The party decided to save their downtime for Nightstone.
Mission One: "Whipped by the Storm"
#A Hoot and a Half#
The parties travels led them to a long winding path, heading to the top of the highest summit in the Greypeak Mountains. Along the path, they noticed strings of words written in Giant. Oswald noticed that they formed mantras extolling the virtues of knowledge, magic, intelligence, meditation, and understanding. As such the party nodded but didn't understand the meaning at all. The air had gotten thin and cold, and they passed through a wispy layer of clouds. As they emerged from the clouds into the sunlight, the scene before them was magnificent. They were literally above the clouds, looking out onto an endless expanse of white. Ahead of them, at the end of the sloping path, was a large brass bell. Resting next to the bell was a mallet. A large opening in the side of the mountain led into a passage.
The party approached the opening, but before they could open it four giant owls swooped down and assaulted them. For a while it seemed as though another TPK was going to happen even with the consumption of two healing potions but thankfully in a classic case of Deus Ex Machina the storm giant Kraddokk wandered up and ordered the owls to leave the party be. He disabled the force wall which acted as the entrance to the Shrine and also the guardians, a cadre of Ice Mephits.
The cavern entrance was huge, large enough for even the Kraddokk to enter without trouble. The cavern was equally massive, with 50-foot tall ceilings. Although the ceiling had collapsed in a few places, littering the floor with debris and large rocks, the place seemed safe and relatively intact. Four huge braziers made of copper decorated the room, the bowls were dented and tarnished but still usable. At the northern end of the chamber was a long stone slab, 15-feet high. Tattered cloth still decorated the top of the slab. The walls looked like they were once covered in painted decorations, but they are now too faded and worn to reveal what they once depicted.
At a command from Kraddokk the braziers erupted into life and illuminated the cavern, exposing it's faded grandeur. Kraddokk roared with rage when he saw the bodies of five dragon cultists who had attempted to despoil the shrine (luckily the concept of theft hadn't even occurred to the heroic adventurers). He ranted for a while before sitting down and chatting to the adventurers imparting the following information.
- The giants are essentially at war with each other. All of the creatures of the earth, air, and sea are probably going to be caught in the fracas in some way or another.
- The age of dragons is over, and the age of giants has started. The adventurers may want to warn their friends and loved ones to steer clear of locations where giants live, or even where giants were rumored to live in the past.
The noble players kindly removed the dragon cultists bodies from the shrine and in gratitude were given six healing potions by Kraddokk. Of course, once out of sight they looted the corpses removing 200 GP and tossing the bodies over the cliff where the giant owls fed on them with gusto.
<< Insert game achievement for the Party: Friend of Kraddokk: You talked with the storm giant Kraddokk and did not desecrate the shrine of Annam. He tells his friends about your interaction with him. This friendship might bear fruit at a later date. >>
The party decided to save their downtime for Nightstone. They now have ten days each.
Interlude: The Journey to Nightstone
On the way to Nightstone, the intrepid party encountered an old nemesis of Angels called Nevile Guisgart, who had chased them from Parnast with a troop of cavalry. Unfortunately for Neville his will was overpowered by Oswald who charmed him and convinced him to leave the group be.
They also found a herd of deer, managing to kill one for dinner.
Mission Two: "Saving the Village of Nightstone"
After following the trail for ten miles, the party heard the ringing of a bell. The sound grew louder as Nightstone came into view. A river flowed around the settlement, forming a moat. The village itself was contained within a wooden palisade, beyond which they could see a windmill, a tall steeple, and the high-pitched rooftops of several other buildings. Apart from the ringing of the bell, they could detect no other activity in the village. The trail ended before a lowered drawbridge that spans the moat. Beyond the drawbridge, two empty stone watchtowers flanked an open gap in the palisade. South of the village and surrounded by the river moat was a cone-shaped, flat-topped hill on which stood a stone keep enclosed by a wooden wall. The keep, which overlooked the village, had partially collapsed. A wooden bridge that once connected the keep to the village had also partially collapsed.
Approaching the drawbridge, the party saw hundreds of footprints going in all directions but declined to investigate. Entering the first building they found (5. Temple) they discovered a wooden temple dedicated to Lathander (god of the dawn) and Mielikki (goddess of forests). It had a slender steeple containing a large bronze bell, and stained glass windows depicting images of birth, the dawning sun, trees, and unicorns. When the characters first arrived here, the front door to the temple was wide open and the bell was ringing incessantly.
#The Temple of Landander and Mielikki#
Entering the temple, the party saw sunlight pouring into the high-vaulted chamber through four stained-glass windows set into the north and south walls. Beneath the windows were plain wooden benches for the elderly or infirm to sit on. The room was mostly empty otherwise. Standing against the back wall was a wooden pulpit with steps leading up to it. The floor of the temple was composed of dirt. Set into the west wall, north of the pulpit, was a half open door
Entering the door they discovered a back room containing a plain wooden bed where Hirai Mystrum, the village's acolyte of Lathander, slept. The mattress had been torn open and its straw pulled out. The floor is strewn with the contents of two wooden chests: priestly vestments and worthless personal effects. The creatures responsible for the disarray are two goblins named Beedo and Vark. The goblins were gleefully swinging on a well hung knotted rope connected to the bell in the steeple. The sound of the bell delighted the goblins, and they wouldn't stop ringing it until Angel ran Vark through and Oswald intimidated the other into telling them what had happened to the village.
Vark told the party that three days ago, a cloud giant castle had passed over Nightstone and dropped large rocks on the settlement and its keep. Unable to defend themselves against the bombardment, the villagers who weren't killed in the attack lowered the drawbridge and fled into the nearby hills, taking refuge in some caves. Once the village was abandoned, four cloud giants descended from the sky, uprooted the nightstone, and bore it back to their castle. The cloud castle then drifted away with its prize. The villagers were surprised to find Vark and a clan of goblins, who had been driven from the Ardeep Forest by wood elves and had taken refuge in the Dripping Caves a little over a month ago. While scouring the hills for food a week before meeting the villagers, the goblins had also befriended a mated pair of ogres and lured them to the caves for protection. The villagers were ambushed on entering the caves, captured, and brought before Hark, the goblin boss. Hark interrogated them, learned of the giant attack on Nightstone, and sent a band of goblins including Beedo and Vark to plunder the abandoned village.
Despite the Beedo being forthright and truthful, they slew him and looted his corpse. Each goblin had a sack lying on the steeple floor. Beedo's sack contained three blocks of incense (worth 5 gp each), a silver holy symbol of Mielikki shaped like a unicorn's head (worth 25 gp), and some stolen (and worthless) personal effects. Vark's sack held three empty vials that used to contain holy water (Vark drank them), a charcoal sketch of his wife and seven children, and an unlocked wooden "poor box" containing 2 gold pieces.
Abandoning the rest of the village - despite the DM saying up all night to draw maps of EVERY building. The party headed to the caves to save the villagers. The same caves that the DM had NOT drawn *mutters*.
#The Dripping Caves#
The hills around Nightstone are riddled with caves. The villagers hid in the Dripping Caves, located a mile north of Nightstone, after the cloud giant attack. The party followed the villagers' tracks to discover a gaping cave mouth on the south face of a rocky hill topped with pine trees.
The Dripping Caves contain no light sources. The goblins and ogres rely on their darkvision to see. The caves get their name from the water that constantly drips from the stalactites in the main cavern (area 1). The sound of dripping water echoes throughout the complex but isn't loud enough to drown out other distinctive noises. The tunnels leading away from the main cavern (area 1) are 7 to 8 feet high and range in width from 2 to 5 feet. Ogres and other Large creatures can squeeze through these passages, but they suffer the normal penalties for doing so. The walls are damp and slick, but thanks to an abundance of handholds and footholds, they can be climbed.
Using her darkvision, Thora infiltrated the caverns to discover in 1B a female ogre called Throbb sleeping in a stalagmite forest. She also found Goblin guards at the five locations marked 1A. Stealing Throbb's giant club she hid it outside. Oswald then used his mental communication ability to inform Throbb that someone had nicked his club and ran off into the woods with it. Throbb, in a furious rage fled the caverns and headed to the woods. Her mate Nob who was naked and scrubbing himself in a mud bath burst out of the pool to go to her assistance. The party then entered the cavern and swiftly took out the five goblin guards.
Luck being on the parties side, they headed straight to location 4. A short tunnel leading to a sunken cavern that echoed with the sound of flapping wings. The sound emanated from a naturally formed pit in the cavern's floor, which is covered with bat guano. Ten-foot-high ledges surround the pit and formed raised alcoves to the north, east, and south. Huddled in these alcoves were thirty Nightstone villagers. The villagers were prisoners of the goblins and ogres, and they were trying to remain as quiet as possible for reasons that were not readily apparent to the players. Luckily, Thora went in alone and in full stealth.
Directly below this cavern was another similarly sized cavern filled with thousands of bats. Any loud noise in either cavern would have agitated the bats.
The party liberated the villagers. Boss Hark had stripped the villagers of their weapons before herding them into this cavern. The villagers feared for their lives but couldn't escape the Dripping Caves until the goblins and ogres had been defeated. Every few hours, one of the ogres had been entering the cave, grabbing a prisoner, then taking the unfortunate villager away to be eaten (if not by the ogres, then by the goblins).
In the absence of a true leader, Morak Ur'gray (LG male shield dwarf commoner), the owner and proprietor of the Nightstone Inn, spoke on behalf of the villagers. Morak is an optimist, and he was counting on Lady Velrosa Nandar coming to the rescue. When he lay eyes on the adventurers, he breathed a sigh of relief and assumed incorrectly that they were hired by Lady Nandar.
Other noteworthy prisoners trapped in the cavern include Hirai Mystrum (LG male Tethyrian human commoner), the village's cowardly priest of Lathander, and six unarmed guards (LN male and female guards of various ethnicities). The guards were wounded by the goblins and ogres in the process of being captured; each has only ld6 hit points remaining. The other prisoners found here are surviving members of local families. All the adults are unarmed commoners, and all the children are noncombatants. They let Morak speak on their behalf.
The families are as follows:
Agganor Family. Destiny Agganor (age 42) is Nightstone's tiefling midwife. Her son, Grin Agganor (age 27), worked in the village's stable house, feeding the horses and cleaning the stalls for Lady Nandar. Destiny worships Asmodeus but doesn't impose her beliefs on anyone else, including her son.
Delfryndel Family. The Delfryndels are Tethyrian humans. They own and operate Nightstone's windmill. The surviving family members are Renarra Delfryndel (age 64), her youngest son Zalf (age 40), his wife Elize (age 37), and their two adolescent children, Darson (age 17) and Hildy (age 14). No family members died in the giant attack, but Renarra's eldest son, Olaf, was killed and eaten by the goblins.
Hulvaarn Family. The Hulvaarns are Damaran human potato and turnip farmers. The surviving family members are Godrick Hulvaam (age 32), his wife Prennis (age 30), and their three children: daughter Jehanna (age 12) and twin sons Ellis and Ghalt (age 9). The children lost their grandfather (Godrick's father, Nestor) in the giant attack on Nightstone.
Nesper Family. The Nespers are Tethyrian human pumpkin and squash farmers. None of them were killed in the giant attack, but three of them died at the hands of the goblins and ogres in the Dripping Caves. The remaining family members are Yondra (age 15) and her brother Sarvin (age 11). They lost both of their parents and an older sister named Sylda.
Osstra Family. The Osstras are Tethyrian human wheat farmers. The surviving family members include Thelbin Osstra (age 52) and his husband, Brynn (age 52), and their good-hearted nephew, Broland (age 23). Brynn lost his elderly mother and younger sister (Broland's mother) to the goblins. Summerhawk Family.
The Summerhawks are strongheart halflings. Taela Summerhawk (age 28), an apothecary, comforts her four young children, Barley (age 10), Midge (age 8), Nincy (age 6), and Dollop (age 3). Taela's husband, Larlow, was killed in Nightstone when a rock fell on their house.
The party led the villagers back outside and were in the process of returning them to the village.
#SitrepThora: Lv2 (850 XP), Tiefling Rogue, 173 GP, Silk Handkerchief, 2 x Potions of Healing, spell scroll of disguise self, three blocks of incense (worth 5 gp each), a silver holy symbol of Mielikki shaped like a unicorn's head (worth 25 gp).Oswald: Lv2 (850 XP), Human Scholar, 163 GP, 2 x Potions of Healing.
Angel: Lv2 (850 XP), Human Paladin, 304 GP, splint mail armour, 2 x Potions of Healing.