The party started out in the small village of Keeperstown during the early summer market and festival. During their stay there, two young girls, bloodied and terrified, came running into the market square claiming they had been attacked by an ogre. This was strange, because the younger girl seemed as though she had two large fang marks on her legs, and was suffering from the effects of snake venom.
The adventurers were asked by the town’s chancellor Pierce to investigate. They were directed to a secluded grove with a cave entrance. Unfortunately, the entranced was guarded by a hobgoblin wolfmaster and his pets!
The party ventured into the caves and found a pack of bugbears led by a very large ogre, and one that seemed as though he had been infused with snake-like powers and bearing an insignia of Zehir on his chest. (Zehir is the evil god of darkness, poison, and snakes).
They also found the body of an orc wizard that had a letter on him. This letter was addressed to another wizard, Faldred. It spoke of a gathering darkness over the land, and that it seemed like more evil organizations were gathering in the Grymmoll D’aer, and it obviously concerned him.
In the back of the caves, they found an entrance to a long-abandoned dwarven stronghold that had recently been remade into a throng of Snaketongue cultists. The party quickly cleared out the evil snaketongues, confronting their leader in an arcane library. The leader transformed into a hideous Yuan-Ti anathema, and the party had to dispatch him. They recovered a long black wooden box from the library, and were stunned to find inside it an ancient and powerful artifact; The Hand of Vecna!
They remembered a prophecy that spoke of a time of Darkness, and something about gathering the hand and eye of the dead god for some purpose. They decided to return to Keeperstown and discuss what had happened.
The next morning, as the party discussed what they were going to do next, Pierce approached them and said there were some people outside looking for them, and wanted to talk to them. At first, the formidable force seemed as though they were there on official business, but something didn’t seem quite right. When the leader of the force demanded they hand over any items they recovered from the cult’s hideout, the soldiers transformed into legion devils, and the leader revealed herself as Lady Velar, a succubus!
Despite the succubus’ evil charms, the adventurers dispatched her allies, and Lady Velar vanished in a pillar of smoke and brimstone, vowing to return.
Later that night, Grog and Daelarok were returning to the pub where they were staying when they heard the strained cries of someone in trouble. They found a halfling potion vendor who had recently been mobbed. He said that the villains entered a nearby warehouse, and said he would reward the heroes if they exacted revenge on his assailants and recovered his purse of gold.
Entering the warehouse, the two adventurers encountered a large gathering of human rabble, and fought them through the warehouse, releasing large wooden crates suspended above the floor onto the poor soul’s heads. They were then greeted by a mysterious drow woman calling herself Captain Xytan. She pronounced that the whole escapade was a test to assess their worthiness. She tossed them an iron medallion that had an engraving of a large tower on one side, and the words “Lying is the only Truth” on the other. She told them to meet her at a bridge on the road west from Keeperstown. As a departing gift, she flung a large mystical onyx gem at them that summoned a Drider! The two heroes valiantly slew the evil monster as Xytan escaped.
The party decided to depart Keeperstown that morning, and travel west past the Underdowns to Faldred’s Tower, to seek some answers to the growing number of questions.
The Road to Faldred
The party encountered a band of halfling raiders posing as ogres, and avenged a gold dragon who fell in vicious combat to a young red dragon in the midst of burning countryside. They finally came to the bridge, and encountered a strange outpost of soldiers who would only speak in opposites. Remembering the writing on the medallion, they were directed to a slender path going north that eventually led to a clearing with many tents. Captain Xytan was there, with an assemblage of other adventurers. Xytan explained that she had arranged a series of games for the party to compete in, and for each even the heroes won, they would receive a very valuable prize.
The adventurers won all the matches, including the grand arena battle as the culmination, and Captain Xytan awarded each with a valuable magical item. She then proposed that the party help her by delving into a series of caverns beneath the rolling hills of the Underdowns, to recover an item that she lost while she traveled to the meeting place.