The HeroesThe party consisted of the following characters, who started at 10th level and reached 13th level by campaign's end:
- Daraj L'Bayal: male dwarf fighter/evoker/eldritch knight.
- Rekla: hawk (familiar).
- Kinashal Durret: female human rogue/shadowdancer.
- Blot and Blotch: shadow (companions, original and new, respectively).
- Merrick Acari: male human ranger.
- Bigby: wolf (animal companion).
- Kymoria Seldeson: female half-elf bard (cohort, gained during campaign).
- Mitzinya nic Pelor: female half-orc paladin of Pelor.
- Bob: heavy warhorse (special mount)
- Drusilia Chandler: female half-elf cleric of Fharlanghn.
The following information was background provided to the players. It has been archived here at Thastygliax's Vault, where I have also archived the PCs' stat blocks and a handful of the NPCs and new monsters they encountered.
The Duchy of IvellionIvellion is a fair-sized human realm bordered by the sea to the east, the forested elven homeland to the north, mountains to the west (populated by dwarves and giants), and monster-infested wilderness to the south (full of orcs and goblinoids, and worse). Many enclaves of nonhumans [the PH races] can be found within Ivellion, and several human settlements have notable nonhuman minorities.
Duke Wilhelm Lakes rules from the bustling metropolis of Silverport (pop. 47,000), at the mouth of the Silver River (the main east-west trade route). The capital contains the chief temples of several gods worshiped in Ivellion (Heironeous and Yondalla in particular), a loose confederation of artisan and merchant guilds, and the Arcane Cabal (a wizards' guild of sorts).
About two week's travel to the northwest is the city of Nallow (pop. 10,000), home of a major temple of Pelor. The city and surrounding lands are ruled by the half-elven baroness Valenta Wallsby. Being roughly a week's travel of the dwarven mountains, the elven woods, and the small gnomish republic in between the two, Nallow is a major trade center, and fairly rich and cosmopolitan for its size.
The town of Corasgrove is located about two days' ride from Nallow.
CorasgroveCorasgrove was founded a century ago by three sibling adventurers (the Coras) and their band of companions and followers. One brother, the paladin Sir Vernon Cora, organized the town's defenses and government, while his sister Samantha, a druid, led the nature-worshipers of the nearby forest that gave the town its name.
A network of natural and excavated tunnels was discovered in the area, and the Coras found themselves busy trying to rid them of undead and other threats. This culminated in a series of battles with a vampire lord, in which the third sibling, Torrance Cora, and his wife were slain and turned. The vampire was never slain, but had lost much of its former power. The surviving Coras erected a mausoleum to honor their brother and retainers; this also served to block and ward the most obvious entrance to the catacombs.
A generation later, after the paladin's death, a black dragon moved into water-filled caverns near the town and its lake, and began to prey on local animals and people. Eventually, the druid took the fight into the dragon's lair, but was never seen again; however, the dragon did leave the area very soon afterwards.
Fifteen years ago, a powerful wizard received the town council's approval to build a dam and tower between the town's lake and the next lake upstream. He is a recluse, and is only seen when he makes rare trips to Corasgrove for supplies.
Over the last few years, Corasgrove has been plagued by increasing numbers of monsters--mostly undead--emerging from the tunnels once more. Then two years ago, the dragon returned. So far, it has avoided attacking humans unless they tried to deny it a meal, but it still poses a significant threat to the town.
A traveling priest of Fharlanghn has brought word of the town's undead and dragon problems to the city in which the PCs live. They quickly agreed to go to Corasgrove with her to try to eradicate these threats.
Additional Corasgrove BackgroundHere's a summary of what the party knows about Corasgrove, after Drusilia's initial briefing and some additional information gathering about town:
- Population 1400; about 3/4 human.
- Ruled by a town council.
- Town guard is small (only about a dozen full-time soldiers), led by Constable Hank Corasson. (Probably less than 100 militia could be mustered?)
- Some experienced warriors and hunters, but lacks heroes of founders' caliber.
- Sam's Tree, in the town square, is site of seasonal rites for town; popular with farmers and elves.
- 120 Years Ago (YA): Corasgrove founded by Cora siblings (paladin Sir Vernon, warrior Torrance, druid Samantha), their adventuring companions, and retainers. Named for the druid grove that Samantha adopted as her own.
- From founding, town has accepted any race and creed (other than outright evil).
- 110 YA: Sir Vernon and Torrance slain fighting Balthazar the Black, a vampire who ruled the local dungeons; the vampire lord escaped. Torrance's body not recovered; believed turned. Mausoleum built to seal known entrance to dungeons, as well as to house Sir Vernon and deceased retainers.
- 80 YA: Vonnaril Senthirron (elf), a Cora comrade, leaves town to become high priestess of Corellon in Silverport (and still is).
- 70 YA: Zhakungar (female black dragon) moves into caves near the falls between the two ponds.
- 65 YA: Corasson Keep, built as a defense against dragon, is completed. Sir Vernon Cora's direct descendents still live in it.
- 60 YA: Earthquake damages Corellon's temple in the Grove, and it falls into disuse.
- 40 YA: Samantha Cora vows to rid town of the dragon, but disappears soon after. The dragon leaves the area not long after that.
- 15 YA: Master Adam Tarnwater (human wizard) gets permission to build a dam and tower over the falls, for undisclosed experiments.
- 6 YA: Increase in sightings of ghosts and walking dead in town burial ground; also sightings of sinister black hounds, and rumors of worse.
- 2 YA: Zhakungar returns to Corasgrove. The town council is divided about what to do about her (and attempts to quash any rumors that they would even consider giving in to the dragon).
- A number of fey live here, including at least a few dryads and sprites.
- In Samantha Cora's time, the Grove's druids were on friendly terms with the townsfolk. Since her disappearance 40 YA, however, they have become much more secretive. There are likely only a handful there now, and the townsfolk don't know any of them.
- Vonnaril Senthirron built and presided over the temple of Corellon, but eventually left for her god's temple in Silverport. 20 years later, an earthquake damaged the Grove temple, and the elves stop using it; some worshipped at home, in the forest, or at Sam's Tree, while others drifted to the worship of Ehlonna or Pelor.
The Burial Ground
- Rumored to be haunted pretty much since town founded.
- Safe during the day; avoided at night due to spirits and walking dead.
- Townsfolk occasionally attacked by skeletons, zombies, or shadows; occurring more frequently in past 6 years, plus rumors of worse.
- Sinister black hounds have been seen from time to time; their howls are occasionally heard in the closest parts of Corasgrove itself.
- More than one person has seen "things" digging at graves; most tales claim seeing 2-4 at a time; uncertain if humanoid or quadruped.
- Another paladin, a squire to Sir Vernon, is buried in own tomb here, instead of in Mausoleum.
- Occasionally, a new monument is found where none stood before. Town clerics can detect no evil aura about them.
- The burial ground holds shrines to Wee Jas and St. Cuthbert, believed to be long disused.
- A small group of armored men have been sighted entering the nearby Shrine of Boccob, also thought sealed and abandoned for some time.
- Local criminals use the cemetery's haunted reputation to conduct business there (and possibly to rob tombs?). Burglaries in Corasgrove are more common in the north end of town, nearest the burial ground.
- Zhakungar, female black dragon (age unknown, but well over 70).
- First moved into caves 70 YA; left 40 YA, soon after Samantha Cora vanished; returned 2 YA. Nothing is known about her life away from Corasgrove.
- Since return, seems content to hunt game and livestock. Has only killed humans who got between her and prey.
- Master Adam Tarnwater, human wizard.
- Arrived 15 YA; built dam and tower.
- Rarely visits town, except to purchase supplies, which vary from foodstuffs to building supplies to arcane materials (though town's resources very limited there).
- On trips to town, always accompanied by a humanoid, animated statue of some sort. Sometimes also accompanied by an extremely attractive young woman (name unknown).
- Tarnwater has been known to purchase unusual animals (lizards, snakes, other exotic pets) or carcasses (magical beasts found or slain by the town's better hunters).