Nirmathas Secrets

The road to Trunau
Sessions 22-24

The part began its trip to Trunau, a small settlement known for surviving the orc hordes even deeply into Belkzen lands. The rumors of both trading orcs and the plot to blot out the sun come from sources in Trunau that still communicate with lastwall. The party hopes to learn more once there.

Despite still in southern Lastwall, they’ve encountered two orc scouting parties. The first was decimated. The second group had a scout escape to warn the hordes of a party moving upriver.

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The Bloodfist Attack
Sessions 20 & 21

Three Pines Ford was under attack by orcs. A massive number of them came only minutes behind a mere two scouts from Vigil bringing warning.

The orcs made their way past the gate and moat into town before the party new anything was going on. When they moved towards the fray a magical darkness covered the fight. They pressed inward, and found the orcs uncountable. Combat was intense, but the party’s ability to push through the tide of green and steel to the leaders of the orcs won the day.

After combat, Faydra had a chance to examine one of the leaders, and saw a familiar banner. A bloody fist on a black background. The symbol not of her former orc clan, but that of her disposed uncle, Barabus Manslayer. When she found an orc who was breathing, she requested healing long enough to question it.

“Who do you serve?” she asked, holding the orc up by his furred vest.

“Barabus.” was the only response from the confused orc.

Faydra dropped the orc, and removed its head with her scythe. She feared that Barabus had returned and displaced Kromaz, turning an already vicious clan of orcs into an enraged, empowered source of terror.

She spoke with Harris Warren who was looking for someone to investigate Belkzen while he took his surviving paladins to support Vigil. He had word that this was only a small section of the invading orcs, and that their spies had suspicions of an orc shaman planning a great magical ritual to darken the skies for the orcs final attack on Lastwall.

Tavius knew of a solar eclipse coming soon, and Faydra knew of a demonic ritual that would hold an eclipse longer than its natural duration. They discussed this amongst each other, then Faydra volunteered to investigate Belkzen. The rest of the party agreed to accompany her.

The party set out the next day, before they could leave Lastwall territory the came across a small scouting party of orcs. The scouts were well trained and had the support of other warriors, but not enough to dispatch or escape the party. The bodies had symbols of several small clans amongst the orc horde, confirming that this was the work of allied clans.

Now they continue towards Belkzen, with time right behind them.

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Downtime
Sessions 17, 18, and 19

The party finds it’s way to Three Pines Ford there, they rest and recuperate while hoping to find passage to Ustalav.

Faydra takes the time to work on her magical enhancement skills, and succeeds in making her own weapon magically sharp. After showing her progress to the party Tavius and Faeron request personal enhancements. Faydra takes them on happily, as they are practice for her personal, more powerful, crafting goals.

Faeron takes the time to research the Knights of Ozem, the Bloodstones, and what to expect in their travels. He finds that the Knights are perhaps Proud to a fault, in a streak of bad luck, but otherwise faithful and loyal. That is except for one.

Sa’ar interrupts Faeron’s research with a rude awakening one morning. It turns out he’s been tasked with a inquisition into the order by itself. He asks Faeron for his version of the events in Woodsocket after their return. Then explains that Horatio’s unit recovered Ghuzmaar’s armor. On their way to Vigil Horatio himself to slaughtered many of his comrades, and donned the armor, becoming Ghuzmaar risen. Sa’ar explained that he would take inform the Knights of Ozem of the party’s innocence in the matter, and left.

A few days later, everything fell apart. The vessel they planned to use drifted into sight on fire, and broken, only to sink before rescue ships could arrive. Then, before the party could even start the process of finding another way north, the town falls under attack.

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The Fey
Session 16

As the party moved toward the grove Ahli wished to investigate, they discovered a group of pixies and sprites fighting the plant creatures manifested by the fungal infestation of the blight. Once combat was over they discussed the situation with the surviving fey.

The grove ahead was once called the Three Couples Grove for its long term inhabitants and formation. Long before the blight three young dryad descendants of Arlantia, and three undeveloped treants came to a meadow in fangwood bordered by an Spruce, Fir, and Pine. The three dryads each bonded with a tree, and, due to their youth, took on aspects of the trees they bonded to. There the young treants rooted to grow alongside the dryads, forming a large ring of six trees. They made a pact to protect and entertain the local fey, animals, and friendly menfolk who came their way.

When Arlantia was corrupted by Cyth-V’sug, she began spreading her new taint to other older dryads. The three sisters were one of her first targets. There were older dryads, but with the need of a dryad’s involvement in the corruption of any fey, Arlantia saw the potential strength in the grove, and its danger if left alone. She bypassed several older, stronger dryads to take the grove early. Through deception, and the quick work of demonic helpers, she captured the three sisters and destroyed there treant companions, each of which was used to birth the three shamblers who now support the sisters in their twisted task of converting and killing.

The oldest of the three sisters, Picealith, now holds the grove while her sisters gather fey and animals for corruption. The shambling mounds help spread the molds of Cyth-V’sug, allowing for several small vegepygmy crops to form, all devoted to Picealith as their goddess.

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Let's Go North
Session 15

The next morning, the party, including its newest members, chose to go north, following information Horatio gave them before his sudden hostility. Faydra wishes to pay the organization who killed her master a visit, and it seems that they may have information needed to bring down Arazni’s Graveknights.

It did not take long for their plans to be interrupted. North ment deeper into the blighted sections of the Fangwood, and an ambush by saytrs, dryads and shamblers reminded Alhi of the threat looming over the forest. Now the group is headed for a slight detour attempt to clear one of the older groves of the blight— if they can.

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Pride and Fear lead to anger
Session 14

The party made it back to woodsocket to find the sleepy village awake with the beginnings of the hunting season. Merchants have spread out a market, and new homes and a second tavern are under construction. More importantly, a trade caravan from Lastwall is here, and its manned by the Ozem.

Tristram is among the guards for the caravan, and spots Faydra in the crowd of market-goers. He leads her to his captain, who at first seems delighted to see them and rather calm. He provides her with what they learned of the man who was captured. It seems they’re part of a group called the Anaphexia. Secret hoarders and assassins, they were after the bloodstone to keep it for themselves. They also may know the location of the other missing two.

Horatio asks what they experienced, and finds they defeated one of the graveknights, and still have its armor. He explains that the armor is dangerous, and can manifest Ghuzmaar at any moment. He collects his senior cleric from the caravan to see the armor. They arrive where Alhi and Faeron are waiting, but are followed by a hooded figure out of town. Alhi’s communication with local birds alerts the party to the follower, and she is intercepted by Faeron and the hunter, Tavius. Horatio and the cleric arrive to see the armor, which they frightens the priestess. Tavius is left to guard the stalker while Faeron is sent back to town to gather a group of Ozem guards to collect the armor.

The circumstances lead to a disaster between the party and the unprepared Ozem captain. Pride, fear, and lack of trust on both sides cause an argument. The argument quickly escalates into combat. Horatio is quickly defeated by Faydra, Alhi, Tavius, and his new acquaintance, the hooded follower known as Ayla Klaern. Alhi ties Horatio and his priestess up in a tree, and the group leaves before Faeron can return. He arrives to find them in the tree, Horatio is brought down and awakens violently unsettled, and orders Faeron attacked. When Faeron moves out of reach of the guards Horatio tirades about how the party have unleashed great evil and are traitors to all society. Faeron reminds Horatio that he’s still alive, and then returns to Woodsocket to collect his horse. The party, now with Ayla, gathers outside of town and explains what has happened. Alhi has the bloodstone still, but the armor was left at the area of conflict, only remembered by both groups long after the dust settled.

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The Hunter, Bloodstone, and Ghuzmaar
Session 13

The party was halted in the last puzzle room. It seemed the maker of this bizarre path of tests also left ways to monitor the area within. Someone had followed them through the challenges, and without its master gone, and the poor performance of the thieves ahead, the defenses provided the information to the party. Faeron recognized the half elf as a fellow fighter against Cheliax and Mothune. When Faeron acknowledged him as an acquaintance the defenses allowed him to catch up to the party. He had found Sa’ar on the surface, and Sa’ar had asked him to go in after the party while he returned to Woodsocket with their mounts.

The party, now reinforced, continued to the last room to find the assassins who preceded them and the last puzzle to the vault. They made short work of the assassins and used the keys they’d collected to open the door. There they found a few ancient magical items of the Azlani, and Arazni’s Heart.

They began the trip back to Woodsocket only to be attacked by the first of Arazni’s personal graveknights, Ghuzmaar. The heart reacted to the graveknight’s presence badly, alerting him to their presence, but offering the party defenses and powerful energies as the combat unfolded. Ghuzmaar was defeated.

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An ancient home
Sessions 11 and 12

The party entered the tower the next morning. They quickly found the stairs to the rooms underground. They explored the rooms of the first level to discover the compounds original owner was a collector and fond of construct servants and guardians. After conflicts with golems, clockworks, and a vermin infestation, they discovered art, literature, and magical equipment from before the death of Aroden. They also came across the body of one of the assassins who fell victim to the defenses of this place.

The second level proved to be a collection of even older treasures and tests. Each room was a shrine to a faith who the designer revered, two were of Pharisma and Desna, but aspects of them that are rarely the focus today. The other were of two gods that died with the Azlanti empire during earthfall.

The party now waits to enter the final test room before entering what they hope to be the resting place of a bloodstone.

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"Terminal Destination"
Session 10

Feydra, Ferron, and Ahli managed to navigate to the ruinous tower suspected to house one of the Bloodstones of Arazni. Together, they deposed the two assassin scouts guarding the entrance. it was a bloody battle, as the opponents demonstrated prowess and accuracy in their ranged attacks from the trees. However, they were no match for the burning ferocity of Feydra’s wrath, and Ferron’s wit.

Ahli had hoped that one of the scouts had been in the ruins already, but the results of his gory spell revealed only lesser trinkets hidden throughout the exterior campsite. Ahli searched the outer perimeter of the tower, and identified only one entrance on the ground floor. The party then took the time to gather loose stones from the rubble, and Ahli used his magical prowess to seal the entrance shut to that the group might enjoy a safer evening.

That night, the group was disturbed by a roaming band of Sprites. With some measure of consternation, the party managed to scare most of them off without causing lethal afflictions.

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"Bad Company" in the Darkblight
Session 8

The party continued its journey into the depths of Fangwood by the directions given to Ahli in return for assisting the dryad. As they ventured, they encountered the foul tainted creatures warped and produced by the blight, and were victorious. Ahli used his affluence with the woodlands to obscure the campsite from detection, keeping the party safe from all the things that lurk in the night.

As the adventurers came to the fork in the river – the final landmark that leads to the ruins – they encountered another skeletal mage. This one, however, was differently garbed and equipped than the previous undead seen in the Darkblight. His attire and coins identified his origin in Geb – the land of the dead. Feydra found a journal, revealing that Arazni’s forces are in the area in search of the Bloodstones. It seems that the party is about to have company…

“Dead Company” (Ballad of the Skeletal Mage)

Company, always on the run
Destiny is the rising sun
Oh, I was born spellbook in my hand
Behind the book I’ll make my final stand
That’s why they call me

Dead company
And I can’t deny
Dead company
’Til the day I die,
Or, ’til the day they die
’Til the day I die again.

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