Halls of the Mountain King Session 7 – Down the Great Stair

An airship approaches a dwarven stronghold in the mountains.

Halls of the Mountain King was the second 4th Edition Open Design project from Kobold Press. I ran the adventure in 2010 as part of the same Parsantium campaign as Wrath of the River King. Here’s the write up from the seventh session.

Begin here with Session 1 – Alarm in the Dead of Night.


The party search around the room while Saethus sustains his wall of fire. Eventually, the spell runs out and a pack of crazed howlers charges towards the characters, led by a Forsaken derro soldier mounted on a howler doom mastiff. Krivinn has picked up one of the derro bombards and tries to fire it at the beasts. Unfortunately, he can’t get it to work and throws it to the floor. Even more unfortunately, the bombard explodes, poisoning and slowing both himself and the rest of the party! Then, the dread hounds move into melee and Ella, Krivinn and Bolval are all bloodied. Saethus steps up and casts thunderwave which gets rid of the dread hound minions. Krivinn slays the doom mastiff with paladin’s judgement as Bolval struggles to wield a derro guisarme effectively. The characters then close in on the Forsaken rider and finish him off. 

Forsaken Derro Soldier

The battle over, the group take a short rest; Saethus examines the magical lenses found on one of the derro – these are part of the Heirlooms of Mazgorax. Meanwhile, Krivinn lines up the bodies of the sacrificial victims in a neat row and piles up the derro and howler bodies in the corner of the room. This done, the PCs head through the broken gate and down the passage to the Great Stair. After walking down the stairs for a while, Bolval warns the others they might get lost without a map or a guide so they decide to return to the top level. 

Upstairs, Father Jappe and his acolytes are waiting to talk to the characters along with a plummy-sounding dwarf in shining armour. This is Varden Redfel, First of the Stair Guard, who asks the party to go down the Great Stair and find out what’s happened to the elementals that normally tend the forges, heating the halls. The elementals are normally looked after by an azer, Abelard the Fire Shepherd, but he’s not been heard from and two groups sent down to investigate previously have not returned. The first of these was led by a journeyman gearworker named Carod.

Before going down the Stair, Khuma tries to find out if anyone has seen Orodak. His enquiries lead him to a plucky orphaned lad named Fiver Hazelwood who remembers the tiefling arriving with two dwarves and spending time with a human named Albricius and a dwarf gearworker while he was in the Halls. No one has seen Orodak for a while and Albricius left on the Drake. In exchange for some food, Fiver shows the characters to Albricius’ tent – here they find rubbings, apparently from Rabscuttle, and cryptic notes in the same handwriting as those found on the ground beneath the Drake. These read “They put it inside him, hidden in plain sight. The answer is the gears!” and “Tears of the Maiden will wash away the greed! The mountain cannot be cured of the curse it caught!

Convinced that Rabscuttle is central to what’s going on, the characters go to talk to Clovis about the gearforged. Rabscuttle is in the camp so the party check his “swirls” against the rubbings – they match! The construct is keen to demonstrate the noise he can make by rubbing a rock on a rusty iron skillet but doesn’t want to climb into Krivinn’s bag of holding to accompany the characters down the Stair. When pressed, he runs off, taking his skillet with him.

The party head down the Great Stair – the journey takes six hours. En route, the characters notice graffitti referring to the orichalcum, the Eye and the Teardrop. At the entrance to the Hearthforges, the adventurers can hear sounds of battle ahead. Through the doors, a xorn is battling a group of wild-eyed dwarves. All of these creatures are affected by greed fever and attack the party when they enter the room.

Bolval casts spiritual weapon on the xorn as it burrows under the floor and attacks Brave Ella. Krivinn moves into melee and is attacked by the dwarf hammerer (who manages to bloody the paladin) and also gets caught in the blast fired from a molten metal sprayer. This armoured dwarf then smashes into Khuma, knocking him down with his shield, as the dragonborn switches targets to the xorn. However, the elemental earth creature uses its for love of money power to divert attacks away from itself and also keeps moving around, burrowing up in the middle of the party so it can attack three characters at a time with its claws. Meanwhile, Saethus and Bolval attack from range, eliminating a bunch of goldspawn dwarf minions, as two dwarf crossbowmen return fire.

Krivinn finally kills the xorn as it tries to burrow away again and Saethus’ unsporting icy hand grabs one of the bolters. The wizard takes down the crossbowman with magic missile and the paladin delivers the killing blow to the hammerer. With all their enemies dead, the characters have a quick look around the room, finding a magic spear in the clutches of a dead Forsaken warrior.


If you’d like to keep up to date with my Halls of the Mountain King campaign and other posts, please do join my mailing list – there’s a sign up form on the home page and subscribers receive a free Parsantium supplement.

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Published by richgreen01

D&D gamer | Freelance game designer | Writer & publisher – Parsantium: City at the Crossroads

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