The Elemental Menace

What Lies Beneath Red Larch
"The Hole Truth"

The party, now back in town, decides to rest up and upon returning to the Swinging Sword, they encounter Stanor Thistlehair who seems to be well into his evening drinking as Braxton starts up a conversation with him. Stanor tells him that he has growing concerns that the quarry he works in is haunted. He says that Alliberry Maliko manages the quarry, and that while he has passed on his concerns to her, they have been summarily ignored. Stanor, more concerned with the fullness of his tankard of ale, continues to drink as the group goes to retire upstairs.

Before retiring to bed, Tehn decides to take a quick walk at night on the streets of Red Larch. He meanders his way to the quarry entrance that Stanor had spoken of and sees off in the distance from the entrance some cloaked figures with torches going into what he can only assume is a structure or cave of some sort. Tehn notes this, and then walks back to the inn to sleep.

The next day the group decides to investigate the reports of a mysterious skull pinned to a tree by an arrow. When our heroes arrive to examine the arrow, Tehn picks up the parchment attached to the arrow along with the skull, as he does so, a strange feeling comes over Tehn. The monk cannot say why, but the feeling portends danger in the future. The parchment has an enigmatic message on it: “The last laugh. -Balklandar”

The party takes the arrow back to Arthur for examination, but Arthur can only confirm what our heroes already suspect, that the arrow has some black, unknown enchantment on it. The group then takes it to Tehn’s acquaintance Imdar Relvaunder. Imdar only reveals slightly more, telling them that the arrows enchantment is undead in nature, and that while Tehn has been tainted, the taint is irremovable, but temporary in nature.

Not knowing what more to do concerning the arrow and it’s mysterious note, the group decides to investigate the claims of a tomb nearby that is haunted. The group opens the stone door to the tomb…and immmediately triggers a rather crude alarm by doing so. A half ogre and a goblin rush to the scene intent on killing the heroes. The group quickly take down the half ogre with a series of focused attacks from each member, and the sequence proves to powerful enough for Tehn to name it: Delta Strike! The goblin, having lost his musclebound companion is defeated quickly. Having dispatched the monsters, the group is free to explore the tomb. Tehn sees a gate made of iron bars and decides to examine it, but upon touching the gate a ghost appears and warns them to turn back, lest they incur it’s wrath for violating this sacred resting place. Before leaving, they ask the ghost the name of it’s master, who it has referenced several times in the conversation. The ghost reveals that his master is one Alevar Morianan. While not knowing who that is, the group decides that the real threat was the ogre and goblin making trouble in these parts, and thus decides to leave the ghost in peace.

As our party exits the tomb Tehn grabs his head in pain and suffers a vision of a bloody skull with one eye missing. Not too soon after, a group of zombies attack the trio. Curiously, they seem to ignore Tehn during the fight. The group kills the zombies with little difficulty and surmises this must somehow be part of whatever taint Tehn contracted from the arrow.

They arrive back in town and warn the sheriff and Imdar of the tomb’s spectral occupant and they say they will warn people of violating the sanctity of the tomb. As the group is in the middle of a discussion with the sheriff a large sink hole opens up in the center of town! The trio leap into action, and begin lowering rope and helping unfortunate villagers that were swallowed by the sink hole. As the three try to lend their aid, other villagers around the pit, try to stop not only our heroes, but anyone from aiding the villagers or going into the pit. Tehn and Gerdan ignore their pleas and go down into the pit to give aid while Braxton becomes entangled in an argument with a man who adamantly insists they deny aid and not enter the pit.

Braxton manages to end his argument unamicably with the man and assists in the efforts to save the villagers. After all the villagers have been saved, the three examine their surroundings to discover that the sink hole is not simply a hole, but part of a network of caverns that seem to be man made. As our heroes explore the caverns, much to the chagrin of the nay-sayers topside, they find a curious room with a floating stone, another room with a life-like statue of a dwarf (so life-like that they surmise this is an actual petrified dwarf) in front of the statue they find some coins and gems as well as a dagger with an inscription: Reszur. This dagger turns out to be a +1dagger, glows when the inscription is read aloud, and is enchanted to be completely silent. Tehn decides to keep it.
In another room, the three find a room with a large 8ft tall stone with an inscription: “displease not the delvers”, and a boy, pinned beneath rocks in front of the stone whose name is Braelen Hatherhand, son of Rothar. As the group tries to free the boy, a half orc confronts them and tells them to leave and leave the boy where he is. The adventurers hear none of this and brutally incapacitate the half orc. The boy says he is being punished for failing to deliver a letter to Ilmeth, one of the town elders. He also says that this cave system is the work of “the believers” and that they believe in “the Moving Stones,” and that these stones communicate with the believers by mysterious movement. He also names the half orc as a friend by the name of Grund. Braelen is still frightened both by what has happened to Grund, and his overall circumstance, but tentatively agrees to accompany the group. The group then tries to exit out of the initial sinkhole, only to be accosted by a group of 6 men in cloaks who call themselves the Bringers of Woe, and say that they have come to reward the group’s curiousity….with execution! The three combantants manage to take down the six, but not before Tehn is hit with a nasty crossbow shot, nearly killing him. But the party sees to his wound and while Tehn is not fully recovered he is strong enough to continue. After killing the cloaked men, the Braxton and Gerdan get Braelen back up to the surface and involuntarily reunited with his father.

Braxton, concerned for Braelen as the boy had confessed that his father was among the people who incarcerated him, confirms that the boy is indeed okay. And while the father is grateful that his boy is okay, he is also angry that the group interfered at all. As this argument continues, Braxton reveals the groups findings to the public at hand as well as his suspicions as to what has been occurring beneath Red Larch. Neither side really seems to gain any ground against the other, and Braxton, fed up with the talk, goes back down into the hole with Gerdan to explore.

Meanwhile below, not too long after his friends ascended up the rope with Braelen, Tehn hears the voice of an old man asking who is out there and what is going on. Tehn, not wanting to head directly to the voice decides to try and stealthily sneak up on the source and takes a circuitous route toward the sound. Not being careful, Tehn leaves a trail of bloody footprints to mark his passing, not that the voice’s source would be able see it. Half way through sneaking up on the voice, Braxton and Gerdan interrupt Tehn having followed his bloody footprints, blowing any stealth advantage Tehn may have gained. Tehn, somewhat put out but good natured, lets the group go on and directly confront the voice’s source, who is an older man, positioned in front of a door, who seems to have been there for quite sometime. The man seems affable enough, but Braxton and Gerdan, already short tempered due to their exchange with the people above dismiss the man who reluctantly acquiesces to their demands, granting the group entry into the room beyond.

This room is large and holds the large “moving stones” that the group had heard of. As group starts to investigate the stones, Gerdan is ambushed by a spray of acid from a strange, older, but fit man in his 50’s wearing dark earth tone robes. As the group moves in to fight the man, he proves to be exceptionally fast, and capable of moving rock at will. Tehn is astounded by this ability, and equally astounded that he is capable of a similar ability, albeit on a much smaller scale -something that has not happened to him in a long time. During combat the man reveals that he is part of something called the Dark Earth Cult. With quite some difficulty, the three force the mysterious man to retreat from them into a bolt hole in the room. As the group pursues, the man throws a lever that causes the bolt hole to cave in on itself. Tehn and Braxton, not dissuaded by the cave-in, dig through the rubble (Tehn using his newfound ability to move earth), and find that the man was killed by the very trap he set off. On his body we find 4 bars of iron that seem to be a foreign trade currency as well as a medallion with the elemental symbol for earth on it. The bolt hole empties into the back of Waevlur’s Wagon Works in Red Larch, which is where the group emerges.

When group gets back outside, they find the sheriff questioning a line up of 5 people. Among the people are Alliberry Maliko, Dornan Firestone, Rothar Hatherhand and 2 others.
Braxton interrupts the proceedings and tells the sheriffs of his groups most recent findings. Upon hearing all of this, Alliberry cracks and reveals what she knows of the events.

Apparently, the “Believers” started near the beginning of Red Larch’s founding, the quarry miners discovered the stones and soon after discovered they moved and began to interpet their movement. But a few weeks ago the old man, whose name she says is Larok, came to town. Larok started at the quarry and managed to ingratiate himself with the Believers, and convinced them he could interpret the movement of the stones better than they could. After having done that, he began to give orders to the believers that were more and more sinister, while claiming it served a greater good, and used his ability to move earth to position the stones according to his orders and predictions. Abduction and ritual sacrifice were among the deeds Larok convinced the believers to perpetrate.

Heartbroken and weeping Alliberry claims they thought it was for the greater good. The three heroes, having heard this, leave the sheriff to decide how to proceed, and take the bars they found to Arthur for appraisal. They turn out to be bars from the Mirabar Delegation, a group that had disappeared 10 days ago. The 3 don’t know quite what to make of this, nor have they managed to make sense of the curious cursed arrow and it’s undead taint that plagues Tehn, not mention the appearance of this Black Earth Cult. It’s anyone’s guess as to what the heroes will do next!

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The Lord of Lance Rock
Partying like it's WAY before 1999

Our heroes clean themselves up and attend the party that Red Larch has thrown in their honor. Tehn wanders into the kitchen looking for food and is immediately shooed out of the kitchen by Miriam who is busy preparing the food.

Having been denied what he actually wants, he sees Braxton at the bar conversing with a dusty and relatively dirty man in work clothes. It seems that the man, possibly a quarry worker was telling Braxton some of the local rumors and happenings around town. One being that Old Lady Manglebar’s granddaughter claims to have had a scare at the tomb near town and Old Lady Manglebar says that it must be goblins staging a haunting of the place, for what reason who knows.

Gerdan, manages to strike up a conversation with a gentleman who relays that there are several issues on top of the regular standard fare that has the sheriff overwhelmed. One being a supposed ghost in a tomb near here, another being the rash of disappearances that could be connected to the Lord of Lance Rock, and finally, some children found attached to a tree, a strange skull pinned to a tree with an arrow. Also, Gerdan notices a group of well dressed men who seem to go out of their way to keep themselves at the party, and hears that they are part of the Red Larch council.

The rest of the evening passes without much else transpiring, the feast is sumptuous, and everyone enjoys the festivities fully before retiring for the evening. Tehn still seems ignorant of Miriam’s affections.

The team, now rested and restored turns it’s gaze once more towards Lance Rock. Having nearly lost their lives once to it’s undead citizenry, the team gathers its courage and sets out to rid the place of whatever evil that befouls it.

Upon returning to Lance Rock, the group manages to go deeper than their prior adventure and comes upon a room houses a rather bizarre scene. In what appears to be a wide staging area there are a trio of zombies in costume. One is dressed as a jester, one as a damsel, and the last one is wearing a a bear costume, all of them seem to be acting out some kind of play to the amusement of something out of view cackling madly.

The zombies soon notice the party and attack them without hesitation, the source of the cackling seems to flee. Tehn and Braxton dispatch the Bear and Jester as Gerdan destroys the damsel zombie handily, all give chase to the voice Tehn and Braxton. Tehn and Braxton get some rocks dropped on them as they enter a room, but this does not deter them, and they continue to follow the voice into a long large room where 4 skeletons guard a hooded figure at the far end. The skeletons move in to attack as disembodied hands crawl forward as well. Our heroes beat the skeletons, but not before the hooded figure slips mysteriously out of the room. Progressing down the long room, Braxton trips a wire that the disembodied hands attached to themselves. After dispatching the hands, our heroes slowly work the rest of the way through the hall.

The next room features a floating glowing orb with four ethereal elemental symbols floating around it, as well as a fifth symbol that the group does not recognize. Also in this room is the hooded figure, who turns out be a decoy much to Braxton’s dismay. But the dismay is short lived as the Lord of Lance Rock makes his appearance, wielding necrotic magic our group has not yet fought the likes of. In the battle, Tehn brashly charges in and delivers a series of blows that hurt the lord, but manages to heal himself using the necrotic forces at his command and then knocks Tehn out with but a touch. Luckily, his compatriots Braxton and Gerdan manage to defeat the necromancer. Gerdan calling forth might of his Thunderous Smite to deliver some truly devastating blows.

Upon defeat of the necromancer, Gerdan lays hands on Tehn, reviving the zealous monk. Braxton finds the necromancer’s journal. It appears that the Lord of Lance Rock was a necromancer named Orioth, from Baldur’s Gate. His family cast him aside due his proclivity for disturbing behavior, he then became a graverobber until eventually finding his way to Lance Rock and hid out there. Over time he came to refer to himself as the Lord of Lancerock. As the journal goes on, the writing becomes increasingly ragged and insane, rambling about sitting atop a black throne as king, and constantly referencing an “all seeing eye” or an “elemental eye”. Our heroes decide to take the globe, and journal with them.

Before heading back to town, the group takes some time to bury all of the dead here and honor their memory.

Upon returning to town, the group shows Arthur the globe, and Arthur tells them that it is a drift globe that will float above the ground and provide light up to and like daylight. Our heroes elect to keep this object, and decide what is their next course of action, come the morrow.

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Bodies, Bandits, and Bears! Oh My!
Tehn Aldenrow's account of events so far.

Ben’s Note:
This forum seems to be the most convenient way for me (Ben) to keep notes on our ongoing journey in the Elemental Menace campaign. I will attempt to recount the events in a similar fashion as to which Francis has done in his prior posts, albeit with maybe a little more personal insight into my character. At the moment I’m not sure who has access to what, and of course Francis has final say, but speaking for myself: if anyone has anything to add/modify on these posts I make, please feel free to do so, given that my memory will undoubtedly have holes in it and straight up misremember things. That is especially true with this post in particular as this is all recall from the morning after. In future sessions I will have this open as a note taking tool and then write it into a more cohesive account. With that said, here we go.

Starting with the 8/8/2017 session, immediately following the events of the Long Road post:

Having dispatched the single zombie, The group journeys further into the cave and are greeted by a rockslide! Braxton and Gerdan manage avoid serious injury, while Tehn completely evades the falling rocks. Before the trio can recover, the two zombies who upturned a crate full of rocky debris down on our adventurers hop down from the ledge and set upon them with malicious intent! The zombies prove to be of little difficulty, and after having dispatched them, the group is faced with a choice, inspect what lies beyond the ledge, or proceed further down the main passage of the cave. Braxton elects to climb up the slope and inspect what lies beyond, when he crests the slope, he sees an area with a stone and several corpses and skeletal bodies littering the room.
Seeing no immediate threat, Braxton turns to tell his companions that the coast is clear. Unfortunately, before he can finish his first sentence, a skeletal hand grasps his leg,
and pulls him down into the area with the stone, now populated with three now animated skeletons.

Gerdan and Tehn rush up to the slope to aid their companion, who is now slowly being dragged towards a ceremonial altar by a skeleton. They manage to free Braxton from the icy grip of the skeleton dragging him, but not before another with a cleaver deals a severe blow to Braxton prone on the ground. Gerdan bravely faces off with an armored, shield wielding skeleton, buying time for Tehn and Braxton to defeat it’s undead comrades. Sadly, the time comes at a cost, as the brave paladin is incapacitated by the shield skeleton who laughs in its eerily fleshless way. Due to the fighting, Tehn suffers a serious leg wound, and now he and an equally seriously wounded Braxton must face off against the skeleton that has bested their comrade. In a last ditch effort, the two execute a coordinated strike and manage to kill the fiendish thing, Tehn sending the skull sailing off the body with an explosive kick. Stabilizing their friend Gerdan, Braxton looks around the area for anything significant to justify their near death experience and finds two things of note:

1. Within the pile of bodies, one corpse bears a paper with Sid’s mark.
2. A peculiar vase with a stopper, that when moved one hears water inside, despite it’s apparent emptiness.

The group elects to take the body, paper and all, back to town for burial and to take the vase back for appraisal by Arthur.

Upon arrival in Red Larch, our heroes hit up the bakery for celebratory crumble cakes (the taste of which is slowly growing on Tehn), only to learn that more tragedy has befallen the community. The sheriff’s daughter, Miriam, has gone missing! The group visits the mother of the girl to hear her account of events, Tehn is touched by the mother’s plea, and without consulting his comrades, immediately volunteers his services to aid in the search for Miriam. The comrades decide to go along with the strange elf, but not before concluding their current business in town.

So, the group visits Arthur and inquires about both the vase, and the body with Sid’s marker. Arthur surmises that body was that of a man by the last name of Gravedancer, who was another individual under Sid’s employ.
The vase turns out to be a Decanter of Endless Water. Which upon being unstopped, tipped and given one of three command words: stream, fountain, or geyser; water will pour forth respectively in amounts of 1gal/round, 5gal/round in a 5ft long stream, 30gal/round in a 20ft long by 1ft wide stream.

The group trusts Arthur with the arrangement of Gravedancer’s burial, and elects to keep the decanter rather than sell it to Arthur/Sid.

The group then decides to go the Allfaiths Shrine and relay their findings to Tehn’s friend Imdarr Relvaunder. He is most interested in the undead haunting the area, and offers to enlist the help of the Order of the Gauntlet which our group politely declines.

After recovering from their wounds, the group meets up with the Sheriff and is escorted outside of town to where the Sheriff has based the search effort for his missing daughter, Miriam. Not knowing whether to suspect bears or bandits, as both have been seen in the area the girl was known to be in, the soldier, the paladin and the monk follow a game trail looking for clues as to the girl’s whereabouts. After a mile or two of searching, they indeed find a campfire in a clearing of the wood. Around the campfire sits 4 men roasting a boar on the fire, an obviously abused and angry bear in a cage, and a girl imprisoned in a smaller cage. Gerdan, Braxton and Tehn listen to men as they talk, who turn out to be bandits who have not only killed one of the two locally known and loved bears of Red Larch (capturing the other) but have also kidnapped Miriam! Our trio sets up to ambush the group and free the girl, but Braxton and Tehn are a little gunshy from their prior combat experience, and Braxton attempts to boost both of their morale with another of his inspiring pre-battle speeches this one attempted as quietly as possible. Unfortunately, quiet and brevity have never been Braxton’s forte and midspeech, a couple of the bandits hear him! But just as the men would begin to investigate the voice they heard emerging from the wood, the caged bear breaks the shoddy lock on its cage, and begins mauling one of the bandits.

In the ensuing chaos, Braxton decides to leap out and challenge the remaining three bandits attacking one, Tehn tries to circumvent the whole fight, and run to Miriam’s cage, getting her free, but before he can, Gerdan charges straight through the melee and expertly cleaves the ropes holding the cage closed with his hand axe, instructing Miriam to run to Tehn for safety as he whips his axe with lightning speed into the back of a bandit. Tehn, after throwing a dart to distract a bandit, picks up Miriam and carries her away from the battle. While Tehn hates leaving a fight, and worse, leaving his comrades behind to deal with rather steep odds, he prioritizes the lady’s safety and elects to run back to the search effort’s base camp, carrying Miriam the whole way.

Back at the campfire, Braxton manages to take care of one bandit, Gerdan grabs the boar on the fire and throws it at the other remaining bandit, splaterring meaty juices on the knave. Braxton finishes off his bandit just as the bear has finished eating its bandit. The bear turns to the boar and starts feasting on the succulent pork, letting Gerdan and Braxton capture and restrain the remaining bandit. The men have a brief standoff with the bear after it finishes the boar, but Braxton improbably manages to engineer a peaceful parting by rolling a crumblecake to the bear, who accepts the offering and departs to wander the woods as one of what was once two.

Back at base camp, Tehn, too worried for his road companions, is utterly oblivious to Miriam’s obvious romantic interest in him as her savior, and completely overjoyed to see his comrades emerge from the woods victorious and with a prisoner, no less! The Sheriff and other members of the town thank the group for the rescue, the Sheriff offering payment for their services, which they decline much to the increasing adoration of the Sheriff.

Miriam, still intent on gaining Tehn’s attention and undying love, begs the group (Tehn especially) to attend a celebration held in their honor. The group agrees, and then retires for the night with Tehn wondering how much crumblecake will be at this party, and if there are different kinds.

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The Long Road
I shouldn't have touched that...

Our adventurers meet with Sid at his mill in Waterdeep, and learn that he has been having troubles with his shipments moving through the Dessarin Valley. They learn that there have been unfortunate incidents befalling the crews of Sid’s wagon trains as of late, even hearing of “abductions” of a couple of Oxen Drivers ( who were attacked, but their bodies were never found).

The adventurers accept the contract of 20gp per day with a 5gp per diem as negotiated by Broxton to ensure that the goods arrive at Helvur and Maegla Tarnlar’s shop in Red Larch safely. One of their fellow contractees, a burly man named Lionheart directs the group to celebrate with some drinks of stonepiss at the tavern down the street, The Roaring Rabbit. Things get out of hand, and our adventurers wake up with a huge tab, and with Lionheart missing. The group settles the outstanding amount with a significant portion of their first day’s bonus pay and head to Sid’s warehouse.

The group then meets with Arthur, one of Sid’s “agents” who is part of Sid’s operation to establish an office in Red Larch where the company can acquire intel on magical and rare artifacts to auction off as curios to the nobility in Waterdeep. The wagons are then loaded up and the party moves north along the Long Road.

Things are pretty uneventful until the 3rd day of travel when, while watering the oxen, the party encounters an ambush of 5 goblins who are dispatched with some effort by the group. Broxton was the worse for wear, but managed to survive his wounds with a little help from a terrible tasting, but miraculously nourishing food known as crumblecake, as well as full nights rest.

Fortunately, the rest of the trip is as uneventful as the start, and the group arrives safely in Red Larch. They find themselves a suite at the local inn, The Swinging Sword, and talk to the proprietor, Kaylessa Irkell, known by her friends as “Kay.”

The party inquires about the lost oxen drivers, and are told that the ambush took place north of Red Larch, on the way to Neverwinter, two wagons, and four drivers/traders were attacked. Two of the men escaped, but the other two weren’t that lucky, and were never found. Rumor has it that strange footprints were found at the site, and rumblings and earthquakes were prevalent during the attack. She also mentions that she’s feels that Lance Rock may be the source of some of the strange going’s on in surrounding area.

During this time Arthur also sets up shop in an annex at the Inn, letting the group know that he would serve as a broker for Sid’s curio business. He is willing to pay for and identify artifacts and also promises to send for more information about the testimony of the surviving oxen drivers.

The next day the group delivers the goods to Tarnlar Clothiers, and also learn of the more strangeness at from the Tarnlar’s Children who report seeing an old dwarf prospector there. The group heads to the site to check it out.

There they find a abandoned campfire, and a trail leading to a cave, where Tehn spies a corpse laying on the ground. Braxton approaches the corpse and upon touching it finds that it was actually a zombie. The group kills the monster after several attempts, and finally puts it down for good by decapitating it with a double sword- scissor maneuver.

As they examine the body, they take a look at a rock clutched in it’s hand and find that it is actually a finely polished stone covered in indecipherable arcane symbols.

The group peers into the depths of this cave, wondering what lies within…

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The Beginning
Our adventurers gather....

Our adventure starts to the South, deep in the Tradesward of Waterdeep, where our adventurers are about to have a meeting with Sidathon Arellynaras about a job he needs some help with….

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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