Scales of War

00 - Prelude
Before the Adventure Begins

[Please feel free to edit this as you like.]

Adren sat atop a small copse of trees overlooking Brindol. He relaxed his mind and allowed his gaze to jump around the horizon, focusing on any small detail. Why do the birds feed in one area but not another? Why does the halfling barge have no passengers? Why have certain wild berries been harvested but not others? It must all be related to the hobgoblin movements. The hobgoblins. That’s why he came Brindol. Their recent activity had his clan elders concerned so he has been tasked with finding out what the humans in Brindol know. Adren has never been completely comfortable around humans. He could run with a pack of dogs or sing with the birds but shifty, unpredictable humans are tough to read. Stiffening his resolve, he wrapped his nature-stained cloak around him and strode towards the town. Perhaps he could make friends with one of the Dragonborn he had seen move through the gate…


Biatch stepped off the trade ferry in the wee hours of the morning. She preferred not to deal with the halflings who had abandoned her like everyone else in her life had abandoned her. Still, she knew the river and knew how to travel along it for cheap. This trip only cost half a flagon of rum.

The next day she awoke late in the afternoon, the remained half flagon drained during the night. Bleary-eyed, she made her way to the tavern for breakfast. It usually took a week for her to be run out of town but she was in a foul mood and decided to get an early start on Brindol.


The town of Brindol rose in front of Donar. It would be the perfect place to make a name for himself. They had a shrine to Bahamut but it was unmanned so with a little effort he could be the word of Bahamut in this part of Elsir Vale. There was also a college of Ioun where he might find help deciphering the oracle’s prophecy. One line would always send shivers down his scales, “The ancient enemy shall rise again.

Inside the Antler and Thistle Donar ask the half-elven barkeep for a beer.

“What’s your name, oh large and powerful one?”

“Donar”

“Wonderful! I am a charity that could use all the donors I can get!”

Donar never understood human (or half-elf) sense of humor. “My clan gave me Donar both for my generous nature and the similarity to my Family name.”

“Well, I think it is a noble name. Please have a seat and enjoy your drink!”


Elandrasil Sylaria, the time to leave is upon us.” Larindel’s voice had a sing-song quality shared by most Eladrin.

“But I am not ready yet. I haven’t gotten to meet the humans.”

“The choice to stay in the schooner all day was yours. As our leaving is imminent your preparations are necessary. To delay would accentuate the jeopardy of our return as presently the moon is nearly eaten!” The merchant master felt like a baby sitter. At least the favor was for the noble Finestra house.”

“I have made my mind to stay here. It will be an adventure!” Elan often acted on impulse but her instincts never let her down.

The merchant was flabbergasted. “Oh Elandrasil Sylaria! Your father would objurgate me and your sisters… Oh Elandrasil Sylaria! Your sisters would forswear me!”

“Larindel, do not be so histrionic. My nature is as plain to my family as the stars to a sage. Now away before the moon is finished and Melanda retires.”

Larindel was truthfully glad to be rid of Elan and so did not protest much more. Elan, however, was full of excitement and wonder when she spotted an elf. He looked a bit serious and more than a bit dirty - almost a disgrace to feykin - but she had a cantrip that could fix it. Seeing him enter a tavern made her feel more excitement. Young Eladrin say that humans drink two parts water to one part piss straight from a bedpan. She didn’t really believe it. Not really.


Longbreath slept in the thick bramble. Most of the bandits in these parts were squishy soft-flesh creatures. Humans mostly or hobgoblins. Not that he minded a good fight with bandits but he thought it better to sleep soundly at night and be prepared during the day. The brambles didn’t bother Longbreath—his scales were far too tough for mere thorns to puncture. He could march through forest so dense that only an elf could keep up.

His destination was Brindol. There he would build the new Arkosia. Some people laughed at him for having such a dream. Not to his face of course. And Dragonborn never laughed at another’s dream no matter how big. Striving towards a big dream is just as honorable as succeeding at a smaller one.

His first thought was to rebuild Arkosia in Overlook. It was larger, more strategically located, and closer to more Dragonborn clans. But on visiting Overlook he realized that the city was lousy with politicians and he had not the patience to suck up to a lot of effete cowards who did not deserve the power they had. Better to start in a smaller town. Perhaps when he had more renown he could return to Overlook but until then Brindol would be perfect. Many villages depended on it’s protection to keep the roads clear from bandits and it had good trade.

Once in Brindol he headed to the tavern. Once he found other adventurers it would be an easy job to form them into a band do whatever needed doing. The path to honor and glory would become clear and then Arkosia would rise again.

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01 - Antler and Thistle

Ronnie was trying to decide how many drink before he cut off the brooding but heavily armed woman when two Dragonborn walked into his tavern. They didn’t walk in together so he assumed they were caravan guards who had a rough day and didn’t feel like talking.

A while later an elf walked in. He looked like he wanted to hide in the corner but instead positioned himself at the bar where he could hear everything. He played with a soup spoon in a casual manner but Ronnie saw him watching he back in the reflection.

The card players were deep in their game and the atmosphere was somber. Ronnie would have to lighten the mood. He uttered a quick prayer for some excitement.

He got more than he bargained for. The first excitement was the Eladrin lady. She was haughty and obnoxious but also curious and talkative. Ronnie convinced her to speak to the others. They started buying drinks and the night was looking up.

Then the second exciting thing happened. Hobgoblins burst into tavern. About eight crazed hobgoblins screaming about someone named Sinruth and the Red Hand started killing patrons!

Fortunately the adventurers lept up to help. All of the hobgoblins were slain along with two torch-wielding goblins. Only one man was slain but his tab was all paid up. The damage to the bar was mostly caused by acid dragonbreath and arcane fire from the careless Eladrin. She offered to fix it but needed some alchemical reagents. Adronsius the alchemist wasn’t in the shop but Ronnie had a key so they went to get the materials.

The next thing Ronnie knew there was screaming and explosions. He and Elan ran outside to see a huge ogre throwing barrels of flaming oil all over the town! The adventurers dispatched the ogre and agreed to let Ronnie keep the weapons to help pay for the fire damage. Most of the weapons were poor quality but the ogre club might make a nice mantle piece…

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02a - Troyas
Where the heroes are offered a job

From Troyas’ personal diary:

Dear Diary,

I may have found a solution to the hobgoblin incursion. The ogre-slaying adventurers from yesterday offered to rescue the 7 missing citizens and recover the stolen artifacts. And for no reward… probably some dragonborn thing. Somehow they got a map out of the hobbiegobbie prisoner. The Bahamut paladin gave a nice ceremony. Hopefully that won’t backfire on me… the people trust them and therefore me to make everything right. If I fail it will give Orenna an excuse to raise more militia and cause trouble. Not that he is my worst enemy…

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02b - Goblins in the Catacombs

“You hear that?” “Shut yet hole, scum! Me sleeping.”

The hobgoblin was tired from yesterday’s raid after being on guard all night.

“I check it out”, said the goblin. “Just shut hole!” “Git back here”, the other hobgoblin chimed in. “We not done with three-finger game! Noise is just Norig and Morig playing fire-jump again.”

The goblin grinned. “Sinruth git mad when they torch backside.” He walked back. “I choose two fingers.”

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02c - To the Rescue!
Where the heroes begin their search for missing citizens

[Feel free to edit for more creative details]

The heroes managed to survive the trek to the old castle Rivenroar and find the catacomb entrance. They entered, killed some goblins and hobgoblins, and looked at the near rooms. Adren scouted to the east and saw a dark room with glowing glyphs and many small mean-looking creatures. They opted to go west where they found five hobgoblins. After slaying all five, two goblins burst into the room, looked around, and ran back out, jumping over pits, trying to raise the alarm. They got far enough to the next room where more hobgoblins joined the fray. Meanwhile Donar fell into a pit. He was content to wait until two huge drake lizard monsters charged him. He barely got up the rope before being eaten. Finally all the hobgoblins were slain and the party could rest a bit.

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03 - Deeper Into the Catacombs

[This update is two weeks late so some of the details may be fuzzy.]

The adventurers cleared out a room with sarcophagi. At first they were hesitant to open the sarcophagi but after finding an altar originally dedicated to Orcus they decided to disturb the bodies in as respectful manner as possible and Donar would say a prayer for each one. On one they found a burial torc with two healing potions.

In another room with statues of displacer beasts they found a prisoner guarded by dire rats and two gnome mercenaries. They allowed one of the gnomes to live in exchange for his magical dagger though they later killed him. The prisoner was the cook Mirtala. She had rat fever and was incoherent. Donar was able to calm her enough for her to follow them.

Adren snuck into a room with two gnomes. The party brought the gnome captive to barter but the two gnomes had gone around the corner into the corridor. When the party entered the room the gnomes summoned two firebeasts. The party used their captive gnome as a shield and he was burned to death but they defeated the firebeasts and the two gnomes.

All of the action escalated Mirtala’s fever and she passed out. The party will have to decide whether to go back to town.

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04 - Mirtala Rescued

[Note: This is a month overdue so many details are lost.]

Concerned about Mirtala’s fever, the party decided to return to Brindol to seek proper care. Adren was able to find a shorter route, one populated with Kruthik nests. One such nest started to attack the party but fled for no apparent reason.

In Brindol Mirtala was taken to a temple for care and the party spent the night resting and reflecting on the previous day and got training for 2nd level.

They left their booty with Ronnie to find a buyer and at sunrise set off back to castle Rivenroar.

They faced the room with floor glyphs and found the doglike creatures to be a swarm of needlefang drakes. In the next room the dwarf Adronsius was chained to the wall. He was beaten half to death but didn’t seem to mind. He knew the way out and tried to hide his limp as he made he way to the party’s camp outside.

Another room had some nasty ettercaps. Webbed up in a corner was the corpse of Kartenix, the captain of the guard.

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05 - More Prisoners Rescued

I wonder why they are keeping me alive,” thought Sertanian as he set in his cell. “They’ll probably feed me to the ettercaps. When they come for me I won’t go down without a fight. Maybe I’m not as young as I used to be but I might take down a hobber. Better than being ettercap food.”

He heard a sound from up the stairs. Maybe the hobgoblins were coming for him. But the footsteps were too heavy and the light wasn’t torchlight.

“Whose there? You hobbers coming for me?”

It was a groups of elves and half-dragons and a mail-clad woman cleaning ettercap web from her pack.

“Are you from Brindol? Is this a rescue?”

The party freed him from the cell and led him outside to their wagon where Adronsius was trying to sleep.

“Don’t leave me out here,” he said. “Give me a sword and let me kill some hobbers!”

Sertanian was an old man and two nights in a cell didn’t help. “No. We need you to guard the wagon. Make sure Adronsius is okay.”

Sertanian didn’t like the idea but agreed.

The party returned to the catacombs and went down the stairs to find more hobgoblins and a goblins hexer. The hobgoblins fell quickly but the hexer was shifty and created confusing clouds of chaos. He tried to get away but was run down and slain. He was wearing Bracers of Precision.

In the adjacent room Jalissa was chained to the wall. She was scared but relieved to be rescued. She attached herself to Elan, perhaps feeling a kinship to a fellow Eladrin.

With three prisoners rescued, the party headed back to Brindol, rested, and returned to Rivenroar. Sertanian wanted to go with them to give some payback but they convinced him to stay and help repair the Great Hall.

Back in Rivenroar the party fought some ghouls and zombies and discovered a room with a magic pool. When the water was disturbed the pool would show different rooms in the catacombs.

Onward they explored through a columned corridor to find a throne room. Piles of bones littered the floor. The wight on one throne awoke to confront the party and commanded skeletons in room to rise and take up arms. They were weak except for the skeleton in the other throne with a large glowing great axe. Anyone struck with this axe would feel terror and doom. This skeleton would also shoot shards of razor-sharp bones, especially when damaged greatly. After the skeleton had been seemingly defeated the wight was able to reanimate him. After defeating the wight and all other skeletons, the boneshard skeleton exploded doing massive damage to the party, nearly killing Elan and Longbreath.

While everyone else was being patched up, Biatch hungrily eyed the greataxe. It was obviously magical but when she approached it she was suddenly afraid. What if it was evil? What if it consumed her soul? Maybe anyone it slays becomes undead. Or maybe the wielder becomes undead? On the other hand it was an awesome looking axe…

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06 - All Prisoners Rescued!

[Since Adren’s player couldn’t make it I thought to write this up in a timely fashion while the details were fresh. With Longbreath rolling for Adren I expected fewer crits but if anything there were more! It just proves it’s the character who is lucky, not player.]

Before resuming their exploration, the party needed to figure out what to do with the wicked great axe. Biatch was torn—the axe was powerful but she would feel really bad if it turned her evil and killed her new-found friends. “Might as well get this over with,” she thought.

She tightly gripped the axe trying to overcome the fear and slight nausea. It was too much. She put the axe down. Again she would run from her fear—like when the halfling children threw small rocks at her when she grew to be too large, and later when the halfling adults threw not-so-small rocks at her.

“NO!” She picked the axe up. “Not this time!” She welcomed the fear and rode it like a wave. The stronger the terror built within her, the tighter she gripped the axe. When it reached a crescendo she knew it was over. She had beaten it though now she was emotionally exhausted. The axe still felt uneasy but it would not rule her. Later she would find she could channel that fear into her enemies.

The rest of the party looked on, not knowing the internal struggle taking place. Finally Biatch said, “I’m ready. Let’s go.”

In the next room they found an Eviscero demon trapped in a force cage. While they looked for a release lever, a wererat entered the room and said words to free the cage. The party was in a defensive formation and had no trouble dispatching the demon while the wererat watched. When the result was clear the ratman disappeared down the hall.

“Is everyone okay?” asked Donar. The affirmative was unanimous, everyone was undamaged. “What about that scratch, Longbreath?” Someone snidely remarked, “Compared to Longbreath’s typical wounds, that is undamaged.”

So they cautiously crept down the corridor and flung open the doors at the end. The room was revealed to be a small temple with the focus at the far end a large obsidian obelisk dedicated to Vecna that sucked the torchlight from the room. The wererat stood next to the obelisk.

“Archers take aim!” commanded Longbreath as he drew his hand crossbow. Donar grimaced and stepped closer to compensate for his poor skill. He always thought bows were a bit dishonorable.

After taking a few arrows, the wererat transformed into a dire rat and scurried behind the obelisk.

Longbreath took charge. “Let’s go get him but watch for an ambush. Biatch, you are on point.”

Biatch entered the room. “Nothing behind these first pews. Nothing behind … oh no!”

Three dire rats pounced from behind the pews biting and clawing while a goblin arcanist threw spells to daze and blind.

There was a tense moment while Biatch was surrounded but the party was able to beat down the rats. When the battle was clearly going wrong for the goblin he teleported out the door and started to run down the hall.

“Get him Adren!”

Elves are like cats. They spend most of their time relaxing in a sunbeam or watching butterflies. But when they spot prey they become the fiercest of predators.

While summoning his adrenaline Adren let loose the arrows aimed at the remaining wererat. It caught between the spinal cord and skull rendering the rat all but dead.

Adren then prepared another arrow while leaping over pews to sight the fleeing arcanist. His archer trained eyes zoomed in. His arrow stuck true in the goblin’s hamstring, crippling him. [DM’s note: Split the Tree critical for over 50 damage]

With the enemies dispatched, the party found 2 of the Brindol artifacts leaning against the obelisk.

More exploration revealed a room with another prisoner, the boy Thurann. After freeing him Longbreath tried to explain that Thurann’s father was dead. Thurann didn’t believe it and tried to flee the dungeon alone but Donar caught and calmed him.

Thurann knew where “the witch” was being held past the rage drakes. The party thought this would give Donar a chance to redeem himself from his previous encounter although Donar felt there was nothing to redeem.

Opening the doors revealed the large room littered with rubble and carpeted with mushroom and peat. Elan felt winded so she stayed back with Thurann. The rest carefully entered the room until a shrieking mushroom was disturbed.

“The drakes know we are here now,” Longbreath said stomping the mushroom. “Fan out and find where they are hiding.”

No sooner had he finished his sentence when a drake charged him with a ferocious double claw attack as another drake charged Biatch.

“I’ll handle this one. The rest of you take the other one. Let us see who triumphs first,” said Longbreath in an attempt at self-motivation. All dragonborn are motivated by a challenge and as such Longbreath put on an impressive display, nearly slaying his foe in the same time that all four party members took to take the other drake.

In the next room they found an old woman trapped in some sort of magic field. “Get me out of here!” she cried. “If you don’t free me right this instant I will turn you all into toads!”

Wary of gnomes in shadows Longbreath asked, “Is the room clear? Are any enemies hiding there?”

“Does it look like it? Stop wasting time and GET ME OUT!”

Elan stepped into the room. Or did she fey-step? Sometimes it is difficult to tell. Examining the circle she said something like, “How unwise it would be to touch that field. Millions of jewels flow through it and the jolt would be unpleasant or worse. But wait. When I give the signal slow down time to see the break. Pay attention to the locus where the triangle conjoins with the circumscription.”

Only Adren understood how to slow down time. When Elan lifted her little finger Adren focused on the triangle within the circle with such intensity that time seemed to slow. He saw one pulse travel around the triangle and another around the circle. When they met the field would disappear briefly. “I see it” he said.

“A simultaneous disturbance of the lingering flux around the conjunctions with highly resistive superstrate will deny redundant closure and the field will dissapate.”

Adren didn’t understand the words but he got the meaning “When the field goes down we need to disturb the places where the triangle meets the circle.”

Longbreath pulled three hobgoblin shields from his bag of loot. “So throw the shield s on the points of triangle when the field flickers. No problem.”

“Longbreath, the danger is potential. Perhaps you should stand back while I Mage Hand the shields. Or perhaps I could construct a…”

Longbreath had already handed a shield to Donar. “Don’t worry. Just stand back. We’ll be okay.”

They covered the points with shields and the field disappated.

“About time!” cried Zerriska. “Take me home now!” Thurann seemed to be a bit afraid of her.

The party was tired and didn’t want to listen to the old crone so they packed up the wagon and headed back to Brindol.

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06b - Troyas Dilemma

Troyas did not look forward to the council meeting later that day. First he had some research to do. “Might as well start with breakfast” he thought.

Ronnie, I heard you were giving the heroes a hard time about selling equipment?” “Hmm? No.. Oh. They been bringing back some of supplies from the hobgoblin camp and I’ve been trying to sell it for them. The thing is that I can’t get a fair price without spending a lot of time in the market and I want to make sure I get a fair price for them after they saved my bar.” “So why do they think you are giving them trouble?” “I don’t know. We hardly talked about it. Maybe they sensed I was having trouble. I was going to introduce them to Taunery...” “Taunery? I don’t think they’ll like him much.” “Maybe not but he’ll get them better prices than I will, even after his cut. And I don’t think he would cheat them…” “But Dragonborn can be prejudice. They might not like him at all.” “The least they can do is meet him. Otherwise you might have to buy those weapons for the city guard.” “Right. Like Harkonius will let me take that contract away.”

Troyas found himself at the college of Ioun. “Hiram thanks for seeing me.” “No problem Troyas. You know how I love to interrupt my research to spend time with bureaucrats like yourself. What can I do for you?” Troyas steeled himself. Hiram wasn’t the easiest person to talk to. “I heard some of the adventurers came to you to figure out a magic item and you wouldn’t help them.” “What!” Hiram stood up. “That’s a load of imp coal! They came in last night and interrupted my dinner waving around an axe they thought might be cursed. The only thing I like less than bureaucrats is drunk women with demon axes.” “Hiram…” “Did I throw them out for disturbing my dinner? No. Did I charge the fee that I would charge my own mother if she were still alive, rest her soul? No. Not only did I identify the item I helped the stuck-up elf girl learn how to do it herself. That’s a 500gp lesson right there.” “So other than your less-than-charming personality you didn’t give them reason to bear ill will?” “Less than charming you say? I didn’t invite you here and I have important work to do—my ant colony went crazy last night and destroyed the lab. Perhaps you should find some more charming people to talk to.” Unfortunately that’s not on the agenda, thought Troyas.

“Troyas, what’s this I hear that your heroes refused the escort”, the councilman in fine robes said the word with a snarl.

“I believe they didn’t trust our motives,” Troyas replied.

“Those graverobbing gnome torturers don’t trust our motives? That’s rich. You picked the guardsmen yourself. It looks like it’s they who cannot be trusted. Who knows what they are doing out there and what artifacts they are destroying or fencing? Rivenroar is the rightful property of Brindol in the absence of an heir.”

“Calm down councilman. They aren’t destroying the place. It was filled with hobgoblins. I’m sure anything of value has already been looted.”

“I’ll make sure of that. I’m organizing a patrol to investigate and make sure that Brindol’s interests are enforced.”

“I can’t stop you but I’ll be sending some city guard to assist. I just don’t want to take too many away during the feast.”

“Feast? What feast? Surely not for those bragging drunkards? They should be imprisoned for what they did to that poor gnome, not celebrated. I hope you don’t plan to use council funds for this party.”

“Only with approval, of course, but the people are having a feast one way or another. You can spend a little coin and claim it’s your idea or just let the people do what they are already planning. It is your choice.”

“Fine. But Marlen Company will get the lager contract.”

“I’m sure they will.”

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