The Second Dawn
Reavers of Harkenwold
Now Valdar and Zalbag have been charged to find the duplicitous merchant, who is more than he once seemed. And Traevus’s mysterious connections may hold answers for the personal quests of Zalbag and Nadarr as well. Meanwhile, Edan is compelled to return to a homeland under assault.
Whatever their motivations, the heroes’ journey presses them toward one place: Harkenwold, where they will become embroiled in a struggle against the marauders known as the Iron Circle, as well as uncover more about the darker forces at work behind the scenes . . .
|Session||Game Date||Campaign Date||Description|
|2.1: The Strength of Iron||8/28/2011||5/17/168||Stepping into the Harkenwold|
|The adventurers arrive at the edge of the valley of the Harkenwold by the King’s Road. They leave the road before nightfall, thinking it best to rely on stealth in the face of possible hostilities. Nerisora is sent to scout far ahead, eventually coming upon an alarming scene: Well armed soldiers of the Iron Circle are burning the outlying buildings of a farmstead and threatening its sole occupant – a middle-aged woman.
Thinking quickly, Nerisora sneaks into the farmhouse and creates a distraction, buying enough time to rescue the bewildered woman and flee. The soldiers immediately give chase, tracking closely behind the two with vicious trained wolves, and eventually catching them in the darkness of the surrounding wilds. Just when Nerisora is becoming overwhelmed by her enemies, her allies arrive, having set out to follow their overdue comrade. With skilled sword-work and a furious storm of magic fire from Mae, they quickly dispatch all but two of their enemies.
The prisoners reveal tidbits of info about the Iron Circle forces in the nearby town of Albridge, while the woman, Ilyana, sheds light on the identity of one of the girls on the list. Ilyana, whose harboring of refugees from the forces of the Iron Circle eventually brought their retribution, has a contact in the Harkenwold’s resistance forces, and she pleads with the heroes to help her people. They set out with her for the River House, an inn outside Albridge, with their two prisoners in tow to hand over to the resistance.
|2.2: How to Help the Harkenwold||11/6/2011||5/19/168||Becoming heroes for a land in need|
|The party is on their way to the River House Inn to make contact with the Harkenwold resistance, when by luck they encounter resistance member Dara Gremath. After hearing of their deeds at Ilyana’s steading, the roguish woman agrees to lead them to her comrades. But first, the party’s two Iron Circle prisoners must be dealt with. Blackstar takes the opportunity to create a distraction as well, magically charming the brigands into starting a tavern brawl over her while the heroes quietly follow Dara through a secret passage.
They emerge in the resistance’s lair in Albridge, where they are questioned by the humorless Tarkan Brel, leader of the resistance and paladin of Erathis. Tarkan blames the primal peoples of the Harkenwold for the Iron Circle’s occupation, saying the druids provoked them with an attack. He sees a use for the heroes, agreeing to reveal what he knows of Traevus and Viselle Stockmer if they will act against the Iron Circle to build a heroic image the people can rally around.
While the party ponders the proposal, Dara arranges to meet them privately, explaining her view that the people of the Harken barony must unite with the primal peoples if they hope to repel the invaders. She requests a different task of the heroes: To travel to the refuge of Edan’s elven kin and ask for their assistance. After debate, the party decides to fulfill Tarkan’s request first, and they make the conquered watchtower of Tor’s Hold their first target. To prepare for their theatrical heroics, they take a party name: Ironsbane.
|2.3: Leaving a Mark||1/29/2012||5/21/168||Stirring hope in the Harkenwold with heroic acts|
|The newly christened Ironsbane sets out to strike at the Iron Circle. Nerisora manages to steal a chest of loot out from under the noses of the Albridge garrison, leaving Ironsbane’s symbol as a calling card. Valdar infiltrates a stockade of prisoners and creates a diversion allowing the party to free them. The heroes use a ruse to drive an Iron Circle caravan off the road and destroy them. Support, recruitment and funds for the Albridge resistance increase, and the name of Ironsbane begins to spread.
In their sorties, the party discovers evidence that the Iron Circle has powerful new allies – allies that include the undead. Nevertheless, they press on with plans for their most difficult strike – re-taking the watchtower of Tor’s Hold. They attack during the night, and almost immediately their plans go awry when patrolling guards detect them.
Pinned down in the dark, the heroes manage to deal with most of the Iron Circle forces, including a rampaging rage drake, while weathering the onslaught of a dark adept atop the tower. But the tide turns when a mysterious hooded figure and a death knight emerge. Nerisora is wounded nearly fatally, and several other party members are seriously injured as well. When it looks as if this will be Ironsbane’s final fight, the timely arrival of Osric and a band of druids saves them and provides a chance for escape.
|2.4: Flight and Portents||2/19/2012||5/22/168||Gaining insight from the druids|
|In the nick of time, Ironsbane is rescued by Osric and his druids, and the group flees through the wilderness. Osric explains that the death knights and assassin are surely the minions of Golbez, and they have stolen back the necromantic skull taken from Malareth. Before they reach safety, the party is ambushed by a group of Iron Circle soldiers, including an adept who sets fire to a wagon blocking their path. The heroes manage to fight their way out, just in time to escape the death knight that is still on their heels and reach a strange stone portal leading to the druids’ grove.
Osric reveals that the druids had nothing to do with the attack on the Iron Circle, but that weapons they crafted did, pointing to a possible traitor in the Harkenwold government or militia. The party also discovers that Rain and Brock Marwood have come to the druids for help with Rain’s distressing visions. Reithann, the druids’ elder, reveals these visions and other portents indicate a threatening cataclysm involving the weakening barriers between the planes, which could result in destruction on a scale with the Dawn War. Through a ritual of selection, Nadarr receives the blessing of a primal spirit and is named a Stormrider of the Druids, accepting the charge to discover the origins of this threat to the world.
Receiving gifts from Osric, as well as an embroidered battle standard with the symbol of Ironsbane from Rain, the party departs the grove to return to Tarkan in Albridge, then to seek Viselle Stockmer in Dardun, which the druids have revealed as her hiding place.
|2.5: The Baron’s Daughter||3/18/2012||5/28/168||Aiding the Harkenwold’s leader|
|Ironsbane arrives in the town of Dardun, hoping to finally find and warn Viselle Stockmer of her peril, but the first sight that meets their eyes is Traevus. Complicating matters is the fact that the merchant is instantly welcoming and friendly to the party, and he also seems to be a valued figure in the town’s relief efforts toward Harkenwold refugees. Traevus has an explanation for everything the heroes have discovered about him, and the town leader, Lirr, makes it clear he will tolerate no hostilities. Everyone denies Viselle’s presence in the town.
The party’s trust in Traevus has not increased, and as they work as new hires for the relief effort over the next two days, they keep a careful eye and ear out. Finally, they decide to take matters with Traevus into their own hands. They pick the lock of his cottage and attempt to blast him with an Instant Friends charm to get information from him, but it fails. The heroes soon find themselves arrested by Lirr’s guards and locked in the town guard tower.
Fortunes change with the arrival of Viselle herself, who releases the party and allows Valdar to examine Lien, a sick elf friend she has brought into town. The girl needs medicine made from bloodcap mushrooms to save her, which can be found in the nearby, and dangerous, Toadswallow Caverns. Ironsbane accepts the quest and enters the caverns in search of the ingredient. After a harrowing battle with bullywugs, oozes, and a giant frog that nearly succeeds in eating Valdar, they emerge with enough for a full dose of the medicine.
|2.6: Abduction||5/12/2012||6/1/168||Facing enemies on all fronts|
|The heroes have won Viselle’s trust with their part in the healing of her friend. And when members of the White Ash Enclave show up claiming that Traevus’s expected suppliers were in fact Tiamat cultists, Traevus’s magnanimous exterior begins to crumble. A search of his quarters turns up a letter to the cult that confirms Traevus’s guilt, as well as a mysterious book radiating with magical energy – a book that Edan seems to take a keen interest in.
Traevus is taken into custody, but things quickly unravel when the newly arrived enclave members are revealed to be Traevus’s Tiamat allies and assault the party. They nearly succeed in locking the heroes in the town watchtower while Traevus acts on the long feared plan to abduct Viselle, but Ironsbane dispatches most of them and leaves the remaining cultist – a young woman named Tinya – in the custody of the town guards. Battered and weary after a day full of fighting, they push on into the pouring rain to rescue Viselle.
|2.7: New Allies, Old Enemies||7/1/2012||6/1/168||No rest for weary heroes|
|Ironsbane doggedly pursues Traevus, attempting to prevent his abduction of Viselle Stockmer. Despite Traevus’s cunning tactics and the fact that he has mentally dominated Lirr and his guards, the party prevails without any lasting harm to their allies, and they make a new one in the process.
Badab, a dwarf from the White Ash Enclave, happens upon the battle and aids the heroes. He has been tracking the very same group of Tiamat cultists that Ironsbane dealt with in Dardun, attempting to rescue Tinya, the girl they took prisoner, from the cult’s influence.
The party brings an injured Traevus and their harried allies back to the village, only to find disaster. Iron Circle troops, accompanied by Golbez’s assassin, occupy Dardun, in numbers too great for the weary heroes to overcome. They have no choice but to hand over Traevus and Viselle, after which they receive a shocking revelation: Golbez’s assassin is none other than Zalbag’s sister, Rose, her previous life apparently now forgotten. As the Iron Circle departs with their prisoners, having already taken Tinya, Ironsbane is left to save the village’s refugees from a burning building and to ponder a sobering truth: The objects of their quests, enemies and allies alike, have now converged in the fortress of Harken City. But they’ll need help to take on the Iron Circle there, and so they at last set out to find Edan’s home and its potential elven allies.