Knights of Phlan

Kuto's Well
The story begins...

The original party was gathered by a gnome adventurer, Finnan Zolonso, who had managed to get a contract from the council to reclaim Kuto’s Well. The Stojanow River is polluted and Kuto’s Well is the only natural source of clean water. In the process of retaking the well Zolonso was killed, but the group presented themselves to the council member who signed the contract, Porphyrus Cadorna, and claimed the reward. They decided to continue on as a group.

The group did find the skeleton of a cleric who died during the fall of Phlan. His journal revealed that the high priest had taken a forbidden liturgy of Myrkul with him to Sokal Keep. As such the priest had broken off from last defenders.

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Sokal Keep
Their first mission and they're on their own...

From there, Cadorna presented them with a contract to clear Thorn Island and Sokal Keep. He offered them a personal incentive to fly a banner with the Cadorna family crest on it alongside the flag with the crest of Phlan when the castle was retaken.

They found the corpse of a dead Drow Elf who was shot in the back by a thick black arrow as he faced the Keep. As they came closer, they were rebuffed by the skeletal guards inhabiting the keep. One skeleton burst into flames and through small balls of fire at them, causing a great deal of injury.

They headed back to shore, in an attempt to signal their ferryman, but saw dozens of small vessels loaded down with orcs coming to shore. They headed back into the mist covered island and hid in a crypt within a small graveyard on the island. The crypt turned out to have a secret stairwell which was inhabited with ghouls. While the lead ghoul surrendered after Orsik turned his minions, he deceptively waited for the group to send out scouts and then resumed his attacks on the remaining party. After surrendering again, he gave them pass phrases he knew would get them into the castle past the skeletal guardians. They left him in peace for the time being.

Rested, they returned to the keep. As they approached they came across a soaking wet ranger, named Ericon. He had been aboard a vessel that was raided by orcish pirates and had washed up on the island. He agreed to aid them in retaking the keep in exchange for passage to town, later, and a share of their loot.

Retaking the keep was difficult, but they were successful and lost no lives. After one burning skeleton would be destroyed, another would soon become covered in flames. Towards the end, one burning skeleton began cackling as it threw fire at its compatriots, as well. Simeon was knocked unconcious during the battle.

Within the keep they met the spectre of Ferran Martinez, the former Bishop of Tyr who had safeguarded the keep by binding the souls of its defenders to their bodies beyond death using a scroll written by priests of Myrkul. He had accepted that Tyr would not accept him into the afterlife and had dwelled in the keep. He released the spell and dissipated after discovering from Anton, that the party intended to help retake the Temple of Tyr in Phlan. He also presented them with a silver scale that was the primary relic formerly kept in the Temple. Soon after Bishop Ferran dissipated, Simeon came into consciousness and exhibited slightly odd behavior.

Not much later, however, orcs attacked the keep. The leader of the orcs had chained the ghoul and was driving him forward with a barbed whip. Skeletal guardians came to the aid of the party and their sound tactics allowed them to defeat all of the orcs except their well-armored leader, who was forced to withdraw.

Once the flags had been posted above the standing tower of the keep, the mist cleared and the party was able to see they had accomplished their mission, as the island was no longer inhabited by orcs, skeletons, or ghouls. Returning to the crypt they discovered that a portion of the ghoul’s treasure had been taken, but the heavier pieces remained. This indicated to the party that the armored orc chieftain had returned to the crypt and taken “all he could carry” with him.

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Cadorna Textile House
A series of unfortunate events...

After they received their reward, they were assured by Cadorna that he would throw more work their way. In the meanwhile they discovered that another group had succeeded in clearing out the slums to an extent that Kuto’s Well was accessible to townspeople and Nat Wyler’s Bell was a relatively safe place to get to.

Cadorna contracted them personally to reclaim the textile house his family owned when they had lived their previously. However, this attempt was met with disaster.

The gnolls that dwelled within were not an overly difficult challenge, however, their leader and shaman both proved to be formidable. The gnoll leader made great use of his bow and in the end the entire party was routed. Grim and Tarask were knocked unconcious but luckily healed by a healing burst that Orsik put out shortly before being captured. Burias and Anton were both crumpled in the center of the courtyard and presumed dead. With their attention focused on the concious Orsik, the gnolls missed Tarask and Grim rousing and slipping out.

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Cadorna Textile House
Leave no man behind...

The second foray into Cadorna textile house was succesful, with Lethudiae matching the gnoll leader arrow for arrow. However, while the textile house was populated only with gnolls before, it had been reinforced with an ogre, the orc leader from Thorn Island and several orcs.

The gnoll shaman was absent from the fight. The party would learn later that after he shaved Orsik’s beard, drugged him and tortured him he began ranting about some all powerful Lord of the Ruins. However, when he uttered the worth “Tyranth-” he burst into flames and died screaming.

Once again the orc leader fought his way out depending on the protection his armor granted him. Three wolves entered the compound towards the end of the fight (and actually took down the gnoll leader, ripping him to shreds). Lethudiae called the wolves to him and sent them tracking after the Orc leader. He managed to catch up with them as the Orc leader was putting the wolves to the ground.

His arrows struck true and found the chinks in his armor, felling him. He noticed that the Orc leader seemed to be heading for Mantor’s Library. Lethudiae drug the body back to the textile house.

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Mantor's Library & Valhingen Graveyard
Bad luck continues...

The council contracted the party to find information in Mantor’s Library related to the Lord of the Ruins. There they encountered a basilisk, a very small beholderkin, several stained glass golems. The golems had previously cut to shreds several mutated lizardfolk that had been involved in strange almost mechanical modifications.

From here the party made an attempt into the Graveyard, where they defeated a spectre that was crafting zombies. Defeating this creature caused all remaining zombies to collapse into heaps. They encountered two vampire spawn, but were able to destroy them.

Soon after they stumbled into a pit that turned out to be the lair of several vampires, and barely escaped the vampire queen there, only by the grace of Moradin was Orsik able to turn her, and he was severely injured in the process.

In the lair they discovered the missing Hammer of Tyr, though only Simeon (strangely enough) was able to wield it. As they ventured further through the graveyard, they discovered that the mists parted for Simeon as he walked. However, a surprise attack from a vampire, wights and a giant skeleton resulted in the death of Orsik. However, in the fight they were assisted by a wight who appeared to be Burias, but he ran off after the fight.

They took Orsik to the Temple where they learned that the manner of his death would result in him rising as a vampire. Bishop Braccio encouraged them to go to the Temple (formerly of Tyr, currently of a cult of Bane) in an attempt to recover scriptures that might be successful in returning Orsik to life.

The party scuffled with orcs near the Temple and when confronted by their leader, “Mace”, he made a deal with them. They would clear Ranthor’s Tower, in the mansion district and he would allow them to search the Temple for Tyrran scriptures. The tower was protected by a system of 5 magical gems (4 outside the tower, one hidden somewhere within) that electrocuted anyone who came within 30 feet. They … ran for the door and made it inside, with minimal injury. They cleared the tower and determined that two wizards had attempted to fight off various monsters, but were ultimately unsuccessful. A gnoll assassin had come in from the roof, and killed at least one of the wizards. However, that gnoll had his throat slit, possibly with his own knife, before he could escape.

They cleared the tower and took 4 of the crystals (and the controlling cloak) from the tower. A series of shennanigans followed at the temple as the party managed to steal a great deal of hidden treasure, while distracting the orcs. A human with a greatsword arrived at one point to speak with Mace. The orcs led the party enter the mausoleum below, but locked the grate behind them. They had to fight off several undead and a golem made from the bodies of several long dead priests of tyr. (The golem was made by Yarash).

The orcs did let them out, eventually. However, there was no raise dead scroll. But, logs of the temple that were recovered referred to a “Master of Valhingen” who once returned a boy to life that turned out to be an ancestor of Cadorna.

So, back into the graveyard they went. The Burias-Wight led them to a mausoleum which seemed to be the lair of the Master of Valhingen. He turned out to be a spectre of sorts who has seemingly lost control over the graveyard due to the presence of the vampire dwelling therein.

He explained that if the body of the dead is joined with the soul of the dead on the fugue plane, then the dead would return to life. Existing in the graveyard was, in fact, a tear that leads to the fugue plane.

The party returned to the Temple and spoke with Bishop Braccio who was saddened to inform them that Orsik had now turned into a vampire and was chained (with silver) in the basement. They took Orsik to the graveyard and the Burias-wight also followed. Once on the stairs, the two undead creatures (Burias, Orsik) became almost catatonic and simply followed the party.

Meanwhile, both Orsik and Burias had been waiting on the Fugue plane for their respective gods to take them to the afterlife. They both were met by a beautiful woman with pale blue skin who cautioned them that their failings may cause them to not be welcomed in the afterlife and that she could help them return to life if they would do her a favor at a later time. They both separately agreed and she led them to the base of a stairwell, such that they were there when the party arrived. She then flew off revealing her bat-like wings. Orsik and Burias both became somewhat troubled by their decisions.

Upon touching their animated corpses, both Orsik and Burias were returned to life.

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Nat Wyler's Bell
The bell tolls for thee...

Burias stayed with the Priests of Tyr to recover, while Orsik rejoined the party. Why celebrating at Nat Wyler’s Bell, the PCs were attacked, from the kitchen, by several mutated lizardfolk. An odd occurence happened during the fight. Everytime Simeon’s daggers met steel the bell would ring. As the bell rang, his daggers would vibrate. This led to a constant ringing of the bell during the fight. Concerned, Orsik eventually cast a shatter spell which both destroyed the bell and several of the remaining lizardfolk. One made a run for it – back into the kitchen.

They headed into the kitchen to find an unconcious Nat Wyler, who Orsik healed. He revealed that the lizardfolk had come up through a sizeable “drainage grate” in the floor. They followed the tracks of the lizard to an underground river, where a dark cloaked armored figure was speaking to the lizardfolk. Lethudiae shot the lizardfolk through the head.

The armored figure fought them at this point, hand to hand with the assistance of a dire wolverine-shark thing that the party was able to put down. One of Orsik’s attacks destroyed the armor of their foe, and as his helm cracked and clattered to the ground they saw it was, in fact, Anton. After they disabled him, they determined that a red crystal on his chest was mounted to a steel plate that was interlocked with his ribs. Orsik used his powers to break the jewel free and radically damaged the chest plate.

They took the unconcious, but amazingly still alive, Anton to the Temple of Tyr – where he remained comatose for a two weeks.

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Kovel Mansion
A sticky situation...

Lord Kovel, a council member was reported to have been assassinated. Cadorna hired the party to route out the likely suspects, the Welcomers of Phlan who were holed up in Kovel Mansion.

As such, Heiratess proposed a plan to the council in which she would be named (with House Kovel’s support) to the council and used as bait. If all was successful and the Welcomers routed, then she would be named to the council.

Then, misinformation was put out in Phlan and a trap was sprung for the Welcomers. Heiratess was attacked which sprung an ambush from the party. A few thieves escaped. Half the party (Simeon, Anton, Burias) escorted priests of Tyr who had been summoned for an injured Heiratess (actually, one of the injured thieves) was ambushed by thieves as they made their way from the inn to the temple of Tyr.

The other half of the party made their way to Kovel Mansion to launch an attack. Simeon later caught up with them. At Kovel Mansion they moved room by room encountering thieves and nefarious traps, one of which started a fire that burned down a quarter of the mansion. Heiratess captured one thief, and two thieves escaped.

Seeing the fire, the orcs from the Temple of Bane made an attack which led to Mace’s death at the hands of the party. The orcs had actually doubled in numbers (less their losses at the hands of the party at the mansion) from a merging of the other tribe of orcs whose chieftain had been killed at Mantor’s Library (and whose numbers had been diminished on Thorn Island).

The party reassembled and with the blessing of the priests, and using the Hammer of Tyr – they routed the orcs at the Temple and successfully fought off the counterattack by the orcs (who were now also reinforced by ogres of thar).

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Into the Wild
Simeon, Kal, Ericon, and Torric have some male bonding time

After they cleared the Temple and the priests began taking residence, the orcs fled Phlan (likely to the other tribe’s lair). While they were reknowned in town for a short while, another group of adventurers returned (finally!) from clearing the kobold lair of 5,000+ kobolds. This had taken weeks.

Simeon managed to start a fight with their leader, by stealing his spear. Upon discovering that his friends, in fact, called him “Spear.” Simeon could not resist another series of insults which led to a brawl with the drunken fighter. Kalhanan nor involved, as did Harlin, the other group’s rogue. But, the fight broke up before the city guard could be called.

Meanwhile, Heiratess received two Elven guests when she was the sole council member on duty one night. They were outraged to see a Drow on the council, but through her extremely capable diplomatic skills she was able to at least convince them to give their report. They had scouted out the source of the pollution to Stojanow River. It was a Mulhorandi-esque pyramid that had been built on an island upriver. It was spewing wretched black liquid that was making the river undrinkable.

Orsik had discovered that the foundation to the temple had been undermined by the undead in the crypts below it. He, Karrig, Anton, and Burias thus became busy solving the immediate threat to the structure.

So, Simeon, Kalhanan, Ericon, and Torric (the former member of the Welcomers who Heiratess had captured and was now working for her) sought out the pyramid. Enroute, they came upon a series of glittering hillocks or mounds. Simeon convinced the others that they should be explored and they ended their evening fighting off giant praying mantises and a spectre creature that rose from the idol there. Simeon rounded up all the spears used by the thri-keen and decided he would present them as a gift to Spear, when he returned.

The next day, much increased in gold coin, they traveled to the island. They passed one patrol of lizardfolk who shook their spears at them. Simeon shook his bundle of spears back at them, but no incident resulted. They finally made it to the pyramid.

At the pyramid they were attacked by several mutated lizardfolk, one of which was as large as an ogre, but only had one arm (which extended from his back and not from his shoulders. It was a close fight for Kal, but they won.

The pyramid’s only apparent entrance was a mirror-portal which led into a maze. A second portal was found in the maze that at one point split the party into 2 locations. Kal and Ericon, separated from Torric and Simeon, took to entering the portal together, by hugging and them leaping through as one. Simeon and Torric … did not. In the end, Kal, and Ericon ended up outside the pyramid with Torric and Simeon lost somewhere therein.

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Out of Place
Numbering your Antons

While Torric and Simeon continued exploring the pyramid maze, Kalhanan and Ericon returned to Phlan to seek the aid of their allies. Orsik and Karrig, having worked to reinforce the Temple from the damage done to its foundation by the ghouls, hastily readied themselves and returned to Sorcerer’s Island with Kalhanan and Ericon.

Eventually, the two parties met in the maze. Both had independently gathered that the portal system worked on a “back, forward, back, forward” principal. As such, when an object was thrown through after each person was transported, the group could stick together.

They discovered Yarash’s workshop where he had mutated and augmented various creatures, including, presumably Anton. In the final battle with Yarash, the strange machinery that both create mutants and was poisoning the river was destroyed and exploded. While several were injured, no one was killed (with the exception of Yarash, who had been repeatedly stabbed by the party).

Two men identical to Anton (but without the strange modifications Yarash had made to the other Anton) had been gestating in glass cylinders and were released during the fighting. When they came within proximity to the ioun spheres possessed by Orsik and Simeon, they magical crystals left orbit around their owners and began orbitting one of the Antons.

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Valhingen Graveyard
He Who Comes Before
With undead attacks ever-increasing on the town, the Council and the Church of Tyr asked for the party to return to the Graveyard. As reward, the Church of Tyr offered up an ancient magical greatsword that had been created with a dedication to destroy the undead. If the undead attacks ceased, the party would be allowed to keep the weapon.

The first change to the graveyard noticed by the party was the lifting of the fog. The entirety of Valhingen was open to the party and no undead were openly roaming the grounds. However, not all was at peace. The party quickly found that many of the undead were simply awaiting them under the soil and would claw their way to the surface and engage them when the party came too close. However, the light of day turned out to slowly break down the bonds holding the undead together and left them weakened against the might of Orsik and Kalhanan.

It was discovered that destroying the spectre in each mausoleum would stop the continued process of the creation of undead. This tactic led to significant progress, up until they discovered a tomb for one Miltiades of Tyr. This creature, some sort of death knight, rebuffed the party with magical fire and through a terrifying display of visage, sent many running.

The terrified party members found themselves all to have taken up a defensive posture behind a marble statue…
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