The Hellmarch

Info Dump, Then Absolute Suckage

We arrive in Rethem in roughly two weeks

  • rooftops have lots of activity — 2nd city exists up there
  • vibrant, very diverse — we blend in
  • we go straight to Earl
  • middle-aged man w/ quick intelligent eyes walks into chamber,
    introduces himself as Earl Alovar vas Rethem
  • Brood tells him we have treaty, we’re trying to recruit armies
  • Earl: treaty only applies to people outside Kaldor
  • spy ring can’t find proof that Kamesh are behind the devils scare
  • Earl remains unconvinced; we tell him about Kuza but he’s never
    heard of her; he’s happy we killed Ezren; cautions us against
    family who will certainly retaliate for killing him.
  • Skeptical that Halbarad is on board; Kalkinash Insights to figure
    out Earl is being political
  • He thinks Halbarad & Lilith plotting to usurp crown; Halbarad
    believes Itheus is using devils as blind for Kamesh invasion, may
    not want to be puppet ruler, always been suspicion that Kaldor
    royal line would betray kingdom to Kamesh.
  • Page tells him no record of Lydia vas Rethem (Kalkinash fairly
    certain he’s being honest). We’ve been had, guys!
  • Our army is only 3000; without help, we can’t do anything about
    the Hellmarch. We tell him that we’ve got Amiri’s 3000. He
    doesn’t think Halbarad will tolerate 3000 Rethenians marching
    across Kaldor. We still think he’s working an angle: price of his
    influence is valuable to both parties (us or Halbarad’s potential
    takeover of kingdom).
  • Earl Istarel vas Koor is 100% loyal to Halbarad; wants tangible
    proof of devil invasion (e.g. a head). Ports of Rethem rich in
    culture — maybe we can find mages. Says he’ll tune some of his
    hawks to us so he can contact us with news.

Streetwise to find out more info

  • Ezren’s death not reported too much. (people don’t generally know
    who their nobles are)
  • Some know about slaver being killed (Ezren)
  • No one knows who Lydia is.
  • Voronwe buys Horned Helm (1800 GP from communal pot).

Journey to Hammerheim

  • following path up to Hammerheim
  • arrive at landing in front of door, lined with market stalls
  • we learn the King of Hammerheim is dead (within last month)
  • We enter huge room with pulley system and hole; faraway sound of
    metal picking into stone. Single guard there; he notices us. He
    says it’s a bad time for us because king is dead. Kalki asks how
    king died. Guard says some suspect murder; others say Logrim is
    usurper (member of ruling council, challenging Norin’s son’s
    challenge Gwydis).
  • We go down into pit. Glowy pit opens into hundreds of dwarves
    going about business. We’ve arrived in Hammerheim. Group of
    dwarves talking animatedly. Crowd steadily increasing in size.
    Crowd gathers around two specific dwarves: one blond, young by
    dwarfish standards (Gwydis); other much older, dressed in noble
    dwarven guard (Logrim). Two begin to quarrel.
  • Crowd gets violent, guards disperse crowd. Guard-captain remains.
    Doesn’t want fighting commons. Calls us topsiders. Brood tells
    him we’ve come from Valina, bearing pledge to recruit army. Asks
    who we can speak to. Captain says only king can command army (but
    king is dead, duh). He says we’re welcome to go to the council
    chamber, where the council is arguing about succession. Captain
    just wants to defend land against Underdark hordes. Hammerheim
    has been civ in retreat for several hundred years. Points to
    another city below pit (Brand, where casteless dwarves live) and
    endless sprawl of cities.
  • Gwydis on good terms w/ merchant and trade castes; Logrim accuses
    Gwydis of arranging death of his older brother Dorn on
    battlefield (died fighting in Lost Kingdom against giants).
    Logrim respected among higher castes; claims dying king doesn’t
    want his son to succeed him. Eldest son Dorn died during last
    year. Dain Deepaxe.

We’re denied access to Council chamber

  • Streetwise checks reveal merchants with Gwydis, who would allow
    casteless to serve in army and open up trade to outsiders,
    whereas Logrim supports Council who believes he protects their
    freedoms. Gwydis may be in league with casteless criminal gangs,
    says Logrim camp. Dregol Copperthumb, associate of Gwydis,
    merchant, works w/ miner caste; Nerul Grayrune, office in Noble
    District one of Logrim’s associates.

Two sides

  • Dregol — beardless dwarf approaches us w/ deal. takes us to
    local tavern. We mention treaty and he gets excited. Gwydis has
    always advocated relationships with topsiders. Might be able to
    get 1000-2000 casteless dwarves to join us. Wants us to expose
    proof of Logrim’s supposed malfeasance in the council. Review of
    caste: miner caste should be higher on echelon than brewing
    caste, being disputed by Olaf Kegbreaker. Logrim has promised
    both sides their votes via letters.
  • Nerul: Says it’s a disgrace that Hammerheim isn’t in position to
    help us with Hellmarch problem. Says Logrim will only do things
    by the book and observe traditions. Says Gwydis is sowing discord
    using criminal gangs in Brand, ruled by overlord named Herag
    Burntbeard: despicable but keeps violence off Hammerheim. But
    Gwydis is supporting rivals to Herag, spreading violence as
    cover. Herag has contacted Logrim and offered us deal, wants
    goods in exchange for pacifying Gwydis. We have to deliver goods.
    Worried that this will be front to carry out political
    assassinations. 2000-3000 if successful.

We decide to pick up goods first

  • we go to Brand: crumpled ruins of ancient dwarven city. looks
    exposed if gates should be breached. lack of light compared to
    Hammerheim. Everyone has facial tattoo given at birth to
    casteless. No one wants to approach you.
  • Crippled female dwarf approaches us. She works for Ajda
    Mintsilver. Tries to get us to leave chests with her.
  • We reach Herag’s headquarters. Used to be armoury, now
    rough-looking dwarves outside. Led inside. Fierce-looking dwarf
    w/ huge black beard — Herag. We give him the goods.

Now favor for Gwydis (Skill challenge)

  • we pass SC, convince people that letters are genuine

Back to Nerul

  • He hopes it will prevent more bloodshed. Takes us to Logrim.
    Sense of sadness about him. Succession battle is taking its toll.
    Wants the last living paragon to come back and vote for him to
    heal wounds and unite council: Aesdir Redbeard. Leading an
    endless campaign in Lost Kingdom. Promises to send 3000 troops.
    Needs us to go find Aesdir Redbeard who promised to seal up
    Kesham Inod passage, took 200 dwarves, and hasn’t been heard
    from. He also says the old King thought Gwydis had murdered his
    brother.

Back to Dregol

  • We tell him we delivered the letters. Young dwarf enters chamber
    (we recognize from brawl when we came in). Introduces himself as
    Gwydis. Wants us to deliver Aesdir to Gwydis instead of to Logrim.

Finding the Paragon (Skill Challenge)

  • at the maze, farther from Hammerheim
  • Aesdir headed to Glanrel, houses relic Hammer of Moradin
  • We fail horribly at this skill challenge, accumulating 9 failures. As a result, we have to lose 1 healing surge each for every failure beyond the normal three (we have option to lose a daily attack power to get two surges back).
  • we encounter duergar and combat starts. Break for the session.

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