March of the Phantom Brigade

The Adventure Begins!
Two beginnings.

The Adventure takes place in the Nentir Vale, a thinly settled part of the world. The area is cold, but dry with very little snowfall. The Vale is home to dwarves, orcs, and some elves. This is a great place to try to begin a new life, or lay low.

The adventure will begin from two places. The first is from a small northern town called Nenlast. You are the newest member of a mercenary group named The Silver Shield. The group is backed by an enigmatic employer, who only interacts with your boss a Dragonborn named Barash. The organization only takes on honorable quests(you won’t be helping any raiding parties). That said the members here are very rough around the edges, very much a boys club. Your character has only received small missions at this point, but now it’s time for you to take on a bigger job. The second place is in the largest city in the Nentir Vale called Hammerfast. This area is a necropolis, home to both the living and dead. A young dwarf cleric is looking to start a new settlement deep in the untamed wilderness. He has placed through out the nearby settlements posters and flyers searching to join him in this journey. He is promising a new life, and a small stipend to get started. If interested meet at the outside walls of Hammerfast.
Are We There Yet

The adventure starts with a mercenary group called the Iron Shield. Two new recruits named Zweeno and Tauron caught the attention of their enigmatic employer, who sent an important job their way. The mission was given to them by their Captain Barash. They were to report to Barash’s friend and guard Captain Malgram, to serve on a guard detail to a group of new settlers from Hammerfast. Barash handed Tauron a letter to deliver to Malgram, which he did with no incident. Meanwhile at Hammerfast before the mercenaries arrive, the leader of the settlers a young cleric named Aldius Splintershield meets within the group a wizard named Aramil and fellow dwarf cleric Vondal. Thinking they can handle their own in a fight he asks if they can help with security, they agree. Both the new mercs and settlers come together where they meet the guard Captain Malgram. He didn’t endear himself with anyone, especially Aramil whom became the groups Lt. Before heading out the group had a chance to purchase some new equipment, this did not go well. Aldius whether through pity or generosity got Zweeno a shield he was eyeing up. All members within the group joined in a prayer led by Aldius, while Malgram shrugged it off. Then they set off into the wilds for a three to four day journey, with the party guarding the last four carriages. After a long first day the caravan had to split into smaller groups to cross a stream. When the final four carriages went to cross, the group was attacked by 5 stirges. The group did very well with no injuries to the settlers or horses. Malgram observed this. For a job well done Aldius grated the group a full nights rest. While resting they hear flapping overhead.

To Take The Mountain Path Turn To Page 23.
Late at night during the heroes rest, they heard flapping overhead. Vondal saw it was a raven with a message on it. Aramil used a magic missile to shoot it down, and read the message. It contained details on their encounter with the stirges, and was signed with the same symbol that was on the letter delivered by Tauron to Malgram. Zweeno destroyed the letter. The next day some of the settlers thanked the heroes for defending them. Aramil was approached by a mysterious robed person, that revealed an item he was looking at back in Hammerfell. He was willing to sell it real cheap, and told Aramil to find him within the caravan if he was interested. Late morning the caravan came to a stop, when Aldius and Malgram were arguing whether to take the mountain path or forrest path. The heroes joined in on the debate. After some time and some members switching stances, Tauron became impatient and erupted to take the mountain path. Malgram and Aramil were not happy about this, but that was the path the caravan took. Late in the afternoon Malgram approached the heroes, he wanted them to escort an important elf wizard named Faldyra to find some rare herbs. While digging in the soil and talking to the heroes, she came across an Amulet of Health and gave it to Vondal. A short time later her and the group were attacked by 2 Guard Drakes and 3 Spitting Drakes. It was a hard fought battle, with Zweeno cheating death with help from Vondal, but the drakes were defeated. Faldyra in tears wanted to get back to the caravan immediately, and asked the heroes to tell Malgram what happened when she’s not around. Now the group has to take the long trip back to the caravan.
It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time

The adventure picks back up in the wilderness. The heroes convince Faldyra to finish collecting the herbs and roots she was collecting. She got into more detail about the consecration ritual and Iverness. Turns out the spirits may not be as friendly as the ones in the rest of the Vale. The consecration ritual will get rid of all spirits and keep any unwelcome guests out. Before leaving the spitting drakes were milked for their acid, which filled 1 vial. It was later given to Falyra to try to create something with it.
The group returned to camp without incident. Malgram was waiting for them, when he found out the group was attacked by drakes, he became very angry. Faldyra is way to important in this mission, and her not taking heed to Malgrams warnings not to go. He is also angry with Aldius and Tauron for siding against him in which path to take. He dismissed everyone except the heroes to ask if they know anything of a person sneaking around in the camp and a raven that didn’t reach it’s destination. The group denied any knowledge of either incident. He gave each member 50 gp. before he left. Before turning in Aldius came over and blessed each of the heroes.
Late that evening Aramil was awoken by the man trying to sell him the staff he was looking at back in Hammerfast. On his way to meet the stranger he intentionally kicked Tauron to gain his attention. The stranger turned out to be a Teifling wizard. He offered the staff and eventually a second item for only a blessing. Aramil stalled him long enough for Tauron to reach him. The Tiefling realizing he was in danger fled through a portal in which the adventurers saw a city. After the portal closed a blood stained staff appeared.
Late the next day the caravan reached Iverness. Faldyra filled you in a little more about this place. There is a lot of ghost activity here and the people of Nentir Vale refer to this place as the Ghost Tower. There is another one in Witchlight Fens and another where it’s location is often disputed. The group was tasked by Aldius to search the castle to clear out any danger so he and his acolytes can perform the ritual. Faldyra wants you to keep an eye out for any points of interest.
As the characters entered the main gate each one felt a strong sense of dread come over them. Aramil detected it was an old spell to keep intruders out, also he noted that the power and technique used is alien to this world. Next in the center of the courtyard stands a circle of stones, where the tower once stood. The stones were older than any structure you have ever seen, also there was no rubble and it seemed no solid ground existed in the original tower. There was an inscription in the center from an unknown language which said Galap-Driedel. The next area was a fountain clear of all vegetation. One of the heroes noticed that their were two very large ochre jellies in the fountain. Like every other battle so far this was tough when the jellies seemed like they were about to die they split into smaller ones. All the heroes walked away banged up, but alive. Tauron discovered a war hammer in the fountain which must of fallen out from the jelly after it devoured it’s former owner. Finally the group entered one of the towers, where Zweeno examined and realized that the damage is likely from an earthquake but there were no large stones. Also the foundation doesn’t follow the contours of the hilltop, and maybe it was somehow moved here. The last place left unexplored is the graveyard.

Time To Meet The Vladistones
Picking up where the heroes left off. They finished exploring the castle by checking out the graveyard. There was only 1 headstone that was still legible reading Oldivya Vladistone Wife and Friend. Someone recalled her belonging to a group of adventures a long time ago called Silver Company. The strange thing about the graveyard was it seemed like it was tended to. The group gave the O.K. for the caravan to enter the castle walls. Aldius and his acolytes began preparing for the consecration ritual. Malgram and some of the guards took up lookout duty on the walls. Faldyra questioned the group about the jellies and if they found anything in the castle. She revealed that Galep-Dreidel is a proper name from an ancient language called Oerth, and it came from a distant land called Greyhawk. Before the ritual began a great ghostly tower emerged within seconds then became solid, looking as new as the day it was built. Upon further inspection there were no doors or windows, and was harmless to touch. Not wanting anymore surprises Aldius started the ritual. Malgram seeing that castle was about to be attacked, ordered the heroes to protect the front gate. When they got there the was hundreds of blue lights in the sky. Eventually some of the lights slammed into the ground producing zombies and skeletons. The heroes obliterated wave after wave of the undead with no problems. Aramil was even granted a boon (for knowing the difference between unaligned and evil) to use a power twice. Eventually the ritual was completed, destroying all the remaining enemies. The strange thing was the ritual didn’t get rid of the ghostly tower though, making Aldius believe that it is not a threat. There was much celebration. Malgram treated the heroes like equals, even addressing them by their real names. Malgram gave Zweeno armor he had from a fallen friend. Aldius in turn gave his old armor to Vondal. The celebration was cut short when an angry Dwarf ghost named Salazar Vladistone appeared at the edge of the barrier, demanding the spell be taken down. He referred to this area as sacred ground, and threatened the settlers to leave or die. Zweeno picked up he had the same last name as the one on the headstone. Faldyra asked him about the name. Salazar ordered them not to desecrate her name with their unworthy tongues. He did reveal though she was his wife. Aramil did remember Salazar being in a group called Silver Company. When it became apparent as impasse was reached, the ghost turned and walked away with these haunting words. “You have denied but a single tortured spirit this night. But we shall see how well you fare against the Phantom Brigade.” The next session will pick up 6 months after the exchange between Salazar and your group. It is in the dead of winter. Your characters have free range in what they were doing during this time. To help with some starting points. The settlement will need a clinic, helping Faldyra try to unlock the mystery of the “Ghost Tower”, assist Malgram in tracking down Salazar, or help the settlement build and establish better trade routes. We will begin trying to figure out what happened to Zweeno, and who is this mysterious Dragonborn that took his place.
Deer Usually Don't Attack People

The second part of the adventure begins in the now thriving town of Iverness. 6 months have passed and it is in the dead of winter. There have been no sign of Salazar Vladistone and spirits are up. Vondal was rushed to the front gate where he came across 2 dying humans. He used up half of his healing energy, but he saved the men. They told him they escaped from slavers. Vondal met up with his friends at the tavern, where he shared his newfound info. This news did not please Tauron and wanted to track down the slavers at daybreak, Malgram agreed. Faldyra joined the group at the table quietly eating her root soup, frustrated in not making any progress with the Ghost Tower. The heroes overhear several foresters talking about strange happenings in the Harken Forrest. Mainly about dead animals with strange red crystal like lesions. The group joined the conversation. They discovered there is no visible injuries besides the crystals breaking through the skin, Vondal knew these are not natural or known symptoms. Another forester talked about a deer with the crystals attacking a person, Tauron dug deep in his knowledge in nature and came up with that’s not normal. Finally a trapper saw strange lights in the forrest. Suddenly without warning a portal appeared, Zweeno vanished and a new Dragonborn took his place (see Abraxus for better detail). After intense questioning he turns out to be Zweenos cousin Abraxus. Turns out the same wizard Zweeno talked about tricked Abraxus and swapped places with Zweeno. After everything was explained everyone calmed down. Aldius abruptly entered the tavern and asked the heroes, Malgram, and Faldyra to follow him. Lain at the gate were 5 foresters all dead with the same crystal lesions that were described earlier. Aramil stated that the lesions are magical, but are inert when they died. While Aramil was leaning over the foresters one grabbed him saying “The demon of the forest-a plague-drank the water-others may yet live” then died for real. 2 search parties were formed with Malgram heading west and the heroes heading east, Aldius insisted on going despite most of the peoples protests. It didn’t take long before they found signs of the missing foresters. Even from a distance they can tell they were infected and insane.The heroes and Aldius fought the ax wielding foresters. Abraxus and Aldius showed they can hold their own in combat. They put their foes out of their misery without much incident. Tauron found an Amulet of Protection. With a little rest, and the healer still only having half his surges left they pushed on to find the source of the plague. First they came across a cave that had 2 dead bears in it. They were infected and killed each other. Next was a a pool of water that should be frozen but instead is actually having steam coming off of it. The water was black and was identified to be where the foresters camped and became infected. The third place explored was a crater. In it were the crystals you are now familiar with. Aramil knew this phenomena was from another plain. Abraxus noticed something was dragged from the crater. You followed the tracks until you came across the source of the contamination. A plague demon was placed into a main water source. Aldius decided to do another consecration ritual to cleanse the area. When the ritual reached the end it sprung a magical trap. Everyone felt a pulse of energy, vile and oily and it all converged onto Aldius. Just then you see a ghostly spear jutting from the ground piercing Aldius’ chest, causing a sickening noise, Splintershields mouth hangs open in shock.

The Death of Aldius Splintershield

Aldius found himself in a middle of a trap. After a phantom bardiche ran through him, he found himself surrounded by four ghostly Armigers. They dispatched of him quickly and made sure he died. As soon as he did the heroes heard a loud pop and felt a shockwave come from the same direction as Iverness. While the Armigers were cutting down Splintershield, the heroes were being held off by their squires. The spirits were behaving as if they were on the right side of the law. One seemed to question the orders they were given though. It was a very (mentally) bloody battle where at different parts of the battle each hero came close to death. As each hero came close to dying they heard something different in their head. The tide of the battle turned when Tauron discovered the spirits weakness. Eventually the spirits were bested, most vowing they will see them later. After inspecting Aldius they discovered a cloak for Aramil. Now with Vondal almost out of healing surges the group must make haste for Iverness.

The Roof is On Fire

After the battle with the armigers the heroes started to make their way back to Iverness, to see what the pop and shockwave was. Tauron and Vondal felt drawn to a zone in the snow covered field. When they entered they noticed time on the outside stopped. Vondal felt it was a reward from Pelor to provide the group a much needed rest. After their rest they rushed back to Iverness. When they got there, they saw Iverness in flames, and spectral soldiers laying siege to the town. They saw settlers either fighting the ghosts, fires or fleeing. The heroes tried to make their way across a field between the Harken Forrest and the front gate of Iverness. The area was guarded by the spectral soldiers, and it wasn’t long to they were detected. Strangely the guards didn’t stop them from entering, but they did send a warning they were there. As they entered the town, they saw a haggard Malgram escorting terrified settlers out of the city. He was glad to see the heroes was safe, but was saddened to hear about Splintershield. He told them the barrier went down shortly after that the ghostly soldiers invaded. It wasn’t long to the town became overrun and the town was lost. Now Malgram was trying to get as many settlers out as he could, Faldyra is still missing. The heroes quickly went to go in to find her, Malgram told them before they left he is taking the refugees a half mile south of Iverness. Tauron told Malgram he should help, he didn’t. Once in the town things were grim. They would see spirits enter homes which was either followed by the residents fleeing or scream then silence. The group became separated from Abraxus when he heard the cries of help from Zweenos old friend Geofrey. Without hesitating he entered to help him, the same armiger they face in the field was in Geofreys house. The ghost wanted Abraxus to get Geofrey out of the house. He told him they were given orders to drive out the residents, if they didn’t comply they had to kill them. It was revealed that the Phantom Brigade had a honorable past and they followed their orders to the letter. When Abraxus and Geofrey left the house the armiger warned them to leave, because you can’t kill ghosts. Abraxus got Geofrey to help and he rejoined the group. A group of spirits were waiting for the heroes 2 justicars, 2 armigers (same ones they faces in the field) and 6 squires. The heroes were very tactical and finished off their foes, but used up valuable dailies, action points and healing in the process. Afterwards Vondal spotted in a burning building a Flaming Mace, then they heard the screams of Faldyra coming from the graveyard.

I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghost

The heroes finally found Falyra and confront Salazar Vladistone. Salazar had a sword on Falyra’s neck demanding she lifts whatever curse was put on this spot, not allowing him to communicate with his dead wife. He blames all the settlers especially Splintersheild for separating him from his wife. He revealed that after he was turned away he was seeking his revenge. That is when he came across a group of ancient soldier ghosts from the Nerath era now called the Phantom Brigade. By pure chance Salazar also came across in the forrest a dead plague demon, where he placed it in the main water supply to set a trap to kill Splintershield and end the consecration spell. After the spell was broken he ordered the Phantom Brigade to drive out the residents. Tauron questioned his honor in which he pointed out that the only settlers that were killed were the ones that wouldn’t leave or fought back. Also no one prevented the settlers from fleeing. He stated that the Phantom Brigade follows their orders to the letter. To prove his point he allowed Faldyra to leave before engaging in combat with the heroes. Abraxus started the fight when he rushed one of the Templars. The phantoms fought hard but were systematically weakened by Tauron, Abraxus, and Vondal, then finished off by Aramils Magic Missile. Shortly after Tauron made a critical hit, Salazar was defeated. Before he and the rest of the spirits vanished he made an ominous threat. He stated that all the living will suffer his pain. Malgram and Faldyra caught up with the heroes. Malgram said the town was lost, and they should fall back to Hammerfast. He sent his scouts to retrieve Splintershields body so he can have a proper funeral. Before heading out Malgram gave Tauron a brooch he had on him. He instructed that when the Salazar and his brigade are taken care of, to return to Nenlast with the other heroes and give the brooch to Barash (the dragonborn who gave you this assignment). The third chapter takes place 2 months after the fall of Iverness. Reports are coming in of Salazar and the Phantom Brigade destroying settlements across the Nentir Vale. It seems that they are making their way to Hammerfast. Most of the residents have either fled or are preparing for the upcoming battle. The slavers have still been active in the area. Faldyra has been trying to get any info she can on Salazar, The Phantom Brigade and The Ghost Tower.

That Didn't Go As Planned

It’s 2 months after the fall of Iverness, the day after Siege Day. Reports are flooding in of Salazar and his Phantom Brigade destroying village after village, just like Iverness. It’s apparent they are making their way to Hammerfast and will arrive any day now. Most of the residents has fled, but the ones that stayed fortified the city and prepared for the upcoming battle. That night a lot of people including the heroes gathered at The Foundation Stone for possibly one last meal before the battle. A well dressed Tiefling entered the tavern shaking hands and conversing with the guards and patrons. He approached your table and yelled “food and drinks are on me for the heroes of Iverness”. After a few minutes Tuaron and Aramil recognized him from the caravan that tried to sell Aramil a bloody staff and enter Iverness. He claims that after they chased him away he researched all the “heroes” and found that one of them is a murderer. The conversation got very heated very quickly. Getting up he revealed he made all his money as a slaver. He said it was a shame he didn’t have more time, because he found buyers for each of the heroes. Tauron hearing enough rushed and grabbed him. The tiefling tried to escape and get the guards to help, but before they could Aramil grabbed an envelope from his satchel. It turned out to be an invoice with slaves, location, pick up point, date (2 days after Siege Day), and time. They had the guards throw him in jail. The next morning there was commotion at the wall. A vast ghost army (500) approach Hammerfast. Salazar was in front leading his army. He’s blaming Hammerfast for spawning the corruption keeping him from his wife. He demanded they hand over Faldyra and they would leave. His request was denied which angered him, but instead of charging he summoned the ghosts from within the walls to attack. He now controls all the ghosts in the Vale. Malgram came and told the heroes to get to the library right now and see Faldyra. Malgram and a few guards took your place. Before Tauron left he reminded him to take the brooch he gave him to Barash back in Nenlast after this was done. He wished them well. Making their way to the library 6 spirits (3 dwarfs, 3 orcs) attacked the heroes. The heroes were in big trouble until the spirits who fell in battle breaking Salazars control, came back to help them. The heroes eventually won, but expended a lot of energy. They finally reached the library. When they finally got deep into the library, Faldyra blurted out “It seems Salazar Vladistone is a great hero”.


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