Towerwatch

Flares of Light and Darkness

The party made their way through the Illithid caves, destroying the elder brain and hunting down the mind flayers. On their way, they discovered a laboratory where the Illithid were keeping the Aetherian Luxuria captive and telepathically isolated to study her.

After clearing out the Illithid, including fighting grimlocks with oil sacks and torches, Kil-Wal`the tossed the orcs below the head of a mind flayer with his former magic sword stuck through it, to much rejoicing.

The party then returned to Luxuria to interrogate her and (ultimately) destroy her as too sick and dangerous to live. In the process they learned that the Aetherians fell to Superbia’s influence because they were unfamiliar with the temptations of material evil. This let them solve the final riddle of Invidia and find out that Superbia is at the top of the Tower, which is only accessible via the bottom of the citadel.

The party regrouped and consulted their options for progression. They decided to investigate the demon fortress through the magic door, in the hopes that it would give them clues to Bohr Korrath‘s location. They found that the fortress was full of strange rooms and temptations, including a room of treasure and several rooms with chimes or bells. However, nothing seemed to be able to be removed from the fortress’s pocket space.

Many doors from the fortress led elsewhere in the citadel, with each one marked to identify its location. Through experimentation, the party learned that these doors could be repositioned; briefly they were worried that they’d trapped themselves within the citadel by making a door within it, but were able to figure out how to control the effect.

With trepidation, the party decided to determine what would happen when the hourglass in the fortress ran out. After half an hour, the final grains of sand drained and it turned over, with the smaller hourglass shaking in its aftermarket moorings to try and turn in sympathy.

Some smaller doors in the fortress, the ones marked with a single hourglass symbol, burst open to release a flood of lesser demons. The party fought against the horde and ultimately won, then discovered that behind these demon doors were unknown or unassigned doorways that might lead to new locations.

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Old Friends and New Places

The party took the bandits they’d captured back to the guard house, where the corrupt guards the doppelganger recruited had all left in a hurry. They found Syrax Skydriven poisoned into a coma in the old officer’s quarters of Bohr Korrath. Counting Syrax, only five members of the guard remained (still an increase from the original three). The money in the guard vault was intact, and the party gained a small reward from the booty that the brigands were keeping there.

The party found a stone Abyssal seal in Bohr’s room which, when touched to a chalk outline on the wall, led to a strange stone castle antechamber with an enormous hourglass. Scrawled on the wall was cryptic information about a certain Abyssal rune. Written on the large double doors in Abyssal was “Whoever shall walk through these doors is surely a Lord of the Abyss.”

Arthur’s casting of legend lore yielded a set of conflicting songs, all telling of a fortress of “many doors” that led warriors to battle a series of escalating waves of demons, providing them with rewards in the process. The songs conflicted on what the end purpose was: to train a hero to fight evil? to corrupt the warrior and produce a demon lord? to kill foolhardy adventurers?

The party left the fortress for later, noting that the hourglass seemed like it would take longer than 15 minutes and shorter than an hour to empty.

At Syrax’s request, the party stayed mostly around town for a week. Arthur cleaned up the bloody temple and made some scrolls. Argent completed his grove. Elizabeth caroused and added her picture to the wall of legendary partiers beside Kil.

The party then descended to the caves where they had met the Fomorians. They proceeded past an unsettling bone-decorated hallway and into a well-appointed sitting room decorated with tapestries portraying triumphant Illithid. Sitting there was Loreth, a half-elf with an oddly casual manner. She told them she worked for the Illithid and recommended that, if they wanted a direct path to free slaves, that they should go through the hole in the floor of the room.

The party investigated the hole, which led to a sort of slippery arena with spikes in the center. They were attacked by brains with legs, were betrayed by Loreth cutting their rope, and eventually killed Loreth and discovered that she had been controlled by one of the brains. In the process, they were observed from a window by an Illithid.

The party retreated to Leomund’s Tiny Hut to heal and recover.

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Retreat and Assault

The party charged into the darkness at the back of the Shadow base and found themselves face to face with Kyrranilax, an adult black dragon. Kyrannilax toyed with them a bit before melting Kil-Wal`the to within an inch of his life with his acid breath. The group fled using their teleportation disc and returned to their guildhouse.

The group identified and distributed their collected treasure. That night, the town was attacked by a formation of flying kobolds. Their original goal was to drop soot in the shape of a dragon on the fields, apparently as a threat. However, the party was able to heavily disrupt their formation, killing half the kobolds and preventing the town from falling to terror.

That evening, Syrax Skydriven told the party in secret that he was going to assault the brigands in the old town. The new twin guards, Ire and Ora, had been undercover and said they were the source of the corruption in the guard ranks. Syrax asked to meet in the morning for the assault.

Arthur and Elizabeth, as ranged fighters, took up sniping positions separate from the party. As the party approached the base of the brigands, Syrax, Ire, and Ora suddenly attacked. “Syrax” revealed himself as a doppelganger, and the twins turned out to be wererats. However, the shapeshifters underestimated the power of Argent‘s Moonbeam. The party then proceeded to burn the brigand’s hideout, making them flee.

In exchange for his freedom, the brigand mage Flash said that the real Syrax was in an unused room in the guardhouse, drugged.

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An Assault on Shadows

Kil-Wal`the, Argent, Arthur, and Elizabeth entered the kobolds’ territories from the temples below. They found large cargo elevators defended by ballistae. They destroyed the ballistae and systematically cleared out the upper inhabited kobold floor with its mushroom garden. Along the way they ran into several ambushes and an attack by a powerful but fragile kobold sorcerer. The rest of the kobolds from this level fled through the water to the false town on the level above.

The group then made their way through the level below. Through trickery and might, they killed the animated trees that served as guard dogs and shattered the guards and wards spell protecting the kobolds’ living quarters. They found a group of azer, orc, and drow slaves who were being kept captive with collars of glyph of warding. The group helped the azer remove the collars, although several prisoners were injured or killed when the collars activated. Several drow preferred to stay slaves rather than risk death to return to their life of further slavery at home.

The party was ambushed by kobolds using portable cover, but drove them off and decided to use Leomund’s Tiny Hut to rest and get the rescued slaves where they wanted to go. The kobolds covered the spell-dome with cloth and positioned giant scorpions for an ambush, but the party burned the cloth away and destroyed the scorpions… except for one which Arthur befriended.

The party explored the rest of the level, finding a garden of herbs that could be used for magical crafting, a scriptorium with magical writing desks, an alchemy lab containing a huge and now-damaged tank of acid, a room with strange pools of molten metal and glass protected by frogs, and a manufacturing room with a magical kobold head running it that the party smashed up.

In their exploration, the party found many strange plants: a bush that they felt compelled to tell secrets, a vainglory flower (also known as a Death-or-Glory) that would give them boons for planting its seeds, a gourd with spiral-patterned blossoms, a viny plant with a comatose kobold inside, a Razorchime plant that could be played like a glockenspiel, and a tree with a single strange fruit growing on it.

The party explored some sort of audience chamber lined with statues and cages containing tortured animals and people. In the middle was a large chest full of coins and valuable items. On the far side of the chamber was a dark passage blocked with magical shadow that the party couldn’t penetrate, and which was guarded by a cloud of magical wasps.

In the end, the party managed to kill or force into retreat all kobolds they found in the living and working areas of the former gardens.

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Catching Up

Party Members

Billy vanished one night after the party found a clue regarding Bohr Korrath. On a visit to the base of the tower in the Old Town, Harthkell contacted an Aetherian spirit and disappeared into the tower’s featureless stone. The party recruited a warlock named Erik, who adventured with them for some time before retiring to study some of the magical items they found. The latest additions are Arthur and Elizabeth, a lady and her guardian who came to investigate the events at the Durath manor.

Town Events

The group cleared the Fairest Distillery of a hag who was using it for foul experiments.
They also cleaned the local granary of an infestation of blighted plants. The townsfolk have set to work repairing these buildings to use them for the upcoming harvest.

The party investigated Durath Manor, a haunted mansion where a noble family sealed themselves away and descended into depravity. They destroyed the undead couple with the help of the ghost of one of their victims and claimed the building for themselves as a guildhall.

A mysterious wizard sent his pseudodragon familiar to town in response to a request for a magical shield. He offered an experimental shield that required the sacrifice of a living thing’s heart, but the party declined the offer.

Quelenna Meliamne, the blacksmith, has been given a magical forge found in the Old Mines that will help her make items faster, including magical ones.

Some sort of brigand group has set up operations in a building in the old town, and Syrax has expanded the ranks of the guard at the expense of some tension.

The party secured a treaty with the Orcs allowing passage through their territory in exchange for a toll, which will allow for much more convenient trade to and from Towerwatch.

Underground Events

The party descended past the goblin quarters and into a place controlled by the Shadows: cruel and crafty kobolds. They found a room containing a bust of the Aetherian Acedia, who poses them questions in exchange for rewards.

In the kobold territory is a strange large chamber, like a model town made by beings who don’t understand towns. The party found a cache left behind by a human who had somehow explored this deep, a church being guarded by a strange stubby beholder, and a lake leading deeper into kobold territory. The party made a temporary nonaggression pact with the kobolds, turned on the lights in the chamber, and fought an Aetherian wraith who retreated into the central column once its golemic body was destroyed.

The party explored the old mines, which were overrun with monsters and vermin. They cleared the area out, finding a discarded damaged azer face along the way. They found a chasm with a gong on the edge of it. Ringing the gong summoned a purple worm from a hole in the far side, which attacked but could be snuck past.

Up a stairway overlooking the chasm, the party found an entrance to an Aetherian temple. They cleared out levels dedicated to the elements, three gods of good, and primary virtues. On the top floor, they fought an Aetherian who had inhabited a flesh body; it retreated into a realm of light when its body was destroyed.

The party made a brief excursion into a cave system where they fought a pair of fomorians. They were then greeted by a scarred grimlock, who warned them away from advancing any further.

The party met the azer below the temples, who charged them with recovering a pair of magical crossbows that Bohr Korrath had stolen.

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Emerging from the Depths

The giant fungi in the sealed storage room attacked and were dispatched by the group. The chest within the room contained rotting books, alien-looking electrum coins, and a couple of oils of healing. The party rested briefly, then headed for the surface via the passage in the worg stable.

In the low, root-choked passage, the party heard the sound of bat-like wings. They were attacked by stirges, one of which latched on to Kil-Wal`the before they were all dispatched. Kil extracted the stirge and the party headed into the woods.

Harthkell led the way through the woods to where a path met a tomb entrance that had been sealed with a stone slab marked with the symbol of Wee Jas. They made their way back into town, where they received a warm welcome.

The next morning, the leaders of the town were discussing ways to increase safety given the goblin attack. Syrax said that if the town had more people there would be safety in numbers, but that would require more money in town, which could be provided by exports.

In the process Syrax mentioned that Bohr Korrath, a former guard in town, had regularly taken trips down into the tunnels beneath the town before being involved in some sort of “incident.” He was suspended and hasn’t returned from the underground since.

He suggested that they try to reclaim the old Fairest Distillery inside the walls, as it would be able to produce cider and brandy for export and may have some in its stores. The party volunteered to investigate and headed into the ruined town.

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Painting the Walls With Blood

The party moved through the first subterranean level, killing most things they came across. They found a closed slab room that contained reclining stone figures they decided were golems, one of which had killed a goblin. They passed through that chamber and found a room with worg cages and a tunnel that seemed to lead outside.

Billy killed the worg handler and then the party slaughtered the worgs in their cages. The party then found a butchery room where they were attacked by the giant centipedes that seemed to subsist on the scraps there. This room had a rope leading up to some wine cellar, but there were sounds that suggested ghosts, so they retreated back into the goblin warrens.

The party found a room with goblins sleeping off a drunken night; they systematically killed the goblins in their sleep. In that room they found a map or diagram depicting the complex they were in, suggesting that it was a deep construction connected to the Tower.

The party found a room used to smoke meats, a room with a chained ghoul being used for target practice which they killed, and a set of rooms with objects hanging from hooks in the ceiling where they were attacked by goblins who apparently hadn’t heard that they were under new management. The goblins were dispatched and the party found healing salves in a concealed panel.

With everything else on this level apparently explored, the party worked hard to unseal the door that had been emphatically hammered shut by the goblins. They opened it to find a chest at the back of a small room littered with bones and rot and some dramatic large morel-like funguses.

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New Allies and Old Emnities

Darmot Harthkell and Kil-Wal`the, relaxing at the inn, felt themselves spied upon by an elegant stranger. After a bit of strange and awkward conversation, Harthkell learned that this stranger’s name was Billy.

With Billy eavesdropping, Syrax Skydriven told Harthkell that they planned to seal the entrance that the goblins were using to enter the old town. However, they needed the party to make the original meeting so that the goblins would be distracted long enough for the work to be complete. The party would have to escape through whatever exit allowed the goblins to make raids outside the walls. Harthkell agreed, and after hearing that the renegade guard Bohr Korrath might be down in the complex below the city, Billy offered to pose as Gorrie for the meeting.

The next morning the party set out. On their way to the old town, a mysterious traveler named Argent offered to come along in exchange for help discovering what was poisoning the woods around the mountain. The four of them descended into the tunnels and made a meeting with Bulgosh and Gorgleshek. Billy, posing as Gorrie, took Bulgosh aside to discuss terms of trade. The party noticed that the two goblin leaders seemed at odds, so they encouraged a fight between them. Gorgleshek killed Bulgosh, then the party killed Gorgleshek and the guardian goblins.

They left one goblin alive, and Kil gave him his white dragon pelt and told him that the tribe had a new ruler now: Oroborus, who had sent Kil as his emissary. The goblin, terrified, agreed to rule in the name of Oroborus. He also told them that the exit the goblins used was to the west.

The party found a temple to Maglubiyet and slaughtered her priest and worshipers there. Harthkell defiled the shrine by destroying the axe that was the symbol of the goddess. They also cleaned a statue to Fharlanghn of its graffiti and found that it hid a pair of magic boots which Billy took.

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Bluffing the Goblin Chief

Darmot Harthkell and Kil-Wal`the went to the Precipice Inn, where they were the topic of local gossip. Gorrie apologetically paid them the gold he’d promised for escorting him. They didn’t have long to drink, however, before Lillie Stumbleduck, a halfling, burst in, desperately searching for her daughter Rosie.

Darmot set off with her to search, eventually hearing from Quelenna Meliamne, the smith, that some commotion had occurred heading south toward the orchard. Meanwhile, Kil was woken by Ricardio DaMasque, a dashing bard, who invited him to come along and save the child.

The three headed into the dense orchard, following a low path worn through the underbrush. The trail led to a break in the great wall surrounding inner Towerwatch. Upon passing through the party found themselves in the ruins of the town inside the wall. The buildings around them had been stripped of shutters, doors, trim, and anything else not mortared in place.

They followed the trail of devastation to the ruined Blackeye Pub. In the basement there they found a pair of goblins standing guard. The party intimidated the goblins into running away and descended down a ladder through a hole in the floor into a room with nine large stone slabs.

They were immediately attacked by the goblins on guard there. One goblin escaped, and they captured another one, tying him up on a lead of rope. They used him as a guide, asking him to bring them to where the girl was being held. The complex they had entered was made of dark stone, clearly not made by the goblins. The party passed a door that had been clumsily but thoroughly sealed.

The party decided to rest in an alcove and discovered a hidden room behind a tapestry. They slipped inside to avoid a guard patrol and found a ruined and rotting library. A bluish-purple glowing humanoid figure was standing there, but it floated down through the floor and didn’t return. The party searched the room and found a book written in a strange language depicting different animals, a magic scroll, an hourglass, and a spellbook.

The party peeked out the other side of the room and saw a defaced statue of the god Fharlanghn. They consulted with their goblin prisoner on which way to go. His route would lead them through the lair of the bugbear Gorgleshek, so they cut through the secret room to the stairs leading down.

The second floor of the complex seemed to be full of goblin living areas. They managed to bluff one inquisitive goblin by claiming to be playing a game, but they weren’t very stealthy and alerted a roomful of goblins. Darmot slammed the door shut with magic and Kil froze the goblins with his icy breath and slaughtered them. Their prisoner broke down in a fit of fear, so they bound and abandoned him there.

The party soon found a large throne room where the chief, Bulgosh, a hobgoblin, was waiting for them with ten goblin guards. The party decided to trick him into believing they were stronger than they were. Ricardio played an ominous song and put some of them to sleep, while Darmot used Thaumaturgy to appear more powerful.

Rosie was in a cage in the room, and Bulgosh seemed to want her because she was a Builder, able to make tools. Apparently all of the Towerwatch denizens were Builders. The party left their weapons as collateral and took Rosie, promising to return the next day with more tools and weapons for an ongoing trade deal.

The party returned to the surface the way they came, reuniting Rosie with her mother. Back at the Inn, they reported in general terms to a dragonborn guard, Syrax Skydriven, who proposed figuring out what to do about the situation in the morning.

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A Wolf at Dawn

The mysterious warlock Darmot Harthkell and an as-yet-unnamed dragonborn warrior met in Boorne’s Waystop at the base of the Howling Mountain. The warrior came in search of glory to redeem his reputation, while Harthkell arrived carrying a secret regarding the black tower at the top of the mountain.

The two agreed to escort Gorrie, a local mule handler, to the town of Towerwatch at the top of the mountain, along with his wagonload of supplies. Just past the turnoff to the Old Mines they were attacked by a vicious wolf that seemed emboldened by the strange magical energies of the mountain.

The wolf brought both adventurers down: first the fighter, then Harthkell. In their painful, semiconscious states they heard sounds like vines bending and wood tearing. They woke up some time later, bandaged up on slabs in some sort of mortician’s room.

The two went outside to meet an unsettling red-haired woman named Mella Veil who introduced herself as a priestess of Wee Jas, goddess of death. They had made it to Towerwatch, and had apparently been rescued and bandaged by some unknown person. Concerned about their easy defeat and the mysteries of the place, the two headed to the Precipice Inn to find a place to stay during their time in town.

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