Dwarves of Vesuvious

Claiming Vek'Huros

Locating the last thane’s hall, the adventurers were puzzled to find many of the orcs, supposed to have been guarding this area of the city, to have been slaughtered. Upon reaching the gate to the thane’s estate, an Imp presented itself, and its master, as the benefactor of the gruesome deed. An offer for future assistance was made, in exchange for having some say in the fate of the Hammer. An offer which was hastily declined, however warning was given that there was a great deal more going on, of which the heroes were seeing only a fraction. Information, too, had it’s price. The imp left peaceably, but not before providing its true name, in order to be called upon at any time in the future.

After locating the estate’s vault, the party set to locating the artifact of their people. The locks and wards were easily bypassed by the ritual magic of Harbeck. Inside, vast treasure remained! Or so it seemed until the doppelganger known only as Best sprung his trap. The adventurers quickly identified the trap system on the floor, and carefully navigated it, while avoiding the shapeshifting assassin. Once Best was defeated, his illusion fell, revealing the vault long ago looted. A single presence remained, wracking those who approached with overwhelming reverence. Through an act of pure will and fortitude, Kharnon pushed forward, proving his worthiness to bear Vek’Huros.

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Exploring the Dead Halls

With the guide of a goblin of clan Bigginmout, the heroes of Shatterspear Downs were led to a recently dug tunnel and caves near the summit of Vesuvious. Eventually dropping down into the ancient Dwarven halls, the party chose to first explore what was the noble quarter, and which also held most of the records of the former inhabitants. Soon they discovered, the inhabitants themselves still lingered on. Many Dwarves of ancient Vesuvious chose to remain with their wealth, their history, their honor… to the bitter end and beyond. The group systematically avoided and confronted incorporeal spirits, and their risen aberrations, eventually using a tiny shrine to Ivarager to gather use as a waypost. Upon showing their intentions and respect, the spirits have returned to their haunts, and the area should be safe for travel, and even rest.

Here the party was also successful in locating the hall of records. Great wealths of information were discovered, including maps, clan records, holdings, and estates, even mention of the god’s hammer, held by thanes alone, Vek’Huros.

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Uncommon Proposals

Sighting the blue dragon having landed high upon the mountain, our heroes make a trek far outside of the region patrolled by camp Solidarity’s patrols to confront the beast, as well as gather reconnaissance on the enemy. While travelling, a goblin claiming to be chieftain came forward with a proposition: Leave the goblins be, and they will assist to drive the Orcs from Vesuvious. Although the terms were hazy at best, the “chieftain” left satisfied and ready to assist the Dwarven parties to enter the mountain.

The blue dragon Regniksenvril did not prove nearly as amiable. Speaking in vague allusion and demanding respect while none was given, the dragon finally made it clear that the ancient weapon of the Dwarves was his purpose here. Calling it a “weapon of unmaking” and claiming it to be the key to armageddon, Regnik insisted that it be bestowed into his trust once recovered. Seeing that even this powerful dragon was unfit for such a relic, some of the party turned, but not before some of the creatures words could be considered.

Returning to camp, signs of heavy orcish movement were observed, and a single party was encountered and driven away. They appeared to be massing to the northwest, but the exact location was not pinpointed.

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On Honor's Ground
With great shows of courage... the last spark of civilization is preserved.

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With Connal emerging leading naught but a sacrificial band of armored criminals from the gates of Balesmeet, he and the best of the Dwarven heroes made a hard fought battle to the heart of the Orc, Goblin, and Giant army – brashly slaying it’s command, and inspiring the guard and rag-tag militia from the Human town to sound the charge.

Though the sacrifice was great, many Dwarven heroes were recovered, and kept in one of the few safe havens left in Balesmeet after the town was taken by betrayal from within, and force from outside. These heroes rose up, leading what would be the final evacuation of the town. Though most survivors chose to take their chances making the weeks of travel to the city of Saint Sinclaire, our heroes instead sought out the last bastion of strength against the greenskins – named camp Solidarity.

In the weeks before their arrival, the houses of the Dwarves have come up with a plan of desperation against their foes. Placing hope in the Legend of the mythical hammer Vek’Huros, parties sponsored by each of the noble houses are set to attempt to recover this artifact, carry it to the heart of Mount Vesuvious, the Firstforge, and smite the very mountain from Enchiridion. Although this horrible act is not agreed upon by all, most notably the group calling themselves Reclamation, each major house agrees to commit to the plan – weather a fool’s errand or a final act of retribution, camp Solidarity cannot hope to stand until reinforcements arrive… if they come at all.

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Tracking Corruption
The root of betrayal in Balesmeet begins to show...

The defenses of Balesmeet have been evaluated and recommendations for improvement given. The word has begun to spread on the streets that a war is coming, and any able bodies are needed to stand in the city’s defense. Still, many common people of Balesmeet are overshadowed by fear and hatred. Rumors fly of the murdered noblewomen, Faula Goldfield – and the Dwarves that were involved. It has also become suspected that a Doppelganger is active within the city, and may be related to the domestic troubles of late. Such a being could easily sabotage many defenses of the city, and would also be nearly impossible to track.

From Goldfield’s estate, and the demonic servants kept in her basement, our heroes are given the location of where a cult has been operating. It is believed that this cult may be supplying clan Phanobis with an extremely dangerous, tar-like reagent they call Morosi Gel. Largandis Phanobis wishes to know the source of this gel and how it has been coming to Shatterspear Down.

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Balesmeet Must Be Warned
Hostile roads lead to an unwelcome reception

After returning to Shatterspear Down, Connal Ironarm, Alice, and Thorvok reported immediately to the guard captain Cadik Tenton, as well as met hastily with the Thane Gelil Greyhem. Their successes were rewarded by Tenton, who was infuriated when he received a bag full of the beards of his fallen men. The head of the bugbear responsible was swiftly mounted to a great pike in front of the guard bunker. The three heroes were advised of a large amount of Orcish activity that had arisen in the East, toward Balesmeet, and that a warning must make it to the Human town.

After a night in the comforts of the Thane’s hall, and a hearty breakfast, the three set out to make Balesmeet in the best time they could. Breaking only for the shortest time to sleep, they pushed all the way to the Ambersea Outpost in just over 2 days. After taking out a passing Orcish scouting party, and taking an Ogre mercenary prisoner, the outpost was found abandoned, save for the Dragonborn Verkar. Verkar explained that the post had been abandoned some time ago by Lieutenant Ritrim and her allegedly corrupt guard. Choosing to rest well before making the final approach to Balesmeet, sounds within the outpost were traced to a secret cellar, which hid a cache of weapons, likely of goblin make. The weapons were destroyed that night, and the following morning, after questioning the Ogre, he was set free, under oath not to return. Verkar agreed to accompany the party to Balesmeet.

Upon arriving to Balesmeet, Connall and Alice were placed under arrest for numerous petty crimes. The two willingly spent the day in jail. Meanwhile, while reconnoitering the city’s defenses, Thorvok discovered a hidden passage leading under the city wall, apparently to somewhere in the noble district of town. While jailed, Connall and Alice were met with a familiar face, that of the guard who had been killed the last time they had left the town, Daniel Burmeister.

The group came together again to meet with the mayor, who reviewed and dropped the charges against the two, provided they would both swear to defend the city, should a threat fall upon it. Unfortunately, an Orcish mercenary company was also given leave to do the same. Their leader, Grek Bloodtounge, made no attempt to hide his treachery as he left with a knowing sneer.

Given leave to pursue their leads of corruption from within the city, the heroes must decide where to begin. Could Ritrim and her corrupt guard be tracked down? Or one of the citizens which were to be warned by the goblins to leave town? And what of the hidden tunnel beneath the city wall?

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Expelling the Filth

Having discovered the center of the goblin’s digging operations in the foothills, the heroes set out to deal a devastating blow to the diggers, starting at the top. Guided by grit-chewing Olithorpe Grimheim, they re-enter the ancient Gaerian tunnels through the spider cave. The spider rider marshal, Lubrid, attempted to halt this assault but was dispatched when trapped in a narrow hall of the tunnels. His possessions proved of immediate value, allowing the cunning Frederick to breach the fortifications of the goblin overseer, as well as indicating a number of individuals in Balesmeet as having been in cahoots with the impending goblin attack.

Catching the Overseer’s enforcement arm unprepared, the tactics of Connal Ironarm “of the Mountain” and the shamanic wisdom of Thorvok were able to easily dispatch his outer guard, interrupting the Overseer’s discussion with an orc liaison. Though hobgoblins emerged to protect their leader, and goblins flooded in and around the tiny Dwarven party, the explosive power of Volonzo’s arcane wit allowed bravery and determination to overcome overwhelming odds. With Alice the Executioner vaulting to his perch, he Overseer was felled, and the party escaped – grievously wounded, but without casualties!

Having crushed the Goblin overseer and narrowly escaped with their lives, the Heroes of Shatterspear Down make their way back to that last Dwarven holdout. Though great celebration would be called for, plans are already in motion to go to the aid of the human farming community of Balesmeet, which will soon fall under siege. Festivities must await a brighter day, but for the first time in decades, the Dwarves of Shatterspear can again see a path to that glory. Through victory or death, honor is again within reach. But amidst distrust and bad, old, blood, will history repeat itself, and turn honor into vengeance?

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