The Folly of the Gods

Iron..jaw?
A taste of victory, and a greater threat emerges

Successful in their mission to find Douven Staul, the Bizarre Force make the trek back to Winterhaven to rest and relax before seeking out Irontooth and the kobold lair. While recuperating, Nadia is met by Valthrun the Prescient, who offers the heroes a handful of healing potions in thanks for saving Douven, who turned out to be a friend of the sage.

The heroes set out southward the following morning, intent on flushing out and ending the kobold threat. Late morning, they arrive at a waterfall overlooking a small gathering of trees. Using his finely honed senses, Kingsley was able to see movement beyond the trees; a large group of kobolds. After pointing them out to his companions, the group began discussing a battle strategy.

Unfortunately, Tiya, was dwarves are prone to do, spoke too loudly, and alerted the kobolds to their presence. Realizing they'd been found out, Nadia reacted on instinct, firing a magic missile, which struck an armored kobold square in the chest.

With the experience of true battle under their belts, the Bizarre Force was able to make short work of these kobolds. Using deadly attacks and well thought strategy, the enemy forces were quickly reduced to nothing. A small discussion erupted near the end of the battle, with Kingsley wanting to capture the remaining kobold for questioning, while Tiya, knowing the kobold to be an evil beast, simply wanted to see it dead. Though Nadia sided with the peaceful approach, the rest of the Force wanted the job done with. Overruled, Kingsley helped to slay the remaining threat. After a small amount of recovery, the group entered the cave obscured by the waterfall.

First to go in was Erik, who peeked his head into the cave. He met face to face with a half dozen kobolds, who were just as surprised to see him as he was to see them. He pulled out his head, alerted his companions, and they charged into the cavern.

A fierce battle broke out between the heroes and roughly a dozen kobolds. Erik got into trouble early on, pinned between kobold spearmen. Tiya rushed to his aid, healing him and pulling him out of harm's reach. Kingsley waded into battle, shouting battle cries and challenging his foes. The spellcasters did their part, hurling fire, arcane missiles, and waves of dark energy at the onslaught of kobolds. Ganifa fought fiercely but was quickly cornered. She pulled out her grandfather's warhammer and joined in the melee battle.

Things were looking up when a war horn sounded off, announcing the arrival of a large, armored goblin. This goblin had a horned skull, the icon of Orcus, lord of the undead, tatooed on his head. His jaw was encased in an iron mold, with two large spikes protruding where his lower fangs would be. The group unanimously decided this goblin to be Irontooth.

A vicious battle was fought, Irontooh swinging his giant battleaxe with reckless abandon. Twice a Force member dropped to the ground, first Tiya, then Kingsley. Both were able to make valiant recoveries to help their allies. In the end, Tiya summoned her guardian spirit, and Nadia conjured a flaming sphere, pinning Irontooth between these magical devices. In addition to this constant onslaught of damage, and the flames of Phlegythos cast forth by Kublah threatening to consume his soul, Irontooth was eventually killed with a well placed arrow of Ganifa's.

After digging through Irontooth's belongings and appropriating a suit of armor and a nice amount of gold, Kublah discovered an unsettling bit of information: Irontooth was corresponding with someone named 'Kalarel,' and an undead army threatened to consume Winterhaven!

Returning to Winterhaven,  the group finally noticed Erik's new armbands. Upon asking where he got them, Erik quickly lied, but was found out. Erik was hounded by the more lawful members of the group, particularly Tiya, and was greatly intimidated by Kublah. He eventually told the truth, but Tiya informed him that she would be telling Bairwyn.

Back in town, the attitude was dark and murky. They received payment for killing Irontooth but, much to their frustration, were not allowed to see Lord Padraig. Tiya reported to Bairwyn Wildarson, but before she could rat out Erik, she learned that the shopkeeper had had Valthrun cast a divination on Erik, keeping close tabs on the halfling at all time to know where he was in case he decided not to pay the rest of the owed sum for the bracers.

While Nadia and Kublah had an odd encounter with Eilian, where the old man seemed to completely lose his senses and stumble off, out of town, the rest of the group met with Valthrun, who had a thing or two to share about Kalarel and the Deathcult of Orcus.

It turns out tiefling cultists opened a gateway to Shadowfell in the lower regions of what is now known as Shadowfell Keep, a former dragonborn base during the great war. Not only does Valthrun fear the cult is active and intends on opening this rift, he fears rumors of curses, hauntings, and goblins bands may hold weight as well. He implores Bizarre Force to help, and they agree.

The following morning, the group sets out. Met by a small group of villagers cheering them on, Bizzare Force makes their way north, to the Keep on the Shadowfell. 

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Traps, Tricks, and Tombs
Our heroes' first taste of danger

Two hours outside of Winterhaven, the Bizarre Force met its first taste of true battle; a kobold ambush. The kobold minions fell quickly to the ruthless blades, arrows, and arcane attacks of the heroes, but in the end three were left standing. Through the combined efforts of Kublah and Erik, a crafty kobold slinger was smoked out of hiding time and again, finally to be incinerated by the warlock's dark flames. The remaining two were well armed and armored kobold warriors. These two, unlike the rabble, were well-trained and disciplined; perhaps even more so than our adventurers! Using advanced combat tactics, they flanked Kingsley, administering rapid and hard-hitting blows to the paladin's knees, thighs, and waist. Through the dilligent efforts of Tiya, Kinglsey remained standing. Ganifa and Nadia managed down these two shield bearing kobolds.

The group found Winterhaven a warm and inviting place. Tiya immediately sought out the temple, which she was happy to find out was dedicated to her patron diety Avandra. Much to Tiya's chagrin, Kingsley opted to explore a strange shop with Erik and Ganifa. While Nadia spoke with patrons of Wrafton's Inn to discover clues to Douven's whereabouts, Kublah asked people on the street. She was lucky enough to encounter Valthrun, the local sage, who had plenty to share about the dragon tomb.

The group reconvened at Wrafton's Inn, but not before Erik had managed a pair of magical bracers out from underneath the shopkeeper's nose with a deceptive con. In the tavern, the group noticed a variety of patrons; an old, eccentric man named Eilias, a brooding, quiet elf that the group eventually pestered out of the Inn, and none other than Lord Padraig, the lord of Winterhaven. As Erik spoke with Eilias and quickly found himself in a situation he struggled to backpedal out of, Ganifa summoned the courage to approach Padraig. Through a brief discussion, Ganifa learned the kobolds they encountered outside of town were a common nuisance that the town had been facing for some time now. Hearing of their defeat, Padraig was relieved, but knew the threat was not over; he pleaded with the Force to help remove the lingering threat of Irontooth, the kobold leader. After promising 100 gold piece to each of the members, they agreed.  With now two objectives in mind, the Force retired for the evening.

They set out early the next morning, following the map given to them by Valthrun, to the dragon tomb. There they discovered a small group of archaeologists already at work on the dragon remains. Their leader, a small man who called himself Agrid, insisted he knew Douven well, and that the man was on his way to the tomb. The group reluctantly believed the little man, and stepped forward. Only then did Kingsley pick up on the lies veiled by this deceptive creature. Seeing the ruse was broken, Agrid ordered his men to attack. Kingsley began the fight with a fearsome blow, immediately decapitating the digger next to him. Agrid then disappeared and a halfling marksman took Tiya to the ground mere seconds into the battle, boding ill for our heroes.

Fortunately, Tiya was able to recover from this deadly attack, rising to her feet to keep Kingsley alive, who now found himself surrounded by workers and fearsome guard drakes. Despite Tiya's best efforts, the drakes made quick work of Kingsley, who fell to the ground in a heap.

In the back of the encounter, Ganifa and Erik had focused their attention on the halfling marksman. Through a combined effort, they killed the nuisance. At the same time, Nadia had managed to beat back some of the workers, causing the remaining man to flee. Kublah found herself ambushed by a reemerged Agrid. With the natural fury and scorn of a tiefling, Kublah came down on the gnome, ruthless and efficient, until he could hardly stand.

The remaining drakes were wiped up in a flurry of bolts, arrows and steel. Tiya had her work cut out for her; as soon as she had Kingsley on her feet, a drake took down Erik. In the end, however, our heroes were successful, though bloodied and bruised. The remaining enemies, a human man and Agrid, were tied up and questioned. Though Agrid did nothing but scream in Gnomish, the man was only too happy to give them all the information they needed in exchange for his freedom. He showed them where Douven was being kept but had no idea why the man had been kidnapped, nor why they were excavating; he was merely hired muscle needing the promised money.

Douven turned out to be an elderly human gentleman. He was extremely grateful for being found, and promised a reward, but had nothing on him other than an amulet. After removing the small portrait of his wife, he gave the magic item to the party, saying more reward would be given upon their return to Windhill. He quickly made his way out of the burial site and on his way home.

Agrid refused to speak, except to whisper in defiance to Kublah's threats, "He would do worse than anything you could promise." Eventually, he told Kublah she would "burn in Hell, where all tieflings belong." Incensed by his words, Ganifa fired an arrow through the gnome's head, despite protests made by Tiya, who insisted the gnome be handed in to the proper authorities. It took two arrows to the head to kill Agrid, who showed unnatural strength.

The heroes now look westward, to the kobold lair as indicated by Lord Padraig. Perhaps there they will find Irontooth and end the kobold threat. But what about what Agrid said? Who is 'he?' And Douven had made mention of hearing whispers about a cult, and Kalarel. What cult? And what, or who, is this Kalarel? 

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A Force Assembles
Introducing Our Heroes

In the crime-ridden streets of Windhill, an adventuring troupe has been born. In a world full of lingering hatred, mistrust, and deception, this collaboration is anything but normal. A dwarf, a human, a tiefling, a halfling, an elf and an eladrin, all working in unison. This group, appropriately named Bizarre Force, seeks to solve problems and right wrongs for a number of different reasons: personal gain or glory, uncountable riches and treasures, development of one's spiritual or personal growth, or simply because of the belief that doing good is the right thing to do.

At the head of this organization is the dwarven cleric Tiya. Born into a well-to-do family, Tiya was destined to become a powerful and important person. Fate led her down a different path, however, when Tiya's headstrong and outspoken personality led her to denounce her family's political practices. She was ostracized from her family, but secret admired by the community. Expelled from her city, she learned of the world and found herself in Windhill.

Kingsley, a human paladin, finds himself with the Force to protect the innocent, free the imprisoned, and punish the wicked, all in the name of Avandra. His travels in life have led him down many paths, some dark and regrettable. Through his actions with the Force, perhaps Kingsley will forge a legacy worthy of song.

Erik Everhard has led a troubled life. Mysteriously losing both his parents early in his life, Erik has lived off the streets since his mid teenage years. Born into a family well indoctrinated and known in the world of prostitution, Erik has stayed close to his morally ambiguous roots, frequently thieving, whoring, enjoying a successful career as an erotic dancer and a life of promiscuity. Erik has since left that life behind, taking to the road to find out what else awaits. Still, old habits die hard.

Perhaps the most haunted of them all, Kublah, a tiefling warlock. Never knowing her parents and raised by a quiet mistress named Amina, Kublah never knew the comforts of love or family. She was forced into a life of thievery and prostitution, barely even kept alive. Kublah managed to escape this fate and has been on the road since, ever seeking to distance herself from Amina.

Ganifa is a ranger from the deep elven forests. Raised by her grandfather, she was a child of the woods and rarely entered civilization. Her grandfather, a kind, somewhat mysterious old elf, had seen many decades in the dwarven lands. He taught Ganifa the ways of dwarven combat, and some of dwarven culture and tradition. Ganifa's grandfather was tragically killed by an immense dire bear during a hunting outing, and Ganifa was unable to slay the bear to save him. She partly blames herself for his death, and travels the world to develop the combat prowess that would've saved him.

Perhaps the most out of place, self-reserved and soft-spoken Nadia is an eladrin wizard from the elven isles. Orphaned at an early age, her foster parents taught her the beauty of music and art. As she grew, she became a minstrel, and found a new form of art to enjoy; the art of spellcrafting. Nadia quickly took to arcana, and is now exploring the world to hone her prowess.

The Force had undertaken a handful of menial quests, clearing rat swarms, taming unruly wolves, killing a rare goblin or two, when they were given their first true contract; to find a man named Douven Staul. Said to have gone west of Windhill to the town of Winterhaven, Douven is an avid historian and archaeologist. Hearing rumors of a dragon's tomb, he went to investigate. He has not been heard from for a month since.

The Force is now only a day's journey from Winterhaven. What horrors will they vanquish? What deeds will be done? What secrets will they uncover, about the world, and about themselves?

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