The Elemental Menace

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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