Monthly Archives: August 2009

SOW Chapter4: The Assassination Attempt

The Assassination Attempt

Everything you say

Takes me one step closer down

I’m about to break

After Brindol’s Brigade finishes gracefully thanking the crowd of well-wishers Elder Cadrick steps to the podium again as the wind picks up. He calls for Bhenedict to join him at the center of the small stage. Standing eye-to-eye as equals, Cadrick reaches out gripping Bhenedict’s right arm with his own firming at the wrist the common Dwarven greeting and reaching into a pouch with his left hand withdrawals a medal.

Daydreaming in an odd distant way, Jeroen stares off at the statue of Majere …

“Zigil-Felak” he says, as lifts the medal high, the silver medallion gleaming in the sunlight. “These heroes have earned this honor, and our than- … Ah!” he sudden gasps in pain dropping the award clutching at an arrow deeply embedded in his side as he falls to the ground with a sickening thud.

…then hearing Cadrick cry out Jeroen thoughts race to the present with a feeling of shock not unlike falling into a frozen lake … jumbled thoughts, memories pouring in but with a sudden clarity as he remembers finally and at once his true name, Aenied, Avenger of Erathis, Scourge of the Underbelly of the City of Seven Dark Delights. Looking towards the direction the Elder’s fall, Aenied sees further to a building 50 feet from the square where at the top of building, as roof-line breaks, he spies a pair of cloaked figures preparing a second volley. Instinctually stepping in front of the Dwarf Aenied points out the would-be killers to the Brigade. Jimmy kneels at the Cadrick’s side seeing that he is grievously injured but alive even as other rush towards the attackers.

The building that the assassins are on is 20 feet tall. The Freeriders are already on the move with a small lead. With a flourish Ghena waves her arms speaking in something in Deep Tongue directing a cloud of daggers that appears upon the assailants; as at the same time Sylen fires a twin strike from his bow – one arrow for each attacker.

The response from the Brigade is equally quick. Jerion acting as Aenied yells, "We must capture these assassins to determine their purpose. Do not let the Freeriders ‘accidentally’ kill them before we can interrogate them. Jimmy sees to Cadrick." And with that Jeroen-Aenied wraps himself in shadows and shifts through the crowd with grace and speed making his way towards the building where the assassins launched their attack. Bingus quickly focuses his concentration, casting a pinch of sand into the air for effect … whispering a command “sleep” never breaking his focus on the attackers causing an ‘poof’ of an explosion of feathers and phantom sparkling sand over the attackers. The members of the Brigand and the Freeriders find their responses to be blunted however by some unfriendlies mixed into the crowd when as many as a dozen draw weapons and attack halting the progress of Bhenedict and Ragnum while slowing Megan, and Bairdyn.

Looking up to the rooftop Aenied sees one of the offending snipers swinging from the building towards another located across the adjacent backstreet making a ground landing well beyond the confusion and melee. The second attacker drops on second another rope to the backside of the building, the same direction that Madrick and his pet raccoon Bandit are running but as Aenied watches a halfling from the crowd grabs Madrick from behind and throws him up against the wall of the building while threatening him with a flaming dagger.

Vexed the attackers drop from their ropes, each suddenly weary and stumbling – the result of Bingus’s spell, the first rogue well ahead of the crowd pulls something from his belt and starts banging on it in a rhythmic pattern, it is a drum, a loud drum and somehow its beat excites the assassin’s allies while at the same time panicking the crowd further. Aenied steps deftly amidst the chaos of the crowd engulfed in shadow and moving easily through the quagmire surprising the first attacker in the alley with a sudden attack.

Putting everything he has into it, the attackt staggered the would-be assassin and Aenied heard the satisfying crack of ribs even as he wiped the trickle of blood from his nose. However, before Aenied has a chance to make a second attack the rogue vanishes, teleporting away, without a trace, his drums silenced.

In Aenied’s wake, Bandit manages to drive off Madrick’s pint-sized attacker freeing up his master and Megan to affect the capture of the second rooftop sniper – still wearied from Bingus’s attack. As the city guard arrives in force and takes control of the mob it becomes nearly impossible to separate the instigators from the innocent onlookers who had been caught up in the violent attack. Given Aenied’s description of the lead attacker and the attackers use of the magical drum it is determined with near certainty that he was Bairdyn’s arch-rival, Snare Drum of the Lost Ones, a group of thieves who call Overlook their home that escaped. The sole prisoner of the attack, a rogue calling himself Donn is held by the Freeriders until the city guard takes him. Bairdyn is quick to tell the Freeriders not to kill the prisoner but looking at the prisoner something bothers Bairdyn about the look in this Donn’s eyes but his musing is quickly interrupted when the city watch takes the prisoner. Megan is quick to offer the Freerider’s assistance in running down the gang, pointing out that one of their own was attacked.

SOW Chapter4: Return to Overlook

Return to Overlook

I’ve become so numb
more like me and less like you

I can’t feel you there

Back in Overlook, the Brigade seeks refuge from the
poltergeists. They find it within the Stonehammer district …


Compared to so much of the
rest of Overlook, this district might almost be a different city. Broad clean
streets flow like rivers of rock between enormous, sweeping edifices, carved
with near magical precision. The air is clean here, and the voices you hear are
raised in laughter or negotiation, without a tinge of the desperation so common
in some of the poorer parts of the city.


And here you are; it rises
up before you like a fortress, constructed of blocks of stone larger than many
of Overlook’s houses. At its height, looking down upon even its tallest
neighboring buildings, glint leaded windows in the shape of hammers. The doors
of the temple stand open welcoming you, and a good thing it is – for these
doors are 40 feet high if they’re an inch, and the lot of you together might
have had a tough time dragging them open.


This is the Stone Anvil,
temple to Moradin and the spiritual heart of Overlook.


Welcomed as the heroes
that you are, you find shelter and peace within the sanctuary of the Stone
Anvil. Its accommodations are noisy due to reconstruction efforts that are
underway but comfortable enough; and while you recuperate, city officials deal
with the unfortunate repercussions for the Happy Beggar the building having
been condemned due to the collapse of the tunnels that had secretly
wound beneath it and forsaken by all save its caretakers as a possessed, haunted


It is at the Stone Anvil where
word reaches you that the Council of Elders wishes to publicly thank you for
your brave deeds in saving Bordrin’s Watch and for the part you played in
dealing with the arms trade that had been operating here in Overlook against
their purposes and under their very noses. This celebration is to take place in
Tradestown, within sight of the Shrine of Erathis; after all, who better to
celebrate the Heroes of Overlook than the God of Civilization? Haelyn will
oversee the event and will be thanking you all personally.


Elder Cadrick, the youngest of the Council of Elders greets you prior to the acknowledgement ceremony.


Jeroen looked quizzically at Elder Cadrick, "Who is Haelyn again?"


He replied, “Haelyn is a gentle old woman who is the keeper of the Shire of Erathis."


"Ah, yes. Um…have you heard of Sarshan before? Has he had any dealings with you all before this? And why are there a surfeit of portals to the Underdark under your dark buildings?"

In Overlook no one of authority officially knew anything about Sarshan’s dealings. His activities were certainly not public knowledge. As a result of being attributed with saving Overlook not once now but twice, Brindol’s Brigade has become well known within Overlook. Since the Brigade left for Umbraforge city officials began searching Sarshan’s facilities located beneath the Happy Beggar which led to the discovery of many other warehouses and transit points that hidden throughout Overlook and were in turn raided leading to the destruction of his operations in Overlook.

"Sharsan seemed to imply that someone else was instigating the attack on Overlook and the rest of the valley, do you know anything of what he might be referring to?"

For it appears that the immediate threats to Overlook have been countered. Within the greater vale bandit activity is said to be at an all time high and the Elves have been on high alert making it dangerous to travel anywhere they might be encountered, more than a few people have missing near the forests never to be seen again.

Cadrick continues, "And how shall we introduce you? Are you still calling yourselves Brindol’s Brigade or would you rather be introduced at the Heroes of Overlook?"

Jeroen smiled and replied, " I thought we were Bhenedict’s Boys? While you are welcome to refer to us as heroes of Overlook. I don’t think we want to dispense with our roots and should prefer to simply be called, ‘Elsir Inspired Defenders Of Laymen Opposing Ne’er-do-wells aka EIDOLON Echelon or perhaps Common Ordinary Folk Fending off Enemies of Elsir aka The COFFEE Crew.’"

Jeroen could hardly hold back his chuckle as he looked at his panic stricken friends, "What say you friends? How shall they call us? And let’s not say ‘late to dinner.’"

Bairdyn picked his jaw off the ground and replied, "Um, they can call us all idiots if we even CONSIDER adopting either of your new name suggestions? I for one am a member of Brindol’s Brigade, as far as I know…..although Bhenedict is still my solid tanking buddy and number one guy, so if anybody wants to refer to me as one of Bhenedict’s Boys, I won’t argue."

Jeroen burst out in laughter, "Ah, friend halfling, where is your sense of humor. Did you leave it in the Shadowfell?"

Cadrick pointedly ignored the banter between the human and the halfling and replied, "Personally, I would have no objection to your calling yourselves ‘Bhenedict’s Boy’s’ but I think, that  might bring up the old rumors about Bhenedict that are better forgotten now the Bhenedict is once again welcome within Overlook."

Elder Cadrick

Bhenedict nods reluctantly and snorts, "Yes, best not to bring that up. I’d prefer to be called the Coffee Crew rather than that. Though I have not desire nor intention to be called the Coffee Crew or anything else so foolish. From his behavior, I’d say our earthy farmer friend is trying to be funny and succeeding about as much as you’d expect any clod of dirt to be funny."

Bairdyn adds more seriously getting into the spirit of the thing, "You should probably introduce us as ‘the heroes of Overlook……BRINDOL’S BRIGADE!!!’ I like the idea of you referring to us as heroes of overlook, while keeping our original name."

Jeroen stops chuckling and adds, "Does he have to stand on his toes and throw his arms in the air just like that too?" And with that he falls into another fit of laughter.

Elder Cadrick shakes his head in pity and asks, “Will the Gnome, Bingus, will be joining you on stage at the celebration?"

Bairdyn slaps the gnome on the back and replies, "Of course Bingus will be joining us. He is ever in need of rescuing and so we should stay close to him."


The Keeper of the Treasures stood watch as the three heroes tried out the various weapons, armor, and other accoutrements. Bairdyn tried out a few daggers while the dwarven wizard chanted over his dagger. “This one looks nice. Not as nice as the one that you’re enhancing for me, but still nice,” he added.

Jimmy admired the cloak that Jeroen had pointed out to him. Jeroen added, "It looks sturdy and I think Bahamut would be honored for you to wear it."

Jimmy added, "It feels very comfortable. I expect it will keep me warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I thank you, Keeper, for this fine gift."

The dwarf nodded, "It is we who thank you. I am glad that you are able to find some small treasure that will convey our thanks to you all."

Jeroen had just finished putting on the elven battle armor that they had stored in the vault. As he finished securing the last strap, a strange look came over his face and he looked over at Jmmy and Bairdyn, "Did you both hear that?"

They looked up and over at Jeroen, "What are you talking about? Hear what?"

"That whispering…," looking over at the dwarves, "Do either of you hear any whispering? And now, can’t you hear that, there is a moaning…don’t you hear it?"

The dwarves looked confused. "No, Herr Jeroen, we hear no whisperings or moanings. Perhaps you are having a reaction to the attack you suffered at the hands of the wraiths? We can have a priest come and perform an exorcism if you wish."

Jeroen shook his head, "No, no, Jimmy would you say a prayer. Perhaps that is all it is."

Jimmy laid his hands on Jeroen and when he had finished Bairdyn jumped up and slammed a helmet over Jeroen’s head and chuckled, "And if that didn’t fix it, perhaps this helmet will shut out the voices you are hearing. Come on you too, let us not wear out our host’s generosity. We have a party to head to."


In the heart of Tradestown
stands a small shrine dedicated to Erathis, little more than a covered altar
really, several wooden poles and a heavy fabric ceiling; still it manages to
taint the air with the faint scent of incense disguising the unsettling mixture
of odors – the roasting meats, sour ale, excrement and a lord knows what specific
illegal substances which commonly taint the air. The shrine itself is littered
with scraps of paper, prayers and offering left by visitors to the shrine.

Beyond the sanctuary, the
statue of Lord Majere, prophet of Erathis, stands in the middle of a pool
staring off towards the makeshift stand and podium where your accomplishments
are being celebrated.  

Haelyn, the gentle lady
who cares of the shrine personally and thankfully welcomes you to the stage in
her matronly fashion – no doubt the congestion of the celebration has added to
the tithes from the penitents but besides yourselves the person the crowd
really wants to hear from, Elder Cadrick is the first person to take the

When Elder Cadrick speaks
he goes on at some length about what a fine example of citizenship your heroism
and indomitable spirits represent to all of Overlook,

"…These brave adventurers
are the embodiment of what it means to call yourself a ‘hero’ we owe them all a
debt of gratitude, one we shall pay for so long as they remain within
Overlook’s walls…"

As you look out over the
assembled crowd you notice the Freeriders clustered together near the front,
most of them, all save Sylen and Madrick, (sitting atop Ragnum’s shoulders)
have frowns of distaste plastered on their faces.


SOW Chapter3: Gnome Alone

Gnome Alone

Bingus joined our gang

Earthquake, confusion, escape

Overlook party

Finding themselves captured and held within the
guard’s barracks, Brindol’s Brigade divides the treasure left to them by
Sarshan while discussing their plight. The barracks are equipped with five-tripled
bunks. Left alone in the chamber Jimmy asks the others to keep quiet so he can
rest, finding he is drained and weary due to his stalwart efforts to keep the
others alive to during the battles that preceded their capture, but suddenly
they are interrupted by a most unlikely visitor.   


My friends you have found me. Oh, I knew you would
come. We must hurry I have already found the method of our escape!”

The Gnome, Bingus Petrakos
by name, remains wholly unrecognized until Jimmy peers weary-eyed from the top
bunk … “Aren’t you that Gnome from Rivenroar?"

Oh see, you do remember, I knew you would, yes I
did, and when I heard you were here I just knew you would need my help. We will
need to make our way quietly to the 2nd floor of the tower, within
the Garden of Shadows where waits the gate to our freedom.”

Before they can react the
door to the barracks burst open, Bingus quickly hides beneath one of the lower
bunks as a steel-eye Shadar-Kai warrior glares in yelling,


Outside the door, including
the yelling lieutenant, a quartet of Shadar-Kai wait ominously brooding.


“We have set-up a small
challenge for you, so we can test your mettle and witness your capabilities

Bhenedict shouts, “Didn’t
we already prove who we are by the way we defeated your guards?”

The one of the women
answers, “You fell quickly to the least among us … pathetic.”

Jimmy yelling from the top
bunk says, “I am not fighting anyone, we were promised rest, and I am resting.”

Bairdyn offers, “We could
fight you right now.”

The Lieutenant responds,
“You would not last one minute against any one of us, you are fit now only for
fighting beasts.” 

Looking out the barracks,
Bairdyn notices that the chamber which had been a mess hall moments ago had
been cleared of tables leaving a forty-five foot octagon split into two-sides
separated by two fifteen foot walls on both sides and a fifteen foot square gap
in the center, the levitation lift. The barracks floor being the third floor of
the tower, lying sandwiched between the Garden of Shadows below and the unknown
above. On the opposite side of the octagon waited half dozen foes–Gnolls.


repeats, “I am not going to fight," yelling at the Shadar-Kai Lieutenant. And
as Bhenedict encourages Jimmy, Eoffram says, “Is this supposed to be a fight
to the death? Because we are not going to fight for free, what is in this for

stated!” answers the Lieutenant. “You will be fighting for your lives, they
are after all beasts and that is the only way they know how to fight … as for
your reward, a prized magical item goes to the winners – your choice. How would
you choose to fight, one-on-one or as a team?”

replies, “We fight better as a team.”


Lieutenant says, “Fine, then the battle begins now without further delay!”

appearing as if out of nowhere, Bingus appears, “Wait, wait for me!”

the Lieutenant asks Bingus, “What are you doing here, Bingus?”

was sent to observe, to find out if anyone here is a good subject for testing.
I won’t be any trouble at all.” Crossing the chamber to the Gnoll’s side of the
chamber, Bingus says, “I will just stay out of the way over here.”

the fighting begins two of the Gnolls rush across the empty air of the
levitation lift, the first easily gliding across while the second slips and
comes to dead-stop in the center of the lift. Clawing, the first Gnoll rips at
Bhenedict’s throat. Soon a full battle erupts throughout the chamber the Gnolls
quickly seem to gain the advantage, enough so the reluctant, Jimmy finally
exits the barracks seeking to aid his friends, taking a strategic position near
the Shadar-Kai Lieutenant. To Jimmy’s chagrin, without warning the Lieutenant
flexes backward slapping Jimmy hard across the face with the flat of his blade,
smugly stating between clinched teeth, “You will think twice before you back
talk to me again you vile, death-fearing, human-scum!”

enough, I have seen everything I needed to know … you can all stop now!” yells
the Gnome.

who?" shouts a Shadar-Kai pain-killer.

me!” yells back the feisty Gnome. “You may out rank me when it comes to
defending the tower, but what can you tell me about our experiments, huh?”

to the Gnome, the pain-killer calls for a halt, and the Gnoll archers lower
their bows but the greater battle continues uninterrupted until two of the
Gnolls lie dead and bleeding and their leader flees to the 2nd floor
using the levitation lift. As he does a familiar shaking rustles through the
chamber as the floor lifts and falls leaving several people sprawled across the
floor of the chamber. The dark eye’s of the Shadar-Kai blaze first in alarm and
then with purpose.

shouts, “Your conviction is commended, but didn’t I warn you that I am a great
and powerful sorcerer, this battle is at an end!” Punctuating Bingus’s
statement, an ear-splitting explosion shakes the tower. Near the eastern side
of the chamber, one of the guards shouts out: "The foundry is in flames!”
Immediately the guards are in motion all but ignoring the combatants. Then
suddenly Sarshan appears at the ceiling descending in the lift, barking out
orders to the guards. One group is sent to the foundry, and another is ordered
to keep the mercenary camp under control.

yells to him, “What of us?”

answers, “If I was as cruel as my reputation implies, I would send you back to
watch your world die, be thankful that I am merciful.” And with that last
statement he leaves descending deeper into the tower.

themselves abandoned in a suddenly emptied chamber, Bingus says: “Now is our
chance friends, we need to use the gate within the chamber below. My plan here
is working perfectly.”

Briefly they discuss the ethics of leaving, weighing their "committment" to work for Sarshan; but Jimmy points out that they technically hadn’t even committed to anything other than giving an answer to Sarshan’s offer.

As they begin to leave, Jerion
adds to Bingus, “Gus, you know we let them capture us just so we could save you right?” And
with that Bingus joins Brindol’s Brigade without further fanfare in the lift as
they descend to the Garden of Shadows.


“The gate lies just beyond
these bushes” says Bingus, pushing though when he notices a clicking sound and
realizes that the ground is moving beneath him in a sparkle as the dim light
shines off the backs of the glittering beetles at his feet. He races to the
gates where he starts fumbling with the crystals set within it even as Bairdyn
offers to help. As they toil together within the gate the fortified city of Overlook appears.  Frantically they work reconfiguring the patterns of crystals set with
the gate; Bingus working with care and foresight, Bairdyn with speed and
deftness twisting the magic of the gate into a system that will allow egress successfully
but not before the beetles overtake them and begin borrowing into their flesh
while somehow draining the energy and light from their bodies. Then with a low
rumbling growl, shadowed umbral panthers appear at the entry of one of the side
chambers, the Captain of the Shadar-Kai guard behind them. Leaping, the cats are
upon the two smallest members of the party. Immediately Bingus disappears.
Seeing their peril, the others rush to their defense pushing Bairdyn through
the gate. On the other side Bingus appears still slapping the beetles off his
legs, he rushes to try and seal the gate. Looking about, the Brigade finds
themselves once again within the Black Shrine … centered by the glowing stone
arch that was their entry point into the Shadowfell.

Looking away from the
teleportation gate, Bingus declares, “Fear not, I have sealed the gate.” Even
as Thannu, the Captain of the Tower Guard, steps through the portal with his
panthers behind him. Quickly Bhenedict intercedes attacking the Captain who
easily parries the attack and stabs the Dwarf. Bingus, stepping backwards, waves
his arms in a circular flourish which ends when he draws forth a rod, capped
with an orb and focuses his glare through it towards Thannu giving birth to a
vortex which appearing beneath Thannu feet lifts him into the air. With Thannu
incapacitated the panthers are quickly dispatch by the Brigade and after they
are overcome the party’s combined efforts leave Thannu also dead at their

After a quick search of
the fallen Captain, Jimmy withdraws the brass key they captured at the Dwarven
Nexus and sliding it home he activates the dimension gate and six spirits
explode from gate.


The heroes are violently thrown across the chamber and trapped by the
spirits power as their hair stands on end and their muscles gripped in terror are
frozen, leaving them helpless as they are crushed by the spirits overwhelm
hatred – six spirits for six heroes.

Working together with
Jimmy, Eoffram breaks free and runs to Bairdyn teleports with the Halfling freeing
him too. As they escape Bingus works up a magical barrier, a web of magic
trapping all but one of the spirits. Eoffram and Bairdyn flee through the arch
and find they are once again within the Black Shrine’s opposite–the White
Shrine, that lies within the natural world, located beneath the Happy Beggar–but
the free spirit chases after them and hurls Bairdyn back through the arch
trapping him once again within Shadowfell. Having the spirits trapped gives the
other members of the Brigade enough time to break free of the spirits long
enough to race through the arch from the White Shrine to the Black; Bhenedict
spotting long enough to lift and carry the frozen Halfling. Unfortunately as
Bingus exits his spell is broken and the freed spirits give chase and when the
sixth spirit emerges from the arch, the magic of the arch fails sounding a
death note, the stone cracks and splinters and crumbles; the Black Shrine
follows suit imploding in a cascade of rock and worked stone as the party flees
through the labyrinth leading to the basement of the Happy Beggar (soon to be renamed the Haunted Kegger), running for
their lives as Shadowfell’s spirits give chase bouncing them off the walls of
the dark caverns until the Brigade crawls, bloodied from ruins, spirits in tow,
beaten, wet, cold but victorious having saved Overlook not once but now twice
from forces both within and without.


SOW Chapter3: Presently Speaking

Presently Speaking

Bingus now finds himself an indentured servant within the dark tower of Umbraforge; finding once again that his travels have been made more difficult by his poor choice of associations. When you arrived in the Dwarven city of Overlook you where thrilled to find a generally friendly place willing to give a gnome a chance. People we eager to hear tales of distance places … in particular you found them willing to lay down a few coppers to pay for a meal and mead as you regaled them with tales of the goings on at Rivenroar Castle.

One such person, Modra by name, was a particularly dark creature but willing to pay well for information about ‘Brindol’s Brigade’ and Modra was well connected within Overlook. For a guy like you, used to ignoring a few personality flaws he was just the sort of guy to give a gnome a leg-up in a new place like Overlook. He had gold to spare and plenty of friends in the dark corners of the city.

But as it is things change and as quick as the wind changes direction Modra vanished and became a wanted man. It turns out that he might have had something to do with those orcs that nearly finished the city. Once more, like before that band of heroes from Brindol showed-up and saved the day. The way you heard it they and a Dwarven hero named Kalad trapped the orcs front runners within the tunnels below the Giant’s Shield Mountains and drowned them there forcing the orcs to attack at Bordin’s Watch where they were crushed by the massed dwarves with the help of the Freeriders opening another chapter in your adventure. It seems after these events went down more people were interested in this Modra than had even wanted to know about the Brigade. Well, at the time you were making your living telling stories and by this time you had gotten pretty good at it. One man who didn’t show his face and who was followed by a floating scroll and had an air of otherworldliness about himself was particularly interested in hearing about Eoffram Troyas. But more to the point when a nice old man, a deeply scarred veteran came asking you about Modra you were quick to satisfy his curiosity also…albiet too fast.

modraIt turn out that this diseased old man was actually Sarshan, a powerful arms dealer from the dark lands of Shadowfell, a man both notorious and powerful. Quickly he had you secreted away, far away from Overlook, to his hideout, the Umbraforge within Shadowfell where you had no choice but to answer his questions. First and foremost about Modra but later he also questioned you about the Brigade. And now you find yourself to be a servant free to roam the dark tower that Sarshan calls his home within Umbraforge but you are trapped within the tower. Hearing now that Brindol’s Brigade has been captured your heart leaps in your chest at the possibility of your hopeful escape from the dark depressing land of Shadowfell, you will just need to assist your friends in the Brigade once again … and this time you know just how to do it!