A little over three years into a campaign played in various locations around Archway, Golders Green, Balham, Hemel Hempstead and Welwyn Garden City so far.
The group is called “Little ‘n’ Large” after we were required to come up with a team name for an event in the game called Goblinfest. Half of the PCs were over 6 foot, and the other half were under 5 foot.
The PCs were selected by a noble patron to go undercover to try to thwart an enemy’s evil plans. They don’t yet know much about these plans, as they’re having to make a name for themselves in order to get hired without drawing suspicion.
The party set about making a name for themselves first by investigating the disappearance of a family of wheelwrights who had been relocating to Gosfair. The family was discovered as captives of a local kobold tribe, but further investigation suggested that the kobolds had been set up to cover up a plot by Asmodeus-worshiping cultists to kidnap and sacrifice innocent victims. Interrogation of prisoners lead to the PCs locating the hiding place of this cult and eliminating most of their number, including their leader Pavel.
Fresh from this victory, the group were hired on a trial basis by local ‘fixer’ Cezar to purge a nearby copper mine of undead infestation. This turned out to be the result of the owner’s attempt to use necromancy as a means of cheap labour, which had unfortunately turned on her and the residents of her village. Despite some tough battles, the mine was cleared and order restored.
However, the party was not happy with the commission taken by Cezar and conditions on future work. So instead, they accepted two further jobs from alternative sources. The first was from Thena, a scholar, who wanted someone to clear out an abandoned, hidden laboratory of any dangers so she could renovate it for further use. The second job was from Bryseus, a dealer in magical items, who claimed she had inadvertently acquired part of a dragon’s hoard and wanted someone to slay the dragon before his minions could track down and kill her.
Purging Mayhew’s Laboratory of insects, oozes and gelatinous cubes was done quickly, to allow enough time to travel south and locate the lair of Korax, the dragon. Finding it took some investigative work and favours for a local shifter tribe who had been ousted from their ancestral homes to make way for the lair, but once it was located the PCs worked their way through the underground tunnels and caverns and brought down the green dragon Korax.
Returning to claim their prizes, one of the PCs who had stayed behind heard of an annual competition nearby called Goblinfest, organised to cull tribes of goblins that otherwise pillaged the village too frequently. Teams of adventurers compete to be the group that collects the most sacrificial implements from various of four tribes of goblins. The party entered, and broke the previous record in their victory, narrowly beating a group of paladins of Bahamut.
These paladins were not happy, as they had been intending to use the prizes from the competition to fund an expedition to retake a lost temple holy to their order. This temple had been twisted by invading demonic influence. The PCs agreed to undertake this task on their behalf, and travelled south to locate the underground village hiding The Temple of Clear Springs.
The temple had indeed become corrupted, and the party fought their way through many minor demons in the upper levels. Progressing through the temple elemental foes are found in more abundance, as well as a large number of genasi. Some of these appear to be corrupted but a large number of them are prisoners waiting for sacrifice or induction. Freeing a large contingent of them, the PCs and their new allies assault a room containing a portal to the elemental chaos to bring through new sacrifices and enemies. This is successful, but at the cost of all of the genasi allies falling in battle save one child.
This victory allows a short respite, before the party descends to the lowest levels of the temple and battles a corrupted angel of Bahamut that seems to be guarding a portal to those responsible for the invasion and corruption of the temple. Steeling themselves, the PCs then enter the portal and go through a series of battles and challenges before facing a Vrok servant of Pazuzu. Defeating him, the group returns through the portal to the temple, which is now purified and good once more.
The party then departs to travel back to the Order of the Hammer to claim their reward. Along the way an ally gets a message to them to inform them that Cezar has put a bounty on their heads for spurning his offers of work, and an ambush is being prepared. Forewarned, they are able to overcome this obstacle and make their way to Gosfair, where they extract promises from the paladins to raise the genasi allies while occupying the now safe temple.
Then, tiring of his threats, the PCs ride to Ravensburgh and force a showdown with Cezar and his allies, defeating him in the town square for all to see. Cezar negotiates for clemency, but reveals that he is operating in the area as an agent of another power, with regular payments and inspections from a representative, a dragonborn named Rakanx. He is terrified of this person and hands over everything in return for being set free but with a cover story of his death, as the next payment is due very soon.
With the power vacuum in the town, the party attempts to set up a council of the influential residents. Whilst doing so, Pennyworth learns that Brysias’ brother Fyodor is having financial difficulties and is seeking to sell items urgently. Seeing a bargain to be had, as well as helping out, the PCs arrange to meet him in a nearby village to see his wares. This turns out to be an ambush, and the group is forced to battle Fyodor and his allies.
Afterwards they learn that Fyodor also has links to Rakanx, and owes him vast debts via gambling debts with intermediaries. This is no coincidence. Rakanx was seeking leverage over Brysias, as the power he acts on behalf of is a black dragon from far to the south named Shivastri who wishes to move in to the local area and has thus been meddling in local affairs to gain control of key aspects.
The PCs learn that Rakanx has been tying up loose ends in the area and will be travelling south-east to procure a gryphon for speedy travel back south, to report back to Shivastri. They decide to ride him down, and chase down his trail to a mountain-top, where they interrupt a ritual he is performing to take control of a handful of gryphons.
more to come