Dez, Edder, Gramdir, and Crimli were all at the Midsummer Festival in Sheafdale, a small farming village in the Yeomanry League. All was well until an invading party of goblinoids broke up the festivities. The party killed the goblins in the village and then headed out with the survivors. Once the survivors were taken care of, the group decided to join the army and begin pushing back the hordes of goblins in a campaign that became known as the Wheat March.
After the Wheat March, the party disbanded, though they still met up every year to mark the occasion. After three years, they had all fallen on hard times. Edder brought a summons from Spokesman Gregor Alvaro asking for adventurers to establish a colony in an unexplored area south of the Amedio Jungle. Alvaro hired them in the name of the Freeholder, and they spent two months on a ship called the Waverender with captain Kygal Gorehoof before reaching Freehold.
Once they had settled in, the group traveled to the mithril mine, the main reason for the colony's existence. There they found that duergars had been attacking the miners within. They found the area the duergar were coming from, and they decided to seal the entrance with explosives. Sadly, Dez Couland and Edder Teskos both lost their lives during this mission to a gelatinous cube and darkmantle respectively.
It was then that Freehold was hit with a food shortage. Tarod Butrain and Grim Tallstag joined the party, and they went off searching for a food source. They found a glade inhabited by faeries and cleared a sahuagin cave in exchange for a bounty of food to be delivered regularly to the colony. When they returned to the colony, they found a small band of orcs besieging the walls. With tempers running high, Urag Grimsmile was imprisoned.
Dace, the then leader of the colony, was found to be despondent. With leadership in tatters, the party went off to find the source of the sahuagins. On a beach, the party battled some of the creatures, but they were taken captive. They awoke to find themselves imprisoned with a group of sea elves. After fighting their way out, they returned to Freehold to find that Ser Quintis Snow had taken charge of the colony. His first order as viceroy was to found the Freehold Council, with each party member serving a different role. This was the first official contact with Mouqollad Consortium diplomat Asrat Yima who informed them that the Consortium had established a colony nearby.
After the first meeting, the group decided to extinguish the sahuagin threat finally, so they attacked the cave where they were held captive. While there, they found that the sahuagins were making sea-elf/sahuagin hybrids. They also found a map to the main sahuagin cave. With the help of a merchant captain, they sailed into the ocean, battling creatures along the way including a red dragon wyrmling. They stormed the cave and slaughtered all the sahuagin within.
Upon returning, a disagreement between Grim and Tarod ended with Grim being thrown into jail. While Grim was imprisoned, Asrat said that he would only offer an alliance if either Urag or Grim were executed. Gramdir, being the marshal of the colony, decided to release them both, and Asrat left the colony in a huff. It was then that Dace, who was newly made deputy to Gramdir, informed the party that a woman had been found murdered. The culprit was found to be a doppleganger. One was killed, but there was evidence of another that escaped.
The party spent two weeks working on various projects and helping repair the colony. Around this time, Crimli went missing.During the second council meeting, Lord Tarrak Amsel, diplomat from Keoland, informed the party that they had started a colony nearby. He said to stay out of their way. Later, in private talks, Tarod made an agreement to partition the land so as to stay out of conflict. As a peace gesture, Lord Amsel gave Tarod the locations of some ruins and an area where pearls could be collected. A new member who Giantbane had named general joined the party. He was a half-orc named Krusk who had been party of the militia and had fought in the Wheat March.
Gramdir was informed of a murder by Dace. They eventually tracked down a doppleganger hideout. They killed one, but it seems at least one other was allowed to escape.
Then the group set out to find the bullywugs who had been attacking the mine. They destroyed a raiding camp, but could find no other trace of the creatures. After the battle, they spent some time at the mine before heading north to some Elven ruins they had found. They trudged through the jungle battling many beasts, finding a dead explorer who pointed to more ruins in an area of "gargantuan lizards" to the north. They also met a riddle-loving fairy who was later murdered. During their exporation, they found a strange statue with bones strewn around it before they were attacked by ferocious ankhegs.
The party saw a half-orc taken captive by lizardfolk. They defeated the lizardfolk, and then Tarod and Grim decided the half-orc should die. Krusk defended his orcish brethern, but Grim killed the half-orc. The half-orc came back to life and killed Grim before disintegrating. The party gathered themselves and ventured into some Elven ruins with a new companion, Hammer, in tow.
In the ruins, the party fought monstrous centipede creatures and eventually found an area containing a mad elf in command of some undead. As they fought, an Elven statue came to life. The statue was Belmorn Taletreader. He was an elf that had been preserved for roughly a millenium. Tarod found a tome that exploded, and the party found themselves to be elves in an immaculate Elven outpost. It seemed they were an escort party tasked with escorting Princess Sylgwyn as she attempted to remove the taint from Rotbane.
Returning to their reality, the group returned to Freehold and enjoyed the festivities of Brewfest, including a mysterious brew given to them by a haggard old woman. At the end of the festival, Ogwin was ripped apart before everyone's eyes. The next morning, Gramdir found that his faithful dog had been murdered.
The party set out to find the Bullywugs who had been harassing the mine. They were sidetracked by some zombified scouts. They followed some yellow moss to a swamp area. After fighting some lizardfolk and a cyclops, they found a Yellow Musk Creeper. They defeated the creature. The group then found the bullywug village and scoped out its occupants. They returned to Freehold to call on allies to take out the threat.
The party, minus Tarod who had disappeared, and along with a group of allies from Freehold, attacked the bullywug village. They slew the king of the bullywugs and only sustained minor losses. Lambard the Invincible was slain, and the colonists will sorely miss his presence. The second council meeting was convened. Gramdir extensively rewrote the code of law for the colony. Plans were put in place to build facilities to train better archers, and the council also decided to fortify the colony's walls with stone.
The next morning Tarod returned from his absence but declined to reveal where he had gone, and Gramdir that he woke up in the middle of the jungle after having a strange dream. He led the party to the spot he woke up, believing there to be a special tiger there that had given him "a gift." It turned out to be true: the tiger had transformed Gramdir into a weretiger.
After this encounter, the party headed to the mine to respond to reports of a rampaging wyvern terrorizing the miners. As they were discussing the details of the wyvern attack with the warden, the wyvern suddenly landed and began attacking the party. They were able to injure it and scare it off. They tracked its trail of blood and found its nest high in a tree. A horrifying fight ensued, almost sealing the party's fate, but they were just barely able to prevail.
After dealing with the wyvern, the party chose to deal with a small village of lizardfolk that Lord Ansell had asked Freehold to take care of. Ansell mentioned that these particular lizardfolk, which had green scales rather than purple, hadn't actually attacked Fort Grayhill, they were just too close for comfort. This led the party to attempt diplomacy with this group of lizardfolk. These green-skinned lizardfolk, called the Redkin Tribe, didn't wish any harm on anyone except the purple-skinned lizardfolk, called Chosen Scale tribe. Seeing as how Freehold and the Redkin Tribe had a common enemy, Tarod negotiated for the Redkin Tribe to help fight against the Chosen Scales in exchange for allowing the Redkin Tribe to move closer to Freehold and be protected by regular patrols. With intelligence from the Redkin Tribe, and a few of their warriors, the party assaulted a nearby camp of the Chosen Scale Tribe and wiped out all inhabitants. Then, they led the Redkin Tribe back to Freehold where Tarod informed Sir Quintus about the arrangement. He wasn't very excited to hear about it, but eventually agreed to uphold it.
The party headed back out to attacked an Elven ruin inhabited by members of the Chosen Scale tribe. Inside the ruined fort, the party found themselves split up, with half of them trapped in a room with two Owlbears, and the other half surrounded by purple-scaled lizards. Unable to overcome these challenges, the party was knocked out, captured, and brought before a warchief of the Chosen Scale Tribe. This warchief was soon revealed to be a Redkin Tribe spy, and blew his cover by helping defeat their captors. Before letting them go free, he informed the party of a mysterious chest in a nearby room that was protected by a mechanism the lizardfolk weren't able to solve. The party began heading toward this chest, and on the way they discovered a very interesting room. It was completely unremarkable except for a man-sized indent in the middle of the floor. As everyone stood around contemplating the purpose of this space, the door slammed shut and the roof began to slowly lower. Belmorn was the first to dive into the indent, followed quickly by Tarod and Hammer. A brief scuffle ensued, with Belmorn maintaining control of the indent. The ceiling got lower and lower, and as the four remaining members of the party faced certain death, they began cursing each other. Just before the ceiling got low enough to began causing serious harm to anyone, it suddenly stopped and ascended back to its normal position. The door swung itself open, and the party composed itself. It was understood that a situation like that can bring the worst out in people, and they agreed to move past it. They then resumed their journey to the puzzle room containing the chest. The party didn't have much trouble with the puzzle, which involved some colored golems and orbs, and they found the Rotbane Grimoire in the now unlocked chest. The thick tome contained instructions for the forging of Rotbane and a deep history of the Ivory Empire, who were the Elves that inhabited the jungle thousands of years ago. The book also had enough information to restore a bit of Belmorn's memory.
After reading through the Grimoire, the party realized that Vermillax was responsible for most of their troubles in the jungle. They had two paths ahead of them: they could find the original Rotbane and cleanse it by taking it on a pilgrimage to a number of old Ivory Empire forts, or they could forge a new Rotbane. After discovering this book, the party had anther vision of the past. This time they had more of an idea of what was going on, and they were able to ask informative questions of Sylgwyn. They told her that if she believed her quest to cleanse Rotbane to fail, she should place the corrupted blade in the tomb of her father. This way, the party would have an idea of where to search for it back in the present. After waking up from the vision, the party decided to head back to Freehold to get a good night's rest and gather their thoughts.
The next day they were awoken by a commotion at the west gate. Skrillex, the undercover Chosen Scale warchief, had approached the town and the guards assumed they were under attack. The party quickly settled everyone down, and Skrillex told them he was there to ask for some food to help feed his people. Since Freehold had a surplus of food, they agreed to give him some but told him this couldn't become a regular thing.
After their encounter with Skrillex, the party decided to visit another nearby ruined Ivory Empire fort. The party had two good reasons for this. The first was that the Redkin Tribe told them that the Chosen Scale tribe was using these ruins as hideouts, and the second was that there was a good chance they would be able to find out more about how to defeat Vermillax.
They ventured to some nearby ruins to the east, and began exploring. After some big fights with risen elf skeletons and other nasty inhabitants, the party needed an extended period of time to rest. Hammer agreed to stand watch the while rest of the party recovered. Unfortunately, he let an umber hulk get far too close for comfort. In the ensuing battle, Hammer was grievously wounded and quickly bled out before the party could tend to his wounds. The party seemed to recover rather quickly, and met up with the warlock Erevan. A five-piece again, they resumed searching the ruins. They came to a room with a fountain in the middle, with many gold coins and other seemingly valuable items. Expecting some sort of devious trap, the party stood in the doorway and Tarod used a spell to pluck a dagger from the fountain. Of course, the trapmaker had foreseen this type of shenanigans, and a wall behind the party pushed them into the room, where a lever, an ethereal tea party of stuffed animals, and some numbers appear on the floor. The numbers were next to the lever, and they began counting down from 20. When the level was pulled, the timer reset and the animals switched places around the tea set. The party pulled the lever a few times, then recalled a conversation they had with the ghost of Sylgwyn. She had mentioned that an elf designed these rooms as a joke, and they were generally harmless. The party came to an understand, and took a seat at the tea set as they let the timer ran out. As it hit zero, the animals disappeared and the wall retracted back to allow them to exit the room.
Next, the party enter a giant circular chamber with a very tall curved ceiling. On the floor lay dozens of elf corpses. Beyond them was an altar with a mysterious figure on it, staring into a glowing red orb. At the 6, 9, and 12 o'clock positions of the room, skeletons stood staring into basins of blood. As the party ventured further into the room, the skeletons and figure in the center sprang to life, and they began raising the elf corpses on the floor. The party focused their efforts on removing the figure's ability to raise the dead elves, and eventually was able to overcome this challenge. They discovered the mysterious figure was a very old, mummified elf wizard. Soon after this battle, they entered into the dream they had come to expect from these elven ruins. They saw Sylgwyn trying to cleanse Rotbane and she told the party that she only had 2 more shrines to visit before removing the corruption from the blade. A shriek was heard and the vision was cut short. After coming to, the party decided to head back to Freehold to rest up and decide on a further course of action, however their plans were interrupted when a group of Freehold scouts come up to them and informed them of trouble at the mithril mine: dark elves had emerged from the hole in the ground and begun slaughtering the miners. The party rushed to the mine to solve the problem. On their way into the mine to investigate the hole, they were ambushed by two drow and a drider. It was a hopeless battle for the party, and after realizing fighting was of no use, they threw down their weapons and surrendered.
The party awoke trapped in a cell along with a dwarf named Horgar. With his help, they were able to escape from the drow. After making their getaway, he told them about one possible method of escaping the Underdark: travel to the kuo-toa village of Sloobludop, arrange to get a boat, row across the Darklake, and arrive in the deurgar city of Gracklstugh where they could learn of a route above ground.
So, the party began traveling with Horgar. After a few days and more than a couple close calls (including a particularly nasty fungal poison), the party was awoken during their sleep by a mind flayer. It was a total disaster, with Belmorn having his brain devoured by the mind flayer. A miraculous trinket he was holding reformed his brain and gave him his life back. However, the mind flayer eventually decided it was happy with taking Horgar away and vanished with him. The party continued wandering in the direction Horgar had told them, and eventually ran into a seemingly friendly gelatinous cube. Although some of the party was wary of it, it was able to lead them out of a couple tight spots.
Upon resting a little later, the party was accosted by some kuo-toa. At first they were hostile toward the party, going so far as to kill Krusk. After the fight, however, the leader of this group kuo-toa offered to resurrect Krusk in exchange for some gold and the help of the party. Being exhausted, disgusted, and tired of the Underdark, the party agreed if it meant they were one step closer to getting back to the surface.
After this kuo-toa chieftain led them back to his village, a mothafuckin Demogorgon emerged from the water and the party was able to slip away, along with a deurgar prisoner who promised to help them if they freed them. This deurgar, named Hemmeth, led them across the Blacklake and to the city of Gracklstugh. Upon arriving, Hemmeth told them that they should keep a low profile because the city wasn't very welcoming to surface-dwellers. He also revealed that there was a dragon in the city. At this point, Tarod decided it was best to reveal his true visage after making the rest of the party agree never to speak of it once he got them back to the surface safely.
Immediately after entering the city, the party came across a merchant who was being hassled by some thugs. Half of the party believed it was best to stay out of the matter, but the other half stood up for the merchant and drove the thugs away. In thanks, he told the party to meet him the next day at The Blind Bulette. Before the party could consider their next course of action, however, they were charged by an enraged stone giant!
After a tough fight, the party eventually defeated the stone giant. As our heroes helped each other up, another stone giant approached them to ask why they had slain the first one. When the party explained that it had attacked them for no reason, this new stone giant had trouble believing it, telling the party that the giant they had slain had never acted aggressive before.
When the party was ready to continue, Hemmeth led them to the Blind Bullute where they were able to get a room for the night.
In other parts of the world:
Back in the Yeomancy, Dez's squad from the Wheat March (who had stuck together to become a roaming band of adventurers) was tasked with checking out a village with which the world had lost contact. When they arrived, they found it had seemingly been besieged by giants. They went to a nearby fort, asked for a few men to help them, and tracked down the giants responsible, eventually killing them. When they awoke the next morning, they were attacked by a storm giant who jumped down from a floating castle in the sky. The group was able to exploit a miraculous feat of sleight of hand in which the giant's sword was replaced with a dagger, and slayed the giant.
Somewhere in the Amedio Jungle, a tribe of orcs held a small tournament to find champions to lead the offensive against Freehold. After finding four exceptional individuals, they launched an attack on Freehold's mithril mine, which proved to be a massive success. Many miners were slain directly by the orcs' hand, with the rest of them being left trapped inside the mine. The foreman and his guards were all slain as well. The orcs decided to spend the night in their tents, and were able to ambush a re-supply convoy that was arriving early the next morning. They wiped out this group of scouts and stole 4 carts full of mithril.
After their success at the mine, this group of orcs then traveled to Freehold to scout for a weakness in its defense. Due to the lack of immediately finding one, the orcs decided to make their own. They set the wooden walls of freehold on fire, and escaped into the night. Upon returning to their camp and reporting their victories, the entire tribe of orcs rallied together to march on Freehold.
In the Barony of Willip, Xanthan Butrain, his second son, and some of his most valuable allies stood as the last line of defense against the advancing forces of Iuz. They all fought bravely and as best they could, but eventually exhaustion took hold of them. When a fearsome giant demon appeared, they gave it all they could but just could not overcome the beast. This defeat gives Iuz a massive foothold into Furyondy and all points south, with his newfound use of the largest port in all of Greyhawk.