Episode 23: The War of Valdevich

Oh, that reminds me...

After being teleported to different places via the portals (Farfal was Courtbridge, Kai Rellin was Jinglewater and Stelian was the Deadlands. While at the Deadlands, Stelian found a group of tieflings from Valdevich burying something, but didn’t check it out. Also, Kai Rellin checked on the tower of the Leaflord and found it was being repaired, and all the NPC’s in there during the Black Pyramid ritual were fine. The party met up at Jader-stone, and evaluated the next best course of action to deal with a obvious Empire-threatening Lich king…

Playing in this episode were:
-Mike (me), the evil dungeon master of the world Lorr
-John, playing Farfal Soushard, a neutral Shade cleric of The Raven Queen
-Kyle, playing Kai Relin, a neutral human ranger
-Alistair, playing Sir Stelian Soul-eater, a neutral Vryloka Warlock Binder

Chapter 1: Prelude to conflict
Stelian began to trek back across the lands, and found himself confronted by what appeared to be a large war garrison outside of Valdevich, upon further investigation, he found it to be a combined Maplefield/Hellmoney Guard army led by Lord Greymoor… and Captain Rolstone Strom. Horrified by this shocking alliance, he rushed back to tell his friends of this discovery.
The party decided they would gather a council of their most trusted allies to talk about the oncoming Lich threat, but first Farfal got a dwarven patron of his town to tell him what was engraved in the sword-“Lich Bane”, which meant it was no doubt of some use to the party. Farfal also blamed Strom for the mass eldritch storm which had damaged Jader-stone, further deepening the people’s hatred of him. Farfal also met with Novak, who explained to him that his spy-ring was being “killed-off” and that he had found Balrad-in the hands of Courtbridge, under arrest and due to be executed. With this knowledge, Farfal thanked him and proceeded with the meeting. The meeting included NPC’s such as Captain Ludvig Rosewater, Abos Garter, Harg Farst, Cador Bayronx and others. A representative of High Lord Alain was also present, and this was when Farfal told all his trusted friends the news: Zaggaroth, a Lich King of immense power plans to destroy the Empire, and they must take some form of action if they hope to survive.
Stelian had not arrived at this point, and as he was nearing the meeting place, he stumbled into a serving boy, who dropped a vial of deadly poison. Rushing to the meeting, he burst in and warned his friends of the poison. Cador Baronx and Abos Garter suddenly began to choke, and Harg Farst had already died. Farfal and Kai Rellin quickly healed the group of their afflictions, and also resurrected Harg. With a few days of rest, they would all be fine. Upon interrogation of the serving boy, they found he had been bullied by Strom himself to assassinate the heroes, but was not told what they looked like. The party decided to let the boy go, and Stelian filled them in on what he found out. The party concluded they had one obvious intention-to destroy Valdevich, as Greymoor is infamous for hating Lord Albrecht. The representative of High lord Alain assured them he would send them back-up, but until then they were on their own. After finding out other pieces of information, the party decided to raise an army of Jingle-water/Jader-stone and send it to Maplefield (for Stelian had not told them where the army was really deployed, a mile or so off Valdevich) and the group then headed to Courtbridge to glean more information from Balrad Hellmoney himself.

Chapter 2: Racist intentions
Upon arriving at Courtbridge, the party went to the make-shift prison and found Balrad, surrounding by guards. He explained to them that Strom has most likely gone to Coin-Tyrant Hold, a place which Novak informed them of earlier, as it was one of the original bastions for the Hellmoney family-and contained some of the most deadly weapons, which Strom porbably was looking for. Deciding that Balrad could be of some use in taking down Strom, the heroes decided to speak to Zarkovich about possibly allowing him free, as well as getting the Courtbridge reinforcements now. Along they way, they encountered a middle-age woman, known as Olivia Strom-Strom’s mother. She told them that she knew what was happening, and to be fair to Strom, as he was attacked by a gang of tielfings after they murdered his father as a child. As such, he became some-what racist towards them. The party took no notice of her, but did glean that Strom was allying with Lord Greymoor simply to murder Lord Albrecht-who, being a racially proud tiefling, would be a true success for his racist ideals. With this in mind, the party pleaded Zarkovich for soldiers, who as always turned his nose down to them, and was highly inquisitive into their endeavour. He also would not allow Balrad free, promising the group he would strip Farfal of his lordship and have them tried for treason if they did. At was at this point, after much of the forces had mobilised to Maple-field, that he told the party and the High lord…
…that their enemy wasn’t there at all.
After some beating up by the party and Kai Rellins pet Pseudo-dragon Geoffrey, the party sent messages to mobilise the forces to the correct place, while Farfal and the group raided the prison, and freed Balrad, Graar (the half-orc bodyguard who almost killed Kai Rellin) and around 30 prisoners, all who promised to fight alongside the party for a chance to kill Strom. With that, the heroes sent the prisoners to bolster their forces upon arriving at Valdevich, and Farfal managed to persuade the drunken and hopless Albrecht that he needed to command his miltia army, which he rightfully did. Leaving Kai Rellin in charge of their forces, Farfal, Stelian, Graar, Bayronx and Balrad went to Coin-Tyrant Hold to catch and kill Strom before he could start the war.

Chapter 3: 20 Acid damage
Upon the group entering the hold, they found themselves attacked by a group of Rage-drakes and Hellmoney guards. After slaying them (bar the epic minion, a minion who could not be killed by either Balrad nor Baryonx, two powerful swordsmen) and burst into the next room, in which they had seen the back of Strom sitting in the chair. However, after knocking him down, they found he was not Strom at all, but an imposter. Suddenly, the two doors were shut down with iron plates, and the wall opened to reveal secret grates. The ceiling moved to reveal sheet of glass, and Strom appeared above them. In typical villainous fashion, he told the party that he had a ancient dwarven ballista armed with bolts similar to the bolt they used a long time ago to kill Baryonx, but on a larger more deadly scale. Also, he revealed to them he had used a magical item to steal their Orb of Far Realm Displacement so they could not escape. With that, virulent acid started to fill the room from the grates, and Strom left the heroes to their fate.
Meanwhile, Kai Rellin attempted to lead a group of archers through a forest to flank the enemy army, but found themselves stuck in a prolonged fire-fight with Hellmoney crossbow guards. In addition, Strom was soon to return, so if the party did not act quickly, the war could be over before it began.
Meanwhile, the heroes found themselves taking huge amounts of acid damage, and the trap difficult to escape-Graar himself died of it. However, thanks to Stelian’s shade twin of Strom and the troll which had been left to batter them at the same time, it was tricked into smashing the iron plate open, and after a short rest, the heroes rushed as fast as they could to the ballista watch-tower.

Chapter 4: Strom’s revenge
While Kai Rellin was still pinned down in the forest, the rest of the group arrived at the watch-tower. They found a group of elite mercenaries guarding it, and Farfal deciding they didn’t have the time for this, paid them a large sum to let them have it, which they duly did. With the deadly weapon in their possession, they started to aim it Strom’s/Greymoor’s army-which was now about to charge, Greymoor now dishing out threats and insults to Albrecht, who was sending them back just as well. The group realised that Greymoor can’t be this evil and foolish, and decided to diplomacy with him, explaining to him who Strom was, and that whatever he and Albrecht had fallen out over was not worth that. It was then revealed to them what their fight had been about, and why they had a deep set hatred of each other:
They believe that that the respective lord had cheated in a card game.
Despite the party’s shocked reactions, they convinced Greymoor it was not worth it-which he agreed with, but was then knocked to the ground by Strom, who was sick and tired of the heroes interfering with his plans, and as such led a assault on the watch-tower instead. His force came under attack from the armies of all 4 towns respectively, and the party fired the deadly bolts down onto the most elite soldiers of Strom’s army, but Strom still managed to reach them and engage in combat. They found him to be a skilled combatant, but with solid tactics and good teamwork, they managed to deal a lot of damage to him. As he tactically retreated, the now allied Lord Albrecht and Greymoor appeared, and ordered him to surrender or die at their hands. Without warning Strom pulled out his escape plan-the Orb of Far Realm Displacement. Farfal and Stelian tried to grab a hold of him, but failed, and Strom teleported away. Despite this, the Hellmoney army was finally destroyed for good, and the War of Valdevich was over.

Chapter 5: A royal Summon
After the battle, the party were rewarded by both Greymoor and Albrecht, who gave them both wealth and alliances. The party asked Balrad to come with them, but he wanted to go his separate way. Without warning, a group of horseman appeared-the Royal Supreme High Lord’s Elite guard, heavily steel plate-armoured bulky soldiers, with great yellow and red plumage and the proud symbol of Courtbridge displayed on their chest. They group told the party they were to be escorted to the capital on the summon of the Supreme High Lord himself. They also informed them that Balrad was pardoned of his crimes and they were too (for freeing the prisoners) due to their contribution. The party said their farewell to Balrad, who now decided he would re-build his fortune in legitimate manner, and rode on to Courtbridge-about to meet arguably the most mysterious character in the campaign since the very beginning…

You’ll have to find out next time who the Supreme High Lord is, and what the party still has to decided to do about the threat of Zaggaroth, whose power is ever-growing.

Until then, Happy Gaming !
-Mike, DM



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