Secrets of Sokol Keep

DDEX1-02, “Secrets of Sokol Keep”, is the second adventure in the Adventurer’s League Tyranny of Dragons Campaign Path.

We played this module on Sunday, 25 February 2018. Players present were Elinor, Sonya, Meghan, Nick and Warwick.

Official Blurb

Decades have passed since Sokol Keep was reclaimed, and a small garrison placed there along with a beacon to help guide ships. Now, that beacon has gone dark, and the garrison has disappeared. In Phlan, rumors circulate that something ancient was discovered in the grounds beneath the keep, dating to before the clerics of Tyr built the small fortress. Uncover the secrets of Sokol Keep! An adventure for 1st-4th level characters.

Synopsis of Play

After the beacon of the Sokol Keep lighthouse went out mysteriously, the players chose to investigate. Kiara was concerned about her friend Igan Sokol, the quartermaster on the island, who she had not heard from in some days. Pieta was worried the broken lighthouse would impede shipping into and out of Phlan. Qelfras had had disturbing dreams that included a menace approaching Phlan by sea.

Beginning their investigation in the Laughing Goblin tavern, they encoutered Keria and Aravele, two mercenary women who were concerned about their friend Grimm, a Black Fist guard sergeant on Thorn Island who had not shown up for a recent scheduled meeting. The women indicated they were planning on joining the Black Fist, which was hiring in anticipation of an increased level of threat to Phlan.

The players continued their investigation on Thorn Island, where they discovered (a) that the lighthouse had been extinguished by a ghostly cleric of Tyr called Harae, and (b) that Igan Sokol and Grimm had vanished along with the rest of the Black Fist contingent while investigating caverns under Sokol Keep.

Descending into the caverns, the players found an ancient shrine to Dagon, complete with a valuable jade statue. Igan’s corpse was sprawled over the shrine’s altar. As they approached, Igan rose as a zombie, and other undead guardians of the shrine emerged and attacked the players.

Upon defeating the shrine guardians, they found Grimm and his men barricaded in an antechamber. Grimm claimed that Igan was killed by the shrine guardians, but Daralyn, believing Grimm to be the true killer, stabbed Grimm to death. His men in the Black Fist were released, sworn to secrecy. Harae, satisfied that Igan’s killer had been brought to justice, re-lit the beacon.

Upon returning to the mainland, the players lied that Grimm had been killed by the shrine guardians. They urged House Sokol to use the existing servants on Thorn Island to continue running the beacon, and to pay them appropriately. Both House Sokol, and the mercenary women Keria and Aravele, indicated they owed the players a favour for their intervention in the Sokol Keep affair.

Behind the GM’s Screen

Sokol Keep is well-known to older D&D players from the 1988 videogame “Pool of Radiance”, where it was a significant “dungeon” for players to clear of undead as part of the reclamation of Phlan. The events in that game take place in 1340 DR - nearly 150 years before our current campaign! A novelisation under the same name followed the next year. As we’ll see going forward, this adventure isn’t the only part of the campaign inspired by the Pool of Radiance game and novel…

It’s not explicitly spelled out in any of the materials, but given that House Sokol is only around 100 years old, they must have taken their name from the Keep, rather than vice versa.

The module as-written spells Grimm’s name as “Grim” (one “m”), but after having written it as Grimm so many times already, I’m sticking with the two “m” spelling for our campaign.