Sunday, August 21, 2016

Session 4: You otter've thought twice

Flint and his daring companions once again found themselves back in Neufeld, nursing some gallantly gained wounds and seeking new wrongs to right. Some general questioning about who was actually in charge led us to four places, the thieve's guild, the temple of Fayon, the miner's guild, and the local land baron/founding farmer. Our acquisitive ally looked in on his underworldly counterparts, attempting to advance himself within their organization but came up short. One of the priests mentioned that a body had been found drained of blood to the east. The party found the body, and determined it had been attacked by a giant spider. The Daring Companions tracked the spider to its lair, a webbing filled hole in the plains. It was difficult to fight in that cavern, but they were able to defeat the spider and ensure it wouldn't kill again.

A request for an audience with the guild leadership of the miner's guild was all but rebuffed. They indicated they didn't have any trouble they were unable to deal with at the time. However, eager to gain influence, the keepers of the gate as it were asked us to do a favor for the farmers in their name.

Arriving at the Steinwachs' estate, which seemed pleasant if not opulent, the reward for a generation's worth of landscape taming. After rumors of this family's purchase of martial gear, the party was curious. Apparently, the sons of the patriarch were being beset by trouble from some kobolds and particularly a giant otter. One of the scions had apparently been taken by it of late and we were sent to determine his whereabouts and rescue him.

The other son took us down river on a raft ride which was punctuated briefly by a sling stone from a kobold who then shortly found himself punctuated with a full stop by way of an arrow to the face. This brief diversion was scarcely over when a giant wasp attacked the party, only to be fended off and fly away.

Arriving at the last known location of the son, we found some giant weasel tracks and a large cave. Deciding to skip the cave in favor of finding the possibly captive son, we pursued the tracks. Eventually we found a band of kobolds fighting some goblins. One appeared to be a shaman controlling the otter! Trying to sneak up on the groups while letting them kill one another, they were eventually alerted and the spells and arrows flew and the swords were swung. Eventually, when one of the kobolds of a more shamanic persuasion was slain, the great beast, freed from its control fled upriver faster than we could pursue. Searching the body of the shaman, the Companions found a note that looked like a request for the shaman to return to "the Roost".

On the way back, we explored the large cave only to find a giant spider laying in wait. After dispatching it, we found the corpse of the erstwhile monster hunting son of Steinwachs. Returning to the estate with the body in tow, Flint delivered an impromptu eulogy, and the party stayed the night with the mourners.

In the morning the party returned to the miner's guild, eager to find out what news this latest alliance might yield.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Session 3: House of Kobolds

We pick up as our lofty adventures head out from town to dispatch of another rumored nest of kobolds held up somewhere in the hills to the west. Before leaving town the party expends some acquired gold to purchase some oil, herbs that can stave off some minor poisons and physical wounds.

After about a 6 mile trek we make it to the remains of a left over manor marked by a shallow creek. Thanks to the dwarves long cultural relationship with stone we can tell that the foundation of this building was constructed by humans before the 2nd demon war, unimpressive by Dwarven standards but sturdy enough for kobolds. We don’t bother to knock. Instead our barbarian friend put his foot through the front door. Walking into the first chamber we see 4 kobolds spread throughout the corners of the room. The cleric, paladin and barbarian all manage to dispatch there kobolds without fail. The bard and rogue however both struggle momentarily allowing the 4th kobold to drop a chandelier on their heads before being cut down. The paladin and cleric quickly take care of everyone's wounds as we delved further into the manor.

Moving further into the manor we encounter more treacherous obstacles. The cleric falls into a pit inlayed with spikes right before we encounter three more kobolds. This time there is a shaman amongst them. Prioritizing defense against any potential magic assault we quickly dispatch the mage first via a volley of arrows from the party. A quick death is dealt out to the last two kobolds.  The shaman carried a scroll that referenced "the bird's roost" and appeared to lay out a secret path to another kobold lair.

Eventually the party is able to make its way through the manor out into a central courtyard. The courtyard is a wide open grassy space that has two buildings stationed at the center. Entering the first building after making sure to check the door for traps, we find a large open cathedral with a chest in the center. Taking point the rogue checks it for traps but fails to notice the skittering sounds coming from within. As the latch open, a large spider lunges out attempting to take a piercing stab at the rogue’s hand. Narrowly dodging, the party quickly squashes the threat. In the 2nd building a similar chest is found. The party learning from there recent experience opens this one more cautiously. Inside they find some gold , two apparently magical stones and a potion that cannot be identified.

Ready to leave the courtyard the party notices a large opening in the exterior wall of the manor on the opposite side of the courtyard. Scouting for danger they pick up the sounds of several kobolds along with what seem to be hunting dogs coming from inside the building. The cleric takes some of the oil purchased from town and spreads it across the floor of the entrance in preparation for battle. In an awkward display, the bard and barbarian combine there drum and pan flute skills to make probably the most notable performance that any kobold has been privy to. The party takes up ambush position around the entrance waiting for any curious kobolds. One kobold emerges….. Whack…. a second follows….. Whack again. The first one falls with easy as the barbarian clocks him before any warning can be sounded. We are not so luck with the second. The kobold manages to give out a warning howl before having his skull caved in. The response is immediate. Rocks fired from slings come flying through the hole in the wall skirting past different party members. The bard catches a direct hit that momentarily puts him unconcious. The paladin quickly brings him back into the fight as the rest of the part return fire unleashing more arrows into the dark of the building. Three large hound flood out of the building next racing towards the party. The cleric lying in wait ignites the oil that have preemptively placed and two of the three go up in flames as one makes it to the front line of the fight. All three dogs are quickly put down as the party pushes forward. Arrows and rocks are continuously exchanged until the bard cast his signature sleep spell to seal the victory for the party. The remainders are quickly put down as the party quickly clears the rest of the manor before heading back to the town to relay the fate of the kobolds.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Herbs and the Man

I don't like running a campaign where magic items are generally available for sale, especially in 5e. So when one of my players asked if potions of healing were available to be bought at the local temple. I told him that they were not, not unless the temple had a higher opinion of them than they do. I stand by this decision. It helps keep potions special, and gives them an incentive to help out the nice priests of Fayon. But some healing that didn't come from the cleric or paladin could be helpful. So, as I often do, I stole a page from Adventurer Conqueror King. The following herbs are available for sale at the local market for 10gp a dose. They may be used immediately after combat (or during combat), but only once per character. It requires a trained Healing or Survival check at DC 10 to gain the benefits of each herb.

Woundwort: After the First Demon War, the elves brought gifts to men to atone for their crimes. Among their gifts was woundwort, a balm for the injured. To this day, images of the plant are often used when elves and men undertake ventures jointly. When crushed and applied to a wound, it reduces swelling and quickens healing. Once per combat, an application of woundwort will heal 1d4 hit points.

Yellowroot: When Alexander was hunting the great wyrm Scatha, he of the
poisonous bite, a nymph maiden showed him this plant, which grew only in the deepest parts of the great swamp Gwaithe. Upon returning to Lyonia, he planted the seeds widely, and it can now be found across Arden Est. Once per combat, an application of Yellowroot will cure 1d6 hit points of poison damage. If given as a tea to an individual making saves against a poison, it will give them advantage on those saves.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Session 2: Ipso Cocklorum

Picking up where we left off, the party entered the next room and immediately came upon a kobold staring down at them from a ledge 10-20 feet above. When the little bugger didn't immediately run to raise an alarm, the party realized the kobold was already dead, though the rogue put an arrow in him for good measure. Upon closer examination, we found that the kobold had actually been ritually crucified, with his heart, eyes, and tongue removed. Very grisly indeed. We later found the organs in a bowl before a slab of black stone in the center of the room, where it appeared the organs had been harvested from the victim if the large knife there was any indication.

I'm still not sure how but the paladin somehow noticed a secret door to a hidden room. Inside, we found a small bedchamber. It was meager by any civilized standards but rather luxuriously appointed, with a bed, blankets, and a small chest, for a kobold. After a bit of a mishap with the spring loaded needle trap on the chest, the rogue was able to crack it open. Inside was a silver dagger, a gem, and a scroll written in some unintelligible undercommon tongue.

As the coterie was about to ascend the stairs at the far side of the room, we were ambushed by a pair of kobolds who appeared at the top. After a brief scuffle, the rogue managed to dispatch the two in short order.

Ascending the stairs, we found a set of cages where 3 of the farmer's chickens cowered. Unfortunately, several more cages were already empty. All indications, from the blood and feathers around the area, were that the missing chickens had met with some unfortunate end. Continuing onward, we found a corridor leading a large set of double doors. Contrary to the primitive construction in the rest of the cavern, the doors were well made and somewhat ornate. The paladin was good enough to alert us all to a pit trap en route to the doors by falling into it but came out of the pit relatively unscathed.

Reaching the doors, we opened them to find a long corridor lined with columns. At the far end, in a rectangular chamber, a kobold shaman chanted over a large sarcophagus and altar while fondling a terrified chicken. Five kobolds attended the shaman's ceremony along with what appeared to be 3 mutated, demonic chickens. Horrifying beasts.

No sooner had we entered the room than the kobolds and demon chickens began an all out assault. The dwarf, stalwart as ever, moved forward to engage the infantry while the rogue fired an arrow that caught the shaman in the shoulder. The shaman, in retaliation, croaked a spell to try to chain the rogue in place with his will alone. Luckily, the rogue was able to resist the shaman's feeble spell and kept his wits about him. While one of the demonic chickens pecked at the ground rather menacingly, the other two moved forward to attack the dwarf. As strong as steel he may be but the dwarf was nearly brought low by one of the chicken's talons that landed fortuitously against him. Acting quickly, the paladin managed to save the dwarf from the brink of oblivion by laying hands. And then I intoned a quick spell that managed to send all but one each of the kobolds and the demon chickens into magical slumber. The party quickly dispatched the chicken and kobold still conscious before putting an end to the others, save the shaman, who was bound for questioning. Approaching the altar, we were overwhelmed by the feeling of evil emanating from the shrine. While the dwarf set about desecrating and dismantling the altar, the paladin and rogue questioned the shaman and I comforted the terrified chicken rescued from the shaman, whom I have named Svetlana. It seems the shaman had been dedicated to some obscure demon which he was trying to summon into our world using the chickens as conduit. The three demon chickens we destroyed were failed subjects but the shaman was adamant that dear Svetlana would have been a fitting vessel for his abyssal patron had we not interfered. The shaman related that he had learned the bizarre ritual from the scroll we had obtained, which he said he received from an orc slaver in trade. We dared not ask him what he traded for such a foul instrument. On the shaman we found a note, telling him to return to Vulture's Roost.

Following his interrogation, for his crimes, we ended the shaman and withdrew from the cavern, Svetlana and her sister hens safely in our keeping. The farmer was overjoyed at the return of his flock, and though it was difficult to part with Svetlana, we could rest easy that she was in good hands. Staying the night at the farmer's homestead, we recounted our adventure and also inquired after reports of slavers in the area, as both the scroll and the attack in Neufeld seemed to be pushing us to address the slavery problem in the area. Unfortunately, the farmer was able to give no further guidance beyond stating the orc slavers were to the north.

Returning to Neufeld, we made further inquiries into the slave trade in the area and also heard rumors of another nest of kobolds to the west or southwest. The rogue managed to fence the gems and make connections to the local thieves guild in Neufeld, who had no great love for the slavers in the area. Unfortunately, so far, we have been unable to uncover much information about the slave trade but we're seeking the kobolds in the meantime.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Biography: Ezral Dawn

Born Earendel Mithrilvari, Ezral Dawn comes from a clan of wood elves that go by the name the “Taldori Moon”. The Taldori Moon is made up of a smattering of heroic elven families who participated heavily in the 2nd demon wars. Elven communities typical have a small population of elven children at any given time due to the long lived nature of their race so usually there child hood is carefully watched over but Ezral's generation is a special case. Ezral grew up in the midst of a war that threatened his people’s existence. As a child he watched many elves lose their lives including the live of his parents. The Taldori Moon are master spies and assassins at their core, well versed in the art of infiltration, information gathering, and the art of death. During the time of the 2nd Demon war the Taldori played a major role in gathering information and exterminating key individuals who left to prosper would surely mean more elven deaths. The philosophy of the Taldori states that for every Taldori that falls 100 more elven souls are allowed to live. Many Taldori agents found cruel untimely deaths that often (due to the nature of their work) would never make it back to the ears of the people they sought to protect. Ezral's parents were no exception to this rule, falling tragically during the war so that their son and many more could hold on to the future not promised.

This loss at an early age has very much shaped Ezral life. He holds his parents sacrifice deep in his heart and strives to live up to their heroic example even if the rest of the world lives on in blissful ignorance, a fact which deep down tears him apart. Any youth that lost family in that age was adopted by the clan and was provided a future. Taken under the wing of the clan elders Ezral sought to learn the path of the blade that his parents made legendary. He trained long and hard hours with his teacher Ilmadia Yelxalim (An elven woman who fought alongside his parents and took him under her wing in the absence of his parents) and soon came to established himself as a prodigy. Even though the war was over the death toll had left the Taldori fearful that any repeat of such an event could prove disastrous. With that mindset the elders set out to establish a far reaching network of spies across the land with the intent that should ever the scourge that provoked Demon Wars arise again they would know in time to warn the powers of the world and summon them to battle. Eventually he graduated to field work. He left Shadow Haven and adopted the alias Ezral Dawn. Over time he moved from city slum to city slum working as an agent, infiltrating crime syndicates and black market gangs, acting only when appropriate but always keeps his ears tuned for the most vital of information. After a decade of low level missions Earendel received a raven enlisting him to travel north to an area where elven ears failed to reach. Earendel under the guise of Ezral Dawn now travels into the unknown north to seek his fate.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Biography: Volodemir

Volodemir is not a typical bard. He hails from an island in the north famed for its skalds, but Volodemir sought a new tradition. From a young age, he traveled the free nations, learning what he could. Volodemir is charismatic and handsome, though he's easily marked as an outlander by his broad features and bright red hair. His presence and appearance, as well as his skaldic performance, so different from the typical bard in Arden Est, gives him an almost exotic, if rugged, appeal among the civilized. He's smart so he's been able to adapt to civilization but he still has many quirks, sayings, and superstitions, like spitting on his hand and flicking his fingers three times to ward off ill luck. Some say he has more in common with the orcs than the free nations.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Biographies: Galathil

Galathil, an Elven Wizard, is still rather young at just over 100 years. As a high elf he spent most of his early years reciting poetry, and learning the tradition elven arts of the sword and bow. While this training was often interrupted by a couple years of wandering or carousing here and there it was soon recognized that he might have a talent for the magic.

He then spent the next several decades as an apprentice to a sage, here he learned all of the basics the high elves consider necessary before starting learning any magic, history, medicine, and of course basic arcana. Then began his formal wizard training. Unlike some of the other young wizards he kept himself in practice with his sword, always finding it interesting to mix magic with the physical. And while some other races might find it tedious to train for so long, the high elves believe everything should be done in a very measured and methodical manner and as a bonus it keeps a young immature elf occupied for 20 years or so.

Once he demonstrated the mastery of basic spells he was no longer considered an apprentice and give more free reign to move about. Being cooped up in rather old musty library had put a bit of wanderlust into Galathil so he decided he'd try to find some other uses for his magic out in the world, and hopefully do some good.

He left his home and meandered helping out where he could, and although it may not have been the intended result, his spells did resolve the cat episode one way or another.

Biographies: Dyn-Bach

Dyn-Bach, paladin of Fayon, is possibly the youngest member of the group. As an infant he was found abandoned outside of a temple of Fayon. The brothers took him in and raised his as one of their own. Being smaller than a human boy of his age, the brothers gave him the name of Dyn-Bach and taught him the ways of Fayon. As a red-haired child, the brothers assumed that one of his parents might be from the lands beyond their borders but no one will ever know for sure.

Dyn-Bach has had a wander lust all his life but also the drive to be a paragon of his religion. When the opportunity arose for him to squire to a holy knight of Fayon he jumped at the chance. Sadly, this knight went missing before he could begin his training. The brothers and warriors of the area taught him all that they could in Religion, Medicine and Fighting. Reaching the age of twenty, Dyn-Bach decided that he would find the knight that has spread the word of Fayon across the land and help him in his quest to enlighten the world. Though he has no idea if the knight is alive or dead, he has received a divine calling that he must continue in his footsteps. Given the blessing of his leaders he has set off to accomplish this task.