Starting position

The players are transporting the body of their dead lord, Lord Devon Harding, and his grieving widow and daughter, from the Dalelands to Suzail in Cormyr.

They opted to travel by riverboat along the Sember, and became embroiled in a military operation between Cormyrian Purple Dragon Knights and insurgent tribes of Goblins and Orcs.

The riverboat has fallen under the command of Marlow, an officer in the Cormyrian Army with secret orders.

Marlow has piloted the riverboat through the remains of an ancient Elven mythal, the ‘mists of madness’, to Semberholme, a ruined, abandoned Elven stronghold.

The session starts as the riverboat drifts into dock, dozens of tribal Kobolds passively watching them.

The scale of this thing is enormous. Great enigmatic Elven faces carved out of stone from thousands of years ago. The fortress reaches out across the river where part of its ruins still stand on the opposite side on a small island. It’s as though the river flowed into the great rams of the sphinx-like temple. Aligning the fortifications are fences, ballista emplacements. There are even the wreckage of riverboats hoisted up into the trees and onto ledges, used as archers nests. It is a strange combination of the very modern and the very primitive. Amongst the ruins we see Kobold hatchlings, families, fires, nomadic dwellings, several hundred of the most primitive Kobolds that ever existed.

Some carry spears, occasionally other emerge from the jungle, scurrying around with the activity that the arrival of a stranger brings. The air is heavy with the weight of hundreds of weapons. A thick greasy smoke hangs from fires that burn and around the camp. Fresh craters indicate a recent battle. Near the dock, and everywhere else, there are tangled piles of corpses, half-submerged in the water, piles of bodies of the dead: Kobolds, Goblins, Humans, Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, Kobolds, Halflings, Kobolds.

Key events

The party are met by a Gnome, dressed as a jester, and a Kobold guard. The Gnome extols the virtues of Colonel Karlsson, their leader, the man the party know Marlow has come to kill.

The Gnome negotiates their safety for now. Marlow leaves an object with the boat’s Cook, instructs him in its use, and disappears into the throng of Kobolds.

Jov, the Rogue, overhears the conversation between Marlow and the Cook, and steals the item from the Cook almost immediately. It’s a ring, engraved with arcane marks.

The party concern themselves with their journey, and their mission: getting Lord Harding and his family to Suzail. A forest, a mountain range, and dozens, maybe hundreds, of miles separate them from Suzail. They try to negotiate passage to the mountains with the Gnome.

The Gnome and the Kobold speak of Karlsson’s guarded items: a large travel trunk held under armed guard in the Kobold tunnels – not even Karlsson is allowed to approach; and a ring, suspended in a pot of water above a water shrine in the old Elven ruins.

The party negotiate escorted safe passage to the mountains with the Gnome and Kobold. The price is to sell Marlow out, and inform the Kobolds of his murderous plot.

The party decide that this is more than fair, as they have no love for Marlow and no hatred for Karlsson.

Meanwhile, Vash, the Bard, casts Invisibility on Jov, and he ventures into the ruins.

Jov bypasses numerous traps – Bear traps, tripwires triggering falling ceilings, a pit trap – and finds the Water Shrine within the ruins.

Above the shrine are numerous holes dug into the ceiling, and occasional shadows.

Jov quietly removes the ring from the water in the suspended pot. It looks similar to the ring he lifted from the Cook. A few seconds after it is removed from the water, it starts to pulse with a dull red glow. The light and disturbance negates the Invisibility spell, and Jov is suddenly visible again.

A Kobold guard in the tunnels above raises the alarm and starts throwing bags down on Jov – first a Crab, then a bag of Rot Grubs, then a Flying Snake, then a Scorpion, a Weasel, a bag of rats, a cat. Jov escapes the tunnel with only minor cuts and scrapes.

The ring is still pulsating, so he throws it into a nearby 20’ deep trench. As it lands, a portal opens and three armed War Wizards appear…

Back at the riverboat, and the party have just concluded their negotiations – they will assist in the capture of Marlow, hand him over to Karlsson, and then begin their journey towards the mountains.

Vash casts Invisibility on himself and wanders off in search of Jov.

The Kobold guard confirms that Marlow is already in custody, contained within a wooden Tiger cage, suspended 30’ about the ground from a wooden beam.

The agreement is brought to a sudden end, though, when Jov and his three new War Wizard friends erupt from the ruins, spraying fire and lightning at the surrounding Kobolds.

About a third of the Kobolds turn to face the Wizards, a third surround the riverboat, and a third flee in terror.

End position

In the ensuing melee the riverboat is successfully defended, Vash and Jov take considerable amounts of damage, and the Kobold guard is fireballed to death by one of the War Wizards.

The Gnome Jester takes a solid slice of damage, but ultimately escapes, swearing revenge.

Jov, fearing for his life, with only 2HP left and having nothing left to lose, activates the ring Marlow left with Cook. It pulsates red, like the last one, and another portal opens and three more War Wizards step through, wands drawn…

In numbers

7 players: 5 regular (1 virtual), and 2 NPC’s

Total XP earned: 1,161

Distinct Kobolds killed:

  • 3x base Kobolds
  • Kobold Sorcerer
  • Kobold Inventor
  • Kobold Dragon Shield
  • Kobold level 2 Ranger.

Traps detected

  • Multiple Bear Traps
  • Tripwire triggering collapsing ceiling and wall
  • Low weight bridge over 20’ drop
  • Ceiling Holes, allowing small objects to be dropped onto intruders (see below).

Tiny animals thrown at the Rogue

  • Crab
  • Flying Snake
  • Poisonous Snake
  • Bag of Rats
  • Scorpion (hit)
  • Spider
  • Weasel
  • Swarm of Rot Grubs (hit).

Portals opened: 3
War Wizards summoned: 6