After finding evidence of raids on halfling villages in the Harkenwold, the group sends missives to the area to inquire as to their safety. But, fearing that the replies may come too late, Phiina urges to group to travel down to King’s Road to her native land in the southeast.
Where the White River crosses the King’s Road, stands the village of Albridge. Here, the adventurers stop to recover from their long ride and to await more information. Although unable to meet with them himself, the village elder Gerrad sends word that there is some sort of undefined crisis in the nearby homestead of Riverslye.
The adventurers travel two miles to the west of Albridge and arrive in the Riverslye Homestead – a halfling settlement of approximately 33 individuals. Here, they meet two young halflings who are not quite of age. Perrin, a grungy male, has aspirations of being a ranger. To that end, he has befriended the local wildlife and taught himself to track. His cousin, Tryn, is a female halfling who has dreamed of becoming an adventurer like the local legend Reed Tinderfoot. She has spent many hours practicing her stealth and thievery by filching items from the farm workers. She wears an eye patch and has three scars peeking out from underneath it.
During the course of their conversation, the adventurers learn that twice in the past week, a bear known as Smiley Bob has attacked the homestead. On each occasion, the bear snatched a halfling and trundled off before it could be confronted. The first victim, a precocious halfling boy named Happy Shoals, was taken three days ago. The second victim, a female halfling named Punkin Rockhucker, was taken yesterday.
Five years ago, a halfling adventurer named Reed Tinderfoot ran afoul of the bear and dealt it a grievous wound. Since that encounter, the bear has avoided all contact with halflings up until the recent attacks. Prior to the abductions, the Riverslye halflings had no issues with their ursine neighbor.
The halflings call the bear Smiley Bob because of its scar, which stretches from one corner of the bear’s mouth to its left ear. From a certain point of view, the grievous wound looks like a ghastly smile.
Smiley Bob lives in an abandoned windmill two miles southwest of the homestead. The old windmill sits atop a grassy hill. Perrin is worried about Bob, as these attacks are not in his nature. Tryn and Perrin insist that they join the adventurers, since their family will not let them go to investigate on their own.
As they near the windmill, the party is able to sneak up on a group of goblins.
Encounter 2: Old Windmill
Total Exp received: 228xp
After quickly dispatching the goblins, the group stealthily approaches the windmill’s interior. Here they find a battered, sleeping Smiley Bob and more goblins.
Encounter 3: Poke the Bear
Total Exp received: 800xp
During this fight, one goblin tries, and fails to awaken the bear. Once his allies are defeated, the goblin abandons this tactic and runs behind the mill stone – trying, unsuccessfully, to pick off the heroes from a distance. Once the goblins are defeated, Perrin is able to conversewith Smiley Bob.
Bob tells them that the goblins have been torturing him and making him attack the halflings. Bob has no ill will toward the homestead and just wants things to return to the way they were. After Perrin and Phiina see to the wounds of the bear, he enters a deep restorative sleep – curled up with his teddy bear.
The party then investigates the mill’s detritus and discovers the mangled body of Happy Shoals. His body has been partially turned into a yellowish goo and he has been dead for several days. When the party questions the surviving captive goblin, he informs them (but only after much intimidation is used against him) that the goblins have been dressing up as halflings to train to bear to chase them. Although the goblins thought that this was great fun, it was not their idea. A mysterious dark elf, whom he refers to as Master, has instructed them to bring the halflings to him. The goblin is unsure of the Master’s current whereabouts, but he believes he is nearby – with the captive halfling Punkin.
Aramil knows of the drow, and is able to tell the party that the drow are a cursed people, a deviant and evil race firmly in Lolth’s grip. Exiled from the Feywild for rising up against their eladrin kin, the drow nurse ancient grudges. They wallow in lies and cruelty, plotting vengeance against their ancestral enemies.
Closer inspection of the yellow goo reveals that is it similar to that of yochlols. These creatures are among the most favored of Lolth’s servants, and the Spider Queen sends her handmaidens to attend priests that have gained her favor.
Disgusted by the entire situation, the party leaves the bound goblin for Smiley Bob to deal with when he awakes.
After some tracking, Perrin is able to locate the drow near some waystones.
Encounter 3: Maven’s Ascent
Total Exp gained: 950xp
Treasure found: 200gp
Set with the symbol of an upright gauntlet with an unblinking eye in its palm, this blade bursts into burning white light in the hands of one sworn to bring justice to the wicked.
Lvl 4 +1 840 gp
Weapon: Heavy blade or light blade
Enhancement Bonus: attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +1d8 fire and radiant damage
Paladins and avengers can use this weapon as an implement for paladin or avenger powers and paladin or avenger paragon path powers.
Power (Minor Action)
The weapon casts bright light out to 4 squares until you end this effect as a minor action.
Power Encounter (Immediate Reaction)
Trigger: You use this power when an ally adjacent to you is attacked by an enemy adjacent to you.
Effect: You switch places with the ally, and the target grants combat advantage to you until the end of your next turn.
The party encounters several drow cutthroats along a shrouded pathway. The drow a chanting in a sibilant, parsaltongue manner and, while seemingly in a trance-state – they also appear to be completely alert and ready for battle. The heroes are able to defeat the first two drow, but even after they are dead, the drow continue to chant. Phiina, concerned for Punkin’s safety, and wishing to slow or put a stop to this foul ritual, is able to cast turn undead on the corpses. The drow immediately stop chanting, but a yellow goo – identical to the yochtel-like goo – oozes from their mouths.
As the party comes closer to the source of the foul ritual – they see Punkin suspended in a pool of goo, with a hooded drow spellspinner presiding over the transformation. One of the drow cutthroats shouts a warning to “Maven” – but he does not pause or stop the ritual.
After the party is able to dispatch the two remaining cutthroats, Maven decides to take direct action. Although he does not stop chanting, he levitates twenty feet into the air and rains down lighting and necrotic spells on the entire party. Having some trouble reaching their foe, Tryn uses her acrobatic prowess to tumble into the goo, and pull Punkin to safety. The ritual abruptly stops. Phiina is able to heal the halfling somewhat, and Bodin is able to untie her. However, despite her moniker, Punkin proves too weak to successfully hit Maven with rocks.
Eventually, the party is able to damage Maven enough that he falls to the ground, where the combined melee prowess of Bodin and Toradin proves too much for him to withstand.
The party escorts Punkin back to Riverslye Homestead, but not before Tryn and Perrin set off for further adventures of their own.
Session Totals (per character):
Campaign Totals (per character):
2932xp (of 3750xp for level 4)
136gp (excluding gems)