Old school Dragonlance campaign

story so far... from solace burning to Pax Tharkas

After defeating the black dragon Khisanth and recovering the Disks of Mishakal for Goldmoon, a cleric of Mishikal from the village of Qué-Shu, from Xak Tsaroth, Black Rabbit, Goldmoon, Kerplaaak, and Polaris traveled back to Solace. From a far the group saw that the village was smoldering but decided to sneak into the town from indirect route through the surrounding woods. When they arrived they found many of the mighty vallenwood trees scorched or toppled. Many of the buildings that once sat high up in them were burned and shattered on the ground. They made their way in to see what had become of the Inn of the Last Home. It too was in pieces on the village floor but the kitchen was intact and accepting patrons. They took a seat at far table and were served by the barmaid Tika Waylan. Queitly she informed the companions of all that had happened since they left for Haven. She cut herself off when four Kapak Draconians came in and sat down at an adjoining table.
A lone quiet figure who had sat staring into his drink stood up and started to walk out to leave. As he did, one of the Draconians grabbed his hood and pulled it off. It reveled that the quiet figure was an elf that Black Rabbit recognized as Gilthanas Kanan, a son of the royal family of the Elvish kingdom of Qualinesti. Gilthanas pulled his sword and confronted the Draconians. The companions joined into to help and a mighty bar brawl ensued. The companions easily defeated the four Draconians, but only after discovering that they dissolved into a pools of acid when killed, filling up the kitchen’s floorspace. They soon then found that the noise of the row attracted the attention of the Draconian army that occupied the town and they now had surrounded the building. The leader of that army, a hobgoblin named Toad, gave them an ultimatum but, at Kerplaak’s and Polaris’ urging, the group decided to dig in and fight to the death. They were eventually beaten into unconsciousness and taken prisoner. It also did not help that Black Rabbit found himself in the way of one of Polaris’ Scorching Bursts.

They awoke to find themselves in caged cart in the town center of Solace, part of a caravan of caged warriors to be taken to the fortress of Pax Tharakas for slave labor. They shared the cart with Tika, the barmaid, with whom Polaris started to reveal more than a friendly interest in, as well as Gilthanas, a Human blacksmith named Theros Ironfeld who was severely injured, two Highseeker Priests, one of which was the elderly Elistan, whose council they sought in Haven, and an eccentric old man in gray, large brimmed hat. Elistan revealed that the Dragonarmy had betrayed their promise to the elders of Haven and overran it as well.
As the caravan embarked south towards Pax Tharakas, it was ambushed by a force of elvish archers led by Gilthanas’ older brother, Porhtios. When the caravan came to a stop, a gully dwarf nicknamed “Worm”, who apparently wasn’t enthralled by the lowly moniker, broke open the lock of the companions’ cart out of spite to his superiors. One by one, the heroes jumped out of the cage and attacked the hobgoblin guards. Although unarmed, but with the clever use of Caribou by Kerplaak and aided by the sudden return appearance of “Bear Bear,” they were able to defeat the guards and recover their weapons and gear from another cart. Elistan and the other Highseekers decided to depart with the eccentric old man who talked with the trees while Tika, Theros Ironfeld, and the companions followed Gilthanas and Porthios, after some arguing, to the Qualinesti capital city of Qualinost.
They they were taken to the palace and met with the kingdom’s leader, Speaker of the Sun Solostaran Kanan. Black Rabbit asked to Kerplaaak and Polaris to keep his name a secret from the Qualinseti elves and refer to him as Leif Windrunner for reasons he would reveal later. They are also greeted by Solostaran’s young graceful daughter Laurana, who was very excited to see Black Rabbit with whom she had an apparent bond with. Solostaran thanked the companions for helping his son Gilthanas return safely. For some reason, he attacks Goldmoon as a heretic and burns his hands on the sign of Mishkal that she wears. After some convincing from the group, and after he allows her to heal his hands, he accepts her and tells the group of his kingdom’s plan to travel east and sail across the sea to Southern Ergoth to avoid the advancing Red Dragonarmies. Kerplaaak, Polaris, and Black Rabbit object to this, telling him that the elves have a better chance by staying in their lands and fighting. Nobody knows the woods better than the elves and that is where they belong. Solorastan disagrees and Black Rabbit mutters something under his breath about “city elves” who have lost their way. The three, however, are able to convince him to grant them new weapons, gear, and armor so that they may stay behind and defend the forest anyway. Gilthanas mentions he knows of a secret way that they can enter into the Pax Tharakas and attempt to free the fighters imprisoned there. Solostaran agrees to allow his son to remain behind and thus guide them to the fortress. They then depart the Speaker’s chambers and retire for the night. Tika and Polaris go off to the grove mentioned by Laurana to “refresh” themselves.
The next morning the group gets it new gear from the elves and make ready to head out. Tika decides to remain with the elves and go with them to their new home across the sea. As Gilthanas, Goldmoon, Polaris and Black Rabbit travel along the path away from the city, they encounter a group of fallen warriors at a crossroads. They stop to attend to the lone survivor they find there but are ambushed then by a small band of Baaz Draconians. After they defeat the Draconians, the injured warrior introduces himself as Eben, and tells the group his band of fighters was overwhelmed by the Draconian forces and they were left there as means to set up an ambush. Goldmoon offers to heal Eben, but he oddly refuses. The five continue their journey towards Pax Tharakas and Eben trails along behind.
Gilthanas takes the group before a rock face. Cracks soon appear and a door opens. The party proceeds inside and turn to their left. They come into a chamber where on the near wall they see a clothed skeleton seated on a stone throne flanked by two large statues of sword bearing warriors. Despite the presence of the two elves Gilthanas and Black Rabbit, it is Polaris who recognizes the skeleton to be that of Kith-Kanan, the founder of the Qualinesti nation. Both Kerplaaak and Black Rabbit approach the skeleton. Black Rabbit scans it over for any traps, but finding none, sees that the figure is fitted with both a cloak and large falchion. Kerplaaak picks up the sword and as he starts to slide the sword from it’s scabbard and bright light emenates briefly from it. He keeps the falchion and learns that it’s called Wyrmslayer.

The group proceeds down the narrow corridor behind them and encounter the giant slug of Santa Cruz. Kerplaaak charges forward saying something about “I have a sword and I have religion…” and the group slays the slug. As Kerplaaak cleans himself off of slug guts, Black Rabbit checks the rubble in the corner for “dead rats,” and begins stuffing his pocket with said “dead rats.” When the group catches on, they split up the gold evenly and give a gem to an enthusiastic Goldmoon. Kerplaaak leaves an offering of his gold to his lord Bahumet, but Black Rabbit seeing this, and thinking it is a waste of gold, secretly swipes about half of it. The groups traces back through to the way the came in and venture down the corridor that was to the right of the entrance. As they turn the corner, Kerplaaak’s sense of the presence of the undead goes off. The group quietly proceeds down to the path and into a chamber of several large, rusted doors and stone coffins. Kerplaak argues to go the direct route but Black Rabbit gets the group to turn back and follow him down a corridor they had past on the left. Getting an eerie sense from one chamber, they proceed past it and scout further through the winding narrow paths. It is at this point that Polaris suggest that they start drawing a map so as to not get lost, which she agrees to do. With both Black Rabbit and Gilthanas scouting ahead, they spring the trap of the Infinite Loop, and get separated from the rest of the party when a stone slab suddenly shuts off the opening behind them. With both the Thunderwave spells cast by Polaris and the brute strength of Kerplaak, they are able to eventually free the opening up again. Black Rabbit relents that maybe the direct route was the best in this case. They group returns to room with the stone coffins. Suspecting a trap, they ask Polaris to cast the Ritual of a Magic Circle to protect them against immortal creatures as Black Rabbit disables the lock of the large iron door at the far end of the chamber. They succeed in opening the door without triggering the trap. They then work themselves through a series of trick passages and hidden doors to find themselves in a large dark room that at its center has an enormous chain anchored to floor and stretching into the darkness above. After some investigation, they are able to discover that they are now in the hidden halls underneath Pax Tharakas, which was built by the Dwarves of Thorabin as part of an alliance that Kith-Kanan struck between the two nations to help each to protect both their kingdoms. The group learns that if the chain is somehow released, it will open the massive doors that close off the fort from the rest of the mountain pass. Black Rabbit then proceeds to investigate a small ante-chamber off to the side. He walks into the room and discovers a pile of bones. As he approaches, a spirit rises forth from the bones and takes the form of a tattooed eleven female. She recognizes some of the tattoos on Black Rabbit and ask him for a sign that he is of kin. He presents her a sign of twisted twigs which she recognizes. She tells him the story that she was once one of a group of thieves who had many years before infiltrated the tombs in search of treasure and she was killed when she sprung a trap. The rest of her group just walked over her dead body and removed the treasure at the center. They were eventually killed by the undead guards of Kith-Kanan and the treasure was returned to the room. She ask that if Black Rabbit would agree to collect her remains and return them to be buried in an elven forest where she belongs. He does and she grants him the armor and the items among her remains. As the group enters the room and see the treasure at the center, he tells them he wants nothing to do with it and hopes that they will too. However, the allure of gold is too great and they divide it up. Polaris asked puzzledly why a thief would refuse gold when there is usually no honor among thieves. Among the items that Black Rabbit pulls from the bones is an amulet that will transform its wearer into the form of a fox. However, the longer the person remains in this form, the more difficult it is change back. Polaris quips that she is looking forward to making a nice stole. The group exits and takes a short rest before proceeding through the door that opens into the halls of Pax Tharakas….

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