Four intrepid heroes answered the call to glory in a prosperous mining town newly carved from the riverbank of the Kronflow, nestled between the Iron Wood and the Kron Hills. Called Karville after its founder, Kara, the adopted niece of the Arch-cleric of Veluna, the little town has rose greatly in prominence in His Eminence’s eyes due to a recent jackpot strike of opals which will fund his armies in the coming wars with Iuz and the Scarlet Brotherhood.
Kara herself has vanished recently along with her consort, Neville Giantshoes, under mysterious circumstances. Pelor’s clerical hierarchy, ever wary of their Rao-worshipping allies, have dispatched Ariana Zabell, a newly-frocked priestess of their order, to make discreet inquiries in the matter of Kara’s disappearance. To assist her, they have obtained the services of a recent graduate of the war-blade academy, a doughty warrior and one of the Lord of Stonefist’s innumerable brood Damen Stone, who has fled the family game of cutthroat ascension politics for the relatively safe life of adventurer and sword for hire. They also located a ‘clever’ sort of fellow to act as a scout and advisor, Larant (a kineticist) and have a local resident of Karville, a ranger-in-training named Mara, awaiting the trio to act as local guide.
Ariana did not get far with her investigation upon arrival in Karville, but did learn of bandit predation threatening to cut the town off from trade, and decided, along with her stalwart companions, to take the fight to the bandits. (That this might open some otherwise tight local lips about Kara and Neville did not escape the group’s understanding.)
The group tracked the bandits into the northern Iron Wood, where they eventually found a ruined moathouse. Along the way they had several run-ins with bandits and proved resourceful and cunning warriors, the war-blade Damon earning the sobriquet ‘Demon’ from the bandits, after a few escaped to spread rumor of their might to all who would listen. Included in the might were general descriptions, and Lareth arranged an ambush or two for them, to no avail, although there were some close calls.
Upon reaching the moathouse, the group plunged in and eventually emerged victorious, though not unscathed. During a pitched battle with some gnolls, a giant crawdad heard the noise and mistook Larant for food, alas, he did not survive its attentions, though he was avenged. A rake name Tyler has replaced him since then.
Lareth and his band had fled the moathouse and set up a ring fort in the wilderness, and sent more ambushers, who after being defeated, were back-tracked to the ring fort. A pitched battle was going badly for the party as Lareth’s new allies, wererats, were operating relatively unhampered under Deeper Darkness and Silence, using their Scent ability to find their foes. Tragedy was averted when Tyler enraged Lareth into dropping the darkness spell by hitting him in the face and spoiling his looks.
The group returned to Karville in triumph, and learned the truth of Kara and Neville’s disappearances, which turned out not to be sinister, and discreetly passed word along to her superiors. That mission accomplished, they decided to set forth to West Karville and investigate rumors of the resurgence of the ToEE.
There, they rapidly realized they were in a town of murderous cutthroats, and had failed badly to blend in. As an angry mob formed up, Otis spirited them to hiding, and Mother Schreng used a Miracle scroll to disguise them, seeing them as potentially useful. Damen was transformed into a minotaur (Rog), Ariana to a half-fire elemental (Nariel), Mara to a drow (Sharrara), and Tyler to a bugbear (Hroggath). To further complete the disguise, ‘Nariel’ was loaned out by Pelor to the Flame King, giving her a neutral aura.
Using their new forms to ‘blend in’, the group used a combination of intimidation and guile to gain an audience with Romag via Wat and Rensch. They wound up ‘taking orders from’ Romag and went looking for Alrem, but wound up killing Belsornig first, then Alrem. The Water Temple they utterly destroyed, Nariel channeling the power of Holy Fire to destroy Unholy Water.
Although they killed all of the Fire Temple’s humans, they dilly-dallied too long and someone beat them to the fire pit and its contents. They learned that that was Kelno, the prelate of Evil Air, who bartered the Frost Brand to Skorp in exchange for his services. Although he nearly killed Nariel with one blow of that mighty blade, Hroggath and Rog cut him down before he got a second swing, and Kelno fled the temple, never to return.
From there, they foraged north on the second level, and ran afoul of the Greater Temple’s bugbears, and the assassin Smigmal, who killed their pet hydra as it was preventing her from sneaking up on the group. Enraged, the party pursued her, and foiled her attempt to ambush them, and left her naked carcass in the grand hallway as a warning to others, her faced smashed in by Nariel’s mace.
That much accomplished, the group decided not to leave a living foe above them, and returned to the first level to kill Romag. There, they found him feeling the tender mercies of Hedrack, who, alerted of the destruction of Water and Fire, learned of Romag’s highly successful recruitment of the party and came in force to punish Romag and lay an ambush for his new allies when they came seeking payment. As luck would have it, he was right on time, and the party was taken captive and sacrificed to the Water Node by tossing them into the pool naked, after Senshock used a Wish scroll to undo Mother Schreng’s Miracle.
Arriving bound in the Water Temple, the party swam to one of the many fingers of rock surrounding them and used the coral on it to sever their bonds. They never spared Romag a second glance, and his silent watery grave went unmarked, except by the crabs and fish. Setting out to the east, the group came upon some merrows and overpowered them, gaining some crude spears and control of a small wooded isle with a fire to drive back the poisonous mist. Mara used her Crafting skills to make some useful items, and the group bartered some of the merrow’s loot to a passing sea hag for some potions after successful negotiations.