Noble House: A D&D 4E Essentials Campaign

Episode 10: "The Druid's Grove"

Note: This is from the recollections of Xune’ril

Time: Evening
Location: Toadswallow Swamp

After alot of confusion and mayhem created by our heros, everyone eventually escapes the cave behind the waterfall.

The thief, Alexa takes an interest in the sparkly in the water below, which just happens to be surrounded by alot of bones. But no one wants to take the risk at this time. Maybe later – much later.

Our heroes all meet up in the swamp, with 16 extras (the halfling children). We are all damp and muddy, since it is raining, again. We can hear our pursuers, so we must move on and try to lose them in the swamp.

We need to, as fast as possible, Xune reiterates, get back to the river’s edge so that we can dump, er, I mean drop off all of the kids.

After a few wet and muddy hours, we believe that we are safe and no longer being followed.

Very early the next morning (the sun has not risen yet), we find the camp. We barge in, and all of the children run off to be reunited with their families. (its about time)

They are so grateful, that they let us stay for the day and rest over night. They feed us too – first good hot meal in a while. The elder halfling woman (Goladrada) agrees to take us up the river on the raft, to Tor’s Hold.

Goladrada also tells us that Tor’s Hold is merely a collection of farmers, mainly human. The elder’s son took over Tor’s Hold after his death.

At one point during the course of the day, Alexa hands Xune a note. Xune noticed almost immediately that the seal had been broken – probably Alexia trying to open it and read it. But since the script was not in a language that she knew, she attempted to reseal it and then deliver it.

During the night, our poor Tondrek does not sleep well. He tossed and turned, almost as though he was having nightmares.

The next morning we set off up-river to Tor’s Hold, on the raft. There is no other river traffic that we can see.

During our travel, Xune spots a rider on a horse very near the river, in the tree line. As soon as it sees us, it takes off back through the trees and disappears.
Khufu makes an executive decision to pull over. just in case he was a spy and went to report back. So now we are forced to travel on foot, through high grass, for the next several hours.

Time passes.

We can now see Tor’s Hold in the distance. It is late in the afternoon and the sun is about ready to set. There are a few structures, some farms, cow’s etc. We believe that the long building is a good place to start looking for someone to speak too.

As we approach, 3 people exit the building and start to come toward us. They are all human and look related to each other.

After some interesting dialog, she takes us through the back entrance, to a small sitting room. We discover that this woman in Bran’s wife. She confirms that he is working with the resistance against the Iron Circle.

We need to go to the Druid’s Grove – that has been our ultimate destination for some time now. We are allowed to stay for the night, and we will leave first thing in the morning.

Alexia arranges horses for us, as long as we pay for them, and tells Bran’s wife that we will return them to Bran, once we get to the grove. As a precaution, she gets Bran’s wife to write us a note stating that we are “friends”.

Time passes.

As we near the grove, Xune can see black smoke rising to the north of the grove. Probably a camp of some kind. We find 2 humans, Iron Circle, watching the grove.

Since none of us can properly impersonate the Iron Circle, a fight ensues. We win, of course. But we are surprised that they have another ‘demon in a gold box’. Hmm, I wonder where they are getting these from.

We also replenish our rations with the food that we found in the other tent. There is alot of food here. It looks like they were going to be here a while. Hmm, I wonder why they were watching the grove.

We finally make our way into the grove itself. These trees are huge, and I mean really huge.

We approach 6 figures, Cutter points to one – that is Reithan. She greets us as we approach. (she has been expecting us – why does that not surprise me) I believe that she is an elf. The other 5 are Bran, 3 half-elves and another human.

Reithan calls Cutter “Adelbar”. Hmm, interesting, a sheep in wolves clothing, or is it the other way around.

Reithan mentions something about the king of all devils is coming. She invites us into the hut, with the magic fire. <one>. Reithan tells / shows us that the Iron Circle is held up in a keep in Harken, and that Nazin Redthorn never leaves it.

So now we have to figure out how to get Nazin to come out. And assaulting that fortress head-on probably is not the wisest solution.

She is going to send us to an ancient eladrin temple, where we should be able to find some information on where the other Blood Tears are (in order to remove their curse) and an armory, where we should be able to find some weapons required in order to defeat the Iron Circle. It’s in the feywild – oh joy.

Reithan sends Cutter on an errand to the elves. He takes to silver axes before he departs.

We rest and then head out in the morning. Rythar leads us to the stone path that we must follow. Once we get to the end, we must recite the ritual which will teleport us to the fey wild, where we will continue to follow another stone path to the temple.

Once we can see the temple in the clearing, a childish voice yells out a riddle. Alexia, in haste, answers it, incorrectly of course. So the Sphinx attacks.

After its defeat, the very large golden doors to the temple open. We walk in, only to find another set of marble doors down the path. Tondrek pushes the doors open to reveal a very narrow path surrounded by large piles of skulls. Skulls of all kinds and shapes.

As we near a pedestal, one of the skulls animates and lands on it. It will answer questions for skulls. The marble doors close behind us.

Khufu asks it where the location of the 9 blood tears are. It answers that one of them is in the pommel of a sword that belongs to a warrior who lost his soul and that the rest are in the vault of Laryn Kar.

The skull demands a skull for payment for answering the question. After some arguing, Tondrek decides to take the initiative by hitting it perfectly square on the head with his hammer.

As we defeat this foe, all of the remaining piles of skulls turn to ash. We can see a passageway beyond…

Episode 9: "Toadswallow Meet"

Time: Late Afternoon
Location: Toadswallow caves

Near a waterfall they believed the bullywugs entered with the missing halfling children, the thief, Alexa was caught in an Iron Circle tent she was investigating by a guard who’d come back from hunting. Failing to escape the tent, the guard and Alexa had words, which ended with Alexa putting a dagger through the man’s throat. She finds a strange necklace made of mushrooms around the dead guard’s neck and takes it. Alexa sprints back to the party.

While waiting for Alexa to finish her scouting, the remaining party hears the sound of something coming up the path behind them. They scurry to hide while the assassin, Xune’ril circles the approaching sounds and comes up behind a group of bullywugs with some human children in tow. The bullywugs and the party spot each other simultaneously and a fight begins. Alexa arrives and climbs a tree and rains death from above.

Bullywugs dead, human children run off into the swamps, the party makes its way to the waterfall and the cave mouth. While climbing the assassin noticed something in the pool below, a strange “stone” surrounded by skeletal remains.

Passing into the cave, each wearing one of the mushroom necklaces, they are allowed to enter by the bullywug guards. Within they find a strange meeting hall of sorts. Various distributed caves where dwellers from below and above the surface come to trade goods (jewelry, animals, slaves, etc.). In the market area of the caverns, the party meets Senta, a drow merchant and her body guard – a legendary figure from the southern drow lands. The warpriest, Tondrek also has an encounter with b, a duergar. The two quickly come to dislike each other. She makes it known she’d like to take him back with her down below – as a pet.

They quickly find, with the help of a goblin trader named Boshke, that there are more than just the Halfling children here as slaves, but also many others from around the Harken area. The halflings are kept in cages above a greenhouse of toadstools – tended by giant, sentient mushrooms. The children provide fertilizer and will eventually BE fertilizer. The party arranges to buy the children from Boshke.

While waiting for the children to be delivered, they come upon the throne room/bath of the bullywug lord. He is in conversation with an IC adept and his troops. The IC open a golden box, and out steps a spine devil! The devil is trying to impress upon the bullywug lord that he needs to do what he has agreed to: 1) Harass the local humans. 2) Find the “ring” and 3) grow more of the mushrooms for the IC troops. The group quickly decides to take out the bullywug lord and leave the bodies of the IC as proof that it was THEY who killed the lord – hopefully sparking a war between the two. Minutes later the IC and all the bullywugs are dead and the party has the head of a dead IC adept in a sack.

Back up in the market area of the Toadswallow, the party meets Boshke and he has the halfling children in tow. Alexa and the party (with the help of the drow Senta) begin squabbling with the goblin over the price of the children as the Xune’ril sneaks the children out of the cave. As all of this is going on, a small goblin child repeatedly attempts to steal goods out of Alexa’s back pack.

Xune’ril and the children get free of the cave complex and meet Cutter who has been waiting outside. All of them flee into the swamps. Meanwhile, the rest of the group makes a run for the cave exit with the goblins, duergar and bullywugs in pursuit. Tondrek is separated as they are fleeing and has to bowl over two duergar enemy to get free. They all race down the twisting, wet, stone path from beneath the waterfall and make for the swamp…

Episode 8: "The River Crossing"

Time: Afternoon
Location: A small farm in the Harken Forest.

Having slain a cadre of Iron Circle troops attacking a local farm, the party began searching and stripping the bodies. While the thief was in charge of that, Khufu the druid began talking to the farmer Dane and his wife Fiona.

“They’ve been taking from us for weeks. I gave them what I could, but they came back for more – more than I could give. When I told them that I had no more that they could have, their insane leader, that woman over there, told them to crucify me! She was also hollering about some southlanders they were looking for and a magic ring. Neither my wife and I had any idea what she was talking about.” ~ Dane the farmer.

The party left Dane and his wife behind and continued to make their way to the Druid Grove wearing the tabards and other accoutrements of the dead Iron Circle troops.

Nearing a dusty roadway, the party heard the sounds of a skirmish. The thief snuck ahead to apprise the situation. She watched as 2 wagons were being road down by a platoon of Iron Circle soldiers. The thief quickly scampered back and informed the party. In a quick engagement, they dispatched the armored brigade, but not before the wagons were destroyed and most of the occupants killed, save one, an immaculetly dressed woman.

The woman became enraged and started accosting the group for waiting to long and letting her servants get killed, her wagons destroyed and her fine garments spread to the winds! After listening to her tirade the thief felt she was a danger to the group – as she would betray them to the Iron Circle once she made it to Harken. A quick shot from her bow settled the matter. The silence was short. Not even the Knight, Sir Alexander objected.

Searching the bodies, Tondrek noticed that one of the bodies, the slain tiefling leader, appeared to be bloated. Almost as if being “blown up” from the inside. The group quickly moved to burn the bodies and make the attack appear as if by simple brigands. With that, they continued to make their way around Harken to the Druid Grove.

Early the next morning they arrived at Brode’s Crossing, a small outpost of halflings and humans. The halflings operating a tavern named the Broken Oar and a fleet of rafts that went up and down the White River. Meanwhile a crusty man by the name of Harrigan Brode operated a ferry service that went from one side of the river to the other. Brode’s ferry service was in conjunction to a small general store.

The party was met by a halfling by the name of Hailey as they entered “town” who promptly escorted them to the Broken Oar. The group rested, ate, drank and prepared themselves for further adventures, eventually making a deal with Hailey to take them upriver by raft. The party would later break this deal when Harrigan Brode entered the tavern and told them that the halflings were thieves. They agreed to use his ferry service to cross the river, much to the dismay of Hailey.

On the other side of the river the party found themselves in the muck of Toadswallow, a mire on the east side of the White River. As they journeyed by foot up river they encountered a group of halflings whose rafts were smashed and many of them lay dead. They cried that some monstrous creatures had toppled their rafts and stolen some of their goods – but more importantly some of their children! Grudgingly taking up the cause, the party set off after the monsters. Not long into their trek, the found the body of a dead halfling girl drowned in the swamp. As daylight waned they broke through the murky treeline to discover a waterfall – the prints of the monsters indicating they’d gone inside the falls…

At the base of the falls, on a dry hillock of land, lay a large tent. The thief, as thieves are prone to do, snuck up to the tent and looked inside. The tent was empty of people but on the back wall, painted in red, black and gold was the icon of the Iron Circle!

Next: Rescue and Rewards!

Episode 7: "Bandits of the Forest"

Valathrax the black was dead. It’s dark blood scorching the earth and corrupting everything it touched. A dragon’s heart is a powerful source of that refined elixir known by various names, but most commonly Residuum. A golden remnant of power handed down by the gods…

Location: Dal Nystiere / Cave outside Yisarn’s lair.
Time: Early Morning

As the party dealt with the loss of Quinn Casara to the foul eladrin soul inhabiting the cursed gold armor, they were approached by a group of armed people. Their leader, named Krow, befriended them and thanked them for saving his village of Bullshadow from the predations of the evil black dragon Valathrax. The party was invited back to the village to celebrate the death of the dragon.

The thief, sent back to the circle of stones to find Cutter who’d remained behind when the party entered the workshop of the undead sorcerer, saw Cutter talking to an owl. The owl then flew away, exploding in a shower of falling leaves. Suspecting evil intent, the thief returned to the party without alerting Khufu the druid. After a brief conversation, the druid elected to go talk to Cutter. The guide said he’d been speaking to a druid by the name of Reithann and that the Iron Circle has begun to close their fist on the Harkenwold.

Eventually the party arrived in Bullshadow, a tiny village surrounding a giant, ancient, minotaur statue. Its inhabitants human with a tiny kobold contingent. The group entered the town confident of their abilities. Plied with wine, beer and mead at the village’s tiny cramped in, the party fell easily to the drug mixed within their libations…

They awakened in cramped cells, their weapons missing and to the sounds of a distressed woman. The thief quickly picked his cell door lock and freed the rest of his companions. While attempting to assist the woman, a fellow prisoner, the druid put his foot in the wrong place, the dreaded creaking floorboard…alerting a winged Naga, hidden behind a curtain in the room!

The fight was fast and furious as the knight and Khufu attempted to wrangle the Naga with rope from their packs and snap her neck! Unfortunately this plan did not work and to make matters worse the cacophony of battle brought Krow and Weila to the Naga’s aid! Eventually the Naga and Krow lay dead at the adventurers feet – but Weila had escaped up a flight of stairs – the party was later to learn that Weila, a group of her men and the kobolds had escaped from the village.

Got rope

Investigating their surroundings, the party surmised that the Naga, Krow, Weila and others were members of a cult of Tiamat. They found a tunnel leading to a clearing outside the village, which was obviously the drop-off/pick-up point for someone – possibly slavers as the woman freed from the cells with them indicated she was from another village.

The party returned to Bullshadow looking for blood, but discovered that the inhabitants (other than Weila, etc.) appeared to have been innocent(??) and submitted to the villagers desire to have a defender appointed to the town, now that Krow was dead and Weila fled. Margo, the local tavern owner, accompanied the party to the elf enclave, where the chief of the Woodsinger elves, Eriyel, appointed Israfen, her best scout, to return to the village and see to its defense.

Eriyel gave her word that she would assist the humans against the Iron Circle (IC) – as they had completed her request – the slaying of her former husband, the undead wizard Yisarn. With that the group left for the Druid Grove, were Cutter said they were needed in defense of the Harkenwold from the Iron Circle.

Sneaking around the Harkenwold, avoiding IC scouting parties, the group avoided conflict until they ran into a small farmstead being accosted by IC troops. A short battle later and the Iron Circle soldiers lay dead…

Next Session: Druids, Toads and other unsavory matters…

Episode 6: "The Reavers of Harkenwold" (part II)

The party finds finds the lost city of Arachoran and encounters its long dead Queen…

Next: After a fight with a dragon, what is there left to do?? Stay Tuned!

Episode 5: "The Reavers of Harkenwold" (part I)

The party returns to the caravan only to be confronted by an armed retinue of the Iron Circle

Episode 4: "The Hunt"

The party tracks a ferocious beast who has killed members of the caravan and taken a child…

Episode 3: "An Older Power"

The party encounters the Nymph, Raisa, a power from long ago who resides in a glade. She is “worshipped” by a clan of goblins, who listen to her song…

Episode 2: "The Two Towers" (part II)

After arriving at the two towers and surviving the drake attack, the party encounters a mysterious girl named Avril and are assaulted by the Kulex!

Episode 1: "The Two Towers" (part I)

Where the players are charged with going ahead of the caravan and checking on two structures that lie ahead along the King’s Road. Two, squat towers jut from the surrounding grassland, but they can barely be seen from where the caravan sits up in the mountains. The party is tasked by Curion to make sure the area is all clear for the caravan to arrive as the towers sit on a short plateau that would make a good site to camp the caravan for awhile…

The campaign began with the characters meeting with Curion and being assigned to travel ahead of the caravan to the so-called, “Two Towers.”

Along the road they encountered a strange marble column, obviously pulled to this location by some unseen hand…

At the tower they would confront 2 drakes and meet a little girl named Avril…


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