The Campaign

The morning after their birthdays, each of the five PCs awoke with the same compulsion to go to the Port City of Hartsmouth. Then, upon entering the city and interacting with various inhabitants, had the same vision. Eventually all five were drawn together in the Flying Horse Tavern. Where they discovered their common interests. During the course of their investigations they heard about the Raven Queen Temple on Scaletop Hill to the East and the Crescent Moon Monastery on Starcrest Hill to the West.

Firstly they decided to go visit the monastery (due to the link between the crescent shaped mark on their palms and the name of said monastery). When they arrived and asked a monk tending the grounds, he denied knowledge of the mark. This caused suspicion to one group member who then tried to threaten the monk into telling the truth. He was cowed initially and confirmed that the mark was a talon rather than a crescent. At this point he shifted into beastform (a wolf) and ran off into the monastery. When the party decided to follow, they were chased off by a large Black bear. The group decided to stay at the Flying Horse Inn for the night, except for Mari who is a worshipper of the Raven Queen and decides to risk the journey to the temple, late at night, alone. She finally reached the temple and revealed her mark to its priests who treated her like royalty. She arranges for the rest of the group to be picked up the following morning.

When the rest of the party arrived they were told of the initiation into the Brotherhood of the Talon and spent the day preparing. Later that night as the new moon rose they were led through the underground temple to a large hollow in the top of Scaletop hill where a small temple devoted to the Raven Queen was hidden away. In the Temple was the initiation chamber, a small 5x10 room with a statue of the Raven Queen. Here, each one is led into the inner sanctum where there is a statue of the Raven Queen, an oversized robed hooded lady with jet black gemstones for eyes and her left hand reaching out from the black cloak in white alabaster. They are accompanied by 2 acolytes with burning torches, who, once the door is shut kneel before the statue and begin to chant. Each Character then decided what to do, some bowed before the statue, some swore oath of loyalty, others merely held out the marked hand to the deity. All, however reached out and touched the extended hand bringing the physical blessing of the Raven Queen to them. Thus initiated into the Brotherhood of the Talon each one received various blessings in the form of a physical enhancement of some kind, or possibly training in a skill or feat, and in some instances an ability or resistances or attacks were enhanced. Once each PC had undergone the ceremony they were all led back into the underground temple to rest and decide what to do next.

Tenets of the Raven Queen

She expects her followers to abide by these commandments:
  • Hold no pity for those who suffer and die, for death is the natural end of life.
  • Bring down the proud, who try to cast off the chains of fate. As the instrument of the Raven Queen, you must punish Hubris wherever you find it.
  • Watch for the cults of Orcus and stamp them out whenever they arise. The Demon Prince of the Undead seeks to claim the Raven Queen’s throne.
The morning after initiation, the PCs are elated & ready to face the world. The high priest approaches them with a request:
“A few days ago we sent out two acolytes to investigate an old deserted Manor house a few miles north of here just off the great Eastern road.. We suspect it may be the hideout of a group of bandits who are terrorising the area. They seem to strike from nowhere, take what they want and then disappear.”
The party agree to investigate and begin the adventure

The Missing Priests

  • Garthon Manor – The Talons are asked to find some missing Raven Queen priests who went to investigate an old mansion called Garthon Manor to see if bandits were holed up there. They find Kobold bandits inhabiting the area below the ruins and an injured kobold at the lowest level informs them that the priests were taken by slavers into a hole in the wall. This led to:
  • The Den of Slavers – Having discovered a tunnel in the basement of Garthon manor, the PCs went in search of the missing prisoners & their mysterious captors. Finding a band of Torog worshippers, the party defeat them & encounter the Halfling priestess Morgana & a strange glowing blue crystal. Morgana flees into the caves below and the characters free some Halfling and human prisoners, finding the dead priests also.
  • The Tainted Spiral – Searching for Morgana, the party entered a series of caves where another of the strange shards of crystal has taken control of a crystal golem with fell taints guarding it.
PC’s return to the survivors at the temple of Torog and take Lani the Halfling home to Fordinghart. The Halfling survivor is Lani Blackstream, a member of Jangi Blackstream’s family who was kidnapped from Fordinghart. Jangi is a halfling trader who operates from the small village of Fordinghart, he agrees a reward of 50gp & will provide a 25% discount on two 1st to 5th level items to the PCs, if they could retrieve the blue crystal they mentioned.

From Fordinghart they return to the temple of the Raven Queen, where they meet the Priestess Ravenna, she introduces herself after flying down in Raven form. Ravenna is a dwarf druid. Ravenna has a mark on her palm similar to the PC’s. She will accompany the party as an observer/advisor only participating if absolutely necessary She shows the PC’s how to use the 3rd level group power below:

Raven Queen’s Rebuke

You call upon your patron’s aid against her most hated enemy.
Talon Group Attack 3
Encounter ✦ Divine, Implement
Standard Action
Close burst 5
Targets: Undead Creatures in burst
Attack: Wisdom or Charisma Vs Fort
Hit: Targets in the burst are dazed (save ends).

Accompanied by Ravenna, the PCs return to the crystal cavern to defeat the golem & retrieve the crystal. They take the crystal back to the priests of the Raven Queen, but keep the one from the golem to give to Jangi Blackstream. The Talons are next asked to find the Stormcrows. As one of them has a rare dangerous artefact ‘ The Wrathstone’.

“The Stormcrow Legacy”

Stormcrow Tor is many hours travel from Hartsmouth, north of Kayne’s Bridge. When the party is travelling up the north road toward Kayne’s Bridge about 10 miles from Hartsmouth they encounter a funeral procession.

“Coming south along the road towards you is a solemn procession. It consists of seven mounted hooded figures with a plain wooden coffin resting atop an ornate horse drawn carriage. Leading the procession is an old man with white hair & a long beard, wearing the robes of an archmage. He sits astride a magnificent white mare.

The Old man raises a hand as you approach and the procession comes to a stately halt. His gaze sweeps over your party and he seems to see right into you. You notice Ravenna in Dwarven form, stands with her head bowed toward the stranger. Eventually his eyes settle on the prostrate form of Ravenna and a slight smile forms on his aged face. “Come now old friend, there is no need for all this ceremony. Please, stand and introduce me to your companions.

She looks at the old man almost in reverence, then draws herself up to her full 4’ 10” height before turning to each one of you and introducing you by name to the man she refers to as Archmage Horavayne. After the final introduction, she looks at the old man defiantly & says “This is The Brotherhood of the Talon, whose coming was foretold over a century ago, my chosen path was not wasted, as you suggested when I left the cabal.

She looks back at the simple wooden coffin sitting atop the ornate carriage, bows her head and says “Aramil was a great and good person & many shall mourn his passing, except maybe….

“STOP!” shouts the Archmage & holds his finger to his lips before gesturing around the procession & the party. After a few minutes of arcane words, the whole area becomes eerily silent & a dome of transparent shifting fog settles over the area. “You must not mention his name in open conversation, lest you call his attention to us. The dark one has servants everywhere & more reason to hate Aramil that any other. He dismounts from his horse and to your surprise his form seems to shimmer and grow until a huge golden dragon stands before you , sparkling in the dim light. “Allow me to introduce myself, I am Scheva, leader of this cabal. This form is my natural one, however it tends to attract unwanted attention. So I adopt the form of a human, Horavayne whenever I am seen in public. Its head lowers down until the eyes are just about at head level and she continues in a deep yet melodious tone, “Do not be alarmed, I am sworn never to harm or interfere with other creatures, and yet there are those who see me as a threat, so even I must be careful who I choose as friends” Your marks and your association with the dark queen gives me reason to trust you and maybe even aid you when the time comes, but until then you must know that you are not alone in the battle to come.

The dragon then shrinks until the Archmage Horavayne is stood before you once more. He waves his staff and the dome shimmers and collapses. “Farewell adventurers, may your encounters be swift & successful, he says as he remounts the white mare and the procession resumes its slow journey down to the city.

When the party reach Kayne’s bridge they are ambushed by a band of Orc raiders, who they dispatch easily. However, since the talons failed the skill challenge to find out what happened to the Stormcrows it took extra time to search and they are attacked by a rival band of adventurers.