Kingmaker

The Varnhold Vanishing

After months of prosperity within the kingdom of Stagfall, a message arrives informing the Baron of the disappearance of the neighbors to the east. On the far side of the Tors of Levenies, another group was chartered to explore and settle the land. But what has become of them?

The group begins by asking the people of Nivatka’s Crossing, the nearest Brevoy town to the vanished Varnhold. They don’t have much to say about the city or its people, except that many of them had quite a high opinion of themselves. They hadn’t heard from the town in a few weeks either, despite doing occasional trade with the place.

A day later, the group arrived at the deserted town. Not a soul was in sight. Houses were abandoned. They only beings they encountered were a hungry chuul living in the river that flows through town and a large raven that seemed to have some control over a large murder of crows. Unfortunately, this last encounter left many of the group temporarily blinded, so it was agreed that they would retreat to their base camp, on a farm a few miles outside of town.

A few days later, another small group ventured back into the town to find an unusual occupant within the Waterhorse, the local inn. Though clearly dead a few days (or longer) from the wound in the back of his head, this large pale gray humanoid was identified as a spriggan, an offshoot of the gnome race who can change their size. The spriggan appeared to have been rifling through documents and papers left at the inn, all of which turned out to be the property of Maestro Ervil Pendrod, scholar and composer from the Taldan capital of Oppara. Many of the notes revolved around sketches and descriptions of a mysterious jade bracelet covered with strange markings. Also, chillingly, the word ‘NOMEN’ was scratched onto the front door of the inn.

Suspecting answers could be found within the town’s stronghold, the group investigated. They discovered, and eventually overcame, a large group of spriggans who had moved into the stockade. Again, not a single human (or otherwise) body could be found.

Working on the only clue they had, the group traveled to visit the territory of the Nomen centaurs. They were met in the field by a brigade of female centaur soldiers and were brought, almost by force, to the Nomen leader, Aecora Silverfire. When the druid leader noticed that Ilya held the Skybolt, a traditionally centaur bow that was stolen from her tribe, she demanded its return. Reluctantly, the elven archer returned the bow, and the group learned that Vordakai was a cyclops warlord from ancient times. The centaur were tasked with guarding over his tomb. She told the group that the tomb lay in Olah-Kakanket, or the Valley of the Dead, to the south. She also told them that her daughter, Xamanthe, recently went missing in that area.

Traveling south, the group encountered a group of mastodons near a giant linnorm skeleton. One of the bull mastodons grew angered at their presence and charged, but was eventually put down. And then, at the entrance to the Valley of the Dead, they also fought four zombie cyclopes.

Days passed as a small group ventured into the Valley and discovered a river in which was found the island that houses Vordakai’s Tomb. The dungeon was a collection of traps that attempt to drown and sap the minds of its victims. Adding to that more cyclops zombies and ghouls covered in hot tar, the first group barely made it back out alive, finding a secondary entrance. But not before destroying a stone carving of a large eye that was linked to Vordakai’s powers.

Before they could return to finish the job, there was a brief interlude with a phase spider named Zzamas who needed help ridding a place of power of some rowdy xills from the Ethereal Plane. The spider rewarded the group with a secret chest she discovered in the Ether, which contained a spellbook and a wand that would come in handy.

Finally, the confrontation with the undead cyclops necromancer was at hand. After wading through more undead (and an elder water elemental), they arrived at Vordakai’s throne room. A brief, but taxing, battle later, the group was triumphant! They recovered the souls of the remaining Varnhold villagers, as well as Xamanthe the centaur chieftain’s daughter. The Nomen centaurs pledged friendship with the leaders of Stagfall and the people of Varnhold, their leaders killed, vowed to join the kingdom!

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