Heroes of the Sun and Sky

Whodunit?
I think it was Hobo Saggins!

Elken’s Journal, Entry 27th day of the month of Oak

Quest for revenge still in progress. I’m getting closer!

Strange goings on in Fallcrest these days. Hobo Saggins, one of the Heroes of Fallcrest, was accused of murder! Here’s what happened. Part of this I saw, part was told to me by an informant in Fallcrest.

I was drinking in the Silver Unicorn with the Heroes. The halfling barmaid, Katrina, kept winking and smiling at Hobo. He seemed pretty pleased to me. Now, I had to head out to meet with a source, so I took off early, say, 11? Hobo, Sigma Squared, and Balek Magmabeard (who I just met), looked like they planned to be tossing back ale for a while. I’ve only known Balek a few hours, but I haven’t seen him yet without a drink in his hand…

So this next part I heard from a semi-reliable source. I’ve recorded him as faithfully as possible, so I apologize to anyone reading this.

[As told to Elken]
The crowd had begun to dwindle, so the barkeep and owner of the Silver Unicorn, Otho, sent the barmaid out on some errand. That Otho, he’s a fat little halfling with a bunch of big rings on his fat little fingers. He’s been making good on the fame of the Heroes of Fallcrest, ya’ know? He was cut up pretty bad that one time, you know about that, right?

The room was down to mostly them that were staying at the inn and some shady sorts at the bar. I don’t know what happened, but suddenly the bar was in chaos! A bunch of thugs attacked the Heroes, don’t they know what these guys can do? Seems they were led by an elf with an axe (a bow?) to grind…

[Elken’s note]
This elf was the one that we tangled with when we were battling Ohio Jackson. The one that got away? Ok, back to the story.

[The story]
Anyway, the elf starts shooting arrows into the bar patrons, and the thugs tried to jump the Heroes. Sigma and Balek are handling the thugs in the bar, right?, so Hobo chases that elf out the front of the inn. Time for some payback, right? He catches that elf, and lets him have it. ‘Round that time he hears cries for help back behind the inn. Well, here’s where it all goes to the deepest of the nine hells. Hobo ends up at the end of an ally, staring at the body of the barmaid, you’ll remember that’s Katrina, she’s stone dead. THAT’s when the guards show up. Never a guard when you need one, and then you’re standing over the body of a dead girl with a bloody knife on the ground beside her, and here are two companies right together. That’s what I always say.

Those bar thugs turned out to be dock workers from lowtown, but more on that in a minute.

So Hobo winds up locked in a guard tower, and Sigma and Balek had to go break him out. Sigma and Hobo pried the bars out of the window of the cell, while Balek got the cell keys with magic. Man, I wish I could do magic. I’d magic me up another beer. Why thank you, yes, I will have another! Oh, right. Hobo got his gear, and the party set off to figure out who set Hobo up.

Ol’ Otho sends them to his closest competition, Erandil at the Nentir Inn, across the river. Randy (he hates it when I call him that) helps them figure out that them thugs were porters, and that they hang out down at the dock at the portage in lowtown. Ah, lowtown, you can always find trouble there.

In a warehouse in the docks, the Heroes found trouble, oh yes, trouble. Always trouble. So anyway… couple of elves, a human, and a lizardfolk? Now that you don’t see very often… Not in town, lestways. Anyway, the lizard, big fella, heard he was called Charlie, you ever heard of a lizard called Charlie? ‘course you haven’t. So the party works ‘em over, and leaves most of them for the guards. Is there a squad of guards patrolling the docks at night? It’s what I always say.

So they learn two things then, and these are them. One, Strongbeard, you know Strongbeard right? He’s dead, you know? More on that in a minute. Anyways, Strongbeard runs the porters guild, lestways he did, and so he’s the boss. And everyone knows the porters are a bunch of thugs. So the porters, those beat up dockworkers, they tell the Party that Strongbeard took a contract from a wealthy, fat halfling to set up this bar brawl. And two, remember there were two things? Two, they find some fat rings with fat jewels on them in the warehouse. Payment, for services rendered? Could be, could be… Fat rings from a fat halfling.

So with a bit more investigatin’, the Party finds its way back to the Silver Unicorn, and Otho comes out with it as soon as they come in the door. How I hears it, he was terrified he’d get caught. He hired the porters so he could get rid of Katrina and frame ol’ Hobo. Seems Otho had a thing for Katrina, not that she ever looked twice at him, she only had eyes for Hobo Saggins. Poor girl, couldn’t have picked a worse choice as far as Otho was concerned. He blamed Hobo Saggins for that scar on his neck sure as… well, sure as sure.

Only problem was, once the party found out the porters were bringing in Lizardfolk, well, then everybody had to go. Otho was in big trouble. He wanted a nice safe cell so the porters couldn’t get him. Well, Strongbeard threw up an ambuscade outside the inn, caught everyone they wanted nice and neat. Strongbeard himself showed up for this one. Big ol’ brawler of a dwarf, that one. Put up a good fight, did Strongbeard, not that you can say the same for his goons. First snarl out of Sigma’s beak, I hear half ‘em deserted and the others about fainted. Only help he got was from another of them lizardfolk. Good thing, too, ’cuz you see any guards that night? Not a one. It’s like I always say. You remember that time when the House of the Sun was sacked? You see any guards? It’s like I say…

[Elken resumes]
So that’s about it. The party mopped up. The rings in the dock and Otho’s confession were enough to clear Hobo’s name. The porters guild’s power is broken, we’ll see if they ever come back. There’s another gang in lowtown, I’m sure there will be others. Katrina will be buried tomorrow, poor girl. The Heroes they speak of in Fallcrest, they’re an unpredictable bunch, but they seem to be on the right side. Perhaps I can help them. Perhaps they can help me.

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Tomb Raiders
or what lurks in a funny hat...

Upon returning to Winterhaven after a rather violent patrol encounter, the heroes were summoned to meet Lord Nereth at the Lord’s Manor. The heroes were surprised at this, since the last time they saw Nereth he was a Seargeant of the Fallcrest guard.

The Heroes met with Lord Nereth who informed them that he had made himself Lord of Winterhaven since the previous Lord of Winterhaven fled during the night of undead terror. Lord Nereth requested that the party travel back to Fallcrest and deliver his resignation letter to Faren Markelhay. He also requested that Balek Magmabeard remain in Winterhaven and help his soldiers clear an underground crypt. To replace Magmabeard, Lord Nereth suggested the party recruit a traveling mercenary from a local inn.

With Magmabeard off on his mission, the rest of the party met with a half-elf named Elken Greymire at the inn. Elken joined the party, and they set off for Fallcrest.

Before reaching Fallcrest, the party decided to open and read Nereth’s letter to Markelhay. This was mostly instigated by Hobo Saggins who was able to use his thief skills to open the letter with minimal damage to the wax seal. He resealed the letter, though its condition was noticeably imperfect.

The party decided to visit their friend Grundelmar before going to deliver the letter. Grundelmar showed them a fragment of a clay tablet with part of a rune on it. He thought it was a clue to the location of a lost temple of the Zaharin. He advised going to talk to the Azaer traders about the location where it was discovered.

The party then decided to visit Lord Markelhay and deliver the letter. Markelhay seemed to notice the damaged condition of the letter, but he did not comment. Instead he requested the party report back to him about Nereth and Winterhaven. He offered money for information if the party would spy for him.

After meeting Markelhay, the party met with the Azaer trader, a well dressed tiefling. He knew little of the origins of the clay tablet, but he directed the party to meet with someone else who did.

At the Azaer trader’s suggestion, the party met with Ohio Jackson at a local tavern. Ohio was less than cooperative, and provoked an intimidating roar from Sigma Squared. A battle almost started in the tavern, but Elken was able to calm the situation with some careful diplomacy.

Returning to Grundelmar, the party learned of three sites in the wilderness which could hold clues about the ancient relics. Each member of the party had a vision revealing a hint to the location of another artifact.

They first traveled to a ziggurat located southwest of Fallcrest. On the stone steps leading to the top, they were ambushed by a pair of Vine Horrors and nearly perished. The ziggurat seemed to hold secrets, but the heroes lacked the necessary clues to gain entrance.

Next the heroes rented a boat and rowed into the swamps south of Fallcrest. There they were attacked by a swarm of stirges but fought them off easily. Deep in the swamp they found another fragment of the clay tablet locked in a rusty chest under a gazeebo.

The third site was a ruined tower. On the ground floor of the tower they found a cupboard with the final piece of the tablet. There seemed to be more mysteries in the tower, but they elected to leave those for another adventure.

Returning to the ziggurat with the completed tablet, Hobo Saggins drew the rune from the tablet in a sand circle to reveal a hidden staircase leading down into the depths. Inside the hidden vault, the party was ambushed by some large spiders and an Ettercap. After a lengthy battle, the party slew the beasts and freed themselves from the webs. Expecting relics dedicated to Pelor, the party was surprised to find an obsidian statue of Lolth.

Leaving the ziggurat, the party ran into Ohio Jackson again. Ohio demanded the party hand over the statue, and a fight broke out when he couldn’t take it. A battle raged again on the ziggurat steps, and the party was victorious. Ohio and his men were all dead except for an elven archer who escaped.

Hobo Saggins claimed Ohio Jackson’s whip, jacket and hat for his own and now wears them where ever he goes.

The party took the statue of Lolth to Grundelmar who locked it up in the catacombs beneath the temple of Pelor in Fallcrest.

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Rats...
...and worse!

While on patrol around the outskirts of Winterhaven, the party is ambushed by Frederick’s allies. Seeking revenge for their fallen brother’s rather timely demise, the ratmen come pouring out of the woods, their leader astride a raging drake.

The heroes dispatch the ratmen, finish the drake, and chase down a few goblin allies. Then they head to the tavern and call it a successful patrol.

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Winterhaven Barrow
What lies beneath the snow?

Sgt. Nereth arrived today to provide support for Winterhaven. Relieved of their task of protecting the town, the heroes set off to see if they could end Winterhaven’s undead threat once and for all.

As it turns out, they could.

It’s worth noting that they briefly encountered a Necromancer of untold power, who was apparently displeased with the progress of her minions. Those particular minions will only be making progress if she returns them from the dead, thanks to the efforts of our heroes.

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The Dead Walk in Winterhaven

On the advice of Grundelmar, The Party heads to Winterhaven.

Before leaving, Faren Markelhay requests that The Party head to Nenlast. All trade has stopped with Nenlast and Faren Markelhay wants an investigation.

Winterhaven turns out to be under nightly attack from the walking dead. Lord Marcari has barricaded himself in his manor house with his guards. The townsfolk are ready to rise up in an attempt to get the guards back on the wall of Winterhaven.

After placating the townsfolk, the party fights off waves of undead monsters. Barricaded in the town square, Hobo and Sigma crush Zombies while Balek tries to get the rats out of his robes.

The next evening, the party makes a quick jaunt to the meeting place between the Orcish assassins and those who hired them. A little sleep, a big axe, and an armored halfling later, the dead walk in Winterhaven no more.

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Assassins and Death

Hobo Saggins, halfling warrior, was awakened rudely as the door to the next room was crushed in by an iron shod foot. Rushing out with a mighty roar, (and glad that he slept in his armor), Hobo charged headlong into a band of orcish assassins. Cloaked in black and heavily armed, two burly orcs backed by a hobgoblin spellcaster turned (and looked down) to face the threat.

Rousted by the cries of their diminutive tank, Balek and Sigma emerge from their own rooms and wade into the fight. As the battle finally tipped in the favor of the Heros of Fallcrest, the assassins are blown out the window of the inn by a blast of dwarven thunder.

Hobo, leaping from the window, quickly dispatches the last orc outside the inn, while Balek and Sigma follow the last orc inside the inn as he flees down the stairs.

Save the bartender, interrogate the last assassin, and end up in the bar in time for breakfast. Well, it worked out, except for the bartender almost dying.

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Taking Care of Business

In the aftermath of the Battle of Fallcrest, the party is celebrated as heroes. Balek Magmabeard, Hobo Saggins, and Sigma Squared drink their fill and set out for adventure once again.

Faren Markelhay, Lord Warden of the town of Fallcrest, requests that the heroes investigate the madness of one of his trusted lieutenants, Sgt. Nereth of the North Gate. Despite his veteran status, Nereth has been losing troops and destroying their morale as though that was his sworn duty.

After learning first hand the hazards of the still wild forests, the party followed a patrol into a bandit lair. Finding the true Nereth to be a prisoner of the bandits, they expose the infiltrator and put her to the axe. Never ones to waste time better spent in the Lucky Gnome with a pint, the party takes the opportunity to dispatch a remaining goblin wizard and the bandit chief.

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The Battle of Fallcrest
Heroes joined in battle

As the party passes the temple of the sun, their attention is caught by the sounds of battle. Goblins and men, working together to sack the temple from below. Grundelmar, high priest of Pelor, sends the party to save his temple.

The catacombs under the temple are rife with rats, engorged with goblins. Searching reveals a tunnel, dug through the earth, teeming with violent creatures.

Upon traversing the tunnel, the party finds the remnants of another party, a massive war party. Realizing the danger to Fallcrest, the heroes make haste back through the secret entrance to the town, only to find the battle already joined.

With the North Gate barely holding out and the resolve of Sgt. Nereth’s troops waning, the party foils a plot to open the gate from the inside, revealing a rat in the company of men.

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