Hidden History of Alaraan

The Fall of Gnomehaven

Fizzle awoke to find himself being caressed by a strange-smelling man in a back-alley. Throroughly confused as to how he arrived there, his immediate reaction was to summon a small swarm of insects to accost the grabby hobo. The rest of the party arrived in Kimcardime just in time to see the man run screaming out of the alley, followed closely by a very confused Fizzle. Fizzle's story was the same as Oddryk's, laying down in Hogsfeet followed by crashing waves and anger. As the group began to catch Fizzle up on the events of the past few days, a glossy look came over Oddryk's face. Before the party knew what was happening, Oddryk had drawn his hammer and assaulted Fizzle. Nami managed to subdue Oddryk with a spell while he regained he senses, but no sooner did he snap out of his trance than a shadowy figure with red eyes emerged from a nearby ally and tore into Fizzle. This was not a good day for Fizzle. A long battle followed, during which the assailant attempted to steal the Orbs and hand them off to a man waiting nearby. The man was slain and the Orbs retrieved, but the assassin managed to escape with her life.

After the fight, the party decided to do some shopping and then secured themselves passage on a ship to Volcrest's Landing. They arrived without incident in the small port town and were almost immediately greeted by a familiar face. The odd old man they had met in Khark, whom had given them a brief history on the Orbs before mysteriously vanishing, greeted them escorted by a small entourage of well dressed Krenko.

 

 and Oddryk went to secure them passage on a ship. While at the docks, a messenger from the Braintrust delivered a package to Oddryk. It was a small box accompanied by a piece of paper with some phrases written on it. When the party inspected the package, it was discovered to be a folding boat. Not wanting to be tracked, the group booked passage on several diffrent vessels all traveling to different locations, then set sail themselves in their new boat, taking the long way around the island heading south towards Gnomehaven. Their ruse worked, and besides a small group of frog people whom the party decided they'd rather not meet, the trip was uneventful.

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The Thefts in Gam Kohldur

Oddryk awoke to find himself on a beach, rather than the Hogsfeet Inn where he laid the night before. Looking around he found what appeared to be a well worn road leading to a nearby town, as well as odd, webbed footprints heading the same direction. He found himself in the town of Beckton, the morning after the party had helped save the town from a Kuo-Toa attack. Upon reuniting with the party, he told them the last thing he remembered clearly was laying down in Hogsfeet, as well as vague memories of violent crashing waves, and a strong impression that they would find another orb in Gam Kohldur.

After a hefty breakfast, the party traveled to Gam Kohldur without incident. However, upon attempting to enter, they were stopped by a gaudily dressed guard demanding they state their business within the city. After a bit of awkward fast talking, they were able to convince the guard they had business with one of the noble families.

 

Shortly after entering town, a necklace fell from above and landed in Beikas' hands, immediately followed by several guards accusing him of theft, saying he matched the description of the culprit in a recent string of thefts. After speaking with the captain of the guards, it was agreed that while Beikas was obviously innocent, the crime would have to be solved to truly clear his name in the public's eyes. The group visited the homes of both victimized families. In each case, the items stolen seemed to be random. And in each case again, the items were found stashed relatively nearby. After inquiring about the remaining two noble families, it was learned the Dewford family was in possession of an Orb of Umberlee, which had been in the family's possession for generations.
Under the guise of attempting to "prevent" the theft, the party staked out within the Dewford Estate to await the arrival of the thief, with the Doctor creating several replicas with which to confuse the thief and eventually swap out the Orb, although the butler's refusal to part with the real orb made this difficult. As the party waited, some went to steal the orb from the butler, but found him lying wounded on the floor of his room instead. Beikas' beast senses detected an off smell in the room. The party demanded the thief show himself. He obliged, albeit briefly, as the image of a man who looked EXACTLY like Beikas appeared before them, before teleporting into the hallway and jumping out a window. The party gave chase. As they exit the building, Beikas and the Doctor were greeted by a dark void, filled with unearthly sounds. Circling the void, they caught the thief attempting to scale the fence. As the rest of the party emerged from the home, they were beset by beams of energy from the roof of the building. They turned to find a small floating creature, with one large eye and four smaller eye stalks, hovering above the roof. Yialis quickly snared the beast with an enchanted arrow, and oddryk blinded it with magical darkness. Soon, the thief was dispatched by Beikas, and as he fell, the illusion of appearing like Beikas faded, revealing a nimble looking human with glowing red eyes. The red glow slowly faded from his eyes as he fell, and Beikas began to gnaw on the carcass. The small creature above the home was missing when the spells holding it were dispelled.The party was thanked by all families involved with wonderful gifts. Except the family, who had not been robbed. They were much less grateful.

The party departed south for Kimcardime. Enroute, they were beset by bandits. During the battle, Oddryk noticed a large, cloaked figure watching from the woods. As the bandits were handily dispatched, it was discovered that they were led by yet another Scion, and the cloaked figure had vanished. Looting the bodies and checking their backs, the party continued to Kimcardime…

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Into the Swamp

The party awoke in Hogsfeet Tavern to find two of their party missing. Oddryk and Fizzle had vanished from their rooms overnight, the only clue to their disappearance being an incredibly strong aura of divine magic the Doctor detected in their rooms. After an "altercation" with the kitchen staff of the tavern, Beikas brewed up a rather intense stew from a mixture of sticks, goodberries, and any small creature unlucky enough to wander within his reach. Bellies stuffed with stew and possible dysentery, the party set out to cross the swamp.

The road through the swamp was winding and slow. Yialis could have shaved several hours off the trip if it weren't for the buggy's inability to go off road. A few hours into the trip, Beikas noticed a rustling in the roughage off to the side of the road. A bit of druidcraft startled a young girl out of the brush and onto the road. She was a girl of 13, with brown hair and sharp green eyes. She introduced herself as Ellie the Great, and expressed her desire to join the party's adventure. Nami was joyed at the idea of having a new pet, and after a slight "initiation" by the Doctor, the party accepted Ellie into the group. Further down the road, the party encountered an odor among the most unpleasant in all of Alaraan. A catoblepas. The large beast loomed over the road, blocking the way, and as the party noticed, protecting a young calf. The road and nearby swamp was littered with the bodies and skeletons of dead bullywugs, as well as the freshly dead carcass of the catoblepas' mate. While the party debated their situation, a croaking sound echoed from the swamp. The party readied themselves, the Doctor and Yialis landing some preemptive shots on the incoming bullywugs. During the battle, the Doctor sensed a strong aura of all types of magic from the bullywugs, with enchantment and divination being the strongest. The party handled the bullywugs very capably with the help of the catoblepas, while Ellie buried herself deep in the buggy attempting to escape the stench of the beast. When the battle had cleared, the wounded catoblepas took her calf and left into the swamp opposite the direction the bullywugs had approached from. While examining the bodies, Nami found that they were all wearing identical necklaces. Each one had a heart shaped pendant carved from bone, which the Doctor determined to be the source of the divination and enchantment auras. After harvesting some meat from the dead catoblepas and the bullywugs, the party moved on a bit more before attempting to rest for a moment. No sooner did they stop the buggy than they began to hear the telltale croaks of more approaching bullywugs. The party continued to cross the swamp, while the following bullywugs appeared to keep their distance as more and more arrived to join the pursuit. They managed to cross the border of the swamp before the bullywugs could enact whatever they were planning. It was also noted that that bullywugs would not cross the border of the swamp. An eager one attempted to follow and was immediately pulled back in by two of its frightened looking companions. Confident they were beyond harms reach, the party made camp for the night, Beikas commanding the spirits of nature to prepare their becrolls and campfire.

Waking the next day fully rested, the party found themselves in the ruins of Dewford within the hour. Just before entering, the party began to feel an uneasy tinge on the back of their necks, as though someone, or something, were watching their every move. The town was leveled. Bodies were found littering the streets, though it was noted there were too few bodies for a town of such size. Ellie procured herself a rapier from one of the fallen soldiers, and began to practice with it. The town was filled with the taint of evocation and abjuration magics, whose auras became stronger the closer the party drew to the mayor's mansion,  the number of bodies increasing as well. The mansion was of modest size by mansion standards, but still rather impressive by the standards of the town which used to stand around it. The gates had been blown inward with great force, barely on their hinges. While searching the mansion, Nami discovered a chest bearing the same symbol as the Orbs of Umberlee. The chest's lock was smashed, and the chest itself lay empty. The party attempted to locate any trace of the attackers, but found none, even with Beikas' heightened best senses. Convinced there was nothing more to be gained by staying, the party continued on.

Approaching the town of Beckton, the sense of being watched finally faded. Once they were within earshot of the town, Nami and Beikas began to hear screaming coming from Beckton. Continuing closer, several Kuo-Toa were seen rampaging through the town. Beikas in wolf form, and carried Yialis and the Doctor towards the town, while Nami stayed behind to protect Ellie. The Doctor and Yialis managed to fell 2 Kuo-Toa on the approach, and draw several more out of the town, including a Whip, a larger Kuo-Toa who seemed to be in charge of the attack. Fortunately for the party, Kuo-Toa are VERY stupid. Being very sensitive to sunlight, they had decided to attack the town close to noon. During the battle, Nami noticed the creatures shouting about "sacrifices for the Slumbering One". The Kuo-Toa landed some lucky blows, and managed to net some of the party, but in the end, they were no match. Despite Nami's best efforts, Ellie managed to involve herself in the battle, slaying two Kuo-Toa with the help and guidance of her new mentor, Beikas. When the last had fallen, the group made their way into the town. The guards in the town were shocked by the party's arrival, mostly due to Beikas having shifted into a grizzly bear near the end of the fight, and still remaining in that form. The Doctor eased their concerns, and the guards thanked the party for drawing such a large number of attackers away from the town. The party offered to aid in the clean up of the battle in exchange for rooms for the night, and retired to decide their next course of action.

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And so it begins...

It was just after noon as our soon-to-be heroes began to board the Swift Rooster, a ship heading for Zhark with goods from the Solaris excavation to be auctioned upon arrival. Fizzle hovered over the shoulders of the loading crew, or at least he tried his best considering his stature. More than once, the capable crew would "stumble", sending Fizzle into near shock each time. Fizzle and his companion, Dr. Whathefak, had been sent to oversee the shipment of a particular artifact which resembles the energy source which powers Gnomehaven's defenses. Nami, the only Triton onboard, or indeed in Solaris at the time, regaled the crew with tales of her people's heroics. The crew smiled and nodded when appropriate, as they were familiar with Triton's and how to "properly" interact with them. Beikas, as he does in each town he visits, asked around after sightings of the elf who took his family, but no one in Solaris had any information for him. Oddryk, having decided he had progressed his power all he could in Solaris, had decided to head out in search of something greater. And possibly a way to end his curse. Also, Yialis was there.

Just about 2 hours into the trip, Nami noticed an immense shadow rise from the depths a few hundred yards off the side of the ship. And as a colossal fin began to pierce the surface, the ship ceased it's forward momentum and began to slowly turn in place. It was at this time Oddryk began to feel something nagging at the back of his mind, like he was being called toward the great beast by some ancient force. Many smaller shadows approached the ship, and suddenly, the crew was being accosted by a small legion of Sahuagin. Crew were being flung to the sharks waiting below, while getting in a few good blows themselves. The captain himself was even felled, saved only by Beikas' quick thinking. When it became apparent the passengers of the ship were far more formidable than expected, the Sahuagin decided to prioritize their task over slaughtering those aboard. One unlucky sap made the mistake of opening the door to the good doctor's cabin while searching for the cargo, and received a slug in the gut for his trouble. Meanwhile, a large Ape had appeared in the galley and was making a sport out of flinging Sahuagin up the stairs back onto the deck. At the same time, Fizzle appeared below deck and covered the stairs with grease, causing hillarity to ensue and clustering most of the Sahuagin at the bottom of the stairs. The wounded Sahuagin managed to find the cargo, and his target, but as he attempted to leave, he was clubbed to death by the Doctor, flinging the artifact towards his allies. Before the artifact could be claimed however, it floated into the air and began flying back towards the cargo area. This of course, confused the poor Sahuagin, as they were unaware an invisible Nami was actually carrying the object. Several brutal executions later, the Sahuagin were routed and the ship began to settle. Returning to the deck, there was no sign of the immense creature , and the ship was quickly set back on course.

Once the ship arrived in Khark, it was quickly unloaded and the items were sent to the auction house, where the Braintrust agent accompanying Fizzle and the Doctor purchased the artifact, along with some "incentives" for the group who had saved him. Beikas was finally able to obtain information regarding his family. Word has been spreading that the town of Dewford, just outside the eastern edge of the swamps, had been ravaged by figures resembling Beikas' description. These rumors cannot be confirmed, however, due to the only surviving witness being a small child, describing the attackers as "red-eyed, yellow demons". After the auction, the Braintrust agent summoned the group to his room at the inn with a proposition. It had become apparent to him that the since the Sahuagin seek the artifact, the direct naval route back to Gnomehaven would be ill-advised. He offered the party an up front payment of 50gp each, as well as three magical items he had purchased with the remainder of his auction budget. In exchange, the party would take responsibility for the safe delivery of the artifact to Gnomehaven. He suggested the party's first course of action would be to reach Kimcardine by land, lessening the chances of Sahuagin attack. The party agreed, and the agent gave them a horse and buggy as a final parting gift, before boarding the next ship back to Gnomehaven. Afterwards, the party was approached by an odd old man who reeked of magic, among other things. The man requested to see the artifact. Upon a very brief examination, he told them it was an Orb of Umberlee, one of 9 such artifacts in Alaraan. While no one is sure the exact purpose of the orbs or the identity of the Umberlee they are named for, it is known the great shark Iakhovas both seeks and fears them. The man then left without a word, not even bothering to say farewell to the party.

After a good night's rest, the party set out. They decided the town of Hogsfeet should be their first stop. Hogsfeet is a modest, rural town on the western border of the swamp, and the people who live there are known for their hospitality. However, the first person the party met upon arriving was an ornery old man named Bobert. He began to tell/yell at them about the witch/bitch who turned his dear wife Betty into a pig. He also introduced them to his dog Lester, whom the group promptly euthanized and replaced with a clockwork replica. Bobert seemed not to notice, mistaking the creature's robotic motions for his extremely elderly dog's natural movement. The party agreed to confront the witch on Bobert's behalf, as he directed them to a house on the northern edge of town. Upon arriving, the party encountered two women, one elderly, the other younger. The older woman introduced herself as Beth, and introduced the younger, quiet one as Susan. When accused of witchcraft, Beth seemed very confused. The Doctor could also detect no magic whatsoever in the area. When the party informed her of the accusations, Beth immediately recognized them as more of Bobert's insane ramblings. She told the party that Bobert's wife had been dead for some years now, and that she had personally sold him that pig only last week. Confident this was a misunderstanding, the party returned to Bobert's home and, after several VERY short naps, had slaughtered his pig and left him with an almost perfect animatronic replica of his late wife, which he occasionally believes is real, depending on his most recent nap.

Confident in the good of their horrible deeds, the party headed for the local tavern. While discussing their next move, Nami and Yialis noticed a pair of tieflings watching the group from the corner of the bar. When Nami attempted to approach them, they promptly left. When Yialis followed them outside, they had vanished. Several patrons passed Yialis entering the bar, among them a young wood elf couple. This time, it was noticed the couple was watching the group. When Beikas confronted the couple, they flung their table across the room and assaulted Beikas with two immense battle axes. After a heated battle, the couple was revealed to be a pair of shape shifting sea creatures, the likes of which no one had seen before, although Nami had heard stories of such beings. The Doctor helped the barkeep repair the damages while the party patched their wounds and retired for the evening.

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