Roll for Salsa

Early days of Roll for Salsa
Famous Dave unites us...

The paths of five lone travellers converge upon one place in the northwest of the Nentir Vale. Each of them had come across a leaflet advertising Famous Dave’s Adventurer’s Academy, but their reasons for coming to the listed location vary. (“The Famous Dave mailer” has been widely acknowledged as one of the furthest-reaching marketing campaigns in the history of the Nentir Vale)

A solitary, boarded-up cabin greets the travellers, a sign above the door proclaiming “Adventurer’s Academy” seems to mock them. The group is soon approached by a woman named Salvana Wrafton. She pleads with the strangers to follow her into town and help take care of a kobold problem. Weary and irritated about the Famous Dave bust, but in need to supplies, each of the five travellers agree. Never has a more unlikely party been seen — Mialee, a female Elf Rogue in search of her brother. Kyrrox, a young female Dragonborn Ranger with a faithful pet Griffin by her side. Patyen, a male Halfling Cleric of Elven Goddess Sehanine. Zedra, an Eladrin Wizard, aloof and gender-androgynous. Gord, a male Tiefling Warlock whose imposing build and near-silence makes everyone more than a little nervous.

The group is then officially hired by Lord Padraig of Winterhaven to root out and exterminate nearby kobold encampments. Padraig sends along a town guard named Barry to assist them. Thus begins the first job of Roll for Salsa, Adventurers for Hire. (Though they would not come to be known by that name until later.)

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)
Winterhaven: barfight, Griffy “dies”, kyrrox gets Riza, kobold camp extermination, Barry + kyrrox, meet Herman, find amulets of orcus, salvana’s missing picture, famous dave is wanted in Fallcrest, shadravax mirror – oops a dragon in town!

Zedra pulled into The Shadowfell, sees orcus & kalarel. snapped back, reports experience to rest of r4s. find incriminating Page from Kilik Padraig’s Notebook.

The keep: skeletons like Bahamut, enter Dwarfie Hammersmash, pantslessness ensues, the group defeats kalarel, close rift to shadowfell, OMG Zedra’s a dude.

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Welcome to Fallcrest
Roll for Salsa expands their territory

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)
with Famous Dave in tow, R4s go to cash in at Fallcrest. turns out, he’s not wanted, but Dwarfie is?!

stonebender murder mystery.

meet Selos, and the children of. Conry joins the party.

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Harkenwold has a bandit problem
Cheesemonger's paradise, indeed

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)

Answer the plea from Harkenwold, they’re short on guards and need help with a bandit problem.

kill some bandits, kyrrox sextimidates their leader and stops the fighting. stumble into shoddily conjured portal to The Shadowfell. A fight breaks out with a group of shadar-kai, who mistake R4S for an invading force from the Prime. The party finds the tribe leader riding Griffy. in the camp they find some interesting notes. Zedra is able to get to the return portal and, after R4S plus Griffy are through, seal it. Back in the Prime, it seems months have passed.

on the road back to Fallcrest, an overturned cart prompts investigation. find dead halfling cleric near a small a bandit camp, Zedra aquires a Magic Tome with a gold filigree border.

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Return with Griffy
Griffin medicine is complicated

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)

Back to Fallcrest, turns out four months have passed, no doubt due to the incorrectly conjured portal. Care for Griffy is sought, Huge gives r4s a shopping list of rare ritual components for a cure.

Selos has one component, the Revival Shroud, and will give it to R4S in exchange for clearing out Kalton Manor of bandits.

(find out thru Miri at Stonebender mining that another component, pale iron, might be found in the dawnforge mountains to the east. The third component, dryad amber, will have to be found in The Feywild – natural habitat of dryads)

Run into Barry in Fallcrest. mysterious filigree border noticed, mialee follows a new friend of barry’s, overhears several names mentioned including Dakyr, zedra’s brother.

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Taking back Kalton Manor
Exterminate!

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)

r4s + Seylene Kalton go to the manor house, and enter thru the sewer system.

kyrrox’s famous flaming horse tactic employed.

find justice beyard as a prisoner.

clear the house of bandits.

“seylene” kills beyard, escapes. R4S find a note on the body.

R4S rest a night, then returns to Fallcrest, finding seylene who claims she was with her brother the entire day.

Selos gives r4s the revival shroud – component #1 for Griffy’s cure.

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a stop at Fiveleague House
where all the cool kids hang out

r4s travels to Fiveleague House, a waypoint on the crossroads leading to Hammerfast in the east, and lake nen to the north. At Fiveleague House, r4s meet a gibberish-speaking halfling and a surly half-elf wearing the same subtle filigree border seen on Barry & cohorts in Fallcrest.

After some really and most sincerely bad attempts at stealth, R4S talk to the half-elf. He identifies himself as Marcus, and says his organization is known as The Hidden Hand. His halfling companion is also a member, her name is Suzette. He shows some interest in Roll for Salsa’s standing with Selos and his following. R4S deny membership in Selos’ culty group, but admit they have accepted jobs from him when beneficial to r4s’ own interests. Marcus seems only barely accepting of this. He does not fully explain himself, but hints that while Selos and the Hidden Hand may seem to have similar goals, they two groups are not allies.

After some more standoffish bickering and silence, it is established that yes, Zedra’s brother Dakyr is a member of Hidden Hand, as is Mialee’s brother Rhyder.

Hammerfast is blocked off due to rock slides, so the group decides to head north to check out The Ruins of Fastormel, the place supposedly responsible for the halfling’s malady. Then, on to Nenlast and its fabled fey portal.

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Fastormel
what's up with that tower?

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)

Investigate The Ruins of Fastormel. A tower perfectly unscathed stands amidst the 450 year old ruins. r4s go in for a closer look. They discover some kind of mechanism inside, and activate it. Patyen steps into the center of the room, where a beam of light shines. The tower begins to shake as if it is about to self-destruct, r4s flee outside, only to find it stands just as pristine as before. Patyen is now afflicted with the same curious malady of gibberish as Suzette, the Hidden Hand halfling. He seems to be ok, as long as he is not asked about the experience…

R4S decide to press onward to Nenlast, in search of a fey portal.

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Nenlast and beyond!
clues to Nenlast's best kept secret

The search for Griffy-healing ritual components continues. Rumor of a fey crossing brings R4S to Lake Nen. Component #2, Dryad Amber, must be found in The Feywild.

R4S enters the sleepy fishing village of Nenlast, situated on the eastern shore of Lake Nen. The party makes a stop at the local tavern in hopes of gaining information about the possible Fey Crossing. Neither the patrons nor the employees of the tavern have even the slightest idea what R4S is talking about. (“fey-what-now?”) Dejected, R4S sulk at a table with their drinks, discussing possible courses of action. Mialee, ever observant, spies an old map of the area hung on the wall behind the bar. She notices an island depicted at the near-center of the lake which does not appear to exist in reality. On the way out, Mialee asks the bartender about it but he dismisses it as an error since the map is very old. He does warn R4S that if they head out onto the lake to be careful of a very large aggressive crocodile – named Old Snappy by the fishermen.

The party heads down to the docks, seeking a boat to take them out on the lake. None of the fishermen are willing to bring a bunch of tourists out on a pleasure cruise when there are fish to haul in. The group turns back toward town and sees a shop with a familiar sign. Famous Dave’s Fresh Fish. R4S eagerly crowd at the shop’s window, and Dave groans in lament at seeing them. His bitterness is brushed off and R4S convince him that they will not destroy his building, try to claim a bounty on him, or otherwise ruin his business. Mostly to avoid negative confrontation, Dave relents and takes the party out on his boat to observe the lake. At the spot where the island was shown on the old map, Zedra’s arcana-sense tingles.

Mialee dives in to the water to see what she can find below the surface. Among the rocks and aquatic plants, she spots a chain-and-lock contraption. Mialee swims back up to the boat and relays her findings. She plans to make an attempt at picking the lock, to see what happens. No sooner does she disappear below the surface than the water is disturbed again. A remarkably huge crocodile takes interest in the boat’s presence. Dave voices his concern and is promptly shushed by R4S.

Mialee successfully opens the lock. Part of the lakebed beneath her shifts, releasing a few bubbles. How curious… She resurfaces for air and sees Kyrrox riding a massive crocodile, in order to keep from being bitten by it. Mialee moves towards her comrades, but is instructed to continue picking the underwater locks. The rest of R4S would draw Old Snappy’s attention. Worried but determined, Mialee takes in a deep breath and dips back into the lake. Zedra acts as guide, feeling out where the next lock can be found by sensing the arcane power of the area.

Kyrrox’ heroics in “commandeering” the croc make it easier for the rest of R4S on the boat to hit the beast. Mialee swims fast and sure to the remaining locks and opens them faster than if she’d held the actual keys. A section of lakebed begins to rise as soon as the fourth and final lock pops open, churning up silt and swirls of bubbles on its way. Mialee is carried up with the mass of rock. Just as the enchanted island breaks the water’s surface, Kyrrox manages to kill the huge crocodile.

Dave and “crew” pull the boat up to the isle and unload. Zedra confirms this hidden island is the location of the fey portal, and he prepares a fey crossing ritual. R4S bid fond farewell to Dave, gifting him the dead Snappy. He seems more excited about getting away from the group of adventurers than about the prospect of towing the beast’s corpse back to shore. Dave claims he will have a Dock Hand keep a lookout for their return, and pick them up when and if they require it. With a wave that equally says “Bah!” and “Take care, you crazies!” Dave turns back to his boat and R4S step through the fey portal.

The Feywild assaults the senses of the party with amplified color, smells, and sounds. Zedra smiles at the familiarity of it. He gains a feel for the arcane powers in the area, attempting to figure out the direction to take. Mialee’s high perception and attunement to nature give her the same sense of direction as Zed. They agree that Dryads are most likely to be found to the South, about 7-10 days distant. Patyen, Kyrrox, Gord, and Conry delve into their own senses and skills, but get different inclinations of where to go. After a brief arguement, it is acknowledged that perhaps following the Fey Wizard and the Elven Rogue is their best bet.

R4S navigate the wild and vibrant fey woodland, amazed yet wary as the days pass. A sun-dappled clearing opens before them and faint giggling from the treeline puts the group on edge. A few steps more, and a small contingent of gnomes make themselves known. Natural tricksters, the gnomes make for a difficult fight. One seems to be able to command a wall of brambles, others have the ability to teleport. By the time all the damn things are finally laid low, several members of R4S are nearly dead. Only with the grace of their cleric and the Revival Shroud are they able to mend their wounds and return from death’s waiting grasp.

Kyrrox decapitates one of the slain gnomes and carves the word “scourge” on its forehead. She then fastens the head to her belt and swears a personal vow to exterminate every gnome she encounters. As the party makes ready, Kyrrox finds the implements that had granted the thorn-waller his power: a set of Green Thumbs.

As the party continues on, Conry hacks at random trees with his sword. Zedra scowls and assures him these trees are not Dryads, and even if they were, his actions are NOT the correct way to extract amber. A few more days journey and Zed leads the way to a large, dense ring of trees.

The party walks in towards a resplendant, towering tree at the ring’s center. Before they can draw too near, one of the trees nearby begins to move towards them and asks in harsh tones why they’ve come. Conry and Kyrrox take a few steps back, Patyen holds firm, but Zedra and Mialee move forward to address the Dryad. The plight of Griffy is explained, but the Dryads make it clear they do not just gift their amber since it is rather painful to extract.

Mialee Woodsinger lives up to her surname and begins singing a soft yet soaring melody in her native elven. Zedra lives up to his upbringing and plays diplomat, assuring the Mother Dryad that the donor will be tended to. Conry nearly ruins negotiations by bickering with Patyen, and continuing to hit trees with his sword. Kyrrox helps to quell Conry’s aggression and miraculously Zed is able to resolve the discussion. The Dryads agree to give them the amber they need. A donor stands ready.

Patyen and Zedra perform the surgery and extract, with the greatest of care, enough amber for Huge’s cure ritual. Mialee’s voice aids in calming and comforting the donor and his family. When the amber is secured, Patyen heals the donor Dryad, and offers his humble thanks. Zedra and Mialee, too, express their deep gratitude and respect. R4S leaves the Dryad’s grove and sighing in relief begin their 10 day trek back to the fey crossing.

Travel back becomes increasingly difficult after all ration supplies are exhausted. Foraging for food becomes impossible for most of the party. Kyrrox thinks of a possible source of help and pulls out the Herman summoning bell. Flashes of light and a high-pitched mechanical whine come from the bell, but with a puff of smoke, Herman finally appears. “Are you in the Feywild?! That thing isn’t meant to be used across planes.” The starving adventurers apologize and cry their woes to Herman. He offers them a magic basket of replenishing food. Payment for their salvation is most of their gold plus the promise to find some obsidian crown of Ro’Thax. The party agrees, having little choice. Kyrrox manages to hold back her newfound hatred of gnomes long enough to complete the transaction.

With full bellies and new tasks in their future, R4S experiences little trouble in their last few days travel. The portal location is found again and Zedra does his fey-thing. They all step back onto the secret isle of Lake Nen. Mere moments later, a Dock Hand waves to them from shore and sets out with a boat. Once back in town, the party observes with amusement that Dave is now Famous-er for catching Ol’ Snappy.

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Gibbering halflings
you speakin' my language, girl

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)

Upon returning to Fiveleague House, Patyen and Suzette compare gibberish. The halflings can understand one another, but do not seem to have experienced the same event at The Ruins of Fastormel when they were first afflicted.

Through Barton and the general gossip around Fiveleage, R4S find out they still cannot gain entry to Hammerfast, due to inclement rock slides. So the group decides to investigate Gardmore Abbey: last known location of this Obsidian Crown of Ro’Thax wanted by Mad Hamish and Herman.

Marcus sends a Hidden Hand member, Krystryd Firebeard, with r4s to go to the Abbey. The group makes a stop in Fallcrest in order to give Huge the dryad amber, component #2.

While in town, Patyen attacks Selos for no apparent reason, all the while screaming gibberish. Conry jumps in to the fight and is arrested. Mialee manages to grab Patyen and stuff him in the bag of holding. R4S hightails it out of town.

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Crowning glory of Gardmore
Praying to deities, like bosses

R4S, along with Krystryd, arrive at Gardmore Abbey. Krystryd apparently knows people here, and she introduces r4s to Hidden Hand fighter Loki. They also run into Valthrun the exceedingly old sage of Winterhaven.

The abbey’s main room, full of altars to the various patron deities of the grand knights, seems at first to be your standard worship venue. Closer inspection reveals some kind of arcane power, and after a bit of fiddling, kneeling, and praying, r4s manages to open a secret elevator descending into a vast cavern. (Patyen’s still in the bag of holding, mind you)

R4S plus Valthrun take the elevator down, Krystryd stays topside. Some precarious stone walkways lead to rooms carved from the stone. There had been a collapse at some point and skeletons of ancient knights lay exposed. R4s leaves Valthrun to stand watch as they bust through a couple barricaded doors – they find a skeletal knight seated in a throne wearing the obsidian crown! A fight breaks out when R4S tries to take possession of it. Eventually the crown is removed from the knight (assumed to be Sir Fortis.) The crown seems to cause necrotic damage to the touch, Zedra uses Mage Hand to carry it. Quakes begin, as if the entire cavern is upset at the disturbance of the crown. R4s finds their escape route has been destroyed, but the quakes created an opening in another wall.

A long hallway opens into a huge blood filled cavern. R4S leave Valthrun with the crown at the far side of the hall and battle with the wretched creatures awakened in the cavern. Some of the skeletal knights, now reanimated, fight the creatures along with r4s. The room’s center holds a huge pit from which the blood gushes, and a beholder emerges. r4s struggle in their fight with it, when suddenly it seems to be weakened. R4S discover Valthrun has put the crown on. R4S defeats the beholder, more blood pours forth. Valthrun is in extreme pain, but is keeping the rift at bay by wearing the crown. Obviously, this Obsidian Crown of Ro’Thax is not just a historical collector’s item.

They all leave the cavern, and find they can make it back to the elevator by swimming across the blood. After the ascent to the main floor, the group briefs Krystryd and a few trusted monks of the abbey. The monks promise to attend to Valthrun and close the abbey to all outside visitors. Krystryd stays to assist the monks, r4s departs, headed for Fallcrest with Loki.

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