4th Ed D&D In London

Kobold Treasure
In Which A Broken Axe Is Found

Searching the caves for loot, the group discover the following:

The Chainmail of Fili Stonehelm.
The Broken Axe.
Money (as recorded by James).

They also discover a letter:

"My spy in Winterhaven suggests we keep an eye out for visitors to the area. It probably does not matter; in just a few more days, I'll have completely opened the rift. Then Winterhaven's people will serve as food for those Lord Orcus sends to do my bidding.

In His name,

K."

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The Battle With Irontooth
In Which A Paladin Learns About Unconsciousness

Teamwork was the key to victory! That, at least, was the plan.

The party decided to head in through the northern most entrance to the kobold lair, to the left of the waterfall. However, revelling in his own stealth, Aran volunteered to attack seperately through the waterfall as the other caused a diversion.

Pouring in through the entrance, the party (supported by Des acting as rear-guard) fell upon three kobolds. Two were quickly eliminated but the third proved to be of stronger stuff, ducking around the thrust of Elwanen's attack and shouting for aid.

Aran was shocked to find 10 kobolds waiting for him as he burst through the waterfall, and he quickly abandoned the 'diversion' plan and join the main group through a side opening, chased by fearsome kobolds who quickly started to attack the party from both sides. Theron again showed remarkable bravery, moving in close to use Thunderwave to his best advantage and blast kobolds back agains the walls of the cave. The small humanoids were falling back when a loud horn sounded further into the cave system.

The horn marked the arrival of Irontooth – a fearsome goblin who was clearly the leader of the marauders. His face was covered in a skeletal ram's head tatoo, and he clutched a battleaxe in both hands, his mouth pulled back in a snarl. Charging into Rangrim and Elwanen, he struck quickly, his axe biting into the fine Eladrin armour of his opponent.

Joining him from the south were two more of the ever-present Dragonshields flanking a kobold priest. The priest stepped out of the shadows and threw a ball of fire at Rangrim, as he was also charged by the Dragonshields. Overcome by the sheer numbers of foes pressing upon him, the proud Dwarf was sent crashing, bleeding, to the floor(1).

Des stepped forwards and cast a healing prayer, restoring Rangrim to consciousness. As Theron continued his magical assault on the kobolds still surrounding them, and Aran ran through to tackle the kobold priest, Elwanen and Rangrim (taking a second to catch his breath) started to duel the mean-faced goblin. Their weapons, and the conviction of their holy purpose, began to bite into him, blood pooling on the floor.

Aran engaged the priest directly, and at close quarters the expertise of the halfling overcame the priests power, Aran's blade finding his throat. Immediately, he turned back towards the others, in time to see Irontooth launch into a frenzied series of attacks against his foes! However, the luck of the gods was truly on the side of the Paladin pair, and they blocked, ducked and avoided every one.

As the other kobolds fell to spell, sword and prayer, it became clear to Irontooth that the battle was lost. Entering a battle frenzy, he strove to bring his opponents down, but with a final strike his guts spilled across the floor as he was defeated.

(1) Note: First time any character in the campaign had gone under 0hp!

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Outside The Waterfall
In Which Theron Learns About Flanking

The kobold slinger's eye widened as the magical bolt of force smacked into his chest, forcing him a pace backwards. Before he could do so much as raise his sling to respond, a small halfling darted forwards and sunk two arrows into him as well, and his last thought was that he had been killed by someone no bigger than he was…

The rest of the group, meanwhile, had also launched forwards. Runing through the trees, Elwanen swung at the kobold dragonshield standing in the centre of a magical circle. The two began to duel as Rangrim joined him, other kobolds flocking around them.

Theron and Des, however, were slightly surprised to see another small group of koblds emerge from the trees further down and charge up towards them. Despite taking a few blows, a swift Thunderwave from Theron sent them staggering backwards and out.

Within a few short minutes, and despite some smart tactical work from the kobolds as they worked to flank the Paladins and try to mob them to death, the guards were all dead and the clearing was again silent, save for the ceaseless sound of churning water.

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Journey To The Kobold Lair
In Theron is Impatient

After defeating Agrid and capturing him (tied up with rope and blindfolded), the group return to Winterhaven to recuperate and to think about what's next. Agrid is left with the village militia under strict instructions to keep a very careful eye on this slippery gnome.

Both Sabbat Fau and Theron are delighted that Douven Staul has been rescued, and Douven books himself a room at the Inn, but not before asking with some urgency when the next caravan back to Fallcrest is due, explaining "Frankly, I just want to see my wife again."

An evening's drinking ensues in celebration, with Aran asking Salvana for a full bottle of the delicious drink he obtained before. Unfortunately, he'll have to wait for another order to come in, but as he has no plans to leave Winterhaven until the map of the Keep is complete it's all fine for him. The villagers are also treated to some full-throated singing from Elwanen as he attempts to translate and then teach them some Eladrin drinking songs. The experiment has a mixed reaction, at best.

The following morning Des is up first, seeking out Valthrun in his tower. Valthrun sticks his head out of an upper-story window and shouts "These things take time! Kindly leave me alone to do this research and I'll let you know when I find something I can tell you!" Somewhat dismayed at Valthrun's demeanour, Des instead speaks to Sister Lindros at the Temple, asking if she has any information on any cult activity in the area. Again getting no serious help, he racks his brains for any scrap of information about the Keep that his teachers may have mentioned. The only thing that he can come up with on this occasion is that a force from the Kaius Dynasty came this way around a hundred years or so ago, before the Keep fell, but he can recall no further details. Suddenly, he remembers the name of the last Lord of the Keep – Sir Creegan.

Meeting up, the group decide that the way to go is to take Lord Parrag's offer of payment to remove the kobold threat from the area, and head out west following the map that Delphina was able to make for them.

The map guides them safely to the right location – a small set of caves guarded by a waterfall. Aran spots a number of kobolds outside acting as guards, but whilst some members of the group delay and plan, Theron launches a solo attack with a magic missile and all hell breaks loose.

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Meanwhile....

Locked away in cramped quarters above the inn at Winterhaven, the thin frame of the reclusive warlock is hunched over a pile of star charts, bony hands plotting arcane intercepts with a pair of jade callipers. Although physically present, his meditations took him far, far away.

“Believe nothing, think nothing, feel nothing.”

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The Dragon Tomb
In Which The Party Meets a Gnome In a Pit

Aran is again taking point guard as the party come across the area of their search – the Dragon Tomb.

It's somewhat of a disappointment – merely a large pit in the ground surrounded by rough rocks and some more trees. In the pit four human workers are sifting through bones, watched over by a Gnome and two guard drakes. Aran, after a little scouting, also spots another halfling lurking in the boulders around the pit's edge.

As the Gnome sees them, he introduces himself as Agrid and invites them to come down and see what he's uncovered. The party are suspicious, particularly Elwanen, but Des attempts a diplomatch exchange. However, as he makes his way around the pit to get a better view and Elwanen heads down into it, the trap is sprung and Agrid fires a crossbow bolt at the Tiefling Cleric, causing him to hit the deck in a hurry!

Aran and the other halfling begin a duel of weapons – Aran's bow against the Halflings lightning quick slingshot. Fortunately, Aran prevails.

In the pit, the sheer strength and power of Cass, Rangrim and Elwanen is too much for the human mob, with Elwanen slamming one into the walls of the pit with a [i]Thunderwave[/i]. Despite some Gnomish trickery with a moment of invisibility, Cass beats Agrid unconscious and captures him.

Des, meanwhile, has made his way across the pit to find a figure concealed under a blanket. Casting back the blanket he finds Douven Staul, alive, but tied and gagged. Des heals him of his injuries and unties him.

Grateful to the party for rescuing him, Douven explains that he had started to work on the remains of the Tomb when he was approached by Agrid and the Halfing (his name is never discovered, sadly). The two quickly coerced him into continuing, saying that if he didn't do what they said they'd simply cut off a hand or so to keep him quiet. Scared and afraid, Douven managed to help until a few days ago when the mirror was uncovered.

This was greeted with great joy by Agrid – apprently his superior had expected something of this nature to be found here. Agrid had decided to spend just a few days more to see if any other treasures could be located, but none were forthcoming. Today was to be the last day of digging – the group were then to return to the Keep with the mirror and Douven.

Douven begs to be taken back to Winterhaven and safety before the party make any approaches to the kobold lair, and as thanks for his rescue he gives them the Amulet that Agrid had been wearing. Explaining that he just needed it for a moment, he withdrew a small picture of a woman, saying "This is my wife." He then handed over the Amulet to the group, confirming that this was a magical amulet that would provide protection against poison.

The group agree to return to Winterhaven with their captive in tow.

END OF SESSION

Note: At the end of this session, I was happy to be able to say that all characters now have 1095 XP and as such, are SECOND LEVEL! Congratulations!

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Into the Wild
Kobold Ambush (Part 2)

The group heads off into the woods to see if they can locate Douven Staul, the missing explorer, last seen following a map from Eilian in search of a lost Dragon Tomb.

The party have been travelling for about an hour or so when Aran pauses, eyes scanning the undergrowth ahead. His fears are realised as several kobolds emerge from hiding and charge towards him – they are carrying the same dragonscale shields as the other group and look like competent warriors. Aran is wounded a couple of times by their fierce attacks. In addition, a spear wielding kobold begins to circle around the edge of the woods as a fifth kobold comes into view, wearing a bone mask shaped like a dragon's skull.

The party leaps to their friend's defence, with Elwanen fey stepping forwards to engage. He is quickly surrounded by a dragonshield and the spear fighter, finding it hard to concentrate on both at the same time. Cass and Rangrim are engaged in a tough battle against the other two dragonshields, as Aran breaks free and makes for the Wyrmpriest. The priest invigorates his colleagues, driving them to greater heights of fury, before directing a ball of flame into his enemies. He also engages Aran in close combat, breathing fire over him which the halfling is fortunate to dodge.

Although Elwanen is briefly brought to his knees, the company prevails and the kobolds are slain. Aran guts the priest and dumps his body to the ground, before finding an obsidian necklace on the body. Scratched into the base of a smal statuette is the symbol of Orcus – Demon Prince of the Undead. This lends credence to the rumours of cult activity.

Taking a moment to refresh themselves, the party loot the other bodies before piling the corpses at one side of the road.

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A Day In Winterhaven
In Which The Party Hears a Dwarven Proverb

Lord Parrag greeted the group in his study – a well-furnished if functional room. The Lord himself is a strong-boned man in his early 40's, with a hint of grey in his hair. The room contains a couple of shelves of books, an open fireplace, and a large desk with papers scattered over the top.

The party and Parrag discussed the matter of the kobold attacks on the path, and the noble confirmed it was an increasingly worry for him. "We receive fewer trade caravans now than we used to," he said. "I've been attempting to get the villagers to help root this problem out, but they're not trained warriors and I simply don't have the resources to deal with it. If you could manage to drive these little pests off, I would be able to offer a reward from the village's coffers."

Happy to receive payment, and to take a commission from the local authority figure, the group agrees. The fee will be paid upon proof of the kobold's defeat.

Other matters are touched upon – Lord Parrag refers them back to Valthrun for further information on the Keep, says he met Douven Staul once and has never heard of Cass' brother. Without further ado, the company leave, planning to head out into the wilderness tomorrow.

Rangrim wishes to speak to Thair Coalstriker the Dwarven Blacksmith, and as his forge is just by the gates to the Manor House it's easily done. Thair is a rugged dwarf of more advanced years, wearing the traditional smith's leather apron and with a triple-platted beard hanging down to his waist. He greets Rangrim warmly, with a wrist-to-wrist Dwarven handshake, and asks after his clan. When Cass asks him about her missing brother, he can't help, but makes mention of having some experience in that area. Cass presses the point, and he gently deflects her, saying "The hairs of that beard have already been pulled." He promises to buy Rangrim a beer in the tavern that night and talk more.

In the evening, everyone is gathered in the Tavern. New arrivals in the village ensure it's even more packed than normal, and the group are able to meet Delphina and Ninaran, two local Elves, Ninaran is sullen and quiet, not wanting to speak much, but Delphina is much happier and fills in a map to the location of the Kobold lair. This map also helps to confirm that Eilian's map to the last location of Douven Staul isn't perhaps as bad as they thought, and it's decided that rescuing him might be a good move before taking on the kobolds. After Aran has entertained the crowd with tales of their exploits thus far, the party head for bed (with Aran in special rooms on the ground floor), ready for the morrow.

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Arriving In Winterhaven
Guards! Guards!

Winterhaven is a small village at the far end of the King's Road from Fallcrest. A sturdy wall protects the outside of the settlement, and visible over the top of it is Wraftons Inn, the Winterhaven Manor House and Valthruns Tower.

Two guards stood at the gate, impassively watching at the donkey pulled the trade cart up the hill. Des stepped forwards to talk to them, and after a short discussion the gates were opened and the party allowed in.

Wraftons Inn was revealed right in front of them, and Salvana Wrafton emerged from the front door, beaming. "Welcome to Winterhaven!" she called. "Is that the trade caravan you've brought? Fantastic! I'll have it brought in, please, come in and get a drink. I'm sure you're tired after a long journey."

Aran tried a local speciality ("It's made with cherries, well, mostly cherries!") and a mixture of ale and wine was poured, and Salvana got the news of the kobold attack. She seemed to know something about it, and recommended the group speak to Lord Parrag, the town's leader. Cass also asked after her brother, but Salvana didn't recognise the description.

Over the course of the afternoon, the party discussed all that brought them to Winterhaven, including the Keep ("Rumoured to be haunted! Vampires and ghosts and all sorts!"), the kobolds ("They're a real problem, but we don't have the manpower here to deal with it"), Douven Staul ("Oh, I remember him. He followed Eilian's map and hasn't been seen since") and the possibility of a cult ("There are no cults in Winterhaven, I'm sure of that").

A few minutes walk brought Des to Valthruns Tower and Valthrun downstairs to add his knowledge. He also denied any suggestion of cult activity, spoke a little about The Winterhaven Keep and it's history, and agreed that Douven Staul seemed a nice fellow.

Eilian turned out to be an old farmer sitting in the corner, and once Douven's name was mentioned he lit up a little, saying he could draw everyone a map of where he'd gone. There was some suggestion that this map may have been less than accurate, but any map is better than none and the party agreed to head out and look for Douven soon.

Finally, the party headed through another short interlude with some more guards before being shown in to see Lord Parrag in the Manor House, with weapons peacebonded.

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Kobolds!
Tag! You're It!

As the company rounded a bend in the road, Aran had a strange inkling that something was up. An inkling that turned into a certainty as a group of small, reptilian creatures burst from the trees around them and attacked.

As Des hollered "Everyone back in the caravan!" and ducked for cover, the rest of the party responded with weapons drawn and spells readied, taking down several of the kobolds in a few seconds. Theron suffered a nasty hit though – one particular kobold was able to sling a firepot at him, setting his arm on fire.

The battle raged across the area, with most of the group holding a good defensive line against the tougher kobolds who could stand up to them. Three, in particular, caused the most problems as their dragonscale shields helped them deflect several attacks that were aimed their way.

Theron managed to put out his fire and blast one dragonshield back into the trees with a [i]Thunderwave[/i]. Snarling, the kobold bared it's teeth and charged back into the fray, only for Rangrim to use the power of the Thunderhammer to blast the kobold back again, clutching it's ears.

Sabbat Fau showed his hand for the first time, causing one kobold to burst into flames from the inside and catch fire. Thankfully for the kobold, Cass dispatched it shortly afterwards.

Whilst all this was going on, Aran and the kobold slinger had been playing hide'n'seek just up the road. Seeing it's friends defeated, the slinger made a break for freedom but a flying tackle from Aran stopped it in it's tracks. Up close, it wasn't so dangerous and a couple of quick scimitar and dagger thrusts meant it lay dead on the ground.

Des healed those that needed it, a couple of shields were taken as trophies, and the party moved on.

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