Pieter Quinn and Rebecca of Kelemvor arrive in town and head to the TGIF. There they are introduced to Galen and decide to venture forth to the Tombwood to explore the area and assess the rumors of a malevolent force in the area, presumed to be undead.
Pieter converses with local townsfolk and businessmen to ask them about the Wood. They tell him that five adventurers were sent out by the town to clear the Tombwood and recover it from the dark forces there, but none returned. The townsfolk have given up on the Wood and abandoned it fully now. They wish us luck, but clearly don’t think our chances are that good.
INTO THE WOOD
As we enter the Evergreen Wood north of town, the woods become darker and the needles a deeper green. The color of the trees becomes increasingly dark, almost black, as the canopy of the forest gets denser. Our once easy track becomes little more than a deer run, as nettles and brambles close in on us as well. Lovely place.
As we get into Tombwood proper, the game path we follow completely disappears, leaving us in a mess of blackberries and nettles and dark pines. If there ever was an official entrance, where the people of Greenwitch took a funeral precession, there is no sign of it now. The going becomes slow, even for the Eladrin Galen.
Eventually, a few hours past mid-day, we make our way to a small clearing surrounded by dense forest and underbrush. We decide to rest there for a break, and decide if we’re going to head back to town before nightfall, or spend a night in the Tombwood. The woods around us seem odd. As the wind blows through their branches, they seem to sway in the wind a moment too late…
THE FIRST ENCOUNTER – A SURPRISE STIRGE ATTACK
Pietr soon spots something in the branches, maybe the size of a cat or squirrel, move quickly from one branch to another. We all look up and barely make out a small form of something on one of the branches, some kind of animal. Galen investigates and recognizes it as a Stirge (a quasi-demonic mosquito with four arms the size of a small dog!). The Stirge notices it’s been spotted and flys to attack!
Using advantageous tactics, the trio quickly dispatches the disgusting Stirge without taking damage.
After the encounter, Galen climbs to the top of the nearest large tree. It’s increasingly difficult to see into the forest to the north. But through the trees, he barely makes out either a big grey boulder or perhaps the side of some stone structure, somewhere to north, perhaps 45 mins journey. Galen then leads the party through the dense woods to find this possible structure.
Eventually they arrive to find it is indeed a structure, not a natural stone. We see the corner of a grey stone building. There was once a clearing here, but not the forest and undergrowth has encroached right up to the building, sometimes growing up the building’s side. The plants here are unsettlingly dark and seem to move on their own, not with the wind…
The building is a large mausoleum or crypt. Despite being covered in sinister dark vegetation, the building still looks stately and regal. Even to Galen’s untrained eye, the building is clearly well constructed and beautifully designed, a work of real craft. Despite it’s abandoned state, it is has not decayed or crumbled at all. Above a large stone open doorway lies an inscription in Dwarven script (Rebecca deciphers that it says something about the “Stonebeard” clan of dwarves, and Pietr’s historical knowledge tells him that the Stonebeards are a clan that is widespread in the area, who helped build structures when the peoples first started to settle this area. They are one of the top stonemason families in the world).
Inside the open doorway is pitch black, but we enter with a torch lit.
We enter a room roughly 20 ft wide by 35 feet deep. The walls are smooth stone up to five feet, after which protruding stone columns are carved into the wall by skilled stonemasons to add a decorative element. The floor is perfectly smooth. There is a large bronze statue of a dwarf at the back of the room, standing in front of a large closed metal door. The statue holds a mace as if it were guarding a door, and it sits very closely in front of the door, making it difficult to move past it to get into the door.
There are six torchstands recessed into the stone in the room. Rebecca begins lighting all six torches, and after lighting the last of the torches…
SECOND ENCOUNTER – A CLAY GUARDIAN
A small, stout looking, vaguely dwarven shaped grey homonculus guardian guy thing (“Clay Scout”) silently and stealthily charges towards Rebecca! At the same time, a swarm of three Stirges swoop in from the trees outside. They must have been trailing the party for some time, now taking this moment to attack as we are off guard. [Drop Initiative!] After a fairly prolonged fight between both the Stirges and the clay guardian, the adventurers prevail, with a few scratches and some lost blood (Rebecca). We rest up and recover after our victory, tending to wounds, before investigating the door and statue further.
EXPLORING DEEPER – THE CRYPT
The statue is made of iron and is resting on pedestal that doesnt appear to be bolted to the floor. The door is also iron. Neither are rusted. Galen realizes that the statue is actually an Iron Defender. The three heroes team up to slide the inactive Iron Defender out of the way of the door. While heavy, it slides smoothly across the floor, rather than scraping, as if on a pad of felt or something. So far, it doesn’t activate…
We open the door, which opens easily, and enter another room with well-crafted stone walls, 40 ft wide by 25 ft deep. Torches line the room again. There is some rubble in the two back corners of the room, and two large sarcophagi in the center of the room. At the back is an altar of some kind.
When we close the door behind us, we see that it can be braced with three solid iron-wrapped wooden planks at different levels, to solidly bar the door. As we explore the room, we see that the two sarcophagi are actually open at the top and empty of corpses, weapons or other items, besides a few scraps of parchment. The coffins once had occupants, but they are no where to be found now… (animated? stolen? who knows… eerie).
We see the skeleton of an orc lying at the back of the room (inanimate). It’s been dead for at least 10 years. Cause of death likely blunt trauma to the head (the skull is cracked in).
The altar features the pantheon of Dwarven gods. The kind of standard burial markings for a tomb, consistent with the burial traditions of dwarven culture. A very small chest carved of stone lies at the center of the altar as well (a little larger than a box of playing cards).
Some of the pieces of rubble have a decorative filigree on it that looks like it once was on the walls of the room. There’s some kind of pattern to the filigree, perhaps of a ritual significance. We work collectively to reconstruct the pattern (puzzle time!). It appears to be a map of some kind, not an accurate map, but more of the representational variety. It could be of the surrounding area, but we’re not sure. Using each piece of rubble, we only see about 2/3rds of the original surface of the map. The rest of it isnt in the room.
Inside the stone box lies two rubies, exquisitely carved, perhaps worth 200-500 gold each. Too tempting to leave behind, Rebecca picks them up to take with us. As she picks them up, the bottom of the chest lowers slowly by an inch, then settles into place.
THE THIRD ENCOUNTER – GRAVE ROBBERS’ KARMA IS A BITCH
As Pieter looks for a piece of rubble of similar weight to the rubies that we may be able to put back in to reset whatever mechanism was triggered, all of the torches in the room go out! Plunged into the pitch dark, we DROP INITIATIVE as we hear a loud clanging of metal as it sounds like the three bars on the door falling aside to the floor.
As we relight our torches, the light reveals the Iron Guardian, standing in front of Galen and poised to attack…
Utilizing heroic force — Pieter Led the Charge and Galen scored 2 crits on his daily power (Jaws of the Wolf)! — and tactical strategery, the team quickly and easily dispatches the Iron Defender, despite his apparent badassness (100+ HP)…
The heroes made a copy of the map from the wall fragments, using an ash imprint on some of the paper in the area. After a creepy night spent locked securely in the tomb, we head back to town through the deep forest. Back in town, we sold the rubies and collected 350 gold each (well deserved rewards!).
-350 gold each
-No major items.