Calithi, World of Secrets

A God Among Insects
The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long

A week’s hike through the Monjols takes The Group to a large warcamp situated in a saddle between two high peaks. The camp is filled with thousands of kobolds, all preparing for war. The kobold herald “Duke” leads The Group to Meshega’s tent, to speak with the supposedly messianic hobgoblin. Meshega explains that his forces are in the late stages of a full takeover of the Monjol range and all territories within. Only a few key obstacles stand in their way of total control over the region. These obstacles are a little asymmetric in their resolution, and are not suited for conventional forces. Meshega wants The Group to take care of these obstacles, and in return he will reward them handsomely with a three-city hold, castle and all. The first of the obstacles is a large bridge, the Dekyn Gap. Meshega’s forces are holding a siege against a nearby hold and have almost taken it over, but reinforcements are on the way. If the bridge in the Dekyn Gap is taken out, the reinforcements will have to go around the deep chasm, delaying them by months.

The problem is that the bridge is no rickety matter of ropes and rotting wood. The Dekyn Gap is spanned by a rather massive stone bridge a hundred yards long and a few yards wide with square columns twenty feet wide supporting it, and was constructed by the Dwarves of this region many thousands of years ago. Needless to say, The Group is at a loss of how they’re going to sabotage such a large construction, especially with the time frame of less than a week before the reinforcements come. And that doesn’t even account for the militia forces Caleb Iodi has positioned on the bridge to secure it for the convoy.

The Group decides to pay the warcamp’s witch doctor for some sage advice. The kobold crone goes on and on about preordained events, visions, and ancient secrets. But out of all the nonsense, The Group determines that there is some kind of ancient sleeping beast and the base columns of the bridge, deep in the Underdark. This is ominous news, and The group is doubtful that such a venture is wise or at all in their best interests. Nonetheless, they pay the bridge a visit just to check it out. At the chasm they discover the Arqar steps, a set of narrow and ancient steps carved into the side of the indeterminably deep canyon. After a few minutes of heated discussion, the party of brave adventurers decide that this might just be a bit much. Anyways, there’s a good amount of gold waiting for them in Ironvale.

Shoggoth

So The Group sets out for Ironvale, arriving to find the small trade town in slightly better condition than it was before, and with a smaller militia presence. They speak with Avi and in addition to the large sum of gold they receive for their efforts, the Salty Stone (an inn in town) extends a permanent offer of free room and board for life to The Group. Avi mentions that if The Group is interested, there is more work to be done in Hawkcrest, and with that the party takes off for Hawkcrest on a Razgauthen-chartered Roc.

On arrival, they find the city in turmoil. They are attacked by magical motes of energy outside the city, but eventually make their way to the town square where all of this seems to be centered. There, they find a robed man and a handful of Clockwork Horrors. It’s nothing they haven’t dealt with before, and they make short work of the mechanized monsters. After slaying the constructs and enchanter, a halfling named Liam approaches The Group, before the chaos of the battle has a chance to die down in the city. Liam is their Razgauthen contact in Hawkcrest, and the priest Apak has worked with him before. He speaks to the party very briefly, and seems concerned that he will be seen with the party.

In his hurried words, the party gathers that there is dangerous cult activity in Hawkcrest. Liam is too well known and can’t investigate the matter personally; he needs The Group’s anonymity to investigate the matter. He mentions that wizards, witches, and all manner of occult personalities are gathering in the underworld of Hawkcrest, inspired by the works of the wizard who created these Clockwork Horrors. He says that The Group can find more information at The Anah Athon, and without further explanation he disappears into the crowd.

What is The Anah Athon? Why is Liam so concerned about secrecy and discretion? Obviously there is more to this situation than is immediately apparent.

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Nas Venar
Once more unto the breach.

Two days out of Leaheath, The Group finally arrives at the mines of Nas Venar, but not after slaying a handful of kobolds and their lizardfolk leader who picked the wrong adventurers to ambush. Upon arriving at the ruins, the party became aware they were being followed and promptly confronted the not-so-stealthy stalker. The grey-robed man introduced himself as Apak, a priest from Hawkcrest. He was sent here with a map, to investigate these ruins. Apparently Hawkcrest has been under attack by the Clockwork Horrors as well, as Apak was lending his aid to the militia forces there before setting out on this more specialized mission.

After locating the entrance to the ruins proper, they were quickly set upon by Clockwork Horrors. To their dismay, a large black Horror like the one at Ironvale was commanding them, supporting the lesser Horrors with great blasts of purple lightning and other exotic magical effects. As the Horrors surged up the steps to assault the group, Apak informed the group that they were weak at their forehead gems, and to focus any hits on them. Near the beginning of the fight, the gnome Tavia disappeared mysteriously, much to the confusion of The Group. As the last of the Horrors were slain however, and their commander came up the steps to meet them head on, it promptly collapsed. The Group later discovered that their companion Tavia had vanished from sight and snuck into the ruins, brutally slaying the wizard inside. Apparently, an artificial arm the wizard was wearing was controlling the Horrors and upon his rather quick but messy death the Horrors ceased to function. After a quick gathering of a few interesting items from the wizard’s study, including some very technical but interesting tomes, the party made camp at the ruins entrance while a couple of them headed to Leaheath for supplies.

During their companions’ trip to town, a kobold herald approached The Group’s camp. This unarmed and eloquent (for a kobold) lizard came extolling the virtues of their leader Meshega, a hobgoblin of apparently grand capabilities. The kobold explained that this Meshega fellow was nothing short of a messiah, and had created peace between the warring kobold clans, uniting them to conquer the whole of the Monjol Range. According to this herald, who goes by the name Duke, Meshega will control the entirety of the Monjol range, driving out or slaying all the hobgoblin raiders within and bringing the kobolds to be the local power. Duke says that Meshega has noticed their skills over the past few weeks and would like to speak with them personally. Rather ominously, Duke also reveals his “scouting party” of a few hundred kobolds that somehow managed to evade detection and surround The Group’s camp. The Group says they will wait for their companions to return before they make a final decision, and when the rest of their companions return from town to discover a kobold flagbearer in their camp, they determine that Meshega’s camp being on the way to Ironvale they have nothing to lose by paying him a visit.

Can he be all that the kobolds claim him to be?

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The Path Most Traveled
Violence begets violence.

With a map marking what seems to be the central location of these Clockwork Horrors, The Group sets out for a journey along the Monjol Range towards the Ruins of Nas Venar. These ruins are some of the oldest in Iodi, held by the elves of a long gone era. Passing out of the memories of the living, this once grand complex has turned into a mine. Many minerals can be found here, but what the mine is known for is it’s abundance of Adenite, a rare metal with strange properties.

The trip takes The Group about three weeks to complete, and it isn’t an easy three weeks. They are beset on all sides by kobolds, hobgoblins, sites of grizzly carnage, mass graves, and they receive the hospitality of the most unlikely folks. There is something going on in the Monjol Range, and The Group can’t seem get their heads around what exactly it is. What they do know is, they’re in the middle of something bigger than them, and they’ll be lucky to get out alive.

Somewhere

Unfortunately, two of their number are not so lucky. Taken down by a single crazed hobgoblin archer, Dolgrin and Julian fall to death’s call, receiving nothing but a proper burial and a few kind words from friends forged in battle. Really, that’s all any adventurer can ask for in these times. The Group slogs forward, set to complete the mission they’ve been assigned no matter the danger.

Stopping in the small hamlet of Leaheath, The Group restocks on supplies and meets up with the dwarf Enumgal, the Razgauthen leading the militia here. Leaheath has been under pressure from the Clockwork Horrors as well, and Enumgal recognizes the The Group from a letter he received by hawk from Avi in Ironvale. He sympathizes with the plight of this valiant team of adventurers and spares two of his more battle wearied sentries for the party, an elf ranger and a halfling summoner. Their more specialized skills will be of more use on a team like this anyway.

And so with little ado The Group sets out again on the road, just days away from the ancient mines of Nas Venar, the supposed HQ of these mechanical monsters.

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Grasp of Metal
He who grasps the nettle deserves the sting.

After many attempts to push deeper into the lair of the metal menace, The Group determined after several close calls that this fight was too much for them. Upon returning to the attack site, they discovered that camp had been set up by militia and mercenary forces as well as some of Caleb Iodi’s forces. They spoke with the security force that hired them and though they unfortunately couldn’t get the other half of the 4 thousand gold they were informed that a militia group would be leaving for Ironvale, a mining town situated a few days ride from camp, in a two days. Apparently, scouts had good intel that there would be an attack on Ironvale in about a week (possibly sooner), and that the group was looking for as much help as they could get. After some well-deserved healing at the hands of priest(esses)s of Iodi, and a couple nights’ rest, they headed for Ironvale with the militia force. The militia force was 35 warriors strong and led by Avi Naerel, an elven Razgauthen archer.

Upon arriving at Ironvale, the defense force split up into two groups of ten at each end of town to man the barricades, and 15 setting up a perimeter. The Group picked a spot southwest of town at the edge of the foothills bordering town and managed to convince a member of Avi’s scouting team, a woman called Mira who would prove herself to be an expert archer in the coming fight, to aid in securing the southwestern post. A little over a day later, Ironvale saw battle. The southwestern post held by The Group was hit by particularly fast specimens, moving about 100 yards in seconds. These dull-red metal six-legged versions sliced at them with bladed pincers and several times The Group came close to death, but with the healing expertise of Kra, they managed to survive and keep the southwestern wave from breaching their position. Throughout the battle, arcs of purple lightning streaked across the town behind them.

After the battle, The Group returned to town to inspect the damage and investigate the source of the lightning. A few buildings were on fire, and wounded soldiers littered the streets, but for the most part it appeared as though the town and its resources were saved. Upon discovering a unique looking version of these mechanical beasts, Avi approached The Group with an interesting object. It was a metal disk retrieved from the unique specimen, and appeared to be etched with a map of Iodi, with certain locations marked and a small red gem marking what Avi believes to be a central location for these creatures. Tavia recognized the metal of the unique creature’s shell to adamantine, and Dolgrin identified a metal rod on its back as a rod of lightning bolt.

Avi suggested that The Group travel to this location, using any horses they need from the stables, and investigate the site. Avi’s scouts have reported that there are many more attacks expected at Ironvale, and he can’t spare any more people to go on such an independent and aggressive mission. The Group decided to leave Ironvale to see about attacking these infernal creatures at their heart. The journey will take at least a couple weeks on horseback and the way is dangerous, but the cause is worthy and necessary. Plus, the 3 thousand (at least) gold Avi promised them upon their success doesn’t hurt either.

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A Journey, Disturbed
A peaceful ride in the mountains turns sour.

About a month ago, miners with the Relari Mining Coalition uncovered the entrance to what by all accounts appears to be the forgotten city of Val Ishin. This ancient city has been lost to the winds of time, and the discovery has garnered the attention of scholars, traders, spelunkers, treasure hunters, and adventurers alike. A convoy of wagons and carriages has formed along the Dashyll Pass, and it has swollen to a great number, perhaps 300 travelers or more. Among this motley assortment of travelers is an old Dwarf wizard by the name of Dolgrin, who has picked up a few stragglers along the way. In his cart rides the gnome Tavia, a human warrior called Lulian, and a halfling mystic known as Kra. They pass the weeks sharing stories, food and drink, and enjoying Tavia’s deep strumming melodies.

Just three days from arriving at the Val Ishin ruin site however, chaos erupts. At first, The Group isn’t certain what’s happening, but it quickly becomes apparent that the convoy is being set upon by strange mechanical quadrupeds.
Clockwork horror

These infernal little things lay veritable waste to the convoy, completely tearing apart all wagons, scavenging pretty much anything made of metal. A handful of survivors remain, including The Group, and a security force which was supposed to have been tasked with protecting this convoy. The security force, made up of two dwarves, a halfling, and a human, approach The Group and offer them a deal. Apparently they had been paid a hefty sum of 4 thousand gold to protect this convoy, and seeing as they’ve failed (and are therefore likely going to have to return the money), they offer to pay The Group to track down these things’ lair and wipe them out. Their halfling scout indicates a path they’ve carved into the mountainside, which leads to a hole about 2 miles south of the attack site. They offer 2 thousand up front, and the other half upon the successful clearing out of these creatures.

The Group agrees to the job, and heads out to deal with the pesky menace. Inside the creatures lair, Dolgrin recognizes a statue inside as being of another wizard he’s encountered, but he can’t quite put a name to the face. They find that resistance within their abode is quite fierce, and these creatures are a force to be reckoned with. But bravely, they forge on, uncovering more and more of the nasty beings’ underground complex.

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