Turnips were a recurring theme throughout. Thrull managed to find a delicious +1 turnip, I don’t believe that he ate it yet either.
After Kyphen lost one of the two keys, to who you later found out to be Mordra, Mordra promptly activated the shadowy gate which led to the Shadowfell. After dealing with the rest of the wraiths you followed Morda through the portal, not knowing what was on the other side. On the other side of the portal you saw faint signs of a struggle with tracks leading out of the cavern. When you finally decided to leave the cavern the following vista opened before you
The land before you is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. A wide plain of gray-green grass and stunted black trees spreads beneath a sky scoured by fast-moving clouds. The sun is bright above but somehow doesn’t cut the darkness that drapes every rock and every blade of grass in gray gloom. This is the Shadowfell.
From the mouth of the cavern, a wide and well-traveled road runs in a curving line to the north. There, perhaps a quarter-mile away, a military camp spreads. Buildings are scattered here and there, with tents and pavilions spreading between them. Torches and fires burn brightly against the ever-present shadow, and lone trees and tall stands of gray- green grass are whipped by a hissing wind.
Looming above it all, a rise of black rock to the west is rent by a seething volcanic rift. Black-streaked lava courses from it to descend into a narrow channel, and a permanent pall of glowing red-black smoke rises above it. Over this molten flow, a great stone bridge is arched. This wide east- west road meets the road north from the cavern. North of the bridge, a tall tower stands and a lower building spreads in its shadow.
From there the party headed toward the mercenary encampment by following the path that lead from the cavern in which they had materialized. They were quickly spotted by a patrol who mistook the party for sellswords who had wandered out of the camp
A voice rings out, and two dark creeper sentries suddenly appear where the shadows of the tall grass had hidden them. “All mercenaries stay within the borders of the camps!” one shouts angrily. “Next time you go wandering, you get shot, sellswords!”
Realizing that the could play the role of intrepid sellswords the party gained confidence and approached the encampment boldly, where they started to ply the folk of the temporary encampment for information about the mysterious Mordra. This is what they found:
“This is Umbraforge, 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.”
bq.“Sarshan is shadar-kai, an outcast who made a name for himself as the leader of a legend- ary mercenary band known as the Black Ar- row. 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.”
“Modra is known well in Umbraforge, but for all the wrong reasons now. He was one of Sarshan’s trusted lieutenants before he tried to a broker a weapons deal that Sarshan had already turned down.”
“The job that Sarshan refused was some orc king’s raid on a dwarven citadel. Sarshan never makes a sale if it has a chance of com- ing back to him, and for good reason. This job went bad, they say, and people know that Modra sold the orc his weapons.”
“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 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.”
“It used to be that Sarshan brokered mercenar- ies 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.”
“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 Um- braforge once. I don’t know what job they took for Sarshan, but woe be to whoever got in their way.”
“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.”
“Sarshan’s mercenary operations have tripled in size in months past, but it’s not the Shad- owfell 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.”
The last piece of information was given to them by a shadar-kai witch named Leena, who had been observing the party during their quest or information, and had pieced together the partys’ plan. She shared her motives with the party:
Modra and I worked together for a time, but when he elected to go behind Sarshan’s back, I told him we were done. I heard word of him in the camps even before you started asking around. He has a plan to disrupt Sarshan’s operations by destroying the foundry, then the tower. Sarshan has a private tunnel connecting the two, and Modra is planning on venting the foundry’s destructive energy there. A mass of mercenaries is moving out tonight. He’ll be using that as cover when he goes inside.
Modra’s made his bargain with fate, and honor decrees that he die for his betrayal. He won’t get tears from me. But if Sarshan captures him, he’ll die slowly. If it’s you, I’ll hope you make it quick.
If you made it this far congratulations! Add 2 magical items of level 8 or lower to your inventory for next session. I had grand designs about magical items in this campaign, but it was too much work. So I’ve decided to give you 2 items (if you’ve read this far) if you didn’t read this then tough. Shhh it’s our little secret we can laugh and make fun of the people that didn’t read this far, it’ll be a story that you tell you grandkids one day when you’re old and grey sitting in your rocking chair. “Back in my day we had to read to get magical items” the kids will oooh and ahhhh at your stories; mostly because now magical items grow on trees or have depreciated so much in value due to rampent inflation that they will be as common and as wanted as pennies.