Sword Coast Adventures

Mystery of magic apple: how it all began
10th of Highsun, 1372 DR

Year 1372 DR. First tendays of Highsun. Rumors about magical apple, that was sold by goblin every midsummer in a nearby town of Oakhurst, were circulating for several months now in Secomber. A group of would-be adventurers gathered in The Seven-Stringed Harp, they were all drawn there with desire for fortune and fame. Their names were Noburim, Ruinir, Uduf, and Ufa. 

Spent night over the conversation they decided to work to together to uncover what was behind these rumors. Next morning they departed for the town of  Oakhurst. Unfortunately they were late for auction and apple as well as goblin was gone. 

They learnt following rumors and information:

  • Someone tried to plant seeds from the apple before, but only weak saplings grew from it. Later these saplings were disappeared.
  • Strange wounds were discovered on the cattle from time to time: small punctured wounds; some of the cattle were killed
  • Northern trade route is closed due to often goblin raids
  • There is ancient ruin nearby (about day or two of walking), to the east from town
  • Several years ago strange man sought this ruin; he called himself Belak and had very large pet tree frog
  • About month or two ago party of adventurers from Secomber sought this ruin too; nobody returned

After spending a night in Ol’ Boar Inn heroes departed to investigate ruins of Sunless Citadel

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First expedition to Sunless Citadel
15th of Highsun, 1372 DR

After a day and a half trek in the hills heroes arrived to ravine. As it turned out citadel was buried under the ground and the ravine was  the entrance. Several ancient stone pillars stood near the ravine. They were covered in dwarven writings but the language itself was goblin. Those were warnings for the intruders!

Brave heroes entered the citadel. They found themselves underground in a place that was a courtyard ages before. The courtyard was filled with rocks and rubble and half-destroyed tower rose before them. Tower was the only possible way into the ruins. Ufa was sent to scout ahead, but few deviously placed traps were too well hidden for our master thief. Adventurers explored several rooms but found nothing except for few skeletons and a couple dire rats. All in all traps and sharp teeth of dire rats were too much for them for now; they decided to return to Oakhurst to rest and to buy some supplies.

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A few quiet days in Oakhurst
18th of Highsun, 1372 DR

Adventurers retreated to Oakhurst because Sunless Citadel was obviously too dangerous to break a camp inside it. Furthermore Uduf and Ufa contracted Filth Fever, probably those damn rats were disease carriers. Lucky for them Noburim Grimaxe was skilled at treating various diseases. During one of these quiet days, they met Vordin, another dwarf, who sought magical apples and fortune that was hidden inside Sunless Citadel. They decided to join forces cause it's always good to have strong helping hand, especially if this hand holds greataxe. After wounds were healed and diseases treated our brave heroes marched to continue the exploration of these mysterious and dangerous ruins.

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Second expedition to Sunless Citadel
19th of Highsun, 1372 DR

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After spending few days in Oakhurst they arrived to Sunless Citadel again. Heroes traveled deeper into forgotten corridors. In south part they found a stone door with bas-relief in form of rearing dragon. Walls around this door were in better shape than in the northern part. Unfortunately it was closed and even master-thief Ufa wasn't able to open it. They decided to return to it later.

 Ufa took the point and heroes backtracked their way to the entrance. From there they decided to explore western part. They already noticed that ruins were inhabited by goblins. The bodies of goblins they found were clearly a result of recent battle. As it turned out there was tribe of kobolds as well.

They carefully sneaked into the western corridor. Behind the door, in the end of it, they found large and irregularly shaped chamber. Walls were decorated with crudely inscribed symbols and glyphs, scribed in a bright green dye. Large bonfire provided light inside this room. Several dead kobolds were ceremonially burned in it. Near south wall large cage stood empty with gaping hole. 

 Ufa noticed small kobold in ceremonial clothes sleeping near cage. His name was Meepo and he was the Keeper of the Dragon, only there was no dragon anymore. After short council heroes decided to take creature alive and to question him. That was an easy task.

Meepo was ready to talk, but he didn't know a lot really. He suggested to lead them to the matriarch of his tribe – Yusdrayl. Peaceful meeting with a creature who can know a lot about the situation in a dungeon and its inhabitants was too good to pass. They traveled further to the west with Meepo to the Dragon Throne.  

The Dragon Throne was a short throne composed of bits of fallen masonry built upon the old altar. The portion of an altar with a bas-relief of rearing dragon served as throne's back. A metallic key
is held firmly in the rearing dragon’s open mouth. Yusdrayl sat on the throne and watched authoritatively over the kobold honor guard and heroes in front of her.

Ysdrayl proposed a deal: knowledge and treasure in the place of dragon that was stolen by goblins. Heroes noticed key and a few other useful items near the throne. They decided it was a good deal and they had to investigate goblin part of ruins anyway. After the deal was sealed they moved to the north carefully, to the goblin territory.

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Saving Calcryx
21th of Highsun, 1372 DR

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They moved to the north, past kobold territory to the goblin territory. Noburim requested Meepo as a guide. Yusdrayl granted request so the Meepo can atone his failure as a dragon guardian. They passed corridor, trapped by kobolds, and stopped before goblin outpost.

Vordin slammed the door and pushed Meepo forward. Adventurers rushed into the room like a storm, killing surprised goblins right and left. Shortly battle was won, but Meepo fell in a heat of battle.  Heroes advanced further cautiously, leaving the room full of dead bodies behind. They moved past large room behind the heavy wooden door; sounds behind suggested large goblin force. Silently they moved on. After half an hour of cautious exploration of dark corridors of the citadel, they found trophy room, where goblins put Calcryx. Uduf and Vordin easily subdued little wyrmling and to their delight they found little hoard too. Among precious metals and gems they found very  old dwarven map, which certainly can proof useful in future. With unconscious Calcryx in the bag, they departed to meet Yusdrayl

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Tomb of Dragon Priest
22th of Highsun, 1372 DR

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Heroes received the key (as well as some magical items from Yusdrayl‘s hoard) from the mysterious door they encountered before as the reward for saving Calcryx from goblins. Meepo fell in battle but kobolds didn’t care about him. After all, they were cruel and evil creatures.

After a short council, heroes decided to investigate what lay behind the door. They returned to the corridor and inserted key in the door’s keyhole. The door silently yields to them, showing large gallery filled with the dust of ages and bathed in soft blue light. It was hard to move through gallery last remaining magical sphere played a tune that drove away any intruders. But eventually, thanks to heroes’ wits and willpower they overcame magic, destroyed sphere and moved on.

In the next room, they heard the riddle from the statue. While others were surprised with such wonder, Uduf suddenly shouted out the answer. In response, the secret door was opened. The way was clear.

Heroes entered the hall with statues of tall elves in plate armor near its walls. There was a tomb with sarcophagus behind the pit with spikes at the end of this hallway. Heroes, carefully examining surroundings on their way, approached to the pit. Spitting into it, Uduf said: “I can jump over it easily!”. While others tried to decide what to do, he took running start and jumped to the other side!

Suddenly from nowhere quasite appeared and pushed Uduf into the pit! After a short fight and few Ruinir‘s precise shots quasite flew away laughing maniacally. Noburim recited prayers to Waukin to easy Uduf’s pain and the whole party cautiously traversed the pit and entered Dragon Priest Tomb.

The tomb was empty — sarcophagus was the only significant feature. Uduf and Vordin spend 20 minutes trying to pry it open. Finally, rusted latches were undone and adventurers opened sarcophagus. But it wasn’t empty! Strange deformed troll burst out of it and attacked heroes. Their combined effort was barely enough to kill the monster. Finally, the treasure was their to take.

They took several divine scrolls and a sizable amount of gold from the sarcophagus. On the way back Ruinir picked up Everburning Torch from the wall.

They decided to break a camp on kobold territory and talk about future plans.

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Rats, Tomb and Undead
24th of Highsun, 1372 DR

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After a short council, heroes decided to explore north-east part of the dungeon. Maybe there is another way to the goblin territory … After a few corridors, they found themselves in a large room with a dry fountain on an east wall and a relief-carved door in a western wall. The carving depicted skeletal dragons. There was no lock on it and after several attempts, they found out that it was trapped with blade trap.

Heroes were puzzled and decided to move on but suddenly Ruinir saw an inscription in Draconic on the door. Fortunately, he was fluent in it. Inscription read as “Tana Aman Heka Men”, or “Channel good, open the way” in Common. Noburim raised his holy symbol and praised Waukin, channeling positive energy into the door. Silently the door opened uncovering a tomb with five dusty sarcophagi inside. Heroes entered the room looking around. Ufa saw small pedestal at the western wall with a lonely ghostly candle on it and a few items. He moved closely and picked up the strange whistle to examine. Suddenly sarcophagi burst open and five skeletons jumped from it attacking transgressors. Noburim raised his holy symbol again and banished the vile undead from existence with holy power of Waukin! Heroes continued to the north after they collected strange whistle and other valuables from this tomb.

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A few rooms and corridors to the north they found what was a prison once. Several dire rats attacked them but heroes dispatched vermin with ease. Ruinir on the evidence of increased rat activity as well as the tracks of four humanoids who traveled further north but only three returned. Tracks were not older than six months. “We must be very careful”, whispered Ruinir and checked his longbow.

Carefully they entered next room. There were two pit traps in it but someone already disabled them. A quick investigation showed that tracks led to the door in the far western wall of the room. The stench of rotting meat came through the closed door. There was suspicious silence behind it. Heroes surrounded door and Uduf with Vordin broke it down and charged in only to be overwhelmed by several dire rats waiting for them in an ambush!

A few rats including big fat Mama Rat hung on Uduf dragging him down. He tried to throw them down but his big sword was of no use in such close quarters. While he struggled with them, Vordin blessed with the grace of Waukin (thanks to the prayers of Noburim Grimaxe) and Ruinir picked them one by one. After the battle was over and Noburim Grimaxe took care of Uduf’s wounds they searched rat’s nest. Among many treasures, heroes found mutilated, half-eaten human body. It was one that didn’t return. Adventurers collected rest of valuables and decided it is time to clear this ruin from goblin infestation …

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Assault on goblin tribe of Durbuluk
25th of highsun, 1372 DR

hobgoblin-chief.jpg While exploring north-west part of a dungeon adventurers noticed heavily protect entrance to goblin territory. Heroes tried to break through this but they had to back off and regroup because goblins barricaded this entrance heavily. They rested in one of the empty rooms on kobold territory. Kobolds weren’t exactly allies, but since adventurers returned wyrmling to them, they granted them right of passage.

They decided to take a route from kobold territory, the one they used before. Heroes attacked guard post, which was reinforced with fresh goblins, and cleared it out. They moved to corridors and started reconnaissance. Ruinir listened carefully for any noise from nearest door. It appeared that room behind this door was quite big with several dozen creatures (most likely goblins). He marked on the map and everyone decided to move on, to clear rest of territory first.They moved through goblin corridors and killed every goblin in every room they found. Poor bastards didn’t stand a chance against such surprise attack. Goblins get used to weak and unorganized kobolds and couldn’t possibly withstand strong and organized party of skilled adventurers.

After securing rear adventurers returned to the room in which, they deemed, main goblin force was assembled. They knew from kobolds that tribe was called Durbuluk, and their war chief was vicious hobgoblin by the name of Durnn. Ufa surveyed nearby corridors and found side entrance to the room. After short council adventurers decided to attack from this side before goblins got a chance to regroup. Vordin and Uduf broke down the door and they barged into the throne room.

They found themselves in a round room, it was a tower many ages ago, with circular shaft piercing its center. Dim violet light shines out of the shaft, revealing the sickly white and gray vines coating the shaft’s walls. The light from the shaft is supplemented by four lit wall torches set equidistant around the periphery of the chamber. A crudely fashioned throne of stone sits against the curve of the northwestern wall. A large iron chest serves as the throne’s footstool. Large hobgoblin in a crude iron crown, obviously war chief Durnn, jumped from his throne, drawn his sword and yelled out deafening battle cry. Instantly Vordin locked in a terrible combat with Durnn and Uduf got swarmed by countless goblins. Noburim Grimaxe blessed his companions while Ufa was protecting his back and every time his knife hit — goblin fell. Dodging goblin javelins Ruinir rained death on goblins, with every shot a goblin went to his forefathers. But goblins were many, while there were only five heroes. And it seemed that another wave of goblins would swallow them.

Suddenly Vordin struck the final blow, Durnn let out muted bellow and fell dead. Goblin moral fell instantly and they began to flee. But none avoid vengeful strikes of our heroes. Shortly they were finished and heroes stood calmly, resting; they barely escaped vicious death.

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Journey Down Below
30th of Highsun, 1372 DR

Heroes made a short trip to Oakhurst for supplies. They decided to take only short rest because they wanted to use a confusion to their advantage (if there were any goblins down below of course). After short trek back they appeared near glowing chasm, thick with vines, which led deeper in the Citadel.

They easily climbed down the vines and found themselves chilly , damp cave with the floor covered with earth, mixed with remains of cave animals and plants. Air was filled with odors of death and decay. In eerie light of luminescent fungus two skeletons and two strange twig-like creatures rushed to attack our heroes. Noburim Grimaxe draw the power of Waukin again and destroyed undead in blinding flash, barbarians made a short work of twigs. Cautiously heroes approached the door in the eastern wall.

Unnoticed they entered a hallway with six doors. Unfortunately, they woke up the goblin while investigating one of them. He screamed, alarming other little beasties in the rooms. But adventures were experienced and easily defeated a small band of goblins. Once goblins were dead, heroes continued room investigation. It looked like a small base of operation for some kind of research and security at the same time. They found a rat that was infected with some kind of disease. It caused different plant-like tumors on the body. The whole room looked like a laboratory and rat was secured on the table. Vordin killed the rat and relieved it from sufferings. Other rooms included barrack, weapon storage, and repair facility and brewery. Everything suggested an unusual organisation for goblinkin.

After short rest Ruinir suggested making a quick scout of nearby rooms. They moved through few galleries quickly, killing bugbear gardeners in a process. Galleries resembled first cave they entered, filled with luminescent fungus and rotten earth. Eventually, they entered a peculiar room with dragon statue. Its eyes shined with ominous red light which painted the room in all shades of red. The statue’s wings created ominous shades on the opposite wall.

Vordin moved forward to investigate strange red tile in front of the statue. Suddenly from the shadow invisible hand struck him, he felt the cold touch and strange weakness spreading through his body. Human shaped shadow jumped from the dark area of the room, producing no sound. Ruinir took a shot but his arrow came right through the creature. Panic took him over and he fled to the next room shouting that creature was invincible. Other cautiously move to the next room too, and room was empty again — the shadow disappeared.

They found themselves in the old decrepit library. Unfortunately, nobody kept it in a proper state — most of books and scrolls were completely destroyed. No doubt it was the work of goblins. They moved forward through a long corridor which had a damp and earthy aroma. The further they moved the stronger ominous presence became they felt in the ruins before. In the end of the corridor, they found an entrance to the big cave and locked door to the room. The entrance was guarded by the band of goblins. Heroes dispatched them quickly, which became a routine work for them. Deeper in a cave they saw a huge ominous shadow in a shifty light of luminescent fungi. They decided to break into a room and barricade there to have some rest before, no doubt, final confrontation.

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Evil Tree Standoff
1st of the Fading, 1372 DR

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Heroes broke into the room and found out that it was some sort of study. The shelves were filled with all sort of notes and research data about underground flora and fauna. Heroes broke the camp after a short search and posted watchers. After short and wary sleep they decided to move deeper in the cavern. Not far from the entrance they encountered heavy undergrowth with wicked spikes. To avoid minor injuries Vordin took a point and started hacking throw strange bushes. Almost instantly they were attacked by strange twig-like creatures, though they were easy to overcome undergrowth and great enemy number made the battle annoying and exhausting.

Eventually, they came to the largest part of the cavern and saw huge and sinister tree in the middle. They were so impressed that didn’t notice three persons that stood beside it. Two of them were under some sort of spell (their skin was like a bark and they were in zombie-like trance). The other(the one who named himself Belak The Outcast) addressed the adventurers:

— Behold the might of Ghulthias Tree! With its help, I’ll destroy civilization and return the world to nature! As it was, as it will be forever! His voice guided me, that’s why I know that my victory is sure. Join me or perish!

Nobody wanted to become zombie-like tree creature, so the fight broke out. Vordin ran forward to a man with a sword in a splint mail and engaged him. Belak The Outcast waived his wand and roots grappled everyone but Vordin. The fighter, who was a paladin before transformation, hit Vordin’s greataxe and destroyed it instantly.

After half of a minute adventurers and druid’s forces were at a draw. Uduf escaped roots and killed some twigs. Ruinir shot the transformed sorcerer. Vordin and Noburim Grimaxe finally managed to kill former paladin. Both Uduf and Vordin were at limits of their endurance and Vordin had to pick up a spare long sword. But even without his companions druid was the formidable opponent.

Fortunately, it seemed that fate favored them. Being on brink of life and death Vordin and Uduf managed to kill evil druid thus finishing the tale of his rule over Sunless Citadel.

After short rest heroes decided to burn the evil tree. Though they didn’t find magic apples they discovered enough treasures and saved neighborhood lands from the grim fate. After the fired went out they saw a human skeleton amongst the ashes. They kept wondering what was its meaning on their way back to Oakhurst. Soon they will forget this little curious episode. Until the time when they will be forced to remember it…

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