The story so far.
Our heroes have destroyed the eldritch engine which was corrupting the Feywild and restored order to the Harkenwold. Now however, a new power is rising in the Stonemarch; an army of horrific giants hell-bent on the destruction of the Nentir Vale. The ruler of Fallcrest, Cassia Markelhay, has recruited a noble team of adventurers to lead the defence of the realm. Their first goal is to seek allies. To this end they set out to find Rrowthar, torrian ambassador from the legendary city of Argent. Cassia watched them riding out of the town, knowing that if they failed then her only hope would be a goblin named Splug.
A magical message had been sent on to Rrowthar, asking him to meet the party – the Fallcrest Champions. A rendezvous point had been agreed near the West Crag, a well known landmark en-route to Winterhaven. As the heroes neared the crag however, they realised something was wrong. Thick plumes of smoke could be seen rising over the crag as though the very forest itself were on fire. The devastation was being caused by a series of elemental beings; primordial figures of stone and fire who sought to destroy a powerful lion headed figure who could only be Rrowthar himself.
He looked up as the heroes charged, renewing his song to Erathis and fighting with increased vigour. Some of the elementals moved to intercept the heroes; the earth elementals in particular seeking to shatter the ground and impede the progress of the would-be rescuers. For beings of stone and flame the primordials displayed a fair degree of prowess, making use of Zander’s ice storm to slow the progress of the party whilst bombarding them with fire and ash. Eventually though the heroes won through to the torrian and together they dispatched the last of his foes.
A short while later, Ambassador Rrowthar, Seneschal of Argent, Divine Oracle of Erathis, Keeper of the Keys, Master of the Sheltered Woods, Member of the Paragon Compact, First Assistant to the Guardians etc. etc. introduced himself to the party. This took some time but they were able to exchange diplomatic pleasantries. The heroes had possession of a writ signed by Cassia whilst Rrowthar’s silver cloak and pin clearly identified him as coming from the legendary city.
The torrian explained that he himself had been on a mission of sorts, recruiting heroes to take up the Silver Cloak and come serve the great and ancient city of Argent, becoming champions of all that civilization encompasses. A new threat gathers, and it has been too long since new champions last walked Argent’s hallowed streets. The borderlands stretch thin and the world stands defenseless. He went on for longer – mostly due to reciting titles – but the heroes jumped at the opportunity.
DM: If you can imagine, stories of those heroes who have donned the Silver Cloak in times past are a little like those of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table…tales from a long time ago that don’t always end well but will never be forgotten.
The conversation covered recent events in the Nentir Vale, and where Rrowthar had been travelling. The subject of Splug came up and his face darkened immediately. Apparently the goblin had been to Argent not so long ago, claiming a scheme of sorts to revitalise the city’s economy and bring a fresh wave of new recruits for the Paragon Compact to the city. From Rrowthar’s scowl this scheme did not end well! He changed the subject, teaching the heroes a ritual to take them to Argent. It proved more complicated than the usual teleportation rituals but proved to be a stronger construct; possibly designed so in order to penetrate Argent’s defences. It didn’t take long to perform and all too soon a silver circle of light flashed into existence; a shimmering gateway leading into the city.
The heroes (and Rangrim leading the horses) stepped through, travelling a thousand miles in an eyeblink. They found themselves in a large square, surrounded by statues depicting heroes of every race and creed. The stones of the courtyard were superbly crafted; golden hued in the warmth of the afternoon sun. High walls surrounded them though several archways led out and further into the city of Argent. In the distance they could see a tall tower (the Sunlit Tower of the Guardians) atop the highest point in the city, standing sentinel over the Plains of Chaos far below. At the base of the tower hill they could see the sunlight glinting off a finely polished dome of some sort (perhaps the Temple of the Dawn).
A teleportation circle, centuries old but still well maintained lay beneath their feet, its runes fading from bright silver and azure into the stonework. The rest of the square was dominated by an ornamental lake of sorts, perfectly proportioned for the square. A statue of the goddess Erathis stood at its far end.
East of the square stood a massive set of gates; presently closed but normally leading east to the Gateyard, entryway for ordinary travellers to Argent. Alarmingly some distant booms could be heard from this direction as though the city were…under attack?
Turning away from these many distractions the heroes turned to face their host; a powerfully built man glad in fine mithril spell-chain and a sable mantle. A circlet of brightly polished starmetal lay on his brow, above a face of ancient wisdom and majesty.
He introduced himself as Rupert Giles Obanar, Last Guardian of Argent, Bearer of the…KERRASH!
The flagstones of the courtyard exploded upwards as two bulettes – stone sharks for want of a better term – tore their way into the mall, all teeth muscle and elemental hatred. They were not alone either. The half-begun questions of the heroes (“Giles? Its me, Zander, your apprentice!” and “can you cast fireball?” and “why are you under siege”) had to wait.
Rrowthar grabbed Giles and the two flew across the lake to the statue of Erathis, Giles explaining that he needed to restore the wards about the square and seal off this lastest incursion. The bulettes seemed happy to try and devour the heroes. Ordinarily they wouldn’t be a problem but they’d brought company – Galeb Duhr Stoneshapers (evil boulder dwarves) and a Basilisk.
It proved another tactical battle – the stoneshapers promptly blocked half the courtyard with walls, forcing the heroes to concentrate on the bulettes whilst the basilisk faced the Guardian and Senschal, seeking to add two more statues to the courtyard. It only managed the one though when Kelnozz got a little too close and indeed, it seemed almost an act of god that the poor drow found himself petrified by the fell creature’s Petrifying Gaze.
DM: Kelnozz spilled cheese crisps all over the DM’s stuff and promptly got natural-20’d…this after Giles and Rrowthar had survived four rounds of gaze fairly unscathed.
The party responded to the stone shaper’s craft with power of their own, blasting / charging through / generally obliterating the walls they threw up and laughing off the thrown flagstones and occasional bites from the bulettes. Soon enough Giles completed his ritual workings and the courtyard repaired itself, allowing the heroes to finish off the remaining primordials at their leisure. Nettle, Zander and Rrowthar set about de-petrifying the warlock whilst Giles sought to do some scrying of his own.
He used the waters of the lake as a temporary scrying pool, looking down on Argent as though he were the sun-god Pelor himself.
DM: This is supposed to be a very fast transition…almost a run from this encounter to the next one but the heroes seemed rather keen on restoring Kelnozz. Ah well!
Giles ascertained that at least one more group had made it into the city and were presently somewhere near the temple. He’d also seen that the central wards that protected the whole city were faltering somewhat and needed restoring to prevent further incursions. He suggested that Rrowthar lead the party to deal with the invaders on Temple Street whilst he headed for the Sunlit Tower of Guardians, Protector of Argent, Sentinel over the Plains of Chaos and restore the wards; this should force back the enemies at the gates.
DM: I see Giles at this time as a little like Desmond from Lost…every four hours having to enter some numbers into a computer to prevent the end of the world.
Rrowthar led the heroes down an avenue and onto Temple Street, a wide carriageway which seemed somewhat more dilapidated than the mall. Aged stonework depicting frescoes of long forgotten events lined the buildings towering over the street. Many of the structures had fallen into ruin, though enough remained to cast the entire street into shadow. Where are the people?
Ahead the street opened out into a square before the Temple of Dawn. Something seemed to shimmer in the air just where the street was opening; an elemental rift of some kind that was probably not part of the original city. A tall brutish hill giant guarded the rift; a shaman of sorts who promptly directed his allies to stop the heroes so he could work on the rift. And they came – tall striding creatures of flame on stilts and spewing fire; swarms of crystalline stone that seemed to hover in the air with menace and powerfully built stone brutes; veins of magma lining their limbs and filling them with primordial power.
The giant opted for some crowd control, blasting the party with storms of fire and earth. The striders spat forth streams of inferno but proved all to easy to cut down to size. The brutes charged through the walls of nearby buildings causing them to tremble violently and giving Zander / Dirk the idea to collapse one over the nearest magma brute. The ensuing collapse proved effective though it did catch Rrowthar, incapacitating him somewhat.
The heroes fought as they always did, killing the giant and ultimately winning through to close the ritual through a carefully coordinated arcane assault. This group of invaders had been stopped but what of Giles? How had his attempts to restore Argent’s wards fared?
Until next time.