Seven Usual Suspects
Our tale takes place in the ruined city of Neverwinter, a nexus of brave adventurers hoping to forge their destiny within the crumbled and apocalyptic shell of a once grand city.
Our adventure starts in the Bawdy Boar, a rough and tumble tavern filled with a motley assortment of patrons including Helg Firebeard– it’s purveyor. Our adventures noticed that some new faces found their way to the inn. The Bawdy Boar is known for it’s Shield Wall, a wall within the tavern that serves as a message board filled with potential work for would-be adventurers and cryptic messages between said adventurers.On with the story…
Today’s cast of Neverwinter protagonists include…
- Kaiser Hemlocke: human | ranger5
- Baron Silas Hightower: half orc | fighter5
- Hildegarde Stonewall: dwarven | rogue5
- D’Addario: elf | warlock2
- “Chowder”: human | fighter5
- Barrister: half elf? | fighter2
- Horrace the Bold: human | sorceror1
Accepting a Mission
As always, the shield wall was filled with a handful of choices.
Deciding an adventure had a back and forth discussion this time but D’Dario was able to convince our fellowship of seven that a seedy man by the name of Mhawmask had the best mission for us. After some discussion, Mhawmask, informed us that he would pay a bounty on the death of a Barbarian warlord named Balzag the Devourer and his barbarian witch named Lamashtu.
But this would be no simple task. A congregation of barbarian tribes was rumored to have taken up camp in The Crags; numbering in the thousands. Sneaking past the army of barbarians would be quite a task in it’s own right, let alone, killing Balzag and his witch.
Mhawmask’s underling, Ardun the Green, would escort us northeast through Neverwinter Wood and into The Crags. Both of whom, were antagonist from our adventurers’ past exploits but the dark streak in D’Dario only saw gold. The silver in his tongue could only be matched by the obsidian in his heart.
There were other familiar faces within the Bawdy Boar that evening, but a new faces caught a few of our adventurers’ eyes. One being an attractive woman, posted at the bar, drinking her wine alone. The Baron Silas Hightower was the first to approach the young woman, who we later learned was “Dark Breaker, Yulea Brine of Umberlee”
“King asshole baron” could be heard shortly before the young baron turned away with a look of frustration on his half-orcish face. His knuckles tightened on his trusty star blade but he kept his orcish rage in check. The knowing chuckles of his companions helped to ease the tension.
D’Dario was next to accept the challenge of the Umberleean priestess. And my how he was up to the challenge, with Yulea finding a strong attraction in our budding elvish warlock of questionable morals. Temperatures rose and the gleam of burning puppies could be seen in both their eyes. The sadomasochistic bond was very strong between the two and D’Dario took her on as a companion.
The protagonists finished the evening preparing for the adventure ahead. Chowder sharpened his trusty cleaver, Barrister practiced sword forms, Hemlocke fletched arrows, Hildegaurde drank her Dwarvish mead, Horrace studied his spells, Silas went over his gear, and D’Dario gave blood sacrifices to his chosen demon.
Through the Neverwinter Wood
The morning broke and our adventurers met outside the city gate to find Ardun the Green ready to guide the party north east through the Neverwinter Wood. The early morning light of the sun fixed itself on Mount Hotenow and our heroes began the march to the north east.
With the morning sun glaring in our adventurers eyes, they crested a small hill and were finally able to see the Neverwinter Forrest. The shelter of the trees was a welcome site to the groups sun-worn eyes and especially welcoming to ranger Kaiser Hemlocke. He knew the northern forest like the back of his hand.
Our heroes entered the Neverwinter Wood when Hemlocke raised a clenched fist, a signal to halt.
“What the bloody hell is the hold up Kaiser?” grumbled Chowder.
“Why is that fool stopping?” asked Yulea to D’Dario.
“Silence wench” Hemlocke responded looking back the direction from where they entered the forest. “Off the trail my friends, someone is shadowing us” he barked with urgency.
Our adventurers take cover in the surrounding forest and Hemlocke mutters a word to Mielikki and thorny spikes begin to arise from a small depression in the road.
“It’s Avara. And she is not alone” Hildegaurde whispers to her companions. “What is that bitch doing here?”
The heroes are shocked to see Avara, an antagonist from adventures past, and six others with her. A few of them being familiar faces. One large green shape was particularly memorable. “Threega!” Silas grumbles.
Barron, Garrister and Chowder step into the road way in an attempt to bait Avara and her band of rogues which included Samiir, Jord, Malchior, Durnok, Gulnar, and Threega. Avara shouted her intentions of revenge on our heroes and Threega immediately rushed at her former love, Baron Silas Hightower.
“YOU NO LOVE THREEGA NO MORE!” she yelled in a flurried charge. “THREEGA DESTROY YOUR MAN-WEAPON!!!”
“Aww shit” could be read from the the Baron’s tusked mouth as Avara casts a lightning bolt and three more of her band rushed the adventurers. Threega rushed with extra enthusiasm at the thought of decapitating or castrating her former half-orc lover.
Oblivious to Hemlocke’s trap, three of the aggressors fall prey to the growth of gnarled spikes. Horrace and D’Dario rain spells on their foes while Barrister, Hildegaurde, Hemlocke, and Silas fought the malicious band. Our heroes quickly route Avara’s band, killing a few, but Threega would have her revenge! Nearly defeating Baron Silas Hightower if it weren’t for help with a companions club.
“I wonder if she’s green on the inside” thought Chowder, looking at his cleaver with a wicked smile, but quickly dismissing the novel idea.
“Leave her alive” said Baron, noticing the dark gleam in Chowder’s eyes.
“Quite a woman.” remarked Garrister.
The adventurers began to rifle through the fallen’s gear when another noise could be heard in the distance.
“Take cover!” three companions remarked in unison. Their fighting prowess growing ever sharper together.
Seconds later, two giants roll into sight.
Hildegaurde and Hemlocke pull out their bows, take aim and fire arrows at the lumbering beasts. The giants rush in and fall prey to the ranger’s deadly spike growth spell. Garrister, Chowder, and The Baron rush in while Horrace, D’Dario, and Yulea start to casts their spells.
The giants were huge and strong but their strength could not qualm the heroes relentless attacks. One giant falls and D’Dario was able to charm the other- eventually getting the party to end it’s malicious life.
“Now is our opportunity to press forward” remarked Ardun the Green who remained absent from the battles.
“Coward” spat Garrister.
The heroes decide it wise to get some distance and press forward at a hearty pace.
Into The Crag
Six days pass before the forest starts to give way to rocky glades and swooping hills.
“The Crag” remarks Ardun the Green with a sweeping gesture toward a rocky and jagged landscape. “We have arrived.” he adds while pulling a piece of parchment from one of his packs.
The adventurers dismount and crowd around their questionable guide to gain a look at the parchment which contained a map of the barbarian stronghold. The layout consisted of a deep chasm with 200 foot cliffs on three sides. Our heroes study the map and discuss their options. They end up picking the far side which had a wide, natural shelf with a cave about halfway down.
The party makes a wide sweep of the area to avoid raising barbarian alarms. They await night fall when Rogue Hildegaurde, Ranger Kaiser Hemlocke, and Warlock D’Dario, the stealthiest of the bunch elect to scout the cliff side that led to the cave.
The cliff side was kept vigil by two very large and muscled barbarians. D’Dario, Hemlocke, and Hildegaurde formulate a quick plan and set up an ambush. The ranger creeped forward while Hildegaurde readied her dwarf-sized long bow. D’Dario pulled a macabre knife, slit his skin, muttered a few words in an erie tongue, and his blood begin to move and smoke- an evil site to behold. But his spell would be welcome in the upcoming skirmish.
Hemlocke reaches within feet of the barbarians when Hildegaurde loosed an arrow, followed by a spell from D’Dario. The calculated ranger leaped on the other barbarian with blades in hand. Melee ensues and the barbarian sentries were quite the fierce adversary. Eventually the three overcome the barbarians and motion for their companions to move forward to their location.
The heroes tie a knotted rope to a solid tree while Kaiser mutters a quick prayer to Mielikki, granting the heroes to pass without trace. The adventurers silently work their way down the rope and they safely reach the cave that was positioned about half way down the 200 foot cliff face.
The adventurers stealthily slink into the cave and soon hear voices around a bend. The dialog was a rough, yet harmonic, barbarian tongue which none in the party understood. Hildegaurde creeped forward and discovered five barbarians jovially talking in their foreign language. One stood seven feet tall, nearly twice the height of the dwarven rogue. She crept back and informed the party of the situation.
The adventurers draw their blade and they handle the issue the best way they know how. By calculated and cruel force!
The behemoth of a barbarian, even by barbarian standards, fought with fury but our sneaky adventurers had the initial advantage. Garrister sliced his foe down while Horrace burns the last foe with a searing bolt of light. “Not like Fort Greenskin” Horrace sheepishly smiles. He had recently learned how to control the dark art and proved to be a welcomed addition to the party.
The heroes again pressed forward through the cave and saw another light around the corner accompanied by quite a commotion. They peek in and see two barbarians enjoying one of their women.
“Enjoy it while you can” Chowder whispered with a dark smile on his face. Cleaver grasped tight.
A few other party members drew blades, rushed in, and eventually dispatched the naked barbarians.
“If I had to chose a way to go…” said Garrister with a smile on his face.
The party again pressed forward.
No swimming, No running by the pool
The cave wound an ever descending path and the mighty heroes continued forward, eventually hitting a large grotto with a quick stream pouring out of a very large pool.
“It’s swift but we can cross” exclaimed Garrister, who started making his way across.
A few party members press forward and across the current, reaching the halfway mark when a bubbling sound could be heard from the pool. All the adventurers’ eyes shifted to the pool when a lone black serpent , as round as a barrel, rose from the dark pool.
“Snake is on the menu tonight boys” laughed Chowder. Letting his gruesome cleaver slide into his hand while he casually strode toward the snakes.
The serpent kept rising when more gurgling sounds could be heard. Two more serpents arise from the water, followed by another three.
“Snakes on the menu all week” Chowder added with a maniacal laugh.
Arrows flew by Chowder and pierce a serpent’s head. The creature violently leaped out of the water, revealing it’s horrid secret. For the serpents where in fact, one very large hydra.
“Shit!” yelled Horrace and Garrister in unison.
The adventurers quickly gathered themselves from the shock of seeing the great six headed beast and prepared to go on the offensive. The wizards tossed fire, the archers loosed arrows, and the others rushed the fearsome creature.
Fighting waned and waxed with the adventurers proving themselves victorious again. A short healing rest was given and the adventurers assessed their situation, worried about the noise from the previous fight. They notice the cave continues about 50 feet beyond the stream. They all wade across the stream.
The Barbarian Warlord and his Witch
The cave started to glow and the group quickly pressed forward. The light growing stronger and followed by alarmed voices. A woman’s loud voice could be heard, angrily barking orders in their barbarian language
“Let’s go!” The Baron exclaimed.
D’Dario moved his hands about, eyes going white, casting a dark spell. His elfish features shifted and he resembled a barbarian. With his new disguise, D’Dario walked into the lit tunnel entrance which gave way to a large room.
The room was bathed in torch and brazier light. It’s walls carved with releases of wicked faces- a very disheartening sight. Also in the room, on the far side, stood a very large barbarian and an evil looking woman. More soldiers quickly rushed in and flanked their side. The witch pointed and the barbarians rushed in with a maddening rage.
“This be them!” said dwarvish Hildegaurde. Drawing her weapons and slinking back into some shadows.
The adventurers met their charge with vicious and experienced attacks. The fight raged on when the witch, Lamashtu began to scream in a primordial language. Her deafening chanting continued and increased with speed, reaching a crescendo. Light burst around the heroes, revealing four undead spirits.
“Wraiths!” yelled Hemlocke. “Kill the witch-quickly!”
The wraiths quickly took down party members, and the party immediately shifted their attention on the barbarian witch. Desperately trying to block or dodge the barbarian attacks and the wraiths’ icy touch. Baron fell to a wraith.
A series of arrow volleys were loosed at the witch. A potion of cloudkill was lobbed, buying time to get Silas conscious. He pulled out his wand, shook the cobwebs from his mind, and fired two fireballs at the witch who goes down. The evil wraiths remained, clawing at the heroes.
Hemlocke pulls an arrow, mutters a quick incantation, and raises the newly-enchanted arrow. He fires and the arrow splits into multiple spikes that pepper the witches head.
The wraiths vanish but the barbarian onslaught continues. Balzog, the largest of the barbarians, swung his axe with demonic anger taking out out Chowder. Fighting continues while a hero raised the fighter, Chowder.
The one time butcher grabs his cleaver, stands up and buried his cleaver into the barbarian warlord’s head. Placing his boot on Balzog’s head and retrieving his cleaver with a loud and wet sounding thwump. “Cut it out” Chowder said with a laugh.
“It is done” Yulea exclaims. “Now let’s get the fuck out of here and back to Neverwinter.”
“Yes, let’s gather our reward” grinned Garrister.
The party quickly escaped the way they came. Luckily evading barbarian pursuits.
a decent haul of gold and a very nice XP bump
Great job team