A Rising Hope

A Crossing of Paths
Fancy meeting you here...

Prologue

Haki stood at the edge of the road, peering silently into the forest. His alert, green eyes studied the trees a moment longer before moving up to the cloudless sky. The sun was finally beginning to drop below the tree line. His left hand rested lightly on the hilt of the longsword sheathed at his side, his other hand shielding his eyes from the sun’s departing rays.

“Come, Munbar. It is almost sunset. I wager we are but a couple hours from town.”

With a grunt, a burly dwarf lumbered out of the brush. His hair was a mass of thick, brown hair, his shaggy beard arranged in thick braids. The dwarf finished clasping his belt and hefted his great axe over one shoulder before stepping onto the dirt road.

“I told you not to try those berries,” Haki remarked quietly as the dwarf walked towards him.

The dwarf let out an irritated grunt before the two set off once more along the road.

...

“Ya alright back there, young miss?”

Nympharia stirred from where she sat amongst bags of grain. What remained of the sun’s dying light leaked through several small holes in the roof of the covered wagon. She must have fallen asleep along the journey. She didn’t know how long she had slept and was glad when she glanced out the back to see that it was still daylight.

“Yes, sir. I’m quite fine,” She replied, as she sat up and inched closer to the edge of the cover. She leaned forward to peer outside the cover as the wagon lurched along the dirt road. The trees that lined the edge of the road were thick, and the brush was overgrown. It had been decades since King’s Road had been last maintained. The finely made road had long since crumbled away into nothing but dirt and scattered stones.

Suddenly, the wagon jerked violently, and Nympharia was thrown to her side, the morningstar strapped to her waist swinging violently against a barrel. She heard a loud yell from the guard outside accompanied by several loud hisses. Loud thuds clattered against the wagon as a spear pierced through the cover and impaled a bag of grain merely inches from Nympharia’s stomach. Then something burst against the side of the wagon, and the wagon jerked once more. Nympharia struggled to get up and was thrown out of the wagon onto the rough ground. She instinctively rolled away and glanced towards the wagon, which was now in flames. She saw the guard’s body fall clumsily to the ground with a sickening thud, several javelins impaled in the poor man’s back. She slowly gathered herself, clutching her morningstar firmly with both hands. Then as she took note of the little reptilian humanoids gathered around the ruined wagon, a man accompanied by a dwarf stepped into the clearing.

...

Alfar stepped out of the shadow of a nearby tree and glanced towards the amber sky. It was nearing sunset, and Alfar knew he needed to get into town before night fell. The world was a much more dangerous place these days. Although he had grown accustomed to the sheltered environment of his master’s tower, he was still very much able to fend for himself in the wilderness. However, the darkness of night often invited much more dangerous creatures and Alfar was certainly no fool. It had been days after his master had sent him on this journey, and Alfar had easily managed to travel this far from the place he had called home for several years. After all, he along with other Eladrin was very much aware of his surroundings while resting for the night. It had been no small task avoiding the dangers that he did, but he still managed to avoid them nonetheless. Now, he felt he was but a few moments from Fallcrest.

Alfar stepped once more into the shadows. He had noticed what appeared to be a clearing in the distance and decided to fey step further along the forest to it. A moment later, Alfar stepped once more out of the shadows at the edge of the clearing only to see a large wagon in flames before him. Small, reptilian creatures clamored and darted around it, and then he noticed that other figures were making their way into the clearing as well. The small humanoids sported long, sharp spears and outnumbered these strangers more than two to one. Drawing the longsword at his side, his choice of spells flashed through his mind as he stepped into the clearing.

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Such a rude welcoming...
Caravan Raid

The party stands scattered at the edge of the clearing, the heat from the wrecked wagon radiating towards them. The day’s heat is already fading as night approaches. The small, lizard-like creatures stare at each of them then snarl and hiss, waving their spears madly in the air. Then the little creatures charge!

Nympharia and Alfar take the brunt of the attack, but they manage to keep the little beasts at bay. Haki and Munbar rush towards the pair and drive the creatures back, dealing vicious blows with both longswords and great axe. The two fight like a single unit, showing years of familiarity and training. Alfar is able to regain some ground and moves to find space to cast his spells. At once, he lets loose an onslaught of magic at the dwindling number of assailants.

They witness their comrades fall one by one, and soon enough, the remaining little creatures panic. They lose all sense of order and begin to flee in random directions. The adventurers are not about to let these raiders go free and are able chase them down. As Munbar rids the clearing of the last of the reptilian humanoids, the party is able to catch their breath and examine the area more closely. Haki notices the tracks of what appears to have been another wagon. It must have been taken during the attack. Haki follows the tracks to the edge of the clearing where they disappear into the forest. He notes the direction that it is heading but chooses not to follow. It would be a better idea to reach Fallcrest before nightfall.

Meanwhile, Nympharia checks on the caravan guard, but it is too late. As she moves away from the wreck, she offers a shy thank you to the strangers, and the dwarf is immediately smitten. He attempts to charm the young girl, but she kindly declines and hurries off towards town. Munbar hurries to pursue her. Haki surveys the area once more, nods to the Eladrin wizard, then goes off to join his companion. Alfar is still a bit wary of these strangers, and so he hangs back a short distance.

Within an hour, the adventurers start to pass farms and scattered homes, and soon, they arrive at the gates of Fallcrest.

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An Audience with the Lord Warden
Fallcrest

Munbar, Nympharia, and Haki travel into Fallcrest and ask the guards at the city gate for directions to the nearest pub. They are directed to the Blue Moon Alehouse where they encounter some of the notable city-folk. While there, they discover that the local blacksmith, Teldorthan, was expecting the arrival of a caravan. The PCs relay the bad news of the raid and are informed of a special package that was stolen from the caravan.

Alfar, on the other hand, has made his way into Fallcrest and headed directly to the reputed Silver Unicorn Inn. He uses his prestidigitation on the innkeeper, Wisara, and is able to sneak into one of the vacant rooms above to rest. After Munbar, Haki, and Nympharia enjoy their supper at the Blue Moon, they make their way to meet the Lord Warden in Moonstone Keep. They inform him of the kobold attack on the caravan and are soon enlisted by the Lord Warden to rid Fallcrest of the kobold menace. He directs them to Kobold Hall. He offers the Nentir Inn for their night’s rest.

The three arrive at Nentir Inn and are greeted by Erandil Zemoar, the innkeep of Nentir Inn. After receiving the keys to their rooms, they exchange a few words with Serim Selduzar in the taproom, a peculiar Tiefling, before retiring for the night. Before leaving town, the PCs are requested my Teldorthan to retrieve his special package as well. He offers his wares at a discounted price in order to help them prepare for their journey.

Meanwhile, Alfar is caught on his way out by Wisara but manages to distract her while he rushes out. Outside, he runs into the others and formally declares his intention to join them. Lord Warden Markelhay sees the PCs off as they head to Kobold Hall.

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A Pit of Muck and Prestidigitation
Kobold Hall

The PCs are able to find Kobold Hall without incident. Outside, nearby, they see the stolen caravan wagon, stripped of its cargo. They find little tracks in the dirt and follow it into the ruins of Kobold Hall.

PCs are able to surprise a group of kobold guards and quickly advance upon them. With quick thinking, Alfar is able to use his mage hand to open a gate and flush out one of the kobold archers. Haki leaps and bounds over the muck, distracting the guard drakes. Munbar displays a show of force, smashing the kobolds down into the green muck in the pit.

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Trip-Stones and Arrows
Kobold Hall

PCs rush into the next room to dispatch another group of kobolds but quickly find that they may have been a bit hasty. Alfar is the first to trip a deadly trap shooting arrows into the room. The rest begin to tread carefully and are able to defeat the kobolds and survive the volley of arrows filling the room. They take note of the shrine to Tiamat and begin to develop a bad feeling.

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The Swing-Stone!
Kobold Hall

The PCs are wary when they enter the room. Haki ventures closer but underestimates the range of the stone and is caught in the kobolds’ initial attack! The others rush forward to try to disrupt the attack, but Munbar bursts through the double doors only to find vicious drakes waiting for him on the other side! As Haki once again deftly occupies the drakes, the others are able to overcome the pesky kobolds and their dreaded swing stone.

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The Rolling Stone
Kobold Hall

The PCs venture into this next chamber and automatically sense that something is wrong. Nonetheless, they press forward and attempt to advance on the wretched kobold wyrmpriest. Haki and Alfar take the high ground and work their way up onto the middle platform, a spiretop drake swooping down on them at every chance. Munbar is able to handle the dragonshields, but when wyrmpriest has a trick up his sleeve when he unleashes a nasty dragonbreath attack that catches the PCs off guard. With the rolling boulder causing havoc on the battered group, the PCs are forced to withdraw and regroup.

With renewed vigor and a clear plan, the PCs charge the kobolds on their platform once again, and, this time, make quick work of the wyrmpriest and his minions. It appears the kobold threat is no more! That is, until Munbar spots a secret path along the wall…

As the PCs venture into the secret passage, the brick walls and floor give way to natural cavern. A chill permeates the air, and the PCs feel a growing sense of dread. They decide to turn back and find more information before they venture deeper into the caverns beneath Kobold Hall.

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The Quest for Answers
Fallcrest

The PCs travel back to Fallcrest to inform the Lord Warden of what they discover, and he could offer no input. He directs them to the city’s mage, Nimozaran the Green. The PCs visit the Septarch’s Tower in Fallcrest and are greeted by Tobolar Quickfoot, Nimozaran’s Halfling apprentice. Once the PCs are able to speak with Nimozaran, they learn that there may be something terrible lurking in the ruins of Kobold Hall, something that is making the kobolds frantic. Nimozaran offers the use of his teleportation circle and a couple of rituals if the PCs are able to vanquish the evil that resides in the ruins. After gathering their strength once again, the PCs head back down into the depths of Kobold Hall to discover what lies beneath its ruined walls.

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The True Master of Kobold Hall
Kobold Hall
The PCs return to Kobold Hall and venture down to the secret passage. This time, they enter the cavern and see a frozen pool of water before them. As soon as the group takes a few steps into the room, a white dragon flies out and attacks! After an early dragonbreath attack, the group quickly learns to disperse to keep from being attacked all at once. Alfar and Haki take positions along the cavern walls and use ranged attacks while Munbar keeps the dragon at bay with the use of his greataxe. The fight draws on, and there are moments when the situation looks bleak, but with timely prayers from Nympharia and a concentrated attack from the others, the PCs are finally able to vanquish the dragon.
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The Victorious Return to Fallcrest
Trouble in Paradise

The PCs return to Fallcrest and are met at the Blue Moon by a crowd of thankful merchants and farmers. They return the special package to Teldorthan and he offers them special wares in the future. The good news reaches Nimozaran and he gladly offers to teach Alfar and Nympharia a few rituals as well as use of his teleportation circle (should they find another location to teleport to, of course). The Lord Warden himself rewards the PCs with gold and praise. The PCs tell stories of their adventures all through the night and eventually retire at Nentir Inn.

After a few days of rest, the night before the PCs decide to set off, a commotion grips the nearby guards. Word spreads of an attack on the Lord Warden in his bedchambers. The PCs rush to the Moonstone Keep to find it closed off for investigation. They are sent away by a distressed captain of the guard and make their way back to Nentir Inn to discuss current matters. While there, they speak to Serim who seems oddly calm about the entire situation. Just then, a messenger from the keep sends a message to the PCs, beckoning them to return with him to Moonstone Keep. Upon reaching the keep, the PCs are escorted to a grand meeting room where Lady Markelhay awaits their company. With a stern demeanor, she informs the PCs that the Lord Warden was attacked and kidnapped in his bedchambers. The guards that survived the attack tell accounts of a large snake dragging the Lord Warden down and away into the Tombwood. The local city-folk claim that the Tombwood is a haunted forest at the base of the cliffs upon which the Moonstone Keep sits atop. She pleads the PCs to return her husband safely. She offers an important family treasure as a reward for his return.

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