In this episode, the group…
- Follow Modra to an encampment called “Umbraforge” in the Shadowfell
- They settle in passing for mecenaries and begin finding information about the owner, Sarshan, and Modra
- The group get involved in a test of strength.
After the defeat of the wraiths the 5Bs decided to take an extended rest before following Modra through the portal. Now at full strength they make the journey through the portal, using the mystical key found in the Nexus.
“You feel a wrenching sensation as bitter darkness swallows you. Then the light returns, dimmed somehow. As your eyes grow accustomed to the gloom, you find yourself in a chamber that appears to be a strange inversion of the one you just left. The walls, floor, and ceiling here are jet black, and the orientation of the room is reversed so that the door now lies to the west and the second stone arch is on the north wall. What was a rubble fall to the northeast is now a rift where the floor has collapsed in the southwest. Along the walls, globes of grey glass give off a dim light. Though the chamber is deserted, overturned stools and a burning brazier show that it has been recently occupied. There is signs of a struggle, someone came through the portal and struggled with two other humanoids of the same size. The 1st one got away and the others gave chase.”
The 5Bs decide to head straight out of the exit.
“The chamber emerges from a rocky hillside. The land before you is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. A wide plain of grey-green grass and stunted black trees spreads beneath a sky scoured by fast-moving clouds. The
sun is bright above but somehow doesn’t cut the darkness that drapes every rock and every blade of grass in grey
gloom. This is the Shadowfell. From the mouth of the cavern, a wide and well-travelled road runs in a curving line to the north. There, perhaps a quarter-mile away, a military camp spreads. Buildings are scattered here and there, with tents and pavilions spreading between them. Torches and fires burn brightly against the ever-present shadow, and lone trees and tall stands of grey-green grass are whipped by a hissing wind. Looming above it all, a rise of black rock to the west is rent by a seething volcanic rift. Black-streaked lava courses from it to descend into a narrow channel, and a permanent pall of glowing red-black smoke rises above it. Over this molten flow, a great stone bridge is arched. This wide east-west road meets the road north from the cavern. North of the bridge, a tall tower stands and a lower building spreads in its shadow. As you look on you feel a tremor from the ground, not enough to move you though.”
The party survey the scene in front of them and realise that there is a lot of mercenaries. Burnt sends his familiar away to survey the scene.
The map above is what the familiar found out. The decide to head to the camp from the east. As they get around 1/3 of the way there a voice rings out, and two dark creeper sentries suddenly appear where the shadows of the tall grass had hidden them.
“All mercenaries stay within the borders of the camps!. Next time you go wandering,you get shot, sell-swords! Get back to camp with the others.”
The 5Bs head into Umbraforge and start a skill challenge ….
You approach the frontier of the mercenary camps unchallenged, and a virtual city spreads out before you.
Beneath patched canvas tents stand open-air taverns, market stalls, apothecaries and herbalists, weapon smiths
and armorers, butchers and greengrocers all doing roaring trade.
Training grounds open up between the various camps, and soldiers of different races clash against each other with sword and shield. In the quieter corners, you see combat casters training—the flare of arcane fire dancing between them. But as you approach, you notice with surprise that these are not Shadowfell mercenaries for the most part.
Though shadar-kai and dark ones are well represented, the fields and camps are packed with orcs and hobgoblins, ogres and trolls, lizardfolk, humans, dragonborn, Eladrin, Halflings, Drow, kobolds and a dozen other races of the world. Tremors again can be felt but the populous seems to ignore them as a regular occurrence.
As you make your way through the camps around the tower, you have the opportunity to interact with mercenaries and war chiefs, slaves and slave-traders, forge workers, merchants, and more. What information will you discover? Can it help you find a way around without attracting hostile attention?
The skill challenge lead them into the following areas where the information below was discovered. Ten successes needed before 3 failures.
- This is Umbraforge, dominion of Sarshan, a trader of great reputation and even greater wealth. The tower, foundry, and forges are his. The camps are those of the mercenaries and slaves whose services he sells across the Shadowfell and the world .
- “It used to be that Sarshan brokered mercenaries mostly within the Shadowfell, but that’s changing. Dark ones and shadar-kai are still his elite troops, but more and more, he brings creatures from the world to Umbraforge for training, then marches them off to places unknown.”
- “The Shadowfell is only a stopping-off place for Sarshan’s mercenaries. A force of archons from the Elemental Chaos was here not six months ago. I saw Githzerai from the Astral Sea in Umbraforge once. I don’t know what job they took for Sarshan, but woe be to whoever got in their way ”
The Training Grounds
- “Sarshan’s slave bazaar is about more than just servants and soldiers. His experiments in the foundry only begin with dumb beasts. He’s building new soldier races there, born from the slaves he traffics ”
- “Sarshan’s mercenary operations have tripled in size in months past, but it’s not the Shadowfell they’re fighting in. When his forces are bought and sent on the march, they’re bound for portals to the world. Shadar-kai, dark ones, undead, giants, ogres, trolls, gnolls, orcs— Sarshan has the armies of two planes on the march. War is brewing in the world, but the forces that will fight it are moving into position in the Shadowfell, unseen ”
This brings the party to 5 successes and 0 failures.
Whilst in the training grounds…
You find yourselves surrounded by a mob of hulking ogres,one leading an enormous beetle on a leash. In broken Common, the largest shouts: “You mercenaries? You think you good enough to fight alongside Bonecruncher clan? Think again!” As the group moves to attack, you see a crowd of ogres move up to watch, shouting insults at you and words of encouragement to your foes.
The party make fairly swift work of the Group, gaining support and cheers from those that bet on them. The party only fought to subdue rather than kill.
Fade to black until next time…..
- All characters get 200 XP each
Current XP Here
During this episode the treasure changed as follows;