Mission 04, Journey to Shadowed Keep
Party: Hilniflit, Franmar, Fledermaus, Exandra, Ioelena, Finial
Day 0: Settled up with the city taxes for Mission 03 loot. Guild Kitty after buying supplies: 425 GP, 5 SP
Day 01: The party, after meeting with Ashryn to settle taxes, gets a message from Yanos Fazumin at The Arcane Codex, Library of Knowledge and Scrolls saying he has news for us. He says the bone white sticks Hil brought back from the last mission are evidence of a fey protector-of-the-grove expiring. However, he can't explain why there are buds growing back.
(P) then heads South out of Westmarch towards the Bugbear Stronghold to check in and see what's up. The night at the edge of the woods is uneventful.
Day 02: As (P) heads south through the woods, Fledermaus finds a shortcut that brings them to a small temple covered in writhing snakes. Hilniflit speaks with the snakes and learns just about nothing at all except the snakes like their home. The snakes allow (P) to search the temple and they find it is dedicated to Sarenrae, god of the sun and depicted as a rising angel. They find a ceremonial table with an ornate ceremonial dagger (too delicate to use as a weapon). Franmar decides to take it without the party's knowledge and then second guesses himself and quietly returns it as the party moves on. The night in camp passed uneventfully.
Day 03: Light rain slows (P) progress and even sets their nerves on edge as they were startled by a party of raccoons that Hilniflit decided not to talk to. When the party arrives at the Stronghold, they find it covered in a swarm of crows, feasting on the goblin corpses the party left behind. They decide to make camp in the stronghold, so they begin by moving the corpses out to the garbage moat. The crows aren't very happy about this, but at least we left them their meal instead of incinerating it. You're welcome, crows! Near dawn, the watch was engulfed in an unexplained swarm of moths and bugs.
Day 04: The rain clears and as (P) moves on to Dulwich, they come across a man painting in the wilderness. He is painting a picture that appears to be Fledermaus fighting a large, silver cat. (P) begins to grill the painter and he responds by fading away, leaving his painting behind. (P) inspects the painting and find everyone in the party is somewhere in the painting. Before they can lay hands on it, it fades away as well.
(P), bewildered and kind of skeeved out, move on to Dulwich where they head straight to Saini to ask about the painter. She doesn't know anything about him and has never heard of anything like it. When asked about the Shadowed Keep, she says it's filled with bandits, lead by a she-devil. She also mentions that she has heard the great adventurer, Valentein (who once held the Keep) possessed maps to Khundrakar, the dwarven mine to the South. She offers (P) 200gp if they would bring those maps to her. (P) asks about getting copies made and she says they'd be worth significantly less if there were copies.
(P) decides to spend the night in the Dancing Bear Inn. Hilniflit meets a sad young woman named Cora whose father has gone missing recently. He is a fisherman and disappeared on the lake at some point. She begs us to see if we can find him, but she doesn't know enough to even know where to start looking for him aside from the fact he's been missing for a week. Hilniflit tells Cora to write Hil at the Guild if she uncovers any more clues.
Day 5: It's windy as (P) approaches the Shadowed Keep. The Keep is rectangular, with a high stone wall. It has a tower in the Southeast corner near the entrance and a donjon (castle condominium) in the opposite corner that is a couple stories tall and partially unfinished. The gate is found to be slightly open, with enough room for one to slip through at a time. Just as the party slips in, a half-elf named Firean, wielding a spear emerges from the tower, followed by a male human named Cullen and his wolfhound (Fang). Firean asks (P) what it is they're doing here and the party tries to play it off like they didn't know the Keep was occupied… and that we were um… cleaners. Here to uh… clean the Keep. Firean doesn't buy this and asks if we are bandits or adventurers and (P) admits they are adventurers. Firean then mentions that the donjon is infested with goblins. They mostly keep to themselves, but they come out occasionally and her bandits do their best to keep them contained.
(P) boasts about their track record for slaughtering goblins wholesale. Firean is skeptical, but she tells the party that if they deal with the goblin infestation, she will let us keep some portion of whatever loot we find. The party agrees. No oaths sworn or handshakes (or even any specifics)… so we'll see how that goes.
(P) enters the donjon and searches the ground floor level. There are no sign of any actual goblins, but the party had to fight off various vermin like giant rats and giant spiders. Next to the Great Hall is a stairwell with its walls covered in Blood Moon goblin paintings on the wall. It's assumed this is the entrance to their caves. Upon closer inspection, the party finds a secret door off to the side of the stairwell. This leads to another stairwell that goes down underground. Thinking they have found a secret entrance to the goblin caves, the party heads down to find a long hallway with lit torches at the end and a demonic face carved into the stone over a locked door. As the party approaches the door, they are attacked by two small fire elementals that spring from the torches.
After a short battle, the party finds the torches are ever-burning torches that give off low heat and stay lit forever. (P) then notices that the demon carving's mouth is open and it goes pretty far back. Hil gets on Franmar's shoulders and looks into the mouth to find a button deep in the back of the hole. She uses one of the ever-burning torches to reach the button and the demon's mouth slams down, biting the torch in half, but sparing Hil's arm. The locked door is now open, but some kind of gas fills the room and bad things might have happened, but not to Hil, so we'll just keep going.
The party pushes into the next room to find it filled with loot. Suddenly, a large skeleton of a snake with a human head rises up and attacks the party. Hilniflit's aversion to the undead causes her to create a five foot rolling ball of flame that hits the creature. As she concentrates on keeping the ball of fire on the creature, the rest of the party assails it with weapons and summoned ponies and it's destroyed relatively quickly. (P) searches the room and finds an incredible amount of wealth. Hilniflit has pressing matters back in Westmarch, so she decides to transport back with the loot and leaves the rest of the party to explore the remainder of the donjon.
Hilniflit's loot haul:
454 gp, 5 sp, 18 cp
4 masterwork arrows (Fledermaus, Franmar took these?)
reduce person potion
dagger w/ 3 dark green stones set in it
expensive hard liquor
ornate scroll tube (valued 20gp) with scroll of identify (which Ioelena should take, actually – Hil can't use it).
masterwork, cold iron sword
screaming crossbow bolts
Large black tower shield with Ironwolf Keep symbol on it
Spellbook with: L1 disguise self, L1 hold portal, L1 hypnotism, L2 false life, L2 dark vision, L2 invisibility
Thieves' tools (Hilniflit claimed them)
At this point, Fledermaus takes over the journaling…
After Hilniflint “bamfed” back to Westmarch the hardy adventurers soldiered onward to clear the Shadow Keep of its goblin infestation.
The party decides to explore the 2nd floor of the keep and would then explore the basement once everything upstairs was cleared. The first few rooms that we entered into were devoid of anything interesting. However in the third room we open into a bedroom that looked incredibly opulent and rich, however everything in the room was utterly destroyed. There were several bodies in the room that look like they have long since decayed over the years. There was a skeleton on the bed that looked like it belonged to a female human whose head was caved in. There were 3 additional bodies at the entrance that looked like they belonged to a hobgoblin and two regular goblins. None of the bodies turned up anything.
The party walked back into the hallway and Franmar hears the crying coming from the room next door. We enter the room only to see the spectral spirit of a dead boy whose throat was cut wailing and crying uncontrollably. Everyone in the party attempted communication with the ghost but no one was able to reach or communicate with it. The party made the decision to back out of the room slowly without searching it.
The last room on the 2nd floor we come into what looked like it could have been a dining room or meeting room of some kind. After a thorough search we discover a masterwork dagger hidden in a table leg, a pouch of 25 gold, and a vial of oil of magic weapon.
* author’s note *
It is of the opinion of the author that with this vial we could coat the weapons that we have in our possession to be able to defend ourselves from the specter next door and send it’s spirit to the next world as an act of mercy
* end note *
As we are leaving the last room to make our way back to the stairs we come across a lone goblin that must have wandered from the lower levels. Franmar uses his mask to command the goblin to drop his weapons successfully. We then quickly kill the goblin and recover 1 copper piece.
The party makes its way back down the stairs to then make our way back to the basement stairs of the keep. Unfortunately there were 2 dire wolves waiting for us. After a brief battle the wolves were both killed, but not before inflicting deep wounds to the fighter Exandra. The cleric Finial was able to heal all the wounded. We skin the fur of the 2 dire wolves and move on.
The long staircase from the 2nd floor leads to a large room below guarded by 6 goblins. There were your 4 regular goblins armed with junk swords and short bows and two other goblins that seemed higher in rank possibly. The other goblins were armed with light maces and light crossbows.
Franmar tested out his goblin mask by telling all the goblins to drop their weapons. Unfortunately only 2 complied to the orders. We quickly killed all the goblins with a lot of arrows, fast sword work, and many ponies. Collectively we gathered up about 2 gold and took the crossbows and maces.
We had at this point 2 choices we could go straight ahead from the staircase or we could head north from our position. We decided to head straight ahead and eventually back track to the northern hallway afterwards. The next area opened up to a door to the left and right and further down the hall the area would turn to the south. We decide to check out the doors to the left and right of the hallway first.
The door to the left headed to a pantry type room filled with barrels of bad wine that has turned to vinegar and some salted meat that looked only fit for a goblin to eat. After a search we turned to the next room across the hall.
The third room contained a room full of suits of studded leather armor and bucklers. All the armor was goblin sized and nothing magical. We do find a pouch with 13GP and a tarnished gold ring.
After a more thorough search we discover a hidden room behind a secret door. The secret room had a single chest. We were uncertain as to whether or not this chest could be booby trapped so everyone but Franmar clears the room. Franmar then proceeds to “Hurt Locker” the chest and was able to open it. Unfortunately the chest had nothing in it but dirty clothes and rotten fruit.
We then search the rest of the secret room and discover a potion of invisibility.
We decide to backtrack to the first room we entered from the staircase and then head north to explore the area that we decided to pass by. The northern room was large and empty but it had an underground well and a hallway that leads to the west.
From the hallway we could hear what sounded like heavy breathing. The ranger bravely and courageously attempted to explore ahead, but unfortunately was attacked by three ravaging gnolls. The ranger went down swinging and had fallen unconscious from their savage attack. The rest of the party leaped into action and with much bravery slew the three gnolls. The gnolls had a total of 10 GP between them all.
After the battle we also checked out the well that was located one room before the gnoll room just to be certain we weren't missing any potential hidden treasure. We lowered the halfling down with ropes to do a thorough search but we didn't find anything.
Vial of Oil of Magic Weapon
Potion of Invisibility
2 light maces
2 light crossbows
Tarnished gold ring
2 hides of dire wolves
50 GP total