Thorvarian Tales

We Be Goblins, Too!

Near Guardmore Abbey, the Licktoad Tribe of goblins had prospered for many long years in relative seclusion, happily setting things on fire, doing battle with goblins, and staying out of the way of the Orcs who occupied the human ruins. Alas, such was not to be the case forever, as one morning a patrol of Orcs arrived and demand that the best warriors of the tribe be handed over to them for conscription. Thus, Reta Bigbad, Chuffy Lickwound, Poog of Zarongel, and Mogmurch found themselves heading south to lay siege to the human city of Thorvar. Being goblins, they generally gave a half effort and, at the first opportunity, deserted and fled back to their village. Unfortunately, they found that Guardmore was now back in human hands and those hands had promptly smashed and scattered the Licktoads.

Given the betrayal of their former compatriots, few tears were shed for the goblins former compatriots. However, the group knew that there was strength in numbers and, as such, wished to find another goblin tribe. The Birdcrunchers were nearby, but on their way to their warren, the group couldn’t help but notice that no sentries or other settlers were in the nearby lands to challenge them. The answer came when they were informed by Wise Mummy Sprattleharsh, shaman of the Birdcrunchers, that their chief had failed to drive an ogre (Pa Munchmeat) and his firebreathing hogs from their vicinity. The erstwhile Licktoads were enlisted for this task, after participating in a Chief Moot wherein they fired arrows blindfolded at flocks of birds, stomped stirges with human sized boots, and escaped from a gigantic pie. When the dust settled, Reta was declared chief of the Birdcrunchers, with all the rights and privileges she was therefore entitled to enjoy (mostly looting the Birdcruncher treasures.)

Unfortunately, the group was now required to go deal with Pa Munchmeat. After encountering one of his fire breathing pigs on the way to the farm (it was discovered that Pa provided his pigs with gourds filled with a weakened Potion of Fire Breathing to eat), they crept into the farm. Mogmurch’s plan was to use a pie loaded with Sovereign Glue found amongst the Birdcruncher’s treasures to trick and disable Pa, giving them time to dispatch them. Being goblins, however, this plan was quickly abandoned in favor of simply setting Pa’s chicken coops on fire to draw him out. In the ensuing melee Pa’s daughter, her Dire Ferret animal companion, and the Owlbear from beneath Pa’s house were killed. Mogmurch, finding his clever pie distraction no longer to be a part of the plan, elected instead to hurl it onto the ogre’s face and disable him this way. Thus was Pa Munchmeat brought low before the might of the Birdcruncher tribe, and a clutch of Owlbear Eggs acquired to the horror of all other sentient races living nearby.

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The Rain Part 3
Wherein battle is joined, a demon is defeated, and a hero falls

The party, concerned that whatever was trapped inside a metal container in the Vyrmen lab was going to escape, quickly scavenged some parts from the equipment and used it to jam the box closed, hopefully buying themselves the time they needed to complete their mission. This done, they traveled through the tunnel into the arena itself. As they crept along the darkened passage, they were surprised to hear a portcullis slam shut behind them, with an apologetic Flash Brisby sealing them in so as to play both sides to his own benefit, depending on who would win.

Arriving on the arena floor, they were greeted with an imposing, well armed gladiator Vyrman and hundreds of gleaming yellow eyes staring at them from the crowd. After brief posturing by both sides the battle was engaged. Some members of the group engaged the rat-man while others faced the wrath of the primordial Dagon, ally to Demogorgon, made manifest through elemental creatures composed of pure storm. The arena itself worked for and against them, as the mechanisms activated, alternately thrusting a tower up from the floor into the sky and another dropping away into a pit trap beneath the Vyrmen gladiator. Khyeron was vital to the party’s survival, calling down blessings from Kord to refresh the party and unleash the god’s wrath on the Vyrmen watching from the audience.

As the rat-man fell and the last of the storm servants were dispatched, it appeared as if the party was triumphant until Dagon threw them a final enemy, a massive stormcloud, appeared in the arena and assaulted them. The fiend alternately launched blasts of wind and bolts of lightening at the party, hurling them about like ten-pins. The party bravely battled on, aided again by Kord’s wrath, finally bringing the creature down and succeeding, but at a cost. The Kobold wild-mage, Verp, was lost, caught by a blast of his own uncontrolled wild magic, and Khyeron was brought down and killed by the storm creature. Victorious but saddened, the group was at least heartened by the cheers of the spirits Kord sent to aid them and the realization that, for the first time in weeks, the rain had stopped.

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The Rain Part 2
Wherein the party travels to the arena and faces a number of foes.

The group acquired a number of small canoes to travel more unobtrusively towards the arena. They managed to avoid the majority of the patrols along the way, and discovered that the arena was surrounded by a massive funnel cloud cycling into the atmosphere. Not wanting to try and survive pressing through the clouds, the group instead went to a side building, a barracks where the gladiators live and train with a below-ground access tunnel leading into the arena itself. They found that the barracks were indeed filled with rat-men, or the Vyrmen, as they soon identified themselves. A fierce melee ensued between the upper-level guards along with their half-ogre half-rat servants and the party, which ended quickly and brutally as the party captured one rat-man only to kill him in disgust a moment later after hearing his rhetoric. Before his death, the Vyrman related that the rats had corrupted the Altar of Kord in the arena, converting it to serve their bestial patron Demogorgon. The party then released a halfling, Flash Brisby, the arena promoter who told them about the rats taking the building over shortly after their shut-down for the winter off-season. They also cautiously released a gladiator that was known only as “The Red Devil” amongst the others but who Kayliss recognized immediately as Amnon, the tiefling warlord from his former adventuring party.

Continuing downstairs to what Brisby told them was the former gladiator prep areas, now converted into a laboratory by one of the more sadistic Vyrmen. Another fierce battle erupted between the party and the scientist and his sadistic creations, including a bubbling vat of chemicals which could be granted a horrific semblance of life from an eldritch device in the center of the room. The conflict ended with the party disabling the machine and Kayliss hurling the scientist into the bubbling vat of chemicals. With trepidation, the already taxed and wounded group looked at the tunnel leading into the arena floor, wondering what other threats remained before them.

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The Rain Part 1
Wherein the party escapes the graveyard, faces many struggles, and eventually arrives in Delver's Square

As the rain flooded rapidly into the graveyard, the party quickly piled into the wagon piled high with stolen loot from the already flooding crypts. Finding themselves trapped in a city that, as far as any of them could remember, had previously been above water and not raining continually, the party turned to the only group member whose memory was complete, Verp, for assistance. He informed them that the majority of the refugees had relocated to Delver’s Square, a small sub-district of the city made famous for being the home base of a number of adventuring crews or “Delver’s” in the city. Going by Bakari’s remembrance of the city’s lay-out, the party made their way south towards the central river, powered by the strong arms of Aduro through the flooded streets, alternately walking the wagon along and swimming. The party faced a number of hardships, including rescuing a group of refugees, holding up in a booby trapped warehouse, and crossing the flooded central river before finally encountering some signs of life, a patrol of the town watch led by Captain Skith. During the course of the subsequent interrogation, the party was cleared but the refugees were revealed to be a member of the lycanthropic rat-men who had taken over the city (who subsequently escaped) and the party agreed to turn Verp over to the guards for questioning regarding his past affiliation with the Pact Lords.

From there, the group headed in the direction of Delver’s Square, only to discover a warning along the way that prevented them walking into an ambush. The rat-men collapsed a building at the end of the street ahead of them, potentially creating a deadly cross-fire from the nearby roof tops if the group had wandered into it blindly. Instead, the group were able to channel the rats to them in a neutral battlefield, eventually overcoming the ambush and driving the surviving rat-men into retreat.

The group settled into the Colored Animal inn, filling out their paperwork to join the Delver’s Guild and reuniting Kayliss with the proprietor, his former mentor. The group split up the next morning (or that night, in Bakari’s case), earning an invite from the mysterious benefactor who helped them avoid the ambush, reuniting Bakari with his Succubus contact, ingratiating Kayliss and Khyreon with the town archivists, and allowing Jezzraine to vouch for Verp, free him, and start converting him to worship of Pelor. Khyeron managed to discover that none of his fellow priests of Kord had been seen since the attack and that, indeed, some of the first incidents with attacks by the rat-men were occurring in the vicinity of the city arena, which also serves as the temple of Kord. Finally, the group met up with Thoren Shatterstone, an ancient dwarf who claimed to have performed the ritual that resurrected the fallen heroes as a part of his need to call a group of heroes for his own ends. For the time being he allowed them to deal with the troubles inside the city, with promise that they would come and find him once the city was safe from the flood. The group resolved to travel to the arena and see what they could find there.

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Bleak Awakening

A group of adventurers were retrieved from the jaws of death via what appeared to be a botched raise dead ritual. Their confusion mounted as the people in the tomb with them quickly jumped to the attack, trying to silence the group before they could stir up any trouble with their operation. Moreover, a number of the corpses in the pile actually HAD been animated as undead, who also assaulted them. Thankfully, the group gathered their wits quickly and dispatched their enemies, leaving only the misguided Kobold Wild Sorceror Verp standing. Verp quickly related that he had been helping a grave robbing group from the infamous Grunk Brothers delver family, and that they were now getting desperate. The continuous rain that had flooded the majority of the city of Thorvar now threatened to put an aquatic end to their efforts. Trying to buy time, the necromancers were animating corpses to help pile mud and sandbags to stave off the waters.

Deciding it was best to band together for mutual survival, the party climbed out of the mass grave, only to have to stave off an assault by more grave robbers as well as their group of Carrion Crawler allies. With the water streaming in, the party elected to try and negotiate with the leader, Nicodemus Grunk, but failed to notice that one of the necromancer’s undead servants had spotted them. When they came to the surface, they were greeted by an attack from Mor’Gar, a trained ettin, and the rest of Nicodemus’s forces. The battle was fierce, but in the end the party was victorious and Nicodemus was forced to flee through the now-collapsing sandbag wall. With flood waters closing in, the party claimed the Grunk wagon and prepared to try and ride out the storm…

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Keep on the Shadowfell Pt. 3: Forces of Death
In which new heroes appear, others depart, a mentor is saved, and a conspiracy is revealed.

Karred, a dwarven priest of Mor’ug (known by many names throughout the world, Mor’ug is the dwarven aspect of the deity of death) was tasked by his church to seek out a cult of Orcus which presumably was operating in the area of Winterhaven. Recognizing that he would need assistance in his task, he hired the services of a talented Eladrin spearman named Aldreth and set out immediately. In the village, he was directed to follow a group of adventurers investigating a group of Kobolds operating in the area. He did so, arriving at the creatures’ cave lair just as Gimble burst from the waterfall concealing the entrance. Shouting that he was done with risking his life for Amnon’s stupid adventures. The tiefling tried to convince the gnome to stick around, but eventually gave up, deciding that at least now he didn’t have to sleep while holding his money pouch. It was at this point he noticed Karred and Aldreth. The two small groups decided to work together, determining that the Cult of Orcus represented a common goal (kill the undead, thwart a demon god, and get some money.) The dragonborn and the tiefling both needed to rest and tend their wounds, so the group slept in the Kobolds’ now abandoned lair, while Karred performed gentle repose and buried Enis.

In the morning, the group elected to investigate the nearby dragon burial site to try and find Douven. Upon arriving, they were surprised to see a group of humans, a gnome, and a halfling excavating the site, guarded by a pair of guard drakes. The gnome convinced the group to come down and see what they had uncovered, but the group suspected a trap and thus were not surprised as the gnome ducked into cover and the humans advanced. The battle was vicious, with the stealthy gnome and the halfling pelting the group with ranged attacks while the vicious guard drakes savagely attacked the party, but the group eventually won out, defeating the enemies and capturing the halfling. A brief interrogation uncovered the fact that the halfling and his companions were a group of mercenaries hired to search the burial ground for a non-magical mirror, presumably involved in the ritual to seal a rift to the Shadowfell. Karren grimly informed the group that Thorvar is typically a place demons can not enter directly from the Abyss, rather having to travel through one of the adjacent planes like the Shadowfell to do so. This angers the death god greatly, since the two are direct rivals. The news that such a rift was in danger of opening could mean grim consequences. Thankfully, Douven was found still alive, if a bit shaken. The group decided to travel back to Winterhaven to find out more about the keep the halfling indicated was the home to the Orcus cultists.

The group received payment from Lord Padraig for dealing with the Kobolds, and was instructed to speak to Varoun, the town sage, about the keep. Varoun informed them that it had been built to guard a sealed rift to the Shadowfell, as they suspected, and had been protected by a paladin who eventually went mad and killed his family, advisers, and many of the guard before being driven into the crypts and slain. The keep fell into disrepair and was eventually destroyed during the invasion of devils and undead during the Burning War. The people of Winterhaven, upon reestablishing their town, had elected to leave the keep alone, suspecting that it was inhabited by goblins and considering it an ill omen to even mention it.

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Keep on the Shadowfell Pt.2: The Kobold Lair
As well as a flashback

The characters flashed back to their early days (after being replaced with new, non-pregen iterations) to the day they met and became an adventuring party. Amnon, the tiefling Warlord, had entered the Delver Guild Hall to try and recruit some able bodied adventurers to form a delving party to work in Thorvar’s sewer system and labyrinthine catacombs to clear out dangerous creatures and perhaps pick up a little treasure along the way. Unfortunately, the only person present who was available was a Dragonborn Paladin of Bahamut. The devil blooded Tiefling thought it may not have been wise to try and get his help, and so settled for a drink. He thus didn’t notice the gnome rogue, Gimble, dash in through the bar door carrying a stolen golden mask, his victims in hot pursuit. He attempted to hide from the party, which consisted of a dwarven Fighter, Enis, a human wizard, a halfling rogue, and a loud-mouthed paladin of Eristra who threatened to cut the thief’s hands off. Amnon, seeing potential in the gnome, attempted to interdict on his behalf at the same time Kayless, the dragonborn paladin, attempted to calm down everyone involved. A brawl broke out, especially when the paladin of Eristra was knocked cold, inciting the tavern patrons (who were all fond of the deity of civilization) to attack. The impromptu group, including the dwarf who had determined that he was tired of his former employers’ treatment, prevailed, leaving the human mage to flee and call for the authorities. However, the tavern owner, Douven Stahl, ushered them out the back, offering them employment and some training in the future.

Fast forwarding about a year, the group was back on Douven’s trail, trying to find the whereabouts of their mentor, and had just foiled an ambush attempt by the kobolds they suspected of being involved. Additionally, they had discovered signs that one of the kobolds was a follower of Orcus. They carried on to the creatures’ lair, battling and defeating a pack of the beasts outside the waterfall concealing their cave. One, however, escaped, fleeing inside to warn the others. The group warily proceeded inside, facing stiff resistance from the little vermin along with their leader, a vicious goblin named Irontooth. One by one the party members fell before the creatures’ attacks, until eventually only Kayless remained standing against a pack of enemies. Undaunted, however, the paladin stayed cool and fought his way clear of his foes, moving back to the rest of the group and using his lay-on-hands to bring his friends back to consciousness. He saved Amnon and Gimble, but unfortunately was too late to save Enis. The dwarf was avenged, however, as Irontooth and his kobold minions eventually fell to the party’s might, cursing and screaming as victory was snatched away from them.

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Keep on the Shadowfell, Pt.1
Beginning...again.

A quartet of delvers from Thorvar city, Enis the dwarven fighter, Oren the halfling rogue, Willhelm the Cleric of Bahamut, and Kaeless the Dragonborn Paladin, were traveling to the small farming village of Winterhaven. A few weeks previous, their group’s mentor, Douven Stall, had journeyed there to investigate rumors of a dragon’s burial site, thinking that perhaps the dragon’s horde may have been buried with them. However, as time went by and no one heard anything from Douven, the group decided to make their way out to check on their friend. They were beset on the road by a group of kobold raiders. The group dispatched them and continued on to the town, seeking lodging at the inn. There they were introduced to Eilidan, an aging historian, and the town sage, who informed them that Douven had indeed been to Winterhaven and that they had given him directions to the burial site. Additionally, the group was hired by the local Lord to investigate the recent increase in activity from the Kobolds. When the group set out from Winterhaven the next morning, however, they were beset on the road by a better armed and equipped group of Kobolds including a priest, intent on avenging their fellows from the day before. The group was more tightly tested, but prevailed in the end. During examination of the bodies, they discovered that the Kobold Priest’s holy symbol had an engraved symbol of Orcus on the bottom.

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