What Happens in the Harkenwold...

Bad Dreams and a Good Meal
  • Having left the box in the vault of a Hightown bank in Fallcrest, the party now returns to the Silver Unicorn Inn to recover from the morning’s unexpected battle.

Bad Dreams

  • Telia, Thorn, Ciroand Barakaseach fall asleep, and each soon find themselves engulfed in a nighmare.
    • Barakas sees flashes of a woman on horseback stricken down by an arrow.
      • He realizes that he’s in a forest, and becomes aware of dark shapes around him. Intuitively, as happens in dreams, he knows that they’re hunting him.
      • He tries to muster an effort of will to wake himself, but succeeds instead in transporting himself to a different space. He’s in a vast, sprawling ruin of what must have once been a great city.
    • Thorn, too, is dreaming of these ruins, and manages to spot Barakas from a high vantage point. She sees as well the humanoid shapes closing in on him.
    • Telia finds herself standing in a vast, grassy plain which stretches as far as she can see in all directions.
      • She becomes aware of a dark shape in the distance and realizes that it’s a black horse galloping in her direction.
      • She tries to intercept the horse as it approaches, and is injured by the impact, but manages to calm the beast, which allows her to ride it.
    • Ciro finds himself in a dark swamp, on a raft, with writhing black shapes moving through the water below, bumping the raft.
      • Ciro, after failing to find any sort of land or way off the raft, tries to attack one of the writhing shapes in the water. He manages to hurt it, but lands in the water himself, locked in a desperate battle with the thing.
  • At about this time, Barakas manages a supreme act of will, using his inquisitorial abilities to shape the mind’s image of the space. He manages by this to bring everyone together in the ruins, then with another burst of will, forces everyone awake.
  • They awaken to find themselves back in their beds at the inn, freaked out by their experience of having shared a communal dream, but seemingly unharmed.
  • As Ciro and Barakas enter the hallway to check on Telia and Thorn, however, they become aware of dark shapes, just like those in the dream, standing at the end of the hall.
  • Ciro knows what these are – Shadar-Kai.
  • The three shadar-kai descend on the party and a battle ensues.
  • Just as the fight ends, the inn’s concierge, a haughty halfling, rushes up the stairs to see what the noise is about. Seeing the bodies of the shadar-kai, now already fading to transparency, he falls silent, terrified.
  • Wisara Osterman, the inn’s proprieter, now joins the group, and is equally horrified to see the remains of the shadar-kai fading away. She knows what these are. She tells Barakas that he and his friends cannot stay at the inn. These things will return for them, and this represents an unacceptable danger to her guests.
  • Grudgingly, Barakas and company agree to pack their things and depart. When the time comes, they gather their things and find Barakas’ parents holding court in the Inn’s common room.
  • Wisara signals to Barakas to speak with her further. She apologizes for her earlier rudeness, explaining that she was afraid for her guests. She advises Barakas to seek help – these things are dangerous, and they will be back, she tells him. She recommends that he speak with Grundelmar, a priest of Pelor, who can be found in the House of the Sun.

Family Reunion

  • The party, accompanied by Barakas’ parents and grandmother, make their way to the home of Barakas’ uncle, Orest Naerumar. He is expecting them, they are told – Barakas’ mother sent a messenger informing him of their arrival some time ago, and he has prepared a dinner for them all.
  • They arrive without incident, and are let inside by the servant, Ardic, who offers to take their traveling cloaks and baggage.
  • Orest Naerumar is there, and greets them warmly, showing them around his opulent three-storey house. (The first floor contains the store and the house kitchen, the second contains a dining and entertaining area, and the third contains bedrooms sufficient for an array of guests. He’s clearly set up his house to serve as a sort of inn for traveling merchants doing business with him.
  • Another man is there too. Naerumar introduces him as a business associate, Sirett. He acknowledges the party coolly, and barely speaks throughout the night.
  • Dinner is a fine affair, and afterward, Naerumar invites Barakas to join him on the balcony. Barakas’ parents are clearly offended that the invitation wasn’t similarly directed their way, but make do.
    • Ciro, curious about Sirett, tries to learn more about the man, but can’t manage to engage him in conversation. Taking another tack, he embarks on a plan to annoy the man into a reaction. Barakas’ grandmother seems to be watching this exchange with interest.
    • Telia and Thorn, meanwhile, having little interest in polite social gatherings, make their way outside to the small pasture behind the house, and proceed to slaughter one of the livestock animals for their dessert.
    • Barakas, out on the porch with Naerumar, tries to ascertain how much or how little Naerumar knows about the item they’ve just (allegedly) brought to him. He professes to know little except that the buyer was willing to pay well for it.
    • Barakas is able to confirm that Sirett is in fact the buyer.
    • Barakas tells Naerumar that he believes the box to be dangerous, and suggests that Naerumar not give it to Sirett. Not so easy, Naerumar protests – Sirett already knows they have it, since Barakas’ parents spoke of it at dinner.
    • Ultimately, they manage to come to an accord – Barakas will leave the box with Naerumar, who seems to believe it to be the real item, but Naerumar will hide it in the store’s vault, and tell Sirett that it wasn’t found.
    • Naerumar offers to pay Barakas and his friends one thousand gold for their trouble, but Barakas declines payment until Naerumar has himself been paid for the box. (Not wanting to appear to have ripped off his uncle if the ruse is discovered.)
    • Ciro, meanwhile, having failed to elicit a reaction from Sirett through an escalating series of attempts, suddenly finds his memory of the past hour erased, and his interest in Sirett diminished. He somehow can’t remember anything after dinner.
    • Later on, Ciro sets out from their rooms upstairs to try to spy on Sirett in his own room. He climbs across a balcony to peer in his window, and sees Sirett sitting alone in the room, perfectly motionless, in a chair in the dark.
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City Life
The party arrives at Fallcrest
  • As dusk falls, the party returns to their camp in the ruins, bringing the captured Karadas assassin with them. They bind her and take her armor, and Barakas begins his interrogation.
    • He’s careful, however, about the questions he asks, not wanting to reveal their ignorance of what the box they’re carrying might really be.
    • The assassin’s name, they learn, is Dhenia Varosh.
    • She is not herself a member of the Karadas family – she was hired for this job by Odesti Karadas.
    • Dhenia insists that the box rightfully belongs with the Karadas family, from whom it was stolen. “If you want to do the right thing,” she tells the party, “you’ll bring it back to Val Haran.”
    • After much debate, the party decides to release Dhenia. They keep her weapons and armor, give her a spare shirt to wear, and send her on her way.
      • Dhenia herself appears surprised by this move.
      • Shadykk approves of the choice.
  • The party makes their way to Fallcrest under a driving rain.
    • Entering through the mud-spattered streets of the lower town, they make their way, at Fel’s parents’ insistence, to the upper town and the Silver Unicorn Inn.
    • On their way to the bank, where the party intends to deposit the box, they are attacked by old friends of Ciro’s, led by the goblin, Gokluk, a street thug with delusions of being a mob boss of sorts.
      • Gokluk (whose name, by the way, means in Goblin “Blood spurting from a wound that will probably kill the guy but is going to take a while to do it.” It’s an onomatopoeic word intended to sound like someone choking on his own blood. Those goblins.) is killed in the battle.
      • The party sets the sole survivor of the battle, a junior street tough named Blugit, free with Ciro’s tophat, and instructions to tell his bosses that Ciro has been killed.
    • The party reaches the bank and deposits the box, paying extra for a binding spell that will allow only Barakas (alive, not dead) to reopen the deposit box holding it.
    • This having been done, they scour the hightown shops for a similar-enough-looking box, which they ultimately find, intending to pass it off to Naerumar as the box they’ve just hidden in the vault.
    • They then return to the Silver Unicorn for much-needed rest, intending to visit Orest Naerumar in the evening.

XP: 232 per party member.

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Family Reunion
Barakas finds his grandmother and parents on the road
  • Dusk has fallen
  • Outside the Kruthik hive
  • Barakas is reunited with his grandmother, Shaddyk Fel.
    • Barakas shows her the box. She wants to know where he got it, looks concerned.
    • She doesn’t know what it is, but thinks it’s dangerous.
    • Suggests that someone may know what this is.
  • The party chooses to continue on through the night, and sets out along the King’s Road in search of Barakas’ parents.
    • They soon find them, under attack.
    • The party manages to rescue them, but the drake handler leading the attack escapes.
  • As dawn approaches, Barakas speaks further with his grandmother about the box.
    • The question is, who Naerumar wants to sell the box to.
    • Keep it quiet, she recommends, until they know.
  • While breaking camp from a ruin later on, they come under attack by a tiefling assassin, accompanied by animated shadow soldiers.
    • They manage to defeat their attacker and take her prisoner.
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To Grandmother's House We Go...
...where is everybody?
  • The party returns to Barakas’ house, only to find it dark and empty; food still burning in a pot over the fireplace, a book thrown haphazardly to the floor.
  • Examining the book, Barkasrecognizes it as a Tiefling fairy tale he remembers from his childhood; a story about a family forced to flee by its enemies. He takes it as a signal from his parents that they have fled.
  • Ciro, meanwhile, checks in the tavern, but his attempts to talk to the locals are rebuffed. Nobody wants to talk to the goblin.
  • A Kalashtar cleric named Jane is here in the tavern, and she speaks with Ciro telepathically, ultimately learning of his quest and offering to help.
  • The party rejoins Ciro, and they head to Barakas’ grandmother’s house to see what they can learn.
  • This house, like the previous, is dark and abandoned, but as the party approaches, they are attacked by a tiefling mage and his imps.
  • Once the wizard and his minions have been defeated, the party searches the house for clues.
  • Leafing through a book of Tiefling history, Barakas learns of the Karadas family, long ago disgraced for summoning devils into the city. The family’s actions were uncovered and halted by Barakas’ own inquisitor ancestors.
  • The party finds an Animal Messenger ritual among the grandmother’s library as well.
  • Following a pair of tracks leading from the house into the woods, the party discovers a cave concealed behind a rockfall, into which the tracks apparently lead.
  • It soon becomes clear that one of the tracks has deliberately backtracked, in an apparent attempt to mislead the other.
  • The cave turns out to be an active Kruthik hive, and the party is attacked by the swarm.
  • After a difficult fight, the party emerges victorious, and follows one of the tracks to an egg chamber, where the badly mutilated body of a tiefling is found.
  • The party finds a Shadow Hunter Cloak on the body.
  • Following the other tracks back out of the cave, the party sees that they lead further into the woods.
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Into the Woods
Allies and enemies...
  • An elf named Petrus accuses the party of leading goblin reavers to the elf camp.
  • The party convinces the elves to allow them to prove themselves by ambushing goblins at a river crossing in the forest.
  • Petrus accompanies the party, and the ambush successfully wipes out the goblin band.
  • Two goblins are captured: Stoneskull, the leader of the band, and Garuthik, a soldier.
  • Stoneskull gives the party more information about the slave parties
    • they’re capturing elves and taking them to a location in the Witchlight Fens, where strangely dressed humans buy them and load them onto boats for travel south.
    • A hobgoblin called Brach- a major crime boss in the Daggerburg territories, runs the operation from his keep.
      • He ordered the attack on the Fel family’s caravan as well, but Stoneskull doesn’t know much about that.
      • Ciro gives the goblin soldier his “you can be more than just a goblin” speech.
  • The party dispatches an elf messenger back to Harken Village to tell Barakas’ family about the cave, the package, Brach’s involvement, their elf allies, and the party’s intention to investigate the cave.
  • The party returns to the caravan to find it as they left it.
  • They make their way to the dusty, root-choked cave entrance, clearly once a large animal’s burrow, and find a small, elaborately carved box inside.
  • Barakas inspects the box, and attempts to use his psionic ability to learn more about it. When he does, he falls into a trance, and feels as though something is entering his mind, pressing on it. Then suddenly, it’s gone, and everything’s back to normal.
  • Until they touch the box.
  • Incorporeal forms swirl through the dust surrounding them and attack. Three specters attack them, and Thorn and Barakas are rendered unconscious and nearly killed.
  • Miraculously, Barakas and Thorn, seemingly dead, are nursed back to health after the fight has been won.
  • As evening falls, the party returns to Harken Village to deliver the package to Fel’s family.
  • But they’re not there.
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Preludes and Introductions
In which we meet the players and their world
  • Telia, Thornand Barakasare hanging out in Harken Village’s only tavern, when Ciro walks in, looking somewhat bedraggled from a three-day journey by foot, with luggage in tow.
  • Barakas is playing what he believes to be an entrancing Mickey Hart-style drum solo, but he’s about the only one in the room who believes this. The other tavern patrons though, however annoyed they may be, keep these sentiments to themselves for fear of angering his two feral-looking companions.
  • Ciro, seeing that this group doesn’t fit the mold of the usual farmers and tradesmen around these parts, and might therefore make more useful companions than his other options, makes a beeline for their table and starts trying to chat with Barakas, who remains more interested in his bongos.
  • Thorn, having been raised by the Woodsinger Elves, who frequently come into conflict with the goblins of Harken Forest, is even less inclined to cut this newcomer any slack.
  • The goblin doesn’t leave, though, and he’s buying the beer, so they bear his conversation for the free drinks.
  • About this time, Barakas’ mother, who doesn’t approve of his association with Thorn and Telia, enters the tavern to tell Barakas that he’s needed for a job in the early morning. They’ve just received a sending from his rich uncle in Fallcrest, Orest Naerumar, that a shipment he was expecting hasn’t arrived. That he would use a sending to contact them at all indicates how important this package must be to him. The carter would have checked in with the Fel family on his way through Harken Village – that he hasn’t done so indicates that he never made it. Barakas is to scout the King’s Road to the south to see whether he can find any evidence of what’s happened to the cart.
  • While not happy about having to be awake and about at dawn, he has little choice but to agree, and Telia and Thorn decide to accompany him. When Ciro offers to help as well, they grudgingly accept.
  • The next morning, they set out to the south, and after three hours’ walking, find a destroyed cart, its wheels hewn by large axe blows.
  • As they investigate the scene, they’re accosted by a band of wood elves who, seeing the goblin with them, mistake them for members of a kidnapping gang that’s been plaguing their tribe recently.
  • A bit of diplomacy, and Thorn’s ability to communicate using the hand signs and vernacular of the Woodsingers, ultimately convinces their leader, Salvana, that they’re friendly.
  • Her own band came across the broken wagon a short while ago. The blood splashed over its seat indicates that a fight took place, but no bodies or cargo were found. They hadn’t yet followed the tracks they found leading away from the wagon into the woods, and can’t readily do so because they’re tending to a wounded member of their band whom they need to bring back to camp.
  • The party follows the tracks, and despite their care, is surprised by a band of hobgoblins accompanied by a pair of goblin snipers firing from the trees.
  • The snipers concentrate their fire on the largest of the party, Telia, to devastating effect, wounding her badly.
  • After a long, brutal fight, the hobgoblins are ultimately defeated, and the goblins taken prisoner – one badly wounded and unconscious, and one conscious and bound.
  • They question the conscious goblin about the cart’s cargo, and he indicates that it’s hidden in a nearby cave, but that when his band opened the box, “shadows came out and everybody started screaming.” He says he didn’t stick around to find out why.
  • He’s heard about the kidnappings of the elves as well, but doesn’t know who’s doing it. What he’s heard, though, is that the kidnapped elves are being brought to a secret dock in the Witchlight Fens, and are loaded there onto boats to destinations unknown to him.
  • As agreed, in return for his answers, the party releases him with the stipulation that he not attempt to return to his tribe and tell them about the party.
  • They take the unconscious goblin with them as an offering to the elves.
  • Too badly hurt to continue on to the cave, the party returns to the King’s Road with the unconscious goblin, and is faced there with the choice of whether they should return to Harken Village, or try to follow Salvana’s directions to the Woodsinger camp. They opt for the latter, leaving a note on the wagon in case Barakas’ family sends someone looking for them.
  • Thorn, familiar with the elves’ system of describing forest locations, easily follows Salvana’s directions to the camp, leading the party there.
  • The elves accept the unconscious goblin, who has survived the journey, as a sincere token of friendship – he will be able to provide valuable intelligence, they hope.
  • The party accepts the elves’ offer to stay with them for the night.
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