I need to post sessions before the next one happens. Anyway, after defeating the kobolds and Irontooth in their cave, they were so close to leveling that I decided to have them go on the side quest to rescue Douven Staul to get that last bit of EXP. But first, we wrapped up the end of the kobold cave.
Having just defeated the kobolds and Irontooth, Aiur searched the cave to see if it is safe to stay the night and recover from the battle as Nieen tended to her injured teammates. As he searched, he found a large locked chest that he dragged into the main room of the cavern. He could not pick the lock, and Marric was unconscious, so as he was about to "pick" the lock with his axe, it occurred to him to check the bodies for a key. On Irontooth he found a pouch that contained a key that opened the chest as well as a message to Irontooth. Inside the chest was dwarven chain mail and over 400 pieces of gold.
We continued right where we left off, finishing the battle. I had to "hint" to my players that someone might have a key...
The Heroes triumphantly returned to Winterhaven, and go to the town lord's manor to let him know that the kobolds have been taken care of. The lord thanks them, and gives them their reward, which Marric does not take a share of. Aiur, Nieen, and Rameus leave while Marric stays behind and discusses his own debt with the lord. As they were leaving, a woman came up to them and asked them to go look for her husband, Douven, who should have come back home to check in by now, or at least sent a message. They agreed to look for her husband... but not before stopping by the tavern!
Worst adventurers ever. I really thought they were just going to head straight out and rescue the guy, but they decide to go get a drink first! >.<
While there, they talked to Valthrun "Val" the Prescient about the pendant they had found. He looked at it and recognized the symbol on it as one of the symbols used by Orcus's worshipers, the Death Eaters. About this time, Marric entered the tavern with a bevy of halfling women, telling tales of his daring adventure, fighting an army of kobolds, and going one on one with the hobgoblin "Ironfang," Rameus right behind, agreeing with everything he says for a few free drinks. Val goes on to tell Nieen that if the Death Eaters are in the area, they would want nothing more than to reopen the rift and let Orcus into the world. With the old empire no longer around, nothing would be able to stop Orcus's flood of undead creatures from overrunning the town and establishing a kingdom of undeath in this world. Nieen and Aiur agree that it is their duty to stop this cult, no matter what. Aiur drags Rameus out of the tavern and Nieen asks Marric if he will help them save the world, and not wanting to look bad in front of the ladies, agrees. Once outside, he asks whats in it for him, to which Nieen replies that they are going to go to a keep full of treasure and he will get a fair share.
For how much of the area is humans, Marric sure found a large amount of halfling gals, and yes, halflings are represented in my campaign as they are in Dominic Deegan. Gnomes, as you will later see, are their evil cousins, and hard to tell apart unless you are too close or know halflings and gnomes enough. I really did think they would just go run out and save the guy, but they just had to go to the tavern! Now they are supposed to go save some guy instead of saving the whole world. They should have just gone to save the guy first! >.<
Even though they need to stop the Death Eaters from releasing a great evil onto the world, they had promised the woman that they would go look for her husband. They go to the dig site she had told them he is working at, trying to dig up the remains of an ancient dragon. Once there, they find several people, two of them halfling sized, along with two drakes in the center of the dig site looking at their findings. One of the shorter men called out to them, saying that they had to be down there to truly appreciate what they had found. Our heroes get about half way down the slope when the talkative one, now recognizable as a gnome, yells out, "NOW!" With that, the people in the dig site suddenly attacked them, catching them off guard. Aiur slid down the side of the ramp as the gnome commanded the drakes to attack Nieen. Rameus, who had already started drinking as an alternative to looking at whatever had been dug up, scorched one of the human rabble that the gnome had hired as Marric and Nieen prepared to do some damage. The remaining rabble tried to thwart our heroes best they could, but they quickly fell to their weapons, and the other gnome stayed back while slinging stones at Aiur. Eventually the gnomes met their end, and the group began looking for Douven.
The second gnome was actually a halfling, but I decided that gnomes and halflings dislike each other, since in my D&D setting (slightly off from typical D&D setting) gnomes are closer looking to halflings and evil and therefore would not be working together. Also, with this battle, the characters got to level 2!
Nieen hears a noise coming from something covered with a blanket, upon investigating it they find Douven tied and gagged. After releasing him, he tells them that the gnomes were there looking for an artifact in the dragon's hoard- a mirror. He tells them that he is not quite sure what it is from or for, but that the gnomes seemed happy to find it. They checked the bodies and found some gold, and Douven went over to one of the gnomes and took a locket off of him, opened it up and smiled. He then walked up to Aiur and explained that the gnome had taken the locket with a picture of his wife from him, and after removing the picture, gave it to Aiur saying that it was a magic, protective item, which Aiur accepted graciously. The party then escorted him back to town, much to the happiness of Douven's wife.
Phew! finally done! Now to do the next one before we have another session!