The Heroes of Nentir Vale

Vale Times Courier, Issue 1

Copies of this new publication can be found in almost every major city in the Nentir Vale, littering the floors of pubs and being used by the poor as tinder. You pick a worn copy off of the floor of the Halfmoon Inn. Some of the stories are completely illegible from beer and food stains but the few remaining strike you as interesting.

Springdale Fugitive Wanted By Lord Warden Firebrand

By Inkler Bernstein

Lord Warden Coranthis Firebrand of Springdale has issued a bounty for a house servant employed by his family for nearly 40 years. The Lord Warden of the reclusive Firebrand clan tells the Courier that the servant, named Geoffry Butler, is wanted for the theft of an important family heirloom. Butler was last seen in the House Firebrand servant quarters during his daylight shift. It is assumed he snuck out of the city under the veil of night after stealing the artifact. This is the first news to come out of Springdale in several years, as the fortress has gone silent and the Forlorn Hope has broken all contracts with travelling merchants and surrounding towns for protection.

Winterhaven Attacked!

Exclusive Details of the Attack by Gnosey Woodward

Reports indicate a group of kobolds, minotaurs and other monsters assaulted Winterhaven, ransacked the town and murdered the city guard. Details are limited at the time of this printing but more are along the way.

Where are the Heroes of Winterhaven Now?

an Opinion Piece by William O’Really

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed therein are not reflections of the views of the Vale Times Courier and are the sole opinions of the author

Kobolds move in on our territory and orcs raid the foothill villages surrounding Fallcrest. Springdale has withdrawn almost entirely and Winterhaven lay in ruin. Sightings of dragons have run amock among citizens. We have heard the self-aggrandizing tales of the Heroes of Winterhaven who “saved us from utter enslavement” says Lord Ernest Padraig, father to the unholy abomination Viggo Padraig. Where are these so-called heroes now? They saved us from a threat they say we didn’t even see and now, now we are being torn to shreds by the threats we actually see! I can look out my window and see chaos all around. Where are these heroes? I’ll tell you. They’re fighting in the illegal dead pits of Thunderspire. They’re killing for sport and drinking from a seemingly endless cup at Rendil Halfmoon’s Halfmoon Inn. They’re nothing but pawns for the Mages of Saruun, doing their bidding. We all know what thugs those “mages” are, bullying their patrons for protection money, taking a cut of black market trade they allow in their own corridors! What say you, citizens of the Nentir Vale? Shall we take up arms ourselves and show these “heroes” what selflessness really means? Shall we step up and say “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”?

“Dusk” Beats The Daylights Out of Froadway

a culture expose by Art Sygaefahg

A new hit play has arrived in Fallcrest! Dusk, the tale of a forbidden love between a young human girl and a vampire has taken the cities youth by storm. Some young girls have reported seeing the show eight or nine times since its opening two weeks ago! In an exclusive interview with director beer stains interupt the article, smearing the ink and making it illegible

It is even reported that teenage girls often show up in embroidered garments displaying their allegiance to one of the two love interests for the main character. They even skirmish and engage in fisticuffs over who is more attractive.

Surely, Dusk is the new Froadway event in the Nentir Vale to see!

Adventure Journal, Thunderspire Part 2

The Heroes of Winterhaven once again descended into the depths of the labyrinth under the Thunderspire. This time they sought the Well of Demons, a temple dedicated to the demon-god Baphomet. They found themselves looking for four items: A mask, a bell, a dagger and a tome.

The Face of Baphomet, the mask they sought, was found in a hall of cursed mirrors. Then, the tome was found on an altar smothered in dry blood, protected by demons. The heroes then discovered a boar they had been asked to recover. Nim and Aukag escorted the boar back to the Seven-Pillared Hall, where they met the elf ranger Canicus. Canicus was another mercenary who had heard of the deeds of the Heroes of Winterhaven. He was eager to travel with them.

The remaining two items proved to be the hardest. The dagger’s blade and hilt had been separated and placed on either side of a mechanized minotaur statue. No one was fast enough to get to the dagger sections and back unharmed. It was then Canicus proved himself to the group by risking his own hide to gather each part of the dagger and combining them. The bell seemed easy pickings, but led the group into a trap. Nithhogr saw the trap and begged his companions to be patient but Viggo, seemingly seduced by the Bell’s shimmer, pushed on and sprang the trap.

After recovering all four items, the heroes confronted the three restless specters that haunted the place and tested any adventurers who dared to take on the guardian of the Proving Grounds, the main chamber in the Well of Demons. Each of the heroes used a combination of a demonstration of physical prowess and of mental fortitude. A blood sacrifice was also required, to which each hero contributed. Having appeased the three ghosts, the heroes were granted passage into the proving grounds.

The proving grounds lived up to its name, as once the ritual was started a young green dragon attacked the adventurers, picking at them while they were seperated. While dodging the dragon’s attacks and several nefarious traps, the heroes somehow regrouped and took a stand against the dragon. Canicus used his low light vision to pinpoint the dragon’s location as it flew around in the dark cavern above and sniped its wing with a magical fire arrow, bringing it to the ground, where the heroes quickly subdued it. Enforceronimus took his trophy, turning the dragon’s fangs into horns on his helmet. The doors of the inner sanctum swung open, and the heroes confronted the leader of the gnoll slavers, Mauldrick Scarmaker, as he was performing a ritual to rededicate the Well of Demons to his own demonic god, the demon prince Yeenoghu.

For some reason, the heroes dubbed him Gnollan Ryan, and this confused Mauldrick. All the same, they would have to die. He ordered his followers to attack the heroes as he dodged Canicus’s arrows and continued the ritual. One by one his followers were fell beside him as he attempted to complete the ritual. Soon, one of Canicus’s arrows found his throat and the ritual was cut short.

The last remaining slaves were found at the site of the ritual and were presumed to be offered up as sacrifice to Yeenoghu. One, for some reason, carried a small pig. Canicus demanded the pig for payment of saving his life. He obliged. Why Canicus wanted the pig is unknown to the rest of this group. Viggo thinks him peculiar. On Mauldrick’s body was found two things. A series of letters to Mauldrick from Paldemar proposing an alliance. Read about them here. The second item was a silver key. Upon touching it, Viggo received a vision. Read about it here.

And so, the heroes regrouped at the Half Moon Inn in the Seven-Pillared Hall to prepare and plan for their final assault…

Viggo's Vision

Immediately after we killed the wicked Gnoll, Mauldrick Scarmaker (Gnollan Ryan) I was almost called to his body to search for anything I could find. I rifled through is pack and found a gleaming silver key. As I touched the silver key my eyes were taken to the Seven Pillared Hall. They meandered about until coming upon a tunnel that was hidden away in the farthest corner of the hall. I could see Paldemar sacrificing followers of Baphomet over a ritual circle much like the one we found at the end of the proving grounds. Looming over Paldemar was a desiccated corpse missing his left hand and eye. Immediately the Raven Queen jolted my dead soul causing my phylactery to glow a hot purple and black. She hates this corpse for having to share the realm of death with him and promptly hissed the name, “VECNA!” It was then that I began to realize my purpose in being brought back to the Mortal World.

When I woke from my trance I was staring at Canicus buttoning on a multi colored cloak of elven makings. The underside of this cloak was quite peculiar almost like a rainbow in the sky might be colored. As I began to focus more I could see that he was also holding a pig! Elves will never cease to befuddle me.

Adventure Journal, Thunderspire Part 1
The celebration at Winterhaven was an uneasy one. The city had been saved but at the cost of many lives, at the cost of Viggo’s mortality. A dead silence cut through the night as the Lord Padraig pondered what to do. His son’s return as a revenant sent murmurs through the crowds, instigated rumors through the house wives. They would need time to accept him for what he was.

While they waited for that time to come, Lord Padraig had a pressing matter at hand. During Kalarel’s reign of terror over Winterhaven, dozens of citizens of Winterhaven and the surrounding foothills had gone missing. A letter found on Kalarel’s person led him to believe that a group of slaver gnolls hidden deep in the Thunderspire had to be involved. He dispatched the group of adventurers (minus the halfling who had disappeared abruptly that afternoon) to investigate the problem. The sage of Winterhaven also asks them to deliver an item to a merchant in the Seven-Pillared Hall.

Along the way, the adventurers discovered a longtime friend of Aukag, the human barbarian Enforceronimus, along with a gnome wizard named Nim and an elf named Rendil abducted by a band of slavers. After defeating the slaver group, the adventurers convince their new friends to join them on their quest. Rendil is the proprietor of the Halfmoon Inn at the Seven-pillared Hall in the Thunderspire. He agrees to comp the band of adventurers for the duration of their stay.

The heroes quickly accept mercenary work at the Thunderspire from several business owners. They also make the trade the sage asked them too but opt to keep the item. The helpful, but shady Mages of Saruun assist the adventurers in finding the gnolls. In return they asked that the adventurers looked for a missing member of their order, Paldemar.

The adventurers raid the gnoll’s hold, finding many of the missing citizens of Winterhaven. They were to be sold into slavery. All but a few were accounted for. The others had already been sold off to slavery. It wasn’t long before the adventurers tied the duergar in the Thunderspire to this slaving enterprise and raided the Horned Hold, a place that served as the duergar’s hideout for their illegal slaving operation. All but two of the remaining slaves had been found. The next clues they uncovered would lead them to an ancient shrine to the demon-god Baphomet…

Adventure Journal, the Heroes of Winterhaven

The Heroes of Winterhaven (A brief history…)

Chapter 1: The Keep on the Shadowfell

Our tale began in Winterhaven, a regional trade center of little consequence outside of the Nentir Vale. Four mercenary adventurers (Nithoggr, Thornblade, Aukag and a dwarven fighter of no importance) took a contract to find and eliminate a nest of kobolds who had been harassing the town. Upon discovering the kobold lair, the heroes uncover a nefarious plot by the cultists of Orcus to tear open a portal to the Shadowfell and summon their unholy god. As Orcus marched his unholy army from the planes of the Abyss to the Shadowfell, where they could be summoned to our world, Kalarel prepared for his arrival by weakening the defenses of Winterhaven and other outlying settlements.

Lord Padraig of Winterhaven dispatches his son with some of his best fighters to investigate the mercenary’s findings while they deal with the kobolds. He never returns. He begs the adventurers to deal with Kalarel and bring his son, Viggo, back safely.

The adventurers track down Kalarel’s lair, an old keep northeast of Winterhaven. The halls reeked of putrid undeath, housing Kalarel’s unholy experiments. They hacked their way to the sacrificial altar of Orcus, where Kalarel intended to sunder the seperation between our world and the Shadowfell. Kalarel had turned Viggo into a mindless Revenant abomination, and intended to offer a phylactery containing Viggo’s soul to Orcus as a sacrificial offering once he crossed the planes of the Shadowfell.

Unable to contend with Kalarel’s overwhelming undead force, Nithoggr prays to his god, Kord for help in their final confrontation with Kalarel. Kord decimates Kalarel’s army with his wrath, clearing the path for the mercenaries, but demands an honorable sacrifice of goblin blood as repayment for his assistance. In the final confrontation, Kalarel reveals the abomination Viggo to the mercenaries. He orders Viggo to destroy them and the full might of Kalarel’s remaining force bears down on the adventurers. They strike Viggo down, then defeat Kalarel. Kalarel is consumed by the portal to the Shadowfell but it remains open.

Viggo comes to, saved from true death by the Raven Queen. She reveals to him that she has plans for him but nothing more. Viggo gives the pylactery containing his soul to the group as a token of his thanks for what they have done for him, and the Nentir Vale. The group returns to Winterhaven but Thornblade stays behind with the Dwarven fighter to seal the portal. Thornblade returns alone, says that the portal required a sacrifice to be closed and took the dwarf, leaving Thornblade alive. There is some suspicion about the credibility of his account…

Viggo is welcomed warmly at Winterhaven until the crowds assembled realize he is undead. They frighten and panic. Lord Padraig is barely able to maintain control of Winterhaven. He asks the mercenaries, along with Viggo, to investigate a mysterious disappearance of his citizens during Kalarel’s attacks. And so, the mercenaries became the Heroes of Winterhaven…


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