The Scarred Valley

The Journey Begins
Into the keep on the borderlands.

Six monster hunters, having heard rumours in the city of Fallcrest, journey to the western march to seek out work.

Upon their arrival, they journey to the keep of Restwell, which sits vigilant behind the King’s wall, overlooking the Scarred Valley. Entering the gates, the corporal Fallek takes their weapons, letting them know that arms are not allowed within the keep’s walls.

They barely make it through the gates before an excited and jovial man, Friar Benwick, bounds along and gestures them into his nearby house, where he welcomes them with wine and some salted mutton. Before long, he explains that he is need of someone to assist him:

"Friends, here on the borderlands, we must be ever mindful of dark influences creeping in the night. In doing so, I have become suspicious of the banker, Ferdinand Ronnik. His wealth and greed are well known. He was once a well known and successful thief in Fallcrest, a point he does not deny. To learn more, I asked a trusted friend, a man named Gordi who worked for Ronnik, to inform me of anything unusual.
“I say ‘worked,’ because Gordi is now missing. Before his disappearance, Gordi provided me with two brave reports. First, he glimpsed accoutrements of Tiamat worship hidden among Ronnik’s belongings. Second, Gordi recognized a jewel in Ronnik’s possession known as the Serpent’s Eye.
As you might know, that item was treasured by the Moonsong Temple in Fallcrest before it was pilfered.
“Ronnik and his lackeys didn’t try to hide the fact that they spirited Gordi to a grotto near the northern swamps. I believe Ronnik hopes to flush out me and Gordi’s other allies when we attempt a rescue.
“I truly believe that you all are a blessing sent to me. No one in this keep yet knows you. I realize that I’m about to ask much of you, but you can act boldly where I cannot.
“First, I want you to go to Ronnik’s prison grotto and rescue poor Gordi. Also, I hope that you are able to secure proof that Ronnik is an unholy follower of Tiamat. If all else fails,
at least try to recover the Serpent’s Eye so we can return it to Lathander’s chapel.
“If you’re willing, I suggest an early start after a full night’s rest. Although I hope that I’ve impressed on you my sincere purpose, I would take no offense if you wish to confirm my reputation among the folks of the outer bailey. Still, I ask that you be discrete about your task. No need to provide the scoundrels more warning than we must.
“So, what say you?”

The party agrees to assist, on the understanding that, while Benwick can’t pay them much, he can reward them by lending them his skills as a priest, and using his influence in Restwell to assist them in future.

As night falls, they travel to the Stumbling Giant. Mother Aran, the owner, greets them warmly and offers them food, drink and lodgings on the house to make them feel welcome in Restwell, and to make them feel more liable to stay and assist people with their problems. The hunters enjoy their night and drift to sleep.

In the morning, they are woken by Fahz, Benwick’s young cleric, who ushers them out in the chill predawn air, to an open gate and a jovial Benwick. After handing out some healing poultices, and giving the party a map of where the grotto is, the party heads out.

At the grotto, they are greeted by lizardmen and guard drakes, led by a confident Dragonborn leader. It isn’t long however before the party, with consummate skill and vigor, dispatch the leader and his cronies in short order. Clearly this is a group of monster hunters one should not take lightly!

The party find Gordi in the back of the grotto, shivering and pale from a poison injected some time ago. He is gathered up and swiftly taking to Restwell in the midst of pouring rain.

On arrival, Benwick, highly concerned, tends to Gordi and thanks the adventurers hastily, promising to meet them at the Stumbling Giant for a good meal and warm thanks.

As they arrive at the cozy inn, Mother Arun informs them that the Lord of the keep had heard of their arrival and wished to meet with them. They head to the keep and are greeted by Kendon Longstrider, the man in charge of the outer bailey and commander of the guard. He takes the adventurers to see Lord Drysdale in his office in the keep. Upon entering, Lord Peridin Drysdale ignores the travelers and only looks up after having finished writing. He spends a few moments in appraisal before speaking.

“Hail travelers, and welcome to Restwell. I apologize for not making my acquaintance earlier but I was tied down in maintenance of the keep’s many affairs. I am Lord Drysdale, ruler of this keep and sentinel of the chaos scar. Tell me, do you know much about the scar?”

Upon his questioning, Cassi reveals her deep knowledge of the scar and its history, surprising the group and Drysdale. After this, discussion is had about the group’s plans, and Drysdale willing to render his assistance should it be needed.

“If you need anything else I’m sure I can make time to assist you in any concerns. The problems we face here can only be solved with a good sword arm and pure intentions. Tyr will solve our problems should the need become urgent. But in the meantime, the gods look after those who look after themselves.”

He bids the group goodbye, and they return to the inn to settle down and dine with Benwick. Gordi is well and good and the group discuss potential moves against Ronnik. Benwick however urges them to show a bit of restraint, though doesn’t explain his caution. Instead, he bids the adventurers to eat and relax, and, if they have time, they should try to find Oneus at the Saruun guildhall if they want to find some work.

After Benwick leaves, the group decide to go to the guildhall, but upon leaving the Stumbling Giant, figures emerge out of the shadows and surround the group. In the damp, rainy evening light, daggers flash through the air. The group react fast. They fight monsters, these hired goons pose little threat. Despite being unarmed, the group again make short work of the opponents, managing to knock one unconscious and force the other to surrender, with only one enemy escaping.

Taking the prisoners to the guards, Garrik Blackoak, the guard sergeant, orders the keep to shut down in search of the one escaped thug, and attends to quickly dispatching orders and ignoring the adventurers. After a while, the human thug awakens from unconsciousness, and it is revealed the thugs had been hired by Ronnik to assassinate the group. After Garrik questions him about whether he’d be willing to testify this to lord Drysdale, the smell of smoke rises in the air.

Ronnik’s bank is on fire…

To be continued for session 2.

Summary:
- A party of adventurers, working as monster hunters, arrive at Restwell Keep after hearing of the opportunity for work there.
- They are contacted quickly by Benwick who asks them to rescue Gordi, who was taken away by the keep banker, Ronnik. Gordi believed that Ronnik is an evil, Tiamat worshipping thief.
- They rescue Gordi from a nearby grotto and return him safely to Restwell. Benwick and the group discuss what to do next, but Benwick urges caution.
- As the group leave, they are attacked by thugs. They beat up the thugs and take them to the guards.
- Ronnik’s bank goes up in flames as they are questioning the thug. End of session.

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The hunt for Ronnik

The bank was aflame.

The adventurers were quick to try dousing the fire, and rallied the occupants of the keep to join in. However, the flame burned too strongly and, surprisingly, the fire was magical in nature. Through the smoke, moving pillars of fire could be seen, floating through the bank.

The party entered the bank to see fire elementals wandering about the place, and were quick to dispatch them. In addition to the fire elementals, a water elemental also stood behind Ronnik’s counter.

After banishing the elementals corporeal forms, they were resummoned out of a brazier and sink. Cassi examined an arcane sigil incribed on the floor, and quickly started sucking the energy away from it, with help from Blash. Once the circle was eliminated, the elementals stopped emerging, and it was just a case of stopping the fire. Though the fire had spread too far, the group worked to eradicate as much as they could, whilst Arten took the advantage and searched the bank before it’s eventual collapse. After cracking a safe on the back wall, Arten obtained a healthy sum of gold (no doubt belonging to the keep’s occupants) and found some papers, including a map showing the location of a Well hideout.

They met up with Benwick, who asked them if they had found anything and only stated that there was a map. Benwick concluded like the rest of the party that that was a likely position for Ronnik to escape to.

The party rested up and made out for the Well Hideout the next day.

Through mist and light drizzle, and old, decayed well house was spotted ahead, patrolled with lizard like opponents. The party ambushed them and subdued them. A few escaped, but one was caught for questioning. It revealed a location of a temple to Tiamat, as well as the fact that Ferdinand Ronnik was their patron. Ronnik, unfortunately, was nowhere to found. The lizardman caught for questioning attempted to escape but was cut to ribbons.

After looting some decayed bodies found in the well, the party returned to town, cleaned the gore off, and decided seek out other jobs out there. Presumably ones less convoluted than the Ronnik situation.

Talking to a grumpy Kendon Longstrider, the party found that he was somewhat dismissive of their plans in Restwell and suggested they move on. Talking to a more approachable Fallek, Kiva al’Sirrenar managed to open him up and they chatted about the area. Notably, they learned that no one in the keep goes over the wall, chiefly due to the possibility of corruption that might happen. They also learned that Nyra, of the Saruun mages, was brought in by the Blades some time ago, to negotiate the various nightmares and horrors that people might bring back with them from the Scar. Intriguingly, they also learned that the meteor that crashed into the Scar landed on the exact spot of an ancient and powerful arcane academy.

They then visited the Saruun Guildhouse, and talked with Oneus Earthmane, who officially informed them about his grandfather’s lost estate, and requested they fetch a tome of rituals and an enchanted staff. In return, Oneus would be able to offer his services as a Saruun enchanter.

Summary:
- The PCs put out the fire in the bank, which was started by fire elementals, which were summoned from inside the bank.
- Finding a map inside the bank, the PCs followed it to an old abandoned well.
- Lizardmen were at the site and fought the PCs. A few escaped but one was caught and revealed the location of a temple to Tiamat.
- PCs returned to Restwell and contacted Oneus of the Saruun Mages to see what his job was. He asked them to retrieve a book of rituals and a staff from his family’s ancient estate. End of session.

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