Graveyard World

Espis Chapter 11: The Siege of the Spellforge

Dakarai returns with news that additional troops will be coming from the White Iron camp. Weary from their last combat, the party decides to build up defences and make a stand within the Spellforge.

Dakarai floods the area in front of the spellforge by redirecting a river, creating a swampy muck suitable for the tiring bullywugs to hide. As the water rises, it floods the maze and entraceway of the mine, creating a perfect defensive line. The flooding is complete just in time, as the woods that the attackers were hiding in become wreathed in flame, presumably started by the White Iron troops in an attempt to drive the bulywugs back into the swamp.

Dakarai, Kharl and Hudson stay back to guard the mines, while the others make thier way along the cliffs through thick smoke. Spying the White Iron camp, they notice that they are mounting up for combat, while the rest of the camp packs up and heads for the hills. Kharl and Dakarai tend to the wounded, and Kharl returns Leventius’ Bane to Hudson, reinvigorating his morale.

Urllex leads the groups through the burning woods and extends the brushfire further onto the plain, forcing the approaching knights to dismount and make their way into the thick smoke along the cliff if they want to attack at all.

Returning to the Spellforge through the maze, the trio notice something amiss – the bodies of dead bullywugs floating in the waist-deep water. Immediately, the trio are set upon by a pair of Displacer Beasts – the monsters that destroyed Lorna’s home. A short, brutal fight plays out in the water, the party short on health and spells, the displacer beasts ripping and tearing with powerful tentacles. Dakarai goes down after recieving two powerful blows to the chest, and Kharl is flayed within an inch of his life. After the beasts are finally killed, the party returns to land to tend to the wounded, completely exhausted. Though Dakarai has been stabalised, he will not wake.

Back with the other defenders, they find that the bullywugs seem to have ambushed the last of the human attackers, sappers who had intended to bring the mine down on their heads. The party waits out the night, and no further attack comes. Emerging the next day, they find the White Iron company gone, obviously appalled at their own losses.

Time passes, and the party returns to Phandalin, where they spend weeks recuperating. Dakarai connot be roused, either by medicine or magic, and Kharl concludes that he is trapped in his coma by some powerful entity that he can see brief flashes of when he touches Dakarai’s mind.

Lorna and Urllex make contact with Halia Thornton, who is now the new mayor, and she suggests that if they want to stop the White Iron Company, they need to target the people paying them – a group of Artificers known as Wormwood, Fife and Vanderbourne.

Kharl gets in a serious disagreement with Halia over her pardoning of two of the redbrand thugs he had arrested – dragging them by their necks most of the way to the gibbet before he is talked down. He spends the rest of the stay in Phandalin hiding away in the Leventius estate feeling sorry for himself.

The unexpected return of a large halfling contingent from New Haven leads to an impromptu celebration, and also the return of Gundren Rockseeker, who had been in New Haven trying to settle his affairs.

Taking the party aside for a meeting, Gundren crypically reveals to the party that decades ago, him, Urllexin’s aunt, and Kharls grandfather saved the world, and that now they are cursed, and refuses to explain how or what from, saying that it would put them all in danger.

Gundren has in his hands a set of amulets to prevent against scrying, and says they don’t know how much the drows saw when they used the scrying room within the Spellforge, and that they might not have much time.

He tells the party has his funds have been cut off due to civil war in the underdark, and that because of this he plans to organise an expedition to find out what is happening in the drow kingdoms. While he does this, he gives the party two tasks – to go to Highhaven University and contact the headmaster, and to travel to Skypiercer temple to help Kharl the Elder ascend as Rhobsarendor.

Kharl asks Gundren “what he knows of salt,” the curse that had befallen his grandfather. Suprisingly, this causes Kyuss, present within Varyk, to snarl in fury.

Seemingly putting two and two about something together, Kyuss fully possesses Varyk and assaults Gundren, crying out in Abyssal, accusing him of theft. The party desperately tries to free Gundren, but Kyuss is too strong. Some quick thinking on Kharls part leads him to realise that Gundrens amulets would hopefully prevent demonic possession, and manages to get the necklace around Varyks neck.

While this successfully frees Varyk from Kyuss’s control (and banishes Kyuss from his mind), the damage has already been done – Gundren is dead.

Espis Chapter 6.5: Isle Rhob

While staying the with the Bullywugs during the events of Chapter 6, the bullywug druid Kermshug leads Urllexin to a secluded saltwater lake, telling her that in the waters, people who need it can sometimes see a road into ascension. In the waters, Kharl sees the shadowy reflection of Isle Rhob, his grandfathers home and the old temple of his God.

Urllex, transforming for the first time into a Manta Shark, leads the others into the water, and helps them cross over into ascension. They find themselves on a dark beach, the torches of the temple of Rhobsarendor burning high across the water from them.

The party searches for a boat, finding a hamlet stripped clean of materials. Urllexin tracks some clawprints back to a trible of kobolds living in the woods east of the hamlet. The kobolds revealed that they had only taken the goods after the hamlet was deserted, and revealed that the temple to the north had been overrun by “faceless giants.” Kharl says that they aim to destroy these faceless horrors, and the kobolds support their effort by offering powerful arrows and a shallow-hull boat.

Crossing the water, the party makes thier way up the cliffs towards the statue-garden that sits on the plateau below Rhobs temple. Lorna, sick of being soaking wet, takes the stairs, while Kharl sheds his armor and takes Urllex with him to scale the cliff from the ocean side. Kharl suprises and throws a faceless guardian off of the cliff, to be eaten by Urllex in shark-form. This brings the other guardians, faceless dragonborn acolytes, out of their stupor, and a melee begins. Urllex leaps her way up the cliff, vine-whipping one of the creatures off of the edge, while Kharl and Lorna engage them in melee combat, making short work of the acolytes, who crumble into salt, while another guardian is torn to shreds by vines summoned by Urllex. While they rest, and Kharl re-equips his armour, Lorna notes that all of the carvings on the various monuments are either written in gibberish or blank.

Climbing to the temple itself, Kharl faces a simulacra of his mother and father, dressed in full paladin armour, along with the temples guardian drake, Brine. Lorna assaults the guardians from the rafters, killing Brine with a single arrow through the skull, and weakening Kharls mother to the point that Urlex could easily finish her with a vine-whip. In a vengeful rage, Kharl obliterates the simulacra of his father with a necrotic blast.

Sensing his grandfather in the next room, Kharl leaves the temple and enters the caldera of the islands volcano, where he finds his grandfather imprisoned in a pillar of salt. While they reunite, Lorna and Urllex quickly peruse Kharl the Elders study, finding amongst the hundred of blank tomes a couple of powerful scrolls.

Kharl the Elder reveals that while he has ascended, the primal spirit of Old Rhob is trapped on the material plane, unable to ascend without a ritual. Kharl tasks the party with finding Rhob, and taking him to Skypeircer temple, for which they will need a map, and then conducting a ritual to allow him to ascend properly. Kharl the Elder then leaves for the astral reflection of skypeircer temple, telling Kharl that everything would be explained when he knows it is safe to do so.

As the sun rises, the party returns to the ocean, and re-enters the bullywug grove through the reflection in the water.

Espis Chapter 10: The White Iron Company

Kyuss steals Zyn’s skull and slinks off with Varyk to confront and blackmail the buried drow – Xullraen T’orgh. Kyuss uses the skull to threaten her, indicating it would interfere with her ooze form, and then says that by killing Zyn, the two are even. Kyuss then destroys Xullraen’s body, apparently happy that his work has been done.

While Kharl finds documents confirming his grandfathers death was at the hands of these people, Dakarai accidently connects with the conciousness of Recrentius by touching Zyn’s scrying machine. Unfortunately, before they can experiment with the machine any further, Urllex collapses the scrying room while trying to pry a fake emerald out of a statue in the room.

Leading the party out of the dungeon, Kharl accidently walks straight into a dangerous situation, leading to Lorna being separated from the rest of the party. While the party recover, Lorna re-appears as a captive of a group of hobgoblins, lead by the disabled goblin seer, Kugs. Kugs approaces Urllex and touches her slave-mark, giving her a vision of the future where she stands defiant before a vast army of Alu-Tel, supported by all matter of beast races. Kugs tells Urllex that for the vision to come true, the orcs must have Lightbringer to unite them. Kharl agrees to hand over the weapon, and Lorna is returned. The hobgoblins go deeper into the caves, seeking the underdark.

Lorna leads the group out of the mines, where they manage to spot members of the White Iron Company, who seem to have followed the party to the Spellforge and have captured their horses. Lorna recognises the armour – these are the people that killed her family. Restraining themselves, Urlex and Kharl go down to meet with the commander, and sign documents under duress handing over salvage right of the Spellforge. Urlex puts druid sign on the document, indicating that they should be voided, as Dakarai makes a break for the trees as a distraction.

The party pretends to leave, and camps. Dakarai runs home to Phandalin and gets support from Hudson to retake the spellforge. Lorna gains the support of the salt-marsh bullywugs by communing with nature.

After a few days of watching the White Iron Company pull the spellforge apart, the party takes the excavation crew by suprise, splitting them in half at the entrance, and taking the exterior group captive. A second group arrives and are taken out by Lorna and her bullywugs. Sensing that they might not make it out alive, the captives make a break for it when Kharl, Dakarai and Urllexin are distracted by a trained Bulette.

The second group of soliders make a break for the secondary exit. Dakarai and Hudson hold off most of them, but a pair of soldiers escape back to their base of operations.

The party, aided by the bullywugs and Crossroad Knights, prepare for battle.

Espis Chapter 9: The Black Spider

The voice in Darakrai’s head reveals itself to be the spectral guardian Glorba, created years ago to guard the spellforge from attack. Varyk disguises himself as Glorba’s master, Erik, and convinces Glorba that his job is done, and releases him from his bonds.

Exploring the spellforge, the party discovers two potent artifacts, the mace Lightbringer and an enchanted breastplate. They are also able to briefly enchant their weapons and armour, using the low flames of the spellforge itself.

Moving onwards, the party makes their way through a breached wall into a natural cavern that opens into a vast underwater ocean, finding the few abandoned boats left behind by Jaitus Kalo’s war party 20 years ago. Amongst the moldy supplies in the old boats, the party finds a number of looted trinkets, along with a real prize – a magical flying broom.

Climbing up to the west, the party observes a group of hobgoblins being watched over by a drow that Varyk recognises. Dakarai brings the loose rocks down upon the hobgoblins in an earthquake, and the party overpowers and restrains the drow, who reveals themselves to be another doppelganger. Not wanting to take any chances with the drow reincarnating and warning others, Kharl buries them alive under the rocks.

To the west lies a grand set of doors. Varyk, who can read all languages, identifies this room as being the Scrying Chamber, which Dakarai notes has never been mentioned in any books about the Spellforge. From within, Dakarai senses many bodies and also vast machinery.

Kharl puts two-and-two together, and determines that the people who killed his grandfather must have determined his location using this device. He immediately kicks the door in, surprising Zyn Coberal, the Black Spider, who is making notes on the far side of the scrying device – a massive, sand-covered disk, slowly being raked by cycling clockwork instruments .

Kharl, to the Spider’s fury, immediately summons a massive gust of wind, knocking sand and papers everywhere. As the party rushes in, dark shapes begin to drop for the ceiling, firing sticky black masses down at the party, who dodge and weave around them. While Lorna, Varyk and Urllexin deal to the descending tendrils, Dakarai and Kharl approach the Spider and his bodyguards, who summons darkness to shroud him. Using his tremorsense, Dakarai kills the hobgoblin guards in the pitch darkness, while Kharl is compelled by Zyn to hit himself in the face with his warhammer, which he does with gusto.

Lorna and Varyk take out half of the tendrils, but the last two overwhelm Urllexin. Rushing to help, Dakarai kills one, but is drenched with acid and poison by the other, and immediately attempts to flee on his broom, but is shot out of the air by the fleeing Zyn.

In a moment of religious zeal, Kharl bursts from the darkness, rushing the dark mass engulfing Urllexin, obliterating it with a thunderous rebuke, while at the same time engulfing Zyn in a blast of holy light, stripping him back half to his bones.

Stepping from behind a column, Lorna calmly skewers Zyn through the eye with her rapier, ending the fight. While Kyuss cackles in Varyk’s ear at the victory, Kharl stabilises and heals the party. As the party celebrates their victory, Lorna is suprised by the news that she just killed the Black Spider.

Espis Chapter 8: The Highhaven Spellforge

With Gundren rescued, the party makes their way back to Old Owl Well. When they return to the camp, Kharl is finally able to deliver his letter, which Gundren tells him to read to the group…


Last night I felt Old Rhob die, finally consumed by the maelstrom. The world does not mourn him – he has been gone for too long, and few remember him.

The seals we put in place to prevent this have been cracked, one by one, despite what I know to be your best efforts. I have felt the eyes of a diviner upon me, and I fear that it will only be a matter of time before some agent or another comes for me.

The plan is not working.

I know that you have always considered me rash, and impatient, and I respect that your long life gives you greater perspective. But here, at the end of my days, and with knives waiting for me in the night, I call you to action, before it is too late.

Kaz and Urzoth are gone. I am old and frail before my time. We have no heirs fit to carry on our duty. I fear that which we seek to contain has weakened us, has leeched our power from us, our bloodlines, our totems and our gods. We need to accept that this corruption is unique – it cannot be contained, and we must act to destroy it.

This will be our last correspondence. I will see this letter delivered, and then I intend to buy you some time by doing something drastic. I’m sure you wouldn’t approve.

Give my love to Lillin,


The next morning, a pair of elvish knights, a paladin and cleric of Tymora, arrive at Old Owl Well, greeting them and asking them for directions to Agatha. Though Kharl is suspicious, the party leads the paladin to Agatha, and successfully extracts the location of Bojangles spellbook from the banshee – mislabeled, within the library at Highhaven. Having completed their mission, the knights offer to return Gundren to Phandalin, allowing the party to make their way directly to the Spellforge, now that they have the map.

Gundren reveals that he had simply sought out the Spellforge to find a tome that he believed would help him, and he was completely surprised by the Black Spider and the ferocity of his attacks. He tells the party that there must be something else within the Spellforge, something that is worth spending enormous quantities of resources on obtaining.

Parting ways, the party makes their way to the Spellforge, finding the caved in entrance after a couple of days of traveling overland. Entering the forge via a hidden fissure that had been created by earthquakes, the party sneaks their way through the old mining tunnels that criss-cross the outer edge of the old settlement, guided by Kharl’s magic and hidden by Urllex’s, until they find themselves on the other side of the caved in entrance.

Lorna clears the way forward, killing ghouls from the shadows, and they find that the undead hiding in the entrance of the cave have fled further into the complex, shying away from light shafts to the outside that Dakarai had cleared earlier.

Avoiding the main cavern of the complex, the party takes a detour into a fungus filled cavern, which Dakarai and Urllex determine to be poisonous. Varyk teleports Lorna and Urllexin across, while Dakarai carefully climbs across the ceiling, using his earth attunement to find footholds in the rock. Blessing and warding himself, Kharl simply runs through the spores, managing to completely avoid the poison.

On the other side of the cavern, the party finds themselves in a beautiful, crystal studded cave that gives the illusion of the night sky, within which stands two structures. Entering the first one, the party angers a powerful wraith, and though they defeat it, it almost kills Kharl, and Dakarai is forced to bring the roof down on the wraith to scatter it, burying any treasure that may have lain within.

Moving on to the second structure, Dakarai attempts to stealthily approach the front door, but he is detected by some kind of psychic presence residing inside, which warns him against entering the spellforge…

Espis Chapter 7: Escape from Cragmaw Castle

After a brief discussion, the party decides that the dangers that lurk behind the curtain are too dangerous to deal with directly, so Varyk leads Kharl and Urllexin around the long way, intimidating his way through a banquet hall overseen by a goblin chef with a power complex.

The group reunites in a small corridor with a barred exit that leads to the outside of the castle. Unbarring the exit, Urllexin and Lorna split away bring the cart around for a quick exit, while the others go deeper into the castle.

After swiftly dealing to the hobgoblin guards, Dakarai and Kharl hide in the shadows while Varyk comes face to face with King Grol and his guest; the “Black Spider.” Grol believes that Varyk is in league with the Spider and leads him in. The Spider is not fooled, but allows the scene to unfold.

Varyk identifies the Spider as his one time employer Zyn Coborel, and Kyuss warns Varyk against acting rashly, as something about the situation is off.

Grol reveals that he has been working with Zyn in return for the enchanted mace “Lightbringer.” When Zyn asks for more manpower to help him excavate the Spellforge, Grol becomes angry, revealing that he has already gone above and beyond his part of the deal, capturing Gundren (who Varyk identifies as an unconscious heap in the corner) and obtaining his map.

After toying with Varyk for a moment, Zyn suddenly flips the table and begins to make a move at Varyk. In that instant, Dakarai and Kharl leap out of hiding and launch a surprise attack against Grol and his wolf, who had been sleeping at the fire.

Surprised, Zyn takes Gundren hostage and drags him to the window, knife to his throat. Kharl uses a spell Gundren, reviving him and then closes the distance on Zyn. Gundren uses this opportunity to escape from Zyn’s grip, crawling on his hands and knees away from the fight.

Zyn’s throat deforms and swells in an entirely alien way, and the drow spits acid onto the fleeing Gundren, badly burning the dwarf and leaving him twitching and writhing on the floor. Kharl hits Zyn with his mace in retaliation, and is surprised when the hammer merely sinks into his body – the drows flesh is like tar.

While Dakarai single handedly handles Grol and his wolf, Varyk and Kharl close in on Zyn, dousing him with fire and finally killing him with a blast of holy energy. In death, Zyn’s body melts almost completely – Kyuss appears to Varyk and informs him sagely that if that was a real guy, you would have expected to see bones in there.

Stabilising Gundren and recovering the map from beneath Grol’s filthy mattress, the party leaves the castle via their escape route, towards the waiting Lorna and Urllexin, who lead them away from the castle and through the checkpoint at the outer wall, the grounds now peppered with dead goblins.

The party makes their way back to the hideaway overlooking the castle, and hunkers down to wait out the storm.

Espis Chapter 6: Cragmaw Castle

The party spends some time recuperating at Old Owl Well. Varyk, banished to an otherworldly waiting room by his demonic patron, is summarily returned with a mission – find the Drow responsible for attacking him and teleporting Varyk to Espis in the first place. After Dakarai identifies from a scroll that the priest they had defeated was preparing the outpost for a ritual of displacement, the party spent some time clearing the symbols and reversing the spell.

The party stumbles upon a boarded up entrance to the keep below Old Owl Well, and finds signs of a struggle and a shattered mechanism. After reactivating the mechanism, the party opens an iron portal, revealing a chute that falls down into inky, wet darkness. After much deliberation, the party closes the portal, closes the entrance, and leaves a note for future adventurers to keep clear.

The party leaves Old Owl Well to meet with the banshee Agatha, travelling down a rough path hewn into the side of a canyon into the heavily wooded lowlands.

Upon meeting with Agatha, Kharl fails to calm the banshee, and in a fit of righteousness, banishes Agatha from her home. While the party wondered what to do next, Agatha returned, conjuring up images of destruction and causing all but Dakarai and Kharl to flee. Dakarai watches on in horror as Kharl is almost killed by Agatha’s shriek, before the banshee and her home disappear entirely.

Feeling a pull towards the nearby swamp by the roots in her rucksack, Lorna and Urllexin lead the party down into the nearby swamp, where they come across signs of destruction, strikingly similar to the damage done to Lorna’s homeland. The party makes contact with a tribe of Bullywugs, who’s town was destroyed, and Urllexin manages to strike up a conversation with the tribes Druid, who imparts that the town was destroyed by armoured mercenaries wielding silvered weapons. Lorna gifts the roots in her bag to the swamp, growing a new cluster of mangroves to the delight and relief of the Bullywugs. One of the trees gifts Lorna the Flowering Bow, as a sign of thanks.

Leaving the swamp, the party spends another night at Old Owl Well, in preparation for a two day journey to Cragmaw Castle. After an uneventful trip along the edge of the canyon, the party arrives at the castle just as a storm is beginning to strike. Posing as an agent of the Black Spider, Varyk leads Urllex and Kharl into the castle as prisoners, while Lorna and Dakarai stealthily scale the side of the castle. Unguarded and inside the castle, the party quietly makes their way inside, finding the sword of Hudson Abadeir in the process.

Hearing chanting coming from inside the old chapel, Kharl leads a savage attack on a group of Goblin worshippers lead by the Goblin priest Lhupo, while Dakarai and Lorna make their way along the walls of the castle and into a precarious ruined tower on the western side.

Both groups are now inside the castle, separated from each other by a blacked-out section of the former chapel, the party gears up for an attack on something that they can hear lurking in the darkness…

Espis Chapter 5: Arborox

The party arrives at Arborox, finding it abandoned except for zombies and monsters. In an abandoned inn, the Brown Horse, Dakarai identified a symbol of Xaviara hewn into the floor, indicating that the town had fallen prey to absolute despair, desperately trying anything to stay bound together after the collapse.

Finally tracking down the druid Reidoth, the party made some concerning discoveries – Kharl, that his god Rhobsarendor died long ago, raising the question of whom he was communing with, Lorna, that the skull she has been carrying around was in fact a construct, a result of modern, state-of-the-art runecraft, and that Urllexin had suppressed memories of being sent to the beast coast because she showed promise as a druid. The party also received the final piece of the map required to hunt down Cragmaw castle, and hopefully rescue Rockseeker.

Unsure of their capacity to defeat the creatures of Arborox and drive off its resident dragon, the party struck out for Cragmaw castle, with the aim of stopping off at Old Owl Well along the way. Arriving at the abandoned watchtower, the party ran afoul of a priest of the Bloody Light and his undead servants, who was at the watchtower to somehow ‘claim’ it for the church.

Immediately striking, the party successfully defeated the priest, though his undead servants (and their disembodied, scuttling hands) were a tough adversary. Dakarai pulled a book off the priests body that seemed to describe the ritual he was undertaking in detail. Taking a brief rest in the abandoned tower, the party readied themselves for their next task – communing with the banshee Agatha.

Espis Chapter 4: Glasstaff

Without warning, Varyk’s demonic patron captures him and pulls his struggling body through a flaming portal, at the same time plucking the parties memory of him out of thier heads.

Unperturbed, the rest of the party breaks down the door to Glasstaff’s labratory, finding it deserted. Determining that Glasstaff has fled, the party tracks him to the entrance of the dungeon, where he is swiftly disabled by Lorna.

Kharl delivers the unconcious wizard to Hudson, who reveals that the wizard is Iarno Albrek, a wizard of the Crossroad Knights that Hudson was sent to seek out. Meanwhile, the party, searching for Qelline Alderleaf and her son, engages the Nothic, unaware of the deal the creature made with Varyk. Quick thinking by Darakrai and Lorna saw the creature crushed under a rock, deep in a ravine, where the party also discovered a chache of treasure, including an enchanted Laventius family sword of considerable power.

Hearing voices calling out from an unexplored passage, Kharl follows a corridor into the old Laventius crypt, where he is attacked by three skeletons. He manages to turn two of them, but is incapacitated by the last, before the rest of the party returned to rescue him.

Exploring the crypt, the party found a hidden prison and saved the trapped halfling and her son, who Lorna helped return home. Meanwhile, Urllexin and Dakarai searched Glasstaffs belongings, finding evidence of his betrayal, and returned this evidence to Hudson.

Hudson, overwhelmed by the discovery of Iarno’s betrayal and the revelation that he was the heir to the Laventius Estate (from a note found within the recently discovered sword), tasked the party with hunting down the rest of the hobgoblins and putting an end to the Black Spider.

With a few leads to follow, the party bought two horses and a cart, and headed out of town, making for Arborox, to hunt down the druid Lorna has been searching for.

Espis Chapter 3: Into the Laventius Estate

The party returns to Phandalin with their hobgoblin prisoner, and spends the day in training, rest and recuperation. Varyk spends this time on an information gathering expedition, and overhears a few of the Redbrands plotting to silence him that night.

The party sets up an ambush, capturing three of these attackers and killing one. During the fighting, Dakarai, a lost vagabond, warns Urllexin to approaching enemies, and is welcomed into the group. Clues on the bodies of the prisoners lead the party to discover that the mayor was killed at some point earlier in the night.

The next morning, interrogation of the prisoners leads the party to discover that the Redbrands are hiding out beneath the Laventius Estate, to which they find two entrances. Qelline Alderleaf and her son being kidnapped raises the stakes, and the party enters the catacombs beneath the estate, fighting their way, room by room into the heart of the Redbrand base of operations (with the help of a few good berries).

While there are mostly humans and a few Bugbears camping in the ruins, Varyk does come across a dangerous lurking Nothic, and promises it the staff of the wizard Glasstaff if it leaves the party alone.

We left the party interrogating a drunk, just before discerning that the room they are in sits opposite Glasstaffs quarters.


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