Princes of the Apocalypse

Session 12

The group heads off to the west en route to Red Larch. They settle down for the night, but are awoken by Brennik to the sound of barking and howling. After a brief scouting run, they realize that 5 gnolls are on their way to the camp. The group gets together with the commoners and rushes the gnolls with torches and yelling. They scare off the gnolls and sleep peacefully after that. The next day the group moves on past the Sighing Valley and comes upon a seemingly deserted camp. They instead find bugbears and battle commences. They have a hard time fighting but in the end win out over the beasts. They continue on to Red Larch, arriving in the evening and finding the populace building a palisade. The townsfolk all stop and greet “The Seekers”. The group receives a warm welcome and enjoys much popularity among the townsfolk. Word of their deeds had spread from rescued prisoners and through the workings of the factions in town. Flint begins forging mace that will contain Marlos’ Testament, Nessa gets sized for Dire Wolf barding, Bucca acquires the means to summon Perkins again and gets the coffer he found in the bugbear camp opened. Brenna returns one of Bruldenthar’s manuscripts to him, Lantian discusses sending Bruldenthar for reinforcements to Waterdeep with Harburk, and then all the members meet with their respective faction members and receive equipment and supplies. The party also learns that no traffic has been coming from the Cairn Road, a troubling development.

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Session 11

The intrepid group ventured east from the orog guardroom and encountered 3 cells full of human prisoners and one dwarf. The dwarf turned out to be Bruldenthar, the renowned sage and member of the dwarven envoy from Mirabar. They freed the prisoners using the keys they had acquired, but were not able to leave right away due to the guards. They returned to the guardroom and Flint and Lantian pretended to join Jurth and the orogs searching for the keys. They then surprise attacked and the fight was on. As the characters flooded the room the orogs and Drool the ogre came on with a vengeance. It was a tough battle but the team won out in the end, slaying all 3 orogs and the ogre. They then proceeded to lead the prisoners out through the front servant’s door without being caught. As they exited, night was falling and they made their escape under the cover of dusk. Brennik followed them out with a note that he would join them if they made an attempt to recover Samular’s bones (per Renwick’s orders), but would leave after 3 days of ignoring the quest. They rested in a dell near the edge of the Sumber Hills and decided to escort the dignitary Bruldenthar and the human prisoners to Red Larch. They then traveled an uneventful day west along the hills and camped.

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Session 10

The group learned about the Black Earth cult from their charmed friends, but got tired of them reading from Marlos’ testament and stopped them by telling them they were not initiated. They then waited until the two un-charmed monks came back with robes and then attacked. They swiftly dealt with the 4 monks, knocking one unconscious to interrogate. They learned that the monastery has a shrine where Qarbo spends his time and that the stairs down lead to the mines which lead further down to a locked door to Tyar-Besil. They also learned that the cult took prisoners from the Mirabar delegation. After finding all this out, the monk started yelling for help but was quickly silenced by Lantian. Lantian and Flint don cultist robes and masks and the group headed towards the shrine where Qarbo could be found. After peeking in and seeing him, they had second thoughts about attacking and retreated stealthily to the courtyard. The party deliberated in the courtyard, but noticed that one of the statues was watching them. The gargoyle attacked and the party vanquished it. They retreated to the hallway to see a woman exiting the dojo adjacent to the scriptorium. They held still and silent as the blind monk passed and narrowly evaded detection. She locked herself in a room just north of the courtyard. The party peeked into the dojo and saw 2 unconscious monks and one tending to them. Then the door to Renwick’s room opened and Bucca and Nessa rejoined the group (invisibly). The invisible members checked out the garden and found the statues seemed to be too lifelike and frightened looking to be natural and saw another gargoyle waiting on the roof. The party then headed downstairs and ran into Jurth and his cronies. Lantian and Flint talked to Jurth and asked for his keys. Brenna stealthily took Jurth’s keys and got away with them. She snuck over to the south door and started opening it just as Jurth was sending Lantian and Flint back to talk to Qarbo for keys. Jurth ran to the door and looked outside, while Brenna snuck under his outstretched arms into the hall beyond. Flint and Lantian went up the stairs a little way and devised a plan to bribe the guards for the keys. When they returned, they paid 20gp, but when Jurth looked for his keys they were gone. He began berating and hitting Drool, the ogre, for taking them. As he did, the rest of the party snuck into the south hall while the orogs were distracted. Just as they closed the door behind them their invisibility wore off.

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Session 9

The adventurers receive disguises from “Eric” and try to decide what to do next. While observing the gate to the Water cult’s portion of the underground city, the party hears a horn blow. “Eric” says the city is going in to lockdown and they need to get out now. The party races for the exit and escapes just before the doors close. After trekking under the ground, they arrive outside in the middle of the night. They walk a ways from the entrance of the cave and rest. The following morning they rush to catch up to the prisoners they freed the day before. When they catch up, they explain that they had to flee from a greater force and explain that they will return. They leave “Eric” (Derrik) with the escapees (who head to Yartar) and head east towards where they believe the Sacred Stone Monastery might be. While resting in the night, Ikki hears a scuffle of armor and roaring a ways from the camp. Flint and Bucca investigate and the party discovers a plate mail clad figure fighting an owlbear. They party discovers it is the Watchful Knight and converses with it (with some difficulty). After agreeing to follow the knight, the party walks on through the night and stops in the morning to rest. As afternoon passes, the Knight wakes the party as a group of people approach. The people appear to be pilgrims with 2 guards returning from visiting a cairn to their ancestors. They do not trust the party and carry on without too much interaction. As the party walks into the evening, they approach a canyon with sandstone walls. The Knight beckons them forward and approaches a sandstone monastery. The Knight flies over the wall and the party follows as best they can. This leads to the rear of the building where a gate and low walls give easy enough access for the party. They stealthily enter the building following the Knight and work their way in to a laboratory. Here they meet Renwick, the owner and creator of the Knight. He turns out to be a lich, who uses the Watchful Knight (Brennik) to feed his phylactery using bandits and the like and keeping watch out for upstanding adventurers who would return the bones of his brother to him. His brother, Samular Caradoon, was the founder of the Knights of Samular and Renwick wishes to bury him in the crypt he has prepared. As the party tries to figure out if they want to help Renwick, they ask him questions, visit his crypt for Samular, and decide to leave without committing to anything. Renwick gives 4 of the party members invisibility for an hour as an incentive. Lantian and Flint decline because of their distaste for necromancy. They then start to separately explore the monastery, finding an exit, stairs down to where 3 orogs and an ogre live, and a scriptorium with 4 monks. Lantian distracts the monks and Flint successfully charms 2 of them. They pass off as initiates and the un-charmed monks head to get robes and masks for them. The charmed monks sit down to teach the characters of the ways of the Black Earth Cult.

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Session 8

The party decided to continue into the underground city and found initiates tied to obelisks leading to the pyramid. They knock the initiates out, but not after the initiates sound the alarm to the room next door. They party is snuck up on while they figure out to do next, but they quickly dispatch the Howling Hatred Priest who attacked them. They then move into the next room and rescue 5 commoners that were being initiated. They killed a priest and ruined the cog for lowering the water level of the moat. They then continue on to the room where kenku are torturing prisoners and kill one of the kenku. Then they have a tense standoff, paying the kenku for prisoners. The kenku flee after releasing the prisoners but are killed. The party scoops up their gold and helps the escaped prisoners make it to safety, though not without loosing one to the kenku in the guardhouse. After returning through the guardhouse, the group narrowly evades detection while hiding the bodies of their enemies. Then they take a short rest in the torture room and are surprisingly undisturbed. They discover the barracks, a barred gate they cannot open, and meet the djinni Ahtayir. Ahtayir tells of his enslavement and how to rescue him (and use him to their advantage). As they ponder what to do next, they hear an initiate patrol coming by. They ambush the patrol, killing 3 and knocking out the 4th. When awakened, the initiate tells them all he knows and that he wants to escape. They ask him to get them disguises and he agrees to help them. They called him “Eric” though he does not use his real name since it was stripped upon entering the cult.

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Session 7

The adventurers slay 3 gnolls who ambushed them and let a 4th go free. Then they settled down to sleep in the gnoll camp. In the middle of the night, Lantian hears something big crashing through the trees. He wakes Flint and finds an Ogre coming straight for the camp. Despite a few scars (from Lantian getting landed on by 2 trees) the party slays the ogre and wakes up the following morning. They go to investigate the end of Knifepoint Gully and see a crack in the wall, a small cave. Lantian approaches and calls for the Earth Cultists. He gets a response in the form of a challenge from a hurricane. He tries to bluff saying he came from Aerisi, but the cultist sees through the ruse and attacks. 2 other hurricanes ambush from the walls of the gully, but both are killed. The 3rd runs deeper into the cave and is lost to sight. The party sets off after him but quickly realizes they wont catch him and that the cavern is much bigger than they anticipated. They follow the winding stair along the side of a chasm for miles before seeing a great dwarven palace stretch out before them. The city is beautiful, but is clearly in ruins. They try to enter, but the door is barred. Ikki and Lantian sneak over the wall with levitate and flight to see a group of terrible minstrels failing to play bone flutes while infuriating their director. They fly back and Lantian audibly boos. The doors to the guardhouse creak open and the party hears the wailing of tortured souls. They rush forward to find the source of the noise but are bombarded by arrows from arrow slits in the guardhouse gateway. As the party rushes through, they take a few arrows, but survive. As they regroup on the other side, Lantian spies on the minstrels in the courtyard and they make their plans for what is next.

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Session 6

The heroes awake finding they were drugged and captured. To their relief, Ikki seems to have survived, being stabilized by the poison. When the guards try to move them, they resist (Lantian headbutts a guard and Flint lunges at one), but they are restrained and punished. They are then taken from their makeshift cell (really a pen in the stables) and dragged to the spire. There a funeral seems to be prepared for Thurl, a dark priest presiding. The characters are lined up on the side of the spire as a dark ritual to instead raise Thurl from the dead begins. As they watch helplessly, they are suddenly freed by a gang of aarakocra who had been keeping an eye on the cult. A fierce battle ensues where the ritual is disrupted, the Howling Hatred cultists routed, and Thurl’s body is knocked from the spire. The party greets their emancipators and meets Mercurio and Garalt the aarakocra. Then the party realizes the knight who was knocked off the spire with Thurl may still be alive. They spot him trying to escape after having floated to the ground harmlessly. The aarakocra, Ikki, and Lantian give chase, kill the knight, and destroy the bodies to prevent resurrection. After this, the party loots the tower finding treasure and a note to Thurl from “His Queen” Aerisi Kalinoth. The group then spends the night recovering in the tower and leaves it to be defended by the aarakocra. They head east into the Sighing Valley in the direction indicated by the spyglass on the top of the Spire. They navigate the valley uneventfully until nightfall, and after reaching the gully they venture forward towards a campfire they spotted in the ravine. Bucca and Lantian try to sneak up to the fire, but are spotted by a gnoll ambush!

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Session 5

The adventurers set out over land towards the location of the spire after their night at the base of the Scarlet Moon Hall hill. As they approach the tower, they come to the edge of a valley in which the spire sits on a tall rock outcropping. Ikki is asked to go first and investigate, but by the time she flies all the way to the tower, she is spotted and a giant vulture takes off. She tries to outrun it but it caught and hailed by a member of the Feathergale Society. He invites her and her friends to visit and they agree. They walk the rim of the canyon and get to the drawbridge of the spire. After ringing the bell posted outside, the adventurers see a woman call to them from a window. She says her name is Savra, invites them in, and lowers the drawbridge. The group is welcomed and escorted into the tower. They tour the beautiful lodgings and go to the spire to meet Thurl Merroska, the lord commander of the Feathergale Knights. He invites them to stay until a feast for the 10th anniversary of the Knights. The players accept and continue to look around the tower until evening. At the feast Thurl asks the adventurers to regale him with their tale and Lantian obliges. Suddenly, a knight bursts in shouting that a Manticore has been sighted. Thurl offers a prize for its head and the party joins to fight it. They ride behind initiates on Hippogriffs and chase down the manticore. Ikki slays the beast and takes its head (and the prize ring from Thurl). After returning to the tower, Thurl treats the party to celebratory wine and listens to the rest of the party’s story and then answers some of their questions. They start to bring up the elemental cults and he gets very nervous. When asked about a cult sign for the Howling Hatred, he immediately reveals his allegiance and the party is ambushed by the cultists. The party kills Thurl and a knight, but Ikki is brought low by a knight and the party mysteriously passes out soon after.

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Session 4

The heroes learn from Bonkers that there is a “stone house” to the south with boats at it. As they near what appears to be a keep being rebuilt, they try to stealthily investigate. After finding that the keep is guarded, under repair, and flying a flag of Torm, Lantian approaches the gate and hails the guard. After checking with their leader, the guards usher in the party and take them to the keep. Here, the party meets a burly man who is brusque and to the point. He questions them harshly and provides little information back. The party is dismissed and runs into an old woman in the yard. She ushers them into the chapel and speaks at length about a religion revering water. The party tries to get as much information as they can, but then ultimately are expelled from the keep. After travelling into the evening, the party sleeps at a safe distance from the keep. They see a massive fire on a hilltop to the west and decide to investigate the following day. From the hazy skies Ikki can see a tower, several camps with tents, and a giant figure at the top of the hill. They take most of the day climbing the hill, arriving at nightfall. They send Nessa to investigate and she discovers the furthest camp from the summit contains druids. She finds the friendly and even welcoming, and the party stays with them a while. The druids speak of a rite that will happen that night so the party stays to investigate. Near midnight the group heads up to a higher camp and people begin to gather there. Two men guard the path to the top of the hill denying some people access while admitting others. The guards turn away several members of the party, but admit Brenna as she produces flames. The make a hand gesture to her and send her up. There she meets one of the druids and watches the ritual. The giant wicker man stacked with wood again, ready to light, and the people all chant. Then, two robed men walk through the crowd and select the druid, taking her to the back of the effigy where an old man makes symbols over her imbuing her with sparks and fire. She then walks into the wicker man and it starts on fire shooting out energy and flames. The crowd goes crazy and seems to draw energy from it. Then the old man raises his arms and snuffs out the statue. The crowd disperses and Brenna tries to talk to the robed men, but finds them to not be forthcoming. She tries to view the wicker man unsuccessfully and is told to leave the yard by guards on the tower’s scaffolding. Perkins flies up to the wicker giant but finds no trace of the woman or anything inside it. Nessa, Flint, and Lantian decided to go around the back of the camp and try to sneak in to the tower, but found the rear of the place well lit and inhabited by Hellhounds. One of them seemed to sniff out the adventurers, so Lantian snuffed the lights and they made a break for it. They alerted a small camp by making too much noise, but Lantian and Flint played it off like Flint was drunk and they continued on to meet up with the group. When all together, the group headed down the hill and camped a good distance from the creepy fire worshipers.

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Session 3

The adventure continues as the group leaves from Beliard, not without Ikki finding a new love interest and the party finding out about the roaming Watchful Knight. The intrepid group marched south about half a day and spotted carrion birds circling west of the road. A quick march and investigation revealed a battle scene several days old. A strange aura of the weight of the earth accompanied the area which was also pockmarked with rubble and craters. The party found a map and a golden mask in stone cairns nearby, but as they went to bury the dead they were attacked by ankhegs (seemingly drawn to the area by the aura). The party dispatched the creatures and followed tracks to the river, where they found keelboat marks on the shore. After sleeping on the riverbanks and scouting for signs of boats, the group pushed north back to the stone bridge, hailing a barge for passage unsuccessfully. They crossed the bridge and made camp on the western shore. Another day of uneventful travel passes and the party settles in for the night. As Brenna took watch, the party was ambushed by perytons. After a desperate scramble in the dark, they are able to defeat the creatures and continue their rest.

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