Mythweald

Snow Moon
Lost in the Feral Bosk

As the menacing figure of Alfo’s double, the Pursuer, advanced on the Night Guard, their attempts to drive him off seemed futile. Fire did not harm the Pursuer, nor did arrows. Looking closely, Val realized that the Pursuer was actually on the Ethereal Plane, hence his invincibility. But the ice shard lodged in place of the Pursuer’s heart was not ethereal – and Val shot it, proving the menace could be hit and damaged.

Shadow convinced the party that they could not fight something as powerful as the Pursuer, and the group turned to flee. The Pursuer created an ice wall to hinder their progress, but the party ducked around it and kept running. Then the Pursuer – seeming to exercise no ordinary magic, rather a deep control over the realm itself – appeared atop the ice wall, gaining high ground on the party. Alfo (Alfalfa?) fired a staggering shot at his double’s icy heart, and Manny vaporized the ice wall with a fireball before the Pursuer could take action. When the steam cleared, the Pursuer was gone, leaving only the shard of ice behind.

After shaking off the Pursuer, the party took a moment to rest and discuss important news from their home plane and histories. A note from Rhoskan informed the party that if they could gather the supplies for legendary weapons and articles, Rhoskan might be able to craft these items in the future. Val read a letter from his informant Adder Goldcrest, who warned Val that an assassin, sent by the warmongering Emperor Galleon himself, was on the Night Guard’s trail, for reasons unknown. Alfo relayed some historical knowledge about the emperor – most importantly, that Galleon is cursed by both dwarves and elves, and his bloodline cursed to end with him.

Manny confided some of the story of his (distant) past to the party, told them he’d recently discovered his sister’s position of power as a dangerous empress, and requested the Night Guard’s help in dealing with the issue. Manny also took the time to ask a few questions to Oghma, gaining useful information:

Is the starry being depicted in the mural in the Tila Crypt from the inner planes? No.
Regarding the Maiden who tended Rillifane, is there only one? No.

Perhaps the most pressing news was from Tam, who realized almost too late that Kiran Poole’s symptoms – disturbing nightmares and scars from a boar attack – indicated Kiran suffered from the curse of lycanthropy. While unconscious due to knockout drugs, Kiran posed no risk to the party – but in the vast, moonlit bosk, Kiran’s supply of sleeping potions was rapidly dwindling. While Tam searched for solutions, Val, Alfo and Manny took bets on whether a transformed Kiran would be small or large.

As they continued through the snowy woodland, the Night Guard noticed a campfire ahead. Val and Shadow scouted the scene and discovered two ice trolls and their winter wolf companion discussing a shrine further down the path. The party snuck ahead to the shrine, and after deciphering the primitive runes engraved on its surface, they sacrificed some weapons and rations to it. In return the ancient magic there bestowed Aid upon the party and reassured them that their current search for the Maiden was a good course of action.

The Night Guard pressed onward, deeper into the forest, but almost immediately they were attacked by other denizens of the Bosk. Much like the Pursuer, these enemies resembled ordinary people with chips of ice lodged in place of their hearts. The battle was swift but fierce, and the icy warriors of the Shadow realm were vanquished, weak to fire and Windsinger’s blade. Tam examined the bodies and discerned that their hearts had been surgically removed, cut out and replaced with ice. This was no necromancy, but the cold, cruel work of the Feral Bosk itself.

Seeking direction, Alfo climbed a tree to try and see where the center of the Bosk lay. Instead, he saw a massive blizzard roaring towards the party. Just in time, Val created a magical shelter and the party resolved to wait out the storm, using their time for crafting, alchemy work, and rest.

Yet peace was not to be theirs. After several hours had passed, the Night Guard prepared to embark again into the forest, but the Pursuer had caught up to them again. This time, the Pursuer used his control over the realm to hurl massive blocks of ice at the party members. Scrambling to defend themselves against their powerful enemy, the party rushed into the woods, narrowly escaping with their lives.

The Night Guard quickly realized the Pursuer had run them into a trap. As they fled the deeper woods, the full force of the blizzard struck them, and the party became separated. Hours passed before the party members could find each other. After hours of struggling to survive in the freezing wilderness, they were exhausted (except Alfo, whose ranger training kept him and Shadow safe through the storm).

Weary, lost, and chilled to the bone, the party had no option but to rest, and try to recuperate before continuing their search for the Maiden. But the sleeping potions had run out, and Kiran was mere hours from waking. Huddled together under the shelter of Val’s magic, the party struggled to decide what to do next.

The endless night wore on…


Best Line goes to Val, who watched Manny firebolt an ally in the back and exclaimed, “Well, Magnolia, after what Manny just did, you’re the best snerson** I know!”

Honorable mention to Manny, who after barely surviving the blizzard used the excuse “We sneople** are not meant for this weather!”

Best RP goes to both Val, for risking himself to save Kiran’s life, and Manny, for confiding in the party some of the secrets of his mysterious history.


Timeline
? – The party escapes the Pursuer.
? – The party discusses non-Shadowfell news while walking.*
? – After eavesdropping on some locals, the party visits an ancient shrine.
? – The party is attacked by more icy servants of the realm.
? – A blizzard envelops the party and they lose direction.
? – The Pursuer catches up to the party and attacks.
? – The party escapes, only to run straight into the blizzard, suffering cold and fatigue.
? – The endless night wears on…


*Conversations have been condensed and moved to preserve continuity.

**Snerson (snake person), sneople (snake people) – in reference to Yuan-Ti.

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The Journey to Sindaleth
Woodland Wanderings

The Night Guard prepared to embark for Sindaleth and welcomed two new traveling companions: Magnolia, who would serve as a bodyguard, and Kiran, a Ranger and cartographer. The party decided to avoid the Underdark route and the river route, choosing instead to travel overland to their destination. After loading up their gear and buying some horses to travel with (including Val’s new best friend Moxy), the Night Guard set off.

Soon they passed by the now-familiar town of Elder Vale, and took the opportunity to sell some of their found treasures and buy new supplies, including some powerful poisons and positoxin. Most notably, Val managed to convince the proprietor of the potion shop to trade a mundane robe for incredibly valuable Golden Ice poison. Alfo, meanwhile, enjoyed the day of shopping immensely, particularly since the rest of the party bought him gifts to help cheer him up. Kiran slyly (but not slyly enough to avoid notice) spent some of his earnings on knockout drugs and hallucinogens, ostensibly for recreational use.

Back on the road again, the Night Guard enjoyed ten days of fairly uneventful travel before trouble appeared near the Ashewood. The party came across an ogre named Krog jealously guarding a stolen owlbear egg. Just as they managed to convince Krog they meant no harm, the egg’s mother appeared and furiously attacked. In the ensuing battle, both Krog and the owlbear mother were killed, and Manny set the forest on fire. The party raced to construct a firebreak and luckily succeeded; before leaving, Alfo adopted the owlbear egg at Shadow’s behest, hoping that the imprinted owlbear chick could make a formidable ally to the Night Guard.

The party assumed that would be the end of the owlbear problem, but six nights later they were awakened by the cry of “Danger!” from Val’s Dagger of Warning. Just outside the party’s sleeping dome, a huge male owlbear snarled and paced, swiping at the dome in rage. Tam ascertained that the owlbear might be placated if the egg were returned to him. Once this was done, the owlbear took his egg back, and with a last parting glare, disappeared into the forest.

The rest of the journey passed without incident, and soon the Night Guard arrived in Sindaleth. But the city was very different than they remembered. The streets were quiet and the population subdued; everywhere they looked, the party could see sick people, all marked with Alfo’s runes. The plague was clearly virulent, and to stop its spread the victims had been cut off from the rest of the population.

Amid the sick walked a druid of the Circle of the Land, Airic, distributing supplies and food. Airic told the party that the magical plague had first struck about fifteen years ago, was spread by touch, and was almost invariably fatal. The King himself was affected by the plague, but recovered – as had Airic – due to a strong connection to magic. After his recovery, the King went on a quest to seek the Maiden of the Woods and her supernatural powers to cure the plague, but years passed and he did not return. While many others had sought the king, none found him, and in his absence the plague continued to spread. Airic told the Night Guard that the Maiden was merely a myth, and the King’s foolishness likely cost him his life. Throughout Airic’s tale, Alfo slowly came to the devastating realization that the mark was his fault.

Tam and Alfo gained entry to the Wildwood Assembly’s library to search for clues about the Maiden of the Woods, the plague, and the forest north of Sindaleth in general. The only book referencing the Maiden was a children’s storybook, describing her as a powerful dryad who lived in the Home Tree and protected Rillifane. More information was available about the nearby woods, though; named the Cursed Woods, the area was rumored to be populated by lycanthropes and winter wolves, and rife with natural hazards such as freezing temperatures, deep snowbanks, and blizzards.

Meanwhile, Val and Manny put on a benefit concert to raise money for victims of the plague and to entertain the sick children. With drama and flair, the duo told an embellished (and tastefully altered) tale of the Battle of Glutton’s Teeth. They raised 130 silver, but more importantly, the children loved the show (although, due to the dark magic of their plague, they couldn’t get close enough to Windsinger to touch it when Val showed it off.)

After these preparations the Night Guard and their companions set off into the forest, to seek the King of the Elves. As they walked, the air began to chill – far beyond the ordinary cold of winter – and the forest loomed dark around them. Worst of all, the crescent moon had changed as well, rising now as a full moon to light their path. The woods echoed with the distant cries of wolves, and the party realized they had again stepped into a Shadow realm, and into grave danger.

In the distance the party could see a solitary figure trudging inexorably towards them. The figure raised its axe in an ominous gesture, calling out, “FOR THE MAIDEN.”

Hair and beard shot through with ice, and wearing the skin of Shadow of the Trees draped over his shoulders, this new enemy could only be Alfo…


Best Line goes to Alfo, and there were too many excellent lines to list (most having to do with Alfo’s new pseudonym, Alfalfa.)

Best RP goes to Alfo/Alfalfa, for creative problem-solving: adopting a secret identity to remain unknown in Sindaleth.


Timeline
Day 1 – The party embarks for Sindaleth.
Day 6 – The party enjoys a brief break from travel in Elder Vale.
Day 16 – The party battles an ogre and an owlbear, and adopts an owlbear egg.
Day 22 – The party returns the egg to its remaining parent.
Day 30 – The party arrives in Sindaleth.
[Subsequent timekeeping loss due to Shadow realm entry]

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Leaving the Dread Mire
Bittersweet farewells, and new mysteries

The Night Guard paused at the entrance to the crypt, unsure of their next steps. While Val was convinced that he needed to redeem the Penitent and lead him out of the Shadow realm, other party members vacillated on whether to prioritize destroying the Penitent’s coffin, destroying the cursed cross, or just leaving the Dread Mire as quickly as possible.

Val and Shadow’s stealthy investigation revealed little within the crypt. Alfo, meanwhile, was haunted by the whispers of the dead, and compelled to cover his ears. While the group prepared to explore the crypt, skeletal figures emerged from the dusty tombs and advanced. One skeleton tried to shut the crypt door – and Alfo, recognizing it as his long-dead family member Plesuntwile Songstream, couldn’t bring himself to attack. Instead, he darted past to help secure the doors.

The party rushed into the crypt to battle the skeletons. After a brief struggle, the undead were destroyed, and cautious investigation of the crypt resumed. Manny noticed an ornate coffin standing at the very end of the hallway. There could be no doubt – this was the resting place of the Penitent.

Side tunnels in the crypt revealed many rooms filled with coffins, including places marked for Tam, Val’s parents, and Elya. Val found Elya herself hovering over her grave, and encouraged her to come with him to seek out the Penitent. Their final confrontation could not be far off: in the next room down the crypt hallway, faint piano music could be heard.

Meanwhile, in the main crypt chamber, Manny observed an extensive mural covering the walls and ceiling. Side panels of the mural showed mysterious scenes similar to Tam’s visions of Shadow and other realms. The central image depicted the mountain over Emberhearth, with four small figures – identifiable as the Night Guard – trekking upwards. Over the mountaintop, descending from the heavens, was an enormous dragon, dark as the night sky and glittering with stars.

Shaken by this mysterious image and the events of the preceding hours, Manny quietly discussed his findings with the Night Guard and decided to consult Oghma regarding the party’s next course of action. At Val’s behest, Manny asked his god whether taking the Penitent through the Shadow gate and out of the Dread Mire would redeem the vampire. The answer was simple but devastating: No.

The party needed to find another answer – and quickly, because the familiar chords of the Penitent’s piano could still be heard from the remaining unexplored side tunnel. But before Val could call the party together to discuss a secondary plan, Redrick finally succumbed to his guilt. Rushing into the room before anyone in the party could stop him, Redrick cried out that he sought redemption, and to atone for his mistakes.

“It’s my fault! I was supposed to be the one guarding the crypt! I’m the only one that can fix this!”

Val sprinted after Redrick, catching up just in time to see the Penitent, smote down by Redrick’s sword, struggling to free himself from the ruins of the broken piano. Desperate to stop the bloodshed and redeem the Penitent if possible, Val tried to calm Redrick, but the paladin was resolute in his purpose. Near panic, Val snatched up the Penitent’s blade, and immediately its subtle song harmonized with the music of Windsinger.

The Penitent, reeling from Redrick’s attack, dissolved into mist and fled into the hallway, but was stopped by the rest of the Night Guard. Manny, adhering to Val’s original plan, magically restrained Redrick while Val prepared to stake the vampire through the heart. But when Val flung open the Penitent’s coffin, he looked through it to find a gate – the very Shadow gate the party sought – just within. Redrick broke free of the enchantment and again begged the party to let him fulfill his purpose.

“You don’t understand – if I don’t slay him, the curse won’t break!”

Tam created a rainstorm to bring the Penitent to the ground, and despite Val’s pleas, Redrick slew the vampire with one staggering blow. As the body disintegrated into ash, Redrick collapsed – at last, free of his cursed vow to serve the Penitent in life and death. Finally at peace, Redrick faded and disappeared.

Val cast his stake away, frustrated and angry, but Elya explained to him that no matter how events had transpired, it was for the better: the curse was over now. Elya, like Redrick, was finally free. Elya thanked Val, and with a parting kiss on the cheek, she too disappeared.

After gleaning what useful items and information they could, the party prepared to step through the Shadow gate, eager to depart the realm of dread and despair. One by one, they stepped through the door, and back into Mythweald. Last to leave was Val, who looked back to see his own memories through the door: a scene from his youth, spending a precious last moment with Elya before leaving for bard college. As Elya waved goodbye, Val stepped through the Shadow gate, and left the memory behind him.

With that, the Tila Estate’s connection to the Shadow was permanently closed. The party awoke, confused but surprisingly well rested, in their quarters. After discussing the situation over breakfast, they resolved to spend the day recuperating from their adventure and researching the strange phenomena they experienced in the Dread Mire.

Alfo headed to the Temple of Ulaa to seek counsel and healing. The kindly priest there cured Alfo’s temporary madness, but expressed concern about the deeper causes of his condition. Despite claims that he could handle the paranoia, Alfo could not reassure the priest.

“The longer my adventure continues, the more the dead haunt me.”

Meanwhile, Manny and Val explored the Redwyne family crypt, and found it clean and surprisingly bereft of corpses and disarray. The crypt was also empty of the items the party took while in the Shadow realm – most notably the Penitent’s sword, which Val promptly named Duskchanter. Manny noted that the mural had changed – now one of the side panels, previously a dark, empty swamp, featured an image of Redrick striking the fatal blow upon the Penitent. Curiously, the style of the mural identified it as Tam’s handiwork.

Tam, meanwhile, spent the day in the estate library. Haunted by the image of the starry dragon, he sought out books of dragonlore, but couldn’t find any reference to the creature. After falling asleep on the book, he experienced another prophetic dream: images of the Dread Mire and the slain Penitent faded away as the Shadow gate closed, and were replaced by images of a frozen woodland, Alfo’s journal, and an icy, Alfo-like figure, clad in furs and wearing Shadow the wolf’s skin as a grisly trophy.

Upon reuniting after their day of rest, the Night Guard shares their discoveries and thoughts. Manny has an epiphany and realizes the Sending Stone that the party left with Mitch Barlow in the Dread Mire might allow them to contact him! Through the clear connection, Mitch, pleased to hear from the party, explained to them that he was the new caretaker of the Dread Mire. Mitch swore to upkeep and protect that realm as the Night Guard’s new planar ally.

The Night Guard unanimously decided that, since several of their pressing goals intersected in Sindaleth, they would travel to the elven city next. Before leaving, though, they took time to stock up on supplies and put their local affairs into order. Val invested his recent tax profits into his community and the improvement of his fortress. Manny consulted with Wysafiel about the party’s activities in the Dread Mire, and spent his spare time trying to fashion a Sending Stone. Alfo, meanwhile, traded his only flawless diamond for a very rare potion – one that could transform a single creature into its Shadowfell equivalent.

Alfo calmed Shadow and explained to her what was about to happen, that it was for the best, and that she would be okay, no matter what happened. Then, without hesitation, he administered the potion. Immediately the beloved wolf melted into a pool of dark shadow. Ethereal mist rose from the pool, re-forming into a large, menacing form. Shadow of the Trees was gone. In her place stood Shadow the Final Destroyer, a monstrous wolf covered in the weeping eyes of the slain. Now capable of speaking telepathically, Shadow reassured the party that while their interactions would be different now, they still held making the Night Guard strong as their first priority.

Filled with anticipation, the Night Guard set off towards Sindaleth…


Best Line goes to Alfo, who confidently sang “I can do anything!” then immediately suffered acute insanity.

Best RP goes to Val.


Timeline
? – The party enters the crypt, battles skeletons, and explores the tombs.
? – The Penitent is destroyed by Redrick.
? – The Night Guard leaves the Dread Mire.
10:00 – The party awaken back in Mythweald.
11:00 – Alfo visits the temple, Tam visits the library, and Val and Manny explore the crypt.
18:00 – The party calls Mitch.
[Long Rest]
All day – The party prepares for travel to Sindaleth. Shadow of the Trees becomes Shadow the Final Destroyer.
[Long Rest]
Filled with anticipation, the Night Guard sets off towards Sindaleth…

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The Dread Mire
Family Matters

Finding the party had returned to the Dread Mire, Tam flew up over the swamp to survey the area. The creeping mist extended to every corner of Tila Estate, rising into an impassable white wall at the borders. Zombies, skeletons, and worse horrors roamed the grounds and graveyard. In the distance rose an unfamiliar white tower, from which emanated the faint and far-off sound of a woman singing.

Tam woke up Val and Alfo, and they discussed what to do next. Despite Redrick’s reservations about the “cursed” white tower, they decided to approach it anyway – especially since someone, possibly their missing party member Manny, was shooting firebolts from an open window in an effort to draw attention to the tower.

As they approached the tower, the group found themselves following in the footsteps of an undead horde, whose goal seemed bent on destroying the tower gates. Even worse, the mist grew denser, blocking their path. Up in the tower, Manny and his new friend Mitch Barlow –trapped in the same room – were unable to offer much help.

Val heard the faint sound of singing from the tower’s highest floors, and recognized the voice of his beloved cousin, Elya. He began to sing out to her, harmonizing with the familiar tune – and as he sang, the mists began to part before him.

The undead horde immediately turned and attacked. Val continued to advance towards the tower, never losing his voice, while at his side Alfo, Shadow and Redrick slayed the undead in their path. With a little help from Manny and Mitch, the undead horde was vanquished. And as the last notes of Val’s song faded away, the mist faded with them, leaving the way to the tower clear.

The door was trapped, but broken down enough to gain access. After dealing with a poison spine trap and warding glyph, the party headed upstairs. Mitch warned them (via speaking stone) that the next level of the tower contained the dangerous artefact that had cursed the Dread Mire’s Val, turning him into a vampire – “a crucifix of extraordinary power” that would threaten the Night Guard as well. But with no other way to reach Manny and Mitch, they continued to climb.

The stairs abruptly led to a heavy door, from behind which no sound came save a faint dripping. Inside the room hung a huge, bleeding cross – and atop it was fixed the Redwyne signet ring and a lock of pure white hair. The party skirted around this horrific artefact, narrowly avoiding descent into bloodlust and madness at the mere sight of it, and continued up to the third floor of the tower.

This door opened easily, and the Night Guard found themselves reunited at last, in the comfortable setting of Mitch Barlow’s alchemy lab. Mitch was just as surprised to see the Night Guard as they were to see him, but grateful as well. Val gave him the Amulet of Undead Servants, and – at last – Mitch was whole and well again.

Mitch provided some background on the current situation in the Dread Mire. The dark alternate version of Val, who Mitch refers to as “the Penitent,” was cursed with vampirism after stealing the crucifix the party saw in the previous room. In a fit of bloodlust, the Penitent killed his family, including Val’s brother Danial. Elya stood in his way, trying to stop him – and was slain as well. The news, though not unexpected, hurt Val deeply.

Mitch admitted that after that tragedy, he hid the cursed crucifix in his tower and raised Elya as a banshee. Her vigilance and the magical mist surrounding the tower were – until that day – enough to shield it from the Penitent’s attention. Mitch also confided that the Redrick currently with the Night Guard was different than the Redrick they knew in the waking world – this Redrick had taken a different Oath. Finally, Mitch explained that to leave the Dread Mire, the party would have to go through the door Tam had seen in his visions. The door, however, stood in the depths of the estate’s crypt, protected by a monstrous Gravehulk built out of Val’s own dead family.

Tam spent the duration of this discussion investigating the insects in the room. Manny, meanwhile, prayed to Oghma for guidance, and was swiftly answered – a book toppled from a shelf behind him, and fell open to a page with an unusual illustration. The page depicted four figures, clearly the Night Guard, and a huge dragon made out of stars.

Leaving the rest of the party to ponder this new information, Val climbed to the rooftop alone to speak with Elya. Her familiar face had been twisted into ghastly wreck by death and undeath, but her sweet voice had not changed, and she greeted Val with warmth and compassion. Val, shocked and appalled by the suffering inflicted upon his cousin, could hardly find words:

“Elya… I’m not the one who killed you. But I am the one who left you. And for that, I am sorry.”

Elya forgave Val – for what, neither of them could fully understand. She also told Val how happy she was for him: despite her piteous state, she was still overjoyed that Val achieved his dreams of being a hero and an adventurer. Elya offered to help the party leave the Dread Mire, and explained to Val that her only remaining wish was to be released from the dream – to go home, and be at peace.

Only one battle remained. Val returned to the party, fortified by his cousin’s comforting words, and together they proceeded to the family crypt. The grounds were infested with zombies and skeletons, which threatened the party at every turn. Worse yet was the Gravehulk, a shambling mass of stitched-together corpses infested by the spirits of Val’s slain family.

Faced down by this monstrosity, Val turned to his greatest strength – his words. With Tam at his side in the shape of the Redwyne’s family symbol, Val challenged his family to leave their spectral prison behind and join him in seeking the door to freedom from the nightmare that held them all. While the Gravehulk attacked Val over and over, his clear voice did not falter; he called out to his family members, forgiving them, offering apology, and inspiring them to break free. Redrick stood by Val and selflessly shielded him from the worst of the assault. Meanwhile, Alfo, Shadow and Manny raced around the battlefield, striking down the lesser undead and spirits with fire, claws, and weapons whenever they crawled back into the fight.

Despite being surrounded by fierce fighting, Val persuaded every one of his immediate family – his father, mother, brother Danial, and twin siblings Alessia and Alistair – to leave the Gravehulk. Weakened by the loss, the monstrosity* was finally thrown down and destroyed. The spirits of Val’s family converged on the crypt doors and opened them for the Night Guard, who gathered there, filled with anticipation.

They pushed the crypt doors open and prepared to walk into the darkness…


Best Line goes doubly to Val and Alfo:

(Val, astonished and shocked to hear from Mitch in the white tower)
Val: Wait. Mitch Barlow?! You’re fuckin’ dead!

(Alfo, who in a moment of madness was compelled to eat the ashes of a wraith he’d just killed, despite Redrick’s noble attempts to inspire Alfo to great deeds)
Little does he know what I’m about to do…

Best RP goes to Val, for his trust in Elya and his brave, kind words to his family.


Timeline

? – The party wakes again in the Dread Mire.
? – The party quests for the white tower, in search of Manny.
? – Redrick, Alfo, and Shadow battle an undead horde, while Val sings the mists away.
? – The party climbs the tower, passing by a cursed crucifix.
? – The party is reunited with Manny and Mitch, who explains much of the current situation to them.
? – Manny prays for guidance and is answered with a cryptic image. Meanwhile, Val reconciles with his cousin Elya.
? –Elya’s aid is secured, and the party travels to the crypt.
? – The party vanquishes another undead horde and the monstrous Gravehulk. Val retrieves his family’s spirits.
? – They push the crypt doors open and prepare to walk into the darkness…


*Does not refer to the D&D taxon ‘monstrosity.’

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Nightmare
Mysteries of the Dread Mire

Upon waking, surrounded by a deathly, unfamiliar version of Val’s estate, Tam investigated the grounds and discovered Redrick – an older, more battle-worn Redrick – fighting some zombies and skeletons in the swamp. Tam lent his aid and together they quickly squashed the undead.

Meanwhile, within the mansion, Alfo and Val woke up to hear piano music echoing from downstairs. They snuck down to the common room and found a mysterious figure seated there. Alfo, forgoing subtlety, demanded identification. The figure leapt up and revealed himself to be an alternate version of Val – instead of the charming bard the Night Guard knew so well, this figure was a cold, compassionless vampire. Val cast Daylight to drive the vampire back, but he was too powerful to be contained. Despite the combined efforts of Val, Alfo, Tam and Redrick (who had rushed to the mansion at the sounds of battle), the vampire overpowered them, and one by one, threw down the heroes and drained their blood.

In shock, the Night Guard awoke – back in their own quarters, in sunny Tila Estate. Dazed and still tired, Val was greeted by Redrick, who wished to talk about the new hires and resume the previous day’s organizational work. Val reluctantly agreed and, with the rest of the still-disquieted party, decided to go confer with Val’s new information network.

Aunt Taryn, the Thieves’ guild agent, had no information that could help the Night Guard understand their strange experience. However, the Noble informant Adder Goldcrest told the party of the Tila Estate’s tragic history: long ago, a sorceress in the family transformed her husband into a vampire, who went mad and killed the whole household. The vampire was slain by none other than Dagug Goldseeker.

This tale was confirmed by the third informant, Wysafiel, an ex-Seeker spy and Val’s new conduit of magic-related news from across all of Mythweald. Wysafiel performed an augury to demonstrate to the Night Guard that they had, at some point during their recent adventures, traveled to an alternate timeline. In the Mythweald they currently occupied*, the orcish siege on Sindaleth never happened, Val’s debts were paid, and the Night Guard of this realm was very different than the party knew themselves to be. Even Mitch’s amulet had changed – it no longer contained Mitch! And strangest of all, Wysafiel claimed that she had never heard of Syl… as though he didn’t even exist.

Wysafiel identified the party’s nightmare experience as taking place in the Dread Mire, and described that realm as a “specific aspect of the Shadow; a realm manifesting someone’s worst fears.” She also pointed out that if the party could go back through their records of their Underdark adventures, they might be able to determine the exact point in their travels that they left their original timeline**.

With a final cryptic warning to avoid extended exposure to Shadow realms – “the longer you stay there, the harder it is to resist” – Wysafiel left the party to their own devices. Alfo immediately suggested a plan of psychological resistance. If the Night Guard dedicated the rest of their day to happiness, rest, calm, and celebration, he surmised, they would be much less likely to be transported to a realm of dread and despair in their dreams.

The Night Guard enthusiastically adopted this plan, and Val gathered his new staff to launch a wonderful party. Everyone in the estate attended. Val made an inspiring speech to cheer up his new household. Alfo enjoyed the drinks, shenanigans, and the company of his new friend Grud Smasher Jr. Even Tam spent some time socializing. Finally, as the successful celebration began to wind down, the exhausted Night Guard settled in to rest.

They woke to the creeping mist, overpowering stench of death, and familiar piano music that immediately made one thing clear: the Night Guard had returned to the Dread Mire…


Best Line goes doubly to Alfo:

(Attempting to deliver a devastating hex on the vampire Val:)
Alfo: Your hair.. is oily… and flaxen!

(Later, immediately before perpetrating shenanigans)
Alfo: Attention… I just want to inform everyone there will be no shenanigans.

Best RP goes to Alfo, whose efforts to prevent returning to the nightmare realm by instituting a happiness day were greatly appreciated, even if ineffective.


Timeline
? – The party wakes in an unfamiliar, dreadful alternate reality.
? – The party is brutally slaughtered by a vampire version of Val.

[Long Rest… or not.]

10:00 – The party wakes up, disoriented, in their ordinary quarters.
11:30 – The party questions Val’s information network for news, and for clues about what happened to them during the night.
14:00 – Party preparations begin.
18:00 – Partying ensues. Fun, camaraderie, and plenty of good music!
21:00 – The celebration winds down, and the Night Guard go to sleep, confident in their work.

? – They wake to the creeping mist, overpowering stench of death, and familiar piano music that immediately makes one thing clear: the Night Guard has returned to the Dread Mire…


*Henceforth “Timeline B.”

**Henceforth “Timeline A.”

View
Leaving the Underdark
The Battle for Glutton's Teeth

THE STONECAPE PROPHECY

The first gave in to bloodlust, which consumed his drive to spare.
The second fled in fear, forgetting himself in isolation.
The third was plagued by grief, losing his will to live.
The last drowned in despair, cursing his kin to suffer ill.
They can all be redeemed, each confronted by the truth –
For no matter how crooked their shadows, these heroes can still stand in the Light.

These were the words, spoken in four voices, which Tam heard upon putting on the prophetic cloak. Shaken by the cryptic prediction, the group relied upon Rhoskan to map them a risk-minimizing route through the fortress, to the elevator, and then left the Forge.

Immediately they were met by a scene of destruction – an injured troll crouched in a corner of the next room, jealously clutching a treasure chest, while hobgoblin guards approached. The guards attacked the troll for not giving up its treasure; the Night Guard stealthily watched the ensuing battle until all combatants were weakened, then stepped in to finish the job. The troll was slain by a vicious blow from Alfo’s diamond maul; the hobgoblins, after recognizing the party, were eliminated before they could warn their commander of the Night Guard’s betrayal.

After looting the room, Val scouted ahead – and stepped right into the path of a Gelatinous Cube! He barely evaded its grasp, but Alfo was so disturbed by the sight he couldn’t move. The party fled, pulling Alfo with them, as the cube doggedly pursued. Val insulted Alfo severely enough to snap him out of his panic and the party proceeded to the relative safety of the next room.

After (mostly) evading a trapped floor, tripwires, and a warding glyph, the party found themselves in the entryway to the fortress. Adjacent, in the entrance of the receiving hall, were two hobgoblin guards – dead, by drow daggers. The party entered the receiving room only to find themselves face-to-face with the Queen of the drow – and Talila, who revealed herself and her twin brother to be the Queen’s children and trusted aides.

The drow queen explained that the Night Guard were spared at Talila’s grateful intercession, and that the crimes – the murder of other drow in the Underdark – that had so far marked them for death would be forgiven, if the Night Guard helped defend the Glutton’s Teeth from the hobgoblin onslaught. The party swiftly agreed, and leaving the Queen to strengthen the fortress defenses with ritual magic, they headed back out into the hallways to set up traps.

Val investigated the library and discovered two skeletons sprawled next to an ornate scroll case. While grabbing the scroll case he stepped on a Rug of Aging, which aged him 16 years in a few terrifying moments. The case was worth it, though – inside was a scroll written by his uncle Draxus, naming him the new Baron of Tila Estate:

Deed of Entitlement
for the Barony and Estate of Tila

I (undersigned) Bequeath the aforementioned title and lands unto this servant, for services rendered. As to the taxes gathered, this Baron shall owe 1/3 of the Estate’s income to the Crown’s Authority. As to levies, he shall provide no less, and no more than 1/3 his finest troops, your country commends you.

Furthermore, I grant permission to the entitled Party to gather tolls for the upkeep of roads and bridges, given it doth not exceed 1/3 the property income.

Galleon
AB-38-2020

Meanwhile, Alfo helped Rhoskan work on the elevator. When Val returned from finding Deed of Entitlement, Alfo was shocked and disturbed by Val’s change in age. Redrick, however, was unfazed, and verified the deed as legitimate – truly Val was now a Baron. Redrick immediately offered his service as Steward of Val’s new estate, and Val accepted.

Manny, after discovering a book of fire spells, decided to help out the party by killing all the hobgoblin guards asleep in a common room in the fortress with a fireball. After this he felt lucky enough to creep up on the Hobgoblin commander himself – but failed to reproduce his convincing Deva impersonation. The commander immediately ordered his army to attack the fortress.

Chaos ensued. Val, some of the Rangers, and a drow fire team sprinted to the rooftop to secure defenses there. Tam and Talila joined forces to set up an ambush and sent a squad of mercenaries to help Rhoskan. Alfo and Shadow, along with Alfo’s golem, guarded the entryway, which had been trapped with the Rug of Aging. Manny, meanwhile, fought fiercely to incapacitate the Hobgoblin commander, and finally petrified him with a cursed gaze.

While the rest of the party battled to keep the hobgoblins from advancing into the fortress, Manny impersonated the hobgoblin commander and ordered the army to cease their attack. In the subsequent disarray, Val’s fire team and Manny’s destructive casting created discord in the ranks. Meanwhile, within the fortress, Alfo decimated an infiltration team of goblins and was heartened by his success. Victory for the Night Guard and their allies finally seemed within reach!

Suddenly, the blood-chilling roar of a dragon echoed across the battlefield. From his rooftop perch Val glimpsed the skeletal silhouette of a dracolich as it soared down over the fortress. This enemy was familiar – Ewlbkhan the black dragon had returned. Val and Tam sprinted to warn the drow Queen as the dracolich landed in the midst of the battlefield.

But when Val pushed open the door, he saw the Queen lying dead – the murderer, her own son, standing over her with a cursed, ceremonial dagger in his hand. He and Talila had summoned the dragon themselves, he hissed – “for entropy!” The drow twins attacked Val and Tam, but luckily the cousins were able to evade them and take their daggers.

Meanwhile, the battle with the dracolich took a turn for the better when Manny, impersonating the commander, convinced the hobgoblin arm to “attack the dragon!” Despite the army’s best efforts, the dracolich was not deterred – and with a single breath, it killed over half the remaining troops. Alfo sent out his golem to attack the dracolich too, but it was not restrained.

The Night Guard and their allies fiercely attacked their betrayers, the drow twins, and killed them – but not before another bladed creature, identical to those the Harvester summoned in the chapel, burst from her dying body. With a resolute attack from Alfo and quick bladework by Val the monster was dispatched. From outside the fortress, the deep boom of moving earth and the cries of a Purple Worm alerted the party to even more urgent danger.

Racing through the fortress, dragging their wounded with them, the Night Guard and their allies crammed into the elevator and Rhoskan pressed the switch. The battle cries of the dracolich and purple worm faded down into the earth as the party were carried upward, rising into the beautiful city of Emberhearth.

As they arrived, the party were greeted by their old ally Syl, who immediately restored Val’s proper age (but couldn’t fix his hair color, to Val’s delight) and updated them on Pat, who slayed a red dragon after leaving the Night Guard. Syl also identified the ceremonial daggers Tam and Val retrieved from the drow as relevant to Myrkul, the god of entropy, death, and decay, but couldn’t offer any insight on the Harvester or its monster minions. To help the Night Guard investigate the many mysteries they encountered in the Underdark, Syl teleported them to Elder Vale to explore its libraries.

But upon their arrival the party received some harrowing news. Somewhere, somehow, time went wrong. The party now stood fifteen years in the “future,” and a group calling themselves the Night Guard had supposedly already placed the Eye in Ashewood Redoubt – an entire year past. Val discovered that “his” debt had been paid over seven years ago, and eavesdropping in public venues revealed that the party had no particular reputation.

The Night Guard proceeded to Ashewood Redoubt to restore the Eye of the Sun Watchers. Upon arrival, they found that the Eye is just one of a set of two – and its counterpart, the Eye of the Dusk Watchers, had already been placed in the tower. As Tam reached out to restore the Eye to its rightful place, he was overwhelmed by a flickering succession of mental images – ice, fire, glass, murky earth, dragons, elementals, artefacts, undead, potions, caverns, and more flashed through his mind, and again he heard the words of the Stonecape Prophecy.

With that, the Eye was in place, and magic was ostensibly restored to Mythweald. Val and the Night Guard traveled to his mansion, and Val, aided in his task by the expertise and hard work of Redrick, organized his estate by hiring staff and setting up taxes and tolls. After a long day of working on the estate, the Night Guard retired to their new quarters and settled in for a well-earned rest.

But they woke to a horribly different world. The grounds were blanketed in pale mist, as though an autumn chill had swept over the estate. In the mansion, Val heard a piano playing a familiar, sorrowful melody. And Tam was again inundated with images: undead soldiers, a misty swamp, the stench of death, and a dark, terrible figure.

Steely-armored, pale-haired, with a vicious gleam in his eyes and Windsinger in his right hand – the figure was unmistakably Val…


Best Line goes to Alfo:

(When the dracolich enters the battlefield and casually destroys the hobgoblin army)
Rest of the party, panicking: What do we do! What do we do!
Alfo: Well… we get on the elevator!

Best RP is shared between Val, for taking his new age, barony, and esteem in stride; and Manny, for enthusiastically embracing his chaotic nature.


Timeline

08:00 – At the touch of the Mantle of the Weald, Tam hears the STONECAPE PROPHECY.
08:30 – The party battles hobgoblins and a troll.
10:00 – The party allies with the Drow queen and her warriors.
11:00 – Val discovers his title and estate. Redrick verifies the title and Val accepts his Stewardship.
11:30 – Manny accidentally triggers the Hobgoblin attack on Glutton’s Teeth.
11:45 – The drow twins betray the Night Guard and their own Queen by summoning a dracolich to the battle.
12:00 – The Night Guard and their allies flee the battle in the restored elevator.

[Long Rest]

00:00 – The Night Guard and their allies arrive in Emberhearth.

[At this point accurate timekeeping was lost.]

? – The party is teleported to Elder Vale to search for answers in the libraries there, but discovers instead that they have somehow experienced a rift in time.

? – The party travels to Ashewood Redoubt and restores the Eye of the Sun Watchers.

? – The party returns to Val’s estate to rest, recuperate, and discuss their plans.

[Long Rest]

? – The party wakes in a different world. Tam has a vision: death, undeath, dread, darkness, and a familiar figure: Steely-armored, pale-haired, with a vicious gleam in his eyes and Windsinger in his right hand – the figure is unmistakably Val …

View
The Arcane Forge
Trials, triumphs, and mysterious encounters

With the Rangers in tow, the Night Guard snuck up to the Glutton’s Teeth and around the side, to the sewer grate. The massive stone pillars there – the eponymous “teeth” – were dripping with dark slime, which transformed a spider into a Shadow spider as the group looked on. Resourceful as ever, Alfo pried off some of the weeping black stone and hid it in his bag.

The group was momentarily stymied by the sewer grate and the acidic stream flowing under it. Tam scouted ahead and determined the sewer led upwards, to a safe and enclosed cell. Heartened, the group struggled through the acid and the upward-sloping tunnel.

They emerged into a cramped prison cell containing several dead bodies and one frail, emaciated dragonborn. Val opened his cell and Tam stabilized him, giving him a goodberries to help restore his health. Finally the dragonborn was lucid enough to provide his name – Rhoskan – and answer their questions.

The party learned that Rhoskan had been captured by the black dragon Zarelth, the Shadow of the Underdark, who had kept Rhoskan imprisoned for the past sixty-two years. Rhoskan also identified Alfo’s Thunderang as an item of his own past making, along with Alfo’s magic cleats. In fact, Rhoskan explained he was once the master of the Arcane Forge, before his capture and imprisonment.

Rhoskan explained that long ago, when the Glutton’s Teeth was attacked by a dragon, the elevator to the surface was disabled; while he could potentially fix it, it would take hours – and his tools remained within the Arcane Forge itself. Rhoskan drew out a map of the fortress for the party, pointing out the easiest path to the Forge, and pledged to help them by fixing the elevator if they could keep him safe.

Val investigated one possible route but was nearly crisped by a wall of fire; subsequently the group decided to take a different route. However, they were ambushed by a group of kobolds, including a kobold trap master. Val managed to incapacitate the kobolds by casting Stinking Cloud, but their traps and tricks were formidable. Finally, the party managed to get through the minefield of traps, intermingled spell effects, and a last-ditch attack of pocket sand to defeat the kobolds.

The party looted the kobolds’ pitiful throne room, scraping it clean of treasure, then checked the next room over for traps and secrets. Alfo discovered a locked chest and opened it to find a blank piece of paper: a piece of a map written in invisible ink. (An adventure for another time.)

Finally the group managed to reach the chapel, from which they could proceed to the next floor of the building and to the Arcane Forge. However, the chapel was already occupied… by a mysterious, cloaked, scythe-bearing figure who introduced itself as the Harvester. This figure demanded tribute – and when it was not forthcoming, the Harvester locked the doors, opened two portals to another realm, and summoned horrifying metallic monsters to attack the party.

Thinking quickly upon perceiving the Harvester’s shadowy, vermin-riddled form, Val cast Daylight to illuminate the room and weaken the dark entity. Meanwhile, Tam’s scorpion captured one of the metal monsters in its claws, and Manny magically restrained the Harvester. Manny’s electrifying attack shocked the second metal monster into retreat, and it pulled the Harvester back into the portal behind it – but not before the Harvester’s mask clattered to the ground, revealing Tam’s face.

In the aftermath of the battle, the chapel was again clear, bright and holy. Alfo, struck voiceless by fear, prayed fervently for guidance and comfort after the horrors he just witnessed. Meanwhile, the party proceeded to loot the throne room, gathering treasures both commonplace and unusual, as well as a mysterious journal the Harvester dropped in its flight.

The party took advantage of the relative safety of the throne room to indulge in some much-needed rest and healing, and to catalogue their new finds. However, a loud crash from the upper floors of the fortress brought their attention back to their urgent task. The Hobgoblin host was getting impatient.

On the way upstairs, Manny checked a side tunnel, discovered a common room where several kobolds were enjoying a peaceful meal, and incinerated them all in a fireball. After looting the room beyond, the party, with Rhoskan in tow, proceeded up the stairs and finally to the Arcane Forge.

While the door was easy to open with the magical Key, restarting the Forge was much more difficult. The party sacrificed many magical items and their own energy to fuel the flames. Furthermore, the Forge guardians also threatened the party: two animated stone statues and a massive brass golem, all ready to attack the next people to use the Forge. As Rhoskan started up the Forge, Val cast a Tiny Hut around the party, and they huddled together under the blows of the golem’s axe while Rhoskan hurriedly fashioned a metal component to reprogram the golem.

Alfo courageously clambered up the golem’s back, resisting its scalding steam and evading its fearsome grasp. With the help of Val’s inspiring words, he successfully installed the newly forged component. Immediately the golem and its fellow guardians ceased to attack.

With their safety now assured, the group and Rhoskan settled in for a few hours of relaxation. After years of imprisonment, Rhoskan was delighted to be back at his work, and joyfully fashioned new items for several members of the party, including a singing rapier for Val, a cloak for Tam, a weapon belt for Alfo, a jewelry bag for Manny, and best of all, shiny new armor for Shadow.

Meanwhile, Alfo perused the journal dropped by the Harvester. The journal turned out to be written by someone called the Pursuer, whose realm is the Feral Bosque, part of the Shadowfell. Even more harrowing, the journal was very clearly written by Alfo himself – except that the person who wrote the journal made a choice that Alfo had not. They ran from war, when Alfo didn’t. The discovery gave Alfo a new perspective into his life and the world around him.

Well-rested, emboldened after their successful quest to restart the Arcane Forge, and eager to try out their new magical items, the party prepared to continue through the fortress to the elevator.

Then Tam put on his new cloak, and heard a prophecy…


Best Line goes to Manny:

(While the group is debating how to determine the nature of invisible ink on a note, given the risk that it might be toxic)

Manny: Well I could lick it all I wanted!

Best RP goes to Alfo, for performing heroic feats of athletics despite his fear, and for discovering the mysterious journal left by his alternate self.


Timeline

19:30 – The group sneaks up to the sewer grate, then scouts and traverses the acid-riddled tunnel.
20:00 – The group emerges into a prison. They find and stabilize a frail dragonborn named Rhoskan, the only living prisoner. After giving him some nourishment, the group learns from him many details about the fortress and its history, as well as the impedances they will face on the way out.
21:30 – Val discovers a wall of flame blocking access to the elevator shaft.
22:00 – The party leaves the Rangers to guard Rhoskan and heads towards the chapel at the request of Alfo.
22:30 – En route the party encounters kobolds, including a kobold trap-master. The battle is fierce and lengthy, but the resourceful Night Guard manages to prevail. Val loots the corpses.
23:00 – The party continues to a scorched guardroom. Alfo discovers part of a map drawn in invisible ink.
23:30 – The party continues into the chapel. It is filled with mist and shadows, and a mysterious figure calling itself the Harvester stands at the pulpit.
23:40 – The Harvester demands tribute and, when the party reacts with confusion, summons monsters to attack them. The Night Guard fights back fiercely, however, and the Harvester retreats into shadow.
00:00 – With the chapel clear and safe, Alfo spends time there praying, and the rest of the party continues into the tomb to loot the hoard of the dead dragon. They spend time sorting through the many treasures there, including another fragment of the mysterious map.

[Long Rest]

08:00 – The party hears a loud crash and surmises the Hobgoblin army is getting impatient.
08:30 – The party returns to the prison to check in with the Rangers and Rhoskan, who are all doing well.
09:00 – The party continues to the second level of the fortress. Manny, with Val’s help, incinerates a roomful of kobolds. The party loots this room and finds a well beyond, where they wash and drink.
10:00 – The party heads upstairs, discovers the door to the Arcane Forge nearby, and decides to break camp and bring along the Rangers and Rhoskan.
10:30 – Rhoskan opens the door to the Arcane Forge and the group enters.
11:00 – Rhoskan re-starts the Arcane Forge and, with the help of Val and Manny’s magic, miscellaneous spare equipment, and with Alfo’s extraordinary courage and feats of athleticism, manages to re-program the powerful golems protecting the Forge.
11:30 – The group takes the opportunity to rest and recuperate while Rhoskan joyfully works the Arcane Forge, creating magical items for the party

[Long Rest]

08:00 – Then Tam puts on the cloak, and hears a prophecy…

View
Cruelty and Compassion
New friends and unexpected developments

At the stroke of midnight, in a blinding flash of light, Pateirn disappeared! In his place stood a stranger – a tall and otherworldly-looking Yuan-Ti, who introduced himself as Manuya Teoshi.

The party was initially suspicious, but Shadow’s immediate trust of Manny put everyone at ease. The Rangers also greeted Manny as an old friend – one of the Heroes’ Guild’s first Heroes. Manny explained that he was sent by Oghma to aid the Night Guard in their quest. Keeping sight of their goal, the group continued down the tunnel. During the long walk, Alfo was plagued by memories of his first near-death experience, and felt deeply unsettled.

The group arrived at a large cavern, and examined it for traps. Manny found a pit trap and Val skillfully disarmed a tripwire. The group then took the opportunity to rest, with Val on watch. Manny spent some time talking to his “friend” Oghma, to the mild confusion of everyone else.

After this peaceful interlude, the group set off again, but soon encountered goblins. Their leader/Booyahg used a magic wand to cast Fireball, seriously injuring Clotilde, Redrick and Shadow. The party scrambled to heal their fallen friends, while a magical duel ensued: Val cast Stinking Cloud to incapacitate the enemy goblins, but the Booyahg cast a gust of wind that dispersed the cloud. Alfo and Redrick fought Booyahg fiercely, yet wild magic fortuitously healed the tiny foe. Alfo was frustrated even further when Manny accidentally hit him with a fireball. Finally the Booyahg was overwhelmed and devoured by a rat swarm.

The group took a few moments to heal up and collect themselves after this encounter. Meanwhile, Val and a few others poked around in the side tunnels looking for loot, but instead discovered a hallway filled with goblin-made net traps. One of the victims – a humble drow peasant named Talila – was still alive! Tam freed her from the net and the party escorted her to safety as goblins advanced down the trap-filled hallway.

Manny handily dispatched the entire party of goblins with a well-placed fireball, but the danger was far from over: in the distance, the war horn of a Hobgoblin host rang out. The sound struck terror into Alfo’s heart, and the rest of the group realized they needed to move fast in order to survive the advancing horde. While Val scouted out a route to the nearby Glutton’s Teeth fortress, the rest of the group questioned Talila, who admitted that her people, the drow, had captured the fortress and trapped most of the entrances days ago. After promising not to give away the group’s location, Talila quickly vanished down a tunnel.

The group stood at an impasse. Some party members favored aiding the drow in their efforts to maintain control of the fortress, but others insisted that allying with the advancing Hobgoblin host would give them an easier path into the fortress and to their goal, the elevator to the surface. While the debate continued, the group rested in magical shelter provided by Val. The safety and company of his friends helped Alfo resist his paranoia and settle his nerves.

Meanwhile, Val thought back to his years in school, searching for memories of information that could help the group avoid the wrath of the Hobgoblin army. To his delight, his recollection of the details goblinoid religion – one of his favorite subjects in school – was absolute. Val and Alfo, with the support of the group, hatched a plan to infiltrate the Hobgoblin forces, disguised as messengers from Maglubiyet, the hobgoblin god of cruelty. Alfo’s crafting skills came in handy as he fashioned a Deva disguise for Manny; Val chose simply to rely on his imposing demeanor to maintain the upper hand.

Disguised as a Deva messenger of Maglubiyet and the Deva’s human emissary, and with the chains binding two “subjects” – Alfo and Tam – in hand, Manny and Val set off to coerce and deceive the Hobgoblin war leaders into cooperation. The goblins and bugbears at the gate were easily intimidated, but the clever Hobgoblin warlord proved a match even for Val – especially since Alfo and Tam had difficulty maintaining their deference as “terrified prisoners.” Fortunately, Val’s luck held, and the warlord was convinced: the Deva and Maglubiyet’s emissary would enter the Glutton’s Teeth fortress via a hidden sewer grate, clear the fortress, and open the main doors for the triumphant Hobgoblin horde, at which point the “prisoners” would be sacrificed to bring glory to Maglubiyet.

Once the plan was laid out, the party returned to the Rangers’ hiding place to prepare for their upcoming infiltration mission. Manny took the opportunity to craft a few potions and other items that could prove helpful in the battle, while Alfo restored his even temper and mental clarity with the help of a good dose of Feywine. Finally, the group discussed the hazards they expected to encounter: traps, dungeon monsters, and of course the Drow, who they still regarded as both potential allies… and, given their history with the Night Guard, very likely enemies.

The battle loomed ahead…


Best Line goes to Alfo:

(While the group is brainstorming how to prevent Alfo and Tam’s execution by beheading upon finally entering the Glutton’s Teeth fortress)
Alfo: Guys!! I could craft our heads!

Best RP goes to Val, for enjoying intimidation and subjugation of goblins a little too much.


Timeline

00:00 – In the wake of the group’s victory, Pat vanishes, and Manuya Teoshi (Manny) appears in his place. Introductions are made.
00:30 – The group continues along the tunnel.
01:00 – The group encounters and avoid a pit trap, then takes the opportunity to rest and recuperate.
02:00 – Continuing along the hallway, the group is ambushed by goblins and their magic-using leader. The group is unprepared to deal with the goblin’s magical attacks and repeated accidental regeneration, but finally manages to defeat him, although Clotilde and Redrick sustain serious injury.
02:30 – The group encounters a hallway filled with prisoners trapped in goblin nets. One, a drow, is freed and carried to safety as the group flees from approaching goblins. Manny fireballs the goblins.
03:30 – Val scouts ahead and spies the Glutton’s Teeth, not far ahead, being assailed by a goblin army.
05:30 – The party takes the opportunity to rest and plan.

[Long Rest]

13:30 – Val and Manny pretend to be emissaries of the hobgoblins’ cruel overgod, and with the help of Alfo’s costuming skills, succeed in intimidating the hobgoblin Warlord and gaining his cooperation.
15:30 – The group returns to the Rangers to rest, prepare, and discuss their plan of attack.
16:00 – The battle looms ahead…

View
Under the Drow City
Sneaking through the shadows

The Night Guard and their companions swiftly looted the boat of the defeated drow crew. They took 15gp, 20sp, and the drow captain’s shining armor, which Pateirn identified as Glamour Armor. He reasoned that the armor’s blinding effects were due to flash powder. Most importantly, the group found an ominous note, which read only:

BRING THEM BACK.

The group decided to paddle towards a nearby shore where they could camp, regroup, rest, and discuss their next steps. On the journey, the Rangers explained that a large drow city lay nearby, directly in the group’s path towards Glutton’s Teeth. They also noted that the persistent attacks by drow were unusual: drow are ambush specialists, and their pursuit of the party defied expectations.

Upon arrival at the shore, the group made camp, and the more seriously injured individuals – namely Redrick – settled in for a much needed rest. Shadow was ecstatic to be back on land. The entire group rested and recovered over the next several peaceful hours.

After resting , the group gathered to share a fortifying meal that the Rangers brought along, and discussed strategy for the next part of their journey. Everitt explained that the group faced a difficult choice: either continue across Darklake, or take another path through tunnels. He pointed out that tunnels in the Underdark often shift and collapse, complicating travel, and that the tunnels directly underneath the drow city were likely filled with Thri-keen and other threats. But the alternative was risky too: the route across Darklake passed through a monument called the Stone Pillars, home to a mad drow wizard who was rumored to drown passers-by in whirlpools while cackling with glee. The group decided to continue through the tunnels.

The group set off, under a cloak of silence and stealth, into the tunnels under the drow city. Almost immediately they encountered an east/west split in the path. Pateirn assessed the situation and determined that the eastern path was newer, marked with fresh boot prints and pick marks, and likely used by drow – too great a risk. The group continued along the path leading westward.

As the group continued, the tunnel began to descend, and their surroundings began to grow warm, then hot. Finally, the air was nearly too stifling to breathe, and the halfling Rangers grew faint from the heat. The group was in the center of an immense spinning geode. Surrounded by treacherous molten rock, they tiptoed along the fragile path across the hazard. Redrick slipped, but was only mildly burned. Finally the path began to lead back upward and the group left the geode far behind.

The group heard the sound of falling stones and rubble, and immediately encountered a caved-in part of the tunnel. The main route was therefore blocked, but an east/west choice of side tunnels remained available. Pateirn recalled that goblins often collapse tunnels to re-route and ambush travelers, and reasoned that this cave-in was deliberate. Tam, as beetles, burrowed through the collapsed tunnel portion to assess the risk, and heard at least one goblin waiting in ambush. The group decided to take the western tunnel, towards Darklake, rather than the eastern tunnel towards the goblin warrens.

But no tunnel could be without danger. Val, tipped off by the Dagger of Warning, invisibly scouted ahead and discovered a drow party and a drider lying in wait for the group to stumble into their ambush. The group decided to take the eastern tunnel instead, towards the goblin warrens. Pat consulted the Underdark guidebook and explained that many factions were likely vying for power after the recent death of Ewlbkhan, the black dragon presumed slain by the Night Guard and Lord Murdock Mistymane.

An hour’s march brought the group to a suspicious feature: a crack in the ceiling with the sound of mail and tiny footsteps above. Alfo, decisively stabbed the fissure with his pike. The trap was sprung! False walls collapsed, and rubble, goblins, and hobgoblins poured into the tunnel.

In the ensuing battle, the party easily killed several goblins, but the trio of hobgoblins proved to be a serious threat. Tam tried to incapacitate the hobgoblin leader, but failed. Alfo and the Rangers messily defeated the other hobgoblins while Val delivered a reprimand so scathing it killed the goblin he insulted. Finally, Pateirn finished off the hobgoblin leader with a Scorching Ray.

Then, quite suddenly, the unthinkable happened…


Best Line goes to Pateirn:

(While the group is trying to choose whether to cross Darklake or go through the tunnels under the drow city)
Party: So there’s a mad wizard guarding the lake passage, who is very powerful. Do you think-
Pat, without missing a beat: Sure, I could beat him.
Party: ……..????

Best RP goes to Val.


Timeline
10:45 – The group loots the drow boat, retrieving Glamour Armor, some coin, and an ominous note.
11:00 – The group paddles to a nearby shore to recoup and strategize.
[Long Rest]
20:30 – Given a choice between paddling further across Darklake and following tunnels under the nearby drow city, the group opts for the tunnels.
21:30 – The group successfully navigates a hazardous spinning geode, though the Rangers sustain some damage.
22:30 – A collapsed portion of tunnel blocks the main path. Anticipating an ambush, the group continues on a different path, towards Darklake.
23:00 – The group detects and avoids a drow ambush.
23:30 – The group encounters a goblin trap and is ambushed. In the ensuing battle, the group defeats the goblins and their hobgoblin overseers, but not without injury.
00:00 – Then the unthinkable happens…

View
Adrift upon Darklake
The darkness deepens...

After defeating the “Mayor of Forgehome” and exposing him as a doppelganger, the Night Guard received accolades, gifts, the Key to the Arcane Forge, and a map to the Glutton’s Teeth. The rule of Forgehome was given over to Finn, who thanked the Night Guard for their assistance.

The Guard set off towards the Glutton’s Teeth, bearing the Key to the Arcane Forge and accompanied by the Ashewood Rangers and by a Heroes’ Guild agent named Umber. With this extra help, the Night Guard were quickly able to defeat a small party of drow who attempted to ambush them upon the shores of Darklake.

After dealing with the drow, the Night Guard and their companions set out across the lake in complete darkness, paddling a boat belonging to Everett Oakbottom (one of the Rangers). While Shadow cowered in fear of the surrounding water, Alfo resisted his anxieties, and found himself filled with courage and resolve.

However, the peaceful mood was not to last. The party were approached and attacked by a drow crew, who immobilized the boat and sought to board. After a brief battle, the drow and their spider companions were defeated, and devoured either by insects or by the vampiric squid they encountered when they leapt overboard.

A search of the drow boat revealed little (although Alfo did find a stony phial of cockatrice venom). But during the search, the party nearly missed the sound of another approaching boat. This boat was larger and bore a drow in gleaming armor along with his capable crew.

Wasting no time in negotiations, the Night Guard opted to attack, while the drow party attempted to board. The ensuing battle was chaotic and tense. Redrick Tramdus (of the Ashewood Rangers) and Umber were both grievously wounded. Additionally, the drow captain used his magical armor to dazzle his enemies, and succeeded in temporarily blinding Alfo. But due to the valiant efforts of Clotilde Oakbottom (the third Ashewood Ranger in the group) and Alfo, along with wicked cool (and very effective!) magical attacks from Pat and a healthy dose of Val’s bardic inspiration, the Night Guard rallied and prevailed. Finally, Alfo defeated the drow captain with a fearsome swing of his axe.

The journey across Darklake continues…


Best Line goes to Val:

(After dealing damage to an enemy) “Rest in pastrami, motherfucker!”

Best RP is shared by Alfo and Val, for Alfo’s RP-appropriate rolls (including a nat 20 to calm Shadow and a successful fatal attack on a boss in the last battle) and for Val’s inspiring improvised battle songs.


Timeline
19:00 – The party defeats the “Mayor,” speaks with Finn, and retires to the inn, where they meet Umber.
[Long Rest]
05:00 – The party outlines their plans to head into the Underdark on the next stage of their quest.
06:00 – The party makes a run through the markets to pick up supplies.
06:30 – The party is joined by the Ashewood Rangers.
07:00 – The group sets off down the Gold Standard Exchange Mine tunnel. Many side tunnels are blocked off due to various Underdark hazards.
08:00 – The group reaches the shores of Darklake, encounter drow, and launch their boat.
09:00 – The group paddles across the lake. Alfo withstands the pull of madness.
10:00 – The group is attacked by a drow crew but defeats these drow.
10:30 – While looting the first drow boat the group is attacked by a second crew and their captain. Again, the Night Guard and their companions triumph.
11:00 – The journey across Darklake continues…

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