The party was going to go to Fulgore Keep but as I've come to notice as a DM, what you plan and what the party does might NOT be the same thing. :)
On a map I gave them of the surrounding land, there are some points of interest OFF the beaten path - one of them mentioned as Fengarth's Tower. It's some long abandoned tower from a wizard that died here during the Ogrewars. Deep enough in the badlands that no one goes there - close enough to interest some wondering PC's.
And the group said they wanted to go.
A good DM is always prepared. So I had this tower made and stocked a while ago - and it is NOT my fault that a party of 3rd level people really shouldn't be poking around the seemingly abandoned tower. It was nice to see them attempt a "dungeon" that was not at all specifically level- tailored for their skills.
Write up follows:
After Thadar's trial and subsequent execution, the party spent the next five weeks working off some of their bond debt and training under various mentors around town. The spring months have grown warmer and the days longer. The first really warm days of 85 and 90 degrees came and there was the Frey Festival, the welcoming of the summer sun - the solstice.
Karis though was called forth by Sheriff Phozarn during his training to answer the charges leveled against him by Clothier Dellia. The Sheriff was apologetic but needed to make sure the cavalier came along for a small court appearance. His mentor, Esquire Nailorgen volunteered to come and speak on Karis' behalf and surprisingly, Sir Slaine's nephew Kalt who has been training with Karis and Nailorgen volunteered to come as well.
Sir Walter was away at Cymbarton, called there for the mid year Council of Lords - a gathering of the heads of households for all the landed gentry in Sedaria - and would be gone for a few weeks. So his wife, the Lady Arian Slaine would be presiding. Some towns or cities have a magistrate to handle disputes and such, but Orihalcus has never had that or the need for one - with Sir Walter and his council serving that function two days a weeks if needed.
This matter with Clothier Dellia was supposedly put to bed eleven days ago when Karis spoke with Sir Walter, confessing to his breach of etiquette and the issue was supposedly exonerated. Clothier Dellia also waited many days to bring this matter - and to do it at a time when Sir Walter was not here seemed rather auspicious.
The party did a bang up job LARPing this out (Karis did himself, Kyle did Nailorgen, Jason did Phozarn, Matt did Dellia, and Mike did Kalt). Dellia was eloquent about her fear over Karis and the "monstrous humans", waxing loud and flustered as she went on about the attack. Nailorgen spoke on Karis' behalf, trying to let the Lady Arian know that this matter was most likely nothing and Karis was contrite. Karis admitted to what had occurred and offered to pay for any damages to the counter if there was some. But Kalt made it his business to sit behind Dellia and took advantage of Lady Arian's inexperience with holding court by commenting often and sarcastically about Karis being "ogre-spawn" continuously. It was when Kalt spoke of his time adventuring and slaying orc and ogre kind that there was a choking amount of disbelief.
Eventually Dellia accepted Karis' apology and his offer for recompense (she spoke much about how her friends and Kalt (who seemed to be more than a friend) advised her that it was best that she try to have Karis' in stocks and lashed - not her idea) and then Karis took off his gauntlet and threw it at Kalt's feet telling him to pick it up or be branded a coward. Kalt laughed it off and made more rude comments - telling Nailorgen that working with the half ogre was untenable and "either he goes or I go". Kalt left Nailorgen's tutelage after that.
The party then spent the next few weeks selling off their gathered treasures, paying for their training, commissioning new armor and weaponry, and renewing their supplies. Detheron's companions look healthier and more robust than they ever did before, definitely larger and stronger. The group then spent some time talking about the adventuring charter and followed some discussion on who would be leader of the group. It came down to Karis and Puck and the group listened to the two of them talk about it - weighing many pros and cons until it was decided that Karis would be signed on as leader. Provision was that he would work to the party's strengths when possible and that he would make sure passionate responses like he did with Clothier Dellia would be a thing of the past. As for an adventuring troupe name, the group bard suggested "the Sundered Chain" - in homage to the party's meeting and grouping as slaves as their origin.
We had a choice then - go to Fulgore Keep and pursue the Lycos Suns and those who had us enslaved - or investigate Fengarth's Tower (a marking on the map given to us by Shriff Phozarn of an abandoned wizard’s tower some half a day away into the badlands). Some good dialogue followed and the group decided (not unanimously) to go investigate Fengarth's. It's only about 4 hours from town and not that far out of the way. If it was beyond our skill, we would leave and go to Fulgore's Keep the following day. We got approval from Sir Walter to go - letting us have 2 days of wiggle room in our bondsmanship to go and investigate the tower - and he even told us that most likely Sheriff Phozarn would come to us to award us more time to go and investigate the slaver encampment at this strange keep when we came back. A few of us went off to ask One Eared Quint for some holy water (as well as make a donation).
Karis was given a note by an eleven year old boy who said "I heard a voice tell me to look under a rock near my house and take the note there to Karis the Ogre-knight from the song". He gave the note to Karis who gave him a silver. Note talked about boxes being sent back and forth from Cymbarton and that one of the boxes had some clothes, a silver hilted sword - and a tabard of Orihalcus. Group deduced from the clues that Kalt must be behind it but the note didn't exactly say. Another answer to the mystery. Group will look more into it later.
Then they went off to the west, travelling over hill through the dangerous wildlands till they came upon Fengarth's tower. Descriptive text followed as:
You've seen the long figure of Fengarth's Tower sticking over the low hills and badlands for the last twenty minutes now, the ancient crumbling tower coming more into view with each valley you've come across, until finally you crest the last hillock and can see the monolith unimpeded.
The tower is made of faded red and brown wide bricks, thin lines of grimy mortar running between them. It sits on the tall grasses heavily, its base seemingly sunk under the loam of the tired earth. Long abandoned and weathered walls mark where stables and other outlying buildings once stood – only the stone foundations and skeletal frames remain now.
The tower itself seems foreboding, stretching well over one hundred feet into the azure sky, its base closer to sixty feet across, its top much more slender. Old scars mar the stone around the shattered doorway, the bricks gouged deeply and heavily stained. Numerous arrowslits dot the tower's perimeter and closer to the top, there seems to be an opened area as if a parapet or walkway.
There is a smell coming from the maw-like entrance, and it rankles your nose with some fetid stench. Something about this tower sets your teeth on edge. Something makes you feel unwelcome.
Carefully the group searched the lower hall which had been consumed by fire long ago. Puck's magical vision let him know that the entire tower has some sort of latent spellwork on it - enough that it infused everything and gave him a bit of a headache.
A central stairs spiraled upward and a closed set of doors on the right side went down into the tower's basement. Basement doors were newer (maybe 10-20 years old) which made the party wonder, was the tower inhabited? As someone said "I doubt any banshee that lives here went to the local carpenter and ordered a door to keep the drafts out of the basement". Puck used his manacles and actually locked the basement door closed by running the chains back and forth through the handles until it was sealed.
The group went upstairs and the eerie sensation continued. Zoltan led the way to a landing and after carefully checking, opened the first door on his left. Candles throughout the room lit under their own power and the party was in some sort of gaming room. A couple of table and some chairs were here and a glass cabinet held various games such as dice, dicing cups, wire puzzles, chess, wolves and jackals, and similar things. Detheron was advised, asked, and begged 2,847 times not to open the cabinet - so he did (chuckle) - took out a set of wolves and jackals, showed the party and put it in his pack. Some nervous laughing followed and Zoltan moved on to the next door.
A circular hall was next, following the wall of the stairs, with some doors on the outer wall. This area was dusty, unlike the gaming room, and in here the group saw a small chamber long abandoned - with a skeletal remains of some humanoid creature who had its neck twisted completely around and hurled with great force against the back corner.
And then the group heard some smashing upstairs.
Frantic whispers followed and the party followed Karis to the 3rd floor landing where he used his sword to open the door to the tower's kitchen which had the following within:
At just under ten feet in height, its pustulant green skin hangs in leprous folds from is muscled form. A scraggly greasy mass of hair hangs over its jutting brows, a tremendous nose sticks out over a torn gash of a mouth filled with a double row of two inch long curved teeth. It is clad in torn scraps of pale blue linen cloth slung across its body, a large leather sack is held in one taloned hand, chunks of some bloody meat within. It is using a cleaver to hack up one of the "meats" which you can now see still has a gnomish foot attached to it. It glares at you with deep black eyes and opens it watering mouth wide.
The cavalier rammed the full length of his sword into the creature's gut and the battle ensued. The monster hurled its cleaver at Zoltan, burying the filthy knife in the thief’s chest and slamming him back to half hit points immediately. Karis had a chunk torn from his skin and eaten by the monster and Puck's flare spell had no effect on the monster. Gwyn charged up the stairs and Karis hacked at the beast who then Flared him! and it was strong. Also, its wounds were healing rapidly and no matter how mightily Karis struck at it - it did nothing but make the monster laugh. It referred to itself as T'Nagrath and showed more spell power by magic missiling Puck in response for the mage's magic missile.
With their blows not doing anything real to the party and only a few minutes of combat having Puck, Zoltan, and Karis at half hit points or worse, the call to retreat was given and the group ran. Karis slammed the door closed and the group went to the entrance hall - readying oil and fire spells. The monster lumbered down after them and then oil was hurled and Puck fired off a burning hands spell and the monster went up like a candle.
It continued to laugh while ON FIRE and stalked forwards still - yelling at the group to come back and fight it. That was the last straw and the party ran outside. A last flask of oil had been poured on the floor outside and while the creature followed us - it ignited the pool. Like a living wave of fire - it stalked outside the tower still following us. And then the fire guttered low unnaturally fast and its charred and blackened form wreathed in smoke gave chase. The blacked layer of flesh fell away and the monster seemed entirely unharmed.
It laughed at our retreating back and chuckling returned to the tower.
It was at that moment that the group said that maybe Fengarth's Tower was not a good idea for us to investigate and we should move on to Fulgore's Keep.
We ended it here. Party had a great time and like Gwyn said "if you set something on fire and it laughs at you and keeps coming - you can't fight it!". Wise words from the dwarf who said we shouldn't be going to the Tower in the first place. ;)