|Healing Potion||Searinox||Ogre Battle||Found in Ogre’s pouch|
|Boots of the Fencing Master||Vylify||Foundry||Modra was wearing these boots|
In the Shadowfell, the Outsiders discovered Umbraforge. As they pose as mercenaries, while tracking Modra, they discovered that this was an arms set up, selling wapons, warriors and creatures, run by Sarshan. They more they investigated, the more they uncovered the depth of the operation that Sarshan was running out of Overlook and other locales. With some luck, they learned that Modra was no longer in Sarshan’s good graces and that he was looking to destroy the Foundry to get back at his ex-master. The group raced off to the Foundry to find out what Modra was up to.
The 4 of them stared out at the landscape of the Shadowfell before them. Besides Damaia, who had grown up in the Shadowfell, none of them were prepared for the bleak, dark landscape before them. They stepped back into the black chamber to further investigate their surroundings. Besides the portal back to Overlook There was also a black portal leading to a dark forest. The PC’s decided that they had enough to do in front of them with the town, and decided to head there first.
As soon as they were outside, Elarinya led the group off the path into the tall gray-green grasses, hoping not to leave too many tracks, but the Dragonborn kept mumbling and grumbling about things trying to trip him up. Due to this, they weren’t being very stealthy and 2 Dark Creepers stepped out of the shadows in front of told them that mercenaries were only allowed within the bounds of the city, not beyond. The group was relieved to find out that they’d mistaken as sellswords, and returned to the road as they approached. A small tremor shook the ground for a few seconds.
The tent city before them was huge and sprawling with a mixture of all races (Elves, Eladrin, and Deva being the only races not present). At the edge of town, they stood there gawking, unsure of what to make of all of the insanity around them. Finally, a Shadar-kai Witch, who had been training battle mages on a training ground just up the road, noticed the PC’s and approached them.
Welcome to Umbraforge, my name is Leena. Are you here to buy or sell?
At first the group didn’t realize that she referred to buying mercenaries or selling their skills as mercenaries, but they quickly caught on and explained that they were a group for hire. The witch seemed to take a liking to Vylify and invited him… and Damaia (as an afterthought) to train with her. They agreed to take her up on that later and also learned some information:
- Umbraforge is the dominion of Sarshan, a trader of great reputation and even greater wealth. The tower, foundry, and forges are his. The camps are those of the mercenaries and slaves whose services he sells across the Shadowfell and the world.
Armed with this info, they set off to check out the town.
After a few hours wandering the city, they finally found a tavern at the edge of a decent looking camp, called the Leaky Cauldron, run by a Troll female named Venduul. They ordered some weird looking food (served by a rather unenthusiastic human girl), which turned out to be some of Damaia’s favorite dishes. The alcohol (a jungle-juice mixture) was strong but flavorful. As they sat around, the group began listening for more information about their surroundings. A newbie was asking another Merc about Sarshan and they learned:
- Sarshan is thought to be a shadar-kai, an outcast who made a name for himself as the leader of a legendary mercenary band known as the Black Arrow. At their height, the Arrow put so much fear in generals and kings alike that Sarshan would take payment to fight for one group, then take a bigger payment from their foe to stand down.
Damaia was finishing her meal when she heard some Dark Ones at a nearby table talking about their true quarry. She took 3 mugs of alcohol over to their table to get them talking some more. She told them that she’d worked with Modra once and asked if any of them had seen him around or heard of him?
- The first one told her “Modra is long gone from Umbraforge and the Shadowfell, believe me. Sarshan’s got a long arm and a longer memory. The creeper would have to be crazy to come back here.”
- The second one told her that “he was well known around here, but now for all the wrong reasons now. He’d been one of Sarshan’s trusted lieutenants before he tried to a broker a weapons deal that Sarshan had already turned down.”
- The third one added that "he knew that the job that Sarshan refused was some orc king’s raid on a dwarven citadel. Sarshan never made a sale if it had a chance of coming back to him, and for good reason. This job went bad, they say, and people know that Modra sold the orc his weapons.” She bought them all another round and then returned to tell her compatriots what they’d learned.
The group decided to split up to get more info. Rinya would return to the dark shrine and see if she could better track him. His trail led to a mercenary camp on the West Side of the magma flow, but there she lost his trail. Searinox staying to play a few games of Three Dragon Ante and to see if he could hear any more info, but not luck. Damaia and Vylify went back to the training grounds to find Leena cleaning up. She challenged Vy to a duel, so test his skills. The Artificer got some good hits in on her, but the Witch was better. Vylify asked her where his crafting skills could be best put to use and she suggested that he talk to the Ogre metalsmith named Demoxt, up near the Foundry. He thanked her for her info and for the duel and then wished her good night.
The companions met at the bridge to discuss their finds. They really had no leads yet and it was getting late. So they set up camp, using Searinox’s magical campground and slept well.
The next morning, the group split up again. Damaia went to train with the other battle mages, while Vylify headed up to the forges. The Ogre was skilled and they blades he was turning out were exactly like those they’d found in the crates under the Happy Beggar. A gnome apprentice was more than willing to talk about the Dark Foundry. He told Vylify:
- “That the foundry is the new jewel of Sarshan’s operations. Its power comes from the fire and
shadow driving its furnaces. Sarshan’s sages create beasts of battle there, born killers with
magic in their blood. They call the fire mixture Blood Chaos.”
- “and that Sarshan’s slave bazaar is about more than just servants and soldiers. His experiments in the foundry only begin with dumb beasts. He’s building new soldier races there, born from the slaves he traffics.”
Searinox headed up to the slave bazaar to see if there was any way he could free the slaves. He posed as someone wishing to inspect the livestock and found that the bazaar was heavily guarded. It would be too tough for their group to free the slaves. While praying to Kelemvor, he got the impression that now was not the time. So he headed back to the training grounds to find his companions.
Rinya was able to work out some of the kinks she had in the melee training grounds. One human merc that she was able to continually best told her that “It used to be that Sarshan brokered mercenaries mostly within the Shadowfell, but that’s changing. Dark ones and shadar-kai are still
his elite troops, but more and more, he brings creatures from the world to Umbraforge for training, then marches them off to places unknown.” Damaia’s partner was also rather loose lipped as she showed him some new moves. He told her that “The Shadowfell is only a stopping-off place for Sarshan’s mercenaries. A force of archons from the Elemental Chaos was here not six months ago. I saw githzerai from the Astral Sea in Umbraforge once. I don’t know what job they took for Sarshan, but woe be to whoever got in their way.”
When Vylify and Searinox joined the women at the training grounds, Leena told the women to teach the men what they’d learned in practice that morning, and then took off to get some more supplies. While the witch was gone, a group of Ogres from the Bonecruncher Clan decided to see if the PC’s were strong enough to fight beside them. A fight broke out which led to the death of a couple of the Ogres. As the fight ended, Leena returned and broke the fight up. The other mercenaries who had watched the fight were rather intimidated by the PC’s skills. As they sat on the sidelines, getting a drink and wiping off the sweat, they overheard two other mercs talking:
- “Sarshan’s mercenary operations have tripled in size in months past, but it’s not the Shadowfell they’re fighting in. When his forces are bought and sent on the march, they’re bound for portals to the world. Shadar-kai, dark ones, undead, giants, ogres, trolls, gnolls, orcs— Sarshan has the armies of two planes on the march. War is brewing in the world, but the forces that will fight it are moving into position in the Shadowfell, unseen.”
After lunch, the group headed over to the mercenary camp where Rinya had lost Modra’s trail. They asked around, but only got dark stares and cold attitudes from the mercenaries there. As they were returning from the west side of the city, Leena was waiting for them on the bridge. She led them out of the way and told them that she knew of their inquiries about Modra. As the group tensed, expecting a fight, she continued by explaining that she and Modra used to work together, but when he decided to throw away his honor and acted against Master Sarshan, then she could no longer trust him. Tonight there will be a large force moved out of the Shadowfell and she has learned that Modra will use the confusion from that to sneak into the Foundry and try to destroy it. She’s telling them this in the hopes that they’ll stop Modra and kill him quickly, instead of how Sarshan will kill him slowly.
The PC’s take the rest of the afternoon to rest up and plan for that evening. As darkness falls, they sneak up to the Foundry and find the crack in the eastern wall which Leena had told them about. Vylify fey-stepped inside while Damaia used magic to widen the hole. Inside they found Modra and a bunch of other Dark Creepers sabotaging the piping running from the shadow-magma to huge vats around the room. The PC’s attacked, while Modra worked to open up some of the mutation vats. Rinya used an arrow to close one, but she wasn’t fast enough on the other and the Creeper was able to release a huge mutated two-headed boar which began to attack the group.
The PC’s had their hands full, but they were finally able to finish off both groups. Vylify took Modra’s head as proof and then, as more tremors began to rock Umbraforge, they realized that the Creepers had already done major damage to the Foundry. Rinya located the secret passage Leena had told them about which ran from the Foundry to the Tower and then turned to find that Searinox had slipped off the edge of one of the bridges and almost plummeted into the magma, but Damaia had caught him at the last moment, but she was slipping as well. Vylify had grabbed them both, but he wasn’t strong enough to hold on to them and Searinox’s nose was almost into the magma. Rinya ran forward to grab them, but divine intervention scooped them up and threw the three of them to the opposite bank. Damaia thanked Searinox for being so faithful to his goddess.
Travelling down the secret passage Vylify discovered a secret door and a secure room where the group could hide and take a much needed extended rest. After that, they followed the passage where it exited in the library, where 3 Shadar-kai were poring over ancient manuscripts. They were surprised by the sudden attack, but were able to trip a shadow-dart attack which did some damage to the group. They took a quick breather before heading deeper into the tower.