Thieves & Kings
“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.”
Prologue : “What Follows in Shadow”
Winter is a lean time in the Forest Kingdom’s woodlands. Most frontier communities lay their seasonal workers off after the harvests, and until the spring, many workers prospect, trap or ride the frontier searching for bounties on bandits, or become bandits themselves, to survive.
This fall has grown cold, and while the harvest still looks good, increasingly cold, dark days hint of a winter filled deep with snow to come. TR 1049-50 is threatening to be a “Wolf Winter”, when the rivers freeze solid and the wolves, or worse, come down out of the mountains, hungry and thirsting for blood. During these times, the local lords often offer a bounty on wolf hides and goblin ears, and unemployed hands and adventurers drift into the border towns in the frontiers, seeking to earn a living.
Chapter One : “Winter War”
What started on the 2nd of Savor, “The Fading” in the trade town of Hexwater, has led to uncovering ancient truths of the origins of the land of their youth, and immersed the adventurers in the politics of the realm of Thornkeep. With the rise of war, the adventurers chose to raid the halls of King Hargulka, and steal The Elder Scroll and its powers before any other faction took possession of it. They succeeded and found themselves founding a new realm, and wistfully looking towards the City of Bright Sails, hearing rumors of war and something intangible rising in its midst. The chapter ends with the adventurers seeking out the wisdom of their foster father, Coinneach “Old Man” Shadow, and rescuing him and several others from imprisonment in a forgotten corner of the realm.
Chapter Two : “Shadows of the Apocalypse”
Starting some months into the new year (TR 1050), the adventurers became concerned by rumors of a great dragon awakening in the northern territory, and journeyed north into the ruins of the ancient dwarf citadel of Droskar’s Crucible. Within they encountered a sect of fire-worshiping creatures trying to open a fire node in its depths, and seized several valuable relics from their grasp, and stopping their plans. Meanwhile various creatures of the First World and the Shadowfell began to appear and swear allegiance to the new Wyldfae Court, the Court of Thorns and Roses, many claiming to be fleeing something best not spoken. Ancient secrets long hidden in the village of Thornkeep, lead the adventurers to hunting a so-called “Dream Thief” into the Shadowfell through a sputtering portal to this realm; they manage to defeat her allies, and an unknown force guarding the ruins of the Corruptor’s temple in the Shadowfell, Eliseera Applewarden herself managed to flee into the depths of the Shadowfell, hopefully never to be seen again.
Chapter Three : “Thieves of Dawn”
The adventurers return to the City of Bright Sails, and reacquaint themselves with its citizens, resources and opportunities, many fulfilling personal tasks they have planned for their accumulated wealth. During these efforts, they encounter the “Chaos Curse” first-hand, discover a strange new drug called Shiver is sweeping the poor districts, and are hired to resolve a question regarding the mysterious Banewarrens. After encountering a band of monsters of diverse origins seeking something called the The Black Grail, the adventurers investigate yet another cursed ring, which leads them to the Tolling Tower, and resuls in some information regarding the Pactlords of the Quaan, and the the Quaan itself.
Turning aside from that investigation, the group attempted to resolve the local problems with Shiver, eventually leading them to explore Mariposa Manor, and break the spider cult behind the Shiver trade. They are confronted by Mog-Lathar, the Petrified Spider at the height of their investigation, along with a horde of cultists and after slaying them all, discover they have new, oddly semi-divine powers, along with an odd knowledge of the rise of several other semi-divine beings, including their long-term enemy, Blackmaw.
Chapter Four : “Rise of the Woodland Realms”
The adventurers Teleport directly home to Green Dagger, and find the fey world continues in disarray. A new power has begun to influence the Court of Thorns and Roses, known as Rhoswen the Ancient, and she is beginning to draw away some of the refugees that might otherwise seek safety in the MapN’Dor. the Princess of Thorns travels in search of the wisdom of the legendary Green Man, defeating the beast that held him imprisoned in the Temple of the Stag, revealing the true “Stag Lord” to be a beast of the First World. Although the Green Man slips away into wherever gods go to die, he leaves behind the legacy of the Seed of Life.
Summoning the Army of the MapN’Dor to herself, they return and hold a feast for the gathered fey who answered her call, and then eradicate the gathered tribes of the Briarwarren, using the Lyre of Building and the gathered fey Host_ to great effect. The Host is then dispersed. However, bravado leads to a slight against Baroness Neria Blackshield during negotiations with the leader of Timberstar, and the group returns to Green Dagger unsure of whether they just declared war on or not.
Upon their return to Thornkeep, the adventurers devise a plan to split the MapN’Dor evenly between Thornkeep and Kahli’s own Court of Thorns and Roses, and attempt to fulfill Ric’s vow to find, slay and deliver the head of Tervin Blackshield back to Lady Ivis, journeying to Bloodmoon Crag in the far north, tracking and slaying his clan of “Stonewalkers”. They also rescue numerous abused orphans. On their return journey south, they take a side visit to the “Goblin Market”, meeting both Do’Orn, the Baugle, and the wife of Brolog-Dur, before returning back to Green Dagger, adopting several of the orphaned children rescued, and decide to make a return to Mornhaven, and resolve some of the issues they had left behind. They also meet with the Borderland Court’s envoy, Lady Feyre Sorreminx, who informs them of the rise of Blackmaw to the title of Lady of the Crawling Fey.
Chapter Five : “The House of Moon and Stars”
Upon their return to Mornhaven, they discover the city in disarray, as Umbriel, the Shadow Isle dominates both the landscape and local rumors. While attempting to acquire the Key of the Banewarrens to gain entry into the Banewarrens, they are introduced to Nicalon Regal, who betrays them and steals the Key, revealing his secret identity as Skazzy Saltruin, It is revealed that she has a past much closer to the adventurers than they originally thought, perhaps being a sister (?) of sorts.
The group begins travelling wildly about the lands they know, passing back and forth between Mornhaven and Green Dagger Farm on business, and trying to find some answers to their own personal origins. They eventually investigate the legacy of the Green Dagger Gang, which leads them to eliminate and rebuild the Yellow Knives in a semblence of their old parents (?) gang. They travel to Velkynvelve in search of House Saltruin, and explore a stretch of the primary trade passage of the local Deep Way, but without much success. They even lose track of Lalaith and Magistrate Stanton Druid, hearing rumors that the latter worthy was dead as a result of the collapse of the whole Shiver trade.
And then the Dreams and effects of the previous Shiver trade return; murders and chaos become commonplace in the city streets, and they learn that maybe their perception of history is different from what is generally believed. Phaedran Skyships appear and blast the hostile denizens of Umbriel, the Shadow Isle, and “Skazzy” Saltruin uses the distraction to raid the floating earth mote and its ruins, penetrating deep within for her own inscrutable plans.
Chapter Six : “Gangs of Mornhaven”
Seeking an end to the strife in the streets of Mornhaven, they first remove the so-called “Though Stalker” that had been prowling the Dockyards Quarter, and its lair in the Ethereal ruins of Rosegate Manor. They then follow Scales private agenda of uniting the various thieves’ guilds of the city under one rule. Scouting out the God’s Bones and its members, the adventurers taunt and then meet in open battle with a violent upstart gang, revealing their leader Fearghast to be a creature capable of many magical talents, including Ethereal travel, and while the gang is broken by the end of the battle, Fearghast, escapes.
With information gleaned by Sweet from the Beggar’s Guild, the adventurers follow a new lead into the dungeons beneath the city , known as the Assassin’s Run. The site is revealed to a the training maze for the ancient Longfingers Guild, the original thieves’ guild that once controlled the entire city. It becomes apparent that someone had been through the maze before them, however, and took the treasures that remained in the final chamber ahead of them. They also meet the head of the Beggar’s Guild; none other than the old toymaker “Uncle” of Lady Anabledh Nethwater. He welcomes the adventurers to try and reopen the guild, and unite the thieves for a central purpose once more.
Seeking one final key in the end to the strife in the city, they return to the mystery surrounding Mariposa Manor, and recover both the Clavis Somnus and the Paginarum Lethargica, though it becomes apparent they are being followed closely by several shadowy cultists who seem to reside within the Border Ethereal itself, and track them from time to time. They seem to be affiliated with the Dream Cult they destroyed that worshipped Mog-Lathar, the Petrified Spider.
The adventurers return to the depths of the Banewarrens, hoping to resolve the issue at last, and after a sharp skirmish with a pair of Pact soldiers, they are ambushed in a central chamber by a combined force of several powerful Pactlords of the Quaan. The resulting battle is fierce and quickly over, though a couple managed to escape. Also, the adventurers learn how to reassemble the broken generator in the exterior portion, by studying an intact one, giving them the means by which they can seal the Outer Vaults, though it would require someone to remain behind, potentially forever, to do the deed once and for all…
They delve deeper into the vaults encountering numerous open sections from which some of the Banes have been plundered, presumably by Skazzy for her own minions, as well as recovering a lone dagger in one opened vault, Whisper, which Ric happily claims. They also encounter Geristranomos, a former assistant to Eno Daerd, who answers some of their questions, before they leave him to look after the various traps and equipment within the Banewarrens. They also uncover a shrine wherein, Eno Daerd revealed his reasons for creating the Banewarrens; to serve as a place to lock away all the evil of the world.
Deep within the Upper Vaults, they encounter a shrine dedicated to a dryad, and several secret passages, one leading to a hidden Teleport Circle, seemingly linked to the Vaati, the Wind Dukes of Aqaa. Soon thereafter, they are ambushed again by the survivors of their previous Pact-Lord raid, and while the seeming leader of the band, a mind flayer is slain, Ric is knocked unconscious, and taken away by the Phase Drider, Vo-Null. The group decides to abandon their present exploration of the Banewarrens, and instead discover the location of their friend Ric. The next morning, they meet Sharon Adair, who reveals she is actually Ric in the unknown woman’s body!
Chapter Seven : “Black Mirror”
Sharon Adair/Ricard Shearwater reveals that she/he knows where Ric’s body is being held; an old shrine down in the southern Dock Quarter. The adventurers mount a raid on the site, where most of the Pact-Lords, including the ever-elusive Vo-Null, and several of her companions, who manages to flee back into the Ethereal Plane once again. They do, however, manage to recover RIc’s body.
They quickly discover that the mysterious gate at the top of the Tolling Tower is actually a Moongate entrance to the Quaan, the demiplane dominated by the Pactlords of the Quaan, and the base for all their operations. They plan for an expedition to this plane, and spend several weeks in the heart of their enemy’s own lair, studying them while pretending to be just another band of Pactlords. While they discover a few facts, they manage to leave the realm with little more than they came with, as there seem to be many, many secrets hidden within the realm and its folk.
They then explore Mariposa Manor, and using their knowledge enter a dream realm, fighting various creatures, and eventually defeating the guardian of The Dreamstone, but find themselves under siege by the hag, Sally Scrabblebones. They eventually agree with her to give over the Dreamstone in exchange for transport back to the Mortal Realm, and she departs having gotten what she wanted, though the dangers of the dream realm are gone from Mariposa Manor, and the city of Mornhaven can rest easy.
Returning home to Green Dagger Farm, they decide to visit the site in the Shadowfell, and discover that a shadow version of Elzid, the Amber Mage dwells in their manor, guarded by various creatures. He attacks them, and though defeated, whispers “Listen, O Crescents, and do not what I did”, before vanishing in smoke and ash. They recover the Cloak of Arak from his remains.
After several weeks of rest, they make an expedition to Mosswater, and from thence to Droskar’s Crucible, exploring its depths. They encounter Warlord Nimira and her band of Droskari Dwarves who are trying to settle the ruins. Though initially hostile, the group agree to a truce, largely due to their possession of the Key to the Dark Door, which they barter for good will, supplies, and cold hard cash. With their help they descend to the depths of the ruins, which are home to Draylorc, the Living Shadow. They fight it in a running series of battles, discovering it has access to a Shadowgate, which forms the basis for a unique forge in the heart of the complex. They defeat it, though the battles were difficult, and reap many of its hoarded treasures, before clearing much of the remaining ruins of its dangerous undead, and encountering a trapped succubus, Idalla, whom they allow to wander free. They then leave the ruins on good terms with the dwarves, promising to return to retrieve their companion, Garnet “Ironhand”.
They journey back through Mosswater, granting Lady Kahli her due share of the spoils, and return to the Accursed Halls, intending to use the Stone Cauldron of Scrying, but discover a previously hidden secret door in one wall of the chamber. They quickly revise their plans, and decide to explore the new dungeons, deeper than previously known…
Chapter Eight : “Delving Deeply”
They quickly discover the dungeons delve very, very deep under the Halls, and appear to be a secret laboratory and residence of a powerful former Phaedran arcanist and his apprentices. The lair is protected and guarded by various powerful and distinctly alien creatures, including an unknown “Amber Mage” and the Visitant. In a zoo of sorts in the very bottom of the lair, they encounter Firaleena the Sphinx, whose riddles answer some questions, but also results in Scales deciding that his quest for demigodhood is possible by solving the “Curse of Hlen” and acquiring the Tools of Ikarus. They then free her, and she promptly flees the dungeons, never to be seen again…
They return to gather various resources left behind, including a source of mithril ore, and various other small bits, before returnign to discover another hidden passage, leading to a time-trapped level that holds the remnants of the apprentices of the Halls creator, Nhur Athemon, and solving its traps, recover numerous Ioun Stones, but also seemingly kill or turn his remaining apprentices into undead creatures. They all feel they have spent many years down in the depths, but return otherwise unscathed to the surface as though only a few days had passed. The character they encountered, named Rozimus seemed to have also escaped.
They spend several days in rest and recovery, and make plans to follow-up the mysteries of the Tools of Ikarus they have encountered.
Chapter Nine : “The Tools of Fate”
Chapter Ten : “To Divinity and Beyond”