Year of the Blazing Hand (1380 DR, 348 NR), when the then Lord Nasher Alagondar crowned himself king after being convinced of it by the nobility and the common folk of Neverwinter, as they acclaimed him after successfully rebuilding the city from the ravages of the Wailing Death, the Luskan invasion, and the so-called Shadow War of the early 1370s DR (late 330s NR). Nasher Alagondar’s short-lived reign was a moderate one. He was an strong supporter of the Lords’ Alliance and Neverwinter remained as a member even after it was declared a “kingdom”.

During his brief rule, several spies from Luskan were discovered within the city, and Nasher became paranoid, believing war with Luskan was all but inevitable. He used his authority (or as some historians say, he abused of it) to conscript soldiers to bolster the army of Neverwinter, and the city became beset by unrest. Many of the nobles who once supported him began to secretly oppose his heavy-handed methods.

King Nasher Alagondar died at the age of 87, in the Year of Blue Fire (1385 DR, 353 NR), and speculation continues to the present day as to whether he died naturally, or was assassinated, or was just one of the many casualties of the Spellplague. After his death, he was succeeded as king by his son Bann Alagondar.

Bann Alagondar was the second son of Nasher, born from Nasher’s second marriage with Lady Delphine Babris, member of the noble family who ruled the city before Nasher Alagondar became its ruling lord (it is common knowledge that Nasher’s first wife and son were killed by the minotaur Koth Uth-Kalin when Nasher was a young adventurer).

King Bann was an ambitious and shrewd ruler, and is remembered as a great monarch who brought peace and prosperity during one the darkest periods of the Sword Coast in recent history. He noticed how decadent the Lords’ Alliance had become and how they were losing their influence and power after the devastation the Spellplague brought on Waterdeep. He saw potential in the expansion of the kingdom of Neverwinter beyond the borders of the city, and he sought to contribute to this expansion by pursuing bold, aggressive policies within the city and on its neighboring settlements.

Taking advantage on the chaos of the Wailing Years and the inability of the Lords’ Alliance to maintain a proper influence on the Sword Coast North, King Bann abandoned the Lord’s Alliance and established Neverwinter as an independent nation. He managed to convince the rulers of the nearby cities, as well as the leaders of the minor towns of the area, to become part of the kingdom in exchange for elevating them to nobility. His progressive policies and natural carisma brought a level of prosperity Neverwinter had never known in its recent history.

The kingdom of Neverwinter expanded to include the city to Port Llast to the north and Leilon to the south, and then expanded to Grunwald, Longsaddle and Yartar to the east. The kingdom was divided into small baronies that were centered in the many towns of the area, that ruled their immediate environs and were loyal to the central government in Neverwinter.

King Bann was married to Lady Caula Idogyr, a Tethyrian noble, and had three children together, Lyanna, Eamon and Tanamere. Though she was said to be a beautiful and charming woman who was much loved and admired by the people of Neverwinter, the Queen in private was also a deeply unpleasant, arrogant, ambitious, and grasping person. Bann found himself subjugated in his relationship and came to regret his mistake of marriage. He was repelled by her, and thus he fathered at least two illegitimate sons, Danal and Garland Never. The relationship gradually grew more bitter, and their children were to bear witness to this unhappy marriage.

Tragedy struck the Alagondar family in the Year of the Fallen Friends (1399 DR, 367 NR), when Lady Tanamere, the youngest of Bann’s children, died after defeating the green dragon Azdraka, the terror of the High Road. The demise of his youngest daughter affected King Bann deeply, and he fell into a deep depression and his personality changed, becoming grave, patient, and cautious. He also became conservative and pessimistic, and it became clear that the days of his bold policy-making were over.

Still, King Bann focused in the welfare of Neverwinter, and while the kingdom stopped its quick expansion, it remained a beacon of peace, prosperity and civilization during the early dark years of the 15th century DR (4th century NR). King Bann and Queen Caula died in the Year of the Eight-legged Mount (1410 DR, 378 NR), when The Prancing Dragon, the ship they boarded to travel to visit some relatives on Tethyr, was sunk in the sea. King Bann was succeeded by his daughter, Queen Lyanna Alagondar.

In her early years, Queen Lyanna Alagondar had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and spent much of her time at the House of Knowledge among the priests of Oghma. Lyanna used her position as Queen to shift the political landscape away from militarization and expansionism, working with the priests of Oghma to bring free education to the masses and usher in long-term prosperity for Neverwinter. She also introduced the faith of Bahamut to Neverwinter, despite the complaints of the few worshipers of Tyr that still remained in the city.

Despite being the Queen, Lyanna was known to work alongside the priests of Oghma, educating children, often seen wearing clothes more becoming of a commoner. Opinion of her policies and her right to rule steadily changed over the years as Neverwinter's fortunes improved. She reformed the Neverwinter Nine from her personal bodyguards into her inner circle of protectors and military advisors.

Though the Queen never married (allegedly, because she grew disenchanted with the idea seeing how marriage had made her parents unhappy), her love affairs with a travelling waterdhavian bard named Ludovic were well-known among the nobility, and in the Year of Staves Arcane (1415 DR, 383 NR) she became pregnant. She raised her son, Preston, to be educated and kind, insisting that he spend much of his time among the people to better understand their struggles.

In the Year of the Dark Goddess (1420 DR, 388 NR) the barony of Conyberry was destroyed by an attack of “invaders” (the Gray Wolf Uthgard Tribe, though this was a fact people was not aware of at the time), and Queen Lyanna had to give more freedoms to the nobility in military matters for defensive purposes, despite her reservations.

In the late summer of the Year of the Fallen Tower (1447 DR, 415 NR), the featherlung plague struck Neverwinter. When the Queen fell ill she insisted that the clerics not desert her people to show her special treatment. She died suddenly from the illness hours after, and it was later discovered she had been suffering from it for much longer than she let on.

Her son, Preston Alagondar, succeeded her as the last king of the Alagondar bloodline. He focused on improving welfare for the people across the kingdom. While this made him popular among the less wealthy, the nobility and the middle classes experienced increasing division as the fortunes of Neverwinter begun to shrink. Added to that, King Preston's dismissal of the rumors of an orc horde massing in the north and the posibility of Luskan infiltrators made the nobility of Neverwinter wary of his rule.

The Lords of Waterdeep took advantage of this to impose themselves with greater influence in the Kingdom of Neverwinter, now that the Lords' Alliance was recovering their power and influence in the Sword Coast after the revival Waterdeep experienced at the time. They managed to force King Preston to appoint his cousin Hugo Babris as the Lord Mayor of Neverwinter. Hugo was on they payroll of the Lords of Waterdeep, giving them great influence in the inner affairs of the government of Neverwinter.

Things took a dark turn when Preston Alagondar unexpectedly died on Altuariak of the Year of Knowledge Unearthed (1451 DR, 419 NR), after falling from his horse. By rights, his crown should have been inherited by Lady Emmera Alagondar (daughter of King Preston and Morganthe Tschavarz), but she was only 18 years old and deemed “too young” to rule by the nobility of Neverwinter (all of this, a plot of the Lords of Waterdeep to take control of the Kingdom of Neverwinter). Hugo Babris took the regency until Lady Emmera was 20 years old, an age the nobles considered was the right one for her to assume the crown.

However, things complicated when the forces of Netheril took advantage of the death of the king to invade Neverwinter and use it as the center of operations to locate the lost enclave of Xinlenal, believed to be somewhere in the Neverwinter Wood. Led led by the tiefling captain Herzgo Alegni, the Netherese and their loyalists infiltrated the power structure of Neverwinter and gained control of the kingdom in all but name within just one month, and Herzgo Alegni pressed even that line, having the Winged Wyvern briefly renamed after him. Although the Netherese took over the kingdom, they didn't rule it directly, instead allowing Hugo Babris to rule Neverwinter in their stead.

The end of the Kingdom of Neverwinter came a few months later, with the eruption of Mount Hotenow. The resultant earthquake and combination of pyroclastic flow and lava destroyed much of the region, including the city of Neverwinter itself. Thousands of citizens died during the cataclysm, including the Alagondar royal family, while many others fled to other cities, leaving only a desperate few to carve out an ill existence among the ruins...

Excerpt from “Pocket History of Neverwinter”, by Kara the Oghmanite, published in Neverwinter the Year of the Grinning Halfling, 1481 DR (449 NR).

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Zeromaru X
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Colombia
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Posted - 31 May 2024 :  07:31:32  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Side Story 2: Into the Forge of the Dawn Titan


This chapter is based on the “Forge of the Dawn Titan” Lair Assault adventure.



Background:
Many years before the cataclysm that destroyed the city of Neverwinter, cultists of Asmodeus calling themselves the Ashmadai began working in the region as agents of the Thayan lich, Szass Tam. The exact nature of the bargain between Szass Tam and the cult—or perhaps between the lich and Asrnodeus himself—remains unclear to anyone but the cult leaders, but Szass Tam has a powerful magic scepter in his possession that the Ashmadai cultists consider a holy relic.

The Ashmadai have been split into two factions. One group, led by the dwarf Favria, is slavishly loyal to Asmodeus. Older and less intellectual, this group follows the holder of the scepter without asking questions. The other group, led by a tiefling named Mordai Vell, is manipulative and seeks to wield power, rather than pay homage to it. This group is less dedicated to Thay and has orchestrated the Ashmadai’s rise to power in Neverwinter through shady deals and manipulation.

After Valindra Shadowmantle’s forces attacked Neverwinter, the Ashmadai became bolder. Mordai Vell and his followers have been pushing the cult into the open, marking buildings whose occupants have suffered the wrath of the cult of Asmodeus. To worsen the situation, the Nasher rebels are taking advantage of the fact that the Thayan attack decimated the Mintarn mercenaries working for Lord Neverember to create chaos.

Some days ago, Mordai Vell discovered the catacombs of the Waterclock Guild hidden beneath a large mausoleum in Neverdeath graveyard. The Waterclock Guild was an organization of artisans known for building beautiful and intricate watercloks without using magic. It also had a hand in designing the mechanisms that the dwarves of Gauntlgrym used to bind Maegera the Inferno, a fiery primordial that slumbers below Mount Hotenow. Using the records he discovered in the Waterclock Crypts, Mordai Vell has found a path under Mount Hotenow that bypasses Gauntlgrym, giving him access to the primordial and its power.

Mordai Vell has always resented the Ashmadai’s forced relationship with the Thayans, and he always has been plotting his own rise to power. Now that he has found a way to Maegera’s prison, he plans to use the power of the primordial to create a new scepter in the image of the original but with greater power. If he succeeds, Neverwinter and the whole Sword Coast would be doomed.

Even when Lord Neverember’s agents discovered Mordai Vell’s plans and managed to acquire a map of the tunnels below Mount Hotenow, Lord Neverember’s remaining forces are busy dealing with the revolts in the streets and cannot deal with Mordai Vell’s shenanigans. For this reason, Lord Neverember asked the White Griffons to eliminate Mordai Vell. With most of the senior White Griffons still healing from the injuries suffered during the siege of Neverwinter, it’s up to a small team of their junior members to go to the Forge of the Dawn Titan and deal with Mordai Vell once and for all.

Unique session:
28 Uktar

When the Griffons arrive to the old chamber below Mount Hotenow, Mordai Vell is already working on his mighty ritual to create a new scepter of Asmodeus. He calls on the powers of Asmodeus and Maegera to protect him, allowing him to unleash many elementals, seared devils and fire undead creatures to the Griffons. The few cultists helping Mordai Vell also attack the Griffons to make time for their leader to finish the ritual.

The Griffons realize that they have at much 5 minutes to stop Mordai Vell before he can complete the scepter, and begin to navigate the old, crumbling chamber room while fighting the Ashmadai cultists and their summoned creatures. However, after a minute of combat the room turns hotter and a lava stream bursts from the eastern wall and inundates part of the chamber, making crossing the room more difficult. Abraxus and Haldir notice the primordial magic at work: Maegera is releasing elemental fire to try to defend Mordai Vell.

Despite the odds, the Griffons manage to kill most of the creatures and cultists, and reach the Forge of Souls, but Haldir and Fargrad are gravely wounded and Quon was killed by a hell hound summoned by Mordai Vell. Thanks to the team work of Abraxus and Haldir, as well as Fargrad’s noble sacrifice, Nogu is able to reach Mordai Vell before the time limit and beheads him, putting an end to his threat to Neverwinter.

The surviving cultists flee, making easier for the group to eliminate the remaining summoned creatures. However, Haldir dies after accidentally falling into a pit of lava (the chamber is collapsing and the floor opened under Haldir’s feet). After the battle, Abraxus throws Mordai Vell’s body into the lava pit, and he and Nogu flee from the chamber before it collapses...

Conclusion
With Mordai Vell dead, the Ashmadai cease their terrorist acts, at least for the time being. However, they are far from leaderless, as Favria takes command of the whole cult, devoting their efforts to the Thayan cause wholeheartedly.

The White Griffons mourn their fallen comrades as the city of Neverwinter becomes just a bit more peaceful...



Notes
This adventure was ran for the second group of players from the store I used to play in those days, that I later adapted to be part of my regular campaign.

As for the Lair Assault program, it was an official WotC program that provided ultra-challenging, combat focused dungeon raid-style adventures that were supposed to be played in a single session, regardless of if the players were able to win it or if it ended in TPK. The program was short-lived, only lasting for 7 seasons.

The characters are:

Daardendrien Abraxus
Male dragonborn paladin of Bahamut

Quon Vrago
Female tiefling warlock (star pact)

Haldir Copperleaf
Male half-elf druid

Nogu Proudfist
Female half-orc barbarian

Fargrad Steelanvil
Male dwarf warlord



Side Story 3: Pirate Mayhem


This chapter is based on the “Talon of Umberlee” Lair Assault adventure.



Background:
Early in Uktar, Lord Neverember learned of an artifact called the “Talon of Umberlee”, which has the power to protect his city against threats from the sea. Lord Neverember hired a reliable privateer, Captain Szart Tilhavar, and his ship, the Floating Cask, to travel along the Sword Coast to Waterdeep with a sizable purse and acquire the artifact, which had found its way onto the black market of that city.

After paying an outrageous sum for the artifact and plotting a return trip to Neverwinter, Szart and his crew were set upon by Tidescourge pirates. The Floating Cask went down with all hands, but not before Captain Tilhavar used a sending stone to inform Lord Neverember of the attack and his misfortune.

Lord Neverember knows that the merciless Tidescourge pirates use Port Llast (a ruined settlement north of Neverwinter) as a base, but he currently doesn't have the military might to mount a serious offensive against them. Instead he plans to send one ship, the Neverwinter’s Pride, with a strike team of adventurers as its crew. For this reason he contacts the White Griffons and hires them for this task.

Unique session:
5 Nightal - thulsun / night / 6 Nightal - godswake

Mayor Soman Galt meets with the White Griffons to give them some last time information: Lord Neverember’s agents managed to capture one of the Tidescourge pirates, who revealed that his leader, Captain Bloodbath, is holed up in Murdershoal, an off-shore pirate hideout not so far from Port Llast. Divinations have revealed that the Talon of Umberlee is hidden there. The operation must be quick: the Griffons to enter Murdershoal, snatch the Talon of Umberlee from its captors, and retreat from the place as quickly as possible, as any alarm raised in Murdershoal would be answered in just minutes by the pirates living in Port Llast. Likewise, the Griffon must return it and the Neverwinter’s Pride safely to Neverwinter. In exchange, they'll earn Lord Neverember’s gratitude plus a generous payoff.

After reaching Murdershoal, the Griffons manage to stealthy infiltrate it up to the trophy room, were Captain Bloodbath and her men are still celebrating their victory over the Floating Cask. As the pirates are drunk, the Griffons manage to take the pirates by surprise, killing some of them before the others can counterattack. Nogu manages to kill Captain Bloodbath before she sounds the alarm, but the captain’s first mate, Darla Deadeye, suddenly vanished from the battle zone. Rytzo then finds the Talon just as the alarm is raised, and the Griffons had to flee Murdershoal post-haste, before the pirates from Port Llast reach Murdershoal.

While the White Griffons manage to reach the Neverwinter’s Pride safely, the ship is attacked by a kraken before it can begin to sail back to Neverwinter. Three sahuagin attack the Griffons, demanding the artifact for themselves (they claim to be working for the goddess Umberlee herself). As the Griffons have been unable to rest from their encounter with the pirates, the fight against the sahuagin and the kraken is difficult. However, Abraxus manages to gravely injure the sahuagin leader, Baron Saarkrith, and he surrenders, ordering the others to retreat. Once the sahuagin leave the ship, the kraken leaves, allowing the Griffons to set sail to Neverwinter.

Conclusion:
Darla Deadeye is actually a doppleganger who impersonated the real Darla some time ago. Her true goal was to infiltrate the Tidescourge pirates, and with the death of the real Captain Bloodbath, she assumed her identity and took leadership of the pirates without no one being the wiser.

The White Griffons managed to return to Neverwinter, where they give the Talon of Umberlee to the priests of Umberlee in the city. They place the artifact in the newly opened shrine to the goddess in the Docks District, hopping to appease her wrath, at least for now...



Notes
Like the other Lair Assault adventure, this was also ran for the second group of players and later adapted to the story of the campaign. This time no player died because having learned from the last Lair Assault game, the players brought super optimized characters (and because, I’m a goody DM, and have no heart for purposefully killing characters).

The characters are:

Daardendrien Abraxus
Male dragonborn paladin of Bahamut

Nogu Proudfist
Female half-orc barbarian

Rytzo the Black
Male halfling rogue (another of the Ratzo clones)

Mithrandir the Prescient
Male eladrin wizard

Kallista
Female tiefling bard

The new characters are adventurers recruited after the Siege of Neverwinter.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 31 May 2024 19:56:25
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