The year is 9:31 Dragon. After the heroic efforts that brought the end of the Fifth Blight, the city of Gwaren in southeast Ferelden is in a sorry state. Lying so far south means it was ravaged by the darkspawn during the Blight, though the walls were not truly breached, and the surrounding countryside is lain waste and the dark forests have gone fae and strange. After a crushing defeat at the Landsmeet, Anora Mac Tir is no longer queen. She returns as teyrna of Gwaren now that her father Loghain has been made a Grey Warden.
In Gwaren, a member of the tevinter magisterium arranges for an expedition into the deep roads under the teyrnir. Honora Kaloethes believes she has located a possible entrance to Gwaren Thaig, which was sealed during the chaos of the First Blight roughly a thousand years ago. The recently ended Blight means that the roads are nearly free of darkspawn, and it is a once in a lifetime chance. She gathered together a band of brave, possibly desperate, and at least half crazy opportunists to join her in this endeavor. They agreed to go, with only the promise of gold and glory binding them together in the face of their already-apparent tendency to bicker endlessly.
The party travelled to the entrance Honora had found. As they explored, they found a sealed door with a lock made with a lyrium circuit. Despite the efforts of the party mages, they couldn’t open it and moved on. They also found the corpse of a man killed (apparently) by darkspawn, and find a journal detailing his last days on the body. He was a treasure hunter who had come down with two other men, but had become separated when they were attacked by spiders. Interestingly, it seems one of the other men had found something he was sure was a key to the sealed door.
Knowing this, the party elected to attack the giant spider nest when they found a side tunnel covered in webbing. Riesa and Eustace used magic and a torch to set fire to most of the spider nest, though luckily the party managed to recover anything useful off the two treasure hunters’ corpses before the fire ruined them.
Having the key to the lyrium lock, they backtracked to the sealed chamber and discovered that it was an outpost of Gwaren Thaig. They found several weapons and potions, arrows good for shooting darkspawn and the undead, and an old protective rune made for a dog collar that Alvar promptly put on Andruil. Most interestingly, however, were the old dwarven reports that Honora and Astrild read to discover that there was, in fact, another potential entrance to the Thaig. The Gwaren dwarves had sealed it but had not had time to collapse the tunnel of the underground river they’d channeled to bring in water. Based on the work Honora had done to find the entrance, she could also find this channel. The party agreed (over a meal of cooked spider for the brave and rations for the rest) to pursue this entrance.
On the way to the channel they encountered a pack of darkspawn returning to the deep roads from the surface. The darkspawn captain was carrying a massive ancient dwarven wrench and almost beat Brinn to death with it. Highlights of that fight include a failed roll to play dead, Riesa rolling a natural 6+6+6 to burn things, Talan’s first kill, and the world’s bravest hurlock that wouldn’t fail a morale check no matter how badly outnumbered he was.
After routing the darkspawn and remaining cheerfully unblighted, the party found the old channel and used the dwarven wrench to activate the mechanism that would drain the section between there an the Thaig. Unfortunately, the ancient chain broke in the water. Eustace got to prove his swimming skills by diving in and pulling the chain out so they could feed it back through and finish draining.
This gave them a convenient, flat, and safe road straight to the gates of Gwaren Thaig, where they found the last opposition: a pack of dwarven skeletons that had been possesed by rage and hunger demons over the long years. By now, the party worked smoothly as a team to make quick work of the threat.
Triumphant, they entered the ancient thaig to claim whatever they and their wagon could carry in dwarven relics. It was a good day. Despite their tendency to squabble, light things on fire, and (lately) botch magic rolls, things were definitely looking up for the Infighting Squad.
Little did they know of what was still to come now that they had reached level two…