Adventures in the Nentir Vale

The Keep on the Shadowfell, Part One: An Infestation of Kobolds

Our adventurers find themselves, for various reasons and motivations, on a cart making its way to the small town of Winterhaven in the west of the Nentir Vale.

The immense mionotaur warden Orros is uncomfortably squashed against the firey elemental genasi Nari-Lana, a swordmage. On the other end of the open cart lie both the halfling chaos sorceror Niben and the eladrin cleric Modnar, a devotee of Pelor.

The cart is only a mile or so from Winterhaven when it is ambushed by kobolds! The small reptilian humanoids throw a pot of burning pitch towards the cart, forcing the (for now) strangers to react. Modnar quickly deflects the pitch into the bushes beside the road and the party gives battle to the kobolds now emerging from all sides.

The creatures easily dispatched, our heroes notice the cart on which they had erstwhile travelled had fled. This being the case, it is decided to track the kobolds in an attempt to find their lair. Orros, with his knowledge of natural things, easily picks up a trail and the party treks off into the hills and forests to the south east of Winterhaven. After making camp amongst the hills for the night, the party continues tracking into the next morning.

After some time they stumble across a waterfall, and a fast-flowing stream leading deeper into forest. There is a small force of kobolds in occupation, apparently waiting around (or guarding) a magical circle of runes. The adventurers engage the reptilians and successfully slay them. Upon investigating the magical circle it is identified as dark magic – a circle designed to raise the dead on command. The group successfully break the circle and its dark magic.

A sudden cry goes up as the halfling Niben slips on some stones whilst trying to ford the river, against the strong current. He does not manage to grab onto some rocks further downstream, rather he is buffetted against them. As Niben disappears downstream the party gives chase.

After some time Niben manages to grab a hold of some low-lying branches over the river, and with an amazing feat of strength lifts himself up with just one arm. The party, having followed the river as much as possible, spot Niben in the tree and retrieve him. They then venture back to the waterfall, and follow their trail back to the road, in order to continue on to Winterhaven.

Having reached the isolated community, the party stop to rest for lunch in the tavern. They meet Salvana Wrafton, the tavern proprietor, as well as Valthrun (the local sage) and Eilian (elderly farmer who frequents the tavern). They also meet Ninarel, a sour elven huntress. The adventurers learn that the local ruling lord, Lord Padraig, is likely to reward them for solving the kobold problem in the forsets, as the activity of these small creatures has been unusually bold and organised of late. They also learn that an archaeologist has recently passed through the town on his way to look for a dragon burial site amongst the downs south of town.

After a look around the town the adventurers return to the tavern, and learn of some of the history of Winterhaven. It is discovered that an old abandoned fortress lies to the north of Winterhaven, a place rumoured to mark the place where a great battle was long ago fought between soldiers of the empire of Nerath and a group of evil cultists.

The party successfully gains an audience with Lord Padraig in his manor house and agrees to root out the source of the kobold threat and put a stop to it in exchange for a reward of gold and any information on suspicious activities around the town. Lord Padraig is disturbed at Orros’ suggestion that a cult of “Baphomet”, a bull-headed demon, may be operating in or around the town.

Back in the tavern, it is discovered that Ninarel has left the town via the north road, looking very anxious after her interview with the adventurers…

View
The Nest

Returning the tavern, the party turns in for the night. Modnar, however, slips outside and sits in the town square opposite the tavern, watching attentively. After spying Ninarel returning to Winterhaven in the early hours of the morning, he goes up to bed and begins his daily meditation.

On the morning the party sets out to find the kobold lair. Journeying south from the small town, they are ambushed by kobolds on the road! The kobolds quickly surround our heroes and prove very difficult to touch with a sword…or axe, and one of the kobolds seems to be a magic-user, throwing balls of acid about the field with wanton abandon.

During this skirmish, a loud thumping sound is heard shortly before a 6’4" tall robotic humanoid runs into the fray, brandishing a sword. The warforged begins attacking the kobolds, and short work is made of them. At this point, the warforged grabs Niben, mistaking him for a kobold, and shakes him violently about until it is explained that he is in fact a halfling and a friend. After having let Niben to the ground, the construct introduces himself as Falchion – a young warforged journeying from the south in order to find adventure and experience the world. Falchion agrees to accompany the party in their quest to root out the kobolds from their hidden stronghold.

Orrus discovers, on the remains of the lead kobold of the ambush, a piece of linen and a necklace with a rams head token on the end. He recognises the necklace immediately as a symbol of Orcus – demon prince of the undead – and communicates this to the party. He is met mostly with ignorance, and confusion from Falchion who does not understand Orrus’ fear and disgust of something which is merely a symbol (not the demon prince of the undead himself). On the linen scrap Orrus finds a crude drawing of a waterfall next to the kobold symbol for home. More confusion from Falchion – symbols, it seems, will take time.

The adventurers remembered the waterfall they discovered yesterday and decide to re-trace their steps to find the place. Having successfully discovered the waterfall where they had given battle to the kobolds and disturbed the magical circle, the party fails to see any indication of a lair. Nebin discovers that magic is eminating from behind the waterfall, where only solid rock had been erstwhile observed. After some group chanting, the illusion is dispelled, dissolving to dust. This magic disturbs the more knowlegable members of the party, who know that this magic is far beyond what any kobold has ever achieved. It is decided that the party will enter the cavern beyond the waterfall all at once, but Modnar has other ideas, teleporting into the middle of the cave with a loud shout of “DRY!”.

This surprises a room full of kobolds and the adventurers quickly take advantage of this, laying into the reptilian creatures with vigour. The kobolds quickly try to flank our heroes but are slain left right and centre. Attracted by the ruckus, more kobolds arrive, joined by a large goblin wielding a battleaxe. The goblin charges into battle with an enraged scream, swinging his axe everywhere. With a low growl, Orros lets loose a great rage, transfiguring his body into a terrifying ram/minotaur hybrid before goring the goblin and tossing him across the battlefield. Orros then proceeds to thin out the kobolds but does not realise the goblin is undeterred, picking himself up and once again joining the battle. Nebin, Modnar and Nari-Lana then successfully isolate the kobolds into groups while Falchion and Orros pin and attack the goblin, eventually killing him after hampering him with cleverly timed ripostes and counter-strikes.

The kobold lair having been cleared of kobolds, the adventurers search for treasure, finding a good eal of gold and some enchanted chainmail. On the body of the goblin they also discover a ram’s head brand (not from Orros’ horns) and a letter from a mysterious being known as Kalarel. This letter contains instructions to hamper travelers in order to give Kalarel more time to “open the rift” and allow Orcus to come through into the world to feast on the flesh of the living. This chilling message seems to imply that this kobold problem is the least of Winterhaven’s worries…

View
Brains vs Braun

The adventurers, having wiped out the last of the kobolds and discovered the beginning of a dark and sinister plot, return to Winterhaven to collect their reward from Lord Padraig. Their meeting is brief, and they claim their reward without any trouble.

Back in the now familiar surrounds of Wrafton’s Inn, the party conspire to prove Ninarel is the spy mentioned in the note found on the goblin in the kobold lair, planning to ambush her on her way north to the keep. They leave behind Nebin to tail her and gather info, and leave to set themselves up at the edge of the forest on the north road.

At Wrafton’s Ninarel finishes her drink and goes upstairs. Nebin, fearful that Ninarel will not leave the town this night, runs out of Winterhaven and makes his way along the north road to warn the party, leaving only old Eilian to stall Ninarel should she come back down to leave.

Nebin nearly springs the ambush on himself, and is sent back to town to resume his post. The others stay to keep watch and maintain the ambush.

Back in town, Nebin finds Eilian asleep at his table and learns that the old man has no idea where Ninarel is! At this point he hears a distant scream and moves outside to investigate. Nebin moves towards the access door next to the large bolted gate, and is nearly taken out by an arrow which pegs itself straight into the solid oak. Nebin hears an unearthly groan and the shuffling of feet before slamming the door shut. He instructs the lone guard at the door to get help before sending a burst of magical light into the sky to warn his allies.

Back in the woods, Falchion and Modnar spy the beam of magical light shooting out of Winterhaven and decide to run there, leaving Orros and Nari-Lana to put armour on, possibly whilst attempting to catch up.

Meanwhile, Nebin has climbed the battlements and has noticed a zombie and three skeletons attempting to beat down the main gate. He tries to use his magic to deter them, but to no avail.

As the remainder of the party run up the hill towards the town they hear a hissing sort of chant, and come across Ninarel, clearly speaking at some more undead creatures. The creatures shuffle toward Winterhaven just as Falchion runs up and swings at Ninarel with his sword. He is closely followed by Orros, who charges and gores the elven huntress with his horns, knocking her to the ground. She pulls herself up and slashes out with a longsword she draws from a sheath on her back, but is unbalanced and misses.

Some of the undead run up and attack the party members, but it is too late for Ninarel as she is quickly surrounded and overwhelmed. Falchion runs up the path to the gate just as the skeletons are giving up the siege and turning to fight. He mops them up but is beset upon by a zombie who diverts his attention.

Nebin, meanwhile, continues to hamper the skeletons with his magic as a small contingent of town gaurds led by Lord Padraig himself run out the gate and clean up the rest of the foul creatures.

Lord Padraig is greatly disturbed by this brazen attack, and charges the party with rooting out the hostile agents behind the conspiracy and eliminating them. He promises a great reward of gold and land – even promising titles for the adventurers in exchange for their great service to the town of Winterhaven.

To be continued…

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.