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A city in need
The party decided to head to Neverwinter immediately, while news reached them that smoke and ash had been seen pouring from the peak of Mount Hotenow.

After traveling along the road for some time, from somewhere within the Neverwinter Wood they heard a strange trilling noise, like a titan sharpening his sword on the mountainside

They went to investigate and soon saw an odd spire rising out of the trees. The rocky spire was roughly five stories tall and covered in strange etchings.

As they approached, they noticed broken statues and stones with strange runic markings scattered around the base of the spire. The rubble-strewn ground around it appeared to have been recently unearthed. Since the coast was clear, they moved in for a closer look.

Surprisingly, one of the statues seemed strangely articulate, as if it was mechanical. Upon further examination, the "statue" proved to be a living mechanical being, who had been crushed and left in an inactive state for centuries.

The party took precautions and then revived the metal man, who introduced himself as Randzen, a protector of the lost city of Gauntlgrym. As he was in the party's debt for reviving him, and they also shared the desire to find his beloved city, he joined them.

Randzen began to tell them all he could about Gauntlgrym, but the story was interrupted by another keening trill from the spire. Up close now, they could see that an electrical spark traveled along the grooves and up the spire as the the noise rang out.

Des climbed up the spire to see what the top looked like (a dish-shaped needle with a small hole in the center), and spotted a Netherese scouting party coming toward them.

He ran back down, and everyone hid in the woods. Five netherese shades, accompanied by a large golem, came carefully through the trees, spotting the heroes as they entered the clearing around the spire.

Des charged forward, and battle ensued. The shade leader projected strange painful visions as his golem lumbered forward ponderously, knocking down the heroes in its path and making a bee-line for Mika, who had felled most of the shady scouts with a radiant blast of energy.

The golem, swinging its deadly axe, lumbered over to protect its master. It was heavily armored and took an incredible amount of punishment. Both sides were beginning to tire.

Finally, Lo-Thar and Randzen were able to separate the leader from his protective golem, and with a primal shout, Lo-Thar pounded the golem with a resounding strike that turned the battle. Mika told the Shadovar that there were more pressing threats and the shade agreed, calling off his golem and ending the fight.

The shade, Erzoun, listened to the tale of the Hex Locus. The party hoped they might use the golem to destroy it. Erzoun found the idea promising, but informed the party that he could not simply hand over control of the golem; at least one shadow denizen would need to come with them to control it. In addition, as loaning out a prized Bronze Warder would be an unprecedented act of collaboration, Clariburnus Tanthul would definitely have to approve it.

More Shadovar (a group of shadar-kai) arrived and they made arrangements to meet once the party had saved Neverwinter. As another show of confidence, Erzoun said he could lead them quickly through the Shadowfell, that they might arrive in Neverwinter in minutes, rather than hours.

And so it was. The party followed Erzoun and his companions to a shadow crossing within the wood. One of the shadar-kai presented a strange black cloth, creating a haze that made it difficult to concentrate on where they were. They passed through the shadow crossing and found themselves in a bleak landscape where all the trees stood leafless and dead. They walked along the dusty path, taking sharp turns down previously unnoticed side-tracks, and a short time later, came to an ornate door.

As they passed through the frame--another shadow crossing--they found themselves towering high in the air above a smoky, dismal-looking city. Momentarily they realized it was their beloved neverwinter!

Another Shadovar--a githzerai outcast--began casting a ritual. Shortly, they were surrounded by darkness and reappeared on the streets of Neverwinter, in the River district. Two surprised orcs, hiding behind a barricade, shouted in wonder as the party sped away.

The heroes headed into Blacklake and to the House of a Thousand faces, where they met up with the harpers and got the gist of what had happened.

Reportedly, two days earlier, the Chasm had erupted in a huge wave of blue flame, accompanied by an all-out assault on the Wall. Portions of the wall proved to be unguarded as waves of spell-scarred freaks and aberrations penetrated the protector's enclave and began going door to door, kidnapping citizens and--if these stories were to be believed--throwing them bodily into the Chasm.

The city guard then retaliated, gaining ground and killing many of the monsters. A group of Sons of Alagondar, led by Edward Thann, commandeered the floating Moonstone Mask tavern and pulled it south, over Neverdeath, where it could keep watch on the end of the wall while remaining virtually unassailable.

As the attacks from the Chasm lessened, the worshippers of Asmodeus revealed themselves and began to revel in the chaos, murdering people and creating destruction just for the sake of it. Guards loyal to the Master of the Nine Hells turned on their allies, throwing the enclave into bloody battle again.

The remains of the city watch retreated to the Hall of Justice, where Neverember, the mayor, and a growing number of refugees now resided in relative safety, waiting for reinforcements from Waterdeep.

Then the heroes went to the home of Mordai Vell and convinced him to shove a wedge between the Cultists of Asmodeus and Thay. Using his connections to Favria, the evil Gauntlgrym-seeking dwarf and local cult leader, he said it would be simple to convince her that Valindra no longer holds the Scepter of Asmodeus and therefore affords no loyalty.

The party then headed to the Hall of Justice, climbing and flying over the gate and entering from the rampart. They first encountered the Mayor, who seemed normal. However, Mika could detect faint traces of magical energy and was sure he was unknowingly under the influence of the Hex Locus.

The party descended to the main hall to speak with Neverember, and ascertain whether he too was in the Aboleths' thrall. Once it appeared that the Open Lord was not under any evil influence, Mika pulled the mayor aside, accompanying him to his office so the others could talk openly to Neverember.

When the party informed him that mayor Galt was under the Aboleth's control, he was shocked, but reluctantly accepted the possibility. He admitted that Galt's council had been very conservative lately, and indeed, it was one of the main reasons why Neverember's mercenaries were hunkering down in the Hall of Justice instead of hunting down the last of the escaped monsters.

Meanwhile, Mika and the mayor were enjoying a glass of liquor and discussing the situation in Neverwinter. The dwarf confided in her that until reinforcements arrived the city was very vulnerable to revolt, or even a possible coup attempt by one of the hostile factions, such as the Thayans led by Valindra Shadowmantle...

The great hall darkened as Valindra appeared, announcing that Neverember had failed and the city was hers now. A swarming mass of zombies burst in through the windows. The reanimated corpses of the shining Neverwinter Nine burst in through doors on both sides of the room. Randzen lunged forward to pull Lord Neverember from the grasp of the zombies.
Session: Game Session - Sunday, Sep 08 2013 from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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A turning point
The party's rest was interrupted by an earthquake, and aftershocks which sent rocks tumbling from the roof of the cavern. They decided to risk remaining in the cave, since in their condition, stumbling across more Foulspawn or an aboleth could mean death.

Some time later, green slime oozed through the cracks in the cave and landed on the party, threatening to dissolve their flesh. The party fought off the slime-creatures, and, fearing more subterranean dangers, decided to cautiously head toward the surface.

To their relief, no more monsters blocked their way (being busy elsewhere) and they were able to escape the temple catacombs. A strange energy field surrounded the temple which apparently rendered common (i.e., low level) folk unconscious. Captain Dunfield and a few of the more powerful clerics were helping pull the dozing victims of the field safely outside.

After a short debriefing, the party went to rest and finally were able to regain their strength, despite the unexplained seismic vibration which now seemed constant. Overnight a terrible crash was heard, and the next morning they could see that the temple grounds had lowered substantially, creating a shallow crater and half-collapsing the buildings within.

Additionally, reports out of Neverwinter suggested that the town was under attack. The party used their Stone of Sending to speak with mayor Galt. The dwarf first seemed panicked, confirming that aberrant monsters had surged from the Chasm en masse and attacked the wall, but suddenly calmed down and ensured the party there was nothing to worry about.

Skeptical of the dwarf, who had always been friendly, but also had sent them on at least two potential suicide missions, the party purchased a divination ritual to view Neverwinter from afar. And alas, the mayor's story was confirmed; smoke and rubble choked the alleys of Neverwinter's market district, and screams and the sounds of battle could be heard all around.

They scryed the area, watching a Neverwinter guard and a cultist team up against a spell-plagued abomination. They finished off the creature, and then the cultist stabbed his temporary ally in the back, screaming, "Your blood will fuel the dread ring!"

The spell faded. Things looked dire.
Session: Game Session - Friday, May 17 2013 from 6:00 PM to 11:30 PM
Viewable by: Public
Tags: Level Up
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The Hex Locus (part 2)
Back underneath Helm's Hold, the party attempted to return to the Hex Locus. They first encountered a strange, green-skinned elf who seemed a bit crazy and disappeared into the tunnels. When they neared the chamber containing the Hex Locus, Des and Mika scouted ahead and peered in; a half-dozen aboleths circled the Locus, channeling beams of energy into the orb.

When the pair retreated and began to retrace their steps, they couldn't find their way back. Where the passage had once continued straight, the hallway turned, as if the bizarre spellplague energy permeating the area was warping reality.

After waiting for a while for the scouting party to return, the others set out to find them in small groups, until everyone was lost in the catacombs, unable to find the way out again. Des encountered some hulking foulspawn, and shrank into the shadows to let them by. Soon, he found himself in a large, natural cavern filled with glowing mushrooms. The sing-song voice of the green-skinned elf greeted him, laughing eerily.

Meanwhile, the foulspawn had stumbled across Lo-Thar and Vilnyk, and started a fight. The rest of the party followed the sound of battle and soon they were reunited. It was a surprisingly hard fight, but the heroes won in the end. Des mentioned the cavern he had found, and they headed that way, hoping to find a way up to the surface, or at the very least, a place to rest.

Despite being assailed by aggressive plantlike creatures, they pressed on, and found Chartilifax, a green dragon, who had long ago been polymorphed into the form of a green-skinned elf, turned by Rohini, and who now hunted the catacombs.

After slaying Chartilifax, the party was beaten and exhausted, and searched for the dragon's lair where they might safely rest.

Unfortunately the cavern was populated by mushroom men--myconids--which aggresively defended their territory. But after another grueling combat, the party finally found a small cave, and Chartilifax's sizeable horde within. After what seemed like an endless series of fights, they lay down to rest (hopefully).
Session: Game Session - Saturday, Apr 20 2013 from 2:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
Tags: dragon
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The Hex Locus (part 1)
The party freed Rohini and the others, but the prophet said that more prisoners had been dragged away moments earlier to be experimented on. She confidently led the way and the party followed.

The prophet led down twisting passages of stone until they came to a strange room with oddly angular walls. In the center of the room hovered a strange orb covered in a scintillating pattern of indescribable colors.

There was no one else there. The prophet turned on them with charm spells, striking down the strangely distant Vilnyk, as a psychic force emanated from the orb, distracting them while they remained in the room. Even worse, the artifact exerted a mind-controlling impulse. As the party fought Rohini, first Fenerick and then Lo-Thar succumbed to the orb's power while they fought to destroy it. The party managed to defeat Rohini--who had exposed her true nature as a Succubus--and Des and Mika fled.

The discordant song of the aboleths thrummed in the minds of Lo-Thar and Fenerick. They realized now that the material plane was a blemish that would only be made beautiful if all living beings either joined the Choir or perish. The orb, or Hex Locus as they now knew it, commanded they leave and kill those remaining heroes who threatened the harmony of the Choir.

Whereupon the heroes fought against each other in an epic combat. Des nearly killed Fenerick, twice, but Lo-Thar restored him until the mage and rogue were victorious. They were forced to beat their comrades into submission as the domination proved permanent. Completely spent, Mika lifted their fallen comrades on a disc of magical force and they fled the catacombs...

...only to be confronted by an angry mob who accused them of kidnapping the Prophet. Des threatened to kill everyone, which went about as well as you'd expect, but the rational members of the party explained what had happened, revealing that Rohini had been a succubus the whole time.

The party was able to remove the orb's affliction from Fenerick and Lo-Thar with help from a cleric named Taco, who Des bullied into providing the expensive ritual for free. He had apparently been quite disgruntled by the experience.

With the party restored and rested, they made haste to once again venture down through the Well of Bones and seek out the Hex Locus.
Session: Game Session - Saturday, Apr 20 2013 from 2:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
Tags: Boss Battle , Recap
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Well of Bones (recap)
Upon returning to Helm's Hold, the party indulged in some well-earned rest. While they slept, Fenerick had strange dream, which turned into a vivid vision of the Prophet Rohini being kidnapped.

The spell-scarred sorcerer awoke and warned his allies, who ran to the temple to investigate. At night, the temple was strangely quiet, and no one stirred, guards or otherwise.

When they arrived at Rohini's chambers, the door was open and the room was covered in a strange blue flame which covered the walls and floor like ooze. The ephemeral flame evaporated as they watched, and Fenerick had another vision--this time, of Rohini being carried into a tunnel entrance. After a few minutes of searching, they found the entrance and headed inside, making their way into the catacombs beneath Helm's Hold.

The party made their way to a huge underground room where human-sized cages hung from chains on the ceiling. The path continued across a bridge and down crumbling stairs around the chamber, but the party first battled some aberrant wretches, attracting the attention of an Aboleth. Mika blasted the Aboleth with a psychic attack, causing it to fall down the well with a resounding splat! It didn't return, and the heroes finished mopping up the wretches.

The party rested after the battle and then descended into the Well of Bones. As they made their way across a bridge halfway down, they heard a terrible crash and a cacophany of terrible howls. The aboleth had released a pack of ravenous werewolves, driven to madness with hunger, who rushed at the party, climbing the walls and stairs.

The falling aboleth had made a slippery splotch on the bridge which was difficult to walk across, and further complicated things by appearing from beneath the bridge and attacking the party as the werewolves approached. Some of the heroes fell off and were injured but continued to battle on both levels at once until they had finished off the aboleth and the pitiful starved beast-men.

Then, guided by Fenerick's visions and Lo-Thar's expert tracking, they came to a chamber where Rohini was imprisoned with a few other sad citizens.
Session: Game Session - Friday, Feb 15 2013 from 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
Tags: Battle , Milestone , Recap
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Forgotten Realms (4E)
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