Crimson Brotherhood - HotDQ

Session 7 - By Barge towards the second sun

After the encounters in the warehouse the discovery of the ritual in the tavern near the waterfront the players speak once more with the authorities and go over what has been found. Some unknown group is causing problems around the borders of both the Duchy and Eltguard. Dispatchers will be sent with all haste to the rulers of both countries in case this is the beginning of something much bigger. It is decided that the players will travel by barge towards the capital to keep on with their investigation. That night as the barges travelled the third barge came under attack. The creatures were the same as the ones that were at the festival, only this time they were not after the players themselves but were trying to break the chains linking the third and fourth barges. The players managed to stop this (just) but the barge has had to stop for the time being while the chains are repaired. Why were the barges attacked? Is someone trying to stop them from getting to the capital?

Session 6 - Berdush, a city with secrets

The next morning the part of the group head to the temple of Torm to give warning and tell the forces of Eltugaurd about what they have discovered. The force of trolls and gnolls will have to be scouted by troops from the city. At the moment many of the Paladins from Berdush are to the east investigating a strange sickness and other goings on, but a small scouting force will be sent out to investigate what the players discovered. Messages will also be sent to the capital and to the Duchy of Greenwood so that patrols and information sharing can be stepped up. The truth will be discovered!

After this the players investigate the movements of Samuel Jackson throughout the city. It is discovered that he liked to frequent a local dockside tavern called the Gutted Fish. This establishment caters to many of the local workers and barge workers that help move goods and services east and west along the river. After some discrete enquiries, the players manage to gain access to a room Samuel’s has on permanent retainer. A cursory look finds nothing unusual; the room holds a well-maintained four poster bed, duchess and clothing cupboard. The room has a womanly feel and one that puts you at ease. Never a group to take anything at face value, a search is conducted. What they find is in a word, ‘wrong’. Attached to each post of the bed is a manacle. Each has dried blood on it. After removing the mattress from the bed the players find a magical symbol carved into the underneath of the it. After consulting between themselves, the players believe it is a demonic link. What foul rites were taken place in this room! The room is sealed and a runner is sent with a message to the High Priest of Torm. Not long after Paladins of Torm and the High Priest are at the Gutted Fish, shutting down the tavern and the players take the owner and staff in for questioning.

After questioning the staff they are let go as it is evented that the owner is the only one that had an idea of what was going on in the room. Staff did mention that there were a number of different women and girls that went to the room with Samuel’s. Evelyn was one of these girls.

Session 5 - The Mystery Deepens

On the last leg of the trip to Berdusk, tracks belonging to the Gnolls are discovered. Travelling now at the slower pace the group come upon a hidden trail that leaves the main road north. Following it brings the players to a well hidden camp in a small sunken hollow where the gnolls have set up camp. Here they can see that the gnolls have a prisoner that looks exactly like the cleric that was leading the Paladins on the road the night before. He looks like he has been tortured. As the players decide on what to do the gnolls go on alert but they are not looking at the players but at some new arrivals. Heading down towards the hollow from the north is a group of trolls! Gnolls and trolls working together!?!?!? This is a bad omen as the only trolls are to the east of the duchy! The cleric is handed over to the trolls. The players move on and continue to ride hard for Berdusk as the forces in the hollow are too much for them to battle and there are troops at Berdusk that can be utilised to form a rescue. Late in the evening the players arrive in Berdusk.

Session 4 - Northwards

The brotherhood re-examine all the sites of the attacks during the day and discover that there is a member of the Wagon Masters family missing. His oldest daughter is nowhere to be found and was last seen in the city of Berdusk. Mika communes with the dead and is disgusted by what she discovers. There is a child involved and the daughter is the mother – is the child a devil in a child’s body? The daughter and baby must be found. It is also at thios point Mojo finds the daughters diary and brings it downstairs. He opens it and sets off the trap for the book was left behind on purpose! The trap is just overcome and not long after a quasit is found watching the players. It barely escapes laughing and cursing the players.

Later after all this information is relayed back to the Duke, some members of the Brotherhood head north through the Duchy towards Berdusk, as this seems to be where the trail is leading. On the evening of the second day the group is at a sheltered camp on the border with Eltguard when they see a small group of Paladins of Torm plus a cleric heading east at pace. Later in the evening an old camp is discovered nearby – the tracks say Gnolls were here (which explains the presence of the Paladins on the road). In the remains of the fire the players from the severed left arm (from the elbow) of an elven woman please a ring detonating she was a member of a family from a Forest area to the north. There is no sign of a body.

Session 3 - Night Games

Not long after the first attack, other members of the Brotherhood that are relaxing at their Chapter house in the city come under attack but undead minotaur’s and two live ones. A priest controls the undead while an axe wielding minotaur tries hard to kill Datak. The attack is defeated but not before the roof of the building starts to collapse as it is eaten away by the acid attack of a black dragon and its rider. Quasi who is already badly hurt is mentally controlled and attacks his friends that have to subdue him. The unconscious Quasi is taken to the Keep for medical attention. The dragon and its rider fly off vowing that this is only the beginning.

As this has been going on, the garrison building, Greenwood Keep and parts of the city are attacked by fiery missiles from ballista that are somewhere within the city! The group splits and goes to the wagon yards to discover a portable ballista and some dead guards, one of which is sliced in two from an axe attack.

Others of the Brotherhood head to a granary and discover a we concealed ballista built into the top of the building. A search of the building also discovers 8 bodies in apple barrels. Are these the real workers, as the bodies have been here for some time. People around the area say it has been business as usual.

The third building investigated is the home of the Wagon Master for the city. Inside is found the wagon master and his family, all slain in some kind of bizarre ritual. It is truly evil. This is only the beginning of the attacks it seems!

Session 2 - The Festival!

Invisible assassins discovered during the festival – are they linked with the current ill tidings’ that are plaguing the Duchy?

Later that night, some members of the Brotherhood are attacked by undead creatures in their own homes – the plot thickens.

Session 1 - Old Friends, New Mystery

Travelling from Baldur’s Gate, three members of the Brotherhood are attacked by demonic creatures, but add arrives in time. It seems the borders of the Duchy are not as safe as they once were. Once in the city of Greeenwood, more news comes from the east – forces of the Duchy were attacked while scouting the area of rift where the land fell into the Underdark. An undead giant killed but with many losses. Evil is on the move once more…

The Heroic Levels! Or What Has Gone Before
History and Prologue

The Heroic Levels

Local men and women from a number of hamlets and small villages around the edges of the Barony of Knightsmark started to disappear. As time went on word spread of strange goings on near the Snakewood forest so a group of locals banded together to protect the ones they loved. In time these ‘Protectors’ as people called them, ended up doing battle with many vile creatures. Kobolds, goblins and even orcs before they faced dead friends and loved one that had been raised against them!

Eventually a trail of evidence lead to a small Orc tribe that controlled the goblins and kobolds of the area and battle was joined. The Orc leaders died during the final battle and would not surrender, for there was something else he was more scared off than the heroes. A search of the Orc tribes cave complex discovered that the Orcs were merely following the orders given to them by a Gnoll Shaman located somewhere deeper in the Snakewood. The true enemy was at last known! The heroes also discovered that the missing villagers may still be alive, as the Orcs had been under orders to take them all alive as the villagers were to be used by the shaman in some kind of bizarre ritual. After the heroes returned from the cave complex, the survivors they had rescued and the local people named the heroes the “Protectors of Knightsmark”.

Before heading off in search of the Gnoll lair, the ‘protectors’ went to the town of Fallon and were meet by a representative of the Baron. It seemed that the Baron had heard of their exploits and had requested the ‘protectors’ presence. The heroes travelled to the local capital, meet with the Baron and explained all that had transpired over the last few months. They were surprised to find that the Baron had also been investigating, as he had rangers and scouts exploring the forest to find out the truth behind the attacks. His local agents also kept him informed about the heroes’ activities. He was pleased with what the heroes had been doing and then charged them with putting an end to the evil that had befallen his Barony. Honour and gold would be their reward.

Time passed and eventually the unholy temple where the Gnoll Shaman was performing his evil rites was found, and so the heroes set off deep in the Snakewood. The final battle with the Gnoll Shaman was terrible, for the heroes had to face a creatures summoned to this plane by dark magic of many blood sacrifices. The blood magic had opened a portal to directly behind his altar and if it was not closed, the shaman would summon more allies through. The heroes attacked after sneaking into the complex, while forces of the Barony and the Duke launched a greater assault on the surrounding area. And so the finally battle was fought.

Many good friends died during the battle in the shamans temple, but the heroes were triumphant! The portal was eventually closed and the Beast of Roaug that the shaman had summoned was slain. The Gnoll and his acolytes died to the last in the frenzied battle. A strange ally was made during the battle; a kobold that had been chained to the altar and was soon to be sacrificed was (occurring to the clerics in the heroes ranks) not evil. With his limited use of common the kobold explained that he wanted to free his people and stop the evil of the gnoll, but he had failed and was to die. He pledged his loyalty to the heroes and said that he would repay each of them in turn one day for saving him, even if it took his whole life.

Those that died in the battle were carefully wrapped in cloth and taken outside, while the temple was searched for clues, loot collected and prisoners located and freed. The name of the cult was discovered amongst the insane writings – ‘Cult of Roaug’. This meant nothing to the heroes but once everything had been searched and collected, the temple was laid waste and purified through fire.

The forces of the Barony and those provided by the Duke returned to the local capital and the heroes meet with the Duke of Greenwood himself. The Baron praised the heroes and prayed for those friends that had been lost and gave his reward to the heroes as promised. After conferring with the Duke, the baron presented the surviving members of the ‘Protectors of Knightmark’ with ‘Red Daggers’ and said that in his youth he and the Duke had also followed their dreams of adventure. He explained that the pair had been members of an adventuring band called the ‘Crimson Blades’. The pair had decided that a new group should form, called the Crimson Brotherhood and all the surviving heroes became members. The Duke and Baron would be the groups’ patrons and so the Crimson Brotherhood was formed. The Duke set aside a Guild Hall within his capital city for the Brotherhood to use as a main base of operations.

After the grand feast in honour of the new Crimson Brotherhood, much of the information that had been gathered was reviewed. It seemed that the Gnoll and its minions were not the only possible servants of this cult causing the undercurrent of fear around the Barony. Further investigation lead to the heroes deciphering the shaman’s title; ‘Soul Captain’ and that he worshipped a ‘god’ called Roaug, the Harvester of Souls. All that was known of Roaug was that he was an evil being that wanted more power in the mortal realms so that it would help influence his position in the Shadowfell. Over the next twelve months the Brotherhood investigated the cult and eliminated those followers that remained until life returned to normal for the folk of the Duchy of Greenwood.

Current Events

It has now been between six years since the cult was no more and even longer since that fateful battle with the Gnoll and the closure of the gate to the Shadowfell. Some members of the Brotherhood travelled to other places in the Realms (and beyond!) to see if they could find any further information on the cult. Other members stayed in the Duchy to continue bringing peace to the region and encourage friendly ties with the Duchy’s neighbours. For the members that that stayed, the Brotherhood went out and tracked down another ‘Soul Captain’ and finally the cult was dealt a death blow.

Now it is only three days to the festival and those members of the Brotherhood that have been away are returning to see old friends and remember those they lost all those years ago…


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