"I am your Dungeon Master, Mike Mearls. We find our five brave adventurers exploring—or attempting to explore—the ruins of a town named Kiris Dahn. They've been sent here in search of an enigmatic entity called Ruin, on behalf of a mysterious benefactor."
—Mike Mearls, Heroes of the Vale, Episode 2
Watch Heroes of the Vale: Episode 2!
Level 3 Characters
- Keen, Eladrin Eldritch Knight Fighter played by TJ Storm
- Avren, Human Hexblade Warlock played by Todd Kenreck
- Briv, Half-Orc Cavalier Fighter played by Adam Bradford
- Fla’apper, Aarakocra Beast Master Ranger played by Shelly Mazzanoble
- Orkira, Dragonborn Light Domain Cleric played by Lauren Urban
- Penelope, Halfling Circle of Land Druid played by Hope LaVelle
Our heroes stand on the edge of Kiris Dahn, and are approached by a transparent creature carrying a halberd. This translucent creature invites the group into the town before the sun goes down. The creature does not remember his name, and merely calls himself the Gatekeeper. Despite speaking with an old voice, he appears to be a strong creature with claws, and Fla’apper is able to shake his hand. Avren palms the Card and goes to shake the Gatekeeper’s hand, but nothing special happens. The Gatekeeper suggests they find lodging at an inn called the Silver Mare.
As the Gatekeeper turns the wheel to lift the gate nothing happens, but the Gatekeeper believes the gate is open. When Briv confronts his “useless” behavior he grow angry and is going to storm off and leave them outside, but Penelope calms him and convinces him to once again allow them entry into the town. Briv and Avren are forced to lift the gate manually despite the Gatekeeper insisting he has lifted it with the broken wheel.
As they enter the destroyed town everyone realizes that Keen is missing! He apparently has crossed back over to the Feywild. Fla’apper extends his senses and feels energy from the Shadowfell has infused the place. It’s close enough that creatures like the Gatekeeper are crossing over from there. There is also a powerful arcane entity nearby.
Briv and Orkira head towards the Silver Mare, hearing the clatter of pots and pans. There are figures inside, mechanical “tavernfolk," but they don’t seem to remember details of what happened in the past. They can’t recall names, only the roles they play. Fla'apper holds up a mirror to one of them, and the creatures sees itself and SCREAMS! It’s revealed to be a horrible dark creature with rows of sharp teeth, and in anguish and horror the creatures attack! One is killed, but another is hit by a radiant blast from Avren. It loses the dark shroud letting it be translucent and shudders on the ground, completely visible and terrified. It starts to chant to itself desperately, “I am the Innkeeper, I am the Innkeeper!” Bothered by the cowering figure, Orkira takes a moment to examine the creature, then implores him to stop the violence, “You can stop this fight, that’s what Innkeepers do, stop tavern fights!” The Innkeeper agrees and convinces the rest of the figures to stand down.
Avren chats with the now-calmed Innkeeper, who only seems to have an idea of what he is supposed to do in this job. He insists that it’s a job that makes you powerful, and only stays calm and happy when performing the common tasks an Innkeeper would. He does say that the most powerful person lives in the Villa, that he is the most rich and powerful man in town. When pressed for where to find more information, he suggests going to speak with the Librarian.
The group head towards the library, hoping to find the Librarian as well as a safe place to set up camp. The library is a collapsed building, but the narrow front of the building is still standing. Penelope heads up to knock on the door and finds the Librarian who shushes her. She says the library is closed, but Orkira activates her Radiance of the Dawn and fools the Librarian into believing the sun is rising and so time to open. They head inside where Briv asks for comic books. Avren asks about the history of the town but the Librarian only will hand over blank books saying it has the information they seek. Penelope begins to think that whatever is said becomes law. Inspired by that idea, Avren claims to be a scholar and a king, and manages to convince the Librarian that he’s the King of this town, writing in the blank books to create information. Now as “King,” Avren asks for information on the powerful man in town, and the Librarian says that he usually comes to the market in the mornings. She warns that he may be dressed as a beggar and asks for things, but he always takes what he wants.
Fla’apper starts making fliers that shows Avren as King, and the group spreads them throughout the town as they head back to talk to the Gatekeeper. Avren describes his companions as titles in his royal court; Penelope is a Princess, Briv is a Commander, Fla’apper is a Ranger, and Orkira is a Cleric. The Gatekeeper is convinced that Avren is King, and Avren asks for all the town guard to be gathered. A dozen guards arrive, and Avren tells them to meet at dawn and go to the market to confront “the one who takes” as he is the enemy of the city!
After a long rest on the steps of the Library the group heads for the Market, where Shadowfell creatures are using rubble as props as they pretend to be shopkeepers and townsfolk. Avren arrives playing the part of King, and uses Minor Illusions to spread “gold” to the people as he reinforces his royalty. They call out in greeting, seemingly excited to have someone willing to tell them what to do. Fla’apper takes to the air searching for signs of the beggar and spots a figure slowly moving towards them in an alley. It is an old man dressed as a beggar, with a long beard almost touching ground, in an tattered shawl with a bowl.
Ruin has arrived.
Briv orders the guards to attack, but Ruin laughs at the Shadowfell creatures and dismisses them with a wave of his staff. Then he announces he will take all the party has, summoning a huge rock creature out of the debris of the library to attack!
The fight has started, but how will it end? Root for our heroes during Episode 3, debuting January 23rd at 2 pm PST!
Lauren "OboeCrazy" Urban is the Community Manager for D&D Beyond, as well as a professional classical musician on oboe and English Horn. When she's not playing a Bard in real life she's a prolific Dungeon Master and player on a variety of livestreams and podcasts. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband Luke where they spend their free time playing video games and drinking tea. The best way to keep up with Lauren's busy schedule is to follow her on Twitter at @OboeCrazy.