Adventure Session 1: May 2009
Adventure Session 2: August 2009
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Adventure Session 1: 15May09
As the campaign begins, Eric Stone and Ailanthus already know each other for the past few years. Eric has noticed the effect that Ailanthus has had on her neighborhood, and has struck up a friendship with her to improve the wild spaces and plants within the city. Eric also knows Rynard and through him, Bartolemei.
The adventure begins in early spring, before the celebration of the vernal equinox. There will be a major party in Hilhaven for the equinox to celebrate the rites of spring, and everyone is excited because this year will mark the coming out party for the princess. [Little in known about her likes and habits, as the royal family has been fairly secretive about her.]
Bart and Rynard are headed into the city from their homes to the north to begin the social season and attend the royal party.
- Arriving on a Friday, Bart meets with his dad, who gives him money to get something for the princess.
- As is typical for the season, Rynard meets up with Eric who has kept an eye on some fabulous outfits that define the new fashion. Taking advantage of this social connection, Eric introduces Rynard to Ailanthus since she is simply the best Jeweler to come onto the scene. She gets the potential of a new, very lucrative, customer, and Rynard gets the advantage that socializing with her would tweak his father (a benefit that Eric recognizes is important to Rynard). This is how we are together when Rynard receives his invitation. As a side note, Eric is notably tired (-1 to skill rolls to hit etc). Given the season, he's been running around doing Spirit requirements.
- Rynard is summoned to his dad’s home and invited to bring his friends. He meets up with Ailanthus and Eric, and along with Bart they all go to dinner and meet Rynard’s dad.
- In a private conversation, Rynard’s dad informs him about the tensions with Impiltor, and the threat of a blockade of Tharhalan. If this happens, there is a danger of civil war in Tharhalan, and risk that the lower houses may seize the opportunity to overthrow the royal house and stronger merchants. He also warns that there may be direct threats to Rynard and Bart.
- Rynard’s dad gets invitations for the whole group to the party (knowing that Eric is good at sneaking and gathering info), and agrees to pay for suitable clothes
- The group goes clothes shopping, and buys rather extravagant outfits. Around them, the general celebrations for the spring equinox are already underway, and the city is in a joyous mood.
- Bart chooses to give the money from his Dad to the church, and instead works with Ailanthus to obtain a blooming Moonflower (a rare item indeed) for the princess.
- Rynard has been working with the cards his grandfather bequethed him. Ry would know more about the order of what he did with the cards, but the final event was that he looked into the Void card, and the card looked back at him. Sensing a dark presence one that causes 'things to get lost', his soul got unhinged. Rynard's servant (whose name I can't remember, sorry) immediately got Bart, who arrived and checked out the place for possible attacks (poison?). Not being able to find anything, Bart recommended that the servant find Eric. The servant found Eric doing some curing at the Red Lantern section, and Eric healed Rynard (by snapping his soul back in place). Eric had noted the spiritual eddies between Rynard and his cards, so part of the healing was to have Bart cover the cards in silk. Eric was suprised this worked, since no one recovers from the Void in the Deck of Many Things. It became clear later what these cards were. Bart and Rynard crash after this as does Eric. Bart offered his space to crash in (since its so close) and Eric gratefully accepted.
- While he sleeps, Rynard has a vision of the ball, but some effect hits the event, they go mad and look like undead, and start to kill themselves and each other. The effect seems to strike everyone at almost the same moment (so not a poison), and the “wave front” from it seems to indicate that the castle is some distance from the origin.
- Rynard warns his father about the potential danger, telling him of the dream he has had.
- Saturday morning the group meets for the final fitting of their clothes, and the clothes are sent back to their homes by 3PM.
- Eric goes to speak with the spirit of the city, and finds her mostly unconcerned, but he learns of some deaths in the city of late, one of which destroyed the soul of the victim. He goes to the square in the Shadystreets area where the murder took place, talks to the statue of a ship captain there, and also learns the legend of a ships bell that is associated with the captian. Legend has it that ringing the bell when in need will bring aid, ringing it falsely will bring disaster.
- Eric warns the city mother to have her defenses up, and that there is danger about. If the shit hits the fan, Eric offers to allow her to jump into him (possesses) while he is in the consecrate area that he set up. When the event came, Aeric believes that the City Mother wasn't able to make use of this contigency.
- The party assembles at Rynard’s rooms, dresses, and sets out for the castle.
- Everyone arrives at the castle and is announced as they enter. The group participates in eating, dancing, and general socializing. Rynard engages in some verbal fencing with the heir to house Baldovinetti (leader of the Golden Griffins)
- Bart spends much of the time with the Princess, out in the garden, and trying to avoid his father. Bart’s father wants to be introduced to the princess, and hopes to foster the relationship between Bart and her in hopes of profiting from it.
- Bart learns that the princess is a botanist, and an aspiring Paladin. He introduces her to Ailanthus, and the two women get into discussions on plants and herbs.
- Near midnight, some sort of a wave of magical force passed through the castle (only some people seem to notice it), and the pope collapses. Aeric can feel trouble towards center of town (to the north, a mile or two off) – the city is gravely concerned.
- Ailanthus notices that Lord L’Escovar takes note of Antioch and stares at him.
- The pope recovers after a few minutes, and confers with the queen. The party is hastily ended, and the guests line up to depart in their carriages.
- As the party leaves the castle to head for the center of town, there is panic in the streets. The party commandeers horses and rides to the temple. Along the way, they encounter a number of black spirits that seem to be sucking the life from townspeople. The party engages and dispatches a number of these invisible intangible foes, using Bart's sword (due to Eric's enchantment).
- Over a number of fights, the party and the town guard re-establish order in the city. Eric uses his city sense to search for the center of the effect, and determines that it is likely beneath the main temple.
- There is a major storm the next night, causing some flooding and damage to the main temple.
- Eric talks to his contacts in the thieves guild, and asks for permission to go into the sewers below the city. He also learns that there is a war of sorts being fought in the sewers, between the existing thieves guild and a new group, aligned with a new religion.
- A few days later, the pope declares that he has had a vision, and that there will be a grand quest to find a lost artifact, the Staff of Hilerion. With this item, the church will be able to turn back the threat of a false religion that has rise in the north and is threatening the peace of the land.
- The party continues to investigate the odd events. Exiting the City, in case bad things happen, the group surrounds Rynard who gazes at one of the cards he inherited from his grandfather (a completely black card), and this time he senses an intelligence behind the Darkness which pulls at him. Rynard pulls himself back, and brings with him a Blue Centaur like creature with hook like arms. The group dispatches it after it deafens some with a roaring attack.
- After recovering, Rynard looks at a different card (a portrait of his grandmother) and accidentally uses it to travel to her home. Isengrim picks up Eric threateningly yelling 'bring him back'. The group works on some things to try to make it easier for Rynard to return, to no effect. Rynard receives another card from his grandmother which he uses to return. He arrives at the center of the temple, and interviews with his uncle the Pope, who tells him about the Hand of Hilerion and what it represents (the pope’s version).
- Rynard works kindly and tirelessly to create a contract that allows each member of the group to effectively get a 'dukedom' (Ry, is this the right social level) with the lands and title that Rynard will get with this. The party interviews for the quest and is approved, with Rynard as the titular leader. There is a party in the streets outside the temple to celebrate and name the other approved teams.
- The party investigates a group of Dwarves that are in town, with Aeric posing as a server at a bar. They find nothing especially suspicious, but it appears that the dwarves may have been summoned by the church to do some silverwork. The party theorizes it was to create a fake hand of Hilerion.
- Bart is summoned to the castle for a meeting with the princess, during which she begs him to let her join the party on the quest. Bart relays this request to Rynard, who says that if the princess can sneak out of the castle and get to the party, he will consider it.
- The princess either fails or does not attempt the meeting, but upon a second meeting at the castle with Bart she “wheedles” (possibly with some magical aid) information out of him about the quest and the clues to finding the staff.
- The party gains permission from the thieves guild to go into underground, and follows Aerics direction sense to the underdark.
- Offline Eric talked with Rat (Ratatoskr) and convinces him to inhabit a form to help the group. Effectively he is a kind of trash elemental made mainly of metal pieces (exteriorly, interior requires leather for tendons, pullies for muscle etc) that Eric was able to pull together using a ritual he knows. This is the "special effect" used to defined a follower under leadership. Rat's form needs maintenance, hense Rat requires support cost in much the same way as Rynard's servant does. Much like Find Familiar, Eric would never want to do this ritual again, for obvious reasons. Rat joined us in the travels to the underdark.
- The party finds a body, which turns out to be that of one of the best thieves from Impiltur. His soul is missing, so they cannot question the corpse.
- The party encounters a group of enemies, including several mages, Ettins, and fighters with bows. The party defeats most of them, but is forced to retreat. However, they capture one of their opponents, a mage, named Jon Omay. Omay has the following items when captured:
- Potion: Cure Moderate wounds (3 sips)
- Potion: Alter Self (2 sips)
- Scroll: Improved Invisibility
- Bracers of Armor +1
- Bag of Holding (Type 1)
- Stone of Alarm
- After much 'discussion' with the head of the guild (who wanted the mage for himself) Mr Nobody (the Thieves Guild head) and the group go to Rynard's father to extract the information in such a manner that the Guild head is happy. We find out that the mage thinks that the enterance to heaven is below the city. We also find out where the mage came from, and the name of one of his contacts in the barbarian lands.
- The thieves clean up the rest of the enemies, and allow the party to inspect the area. They find an excavation, leading to the underdark. A hole has been dug in the floor, and below is a large open space, as though one had dug into the top of a cathedral. The walls are covered in mithril, with images of the Gods set in the walls, looking downward. Some sort of spirits are flitting back and forth down there.
- Ailanthus communes with her elders and ascertains that the EVENT affected tree health (blighted) out to an area of 50 miles (Eeep!). They would like the Walker (I think this was the label they used to address her) to look into it.
- Aeric is told by the city that he needs to go on the quest, and receives her blessing.
- Eric spoke with the highest church official he knew to warn them of the fact that below the city is conisdered a holy (unholy) site for the heretics (the 'non' religeon attempting to take hold in the city). This got back to the Pope, who questions the group about this unexpected turn of events.
- The party makes an initial attempt to leave, but only a few miles out of town they are summoned back to speak with the queen. The party learns that the princess has vanished, and may have undertaken the quest on her own.
- The party leaves the city a second time, heading east to throw off any pursuit, but with the idea of turning north to head for the barbarian lands.
Pope Petrus’ speech:
Petrus makes the following speech from the steps of the temple of Heironeous in Hilhaven a few days after the incident at the castle.
“My children, as you know, these are difficult and trying times. Many have drifted away from the gods of our ancestors, and forgotten all the blessings that they have granted us. New religions seek to pull away the faithful and blind them to the light of the true gods, and many have been seduced by the false promises of these corrupting faiths. The true gods are displeased with us, in their merciful love they have given us an opportunity to prove our faith and return to the light.”
“I have been granted a vision. A holy relic, the staff of Hilerion, lies somewhere within the bounds of the ancient lands of the Vast. This staff, which was carried by Hilerion herself in the great battle against the darkness, has the power to show the true way to the faithful, and lead us back to the light. Finding the staff will inspire the faithful and act as a symbol for all nations and peoples that Tharhalan is still devoted to and favored by Heironeous and the other true gods.”
“Therefore, in the name of the holy church of Hieroneous and of Queen Eliza III of Tharhalan, I am declaring a holy quest to find the staff. Any who wish to participate must make themselves and their team known to father Contarin at the temple of Heironeous within the two next weeks. Those who are judged worthy by the church will be given clues to aid them, and will begin the search for the staff a fortnight hence. Queen Eliza has declared that whoever returns the staff to the temple shall be granted a prize of gold, land, and the noble title of duke.”
“It is a grave and great undertaking that we have been given, one that I hope will show the best of our people and bring the continuing favor of the gods upon us. Go now in the light of Heironeous.”
See notes on Pope Petrus’ statement World & Rules\Plot notes for JIRJ Campaign 2009-08-01.doc
The Clue to the Quest:
The clues are in the form of a poem:
At highest peak where day goes to die
Heed the song upon the air
In deepest dale where ancients sigh
Heed the clue for those who dare
Where river’s leap greets golden eye
Find the one who once was blest
In resting place where spirits cry
Find the goal for which you quest
Adventure Session 2: 06Aug09
- The party divides out the items they captured in the last adventure. The Bag of Holding goes to Ailanthus, the +1 Bracers and Alarm Stone are sold for 2775gp (at 75% of cost rather than 50% because of Aeric’s skills), and the potions are distributed out to individuals.
- Aeric casts Spirit Companion (DMG2 p195) for the party (including the NPCs), summoning a first tier flame spirit. This gives the party certain advantages, such as the ability to communicate in a whisper three times per day. The ritual costs 1200gp.
- Day Q+0: The quest officially begins as the party leaves Hilhaven for the second time.
- Day Q+1: The party heads one day east of the city, then turns north going cross country under an “Easy Trail” spell. Part way through the afternoon, the party notes that they are being followed at some distance by 2-3 individuals on horseback. After setting an ambush, the party chases down one of the riders, with Isengrim putting a few arrows into him and Aeric summoning a Celestial Griffon that pulls him off his horse. The man turns out to be a ranger named Cophart, hired by the thieves guild in Tantras to keep an eye on the party. Rynard seizes the man’s +1 bow and tells him that he must report to Lord L’Escovar in Hilhaven to get it back.
- The party then continues on, and as night is falling they stop at a farmhouse to the east of Bart and Rynard’s family estates. Bart is greeted at the door by Mistress Spence, who together with her husband Richard worked for Bart’s family several years ago. They are now retired, but seemingly doing quite well on their own. The party is invited in and spends the night with the Spence’s, enjoying a wonderful meal.
- That night, Aeric has a dream. In the dream, Aeric is walking through Hilhaven, near one of the parks. He looks up and to the east, and sees something that looks like heat lightning on the horizon, but Aeric feels that he is looking into the umbra and seeing an approaching storm. He thinks “I better get home and get indoors”, but as he turns to go the scene changes. He’s still in the city, but now the sky is red and many buildings in the city appear to be aflame. Bart is on horseback a few yards away, in unfamiliar but shining armor. He looks at Aeric and says “Don’t worry – we’ll hold them”. Then the dream dissolves.
- Day Q+2: The following day the party has an excellent breakfast, except for Aeric who oversleeps. Upon rising, Aeric tells the party about his dream.
- Ailanthus performs a blessing on the lands and the crops of the Spence farm, and thanks them for their hospitality.
- Rynard uses one of his Trumps to send a note and coin to the room on the waterfront – the note is a letter to his father warning of threat to the city. Rynard has some problems with being able to hold position with the Trumps between where he is and the room – he finds it difficult not to slip through.
- Later in the morning, the party heads west to the L’Escovar estates. Donning a disguise, Rynard delivers the +1 bow to the Senechal at his homestead. He is warned that the roads are being watched. Rynard returns to the party and the group heads back eastwards, along the way noting some suspicious figures along the road.
- The party continues to travel cross country, heading north. They stay for the night at a hunting lodge in the forest. Party hears fey music, but chooses not to investigate.
- Day Q+3: The party travels north to the bend in the river east of Thindilar. Aeric spots a group of humans (seemingly barbarians) on the far shore.
- Day Q+4: The party crosses the river, moving north. They make camp, and spot a Hobgoblin/Bugbear camp nearby and higher up the valley side - it is one of several in the area. Aeric investigates, getting close but not wishing to risk slipping between the sentries. The creatures break camp after dark and head north up the valley. The party moves north as well to warn the barbarians of the threat.
- Heading up the road just after midnight, they spot a fire – which turns out to be a group of pilgrims with their wagons pulled into a circle. They are being attacked by a group of Hobgoblins and Bugbears (a different group, as it happens) and several of the wagons are on fire. The party attacks and kills or drives off the enemy, but one Hobgoblin sounds a horn and the forest spirits warn Ailanthus that “many two-legs are on the way”. The party gets the survivors on horseback, and leads them up the road about 3 miles, where they find a fortified trading post. About 200 are here, including a preacher for Ascensionism.
- Day Q+5: The party gets to Kurth. Along the road the party spots a female shaman and several warriors just off the road. The woman is performing some sort of ritual at a bonfire, and an image of a great tree can be seen in the smoke. The party introduces itself, and learns that the woman is named Antal Shadesong. She is concerned about the influence that Ascensionism is having on her people.
- Rynard and Isengrim go into town to investigate the place, and they find someone who paints pictures of “the void”. John and Ruth Taynar are a pair of traders from Impiltur who came here to sell arms. John was recruited, but something happened to him and he now appears insane, spending all his time painting pictures of a black image in a frame (a painting of a painting). Rynard and Isengrim take a room in the city, while rest of party visits with Antal.
- Day Q+6: The party visits the barbarian village, where they are shown an old man (Antal’s shaman mentor) who is under the control of a rather nasty spirit. Aeric materializes and destroys the spirit and frees the old man, but he is still suffering from insanity. Antal indicates that there are stronger healers to the north that can be tried. The party goes back into town to get the painter.
- The party spends the evening with the barbarian tribe, and Bart engages in a drinking contest with Eva, their reigning champion. The contest ends in a draw with both passing out on the same drink. Meanwhile, Aeric gets lucky with one of the warriors and spends the night in his tent.
- Day Q+7: The party takes the painter and the shaman to the northern edge of the Flooded Forest. A healer woman there performs a ritual on both. By the next morning they are better. In talking to them, the party learns that the local head of the church of Ascensionism (“Guide Gilimus Minard”) has been hand picking recruits and taking them to some sort of underground ritual in Kurth. During the ritual, the recruits are exposed to something that controls the minds of the weaker willed individuals, and drives the stronger willed ones insane. This is what happened to the old man and the painter.
- Day Q+8: A day with the barbarians – Ailanthus visits the trees (there are a series of “champion trees” in the area, while Aeric speaks with the shaman. The party learns that the Flooded Forest contains some sort of force that is contained by the trees and the efforts of the people and the shamen.
- Day Q+9: The party heads back to the original barbarian settlement near Kurth.
- Day Q+10: The party heads into Kurth. Aeric notes that parts of the city appear as ghostly structures in the umbra, and that the city is very old and was once substantially larger. While Aeric and Isengrim reconnoiter the city, the rest of the party poses as gem merchants, and Ailanthus actually purchases 1000gp worth or raw stones. They learn that there is now a curfew in effect in Kurth from 10PM until dawn.
- Rynard notes that he is being followed. The spy is observed leaving the city and going to the tent of a rival trading family from Impiltur – the tent of one of the sons of Damrius. The son is a known “hothead”.
- Aeric and Isengrim focus on an inn that sits in the footprint of one of the umbral buildings. They talk the innkeeper into giving them a tour of the basement where they find nothing suspicious and no other exits, but note that some of the walls of the foundation seem to be of recent construction while others are much older.
- Checking the other structures associated with the inn they find nothing unusual about the stables, but note that a warehouse is guarded by men in the colors of the temple.
- That night, the party leaves their inn to investigate. On the way out the door they meet a very downtrodden and bedraggled looking priest of Hieroneous, who appears to have been pelted with eggs and rotten vegetables. The party continues to an alley near the warehouse, where Rynard casts an Alter Appearance to make himself look like a guard, then uses a Suggestion to tell the real guard that he needs to go to the latrine. When the guard leaves, the party slips inside the warehouse.
- Inspecting the interior they find a trapdoor with a wagon full of armaments parked on it. They cast a Silence spell and move the wagon, then open the trapdoor. Stairs lead downwards about 30’, with a steady light coming from the passage at the bottom. The party descends the stairs, entering the Underground Temple. They find a corridor lit by glowstones along one wall. They spotted by a guard several yards up the hall, who runs east and around a left corner, heading north. The party gives chase, and the guard turns another corner to the west, then a third corner to the north. As members of the party catch up with the guard they discover that he has raised the alarm and led them to the guard quarters. The party is attacked by a group of 4 fighters and 4 barbarians, mostly of 4th or 5th level.
- A major battle ensues, with Isengrim and his dog, Antioch, and an air elemental summoned by Aeric up front facing the guard room and the rest of the party arrayed behind in the corridor. Two additional barbarian guards come through a door behind the party and threaten Aeric and the rear of the group, and a warlock with two bodyguards attacks from still another direction. An Obscurement blankets the main guardroom and a Sleetstorm from Ailanthus hits the area with the warlock. Rynard casts Fireballs into the guard room while Bart engages the barbarians to the rear.
- The party manages to kill all the guards, then goes after the warlock, wading into the Sleetstorm. Bart uses his magical boots to teleport in the direction that he thinks the warlock has retreated, but instead finds himself in a room with a closed sliding door, facing the warlock and his two bodyguards. Bart is nearly killed, but Rynard does a Knock spell and opens the door, allowing Aeric and the party to get in and save him. The warlock and his guards are killed, but the warlock is found clutching a scroll of Whispering Winds in his hand, indicating that he may have sent a message. The party destroys the skulls of the guards, takes the head of the warlock, and takes all their belongings:
From the warlock:
- Quaal’s feather token – tree – DMG264
- Potion of Barkskin +3 (4 sips)
- Elixier of Truth - DMG256
- Scroll of Whispering Wind (3 copies)
- Wand of Thorns (1/rnd, 2d4+1)
- +2 Dagger
From the other guards:
- Cure Moderate 5 sips
- +1 Greatsword
- 7 Greatswords
- +1 Leather
- 4 sets of Half plate
- The party spreads out to search the complex, but soon hears sounds of reinforcements coming down the stairs. They retreat towards what appears to be a chapel or ritual room, avoiding a pit trap along the way. In the room Aeric sees an umbral image of a silver hand, as though the Hand of Hilerion had been here recently.
- The party finds a secret room and hides there, with Rynard doing a Rope Trick. Ratatoskr uses his thieving skills to attempt to disarm a trapped chest in the room, but sets the trap off the first time suffering fire damage. A subsequent attempt succeeds, and the party takes the chest and its contents:
- Cloak of Battle – MIC87
- Torc of Heroic Sacrifice – MIC 143
- Quiver of Energy – Cold
- A small painting wrapped in black velvet.
- 20000gp gems
- The party remains hidden in the Rope Trick, observing as a man fitting the description and painting of Gilimus Minard enters the secret room and rages at the loss of the treasure. Eventually he leaves and Rynard uses his Trump to open a portal to the dockside inn at Hilhaven, but he is unable to pull others through with him. Aeric calls the city spirit of Hilhaven, and with her help everyone is pulled through to the inn.
- The party immediately discovers that a fireship has been released in the harbor and will shortly drift into the docks, destroying many ships and needed supplies. Bart and Ailanthus thunder through the streets to the docks on horseback, and Ailanthus casts a pair of Sleetstorms to quench the fireship. Ailanthus escapes by swimming out into the harbor as a mermaid, while Bart is carried off on the shoulders of the crowd. Bart slips away after some hours, but in the following days the local bards come up with a variety of new ballads about “The handsome paladin and the beautiful mermaid” and “The paladin torn between the love of a princess and a mermaid”, and so on.
- The party reconvenes at Lord L’Escovars home, where they find that Rynards father is planning to decamp to the family estates to the east of Hlintar. He has received the bow from the ranger and is investigating. The group, along with Rynard’s father, goes to the main temple to speak with the pope, and learns that the painting from the treasure chest appears to be from the hand of Rynard’s grandfather.
End of second adventure!