The Shield of Heaven

The Tip of the Iceberg

At the behest of Sheriff Porter, our heroes traveled north to disrupt Grimhook Fellmaster’s plan to overtake the town of Sawtooth. They were ambushed by several wolves, including a dire wolf, and an owlbear, but successfully managed to kill all kobold scouts that came across their path. They eventually approached a small outpost and overtook it, killing the barbarian within and destroying the zombie-creating yellow musk plants outside.

Upon entry of the outpost, they were accosted by Geliriel Tathelwa and her clan of elven druids. After agreeing to a truce, the elves took the heroes to the Trial of the Forest, where they could receive beneficial items to assist in their battle against Grimhook — if the forest deemed them worthy.

The heroes managed to work together to avoid the various traps and pitfalls of the trial, and each received a magic item specific to their abilities in turn. After allowing them to rest in the forest, Geliriel sent them on their way to take the battle to Grimhook Fellmaster, leader of the barbarian clans of the north.

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Awakening Part III

Brom, Claire, Karrth, and Marlin Falk encountered Sarasma in the easternmost room of the mayor’s mansion and engaged in battle with her. After a difficult struggle against her and her undead minions, Aranethon found his way into the ballroom and aided in her defeat with a couple magic missiles and a well-aimed (although ineffective) dart.

After Sarasma and her undead cohorts fell in battle, the heroes discovered a missive from Grimhook Fellmaster, leader of the northern barbarian tribes who has raided Sawtooth in the past.

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Awakening Part II

Brom and Claire awoke in a strange cellar and upon exploration found themselves in a large, mostly empty mansion. While searching it, they discovered a ninja catfolk by the name of Karrth Whiteshadow, who also intended to escape. They decided to work with the catfolk to fight their way out of the mansion.

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The Only Partially Spooky Halloween Special

The PCs left the Horror of Sawtooth with the sheriff, who stated she would now arrest the mayor. The PCs returned to the bank to prove to Ulysses McDermott that the coins were, in fact, cursed people, and he returned them.

Sir Roderick arrived to arrest them, but the heroes convinced him to back down and the sheriff offered to give her testimony in their defense.

The PCs returned to town and failed to deliver the final letter of Brodin Goldvale to his parents, Feral and Agna. They discovered both Agna and Codrus were missing. While heading to the mayor’s mansion to arrest him, they were attacked by a horde of zombies and two hell hounds set upon them by Balor himself.

After defeating the zombies and the hell hounds, they angered a nearby Will-O-Wisp, got an electric shock, and hid in Beth’s apothecary, where Gimli turned into a werewolf.

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The Secret of Sawtooth Part II

Deeper into the Duuskën Mines the heroes traveled, finding a complex system of caves below. Tuggy scouted ahead and discovered another group of troglodytes lying in wait, prepared to finish the job that their previous clan members could not.

After an intense battle, the heroes emerged triumphant but required another eight hours of rest, putting their overall time in the Duuskën Mines well over two days.

As they explored the caves, they stumbled upon the weakened sorcerer Davward Soren, a member of the Double-Blooded Crusade who was left behind when afflicted with ghoul rot. The heroes decided to take him with them and fashioned a litter to carry him. Davward warned them that a certain Sir Roderick of the Cross was on their tail, accompanied by a squad of fierce-looking paladins. When asked whence he came, Davward revealed that he was from the long-lost land of Shieldus, the Duchy of Styria, and that their king, Dietrich von Freiburg, now challenged the ownership of the land.

After surviving multiple traps (which were then reset by Kazmuk Perrington, the dwarven artisan who haunted the halls in the service of Reaper) and successfully sneaking past the paladins, they came to the dragon’s hoard and found it being excavated by the Double Blooded Crusade. Their leader, Reaver, expressed distaste in being forced to leave Davward behind, but the human summoner Anya Carpenter said they were for the better of it. Calathes Silvertail, the half-elf rogue, remained silent, apparently satisfied to watch them bicker.

Remaining behind the shadows, the heroes watched as Sir Roderick and his companions approached the Double-Blooded Crusade and demanded their surrender in the name of Lady Renault, Duchess of Winterhaven. When the Double-Blooded Crusade refused, they attacked.

The battle did not last long; the ghost of Reaper appeared and threatened to devour the souls of the fighting men, forcing them to flee, then turned on the heroes and asked why they had come. After some discussion, the heroes learned that Reaper was a good silver dragon who had fallen in battle against Goladin, the crazed wizard whose life energy now bound him to the material plane. Reaper told them that he could be freed by either Goladin’s death or by burning his remains. In thanks for respecting his sanctity, he granted the heroes one item from his hoard, but warned that taking any more would result in a curse (and hinted that such fate would befall the Double-Blooded Crusade).

Through Kazmuk’s journal, the heroes found the secret entrance to Goladin’s lair. The slipped down further into the caverns and found a large room with a brazier puzzle — easily solved by the minds of Gimli and Uncru. The door to Goladin’s cavern opened.

An octagonal platform with seven bridges stretching to the walls of the cavern was raised above an abyss. The heroes were required to undergo separate trials and find gemstones of a certain color. Gimli was burned by a trap; Tuggy killed by disembodied eyes that cast burning hands; and Konrad was wounded by a Necrophidius, a serpent-like skeleton that served as a guardian to one of them gems.

When the correct gems were placed in the center of the octagon, a hydra, a giant scorpion, and four cave scorpions filled the room. Uncru fell multiple times, but managed to rise and take down a few cave scorpions; Korgoth and Emerald wiped out a few cave scorpions as well; and Konrad took on the hydra with his mount, Thunder.

After a prolonged battle, the heroes managed to defeat the guardians of Goladin’s chambers. Inside, they found experimental rooms and, most importantly, a prototype Heaven’s Shield. Several bedchambers belonged to Cain Silverkin, Ivae’ess, Obed Ovechkin, and Pelethor, but journals inside were dated 100 BI (the current year is 546 AI, or “After Invasion”), suggesting that the Heroes of Shieldus were transported back in time with Goladin.

In Goladin’s suite, they found a wall that would transform the platinum coins back to the people they represented. In this way, Sheriff Porter was returned to her normal state.

The heroes took a stairwell that led to the Horror of Sawtooth and, on its roof, saw the citadel perched over Sawtooth and the barbarians of the north amassing at the edge of the town, preparing for battle.

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The Secret of Sawtooth

The heroes delved deeper into the Duuskën Mines and discovered that the dwarven miners had stumbled upon an underground Temple of Asmodeus, which ultimately drove them mad and forced them to kill each other. They found the body of Brodin Goldvale, certainly the son of Feral and Agna Goldvale. After finding a Temple of Torag and the foreman’s missing timepiece, they were able to settle the foreman’s soul and send him to the afterlife.

Deeper into the mines, they found the Temple of Asmodeus and destroyed two skeletal champions within. Two rooms branched from the main room of worship; the first was evidently a sacrificial chamber whose ceiling could lower, reveal whirling spikes, and eviscerate those within. The ground was scattered with mangled bones and skeletons, and beneath them the floor was grooved in the shape of Asmodeus’s symbol. The second room contained a strange well with a pile of gold at the bottom and a painting on one wall depicting the viewer being eviscerated by a grinning, cackling demon. Gimli attempted to swim down to retrieve the gold, but was trapped in a strange spell and nearly suffocated. Konrad helped him out of the dangerous well and took the painting down. Korgoth, angry at the depiction of his own death, swiped at the painting, which released negative energy into the room and downed Uncru, Tuggy, and Hand-Over-Fist. Gimli healed them and they left the Temple while Gimli attempted to destroy the painting.

They continued into the mines and found an elevator leading to a cavern system below. There they fought off a band of troglodytes and continued into the caverns in search of Reaper’s hoard…

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Into the Duuskën Mines

Upon returning to Bishop Walter Cunningham, he revealed that Korgoth was merely asleep rather than dead as the heroes had thought.

Captain Daryl Smith gave Gimli 500 gold pieces out of his own pocket, which Kirkmoor owed for the use of his horse. Smith’s grim visage suggested to the heroes that he knew something they didn’t — when pried about this, he told them that the king of Kirkmoor was not pleased with adventurers, and suggested the heroes leave Sawtooth and go on the run. Also, he was denied his request for backup, leaving him to fend off the northern barbarian hordes on his own. The kingdom is currently strained by a war fought in the west with the Dragos Empire, and the southern borders have been invaded by powerful plague zombies released from Shieldus.

The heroes returned to the kobold encampment and made their way to the room Krakmoor of the Blackscale Tribe had holed up. When they burst through they were attacked by a half-orc barbarian, but Krakmoor held his spells in check and attempted to make contact with the heroes. After the half-orc barbarian knocked both Konrad and Hand-Over-Fist unconscious, Uncru and Emerald managed to overwhelm him. Meanwhile, Korgoth beat Krakmoor into submission and threatened to throw him into the Shadow Maw. Krakmoor explained — in draconic — that he was attempting to close the Maw. A missive on the dead barbarian revealed that a Grimhook Fellmaster had ordered him to force Krakmoor to open the Maw in the name of Alabaster. Krakmoor revealed that the Grimscale Tribe intended to work with Grimhook to open the Shadow Maws.

The heroes released Krakmoor and his minions and continued exploring the system of caves, finding what they believed was a Bag of Holding in the rubble of a failed goblin mining operation — of which Tuggy, their goblin cohort, was the only survivor. A wayward magic missile sent by Hand-Over-Fist revealed the presence of a gelatinous cube, which the heroes defeated.

Satisfied that the dungeon had been fully explored, the heroes returned to Sawtooth and learned that an adventuring group by the name of the “Double-Blooded Crusade” had arrived and were planning on plundering the abandoned Horror of Sawtooth. Also, a group of paladins had arrived in town and were searching for adventurers, presumably at the king’s behest. The heroes questioned Beth at Gozreh’s Apothecary about the mystery of the platinum coins, and she suggested that the only place near town that could generate such magic would be the Duuskën Mines.

The heroes decided to investigate the mines. When they reached the hill leading to the only known opening, they found the partially uncovered skeleton of a dragon, an abandoned mine cart, an overturned wagon, and a smattering of fresh goblin corpses. As they approached the tunnel into the mine, they could hear voices — one of which distinctly belonged to Mayor Kipling. The other voices, they assumed, belonged to the Double-Blooded Crusade. From what they could gather, the mayor intended to pay the Double-Blooded Crusade to throttle the town in place of Gavin Keane, whose posse had failed to intercept the town’s incoming shipments of goods.

The heroes ambushed the mayor, but their ambush was subsequently interrupted by an ambush of his own. The Skull Bandits appeared and took aim while the remains of the skeleton animated and attacked the heroes from the behind.

Deciding they would be unable to overtake both the bandits and the skeleton, the heroes retreated into the cave and stumbled into Mayor Kipling, who was waving around a wand and commanding somebody named “Reaper”. Hand-Over-Fist snatched the wand away and immediately took control of the animated dragon bones. As the battle wound down, the ground shook as some large object suspended in midair parked itself over the town of Sawtooth — the citadel had finally arrived.

Mayor Kipling explained that the mines were shut down after a dragon named Reaper — whose hoard was deep into the mines — cast a curse on the area and forced the miners out. He warned them that they should not go further into the mines.

But the heroes are the masters of their own ship, and will sail it as they please… they tied up the mayor and headed deeper into the mines in search of the Double-Blooded Crusade and the cure for the coined citizens.

The tunnel opened into a cavern that dripped acidic water into an acidic lake, home to a gnarled old sea hag who claimed to have last seen adventurers in Shieldus. In return for passage, the heroes offered the mayor as collateral. She agreed to hold him until they returned.

The heroes ventured deeper into the mines…

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Awakening Part I

Rawlin Adair awoke to the face of his fiancee, Izora Moonhallow, who revealed she had raised enough coin to have him revived in Brookfield, de facto capital of Shieldus now that both Thrax and Blackwall had fallen. She revealed that Runa Castillo, former cleric of Virtus and new convert to Iomedae agreed to revive him at a discount and had already resurrected Dietrich, Rawlin’s former employer.

Rawlin learned that the Council of Brookfield, consisting of Aoric Usted, Crubren Ironhouse, Dolgrin Ironhammer, Talathel Aventail, and Mayor Jonathan Daleborn, were preparing to convene to elect a new king to the throne of Shieldus considering both heirs — Prince Alexander, Prince Reginald, and Ivae’ess — were either presumed dead or missing, and King Edward himself had been revealed as a monster of Asmodeus’s bidding.

Rawlin also learned that the shield fell roughly six months ago and Shieldus had fallen to plague zombies. As he asked Crubren Ironhouse for work Brookfield’s warning bell sounded and Crubren asked him to help in fending off the zombies from the city walls.

Rawlin leaped into the pitched battle with the aid of Dietrich and Runa Castillo-Freiburg, whom he learned are now married. Much has changed during his stint in purgatory! After clearing the zombies, Aoric updated him on the vote — Dietrich was voted King of Shieldus, much to his chagrin and protestation. But they determined that he was the best man for the job based on those protestations.

Dietrich’s first order of business was to recover the citadel of Blackwall, which went missing shortly after the Heaven’s Shield fell. He charged Rawlin with tracking it down, who found it within a few days. However, he discovered that none of his friends or employers were present on the citadel, and faced a powerful Branislava Dubravka, who dominated him and forced him to steer the citadel toward Sawtooth — the last known whereabouts of her thrall, Cain Silverkin.

Meanwhile, the king of Kirkmoor declared all adventurers must be hunted down and put to death due to the coming prophecy of the end of Azatheir. Upon hearing this news, the Double-Blooded Crusade — consisting of Reaver Redwood, the human fighter; Calathes Silvertail, the elven rogue; and Anya Carpenter, the human summoner — made their way north, hiring two new cohorts Brom and Claire to guide them to Sawtooth, a town they heard was ripe with adventure and freedom. When they arrived, Brom and Claire approached the owner of the bank, Ulysses McDermott, for work. He requested they clear out the Duuskën mines and would pay 20 gold per head of varmint destroyed. The two approached the mine, found the skeletal remains of a dragon, and killed five goblins and their goblin dog at the entrance to the mine. Brom used his rage powers while Claire used her blunderbuss to attack multiple goblins at once.

Inside the Duuskën Mines, they went left and were trapped by a cave-in. They met Marlin Falk, an indecisive cleric who could channel positive energy but was torn between serving Sarenrae, Nethys, and Tiamat. With his help, they stormed the kobold encampment within the Duuskën Mines and found a secret cavern leading to Goladin’s chamber.

Inside, they encountered Sarasma, an evil cultist with kobold worshippers and an iron construct cobra at his command. Unfortunately, Claire, Brom, and Marlin could not overcome Sarasma’s power and were knocked unconscious…

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place
In which the heroes engage in dubious behavior

The heroes, battered and beaten after exploring the depths of the caverns beneath the kobold encampment, retreated to the camp of the Knights of the Cross where Captain Daryl Smith informed them that Sawtooth was currently enveloped in chaos. Sheriff Porter had gone missing and in her absence the leader of the Skull Bandits, Gavin Keane, took over the town and plunged it into disorder. They informed Captain Smith that the kobolds were preparing to attack and would be at their doorstep within two days. He requested the use of their horse and sent a messenger to Exeter to request backup from the Knights of the Cross.

Captain Smith directed them to Bishop Walter Cunningham, who offered to revive Konrad in exchange that the heroes promise to return the town to order. After agreeing, they returned to Sawtooth and left Konrad in the drunken hands of the Bishop.

As they approached Sawtooth, they could see that most of the town was set ablaze. On the outskirts, the heroes stumbled upon a pile of 100 platinum coins. These coins, however, had the profile of a person they didn’t recognize and immediately assumed it was a foreign currency. As they entered town, they were attacked by the Skull Bandits. Moving forward, and with the help of Codrus — who flung his axe at a Skull Bandit on the balcony of a store and decapitated him — they overwhelmed the bandits and saved the Golden Trinket. Inside, The Sorrow of Kirkmoor had taken on a large group of bandits on her own, single-handedly saving Feral and Agna Goldvale from certain death.

Emerald investigated the Sheriff’s office and found two things of note: A pile of platinum coins with the Sheriff’s profile on them, and a report from the Knights of the Soul describing a flying citadel on the warpath headed toward Sawtooth. Exeter barely managed to divert the citadel and suffered heavy losses, and managed to learn the name of its leader: Rawlin Adair.

Gimli, ever the entrepreneurial opportunist, took over a nearby General Store whose owner was slaughtered in battle and claimed it for his own.

During the battle, a cloaked figure escaped the Golden Trinket. The Sorrow gave chase and the heroes — including Konrad, who had now been revived — followed. The Sorrow searched the mayor’s mansion while the heroes plundered it, stealing several magical artifacts and the mayor’s gold. After failing to find the mayor, the Sorrow departed and forced the heroes/thieves out of the mansion, declaring that she had no love for chaos.

When they left the mansion, the heroes spent the night gathering the townspeople in an attempt to put out the fires. Uncru, Konrad, and Gimli organized a bucket brigade; Emerald searched and found a nearby well for the bucket brigade to use; and Hand-Over-Fist cast ray of frost to slow the fires. After spending a full eight hours, the heroes organized the townsfolk enough to save 96% of the town, and the town branded them heroes.

The next day, the heroes saw people scooping up the platinum coins in the streets. Believing the coins to be cursed people, they attempted to stop them but learned that Ulysses McDermott — owner of the Sawtooth Bank — hired them to collect the coins. They approached McDermott, but he was unwilling to part with his coins; however, he trusted the newfound heroes of Sawtooth had good reason to suspect something was amiss and offered to give them 72 hours to prove the coins were cursed citizens before he melted them down and re-minted them.

The heroes traveled north and returned to the kobold encampment, home of the Blackscale tribe. Upon entering the caverns, Korgoth was nailed by a trap attached to the entrance, suggesting that the kobolds had prepared for their arrival. Further exploration revealed that Grimhook Fellmaster’s first priority was the re-opening of a Shadow Maw, while breeding new werewolves was secondary. The heroes utilized a cockatrice to defeat a few kobolds, but were outmatched when attacked by the leader of the Blackscale tribe, Krakmoor Blackscale, who had two werewolves at his disposal.

After the wolves killed Korgoth in battle, the heroes decided to retreat and return at a later time when they had more resources.

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Northern Exposure

The Heroes of Sawtooth have made the Golden Trinket their home and spent five weeks working in the unruly town of Sawtooth. Konrad and Gimli have found no trace of Princess Rowena, while Emerald, Hand-Over-Fist, and Uncru searched the Horror of Sawtooth but found no clues to the whereabouts of the Heroes of Shieldus.

Not one to see adventurers remain idle, Sheriff Porter recruited the Heroes of Sawtooth to investigate a growing army of kobolds north of the Norgaard border, which she expects to eventually attack Sawtooth. After explaining that the town’s engineers were working on a palisade wall and a wizard or two were on their way to learn the secrets of the Horror of Sawtooth, she requested they head north to determine if these kobolds were part of the werewolf clan that scared Mary Frances Holloway into creating a new clan of werewolves.

The heroes excitedly accepted the opportunity to extricate themselves from the bowels of the Golden Trinket and duly departed the dingy town of Sawtooth. As per Porter’s instructions, they stopped at a northern Kirkmoor outpost and met Captain of the Guard Daryl Smith, who introduced them to their new guide, Korgoth, a half-orc barbarian from the northlands with experience in kobolds and their movements.

The heroes headed north with the aid of Korgoth and eventually came into contact with a kobold encampment. They surrounded the camp and attacked the kobolds, suffering no casualties and overtaking the camp with minimal injuries.

Inside the chief’s tent rested a cage that housed a large minotaur. Gimli, fluent in the language of the Giants, learned that the minotaur’s name was Codrus, and was captured with the intent to be turned into a werewolf. Upon hearing this, Hand-Over-Fist released the minotaur, and Codrus declared that he now owed the sorcerer a life debt for his salvation.

The chief kobold carried a missive from one “Grimhook Fellmaster”, who none of the heroes had heard of. The missive ended with “Praise be to Alabaster” — and none of the heroes had any problem recognizing that name. It coincided with a malicious white dragon to the north.

Meanwhile, Uncru found a trapdoor leading to an underground maze. Leaving Codrus to guard the entrance, the heroes delved into the subterranean labyrinth.

Upon reaching a t-junction, Konrad and Emerald headed left while Korgoth, Gimli, Hand-Over-Fist, and Uncru headed right. Korgoth fell into a pit trap and while Gimli attempted to help him out, Uncru battled kobolds further down the corridor. After fighting off a swarm of spiders (via magical fire conjured by Hand-Over-Fist), Korgoth burst through a door into a room and sprung a swinging axe trap that sliced into Gimli (laughing all the while, no less). Bursting into the room, Korgoth encountered three giant spiders.

Konrad and Emerald met their match as they battled numerous kobolds down the other corridor. A darkmantle surprised Konrad and struck him square in the face, knocking him out and constricting its lengthy body around his lifeless form. Emerald was unable to pull him away from the creature and Konrad suffocated to death before her very eyes — but not before a terrible accident involving her bow left her bleeding to death.

After slicing the spiders into ribbons — and after Uncru decided to refrain from opening a strange dresser — Gimli returned to Emerald’s body and revived her. Korgoth and Uncru aided in recovering Konrad’s dead body and hightailed it out of the underground maze, surviving to fight another day.

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