Orcs of Stonefang

A Secret Cultist Lair

As they pressed further into the Pass, the party came upon a secret door in the wall, wedged open by the corpse of a dwarf. Upon entering the door, they found the unmistakeable signs of a fierce battle between orcs and dwarves. The dwarf corpses they find all bear unusual markings- tattoos of manacles and chains leading from their eye down around their wrists. Could these be the Shadowed Chain cultists that Hadarra Glintshield had warned them not to trust?

The arcane and religious knowledge of the party informed them that such imagery of bondage would be considered dishonorable in most dwarven culture, and that this symbolism was strongly associated with Torog, the evil god of jailers and torturers. Superstition holds that if you speak his name aloud, Torog will crawl up from the Underdark to claim you.

Moving silently further into the secret passage, the keen ears of Thromelian the ranger caught the sound of several orcs quarreling. With great stealth he picked his way into the next room and felled each of the three with a single arrowshot to the heart.

The orcs had been fighting over how to divide a pile of treasure, which the party then claimed.

Behind the three orcs, a wide stone spiral staircase led down further into the chamber. Carved into the walls is a mural depicting a fight between dwarves and an enormous rock-skinned giant. Each cycle of the stairs shows the giant losing a body part to the dwarves; first, he loses his eye to a spear; then his hand to an axe; then his rib to a hammer; then his heart to a sword. Incredibly, he still seems to fight on. The party notices that the giant’s hand looks remarkably similar to the hand-shaped stone artifact they took off the orc leader in the gatehouse.

Concerned that there may be more orcs ahead, Thromelian scouts the passages at the bottom of the stairs. He discovers a number of orcs in a strange chamber. Two altars and four magic circles surround a pit that is covered by a magic force field; the surrounding area is full of winding passages. Nearby, he sees two orc archers and attacks them from cover.

The battle joined, the party fights a long and wearying battle with six orc archers, an orc troll shaman, and an ogre savage. They are severely wounded and nearly fall in battle, but their superior intelligence and strategy eventually helps them win a victory.

Worn out and dripping blood, the party gathers up some treasure from the corpses and retreats back to the gatehouse for a rest.

A Stand in the Gatehouse

After fighting their way into the pass, the team finds themselves at the gatehouse that controls access deeper into the pass. The way forward was blocked by a huge stone slab that the fleeing dwarves had dropped to cut themselves off from the pursuing orcs.

The team makes their way into the heart of the gatehouse, fighting through defenders and disarming traps, and finally discover the mechanism to open the gate. However, when they open it, a horde of orcs pours through. Alerted by a teammate, the party re-arms the traps and takes refuge behind a portcullis, using the traps that had just attacked them to ward off their attackers. They bottlenecked the orcs in the narrow passage and picked them off one by one.

Exhausted but victorious, the team re-closed the gate and rested in the now-safe gatehouse.

The Dwarves' Plea
In the sleepy village of Timbervale, a new adventure begins.

Our party was in the backwoods village of Timbervale, enjoying the somewhat rustic hospitality of the Knothole Inn and recovering from our recent expedition to the Tower of Teleportation. After dinner one night, we were approached by Rangrim Glintshield, who asked for our assistance for his clan.

The Glintshield clan of dwarves has been isolated in the Ironwall Mountains since a civil war 100 years ago. Only recently has the clan regained enough strength to re-establish ties with the outside world by opening Stonefang Pass, a tunnel through the mountains that has been closed since the war.

Stonefang Pass was historically a major trade route, originally dug and built by giants sometime in antiquity. Its closure 100 years ago severely damaged the economy of nearby Timbervale.

Rangrim’s clan were beginning to rebuild a citadel on the far side of the pass when they were attacked by a tribe of orcs called the Severed Eyes. While fleeing from the orcs, to prevent them from pursuit, the dwarves released a massive stone slab to block the pass. Rangrim believes that it can be lifted by an unknown mechanism in a nearby gatehouse. Some of the dwarves were not fast enough and were caught behind the slab, including the clan’s guards, who were members of a mysterious cult called the Shadowed Chain.

The people of Timbervale are very eager to be rid of the orcs and other dangerous creatures that inhabit the pass, as well as eager to regain economic prosperity by re-opening the trade route.

After some negotiation, Rangrim agreed to reward the party with gold for clearing the pass and citadel, as well as granting the party free right of transport through the re-opened pass without paying tariffs.

The party attempted to gain additional support or reward from the townspeople, however, they are generally quite poor. The local shopkeeper promised a 10% discount on goods purchased if the pass is re-opened.

The party put on a performance of music and feats of acrobatics to win the patronage of local ruler Lady Sevrym. To support them in their task, she gave the party a gift of Amazing Arrows.

As the party was about to leave, they were stopped by Hadarra Glintshield. Hadarra gives them a sending stone and asks them to search for its mate, which belonged to her cousin Flinka, who was killed by orcs during the retreat. She warns the party not to trust any surviving Shadowed Chain dwarves they may meet in the pass, referring to them as a “weird cult.”

The party then sets off for the pass. As they cross a bridge over the river, they are attacked by a pair of hippogriffs and a school of giant archerfish, who give the party a challenging battle. The fish were especially challenging foes due to their ability to pull party members into the water, where they were in danger of being swept away by the swift current and pulled over a waterfall. The stress of the encounter was almost too much for our brave dragonborn companion Balasar, who planned to grapple a fish and jump over the waterfall with it clutched in his arms, hoping that his Surefall Amulet would prevent him from dashing out his brains upon the rocks below. Concerned for his young companion, the bard Edyson used words of friendship to convince him not to make an unneeded sacrifice, but to save his strength for the trials ahead.

At the end of the battle, exhausted but victorious, the party made camp in the ruined huts next to the river.


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