As always, the players travel forth for adventure-however, this episode promises to be a much different one…
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: Break-in in Jinglewater
Kai Rellin and Farfal Soulshard travelled to Courtbridge briefly to pick up their horses before travelling to Jingle-water. Once they arrived there, they found something terrible had happened. The tower of the Leaflord had been broken into while they were away. The two guards and Farfal’s gargoyle had been slain, Ambrose and JJ were missing and perhaps most worryingly of all, the ring of Asmodeus had been stolen. The pair did a bit of digging, and found out that a group of Hellmoney guards had done this. Furious, they vowed to find them as soon as possible.
Chapter 2: Taking care of business
Until then, they returned to Jaderstone, where Farfal told his people he had returned. In addition, he spoke to Emila Pax about setting up a spy ring, as she likely still had contacts to her rebel friends from the Trouble against Baryonx days. She said she would contact them, and one in particular (a spy by the name of Novak) was one to watch out for. Farfal thanked her for her assistance, and for the next few days, he and Kai decided that they would stay low, and wait to see if they hear anything.
However, Farfal and Novak did indeed meet, and Novak agreed to work for Farfal. The lord of Jaderstone sent him and his spy ring to look for Logan, Balrad and the rest of Farfal’s family. Novak agreed, and also introduced Farfal to a friend from the days of the rebellion- a vryloka (although the rest of the party don’t know that) warlock by the name of Stelian. He immediately joined the party, and was considered a valuable ally.
A couple of days later, Novak returned to Farfal, and informed him that Logan Hellmoney was spotted in Courtbridge. In addition, Novak discovered a captain within the House Hellmoney ranks by the name of Rolstone Strom. He warned Farfal to watch out for him, as if both Logan and Balrad find themselves incapacitated, leadership falls to Strom. He told Farfal that the best thing he could do was to go there and deal with Logan personally. Farfal agreed, and thanked Novak. The next day, the party set off for a few days travel to Courtbridge on horse, hoping that dealing with Hellmoney could bring both the ring and their friends back to them. They stopped in Maplefield along the way (where Alistair’s character was made a knight-again) before finally reaching their destination.
Chapter 3: The first assault
Upon arriving there, they were greeted by High Lord Redgar Alain, who queried why they were here. The player explained their problem, and Redgar offered his and the other high lords assistance in finding Logan. As they went past the docks while Alain led them to Lordsbreach, he explained how busy he had been handling paper work about the Imperial navy (half of which was docked in Courtbridge, the other half on a training exercise, and asked the party what they had been up to.
Suddenly, the bad weather over the docks cleared, and 3 hulking ships appeared, coming at the harbour at a incredible speed. The party and Alain watched in terror as the 3 huge ships smashed through the docked ships and wooden pier, finally hitting against the stone of Courtbridge. Previously concealed large planks at the front of each ship swung down, and garrisons of soldier charged out of them. They wore golden chainmail armour, over which a beige tunic, with a blue outline and a hand holding a single gold coin is displayed proudly-the Hellmoney flag. The Hellmoney soldiers murdered their way through the docks, and began charging up the steppes to the city above.
High lord Alain immediately ripped off his black lord cloak to reveal a suit of plate armour beneath, and with a group of guards charged down to fight them-not before telling the heroes to take the steppes area nearest the right. The party charged down the stairs, and met the Hellmoney group head-on. They fought well-however, halfway through combat, a pair of leather-armoured mercenaries charged them from behind. Despite this, the players defeated the group, and did a speed interrogation. They found out that this large assault from the docks, and the inside groups of thugs attacking were all preliminary-a much larger fleet of ships was on its way, and when they arrived, there was no chance for the empire. After this, the party met up with High lord Alain briefly, who told them to travel to Noscarta (as this was the only place a fleet this large could get here so quickly) and find out what was going on, and to see if they could put a stop to this fleet. The party agreed, and they sneaked down to the harbour, where in-between two of the large assault vessels there was amazingly a single wooden fishing boat left. Once again, the party passed their stealth checks, and stole the boat and began to sail to Noscarta.
Chapter 4: A visit from the Shadar-Kai
As the party travelled their, they spotted the fleet which was to assault Courtbridge-it was made up of about 60-70 ships, which were everything from mercenary groups to goblin pirates. The party estimated they would be at Courtbridge in about 12 hours due to the amount/size of them, so the party had that long to check out Noscarta. Suddenly, coming in from the opposite side of them, they saw a familiar looking black, wooden ship with a charred skeleton pinned to it, with tattered white sails-the Shadar-Kai’s ship. The party quickly bailed out of their fishing boat, dived underwater and took stealth checks. The ship smashed through the fishing boat, and because Stelian failed his stealth check, a flesh hook came down from the ship, embedding in his back, and he was dragged up on deck and captured. While the Shadar-Kai interrogated him on where his friends where, Farfal and Kai began a long process of punching several holes in the ship to sink it. After a few good rolls, they were successful, and just as the interrogation was about to get nasty, the ship turned on its side, and the two mercenaries accompanying the Shadar-Kai fell off. Kai and Farfal were quick to act, and after several rounds of aquatic skill checks, the two mercenaries were dead, they had stolen a escape boat from the bottom of the black-ship, and the Shadar-Kai had swum away. Although in any other given time they would of pursued him to finish him off once and for all, they had a more important task at hand, so continued to Noscarta.
Chapter 5: Getting in the fortress
When the players were only a mile off from the prison island, they had found it had changed. A large fortress had been constructed there instead, bearing the Hellmoney colours. Adding two-and-two together, they realised that when they were here last and saw signs of construction that it was this fortress, and the guards were likely hired by Hellmoney. Suddenly, as they were observing the fortress to see what ways into it were, a huge beam of red energy erupted from the very top, beginning to roil the clouds in the sky. It also travelled down the building, to a platform far below the top. The players now knew they had to get in the fortress and fast, otherwise anything could happen next. They perceived several different ways in, but in the end swam up through the main water pipe, and found themselves in Hellmoney’s fortress.
Chapter 6: Infiltration
Taking a page out of their previous adventures, the party decided bluffing and pretending would be best. They broke into a nearby arsenal, and found several Hellmoney guard uniforms. They all dressed up as Hellmoney guards, and bluffed their way past a group-save for Farfal, who was on “cleric duty”, who had to go a separate way. Kai and Stelian explored the fortress, while Farfal went into a room which was a converted shrine of Tiamat. There, a dwarf cleric proceeded to sacrifice him. Farfal played along, until the dwarf cleric and his lackeys were in a vulnerable position, and he then struck back. However, he found himself outnumbered and trapped, and as such needed to hold off until his friends could reunite with him.
While this was happening, Kai and Stelian were exploring the fortress, and found the prisoner hold-where both JJ and Ambrose Melachor were being held. Using bluff, the pair got the strongest opponent out of there, and surprised the other two, killing them. They freed both Ambrose and JJ, who had both felt the sting of the torturer. Ambrose explained that Balrad Hellmoney was on the second floor, and that a 3-piece key was needed to open it (each piece on a different captain). Kai informed Ambrose of Farfal was on “cleric duty”. However, Ambrose knew what that really meant, and Kai and Stelian realised the danger they were in. Dressing up Ambrose and JJ as Hellmoney guards, they bluffed their way past the same group of guards from earlier and went to the shrine. They saved Farfal from being killed, and killed the cleric and his allies. After this, Ambrose filled Farfal in about the key pieces. As such, the party continued exploring the ground floor of the fortress, and using a good bit of thievery, stole 2 of the 3 pieces before heading up to the first floor.
Chapter 7: Strom
Upon arriving at the first floor, they saw a patrol of guards and a necromancer and his undead minions guarding a big door. Farfal once again stole the 3rd key piece of the final captain, fully assembling the key. However, then they heard a voice through a large red curtain address the captain-it was Rolstone Strom, who warned him that if he didn’t find the heroes and take the key back, he would unleash a basilisk. As such, the guards ran downstairs, and the players sneaked to the curtain-however, the necromancer saw them, and a fight ensued. After several rounds of hard fighting, the party slew the necromancer and his undead. The guard captain and his patrol suddenly reappeared and charged at the heroes, but Strom’s voice could be heard saying “Time’s up”- then a large grey lizard creature ripped its way through the curtain and attacked the patrol. It tore through the guards, and turned the captain into stone. The players hid, and watched as the basilisk worked its way around the first floor to kill the other guards. When it was gone, Farfal turned the stone captain with holy cleansing, and he was living again. He thanked them greatly, and led them to a hiding place so as to wait for the basilisk to move down a floor. While here, the players took an extended rest, and then they carried on, but left JJ with the captain, who now respected and was helping the players. The party went through the curtain to the golden door there, and opened it using the key. It opened up to a large staircase, and they went up it to get to the second floor.
Chapter 8: AC 26 ? With pyjamas ?
Once they got to the top of the staircase, they found themselves faced with a group of bugbear mercenaries. Using their time-honoured tactic, they bluffed with them. The bugbears (being fairly foolish) let them through. They went through the door behind them to a large hall full of impressive paintings, which they took to sell on. Then, they went through the next door, and came face-to-face with Balrad Hellmoney and a succubus. They had just been having a bit of “pre-war fun”, but despite a exchange of banter, a fight quickly took place. The players found Balrad to be an impressively good warrior, as he was kicking their asses in only his pyjamas. However, the party continued to fight back, and slew the succubus. Unfortunately for them, all the commotion alerted the bugbear mercenaries in the other room, who quickly came in and joined the fray. After a long, hard fight, the party managed to beat Balrad and the bugbears, and tied him to a chair. Once again, they had a bit of quick-fire interrogation, which ended up in finding out a lot of information and cutting Balrad’s eye out as revenge for the crimes he committed against the empire. They found out that the evil Abanazar (the head of the necromancer cult) was on the next floor, and was conducting a ritual which would destroy the empire. The party also found out that in Balrad’s room there was a teleporter which was linked to Logan’s flagship – the only thing was that a lodestone was needed in order for it to work, and Abanazar had it upstairs with him-when Balrad was finished doing his business downstairs, he would come up and grab the lodestone. However, as Farfal went to kill him, Balrad revealed that he needed to be kept alive in order for him to see his son again. He revealed that Farfal’s son (Daniel) was taken as insurance a while ago due to Larraf’s discovery. The party accepted that they would need this lodestone,and then found a key around Balrad’s neck. It led to a locked door, which when opened, contained the remainder of the Hellmoney fortune, and a greater bag of holding to carry it in. Suffice to say, the party looted the 50,000 GP there, before locking Ambrose and a tied-up Balrad in the room. Then, the heroes went up a large staircase which would lead to one of the most difficult fight in their career…
Chapter 9: Betrayal on a high level
When they got upstairs, the party decided to burst in rather then conventionally sneak, as it was time to confront the evil wizard. They found themselves in a large room, with a large window looking outside, where down on the platform they saw earlier now had a large brass hell-cannon jutting from it. Within the room, there were several frozen ex-heroes. Also in the room was a familiar face: Cador Bayronx. He was being held in place by magical black tendrils, and the ring of Asmodeus was on him, glowing brightly, and the hell beam was emanating from him and out a window above him. Also in the room where zombies, legion devils, a necromancer adept, and another familiar face: Jaegar Grimmsword. He had been re-summoned from hell by Abanazar-who was a blue-cloaked figure facing away from the party. He began to monologue, and explained how he had always been pulling the strings; he was the one who had the Hellmoney’s hire Vi-Nuk-Sa (the Shadar-Kai) to kill Farfal, as he had discovered his identity, he was the one who had Kayla and Layla arrested so Bayronx could be freed and in his grasp, it was Abanazar who funded Bayronx and sent him the ring all those months ago. He was the one who had Larraf killed for discovering his identity. The players slowly watched as the long web of deceit and plotting unravelled, and realized they had been duped from the beginning. Then Abanazar turned around, and slowly pulled down his hood to reveal himself…
It was High lord Jorgan Arcarnate
The party, stunned, watched as he pulled down a brass lever nearby the ritual circle Baryonx was in, and explained they were too late-his main goal was to free a powerful being known only as Zaggaroth. His secondary goal was to fire the hell-cannon at Courtbridge and destroy them, and he told them they still had time to stop him if they tried, but he wouldn’t let them.
This fight was no longer business-it was personal.
With a roll for combat order, the party attacked. Kai and Stelian focused on Jaegar Grimmsword and the legion devils, while Farfal made a rush to the brass lever to stop the cannon from firing. The fight was intense-every inch the party fought with what they had, the villains fought back. However, Kai and Stelian did a great job of slaying Jaegar, as they displayed some of the greatest teamwork ever seen among two newly-met player characters. Farfal displayed teamwork too, by freeing Baryonx (so the cannon could no longer fire), who then proceeded to stab the hell out of the adept. Despite this Abanazar stood in their way, destroying the ring, which caused Bayronx to be set alight. Nonetheless, he and Farfal continued to beat down on the evil wizard whereas Kai and Stelian continued to finish off Jaegar. At one point, Baryonx actually knocked off Jorgan’s head-and revealed it to be a mask. Underneath was a icy blue zombie-like face-Abanazar was actually a blue arcanian. Despite this, not one of the party members showed any remorse for the two villains, and slew them both. With that, the party had achieved victory-they stopped Courtbridge from being burned to the ground from the hell-cannon, and two of their enemies were slain. They grabbed the lodestone, and proceeded to go downstairs, but as a possessed arcanian reminded them, they had also failed. The now-controlled dead body of Abanazar delivered a terrifying message: that Zaggaroth the Dreaded,the Dark king was free, and soon the heroes would have to truly prove themselves. The party laughed it off and said they would be ready, but Zaggaroth seemed unphased, and with a final evil laugh disintegrated the arcanian’s body. The party went back down the stairs and to the teleporter. They gave themselves a minute to prepare, and then proceeded through.
Chapter 10: The final fight of Logan Hellmoney
They teleported through and found themselves on Logan’s flagship. Sure enough, on the other, surrounded by Hellmoney soldiers and his half-orc bodyguard (Graar) was Logan Hellmoney himself. He laughed, and challenged Farfal to the fight they had always wanted. Suffice to say, battle was quickly joined, but Farfal and Logan could not seem to get the one-on-one they desired. Graar, on the other hand, was beating Kai Rellin to a pulp. As they battled, the other half of the imperial navy were coming from the flank of the fleet (led by the parties good buddy, Captain Ludvig Rosewater), and the army and guards within Courtbridge had dealt with the inside threat, but that still was not going to be enough. The heroes had their work cut out, that was for sure. As the battle went on, the fighting became more intense, and the party was beginning to find themselves digging into their resolves to win.
Suddenly, a mighty roar came from the heavens, and a blue dragon, ridden by a heavily armoured knight swooped down, blasting lightning all across the fleet. The party was just as surprised as the Courtbridge army, and of course the fleet. A history check or two later, it was revealed that the creature was the mythical Imperial dragon, and was being ridden by the Supreme high lord’s champion-a fighter of infamous skill and power. Perhaps most importantly, the dragon seared Logan’s flagship with lighting, and it began to sink. A few turns of fighting later, it flipped on its side. Graar and Kai found themselves fighting in the water, but decided (upon seeing the amount of crossbows that were going to fire on them) it wasn’t worth it, and simply helped one another hide underwater. Logan, Stelian and Farfal were hanging on to the side of the now sinking flagship. Logan got up, and kicked Stelian into the water below. He raised his broadsword, and issued his challenge to Farfal.
Farfal accepted the challenge from his arch-enemy. The two fought, tooth and nail, and at one point, Farfal was only a couple of hit-points away from a negative bloodied death. However, the Raven Queen, Pelor, or any god most of smiled on him, as Logan rolled a critical fail on his attack roll-a natural 1. The following turn, Farfal got back up, and the run after, when Farfal was dropped again, Logan was knocked down due to Stormhawk’s vengeance. To make it interesting, Farfal had to get back up before he could finish off Logan-at this point the two near-dead warriors were wrestling and punching one another. Sure enough however, Farfal got back up, and finished off Logan in a very befitting way-stabbing him through his right eye. With that, the fleet had taken enough damage, and as such was broken. The remaining ships fled, under the chase of the imperial navy. The heroes had succeeded-they had stopped the fleet attacking Courtbridge (with a little help from their friends) and had killed or captured many of their enemies. With their success done, Kai, Farfal, Stelian and Bayronx were scooped up onto Captain Rosewater’s ship, and as they were being taken back to Courtbridge, they got a well deserved rest, and would deal with whatever was to come next in the fashion they knew best… like heroes.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of Lorr. As you can imagine, it took a very long time to play and even longer to plan, but it was totally worth it. More importantly, it opens up many more arcs in the campaign despite closing a few, and in the next episodes you will see them come to bear.
Until then, Happy gaming !