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Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 1,600 xp.

1st Sextilis (contd.)

Juma is keen to push on to Skalmad’s throne room so the PCs approach the double doors leading to the foundry. Hrothgar listens at the doors and can hear metal being hammered and voices talking in Giant which gives the Juma Gang pause. Instead of going straight ahead, they decide to wade up the underground stream to see if they can work their way round to attack Skalmad by surprise from the rear – an approach Juma naturally favours. Gil creates a Tenser’s Floating Disc to carry his scrolls, spell books and him above the water and Ulthar uses his cloak of shadowform to fly; the others get wet. They arrive in the dragon’s cavern but there is no sign of the beast so they continue east along the stream.

Spotting stone steps leading out of the water to a lit area above, Hrothgar tries to sneak up the stairs but isn’t quiet enough. A nothic gazer and a boulder-shaped galeb duhr attack the gnoll first, as three trolls and another nothic join the battle shortly afterwards. Sora bravely charges two of the trolls but soon goes unconscious despite Gil’s phantasmal killer working better than it has ever done before to strike fear into one of the warty green giants. Meanwhile the other three PCs have got rid of one nothic and are battling the third troll and the galeb duhr which is turning as much of the cavern floor into uneven rocky ground as it can. Ulthar breaks off to heal Sora as the galeb duhr shoves Hrothgar into a pool of pitch. The earth creature is badly wounded and tries to surrender but the barbarian can’t understand a word it’s saying and splits it in two with its axe. The PCs finish off the trolls using Gil’s fire magic to stop them regenerating and then slay the last nothic.

From this cavern, Hrothgar scouts ahead, crossing a log bridge over the stream and coming into a large cavern divided into makeshift rooms by crude stone walls. He signals the others to join him and they search around, finding evidence that drow from the same clan they ran into in the Trollhaunt are also living here.

Heading southwest, the PCs come into a spacious chamber illuminated by glowing green fungi. Five large iron cages hang from the ceiling, each containing a troll skeleton, and an old woman can be seen pottering about among the mushrooms. Hrothgar is pretty sure the sweet old lady is a hag so Sora casts wrath of the gods and the PCs attack. The briar hag, Geala, is quickest off the mark, though, and traps the Juma Gang in a thorny briar patch which Hrothgar in particular struggles to get out of. Of course, the skeletons in the cages animate and leap down to attack too! Ulthar is in a weird situation for most of this battle as several of the party are down to their last surge and don’t want to be healed. He doesn’t get long to ponder this – a second hag, Morsha, appears and pulls a lever to drop an iron cage on his head, snapping him out of his thoughts. The skeletons shower anyone nearby with boneshards when bloodied or killed, and Sora who has flown down among them ends up very low on hit points with just one surge left. Eventually the skeletons are all destroyed and Geala is killed. Hrothgar pulls himself out of the briar patch and leaps onto a hanging cage to get to Morsha as quickly as possible. Juma joins him, having finally learned how to charge after 13 levels of adventuring. The PCs kill the odious crone and breathe a heavy sigh of relief. Leaving the two doors out of here closed for now, they head back to the stone houses to take a well-earned extended rest.

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Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 1,320 xp.

1st Sextilis (contd.)

The Juma Gang decide to head south from the entrance, through the troglodyte lair to the door they’d left unopened the first time round. The lair seems to have been stripped of weapons and supplies and abandoned, with the troglodyte bodies left there to rot. Juma Ji’ad opens the door and the PCs sneak down the corridor, surprising the Marrowmaw troglodytes in the large cavern ahead. Ulthar is less forthcoming with his tactical instructions than usual and the party spread out to attack different reptilian humanoids, rather than concentrating on one or two opponents at a time. Hrothgar ends up surrounded by the chieftain Ssark and two of his warriors and only avoids falling unconscious due to Sora’s knightly intercession where she puts herself in the line of fire (actually a nasty bite). After a few rounds, first Ulthar, and then Sora and Juma, have disposed of their opponents and are able to help Hrothgar out. The PCs surround Ssark and Gil finishes him off with a magic missile. A search of his chamber turns up some gold and gems, and a beautifully-made magical greatsword which Sora claims.

The party return back the way they came to explore a side cavern up a flight of stone steps to the west. This turns out to be the troglodyte hatchery with leathery eggs buried in the soft sandy earth in here. Deciding troglodytes are inherently evil creatures, they destroy the eggs.

Crossing the stream via the log bridge, the PCs head east to a large cavern filled with giant puffball fungi; troglodyte bodies rot in here too, covered in mushrooms. Hrothgar points out the poisonous deathcaps growing amongst the edible puffballs. Ulthar bravely decides to go into the room first. Unfortunately, he passes too close to a deathcap which releases its deadly spores as he crosses the room. Sora flies across the chamber, avoiding the fungi, but the others all end up poisoned as they attempt to get to the other side. Hrothgar is convinced there must be some treasure in the cavern and spends a few rounds looking without success, exposing himself to dozens of spores in the process. Eventually he gives up and the PCs go north towards the prison cavern.


Here, four warren trolls stand guard. The PCs are quickest to act and Hrothgar slays the first troll with a critical hit almost immediately. Two others engage the party in melee while a third throws boulders (ineptly) at Gil from atop an escarpment. The eladrin uses his fire magic to keep the trolls from regenerating, although at one point a troll he has set on fire scorches Sora badly. Juma goes after the rock-thrower, while Ulthar grabs the Scourge of Vardar from Gil and uses it to finish off the stop the two unconscious trolls from getting up again. The battle over, the PCs head towards the great doors leading to Skalmad’s throne room.
Here’s what happened in last night’s game, notable by the absence of Juma Ji’ad’s infamous dwarf wall of fire and any magic missiles from Gil. We also tried out the Escalation Die from 13th Age with, I think, generally positive results. Each PC gets 1,540 xp.

26th Quintilis (contd.)

The PCs haven’t had long to catch their breath before the road is torn apart as thick vines burst from the ground! Blightborn thorn blights and a tree-like demonthorn are attacking, sprouting up where the troglodyte scattered his black seeds. The Juma Gang are on form, though, and criticals from Sora and Ulthar make short work of the demonthorn while the others deal with the humanoid thorn blights. More of the diseased plant creatures appear each round – the party aren’t’ sure if the demonthorn that turns up is the same one reborn or a different one entirely. A pair of thorn blights take down the wounded Captain Mannarin, but loyal Private Pike hurries to his side and stabilises his wounds, just before Ulthar was going to give up on the captain as a lost cause. Juma slays the second demonthorn and the genasi’s companions dispose of the remaining blights. As the plant monsters fall, the trees and shrubs in this part of town shrivel and die.

Blightborn Invaders

The raid on the town is over and the last of the troll army has been driven back. Bax and Simlathril come running, flinging their arms around Sora and Gil respectively, relieved that their loved ones have survived the battle. While most of the PCs head off to the Cloudwatch Inn to celebrate, Juma Ji’ad goes to the temple to have his mutation dealt with. The homely priestess of Thellyne, Leda, performs a remove affliction ritual, assisted by Rillard, novice of Darmon, who holds the genasi’s hand throughout the ordeal. Juma is cured of his condition, but not without suffering a great deal of pain (104 hp lost!). Unsurprisingly, Leda isn’t keen on making a donation to the Juma fund afterwards. Rillard escorts the genasi to the pub, tells him to avoid any strong liquor, and runs off before he is groped. Gil spends the night with Simlathril; Bax holds Sora’s hand and gives her a chaste peck on the cheek at the end of the evening.

27th Quintilis

The Juma Gang are summoned to the town council in the keep. Mayor Kelana Dhoram, the eladrin captain Rennisar (Simlathril’s older brother), Captain Mannarin and the eladrin emissary and sage Rualiss are all present. The PCs are thanked for their efforts in saving the town and presented with a suit of +3 darkleaf leather armour as a reward. Rualiss explains that he thinks Skalmad’s magic eye was actually Moran’s Eye, an item that allows the wearer to return from the dead. The sage offers the PCs the chance to help him research the matter in his library. Sora, Gil and Juma go there and learn of a fomorian artifact called the Stone Cauldron that is mentioned in legends about Moran’s Eye. Gil also casts sending to find out if Forathin is still being plagued by corrupt fey, and if his father is still happy to give his armour to Juma. Yes and a reluctant yes are the answers.

28th Quintilis

The PCs return to Rualiss’ island to do more research but don’t learn much more – they do find out that the disappearance of Skalmad’s body is not solely a property of the Eye. Giving up, they leave further investigations to the eladrin sage.

30th Quintilis

Rualiss explains that the Stone Cauldron is not a relic, but a magical site. It stands within a ruined fortress in the Feywild, just east of the Feywild equivalent of the Trollhaunt, suggesting Skalmad has a way to cross over into the Feywild in or close to the Great Warren. Since the troll king is almost certainly not dead, the mayor is keen that the PCs return to the Great Warren to deal with him. Hrothgar asks for a further reward and Kelana reluctantly offers 2,500 gp, the contents of the town’s treasury. Some awkward haggling follows but eventually the mayor agrees to give the PCs farmland instead.

1st Sextilis

After travelling through the now familiar marshy bogs of the Trollhaunt, the PCs arrive at the entrance to the Great Warren. As Hrothgar and Juma sneak inside via the stream, Ulthar tries to intimidate the warren troll guard to let him in. When this doesn’t work, Gil casts incendiary detonation through the hatch in the doors, knocking the troll for six. The ettin in charge of the guard post opens the doors and smashes his club into the wizard, and battle is joined! The PCs are facing the ettin, two warren trolls and two nothics – used to handling such opponents, they make short work of them, using fire magic to make sure the trolls stay down.
Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 1,480 xp, enough to reach 13th level.

26th Quintilis (contd.)

The PCs rush to the Old Troll Wall where they need to help Captain Marius Mannarin and the men of the town guard (Humphrey, Bob, Pike and Felcher) defend it from an airborne assault: three wyverns and a blightborn troglodyte riding on a manticore are approaching. Townspeople scatter in all directions to get out of there.

The flying opponents prove challenging for the PCs who mostly lack powerful ranged attacks. Hrothgar climbs the 20’ high wall but unfortunately gets knocked to the ground by a wyvern’s claw as it flies past. Sora takes to the air herself and attacks one of the dragon-like creatures in melee, while Ulthar throws hand axes. Juma uses his hellish rebuke and then lightning lure to bring the wyverns down to the ground, and Gil transforms into a pillar of flame and throws alchemist’s fire. The troglodyte scatters some black seeds of some sort over the battlefield, then uses strange magic to ensnare Ulthar with unnatural black roots and to fire acid lances at the guards. His manticore mount fires spike volley after volley at the defenders.

Meanwhile, the town guard are holding their own: Captain Mannarin, clearly inspired by the presence of the Juma Gang, leaps from the wall on to the back of a wyvern, clinging on for dear life as he plunges his sword into the reptile. Pike proves to be a deadeye shot with his crossbow and is the first to kill one of the wyverns. “Lucky” Bob is sadly the first guard to perish, despite Ulthar’s efforts to keep the guardsmen alive with his inspiring words. Humphrey then follows his captain’s heroic example and jumps on to the back of the wyvern which has just managed to shake Mannarin off. He doesn’t last long though, dying from the monster’s poison sting.

Sora’s javelin of lightning kills the troglodyte, then Juma teleports onto the manticore’s back, although he soon falls off. The PCs shout to the old man who ran into the gate house to hide and he raises the portcullis, allowing Hrothgar to charge through and kill the wyvern battling Mannarin. The manticore lands to attack Gil and finds itself surrounded. It takes to the air and just manages to escape.


The PCs and their allies have a little time to heal themselves but their rest is interrupted by the arrival of Aelius the master builder, who has come to see if the wall still holds. There are trolls coming! The party hastily position themselves by the gatehouse and put Mannarin, Pike and Felcher next to the weak wall section on the right flank.

The next wave of attackers is led by two ice trolls and four grimlocks, followed by an ogre warhulk and a pair of nothics. One troll smashes through the wall where Sora and Juma are positioned. Then, Gil’s incendiary detonation goes off, killing all four grimlocks, and Hrothgar leaps off the wall to attack the second troll. Once the giant humanoid is down, the gnoll attacks one of the nothics. Ulthar goes to reinforce the guardsmen as the ogre has now broken through the weak masonry; he also leaps down from the top of the wall. Juma  heads that way too, leaving Sora to kill the first troll on her own. Fortunately, Gil’s fiery spell is still active and neither troll gets up again.

The ogre kills brave Felcher; then wounded Captain Mannarin withdraws under orders from Ulthar. Hrothgar kills his nothic opponent, leaving just the ogre and the second one-eyed aberration standing. The PCs fail to surround the ogre, though, allowing him to make one last desperate charge at Mannarin, but fortunately the captain survives the onslaught. Finally, both attackers are slain and the party are able to catch their breath again. Amazingly Pike has survived too.

As they wonder what will happen next, the road is torn apart as thick vines burst from the ground…..
Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC earns 1,140 xp, so you should all make 13th level next session.

25th Quintilis (contd.)

The PCs talk to the four eladrin they rescued from the drow and trolls in the ruins of Orrak. There is a bit of chemistry between Simlathril of Celduilon and Gilgarran – could this be the start of a new romance? Meanwhile, Juma Ji’ad’s skin appears to be turning transparent as a result of the alien fluids he got splashed with in the Great Warren. It’s getting dark so the party camp here for the night.

26th Quintilis

The party set off for Moonstair. En route, Ulthar notices the drow armour he is carrying appears to be smouldering in the sunlight, so he wraps it up to protect it. Juma’s condition seems to be getting worse and there is nothing the others can do to help. He needs someone to cast a remove affliction ritual on him – hopefully the clerics in the temple can oblige.

Late in the afternoon, the PCs reach the farmsteads outside Moonstair. Most have been set aflame by the invading troll army – the corpses of farmers, town guards and eladrin archers lie in the burned fields. Heading through the smoke, the party come across a farmhouse that’s still standing with a woman and man staring out of their window in terror as a troll and pack of worgs close in.

The Juma Gang charge to the rescue – Ulthar uses Glasbaeter to extinguish the flames outside the window so the farm folk can jump out, as Hrothgar and the others attack the worgs, aided by the four eladrin archers. Meanwhile the troll worgmaster has smashed his way into the building and it soon becomes obvious that there is a little girl trapped inside too. The two farmers leap out of the window but unfortunately the woman is eviscerated immediately by the jaws of a waiting worg. The man makes a run for it but is brought down and killed, although the piglet he had tucked under his arm manages to get away.

Then, the troll comes out of the building with the little girl. Luckily, she wriggles from his grasp and scarpers after Ulthar and Juma arrive to keep the hulking brute occupied. Gil helps out by using casting his incendiary detonation spell on the troll and its worg ally, but upsets Ulthar by knocking him prone in yet another friendly wizard fire incident. Meanwhile, Sora and Bax fight side by side to finish off the other worgs. Finally, Juma’s much-maligned dwarf wall of fire burns the troll to death after his regeneration brings him back round again from unconsciousness. Perhaps the spell isn’t so bad after all!

The little girl, Gehira, has run into the arms of Berig, a nervous, young guardsman who explains that the town is under attack on two fronts – the Old Troll Wall and the waterfront. The PCs hurry with him to the boat landing where two guards are manning a ballista in the face of kuo-toa, chuuls and a tentacled monstrosity, all attacking from the waters of the river.


Hrothgar charges the kuo-toa on the jetty, and “Captain” Juma runs to man the ballista after Berig and one of the other guardsmen are snatched by tentacles and dropped in front of the hungry chuuls. Gil can’t keep out of range either, despite casting spells from a long way back on the shore, and Sora is grabbed too but strikes back, destroying a tentacle. Juma soon gets bored firing ballista bolts at the chuuls and goes to help Hrothgar and Ulthar on the jetty against the kuo-toa and one of the chuuls. The fish-men employ sticky shields which ensnare the PCs’ weapons, pulling them out of their hands. After a few rounds, the PCs down the kuo-toa and one chuul. The one surviving guardsman, Alaric, kills the last chuul, firing the ballista single-handed. Sora and Gil attack the muck the tentacles have sprung from and this seems to work – the remaining appendages disappear under the water.

Before the PCs have much chance to catch their breath, another guardsman appears. The PCs are needed to help defend the Old Troll Wall from an aerial attack!
Here’s what happened in last night’s game – stopping the attack on Moonstair will have to wait for next session! Each PC gets 1,610 xp.

25th Quintilis

Unable to leave the Great Warren until it’s light, the PCs decide to do some more exploring, leaving Bax behind. They head south from the forge and down some rough hewn steps. Hrothgar listens at the door ahead and can hear the sounds of stones being banged together. He gives it a shove with help from Juma Ji’ad, and it flies open, revealing a dark cavern with a sinister-looking stone altar to Torog and tree roots growing down through the ceiling. A grimlock sits on the floor. Gil comes forward with his light spell so the PCs can see, illuminating half a dozen more grimlocks and an underground stream. Before the PCs can charge into battle, they are blasted by a psychic storm of alien energy from an unseen assailant which dazes a couple of the party. Ulthar uses his cloak to go insubstantial and flies past the grimlocks as Hrothgar, Sora and Juma wade into melee. Gil turns himself into a fiery figure and uses his fire shroud to devastating effect, taking out most of the blind humanoids. Unfortunately, he is then unable to do much else for the rest of the fight because he doesn’t have more fire spells!


Hrothgar gets hit for 61 hp damage by a critical hit from a grimlock berserker as he and Juma battle on top of the escarpment with the altar. Amazingly, Juma’s dwarf wall of fire finishes off the frenzied humanoid, admittedly after quite a few hits from the gnoll first. Meanwhile, Sora disposes of her opponent by the entrance, allowing the party to move across the stream to where another berserker and the unseen psychic attacker await. The latter is a grell philosopher, capable of attacking with paralysing tentacles, a blinding lightning lance (which it uses on Ulthar and Juma) and with psychic tendrils that cause the PCs to attack their allies instead of their enemies. The grimlock is no pushover either, and a vicious axe swing takes Hrothgar down to -45 hp! Luckily Gil is on hand to bring the gnoll round with a potion of healing, but he soon goes unconscious again from the grimlock’s crazed attacks. The grell is an annoying opponent, flying out of reach, forcing Juma to use his lightning lure to bring him down to earth several times. Finally, though, the concerted efforts of the party bring down the aberration and his bodyguard. By this stage, all the PCs are low (or out of) healing surges, and have exhausted all their daily powers.

The grell has several strange grey crystal cocoon like structures in its lair which Juma decides to smash open with his longsword, getting splashed with the liquid contents of the first one (which makes him feel odd), then finding six amethysts and some elven boots in the second and third. Hrothgar opens the next two more carefully – they have alchemical reagents inside that can be used for rituals, but he can’t stop Juma smashing the last one. Splashed again, the genasi shrinks down to six inches in height, much to the amusement of the rest of the party.

After searching around, the PCs head to the dragon’s lair to wait for first light. When dawn arrives, they head off for Moonstair, using the map of unseen lands to guide their steps. After walking for a few hours, they rest in a secluded spot to recover their strength. Gil studies his spell book and his dispel magic spell brings little Juma back to his normal size. The genasi is still feeling odd though.

At 4pm, they head off again, reaching the ruins of Orrak near the end of the day – the map has revealed that these ruins are home to an unspecified “significant threat” so the PCs approach cautiously. Hrothgar pulls aside the skins serving as a makeshift curtain over the doorway to a ruined building that appears occupied. Inside are three drow elves, sitting around a fire. Several eladrin captives can be seen chained up in the room beyond. Battle is joined with the drow using poisoned hand crossbows and rapiers to weaken the party. They go down fairly easily but are not alone – two bladerager trolls are also in the ruin. These prove more capable opponents and surprise the PCs by exploding when killed.


With their enemies slain, the PCs free the four eladrin who have been come through the Moon Door from the Feywild city of Celduilon to help against Skalmad. A fifth member of their group has died under torture from the trolls; his scale mail is given to the PCs by the eladrin leader, Pyvanel,  in gratitude for their rescue. Searching the drow reveals papers implying the dark elves were sent by the Matron Mother of the city of Dol Felazzan to reinforce their alliance with Skalmad. The documents hint that the city is under threat from rival drow.
Here’s what happened in Saturday’s game. Each PC gets 1,250 xp.

24th Quintilis (contd.)

Hrothgar frees the pathetic captives being held by the trolls in the makeshift jail inside the sinkhole cavern. The three humans and two halflings, hailing from farms and homesteads near Moonstair, are a bit taken aback by their gnoll rescuer. This is made worse by Juma’ telling them they have 10 seconds to run for their lives. Fortunately Sora and Ulthar are able to bring them back as they scarper, and escort them to the entrance to the Great Warren and their freedom.

Hrothgar and Juma have stayed behind in the cavern and hear loud trollish voices heading in their direction. The pair hide in the stream as King Skalmad, two warren trolls and a pair of notices enter the chamber and begin searching for the intruders. By this time, the other PCs have returned and are keen to ambush the troll king and his lackeys. Unfortunately, Gil isn’t as sneaky as he needs to be  and trips over a loose stone as he gets close enough to launch his ice storm spell into the room.


Ulthar, Sora and Bax move forward to guard the bridge over the stream and goad Skalmad into attacking them while the other trolls struggle to negotiate the zone left by the ice storm.  Meanwhile, Juma teleports on top of the escarpment to attack one of the nothics while Hrothgar swims downstream and climbs out behind the troll king. Skalmad’s smouldering eye sets several PCs on fire but he is suffering from the party’s deadly attacks. When Hrothgar’s axe knocks him down, Sora is there to deliver the killing blow. As the troll king’s life slips away, he warns the PCs that his warriors are already advancing on Moonstair. As he breathes his last, the orange stone in his eye socket glows brightly, spreading out to bathe his whole body in blinding light. An instant later his body and the orb both vanish!


The PCs move into the cavern, killing one troll, but Ulthar is first bloodied and then falls unconscious after attacks from the other troll and one of the nothics. Hrothgar swings at the wart-ridden monster so hard, his axe blow sends the troll flying into the nothic on the ridge, killing both of them! Gil tries to bring Ulthar round but his first aid skills are a bit rusty, and it’s left to Sora to stabilise the warlord. The last nothic is killed and the battle is over.

Hrothgar swims into the low tunnel to the west, finding some treasure hidden in a cave. When he returns, the party discuss what to do. Since it’s still nighttime, heading straight off to Moonstair is going to need to wait until first light. Hrothgar and Juma are keen to look for Skalmad’s loot and manage to convince the others to at least have a look beyond the stone doors to the east.

Inside the doors is a foundry – a female troll smith oversees half a dozen blind grimlocks while a redspawn firebelcher shuffles about in the cavern below the main room. The PCs charge in to the fray. The grimlocks go down easily but Thurk the troll is much tougher, flinging Hrothgar across the room so hard that the gnoll is only able to stay on his feet by sheer force of will. Ulthar isn’t intimidated by this though and disposes of the smith with a well-aimed acid flask. Juma and the others finish off the red dragonspawn and loot the bodies, finding gold and a diamond cincture in Thurk’s pouch.


It’s now midnight and the party discuss what to do next….
Here’s what happened in Sunday’s game. Each PC gets 1,500 xp.

24th Quintilis (contd).

Leaving Bax to guard the entrance, the Juma Gang head south to the troglodyte warrens. Spotting two nothics, Juma and Sora charge into combat, followed by the others. The one-eyed aberrations are frustrating opponents, using their dazing gazes to gain combat advantage, and retaliating when the PCs hit them. Eventually, both monsters are killed and the party search the troglodyte living quarters but only find baskets full of foodstuffs, although Hrothgar is very taken with the dried giant mushrooms and unidentifiable jerky.

After Juma fails to pick the lock on the door to the south, the PCs (now accompanied by Bax again) go east instead, entering a cavern with a huge mound of skulls on top of a ledge. The skulls are tended by Norgg the troll vinespeaker and his dire bear companion. Norgg assumes the party to be mercenaries in Skalmad’s service and lets them pass. After following one passage back to the entrance, they return through Norgg’s cave and take the north east tunnel.


Opening a door to the north, the PCs find themselves in a large cavern with a dark lake in the centre. Across the other side of the water is a black dragon named Gloomfang. “You are not trolls,” it hisses. “Nor are you troglodytes. I would wonder what brings such a nice change of diet to my doorstep, but it’s not wise to question good fortune.”

There is some discussion amongst the Juma Gang about whether to try and negotiate, or to just shut the door, but hot heads prevail as Gil casts an acid resistance spell on everyone and Hrothgar leaps across the lake to attack the dragon. The gnoll is joined by Sora in the front line as Ulthar floats over the water using his cloak of shadow form. Caught in Gloomfang’s shroud of gloom, the trio’s protection from acid is cancelled out and the paladin and the barbarian are both bloodied by the dragon’s terrible claws and bite. As Juma and Bax arrive to help, Sora falls unconscious after being struck with a tail sweep and then a double claw attack. Things get worse once Gloomfang is bloodied – every time the dragon takes damage it sprays the PCs with acidic blood and it continues to strike back with its tail at melee opponents. Ulthar, who has resumed his corporeal form and taken Hrothgar’s place in the front line, takes 60 hp damage in a couple of rounds. The party’s attacks, though, are slowly but surely hurting Gloomfang, and the dragon seizes the opportunity to dive into the water and make its escape.

The PCs search the dragon’s nest, finding gold, gems and jewellery as well as a +3 mordant longsword named Scourge of Vardar. Juma rejects the blade, giving it to Gil to brandish above his head. The mage soon realises its ability to deal acid and poison damage could come in very handy against the trolls. Needing to recover from the battle, the PCs have an extended rest in the cave.

Heading south from the dragon’s den, the PCs enter a collapsed cavern, its ceiling open to the sky above. Here, they fight three more nothics and three warren trolls. When the first two trolls are killed, the third one flees, leaving the nothics to their fate. After the battle, the PCs can hear cries for help coming from the chamber to the east.
Here’s what happened in this afternoon’s game. Each PC gets 1,308 xp.

23rd Quintilis (contd.)

The three lights bobbing about in the dusk are indeed will-o’-the-wisps and they attack as soon as the PCs approach along the path through the bogs. Annoyingly, they wink out after attacking and prove difficult to pinpoint. As the party separate to tackle them, three chuuls appear from out of the waters of the swamp. Ulthar slays two of the lobster-like monsters with his trusty frost brand axe and the PCs get to witness Juma Ji’ad’s brand new wind manifestation as he flies over the battlefield. With all the chuuls dead, the two surviving wisps flee into the gloom.

There is some discussion about carrying on to the Trollhaunt Warrens in the dark but Bax points out this might be a bit dangerous, with a high chance of blundering into quicksand or something worse. The party decide to camp for the night after Hrothgar finds a safe, solid piece of ground. There is a disturbance when Sora is on watch and hears a splash but whatever caused it has vanished by the time she goes to investigate with Bax and Gil.

24th Quintilis

The PCs arrive at an ancient road with a standing stone, having used the map of unseen lands to guide their way. Gil casts a Comprehend Languages ritual (now that he has found his lost ritual book again) and translates the inscription which dates back to King Vard of Vardar.

Beyond lies the entrance to the Great Warren. Hrothgar’s attempt at a stealthy approach is compromised by the not-so-quiet Juma who follows after him, tripping over his own feet and cursing. As the gnoll nears the gate to the cave, he is hailed by the trolls inside who tell him and Juma to go away. Hrothgar shouts back that the PCs are here to give King Skalmad some vital information about Moonstair but those inside don’t believe him and refuse to open the gate. The other party members approach and make several attempts to break down the doors after diplomacy fails. Eventually Juma unscrews the hinges and the gate collapses when Sora shoves it. Meanwhile Hrothgar has quietly entered the complex via the stream.

Inside are three trolls and three Marrowmaw troglodytes who attack the PCs. Gil’s fire magic is once again very effective against the troll’s and even Juma’s dwarf wall of fire plays a vital role in stopping the giant humanoids from regenerating. When the trolls are killed, two of the trogs make a run for it; the third is flanked by Juma and Bax and can’t escape. Sora (flying), Hrothgar and Ulthar give chase, taking one of the reptilian humanoids down on the other side of the log bridge across the stream, but the second runs further into the complex. The PCs continue their pursuit, charging into the living chambers of the Marrowmaw tribe where three maulers and the shaman Kasszt join the battle. The fight is a tense one in the narrow corridors of the warrens, with Sora saving Juma from the poison rays of Kasszt and Hrothgar finally finishing off the shaman by cleaving his skull in twain. The PCs are victorious but decide to withdraw back to the entrance for a short rest.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game, in which Gil developed not just one, but TWO strange accents. Each PC gets 600 xp, enough to reach 12th level.

22nd Quintilis

The PCs are summoned to see the mayor of Moonstair, the half-elf Kelan Dhoram, who asks them to deal with King Skalmad, offering 2,500 gp in payment. She also tells the party that Etheran Therund’s father, Perenon, would be likely to give a reward for the return of the family sword, Sunwrath.To ensure the town is ready for any trollish attack, Ulthar takes the Master Builder, Aelius, to the Old Troll Wall and gives a few pointers on where it should be repaired to make it more defensible. Hrothgar and Juma spend the day drilling the town guard under Captain Marius – this mostly involves getting them to run around the town walls and do press-ups, but there is some archery practice too.

Meanwhile, Sora goes back to the Cloudwatch Inn and befriends Bax, the dragonborn fighter and one surviving member of Etheran’s adventuring band. Bax is depressed and drinking heavily, but Sora’s friendly words of encouragement talk him round, and he agrees to accompany the PCs on their expedition into the Trollhaunt.

Gil doesn’t do so well when he goes to visit the eladrin emissary, Rualiss, at his island home. Asking Rualiss to perform a Sending ritual to convey a message to Paelias because Gil is “too busy” to do it himself gets him off on the wrong footing and he’s soon sent packing.

Before meeting back at the inn for dinner, the PCs visit the local alchemist and purchase 10 vials of alchemist’s fire and 10 vials of alchemist’s acid to help them deal with the trolls

23rd Quintilis

The party heads off into the gloomy bogs of the Trollhaunt. Hrothgar and Bax lead the way through the maze of meandering trails, sluggish streams and impenetrable thickets, using the gnoll’s map of unseen lands to guide them towards the ruins where Etheran’s party was ambushed. The going is pretty tough but they reach the uninhabited ancient ruins of Orrak by early afternoon.
Near the second ruined site of Bravak, the PCs run into a band of five trolls and an oni. The trolls are tough opponents and it takes a long time to bring them down, but Bax proves himself to be a capable fighter, and Gil’s fire magic and unerring aim with alchemist’s fire is very effective. Juma Ji’ad and Sora go into melee the oni, which uses lightning and cold magic against them, then turns invisible so it can double strike both of them in a single round! Hrothgar and Ulthar drop a couple of trolls, then the PCs all gang up on the last survivor and kill him.

At the ruins of Bravak, Hrothgar finds a few torn pages of parchment from the diary of one of Etheran’s group. There are signs, too, of a battle but no bodies. The PCs continue on into the hills to the southeast. As night falls, they can see three lights bobbing in the darkness ahead of them. Are they lanterns or will-o’-the-wisps?

Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 1,760 xp, bringing you within around 500 xp from 12th level.

19th Quintilis (contd.)

Exploring the room to the south, the PCs find two secret trapdoors, leading down into tunnels beneath the buildings on the ridge. Rest. During the night, Gil has a strange vision, imagining for a moment that he has travelled to a bleak and depressing plane. Is it perhaps the realm of Mormekar, god of death?

20th Quintilis

Juma Ji’ad pulls the lever the PCs found in the room with the odd-looking walls where they were attacked by the duplicate Juma Gang. A distant click is heard. Returning to the tapestry room, the party find a secret door has opened to the south. Heading into the corridor and opening the door at the end, the PCs enter a large semicircular room with a raised dais and four cairns. To the west is another room, open to the sky and partly covered in ivy.

When Hrothgar steps on to the dais, the forsaken shell of a firbolg and three dread zombies rise up and attack. Then, once the PCs are in combat, the Ivy Heart, a great shambling mound of vegetation with a strange-looking crystal embedded in its head appears, catching the party in a burst of brambles which tear and immobilise them. Hrothgar destroys the firbolg shell, but the zombies are tough to kill, rising again from the dead when they’ve been taken down for the first time. The Ivy Heart is a dangerous opponent, grabbing Juma and Sora with its vines and flinging them around the room to keep them away from its body. The plant monster unleashes a second burst of brambles and attempts to drain Sora’s soul before it is finally destroyed by two criticals from Hrothgar (the first a commander’s strike from Ulthar).

After the battle, Sora attempts to open the double doors to the south with the key found in the water serpent’s pool but gets blasted with lightning. Juma and Hrothgar also try to open the doors and get blasted too, before Sora touches the key to the tapestry depicting the doors which the PCs found earlier. This works and the doors open.

Beyond is a large chamber which is clearly the heart of the eldritch runes that have been written on the walls throughout the complex. An intricate contraption of iron rods, wooden shafts, runes and gemstones stands in the centre of the room, pulsing with arcane energy. Gil casts thunderwave at the construction – there’s a sudden, intense flash of energy from the emerald topping the machine, then it collapses. From an unimaginable distance, the PCs hear what sounds like a shriek of frustrated rage, cut off in mid-breath.

After retrieving the gems and the magical orb that were parts of the device, the PCs explore the tunnels beneath the hill. Realising these don’t lead anywhere new, the party rests in the map room. This time, Sora’s watch is troubled with a vision, perhaps of the Shadowfell.

21st Quintilis

Believing their job at the Garden of Graves to be done, but unsure who or what had defiled the sacred site in the first place, the PCs head back through the fey crossing to report to Gil’s father, Paelias, in Forathin. Except they actually emerge at night from the Moon Door, at the town of Moonstair to the northwest of Parsantium. Stuck on a small rocky island, Ulthar uses his cloak of shadowform to fly to the town and borrow a boat. He rows back to the others and ferries them to the shore.

Heading for the Cloudwatch Inn, the PCs order fish broth and beers, and sort out rooms for the night. The chatty halfling proprietor Cham tells the party that the town is under imminent threat of attack from the trolls of the Trollhaunt to the east. The band of adventurers led by Etheran Therund who set off to deal with the trolls and their king Skalmad has been all but wiped out – the only survivor is someone called Bax who is also staying in the inn. Cham thinks the mayor, Kelana Dhoram, will want to see the PCs first thing in the morning and ask them to help against King Skalmad. The halfling also mentions an eladrin from the Feywild called Rualiss who lives on an island just offshore.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Good to use my wolfen minis again! Each PC gets 1,760 xp – we should finish the adventure next session.

19th Quintilis

After resting, the PCs experiment with the mysterious sundial, fixing it so it is stopped at midday. Heading through the door to the south, the PCs come into the pool chamber. Juma goes to retrieve the key at the bottom of the pool but is attacked by a water serpent and teleported into the fast-flowing river outside. Fortunately, as a water genasi, he is able to pull himself out to safety easily. Gil uses his mage hand to get the key but the water serpent continues to attack until the PCs leave the room, dumping both Ulthar and Sora into the river too. As they climb out, they spot movement to the north - a pack of six wolfen are approaching,
reapers drawn!


The Guardian of the Runes summons the power of the forest to root Ulthar and Sora to the spot as the warriors and vestals close to melee. Hrothgar, Gil and Juma rush out of the building to help, and an epic battle ensues. Juma impresses Ulthar with his teamwork initially but soon reverts to type, disobeying the warlord’s tactical orders much to the Urskovian’s chagrin. Like the fey the party have battled before, the wolfen fight on as undead for a round when killed, but the PCs are able to dispose of the two warriors, the Guardian and one vestal without too much trouble. With only one vestal and Killyox still standing, Hrothgar is knocked unconscious, and then Sora is also toppled. Once Ulthar has revived his comrades, the PCs gang up on the tough pack leader, backing off once Killyox has “died”, allowing Gil’s icy grasp to hold him in place until the undead wolfen leader falls.

Next, the PCs enter the building to the west. The room they come into is filled with tapestries, one of which depicts a thief triggering a trap while trying to open a door while his comrade stands behind him with a key – this key looks identical to the one fished out of the pool earlier. The PCs pull down all the tapestries, discovering another room to the south-east . This chamber of strange curves and bizarre shapes has a tall staff with a burning flame on top in the centre. Two series of numbers from 1 to 12 are marked on the south-east wall. After searching for secret doors back in the first room, Juma stands in front of the staff to cast his shadow over the number 12 representing midday. There is a click and a secret door opens to the west.. Hrothgar has rehung the tapestry with the key on it on the south wall to no effect; the gnoll rolls it back up again and takes it with him.

Going through the secret door, the PCs go down a corridor and follow sounds of conversation into what appears to be an ornate casino. Obviously, Juma is the first to enter and finds himself strangely compelled to play three dragon ante at one of the gaming tables. He beats his phantom opponent easily, deactivating that table. While Sora looks on in puzzlement, the rest of the party also fall under the spell of the tables, playing golem, harrow, dragon chess and bounder. All the PCs eventually win, although Ulthar needs a bit of help from Gil, and the magic of the five tables is dispelled.

The party go to the south-west into another rune-covered chamber with curved walls. Suddenly, the room goes dark. When the light returns, each PC finds he has a duplicate standing next to him. A confusing battle follows in which Hrothgar hits the real Sora and Juma swaps place with the wrong one, and Gil uses the unorthodox target of making his allies resistant to fire before fireballing the whole room! When the duplicates are killed, they turn into their true unseelie forms – quicklings and spriggans – and fight on as undead for a round.

With the battle is over, the PCs ponder what to do next – rest or carry on.

Parsantium Gazetteer: Forathin

Forathin is a small eladrin town in the Feyshore Forest, with a population of about 500. The town is close to a Feywild crossing which emerges at the Garden of Graves, a holy site and burial ground, now corrupted by dark forces unknown. Forathin itself is subject to worldfall and is sometimes in the natural world, sometimes in the Feywild.

Gilgarran Hailsenra, eladrin wizard and member of the notorious Juma Gang comes from Forathin. His father, Paelias, is a noble eladrin and important citizen of the town, who sent Gil away to the lands of men to prove himself. Paelias has now enlisted the help of the Juma Gang in finding out what's corrupted the Garden of Graves.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game as the Juma Gang continue to explore the Garden of Graves in the Feywild. Each PC gets 1,460 xp.

18th Quintilis (contd.)

Having dealt with the animated campsite, the PCs head for the spiral staircase to the east leading up inside the strange building. This seems to be some kind of map room with a model representing the garden, although the buildings atop the cliff opposite don’t appear on the model. Hrothgar goes back down the stairs to climb the cliff while the others make their way carefully across the rope bridges. Gil slips and falls but uses his feather fall spell to drift gently downwards. The gnoll and the eladrin try to climb the cliff but are forced to give up and go back up the stairs to join the others.

Hrothgar opens the door leading into the building at the end of the rope bridge and heads inside, only to be whisked off to another plane. He’s not sure where he is, but it’s dark and thoroughly depressing. He reopens the door and can still see the rest of the party on the other side, back in the Feywild. The PCs go inside together and find themselves in the same gloomy place. Two grey angels with scythes appear from the shadows to attack – one from the west, and one from the northeast where Gil is standing in the front line. The wizard conjures Bigby’s Icy Hand to keep it at bay, and Juma calls forth his dread dwarf wall of fire when he finds himself under the mark of death from his angelic attacker. Hrothgar moves into the creepy bone chamber behind the grey angel – there is a palpable spiritual chill in this room which makes Ulthar’s healing less effective and makes it hard to move freely. With three PCs attacking it, the angel in the bone chamber is bloodied quicker than the other one and teleports away by touching the faceless statue in the middle of the room. It reappears at the far end of the corridor near to the bloodied Juma. The other PCs hurry to the swordmage’s aid and slay the two angels which explode in a necrotic burst when killed. Badly wounded, the PCs rest for a while before moving on.

The PCs explore the rest of the small complex – Juma and Gil figure out how to use the three statues to teleport from one to the other and no one can make any sense of the elf-sized footprints carved into the marble floor. They leave through the western door, heading into a clearing with several dead, almost skeletal, bodies. Gil stops Hrothgar from digging up any of the burial cairns, and instead uses his speak with dead ritual to ask one of the corpses what killed him and his companions. The spirit says it was a group of large wolf-men before dissipating.

Heading back into the building, the PCs are surprised to find themselves somewhere different – there is no weird vibe this time. Instead, it seems like they might be back in the material world. The complex contains broken statues and sarcophagi but little else. They leave by the north door, heading into a clearing with two obelisks. Gil realises the stone slab he can see between them is part of a teleportation circle.

From here, the party follow the path north and cross the bridge over the river. There’s another stone building here. Inside, the walls, floors and ceiling are covered in strange, disturbing runes. Light comes from the north and a faint whimpering can be heard from the east. The light comes from a flaming brazier on a chain swinging slowly above a sundial, casting a shadow that moves slowly from one hour to the next. Is this something referred to in the cryptic poem?

The whimpering comes from a chained female eladrin who begs for the PCs help. As they move closer, she transforms into a lamia – a hideous fey composed of hundreds of black beetles – and unleashes her pacifying burst to stun half the party. More beetles appear from holes in the walls to attack the party. The battle is tough as the beetle swarms and the lamia are hard to damage with melee attacks, but the PCs eventually emerge victorious. With many daily powers and healing surges used, the party takes an extended rest to recover their strength.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game, featuring a less-crazed Hrothgar, more inclined to listen to Ulthar’s instructions. Must be a strange side effect of being in the Feywild…. Each PC gets 1,405 xp, enough to reach 11th level and the paragon tier!

17th Quintilis

As the PCs near the eladrin town of Forathin, they come to a clearing with three female eladrin bodies in the centre, and also spot two elves and a hag hiding in the trees. The party attacks – Juma and Sora go for the hag, an ala, while Ulthar and Hrothgar attack one of the elven archers, and Gil hangs back to cast spells. Unfortunately, the three “eladrin bodies” are actually dryads who rise up to attack once the PCs have advanced. It’s a long, tough battle with Gil and Hrothgar both going unconscious; the eladrin even uses his treeform box to turn into a tree and keep out of harms’ way for a couple of rounds. To make things worse, the foes do not fall straight away when killed – instead they fight on as undead for a round before collapsing. The party are eventually victorious, with Sora knocking the last elf standing unconscious. Interrogating him doesn’t reveal much information – he is clearly mad, babbling about “the darkness.”

The PCs take their insane captive to Forathin where Paelias, Gil’s father, has him locked up. He urges the party to do all they can to cleanse the Garden of Graves of corrupting forces and, worn down by Juma’s persistence, agrees to give the genasi his armour if they are successful. They spend the night in the town.

18th Quintilis

The PCs enter the gateway to the Feywild and soon come to the Garden’s entry cave. A cryptic poem is written on the walls of the ridge beside the cave entrance. Inside the cave are three statues of maiden, mother and crone blocking further progress. Each has an outstretched hand so Juma puts a coin in the hand of the mother which causes the crone statue to animate and attack him. Not sure what to do, Ulthar puts a coin in the maiden’s hand (which does nothing). The PCs fight the statue half-heartedly for a round, then withdraw to the outside of the cavern after Sora’s attempts to talk to the statues get nowhere.

Going back in, the statues stand as they did before so the PCs try holding hands with all three simultaneously. Unfortunately, the crone statue attacks again, hitting Hrothgar very hard several times. Juma swaps places with the gnoll and the PCs retreat for a second time.

Then, Juma goes in and puts a coin in the crone’s hand. This causes all three statues to step aside.

Inside the Garden, the PCs poke around in an abandoned campsite. An obelisk topped with an iron eye stands nearby. As they look around, the tents, logs and tools in the camp animate and attack, and the obelisk unleashes sleep magic on the clearing, sending Gil to sleep. Ulthar flies up to the top of the obelisk using his cloak of the shadowform but falls asleep and crashes to the ground. Meanwhile Hrothgar and Sora are surrounded by vicious logs and tools (which set them on fire and nail their feet to the ground) and Juma and Gil are under attack from an elusive will-o’-the-wisp. Ulthar gets back up the obelisk and pulls the eye open which shuts down the trap, Sora and the bloodied Hrothgar finish off the camping equipment and Juma and Gil drive off the wisp. To the north is a great stone column with rope bridges leading north to the 60’ high ridge and east to a building of strange curves and angles standing on stilt-like columns.


Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 1,000 xp. This write-up features Hellcow 3 by Keith Baker from En Route III.

9th Quintilis

The PCs question Gravash, the dragonborn sorcerer they’ve captured. He says he works for the Ghostlord who lives inside a great stone lion 40 miles away, keeping intruders out of his territory and bringing him lions. The party decide not to go after the Ghostlord until they can find out more so Juma lets Gravash go after cutting off one of his fingers.

Hrothgar has been studying his map of unseen lands and guides the party into the territory of the zmey, a three-headed dragon. The beast attacks, breathing fire but Gil is able to cast mass fire resistance early on in the battle to protect his comrades before retreating to the top of a ridge out of harm’s way. Hrothgar chops off one of the zmey’s heads, then Ulthar severs a second but the now one-headed dragon is still very dangerous, trampling the PCs, biting and breathing fire on them. Sora goes unconscious, then Hrothgar but Ulthar is able to bring them both round with his healing magic. Finally, Hrothgar brings down the zmey with oak hammer rage. Hrothgar takes all three heads as a trophy, dragging them behind him in a big sack. The PCs find the creature’s cave and take its treasure.

12th Quintilis

Arrive back in Parsantium

13th Quintilis

The PCs visit the Curio Cabinet – Hrothgar buys dwarven throwers and Juma Ji’ad buys the vagabond’s die. The gnoll then takes one of the zmey head’s to a taxidermist named Serma Drul who will stuff it for 200 gp after Irene offers to buy it stuffed for 500 gp. He takes the other two and Queen Shephatiah’s head back to his apartment.

Next, the PCs head to Flotsam to buy potions from Jagadamba only to find out from the Water Boys that the old witch is gone. Her boat exploded when a band of adventurers went to visit.

Later that day a messenger snake also arrives from Lady Patricia Dev’shir, explaining that her dwarf accountant found evidence that the Watch Captain of the Poor Ward, Attalus has been taking bribes. Lady Patricia has handed the ledgers to the authorities and Captain Attalus has been arrested. Sergeant Saurish has replaced him as captain.

Later still, when the PCs return to their apartment in the Makers Ward, they find Gil’s father, Paelias, waiting for them. The eladrin asks the party to deal with the evil force that’s taken over the Garden of Graves, a holy site and cemetery for the fey living in Forathin, corrupting the site, driving some fey mad and enslaving others. The party agree to help.

14th Quintilis

The PCs set off for the Feyshore Forest after brunch so Juma can have a lie-in.

15th Quintilis

As the party travels along the Silk Road, they spot the remains of a ruined city among the grass and bushes on either side. When they round a bend, they come across a herd of cows - all black bar one very white one, and their herder. The herder turns out to be a rakshasa who offers the party his magic staff if they will kill the white cow. If they refuse, he will kill them.

No one is sure what to do. Hrothgar asks the rakshasa to throw away his staff and then attacks him. Juma attacks the sad-looking white cow, Sora attacks an angry-looking black cow and Ulthar heals the white cow, before smashing the staff which Gil has gone to examine. Then, Juma starts attacking the white cow and the rakshasa at the same time, while Hrothgar continues to attack the herder only. Ulthar confuses things by healing the bloodied rakshasa! Sora starts moving down the road, pursued by the black cow she attacked which is incapable of hitting her.

Eventually, the rakshasa falls to Hrothgar’s attacks. One of the black cows turns into a rakshasa, dressed in the same brown cloak as the one the PCs killed, and goes to sit on the same rock. He tells the PCs to “begone and leave us to our misery!”

Taking everyone by surprise, Juma then kills the white cow. There is a moment of absolute silence and a strange tingling in the air – a sense of vast magical forces being drawn in from the surrounding area. The corpse of the white cow vanishes, the PCs have visions of the ruined city restored, and the black cows all turn into rakshasas. They join hands and rise up into the sky, their mocking laughter filling the air. The party are alone on the road.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 1,360 xp.

4th Quintilis (contd.)

Having searched the rest of the Karak mines and found nothing, the party consult the map of unseen lands and head off into the Sunblight Barrens to return home to Parsantium. The heat of the sun is intense and all but Sora are affected by sun sickness, so the PCs decide to rest and continue their journey that night.

After resting, Hrothgar and Juma Jia’d feel better but Ulthar and Gil are still feeling the effects of the disease. The PCs resume their trek in the chilly night air. They soon run into trouble, however; an owl harpy and a tiefling stand on a large rock ahead. The tiefling challenges the party, shouting out that they must die for intruding in the territory of the Amirah of the Drifting Sands. The PCs get ready for battle but the first attack comes from two invisible sand devils that whirl into Gil and Sora. Ulthar, Juma and Hrothgar head for the tiefling and the harpy, leaving the wizard and the paladin to deal with their two invisible assailants and the blood hag which appears soon afterwards.

It’s a long, tough battle. The tiefling goes down first, killed by Hrothgar after he’s been severely wounded by Ulthar, but the harpy proves much harder to kill. Meanwhile, Sora and Gil both get blinded by the sand devils, and the hag grabs Sora and attempts to peel her face off with her sharp talons. Gil is down to 3 hp and Sora down to 10 hp so Ulthar comes to the rescue, issuing tactical orders (in a posh voice). Juma has cast his mighty dwarf wall of fire on the owl harpy which then flies away from him and Hrothgar. Sora cures the blindness affecting her and Gil, allowing the mage to cast spells as he keeps moving around the edge of the battlefield in an attempt to keep away from the sand devils.

Finally, Juma finishes off the owl harpy and Ulthar kills a sand devil. The second, bloodied sand devil flees, leaving the PCs to deal with the blood hag. Hrothgar is about to deliver the killing blow when Juma uses dimensional warp to swap places with him and kill her himself, stealing victory from the gnoll! The genasi claims the tiefling’s +3 lifestealer longsword as his prize.

5th Quintilis

The PCs rest in their tents during the heat of the day again. In the evening, Ulthar and Gil’s sun sickness has got worse. The party travels through the night.

6th Quintilis

Rest during the day. This time Sora tends to Ulthar’s sun sickness and Ulthar and Hrothgar administer to Gil. Ulthar gets better; Gil doesn’t get any worse. Travelling through the night again, the PCs reach the village of Dunesend at dawn. Lotho Elberesk (the village elder) and Darkus Comanhi (the village smith) are very relieved to see the party again and thrilled to learn the Queen of the Drylands has been dealt with.

7th Quintilis

The PCs enjoy a victory “feast” in the poor village of Dunesend. Getting out of the desert combined with proper food and drink does wonders for Ulthar and Gil who recover from sun sickness.

8th Quintilis

The party enter the Thornwaste. Late in the afternoon, they run into a group of hostile border guards serving the mysterious Ghostlord, consisting of two centaurs, a minotaur, a dragonborn, a steam drake and a hooded mage.

First, one of the centaurs charges Juma, then Ulthar races for the minotaur, but makes an uncharacteristic tactical error and gets clobbered hard by the ensuing opportunity attack. The mage blasts Hrothgar and Sora with a chymical explosion of acid and poison, dazing them. Juma hits the centaur with a critical, then teleports to the ridge to attack the steam drake. The drake breathes on the swordmage and then turns into steam form and envelops him. Hrothgar attacks the wounded centaur, which then tramples him. Gil casts fireball into the middle of the battlefield and Sora charges the minotaur. The second centaur, with his lance now flaming thanks to a spell cast on it by the dragonborn, charges Ulthar and Sora, bowling them both over.

Gil kills the minotaur but then the drake comes after him, breathing scalding steam on him twice. Hrothgar kills the first centaur, then charges the hooded mage who has come down off the hill he was standing on, knocking him over. The mage’s hood falls back slightly, giving the gnoll a glimpse of tentacles! When the spellcaster gets to his (its?) feet, his arms transform into tentacles which he uses to grab hold of Hrothgar. Juma, bloodied, is battling the dragonborn sorcerer on the ridge, casting his dwarf wall of fire to keep him at bay.

Ulthar gets up and kills the second centaur. Juma once again steals Hrothgar’s kill, coming down from the ridge to slay the injured mage. The steam drake then flies off and the dragonborn surrenders as Hrothgar comes running up the ridge to attack him.

The dragonborn says he is called Gravash and claims to serve the Ghostlord – the same master as Mag Blackthorn, the ranger that guided the party through the Thornwaste two weeks ago. Postponing further interrogation until later, the PCs search the bodies. Ulthar picks up the minotaur’s +3 greataxe which is marked with runes from the far Northlands. Gil and Juma both inspect it but are unable to determine its powers.
Here's what happened in last night's game, which marked the conclusion to The Lost Mines of Karak. I needed to make it more challenging for these last two encounters and think it ended up being just about right. Each PC gets 1,320 xp.

3rd Quintilis (contd.)

After studying the three tunnels leading out from the mine entrance, the PCs take the third passage which shows signs of recent use. Caverns the party pass through show signs of recent mining activity, though on a much smaller scale that the dwarves' operations of old. Here and there, dwarf skeletons are strewn across the rocky ground, rusted weapons lying nearby. The dwarves of Karak appear to have slain each other in the end. Many of these skeletons are missing their skulls.

The PCs come to a vast cavern with a vein of strange red-glowing stone running across the floor of the chamber. Hrothgar leaps over the vein so he can see further into the room. As the others advance, two undead dwarf mines stagger to their feet to attack, joined by a swarm of tomb spiders. Shortly after that, a barlgura demon appears and two crag drakes burst from beneath the stone floor to ambush the party who find themselves surrounded.

It's a long, tough fight with Juma and Hrothgar facing the spiders, one miner and one crag drake, while the remaining monsters attack the three PCs on the other side of the glowing red seam. The barlgura and miners try to stand on the vein of stone whenever they can as this gives them increased power. Both the miners and the spiders have attacks that can immobilise the party, making it hard for them to move around. Juma Ji'ad employs his mighty dwarf wall of fire while Hrothgar manages to strike his crag drake even after its melded into the floor. Sora makes the first kill - one of the miners - as Ulthar uses his cloak of the shadowform to go insubstantial and keep the barlgura occupied. Juma teleports around but runs into trouble after the demon is bloodied. The genasi had been laughing at the barlgura's unimpressive attacks but the smile is wiped off his face when the demon reduces him to 3 hp with a double attack.

Finally, Ulthar kills the barlgura and the battle is over. One of the crag drakes is still lurking around somewhere so the PCs keep their eyes open while Ulthar heals the party. With Hrothgar and Sora down to just two healing surges, the PCs continue on.

Ahead is a circular cavern with a wide crevice that pulses with a lurid red glow blocking the way forward. Two four-armed mezzodemons stand on the far side. Behind them is Queen Shephatiah, a naga, coiled on a bed of hundreds of dwarven skulls.

Gil is first to act, casting his new phantasmal killer spell at the Queen. Unfortunately it doesn't do much. Hrothgar leaps the rifts but gets skewered by the mezzodemon's trident before he can get up close and personal with his greataxe. The naga blasts the PCs with thunderstrike, dazing Ulthar who fails three successive saving throws to shake off the effect. Gil stands too close to the rift and also gets impaled by a mezzodemon's trident. Just when things can't get any worse, two firelasher elementals appear from the rift and nearly knock Gil, Sora and Juma into it! Luckily, all three PCs manage to stop themselves falling in.

The PCs all get themselves over to the other side of the rift. By this stage Sora is down to no surges and Hrothgar runs out soon afterwards. Gil is teleporting back and forth, still on his hands and knees. He doesn't get up, and spends the rest of the battle crawling around, pinging opponents with magic missile (all he has left). Ulthar kills the first mezzodemon. Sora uses knightly intercession to put herself in the way of the firelasher attacking the wizard, then kills with a commander's strike from Ulthar.

While the other PCs battle the surviving mezzodemon, Juma Ji'ad bravely takes on the Queen single-handed. Unfortunately, she appears resistant to his dwarf wall of fire and blasts him with two words of pain for 50 hp damage for presuming to attack her. Gil's magic missile finishes off the demon, freeing Hrothgar up to join the genasi. The naga uses her tail slap to push the gnoll back but he charges in. Eventually a commander's strike from Ulthar allows the barbarian to finish her off.

Exhausted and down to at-will powers, the PCs are nonetheless well enough to look for treasure, finding gold and three unusual items - a primordial ring, an elixir of flying and a treeform box. Several pieces of parchment reveal that the Queen had reopened the mines under orders from the Bey of the Amethyst Labyrinth.

The party take a well-earned rest.

4th Quintilis

A thorough examination of the remaining tunnels and caverns reveals nothing further of interest.
Here’s what happened in last night’s game, featuring new much easier-to-hit Juma Lite. Four encounters in the session means each PC gets a whopping 1,615 xp – enough to reach 10th level.

2nd Quintilis (contd.)

Hrothgar leads the way down the stairs. The “gleaming belt” wrapped round the waist of the rusty iron statue turns out to be an iron cobra which attacks the gnoll with poison the mind, dazing him, while two longtooth shifters fire arrows from below. Ulthar kills the construct with a critical hit and everyone piles in on the two shifters – Hrothgar delivers the killing blow to the first one, then immediately charges and kills the second.

The battle over, the PCs head into the catacombs beneath the fortress. The first room they come to is a prison block containing four cells – birdsong can be heard coming from one of them. Ulthar runs past Hrothgar and opens the cell holding an old man dressed in peasant clothes and accompanied by seven chirping canaries. He offers the old man first water and then food which he smilingly accepts but he remains silent, despite the warlord’s charismatic questioning. The other PCs think the old fellow is a bit simple and let him pass to go upstairs.

Next, the party search two old, dusty storerooms. Gil finds hunk of rock containing a thin vein of silver – is this evidence of the Karak Lode? Little else of value is discovered.

Finally, the PCs enter the crypts where the dwarves of Clan Ironfell have been interred. As Hrothgar rounds the corner into the hallway, lined on both sides with vaults, one of the many doors springs open and a berbalang appears, immediately summoning two duplicates of itself. The monster is frustrating to fight as it deflects damage on to its duplicates (including a critical from Hrothgar), absorbs one of the them to heal itself, and then blows one up in an explosion of psychic gore which catches Juma, Sora and the gnoll. In the tight confines of the corridor, Gil’s flaming sphere is also something of a hindrance, burning the other PCs nearly as much as the berbalang. Eventually, though, the creature is cornered at the far end of the corridor and slain.

With nowhere obvious to go, the PCs spend an hour or so searching for secret doors in the dungeons without success before heading back upstairs. The sandstorm has arrived and waiting it out seems to be the only option so the PCs head for the ore storage room to rest. Yellow feathers and footprints in the sand seem to indicate that the “bird-man” headed out into the storm.

3rd Quintilis

Returning to the courtyard in the centre of the fortress to see if the sandstorm is over, the PCs are ambushed by a group of chokers, led by a troglodyte curse chanter. Sora is grabbed by a choker and strangled – when Juma swings at her assailant, the blow strikes the dragonborn instead! The troglodyte puts a nasty cavern curse on Hrothgar who has also been grabbed. Ulthar kills the first choker, then moves up to attack the reptilian priest who is shooting weakening poison rays at the party’s warriors. Hrothgar has now disposed of his assailant and charges the chanter, leaving Sora, Juma and Gil finish off the last two aberrations with help from Ulthar. The paladin moves in on the curse chanter and delivers a near-fatal blow – the flames from Gil’s sphere finish the trog off. Victorious, the PCs retrieve a signet ring of Clan Ironfell from the body of the troglodyte.

Yellow canary feathers lead out of the room. When followed, these take the party downstairs to the cells where the bird-man was locked up. In one of the cells a large round hole has appeared in the floor. Beneath is a platform operated by a pulley system. Hrothgar and Juma go down, followed by the others.

The chamber below is clearly the entrance to a mine – the PCs have at last found the Karak Lode! Ahead is a portcullis and beyond are two troglodytes. Hrothgar and Juma move forward, only to be shot at by a poisoned dart trap. Sora tries to lift the portcullis but fails; fortunately Ulthar succeeds and the PCs are able to move up and attack the guards. More troglodytes arrive from a side chamber and others can be seen in the strangely-glowing cavern at the end of the corridor. Gil’s fireball softens up the enemy and the brave wizard follows this up moving in and casting fire shroud. Even Juma’s “dwarf wall of fire” proves effective and it doesn’t take long before the foul-smelling humanoids lie dead.

Studying the glowing dark red veins twisting through the otherwise grey walls, Gil thinks energy from the Elemental Chaos has somehow leached into the mines…..

Here's what happened in last night's game, featuring the New Gil and Tactical Juma, as played by someone who looked exactly like Tim. Each PC gets 995 xp.

1st Quintilis (contd.)

As the PCs contemplate which set of doors to open in the courtyard, a bright green poison ray shoots down from an arrow slit on the floor above and strikes Gil, followed by a javelin thrown at Juma. The party dash for cover, taking the south-west door into the West Gatehouse. Here, they are attacked by a lone troglodyte mauler, soon reinforced by a pair of javelin-throwing impalers and an elder curse chanter from upstairs, and a second mauler from the East Gatehouse. The PCs battle the foul-smelling reptilians for nine rounds before they are victorious – the narrow staircase makes it hard for the party fighters to get into combat. Gil uses his fey step to teleport in, cast fire shroud and then teleport out with his cloak of translocation, and Juma also uses teleportation to get behind the curse chanter. Hrothgar, stuck behind Ulthar, throws a javelin, killing the last impaler, then charges up the stairs and beheads the curse chanter.

The party explore the upper level of the fortress without running into any more guards. Before heading down the backstairs they notice that the sky is darkening - Hrothgar suspects a sandstorm is on its way.

The stairs lead down into the Great Hall where an eladrin claiming to be Shephatiah, Queen of the Drylands, holds court over a motley group of humans, female eladrin and longtooth shifters; sussur trees grow out of the stone floor. The PCs are suspicious and when Hrothgar spots the dead body of a villager sticking out from under a tree next to the queen's throne, the eladrin orders her men to attack, taking the party somewhat by surprise and surrounding them rapidly. The three eladrin are able to teleport from tree to tree and use plant magic to attack the PCs; the queen blasts the party with a cloud of soporific pollen which dazes Ulthar and Sora. Gil casts ice storm, unfortunately catching Juma in the middle of it, but this spell is very effective, killing several of the human lackeys. Juma is grabbed by an eladrin and dragged off as two displacer beasts charge into the fray. When the first eladrin is killed, she reverts to her natural form, a nasty-looking humanoid plant creature. The displacer beasts are hard to hit and Sora, Ulthar and Hrothgar keep missing as they misjudge exactly where the panther-like creatures are standing.

Finally, Hrothgar slays the last beast and Ulthar finishes off the queen. The PCs search the room, finding some treasure behind the throne, and briefly check the rooms leading off from hall before heading to the first floor and taking an extended rest.

2nd Quintilis

The PCs resume their exploration of Fortress Ironfell at dawn; the sky above the hole in the courtyard still looks ominous and threatening. They head south from the Great Hall, back into the courtyard and west into the stables, home to the behir, and the stable master's quarters (used by the Warden). There's some more treasure here but the great riches of the Karak Lode seem to have eluded the Juma Gang so far!

Going east from the courtyard, the PCs open the doors to an inhabited part of the fortress - a lone guard is standing next to some crates and in front of a portcullis blocking a staircase down. Hrothgar sneaks up on him and drags him back to the others. The hapless lackey promises to tell the party everything he knows but this doesn't seem to be much – the Queen is in the Great Hall, "the lads" are in the barracks and there are a pair of longtooth shifters down in the crypts guarding the gang's one prisoner – an old "birdman" accompanied by some canaries.

The party get their captive to call out to his comrades and "the lads" pile out of their quarters to be blown to bits immediately (along with their pal) by Gil's incendiary detonation. The PCs search round the area, finding some more treasure, but nothing much else of interest – there's a disused smithy, an empty alehouse, a coal storage room, and a latrine. The ground floor explored, the way onward seems to be the staircase down on the other side of the portcullis....

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