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Keep On The Shadowfell: A New Beginning May 17, 2010

Posted by elopingcamel in 4e, DM, Keep on the Shadowfell, Narrative.
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With Group 1 (Jed, Matt, Jen, and Sierra) on a seriously long hiatus (sad), I decided to run Keep on the Shadowfell (KotS) with a different group and let the other group’s adventure be my own home-brewed one. Luckily, we hadn’t gotten very far in KotS, so Sierra didn’t have to repeat anything. For Group 2 (Joe, Jessica, Brian, and Sierra) I skipped the Douven Stahl side quest and began with the free RPG Day adventure Into the Shadowhaunt.

Robot Rollcall

To be honest, we didn’t really bother with doing much of any back story for these characters. Joe always puts a bit more into back story than others so he had some bits about his Goliath Bard being one of the lore keepers for his society (they store knowledge through song). His bard is out exploring as part of his journey/test for manhood. Everyone else is beginning with little to no back story.

Luna – Longtooth Shifter Warden (played by Sierra)

Thotham – Goliath Bard (played by Joe)

Katryn – Shadar-kai Rogue (played by Jessica)

Ronen – Deva Warlock (played by Brian)

The Adventure Begins

The heroes arrive to find the town of Winterhaven on edge; two local boys were recently kidnapped. They group is approached by Sister Linora–the priestess at the local temple and grounds tender at the local graveyard–who claims to have seen men entering the mausoleum at the graveyard. She says that she saw them go in but never saw them come back out. When she eventually worked up the courage to go into the mausoleum, it was empty. The heroes agree to go with her to investigate.

It Was Puzzling

Into the Shadowhaunt has a nice puzzle for the PCs to solve before they can find the secret entrance that leads under the mausoleum. For the sake of avoiding spoilers (at least as far as official, published adventures go), we’ll skip much of that aspect of this session and just comment on how impressed everyone was with Brian’s knowledge of medieval vocabulary and problem-solving skills.

Into the Shadowhaunt

Having solved the puzzle of the secret entrance into the belly of the mausoleum, the adventurers come to their first fight; hobgoblin mercenaries crouched behind oil-filled sarcophagi. The hobgoblins begin peppering them with ranged attacks while some of the PCs charge in. They get their first surprise when Luna tries to climb on the sarcophagus, only to have the lid break in on her, the flame igniting the oil beneath her. They eventually dispatch the hobgoblins and continue their search of the boys.

Traveling through tunnels, they come to an opening in the cavern below the mausoleum. They see a door with a large devil’s head on it and a passage forking off. They decide to investigate the passage first and soon find the man behind the kidnappings; an elf necromancer standing atop a high, glowing platform with an ancient tome open in front of him. He is chanting and involved in some sort of ritual. A fight erupts and soon the evil elf is joined by skeletons from an alcove to the side. The fight takes its toll on both sides but the elf seems to have the upper hand from his lofty position. Eventually Katryn and Luna work out a plan for Kat to crouch down a couple feet from the pedestal and for Luna to use her Form of the Fearsome Ram to charge toward the elf, leap off of Kat’s back, and slam into the elf mage. It works brilliantly, knocking the elf from his perch and just about killing him. They kill off the skeletons, loot the elf, and then find the boys in the room with the devil’s head.

They leave the mausoleum to find Sister Linora still waiting for them. She is ecstatic to see the boys again, but obviously nervous about Ronen keeping the elf’s book. The two boys explain that the elf’s name was Helvec and that he planned on sacrificing the boys to perform a ritual that would allow him to locate something called the Shadow Key. The heroes also find a note inside the book from someone named Kalarel. He warned Helvec against failure and said that he was sending someone named Ninaran to supervise Helvec’s attempts.

Enders

The session ended with the heroes returning to town. I really liked the way that Into the Shadowhaunt tied into Keep on the Shadowfell. The heroes got a couple of rings, Helvec’s robes and the ancient tome as well. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and it seemed like a successful first run of 4e with the new group.

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