Lordaelyn The Bard's Adventures: Chapter 1

The Story Of Hocks Hollow

Lordaelyn, or Dally, runs into an old friend, The Wizard Floki, at a local tavern in Ok-shy. Dally has been living comfortably, researching for her ancestors books. Floki and Dallyhad previously met each other during a small heist. Dally finds Floki has joined forces with an acquaintance of hers, the dragonborn paladin, Karath. Dally previously met Karath through Melosius, Dally’s Patron at an event for the order of Bahamut, Karath's patron deity. They are also travelling with a blow-hard religious zealot, cleric of Bahamut, Uther, and his small servant, the halfling teenage rogue, Lonk.

As spring approaches, and their stay in the town of Ok-shy reaches an end, they invite Dally on an adventure, as she was planning on moving south in search of her books and they could use a bard/goodwill with the locals along the way. Uther receives orders from his order to move south to Cahmor.

They secure some space on a barge traveling south on the river Ell-sher-nahn-dee-later. However, 2 or 3 days down the river their barge is forced to run aground, or sink. The captain of the barge notices a dirt road heading west, towards some giant mountains, the FuqYuShon Mountains. The Captain agrees to cut them a deal on their travel if they run into the nearest town and bring back some carpenters to help them fix the vessel.

The Heroes walk down the road, uneventfully, until they reach the town of Hocks Hollow around midday. The front gates of the town are open wide and welcoming, and there are two major guard towers. The stones are all old and mossy and uncared for. One stone wall has collapsed and been rebuilt as a wooden palisade. The town used to be a prominent dragonborn port, but humans have taken over the town, not a dragonborn to be seen. In fact, Karath may be the first dragonborn most of the townsfolk have ever seen.

The town of Hocks Hollow is small. There are many building, including a Blacksmith, two Inns, an apothecary, a militia, The Restful Willows (tavern), The Oaken Staff (tavern) Temple of the Many Gods, General Store, Stables, Tenements, Manor house, fishing dock and a mill wheel.

They are greeted by a jovial man, who seems to like the bard, as most people do. He informs them that they had arrived at the beginning of festivities for their Spring Faire. He tells them that the town is under the rule of an old man named Steward Crosby. When questioned about help for the barge, he tells them that everyone– local farmers, peasants, and tradesmen from miles around - are coming to the town in the next 1-2 days, and the team will have their pick of carpenters and helpful men to help them after the festival. They have no choice but to wait, as no one wanted to spend the day of festival working on a boat. Uther asks about their temple and tributes to Bahamut. Karath accompanies him to the temple of the many gods. Lonk slips into the shadows to lurk about.

Being the functional alcoholic, with a roguish companion, Dally asks about the local taverns and requests the greeter's favorite of the two- the Oaken Staff. The Oaken Staff is a beautifully refurbished tavern, with intricate woodworking details and a shrine to Lapuard. The owner/barkeep, is a dwarf named Hoggin. He confesses that he regrets not adventuring and that he settled in a town in the middle of nowhere with his wife to have a quiet retirement. He has 3 kids, at least 2 sons, who helped him refurbish the bar. Dally mentions their barge troubles and asks if he'd be willing to help. He agrees in exchange for a few nights of performances during the faire. It has been a while since there was a bard in town and he thinks it would really boost traffic through, this means free drinks and a free room for Dally. She loosely agrees, on the terms that she needs to check with her party members before committing.

Karath joins the two at the bar, and they all drink and make merriment for about 3 beers, until they hear Uther bellowing for Lonk. Shortly after, Lonk comes into the bar to retrieve them. Uther is on a mission to find a caravan of lost iron to build Bahamut statues for the temple, because the local temple of many gods doesn’t have enough Bahamut tribute. He wants to leave right away. However, Karath is several beers in, and Dally has made loose commitments to a local to help get them back on actual mission. Dally is not enthusiastic about leaving the tavern; it is midafternoon and probably not the best time to go off in search of a lost caravan, that could be up to 2 days away, coming from the mountains.

Uther is unreasonably angry, Dally reminds him that his god is not her god, and Dally doesn't necessarily prioritize his holy mission over her overall mission. Dally, of course, is willing to help, but maybe she could get one performance in, and the Dragonborn and Wizard could sleep off their alcohol. Uther agrees that they could stay the night, but they must leave at 6am sharp, on the condition that their party spend the time awake and crafting wooden Bahamut tokens. Lonk, of course, efficiently whittles out about 60 (1 every 10 minutes for 10 hours) beautiful, perfect replications of Bahamut. Karath whittles a bit, no solid number. Floki ties some twigs together and adds a note to a few that said "Bahamut." Dally spends the night performing for the tavern. Hoggin proclaims that he had record breaking foot traffic and business, and is very happy with the bard. Dally earns 6gp in tips (a lot, considering how small and poor the town was.) About halfway through the night Floki leaves, following a lady who had just had a heated discussion with another guy. He comes back in with a look of scheming.

6am sees them leaving town, west towards the Fukyushon Mountains. After half a day’s ride, they see, just on the edge of vision, a cart, and dead horses. They stop, Lonk stealthily approaching, noticing no traps, poking the dead horses, and sees the back is full of mostly iron ore, but missing something. He gives the all-clear, they all approach, and Dally notices tiny foot prints from several days ago. About 2 days after those prints, booted feet left the caravan, into the woods east, towards the town. Floki recognizes the footprints as goblins after Lonk takes his shoes off and compared - they are the same size, but missing a toe.

They load the iron into Floki's caravan, and also cannibalize the wheels from the broken down wagon, just in case. They reach the city just before sunset, and there are tons of wagons awaiting to enter the city. Joining the line, they see another caravan with armed militia men leaving the town. Lonk sneaks up on it and sees it has about 500gp worth of items. He pockets about 250gp. He returns and tells them there are shinies, and then notices something shiny in the woods. Dally speaks with the militia men, trying to glean information but they don’t say much. It is hinted that they are paying tribute to their feudal superiors. They promise to run into the bard later, at the bar where she is performing. Lonk investigates the shiny in the woods - goblin tracks. The paladin (Karath) and cleric (Uther) convince the rest of the group that they must stop the goblin attack, for the good of the people. They send Lonk into town to grab the Blacksmith. He is happy to sit with their iron-full caravan, waiting in the long line to get back into town, while they run off on a task. Floki doesn't trust him. Blacksmith is named Gen. (like again)

They run after the caravan. As they approach, they notice movement running parallel with the caravan. The group quietly moves into the woods to flank the goblins. That way the group can attack when the goblins are distracted by the caravan. However, Uther and Dally somehow alert the goblin party to their presence, which then turns and attacks. Uther throws some kind of illumination spell from the gods to alert the caravan of danger, and to help the team’s vision, as it was just past sun down. Seeing this, the militia men run away, abandoning the caravan of gold and food.

They battle the raiding party to the death. Dally kills a fire beetle, they collectively kill 3 goblins, 2 fire beetles and a Bug bear. In the heat of the win, Dally cuts out and eats the liver of the fire beetle she had killed and smears blood on her face. It is intimidating. Lonk finds a pair of shiny boots that are perfectly sized for his feet. The rest of the group debates on what to do with the caravan. Floki and Dally suggest keeping it, since it was abandoned and they had protected it. Uther and Karath argue that it will do the town no good to have to tithe twice, and it isn’t right. Knowing they won’t win this battle, but they may gain some fame and tribute from the locals, Dally and Floki agree to take the caravan back to town.

They arrive back in town, Dally still blood-smeared and intimidating. Dally approaches Hoggin, asking about where to find the Steward, telling him that they had recovered a caravan that belongs to the steward. Hoggin cheers the group, and pours a round of beers around the house. The Heroes are soon approached by an assistant of the Steward who extends an invitation from the Steward, for a late supper to speak about the caravan. Dally suggests it might be a trap and someone should stay behind, just in case. However, Dally is cajoled into accompanying the group to the manor house.

The steward asks them about the caravan, claims his men told him that the heroes had attacked them. After explaining their actions, (and a side adventure where Uther demanded to see his Bahamut shrine) the Steward claims that the town has an old treaty with the goblins that the heroes have just broken, and he would like to take them into custody. They argue that there was no way they could have known, and he tells them that there are posters at the general store with the laws. Dally brings up the goblin attack and dead horses near the mountains. The Steward claims that he would check into it. Uther suggests that the Steward let the group enjoy the festivities in town, in exchange they will surrender their weapons. He argues that they have nowhere to go, and they may as well party. (And maybe spend money in the town)

Floki and Dally don't really agree, but ended up submitting. Floki keeps a backup staff in his caravan, which is stabled. Dally has gold and charm. Dally notes that there is an apothecary in town. Dally is unsure about how the townsfolk feel about the steward, but it is possible that his dealings with the Goblins have cast him in a negative light. Maybe Floki and Dally will need to take matters into their own hands. After confirming that they only had the rest of the night to take part in the festivities, Karath and Dally returned to the Oaken Staff. Dally checked in with Hoggin about the goblin issues – he let the heroes know he hated goblins, as he fought them in the war. He was very happy that they killed goblins, offered more drinks. She asked about the history of the town and Hobbins told her that when he arrived the town was collapsing, in economic turmoil and maybe one of two goblin attacks, but then it all went away and the town started thriving again. He admitted to wanting to leave, and doubting himself as they rebuilt the Oaken Staff. They asked about the goblin treaty, and he claimed he didn’t know much about it, it seemed like some old, weird, garbage. (Floki found the posting at the Gen Store, it was faded, old, and unreadable.) They asked how they could get more info, he said that the apothecary has been here just as long as the steward, but he drinks at the restful willows.

Dally leaves her untouched drink for Floki, because she is suspicious that Hoggin is trying to keep her drunk. Karath and Dally leave to find the apothecary, she promises Hoggin that she will be back to fulfil her performance agreement. They find the restful willows in a rundown condition. They enter and the interior is even worse, and smells. They approach the barkeep and order drinks, getting swill. Karath pays a silver and gets better ale. He asks about the apothecary, the barkeep points to an old human in a corner, Karath orders a beer for him. As the duo approaches, the apothecary looks up, and seems uninterested. Dally asks if they can sit down, he responds with “It’s a free bar, I don’t own the seats.”

Dally seems to be having a hard time forming words (unrelated to the game) so Karath takes lead, asking about the goblins, history and laws. The apothecary makes it known that he believes humans are the superior race and he doesn’t like the Dragonborn. Karath stops talking and looks to Dally. Instead of playing it cool and tucking her ears away, she smiles and responds “Well I’m half human” which prompts an even worse response – accusing her parents of muddying the races.

They force smiles and try to pry information out of him. He lets it slip that signing a treaty with goblins is against the king’s law, but mostly grumbles about racial issues. Dally buys the man another drink before the two walk back to the oaken staff. When they enter, Floki is there, in good spirits, with two passengers from the ship. Ambiguously effeminate, Minotaur Barbarian, Cthumoo, and quiet, sneaky Elven Ranger Legolass sit at the bar with Floki. Uther and Lonk are not there.

Karath sits and orders a drink, regaling their trip to the Restful Willows. Dally check in with Hoggin and began performing, receiving many silvers worth of tips. Floki leaves to talk to the apothecary, and dredge more information out of him. He returns with a book of olden laws stating that it is against the law of the king for any steward to create a treaty with goblins. Cthumoo pledges to help us out in any way that he can. Legolass quietly watches. After Dally’s performance is over, the 5 of them decide to confront the steward. Cthumoo leads the group, intimidating people and retrieving the heroes’ gear from the manor house.

The steward awakes and demands to know what is going on. The group presents the book, insisting that it is indeed the steward who is in the wrong. He hadn’t known it was against the law, even though the apothecary tried to tell him. He implores the group to take control of the caravan and destroy the goblins. They agree, but need to rest, as it has been a long day. Dally, Cthumoo, Legolass and Karath return to the bar to rest, Floki sleeps in the stables in his caravan.

They awake to screaming. The town is on fire, goblins and bug bears everywhere, also a drake. Karath runs into battle, swinging his weapon. Dally close behind him. Legolass positions herself in the tavern window, taking shots with her bow. Floki approaches from the stables and starts casting spells, Cthumoo charges through the square, joining Karath. Floki and Dally take out multiple goblins, who flank but ultimately die and or run away from Dally. Legolass continues shooting. Karath falls, causing Dally to shift focus and help heal and shift people around to flank the bugbear, which is then easily defeated, adding another head to the collection.

The goblins flee, and the group help put out the fire, check on Hoggin, have a drink, and then go back to bed. They wake in the morning, fully rested and Legolass tracks the goblins back to their hideaway in the foothills of the Fukyushons. As the sun sets, and the caravan can go no further, the team sends Legolass ahead to scout and secure the horses. The group stealthily approaches, overhearing what seems to be the Goblin Chieftain begging the rest of the goblins to make nice, stop fighting with the townspeople. The group exchanges looks and pushes Dally into the light of the fire, staying hidden themselves. Karath quickly joins her and the duo announces themselves and approach the Chieftain.

He calls for a cease-fire and lets them approach. Dally sweet talks some information out of them, learning that the goblins attacked because the dragonborn that lived deeper in the mountains forced them to. It comes to light that those dragonborn worship Tiamat. Dally uses a mix of diplomacy and intimidation to make the goblins leave the mountains and leave the small town in the valley alone.

The goblins are not quite convinced. Floki leaps from the cover, throwing a fistful of glitter into the air, casting a light spell to reflect it, and intimidate them. Announcing himself and his intentions to destroy them, weakening them with the glitter fragments.

Cthumoo gets very excited by the glitter and starts huffing and snorting before running through the glitter, completely finishing off the goblins’ resolve. They quickly take off down the mountains.

The heroes loot the goblin village, uncovering 2 gems worth 50gp each, 300gp, 1200sp, 4000 copper, 1 potion of healing and some leather armor – holy, with Bahamut stitching on it. Blood-singer armor for the bard.

The party has a short rest, heal up and are ready to continue. They notice a well-traveled path, with wagon tracks going deeper into the mountains, a footpath going south towards the road leading to town, and the path they took through the woods. The team debates going back to town and seeing the end of the festivities/getting help for the barge. Fueled by the hatred/blood feud against Tiamat, Karath talks the team into following the wagon tracks. The Ranger, Lego-Lass, scouts ahead. The group follows her, until dawn, when they reach the edge of the forest.

On the edge of view, far in the distance, across a valley, a mountain rises, with an obvious fortress built into it. Green skinned beings man them, but it is too far away to see if they are goblins or dragonborn. There aee three towers in the side of the mountain, 2 ballista. A waterfall “The Trickle Stream” coming down the mountain, into the Hockspur River, that runs past Hocks Hollow. The team sits and debates how to approach the fortress. Floki suggests taking some time to disguise themselves as tumbleweeds. Dally suggests waiting for nightfall, as there is absolutely nowhere to hide between the edge of the forest and the fortress. Karath, spurred by writhing hatred for Tiamat, suggests they approach under the pretense of joining the cult. They do have a Minotaur with them, which is usually an evil/destructive race.

The team approaches the fortress, Legolass following behind and making sure Floki sticks with the group, as he tries to fall behind. As they approach, and begin ascending the steep road towards the first tower and gate, the Ballista begins spinning towards them. Goblins pop up and demand to know who they are and what they want. Karath demands to speak to the leader about joining the tribute for Tiamat. He gives a pretty decent combination of persuasion & intimidation to get the trust of the goblins. He also pays a tithe, with a gem worth 100g. He is forced to abandon his shield, as it has Bahamut all over it. Surprisingly, they do not require Dally to abandon her new Blood-Singers armor, which also has Bahamut on it. Legolass picks it up silently and hides it in her bag. The team begins their escorted ascent to the top of the mountain.

Floki flicks water into the face of every goblin he passes, saying “May Tiamat be with you!”

The team passes the final gate. The boss of this area is not allowed to leave, but lets them pass. They climb until they reach a giant clearing, near the top of the mountain. There is a giant bowl shaped dip, like a crater. Between Dally’s historical knowledge and schmoozing and the bar in town, Legolass’s natural observations and Karath’s religious knowledge, they figure out the following things:
  • Within 10 years the townsfolk had failing crops, 5-6 years ago the goblins show up, 2 years ago they started prospering.
  • They can see the top of an Ancient dragonborn keep, whose name is lost. One of very few with a priory (where they train paladins) Rumors that the scale of Bahamat is somewhere inside.
  • Across the bowl is ancient, it fell into itself.
  • It was covered by water for years, and recently dried up. A dam is across the bowl, connected to the trickle stream.

It looks as though the giant Priory with a giant statue of Bahamut has collapsed into the ground, maybe a sinkhole. They walk to the edge of the giant walkway, which has been dropped a bit. They move into the structure, noticing a giant man powered lift, dropping several feet into the Priory. The Team climbs down; Dally and Floki fall, taking minor damage. They look around, seeing two huge oaken doors, shaped like giant scales. Cthumoo, the Minotaur, can comfortably fit through them. There is a door to the north, obviously well-travelled, and a door to the south west, which looks like it hasn’t been opened in a long time.

The team, of course, goes to the door less-traveled, and finds an ancient trap that no longer works. They walk down a dusty corridor, following the sounds of rats. From nowhere a couple sturges materialize, rats munching on a few corpses down the hallway, two old, and one newer. The group fights the rat swarms and rat kings, and destroy both sturges. They move on down the hallway, but the hallway comes to an immediate end, with rubble closing off all passages. Floki hears a voices and finds a tunnel, where the rats and sturges must have come from. He senses some arcane in the distance.

The team quickly crawls through the tunnel, into a room that drops off about 6 feet. There is rubble all over the floor and it looks like the ceiling is barely holding up. After a quick, fast debate, they decide to follow the next, smaller tunnel, which drops ten feet into an abandoned ballroom that is partially collapsed. There is a giant oaken double-door to the west, and a secret passage to the north. The team opens the door and sees a lighted passageway, then hear goblins walking through the path. Floki hears more voices and can sense fleeting arcane in the area. He narrows it down to the western wall.

The team explodes a way through the door, there is a bookshelf, and some broken tables, and see a goblin trying to hide. Floki takes an intense interest in him, as the goblin is the source of arcana. He spends some time befriending the goblin, who is very scared of Karath, the dragonborn. Malki, the goblin, repeatedly tells Karath that he should leave, should go out the secret passageway in this second room. He tells them some info, mostly that the other goblins are trying to kill him because he stole some magic boots. They fit Dally, so she agrees to swap her very nice boots for his magical boots, so that they won’t be hunting him anymore. Floki charms Malki into joining the team, but Malki doesn’t want to continue exploring, he wants to go-go-go! They end up jamming him into a backpack and knocking him unconscious.

The team leaves through the secret passage, find a long corridor with many doors, some noises, and it appears to end at the same spot that the ballroom ended, with rubble. They go through the nearest door, stumbling into a giant chamber, well lit, full of goblins and wagons full of stuff. They destroy all the goblins and take the booty – 560 gold. (Floki, Karath and Dally all level up) The group explores the Hallway to the west of the room. They peak in a few rooms, one is completely caved in, but we hear voices in there. They find a 20x20 empty closet and decide to fortify, hunker down and take a long rest, as it has been nearly 24 hours since they left the Oaken Staff. Dally is still feeling rested and decides to quietly hum to the group, and the shaken goblin butler, Malki, who is quite shaken. She stays up tending to those who were infected with the filth fever from the rat encounter, Legolass wakes up a bit also to help tend. She also holds watch so they only need to take a 6 hours rest instead of 8. This ends up being a moot point.

As the group starts waking up, they ask Malki, who has curled between Cthumoo, the large Minotaur and the farthest wall from the door, about the schedules. They hear a series of bells, marches, voices the correlate to the schedule he told the group. The sit around, eat, share some food with the goblin and make a plan. Malki tells them that he knows where the dragon lives and gives them vague directions to get there. After more food and some alcohol, he agrees to show them the way. They wait for the guards to go to sleep and then they will super sneak to that area.

At first they are not sure if Malki is taking them to the food or the dragon, but it turns out that both are down the same hallway. Malki tells them that the food is one way and the dragons in the other. After they sacrifice some trail rations for him, he leads them to the correct door. They open it, and after having dropped nearly 40 feet into the sunken temple, they found themselves under open air. It looks as though the room had been half full of dirt, but a giant pathway from their door to another door has been cleared. There is a giant statue of Fellick, Caller of Stars, who was a great dragonborn cleric 2000 years ago. Malki points the group ahead and refuses to go any further. Dally, not wanting to waste time fighting him or risking his life, offers another trail ration and some of Karath’s ale (yes, he has been toting a giant keg of ale around with him) and tells him to be very quiet, and hide up in the dirt, behind the statue. He agrees.

The group continues into the large room, recognizing it as a large priory. They close the door and when they turn to the room, there are a ton of armed dragonborn with giant pikes, positioned in fighting stance. The group instantly recognizes that they are ghosts. They move to the front of the large room, seeing some men arguing over how to treat a figure that is prone. One figure says it should be banished, as it was a traitor. Another says that he fought for the cause and is a hero and belongs in the crypts with the others. They go into the crypts. The group goes to follow but the door is locked. Floki and Karath have been watching the giant Bahamut statue at the front, it looks like it is watching them. It tells Karath “I come a night unsummoned, I leave at dawn unbidden.” Drunk on his stash of ale, he has a hard time remembering, so Dally approaches and takes notes as the statue repeats. As the group realizes it’s a riddle, they settle down and start saying words they think may be the answer. Before joining the group, Cthumoo pushes off the wall and says “What if it’s stars y’all?” and immediately the crypt door opens.

The door opens on a long hallway, which leads them down into the crypts. They walk through a series of progressively smaller room, all with the same three statues in them, Legolass sees that there are Paladins, Clerics and Warriors. They inspect each room but don’t find much other than the statues, two of which have been destroyed. At the end of the hallway leading through these rooms is a large door with a silver dragon’s head coming from the middle. The dragon’s head is in the middle of three circles, like a bullseye. In each loop there are round holes cut in. In the hallway, to each side there are holders with large stone tubes, some say Warrior, some say Cleric, some say Paladin. They look like they just fit inside the holes in the door – like keys. In the center there is a puddle of dried blood.

The team realizes that there are 4, 6 and 10 holes in the circles, just as there were 4, 6 and 10 statues in the rooms. Dally runs back and jots down the order of the statues in each room, and then she and Floki sit down work out the puzzle. They could tell it was Draconic in nature. That north is very important, and that the language starts north and goes to the right. Using that knowledge, they put the tubes into the holes. There is no indication that this was right or wrong, everything clicked/locked into place as they slid it home. They realize that they may have been one space off in their placement. There are two destroyed statues, so they looked for a pattern within each ring and, expecting traps, they all stand back as Floki uses Mage hand to put the last piece in. As he does, the dragon’s mouth opened, revealing a handle. He uses his Mage Hand to manipulate the handles. It promptly slams down. All of the tubes are pushed out of the door, onto the floor.

The second attempt they adjust their plan, but still use mage hand to manipulate the door knob. This time it is a success, the door opens. The smell of dark, unopened crypts floods the area. They enter, seeing a long corridor with sarcophagi lining each side, the room seems to open up at the back. The door closes and skeletons appear from the sarcophagi, some undead skeletons flank the group and a flaming skeleton appears at the far end. The team starts fighting, easily destroying the skeleton minions. The flaming skeleton and undead skeletons put up more of a fight. As they destroy all enemies, more appear in the opposite layout. Dally heads towards the opening of the room, Karath and Cthumoo hold off the undead and minions, Legolass and Floki do some ranged damage.

Dally finds a large room with two statues, checks for arcane and finds words written in Draconic, one of the few languages she doesn’t speak. She calls to Floki, who suddenly remembers he also speaks draconic and he runs to the room; Translating for her - It is a long prayer to Bahamut, ending in “kneel before me.” She sinks to her kneels and offers a prayer. The enemies disappear and a drawer opens under the statue. Within the drawer are 25 gold pieces, 2 gems worth 100gp/each and a platinum dragon statue worth 250gp. Dally suggests that instead of waiting until they get to a rich town that can afford to buy those items, interested parties can “buy them” from the pot and then split that gold 5 ways. Karath expresses interest in buying the statue, Dally agrees to buy the gems if no one else wants them.

The door opens and a dank mist flowed into the room. The group cautiously approaches the door and opens it fully. The new room has a slightly raised platform in the middle of the room with a sarcophagus and a paladin statue is on top. Skeletons in gear scattered around the room, one iss draped over the sarcophagus.

As the group approaches the platform, the skeleton on the sarcophagus pops up and demands their reason for being there. After Karath explains his mission and that he has been touched by Bahamut, the knight ells the group that the paladin had been betrayed and murdered by Tiamat worshippers. They also caused the priory to sink into lake. The knight reveals a shiny red set of armor for Karath and the scale of Bahamut. Dally wants to lick it, but something in Karath's demeanor says nope. She and Legolass make eye contact, silent understanding that they would find it later and see what happens when licked.

The team takes a short rest and makes their way back to the napping Malki. There are a couple booby traps that were not there on the way in. They are not sure if someone has been through or if they were designed to show up after the vault was opened. That is never revealed. They find Malki and head back to the room they found him in originally. Dally finds a bunch of (now) unimportant books. They take a long rest and start to follow the rest of the paths on their maps.

They find an armory with a crude torture chamber, a kitchen, and wine cellar. Almost all of the wine is disgusting ... And Dally tries very hard. She finds one very nice 300gp bottle and stores it away in her bag for later. Cthumoo uncovers a secret pathway, the group sneaks around and finds a big, ole, sleeping orc that they easily kill. They find some loot and move on, finding a room full of goblins they slaughter. Dally finds a full set of playing cards and is really excited for some reason.

They move back through the dungeon with no resistance or signs of life. They finally find a giant courtyard that is exposed. There are spooky ghosts in there, fighting. When Cthumoo touches one it turns and looks at him, irritated. They see a dragonborn in the same red armor that Karath now wears. The ghostly Bahamut fighters defeated the ghostly Tiamat worshipers and then one of his men turns and kills the ghostly paladin.

"KARATH!!!" a man screams, Or rather a dragonborn. He looks just like Karath and turns out to be Karal, his clutchmate, who has the same training as Karath, but has turned to Tiamat. Karal is standing with another fighter and a priest, Aziroth, who tells the group that they already got what they are looking for and the town has nothing to worry about from this group anymore. He makes it sound like maybe something big was going down in the next 3 days (maybe world ending events.)

The brother and priest walk away, sending the other fighter to deal with the group. The group quickly dispatches the fighter and his friends, who all appeared from the pillars strewn about the room. The baddies came and went through the pillars, reappearing throughout the room once they entered the system. The group sits around discussing what to do next before moving on.

Long story short - The group quickly found their way to more trouble.

After defeating the fighter and his friends, they decide to press on and try to catch up with Karath's brother. They worry that the bad guys are getting away and may destroy the town of Hocks Hollow. Instead they find a room with a fun puzzle. A keyhole in an altar, a key, a room full of deactivated warforges. Instead of taking a long rest, they explore the room. Cthumoo sees a sweet tapestry hanging behind a giant warforge and grabs it. This activates the warforge... who happened to be the captain of the warforges.

Floki quickly grabbed the key and put it in the hole, causing a glowing crystal to appear.He touches the crystal and is instantly transported into a warforge. Dally, noticing that the remaining, uncontrolled warforges were still attacking everyone but Floki, runs up and grabbed the crystal, with the same result as Floki.

The fight is tough and the warforges hit hard. The entire group, except Legolass make it to the table, gasping the crystal and occupying the warforges. They struggle to keep the squishy ranger alive, but she spends most of the fight as a lump on the floor. Cthumoo and Karath also have a hard time staying conscious. Dally and Floki, and then Karath and Cthumoo use their warforges to destroy the remaining attackers, all of whom are beating Legolass into a pulp. The group takes turns fighting the uncontrolled warforges and popping out to toss all the heals they can at the poor ranger.

The group finally destroys all the warforges and find some ancient weapons - three crossbows and 60 bolts. They are built into the arm. Dally takes the whole arm of one, which has an auto-feed for the bolts, she wants to have a smaller one built for herself. They took a long rest this time.

There is a second item rumored to be in the priory. Karath remembers. It was a very rare rumor: Bahamet's eggs (..pretty sure bahamet is a dude, but whatev)

The group wakes up from their long rest and hears battle from the hall outside their room. More ghostly apparitions lead them south, towards the only way they hadn't been.. The ghost sees Karath and responds to only him, mistaking the dragonborn, in his new armor, for the dead/dying captain the group saw betrayed in the courtyard. We learn the Vessimeer had betrayed the captain and there is a rift, which Karamath has been sent to initiate self destruction.

The guard leads them into a room with a fully articulated statue in it. As soon as Karath enters, he activates a tile, which lights up. Each subsequent member that enters causes the floor to light up in a giant square around the statue. There are two other giant statues inside the room with runes on them. They breathe fire balls, and the articulated statue spins a weapon in a circle around his body every turn. There is a corridor with crystals. Cthumoo walks into it to destroy the crystals and magic seals the hallway as it starts filling with water. The team destroys the statues, while Cthumoo smashes all the crystals, freeing himself

The door in the corridor leads into deeper tunnel with distant moaning emanating. The group quickly, cautiously proceeds down into the dark tunnel - Immediately triggering alarms, pulling zombies and ghouls from two directions. In a fierce move, Karath lets loose some dragon's breath, killing 8 in one hit. Quickly killing the rest, the group is spurred on by some tectonic shifting.

They enter a room with some hanky magic going on. On the opposite end there is a raised platform with an altar, and the priest, Aziroth, that confronted the group in the courtyard (before running away with Karath's clutchmate.)

Energy pulses from the altar through 8 pillars, surrounding a giant blood rune on the group, ending by pulsing into the giant statue of Bahamet with 3 eggs of Bahamet on it. There are minions throughout the whole room. LegoLass quickly dispatched most of the minions as the Bard and Wizard try to use arcana and prayers to stop the rift from opening.

The two tanks (Barbarian and Paladin) start using the priest's own hands to hit himself while yelling "stop hitting yourself." The wizard is pulled from the altar and flung into the bahamat statue, lightning immediately killing him dead. Dally picks up the arcana and religious checks to close the rift, while Cthumoo and Karath kill the summoner and the remaining minions. In his final breath the summoner laughs and uses the last of his power to rip the rift open.

The team finds some goggles for the dead wizard and almost enough gold to pay to resurrect him. The team quickly makes their way back to Hocks Hollow and has Floki resurrected. True to his word, Hoggins has sent his boys to fix the barge and the team is ready to depart.

The Ballad of Hocks Hollow 

We open on a scene, A dark bar in Oak-shy
A Bard sings quietly for her supper
The Wizard hears the voice, Remembers heist long past
In a corner dark sits the Dragonborn
The Cleric and his ward, a young Rogue, are there too.
Questing south herself, the Bard joins them

An order to Camohr binds the group in adventure
They board a beat-down barge headed southbound
The barge, it runs ashore, like they do, leaves them stranded
They look to Hock's Hollow for a carpenter.
Spring festival delays helpful hands for at least three days
The Group finds trouble fast, like they do

"Bahamet! Bahamet! Bahamet! More shrines for Bahamet," demands the Cleric.
We rush to find the ore, by the score, for the blacksmith.
"Together come what may!"...For the moment.

Some trouble with the law spooks the Rogue and the Cleric
They run away in the night, chasing "shinies"
The gayest Minotaur you ever saw supersedes them,
and Lego Ranger Elf, ever silent.

Unlawful goblin pacts, goblin tax on the townsfolk
A curse reversed with gold makes the crops grow
Into the woods they go, find some goblins and a bugbear
The Paladin and the Bard try to compromise
To top their parley off, Wizard bluffs with a light show
Pocket glitter thrown, lights reflected

Minotaur, Minotaur, Minotaur! You sparkle in the light, sweet Barbarian.
We hold the laughter back, astonishment, gentle giant
This hero thing might work, if we want it to.

The goblins flee the scene, gold booty, but more trouble
clues lead to a path up the mountains.
A full day to the west, come abreast of a fortress.
"Halt," some goblins call, "You with Tiamut?"

Betwixt the group a look, thoughtful nods, "That's affirmative,"
A grumbling Dragonborn takes initiative
Believably, beautiful banter, by the Bard and the Paladin
Delivers a full access pass to lost priory.

"Bahamet, Bahamet, Bahamet. My life for Bahamet," pledged the Dragonborn.
We run into the fray, some may say, much too hastily.
We're heroes come what may, undeniably

In search of lost legends, to no ends, they stumble
Sneakily exploring shafts excavated
Spelunking in the rubble, they find trouble and a butler
and some ghosts of ancients passed tell a story
Of Dragonborn betrayed, special grave, holds sought secrets
Along with scale desired, Blessed armor

History Repeats, More betrayal, of our Dragonborn
The Paladin's clutch-mate had joined up with Tiamut
The group fights on and on, Mystery Pillars and some Battle-bots
The Minotaur almost drowns at the disco

"Tiamut! Tiamut! Tiamut! I'll end you Tiamut," growls the Dragonborn
Those good of us persuade to maintain our course of action
"We're Heroes" they will say legendarily.

The summoner is found, fame and power are forth proffered
A rift is on the fringe of opening
Ranger quickly clears the room, dragon eggs, lightning pulses
The Wizard's pulled away from the altar
Summoner dispatched, whose last words are unnerving:
"They may have won the battle, but they lost the war!"

"All is lost! All is lost! All is lost! But hope spring eternal," prays the Dragonborn
We fought to save the day, some may say it was futily
We're heroes after all, unconditionally.

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