Session 1 – The First Job The party took it’s first job, that of helping a foppish you boy in love. The boy was the son of a merchant, and had foolishly let his girlfriend go off to meet some less than desirable folks in the slums. She had not returned and he had, in fact, ignored a ransom note that had been sent to him. The party knew of the warehouse and began asking questions about the owner. When their leads went cold, they abandoned the thought of finding more information in favour of some headstrong action. Breaking into the warehouse, they quickly moved down the stairs to an underground room where Berem had found tracks going. They were attacked by a group of viscous slimes who put up a mighty fight. Before they had a chance to rest, Berem shifted into a bear and charged off into the next room. The party followed to find Berem embattled with a group of zombies. The zombies put up much less of a fight and the party was able to take a breather. They barely made it down another corridor before they were attacked by thousands of undead rats. The rats put up way more of a fight than anyone thought, and by the time they had dispersed, Berem lay dead. After a lengthy debate, the party made their way to Laurence Escalus, a patron of sorts, who raised Berem, but informed the party that something was wrong with his soul. The party made their way back to the warehouse and walked right into a trap. Tardiss and Kaddis were inside fighting undead while the rest of the party struggled to open a door. When they did, they moved into the room and quickly eliminated the undead threat. When the doors opened again, the party stared off into a room with an usettling green glow.
Session 2 – Against the Grain The party made it’s way into the room with a green glow, intent on finishing their first job. There, they encountered an undead that had been mistakenly created as a result of a strange ritual with a red gem. The party was unable to learn what the intent of the ritual actually was, but they were able to slay the undead beast. They discovered the woman they were here to rescue laying bloody and dead in the corner. Several party members decided to return to Juri to explain to him what happened while the others returned to the Crackling Fir. Tardiss went alone to the Whyte Guard compound to deliver the body of the noble as well as to explain what had happened. They assured him that someone would be in touch, but nobody contacted them.
After an interlude of nearly a month, the party learned that all of the adventurers were out looking for the daughter of a noble. The noble, a friend of Threnody’s father, had apparently offered a substantial reward to any and all adventurers who were willing to look for his daughter. The party looked at several jobs left undone, however, and decided to go against the grain and select a job for a poor farmer in the slums who had lost a blanket that had been passed down through her generations. They met with her and discovered that some creatures were climbing down the cliffs and stealing items. They killed some of the creatures, strange kobolds that seemed to speak goblin, and tracked them back to their camp where they learned that the kobolds themselves were under attack by a great bear. Tracking the bear, they learned that it was, in fact, a bear. They dispatched the angry Ursine, only to discover a strange wall in the back of the cave. They rested and then Berem pushed it aside to reveal a drop, a watery pool and a strange door at the far end. The party dropped down but were assaulted by walking crossbows which nearly killed some of them. They recovered and discovered that the gem pieces they had found on the thief in their first job opened the door here. Inside was a treasure trove of items and goods, but also a strange sigil on the floor.
Session 3 – A Deadly Confrontation
As the party entered the room, the sigil blared to life. One by one, the party started turning on each other. Those not attacking their allies worked tirelessly on turning the sigil off or on trying to get their friends to snap out of it. It took several attempts, but they were eventually able to get the sigil turned off. As they investigated, they discovered that this appeared to be a stash used by a group of rogues… the same rogues they had encountered earlier with the red arm bands. They prepared to go back to reveal this to the proper officials when they were waylaid by Moradin’s Resolve. It seemed that all new adventuring groups paid a “bounty” to them, and it was time for the party to pay theirs. The ensuing combat was not pretty. Moradin’s Resolve seemed to have the upper hand until Azreal cleaved clean through one of the dwarves, killing him instantly. The shock and horror on the face of the dwarves told everyone that things just got ratcheted up a notch. Suddenly the big guns were getting broken out and PC members and enemies alike were going down. A catastrophic fireball destroyed the bridge and ended the fight, as the leader of Moradin’s Resolve brokered a cease fire with Kaddis. The only one dead in the struggle was the dwarf from Moradin’s Resolve.
The party made their way back to town to discover that both the Rogues and the Whyte Guard had an interest in meeting them. All agreed to go and meet with the Whyte Guard. They discovered that they had a very unique opportunity waiting for them if they could convince the council to give it to them. It would mean sacrificing their meeting with the rogues, but all agreed. Kaddis and Berem went to talk to the Harbourmaster, whose vote they managed to get by protecting his job via a deal with the union leader. Threnody and Azreal were heading to the noble district when Azreal changed his mind and decided to go to the meeting with the Rogues. Threnody herself met with the noble representative. It was quite clear that she only wanted the dead adventurer raised, but she provided Threnody with a different and vastly more expensive option, and Threnody decided the gold was worth less than her beliefs, so she took it. The party now gathers, waiting on word from Tardiss and Zachar as well as from Azreal.
Session 4 – A New Patron
Zachar and Tardiss made their way to the home of Eleanis Leafchild. They were able to ascertain that he perhaps had the strongest opposition to them outside of the leader of the council. Eleanis, although he reported to the merchants, had more ties with the nobles… and the party wasn’t liked there. Still, Zachar and Tardiss managed to convince Eleanis to let them help him with a problem he had at Magnifico Shipping and, in exchange, he would get their vote. They headed there and dealt with the sisters. They split them up and after about 20 minutes, Tardiss apparently signed over a year of his life to the company so that the rest of the party would get that vote.
Meanwhile, in the Docks District, Azreal had managed to get himself in to see Raul, the leader of the Rogue’s Guild. Raul talked to Azreal about how the Rogues firmly believed that they were fighting for the will of the people and that in order to do so, they needed to operate on the other side of the law. Azreal seemed to mostly agree with what Raul was saying, but figured that the mission was a little too dangerous to do by himself, so he left to go and try to convince the others that they would be better served with the Rogues than with the Whyte Guard.
When all the party (except Tardiss) was back together, the party agreed on a few things. They would not sign the petition, but rather would raise the falled Stormhammer brother. They also agreed that they would not (at least initially) attempt to retrieve the note that Mickey Cretin wrote to the Harbourmaster. Finally, they agreed that they would go to the meeting with the Whyte Guard rather than attempt a chance with the Rogues. They rested and Threnody got up early. She was able to catch the Stormhammer clan before they left for their homeland and convinced them to let her raise their fallen brother. Afterwards, she made it back in time to hear the council vote 5:1 in favour of letting Redemption adventure as a probationary group under the banner of the Whyte Guard. After the council meeting, the party met up with Eleanis Leafchild who felt guilty about Tardiss’ departure and introduced Ael, an elf who Eleanis figured would be able to help the party. Although some were suspicious that she may be a council spy, they agreed that the extra body would be good to have.
The first mission the party was given was to investigate the red gem issue. Red gems, similar to those the party had found before, were stolen from the noble district. They were able to ascertain that a thief was responsible and caught him in the act. They chased him back to Ariana house and prepared to arrest him when a cloaked figure put several arrows through the thief’s chest. He then told the party to mind their own business and vanished. With no other recourse, the party headed to the drop off point the thief had told them about, hoping the dwarf would resemble the halfling enough. What they found was an assault by the walking dead—a group of wights who the party defeated, but not before they leeched the life out of several of the party. The party now stands at the entrace, debating whether they should go in.
Session 5 – Risk/Reward
Despite suffering several wounds, the party decided that it was best to go in and deal with what was inside immediately rather than wait it out. If the delivery wasn’t made, they may lose their chance at capturing whover stole the gems, and nobody wanted to think about what that would mean. Upon entering, the party discovered multiple mechanical creations. Some started the lights and others attacked them. It was not a difficult fight, however, and the party was soon face to face with the coffins of the old Artificer.
In the room of the Artificer was an Obelisk. The party studied it, with Zachar and Threnody finally figuring out just how to activate it. The ritual, which was read in parts by each of them, flared up and the party vanished, appearing in what Zachar assumed was some sort of pocket dimension. There on the floor lay several glowing lines and symbols dashed around the party. It took some time before the party figured out that this was, indeed, some sort of puzzle. As they were trying to solve it, Berem lost control once again, shifting into a bear and attacking Azreal. For fear of it happening again, they had him wait out the solving of the puzzle until the last moment. When they eventually did solve it, they returned to their place as if no time at all had passed and they were perfectly refreshed.
The party settled in to wait for someone to come and pick up the drop. Suddenly, the wall at the back of the place opened up and a bugbear grabbed the bag, grinning and fleeing into the back of the caves. The party quickly gave chase, but were ambushed by more bugbears lying in wait. A vicious fight ensued, and the party immediately chased after the bugbear. This time he appeared to be waiting for them in the next room, guarded by more bugbears. Seeing them, he grinned again, turned and fled into the next room. This time, though, the party was not as lucky. The fight was a vicious one, with a bugbear assassin in the mix that Zachar knew to be the deadliest of his breed. Seeing an opportunity, he let for a blast of energy, hoping to take the bugbears down. Unfortunately, it was Azreal that he took down—the bugbears left the explosion relatively unharmed.
The remainder of the fight went alright, the party dancing around and the bugbear assassin trying to flee but unable to. In the end, his own caution proved to be the end of him. The party moved back into the room and stood around Azreal, wondering whether it would be better to continue on without their lost companion or to take the risk that the gems, and the answers to their questions, would be lost forever.
Session 6 – Duped
With Azreal down, the party had a decision to make—do they continue onward without him or do they allow the bugbear to get away? A quick vote later, they decided that Zachar would take Azreal back to town while the rest of the party went on to confront the leader of the bugbears. Thankfully, he did not have any more ambushes waiting for them. With a vicious growl, he joined them in combat. He was a truly formidable foe, and nearly took them all down single-handedly, but they were able to put him down eventually.
In examining the Bugbear’s belongings, they discovered that they had been duped! The bugbear was supposedly sending the party on a bit of a wild goose chase in order to free up someone else to go about their business. The other person was named Kellisandre, and she seemed to be the one in charge of the whole thing. The party brought all this information to the attention of the council, expecting action. Instead, they were told that everything would need to be put on hold, as the grand tournament was set to begin soon and they would need all hands for security.
The party agreed to split up and go about their routes. Azreal came up with a clever idea of enlisting some peasants to be runners. He waited in the city center while the rest of the party took up patrol routes around the city. It was Ael who managed to catch the first sign of trouble. One of the champions had lost a bout and was now taking it out on the patrons of the Crackling Fir tavern. Ael took him on and then sent word to Azreal. By the time the party showed up, Ael was out cold. The rest of them managed to take down the big man, though, and the party was able to end their patrol and get some sleep.
Session 7 – The Tournament
While the tournament raged on, the party continued their patrols. This night, though, they discovered something much more dangerous than a civil dispute. Kaddis came across an evil cleric and his lackeys planning something big. He took them on and was struggling until the rest of the party showed up to help turn the tide. When they defeated the clerics, the party made their way to a warehouse where something was happening. They quickly discovered that undead were present, and just as they did, a shockwave went out through the city that caused pure havoc.
Undead began to rise everywhere as the party tried to make their way to warn the council. They got there to discover that plans were already underway and that the council had determined where the heart of the issue was. The party fought their way through undead to get there, but on the way hit an issue. When a dwarven woman screamed at the hands of her undead attackers, Berem’s eyes glazed over in pain and he shifted into bear form. This time, though, he charged a group of peasants and began slaughtering them. Ael managed to get Berem’s attention with some arrows and the bear came over and dealt with her instead of the peasants. The party eventually quelled the undead uprising and when Berem calmed down, he was an efficient combatant, but it left some party members very concerned.
When the party eventually got to the sectioned off area of the city, they found some very frightened guardsmen. Their post had been asaulted relentlessly and the guards didn’t know how much longer they could hold out. The party agreed to go in and see how bad it was. It was very bad. They battled the undead, but were pushed back to the barricades to do so. It wasn’t immediately clear whether they would be able to win this one.
Session 8 – Duped Again
After the party dealt with the initial onslaught of undead, they were met with the results of the successful ritual. Three creatures with glowing rubies shambled forwards, seemingly comprised of nothing but blood. The party was quick to attack them, but the creatures were not weak. They pounded the party heavily, more than once dropping one of them to their knees. It was all that the healers could do to keep people on their feet, as the creatures broke the party down. Eventually, though, the party began to gain the upper hand, and with their martial prowess, the party was victorious.
After a quick break to recover, the party rushed forwards. They ended up face to face with Kellisandre… a vampire. She had been in control of this whole thing, and the party was eager to get her dealt with. She, however, was more use to being the puppetmaster. While the party was assaulted by undead minions and a necromancer up on a rooftop, Kellisandre used her unnatural charms to turn the party against one another. One by one the party began to fall, and it was uncertain as to whether or not they would even succeed. The minions kept being revived by the necromancer and Kellisandre seemed unbeatable. Azreal, in a rare moment freed of the vampire’s charms, managed to move up and land a devastating blow before being knocked out. Threnody and Kaddis struggled to keep everyone alive, and in the end it was Berem and Ael that were finally able to destroy the evil that was infecting the city.
When the party recovered, they examined the area. The merchant houses were covered in blood, likely used to create the undead creatures. They cleaned up as best they could and then reported to the council, who more or less told them to get some rest and they would go through everything in the morning. The next day, the party awoke to find Threnody gone. It seemed that Laurence Escalus had been arrested by the royal guard of Graen and Threnody had accompanied him without leaving word. Concerned, the party made their way to the council along with the warforged who had spotted all of this. They agreed to have Ferrous brought into Redemption, but the more troubling fact was that it seemed that Kellisandre’s entire assault was a ruse to get guards away from the castle so that they could steal an amulet. In it’s place, the thief had left a dagger. For what purpose, the council was unsure, but it would be up to the party to discover it.
Session 9 – Whence came this dagger
Zachar managed to pick up on the fact that the dagger belonged to a member of the Warriors of Winter’s End, and so the party was off in search of information. They were directed by Sandra Levy to a scholar about Winter’s End history. While they were discussing things with him, the party was assaulted by some ghostly undead. Thanks to Zachar’s quick thinking, the party was able to get the peasants out of the tavern. Without that, the fight could have gone very differently. As it was, the fight was very difficult and it took almost all the strength they had. Afterwards, the scholar was so frightened he willingly admitted to the party that he wasn’t the best one to speak to on this and that it was Carmen, a blacksmith in the docks, who was.
The party decided it was best to get some rest before continuing on. However, in the middle of the night, they were awoken to find gnolls and dragonkin in each of their rooms, trying to carry them off! Zachar was nearly gone out the door and if it weren’t for the party managing to find their way into pairs (Kaddis and Azreal fought together in one room while Ferrous made his way to protect Ael in another), things might have gone differently. The tide turning moment happened when Berem risked his life in one desperate attempt and dropped seven gnolls. The party quickly mopped up the rest of the fight without anyone being kidnapped but was left wondering what was going on and who had it in for them.
Session 10 – More than a Giant Lizard
After the attack, the party returned to rest, but things wouldn’t be the same after that. It seemed that Zachar was full up on his danger quotient and after the near-death experience, he was done with the adventuring life. Ael, meanwhile, had received word during the night from her brother (a minotaur, so… not by blood) that she needed to return to her father’s side, and that he would take over her quest for her. Tarkus’ name was added to the adventuring charter, bringing the total members to nine, three of whom are no longer with the group.
The group set off in search of Carmen. They discovered that she had gone out on a mining expedition several days ago and hadn’t returned. With some convincing, they were able to figure out where she went, and they set off after her. It didn’t take long for them to realize that she had been kidnapped. Apparently it had been the same creatures that had attacked them during the night. The party set off in search of the creatures, eventually coming across a cave. There, they made quick work of the gnolls that were acting as guards. While the party waited to recover, Berem went to scout ahead. He was suddenly assaulted by huge swarming mosquitoes the side of small dogs. The party rushed in to help, and managed to save the day without getting anyone killed. After a brief rest, they made their way down a cliff face and into a room, bringing them face to face with their enemy… a dragon.
Shocked and caught off guard, the fight with the dragon did not go well. The party ended up blind or stunned for large portions of the fight while the dragon seemingly had its way with them. Through sheer force of will, the party was able to defeat the dragon just as it was escaping. Unfortunately, the dragon wasn’t the only issue. A ritual was about to go off, and the party knew they could do nothing to stop it. Azreal was unconscious, so Kaddis merely stabilized him and then the party rushed to the ritual. Carmen was in stasis inside, and as the party joined, they watched as the life energy was drained bit by bit from all of them. After about a minute and a half, the ritual ended, leaving Kaddis and Carmen both near death.
Session 11 – Warriors of Winters End
After waiting for people to recover, it became clear that Carmen would not. Kaddis awoke after about 5 minutes, and Azreal with him. The group decided it would be best to risk the journey back. In the room, they had discovered a young albino boy of no more than ten who had his tongue cut out. The party reached Sara’fel and Azreal decided to take the boy to the Whyte Guard compound and then go get Carmen’s significant other before returning to the Artificer’s Guild where the rest of the party would go to try and determine the effects of the curse. The effects, however, remained a mystery. All that was able to be done was to remove the powerful aura from Carmen by transferring it onto Ferrous. After that, Carmen awoke.
Carmen agreed to help the party with the dagger, but she needed more information. The party went all around the city gathering tidbits of information on the five members of the Warriors of Winter’s End. Some information, like whether or not Ariana had ever been married to Kaedan, remained in question. In the end, though, it seemed as if one thing were clear—Tesslyn Whyte had given Kaedan a gift of ultimate respect by saying that he would sacrifice his life for Kaedan. Kaedan was now returning that gift in violent fashion, and the party would need to hunt him down.
After this discovery came another complication—it was discovered that Berem had a price on his head in the dwarven kingdom. Although the king hadn’t signed off on it, the regional authority had, making it a valid bounty in their lands, but not in Sara’fel. Nevertheless, it came to blows between Moradin’s Resolve with the aid of Tordek and Torden (two brothers from Berem’s own land), and Redemption. The guards put a stop to the fight, and the brothers were sent home, but Berem ended up confessing about his past. It seemed that on his wedding night, he had shifted into a bear and killed his wife. It was the start of a curse that he longs to see cured, but his only lead is an elven mystic who has proven incredibly difficult to find.
With that situation resolved (for the time being), the party made their way to the fortress where they believed Kaedan might reside. There, they were supposed to fight ogres, but discovered hill giants and trolls wandering about. They managed to defeat the initial onslaught, and now stand at the gates, waiting to discover what lies inside.