A Tordan Night

After meeting Adda at the temple of Nian the party returned to the friendly confined of the Helping Hand for food and drinks. Having a couple of drinks and a hearty meal the group decided to go investigate the Well that they had seen in the abandoned Plaza the previous day. It was already dark as the group left the Helping Hand. The street called the Weeping Hill circle was empty as they made their way west. The darkness of night only illuminated by the occasional lantern hanging off the stone wall that separates the Weeping hill from the rest of Tordan.

Turning left down a smaller abandoned street the silence of the night was even more noticeable. The only sounds were that of boots on cobble stone and the insects which chirped quietly in the distance. At the Well the faint sounds of flowing water could be heard to the southwest and Kosef caught the another sound on the breeze, the sound of something moving. Rakham investigated the interior of the Well but it looked undisturbed with moss growing in the cracks of the stone. The sound that Kosef had hear earlier was suddenly much louder as something approached from an alley to the west. As Rakham moved forward to prepared his bear trap a strange looking lizard nearly the size of a horse rushed out of the darkness. Its heavy body covered in large scales, its feet webbed, a long thick tail trailing behind it and its narrow mouth was filled with thin sharp teeth. As they would later learn from Dagmar this was called a Mudtiger and it was probably a young one. Rakham quickly dropped his bear trap in front of him as the lizard rushed forward and attacked. The trap snapped onto one of its legs. The Mudtiger snapped at Rakham as he tried to hammer a metal stake between the cobble stones with his sword that would keep the lizard in place. As the party attacked the beast the two strange lumps along its neck pulsed and an electrical blast surged from its body. Rakam and Adda were both caught in the blast but only Rakham was hurt badly. Rakam’s sword stuck firmly to the metal stake he had been driving into the ground as he pulled his hand away. Rakham’s experience as a hunter and warrior took over as his adrenalin surged and he found a burst of energy, a second wind, and retreated back towards the Well. As he did the Mudtiger jaws clamped around his leg tearing his flesh and badly injuring his leg. Adda continued her attack on the creature, joined by Kosef and ranged attacks from Loru. The Mudtiger snapped at Adda again but a mighty blow from her sword dropped it to the ground and it struggled no more.

The plaza once again fell silent. After examining the body of the Mudtiger Kosef and Loru began cutting scales off the creature. A sound from the Well grabbed the groups attention and they turned to see a creature peering over the edge of the Well watching them. It quickly ducked out of view and when they raced to the Well it was gone. Loru moved towards the street which led back to the Weeping hill and waited for the rest of the group to finish butchering the Mudtiger. Rakham, Kosef and Adda heard the sound of something drop onto the cobble stone and noticed Loru was no longer in sight. Kosef and Adda rushed to the street as two daggers flow past them from a building on the left. Adda turned down the street to see Loru being choked and dragged away from the plaza. As Kosef and Adda attacked the creature it released Loru retreated into the darkness of a ruined building. Rakham, now alone at the body of the Mudtiger heard a slight sound behind him and turned to see another of these creatures approaching him from behind. Rakham turned to face his attacker but twice its swords slipped past his defenses and he fell into darkness. As the rest of the group rushed back into the plaza they saw another of the creatures hunched over Rakham, seeing them it grabbed Rakham’s bag and retreated. The party quickly picked up Rakham and fled back to The Helping Hand. The door was barred but after a few loud bangs Dagmar appeared to let them and secured the door behind them.

After tending to Rakham’s wounds everyone put in for the night. The next morning Loru went to The Merchant’s Friend and found his brother. Adda went to the temple of Nian and trained. Loru and Garfin returned to the inn and made plans to go to the island in the lake.

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It’s better to be wanted than had

Seeing The Lord’s Watch coming out of The Helping Hand Kosef tried to turn Loru before he was noticed but Loru, not aware of what was happening, resisted. However his disguise seemed to work as and he and Kosef quickly turned away from the group and walked up the street, turning down the first alley. Rakham, seeing the group walked forward to greet them. They asked where the half elf was but Rakham said he didn’t know and smoked his pipe nonchalantly. Zadok told Rakham if he wanted to make some easy coin to inform him of the half-elf’s location. Then The Lord’s Watch continued up the street.

The group continued into The Helping Hand, speaking to Dagmar about the problems while Loru waited outside. Dagmar said that he told the Lord’s Watch nothing and they probably wouldn’t be back. Kosef gave him a GP for helping them but he refused it and put it towards food and drink for them for the day.

After some time has passed Loru joined the group in the Helping Hand. He paid 3 more GP on his debit to Dagmar and 3 GP for helping. Dagmar said he should have some information about his brother tonight or tomorrow. The group then setup for the Temple of Eiah. On the way they passed a post board with notices near the west gate to the Weeping Hill. There was a poster about the Day of the Hunt and also a wanted poster for Talia for 80GP and a second wanted poster for a Brutish looking human with a shaved head and a scar on this head and a bounty of 100gp for Murder and Slaving.

The party sans Adda went to the Temple of Eiah and talked to a priestess there with long straight black hair and a scarred lip and missing tooth. She was speaking with two High Hill Hunters as they walked entered. Rakham asked her about the Temple of Eiah and she told him a bit about the fall of Tordan and the story of Darien Justice. Kosef talked to her privately and asked how the temple could help against evil and magic, she said that the temple could train him but he was not interested.

A storm hit as the the group left the temple drenching everyone in the rain. Talia was spotting by four High Hill Hunters. She ran down a side street and climbing onto the roof while Loru and Rakham tried to distract the four humans. The downpour helped Talis hide on the roof and when two of the managed to follow Talia’s path into the side street she created a sound at the other end of the street. The High Hill Hunters followed the sound. Eventually four guards from the temple rushed down the street to help as things escalated between two of the High Hill Hunters and Loru and Rakham. Then Kosef returned and the three of them moved down the road. Talia managed to fall off the roof and meet up with the group shortly after. Loru used a magic tune to heal her after the fall.

After leaving the Temple of Eiah the group went to the Three Hills Square and found some shops after the rain stopped. Rakham found the Ilka’s Blades and Kosef noticed a beautiful greatsword on the wall. He convinced Ilka to sell it for 100 GP. Kosef commissioned a high quality dagger from Ilka’s blades for 5 GP, will be ready in 2-3 days. Rakham asked about renting a space for 1 GP/day to work there and she said it would be ready in a few days. He also learned about the Day of the Hunt on the 4th day of Elil, found out that most hunters go east but the most dangerous areas are north east to the old city from the boy working at Ilka’s Blades.

Returned to the Inn where Luro worked on a disguise for Talia while the rest of the party went and met with Adda at the Temple of Nian.

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A walk to the Temple

Adda and Talia left the Underfarms carrying an unconscious Kosef. After Talia failed in her attempt to persuade a donkey to help them, the smaller tiefling managed to acquire information on the location of the Temple of Nian, a place to get help for the injured human. After hiking out of the Underfarms and north for about an hour they arrived at the temple of Nian. There, Adda took a vow to the Temple of Nian with her own blood and a promise not to go to any of the other Temples in order to help heal Kosef in a strange ritual performed by the bald priest. She also asked if the Temple could train here in the ways of healing. The priest told her to return in the morning.

Meanwhile, Loru and Rakham stayed behind, taking care of the slayed creature. The Dwarf harvested the creatures six tentacles and a single eye and then they decided to go to the tavern, assuming that the rest of the party will probably arrive there later. Waiting there, the bard haggled with Dagmar, the Innkeeper of the Helping Hand, and sold him some of the creature’s remains. Later that day, after Adda, Talia and Kosef returned, the group gathered together in the tavern and they feasted and bathed. After having a tense discussion with Dagmar, Kosef also managed to get an all inclusive, free stay at the tavern. Rakham also learned about a grey dragon, seemingly roaming somewhere east, 2 days travel from the weeping hill. Then they went to their rooms for the night’s rest.

Morning came and after a brief breakfast they decided to go to the market and, later, back to that temple. During their walk, they encountered a group of some apparently infamous individuals from The Lord’s Watch. Loru fooled their leader with some charming words and a little bit of magic. After they gained some distance, the party fled down an alley south from Weeping Hill Circle to hide from the now, probably angry, men. Hiding in the ruins of a building Talia decided to climb on top of the wall to get a look down the street. There she was spotted big two giant wasps almost a meter in length. She was able to cause one of the creatures to retreat back into a home in some brambles but the second Wasp flew towards her. She dropped from the wall and landed awkwardly on the floor. As the Wasp followed it was the party attacked and killed it with arrows and daggers.  Unharmed, they continued south coming to an old abandoned plaza with a stone well in its center.

The well appeared old and unused for many years. Dropping a torch into the will revealed that it was perhaps 15 meters deep and ended in a dirt floor with some sort of passageway leading way from the bottom. After a few minutes the touch light disappeared. The part decided not to investigate the well any further for the time being.

While the rest of the group remained hidden in the ruins of a building on the edge of the plaza Kosef made his way to the market to go shopping. The human carefully made his way to the market undisturbed and, while buying, acquired some information about the band called the Hill Hunters. He returned to the party and from there, they headed towards the temple of Nian while avoiding the main roads as much as possible.

Inside the temple’s open air courtyard  they had a long discussion with the priest, as Adda decided to try the acolyte training. Talia stole some bread from a table but a priest noticed as she did and simply smiled at her. Full of suspicions, they left the tiefling there, settling on picking her up in the evening. Loru and Kosef went back to the Helping Hand to have a talk with Dagmar about them not ever being there. Unfortunately, they discovered that the previously encountered group has already made their way there…

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The chance meeting of a strange group

Few tales begin without noble knights and highborn princesses. Legends need powerful heroes and dragons to slain. Adventures, however, can start with but a little bit of ale… Theirs started in an ancient city of Tordan. It was in one of the city’s taverns, the Helping Hand, where the lives of Loru, Adda, Kosef, Rakham and Talia would be intertwined with each other’s. After some, more or less friendly, introductions the group sat together and shared some cups of ale, while being surveyed on their preferable weapons by the dwarf. The barkeep, noticing this rather colorful bunch, offered them some coin for hunting crickets in the underfarms, as they, terrifyingly for the bard, happen to be a delicacy in these areas.

Following the directions of Dagmar the barkeep at the Helping Hand the group followed the ring road around the Weeping Hill  and arrived at the east game. There they turned right and proceeded to the entrance of the Underfarms without incident. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary and what looked like farmers came and went. The group entered the caves, making there way down a slopping tunnel marked with ware. After a few minutes they reached a huge open cavern with rows of various types of huge fungus being tended to by farmers.

Sending Loru on the hunt for the map of the tunnels he managed with a few charming words to find where best safe hunting area was. However he decided not to go there. Not revealing this to others he lead them to another passageway on the left side of the farms. After descending for another ten minutes the group came to a junction with four new directions to proceed. After taking some time to investigate the tunnel leading upwards to the left and another that dropped steeply into darkness on the right the group continued forward. Almost immediately a darkness engulfed Kosef as he let out a cry. After one failed attempt Loru was able to use him magic to illuminate the creatures in the darkness. There they discovered a strange, tentacle creature that had engulfed Kosef. After server Ax blows, dagger slashes and arrows the creature lifted off of Kosef and fell to the cold stone floor. Kosef was unconscious on the ground below, crushed by and spiked by the strange beast. After the group managed to slay the beast it took a team effort stabilized the human, few seconds before it was too late.

They quickly scooped him up and began to retreat back up the tunnel towards the underfarms with Loru attempting to drag the leather corpse of the creature behind.

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We return to the Stonehill Inn around midday and immediately find Gundren. He asks if we have any new information about his brothers and we admit that we haven’t. We decide that the Wave Echo Cave is the most likely place that we’ll find them and Gundren tells us exactly how to find it. Before leaving Phandalin we pop over to Barthan’s Provisions and buy as much cave-diving gear as we can carry.

Leaving Phandalin, we make our way to the entrance of the cave without incident. There is a slight breeze going into the cave. We decide to approach as cautiously as possible, sending Liarel ahead in rat form to act as our scout. After about thirty feet the entrance tunnel opens up onto a larger cave. Liarel sees a bedroll to the west and a rope descending into a pit to the north. She hears a crashing sound echo through the tunnels. Examining the west, she finds two additional bedrolls, a large quantity of supplies, and a body which smells quite rotten. The rest of the group follows Liarel into the cave and examine the body. It appears to be a dwarf, possibly resembling Gundren, but it has been dead long enough that it is difficult to tell. The bedrolls are all dwarf sized. We determine that the pit is the only way forward.

Never puts Liarel in her pocket and the group climbs down the rope. At the bottom we send Liarel back down the left hand passage, but the air feels still there so she returns and leads the group to the right. We continue to follow the wind, marking the cave wall at each turn, until we come upon a natural cave with reliefs of dwarves carved into the walls. Dozens of skeletons litter the floor. They appear to be mostly dwarves, but we also notice several orcs. Three passageways lead out.

Stepping into the cave, the group is immediately attacked by about half a dozen bat-like creatures with razor-sharp proboscises. Three swoop down onto Mella, one stabbing him in the neck. Three more land on Danak and another bites into Droop. Never rips one of the creatures off of Mella, sending it flying off, while Elada crushes the one which attacked Droop. Liarel returns to elf form and shoots another off of Mella right before Mella turns into a panther, sending the last creature flying off. Danak slams himself into the wall, crushing two of them, as Droop swings wildly at one of the remaining ones in the air, slashing it to pieces. The last one on Danak, fat and happy with blood, flies off. Three more attach to Elada, Liarel, and Mella, with a fourth flying around Droop. Elada quickly crushes the one attached to herself, Danak stomps the creature on Mella, and Never detaches the one on Liarel, holding it in place as Liarel stabs it with an arrow. Panther Mella bites the remaining creature out of the air, and off in the distance we hear a thundering crash.

We follow the wind and the sound of waves, Mella scouting ahead in panther form. He comes upon a large, open space covered with strange fungi and immediately returns to the group to lead us in the opposite direction. We come to a door behind which is a room full of bunks and bones, with three grey figures hunched in the middle gnawing on bones. As they turn to look at us Elada shuts and bars the door. We take the one remaining path forward, heading north and passing a storage room. Eventually we find our way to a large chamber with two long tables in the middle, again littered with skeletal remains, escarpments to either side. Mella smells rotting flesh as Danak’s light shines on a handful of grey creatures running toward us. We make quick work of the creatures and stop to check the rest of the room.

Moving forward we come upon a room with a water wheel and bellows. Inside we see more corpses (these looking somewhat less ancient than the bones we’ve encountered thus far) lying below a floating skull engulfed in green flame. We find that the skull turns to watch us no matter which door we stand in and eventually decide to just try talking to it. Mella begins to assure the skull that we are friends of the Rockseekers, but the skull seems to have no response. We decide to listen at the door down the hall from the room’s entrance. We hear voices but none of us understand what is being said until Droop tells us, “They’re hungry”. We decide to go rest on one of the escarpments before moving forward.

After our rest Droop tells us the voices behind the door are “big” and we decide we want to know more about the skull. We send Mella ahead to talk to the skull, but the moment he steps into the room the corpses beneath the skull animate and all eight of them shamble toward the hallway. Mella manages to block about half of the corpses with a flaming sphere and the group slowly manages to wear them down as the skull looks on, occasionally attacking us itself. During the fight Droop once again proves to be our most useful member, managing to make the killing blow on a few of the corpses. After a good long while the skull calls the corpses back before spitting out an explosion. While most of the group manages to jump out of the way, Liarel, Droop, and Danak fall unconscious.

We quickly realize that this is not the hill we want to die on and retreat, Elada carrying Liarel and Droop off and Mella feeding Danak a goodberry so he can run away on his own. We make our way back to the escarpment and Liarel heals everyone (having been fed a goodberry by Elada). We decide to rest again, this time in the storage room we happened upon a while back. Once we are done with our rest we head back to the skull room just to see if we can approach the room without getting attacked and promptly learn we cannot. After much discussion we decide to try the room at the end of the hall, which we suspect is full of bugbears. Before we progress we hear shuffling from one of the escarpments and see a bugbear peering down at us. We miss him with a series of ranged attacks and he runs off. We proceed to the bugbear room.

Mella listens at the door, hearing nothing. He signals and we all rush forward, but the door doesn’t budge. Elada and Mella manage to force the door open, revealing five bugbears staring back at us. We retreat and they shut the door. Left with no other way forward we decide to just try booking it through the skull room.

Under cover of a fog cloud we hear the shuffling of the reanimated corpses but run through the room anyway. In the next hallway, out of the fog, we keep running but no attack follows us. We quickly find ourselves in a large, natural cavern. There is a building ahead of us and glittering across the ceiling of the huge chamber but otherwise it sits in darkness. The floor is littered with remains. We decide to check out the building, but see a greenish glow coming from inside and realize it’s probably best if we try to proceed elsewhere.

In the room with the glittering lights, everything looks like stars. We hear a loud crashing sound and feel a light spray from a passage way to the left. Through the passageway we come to a path with a ledge to the right. Below the ledge we see a body of water flowing out of the room. We follow the ledge and come to a tunnel which leads to a natural cavern with a rift in it. Looking down we see three bugbears moving rocks. On the other side of the cavern is a drow, watching.




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The Orcs in Wyvern Tor

The group reconvenes and discusses at great length how to best handle the orcs. As this goes on, Elada hears general conversation coming from the cave, one voice louder and deeper than the rest, speaking with a heavy accent. There is more activity in the cave as time goes on. Orders are heard and the fire in the cave goes out.

We decide that this is the time to move. Liarel casts goodberry and gives two to each member of the party, then casts fog above the guard outside the cave. As the fog descends, obfuscating our approach, Mella transforms into a panther and he and Elada approach the guard through the fog. The rest of the team moves around the fog to reach either side of the cave entrance.

Within the fog, Elada hears the guard voice confusion before she and Mella stumble into him. As the guard recognizes her, Elada cuts a gash in his armor with her great sword. He responds by catching her in the shoulder with his axe. Mella leas forward and bites the guard, a terrible taste filling his mouth. The guard calls out for reinforcements just before Elada, raging, slices through his face. The guard falls and disappears into the fog. Elada runs off to the right to join Danak.

A large, hulking humanoid with a giant axe comes out of the cave followed by five orcs including Brogar. Liarel casts faerie fire, illuminating the mouth of the cave as well as the giant and one of the orcs. The giant and three of the orcs begin heading for Elada and Danak. The giant almost brings Danak down with one swing of his axe and hardly seems to feel Elada’s attack. Mella spots Brogar and one other orc scanning the area and pounces. Brogar catches Mella midair with his axe, turning him back into an elf. From the left, Never casts witchbolt, sending a wave of electrical energy out at the giant as Danak slams into him with his great axe, causing the giant to stumble to the ground, still breathing.

Having sneaked through the fog, Droop stabs his dagger into Brogar’s side causing him to drop Mella. Brogar kicks out at Droop but Droop dodges. Mella tells Droop to go into the forest and find a blue flower with red thorns. He says this is very important. Droop sees no forest.

Elada swings at the giant while fending off the orcs’ attacks. Never sends out one more blast of witch bolt and the giant falls to the ground, charred. Liarel casts Melf’s acid arrow, burning an orc that had attacked her and Never. On the other side of the cave entrance, Danak and Elada make quick work of the glowing orc, who falls and is left to bleed out. Droop stabs Brogar again before retreating.

Mella unleashes thunderwave, dashing Brogar into the rocks, killing him. Danak knocks one of the remaining orcs into another as Elada produces a length of rope. Seeing the rope, the three remaining orcs begin to flee. Mella runs into the cave to investigate and Liarel thornwhips the only orc she can still see, bringing him closer to the group. The orc tries to run away, but Elada clocks him in the face, knocking him out.

Inside the cave, Mella opens a chest to find twenty pounds worth of coins and three vials of clear liquid. He pockets all of it, unable to determine what the liquid in the vials might be.

Outside, the group binds and questions the orc, but he does not respond. Liarel and Mella heal the party and Mella offers Droop as many coins as he wants from his pack. After Droop has filled his pack, Liarel takes the remaining coins and divides them up for the group. Meanwhile Never pulls Elada out of earshot and asks her to teach her how to say “you have to tell her the truth” in orcish. After a few attempts Never is able to say the phrase in heavily accented orcish and the two return to the group. Never casts suggestion on the orc, indicating Elada as the “her” in question and the group begins questioning the orc anew.

The orc begins answering our questions, but we can’t be sure if the spell worked or if it failed and the orc is lying to us. He says that Ohbarn is their leader and that the many arrows are located about four days to the north. He says that they are thousands strong and soon this all will be theirs. Danak beheads him and the questioning is done.

Mella digs a number of graves and collects a number of teeth while the rest of us set up camp in the cave. The night goes by without incident and we head back to the Old Owl Well. As we approach Kost halts his zombies and we relay to him what we have learned. Mella mentions that an army may be coming but Kost seems unperturbed. Never looks around the ruins with her Eldritch sight, but sees nothing magical. Liarel talks to Kost who says he is there to research the history of the Owl Well, but he has yet to learn anything. He says there is a creature in Conyberry with great knowledge who may have the information he seeks-namely the identity of the Owl Well’s creator. Mella presents Kost with the vials, realizing that one has gone missing, and they are revealed to be non-magical perfume. Coming back to the group, Never sees a glow of abjuration magic and two evocation magics coming through Kost’s tent.

Kost asks us to seek out the creature named Agatha in Conyberry and tells us he is a wizard of Thay. Never knows that they are a well known faction of magic users and Danak knows that they are unfriendly with the lords of Waterdeep, his hometown. Kost says he will keep his eyes out for any other disturbances in the area and we decide to head back to Phandelin.

On our trip, Mella questions the meaning of life and Danak voices his suspicion of the Thay wizards. We are all suddenly very aware that Kost was interested in where we left the orcs’ bodies. Never gets short with Danak who continues on his explanation of why the Thay are not to be trusted.

Back in Phandelin, Danak makes sure there are no new issues in the area and we get Droop outfitted with a child’s sword and some studded leather armor. Danak, Mella, and Liarel go to the shrine of luck to discuss the banshee Agatha with the priestess there. The priestess says Agatha must be given a suitable gift in order to answer questions, but she does not know how many questions each gift is good for. The priestess gives the group a silver comb to present to Agatha and asks that we ask for the location of a spellbook. She will not say why she wants it, only that it is not for her and that she may trust us more later. Mella gets snappy with the priestess, going so far as to claim she may be evil, and the priestess seems genuinely offended. Liarel and Danak manage to get the conversation back on track and they learn that the priestess had tried to ask Agatha herself, but could not get her to appear. She believes Agatha is harmless unless provoked. They discuss whether the perfume Mella found would be a good offering to Agatha and Liarel realizes that Droop smells very strongly of perfume. She tries to tell him that less is more, but he remains unconvinced.

Elada and Never go off to check in with Derren Eddermath. He seems concerned about the wizards of Thay and the army of orcs. He says the Owl Well was an old Nethereese outpost.

The group reconvenes and runs a few errands before returning to the Townmaster’s Hall to speak with Sildar. He is concerned about the orc army and says we should send word to the Lord’s Alliance. Danak tells him about Kost and Sildar also responds with suspicion.

We decide to meet up with Gundren at the Inn.

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House rules

Here are some of the house rules I normally use in my games with some additions for my newest one. I am going to try to explain them without using the 5e rules as a base so they will still make sense to people who are not familiar with the 5e rules.

Limited Cantrips
Cantrips are the least powerful types of spells available to most casters. Any Cantrip you know is always available to use (You don’t need to prepare them each day). The number of times you can cast a cantrip per day is double the number of times you can cast a 1st level spell per day (twice your 1st level spell slots).

Warlocks get four times their known cantrips per short rest

Resting and Healing:
There are two types of rests you can take, a short rest (1 hour) and a long rest (8 hours). You can only take one long rest in a 24 hour period and gain any benefits. You can take more than one short rest in a 24 hour period but you can only gain the same benefit from a short rest once in a 24 hour period.

After a long rest you recover half your HD rounded up. You can spend them after a short or long rest

Simple Alternate Hardcore rest and healing:
When you take a long rest you roll to see how many HP you heal (if needed). The dice are your half your HD rounded up plus your constitution bonus. A HD is the die you roll for your HP at each level (d10 for fight, d8 for cleric, d6 for wizard, etc). So a 1st or 2nd level fighter rill roll a d10 + con bonus after a long rest to see how many HP are healed. A 3rd or 4th level fighter would roll 2d10 + con bonus.

When taking a short rest you may roll 1 HD and add your Con bonus to recover HP. You can only do this once per 24 hours even though you can take more than one short rest (you cant benefit from the same thing more than once in a 24 hour period when taking a short rest).

I will be experimenting with this initiative system, will probably make some adjustments as we play based on how it feels and feedback.

At the beginning of each round you will declare what you would like to do. Based on what actions you are taking you will roll a different die for your initiative. This system is experimental and will probably be changed after play.

-Lowest roll goes first
-Ties to to higher Dex
-Can delay your action until later
-Might need a way to make Dex more important, could reduce die for each +2 dex (d12->d10->d8->d6->d4->d3->d2->1)
-Roll two dice if taking more than one actions (move and attack is d6 + d8).
-Experiment with when taking multiple actions they happen at different times?
-Maybe cantrips are d6 or d8?
-If you can’t take your action because of changes before you can act you lose your action? Or can change it after everyone else has acted? or add d12 to your initiative.

d4 Ranged attack, drop held item
d6 Movement, Melee attack with light or finesse weapon, cast Cantrip
d8 Melee attack, swap gear
d10 Cast a spell, Melee attack with heavy weapon

-To change action roll new action and add to current initiative count.
-Melee attack roll damage die for initiative
-To simplify roll move and attack init together and act on total?
-If making two attacks roll both together and act on total or bump the init die up one for two attacks (d6->d8->d10->d12)? Or roll both dice and take the higher one?
-For each +2 init bonus player can reduce a die of their choice
-Use normal d20, re-roll each round, subtract from roll based on actions:
0 Ranged attack, drop held item
2 Movement, Melee attack with light or finesse weapon, cast Cantrip
4 Melee attack, swap gear
6 Cast a spell, Melee attack with heavy weapon

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Thundertree and Cragmaw Castle

We leave Phandelin in the morning to head toward Thundertree, which we know was once a prosperous community until Mt. Hooknal erupted and destroyed the area thirty years ago. Over the course of two days travel the group manages to do a bit of hunting, but not much else.

After two days we come upon a trail heading east into the ruins of Thundretree. A tower on a hill overlooks the village and the majority of the buildings are heavily dilapidated. A sign nailed to a tree reads “Danger: Plant Monsters and Zombies. Turn back now”. Liarel remembers Mirna telling her about an emerald necklace which may still be in her family’s old herb shop in Thundertree.

We cautiously approach a building toward the front of the ruins which appears to be in better shape than the rest. The door is reinforced with iron bands and the shutters are closed. Liarel opens the door and a man calls out. She responds in Druidic, asking if he is Rydoth. He confirms that he is and tells us to come in. Before giving us directions to Kragmaw Castle, Rydoth tells us that a young green dragon has taken up residence in the tower. We decide to deal with that matter another time, opting instead to head directly for Kragmaw in order to save Gundren.

We travel for a day until we come to a rocky outcrop and decide to rest for the night. Part way through her watch Never hears a voice in the distance. She wakes Mella, Liarel, and Droop just in case. Droop says the voices belong to bugbears and we come to the conclusion that they are patrolling the area as they never fully approach us.

The next morning we take a trail up to a crumbling castle consisting of seven towers arranged in a circle and joining together in the middle. We circle the castle and make note of the front entrance, a side entrance, and what appears to be a secret entrance. After much discussion the group decides to send Never to try and scare the inhabitants of the castle outside using Thaumaturgy. Unfortunately, she is quickly spotted and shot in the foot. She tries to recover the situation by making friendly conversation, but is ultimately forced to retreat. We decide to wait until dark before trying again, but hear a gruff voice coming from one of the towers a few hours into our wait and decide to send Mella (disguised as a rat) to investigate.

Mella scurries closer to the tower and overhears two voices negotiating for someone, presumably Gundren. A gruff voice says, “The agreement was for the dwarf. If you want the map you must pay.” The voices continue to argue for a short while before the gruff voice says, “Very well, question him”. Mella decides to climb up into the arrow slit to see inside the tower and finally manages it after some difficulty.

Looking inside the tower, Mella sees Gundren looking badly beaten. He is being prodded awake by a Drow woman. There is a Bugbear sitting in the corner with a wolf. When Gundren wakes the Drow asks him repeatedly who else has seen his map. He insists that no one has and she crosses the room to burn the map before turning back to approach Gundren, rapier drawn.

At this point Mella decides to intervene. He scurries into the room and quickly shifts into panther form, shocking everyone in the room. He lunges for the Drow’s throat, knocking her prone and biting her twice before shifting his stance to protect Gundren. The Bugbear (Grol) and the wolf both attack Mella, causing him to revert to elf form as the wolf drags him to the ground.

Outside, the remainder of the group realizes that it is time to act and Liarel casts Darkness into the room as we all run toward the presumed secret entrance of the castle.

In the darkness, Mella hears the Drow move and the sound of a door opening. He casts Thunderwave, hearing that he has knocked the wolf back, before grabbing Gundren and beginning the move along the wall.

The group comes through the secret entrance into a provisions room. Danak opens the door to the east, revealing the Drow bandaging herself up, Grol, and a cloud of darkness emanating from the corner. Two armored goblins come in through the door behind us. Danak rushes at Grol as one of the armored goblins turns and leaves, presumably to get reinforcements, as the other stays and attacks Danak.

In the darkness, Mella hears the commotion outside as he continues to make his way to the door. He calls out in Druidic that he has Gundren. In the next room over, Liarel cures Danak’s wounds and Never tries to cast Suggestion on Grol, telling him that he is our ally and there is no need to fight us. The armored goblin makes another attack on Danak, who defends, before Grol calls him and the wolf off.

Mella tries to have Grol attack the Drow, saying she is our enemy, but he does nothing. The Drow lunges, stabbing Gundren, who falls, before running off. Never stabilizes Gundren and Danak moves to pick him up, but Grol says to leave him, that Gundren is his. Realizing that Grol took “ally” to mean “our leader”, Elada charges at him with her sword, slashing him in the hip and breaking the Suggestion as five more armored goblins burst into the provisions room.

Mella hurls fire at one of the goblins and picks up Gundren as Elada and Grol exchange blows. In the provisions room, Liarel casts Thunderwave and knocks back three of the new goblins. Danak swings at Grol with his great axe, but misses and hits Mella instead. Danak, Never, and Elada Docus their efforts on Grol while Liarel continues to take on the five goblins in the next room over. Mella cures Danak’s wounds and Droop faints.

Mella gives the now-conscious Gundren his long sword just before the wolf lunges at the elf, knocking him to the ground. Liarel sends out another Thunderwave, knocking out three of the goblins and leaving the other two looking worn down. She notices a dwarf who looks remarkably similar to Gundren sneak out behind the goblins with a sword. He motions for her to be quiet.

In the other room the battle of three-against-Grol continues and Mella Thunderwaves the wolf back into the darkness. One of the goblins hits Liarel, who falls, and the darkness disappears. Meanwhile, another figure which looks remarkably like Liarel (henceforth “Lie-arel”) comes up behind Elada and stabs her. Never notices that something seems off with Lie-arel and attacks her with witch bolt whil Elada finally finishes Grol.

Lie-arel continues to hack at Elada, who falls unconscious, then shifts her attention to Danak. Danak and Never Fight off Lie-arel as Mella heals Elada. Danak strikes Lie-arel and she collapses, turning into an odd humanoid creature. We fight off the remaining Goblins, most of whom run away, and leave out the secret entrance. We hear voices approaching and Droop says there are “nine”. We run for the forest and see several goblins chase after us, but they do not leave the castle.

We quickly feed Gundren and make our way around Kragmaw Castle to have a better view of the exits, in hopes of catching the Drow as she runs away. After an hour we still haven’t seen anyone leave and Mella casts a location spell on the Drow’s sword, discovering that it (and hopefully, by extension, the Drow) is still in the castle. We ask Droop how many goblins are left and after thinking for a moment he says “nine”. We begin to expect that he thinks any number higher than four is “nine”.

Mella and Liarel try to sneak back into the castle through the secret entrance disguised as rats, but are chased off by two goblin guards, one of whom wears a belt made of rat tails and goes by “Rat Slayer”. After a brief scuffle they return to the forest. Danak and Never go off to join them, leaving Elada and Droop to guard Gundren.

Mella, Liarel, Danak, and Never decide to try once more, this time going through the front entrance. We loop around to the front and Liarel casts a fog cloud onto the front facing arrow slits. We rush through the front entrance until we come upon a door. Danak moves to listen at it, triggering a trap which brings stones and beams down upon us.

After a brief discussion as to whether or not this plan continues to be “worth it” we decide to press forward through the now un-trapped door. It opens into what appears to be a shrine to Lythander’s pantheon. Inside are three small goblins, one of which wears a red cloak, and a large, worm-like creature. Mella wants to clear the room and study it, as it was the subject of some of his deceased master’s studies, but he doesn’t quite know what he’s looking for. Against our better judgement we stay and fight.

There is a round of everyone missing before Danak manages to get stabbed multiple times. Mella tries to talk to the goblin priestess about the god Ohgma, but she appears to be a priestess of Magmulyet and otherwise completely uninterested in conversation. Mella lays down a small offering to Ohgma before joining the fight.

There is a brief scuffle during which one goblin is set alight, Danak Splits the Priestess’ head down the middle, and Mella turns into a panther for the second time today, then the door at the opposite end of the room swings open revealing Grol and two armored goblins. Liarel transforms into a wolf and Danak and Grol begin attacking each other, both missing several times. Never takes out the last small goblin with her mace as Grol finally lands a hit on Danak, who collapses. Never stabilizes Danak as Mella and Liarel fend off the goblins. Liarel kills one of the armored goblins and Grol and the remaining goblin retreat, calling out as they do.

More goblins appear and there is another scuffle before the group manages to get the shrine free of goblins and shut both doors. Liarel loses concentration on the fog cloud, causing it to dissipate. Elada notices this and she, Droop, and Gundren begin to run for the front of the castle. Inside, Liarel heals Danak and Mella searches the shrine. Looking behind one of the curtains, Mella finds an altar covered with a bloodstained black cloth and some ritual tools. Still a panther, Mella grabs a knife with his mouth and ransacks the altar.

We make our way out of the shrine, through the altar room, into a storeroom. We hear several goblins in the next room, which we assume to be the landing from which we entered the shrine initially and so plan to have Mella thunderwave them aside so we can make our escape. Unfortunately, when we open the crack open the door to look out Mella is struck with two arrows and falls unconscious. We close the door and stabilize him while we try to come up with a new plan.

Elada and Gundren rush up through the front entrance and kill a goblin each. Droop stabs another and hides. There is another round of attacks and Gundren falls. The group in the storeroom hear the commotion and decide that this is their chance. Never and Danak rush out to attack while Liarel carries Mella and books it. Danak picks up Gundren and Never stabilizes him. We run out of the castle, a small horde of goblins chasing us. Liarel falls and Never carries her out as Elada picks up Mella before she, too, is hit and falls. Danak gets Gundren into the forest before rushing back for Elada and Mella.

In the trees, Danak and Never take the party’s two health potions off of Mella and give them to Elada and Liarel. We make out way back to the rock formation we had camped at the previous night, Gundren and Mella waking on the way. We set up camp for the night.

Our rest is disturbed by an owlbear which appears to be following our scent. All at once Liarel and Mella hurl fire at it, Never hits it with witch bolt and Elada throws a javelin at it. Droop faints. Danak rushes forward and enters into combat with the owlbear, the two exchanging blows until Danak falls. Never continues the witch bolt and the elves keep producing flame, Liarel accidentally setting herself on fire. Gundren slashes at the owlbear wildly and Mella stabilizes Danak. Droop wakes up and leaps at the owlbear, stabbing it with his dagger, killing it. It falls over on top of him.

Mella and Liarel stabilize Elada before they and Never push the owlbear off of Droop. the small goblin looks a little worse for wear but looks up them and says, “Get ’em?” Everyone awake breathes a sigh of relief.

We finish our rest then make our way back to Phandelin, where Gundren pays everyone but Droop twenty-five gold (Liarel takes note of this injustice and gives Droop five of her gold pieces) and promises the group ten percent of the mine.

As we enter Phandelin, Gundren gives us detail directions of Wave Echo Cave. We begin to approach the town master’s hall to reunite Gundren with Sildar, who we meet exiting the building. Sildar is quite relieved to see Gundren safe and they begin to talk as we make our way to the Stone Hill Inn.

Asking around, there’s been no sign of the Redbrands and news has circulated that Mirna and her family are back home safe, which is raising the town’s spirits. Gundren buys a round of drinks and tells us he’s concerned about his brothers. Since they have yet to be seen in town, they are almost certainly at the Wave Echo Cave, where we suspect the Black Spider has a presence. We rest the night at the inn.

The next morning we decide to head off toward the Old Owlwell. On our way we quickly come upon some large rocks, spotting movement behind them. We split into two groups to try and surround whoever lies in wait. Shortly thereafter, a large humanoid figure peers out over the rocks with a javelin. Never tries talking to him, but he largely ignores her greeting and immediately demands that we give him “everything”. Never offers him her excess herbs, but he says he wants gold instead. Liarel gives him five gold pieces, pretending it’s all we have. He takes it and moves on to demanding food. Never again offers the herbs and Liarel eats a handful to prove that they are indeed edible. The giant calls Liarel stupid for eating “weeds” and says he’d rather eat elf, demanding that Liarel step forward.

At this point we realize that we cannot talk our way out of this situation and move to attack. Elada and Danak rush at the giant as Liarel casts Melf’s Acid Arrow, Mella transforms into a panther, and Droop throws his stick. After a brief fight, Droop land the killing blow and we dub him Droop the Giant Slayer. Mella and Liarel stabilize the giant and Liarel takes the time to use the giant’s javelin to write “The elf left you alive” in the ground while Elada steals the giant’s furs.

We make our way to a river to clean the furs and rest, then travel for the rest of the day and set up camp. Near morning we hear the sound of rustling leather approaching. We spot a handful of small flying creatures coming toward us. Liarel shoots one before Mella Thunderwaves them all out of the sky. Droop eats one and Mella buries the rest. Fifteen minutes later we hear a squawk followed by the sound of arrows. Liarel is hit thrice and Never once. We are surrounded by a small group of goblins. We make short work of them and raid the area for arrows before finishing our night’s rest.

The net morning we continue on our way to the Old Owlwell. We eventually come upon the crumbling ruins of an old watchtower, a colorful tent in the courtyard in front of it. A rotting smell is coming from the tower. As we approach, a horde of shambling corpses pours out of the tower. We begin to attack them but are quickly stopped by a man in a red robe with a necromatic symbol tattooed on his forehead stepping out of the tent.

We talk with the Necromancer (Kost) for a bit and learn that he only keeps the zombies about as protection against the Orcs nearby at Wyverntor. He says We are welcome to return to investigate the Owlwell if we take care of the Orcs for him. He then points us in the direction of Wyverntor and we head on our way.

Once at Wyverntor, a rocky high point in the area, we spot a cave entrance. As we approach we notice a guard hiding behind a rock. We stop to plan our approach and decide to send Elada to talk to the guard and set up a meeting. She does, telling the guard about her village of half-orcs which was destroyed by evil humans. The guard says to come back at nightfall. We quickly realize that Elada’s story complicates our association with Danak and so we decide to disguise him as Elada’s slave when we go back that night.

Around dusk Elada, Danak, Droop, and Never approach the cave entrance as Liarel and Mella hide out nearby, keeping watch. The guard calls for “Brogor” and an orc comes forward introducing himself as Brogor Axebiter of the Clan of Many Arrows. He is accompanied by another giant humanoid. We try to convince them to leave and never return by telling them of a mythologized version of Danak who recently came into Phandelin, but they are unperturbed and reveal themselves to be scouts observing the area for an army of thousands. Brogor says he will let us leave for our information and we head out.

When we regroup we acknowledge that we can’t scare them off and begin to plan for a fight.

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A dark figure approaches on a steed of Fire and Smoke, of shiny black hair; its mane, hooves, and tail ablaze. Ireena stands in shock at the sudden explosion of lightning, standing over the pool where her ostensible former husband and lover Sergei’s face once shone; we realize, too late, that Sergei may in fact have been the same Sergei who was mentioned in Madame Eva’s tent at the turning of the 5th card, the Broken Man. Strahd, we believe, envied the most his brother, who we suppose is this same Sergei. Ireena calls for Sergei desperately. Corrina tries to oust her from her stupor, but to no avail. She remains unresponsive, Corinna struggling to pull her away, until Mondross and Elmer join in. We drag her to cover in the trees nearby the pool, and spread out in as tactical a fashion as we can, caught off guard as we are.

Strahd, for indeed it is he atop the Night-Mare, lands by the pool and alights gracefully. He is dressed nobly, as if to welcome a Queen. Elmer takes the lead and starts walking towards the pool, calling out to the Vampire as he goes. Strahd ignores him, examines his handiwork in the pool, and is nonplussed by whatever it is he sees in the water. He turns to meet Elmer as he approaches, parlaying all the while, and interrupts, speaking to all of us.

“It appears I owe you my gratitude. Please, do not cower, come forth.” Elmer holds his hand out and introduces himself for the umpteenth time, and Strahd, as if he finally recognizes Elmer’s presence, greets him.

“Ah, Elmer Von Doot, we meet again. The appropriate greeting for your Lord would be a kneel.” Elmer complies, smiling and giving his most gracious kneel.

“Why do you still travel with this group when you could be so much more? Come with me, and not just for dinner. Come to my castle, and rule by my side.”

As the group begins to protest, Elmer turns and, with permission from Strahd, begins proselytizing to the group the virtues of working for such a man. Among such virtues he posits that in such a position of power we may influence Strahd to take pity on the common folk and create one day a week where they may be merry, he suggests calling in “Sunday.” Of course, he says, every other day would still be Strahd’s domain, and he begins listing off “Strahderday,…”

Olana, thinking herself concealed, casts Tasha’s Hideous Laughter upon Elmer in an attempt to break him from Strahd’s influence, at the least physically. He falls to the ground laughing, and Strahd turns to glare directly at Olana’s hiding place, shaking his head in disappointment.

“This is what I speak of, Elmer, these piteous creatures are beneath you.” He takes a moment to look at Elmer writhing with laughter on the floor, and around at each of us.

“And to whom do I owe my gratitude for saving my dear Tatyana?” Ignoring his question, Corinna asks if Ireena is the wife of his brother, Sergei. His placid face betrays naught to her, but Mondross recognizes the smallest and subtlest of cringes at the mention, as if she had struck him.

“Hrm. She will be my bride,” and looking at Ireena, calls “come with me!” Corinna attempts to negotiate for a trade of Ireena for Elmer, but Strahd takes little notice, and speaks almost to himself. “Yes, the pool… Eva warned me there was a way, and that you all would lead me to it…”

Ireena, crying, stands and begins walking towards Strahd. It is unclear whether she does so by his command, or simply out of defeat. Mondross and Corinna attempt to stop her, but she is strong. They slow her enough for Mondross to cast Calm Emotions upon her (and, incidentally, Elmer), and she stops. He tries to rouse her from her trance, and she seems more responsive than before, yet still distraught. We hear a growling behind us and turn to see a pack of wolves encircling us, nearly 15 in total. They stand, awaiting orders from their Master.

“I thought you owed us your gratitude?” Corinna asks Strahd, motioning to the wolves.

“Ah, yes, of course. Join me, for dinner.”

“We still have some obligations we need to take care of.”

“Then I will give you a choice” Strahd says, “Keep either Ireena or Elmer. The other comes with me.” At the mention of his name, Elmer finally stops his fitful laughter. He rises and appeals again to us, saying he thinks Strahd’s castle is the “Dizzying Heights” that Eva’s card referred to, and that he might be able to discover its secrets should he go with Strahd. Though it is overcast, Elmer’s Shadow creeps towards Ireena, greedy arms outstretched and ready to grasp her, but it retreats when we notice it.

Elmer volunteers for the mission he created, and goes to Strahd. The team is at a loss for what to do; lose Ireena, the woman we’ve kept safe for so long, or certainly lose Elmer, our friend. He mounts the Hellsteed, and Strahd mounts behind him. Corinna tries to block their exit and tell Strahd to take Ireena, but he ignores her pleas and begins flying away.

Struck by the sudden realization of what was happening, and the consequences of a world without Elmer, Olana sprints forth as Strahd ascends, and using Misty Step teleports between Strahd and Elmer in an attempt to grapple the latter off of the horse. Elmer holds fast, and Strahd tries to swat Olana off the horse.

Below, Elgian tries, in vain, to get Ireena to the pool to reunite her with her lover. Corinna attempts to attack Strahd with a bolt of flame, but it bounces harmlessly off his shoulder. Olana casts an explosive spell behind the horse in an attempt to dislodge either Strahd or herself and Elmer, but to little effect. In response, Strahd grasps Olana and suddenly drains her of her vitality, leaving her unconscious. Elmer, realizing his chance, calls forth the Lord of Morning Lathander’s light onto Strahd, casting Daylight. A beacon springs forth from Strahd’s clothing. He is startled, but the light does not otherwise faze him. Ada and Corinna shoot arrows at Strahd, but they bounce off his back. Mondross and Elgian still try to get Ireena to the pool, but she resists, still stuck in despair.

Strahd finally finds himself bored of his charges, and pushes Elmer and the unconscious Olana off his mount. We fall, and Elmer lands heavily, letting out a startled grunt. Olana seems to take the fall much better and is silent. Elmer heals Olana, all the while cursing Lathander for the God’s betrayal of him, for his light did nothing but annoy the Vampire Lord. Strahd circles on his horse above, and his wolves do nothing as the scene plays out.

Mondross and Elgian finally get Ireena to the pool, and Mondross jumps in to seek the light that formerly graced the waters; he finds the pool dark and murky. Corinna tries to push Ireena in, but Ireena repels the assault. Elgian shoulders her in, in a desperate attempt to undo what we did when we separated the two lovers, and she falls in ungracefully. This wakes her somewhat from her stupor, but still she simply begins climbing out of the pool. Strahd lands next to her, and offers his hand. She takes it, and mounts the horse. Without a word the horse begins to fly away, and the wolves slink back into their woodland asylum. We hear Strahd’s ethereal invitation again, “join me for dinner at my castle soon, you are always welcome…” as the image of the flame-wreathed couple disappears into the mists and clouds.

The silence which follows is reflected on the faces of the Company. Those by the pool sit forlornly, some staring into space, others at the water where Ireena’s redemption lay, not moments ago. Olana, drained and bloodied from the fall, slowly and methodically labors to clear the statue of Lathander of detritus, and rights it with Mondross’ help. She begins to pray, ignoring Elmer as he urinates on the statue, calling Lathander the sorts of names normally reserved for sordid lovers, and neglectful family. He rants about the Morning’s betrayal, and asks why his Lord would ignore his pleas for sunlight so.

Mondross ponders the encounter and realized that something magical must have kept Strahd safe from the assaults they levied against him. Elmer, in understandable frustration, ponders quitting the life of the adventurer and starting a bakery. The suggestion is thrown about that now that Ireena is in Strahd’s possession, we might recruit Izaak to our cause. After a long while, the group stirs and mournfully heads towards their original destination, the Abbey on the hill.

They walk through the town, and ascend the switchback road approaching the abbey. The air cools, and the walk is steep. Emerging through the mists they find the abbey, a light dusting of snow covering the area. The graveyard overhangs the ridge, and below we can see hints of the town, 400 feet below. We approach the gates to the Abbey, and call out. Two creatures emerge from the guard-posts abreast the gate, they are strange amalgams of humans and other creatures, not sewn together but fused. The ear of a cat, the hand of a monkey, the wing of a bat. We ask to see the Abbot, and they lead us inside. They introduce themselves as Siegfried and Otto. The guards at the battlements of the curtain walls appear from afar as men, but as we approach we realize they are but scarecrows, equipped with mail hauberks and spears, cowls covering their nonexistent faces. The group approaches the Abbey proper, screams filling the air from sheds nearby, emanating other chimeric creatures, surely. We spy a copper placard with the inscription:

“The Abbey of Saint Markovia”

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We leave the winery with a cart and one of the cleansed barrels and head for Kresk. Not long into our journey we come to a T in the road and stop as Mondross hears voices up ahead. Mondross sneaks through the trees and stops as he comes upon a human who appears to be sneaking toward us. The man confronts Mondross, who says we are entertainers. Corrina sneaks into the treeline as Elgian starts juggling. The man identifies himself as Anton, says his group is out trapping. They notice the wine and suggest we drink it with dinner together. When Olana says that we can’t give them the wine they imply that they will eat us and transform into werewolves.

Within seconds both Corrina and Elgian are bitten. Mondross hums a discordant tune causing one of the wolves to scream in pain. Ada shoots at a wolf and Elgian stabs at it with silvered arrows. Olana hurls magic missiles at the same. Corrina casts Thunderwave, knowcking two wolves back, before hiding in the treeline. In short order both Mondross and Elmer are bitten. There is a great deal of rather undignified attempts at fighting until the wolves eventually run off. Elmer casts a much needed prayer of healing and we continue on our way.

We eventually cross an old stone bridge into another forested area and come upon a town on a mountainside. We reach the gatehouse where four guards tell us that no one may enter Kresk. Corrina explains Ireena’s situation and the guards bring forward Dmitrit Kreskoff who demands an explanation for our presence. Corrina explains again, this time making particular note of our wine shipment. Dmitri allows us entry in exchange for the wine.

Once inside Kresk Ireena begins to walk up the road without us. She says she hears someone calling to her, that they sound strangely familiar. She leads us to a shimmering pool with a gazebo and a statue of the Morning Lord nearby. As she approaches the pool the image of a handsome youth appears in the water, his face filled with joy. He calls out for Tatiana and Ireena responds, calling him Sergei. They run through a brief bit of exposition, stating that they were married and that Sergei was a prince and a man of faith. Ireena reaches for the image and a hand reaches out of the water toward her.

Panicking, Corrina and Ada pull her away from the water as a dark peal of thunder rings out and a voice calls, “She is mine” before lighting strikes the water. We see a dark horse with hooves of flame and a familiar rider flying toward us.

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