Private Party

The Tale of Shadowfell Keep

The party delivered the book to Valthrun and then left to rest at the inn for the night. The next morning they returned to his tower to hear his findings.

Valthrun relayed the tale of Shadowfell Keep:

“On a grisly night eighty years ago, some two decades after the fall of the Nerath Empire, the commander of the keep garrison, Sir Keegan, put into motion the events that led to the keep’s downfall.

Perhaps the Shadow Rift’s malign influence is too strong to resist. Maybe Sir Keegan was an insane monster driven by demons we may never understand. Whatever the case, at the stroke of midnight on that fateful day, Sir Keegan began to systematically slaughter every resident of the keep. His own wife and children were first to fall to his blade, then his trusted advisors, and finally many of the soldiers under his command. Sir Keegan was too skilled for any one soldier to defeat, yet eventually the garrison managed to respond with an organized defense. Although many brave soldiers died, they managed to drive the mad knight into the passages beneath the keep and finally dispatch him.

The keep became notorious for a time. As one of the last bastions of the fallen empire, there was no one to order it back into service. So, it was abandoned, feared for a time, and eventually, more or less forgotten. An earthquake a few years later collapsed the upper towers and walls, and turned the place into a ruin of tumbled stone.

Rumors persist of great treasures buried beneath the keep, yet few have dared explore the passages over the year. Sir Keegan’s ghost is said to roam the corridors beneath the ruins, wailing in grief over the tragedy of his life. The people of Winterhaven avoid the place, and the mere mention of Shadowfell Keep is considered bad luck by many of the farmers and villagers.

The party then departed for the keep.

A quick visit to Fallcrest

The party arrived in Fallcrest after about half a days journey. The party went to the hall of records. There they met a busy record keeper who was less than interested in having his time wasted.

The party successfully completed a skill challenge, and using a combination of skills were able to:

  • convince the record keeper to help them find the book
  • describe various details about the book to aid in finding its location
  • find the book
  • convince the record keeper to let them borrow it

The book itself was over 3000 pages thick. Although written in common, there was no discernible index of table of contents. They would need to wait until Valthrun had a chance to examine it.

While in Fallcrest, the party took the opportunity to buy a few things.

They then returned to Winterhaven with the horses.

Answers in Winterhaven

Back in Winterhaven the PCs went to speak to Valthrun again. They asked how his research was going. He replied:

“My books and scrolls tell me that it was built by the old empire, Nerath, as I suspected. Not to watch for marauders, though. No. It was built over the site of a rift to the Shadowfell, a place of darkness and shadows!

Not all of the Shadowfell is evil, but this rift apparently connects to an unholy sanctuary of Orcus, the demon lord of the undead. Skeletons, ghouls, and stranger, fouler creatures crawled through the opening into the light of day. The empire destroyed the undead and then sealed the rift and built a keep over the location to watch over it and contain its threat. I thought that was the end of the story. Now, I’m not so sure.

The villagers think goblins lair in the ruin, so they avoid the area. If goblins have taken over the ruins, they haven’t bothered the farms or village.”

This shed some light on what lies to the north of Winterhaven. But then Valthrun continued:

“Wait there is more, I know there was more! I had a scroll that told the tale of exactly what happened at the keep all those years ago. But I can’t find my copy of the tale!

Will you seek out another copy? I just know that the Hall of Records in Fallcrest has a copy kicking around! If you retrieve it I can finish the tale. You might also be able to purchase one in a bookstore in Fallcrest, but not cheap. Please be quick, there’s no telling how close Kalarel is to opening the rift!”

The party left Valthrun’s tower and then headed over to Lord Padraig’s manor with news of Irontooth and the Kobolds’ fate.

Lord Padraig thanked the party for clearing out the Kobold Lair. As an additional reward he arranged to have horses rented for the party to take them to Fallcrest and back.

The party informed him of the message scroll they got off of Irontooth and of the spy in Winterhaven. Lord Padraig was certain it must have been Ninaran who was nowhere to be found.

After an extended rest, the party set out for Fallcrest.

Encounter - Kobold Lair - Inside

More than a dozen kobolds scurry in and out of sight throughout the cave. Screams, shouts, and cries of alarm reverberate throughout the torchlit hollow.

The Kobolds were ready and waiting inside their lair within the waterfall cave. The battle began and the party took a defensive posture near the cave entrance. This proved fruitful initially but then a second wave of Kobolds appeared, including their leader: the goblin Irontooth.

A harsh, bleating horn heralds the appearance of a burly, battlescarred goblin. Around him, kobolds scurry as if afraid to get too close. A great tattoo depicting a skeletal ram’s head marks this goblin’s face. He wears a wolf fur cloak and a chain shirt, and he wields a battleaxe in both hands.

The party was slowly defeating the Kobolds but the battle outcome was starting to look grim. As they started to retreat back outside, Irontooth took a running jump through the waterfall and landed menacingly on the outside.

As he approached closer, the party was greeted with most fortunate sight. Rogerus had emerged from the forest, having apparently sensed he was needed and cancelled his trip to see his father.

In the excitement, Scooter regained consciousness. With backup there to help, the battle turned in their favour.

Although Irontooth was able to deal some mighty blows, including a critical on Scooter, he was no match for the party. He was defeated. Upon receiving his deathblow he cried: “Kalarel and Lord Orcus, prepare my way!”

The party gained 178 XP each for defeating Irontooth and his Kobolds.

On the bodies they found:
  • 12 gp and 48 sp
  • a battleaxe
  • 14 spears
  • 8 javelins
  • 2 short swords

In the back of the lair was Irontooth’s treasure room containing a chest that they were able to open with a key found on Irontooth. There the party found:

  • +1 Dwarven Chain Mail
  • 420 gp

On Irontooth they also found a message scroll written in common and addressed to him from Kalarel. It read:

“My spy in Winterhaven suggests we keep an eye out for visitors to the area. It probably does not matter; in just a few more days, I’ll completely open the rift. Then Winterhaven’s people will serve as food for all those Lord Orcus sends to do my bidding.”

So close, yet so far...

After the battle outside the Kobold Lair was won, Scooter began to act strangely. He had one of his post-traumatic episodes, no doubt caused by stress of the battle. He fainted and so the party stashed him safely in some nearby bushes and continued towards the lair.

The party was blocked from entering the lair by great stone boulders at either entrance.

A perception check yielded to small mechanisms, cleverly hidden on either side of each boulder.

A history check help them remember that back in the days of the Nerath there was an opposing faction of Dwarves hiding out near Winterhaven. This must have been their hideout, previous to the Kobolds moving in.

They also remembered that Dwarves of that time period had a fascination with the number two and usually incorporated it into their art and construction.

Operating both mechanisms at the same time, they heard several clicks and turning gears and then the boulder started to recess into the ground. The door had been opened.

The party recieved 40 XP each for this skill challenge.

Ripples in Time

Past events have been altered. It is unclear how or why but the effects are real all the same.

Everything you know, everything you’ve done is unchanged except for a few details:

While spending the night in Winterhaven, Rogerus received news that his father is gravely ill. He had to leave immediately and travel far to the city of Candor located to the east, beyond the Nentir Vale. A note was left behind to the party explaining it all. Anything he was carrying is still with him.

Taelia, during her Elf-Rogue holiday, has fallen in love. This love has such strong hold on her that she may not return for some time.

Most seriously, you all feel that your advancements and strengths were only but a dream. In reality you are each still level 1 and have 705 XP.

Each of you feels that your role in life is more clear and that by maintaining focus on these roles could yield great rewards.

Darrack, abandoned with no memory of his past, except a single possession – a marble beer mug with the name Darrack carved on it, takes jobs and quests to keep his beer mug full so that he himself doesn’t feel empty. Loyal and skillful, show him the way to another beer and he’ll fight by your side in the worst of situations.

Scooter, a veteran from many battles and wars, has seen and been through more than most. As a consequence he is suffering from a slight case of post-traumatic stress syndrome, or “magic-missile shell shock”. This has skewed his judgment of the world and made him cynical and sarcastic. He is a very competent leader and remains calm and focused under battle conditions, but he has yet to find peace in normal society.

StartShooter Ravenson, longs to find any trace of his family line after his immediate family was killed. A skilled archer, and adept at hunting and tracking, he is well at home in nature. However, he is still haunted by nightmares of the beasts that killed his family and sometimes gets a bit startled and goes trigger happy.

Azrael is a natural outcast. Being Tiefling he was often a victim if discrimination. As is common with most of his race he dreamed of power. Becoming a warlock, though a stereotypical choice for his kind, seemed to be the best route. He claims that his fate is already tied to evil demons and so he must inherently become an evil power. But deep inside there is a conscience that prevents him from becoming truly evil. He has disturbing evidence that he might be a descendant of Emperor Bael Turath.

Aeris, the youngest of eight children, studied as a cleric, which has tempered her wild spirit but being young and impetuous she has a hard time not rushing into the heart of the battle. Her fierce loyalty and desire to do good and achieve peace get the best of her sometimes. She is still learning to stay back so she will be ready to heal her fellow comrades in order to achieve her ultimate goal of restoring peace. She believes strongly in the will of Melora and her strictures.

Encounter - Kobold Lair, Outside

The PCs arrived at the site of the Kobold Lair and entered into battle with many patrolling Kobolds.

After a long battle, the PCs emerged victorious but saved their celebrations because they knew it wasn’t over yet. A warning was sent to the Kobolds inside directed to Irontooth who may be among them.

On the Kobold bodies, the PCs found:
  • 1 – Light Shield
  • 4 gp, 17 sp

Gained 115 XP.

The Mark of Pegason

After leaving Lord Padraig’s Manor, the adventurers were greeted by a cloaked figure. He introduced him self as one of Lord Pegason’s spies. He was sent with a reward for successfully retrieving Douven Staul alive. He gave each PC 100 GP. He also handed everyone a small item. This item immediately faded in each PCs’ hand and left a deep burning pain. The pain quickly subsided. The spy informs them that they have been gifted with the Mark of Lord Pegason. All who work for Lord Pegason will have the mark and is used to prove being in his service. The spy shows his own mark. While everyone was examining the mark more closely, the spy silently disappeared.

The PCs headed to the Smithy and then Bairwin’s Grand Shoppe to sell and buy equipment. The PCs took this chance to split the communal loot.

The PCs went back to see Valthrun the Prescient again to check on his progress. He says to them:
“You can’t be serious. You were just here! When I said come back later, I meant MUCH later! Otherwise I would have asked you to wait. Like most scholars my books are categorized by colour, size and value. I can’t just be expected to know exactly where any particular book is located. I need time. Come back later.”
He shoos them away as he has yet to invent to dewy decimal system for effective library browsing.

The party then split into 2 groups. Darrack and Aeris went to Wraftons Inn.Azrael, StartShooter Ravenson, Rogerus, Scooter, headed off in the other direction to explore the town more. At the inn, Darrak went straight to Salvana Wrafton and ordered a pitcher of ale. Aeris noticed that Ninaran is missing and informed Darrak while he is finishing up ale. The two decided it would be best to inform the others of Ninaran’s disappearance.

Darrak and Aeris met up with the other adventurers and learn that a town guard had already informed them that when they were about to assign Salvanna to watch over Ninaran, that Ninaran had already left. In an attempt to gain more information the party questioned the guard if he saw anyone leave the town. He replied:
“You are the only ones that have arrived in town all day. No one has left save for Douven Staul on his way back to Fallcrest.”
The party tried to seek information from the stable master but to no avail. Next the party visited the Warrior’s Guild. There they met Rond Kelfem. He informed them that the last place he had seen Ninaran was at the inn. They also learned that Ninaran had been in town for a couple of weeks.

The party spent the night at the inn, sharing a room in fear of an ambush by cult members.

As the party left their room in the morning they noticed an air of nervousness among the villagers. Many of them aren’t sure why. Eilian the Old explained that he had a dream in which a dark door was opened somewhere. Azrael and Rogerus confirmed this dark feeling but could not pinpoint its direction. The party went back to the Manor House to inform Lord Padraig of Ninaran’s disappearance and of the strange feeling of the air. They were stopped again at the Inner Gate by the guards. They denied the PCs an audience with the Lord as they were well aware of her disappearance. The guards were instructed to pass on their Lord’s concern that the party has not yet dealt with the Kobold threat.

Yet again the party visited Valthrun’s tower but his door was locked and a sign was posted that said “busy researching”. Aeris knocks on the door anyway and Valthrun explained that he would need more time.

The party decided it was time to head towards the southeast waterfall where they have been told by Lord Padraig and Ninaran that they will find the Kobolds and possibly cultist activity.

Cult Activity in Winterhaven?

When they safely arrived, Douven thanked the PCs and left to make arrangements to return to this wife in Fallcrest.

The PCs headed towards the home of Valthrun the Prescient but were intercepted by a new stranger:

I am servant of Lord Pegason. I was instructed to approach you the moment I learned of Douven’s fate. My Master will be pleased of your progress. For now, you may continue on your own path until Lord Pegason contacts you again.

For completing this quest each PC gained 250 XP.

The PCs continue on their way to Valthrun’s tower. Inside they found Valthrun and told him about the necklace with the carving of Orcus. They suggested to him that there might be Orcus cultists active in the area. Valthrun replied:

“This does not bode well! Let me research in my library. Come back later and I’m sure to have some answers.”

The PCs also asked what he knew about a structure to the north of the village. He replied:

“The Keep was built during the height of the old empire. Some sort of watchtower. I can’t recall what for. Some think it was to guard against gnoll marauders, but I don’t think that’s right. Whatever, the Keep outlived its usefulness. It’s been a ruin since before I was born. Probably a goblin lair by this time. But you’ve whetted my curiosity. I’ll look through my library about that subject too. The next time you see me here, I will have much to say.”

The PCs next head to Wrafton’ Inn. Inside they are again warmly greeted by Salvanna Wrafton. They approach her and ask if she is aware of any cult activity. She replies:

“That’s ridiculous! Winterhaven follows the teachings of Avandra. There are no cults anywhere around here. I’m sure of that!”

The PCs decide to approach Ninaran again, despite her lack of desire for conversation. At first she is her usual disinterested self, but when they ask her about cult activity her demeanor changes instantly:

“A cult? You’ve heard about it? Thank goodness! I was afraid this whole village was in league with the monsters! I’ve been watching the cult members. They come and go from a cave behind a waterfall, high up in a cliff to the east and south of the village. You’ll need to be careful, though. I think they’re in league with the kobolds.”

Ninaran was unable to identify any of the people in the Wrafton’s Inn as cultists. As far as she was concerned, everyone could be one. She also mention that the leader of the Kobold was a large kobold named Irontooth.

Finally finding someone with suspicions similar to their own, the PCs confided in her about the mirror they discovered. Ninaran told them it was good that they acquired it if the cultists were indeed looking for it. The PCs assumed she was sent by someone to investigate the cult. They were wrong.

She explained that she was just passing through when she started to pick up on the signs. She also said that once she had enough information she would get help from her friends in Fallcrest but that they wouldn’t come until they had proof. The mirror would be proof enough to have them come to Winterhaven but the party decided to risk the lives of the village and decline to give the mirror. She was willing to buy the mirror off them for 500 gp but they still refused.

The PCs decided next to approach Lord Padraig. They headed to his manor and after proving that they were expected by him, they were permitted entrance by the guards.

The PCs relayed their experiences with the Kobolds. Lord Padraig responded:

“You’ve encountered the kobolds that have turned the old King’s Road and our outlying farms into their personal hunting grounds? Those beasts vex me sorely. Yet the villagers refuse to recognize the seriousness of the problem. Attacks along the road have grown more frequent over the last few months. Something’s stirring the kobolds up. I don’t suppose you would be interested in taking a commission from me? I promise you, I can pay well for your services.”

The PCs try to bargain but it is finally settled that they would agree to take the offer in exchange for whatever loot they find in the kobold lair, even if it is the former property of Winterhaven’s villagers. They will also be paid 100 gp.

They asked Lord Padraig about his knowledge of cult activity. He replied:

“Do you know something that I don’t? Is it serious? Should I be concerned? No, of course not. A cult? Here? Preposterous, I say. Preposterous… but, if its true as you say I need to take the necessary precautions. Please tell me what you know.”

The PCs again decided to risk the lives of the village and refuse to reveal anything.

In anger or desperation, Lord Padraig asks the party if they will take responsibility for anything that happens to the villagers as a result of them not revealing what they know.

The PCs started to get the feeling that they should trust Lord Padraig. They agreed to tell him about Ninaran and her request to send them to the Kobold Lair. Lord Padraig agreed to have Ninaran watched by Salvanna Wrafton and report if she leaves the inn. They keep do no reveal anything about the mirror to him.

Satisfied, the PCs left the manor. There was some talk about breaking the mirror to prevent it from being used by the cultists.

Encounter - Burial Site

The PCs set out and soon arrived at the burial site. Douven Staul was correct, it was indeed a dragon burial site.

A steep-sided crater punctures the wilderness. Near the center of the depression, several humanoid figures cluster around a collection of bones. Two small, dragonlike creatures near the crater rim stand alert and stare at your approach.

Douven was nowhere to be seen. Instead a gnome named Agrid and 4 humans were excavating the site. Agrid claimed to be Douven’s assistant and that Douven was investigating another scene to the south.

“You can’t fully appreciate what we’ve uncovered from up above. Come down toward the dragon bones and see what the workers have discovered.”

A successful insight check suggested he was lying and that he might be leading them into a trap so the PCs decided to maintain their defensive position above the crater.

Agrid saw they were on to him so he ordered his group to attack. The two creatures, drakes, took point and headed towards the party.

Even despite his brief period of invisibility, the PCs defeated Agrid and his team.

On the bodies they found:
  • 65 gp and 13 sp
  • 4 Clubs
  • 1 War Pick
  • 1 Crossbow
  • 19 Bolts
  • 1 Dagger
  • 1 Sling
  • 1 +1 Amulet of Health
    Each PC gained 120 XP.

The PCs searched the area and found a blanket covering something. Underneath they found Douven Staul, alive but bound and gagged.

Douven explained that he had been forced to help the gnome skulk Agrid scour the place for an ancient relic to help someone called Kalarel complete a ritual. He didn’t have very much additional information but it was clear to him that Agrid was a member of some kind of cult headed by Kalarel.

On further inspection, the PCs could not read the runes surrounding the dragon skeleton. It was a form of Draconic but was too ancient for Dragonborn Scooter too understand.

The PC’s asked Douven if the relic was ever found. He replied that it was probably in a nearby crate. Searching the crate they found an ancient mirror. A history check revealed that it was crafted by a the Nerath people over a century ago. An arcana check revealed that it had no magic properties whatsoever. Douven suggested the PCs talk to Valthrun the Prescient back in Winterhaven. If they could convince him of cult activity then he might be able to help them.

The PCs decided it would be safest to make camp here in case they were again attacked by Kobolds on their way back to Winterhaven.

After an extended rest, they set off towards Winterhaven and arrived without any problems.


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