Spes Novum

[Prequel] A quiet day at the Greengrass Festival

The festivities of the Greengrass Festival are well underway in Stanehold, celebrating the coming of spring season. In one of the local taverns a visiting dwarf by the name of Mazmoir is rudely interrupted in his celebrations by a small group of intolerant locals. Not heeding the threats of the individuals, the ruffians decide to try and convince the dwarf to leave with a little more violence.

While Mazmoir valiantly defends himself, one of the people seated next to Mazmoir is dragged into the fight. The fabulous half-elf named Darius is not easily impressed by the ruffians and draws his rapier in defense. Using his weapon, the new combatant rapidly disposes of one of the ruffians by killing him, the rest of the tavern is left in awe by how fast this escalated.

When the town guard arrives at the scene he can only come to the most obvious conclusion and arrest the harrassed dwarf for murder. Mazmoir would be added to the public executions that are taking place the next day as part of the Greengrass festivities. Darius, happy that he did not get pointed out by the crowd of witnesses, resumes his celebrations at the bar, joining two other young men who had just introduced themselves to each other as Marvin and Garrick.

Discussing the events that had just taken place, the three new companions decided, out of feelings of guilt and justice, that it was not right to have an innocent, even a dwarf, be executed for a crime he didn’t commit.

The next day the group sets out to the local square to join in on the public executions. One of the festival traditions is that the King absolves one of the prisoners of their crimes by choosing of the people. Darius, Marvin, and Garrick decide they will try to free the dwarf and have him absolved of his accused crime.

During the executions, even before the King has started the traditional absolving, a group of shadowy figures assaulted the stage. The figures assault the King while trying to free one of the other prisoners, an elf charged with theft. The three companions immediately ready their weapons in case they have to defend themselves. The shadowy figures interpret this as a hostile action and while two of the figures escape with the elf, the others stay behind and attack the, now four, companions.

After defeating the King’s assailants the group is brought to the King for clarification. After a brief audience, the King offers to hire these people to track down the prisoner, an elf named Talo, and find out how he is connected to the Shadow Cloaks, a group that opposes the King’s rule which is suspected to be the ones behind the attack. Without any other matters at hand, the group accepts the King’s offer.

Returning to the scene of the crime, the group succeeds in finding tracks of the Shadow Cloaks and follows them to an older part of Stanehold which had been destroyed in wartime and not yet been repaired. The tracks lead to the cellar of a destroyed mansion. In this cellar, the group encounters some of the Shadow Cloaks and find themselves face to face with a grim man who introduces himself as Lennix. Lennix explains that the taking of Talo was a distraction and that he and the Shadow Cloaks seek to end the reign of the corrupt King. During this conversation Talo is executed by one of Lennix’ henchmen as a threat to Lennix’ pursuers. Lennix offers them a chance to join the Shadow Cloaks to overthrow the corrupt King and asks the group to gain the King’s trust in order for future opportunities, if they were to accept his offer.

Unsure of what to do, the group returns Talo’s lifeless body to the King, hiding the fact that they had in fact met Lennix in the chase. The group is rewarded for returning the prisoner and is offered another job, if they would be interested.

Still not deciding which side to take, the group once again accepts this assignment. The companions are to find and aid the King’s nephew Eric, who has been sent out on a personal hunt in order to prove himself to his fellow guardsmen.

The companions head out to the nearby woods where Eric is supposed to be. Along the way they meet a treant sapling, guarded by a large golden maple tree, which is being harassed by some Twig Blights and a larger Needle Blight. The group takes pity to the sentient woodland being and decide to help him by defeating the Blights so that the sapling will not be threatened anymore.

Not much later, they find Eric near a cave, used by goblins as a small encampment. Together with Eric, the group decimates most of the goblins while the rest of them flee in absolute terror. Eric explains that he has been challenged to hunt down a Direwolf. Eric himself had camped in this very cave when he was chased by the incoming goblins, leaving his backpack and personal effects behind in the cave. Now that the goblins had been chased, he could retrieve his backpack and continue his hunt for the Direwolf.

The group agreed to help Eric in the slaying of the Direwolf, but keeping their involvement in the hunt a secret from the other guards. Soon after the five of them set off to hunt the Direwolf the group heard a harrowing howl from a distance, and the sound of the wolves was closing in…

Never wake a sleeping bear..

Trapetor opens the trapdoor and is the first one to enter to room where the rumblings came from. Uthal, Lily, Helwen and Brysark are following his lead. They find an old tavern, that looks like it hasn’t been used in a long time. The bar is destroyed, there is shattered glass everywhere from the broken windows. It seems like this tavern used to be a meeting place for hunters because there are several hunting trophies on the walls. The party soon learns that they are not alone: from the kitchen 3 hairy beasts appear with morning stars in their hands. Based on their recent experiences the party decides to attack.

Uthal is the first one to get hit: one of the creatures attacks him with his morning star. Brysark avenges Uthal and strikes the creature with his longsword. Helwen switches to her bear-shape and attacks one of the other creatures. Lily uses her magic missiles. A smart move from Brysark: his Thunder Wave manages to push the creatures back, resulting in the death of one of them. Scared for his life, the second creature tries to escape and jumps out of a broken window. Trapetor uses his Eldritch Blast and kills the second creature. The final creature attempts to escape as well, but he is no match for Brysark.

After the battle, Brysark tells the party he remembers these beasts from his travels. They were Bugbears. Brysark remembers Bugbears are common creatures who are easily scared. Helwen and Lily now feel bad for the massacre that went down earlier. The party searches the room and find a dead deer in the kitchen and 3 pieces of copper. Everybody except Brysark goes upstairs to investigate the rest of the tavern. Brysark uses Cort to keep watch of the surroundings. It turns out that Brysark is able to see through Cort’s eyes.

Upstairs the rest of the party finds another bugbear sleeping. He doesn’t notice the party entering his room. Since nobody wants to be followed by a vengeful bugbear, they decide to attack him too. Helwen accidentally sets his bed on fire. Obviously, this wakes him up. Scared and confused, he surrenders. Trapetor uses his cuffs on the bugbear to make sure he doesn’t escape or attack. The party and the bugbear talk for a bit. The bugbear tells the party he lives in the tavern with 3 others. Feeling bad about their actions, the party lies and tells the bugbear his friends are okay. They uncuff the bugbear and leave the tavern to go find Jake and Josh.
The party heads to Stanehold. While travelling, – initiated by Brysark – they talk about their past. They ask Brysark about Cort and his abilities, but no one bothers to ask Brysark about his life before Spes Novum. Helwen tries to bind Nightshade to her, but she fails. It turns out Nightshade cannot be bound to anyone. Using Nightshade will therefore always be a risk. Helwen also tries to find herbs, but no success. It was a very unsuccessful day for Helwen.

Entering Stanehold, a little boy shouts Lily’s name. It’s her nephew Terry. He invites the party to come to his choir recital in the temple that night. The party promises to come, after they run some errands in Stanehold. First stop: King Alron. When the party enters the gate, they are greeted by the guard who took care of their horses earlier. Howard isn’t there. They find Howard sitting next to Alron in Alrons room. Almara and Dibelle are also there. It seems like the four people are discussing the brotherhood of the beasts. Howard doesn’t trust Spes Novum. This bothers Uthal, but it’s not clear if it is the lack of trust that bothers him or if he is just bothered to be in the presence of a dwarf. Howard and Uthal start to argue. Howards wants to know why Uthal is wearing the crown of Alrons ancestors. While Uthal and Howard continue arguing, the rest of the party tells Alron about their findings. They show him the note from Thome Stane. Even Alron has some news to share. He sent one of his people undercover to infiltrate the Leaky Flagon, but this didn’t work. The Brotherhood of Beasts can tell if you’re one of them. In order to infiltrate, you therefore need a bit of tissue (feromones) from one of the members. Almara says she can help with the disguise when the party has a sample.

Alron also tells the party about the rumors he heard. Apparently, there is a big beast in the woods accompanied by 4 wolves. He suggests the party to go there and investigate. Alron confirms the reward for defeating the Brotherhood of the Beasts (500 golds). Also, everything the party finds in the woods and the Leaky Flagon is theirs to keep.
Everybody notices the elephant in the room: Uthal and Howard are both really agitated. They decide to fight it out in a friendly duel. Whoever wins, has to treat the other with respect. They can’t use spells or any deadly attacks. Uthal loses but mostly hurts his ego. Being defeated by a dwarf is really embarrassing for him.

After the duel, Howard tells the party about a merchant living in Stanehold. His name is Ashien Matafi. There are some rumors going on about him. Several people saw people coming to his house in the middle of the night. Also, strange sounds were heard, coming from his residence. This all happened during full moon. The party decides to look in to this during the next full moon (11 days from now).

The party except Brysark goes to the temple to enjoy the singing from the choir and relax a bit. They meet Lily’s parents who talk a lot about their candle-making business. Especially Uthal seems to have a thing for candle-making. It is not a good day for Uthals reputation.
In the meantime, Brysark is making new friends at the tavern. Sean and Charles fulfill all of Brysark Lumberjack fantasies. They talk about the creature in the woods. Sean and Charles know the location of the creature and also know it’s a big moose. The rest of the party steps into the tavern, followed by Jaden, the orchestrator from the choir. They all have drinks. Suddenly, Kayla appears. She looks at Trapetor with a face of disgust. Terry seems to have forgotten his hat. Kayla asks Lily to return it to him. Jaden offers to come along and the three of them leave. After a fun night, the party returns to their rooms for the night. Brysark attempts to contact Flux with his diamond egg. After focusing a little bit, Brysark disappears. Uthal sees the whole thing and freaks out. He finds Helwen passed out on her bed. He wakes her up to help him with the Brysark situation. Helwen examines the egg while still in her bed, but finds nothing. She passes out again.

Meanwhile, Brysark finds himself to be in a different location. He sees Flux who clearly needs his help. Vechna’s followers have hurt him bad. Flux asks Brysark if he could find him an amulet. The diamond egg will help him find it. Flux wants to stop evil and Vechna and Bane are only getting stronger. Flux bows his head to Brysark and when their heads meet, they feel a strong connection. The amulet Flux desires, should be in the academy somewhere. Suddenly, Brysark finds himself in Helwens bed, who is not amused.

Lily and Jaden talk all night, Jaden gives her an amulet with a holy symbol on it. The amulet represents the God of knowledge, skill and proficiency. In the morning, the party meets at the tavern for breakfast. Trapetor and Uthal decide to go to the blacksmith. Brysark, Lily and Helwen go to the academy. When they enter the lift, Brysark’s diamond egg starts to illuminate. When they reach the 12th floor, the egg is at its brightest. They enter the 12th floor and encounter a couple of guards. Brysark approaches them and asks for admittance. The guards are tricked to believe that the group has Almara’s blessing and warn them that a couple of months ago four people magically exploded on this floor. The trio investigates the floor. All they find is a single painting of a snowy landscape. The closer they get to the painting, the colder it gets. While Lily and Helwen try to ascertain the nature of this painting, Brysark touches it and is immediately transported into the painting. To be continued.

Crawling Caves

When Trapetor suddenly got hoisted up by his neck, Spes Novum was suprised by an attack of a group of Cave Fishers. Because the heavy battles they have had before this, a tiresom battle began. Trapetor was saved from a certain death when he was saved from the Cave fisher Angler and had his fall softened by Lilli. When the battle raged on, only Helwen was left standing to save the rest of the group, while the gang of Cave Fishers only grew with little minions. But even after sustaining many wounds in battle, Spes Novum came out as victors, but needed to rest before going on.

After their short rest, Spes Novum ventured on into the cave, that seemed almost man made. The cave formed a labyrinth that seemed like an earlyer search for something. When going trough this dark labyrinth, multiple dead ends were found but eventually a longer path became visable. Trying to be stealthy, our heroes walked not as silently as they hoped trhough the claw marked tunnels when they were surprised by multiple Carrion Crawlers. Just when this seemed an relativly easy battle, a sudden Umber Hulk crushed trough the floor and attacked Spes Novum as well. After some weird interactions, Uthal even tried to attack Brysark and other members of Spes Novum didn’t behave like their usual selves as well. after figuring out that the Umber Hulk could pursuade the heroes to do other things than wanted just by looking into their eyes, a number of blind attacks followed and the Umber Hulk was eventually defeated! After this, they took another rest, while using Helwens soft Bear shape as a nice and fluffy pillow. saldy, only Uthal was covered from the cave climate and the rest of the party didn’t get the results of their rest that they hoped for.

The labyrith was figured out and the party didn’t waste much time to find the entrance. After listening closely, Trapetor found out that in the room that the tunnels led to had three occupants. plans were discussed in the party but they agreed that they had to check if they could be attacked in the back if they went in, so went looking into another tunnel. There they found a huge hole in the ground that was to deep to investigate and after hearing multiple rumblings, the group geared up again, ready to confront the creatures in the other room.

The Aftermath

After an incredibly tough battle in which Spes Novum had finally managed to take down Grendel it was now time to reflect on the battle. While Almara,Oliver and Dibelle were making their way from the tower to the evil wizard, Helwen was searching his body for clues. She found a cracked necklace, which seems to have been magical, and picked up the item Grendel had searched for to regain his power; Nightshade.

In the meanwhile the tower, which had grown magically, started to slowly collapse and the others quickly acted on it. Trapetor and Uthal would collect the bodies of Almara’s resurrected companions on the ground floor while Brysark and Helwen would continue to the remains of Zyprix, two stories higher. While serarching the remains on the second floor Brysark found a large sturdy chest. Because he could feel the tower collapse beneath him Brysark acted rather panickedly and immediately pushed the chest over to the hole in the wall and toppled it over the edge. The chest crashed down with a mighty blow and lay shattered on the ground. It’s contents were now scattered on the floor, some of it even shattered. Without hesitation Trapetor dived in on the treasure and started collecting it into the Bag of Holding, one particularly interesting object was wat initially looked like a large egg-shaped ruby, which Spes Novum could recognise from an earlier time when they collected it for the dragon Noloth in Old Stanehold. While Brysark looked down on Trapetor and the treasure, Helwen saw an opportunity to collect some of Noloth’s scales, they might come in handy later after all. After collecting the dragon scales Helwen hurried down the rope. Brysark found a a set of notes on location where Grendel had escaped using some sort of teleportating magic. After that he retrieved the body of Zyprix and brought it down with him in a fumble down the rope.

With everybody exhausted from the preceding battle, they decided to travel to the inn near Burry to which they had the deed after the encounter with the shapeshifters. They would rest up there and plan their next move after recovering.

After having enjoyed a well deserved sleep in their dusty, dirty bedrooms (except for Helwen and Lili after the human wizard had cleaned their room with an array of prestidigitation cantrips) they gathered at the dining hall for breakfast. A quick search of the pantry revealed that all but some preserved beans had rotten. The beans were however quite tasty thanks to another display of Lili’s prestidigitation.

After breakfast Brysark showed the group the notes that he had found on Zyprix’ body and Lili instantly noticed that while the second note was mostly gibberish, it also looked like it was an anagram for the bloodstained one. Immediately Brysark began to decipher the note, hoping to discover valuable information.

While Brysark studied the note, the others would see to the house. Uthal and Trapetor cunningly convinced Oliver to clean the basement of the house while the rest of them would claim rooms to themselves and clean it in the process. Lili managed to use her magic to write her and Helwen’s names on the door to their shared bedroom quite fashionably. Uthal, on the other hand, carved something on the door which did not so much resemble anything while he claims it is his name accompanied by the drawing of a shield.

Quite a while later Brysark managed to finally discover the contents of the note. It was an appointment made to send people to pick up Grendel at his tower in two days. The note was signed by a mysterious figure “T”. A group vote ensued and it was decided that the group would immediately head back to Grendel’s tower in order to lay in wait for those who were to come for Grendel. Almara, Dibelle and Oliver refused to join the group and they were allowed to borrow Jake and Josh along with the wagon in order to return to Stanehold with the bodies of Almara’s previous allies.

The group set out for the tower immediately with Uthal taking the lead. Somewhere along the way suddenly a large object, which they deemed a meteor at first, struck down from the skies to the earth a little further down the road. Uthal was on high alert and darted off to investigate. When he cam up to the crater he could see a large snake-like winged creature. Uthal drew his hammer and ran up to it to strike the monster immediately when Brysark stopped him just in time. Brysark seemed to know the creature and pulled out his necklace to show it to the winged beast. It touched the necklace with its tail and then vanished in wash of light, after which the necklace began pulsing with light. Everybody was very confused but somehow Brysark did not get the chance to fully explain what that creature was, though he knew that he would have to inform the group some time or another.

The group arrived a day ahead of the appointment and they took this time to scout the area and set up an ambush for the upcoming escorts. The next day they lay in wait for the unknown escorts to arrive. They waited all day trying to stay hidden from any travelers. The day passed but before midnight had passed they were found by a couple of vampire spawns. A heavy battle followed which concluded with with Lili using her magical prowess to charm the remaining vampire spawn into thinking she was an ally. The vampire had revealed the location of the Brotherhood of Beasts the Leaky Flagon in the city of Stanehold and the name of the handler of this operation. After finishing the last vampire when she did not prove of any further use, Spes Novum decided to travel to Stanehold to inform lord Alran of this news. The first stop along the way would be Burry.

In Burry they would take a moment to celebrate their victory over Grendel by a night of heavy drinking, even challenging the innkeeper, Catalina, to a famed drinking contest. None of the participants, all but Brysark contended, managed to complete the challenge after which they watched with awe how the innkeeper easily downed the three shots (Brysark noticed that she did not actually drink the shots but the intoxicated audience loved it and he decided not to reveal the innkeep).

The next day they continued on their way to Stanehold. At the gates they encountered the city guard that was tasked with returning Jake & Josh to their owners. After having relieved the guard the group continued to the Academy to pay a visit to Almara.

On the way, the group paid a quick visit to Stanehold’s blacksmith. Uthal and Helwen put in a request for some new armor to collect later.

At the Academy Almara was looking quite a bit better than the day right after the battle. Dibelle was now also seated in the office of the head of the academy, she would be schooled to succeed Almara in due time. Almara helped the group identify some objects in their possession and, after a small argument, handed Almara the ruby-red dragon egg to take care of. After the meeting they went to Alran to inform him of the presence of the Brotherhood of Beasts in Stanehold. Alran would have this information checked immediately and asked the group not to interfere with the investigation.

Remembering that the bloodstained note had also revealed that the brotherhood had uncovered something of value in Old Stanehold, the group decided that that would be the best place to start searching for more information.

Arriving at old Stanehold late in the evening the group camped in an abandoned building before starting the search in the following morning. With their increased strength, Spes Novum visited some sites they had previously visited but not completely investigated at that time. After a short battle with a chained ghost they found a pair of handwraps which they kept in the bag of holding. Revisiting Noloth’s lair in the library of the old academy Lili and Helwen managed to find a book on symbols which might lead to new insights on Helwen’s past. After having scoured this area as well, the group moved on to the last place they had previoiusly been to,the fortified castle where they had retrieved Noloth’s dragon egg.

This time they searched for new clues on the bodies that were still there and the rooms they had not entered yet. Incredible investigative skill of Lili revealed a hidden hatch underneath a large rug. The group entered the hatch and found themselves in an underground corridor.

In the underground corridor the group was ambushed by an amorphous slime creature. Even though the group was taken aback by the fact that lightning damage only made the creature multiply itself, they could easily dispose of the monster without too much difficulty. Uthal, however, was disadvantaged by the acidic nature of the monster, which had damaged his armor and weapon considerably.

After the battle, the corridor seemed to hold no other value. But Brysark, who had obviously learned from Lili’s skill aboveground, found that there was a draft coming from behind a wall, indicating a hidden passage. Uthal, not wanting to wait and look for a hidden switch or handle, rushed at the wall and charged right through it. This newly discovered hallway led them to a room which housed a cloak of some kind. The cloak had a sort of magical feel to it. When Trapetor approached to take the cloak it turned out to be a monster and attacked the group feverishly! While the monster had surprised the heroes it was no match for them ultimately. It had tried to run away when it was badly injured, sneaking away into a hole in the wall that lead to a rather large cavern. In the cavern Helwen was able to finish the creature off with a shot of an ice shard, before the creature could have gone to alarm any other monsters.

But just when Spes Novum thought that they were safe something grabbed Trapetor by the neck from the ceiling. The battle is not over yet….

The downfall of Grendel Darkmore

Last time, Spes Novum arrived in the underwater tomb of Zyprix, they killed a flaming skull that emerged from a sarcophagus and claimed a small emerald from it. They managed to avoided a trap while obtaining a small copper cube, which they placed inside an opening in the wall.

After placing the cube, the wall slides open, revealing a corridor with at the end a high marble pedestal with a square box on top of it. After solving the puzzle and pressing the sides of the box in the right order, the box opened revealing a mysterious message.
While searching the corridor they find a secret door leading to a chamber with a checkeboard floor of white and blue tiles. Carefully they traverse this room avoiding the blue tiles and thereby a 20feet fall. Exiting this room leads them into a hallway with at the end two doors. Inspecting these doors they find that one door is fake and would smash them. They go through the other door emerging in a room with large ceramic tiles with symbols on them. With trial and error and a leap of faith they manage to reach the other side (with some damage), claiming the ruby that lay on a pedestal.
Continuing their way forward they encounter multiple traps (Dart volley, Collapsing stairs and Acid Rain) some they avoid some they don’t. Leading them towards a crossroad. They decide to go east and leave the south hallway for what it is.
They enter a room with a narrow bridge that spans the room, under it they see the slow bubbling of liquid wax. On the bridge they see a large entity(flint golem) that starts to charge them. they manage to throw the creature into the boiling wax, which sadly for them it does not seem to mind. During the battle they notice a small diamond on the forehead of this creature, with some skill they manage to slay the creature and save the diamond.
They exit the boiling wax room and arrive in a beautiful garden, which starts to flood as soon as the entire party is in the room. Brysark reacts fast and runs for the first thing his eye fell on, a large gargoyle head at the far end of the garden. Jamming his arm inside the gargoyle’s mouth, he feels a round object sinked in the stone at the back of the tongue. Pressing down on the tongue, revealing a drain, a small Black Opal and a door.
They arrive in a corridor with strange blue crystals as ceiling. When they are a small way in, suddenly they start to levitate as the gravity is turning upside down and increasing in strenght, pinning them down on the blue crystals. These crystals are freezing cold and they put all effort in getting to the other side as fast as possible.
Putting them in a chamber with different color walls, large double doord and with the silhouettes of five dragons painted around the doors. Each silhoute has a small round socket where the eye of the dragon would be. Recognizing this the party figures out that the mysterious text they found in the box is a clue for this puzzle, however there are five dragons and they only have four different round gemstones. The make their way back to the crossroad, trying to avoid the reversed gravity trap (some more successful than others).
Arriving at the crossroad and going south this time. They find a large room with cloudy white crystals embedded in the floor, that form some kind of symbol. After figuring it out, they pressed the crystals in the right order and a small latch opens, revealing a small sapphire.
Returning to the room with the silhouettes of the dragons (this time avoiding the anti-gravity trap). Together with the text from the box they manage to insert the gemstones in the right sockets, opening the large doors.
Finally they found the burial room of Zyprix and their goal was within reach, but not before battling a lesser bone golem and two ogre skeletons. After the battle they open the sarcophagus, finding the remnants of a large golden dragonborn together with Night Shade. They take Night Shade and leave Zyprix untouched.

Arriving back in Stanehold, the party makes their way to Almara’s office. At the door they are approached by a young man by the name of Oliver, after hearing what happened he offers his help and the party accepts. The following day the party sets out, to where this all started Grendel’s tower.

A day and a half passes before they reach their destination. Stealthily approaching the tower, which has grown significantly since the last time they saw it. The doors of the tower open for them. The party is greeted by Grendel, who has a dazed Dibelle at his feet. After some bargaining it is decided that Darius and Brysark will do the exchange in the middle. The moment Darius received Night Shade he drops it so Grendel can teleport it to himself with a bright flash. Once the flash and the sight of the party returned, Grendel and Dibelle are nowhere to be seen and Darius is walking away. They party attacks Darius and a large battle starts between the party and Darius, Taleisin and Olbus. With the party victorious, they make their way up the tower.
On the second floor they activate a trap, leaving more than half of the party unable to move. Giving Dibelle the opening to stab a paralyzed Almara through the heart with a dagger. Shocked by what they have seen, Helwen who managed not to get paralyzed by the trap, dispells the magic that was making Dibelle kill her teacher. Oliver with the help of a diamond the party had obtained, manages to revive Almara.
Reaching the top of the tower, the party faces Grendel, who has help from Zyprix and a charmed Noloth. A long and hard battle follows, in which they manages to kill Zyprix and Noloth. Grendel in his last desperate attempt tries to flee, sadly for him his escape route is cut short by a very acrobatic bear (Helwen).


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