A Garden of War

Encounter with the Knife-eaters
Campaign: A Garden of War

knifeeaters.jpg

Session Summary

The 14th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • The group stood in the ruins of Earlmoor as the weight of their past together was allowed to sink in. They had gone through much, and defeated many a powerful foe. Their road now lay before them to the south, where they planned to catch a boat to the Brineshell to seek audience with Royal Loremaster Rohmanar. Surely if anyone could identify or decipher the evil artifact in their posession, it would be he.
  • The party headed south toward Point Oreish, where they first met. Some time into their travels, with the forest once again thickening and closing in, they spotted small forms hanging from the tree bows ahead, above the road. Moving closer, they recognized the forms as birds hanging from nooses, a sign of banditry similar to those spotted on this same road two weeks prior. Again Cahal cut down the corpses and laid them to rest in the forest where they would make their way back into the soil.
  • Further south, the group spotted stone burial cairns along the road, ones that were built out of haste. Asgrim knew whomever buried this man, was a follower of Dimaeria, as the rites of her priesthood had been observed.
  • Sarien heard a snapping branch behind them, and turned to spot a small man crouched far off the road in the woods, watching them. As soon as the man was spotted, he fled, initiating a chase through the forest. Though the man was deft and quick, he couldn’t hope to outrun Sarien’s dimensional slide and thew down his blade in surrender.
  • The runner, now recognized as a young man of maybe 14 winters, bore scars on his cheeks, carved in a hideous symmetry. Sarien supposed he might be a member of the Knife-eater gang, and after pressuring the captured man, he admitted to exactly that. This boy served Fine Farrah, a murderous brigand both feared and loathed. Rumor has it, she was a whore who’d been on the wrong end of a drunken exchange with her sadistic pimp, ending in him carving her a smile from ear to hear. Farrah took her revenge against the pimp, and turned to a life of banditry. Farrah loaths beauty, and scars every man or woman who wishes to join her gang.
  • Sarien pressured the scarred boy into telling the party where the Knife-eater hide-out was, as so the group headed off-road for some investigating.
  • Soon enough the runner lead the party to a camp deep in the woods, tucked between rocky cliffs and with a cave at the back of the brigands grove. Here, Asgrim declared his lineage, and insisted that Farrah come out to meet them. She was more than happy to oblige, though she did so with a flurry of poisoned shureikens flying through the air. Despite the gang’s reputation, they were no match for the adventurers, and all men but one were slain.
  • Night fell as the group looted the hideout then camped for the night.

Vehana’s Day: The 15th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • The next day the party continued to Point Oreish with the one living knife-eater, and by mid day had made their goal. Cyric immediately delivered the thief to a guard post where the guard informed the party of a bounty on Fine Farrah’s head.
  • Lamenting having not brought proof of Farrah’s demise, Asgrim acted quickly, finding a dwarven dock worker onto which he would pass a quest. The dwarf, identified as Toric, would travel first to the Knife-eater hide-out in hopes of bringing back proof of the gang-leader’s death. If he did so, her ransom would be his. Secondly and most important, he was asked to travel to Brokenbridge, to the Dwarven Quarter where he might find a high-official of the dwarven populace and inform him of the fate of Regg Blacksteel, and his murderrer, the dark caster Denegroth. For his quest, he was gifted magical potions, a finely made greatsword, and the trust of a hero-dwarf in the making.
  • Having passed on this mission, Asgrim now took to gathering information about the ships in harbor, seeking knowledge of which ones might carry them to the Brineshell. It was dinner-time before he had all the knowledge he could muster.
  • Two such ships sat at the harbor of Point Oreish. The first, Sunfish was a quick three-masted caravel headed almost strait to the Brineshell. She had three decks, a crew of thirty men, and a brave (by reputation) captain named Shervin Twobeards. Two of his crew enjoyed drinks at The Devil’s Flask. “Doc” Laselle, the first-mate of Sunfish who was rather lavishly dressed for a sailor, and Big Dill, one of the strongest men the dwarf had ever seen. Asgrim spoke to each, and though he sensed no darkness or ill-will, he did suspect that the crew was hiding something from him. When pressured, Big Dill insisted there was no need to worry. That if the group wanted to travel discreetly, that happened to be Twobeards’s specialty.
  • The second ship was Gallant, a massive three-masted, three-decked dromon sailing out of Taiut, the capitol of the Sultantate of Al-Dahin. Her journey would be twice as long as Sunfish’s, as her hull wasn’t built for the open sea, and she would have to stick to the coasts. She had a grand captain as well, one Saladin the Stormtreader. From her crew of nearly two hundred, several had come ashore. Asgrim learned about Selka Scalesinger, the “fishcharmer”, whom it was said would cause fish to jump onto the deck of a ship by her voice alone. Atop the roof of the bar, sat a lone figure named Xericuse, a star-gazer, and navigator of Gallant. What information was gathered of this ship, Asgrim didn’t like the sound of, and the group convened, deciding they would barter for travel on Sunfish in the morning.

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Chase through the woods 1,000
Fine Farrah 10 9,600 1 9,600
Brigand Bard 7 3,200 1 3,200
Blackstrike 8 4,800 1 4,800
Deadly Spy 8 4,800 1 4,800
Henchmen 5 1,600 6 9,600
Choosing Vessels 2,000
Subtotal 35,000 / 6
Total 5,833xp
View
Resolution
Campaign: A Garden of War

Brokenbridge.jpg

Session Summary

The 7th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • The stones of the Kingstower tumbled to the ground to their final resting place amongst the ruins of the once-great city. Something about their state, felt final, permanent. The group began discussing what to do next. They turned to Andriel for advice, but the cleric seemed half lost in his own mind, as if still trapped within the cube. When pressed for answers, he refused to speak of it, as if not saying the words would keep the trauma from his mind.
  • Drums sounded in the distance, breaking their discussion, as on cue, goblins filed back into Irador to toil at the tower’s base once more. The party concealed themselves, wondering what the goblin’s reaction would be, and coming to a decision that they’d best spend another night in the ruins to make sure the tower didn’t once again rise when the sun fell.
  • Goblins appeared in groups but stopped short of the tower. First, they noticed the destroyed forms of the elven skeleton horde that had formed around the tower’s foundation. One brave goblin stepped forward and through the bodies, toward the ruins. Not to be out-done, other leaders approached. The goblins argued at the center, several fighting until one was slain. They seemed to be arguing about the rusted gear on the ground, the now inanimate skeleton remains, and the state of the fallen tower. They too, seemed to sense a change in the tower, and after some time the goblin tribes dispersed.
  • The party camped out through the day, enjoying some much needed rest after the gauntlet they’d just faced. Cahal took wing to keep an eye over the group, and when night fell, the tower stayed collapsed. The Kingstower Haunting had been defeated.
  • That night, Cahal had a terrible nightmare. He saw a snowy village overran by savage men. At the town’s center, a Rootbound Temple burned, the branches of it’s grovetree alight with flames.

The 8th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • In the morning the group set out from the ruins to return to civilization. The forest felt much different than it had when they entered. It seemed less dark, less haunted. They did have several near encounters with revenants. They surmised that though the haunting was defeated, the murderer of these particular spirits was still at large, and thus they lingered on.
  • One night Asgrim experienced a nightmare which kept him from sleep. In his dream, he delved deep into The Furyforge, though as he went deeper, he saw the citadel in ruin, and felt a terrible and powerful presence in the darkness that he could not shake, even after waking.
  • The group traveled for three days before smelling the briny air of the ocean, and hearing its ever present rumble, beyond the forest.

The 11th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • They approached the bay road, but were halted by forms on the path. They moved a bit closer to see a large line of people streaming down the road. They looked downtrodden, carts carried wounded or dying people, many walked with limps and signs of battle. Cahal took wing and landed on one such cart to listen in on what the people had to say.
  • From what the druid gathered, these were refugees from Earlmoor, a town to the south that the group had come through on their way from Point Oreish little more than a ten-day ago. (see The Road to Brokenbridge). When last the party was there, a massive pavilion had been constructed in the city square, beneath which a secret waited to be revealed at the Summer’s Fortune festival. So, on the First Sword the tent had been lowered to reveal a beautifully wrought iron statue of Prince Ferron. The townsfolk rejoiced and thanked Hollibard, the town wizard who’d overseen the project. Little did they know, it would awaken several days later to lay waste to their town. Hollibard was nowhere to be found, some of the townsfolk blamed him, others stood behind him, proposing that his magic was somehow turned against them.
  • The group felt torn, but ultimately chose to continue on to Brokenbridge. They carried what they felt to be extremely valuable and volatile cargo, and wanted answers as soon as possible. The party waited for the refugees to pass, and followed far behind to avoid detection.

The 12th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • Some ways behind the caravan of townsfolk, the group passed through the gates of Brokenbridge only to be halted and surrounded by city guards. Leading the guards, a knight of House Aldaine approached and informed the party they had been sought, and were immediately summoned to Lord Aldaine’s court. The knight and his men seemed to nervously grip their weapons, and seemed ready for an attack. This didn’t seem to be the heroic welcome the group had anticipated.
  • The group was then escorted to the castle and into the throne room. A group of notables were in attendance. Among them, Lord Alyn Aldaine and his royal guard, Deacon Nicolaos of the church of Dimaeria, Father Theaton of the Rootbound Brotherhood, and Young-Lord Tanyon Kairclaw, the one they call Darkclaw.
  • The party was then informed that they had been charged with the highborn murder of Sir Dynis Kairclaw. A blind man was lead forward, whom the party recognized as the falconer who’d rode with Sir Dynis, introducing himself as Polther Windworn. The falconer weaved a lie of their groups intentions, insisting that they were attacked by the adventurers, and hadn’t sought the fight.
  • After hearing everyone’s testimony and arguments, and after learning of the great deeds the party had accomplished within the forest (backed by evidence of the forests blight receding), Lord Aldaine judged in favor of the party! This disgusted Darkclaw, who openly threatened the party should they venture into Kairclaw lands.
  • Having been exonerated, the party was welcomed as heroes to stay within the castle as long as they pleased, and were received with royal hospitality.
  • Immediately after their trial, Father Theaton approached Cahal, worry in his voice, and insisted that the druid come to the Rootbound temple to speak further of druidic matters. So, the group headed back across the Bridge of Accord to the arboreal monastery. There, Theaton lead them to one of the many trees within the temple, which stood withered and dead. Cahal knew this to mean that the temple had been destroyed, and thinking back to his dream, wondered if they could be one and the same. Theaton confirmed that the time of Cahal’s nightmare, and the tree’s withering were in line. Somehow the druid had seen a thousand miles away, to a temple in the far north.
  • Even more pressing though, was the message Father Theaton had received only yesterday, from the Arch-Druid, speaking of dire omens, and requesting the Father’s presence at the Hometree.
  • Cahal revealed the cube to Father Theaton, who knew not what it was. He did wonder however, if it was the mysterious force behind the blight of Viridia. By all accounts, the evil in the forest had already begun to wane. He also urged that it be brought to the Hometree for druidic inspection. Cahal could promise nothing, but agreed such a move would be wise. With that, the druids parted ways.
  • Taranath also left the castle for a brief visit to his friend Ghiraldi Goldfingers. Taranath asked who the authority was was on the lore of the First Men, who’s language was writ on the many faces of the cube. Ghiraldi suggested that the group travel to The Brineshell in Aonar, to the Royal Lore-master Rohmanar, for no man alive knew more of the First Men than he. Goldfingers had once been forced to sit through a rather drull lecture by the old loremaster on the subject.
  • Once everyone had returned to the castle, a small feast was prepared for the wary party, who was to be dining with Lord Aldaine. At dinner, Aldaine pressed the party about their quest into the forest. They were happy to oblige, and told the old lord nearly everything, but didn’t mention anything about the mysterious cube that seemed to be behind it all. Lord Aldaine had shown himself to be a friend, but even still, the party was fearful to let anyone know the burden they carried. As their feast wound down, a guard entered to inform the lord of the fate of Earlmoor, and the monstrosity that awoke there. Aldaine ordered a detachment of skyknights to investigate, but to keep their distance. The lord wondered about Hollibard’s involvement, and told the group what he knew of the wizard. With these new revelations, the party vowed to travel to Earlmoor to investigate this risen statue, though their true destination lay much further, across the Azuran Sea, to the city of romance, the capitol of Aonar, the magnificent Brineshell.

The 14th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • Two days passed traveling down the bay road from Brokenbridge to Earlmoor. They saw the smoke first, rising from the horizon like some ominous tendril. When the group finally viewed the town, they were amazed by the utter destruction. From their vantage point, they could see the iron statue standing proud, and seemingly inanimate, in the center of a ravaged city square. Everything within hundreds of feet of the statue was a smoldering ruin. The group took a wide berth around the city’s square and made for Mistvale Manor, the home of the missing wizard.
  • The group entered and found the manor to be abandoned. The wizard’s departure must have been sudden, for it was left in disarray.
  • Amongst the wizard’s many possessions left behind, stashed away in a locked chest, was an incredible find, and surprising. A grand crown, etched in dwarven runes, with a great ruby at it’s center. Asgrim was staggered for he knew this to be the crown of the Furyforge King, an heirloom that had been missing for two decades. If Hollibard had the crown, what was his involvement in the fate of the Furyforge? Asgrim took the crown with great reverence and care.
  • Having searched the manor, the party continued on, and finally sought to confront the statue. The golem woke at their presence, and without hesitation or thought, stomped toward the group with ruinous intent. The great iron golem was wrought to resemble the savior of Viridia, the great Prince Ferron. What an irony now that his form was being used to destroy much of what he saved. The golem’s plates resisted spells, and all but the mightiest of blows, but eventually the party prevailed and toppled the monstrosity, which tumbled apart as the magic that animated it’s form was shattered.
  • A wicked laughter sounded from behind them. The group turned to see a dark robed figure with a giant rat on his shoulder. Cahal immediately recognized him as the wizard Hollibard, who he’d seen on their first trip though the town. Hollibard applauded the group’s bravery shown against the statue. The group soon realized that this was not the true wizard, at least not his physical form. It was rather, an astral projection of him. A lengthy dialogue ensued. The wizard revealed his true name to be ‘Denegroth the Dread’, a Servant of Veloris. He explained that he’d brought the cube deep within the mountains and roused the goblins to war. He admitted full responsibility for the Furyforge and the fate of their king, hinting that he had, “used the dwarves greatest secret against them”. He had been the brains behind the goblin horde, but he was defeated in the battle of Irador, and lost the cube. Fleeing the forest, he posed as a survivor in Earlmoor and laid in wait for the last two decades until the cube was freed from the forest. He hadn’t been able to retrieve the cube himself, for the revenants hunted him constantly. He had been the coin behind the sellswords who’d sought the cube in the forest, the ones responsible for Saeros’s death. And now, his formed thanked them for doing the job he never could, and that they would meet again, on his terms, to reclaim his lost treasure. In a blink he was gone, a hollow laughter bounded down the ruined streets into an eerie silence.

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Diplomacy in Lord Aldaine’s court 4,000
Iron Golem of Prince Ferron 13 25,600 1 25,600
The truth behind it all (Denegroth roleplay) 4,000
Subtotal 33,600 / 6
Total 5,600xp
View
The Kingstower (Part IV)
Campaign: A Garden of War

graveknight.jpg

Session Summary

The 6th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • Old children’s toys lay strewn across the floor before the party, the remains of Attic Whisperers, children who’d lost their lives to sorrow, Taranath explained. Andriel and Asgrim tried to respond, but found themselves unable to speak. The corrupted children had stolen their voices. Unwilling to continue up the tower without Andriel’s prayers or Asgrim’s tales, the group decided to wait out their afflictions.
  • The hallway toward the stairs was cluttered with a hastily built barricade of dressers, chairs, armoirs and chests, so the group cleared a path while Cahal took wing to investigate the fire’s progress. It had begun to storm outside, but the tower still burned, higher than before, and now the whole field surrounding the spire was crawling with zombies and skeletons, clad in ruined elvish garb. He flew upward to get a count of remaining floors to the tower, 3 floors. The druid also noted that the night had progressed further than he’d thought, time would indeed be a factor in the ascent. They would be racing against the dawn
  • The priest and bard regained their voices and the group continued higher. At the top of the stairs stood a grand double-door. Several members put their ears to the doors to listen beyond, Cahal thought he heard the faint sound of music. That grabbed Asgrim’s attention, so the bard listened intently and soon agreed. Not only was there a song playing, he added, but the notes were the same as those the broken soul Lillendsong had plucked on her harp. This time however, the melody was played in 3 and 4, the cadence of a waltz.
  • The party opted to open the door rather than bust it down with Cyric’s “key”, much to the dwarfs disappointment. The doors opened with a moan. None heard a sound nor spotted any signs of life, or unlife. Before them loomed a massive hall, with a intricate wooden dance-floor, rotten with age. The group moved through the hall slowly, back to back. The faintest whisper of a song was suddenly audible and growing louder by the beat. Andriel prayed to Dimaeria and channeled energy to defeat what was certainly a manifesting haunt. The cleric guessed right, just before his blast, swirling ghosts appeared in pairs, dancing, reaching out to their throats with malicious intent. Andriel’s faith proved stronger and the ghostly mists were dispersed by holy light. With a sigh of relief, they continued onward.
  • The next floor they found the tower’s aviary, where their massive bird-mounts could be kept. Andriel searched for an impressive saddle, but everything in the storerooms had disintegrated with age. The storm raged on outside, as thunder and lightning battled around them.
  • The group took the next flight of stairs to exit into open air. They stood on a balcony of sorts, where the tower shrank in diameter but still continued upward for several more stories. The cleric was halted by a memory… this was the place from his dream, and inside those doors would be the elf-king. There too would be his father. Without a roof over their heads, the group could see the storm in all of it’s power. It seemed to be swirling around the tower somehow. Below, the forms of a thousand fallen elves shone in flashes of light to disappear into the darkness in an instant. The party cast defensive wards, said their prayers, regaled past hero-isms, and scribbled on note-cards. They were prepared for what stood beyond, or so they hoped.
  • The doors opened into a large hall, the personal audience chamber to the king. Along massive stone pillars, stood a troop of skeletal guards, still as stone. Behind them, undead priests reached for the unholy symbols about their necks. Andriel’s eyes locked on a form he knew to be his father’s, twin swords at his hips, standing dutifully near dias, a pair of thrones atop it. A staircase rose to either side of the dias, atop which stood several skeletal archers, and a rotten sorcerer with worms for eyes. But looming over them all, at the top of the stair, stood Ladorian Elf-King, in the most beautiful and terrifying armor they’d ever seen. Hanging from a chain about his neck, the cube spun violently, emitting a bright blue light.
  • An epic battle ensued, in-which Andriel was nearly slain by his father’s zombie, only to have his soul eaten by the cube, activated by the Elf-King. The fight continued on, but eventually Ladorian and his minions fell, and Andriel’s soul went back into his body, the party reviving him as the tower rumbled.
  • Realizing they only had a few seconds to spare, the group quickly healed and through various methods (bird-flight, levitation, dimension door) managed to escape the tower’s top as the spire crumbled to the ground, the undead army below, crushed by the falling stones!

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Dancing Ghosts Haunt 4 1,200 1 1,200
Skeletal Champion Fighter 4 1,200 10 12,000
Skeletal Champion Archer 4 1,200 2 2,400
Skeletal Champion Cleric 5 1,600 3 4,800
Skeletal Champion Sorcerer 6 2,400 1 2,400
Andriel’s Skeletal Father 8 4,800 1 4,800
Ladorian, Elf-King 12 19,200 1 19,200
Escaping the Kingstower 6 2,400 1 2,400
Subtotal 49,200 / 6
Total 8,200xp
View
The Kingstower (Part III)
Campaign: A Garden of War

dininghall.jpg

Session Summary

The 6th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • Continuing onward, the group approached a staircase to further ascend the tower. Asgrim froze in shock and began speaking of blood pouring down the stairs before them. No one else could see or hear what the dwarf was perceiving. Taranath suspected a haunt. The group chose to avoid this flight of stairs and crossed the tower to the opposite staircase, where no such blood haunting appeared.
  • They climbed to find themselves in a small room, beyond which a long hallway ran. Adorning the walls were beautifully woven tapestries. Three such banners hung in the hall, the flags of Irador, the Furyforge, and Brokenbridge. Asgrim approached the dwarven banner, only to find it suddenly emitting an intense heat. They group scrambled away, but not before the banners burst into flames, searing the party. In a flash of light and smoke, the banners were gone, no hint of their existence to be seen. Another haunting, they surmised.
  • After kicking in several storerooms, Cyric lead the group into a massive kitchen. A huge hearth with a dozen ovens stood at one side of the room, with many tables scattered throughout. The counter-tops shown with the cut-marks of a thousand feasts prepared. Several in the group noticed the deep cuts of one such table beginning to well with blood. Taking no chances and wasting no time, the group immediately evacuated the room before the haunting could fully manifest.
  • Cahal explored down an opposite hall to find the stairs ascending upward, flanked by large windows. He peered out to the ground below, and through the smoke of the flaming tower perceived forms moving. The druid took wing to get a closer look, and saw countless shambling zombies and skeletons moving toward the tower, as if something was pulling them there.
  • Next the party entered the great-hall, where the elf-king would have hosted great feasts. A raised table on the far side of the room marked the kings seat, and many more long tables stood on the main floor. Atop the tables, a hundred sets of immaculate silver cutlery sat in place. Opposite the kitchen hearth, another great hearth opened into the hall.
  • Asgrim strode across the hall and picked up a goblet from the kings table. As soon as he did, the cutlery instantly tarnished and rusted, lifting into the air in a chorus of ringing steel and spinning violently about the hall. From the hearth came a twisted ghost, once an elf, who’d attempted to hang itself down the chimney with tied tablecloths in it’s past life. The cloths had torn, and the elf had fallen to its death, twisting its legs in a grotesque fall down the chimney shaft. Through the door to the kitchen floated the ghost of some elven chef, who’s eyes were replaced with carving knives.
  • The group fought with wit and strength to overcome the ghosts and the haunting swirl of blades!
  • The party pushed upward, ascending another flight of stairs to a long, dark hallway that ran the length of the tower. A matching hallway ran perpendicular to the first. At their intersection stood a statue of Aphai the Earthmother.
  • The group explored several rooms that appeared to be royal living quarters. In one room, a flawless mirror stood atop and ornate vanity. The group made it a point to not look into the mirror.
  • They continued down the hall and stand before The All-Grower, when the sobs of children filled their ears. From down the hall came small figures, perhaps elven children once, though in the place of limbs and heads, the apparitions seemed constructed of children’s toys. The creatures attacked, stealing Asgrim and Andriel’s voices from their throats before being scattered into piles rotten toys.

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Bleeding Stairs Haunt 2 600 1 600
Burning Banners Haunt 3 800 1 800
Blood Writ Words Haunt 4 1,200 1 1,200
Barrier of Blades Haunt 5 1,600 1 1,600
Ghosts 7 3,200 2 6,400
Attic Whisperers 4 1,200 4 4,800
Subtotal 15,400 / 6
Total 2,566xp
View
The Kingstower (Part II)
Campaign: A Garden of War

kingstower2.jpg

Session Summary

The 6th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • Having cleared the base floor of the Kingstower, the party looked to the massive double staircase and ascended with anticipation
  • At the top of the stairs they found a long foyer, who’s walls were expertly carved in the likeness of a forest, bows wrapping over themselves above to create a tunnel effect. Cyric noted small vertical slits that were hidden within the carvings, and the group decided they must be murder-holes. Sarien inspected the area for traps finding nothing. Still weary of traps, Cyric and Asgrim stepped down the hall, shields facing toward the tree-covered walls. Their apprehension proved justified, as they heard crossbows fire from the walls. It wasn’t normal bolts that flew at the dwarves, but dark arrows covered in a dripping acid. As soon as the bolts struck, they disappeared into ashes, leaving the burning acid where they’d landed.
  • Taranath confirmed that they had just experienced a haunting, perhaps another tied to the moment in time of the elves final stand within the great spire. Convinced that the room was now clear, the group moved forward. The dwarves were particularly interested in the massive door at the end of the hall, which they saw was clearly made by dwarven hands, at least in part. The door also showed the intricacy and grace elven sculptors were known for. Asgrim recalled from fables that a renowned dwarven stonesmith from the Furyforge had collaborated with the elves to construct a fantastic door to the throne room of the Kingstower. The group tried for some time to open the door without damaging it, but eventually had to resort to brute strength. Only with the entire party pulling at it’s hangers, did the door give way.
  • The throne room beyond was dark besides columns of moonlight that shone though high windows at the back of the hall. On the dias, seated in a place of honor beside the throne, sat a beautiful elven woman playing a harp. The melody she played was haunting and ominous. Asgrim was certain that he had never heard the song before, but realized that the notes and cadence of the performance matched the lyrical meter of the words Andriel had spoken in his sleep. She was playing the song from the clerics dream. Thinking of songs of the fall of Irador, Asgrim also recalled that the great bard and courtesan of the Kingstower, Lily Lillendsong had been lost in the conflict. Somehow, they were seeing her here, and hearing the song she played. From behind the dias flipped a court jester, who danced merrily and juggled large glass orbs, the four pointed hat on his head bouncing with each step.
  • The party approached, and Asgrim tried to speak to Lillendsong, reminding her that the tower fell, and her with it, that she no longer needed to remain to entertain a court of ghosts. That enraged her, and the woman’s skin began to peel away, suddenly growing to twice her size, sprouting bloody wings, and growing a massive snake-like tail. The jester also transformed, his skin melting away from flaming tar that poured from his eyes and mouth. The fool no longer juggled glass orbs, but rather bloody heads wearing faces of horror. From behind they heard the sound of scraping stone as more skeletal champions burst through hidden doors in the walls.
  • The group was hard-pressed against the undead attack, but eventually cleared the room of these tortured spirits of the past!
  • Entering the hidden rooms where the skeletons had come from, they found guard chambers, and the back-side’s to the murder-holes they’d seen in the foyer. Each room had large chests. Opening the first chest, the group found several magical items. Excitedly, Cyric moved to open the second chest, but was attacked by a mimic, a haunting that disguised itself like chests to lure in unsuspecting adventurers. Though none suspected the mimic, they made short work of destroying it, granting them another item!
  • The group then found two sets of stairs, one on either side of the throne room, and prepared to ascend higher into the Kingstower.

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Murder Hole Haunting 3 800 1 800
Skeletal Champion Footman 4 1,200 4 4,800
Broken Soul 9 6,400 4 6,400
Flailing Jester 5 1,600 2 3,200
Mimic 4 1,200 1 1,200
Subtotal 16,400 / 6
Total 2,7333xp
View
The Kingstower
Campaign: A Garden of War

burningtower.jpg

Session Summary

The 5th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • At the last of the risen zombie sensei’s deaths, ribbons of smoke broke from their skins, swirled together, then blew into a strait line. The smoke lingered for a moment, seeming to point at a brick in the wall of the temple, then dissipated as suddenly as it had formed. The group approached and inspected the stone. It seemed to be a pressure plate. When pushed, a small stone door opened at the base of the altar at the center of the room, upon which the scroll-chest sat. Inside the hidden compartment, was a glass vial, a bit of liquid and what appeared to be rocks within. They deduced that these were ringfall stones, which could be consumed to regain power without sleeping.
  • Sarien removed the scrolls from the chest and stashed them safely within his pack, personally promising to see them to Master Taitan so he might re-establish his school.
  • Though only mid-day, the group was weary from battle, so they decided to set up camp within the temple.
  • The day passed uneventfully while the party rested, until they were all awakened by Andriel who convulsed in his sleep, and unknowingly chanted an eerie bit of prose.

    When wrought, a twin bound each within.
    When sworn, a service with no end.
    When fought, the world will be undone.
    When torn unto oblivion.
    When broken, to the dead they call.
    When mated, those they fight will fall.
    When woken, all shall bend the knee.
    When fated rule eternally.

  • Andriel woke up, and questioned by the party, explained a dream that he had just experienced. In his dream, the voice of his father’s ghost woke him and lead him to a burning tower, besieged by goblins. He ascended the tower to find Elf-king Ladorian and his guards fighting bravely at it’s top. Andriel’s father Athen entered the room, caught in the same moment in time. Athen explained to the elf king that his men had fought a dark wizard, and though the caster had escaped, he’d lost an item of great power. He then revealed a relic to the Elf-king, none-other than the cube-within-a-cube that so many clues had seemed to point to. The Elf-king activated the cube in an attempt to save the elves, but instead slew every elf in the room, including himself, while chanting the same phrase that Andriel had spoken in his sleep. The cube fell innate, but the tower succumbed to the goblin barrage, and collapsed, just as dawn broke over the Silvershear’s.
  • The group was perplexed, but knew that they needed to investigate the ruins of his Kingstower. They packed up camp and were about to leave the temple when they heard drums, undoubtedly goblin. Having slept, the day was turning dusk, the same time they’d heard goblin drums the night before. Cahal took wing to get a better view, and spotted a dozen groups of torchlights, goblin raiding parties, all leaving the city and moving into the forest. They didn’t seem to be on an intercept-course with the goblins, so they stayed put until all of the lights had disappeared into the dark woods.
  • They moved further into the city, following Andriel’s memories of his dream, and the map Sarien’s mother had drawn him. They ascended a hill, over-which should have been the ruins of the Kingstower. What they saw on the other side defied both logic and lore.
  • The Kingstower stood, though wreathed in a wretched fire. The party stood in confusion. Asgrim recited a handful of verses about the Goblin War, all of which spoke of the fall of the Kingstower. Taranath brought out his planar-instruments and was both terrified and ecstatic about his findings. He stated that he couldn’t classify the haunting, indeed it was “off the Kruetzen scale”. Andriel wondered what he might learn of his father within, and why he was lead here. Cahal took wing once again, flying around the tower in a wide berth. He noticed what looked to be goblin excavation tunnels dug at the base of the tower. The flames burned higher as the spire continued it’s fiery decay.
  • Remembering that the tower collapsed at dawn in Andriel’s dream, they wondered if this tower haunting only appeared at night. They decided to move closer and find a place to camp, to watch and understand what the goblins were up to here, and when and how the tower would manifest.
  • After scouting nearby goblin trails, the group set up downwind, and in a high defensible position. They waited out the night, two on watch at a time, while the others rested and conserved their strength.

The 6th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • As suspected, when dawn broke, so too did the Kingstower, as it crumbled into ancient ruin. In the morning light they could see moss and trees growing within the towers remains, as if it had been raised with the rest of the city, two decades ago. Soon after came the drums, as the goblins filtered back into the city. They moved down the very paths the group had scouted and with half-a-hundred goblins gathered, continued to dig beneath the tower. The group presumed the goblins were digging for the same powerful relic Andriel had seen in his dream.
  • The goblins labored through-out the day, raiding parties coming and going. When dusk was near, taskmasters began to drum, signaling the goblin mobilization and within minutes all of the wicked creatures had fled the area back into the forest. The group prepared to blitz the tower.
  • Dusk fell and the tower began to materialize, the old stones on the ground rising as ashes but standing back into place in the form of the massive spire. The group bolted ahead and after the briefest inspection of the goblin tunnels (and Cyric’s noting their horrendous tunneling work) moved through the portcullis of the giant tower.
  • The bottom floor of the tower was akin to a courtyard with a massive ceiling. In place of an open grove at it’s center was a mossy knoll. The group moved further in when skeletons suddenly burst from the ground before them. Armor clad, with weapons in hand, stood a force of elven skeletons. They moved with intelligence and strategy, but were not powerful enough to stop the party for long, as the boney warriors fell in droves to the party’s might!

*XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Understanding The Kingstower 2,000
Skeletal Champion Footman 4 1,200 8 8,600
Skeletal Champion Archer 4 1.200 4 4,800
Skeletal Champion Cleric 5 1,600 2 3,200
Subtotal 18,600 / 6
Total 3,100xp
View
The Temple of the Flowing Form
Campaign: A Garden of War

TheTempleoftheFlowingForm.jpg

Session Summary

The 5th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • The bodies of goblins still twitched at their feet as the party quickly looted their corpses, not wishing to linger here for long. Soon, the group was off again, the Guild Hall in which Cyric’s friend Asgrim was hidden, stood a ways off, but within view.
  • They closed the distance and ascended the wide steps before the once great building, which now sat mostly in ruin. Still, the front of the building housed smaller rooms that were less prone to collapse. This, is where Asgrim had been stashed. They found the paralyzed dwarf hidden amongst the rubble. Cyric lead the way and introduced the party to his friend, who introduced himself as Asgrim, the battle-bard. Cahal insisted on saving the neutralize poison spell they had found, and instead cast the spell on the dwarf. Soon his toes wiggled, his knees quivered, and Asgrim stood, shaking off the tingling, and thanking these adventurers for helping him and his friend.
  • After some more introductions and understandings, the group headed out, once again a party of six! They moved south along the basin’s lip, a high road that lead them back through avenues and lanes of crumbled dreams. Sarien withdrew his map once again, and noted several locations as they gained different vantage points of the city.
  • The group continued south through the trade district and Sundancer’s Plaza, until they reached the Temple of the Flowing Form. The building stood mostly in tact, but an eerie presence was felt there. As the group approached they noticed the front door to the temple was open, something blocked it’s closure. A closer look revealed it to be a leg of the humanoid variety. Cyric and Asgrim bravely approached, and slowly pushed open the door.
  • Before them lay the bodies of a half-dozen men, rotten and dead for some time. At the back of the room, between two staircases, were four banners, each decorated with a different animal: panther, crane, mantis, and snake. Beneath the banners stood two clay statues, terra-cotta soldiers wielding swords. Asgrim stepped inside to flip over a corpse, when the soldiers animated! The party defeated the golems with relative ease and continued examining the bodies. Most interesting was a bag full of ‘trinkets’ that Sarien recognized as elven make, likely looted from elsewhere in the city. The item all had one thing in common however, they all had some sort of geometric quality to their shape or appearance. They wondered if there was any connection to their ‘tri-cube’ clues they’d gathered elsewhere. The group continued on
  • The next room revealed a stagnant and rank bath, a corpse floating within. Blood drag marks suggested this to be another of the adventurers. Cyric nearly touched the corpse before Andriel shouted out, warning him the body was infested with “rot grubs”. They decided to leave the body alone and continued. Next they entered a room that must have been the armory, though it was now nothing more than an empty room of racks.
  • Continuing, the group came to a courtyard, in which a rock-garden was set. At it’s center, a massive rusty bell stood watch. The group moved past the bell cautiously. Several of them heard a slight ‘ringing’ when suddenly Sarien collapsed in pain, others heard a painful explosion of sound, and others yet heard nothing. Asgrim had had enough, and charged the bell, knocking it over with a mighty slam. The bell landed in the gravel below, and harmlessly rolled to a stop.
  • The group healed and moved on through several dormitories. They found a box of traditional elven marriage bands, but decided to leave them in their place. Next they entered the dojo, and though the room was large and ominous, nothing assaulted them. To either side of the dojo, the kitchen, and an empty room with only a stone bed at it’s back.
  • They moved up some stairs found in the dojo to the second floor of the temple. They found a scribing room, though the scrolls they sought weren’t kept there. Next there was a meditation room with a shrine to the elven nature god. After that, a dining hall with a massive tapestry, depicting Master Taitan’s heroism when he scaled the Silvershear Mountains and defeated a mighty dragon alone and without a weapon.
  • The group entered what seemed to be the last room of the temple. The room had a high domed ceiling with a hole at it’s center. The noon sun blazed through the hole, casting beams downward. At the center of the room sat a resplendent chest. Four pillars supported the high ceiling, and at the corners of the room stood tall stone tablets set against the walls, each depicting the same four animals from the foyer. The group got in position around the tablets and Sarien opened the chest. The scrolls seemed to glow from within.
  • In a thundering crash, the tablets slid downward revealing forms within. Siting in a meditative position, the four zombie sensei seemed almost at peace, until they opened their hateful eyes to see the living before them. The sensei were clearly undead, but they chanted mantras of their forms in dusty croaks. Each sensei employed a different animal aspect, but despite their martial mastery, the party prevailed!

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Terra-cotta Soldiers 6 2,400 2 4,800
Rot Brubs 4 1.200 1 1.200
Thundering Bell Haunt 4 1,200 1 1,200
Zombie Sensei of the Pather 8 4,800 1 4,800
Zombie Sensei of the Crane 8 4,800 1 4,800
Zombie Sensei of the Snake 8 4,800 1 4,800
Zombie Sensei of the Mantis 8 4,800 1 4,800
Subtotal 26,400 / 6
Total 4,400xp
View
Irador, At Last!
Campaign: A Garden of War

Rings2.jpg

Session Summary

The 4th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • The party stood over the corpse of their fallen comrade Saeros as the rain of the monsoon came down around them. Concerned that the monk may be awoken from his eternal sleep by the curse of the forest, the party members blessed his remains in their various methods, and put their fallen friend in the ground. Sarien kept the monk’s temple sword, and swore an oath to see his quest completed. The group agreed, they would seek out the scrolls within the Temple of the Flowing Form, and would return them to Saeros’s former sensei, Master Taitan.
  • Seeing such a great adventurer fall in battle, Lorren questioned his coming in to the forest, and immediately packed his belongings, and apologetically informed the group that he would not be entering Irador. He wasn’t cut out for this sort of thing. He assured the party that he would make his way back to Brokenbridge safely, tipped his hat, and strode into the darkness.
  • Two swords down, the party made their way back to the river. The water had receded some, but still rushed by violently, intensified by the storm. The party found it’s crossing no trouble though, as they used various methods of teleportation, planar-jumping, or wild-shaping to reach the other side.
  • The party walked for another hour until they reached the bluffs of the basin in which Irador sat waiting. The night was fast approaching, so the party decided to set up camp for the night and get some sleep.
  • During the first watch, Taranath heard an approaching being, metal scraping, and muffled cursing. Coming into view, a heavily armored dwarf huffed. Taranath called out and the two exchanged questions. The dwarf’s name was Cyric, and he had come into the forest with a party of dwarves bound for Irador. They’d been attacked by goblins, and only two dwarves remained. Cyric was currently alone while his companion Asgrim laid within the cities ruins, paralyzed by goblin poison. The dwarf was now in search of a satchel full of potions they’d lost when their cleric was slain.
  • After some discussion, the party offered to help these dwarves in need, though they’d need rest before entering the city. The group debated more and finally decided to sleep tonight and return in the morning. Campfire discussion lead to Cyric explaining his quest, the legend of the Furyforge, and the mission he’d been sent on by an old dwarven general. They’d been sent with one clue, a sketch drawn by a mad dwarf, who’d lost his wits in the depths of the Furyforge. Everyone was stunned to see it was the same geometric shape they’d learned of during their visit to Sunny Meadow’s , a “cube-within-a-cube within-a-cube”. No one knew what it meant, but the connection bolstered their resolve, and the belief in their quest.

The 5th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • At first light (which is still very dark in the deep forest), the party rose and searched for the lost satchel. Despite Cyric’s confusion over the bag’s location, the group eventually found it, and the contents within, which included a potion of poison neutrality.
  • They made their way toward the city, eventually reaching a great gateway. A monolith of stone stood before them, carved in the likeness of a great stag. In the place of horns, a massive tree’s branches reached from the creatures head. Sarien withdrew the map his mother had penned for him, and told the party that this was the Gate of Antlers, the entrance to Irador. They stepped over massive doors, now de-hinged and fallen, and descended into the city.
  • Before them, a sprawling city of stone peeked out from treetops, now long overgrown. There were also great clearings that the forest had not yet reclaimed, in which avenues ran. Cyric told the group that his friend was stashed in the Guild Hall, and lead the way their.
  • More than once a party member detected movement, only to not quite catch its form, though they were certain it was smaller than a man. Soon, they realized they were being surrounded, and hurried their pace.
  • Their suspicions were soon confirmed as a group of goblins descended on the party! Fire bomber goblins threw alchemical fire from the ruin-tops, feral gnasher’s sprung from doorways, and an armored group with a drumming accompaniment marched around the bend. The group fought for their lives alongside their new ally, who proved to be a formidable defender. In the end the party prevailed, slaying these descendants of those who destroyed the city two decades ago!

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Crossing the River 4 1,200 1 1,200
Goblin Officer 6 2,400 1 2,400
Goblin Fighters 4 1,200 2 2,400
Goblin Firebomber’s 6 2,400 2 4,800
Goblin Gnasher’s 5 1,600 4 6,400
Goblin Skalds 5 1,600 2 3,200
Subtotal 20,400 / 6
Total 3,400xp
View
The Bridge to Ruin
Campaign: A Garden of War

TheBridgeToRuin.jpg

Session Summary

The 3rd Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • The ruins of the elven house grew dark as the flames of the witchfire and her cursed children winked out. Saeros immediately stomped off into the treeline, cursing mantras under his breath as he tried to regain his balance. Taranath now understood what the party had faced, and explained the haunt, and how they work, to the party. Andriel was quick to dig into a pile of rubble beside the house, claiming he had seen the cellar door barred in his vision. Removing the stones, they found the door, much as he and Cahal had seen it, and still barred. The group healed up and opened the door.
  • In the dark of the cellar, crept the father and son of the witchfire the party had just defeated. Eventually defeating the revenants, the group looted the cellar to find many potions, scrolls, and even a hidden door with wonderous items within.
  • Taranath explained that revenants were a type of undead that lingered only until their murderer is killed. Strange, the party thought, that these revenants still lived, when surely the goblins who’d attacked the house had long ago died in the forest. Perhaps there was someone greater behind the Goblin War, the party guessed.
  • The group decided to sleep at the ruins that night, as the earlier spotted storm clouds now began to dump their contents into the lush forest. Lorren cast his tiny hut for shelter. Saeros insisted on sleeping outside.

The 4th Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • The party rose and broke camp, making their way back to the road they’d strayed from. Breaking the crest of the hills, the group began to descend into the valley in which Irador lay hidden. A break through the trees and a steep slope afforded a view of the valley, and what the group thought where large areas clear of trees, where they hoped the city ruins sat in wait.
  • Eventually the group reached the valley floor, in which a river rushed by, swollen by the rains. The group moved a ways and spotted more ruins, this time, what appeared to be a ruined bridge. These ruins seemed to be inhabited by the living, albeit only for the night. A party of adventurers sat around a camp fire, an archer kept watch, and a wizard looked through his spellbook near by. Andriel recognized one of the men in the group of be Jovial Jack, the hostage who’d escaped on the day the party first met (see Season’s Shift).
  • Watching the group for some time, Jack gathered what looked to be bags of loot from his fellow adventurers, and brought them to the wizard, dumping them on the ground before him. The wizard gave the items a look, and shook his head, as if none of them were “the right one”. Jack complained that they’d been here for days, and don’t even know what they’re looking for, then stormed off back to the campfire.
  • Saeros had heard enough, and rushed in, starting the combat. The group fought bravely, and with great wit. Saeros faced off against a mighty half-orc barbarian, who despite his prowess, couldn’t even seem to hold on to his weapon against the monks deft hands. Strategic spells and tactics left the enemies staggering, when Saeros made a slight misstep to which the barbarian answered. With four mighty blows, the half-orc cut down the monk, taking his head with the final swing.
  • Cahal had noted the waters of the river rising, and screamed to the party before his ally was cut down. Despite the threat of flooding, the melee continued until the last of their enemies was slain. The druid, still in the form of a bird, retrieved the slain monk’s head, as his allies hauled the body to dry ground as the corpses of their enemies were swept down-steam by the swollen river.

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Revenant 6 2,400 2 4,800
Jovial Jack 9 6,400 1 6,400
Double Axe Fury 10 9,600 1 9,600
Blackscale Sorcerer 9 6,400 1 6,400
Green Warden 8 4,800 1 4,800
Iconic Cleric 7 3,200 1 3,200
Subtotal 35,200 / 6
Total 5,866xp
View
Flames of the Past
Campaign: A Garden of War

witchfire.jpg
Session Summary

The 3rd Mace of Summer’s Rising

  • After defeating the grappling stump-beast, the party continued onward, following the brook Farlock had lead them to at the entrance of the forest. Cahal surmised that they were heading north, and would soon have to turn west to head toward the ruins.
  • The group traveled slowly through the underbrush, spotting goblin tracks crossing their own path, and heading toward the ruined city. The group chose to keep on their course, and nearly walked into a patch of deadly poison oak before Cahal screamed out a warning. Circumventing the poison oak patch, the group then encountered a pit of quicksand which had trapped an unfortunate goblin. The party decided to leave the goblin to his fate, and continue forward.
  • Some ways later, the day beginning to darken, the group spotted a statue. Despite the statue being defaced by goblins, Andriel knew this to be the image of King Ladorian, the last king of the Viridian elves who died defending Irador during the Goblin War. Andriel also knew that the elves of Viridia adorned the road to Irador with statues of their rulers and other elegant architecture, and thus suspected that they had found the path to the city. Overgrown and nearly impossibly to see without intent, the road lay hidden beneath the forest growth.
  • The group turned west toward Irador, crossing a nearly flooded bridge with great care. They traveled several more hours, moving slowly to stay on the road, and occasionally seeing statues along their path. As night fell, the party began to set up camp, but spotted what appeared to be torch-lights passing through the woods. The stealthy members pursued the lights until they were lead to the ruins of an elven structure, perhaps a house. At it’s center, a single rusty lantern burned bright.
  • The rest of the group was brought forward. Several members heard the faint sound of children laughter in the woods, though it seemed random and impossible to pinpoint. The party moved up and poised themselves for battle, as Taranath approached the lantern.
  • The summoner studied the lantern for several minutes, using multiple devices to measure and record the lantern, which he’d established to be somehow haunted. Finally testing his theory, Taranath approached and picked up the lantern. It lit to a bright white, burning the summoner’s hand and forcing him to drop and break the lantern.
  • From the ruins materialized a flaming witch-woman, who shot flaming bolts at the party with fatal intent, while screaming for her babies. Her ‘children’ showed themselves too, appearing as charred screaming forms with fiery claws. From the forest bounded two zombie wolves.
  • Cahal and Andriel saw a far different image however, as they witnessed the events that unfolded some twenty years ago. They saw the house burning, goblins outside holding down four children. The doors to the house and cellar had been barred, people clearly trapped inside. To the side, a net justled with wolves trapped within it.
  • Through the flames of the past the party prevailed, eventually defeating all of the spirits in a hard-fought combat!

XP Breakdown

Creature Name CR XP # XP
Poison Oak (Severe) 3 800 1 800
Quicksand! 3 800 1 800
Xtabay Flower 1/2 200 1 200
Flames of the Past Haunting 4 1,200 1 1,200
Witchfire 9 6,400 1 6,400
Charred Children 7 3,200 4 12,800
Advanced Juju Zombie Dire Wolves 5 1,600 2 3,200
Merciful DM Bonus 3,754xp
Subtotal 29,154 / 6
Total 4,859xp
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