Evergreen Vale

03 The Forgotten Fortress of the Drow

Synopsis: The goblin marauders are crushed in a brutal battle, and young Rockhelm is rescued, but the goblin chieftan unleashes a trap that plunges the party into the depths of the Underdark. After defeating enormous jellyfish in a subterannean sea, the heroes are rescued by a tribe of kobalds. The kobalds’ leader, a young black dragon, agrees to give them a guide to return to the surface. Their path takes them through a dangerous fungal forest and up through the lower levels of the lost drow fortress, where they face uneasy spirits and undead horrors.

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02 The Court of Blades
The next morning, the delvers received reinforcements in the form of a dwarven cleric named Terrafina. Terrafina was a servant of Pelor, god of the sun, and sustainer of life for all good folk. Priests were few in Evergreen Vale, so Terrafina spent much of the year driving her cart from settlement to settlement, providing services and officiating on holy days. Her regular route had taken her to Poshkazyr. When she arrived in town and heard of the trouble at the mine, the burn-scarred, vigorous dwarf of 76 years hefted her trusty warhammer and made her way into the depths to join the other adventurers.

Following the recently dug shaft down which the goblin ambushers had fled, the heroes found the point where the dwarves had broken into the ruins. There were still broken tools, weapons, and blood stains from the brief battle that had forced the dwarves to flee. Crossing into the ruins, they discovered a vast complex of tunnels, expertly cut with sharp angles, brooding gargoyles, and recurring web and spider motifs. The tunnels were dimly lit by flickering green and red witchfire.

Glancing around warily, Pele announced that the ruins had been built by her and Helo’s dark cousins, the drow. During the War of Falling Stars, the Drow Slave Empire had built many fortresses close to the surface to facilitate their raids and domination of the surface. One had been here, when Eladrin warriors led by the great archmage, Taurn Templa blasted an enormous gash in the peak, exposing the drow to the light of day, and charged in to destroy them. Apparently the goblins had discovered a way into the tunnels in more recent times, and struck when the dwarven mining operation had the misfortune to cross the ruins.

Continuing to the north, the heroes discovered a few trinkets and relics in partially collapsed siderooms, but continued more carefully when they felt the touch of moving air on their faces, and saw a point of daylight ahead of them. The tunnel opened on a vast subterranean courtyard, with many tunnels and stairways leading out of it. The great cleft blasted by the ancient warmage allowed light to stream into the chamber, revealing that the magic had torn through the floor, creating a treacherous chasm through the center. The walls of the room were affixed with cruel, rusty blades left by the treacherous drow. Several ropes dangled from the opening of the cleft, down which the goblins had descended to gain access to the ruins.

The goblins themselves were camped on the far side of the chasm, bickering and complaining to their chieftan, a large goblin named Skarsnik. Their sniveling and whining revealed that they were escaped slaves from the Bronze Kingdoms, who had wormed their way through the Greyspine Mountains to set themselves up as bandits. Now, with their victims striking back, they were frightened and angry, and Skarsnik was bullying them to maintain order. Beyond the eight quarrelling goblins was a crude cage made of blades broken off of the wall and lashed together. Inside was the miserable dwarf captive, Rockhelm Stonebreaker.

Seeing their foes, and the subject of their rescue mission, the heroes drew their weapons and charged into the chamber, shouting battlecries.

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01 Poshkazyr

It was a fine, cool day in Evergreen Vale as the baron’s agents left the forested trail and arrived at their destination, the mining settlement of Poshkazyr. Sir Delba, Lady Kiri, the wizard Pele, and the mysterious Helo met with Redrune Stonebreaker, the foreman of the dwarven miners. Goblins had attacked from a newly opened mine tunnel and chased away the miners, and three miners were missing, including, “my idiot nephew, Rockhelm. If you don’t find him, my sister will never let me hear the end of it.”

Far worse, without the iron ore, Evergreen Vale would be unable to pay the Iron Tribute owed to the Hobgoblin citystates, and would risk a war that the Vale was not prepared for. The party of young heroes quickly made preparations and continued up the winding mountain trail to the mine entrance.

A short skirmish at the minehead entrance ended with several dead goblins. Moving down the entrance shaft, the party discovered a cylindrical pit with multiple secondary shafts to explore. Behind one boarded up shaft, they found the dead dwarves and goblins from the initial attack, but Redrune’s nephew was still missing. In a second shaft, a pair of goblins ambushed them using a mine cart filled with ore, nearly crushing Pele. After the cart tumbled down into the pit, the wiley heroes quietly hid in the tunnel until the two goblins came to investigate. Sir Delba beheaded one goblin with his scimitar. There was a crash as it dropped its lantern and the light went out. A muffled scream was heard in the darkness before Pele lit the shaft with her magic. Helo was calmly wiping the blood of the other goblin from his paired shortswords.

As the warriors prepared to investigate the floor of the pit, Helo determined that the goblins had sabotaged wooden stairs that descended from the rim of the pit. Instead, they climbed into the basket of the dwarve’s crane, and lowered themselves into the pit. They were still climbing out of the basket when the goblins revealed their next ambush- the slats on hooded lanterns were flipped open around the edge of the pit, brightly illuminating the heroes but leaving the goblins hidden in darkness behind crates, mine carts and rubble. A rain of spears fell on the party, and screaming goblins darted in and out of the light to stab at them. Pele, Helo, Delba, and Kiri were all beaten and bloodied, and closed ranks to protect each other, several times one or more lost conciousness for a few seconds before being revived.

Kiri cleverly subverted the goblins’ ambush by rotating one of the lanterns to reveal her enemies, and Pele launched fiery blasts into the darkness, dislodging the goblins from their cover. The tide turned, and only single goblin survived to escape down the deepest mine shaft. Badly battered, the party decided to barricade the mine shaft and camp in the pit until the next morning. Pele used a spell to send word to the dwarves to come down and secure the upper works. On the morrow, the heroes were determined to drive out the remaining goblins and reopen the mine.

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