Gideon, on his quest from Kerrgarin to Hilt Forge, comes upon an unconscious Dragonborn Ranger. After being roused, the Ranger has no recollection of his name, his past, or his current situation. Calling himself by the name of Daviik, the two adventurers set off to Hilt Forge together.
The Hilt Forge Pub Crawl
Hilt Forge is a large industrial town, built on and into the side of a volcano, also known for its weaponry. Due to its size, the city also has a number of taverns, three of which stand out to our adventurers. Beneath each, you will find a summary of what they discovered in each:
The Deer’s Antlers
A simple tavern. Not much to report here.
This pub has been empty for almost fifty years, yet is largely undisturbed. The local populace believes it to be cursed, because it’s owner (known simply as the Pact Maker) disappeared some fifty years before. He was known for being slightly out of his mind, babbling to himself often.
While at this pub, Gideon and Daviik met a suspicious drunken dwarf, named Terres. He seemed to be squatting in the pub for the time being, after drinking all the alcohol left in the place.
The Antelope and the Grape
Here the adventurers learned of the history of the area, known for its antelope population (now wiped out) and the wild grapevines. In addition, the barkeeper informed Gideon and Daviik that the most skilled craftsman of swords was Peredin, who made swords in the heart of the volcano.
The Forge of the Heart
Peredin’s forge in the heart of the volcano was the next stop for our adventurers. While Peredin makes the hilts for the swords, his brother who lives to the south makes the blades. His weapons were instrumental in the humans winning the war in the Cold Forest some 50 years before. He seemed a nice and helpful fellow, so Gideon and Daviik sought out information from him. Not only did they learn about the Pact Maker, the recent appearance of the beast in Northern Fringe, and the general ethnocentrism (pro-human) in the area, but they also were taught about the Old Tongues.
The Old Tongues were the languages used by the gods while they were creating. Peredin spoke these words over the sword he was working on. As he did so, Gideon saw ethereal lava flowing from him eyes and mouth, as well as flames coming from the blade of the sword. Overwhelmed, Gideon purchased the Sword of Flame from Peredin, with the help of the generous pocket of Daviik. After another minor purchase, the two adventurers left the volcano, led by Garou, Gideon’s trusty hawk companion.
A New Adventurer: Brandis
After leaving the heart of the volcano, Gideon and Daviik hear a news report from the town crier. After hearing news that the Drow had invaded the northern country up to Kerrgarin, they moved on toward Beratouk’s Beak to find any information about the Pact Maker and the beast at Northern Fringe. While walking, though, they literally ran into a young human wizard, causing him to drop his armful of scrolls. After composing himself, he introduced himself as Brandis, a wizard specializing in frost and lightning spells. He had seen his mother killed by goblins, never seeing his father again, and was subsequently raised by elves. Gideon felt compelled that the gods must have ordained such a meeting, since Daviik breathes lightning and since Gideon had vowed to work for the unity of humans and elves. The two adventurers invited Brandis to join them and he agreed.
The Game Is Afoot
Arriving at Zeratou’s Beak, our party found Terres fleeing from the bar with a bag over his shoulder. Thinking the bag full of clues about Northern Fringe, Gideon asked Brandis to fire a shot to stop him. Brandis responded with a Ray of Frost, but failed to hit Terres. Gideon then sent Garou out to grab the bag away. Succeeding, Garou enabled the adventurers to catch up to Terres. Embarrassingly, the bag merely contained Terres’ personal effects. The adventurers pressured Terres into telling them where he was going, but alas he said he was only going home to the north (not Northern Fringe). Not believing him, they sent him away with Garou hot on his tail. The adventurers went to find some goblins to battle, in order to gain some XP and GP until Garou returned.
Upon leaving the city, our adventurers came upon a group of 26 ritual worshippers, each with an arcane marking on their foreheads that means “Ritual Worship.” The adventurers harassed one of the worshippers, trying to find out what the meaning of this gathering was. He attempted to ignore their advances, until Brandis caused him to glow with ethereal light. The worshipper was distraught, stating that this had ruined the ceremony and that he would now be killed. Since the damage was already done to this ceremony, the adventurers decided to follow the worshippers. Intimidating the 26th worshipper to show the way, they proceeded north into the Cold Forest.
As they went up the incline in the forest, it became colder and colder, eventually finding snow thick on the ground. It was so cold that there are still relatively preserved corpses from the war in the Cold Forest some 50 years before. As the adventurers and their hostage walked past several bodies, the 26th worshipper dropped dead and disappeared, while the three corpses were animated. These three zombies attacked our adventurers, but proved to be no particular menace to them. After defeating these zombies, the adventurers decided that 25 ritual worshippers might be too difficult a fight, so they returned to the main road outside Hilt Forge.
After returning to the road, Garou lit on Gideon’s arm and communicated to Gideon the whereabouts of the dwarf. The dwarf had, in fact, stopped behind a tree on the main road. As the adventurers went to track down Terres, they were stopped by another group of ritual worshippers, who had the arcane sign for “Arcane” on their foreheads. They beckoned the adventurers to return to the Cold Forest, where the god, Kord, sought their audience.
Returning to the scene of their undead battle, the adventurers proceeded up the mountain to the Temple of Kord. The Temple was also built into the side of a volcano, but the adventurers could not enter the door without responding to three riddles, which led to various trials. After laying down their weapons, walking through a wall of [illusionary] fire, and defeating a drake while unarmed, the adventurers were allowed into the temple.
In the temple, Kord appeared to them and commended them on their adventures thus far. Stating that they had important roles both in the beginning and ending of time, he mentioned that he simply wanted to meet them face-to-face. He promised the three of them blessings, in the future for Daviik and Brandis, but giving Gideon the power to daily utter the Old Language of Warfare. After giving this ability, he turned into a stone effigy before their faces. The adventurers proceeded to this effigy to make offerings. Brandis gave gold, which was consumed. Garou gave a feather; in return, Kord caused Garou’s talons to grow and gave them the ability to send out an electrical shock. Gideon, whose greed was piqued by the blessing of a deity, proceeded to place his longsword in the offering bowl. The sword was consumed. Desperate for some other blessing, he placed his Flaming Longsword into the offering bowl. It also disappeared. In anger, Gideon cried out to Kord for the return of one of his weapons. What appeared was his original longsword, imbued with the power of Lightning. Yet, Gideon had learned his lesson.
Leaving Kord’s Temple, our adventurers moved on to the place where Garou had seen Terres hide behind a tree. Eventually, Daviik found a door behind a rock, which led to a tunnel that was dwarf-sized. None of our adventurers could fit. As such, they pursued the path of the tunnel to an overgrown path south off the main road. After hacking through brush, they eventually arrived to an abandoned, overgrown Temple to Corellon. Finding several goblins inhabiting the Temple, Gideon was strongly displeased, since Sehanine is known to have close ties to Corellon.
The goblins closed themselves inside the Temple, but Brandis was granted the power to see through the walls and, thereby, opened the latch to the door with his Mage Hand. The adventurers entered, with Garou lit up by a magical incantation from Brandis, and a fierce battle ensued. Six goblins were killed, yet not without losses of their own. Daviik sustained extensive injury, knocking him unconscious. When the battle was over, Gideon and Brandis helped Daviik outside, where he could rest, while they continued to go deeper into the Temple.
Arriving to a statue of Corellon, Brandis and Gideon found that his staff was missing. Incensed, Gideon called out a divine challenge for whoever had taken the staff to face him in combat. Four goblins and a hobgoblin appeared, with the hobgoblin holding the Lightning Staff. A brutal battle ensued that nearly claimed the lives of all the adventurers. Gideon was utterly killed and Garou was left unconscious with Brandis bloody and beaten, but victorious. Brandis returned the staff to Corellon’s hand and suddenly the statue turned to flesh!
Corellon stood before Brandis, the lifeless body of Gideon, and the unconscious Garou. Corellon promised to revive the friends of Brandis, if only he would pledge allegiance to him forever. If he is ever to turn against Corellon, then Gideon will die immediately. Brandis agreed to this deal and Gideon was revived, but remained blind for some time. Corellon then asked the adventurers to retrieve a tapestry that had been stolen from his temple. They agreed and Corellon returned to his stone form.
The Temple Tunnels
After resting for the night, the adventurers realized that there were many places to make offerings to Corellon. Brandis made offerings to his offering bowls marked with the symbols for Frost and Lightning. After placing coins into the Frost bowl, one of the coins was imbued with magical Frost power to aid Brandis.
Daviik rejoined the troupe and they explored a system of tunnels they discovered behind the statue to Corellon:
Tunnel 1 (Left): some goblins were found with a small amount of treasure. The adventurers defeated them handily.
Tunnel 2 (Middle): the adventurers realized that this is the tunnel into which Terres had disappeared. It was empty.
Tunnel 3 (Right): the adventurers found an abandoned Arcane Library housing only a blind goblin named, Shnickric. The adventurers drove him out of the library and then listened through the door to the next room. Hearing a large beast sleeping, they stopped for the night, found some books worth keeping, as well as a secret room with an enchanted treasure chest. After breaking the enchantment, they looted the chest and rested in the secret room for the night.
The next morning, they awakened and marched forward into the next room. It turns out to be a treasure-laden lair inhabited by a Blue Dragon, being worshipped by none other than Terres.
Our adventure will continue next time…