The Denizens of Gray 12

Boats and Robots

While at sea the party was contacted by the Empress Adema via magical ritual. She asked them, in exchange for a shorter leash, to investigate the disappearance of one of her spies on a nearby island. The adventurers agreed and changed course. When they arrived they found an Eladrin prison, wherein they had been keeping those who got wind of their presence in the area.

What they also found was that the prison had just been taken over by its former inmates. The inmates did not mind them investigating the prison and they soon found the spy the Empress sought. Unfortunately he was dead. Adema did not appreciate the news but rewarded the party by magical removing the second gem from their bracer.

Grimlock asked if any of the inmates wanted to journey with them to White Thorn. Three decided to join them. There was a taciturn Duregar, a Frost Giant named Bloth, and a Warforged who could not remember his name.

Soon they set sail again for White Thorn. One night, while the Warforged they simply called ‘Lost’ and Grimlock were keeping guard they were set upon by some ferocious Sahaugin. The party managed to fend them off, though their leader escaped, with the help of Lost.

The next morning the party could the island of Den on the horizon. White Thorn lay just on its far end.

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Trouble with the Fey

Short one member our party carried on. Several days after passing through to the other side of the mountains they came upon a Gnome merchant who made his home on the side of the forest. He sold them supplies and upgraded a few of their items. He then offered to teleport the party to their local via a magic portal he possessed. The party was skeptical at first but finally won over by the charismatic merchant. The Gnome activated the gate and several of the party members jumped through. Alas, it was no real portal, but a Gelatinous Ooze that they jumped into. The Gnome had somehow managed to tame a couple of mindless creatures. The Oozes were insistent about holding onto their snacks but the party managed to kill one of them. Zoidberg morphed into the Gnome after he was slain and convinced the other Ooze to retreat. The party took their gold back, and then some. They also found a magical, mechanical horse. They won over the Gnomes pet bear with snacks and took him with them.

Later the party came upon a scouting party of Eladrin on the shore. They were equiped with many supplies and a swift ship. Zoidberg attempted to distract them by adopting their appearance while the rest of the party snuck up on them. However, a clumsy Sally spoiled plan by falling down a nearby dune. A difficult battle ensued. Two of the Eladrin were particularly adept, but they were eventually defeated.

The party found plans for an assault on Last Tide. They then took the Eladrin ship and coerced its crew that serving them was preferable to death. The party set sail for White Thorn on their new ship, the Emerald Star.

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Under and Over the Mountain

After defeating the Behir our ‘heroes’ decided, quite wisely, that they were in need of a rest before heading through Stone Gate. As they slept they were discovered by a group of Skath being lead by the infamous Baron von Strahd, who is supposedly the first vampire. Trying their hand at diplomacy they introduced themselves. The Baron invited them to dinner in his underground ziggurat. There it was plain to see that he was up to no good. He was clearly amassing Skath and weapons for some unknown purposed. He had even gone so far as to start outfitting them with guns.

Strahd offered them a deal. He would remove one of the gems from their bracers, the one that allowed the Empress to scry on them, and offer them safe passage through the underground if they would rid the area of some local Harpies. The characters agreed and headed up the mountain to find the Harpies that had been attacking his Skath.

The characters engaged the Harpies in battle. Though they were not terribly strong, they did prove to have many charm attacks that made the battle difficult. The alpha female was even strong enough to pick them up, and almost managed to throw several of the party over the cliff-side. In the end though the Harpies retreated and took their nests with them. The party returned to Strahd victorious. They were each rewarded with the promised gem removal as well magic amulets of protection.

Before they left the next morning Jorn decided to sneak out of his room and go looking for some of the guns he saw the Skath carrying. Before he could find the weapon’s forge he was spotted by several Skath who attacked without hesitation. Soon Strahd arrived, clearly angry and in no for any diplomacy. Strahd attacked Jorn without mercy, and the Half-Orc was no match for the ancient vampire.

Before sending the rest of the party on their way Strahd offered them their friend back, though he neglected to inform them in what condition he would be in, if they found his horse and returned him. The party set off again for White Thorn, now one member short.

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The Path to Stone Gate Part 5

Sally braced himself against the jaws of the massive beast. With one great effort of strength he forced his way upward. An arcane wind swirled around him as he pushed up, splitting the Behir’s hold on him and prying its jaws open. As soon as he was clear he jumped to the ground, landing hard on his side. The rest of the party was stunned to see him alive, but the moment was short lived. The Behir roared in anger, enraged by its escaped prey. Lighting poured from its mouth like a tidal wave that engulfed the adventurers.

While the others reeled in pain Oaglamah jumped forth, grabbing the creature by one of its many spikes and thrust his halberd into its neck. The creature responded by biting down on his right arm and lifting him into the air. The two locked into a battle of strength and will, the Behir clamping down on Oaglamah’s arm and swinging him about, Oaglamah biting and punching the creature in the face with his iron clad fist.

Jorn took advantage of the distraction and brought his mace down on the Behir’s leg, delivering a critical blow to one its joints. Shanky lingered in the shadow of the beast, placing dark curses on the creature. Grimlock met the Behir head on, guiding the assaults of Zoidberg and Sally.

As soon as the party gained some momentum the Behir interceded. It was no mindless beast, and it knew how to turn the tide in its favor. Orc still in maw, it raised itself up onto two of its six legs. The ground rocked as the creature came thundering down. The earthquake knocked everyone to their knees, save for Zoidberg who was a safe distance away with his Elven bow.

The Behir did not let up and simultaneously struck Jorn with his tail and Grimlock with his claw, drawing blood from both. It then trampled over Sally and turned on the party, ready to bathe them in lightning once again.

Sally, bloodied and worse for wear, jumped up. Summoning the the winds to hasten him he leaped toward the beast. Just before the Behir could unleash its lightning breath Sally struck him bare handed while shouting arcane words. Before the the Behir let loose it elemental wrath it was teleported across the field. The only casualty of its attack were some shrubs and a small tree at the forests edge.

While the Behir was confused Zoidberg unleashed a magical bolt from his bow that dazed the creature when it struck. Zoidberg muttered charms under his breath and the Behir’s will fell under his power.

While the Behir was under the bard’s sway Shanky chose to strike. He moved silently out from the creatures shadow and brought Anguish to bare, plunging the sword into the beasts belly. With the advantage finally theirs, Oaglamah freed his arm. While still holding on to the beast’s jaw he plunged Helm Splitter into the creatures eye.

Jorn and Grimlock both charged the beast, striking wildly and without mercy. Before the Behir could regain control its fate had been sealed. The party backed away as the once graceful and deadly serpent stumbled backwards. Oaglamah jumped from the creature to the ground as it fell. The Behir then took its last breath and transformed back into the obsidian statue.

Then the door opened.

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The Path to Stone Gate Part 4

At weeks end the party found themselves in front of Stone Gate. It stood roughly twenty feet high with a large marble serpent at its peak, emerging from the mountain face. Worn runes covered the seams of the large doors. At the center was a large keyhole. The doors were closed.

“These stood open for as long as anyone remembered,” remarked Grimlock, staring up at the two large stone slabs.

“Do you think you could push them open or something?” said Shanky, looking up at Oaglamah.

Oaglamah put his hand up to the door and gave a firm push. He turned, shaking his head.

Zoidberg pressed his face up against the magic runes, sniffing at them curiously. He drew magic runes of his own, first around the seams of the door, then around the lock. He jumped back as sparks flew from the keyhole, singing the tip of his tentacles. He scurried away from the door whimpering.

Sally watched each person from above. He had taken a comfortable position atop the the stone serpents head. He had been enjoying the trek westward, and the cold climate made him feel at home. Sally remained in high spirits since the others had found him.

“Stand back, would ya?” Shouted Jorn, pushing his way to the front. “This is a lock here. This is thieves job. Don’t go messin’ with thing you don’t understand!”

Jorn produced a lock picking set from his satchel. He demanded silence from the others and set to work. The others watched as Jorn delicately manipulated the gears and tumblers inside the ancient lock. They were surprised to find Jorn, who was so gruff and direct, capable of such finesse in his craft.

A series whirs and clicks emanated from the door. “There!” exclaimed Jorn. “That’s how you do it.”

A rare smile spread across his face. Suddenly the crack of thunder shattered the silence, and lightning sprung from the cloudless sky striking the stone serpent. The stone crumbled away, revealing a enormous blue serpent underneath. It instantly tossed Sally into the air and snatched him inside of its jaws in one switch movement. Its huge, writhing mass crashed down in front of the door, knocking the party down to the ground with the impact.

Zoidberg ran back to the tree line, clumsily readying his bow. Shanky drew his weapons and melted into the shadows. Jorn drew his mace and rolled to the beasts side, waiting for someone else to draw the creatures attention. Oaglamah stood slowly and drew gripped his halberd. He stared into the creatures eyes at it made ready to charge him. Grimlock stood beside him, sword drawn.

“Are you ready? You’ll need to draw its focus if we have any hope to survive this. Make it angry. Can you do that?”

Oaglamah raised his halberd and smiled. The Behir charged.

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The Path to Stone Gate Part 3

“We won’t make it far if you two keep fighting…” snarled Grimlock.

Neither Jorn nor Zoidberg paid him much attention. The last fight had not gone well. Troll ambushes were something every adventurer had dealt with, but rarely did fighting break out between party members during combat. The mood in the group had been even more somber since the affair. Jorn had not taken it well when Zoidberg had adopted his appearance at the beginning of battle. Arguing and name calling had turned into weapons and spells. Now the two would not speak to each other.

The mood had brightened somewhat after they found the trolls larder, guarded of course. The party had acted as a unit this time, which was well since the troll guarding the treasure had been stronger and smarter than those that had ambushed them.

Now, though, each of them were well equipped with quality gear. They all possess fine Elven or Dwarven armor left over from the Great War. They each also had a new weapon.

Grimlock had recovered the Troll’s personal blade, Edge of Battle, which was crafted by the Dragonborn far to the south.

Oaglamah found the might Helm Crusher, a mighty halberd crafted by the Dwarves.

Zoidberg claimed the ancient dark-wood bow, Heart of Winter.

Jorn took Grovek’s Skull, a foul mace crafted by Hobgoblin commander centuries ago.

Shanky now possessed Anguish, a wicked, curved blade that was surprisingly graceful in the hands of the right warrior.

Sally also wielded a magic weapon. It was Sky Splitter, which had been his prior to his servitude under the cruel female Kobolds.

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The Path to Stone Gate Part 2

The party exited the forest weapons drawn. Zoidberg had been the first to notice, but now they could all smell it. They walked out into the open, their eyes fell on the remains of small Kobold village. Now it was the site of a massacre. Dead bodies were strewn across the ground, each one horribly mutilated.

“Spread out,” ordered Grimlock. “There may still be supplies here. This obviously wasn’t the work of raiders or bandits.”

The party fanned out in search of better clothing and, perhaps, maybe even real food.

Zoidberg skulked over to the nearest hut while the others investigated the main compound. He could smell something wrong with the bodies, but he was blinded by the overwhelming aroma of the fresh dead inside. He opened the door. Before him was heaven. Dozens of Kobolds were piled high in the room. A feast fit for a king.


Oaglamah found a large opening in the side of the stone building. The wall had been busted in here. Inside he found many bodies, most of which were piled against the nearest wall. He poked at them with his axe while looking around.

“At least there are more weapons here. Probably food somewhere too.”

Grimlock and Jorn walked behind him.

“Hunter’s weapons,” replied Jorn. “Not ideal, but they’ll do. Kobolds usually keep a storage of food during the wint…”

He was cut off by a loud, guttural scream. He turned to find Oaglamah in mid air, held aloft by the pale tentacle of an Otyugh.


Shanky poked the body with a stick. It wasn’t a Kobold, that was for sure. Still alive? How strange.

“Where… Wha…” groaned the man, when he finally awoke. He was human height, though not human. His skin was pale blue, marked with distinctive cracks that look like lightning running across his body. He had only a loin cloth and shackles for clothing. He got up, pushing the dead Kobolds off himself.

Shanky extended a hand in greeting. The Genasi simply stared at him. He had never seen a Kenku before and was still confused about what was going on. The awkward introduction was interrupted by strange whooping noise. In the closest hut, the two could see Zoidberg being attacked by another Otyugh, clearly upset that someone else was after his corpse larder.

Instinctively, Sally tightened his shackles, then pulled. With one great burst of strenght he tore them apart and leaped into the air, riding the wind to the strange squid man’s defense. Shanky looked on, his hand still extended in greeting. “How rude,” he thought to himself.


Oaglamah used his axe to fend off the carrion feeder’s massive maw. Grimlock had relieved the creature of several of its tendrils, making enough of a distraction for Jorn to move into position. When Grimlock gave the signal, Jorn leaped into the fray. Running up the beasts pile of corpses he went strait for the creatures head. He brought his rusty mace down onto the creatures skull repeatedly. The stunned creature writhed in pain as each blow rained down upon it. Taking advantage of the situation, Oaglamah and Grimlock quickly added their weapons to the onslaught. Soon the creature was a still, lifeless corpse.


The Genasi summoned the wind around him, and just as Zoidberg struck the foul creature with a magical arrow, he unleashed its fury. The Otyugh was blown out of the hut into the cold winter air. The creature righted itself quickly, bearing its enormous fangs and many, clawed tentacles to bear. Silently, Shanky melted out of the beasts own shadow. He muttered a curse under his breath, linking the creature to the Shadowfell. The with deadly silence, he struck with poisoned blade.


Oaglamah, Jorn, and Grimlock quickly found their companions standing over the corpse of another monster. With them was a newcomer who was talking with Zoidberg. Grimlock inquired as to the identity of the strange looking stranger.

“His name is Sally,” replied Zoidberg. “Can we keep him?”

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The Path to Stone Gate Part 1

Grimlock pulled his broadsword out from the Skath’s chest and wiped the blade. He had never seen one, only heard ruff descriptions of them. They were more vile than he had thought they would be.

“Disgusting… but not too much trouble,” he said. “Still, five is one thing. An army is always a different matter.”

Shanky looked up, nodding in agreement. A nod was quite verbose of him as the others had come to learn. He hadn’t spoken since they left the fortress. He quickly went back to muttering dark, unholy words under his breath, applying a magic poison to his blade for the next battle.

“They’re scrawny!” Cried Oaglamah. “I thought they were a new race of might warriors! I thought there would be a challenge! I don’t know what these things are, but they are no warriors. More like… vermin!”

“Un-living…” murmured Zoidberg, though no one heard him. He had been hunched over one of the Skath for several minutes trying to determine if they were food or not. they had brains yes, but they were not good. They were not living creatures, nor were they undead. A new kind of undead? “Curious,” he thought to himself.

Jorn finished wiping pieces of skull from his mace. He had had a small amount of trepidation concerning the Skath. He didn’t like dealing with the unknown. Now he knew they were flesh and blood, and flesh and blood can be broken. That was all he needed know.

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Out of the Darkness

Five figures walked through the forest, the wind ripping through their skin like paper. They wore cheap armor and carried dull weapons. They were freezing. They had only rations to eat.

But they were free… almost.

One Day Ago

“We need your help” she said. “Do this and you will be rewarded beyond just your freedom. You will earn glory, riches, and maybe more.”

Shanky, Jorn Kromson, Oaglamah, Grimlock Kordson, and Zoidberg were are lined up in front of the Empress, Adema. Beside her, accompanied by a dozen guards, was Captain Vorg. Vorg wore a sour expression upon his face, clearly unhappy with the situation.

“We need you to head to White Thorn, city of the Gnolls,” the Empress continued. “You must establish good relations with them. They will not trust any human who enters their land uninvited. We are in desperate need of trade partners, and they are one of last cities standing this side of the Dhun Mountains. Do this, and you will be free to follow your own destiny.”

Each prisoner considered the offer. Some though of killing her outright but could not. Each of them had been shackled with a magical bracer with three gems: one green, one red, one yellow. They could not attack anyone inside the fortress. There seemed little point in refusing the task.

Present

As night grew closer so did its dangers. The party was being watched. The Skath were in the forest. Oaglamah could sense them. He griped his attack tightly, grunting a warning to others. As the Skath leaped from the shadows of the trees the six warriors drew their weapons. For better or worse, their quest had begun.

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Prologue

One thousand feet bellow sea level, The Fortress of Last Tide, Floor Twelve, Gray Ward…

Door SIX: It is barren room, fully lit by 14 magic lanterns. One lantern for each of his victims. There is no shadow here. That was key, no shadows. Where there are shadows, there is a way out. Where there are shadows he has power again. They keep him restrained to the center of the room. A small living space with a cot he has long since turned to nesting. He has a small bowl, his only possession. Magic runes mark his territory in the room, severing his link to the Shadowfell. He has been in this room for over five years. All he wants to do now is die.

Door FIFTEEN: The room is roughly the size of his old one. A bit smaller perhaps. It is not as well furnished, but that is to be expected. There is no paige, no servants of any kind to wait on him. No matter. there is a bed, a comfortable chair, a desk, and books. Plenty of books. He’s read them all many times. Today, like most days, he thinks about the adamantine door that separates him from the outside world. Could he break it down? Could it be wedged open? What sort of magic would protect it? How would have imprisoned his enemies? He has most of the answers to these questions. Five years have given him facts and accurate guesses. What he does not know, however, is what sort of world is waiting for him outside. He has lead enough battles to know that he must learn more before he strikes again. He waits.

Door THREE: There is a bench in this room where he sits all day. There is an uncomfortable bed that hurts his back. This is where he sleeps at night, or when he thinks it is night. Under the pillow of his bed there are weapons. A club fashioned from stone. A wooden knife he fashioned from part of his bed. A shiv he crafted one day four years ago when they did not question the absence of a spoon when he returned his dish. He is waiting for the door to open. He is a survivor. He is a survivor, because he is a better killer. He will be better than the person who opens the door.

Door SEVEN. He sits in the center of the cell. His hands and feet are bound. After a while he lifts himself off the ground with only his hands, then one hand. He does this for an hour. Later he strikes the door until his knees, knuckles, and forehead are bloody. The door will need to be replaced in about a year if he does this everyday. He sits in the center of the room, again.

Door ? The room is not marked. They made this room especially for him. He is honored by that. He wishes they would bring him food though. He’s very hungry. He hasn’t eaten in many years. He scurries around his cage, occasionally tasting the bars. He wonders if they forgot about him. Surely they wouldn’t. He is hungry. He smells death outside, and it makes him even hungrier. The bars do not taste very good. He wishes could go to where the dead people are. He is very hungry.

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