My current group started 4e at level 4 and has run H2, H3, P1, and we're currently working our way through P2. We plan on going all the way through to E3, achieving 30th level within this single product line.

Unfortunately our group only meets once per week for about 2 hours, and we chit chat a lot, so this is going to take YEARS to accomplish. As such, memories have faded and I don't have a clear grasp of the big picture - from where we started to where we are now. I'd also like to read a synopsis of H1 to get some details on how this whole story started.

Is there a resource that gives a detailed summary of all of the WOTC H1-E3 adventures? If not, could anyone write one?

Preferably the summary would be split up by published adventure so I would know where to stop reading to avoid spoilers.

EDIT: Here are links to H1, P1, and E1. See the "Related Products" section of each for the second and third adventure of each tier.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If anyone decides to write a summary, I'd be happy to award a bounty for your time. I'm looking for details - overarching plot lines, key characters, major revelations, BBEG's, everything. Not just the "Adventure Synopsis" section of each book. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what the best way to answer this question is... 9 posts one for each module? One uber-long post? In any case, I don't mind answering this completely but it may take a while, as writing each adventure up takes a wee bit of time. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 1:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimonWithers one uber-long post. feel free to edit over the next several days, I'm in no rush. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 2:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dpatchery I added a spoiler warning to the title just in case anyone has yet to play these and doesn't want the modules ruined by the extensive summary. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 3:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @DForck42 Edited the question to add links. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 23:32

3 Answers 3


H1 - Keep on the Shadowfell

This adventure takes place in and around the town of Winterhaven in the Nentir Vale.

Kalarel, an Orcus worshiping cult leader, is performing a ritual to open a rift into the Shadowfell. Kalarel is served by an elven archer Ninaren who may initially work with the party, and a gnome named Agrid, as well as sundry undead, cultists and other nasties. Kalarel is allied to a gang of kobolds lead by the goblin Irontooth, a gang of goblins lead by their chief Balgron the Fat, and a gang of hobgoblins lead by their un-named chief.

Plot hooks kicking off the adventure include locating a missing person, Douven Staul, an explorer, who has stumbled across the dragon burial ground where Agrid is trying to recover artifacts useful to his master; mapping the Keep on the Shadowfell, built in ancient times to stand guard over a potential gateway to the Shadowfell; and following up a commission to investigate and disrupt the Kalarel's plans.

Allies of the players include the lord of Winterhaven Lord Padraig, a sage Valthrun the Prescient, as well as the ghost of the last lord of the Keep on the Shadowfell Sir Keegan.

The adventure starts with an attack by Kobolds on the players as they travel to Winterhaven, where they are likely to meet Lord Padraig, Valthrun the Perscient and Ninaren. Depending on some players choices they will end up seeking out Douven Staul and fighting Agrid or tracking the Kobolds back to their lair and fighting Irontooth.

Eventually the players will find their way to the keep, or more accurately the dungeon under the ruins of the keep, the first level of which is mainly populated by the Goblin tribe, a Kruthik hive, and some undead guarding Sir Keegan's tomb.

In Sir Keegan's tomb the players can discover the story of the keep - that it was built by the Empire of Nerath to guard against a rift into the Shadowfell being re-opened, but that it was abandoned after he fell into madness and slew his family and retainers.

Additionally in the first level of the dungeon the characters can find a letter linking Kalarel to Chief Krand of the Bloodreavers which ties into H2 - Thunderspire Labyrinth

It is expected that the characters will return to Winterhaven before continuing through the dungeon, and there they discover that Ninaren is working with Kalarel as she has performed a ritual at his instruction that has raised undead from town cemetery.

The second level of the dungeon under the keep sees the characters pitted against the hobgoblins, then undead, and finally they make it to the climactic battle against Kalarel

  • \$\begingroup\$ Odd... on my copy of Keep on the Shadowfell the "base" town is named Winterhaven. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 6:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Simon I keep calling winterhaven winterfell too. Must be from watching/reading game at the same time as playing through Cairn of the winterking/keep on the shadowfell \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doh - yes... I'll fix that :/ It's not Cairn of the Winterking, which I've never played nor read, but Game of Thrones that has mucked me up. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 13:16

H2 - Thunderspire Labyrinth

This adventure takes place in the Seven Pillared Hall, an ancient city once the hub of a minotaur kingdom and other dungeon areas in the tunnels under Thunderspire Mountain in the Nentir Vale.

Paldemar a wizard follower of Vecna seeks to take control of the Seven Pillared Hall. In addition slave trading hobgoblins (the Bloodreavers) and duergar (the Grimmerzhul duergar) have kidnapped townsfolk from the surface town of Riverdown, and demon woshiping gnolls (the Blackfang gnolls) have their own agendas while all working with Paldemar on the side.

The Bloodreaver hobgoblins, whose chief Krand is connected to Kalarel from H1 - Keep on the Shadowfell provide two of the plot hooks to kick the adventure off. Lord Padraig of Winterhaven may ask the characters to eliminate the threat that they pose to the Nentir Vale, or the people of the surface town of Riverdown may seek the characters help in rescuing captive villagers. The final plot hooks are to courier goods to a drow fence named Gendar, and to investigate the minotaur ruins found within Thunderspire mountain.

The adventure begins with the characters entering the tunnels under Thunderspire Mountain, and stumbling across Bloodreaver gang hobgoblins menacing a halfling Rendil, whos family runs a tavern, the Halfmoon Inn, in the Seven Pillared Hall.

The Labyrinth of tunnels and chambers bored into Thunderspire Mountain is a notable "character" of this adventure. It is expected that travel from location to location will result in the characters occasionally becomming lost, encountering random monsters in the depths of the mountains, and otherwise interacting with the maze of tunnels.

The Seven Pillared Hall acts as the characters home base while exploring Thunderspire. The hall is a large cavern supporting a small trading town, in which denizens from the underdark and merchants from the surface world can meet on neutral ground. Peace in the hall is kept by the Mages of Saruun, of whom the characters will meet Orontor who will tell them of the missing Paldemar, though Orontor does not know of Paldemar's plot. When this meeting happens is unspecified, thought he module suggests that Orontor be met earlier than later.

Rendil provides the characters with directions to the Chamber of Eyes a dungeon location near the Seven Pillared Hall that was once a temple to Torog, but is now the home base of the Bloodreavers and their chief, Krand. During this segment of the adventure the players encounter some duergar who are completing their side of the sale of the Riverdown captives who have now been transported to the duergar fastness, the Horned Hold, though they do not learn the name or location of the hold.

Up next for the characters is to return to the Seven Pilared Hall, determining what to do next if they are not sure, and then learning where to find the Grimmerzhul duergar who have purchased the Riverdown captives. The duergar have a trading post in the Seven Pilared Hall and the characters can find the Horned Hold by interrogating one of the duergar, by ransaking or searching the trading post, or by buying the info from Gednar (the drow to whom one of the opening adventure hooks points).

So eventually the characters make their way to the Horned Hold where they fight their way through the dueargar, and the allies, defeating the duergar leader Murkelmor, a paladin of Asmodeus and rescure the townsfolk. The most notable aspect of the Horned Hold itself is that it is built straddling a great gorge, with bridges spanning the gap from the two southern keeps (from where the characters approach) to the northern keep (where Murkelmor and the captives are to be found).

The characters learn from the captives that two of their number were sold on to some gnolls. The successes the players have had in dealing with the Bloodreavers and the duergar cause Paldemar to strike at the characters before they damage his plans further, and so dispatches a team to ambush them. The ambushers helpfully bring along letters implicating Paldemar, naming a tribe of gnolls, the Blackfangs, and their chieftan, Maldrick Scarmaker, as his allies, as well as providing a map to the Well of Demons where the gnolls lair.

The Well of Demons is a former temple of Baphomet which the gnolls are intending to redidicate to Yeenoghu. In addition to the gnolls, the Well of Demons contains a series of tests that the characters must pass if they are to enter the inner sanctum where they do battle with Maldrick Scarmaker, rescue the final two captives, win an item called the silver key which both unlocks Paldemar's lair (a place called the Tower of Mysteries) and gives a vision of how to get there, and learn for sure, that Maldrick Scarmarker and Paldemar are in cahoots.

The tests the charactes must attempt, and the rewards they receive for doing so are: the Hall of Enforced Introspection in which they win the Face of Baphomet, the Hall of the Crimson Whip in which they win the blade and the hilt of the Bloodhorn Blade, the Hall of the Howling Pillars in which they win the Bell of Fury's Calling, the Proving Grouds in which they gain access to the inner sanctum.

The characters have now uncovered Paldemar's plans, and so proceed to Paldemar's lair in Tower of Mysteries to confront him.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Great stuff. Keep it coming! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 12:48

H3 - The Pyramid of Shadows

This adventure takes place in the Pyramid of Shadows. The pyramid is a transdimensional prison created to hold a tiefling wizard named Karavakos.

The module presents plot hooks to pull the characters into the Pyramid of Shadows. The characters could discover a map amongst Paldemar's possessions with notes scribbled on it like "Vast magic for the taking". They could be sent by a local seer, sage or madman who has been dreaming of the pyramid. Or finally, the characters could be comissioned to recapture, Gharash Vren, a gang leader who unbeknowst to the authorities, has become imprisoned in the pyramid.

The pyramid is split into 4 levels.

The first level contains three major encounter areas. The Verdant Ruin, populated with a tribe of humanoid monsters called arborians. Rooms occupied by Gharash Vren and his gang of cut-throats. And the Library of Shadows, in which a splinter of Karavakos' life essence resides.

The second level of the pyramid contains two major encounter areas. The Sundered Temple, a temple filled with aberrants dedicated to the Far Realm lead by a foulspawn seer named Medragal. Both a mind flayer called Xzathral and the second splinter of Karavakos have tried to connect the Sundered Temple to the Far Realm and have been warped beyond recovery by doing so. The Dragon's lair houses an (unnamed) white dragon and it's eladrin servators.

The third level of the pyramid is divided between two reflections of Karavakos' life force. The Crypt of the Necromancer is ruled by a splinter of Karavakos (now naming himself Kravak the Damned) turned to dark magics in an effort to escape his prison. The Cyst of Shadow is home to a shadow of Karavakos' life force created as a side effect of the magics which locked him in his prison and splintered his life force.

The forth and final level is home to the true Karavakos, and killing him causes the prison to shatter and release it's surviving occupants.

The characters are aided and driven forwards in their quest to kill Karavakos by the Head of Vyrellis, an artifact which they find early on in the pyramid, who's goals are to slay all the components of Karavakos. The Head of Vyrellis is the severed head of Vyrellis the former bride to be of Karavakos who seeks vengeance for being slain by her former betrothed.

The various groups and factions within the pyramid have differing agendas and willingness to work with the characters rather than against the characters.

In the Verfant Ruin, the arborians can be befriended if they characters can bring evidence that they have slain an Otyugh known as the Charnel Lord, but they will betray the characters right at end.

Gharash Vren will offer help if asked, but his greed will not let any alliance last.

Medragal the high priest in the Sundered Temple offers little other than shelter, but demands the extermination of both the dragon and the arborians, and will ambush the characters while they rest if they take his offer of shelter.

The dragon is content with life as it is, but would be grateful if the characters clear out the abberants who tried to sacrfice it once. Unlike the others in the pyramid, it wont betray the characters unless they give it cause.

Karavakos' Shadow wants the characters to kill the real Karavakos so that it can take his place, and will tell whatever lies it needs to to accomplish the tasks. Like the dragon, as long as the characters are doing what it wants, it won't stab them in the back.


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