Undead or Not Undead
This adventure began in Hanmer, where Hitomi Reju discovered a sign in the marketplace advertising for a group to help some landowners from the town of Gaithos to discover what was happening to people and animals in the town.
Gathering the group
Reju and some others he'd met in the Red Dragon Inn went to the Riverside Rest, where they were interviewed by Garabald, one of the landholders in the town. Some of the town's residents claimed to have spotted undead lurking around their homes and farms, and the landholders were hiring adventurers to investigate. Apparently, the land's ruler, Duke Mirdael had refused to send aid, and that there is some bad blood between his land, Hanaellan, and the White Alliance.
Unbeknownst to this group, Garabald had interviewed others, including Mace Nighthammer, a member of the Facilitators' Guild of Hanmer, a group dedicated to solving people's problems by any means necessary. Mace negotiated a separate contract from the others, but still ingratiated himself to the party, not revealing his connections.
Journey to Gaithos
The party made their way along the King's Road, posing as the retinue of one of Reju's companions, a local noblewoman and mage named Fiona Barthos, so as not to anger the Duke. The first night, they stopped at a watch tower, where they were attacked by a band of gnolls. The next morning, a group of the Duke's men came through, and Fiona was able to get them to bypass the group.
The group stayed the next night in the town of Ralidon before leaving the road to travel east. There, they met a group of Dwarven merchants traveling to Hanmer. The leader, Dwarren, spoke with Reju and exchanged some local news. Reju offered the three a chance to join in the fight against the undead, but the Dwarves declined.
In the town
The next day, the party arrived in Gaithos during a rainstorm. They were briefly interviewed by the mayor, Zabar. They were told they would be staying with another of the local landholders, Delmar Zorchglimmer, who it turned out was an old acquaintance of Mace. They got a rundown of the attacks thus far, which included at least one that killed a local farmer, an old man named Parten. The party interviewed a young farmhand, Ban, who saw several creatures, eight or nine feet tall, which ran off toward the town graveyard upon being spotted. The group decided to see if they could track the creatures, and went off in search of the culprits.
The ogre lair
After SpringRite, an Elven warrior, tried with no success to find evidence of tracks in the local cemetery, the group broadened their search. The party eventually discovered that, contrary to the suspicions of the locals that these attacks were being carried out by undead creatures, the attacks were actually being made by a band of ogres that had taken up residence under Hermit's Hill, just east of the town. On their way to investigate, they encountered a pair of Elves: a druid named WoodLock and his wife, a mage named RainSong, who had also come to this hill to investigate something -- the disappearance of the local druid, Laden, who had lived on top of that hill.
Searching the hill revealed that the ogres were living in a cave on the far side of the hill. During the course of fighting the ogres, the party discovered that behind their lair was the beginnings of a Dwarven mine, being worked by a Dwarf named Sleepsor. He told the party that one of the ogres was actually only half-ogre, and had some divine spell ability. Armed with this new information, the party continued their assault on the ogres' lair. After a tough battle, several of the ogres were killed and the rest forced to flee.
A new wrinkle
With the ogres dispatched, the party returned to Gaithos. Since they had not killed all the ogres, the party was to be given only half the agreed-upon payment. However, Zabar discovered that the gold that was to be used to pay them was missing. The party was accused, and left on bad terms with the local landowners. Reju was particularly angered, as being accused of such a crime constituted a blot on his honor, and he became focused on clearing his name.
The party decided they would now take up the mystery of Laden's disapperance, and the search of the hill commenced. Laden's cabin at the top of the hill was discovered, along with evidence that he might have been killed by men working for Duke Mirdael, a theory that remain unconfirmed. Following this discovery, WoodLock and RainSong determined that they needed to inform The Cabal, a powerful druidic organization in Shael i'Vor, that Laden was most likely dead. The party decided to accompany them.
Off to see the druids
Along the way, the party stayed at an encampment of fugitives from Semmarch led, apparently, by three people -- Bilar, Petroch, and Caltiera. They found out more about Duke Mirdael, and one of the fugitives, an archer named Airlia brings the party to The Crossroads, where they met with a weapons dealer named Sidara. She further directed them to a Dark Elven diviner named Chardilya. Though some in the group were uneasy with this, the group agreed to meet with her to get further information.
Upon their return to camp, the party agreed with Petroch that the situation in Semmarch should not be allowed to stand. However, Petroch was hesitant to trust them, and asked them to undertake a mission to retrieve the Rod of Zathmore from the Swamp of Undeath. The party agreed to consider the mission, and left to continue their journey to Shael i'Vor. After a battle against a pack of gibberlings, the party arrived in Warshick, where they met Alysten and Bludjon, who joined them.
Shortly thereafter, it was revealed that Thesgna had a split personality, and that the other -- a thief named Angst -- was the one who had stolen the mayor's gold, but had been unable to get it out of town. Thesgna was then kept bound and asleep, but she accidentally died when she choked on Alysten's sleep potion while bound.
The next day, the party set off along the East-West Road, and soon encountered a group of guards, who were delivering a message for Lord Callidor. As they were talking, a Dwarf named Khalistov also arrived, and decided to join the party. After another battle, this time with hobgoblins, the party arrived in Nazivonema. There, they parted company with the two Elves, at least in part due to the party's desire to have Thesgna resurrected.
Cast of characters
Characters involved at various points during this adventure included:
- Airlia - NPC
- Alysten - run by Wendy Marques
- Bludjon - run by Gerry O'Neill
- Delmar Zorchglimmer - NPC
- Fiona Barthos - run by Randy Hammer
- Hitomi Reju - run by Jamie Tachiyama
- Khalistov - run by Sean Cook
- Mace Nighthammer - run by Vinny Beckles
- RainSong - NPC
- SpringRite - run by David Greenwood
- Thesgna - run by Phil Vlasak
- Thomlin - run by Shelley Proulx
- WoodLock - NPC
This was the first official Ardrana adventure for the Blind Gamers' Group.
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