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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Alright then,

    I got in touch with Dev and he basically told me to just go nuts on this.

    So I will.

    Whispers in the Dark
    The campaign was originally pitched to us as an opportunity for us to cut loose and be evil, manipulative douchebags. Sounded like fun.

    Then Dev told us that he was going to introduce an all-powerful figure who would lord it over us from the very beginning and that we were beholden to him and had pledged loyalty. Not so much fun.

    Anyway, we gave him the benefit of the doubt, and despite several times doubting we'd ever get started, we did eventually play the first session.

    To his credit, we actually really enjoyed it and I personally am really looking forward to the next time I get to change perspective for a game session.

    The Players
    I just want to quickly preface this by saying that the information which follows is correct to my knowledge. Dev made it clear to us that we should keep parts of our background and ambitions secret and that is what we have done. Ladyhawk and I have been a bit more open about our characters since that seems to be in keeping with their personalities, well Bran's at least.

    On the other hand, with regard to Sins and Wings, I am under no illusions that I do not have all the information. I know I do not. You'll just have to live with that, because Dev's not willing to write the log.

    With that out of the way, we'll go with me first then, Phoenixguard, or PG for short. I've got a fair bit of experience, and of course, wrote the rules and setting we're playing with. With a little bit of help.

    Spoiler: Branimir Voijcinski
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    Name: Branimir Voijcinski
    Classes: Guardian 4/Warlock 1
    Spoiler
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    Heavily armoured, the Guardian has access to healing and protective Spirit Magic while still being heavily armed enough to serve as a front-line fighter. Very Paladin-like but more about protecting others than healing and killing people.

    The Warlock has light to medium armour, focussed on lots of Black Magic. Warlocks are very similar to Mages really, except with Black Magic instead of Arcane. They may specialise in the same way. I'm considering dropping the Necromancer as a full class and just having the Warlock cover the Archetype through skills.

    Race: Roanfaille
    Spoiler
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    Considered by some to be the most naturally talented warriors in the south, the dark-skinned, wiry Roanfaille of Sothbayne are instinctive fighters, their pride and fierce independence legendary in the other lands. As a race, the Roanfaille are tall for humans and their lean muscles belie substantial strength. They generally possess dark skin, ranging from light brown in hue to nearly black. Their hair is usually worn long with trimmed beards in abundance. Roanfaille culture places great significance in tattoos, with each family having its own symbol.

    Age: 26
    Eye Colour: Violet.
    Hair & Skin Colour: Copper skin-tone and dark brown, almost black hair.
    Birthsign: The Bull
    Spoiler
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    Bull: Underneath their cool, calm and collected exterior, Bulls are usually a maelstrom of pent up energy. They will let others get close, but only so close as they want them. It is for this reason that Bulls are sometimes regarded as withdrawn or even boring. Bulls hate to be put in jeopardy of any kind and this usually leads to Bulls going out making the future happen as they want it, rather than leaving it to fate.

    Height: 6’
    Weight: 190lbs or 86kg

    Bran is armoured with brigandine and heavy leathers, befitting his Horseman background. He is armed with a bastard sword he acquired during his time in the north, a heavy round shield and a long, curved knife. At his back is a recurve bow and a quiver of arrows, but he is an indifferent marksman at best. He is of an average height for his people and well-muscled, with piercing eyes and shaggy, shoulder-length hair roughly tied back to stay out of the way. On his right shoulder-blade is a tattoo of two crossed black swords, the sigil of the Voijcinski clan.

    Spoiler: Branimir Voijcinski Character Sheet
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    Roanfaille Level 4 Guardian / Level 1 Warlock
    Stats
    Combat Skill: 52
    Ballistic Skill: 35
    Strength: 41
    Toughness: 43
    Dexterity: 31
    Agility: 33
    Actions: 1
    Initiative: 32
    Health: 20/20
    Charisma: 29
    Perception: 30
    Intelligence: 33
    Willpower: 31
    Magic: 1
    Luck: 6/6

    Skills
    Animal Care
    Charm
    Climbing
    Command +10
    Dodge Blow
    Healing +10
    Intimidation
    Riding +10
    Search
    Silent Move
    Survival +10
    Swimming

    Talents & Traits
    Nomadic Lifestyle: +5 to Riding Checks
    Savvy: Re-roll a single Deception or Gambling Check per day.
    Swordmaster: +1 Damage with a sword.
    Guardian Might: +1 To Cast Guardian Spells.
    Experienced Warrior: +10 to Parry
    Shieldwall: +10 to Parry with a shield.

    Equipment
    Weapons:
    Bastard sword
    Recurve bow
    Quiver with 20 arrows
    Hunting knife
    Round shield

    Armour:
    Brigandine cuirass
    Leather vambraces
    Leather leggings
    Long leather coat

    Miscellaneous: (All stored in a rolled up cloak, save the tent which is usually carried by the horse)
    2 torches
    Tinderbox
    One-man tent
    Rations

    Combat Manoeuvres
    Heroic Strike: +D10 Damage on a strike the round after a successful Parry.
    Cleave: Additional attack on a prone target within range.
    Smite: Forces an Opposed Strength Check on an opponent the round after a successful Charge Attack. If the test is failed, the target is knocked prone.
    Flurry: If no Damage was taken in the previous Round, the Guardian may perform a single Quick Attack on every target within range.

    Magic
    Armour Skin - +2 to Armour Value on all locations for D10 Rounds per Magic Level. (Guardian Spell)
    Summon Glyph - Summons a glyph, a daemonic creature of relatively dog-like dimensions and intelligence. (Warlock Spell)
    Protective Aura - +2 to Armour Value on all locations for D10 Rounds per Magic Level on the caster or a single ally within touch. (Guardian Spell)
    Flame Shield - Light cover for the caster plus Fire Damage on targets within 5 feet. (Guardian Spell)



    Ladyhawk was next, my girlfriend who plays Maebh Raven-Wing in Three Coins. She's come a long way as a player from the beginning and was looking forward to playing around with a different character. Maebh and Benedykta are quite similar in some ways, but then I guess magically powerful independent women only come in so many flavours right?

    Spoiler: Benedykta Voijcinski
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    Name: Benedykta Voijcinski
    Classes: Warlock 4/Warrior 1
    Spoiler
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    The Warlock has light to medium armour, focussed on lots of Black Magic. Warlocks are very similar to Mages really, except with Black Magic instead of Arcane. They may specialise in the same way. I'm considering dropping the Necromancer as a full class and just having the Warlock cover the Archetype through skills.

    Heavily armoured, focussed on killing **** up close. Warriors are both good at dealing damage and taking it. Through skills they can cover may different archetypes including the Berserker and the Knight. They will also have a little ranged ability but their skills will not offer any of the archery perks associated with the Ranger or Rogue.

    Race: Roanfaille
    Spoiler
    Show
    Considered by some to be the most naturally talented warriors in the south, the dark-skinned, wiry Roanfaille of Sothbayne are instinctive fighters, their pride and fierce independence legendary in the other lands. As a race, the Roanfaille are tall for humans and their lean muscles belie substantial strength. They generally possess dark skin, ranging from light brown in hue to nearly black. Their hair is usually worn long with trimmed beards in abundance. Roanfaille culture places great significance in tattoos, with each family having its own symbol.

    Age: 26
    Eye Colour: Violet.
    Hair & Skin Colour: Copper skin-tone and dark brown, almost black hair.
    Birthsign: The Bull
    Spoiler
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    Bull: Underneath their cool, calm and collected exterior, Bulls are usually a maelstrom of pent up energy. They will let others get close, but only so close as they want them. It is for this reason that Bulls are sometimes regarded as withdrawn or even boring. Bulls hate to be put in jeopardy of any kind and this usually leads to Bulls going out making the future happen as they want it, rather than leaving it to fate.

    Height: 5’ 10"
    Weight: 158lbs or 72kg

    Benny is equipped with light armour, aka tough leather armour. She has a bastard sword and a assortment of numerous daggers hidden in many places. She enjoys throwing the daggers but still has a long way to go before she is a master at it. With both of us having horses, she has a few personal and necessary items in her saddle bags. She has a few dark magic tomes (just for fluff) and a few yucky things used for rituals.

    Benny has a bad scar running down the left side of her face, (more of this will appear in the background). Her leathers are black. She also has a necklace made up of teeth collected from beasts defeated over their travels along with a few feathers in her hair.
    Benny is a very beautiful woman, the scar down her face, instead of marring her beauty, strangely accentuates it by making her seem tough and mysterious. Her hair is wild and curly reaching down to the middle of her back. Her eyes are the same colour as her brothers, but seem to have more of an unnatural sheen to them. She is lean but has a fair bit of muscle due to the many hours of sword training with her brother.

    Spoiler: Benedykta Voijcinski Character Sheet
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    Roanfaille Level 4 Warlock / Level 1 Warrior
    Stats
    Combat Skill: 35
    Ballistic Skill: 33
    Strength: 32
    Toughness: 42
    Dexterity: 24
    Agility: 31
    Actions: 1
    Initiative: 34
    Health: 12/12
    Charisma: 25
    Perception: 33
    Intelligence: 31
    Willpower: 50
    Magic: 3
    Luck: 6/6

    Skills
    Animal Care
    Climbing
    Deception
    Disguise
    Dodge Blow
    Intimidation
    Riding
    Search
    Silent Move
    Survival
    Channelling
    Alchemy
    Hypnotism +20
    Common Knowledge (Black Magic)

    Talents & Traits
    Nomadic Lifestyle: +5 to Riding Checks
    Savvy: Re-roll a single Deception or Gambling Check per day.
    Flaming Hands: +10 to Intimidation Checks
    Dual Casting: Two spells per Combat Round

    Equipment
    Weapons:
    Bastard sword
    5 daggers

    Armour:
    Leather jerkin
    Leather vambraces
    Leather greaves
    Leather leggings

    Miscellaneous: (All stored in a backpack, save the tent which is usually carried by the horse)
    Fresh leek
    Tinderbox
    One-man tent
    Rations

    Magic
    Deepest Darkness - Impenetrable darkness around the caster for D10+2 Combat Rounds. (Warlock Spell)
    Summon Glyph - Summons a glyph, a daemonic creature of relatively dog-like dimensions and intelligence. (Warlock Spell)
    Steal Life - D10 Damage on touch. Any Damage cause is converted to health for the caster. (Warlock Spell)
    Doombolt - Magic Missile. D10 Damage, can be augmented by summoning elementally aligned daemons. (Warlock Spell)
    Creeping Death - A deadly fog creeps along the ground. D5 Damage on targets within the affected area. Can be augmented by summoning elementally aligned daemons. (Warlock Spell)
    Phantom Noise - Creates a single noise from a specific location. May duplicate two syllables of speech. (Warlock Spell)
    Silence - Causes the target to lose the ability to form speech on touch. (Warlock Spell)
    Sleep - Causes the target to fall into a short magical coma on touch. (Warlock Spell)
    Armour Skin - +2 to Armour Value on all locations for D10 Rounds per Magic Level. (Warlock Spell)
    Terrifying Visage - The caster causes Fear for the duration of the Spell. (Warlock Spell)
    Shadow Figure - Creates the silhouette of a single man-sized figure, which may perform any action the caster desires. The figure is insubstantial and disappears after a short time. It cannot be harmed, nor can it interact with the environment. (Warlock Spell)



    As you might have noticed, Ladyhawk and I are playing siblings, twins in fact. Don't worry, we are no Lannisters here. The background information we concocted is presented together in the next spoiler.

    Spoiler
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    Questions:
    Where are you from?
    - The twins are from a large clan nomadic horse clan which roamed the territory on the north-coast of Sothbayne, the Voijcinsk. Their clan symbol is two black crossed swords, the twins bearing the marking on their right shoulder-blades.

    What is your family like?
    - Abusive father, mother died in child birth. More about the family will follow in the background story bit.

    What is your social class?
    - The father was the clan chief, but none of that matters anymore.

    How did you become an adventurer?
    - There was no home left for them. (And they are both a little insane, Benny more than her brother)

    How religious are you?
    - Bran is very superstitious and believes Benny is being blessed by some god when she works her powers. On the other hand, she doesn't agree because she knows that a god wouldn't submit to being basically strangled for power. Since he has started manifesting his own abilities, Bran has been forced to rethink this. But he's still not certain how he's doing it.

    Who are your best friends and worst enemies?
    - No enemies that they can recall, though there are plenty of people who are hated, usually by Bran. No real friends, we are the only important people in each other’s lives.

    What are your prized possessions?
    - Our horses and weapons.

    Who are you loyal to?
    - Each other.

    Who do you love and hate?
    - Bran loves his sister. Everyone else is secondary, and what's more, a threat. Same goes for Benny.

    And finally, what sort of temperament does your character have? How do they view the other peoples of Norbayne?
    - As to how Bran views others, basically what I said a moment ago. Same for Benny again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Origin Story:
    Both of these characters grew up in a very troubled childhood. Their father was a greedy, horrible man and his wife had been unable to provide him with an heir or any children at all. So their father turned to a demon to provide help in getting him a son. However, the daemon being a daemon, tricked him and gave him twins. His wife also died in the childbirth. Both children were touched and practically created by a powerful daemon. Benny is specifically affected due to her whole existence being the result of a daemon’s tricks.

    When they were born, her father hated Benny from the very beginning, and was very abusive towards her. Being touched by the daemon caused Benny to have a strong connection with daemons, so she was quite a powerful warlock at a young age. Her brother has always preferred the sword, to the point that until very recently, he suppressed his abilities with daemon-craft.
    Their father’s abuse was only tolerated for so long. At the age of twelve, Benny snapped, calling a daemon well beyond her abilities and destroying her father and almost the entire clan. Her brother saved her from being completely consumed by the daemon-fire but losing control gave her the nasty scar on her face and left her mind quite unstable.
    For the next decade, Bran led his sister from their home on the north coast of Sothbayne, across the Southern Ocean and through the Southlands of Norbayne. Plying their trade as mercenaries, the twins garnered a reputation as reliable and discreet.
    Dev also gave us a handful of questions to answer regarding our origin.

    1. How did you begin working for The Master?

    - Bran and Benny started working for the master after Benny began having strange and daemonic dreams. In a nutshell they consisted of her standing on top of a burning world, with an army of powerful daemons at her command. In these dreams many faces showed up, but one face she recognised was The Master's. She therefore, interpreted this as, if she wanted the power she desired and felt like she deserved, it would be in her best interests to find The Master.
    - As for Bran, he goes where his sister tells him they are needed. She makes the big decisions and he ensures they survive long enough for her to make the next one.

    2. Why are you loyal to The Master?
    - Benny is loyal to The Master because of her quest to become all-powerful. She feels in her gut if she stays for now, she will be closer to her goal.
    - For Bran, it's the gold. His loyalty is first and foremost to ensuring that he and Benny gain enough gold to live out their days comfortably. What's more, once Bran realises he can control these occurrences around him he acknowledges that the Master can give him the knowledge he needs to control it and hone it. Or at least ensure that he doesn't flip out and kill everyone around him accidentally.

    3. How long have you been in his service?
    - The Twins have been in his service for about a year.

    4. Do you have any rivals/enemies within the syndicate? Have you been caught on a contract for the syndicate?
    - The Twins are not exactly well-liked within the syndicate. This is likely due to a sense of superiority from the twins. Not to mention Benny's somewhat inhuman qualities and perception on life. Despite this several men have still tried to make a pass at her, but this has led to humiliation and ridicule from either twin.
    - There are a few individuals who could be labelled rivals in the Syndicate. Benny has created a particularly nasty enemy in a neighbouring cell, a man who is not used to getting no for an answer.
    Name: Guido da'Gaston (Southerner)
    His role in his cell is that of hired muscle. In essence, he threatens local merchants into paying dues to the cell to protect them from criminal activity. He's not that intelligent, but reasonably good looking and very well-built. The third son of an old and wealthy, if not entirely respected family, he has always gotten what he wanted.

    When Benny refused him, he didn't leave her alone. She finally ends things by very publicly humiliating him, and he has never forgotten it.

    - As for Bran, there's always been the handful of men he's seen stealing covert glances at Benny. He usually disabuses them of any such notions without letting on to his sister what he is doing. From a bystander's point of view, his fists probably deliver a softer lesson than Benny's vicious mind.
    - Bran's most hated enemy though would be a mercenary captain the twins served under in the Southlands.
    Name: Malberd Cottar (Lowlander)
    The captain of the Swiftswords, a small company of mounted warriors who specialised in quick insurgence missions and operated out of the area around Turindor. The Swiftswords had a reputation for minimal collateral damage and a superb success rate. Their current captain, Cottar, comes from a shepherding family deep in the Midland valleys. He has worked his way through the ranks to get where he is now, though some suggest that he might have pushed a few people into the path of oncoming arrows on the way.

    - Bran and Benny signed onto the Swiftswords for a single season, and as such were entitled to a single share each in the loot that would be gained from the Swiftswords' most recent contract, a routine infiltration and intelligence gathering operation against a rival mercenary company. The employer would pay 700 sulvers for the number of men and horses with the sum to be doubled if the company's most recent orders could be obtained.

    - The Swiftswords devised a plan which would see Bran and Benny sneaking into the opposing captain's tent while the rest of the Swiftswords would distract the company with quick fire raids. Unfortunately, this fell apart as captain Cottar ordered the retreat, leaving Bran and Benny stranded in the middle of the enemy's camp. While the twins struggled mightily to escape with their lives, Cottar led the rest of the Swiftswords to gather the 700 sulvers from their employer.


    Okay, Sins of Dusk up next. He plays Kel'Serrar in Three Coins and has a well deserved reputation for granting an essay to those who ask for character background. I love it personally.

    Spoiler: Lysrasor Curial
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    Name: Lysrasor Curial
    Classes: Necromancer 4/Mesmer 1
    Spoiler
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    The Necromancer has light to medium armour, focussed on the manipulation of dead things through Black Magic. Tampering with the dead requires far too much power for Arcane Magic users, so Black Magic is the only way to access Necromancy. Quite powerful but also prone to being eaten by Daemons.

    Light armour, focussed on Illusionary Arcane Magic. I like the idea of a Thief type character who uses a speciality in Illusions to make their thievery better but perhaps this archetype could be covered by multiclassing a Rogue with a Mage who specialises in Illusions. Therefore, it is currently unlikely that the Mesmer will be in the finished product.

    Race: Midlander (Southron)
    Spoiler
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    The people of Norbayne are a strong race, tough and adaptable. Compared to the Northmenn of Unterguardt, they are quite slim and stocky, built more like wolves than the northern bears. They are the most populous race in the known world and most cities have at least a small Midlander population. They are almost universally of pale complexion and dark haired, with sharp angular features. Their hair is usually worn long while facial hair is neatly trimmed.

    Age: 28
    Eye Colour: Crimson (Left) Light Green (Right).
    Hair & Skin Colour: Pale skin and white hair with a crimson streak that falls over, concealing the left eye most of the time.
    Birthsign: The Stallion
    Spoiler
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    Stallion: Those born under the sign of the Stallion appear to change and deviate from their usual behaviour with the phases of the moon. Life doesn't stand still for this sign, even if they remain in one place. Most Stallions feel one way one minute, then sometimes totally different the next and often have a need to travel and see new things.

    Height: 6’ 2"
    Weight: 122lbs or 55kg

    Lysrasor carries a utilitarian dagger on his belt, along with his family's ancestral crypt-keeping blade. He wears black robes over light leather armour. Trotting beside him is a small dog, like a beagle. Upon close inspection, one can determine that the dog died some time ago but is animated by some kind of Black Magic. It's name is Hctib, and yes, it would appear to have been a female in life.

    And then background information, spoilered for length. This is a harrowing, but highly awesome tale.
    Spoiler
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    Born from an Upper Class family, it was certainly a rare occurrence that Lysrasor had to want for anything. Food? The finest the servants could provide would be delivered with but a word. Entertainment? It wasn’t like the servants had anything better to do, after all they were simply property, and property had no fear of a fight to the death. Company? Who wouldn’t kill for a chance to meet with one of the scions of the Curial Family?

    This wasn’t to say life was what it should have been however. Despite having almost complete control over the peasants that made up the population of Direhaven, there were still a few matters that irked Lysrasor to no end.

    The first of which? A certain lady named Chloe, only two years his senior. A rather talented mage, taking after her parents quite strongly in that regard, would usually stop the servants before they could finish the duels Lysrasor would force them to participate in. However, while this on its own was bearable… barely, there was also the fact that she worked tirelessly to uphold the family’s charge. To keep the dead of Direhaven in their graves and to prevent any necromancers from attaining access to the crypts.

    The second little matter was Chloe’s little sister, Tienna. An aspiring mage, powerful despite not having reached her tenth winter. She had very little control over her magic, but it was powerful. To make matters worse, she adored her older sister, and tried to emulate her. Fortunately however, she was still too young to take up the work of her parents and older sister, and was not yet allowed near the crypts.

    The third matter was the worst however. The Voices. They lived at the edge of Lysrasor’s mind, whispering, waiting. Sometimes they held untold brilliance, and knowledge that they had no right to know. Other times they spoke of the end of all things, and why the world should burn. Mostly they spoke of power. The power to rule, to dominate, to master all… the power that should have been Lysrasor’s birthright.

    Lysrasor was born with a power unlike that of Chloe or Tienna. Lysrasor was born with power over the dead and the mind. It was unclear whether these powers were granted to him by The Voices, or if they were the result of the power. He’d been caught once before as a child, experimenting with the dead, but he was let off with a warning. Youthful ignorance, the grave keepers had called it, but only one chance would ever be given, they had made that clear enough.

    He practiced in secret after that and through the years taught himself how the rituals for bargaining with Demonic Entities and raising the dead. Knowing always that he was destined for greater things… and knowing that soon, these greater things would come to pass.

    In Truth, the only reason that he hadn’t acted years ago was Chloe, the current grave keeper… and his older sister. The Curial seniors - his parents - were growing old, and while age hadn’t dulled their power, it had most certainly done so to their minds. While they grew weaker, The Voices plotted. It had taken several years for them to convince Lysrasor to follow them, but the promise of greater power was something that the black sheep of the Curial Family would never pass up on.

    The night the plot was to unfold, Chloe was out as normal, guarding the crypts. Tienna and the Curial Seniors were in the family mansion, the duty to the dead was not their concern while Chloe was still capable.

    All it took in the end was a simple illusion. A phantasm taking the form of Tienna crying to lure Chloe away from her post. Chloe never could resist her little sister, and rushed to comfort her. She never even saw the knife. It was a quick death, The Voices, for all their insanity, still maintained a modicum of practicality, and dead mages cannot cast spells.

    Even with Chloe dead and gone though, there were still more grave keepers. It Lysrasor was to succeed, there could be no surviving Curials beyond himself.

    It took him most of the night, but he was able to animate the corpse of Chloe and summon a phantasm to speak for her and hide the blood. This would be a memory for Lysrasor to keep… the night his whole family was murdered by his sister’s hand and the force of his will.

    The Curial seniors proved little challenge, Chloe simply rushed in to warn them that the dead were rising once more. When her parents turned to ask her how, Lysrasor let the illusion fall, to allow his parents last moments to be of their beloved daughter’s corpse running them through with the families ancestral blade.

    Tienna however, was a slightly greater challenge. She awoke when her sister came to warn their parents and made her own way to them in time to see their corpses. What chilled her most however, was that her brother was checking their bodies, and smiling when he pronounced them dead.

    It was too much for her to handle. Her power surged, and fire began to pour from her hands and mouth, igniting everything, herself and Lysrasor included. The Voices urged him to put her down, stop the fire before the townsfolk could see it, but he panicked. He took the blade from his sister, and sent her corpse to provide cover for him from the flames while he escaped.

    It wasn’t long before the entire mansion was consumed, but it was long enough for Lysrasor to escape with a small portion of the family fortune and his sister’s blade. The blade itself was forged for the grave keepers, but whether it was to aid them in keeping the dead down, or raising them up when the town was threatened has long since been lost to history.

    It has been two years since the events at the Curial family home. Two years that Direhaven has been plagued by the dead rising, with no one to put them down again. Lysrasor has since squandered the vast majority of his funds, but has still maintained his sister’s blade. The power promised by The Voices seems distant, regardless of their continued promises.

    That is… until an invitation to a strange organisation found its way to Lysrasor’s hands, promising wealth and power on an unmatched scale to any who accept…


    Spoiler: Lysrasor Curial Character Sheet
    Show

    Midlander Level 4 Necromancer / Level 1 Mesmer
    Stats
    Combat Skill: 53
    Ballistic Skill: 29
    Strength: 39
    Toughness: 53
    Dexterity: 27
    Agility: 22
    Actions: 1
    Initiative: 23
    Health: 10/10
    Charisma: 25
    Perception: 54
    Intelligence: 53
    Willpower: 53
    Magic: 3
    Luck: 6/6

    Skills
    Search +20
    Channelling +20
    Raise Dead +20
    Academic Knowledge (Necromancy)
    Hypnotism +20
    Lockpicking +10

    Talents & Traits
    Sixth Sense: Always strikes in Initiative order and cannot be affected by Ambush Bonus Rounds.
    Sturdy: Re-roll a single Strength or Toughness Check per day.
    Master Necromancer: +10 to Raise Dead Checks
    Aethyric Attunement: +10 to Channelling Checks
    Wandering Eye: +10 to Search Checks
    Mistweaver: Can modify the Cloying Mists spell.

    Equipment
    Weapons:
    Arming sword (Nehira, the Curial graveblade)
    Daggers

    Armour:
    Leather jerkin
    Leather vambraces
    Leather greaves
    Leather leggings

    Magic
    Silence - Causes the target to lose the ability to form speech on touch. (Mesmer Spell)
    Sleep - Causes the target to fall into a short magical coma on touch. (Mesmer Spell)
    Armour Skin - +2 to Armour Value on all locations for D10 Rounds per Magic Level. (Necromancer Spell)
    Magic Snare - Wards an area, preventing the first target to enter that area from moving for D10 Rounds. (Necromancer Spell)
    Cloying Mists - Provides a bonus to Concealment within the mist.



    Lastly, we have Wings of Decay, who plays Tremor in Three Coins. He joined in our first session halfway through, and has a thoroughly interesting character. Unfortunately, I haven't got access to any of his background information, only his character sheet. Hopefully Dev will pass the censored version to me soon and I can update this post.

    Spoiler: Raven
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    Name: Raven
    Classes: Druid 3/Necromancer 2
    Spoiler
    Show
    Lightly armoured, focussing on Spirit Magic. Only Spirit Magic is available to the Druid but it has some powerful effects, Bestial Form in particular as it allows the character to become an animal for a period of time.

    The Necromancer has light to medium armour, focussed on the manipulation of dead things through Black Magic. Tampering with the dead requires far too much power for Arcane Magic users, so Black Magic is the only way to access Necromancy. Quite powerful but also prone to being eaten by Daemons.

    Race: Midlander (Woodsman)
    Spoiler
    Show
    The people of Norbayne are a strong race, tough and adaptable. Compared to the Northmenn of Unterguardt, they are quite slim and stocky, built more like wolves than the northern bears. They are the most populous race in the known world and most cities have at least a small Midlander population. They are almost universally of pale complexion and dark haired, with sharp angular features. Their hair is usually worn long while facial hair is neatly trimmed.

    Age: 14
    Eye Colour: Unknown
    Hair & Skin Colour: Pale skin and short black hair.
    Birthsign: Unknown

    Height: 5’ 2"
    Weight: 100lbs or 45kg

    Raven is a scrawny, wild looking fourteen year old boy. He is an orphan, and looks like he was left abandoned in the woods for quite some time. He wears light, black leathers and carries two razor sharp sickles on his back.

    And background.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Raven was born on a little farm in the middle of nowhere. His father and mother were both poor and could barely feed everyone, but they managed.

    Tragedy struck when Raven was only about 5. Somewhere back in his ancestral blood-line was a clan of druids but after centuries of intermarriage, the once strong blood-line had been watered down till there was very little left. This is Raven's gift and his curse because without knowing it both his parents carried the druid gene from this ancestral gene pool.

    Through some quirk of genetics, it manifested itself in Raven stronger than it had in centuries. but that great power in one so young has consequences. During his early years it was only small stuff his hair might grow quicker or his nails grow pointed and curled like ravens claws, then to only disappear just as quickly as they had appeared but on his fifth birthday, his parents arguing about how little they had and how long it had been since a decent crop, all the while forgetting his birthday, sending the little boy to bed with barely a meal. During the night, Raven had nightmares about transforming into a monster and ripping into his parents, tearing flesh from bone for being so cruel to him on his birthday.

    When dawn broke, Raven woke up to his nightmare come to life, his parents lying dead in the house, his bed torn to shreds, blood everywhere, covering him, his bed and the room itself. It was then that he realised that his nightmare had been truth. He had been the monster. He had killed his parents and the secret fact that he had enjoyed every minute of it the feel of flesh being torn, the smell of fear and terror... the taste of blood.

    Skip forward another 5 years and since leaving the farm, raven is now a hired killer, having learned somewhat to control the beastly urges. Now you’re asking, how can a 10 year old be a killer? Well it has to do with the shifting. Every time he shifted, he gained knowledge from dead ancestors and because he shifted uncontrollably for 3 years, the voices of dead druid ancestors speaking to him every time, whispering, teaching, and from them he learned how to control the shifts. From there it was an easy jump to learning the art of fighting both as a human or animal, the art of stealth and many things more.

    As to the hired killer part, there was a man who saw him shift while out walking one day and decided to use him in his business so he waited until Raven shifted back and approached him about being an assassin. A deal was struck and Raven joined the man for a short while, but the voices of his ancestors never went away. Sometimes helpful, sometimes a reminder and sometimes a warning, it was the ancestral voices that spoke of the man’s betrayal for a sackful of gold from a baron who wanted something dangerous to hunt. Thinking easy money, Raven's benefactor agreed eagerly. He had the perfect candidate... Raven... but knowing of this betrayal set Raven on a murderous path he had travelled many times before. Killing came as easy to this 10 year old as easy as breathing.

    The deaths of the baron, his retainers and the man who betrayed him were all too easy to arrange, a hunting accident in the forest. All he did was play along as the hunted for a while then turned from hunted to hunter and started picking them off one by one, the slow fat one at the rear first. In the end, the only two left alive before dark were the baron and his benefactor. The baron died first, his death sweet but quick. A hamstring and then the jugular.

    And then to the man who for 2 years had worked with Raven as an ally and friend. His death was not so swift, nor was it merciful. Just before he died he asked Raven why. The child responded, "It's all about the kill."

    These words have been the last words every victim heard before Raven has killed them.

    Raven has never worked with anyone again for longer than one job. He does the contract and moves on. His favourite contracts are the ones that are meant to look like accidents because he can replay his first mass killing changing it slightly to his liking making it more artistic or more brutal depending on his mood... leaving nothing but bodies and empty purses.

    Raven is now 14 and looking for work...



    EDIT* For Session 1.2, we were joined by Sins' girlfriend, Delphoxie, who plays Aeva Nordur-Vatn in 3 Coins. I do not know much about her character, but she has sent through a bit of background for her character.

    Spoiler: Aurion
    Show
    Name: Aurion
    Classes: Duellist 3/Ranger 2
    Spoiler
    Show
    Lightly armoured, focussing on finesse in close combat. Very good one on one, the Duellist is able to prevent enemies from attacking anyone else through Taunts and other such interesting effects. Quite effective at dealing damage, not so flash at taking it.

    Medium armour, focussed on outdoorsy stealth woodland stuff and archery. Through skills, can cover the Arcane Archery, Beastmaster and Hunter archetypes.

    Race: Danann
    Spoiler
    Show
    The Danann of the Wardenfells are a wild race of hunters and warriors. The Danann wear their dark hair long, often twining talismans and feathers into the braids to give luck and protection when they hunt. Tall and slender, the Danann are decptively strong and have keen intelligence and almost preternatural senses. They view the other peoples as their prey, and warfare is a great hunt, one test the skills of the mightiest of huntsmen. What little is known of their society is mainly through the outcasts who are propelled to seek a life of adventure in other lands. The eastern realms tell of summer nights when the Danann tear through outlying hamlets, seizing terrified villagers to take back to their tall cities to be brutally sacrificed. These are just tales of course...

    Age: 19
    Eye Colour: Unknown
    Hair & Skin Colour: Unknown
    Birthsign: Unknown

    Height: Unknown
    Weight: Unknown

    I don't know anything about appearance yet.

    But I do have background...
    Spoiler
    Show
    Aurion began her life as a princess in the lands of the Gheimridhe. Raised in a royal household she had very little experience with battle and even less with one on one combat. She was raised to be a lady and uphold the rules and standards set by her people. Quiet and keeping to herself, she spent most of her time reading the history and stories of her nation in the gardens of her castle home. She was constantly surrounded by maids and people of power so she had very little time to herself. However, she harboured a horrible secret the wound change her future drastically. She was cursed.

    At her naming ceremony, a blood-mage; nameless and mysterious, spoke words to the infant. He cursed her to be beckoned by blades. Whenever she passed the kitchens or even the sewing rooms, the blades called. Her mother and father knew not of her curse and assumed that the warlock had blessed her to be beautiful and humble, as had the rest of the people to visit her.

    Unfortunately, not all of her life had been sweet and quiet. Her father, the king was not all that he seemed. He had a secret to. Night after night he would come into Aurion's room and wake her. (This part will remain secret to anyone but her.) His beloved daughter was not biologically his. The king was actually the blood-mage who cursed her. After seeing how beautiful a babe Aurion was, he snuck into the castle the night after the naming ceremony and killed her real father, disguising himself as the king and taking his place. He lay in bed with the king's wife and ruled the lands of the Gheimridhe. And no one but Aurion knew.

    The bane of Aurion's existence was an Invarian by the name of Eruven, an exile of the Hidden Wastes. He told her how she could never speak of the curse to anyone because it would come out as gibberish and even if she found a way to tell someone, they would not believe her. He also mentioned that the only way to get rid of the curse was to kill him, which was increasingly difficult, considering he was the king now and he was constantly surrounded by guards.

    As to how she became known as evil and malevolent, this was because of the time she gave in to the calling. She passed the kitchens on her walk to her favourite part of her secret garden and wandered in. Mesmerised by the shine on the blade being held by the Cleaver. She stared it down and wandered forward, reaching her hand out to grasp it. And that is all she knew. She blacked out shortly after grabbing it from the Cleaver's hand and when she woke, every person in the kitchen and adjoining rooms was torn to pieces and she was covered in blood.

    She removed all evidence that she had been there; discarded her clothes and ran to her 'father', the king. Screaming about what happened and saying what a tragedy it was. The King (Eruven, feigning interest) rushed into the kitchen. Awestruck, he told his guards to search for any possible evidence or trespassers to help discover who could have committed such a crime. The Cleaver was The king's dearest childhood friends. He swore to kill whoever had done this to him.

    After several years, Aurion grew tired of the curse and not being able to say anything to anyone about it, so she decided to try and kill Eruven. She crept into his room, late at night and reached for her knife in her pocket. She grasped it and blacked out. When she came to, she was running. A pack of guards following her and a trail of corpses behind them.

    She quickly reached the gates and the guards stopped, having chased her from the city. The next day, the hunt began anew and as to whether or not she had succeeded at killing the king was still unknown to her. But she swore that day to kill him by any means necessary if she had not.



    Okay, that's it for the players for Whispers in the Dark. The next post will be our first session.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2015-08-22 at 07:28 AM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  2. - Top - End - #152
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Whispers in the Dark Session 1.1: We Are No Spies

    Never have I seen such malevolent power wielded as that day by my own sister. With it, she broke strong warriors, our whole clan, savaged by flames and otherworldly beings. This person, this strong woman is as much a part of me as my own flesh and blood, my sister, who destroyed everything I called mine and all who I owed allegiance to, save herself.

    I made my choice, she was all I had left.

    And I would keep her safe...

    - From the personal journals of Branimir Voijcinski.

    I began by trying to set up the recording device, asking everyone to speak. Wings was not due to arrive for some time yet, so we decided to start without him.

    “My name is *redacted* *redacted* *redacted*” – Dev.
    “The Game.” – Ladyhawk.
    “Excellent.” – Sins, bringing his fingers together in an evil fashion.
    “I will be your Game Master for this evening. This is the first session of Whispers in the Dark.” – Dev.


    Nine initiates stand in a cavernous room lit by torches. Before them is a platform atop three stone stairs. On the platform sits a throne which appears hewn out of the cavern itself, a solid block of blackened stone. On either side of the thrones sit two shallow cauldrons, belching silver flames.

    On the throne sits a figure and while the room is reasonably well-illuminated by the flames of the torches and cauldrons, the seated figure blends into the darkness behind him. The figure is undeniably male and radiates power, but no features can be seen, which lends him an unsettling aura.

    The man speaks in something barely more than a whisper, yet it echoes around the cavern like it is the only sound in existence.
    “You all know why you are here. You have all failed me. So the question is… What do we do with you now?” – The Master.
    The figure gives off a sense of great disappointment.
    “I know that some of you are still serviceable… I will not kill all of you.” – The Master.
    With these words, strands of flaming barbed wire encircle two thirds of the initiates in the room and with a twist of his hand, they rip the would-be sorcerers apart, leaving only a fine red mist in the air and a nasty, gooey substance on the ground.
    “You few left must now make amends for your mistakes. You will do this by starting from the bottom as neophytes of the Syndicate. Leave now, before I change my mind.” – The Master.
    The surviving initiates, now culled, leave the reception room, physically intact, though covered in gore.

    Standing now in a long, underground hallway, the newly-demoted neophytes take stock of their situation in the torchlight. Only three survived the Master’s wrath, the Roanfaille twins, Branimir and Benedykta Voijcinski and Lysrasor.
    “We are all in this together now it would seem.” – Branimir, offering his hand to Lysrasor.
    “Oh yeah, that’s his name now.” – PG, stumbling over Sins’ character’s name.
    “Almost as bad as me with Kel’Serrar.” – Dev, musing.
    “Noooo… Kel’Serrar is a lot easier than Lysrasor.” – Ladyhawk, also struggling.
    “Is that right mate?” – PG.
    “Lysrasor.” – Sins, delivering the name with a far cleaner pronunciation.
    “Yeah alright, we’ll work on that.” – PG.

    The strange young man gazes into space for a moment, listening to his inner voice before giving a small smile and shaking Bran’s hand.
    “This is my sister Benedykta.” – Bran, indicating his twin, who gives a small nod of recognition.
    The three then head to the mess hall.

    Ahead of us sit members of the cells based in the Syndicate headquarters. The mess hall is almost an underground marketplace around a large group of wooden tables, enough for almost the entirety of the Syndicate’s many agents to be seated at once.

    “As we are now neophytes, I assume we had best remain handy so that we may be called upon easily if we are sent on contract. I suggest a meal together to get to know each other a little better.” – Bran, taking charge.
    The three start to head to an eating establishment, and it is at this point that Hctib appears from the shadows to trot alongside Lysrasor.
    Hctib is a small, undead dog…
    Benedykta can’t help herself and leans down to pet the creature, which does not acknowledge the motion in any way whatsoever. It attempts to yap at people walking by, but it makes no noise.
    “Hctib has no vocal chords.” – Lysrasor, by way of explanation.
    “He’s one of those little annoying yappy dogs, but has no vocal chords.” – Sins.
    “So he’s annoying.” – Ladyhawk.
    “But silent.” – Dev.
    “He’s so annoyingly silent! Out of curiosity, what type of dog is it?” – PG.
    “Word of God here, I’m going to say he looks like a beagle.” – Dev.
    “A beagle with its vocal chords removed!” – Sins, brightly.
    I lose it at this point.


    The companions get their food and sit together at one of the tables, a bowl of meat and beans each with a glass of wine. Despite the given reason for the meal, neither the twins, nor Lysrasor make much of an effort to make conversation. The silence is reasonably companionable, though made awkward by the lack of knowledge they have of each other.

    “So much for getting to know each other…” – PG.
    “The silence seems to be getting to him.” – Sins, to Ladyhawk.
    “Yes, and I have no sympathy.” – Ladyhawk.
    “I now know all I need to know about the two of you… Dicks…” – PG, writing on an imaginary notepad.
    There’s a bit of laughter.
    “So what’s the plan? I guess seeing as we are neophytes, we’re not exactly allowed to have plans of our own right?” – PG.
    “That’s right, you’ll get your orders soon.” – Dev.
    “I want to know how we messed up to begin with?” – Ladyhawk.
    “We know apparently…” – PG.
    “Therefore I got lost on the way to the mission and couldn’t make it out of the cobwebs. Because I didn’t take navigation.” – Sins.
    “Neither did I.” – Ladyhawk.
    “Oh ****, I was going to and I forgot. None of us know where to go!” – PG, frantically looking at Bran’s character sheet.
    “None of us know how to get out of the complex.” – Sins.
    “Hey, does Hctib have the sense of smell of a living dog?” – PG.
    “Affirmative.” – Sins.
    “I suggest he is now our guide and leader. This will end fantastically.” – PG.


    Branimir’s old mentor approaches our table and speaks to the group.
    “I hear you are all neophytes again.” – Mentor.
    “What of it?” – Benny, sharply.
    “I’ve been ordered to give you your contract. You will receive 40 sulvers upon completion. Torycastro is a small city to the north. You are required to spy on the settlement, focusing on military matters and then report back. The more information you garner, the better off you will be. There may be a bonus payment if you are able to find any leverage the Master may be able to use against the lord of the city. As you would remember, you have no choice but to accept, or you will be killed.” – Mentor, to the companions.
    “Seems fair.” – Bran.
    “You will leave at dawn. Do not fail.” – Mentor, walking away.
    The newly-made neophytes finish their meal and then go their separate ways for the night.

    Branimir has taken up writing a journal to organise his thoughts, but so far has had no luck with actually writing anything lasting. It becomes a habit to write a few sentences, tear out the page and start again. Eventually he gives up in disgust and goes to sleep.

    Lysrasor on the other hand takes Hctib and prowls the corridors, looking for other neophytes to prey on. Nothing serious, he simply hypnotises the occasional neophyte walking past him, causing the unfortunates to forget things like their name, where they were going or how to walk… Before going to his own personal chamber, he sets an illusory trap on the door of another initiate he dislikes. The next time that initiate tries to enter his room, the trap will be triggered and a tidal wave of shadow and bloodied eyes will stream out of the room. Smirking, Lysrasor goes to his own room, chatting happily under his breath to the voice in his head.

    Meanwhile Benedykta retreats to the lowest dungeon of the Syndicate and practices her control of magic. She’s quite adept. Despite one minor hiccup, protective wards on the wall prevent any serious damage from occurring, and she learns from the experience. She leaves the room smelling of smoke and sulphur and goes to her own chamber.

    The next morning, all three awaken in the dark hours before dawn and meet at the outer gate of the Syndicate’s headquarters, a low, thick rusted iron portcullis set into the rocky walls of the mountains. Torycastro is a half-day walk to the north, along the wilderness path.
    Our horses were confiscated, so we asked for the reasoning behind that decision.
    “Ah, Torycastro is within walking distance, so you wouldn’t need them.” – Dev.
    We accepted this at the time, but then came the kicker.
    “After two days of travel-“ – Dev.
    “Hang on a minute, hang on a minute. Horses confiscated because we were within walking distance… It’s a freaking two day walk!?” – PG.
    “You ****.” – Sins, to Dev.
    “I thought, like two hours, or something? Not two days.” – Ladyhawk, in a thick Irish accent, which she drops in and out of as amuses her.
    “My God, that Irish accent.” – Dev.
    “My God, that horse confiscation.” – PG.
    The trip becomes shorter and Dev mentions that the confiscation was more to do with punishment than the distance of travel.
    “Good save.” – Ladyhawk, still in that same accent.


    There is a reasonably companionable silence, save for Lysrasor’s constant muttering. Benedykta occasionally does the same, so neither of the twins are too taken aback by this.

    * * *

    The thick stone walls of Torycastro loom before the companions in the cold, northern midday sun. The gate-guard halts us at the gate, obviously concerned about the three armed individuals.
    “Halt! What is your business here in town?” – Gate-guard, holding a halberd. He appears nervous despite his companion beside him at the gate and the other guards upon the wall and manning the gatehouse itself.
    Lysrasor continues his muttering and Benedykta softly sings to herself under her breath. With a sigh, Bran responds to the man.
    “We are travelling through on business of our own. We have some friends in high places and they would not be best pleased if we were hindered.” – Bran, staring the man down.
    The man is cowed, at least partially due to Lysrasor and Benedykta being quite creepy. He ushers us through quickly, and shivers as we pass.

    “Do you reckon you could draw up a map of the town please mate?” – PG, to Dev.
    “Ah you bastard. Yeah, alright.” – Dev, taking a pencil and paper.
    “This? This is payback for what we put him through.” – Sins, to Dev.
    “Payback? Oh no, I just want a map. Payback would be asking for a detailed catalogue of the town library, and then asking for each book to be written. And then translated into Hebrew.” – PG.


    We notice on our way to a local tavern that there appears to be a significant military presence gathering in camps inside the walls on either side of the main road. On one side, the majority of the troops are drilling with spear and shield. On the other, a much smaller contingent of tents and the occasional man walking around with sparks of energy flying from his fingers. We exchange grim looks with each other and keep walking, eventually finding a tavern.

    We sit down at a booth in the back corner and begin to discuss our plans before swiftly realising we are not alone.
    “It’s okay, we share the same master.” – Stranger, who looks like a twelve year old Midlander boy, clad in rough homespun and carrying two crossed sickles at his back. He gives a secret hand signal of the Syndicate, and Bran shifts over slightly, allowing the boy to sit beside him.
    “My name’s Raven. I was ordered to find you and aid you in your contract.” – Raven, by way of introduction.
    “So who exactly are you and what can you do for us?” – Bran, quietly.
    “As I said, my name is Raven. And I kill people.” – Raven. As an aside, Wings’ voice for this character tends to sound vaguely Turkish. It’s a bit off-putting.
    Some eyebrows are raised, but the boy gives off an aura of power and no one says anything. Except Lysrasor, but he doesn’t really stop the muttering anyway.

    “Surely to get to this position, you must have some kind of unusual ability, especially for one so young. I’m trying to get at you turning into animals mate.” – PG to Wings, dropping character.
    “I’d rather not show you in public.” – Raven’s response.
    Ladyhawk cracked up here.
    “Now you know my pain.” – PG, to Dev.
    “Yes, this is feeling like just about the worst impulse decision ever. Now Wings, could you rephrase that one please, for the love of God?” – Dev.
    “Nah, it’s fine. If he wants to surprise us with his power then that’s fine. We won’t pressure him.” – Ladyhawk.


    “Well I guess we need to find out who the main powerbrokers are in town. Militarily we should probably find out numbers regarding the regular garrison and the army they’re mustering. For that matter, we need to find out who is doing the mustering and why. We need information on the leaders and quartermasters too, the better to get some kind of leverage. Whenever there’s a large body united in common cause, there’s always someone at the centre.” – Bran, to the rest of the group once the drinks have been served.
    “This is true.” – Lysrasor, in a rare moment of lucidity.
    “We could also find out about patrol routes, in and around the town.” – Bran, continuing on his spiel.
    “Any existing or planned troop deployments would surely be good information too.” – Lysrasor.
    “Indeed, and merchants in the township we can use. Worth finding out if there’s someone easily swayed we can use for a smuggling operation. If there’s someone starting to get too much power who may not be easily controlled then we might look at taking another couple of merchants under our protection and replacing the current dominant merchant.” – Benny, thoughtful.
    “What we do need to know is the political situation here. Who really wields the power here?” – Lysrasor.
    “So where do we go first?” – Raven.
    “The markets and merchant district.” – Lysrasor, immediately.
    “Agreed.” – Bran.
    “It would look quite suspicious if we just arrived in the town and went straight to the barracks and started counting things after all.” – Lysrasor.
    “Right, well it’s time to eat right now though, so let’s do that and then go look at the markets.” – Bran, his priorities in order.

    We order our foodstuffs and enjoy our meal before heading to the markets alongside the river, a strange looking group. Two southern copperskins, a wild-looking boy and a tall man in black robes with a strange dog trotting beside him draw a lot of eyes, few of them friendly. The majority of the town are expatriate Southrons, with those of the local Northerner stock making an appearance every now and then. The four of us do stick out, even if Hctib was hidden from view.

    More coming guys...
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2015-08-27 at 12:37 AM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  3. - Top - End - #153
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    And we are back.

    There’s a tangent here where Ladyhawk tells us she wants to find a fresh leek, as a nod to her experience in Skyrim, where the only leeks she could find in the game were of the grilled variety. It is a source of great frustration to her.

    Dev describes a veritable vegetable paradise to her and she picks out her leek. Dev does, however, ask why she wants a leek, which Sins and I predictably jumped on.


    The markets are mainly local foodstuffs, particularly fish and other seafood, likely taken from the river. A single blacksmith can be seen plying his trade on the riverfront, but he looks to be limited in his ability. Horseshoes and farming implements seem to stretch his expertise.

    “Hmm, that is interesting. Such a large settlement with a sizable military presence and only one blacksmith, limited in ability. My guess would be that any smiths of note here have been conscripted for military purposes.” – Bran, under his breath to Benny, who nods in agreement.

    There’s a minor scuffle between Raven and a guard over some petty theft and Bran walks over to try and break it up. He attempts to pick the boy up by the back of the shirt, but Raven wriggles free and kicks Bran in the shin, taking the Roanfaille by surprise, who recoils, his snarl of surprise quickly turning into laughter at the situation.

    And then Benny kicks the boy in the leg, dropping him to the floor, though doing no serious damage.
    “Are you done with the hyper-violence now?” – Dev, rapidly losing control of the situation.
    “You did ask for it mate.” – Ladyhawk, to Dev.
    “This has gotten off to a poor start.” – PG.
    “Well you’re right there you bloody bastard!” – Wings, in character.
    “… That’s it, knife to the throat.” – PG.
    “You serious?” – Dev.
    “Nah, but I’m going to kick his teeth in in a minute.” – PG.


    Bran offers the boy a hand up, and he accepts after a moment.
    “Thank you. But don’t get involved like that again.” – Raven, gritting his teeth.
    “Fair enough. Good lad.” – Bran, with a pat on the head.

    Lysrasor meanwhile has managed to get the guardsman to back off, simply by playing with Hctib. There is something not quite right about the dog that is noticed by even the most cursory of glances and between Hctib, Lys’ constant muttering to himself and the surprisingly gentle and playful way he treats the animal, the guardsman is well and truly creeped out.

    We split up to look around the markets. Benny finds her leek and purchases it.
    “You bought your leek.” – Dev, to Ladyhawk.
    “Thank you.” – Ladyhawk. The recording sounds like she was strangely touched by this gesture.
    “She took it. She took that leek.” – PG, giggling.
    I couldn’t help it. This went on far too long.
    “It was important she took that leek.” – PG. On the plus side, I had Wings and Sins laughing uncontrollably at this point.
    “What would you like to do now?” – Dev.
    “Was it green?” – PG, to Ladyhawk.
    “Yes.” – Ladyhawk.
    “Juicy?” – PG. Wings lost it.
    “I wouldn’t know.” – Ladyhawk, laughing.
    “Okay, can we stop talking about leeks? What would you like to do?” – Dev.
    “Find a saner party.” – Sins, laughing. And there we have it, the necromancer with a pet zombie beagle and schizophrenia wanted to find saner friends.
    That’s saying something right there.


    Looking around the marketplace, we can’t really see any evidence of any particular merchant being in a position of dominance over the rest, and as most of the stuff available is just local produce, we move on. As it is heading into late afternoon, we decide to make our way to the Golden Chalice, an inn on the mercantile street to discuss our next move and get something for the evening meal.

    The Golden Chalice is actually quite a pleasant place, well-furnished and kept in good order.
    “Back again young master? Shall I set a table?” – Innkeeper, to Raven, who had led us to the establishment.
    “Aye, thank you, for me and my companions.” – Raven, in reply.
    The old innkeeper nods and we are informed that he and his wife, who co-own the place, have quickly taken an interest in Raven during his time in Torycastro, and have essentially showered attention on the ungrateful little bastard.
    We troop into a booth, Bran, Benny and Raven on one side, Lysrasor and Hctib sitting happily on the other. The dog’s constant yapping is made only very marginally less annoying by its silence, and its unnatural grin is quite unsettling.

    An earlier conversation regarding Lysrasor’s clothing comes up here. Sins didn’t write down any clothing items in his equipment, and so when Dev asked for details when we were leaving the Syndicate headquarters, all Sins could come up with on the spot was, “Uh, leather?”

    Spoiler: Earlier Conversation
    Show

    We made bondage jokes as can be imagined.
    “Just before leaving, black robes float down from the sky to clothe me.” – Sins.
    “No, that’s not what happened. You were definitely wearing clothes the whole time. And they are normal clothes too, not robes made of death or whatever.” – Dev.
    “Although, I can certainly see him wearing robes made of the skins of his enemies.” – PG.
    “Yes, this. This is what I want.” – Sins.
    “No, you’re not doing that.” – Dev, laughing.


    Anyway, back to the present, that conversation came up again as Dev describes the inside of the Golden Chalice, including our characters sitting in a booth, one of which is wearing woollen robes the colour of shadow.
    “See I envisaged the colour and consistency of bacon.” – PG.
    “You get normal clothes!” – Dev, to Sins.
    ‘But can he get bacon clothes?” – PG.
    “NO!” – Dev.
    “I was considering wearing a man-size Twinky.” – Sins, referring of course to the hollow cake roll with cream.


    “So, who are your charming companions?” – Innkeeper, to Raven. He has come over to our booth to deliver the drinks and has inspected us with a raised eyebrow.
    “Well I’m a paid bodyguard.” – Lysrasor, still playing with his dog.
    “And we’re just friends.” – Benny, quietly. She knows Bran hates lying.
    The innkeeper finishes placing the drinks down, nods and walks away.

    We timed our appearance at the Golden Chalice well. It is only now starting to fill for the evening hours, and we have managed to get a booth right up in the back corner, away from the main hub of activity.
    “You specifically go for one right up in the back, right?” – Dev.
    “Absolutely, right in the back corner.” – PG.
    “We aren’t looking suspicious at all, are we?” – Wings, sarcastic.
    “Well the room’s quite full and no one’s paying you guys much attention. You were lucky.” – Dev.
    “Most people do like to plot in the shadows in the back corner. We were lucky we got in early.” – PG.
    “We got in as the lunch crowd were leaving.” – Wings.
    “Yes, they have done their plotting for the day.” – Sins.


    “I’m growing quite concerned about the army massing in the camps behind the gate. There’s also the main keep, which we haven’t looked at yet, but it would stand to reason that the lord of this town would have a personal guard in addition to the town guard.” – Bran, laying out his notes.

    Despite his lack of success with writing his personal journal, the Roanfaille warrior is an avid writer, having learnt the art amongst the southern mercenary companies after leaving home. It didn’t take long for him to realise the advantage he could gain by actually being able to read the contracts he was signing. Few mercenary captains expected a Roanfaille horseman to be able to read and write, and Bran has always believed in having his enemies underestimate him in all things.

    Raven has been in Torycastro for some time now, and has a fair bit of information for us. No exact numbers, but he does know that the town’s garrison is substantial in size and appear to be well-drilled.

    “So, let’s look at summoning a daemon in the middle of the town. Where’s the warehouse district?” – Sins, in a call-back to the second 3 Coins arc.
    “That’s not a bad idea actually.” – Ladyhawk.
    “Until the five adventurers show up and **** up our ****.” – Wings.


    “We need to look at some more decisive figures, perhaps breaking into the guard captain’s quarters and sneaking a look at the ledger there. That should give us an idea of the garrison size. I wish we knew what the plan was for this town, but we can hardly pave the way for anything when we don’t know what the ‘anything’ is.” – Bran, thoughtful.
    “It’s not that unsurprising really that we don’t know. We’re neophytes again, remember? They wouldn’t entrust any more information to us than strictly necessary.” – Lysrasor.
    “Very true. Okay, Benny and I will pose as mercenaries, which should be easy enough seeing as it is no disguise. Anyone looking to muster an army will not turn away experience sellswords, so we will go in there, gather some information on numbers and figures of influence and get paid to do so.” – Bran.

    And we called it there…

    The Wrap-Up:
    Honestly, I really enjoyed this. It was a great opportunity for me to take a look at the game from another perspective, plus I quite enjoy playing but never really get a chance to. It was also really good to actually play a character I had created for once. My only long-running game, my character was created for me, concept and all.

    The session itself was a good introductory one I felt, and I wouldn't mind collating this adventure and helping Dev publish it once it reaches it's finale.

    Dev did a good job really in keeping us on track. I have no doubt we are a difficult group to manage with all the off-topic talk, and I am one of the worst offenders for that.

    I hope this was an entertaining read and I'm sure it will not be long before we revisit these same characters.

    Cheers,
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

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  4. - Top - End - #154
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Amidus Drexel's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2012
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    The Algol System
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    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Ha, leeks. That session sounded like a lot of fun (well-done evil games normally are).

    Gah, I've gotten so far behind on reading these. At some point, I'm just going to re-read everything and then I'll be up-to-date.
    RB: IC || OOC

    PbP Characters: Remiel, Gideon

    Avatar by FinnLassie
    A few odds and ends.

  5. - Top - End - #155
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    I'll admit, I was sceptical going in. I thought it would quickly turn into Chaotic Stupid rather than an actual evil game, but Dev managed to keep the situation in hand and the rest of the players were generally pretty happy to work as a team.

    For now at least...
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

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  6. - Top - End - #156
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Apr 2015
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    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenixguard09 View Post
    Next time on 3 Coins:
    The murder mysteries gripping Urik's Landing are resolved, the party goes to hell and comes back out and Tremor finally realises his power.

    Oh, and Breanna is left stranded in a dark and dangerous place...
    Because I'm stupid

  7. - Top - End - #157
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Well I am three and a half hours into the write-up and I can safely say that it is by far the longest write-up we've had. You guys are in for a real treat...

    Stay tuned,
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  8. - Top - End - #158
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Queensland, Australia
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    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Session 4.2: Dark Places and Reality Hopping

    The roaring fireplace gives the room a soft glow, illuminating it for a family of Invarrians sitting upon the rich furs on the floor. One black-furred and fully grown male, holds a black and white youngster, barely three years old while the other adult, a black and white female struggles with the other three pups, trying to get them under the blanket.

    "Hush now pups, and I will tell you about the feared Odon the Black." - Haelfa Oakenshield, to her children whilst settling them down for bed.
    "I don't want to hear about Odon, Ma. Tell us about Olorin Shipbreaker instead!" - Hosker Oakenshield.
    "No, we head about him last night! Tell us about Manda Silvertongue!" - Helga Oakenshield, lightly batting at her brother's head.
    "Come now children, you need to take what you are given. Your mother has offered to tell you a story of Odon the Black. Come listen with me and Harold..." - Hendrik Oakenshield, holding a young Harold Oakenshield tightly...


    Welcome to Session 4.2

    “Hello, you lost The Game!” – LD.
    For posterity, we played Dorito Roulette and it was outstanding, awesome, really good value, hilarious and such a good idea. Only Sins was unimpressed. I was the first to get a spicy one, and it did screw me up for the rest of the day.

    We did lose Opal for this session as she had family issues to deal with, but we hope that she will slot back in neatly over the next session or two. To explain this, Therressa has taken off to deliver a reply from Harold to his sister, Helga on Varr.


    We left our intrepid heroes at the Blackmane Inn where they discussed their next moves regarding the murders plaguing Urik’s Landing.
    “Didn’t we choose this mission because we were sick of dealing with dark magic? And what do we find? Supernatural killings. Damn it guys!” – Sins.
    It is early evening and the companions have just finished having dinner.

    Spoiler: What is known regarding the murders:
    Show

    - The first murder: Berrilynn, Northmann girl, 22 years old. An outlander from the north, and serving girl at the Irontusk Inn. Found cloven in half on the side of the main street and missing most of her internal organs.
    - The second murder: Northmann girl, 19 years old. A farm girl from an outlying hamlet. No one is sure of her name as the hamlet was found devastated by a Dwergar border raid from Nordtarnet after her death. Missing only the bones from her legs.
    - The third murder: Northmann girl, 27 years old. Stablehand at the Irontusk Inn. Missing all her limbs.
    - The fourth murder: Midlander girl, 21 years old. Daughter of Hav Goldfingers, a merchant aligned with the Blackmanes. Missing only her face.
    - The last murder: Approximately 24 years old. Serving girl at the Blackmane Inn, daughter of Orolf Anvil-Hand, the smith who plies his trade outside Lordshall.

    Naturally this information is incomplete, but it is accurate.


    “Well, we went to where they found the first body and we didn’t find much. We did find this amulet and there are traces of a preserving spell.” – Maebh, to the group. Breanna puts the iron amulet down in the centre of the table for everyone to see.

    Therressa had left the iron amulet found in the snow where a body had been left, with Breanna before departing the Landing, and so the Leathe and Maebh study it together to see if they can find out anything important. Unfortunately, they don’t turn up anything more than what they already saw earlier. The amulet itself is mundane in nature, however it was certainly in the vicinity of the preservation spell which was likely cast on the corpse.

    As soon as he sees it however, Tremor snatches it away. It seems like only an instant to everyone else at the table, but to Tremor it feels like an eternity as he stares at the dagger etched into the iron pendant.
    “This is a thing of evil. You will be familiar with it soon.” – Haunting female voice…
    Tremor gets the feeling that the amulet itself is not what she is referring to, but the magic which sits in a web around the iron.

    It is far too cold outside, so they decide not to do anything until the next day and they retreat to their rooms for the rest of the night.

    * * *

    The morning arrives and the weather has cleared substantially. It is still very cold and grey, but it is no longer death weather, as Ladyhawk put so well.

    Most of the companions go to Jurdric’s practise, save for Harold who instead goes to Theyne Embermald’s long hall.

    Maebh, Tremor, Kel’Serrar and Breanna:
    Tremor knocks on the door to the surgery and it is opened by Endric, Doktor Jurdric’s son.
    “And what can we do for you today?” – Endric, towering over all four companions. He cannot recognise Kel’Serrar, who has picked a random man of the crew of the Winter Wind to look like today, the better to blend into the townsfolk.
    “We would like to inspect the most recent murder victim.” – Maebh, blunt.
    “Are you the godsfolk? To take her down to the sea?” – Endric, sceptical.
    “No, we are not.” – Tremor, gruff.
    “No? Then why are you here to bother the dead?” – Endric, arms crossed.
    “We want to examine her to find the killer.” – Maebh.
    “I don’t know what kind of heathen traditions you hold to in the south, but we do not do that here. Unless you are here for treatment, clear off.” – Endric.
    “I’ll take him out at the kneecaps.” – Wings.
    “Looks like a job for the possum.” – LD.

    “If you want the killer to be found before he kills more people, you will let us see the body.” – Maebh, with a dangerous gleam in her eye.
    Endric gives them a worried look, which grows steadily more concerned as Maebh’s hands start to crackle with power.
    “Fine, come on through. Just don’t burn anything.” – Endric, holding the door open.

    The body of the girl is laid out upon a stone table. And she is a mess.

    Harold:
    Harold Oakenshield inspects each of the murder sites marked on his map. The Invarrian’s powerful nose can pick up the scent of dark magic, but that is just about all he can find. There would appear to be no blood splatters or any signs of struggle in the vicinity of where the bodies were found, which is in keeping with the information they already had.

    Unfortunately, Harold is disadvantaged by the fact that the most recent murder was still several nights ago and there has been a lot of wind and snow since the body was moved.

    He moves on to Lordshall on the hill to the north-east of the town, thinking to examine the theyne’s personal archive to find any information he can on serial killers in the town’s history.

    Maebh, Tremor, Kel’Serrar and Breanna:
    The companions start to closely examine the corpse on the stone table. Within moments, they have all uncovered some startling information. Kel’Serrar is able to determine that the magic which permeates the girl’s flesh is preserving in nature, while Breanna recognises that the daemonic energy used to power the spell had an affinity to ice.

    Most troubling is Maebh's discovery.
    "Whoever did this is formally trained in the arcane." - Maebh, grim.
    "Hmm, so a warlock with formal training. There are very few places where one can get training in the black arts, so there's a good chance this person is more than just an amateur warlock. He could be a mage too." - Breanna, arms crossed.

    Spoiler
    Show
    "How long were we on that ship?" - Sins.
    "About two months."
    "And the first killing was around two months ago... Anyone else picking up on the ice affinity too? Ice-based preserving spells and a massive snowstorm which almost killed us and isolated the town." - Sins.
    "It's a bit obvious don't you think?" - Dev.
    "Maybe, but it's really bothering me. I'm pretty sure they're connected." - Sins.


    The poor girl has been cut from clavicle to navel and her ribcage removed from the body, seemingly without disturbing the rest of the body. It's quite astounding really and great care was taken not to damage anything.

    Doktor Jurdric walks in, followed by his apprentice, Welyn, a much shorter, dark-haired man, obviously a Midlander.
    "What in all the hells are you doing in here?" - Jurdric, of the companions as soon as his rheumy eyes fall upon them.
    "Examining the body." - Maebh, coolly.
    "It's okay father, I allowed them in." - Endric, laying a calming hand on his father's shoulder. The old doktor throws the hand off and grumbles about their presence, but says nothing further to them. Welyn approaches the table.
    "So, what have you found?" - Welyn, hopeful.
    "That's none of your concern." - Maebh.
    "I've been trying to piece it all together myself actually. If you tell me what you've found I will share my notes on the other bodies with you. It's the only way you'll find out about them, as they're all at the bottom of the ocean now." - Welyn, helpfully.
    "Okay, then. Let's talk." - Tremor.

    The companions thank Endric for his time and leave, Welyn leading them to his accommodation.

    Harold:
    Approaching Lordshall, Harold is stopped at the top of the stairs by a doorward, a large man clad in heavy leathers and a thick wool and fur cloak. A massive roundshield strapped over his shoulder and a hand on the broadsword at his belt, the doorward is an imposing sight, but Harold has dealt with his kind before.

    "Halt! What business does a reaver have in the halls of Southreach royalty?" - Doorward, challenging.
    "Does not an Invarrian rule from this hall? Would he not see a kinsman?" - Harold.
    "No, the theyne is a Northmann, of one of the purest bloodlines in Unterguardt, not a mere salt-drenched sea-wolf." - Doorward, derisive.
    "And neither am I. I am a man of wisdom seeking new knowledge in your lord's hall. I wish to consult his archives." - Harold, lying about not being a salt-drenched sea-wolf. But his motive was honest.
    "So you're book-learned?" - Doorward, that derisive tone not leaving his voice.
    "Aye, that I am." - Harold.

    The Invarrian is shown inside and into the theyne's archive, a large underground room lit only by a single closed lantern on a lonely desk. The theyne's book-keeper is a friendly old man, his grey eyes sunken deep into his skull and his hair long since having abandoned his skull. Despite his friendliness, the book-keeper passes on a grave warning.
    "The theyne is not a man of great learning but he treasures his archive. Damage anything and you will pay. And if you cannot pay, you will die." - Book-keeper, patting Harold conciliatorily on the arm.
    The Invarrian had seen the massive theyne holding court in the hall as he passed through to the archive, and even from a distance and at rest, the man looked capable of crushing a marcwolf's skull with his bare hands.

    "Hey PG, what is the symbol for the doctor here?" - Wings, out of nowhere.
    "Uh... an... anchor. Yeah, an anchor."
    "Well that doesn't make any less sense than, you know, a snake coiled around a staff or something." - Dev.
    "You see, it is seen that those who practise medicine and see to your ailments and illnesses and injuries and the like are your anchor to life itself."
    "Well done PG. Wonderful use of improv." - Sins.
    "Damn I'm good!" - Laughing, and quoting Ace Ventura.


    Maebh, Tremor, Kel’Serrar and Breanna:
    It quickly becomes apparent that Welyn is leading the companions to the Irontusk Inn, which naturally the companions cannot enter on pain of death.

    Well, Kel'Serrar could easily do so by just taking another identity, which he has practically been doing none stop since he manifested the ability to do so.

    And Breanna probably could by a combination of climbing, vaulting and sneaking.

    And Tremor could potentially dig a tunnel which came up directly under Welyn's room within the next day.

    And Maebh could still set the whole place on fire, teach them a valuable lesson about angering mages with meaningless feuds and damn the consequences.

    But none of them do as such, instead having Welyn go in and collect the notes by himself and bring them out to neutral ground.

    How's that, the players turned down an opportunity to murder-hobo in a town. Who says PC's can't change their ways?

    Upon returning with a selection of notebooks, the companions get a special dispensation from Alrik, the Blackmane barkeep, to allow Welyn to come in an sit in the common room, without need to fear for his personal safety. Alrik agrees, but refuses to serve the man, which Welyn wearily agrees to.

    Breanna tells the apprentice doktor of what they found out about the girl, while her other companions pore over Welyn's books. He started his investigations immediately after the first girl was killed. She was an outlander, much like him so his fear at the time was that he was next. The fact that she was his sweetheart and they had travelled south together only made the fear worse. It wasn't long after the murders began that Welyn began to start questioning the possibility of transplants and why the organ of a healthy woman cannot replace the organs of an unhealthy one.

    He theorises that the murderer might in fact be that, a woman using the body parts to rejuvenate herself.

    He also draws out a worn sulver from his pocket.
    "I found this in the snow next to the corpse of the third girl, a 27 year old stablehand from the Irontusk Inn. I knew her, a little, and she was not well-travelled. So it surprised me when I saw where this was minted." - Welyn, passing Tremor the old coin.
    Engraved on the back of the coin, the symbol of the Brilliant Towers of Drell.

    Spoiler: The Brilliant Towers
    Show
    The foremost centre of magical learning in Norbayne, the Brilliant Towers are an island fortress far to the south. Noble families all over Norbayne often send second sons and the like to the Towers as it brings prestige to the family.

    The Towers are more than a school, but are rather a way of life as students are tutored in every portion of how they live their lives. It is a demanding place and few are able to see their education through to the end, but those who do are some of the most focussed and magically powerful beings in the known world.


    The apprentice also passes on information they already knew, in that there have never been any tracks around the bodies and that the injuries caused are only those which seem to have been inflicted to obtain whatever parts the killer was after. For example, the only injury inflicted upon the girl who had her face torn off was exactly that, the loss of her face. What actually killed her is still unknown.

    Harold:
    The history of the town is very dry reading, and Harold quickly finds himself struggling to stay awake. Strangely enough, even in the official records, the origins of the Blackmane and Irontusk feud are very vague.

    As to any mention of historical killings, Urik's Landing, for what it is, has always been reasonably peaceful. Even when it was ruled by the Invarrians, the Landing was still ruled by whoever wielded the biggest sword. And when it wasn't, it was the man who threw the biggest fireballs. Law in the town has always been simple too. If you were wronged, you were fully within rights to go murder them. So for what it was, the town has always been reasonably peaceful.

    About a hundred years ago the town tried to secede from the kingdom of Southreach but were unsuccessful. And that's just about it really. No serial killings. Plenty of killing, whether accidental, or condoned vengeance, but no one prowling the streets and preying on the populace.

    "No history of serial killers and now they just had five enter... This is going to apocalyptic for them." - Sins.

    On the other hand, browsing through a census from over two hundred years ago reveals that Odon the Black was born and lived in the Landing for some time. No information is given, but Harold knows the story well.

    Odon the Black was a feared Invarrian sorceror and the subject of many Invarrian bedtime tales. They were some of Harold's favourite stories growing up, but he can't remember much in the way of details now.

    "My friend, what do you know of Odon the Black?" - Harold, to the theyne's book-keeper.
    "Well, he was born and raised here, but he left after his twentieth nameday and his well-known reign of terror was conducted to the south." - Book-keeper.
    "Would any of his own books be found in this archive?" - Harold.
    "I rather doubt it, but I will search for you if you would like." - Book-keeper, happy to help.
    "That would be great. I will return tomorrow around the same time to see if you have found anything." - Harold, shaking the man's hand and taking his leave. He has devised a plan and needs to fill in his companions.

    Maebh, Tremor, Kel’Serrar and Breanna:
    "So, Welyn, do you know of any outlanders that may have come from the far south?" - Maebh, turning the coin over in her fingers.
    "To my knowledge, there is no one in the town who is actually a Southron. The one name which springs to mind is the theyne's court wizard, Heimdar. He may have been trained at the Towers, but he is from Southreach originally." - Welyn.
    "And where are you from?" - Maebh.
    "The Gwyrai woods, to the west of your homelands. I have not seen the woods for many years now." - Welyn.
    "Well, I hope that one day you get the chance to go back there. Meanwhile, I must go speak with this court wizard." - Maebh, standing to leave.
    Breanna and Kel'Serrar make to follow and the three of them turn to see Harold walk into the inn, freshly returned from his library visit. Tremor stays seated to finish his latest alcoholic conquest and Harold joins him, passing the others on his way to the table with a friendly nod.

    Maebh, Kel'Serrar and Breanna:
    The three companions traipse off to Lordshall and make their way to the top of the stone stairway.
    "Well then, more newcomers. This is unusual. State your business." - The doorward, who is still imposing.
    It must be said that a lithe and wild-looking Danann and a dark-clad Leathe are not the kind that he would usually be turning away. The rough and ragged sailor Kel'Serrar is impersonating, with exaggerated rolling walk is more the kind he deals with.
    "I would see Heimdar the wizard. I wish to know if we were fellow students at the Brilliant Towers." - Maebh, imperiously.
    "I will find out if he will see you, stay here." - Doorward, turning his great, fur-covered shoulders and striding into the longhall.
    "You studied at the Towers?" - Breanna, whispering, eyes wide.
    "No." - Maebh, hissing between her clenched teeth.

    The doorward swiftly returns.
    "He will not see you. I am sorry." - Doorward, apologetically.
    "Why not?" - Maebh, sharp.
    "Because he is otherwise engaged and regardless, he is not disposed to open his door to any vagrant who shows up on his doorstep and begs entrance." - The doorward, who then raises his hands innocently. "His words, not mine."
    "A moment, please." - Maebh, to the doorward. She then turns her back and beckons her companions in close.
    "The way I see it is, we have three options. Option one, we go in there and talk to the jarl and see what he knows and how he can help us. Option two, we leave now, come back tonight and capture the wizard. Or option three, we go in hands blazing." - Maebh, whispering.
    "I'm for shanking him in the knee." - Breanna cheerfully.
    "Is there any way I can see him? What is his schedule for the day?" - Maebh, turning back to the doorward.
    "I rather doubt it. As to his schedule, well he locks himself in his room all day, presumably doing spellwork. He emerges only for food or as commanded by the theyne, who only calls on him sparingly. And then he goes back in, I guess for more spellwork." - Doorward.
    "What time does he come out for food?" - Maebh, latching onto an idea.
    The doorward names a time in the early evening.
    "And I would be allowed into the messhall at this time?" - Maebh, continuing on her track.
    "I don't see why not..." - Doorward.
    "Excellent. I shall see you then." - Maebh, turning on her heel and returning to the Blackmane Inn.

    Breanna and Kel'Serrar exchange concerned looks and follow her back.

    * * *

    The three return to the inn to find that Welyn has left and that Harold has been trying to discuss the coming move into Nordtarnet with Tremor. The dwarf would usually have been quite attentive to this conversation, but as the days passed found himself growing more and more preoccupied with the knowledge he gleaned from the manuscripts found in the Wolf King's lair.

    Script which he could make neither heads nor tails of just weeks ago was suddenly starting to make a very real and frightening sense. He starts to get a feeling that a lot of what he is reading about, all of a sudden, he could do. This scares him a little, as murdering lots of people, raising them from the dead and then taking over large swathes of the countryside had never really occurred to him before. Now though, now, he looks forward to it in a detached kind of way.

    The companions eat lunch and discuss their next moves, and it is decided that rumour-mongering is the plan. Harold and Kel’Serrar head to the marketplace to gather some information, Maebh and Breanna to the gates to talk to the guards and Tremor to Lordshall.

    Tremor:
    "Another stranger. What is your business here?" - Doorward, surprised.
    "I wish to see the court wizard." - Tremor, gruff.
    "You are not the first to seek audience with him today. He is unlikely to agree to a meeting." - Doorward, frowning.
    "Tell him I have some scrolls of an unknown nature that I would like him to have a look at." - Tremor.
    The guard nods and turns to enter the hall, but abruptly stops and turns back to Tremor.
    "And where did you find these scrolls?" - Doorward, curious.
    "In the highest tower of an undead mad king to the south." - Tremor, truthfully.
    "I see." - Doorward, eyes widening.
    The guard is gone for only a short moment before returning.
    "Master Heimdar will see you immediately." - Doorward, showing Tremor in.

    The court wizard's personal quarters are a small annex off the northern wing of the hall. Upon being led through a carefully engraved wooden door, Tremor takes in a sparsely furnished room. The one concession to vanity is a large mirror on the wall across from the doorway, its frame carved with intricate runes.

    Tremor's vision snaps back and again he can see the great burning pine before him.
    "THERE!" - The mysterious female voice.
    The Dwergar gets the feeling she is pointing accusingly at the runes before them. He has only a split second to ponder this before he is snapped back into the real world, the after image of the burning pine imprinted on his mind.

    Heimdar himself is small for a Northmann, a situation not helped by the way he stoops. He looks more ancient than he is, in part due to the long grey beard which obscures most of his face and trails down to mid-chest. He is clad in a long dark grey robe of coarse wool.

    The wizard gives Tremor a strange look as the Dwergar's eyes clear. It takes a moment for him to blink away the effects of the vision, but is soon able to see Heimdar standing next to his desk, a sturdy wooden affair covered in arcane manuscripts.

    The wizard extends a hand in greeting and the dwarf hurries forward to shake it.
    "Well met, my name is Barandin Stonefist." - Tremor, hiding his true identity.
    "Stonefist eh? Cousin to the Ironfists... Well I wouldn't go north my friend, it is a bad time for your family up there by all the accounts which have come south. May I offer you a drink and a seat?" - Heimdar, in a friendly manner.
    The wizard calls in a servant to attend their needs, bringing a wooden chair for Tremor and then two flagons of mead from the theyne's cellar.

    "So, let's get down to business. You have some things you wish me to look at, and I very much would like to see them. I hear something about an undead king?" - Heimdar, cradling his flagon.
    "Aye, an ancient kingdom in the Midlands whose king had come back to wreak vengeance upon the living. We slew him and I raided his library." - Tremor, setting his flagon down and pulling forth the scrolls from his backpack.
    "Ah, now these are interesting." - Heimdar, taking the scrolls from Tremor and examining them one at a time.
    For his part, the Dwergar enjoys his mead and is drawn over and over again to the runes around the frame of the mirror. His mind starts to wander and he can hear the very faintest of otherworldly screams. In his current state, to Tremor it sounds like the screams are coming from within the mirror. Blue flames rush across the surface of the reflection then and he gasps.

    The apparition vanishes, and the mirror's reflection is as it should be.

    "I said is anything wrong?" - Heimdar, concerned. Tremor notices that the wizard has set the scroll aside and is looking worriedly at the dwarven engineer.
    "Aye, nothing the matter. I was just admiring your mirror. I am a runecrafter myself you see and I am impressed by the craftsmanship on display there." - Tremor.
    "The mirror is a family heirloom of mine. I must confess I have no idea what purpose they serve, but I keep the mirror as it reminds me of my family, of whom I have nothing else left." - Heimdar, taking another draught of mead.
    "I see. Now, would you happen to know about a burning pine?" - Tremor, fishing for information.
    Any warmth on the man's face, of which there was very little to begin with, flees.
    "The symbol of the one the peoples of Norbayne called the Witch-Queen of the North, Kresimina. Centuries ago, Kresimina sought out the secrets of an endless life, specifically a life in which time could not diminish her beauty nor her power. None can say for certain whether she achieved that goal or not, as she just disappeared from all records. She is considered a figure of dread in the histories and legends of many northern kingdoms." - Heimdar, gravely.
    "I saw a mention of it on a tapestry in the south and had no idea what it referred to." - Tremor, lying again.
    "Hmm, interesting that relics of her reign have drifted so far. Her predations were restricted to the very northern kingdoms of Norbayne. If ever you come across that tapestry again, I would be very willing to buy it from you." - Heimdar.
    "We did not take it with us unfortunately, but I do have some other pieces which might interest you." - Tremor, fishing out the Slates of Anagas from his pack.
    Spoiler: The Slates of Anagas
    Show

    One of the pieces which was taken from the Wolf King's library, this set of carved shale slates is contained in an engraved pewter cover. Despite the sheer amount of work which went into carving the stone with the tightly packed runes, the volume appears to be illegible gibberish.

    "Oh my, this is something indeed." - Heimdar, running a hand appraisingly over the engravings on the cover.
    "Taken from the same king's personal library. I have no knowledge of the language they are written in." - Tremor, finishing his mead.
    "I am very interested in this. May I keep it? For now of course. I think I may be able to decipher it, though it would take some time to do so. I would be willing to pay obviously." - Heimdar, engrossed in the carvings.
    "Yes, if I can get a copy of the translation when you are done." - Tremor, haggling.
    They settle on Tremor providing the scrolls and Slates of Anagas for Heimdar's research. In return he receives 26 sulvers, a promise that he will receive a translated copy when the work is done, and the opportunity to copy down the runes around Heimdar's mirror.
    Both men feel confident that they have come out first in this deal.

    Before leaving, Tremor extracts a pledge that the translations of the scrolls will be complete within the week.

    Maebh and Breanna:
    The two girls head to the guards at the gatehouse and are generally unsuccessful, the guards here proving to be a rather close-mouthed lot, unlike their kin in other lands. They do stress the danger of being outside the walls after dark.

    A large creature stalks the marshes to the north, preying on the hamlets and their livestock. Just a few nights past, a girl was killed and her father mauled and left in a death-like sleep.

    "It never rains, it pours." - Sins.

    Harold and Kel'Serrar:
    Harold and Kel'Serrar on the other hand have more luck rumour-mongering in the market, and quickly deduce that the common folk generally still believe that Welyn, the friendly apprentice doktor, is to blame for the murders. Lately though, public opinion is starting to shift towards him due to his open and friendly nature.

    There is also a lot of talk about the creature terrorising the outlying hamlets.

    The companions return to the Blackmane Inn to discuss their next move. It is late afternoon and the weak sunlight is starting to fade in the sky.
    "I have a strong feeling that the wizard up in Lordshall is the one we should be following up on." - Maebh, nursing a flagon of water.
    "Well I just gave him some stuff I needed translated, so you can't kill him for a week." - Tremor, brooking no argument.
    "I have made a promise that I would meet him this evening." - Maebh.
    "Promise? Threat more like." - Breanna, laughing and drawing a friendly swipe from Maebh.
    "Whatever. My point is, I can hardly back down on this now." - Maebh, turning her attention back to Tremor.
    "I need that stuff translated. Leave him be for a week. You can kill him after that if you must." - Tremor, taking a drink.
    "I do have a plan to try and draw out this murderer." - Harold, leaning across the table.
    "Yes, what is this plan?" - Breanna, eating a peach.
    "Well, as we have seen, Kel'Serrar here is quite adept at changing his face." Harold, turning to Kel'Serrar, who has taken on the shape and form of yet another Northmann sailor from the ship which brought them to Urik's Landing. "How would you like to be bait?"
    "I'm sorry, what?" - LD.
    "Yeah, don't worry LD I heard 'baked' too." - Ladyhawk.
    "As did I. I was just trying to figure out if he meant marijuna or just cooking Kel'Serrar into a pie.
    'You know how you can change your appearance? Well good, I want you to turn into pastry goodness."

    "Not greatly, but then I do rarely like your plans so it is no worse than usual." - Kel'Serrar, sardonic.
    "Good, then I believe you should change your appearance into that of a human woman and go out onto the street tonight to see what comes up." - Harold, ignoring the pessimism.
    "This is an absolutely awful plan and I will make your life hell for this." - Kel'Serrar, resigned.
    "So, no worse than usual. We are agreed that we will do this?" - Harold, getting one back on the surly ranger.
    "If it is the wizard and he does come out, can we kill him then Tremor?" - Maebh.
    "Yes, if he attacks one of us, then yes. He's fair game." - Tremor, shrugging.

    * * *

    And so that sees Kel'Serrar, in the guise of Dhara Silverwood standing on the main street outside the Blackmane Inn, looking nervously at every shadow and fingering the knife at his/her belt. All of his/her other weapons were left inside the inn, much to Kel'Serrar's consternation.

    All around him, the rest of his companions lie in wait, ready to spring into action should something assault the ranger/damsel.

    A sound comes from an alleyway further into the town and behind the Irontusk Inn, but even Kel'Serrar's sharp ears cannot pick up what it is. He/she is on edge, when a small black cat emerges from around the corner of the Irontusk Inn. The cat takes one look at the lonely woman standing on the street and bolts away into the shadows.

    Almost an hour passes with no more disturbance, as Kel'Serrar paces up and down the street. His companions have hunkered down and are doing their best to stay warm, but it is a futile effort. The ice has solidified in both Harold's and Breanna's fur and Tremor's beard is practically shimmering in the waning moonlight. Only Maebh seems relatively unaffected, still and silent in the shadow of a house and shrouded in dark furs.

    A guardsman bearing a torch and covered in so many furs that he approaches at a waddle more than a walk comes down from the north gate.
    "Lass, what are you- It's not safe out here! You'll catch your death of cold!" - Guardsman, concerned.
    "Not at all. Just taking the night air for a short while." - Kel'Serrar, who gives an unconscious shiver.
    "But is freezing out here! I must insist you go in. I don't mean to scare you, but besides the cold, the Landing isn't safe for women after dark." - Guardsman, still concerned.
    "I will go in shortly, I can look after myself." - Kel'Serrar, dismissing him.
    The guardsman keeps walking down to the docks, looking back over his shoulder at the ranger/damsel and muttering under his breath. Naturally he now believes that Kel'Serrar is both the killer and some ancient monster incapable of feeling the depths of winter's chill. Well he would, if the person he had dealings with looked anything like Kel'Serrar, but they didn't. So, in fact, his suspicions are actually directed at Dhara handily enough.

    Kel'Serrar decides that if there is no more action in the next two hours, he is going to make his way into the Irontusk Inn and find a room there where the rest of the party cannot follow. That'll teach them to make him disguise himself as a woman and then freeze to death in the main street.

    Naturally, Kel'Serrar is nowhere near as heavily protected from the cold as he should be. After all, the bait has to look appetizing, and no ball of fur has ever exactly looked stylish and attractive.

    This of course, only fuels Kel'Serrar's contempt.

    * * *

    An hour passes and the guard returns on his route. He nods at the ranger/damsel, makes a sign to ward against evil an hurries away. The cat does not return, much to Breanna's disappointment.

    The second hour passes and the guard does not return.

    It is very cold and very dark, and the companions who have been lying in wait are starting to get impatient. Unable to take the waiting much longer, Tremor stands and heads down to the wharf, where the guard was last seen walking towards. The Dwergar, despite his keen eyesight in the dark can see no trace of the guardsman. In fact, there does not seem to be any trace of guards anywhere around the town, nor any signs of struggle.

    Kel'Serrar follows Tremor down to the wharf and just as he steps onto the wooden pier, there is a flash of cold blue light on the ground beneath his feet.
    Willpower Check to resist the spell's effects. It is failed. In response, Sins asks if he can cast a single spell with instantaneous casting time in the split second before the spell takes effect. I put it down to an Initiative Check, which is passed, thanks to the re-roll garnered from doing the homework I set everyone. See guys? Advantages aplenty!


    The sky begins to glow overhead, revealing much of what had been hidden just moments before. The shadows most of the companions are using for concealment, suddenly offer nothing in the silvery glow. Even Breanna's Shadowskin fails her, rippling across her flesh in the light before she dispels it with a sigh.

    The collective gaze of the companions is drawn to where Kel'Serrar stands on the pier, rooted to the spot. Faint tendrils of ice-blue magic are entwined around his/her legs, preventing the ranger/damsel from moving. Maebh and Breanna hurry over to their trapped companion and start to study the spell holding him/her.

    Breanna immediately smells the acrid tang of daemonic energy, a large amount of which was used to power this spell. It bears the same hallmarks as the power used to fuel the preservation spells woven into the corpses too, although the daemon bound by the caster was a different individual.

    Maebh on the other hand, is able to determine more. First, that this was a trap, and one of many set up around the town, a snare for the hunter to return to at its leisure. Secondly, that the one who cast this spell was a master. A mere journeyman would have been unable to prevent the spell from loosening a crack when it was triggered, a sharp noise which would draw attention. The fact that this caster was able to fold the spell in on itself the way they did suggests that the caster is a very powerful and learned individual. In fact, the flash of light which they had all noticed was only caused by a reaction with Kel'Serrar's active glamer, the field of energy suffusing the disguised Danann's flesh clashing with the paralysing ward he stepped upon. Even now, paralysed on the pier, his disguise starts to fail, the glamer retreating up his legs slowly.

    "Are you kidding me? Helpless again?" - Sins.

    We broke here for lunch.

    "So, the plan guys?"
    "The plan has gone horribly!" - Dev.
    "As to be expected!" - Sins.

    They perform Search Checks and Wings rolls a 1.
    "There are no individuals hiding in the area."
    "What? With a 1, how could I not find them?" - Wings.
    "Well it is hard to find people if there is no one there, no matter how hard you look..."

    The conversation then turns to the trap, which has claimed one of the companions...

    "So, this thing is a trap which has been set to allow the person who set it to come back and retrieve the body when no one's around?" - Ladyhawk.
    "Aye, that makes sense."
    "So why don't these people just yell for help?" - Ladyhawk.
    "Sins, do you want to try to yell for help?"
    "I'm completely paralysed. That's going to stop vocalisation, right?" - Sins.
    "That's right I'm afraid."
    "Oh right." - Ladyhawk.
    "So, you know, I'd really appreciate it if you could get me out before I suffocate guys..." - Sins.
    "Oh, no injuries! They suffocated to death?" - Ladyhawk.
    I give a raised eyebrow, but do not confirm.
    "Well... I guess we can test it..." - Dev, laughing.
    "You leave me to die in this trap and I will haunt your ass for the rest of your existence. And I'll do it in the shape of Chirya, just to piss you off." - Sins.


    Concentrating on the task at hand, Maebh reaches out and grasps Kel'Serrar's shoulder. It takes a bit of mental straining, but eventually the strangling touch of the dark magic dissipates and Kel'Serrar is freed.

    "Okay, that's enough for me. I shall see you all in the morning." - Kel'Serrar, brushing himself off before heading across to the Irontusk Inn.
    The ranger knocks upon the door to the inn and eventually an old man in his bedclothes opens the door, a candle burning fitfully in his hand.
    "What? Do you know-? It's late and- What do you want?" - Old man, having been awoken from his sleep, is not impressed with his newest customer.
    "I wish for shelter this night. I can pay." - Kel'Serrar, still disguised as Dhara.
    He is admitted in, the old man figuring that it is better to take the money and let the poor girl in than leave her out in the cold. Kel'Serrar is required to print his name in the ledger on the front bar and uses Dhara's name, intending to screw her over on the off chance she visits Urik's Landing in the future.

    "Well, we've failed, **** it. Let's go inside." - Harold.
    He leaves for the Blackmane Inn while Tremor, Maebh and Breanna have one last look around before going in. The others are largely unsuccessful, but examining the ground near to where Kel'Serrar was trapped, Tremor feels his vision go strange again.
    Spoiler
    Show
    "Oh, well in that case I'll make a Perception Check too then to look around." - Dev, rolling.
    "But you're already inside!" - LD, laughing.
    "You realise that what you'll turn up is something like, 'My God, the man in that painting over there has a foot' right?" - Ladyhawk.
    "Stuff it, I'm still rolling." - Harold.
    He discovers that the common room of the Blackmane Inn has been cleaned very recently.
    "Has the floor been bleached? Cause if so, bang! There's been a murder!" - LD.
    "Bleach? Here in Skyrim? I don't think so." - Ladyhawk.
    "I need some bleach, some hydrogen peroxide and a ****load of lime."

    The Dwergar stares at the ground beneath his feet and to his magically altered sight, the snow starts to melt away, revealing a fleshless skull, grinning up at him. His vision returns to normal and the skull is gone, replaced by the ever-present northern snow.

    On his hands and knees, Tremor starts to shovel the snow away with his hands, and there, sitting on the ground before him, is the same grinning skull. It looks like it has been sitting there for several months now, and he realises that it isn't entirely fleshless, little scraps of blackened skin clinging to the blood-slicked bone.
    "What have you found?" - Maebh, standing over Tremor's shoulder.
    "A skull." - Tremor, gruff.

    Tremor takes the skull in his hand and withdraws it, feeling slight resistance. He figures that in pulling it free, he has detached it from the rest of the corpse. The Dwergar opens the drawstring to his head-pouch, in which the severed head of Wilmund Brewer rests, and deposits the skull inside.

    "Can you send the ranger a message?" - Tremor, standing and addressing Maebh.
    "Yes, what do you need?" - Maebh, starting to shiver in the cold.

    In his room, Kel'Serrar is warming himself by a fire and trying to get over the fear he felt while paralysed by the trap when he hears Maebh's voice on a light breeze which blows through underneath his door.
    "Come back out, Tremor needs to speak with you." - Maebh whispering wind.
    Kel'Serrar has no inclination to do so, but no means of responding.
    "I'll deal with it in the morning." - Kel'Serrar, who settles down to sleep.

    "He's not coming." - Breanna, after waiting for almost twenty minutes.
    "I've got this." - Maebh, who calls up a significant amount of power. This time, she casts the same spell, but overloads it.

    Kel'Serrar is awoken by a screaming wind blowing through under his door.
    "I said come back out, Tremor needs to speak with you!" - Maebh, in what Ladyhawk described as a 'shouty voice.'

    They wait for the ranger to emerge, but have no luck. He's not coming back out again tonight. Together, Breanna and Tremor talk Maebh down and they others traipse back to the Blackmane Inn after an unsuccessful night. All the companions avail themselves of a hot bath before bed though, the better to regain some of their lost body heat.

    Back soon...
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2015-04-22 at 11:24 PM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  9. - Top - End - #159
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    We're back!

    The companions awaken in the early morning. It is overcast and miserable, but not unbearable. Kel'Serrar has changed his appearance again, no longer Dhara but now some random he glimpsed in Summer Hill.

    "Not sure what exactly our leads are..." - Ladyhawk.
    "We do have two main suspects at this point." - Sins.
    "Yes, the apprentice doktor, Welyn, who has been quite helpful-"
    "Nice guy." - Sins, interrupting.
    "Let's kill him." - LD, rubbing her hands together.
    "Yes, that would be entirely within our M.O." - Dev, to laughter.
    "You also have evidence which suggests that the perpetrator is magically powerful and well-educated. And there is at least one man, to your knowledge, who fits that bill."
    "Hmm, the court wizard. Well, that's it. I'm going after him." - Ladyhawk.


    Harold sits alone out on the porch of the Blackmane Inn, seeing to the maintenance of his armoury of weapons. He has awoken before most of the town and is enjoying the peace and quiet. Bach sits beside him, feasting on a side of mutton. It has been a few days since the marcwolves have been out, and surprisingly both Bach and Wolfgang have enjoyed their time in the snow. The most amazing thing however is just how fast the cub-pups have grown. Both are by now, around the size of a common woodwolf.

    While sitting there, the Invarrian is a approached by a small man in drab grey homespun clothing.
    "My lord, Book-keeper Harris has completed your request and is awaiting your presence up at Lordshall." - Servant, bowing.
    "Thank you. Please inform him I will be along shortly." - Harold, standing up before leading Bach back to the stables.
    So much for enjoying a rest...

    Sitting at a table in the Blackmane Inn, the companions discuss their next moves. They decide to split up at this stage. Harold is to go to the theyne's archives to find out what he can about Odon. Tremor, armed with his newly-discovered skull, heads off to the doktor once more, accompanied by Kel'Serrar. Maebh meanwhile heads on up to Lordshall to confront Heimdar Iceblood, who she has decided ought to be investigated a little more closely. Breanna goes with her.

    Harold:
    Having already eaten breakfast, Harold leaves the Blackmane Inn before the rest of his companions and arrives up at Lordshall eager to find out what he can about the mighty Odon the Black.

    Upon entering the archive, he discovers that Odon the Black was an absolute nutcase of the highest order. Harris has written down every reference to Odon he could find in print for Harold and the duellist spends a fair bit of time reading what he can and then being completely astounded.

    According to the book, Odon was born over two hundred years ago. There were a few incidents in his youth, but none quite so disturbing as what he did to a poor lad named Oric, who had the misfortune of making an enemy of the black-furred Invarrian. One night, Odon crept into the house of Oric's family and killed his cat, a creature the whole family treasured. While horrible, this was hardly the end of the carnage that night, as Odon magically bound Oric's family, raised the cat and had it kill the boy in front of them. This was at seven years of age.
    "Mother of God..." - Dev.
    "Holy hell..." - Ladyhawk.
    "This guy was really ****ing nuts guys." - Can't say I didn't warn them.


    Tremor and Kel'Serrar:
    The two companions walk to the doktor's for what seems like the hundredth time over the last few days. The door is opened, as always by Endric, Jurdric's son.
    "Ah yes, master dwarf. And... I do not recognise your friend. Anyway, what is the matter today?" - Endric, reasonably friendly and not recognising Kel'Serrar. At this point even I have forgotten what he looks like today.
    "Nothing the matter, I'd just like to speak to apprentice Welyn please." - Tremor, reasonably friendly himself.
    It's still early after all.
    "Ah yes, he's down the hall and to the left, seeing to the stores." - Endric, showing the two companions through.

    "Ah Tremor! And... I don't know you... Anyway, what can I do for you?" - Welyn, looking up from arranging herbs for later use.
    "I was wondering, were there any missing people reported before you arrived?" - Tremor.
    "I have no idea. I haven't heard anything about it, no." - Welyn.
    "Right. And were there any others who arrived with you when you came here?" - Tremor.
    "Well no, only myself and Berrilyn made that trip and actually stayed here in town. Everyone else went south by sea or on to the capital." - Welyn.
    "Hmm, well, do you know who this is?" - Tremor, pulling the head from his bag.
    "By the gods, what is that?" - Welyn, horrified.
    "It's a skull... Oh bugger, sorry. Wrong head. Can't believe we didn't end up being paid for this..." - Tremor, who had accidentally pulled out Wilmund Brewer's head.
    You know, the BBEG from Arc 2 who was decapitated by Tremor at the end of that arc?
    "Sorry, do you know who THIS is?" - Tremor, pulling out the recently discovered skull.
    "You carry severed heads around!? Are you-? Never mind, let me look at it then." - Welyn, still horrified.
    The apprentice takes the skull gingerly from Tremor and inspects it.

    "What can you tell us?" - Kel'Serrar.
    "Well , this here is a male, approximately fifty years old. Probably died around two and a half months ago, maybe longer. Reasonably well preserved. I assume you found it in a snowdrift?" - Welyn, who had begun to lose some of his professional detachment after the shock of Tremor pulling severed head out of his bag.
    Tremor nods by way of response.
    "Interesting." - Welyn, who has started to look at the head more like a puzzle and less like a mouldering skull.

    Maebh and Breanna:
    "Now Breanna, I'd prefer if this didn't turn into an all-out brawl with fire and death flying everywhere." - Maebh, quietly as they walk down the street towards Lordshall.
    "So we're talking to him first then?" - Breanna, fingers tapping the hilts of her knives.
    "Yes, but we'll take no chances." - Maebh.

    They approach the doorward, who does not appear to be too happy to see them.
    "So, what is your business here today? Are you still looking for the wizard?" - Doorward, who makes the mistake of meeting Maebh's gaze.
    "These are not the droids you are looking for..." - Ladyhawk as she rolls her Hypnosis Check.
    The guard's eyes lose just a little brightness and he stops his fidgeting and Maebh knows that he is hers.
    "Brilliant. You are doing an excellent job at your normal duties. You will forget we were here... Back in a minute." - Maebh, beckoning a stunned Breanna to follow her into the hall.
    "Whoa, that was awesome." - Breanna, under her breath and grinning at the mage.

    The mess hall stretches before them, a massive oaken dining table taking pride of place right down the centre of the room. On either side of the table are rows of chairs and at either end, fire pits. Beyond the table are three stone steps leading to a slightly raised platform, upon which a large throne sits upon many animal pelts. On the wall above the throne, a huge bear's head is mounted, the head longer than Breanna is tall.

    On the throne sits an absolutely massive blond-haired man, clad in rune-encrusted steel armour. At his side, resting against the arm of the throne is the largest battleaxe either Breanna or Maebh have ever seen and it glows with fell power.

    "What are you doing here?" - Theyne Embermald, not unkindly.
    "Hi... Do you have a moment to discuss our lord and saviour?" - LD, laughing.
    "We are here to talk with your court wizard." - Maebh, taking charge.
    "And my doorward just let you in?" - Embermald, troubled.
    "Yes, he didn't have any problems with it at all." - Maebh, gritting her teeth.
    "Well, if you have an appointment, he's through there and good luck to you." - Embermald, shrugging his massive shoulders and pointing to a doorway to his left.
    "So we have your permission to go see him?" - Maebh.
    "If you have an appointment, you don't need my permission. My permission would hardly make him talk to you if he doesn't want to anyway." - Embermald, growing impatient.
    "So you're giving us permission?" - Maebh.
    "Don't do this Ladyhawk, just go through and see the wizard if you have to." - Dev, getting worried.
    "Just ****ing go in there already!" - Embermald, ticked off.
    "Taking that as a yes. Let's go Bree." - Maebh, heading through the doorway to Iceblood's personal quarters.

    The two girls open the carefully engraved wooden door, and take in the room. Heimdar is sitting at his desk, which is a horribly cluttered affair, marking down notes from a familiar looking book onto a fresh scroll.

    Upon walking into the room, Maebh's eyes are drawn immediately to the mirror on the far wall, or more specifically, the runes adorning the frame. She instinctively knows that the runes are activated by a combination of an incantation and a blood tithe. She stores that knowledge away from Tremor.

    "The hell are you doing in here?" - Heimdar, furious at being interrupted.
    "I have the theyne's permission to come and see you." - Maebh, smug.
    "Damn it all, I told him I don't want visitors. Can we make this quick?" - Heimdar, off-hand.
    "Okay, what do you know about the murders in this town?" - Maebh, cutting to the chase.
    "I know nothing about the murders in this town." - Heimdar, way too fast.
    "Hmm, fine. Aren't you supposed to be translating the scrolls before the slates though?" - Maebh, playing her trump card. Turns out Tremor told her about that before they used Kel'Serrar as bait.
    The wizard stops and deliberately closes the slates over, very carefully. He looks straight into the mage's eyes, and his glare softens.
    "Perfect..." - Heimdar, almost imperceptibly.
    Then his gaze hardens once more.
    "I can promise you this, and you can tell your hairy friend this too! I shall not continue translating one more damned thing until I get his word of honour that his spies and snoops will leave me well enough alone!" - Heimdar, angrily.
    "Well, we are not his spies, and so I don't really care if you uphold your bargain with him or not. What I do care about is searching your room, so you go back to work while I look through your belongings, okay?" - Maebh, arrogant.

    Wordlessly, the wizard opens the slates once more and gets back to work while Maebh and Breanna start to riffle through his stuff. They determine swiftly that, although they cannot determine the purpose of much of the equipment, it must be used in his magical research. Judging by all the notes lying around, Heimdar must be an avid and dedicated, if not renowned, scholar of the magical arts.

    Maebh purposely pushes a steel instrument off the edge of the desk and lets it clatter to the floor. The wizard looks up at her angrily, and Maebh pounces, holding his gaze. There is a prolonged battle of wills as the two mages mentally war against each other before Maebh can feel him slip, just slightly, under her power. She knows, however, that her hold on him is tenuous and she cannot push too hard or he will snap out of it.

    "Tell me, how much do you know about the murders around the town?" - Maebh, again cutting straight to the point.
    "I know nothing." - Heimdar, straining under the pressure.
    "He knows everything." - Breanna, to Maebh.
    "I know nothing. I do my work in here, I spend as little time amongst the peasants out there as possible and then I come back in here to continue my work and further my studies." - Heimdar, straining.
    "Do you own any coins from the Brilliant Towers?" - Maebh, probing further.
    "Of course I do, I was trained there." - Heimdar.
    "Would anyone else in this town have coins from the Towers?" - Maebh.
    "How the ruddy hell would I know? I don't go looking in other peoples' purses!" - Heimdar, angrily.
    Maebh can feel her control slipping. She doesn't have him for long.
    "Would anyone other than yourself have access to your quarters?" - Maebh.
    "Not without my permission!" - Heimdar, roaring angrily.
    He storms to his feet.
    "You come into my living quarters uninvited and unannounced! I have answered your questions, though you have shown me nothing but rudeness and hurled accusations! Leave now!" - Heimdar, furious.
    "I have my suspicions. I want to find out who's killing these poor girls and at the moment, you're the prime suspect!" - Maebh, refusing to back down.

    She and Breanna are both taken by surprise therefore when strands of cold, ice-blue magic erupt from Heimdar's hands and wrap around the two of them. Both Breanna and Maebh strain against the magic and are able to break free, but it costs them valuable time.

    Unfortunately, Heimdar is now between both of them and the door to get out.
    "Between you and the possum you wish to throw at him?" - Sins, a callback.

    Trapped by the wizard and with no time to consider and fancy combat manoeuvres or casting, the girls respond to the magical assault in the only way they really can.

    Breanna goes for the knees and Maebh the head as they tackle the stooped old man to the ground, slamming him painfully into the stone flags on the floor.

    He is badly hurt, but not so much that he isn't able to take his own vengeance. There is a deafening burst of magic as Breanna and Maebh are essentially thrown off him with enough force to send them flying into the ceiling. Both of them come back down onto the stone floor hard, badly bruised. Their flesh where they made contact with wizard is badly burnt, blackened as if by ice and Breanna is bleeding from a cut to the back of her head where she cracked it against the wooden ceiling. Maebh on the other hand can feel a sharp pain in her back and has a cracked rib.

    Painfully, Heimdar picks himself up off the floor as Breanna and Maebh struggle to breath. The wizard ignores them both and walks to his mirror where he mutters some incomprehensible words and then cuts his hand on the edge of the frame, smearing his blood on the runes. He disappears.

    "You guys all hear the explosion when Heimdar blows them into the ceiling. What are you going to do?"
    "It's an obvious distraction. Obviously, we need to head towards the obvious distraction." - Sins.
    "Yeah run towards it." - Dev.


    It isn't long before Harold arrives at the door and helps the injured girls to their feet.
    "What the hell happened?" - Harold.
    "Tackled... Explosive..." - Breanna, straining. Maebh's still not in much shape to talk.
    "Right... Where's the explosive?" - Harold, looking around frantically.
    "In... Mirror..." - Breanna, heaving in air.
    Harold stalks over to the mirror. He can see the smear of blood on the runes and smell the brimstone in the air.
    "This is going to hurt like buggery isn't it?" - Harold, to himself before slashing his hand on the mirror's frame and smearing the runes.
    There was a collective intake of breath before:
    "We can't let him do this alone. I'm going in too." - Ladyhawk.


    Kel'Serrar and Tremor:
    Hearing the explosion, the two companions hurtle out of the doktor's with no explanation. Intrigued, Welyn tags along too, but is outstripped by even Tremor, who can actually maintain a fair pace if he tries.

    They pass the doorward on their way in to hall, who half-heartedly attempts to stop them, but they have already stormed into the messhall before he finishes his challenge. The theyne simply looks up from the scroll he is reading and points towards the court wizard's quarters.
    "That way." - Embermald, pointing.
    "I love this guy! That's how you run a town! When crazed citizens rush in and interrupt your reading, just direct them to the nearest explosion and set them loose. This guy is brilliant!" - Sins, who summed up the party's impression of the theyne pretty well.
    The engineer and the ranger arrive just in time to see Maebh walk up to the mirror and smear a bloodied hand on the runes. Kel'Serrar and Breanna grimly nod and follow.

    Tremor on the other hand starts to gather up his scrolls and the slates. After all, looks like Heimdar won't be doing those translations for him, might as well keep them safe.

    * * *

    On the other side of the mirror, the sight that greets the companions is seriously nightmarish.

    Dark purple and grey clouds drift across a bruised dark red sky. The companions are standing on a floating chunk of rock which appears to have been hewn out of the earth and propelled into the air. Before them on the rock is a wondrously crafted table, glowing with magic and beautifully carved from some unknown material. It is so beautiful that the very thought of harming it is anathema to them.
    "I love the fact that you actually prepared for us to go through the mirror." - Ladyhawk, laughing.
    "We actually did something we were supposed to!" - Dev.
    Cheers all round.

    Upon the table lies a woman, or rather the remains of several women which have been patched together to form a work of art, albeit macabre. She is complete, save for her empty eye-sockets.

    Behind the companions, the mirror floats, offering them a glimpse back to the material world, where Tremor is busy sorting through what he can keep of Heimdar's belongings.
    "Stuff that, I'm not going in there. What can I loot?" - Wings, when confronted with being a hero or a murder-hobo.
    Surrounding the floating chunk of rock is a blazing golden net, flaming with magical energy and anchored to the rock by fist-sized golden gems embedded in the stone floor. The net protects those on the floating rock from the spirit predators which are everywhere, writhing on the 'ground' below and soaring sightlessly through the 'skies.' Down below resembles almost a pit of slimy, black snakes, constantly devouring each other. Above, massive floating eel things, again, eat everything they can see.
    "Were you high when you wrote this?" - LD.
    "See, this is what happens when we follow the plot, we make our way to hell." - Sins.
    They made Willpower Checks here to try and avoid being driven insane by seeing stuff that mortal beings should really never see. I won't tell you who passed and who failed.


    At the table, stooped over it and looking proudly at his disturbing creation, is Heimdar Iceblood.
    "She's almost finished. She just needs your eyes." - Heimdar, looking up to Maebh.
    "My eyes? Good luck." - Maebh, calling up her magic.
    This is the point I asked for initiative. Not wanting Wings to feel left out, I organised a surprise for him while sifting through Heimdar's drawers.
    "You roll too Wings. Tremor is attacked by a vicious turnip."


    Tremor opens a drawer to continue searching for things to steal and out jumps a turnip with little arms and legs which has been animated and powered by dark magic.
    The turnip got a surprise round, jumping up into Tremor's face.

    Back to the real fight at hand and Maebh realises that her power feels different here and immediately decides not to risk corrupting her spirit with the foul energies in the 'air.' She takes her spear, which is not the physical object but more a manifestation of her will to cause destruction, and hurls it at the wizard. As it leaves her hand, it morphs into a bolt of golden light and is absorbed into his essence. Heimdar clutches his chest where the light struck him and staggers. He appears somewhat diminished by the strike, but he is cornered and so close to his goal. He will not give up now.

    Screaming maniacally, streams of ice-blue chain lightning surge from his hands, streaking towards Maebh but just as they get close to her, they deviate and crash into the golden net. Immediately, spirits burst through and start to overrun the rock. One makes a beeline directly for the corpse lying on the table. It forces its way down her throat and the corpse shudders with life and sits. She looks around, staring with sightless eyes.
    "No! She's not ready yet!" - Heimdar, hands crackling with magic.
    The corpse starts to laugh wildly, a strange sound which sounds like it comes from several throats at once and then launches herself off the table and onto the wizard.
    "Oh..."
    "Oh, that's two 0's..." - Ladyhawk.
    "And an 8..."
    "Wow, so he's..." - Dev.
    "Yep, he got seriously ****ed over."

    He gives a single scream before the possessed corpse tears his spirit apart and devours him, all the while cackling daemonically.

    Now the party are in a seriously bad situation because the aethyric leviathans, the massive eel-like creatures floating through the skies, are big enough that they could potentially take the whole rock in one go. And the party really does not want to be devoured by leviathans at all, let alone in the spirit world.
    "Run!" - Harold, drawing a blazing sword and starting to hack at the daemons that are already between the party and the mirror.

    But the real combat, the one everyone wants to read about is Tremor versus the Vicious Turnip. It starts out pluckily, landing two solid hits on the Dwergar before he has time to react. It doesn't take Tremor long however to retaliate, and he does so in brutal fashion, taking the marauding vegetable and snapping it in half. As he does so, reddish-green vapours are released and the turnip falls limp and inanimate. Tremor throws the two halves back in the drawer with disgust, and not a small amount of confusion.

    A moment after the turnip was vanquished , the four other companions come streaming out of the mirror, looking haggard and worn. Just as Kel'Serrar staggers out, a pale, bloodied hand reaches through and grabs him by the shoulder. Seeing his friend in danger, Harold turns immediately and slashes the arm at the elbow, severing it at the joint and leaving the appendage twitching on the floor. Sickened, Kel'Serrar draws his sword and smashes the mirror, shattering it completely and trapping the spirits in their own world.

    And the murder mysteries were solved. Level ups all round!
    "I can't believe it... We finished a quest." - Wings, amazed.
    "We finished a quest with minimal casualties..." - LD, awestruck.
    "Hang on a minute, we finished a quest without killing the bad guy!" - Ladyhawk.
    "Wait, we didn't kill anyone!" - Dev, disappointed.
    "We need to fix this." - Sins, quietly.
    "You did kill a ghul-ish turnip."

    The most important thing that happened here is that Tremor's most recent arc finally came to fruition. He is now an Engineer 7 / Necromancer 1. This ought to be interesting.

    I tell everyone that they now have approximately an hour real-time to finish the monster hunt.
    "Let's do this." - Dev.


    The companions take a moment to revel in just being alive and actually in their own flesh before heading out, taking a moment to laugh at Tremor's turnip nemesis.

    Out in the messhall, a small crowd, which had gathered and were waiting patiently for an audience with the theyne is now standing ready to intercept the companions. A few have weapons drawn. The theyne himself however waves them down.

    "You killed him then?" - Embermald, still sitting in his throne.
    "We didn't actually." - Harold, surprised at himself.
    "Not through lack of trying." - Breanna, under her breath. She's still not quite over cracking her head on the ceiling and is feeling kind of faint.
    "Your wizard was compiling a collection of body parts from all those dead girls to create some kind of creature. He was doing all this in the Otherworld, which he accessed through an inscribed mirror. We smashed it after his creature killed him." - Maebh, summarising the horrifying experience.
    The theyne nods.
    "I have no idea if you are telling the truth, but I don't know what kind of person it would take to make something like that up." - Embermald, frowning.
    Awakward silence and pointed looks at me after this line.
    "But, the fact is, I didn't like the bastard anyway, and you've gotten rid of him for me. So... Take this heirloom. I believe it will help you. " - Embermald, pulling a short bronze chain out of a recess in his leather vambrace and offering it to Maebh.
    The Danann receives it reverently, noticing the ancient marking carved into the metal. She can tell immediately that the magic suffusing it has made the bronze harder than steel, but it harbours more powers than merely that.

    The reward for Ladyhawk completing her homework first, a reasonably minor magical item. The chain allows the wearer to ignore the first Miscast they suffer each session. The spell is considered to have failed, but no Miscast effects are applied.

    Spoiler
    Show
    As an aside, Ladyhawk asked how her mantikor egg was going.
    "You're not entirely sure, but it has certainly taken a beating, what with being on your back when you were flung into the ceiling and then with you on your little reality-hopping expedition."
    "Will it be a stunted, yet radioactive mantikor when it hatches?" - LD.


    * * *

    So now they focus on the beast terrorising the hamlets. Farmers from the surrounding countryside have been coming to Lordshall for several months now, bearing tales of a creature in the marshes which has been preying upon their livestock. No one has ever seen the creature and been able to tell the tale, despite patrols of guards being sent out to hunt it down.

    A few nights ago, a girl was taken by the creature and her father mauled. The man was left in a very poor condition and has not moved since the attack. His heart beats and takes the very lightest of breaths, but other than that he may as well be dead. If he does awaken however, he may be able to illuminate the companions on the beast.

    And so the party venture out the northgate, taking Bach and Wolfgang with them, but leaving the horses behind.

    The road winds its way north, picking a safe, if circuitous route through the swamp. Signposts every half-mile give directions to the few outlying farms and hamlets, and the companions do find themselves at the Bales hamlet.

    Trying to eke out a living in the marshes is not easy, and raging death-monsters make thing infinitely harder. The wife of the man who was attacked follows behind a broad-shouldered horse, which Breanna eyes warily as it pulls a rusted iron plough through the icy field. The woman looks up fearfully at the approaching companions, but Harold quickly assuages her fears and asks to see her husband, promising to do their best to help him. Wordlessly, she leads them inside the meagre home and they see a well-built man lying on his back, still as a rock on the hard bed. A thick woollen blanket is wrapped around to keep him warm, and it appears to be doing its job as he is quite warm to the touch, however his breathing and heartbeat are almost imperceptible.

    To Kel'Serrar's keen eyes, it is apparent that the man has been badly mauled by a very large predator, but he has been seen to very well, presumably by one of the doktors in town.
    "He's definitely getting weaker the longer he stays like this. Can you see any signs of Black Magic?" - Kel'Serrar, quietly to Breanna.
    Despite her keenest observation, Breanna sees no evidence of any Black Magic around the man, which confuses her.
    "No, nothing." - Breanna, responding in kind.
    They stand around the poor man, debating what they can do under their breath, all the while his wife stares at them wide-eyed, internally screaming at their incompetence.
    "Ah, stuff this." - Kel'Serrar, taking his satchel of healing herbs and getting to work.

    It takes him almost an hour to re-clean and re-bandage the wounds, but Kel'Serrar does all he can to improve the state of the injuries. Something about the man's state however gives him a clue that this is not just the result of a simple crack on the head, or even shock. There is something else at play here.

    He is reminded of a spider, native to the coldest and most northern climes of Unterguardt, the Undmoric spider, a small predator with venom capable of paralysing it's prey. The spider itself is not big enough to cause the effect on anything bigger than a rat, but the effect is somewhat similar to what has happened here.
    "Is Unterguardt basically Australia?" - LD.
    "It's kind of Russia with Australia's deadly animals." - Dev.

    One thing is certain though. The mauling this man has suffered was not inflicted by a spider. The lacerations would be fitting with the bite of a large, mammalian carnivore. One larger than a marcwolf.

    "Tell me what you know of this creature." - Maebh, turning to the man's wife.
    "I've not seen it. I don't think anyone has actually seen it. Some men from the neighbouring farms brought him in. We heard noises from the cattle and he went to have a look and scare off whatever was out there scaring them. When we heard his scream, I couldn't stop our daughter from going out there to help him." - The distraught wife, who then bursts into tears, unable to continue speaking.
    "Can you show us these cattle?" - Harold.
    "None left. I can show you out to where we used to keep them." - Farmer's wife, shrugging disconsolately.

    She shows them to a small paddock, now slightly overgrown. The paddock is surrounded by a low, basic wooden fence, one section of it completely busted apart by a large animal forcing its way in, a creature roughly the size of a large bear.

    The cold ground is all torn up by the panicked cattle and pools of frozen blood are scattered across the grass. The woman tells them that some of the cattle escaped, but many were killed or left too badly injured to continue living. The dead were burned as the wounds smelled foul. Of the daughter, no trace was found.

    Breanna and Harold give the woman some money to purchase more cattle, or perhaps find a new home in the Landing which might provide an easier life. She offers her heartfelt thanks to the companions, and returns to her house, leaving the party out in the cold paddock to search for clues.

    As far as traces go, there are piles of leavings all around the paddock, but as far as the party can tell, it's all from the cattle. On the other hand, large clawed tracks lead to the north, and they decide to follow them.
    "The game is on!" - LD.

    While following the tracks, there is a lengthy discussion about how to approach this beast. All of the accounts they have heard have painted the creature as a nocturnal predator, and as it is already late in the afternoon, it won't be long until it comes back out to play. After reassuring themselves that the tracks led deep into the swamp, they doubled back to find the nearest hamlet with surviving livestock.

    The hamlet they find appears deserted, save for the small flock of twelve Unterguardt caorigh in a pen, happily grazing. The gate is open, and so a few have wandered free of their confines, but all are reasonably close together. Safety in numbers, after all. They look up at the approaching companions, and a few bleat in greeting before getting back to their grazing.

    Not far from the pen sits a small abandoned house, very similar to the hamlet of the Bales family. Beside it is an outcrop of dark rock, which juts into the sky. The companions approach the dwelling, thinking to commandeer it for the night to watch over the flock of caorigh in order to surprise the beast when it arrives, but as Kel'Serrar opens the door a group of five men come out from behind the rocky outcrop.

    "What are you doing there?" - Leader of the band, a young and tall Northmann with long dark hair and clad in brown leather.
    "We were going to wait until the beast comes out." - Harold.
    "And then kill it." - Tremor.
    "Well then friends, feel free to join us. We have much the same plan." - Leader of the band, who goes around to the companions and introduces himself as Eyric.

    The band of hunters are five strong and hardy men, clad in much the same manner as Eyric and armed with a mix of bows and spears. They're just young men trying to do right by their families and gain just a little measure of vengeance for what happened to the Bales'. They're brave, and have more balls than sense really, but they are at least willing to stand against the beast in the darkness.

    The party get to know the hunters a little bit, but as night falls both groups become a little more apprehensive. Breanna and Kel'Serrar clamber up to the roof of the hamlet, Kel'Serrar with his bow and Breanna with her trusty crossbow. Beside them stand two of the hunters, armed with their own selfbows. They really aren't powerful enough to take down anything larger than a caorigh, but it's still something.

    The rest of the group huddle around the rocky outcrop or lie in wait inside the hamlet itself, watching out cautiously over the flock. And then, on the cold wind from the north, a horrific stench of rotten flesh. This thing smells like it is sick. Like a creature that should not exist, so that the very air around it rebels against its nature.
    "Ready yourselves. It's here." - Harold, to those around him in the hamlet.
    As it draws closer, lured in by the caorigh, the odour becomes almost unbearable, especially to the exceptionally keen senses of Harold and the Danann.
    "We have dealt with corpsewalkers which smelt better than this." - Harold, under his breath while simultaneously trying to hold it.


    The caorish in the pen have ceased grazing and are now huddled together in the southern-most corner of the pen. They are completely silent, and even in the poor twilight visibility, they are obviously shaking with terror.

    A faint distortion ripples through the air, noticed only by Kel'Serrar and Breanna from their high vantage point, before there is a sharp bleat and one of the caorigh is bodily hurled through the air.
    "Shoot there!" - Harold, pointing at where the caorigh was just a split second before.
    A volley of two arrows and one bolt flash down into the paddock and there is a deep-throated yelp of pain. Kel'Serrar did not shoot however, instead concentrating on conjuring up some kind of magical light to provide some illumination to shoot by. A soft grey light suffuses the area, but it doesn't reveal the creature.

    Maebh, looking out the window of the hamlet, spear in hand, calls up the power to see through magical illusions, but even her magically aided sight does not reveal the creature, revealing the effect is not magical in nature.

    After the yelp, there is the sound of a large creature moving very swiftly away from the sight of the ambush.

    "We've never even hit the thing before, let alone driven it off! Let's get it lads!" - Eyric, taking up his spear and leaping out into the night.
    As one, the hunters follow, leaving the companions behind.
    "Ah ****, we can't let them go off on their own. Come." - Harold, drawing his masterwork blade.
    The companions head off too.

    "Don't become separated! Stay together!" - Harold, calling out to the hunters.
    They follow the Invarrian's command and the five hunters come together on a patch of dry ground.
    "I can't see the trail..." - One of the hunters, knelt on the ground looking for signs of passage.
    Only a few paces ahead, it is thanks to Kel'Serrar's starlight casting that the companions see that same curious distortion ripple through the air and careen straight through the party of hunters ahead.

    Men are thrown bodily into the air. One is snapped practically in half by the massive jaws, the upper piece taken by the beast as it disappears with a splash into the marsh.

    Of the five, only two are still living. One casualty has a heavy laceration to the right leg and what appears to be a broken neck. The last has a severely broken back, practically bent back on himself. Of the two survivors, neither are in a good way, but one of them is worse than the other, with bone jutting from his broken shin.

    Harold takes a sniff, but as far as he can tell, the creature is not in the immediate area and so the companions do their best to help the two injured men. Eyric is the man with a broken leg, and he is swiftly going into shock. Harold and the other surviving hunter help each other to support Eyric back to the hamlet.

    The others get ready to follow the tracks further, hoping to find the lair.

    Meanwhile, back at the hamlet, Harold sets the injured Eyric down. The duellist takes the more or less uninjured one aside.
    "Your name lad?" - Harold.
    "Edvind. Did you see that thing?" - Edvind, terrified. He was the youngest of the hunters, and is only around fourteen. It wasn't noticeable earlier because, as a Northmann, he was over 6' tall.
    "No I didn't, but I saw what it did. We need you to be strong Edvind. Eyric here is..." - Harold, not sure how to put it tactfully.
    "Can you watch over him Edvind? Can you do that?" - Harold, imparting some responsibility on the lad.
    "Yes, I will." - Edvind, swallowing hard.
    "Good lad." - Harold, who turns and leaves without another word.
    "He left us..." - Edvind, losing all hope.

    Ignoring the carnage around him, Kel'Serrar slips into a trance and lets his senses wander, the better to see just what is in the immediate vicinity.
    Another usage of Woodland Senses from Kel'Serrar here.
    To his heightened senses, the life in the area at first glance is quite scarce. At first, he recognises the flock of caorigh behind him, still huddled, terrified, in the pen. And then, his companions and what is left of the rapidly freezing corpses of the erstwhile hunters. One of them, the one with the broken neck and lacerated leg, is actually still alive, but barely, and is pumping out arterial blood at such a rate that he will be dead in a few moments.

    And then he senses a large, carnivorous beast. It is out there, but he can't pin down where it is. What he can tell is that the creature is not a magical beast, but not a wholly natural one either. It doesn't possess any magical abilities so to speak, but something about it feels wrong. In form, it is a long, low-slung creature, built like a wolf, but far more massive.

    Kel'Serrar awakens with a start.
    "It's coming back! It's coming back!" - Kel'Serrar, frantic.
    He takes an arrow from his quiver and imbues it with energy, ensuring it will fly true.

    Hearing the ranger's shout, Harold snatches up a discarded spear from the ground and hurries to the others. There they stand, backs to each other, staring out into the darkness.

    Kel'Serrar's arrow gleams with silvery light as he bends it to the bow. Drawing back, the ranger sights along the length, eyes scanning the darkness for that telltale distortion in the soft grey light coming from overhead.

    There it is, and he lets fly.

    29 Damage rolled on the Patriot Arrow to the face of the beast, making it just about the highest Damage single strike we've seen yet to my memory.

    There is a pained roar, and the beast, which was oh so close, withdraws once more, this time in agony.

    "Good shot." - Maebh, unable to contain her relief.
    "But it's not dead. Let's see if this is going to work..." - Tremor, who bends down next to the man with a broken neck.

    The dwarf grimaces in agony and closes his eyes, drawing something up within him before forcing it to obey his will and take up residence in the fresh corpse. With a groan, Tremor's bloodshot eyes snap open and a flicker of green lightning dances across those inky-black orbs. And then the corpse beside him moves too. It staggers to its feet, head flopping grotesquely. Its eyes flash open and a sickly green glow emanates from within. It turns to look at the party and its mouth hangs open, distending oddly and revealing that same green glow within.

    Tremor looks disturbed, but oddly pleased with himself. The rest of the party, even Breanna, are disgusted. The Dwergar directs the monstrosity north, following in its path. It has flopped its head back over its shoulder to stare creepily at its master, grinning in that weirdly distended manner.

    Tremor knows the daemon he has forcibly bound hates him, and wishes to eat him, but it is incapable of doing so as it is under the dwarf's power. For now.

    All it can do is carry out its orders and cause those who it feels has trapped it as much discomfort as it possibly can.

    Kel'Serrar and Harold meanwhile go back to the hamlet, Kel'Serrar to set Eyric's leg and try to see to improving his condition and Harold to guard the hamlet in case something comes back to prey on its wounded occupants. Kel'Serrar is successful in splinting Eyric's leg and bringing him out of shock. The danger has passed, for now at least, thanks to Kel'Serrar's quick thinking.

    The same cannot be said for the other three companions, who continue to follow Tremor's newest creation. It looks back hungrily at Maebh and Breanna, but it holds only hatred for Tremor, and its baleful glare is directed at him most of all.

    As to the trail they follow, even Tremor, who is no great shake at tracking can follow these signs, as the beast is clearly in no small amount of agony and does not care for leaving no traces now. All it wants to do is get back to its lair and get the arrow out of its eye.

    Before the three companions and their shambling monstrosity is a massive flat boulder, approximately the size of a house, fifteen yards before which the tracks appear to cease. Closer inspection reveals that the beast looks like it has gone through the rock.

    Tremor sends his corpse to check if it is an illusion or something similar and the shambling thing walks straight into the rock an bounces off. It places a cold hand on the stone and pushes, but nothing happens, all the while looking creepily back at the one who has presumed to bind it to his will. The rock is real.

    Getting very close to the rock, Breanna notices that there is a crevice at the base of the boulder that one could potentially slip through.
    "I'm going to go through." - Breanna, who prepares to slip through.
    It is far easier to do than she suspected, and she expects that it was in fact an optical illusion that the crevice appeared so small due to the boulder being so large.

    She rolls through the crevice and rides the small drop to the cavern floor. The first thing she notices is that the cavern walls appear to have been excavated by magic as they are perfectly smooth with no noticeable toolmarks. At the far end of the cavern, huge, rusted iron bars. On the other side of the bars, a lit fireplace and a desk.

    And then, on her own side of the bars, in the dim light given off by the glow of the fire, she sees a distortion in the air before her. And then the low, menacing growl.
    "Maebh! Help!" - Breanna, scrambling backwards.
    Panicking, the Leathe quickly calls up a daemon as quickly as she can as the beast stalks towards her. She shrouds herself in the shadows, revelling in the relative safety.

    And then she sees the glowing red eyes, following her every movement.

    It can still see her...

    And we left it there...

    The Wrap-Up:
    Well that was an excellent session really. It ended on a huge cliff-hanger, and it should be excellent to see how that is resolved this Saturday.

    This has been our longest write-up by far to date, almost twice as long as our previous ones, which I think is just because I'm getting wordier. Ah well, more for you guys to read I guess. You'll just have to live with how long it takes me to write them.

    As always, please comment if you enjoyed or have any questions. We do love seeing that our stuff is appreciated.

    Take care,
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  10. - Top - End - #160
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    I'm sure this post will upset a few people because it is not an update, but I promise you that it is good news.

    First of all, I have one write-up almost complete. A little over half an hour left to write.

    The second piece of good news is that we finished our hiatus. :D That was a short one for us, only two months this time, but yesterday we played an absolutely mammoth session, with seven hours of recording, with a new player joining us.

    So that's something else to look forward to.

    The plus side is that we have probably played more sessions so far this year than we did for last year combined, so that's nice.

    Back soon hopefully with Session 4.3: Ambushes and Treachery...

    Coming soon:

    Silence...
    "He was legal age!" - Wings.
    "So essentially you're saying that there's a legal age for being risen from the dead?" - Dev.
    "Yeah. Any younger than 18 and it would be, 'morally wrong.'" - Wings, replete with inverted-comma finger motions.

    and

    “That’s why you have armoured eyelids like an ankylosaurus, bitch.”
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  11. - Top - End - #161
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Session 4.3: Ambushes and Treachery

    "Of the seven voyages of Brin Greenfield, it is naturally his last that we know the least about. He took the Northrunner and sailed into the mists of legend, leaving behind only his daughter. West he travelled, or at least so say most story-tellers, but I believe he went north, to where the mountains grow taller than the Wardenfells and the forests grow thicker than the Gwyrai..."

    - Sage Deblin Briarsparrow, the story-teller of Greenstone.

    Welcome to Session 4.3 guys.

    “You lost the game.” – LD.

    I began by prefacing the session by letting them know that the Beast in the Darkness is inherently an unfair opponent and the intention is that they will not take it on by themselves.
    “Challenge accepted.” – Sins.


    Breanna, down in the cavern, is frozen with fear for a split second as the shadowy shape stalks towards her, eyes glowing in the darkness. With a snarl, it lunges forward at the Leathe, who snaps out of her paralysis at the last second and rolls to the side, away from the attack.

    Then Wings asked a question…
    Spoiler
    Show
    “Does it have nuts, and can she cut them off?” – Wings, bloodthirsty.
    “What?” – Ladyhawk, stunned.
    “Well she is in, underneath the beast. Sooo…” – Wings, letting it hang.
    “You are a disgusting person.” – Dev, laughing.
    “That’s it, I’m out.” – Sins.
    “You are not in a position to do that, you rolled to the side..” – To LD.
    “Only because you don’t want her to do that.” – Dev.
    “No, because in my mind, she didn’t roll in underneath its ball-sack.”
    “I… am right beneath the enemy scrotum.” – Dev, channelling John Turturro.
    “Can we please burn the FATAL rulebook now guys?” – Sins.
    “Stab out eyes now. Just stab out all the eyes.”


    “Okay, my turn. Now for the Agility Check to get out of here safely.” – LD, preparing to roll.
    “Yep. A nice low roll so you don’t get caught in your haste. Because if you get caught, you probably get a leg mauled.”
    LD smashes her forehead down onto the table after the roll.
    “What did you get?” – Ladyhawk, concerned.
    “98!” – LD, distressed.
    LD uses her free re-roll from last month’s homework.
    “19. Thank God.” – LD.


    Breanna scrambles out from underneath the massive boulder, the beast clawing at the empty air she just vacated. None of her companions can see her come out, but Tremor’s floppy-headed thrall looks back over its shoulder at her, eyes glowing with daemonic light.

    Behind her, the beast attempts to get out of the cavern. If it were calmer, it would be simply squeezing its way through the gap, but in its rabid desire to get at Breanna, it is clawing and pounding at the boulder. The companions can hear this, and discuss the options swiftly, deciding to go with a full-on attack.

    Maebh’s eyes close and she starts to chant softly under her breath. The sky above grows even darker as storm clouds swiftly gather overhead. Scrabbling at the earth and rock, the beast gets its forequarters free, but its hind legs are still caught under the boulder.

    Tremor meanwhile takes out the last vial of ‘boom-sauce’ from his pack and throws the mixture at the entrance to the cavern, hoping to blast the earth out from under the boulder. The flames do not catch on the beast, although it does seem to be pained by the fire. In addition to this though, the earth is blasted away and the boulder starts to shift, slowly falling down onto the beast. Growling, the Dwergar takes out his hatchet.
    “Die!” – Tremor, hurling his hatchet at the beast’s head.
    He misses, and the axe clangs against the boulder and falls to the muddy ground.
    "Bugger." - Tremor, cursing his luck.

    Breanna meanwhile just legs it, hoping to get back to Kel’Serrar and Harold, where it might be a bit safer inside the walls of the abandoned hamlet.
    “Has the Shadowskin gone away?” – LD.
    “No, still active.”
    “Right, can I scare him somehow?” – LD.
    “Keep in mind that last time you tried to do that you were nearly decapitated with a torch.”


    A single golden bolt of lightning streaks from the sky, and Maebh directs it into the boulder. The rock cracks under the force of the strike, but does not shatter, and is pressed down further onto the beast’s hindquarters. Roaring with agony, the creature hauls itself out of the cavern by its forepaws.

    In its anger, the beast has slipped its camouflage and the companions finally get a good look at it. It is low-slung, like a wolf, but much larger than even a marcwolf and covered in spines and thick, bony scutes. The beast’s head is long and low-slung, heavily armoured and elongated with large fangs.
    I show the head of a leopard seal, and describe the beast’s head as a larger, heavily armoured version of the same. We then spend a few minutes looking at pictures of one of the most brutal creatures on the planet. Leopard seals are seriously terrifying.

    Wings asks if it is possible to take his zombie out of action and dismantle it, then reanimate it in parts and use those pieces as improvised throwing weapons in order to bring the beast down from the inside.

    There is a moment of stunned silence.
    "That's a horrible idea. So horrible, it might just be brilliant. Can we do that?" - Dev.
    "You need to have line of sight to whatever you are reanimating. So those pieces must be reanimated before they are eaten. Other than that, go for it." - My response.
    "This is an awful plan." - Ladyhawk, despondent.
    "We could really use a turnip at this stage." - Sins, in a call-back.


    Tremor withdraws the energies from the corpse, setting the daemon loose into the Otherworld again. He then takes the loosely attached head from the corpse, wrenches it free and hurls it at the beast, though again his eye lets him down and the skull cracks against the boulder and is immediately snapped up by the beast.

    Harold, Breanna and Kel'Serrar:
    From where they are at the hamlet, guarding the two wounded hunters, both the duellist and ranger hear the massive crack of lightning as Maebh brings her power to bear on the boulder. Immediately, Harold takes up a second borrowed spear and sets off into the marshes once more, hoping that he will find more than a mere smoking crater.

    As he runs, he realises that his hands are no longer covered in fine black and white fur, but instead are a leathery flesh colour. He is bemused by this, but resolves to think about it later.

    He passes Breanna on the way, though he does not notice as the Leathe'sShadowskin is still up. For the assassin, all she cares about is putting as much distance as possible between her hide and those wicked claws...

    Maebh and Tremor:
    Maebh draws upon just a little too much of her inner flame in preparing her next casting.
    There is a lot of tension here as Maebh is hit with some arcane backlash, drawing upon a little too much power and rolling a double in her casting roll.

    Now she made the total, and it wasn't a double 1, so the spell still goes off, but because she rolled a double, she needs to take a Toughness Check to determine whether she sustains any serious side-effects.

    Ladyhawk fails her Toughness Check, though not by too much. She then rolls a D100 on one of the Arcane Backlash Charts. And the tension is ramped up further by me having to look through files to find the chart.
    "I'm going to die aren't I?" - Ladyhawk, after two minutes of searching.
    "No... Your hair stands on end. For-*rolls* twenty seconds."
    The relief is palpable.


    The storms clouds start to gather overhead once more, Maebh's hair stirring in an unnatural wind.

    And then things start to go poorly.

    With a great roar, the beast frees itself from under the boulder and springs at Tremor, who only just manages to dodge aside.

    Harold, coming upon the carnage can see the beast snapping at his companions and takes matters into his own hands. Hefting one of the spears, he casts it at the beast as he runs. The heavy blade pierces the bony scutes on the beast's shoulder, but causes little damage.

    Tremor takes out his greatsword and attempts to flank the beast, but it turns like quicksilver and all of a sudden he is met by its snarling maw. The dwarf turns his momentum into a backwards step, away from those vicious jaws.

    The distraction however gives Maebh the time she needs to finish calling her lightning down. Again, the golden bolts streak down from the sky, but at the last moment the creature springs to the side and is only caught a glancing blow. It recovers and strikes out at Tremor, who agilely dodges aside from the first, but is then taken by a raking claw across the chest. It throws the Dwergar back, which may well have saved his life as it meant he was just out of reach of the slavering jaws as they closed where his leg had been only a split second before. A good thing too, as Tremor notes the viscous liquid dripping from the creature's fangs.
    "Ewww." - Ladyhawk.

    Seeing the dwarf on the ground, Harold picks up speed, streaking across the marshy ground and driving his second spear deep into the creature's side. It turns to face its new attacker, the motion of which snaps the spear-haft, leaving Harold holding a worthless length of wood in his hands.

    There's a short tangent here where the respective ages of their hunting partners is discussed. All of them were quite young, the youngest of which is the only one still conscious and alive, at fourteen.
    "How old was the one Tremor raised?" - Dev.
    "Uh, around 18..."
    Silence...
    "He was legal age!" - Wings.
    "So essentially you're saying that there's a legal age for being risen from the dead?" - Dev.
    "Yeah. Any younger than 18 and it would be, 'morally wrong.'" - Wings, replete with inverted-comma finger motions.

    The conversation turned back to the combat at hand, but only for a moment.
    "I'm going to roll around behind it and Withering Touch it." - Wings.
    "You're going to what?" - Dev, unimpressed.
    "I'm going to make it easier for you to kill by touching it." - Wings.
    "Show me on this anatomically correct doll where the fat man touched you." - Sins.
    "Arrrrooo... Arrroooo..." - Ladyhawk, making pitiful dog noises.


    Tremor tries to take the opportunity to roll back into the fray, but once again the beast reacts, seemingly before the dwarf has even made up his mind and again it is snarling at him. He disengages and stalks around the fight, looking to pick up his hatchet from where it lies after he hurled it earlier.

    And then Maebh unleashes her power once more, a devastating gale tears across the marshland, knocking the creature off its feet and blowing it twenty yards across the ground. It tries to rise from the ground, shaking its head groggily, but can do no more as Harold and Tremor stalk towards it.

    It is, after all, not exactly used to dealing with prey which fights back.

    Advancing on it, Harold takes a hold of the spear he threw at it earlier and tries to drive it in deeper, but is unsuccessful, the creature's bony armour still too thick to deal with.

    Tremor strides up too, mentally draining a daemon dry, and then lays both hands on the beast's flank, the flesh beneath his touch decaying before him. He then strides up to the beast’s side, takes up his greatsword and cleaves it into the beast's neck. The creature gives a strangled yelp, but it is still not dead.

    Maebh throws a fireball at the beast's side, the concussive force caving in a few ribs and bringing it out of its daze as the flames lick at its hide. Snarling in rage, it flings a claw out and snaps at Harold, who skilfully manages to avoid the attacks. It then turns to the other side, another claw shooting out to strike at Tremor who is taken unaware and sent flying once more.

    Again Harold struggles to drive the spear further into the beast, but thankfully he isn't alone as Tremor picks himself up and strides purposefully towards the creature's flank. The dwarf draws upon what is left of the energies he drained before and lays his hands upon the creature once more, causing another patch of flesh to wither away before his eyes. He goes to strike once more with his blade, but at the last moment he realises that he has underestimated his opponent and the creature turns its glowing eyes towards him once more. It springs, and Tremor sacrifices his chance to hit it to roll away yet again. Again, the creature's jaws snap shut where the dwarf was just moments before, and again Tremor takes note of the viscous liquid dripping from its jaws.
    "And again, I remind myself, I do not want to be bitten by this thing." - Wings.
    "No you really don't, trust me."
    "Actually, this might just be me, but I'm not really a fan of being bitten in general. By anything." - LD, making a very good point.


    Now lying on its side, the beast's relatively unarmoured underbelly presents a tempting target for Maebh, who takes up her spear and hurls it with all her strength.
    This was pretty cool. Ladyhawk missed on her initial roll to hit, but then used a Luck Point to re-roll it. This missed too and everyone was reasonably despondent. And then Dev came to the rescue.
    "Hang on a minute, hang on. Can she use a Channelling Check to help magically aim the spear in flight?" - Dev.
    "That's cool. Yeah, go for it."
    Ladyhawk rolls her Channelling Check and passes epically, passing with five degrees of success.


    Maebh can see as soon as she lets the spear go that it will fly wide, and so she gives it a slight mental nudge. In the dim moonlight, all can see a tiny glimmer of golden light around the spearhead as it alters direction and plunges deep into the beast's heart. With a great shuddering roar, the creature gives its last breath, the glowing eyes closing for the final time.

    "I'm a genius." - Dev.
    "Yes you are, thank you so much." - Ladyhawk.
    This is far greater interaction than when one of them almost murdered the other.
    "Can I go shove my spear in further to make sure?" - Dev, to me.
    "Yeah, go for it."
    "Wait, you need to think of something cool to say!" - LD.
    "Uh..." - Dev, drawing a blank.
    "Maybe this time!" - Ladyhawk, delivering her own contribution.
    And so it is to the triumphant laughter of the group that Harold makes his way to shoulder of the beast and...
    "78." - Dev, failing his Strength Check.
    "Ah well, well done guys. The beast in the darkness is dead, and you all more or less contributed."
    After all, Kel'Serrar shot it earlier, the remains of that arrow can be seen embedded in one of the beast's eyes. Breanna lured it out too, in order to allow Harold, Maebh and Tremor to actually kill the beast. They all did their part.


    Tremor takes out his healing draughts and downs them all, accelerating his natural healing processes. He then starts to fill up the empty vials with the venom pooling beneath the beast's jaws.

    Having heard the beast's death-roar, Kel'Serrar and Breanna start making their way towards the lair once more, leaving the two injured hunters behind. They arrive to see Maebh, Tremor and a six-foot tall dwarf who also looks a lot like Tremor. Kel'Serrar of course finds this hilarious.

    Taking a closer looks at the corpse, the first thing Harold notices is that the beast is not natural. Many parts of the beast appear to have been grafted together, but despite that, he can recognise what it once was.

    The creature used to be an ulvenseigl, a beast which prowls the rocky coastlines of Varr. This one is much larger than any Harold has ever seen, and covered in unusual armour and spines, but it was, once, an ulvenseigl. Ulvenseigl also aren't venomous, but this thing was.

    Maebh studies the cracked boulder, which has by this stage sunk down into the earth, preventing access to the cavern beneath. Deciding that the best way to find out just who is behind this is to get into this cavern, the mage hurls another lightning bolt into the boulder. Tiny shards of rock whirl through the air, one nicking Maebh's cheek and the other slicing Harold's bicep, but other than that the companions are left unscathed by the storm of rock shards which fly outwards from where the lightning strikes.

    Before them beckons the black hole.

    They descend into the pit, and again take in the smooth walls carved from the rock by magic and the rusted iron bars separating them from the other side of the cavern, where flames flicker warmly in a fireplace.
    "Is there any way to raise the bars?" - Wings.
    "With better jokes." - Sins, quick as a flash.

    Tremor takes his hammer and with a few quick strikes, breaks the bars apart.
    “I made a door.” – Tremor, proud.
    “That’s a recurring theme for you.”On the other side of the rusted bars, it is almost a temporary laboratory. A thick stone slab which sits at approximately Maebh’s waist in height and is fitted with thick leather straps, dominates the centre of the room. Strewn on and around the slab are a multitude of bloodstained surgical tools. Small glass cases are set into recesses in the cave wall too, each case holding one specimen of a variety of small creatures, ranging from spiders to snakes and lizards.

    In the corner of the cavern is a simple one–man camp. A bedroll lies on the ground near the lit fireplace. Near to the bedroll is a wooden desk, upon which sits a couple of books on medical theory and a great many loose pieces of parchment. A quick flick through the parchment reveals notes in a spidery hand, a barely organised journal which details the procedures the mystery surgeon undertook on the beast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Example notes from the last year:
    ‘Twenty-Ninthday of Thirdmonth: Begun the process of documenting the creation of the perfect predator. For so long I have wanted to witness such a beast, but have despaired of ever doing so. Now I take fate into my own hands.’

    ‘Firstday of Fourthmonth: Obtained the sedated beast from Varr. My research indicates the ulvenseigl is the most powerful predator pound-for-pound in the known world, and so it shall be my base.’

    ‘Third day of Fourthmonth: Have had to abandon the ability of flight in order to ensure the beast is able to return to its lair. Wings would be too easily fouled in this terrain and a beast so large would require elevation to become airborne, much like the dragains of the Wardenfells.’

    ‘Seventhday of Fourthmonth: Have distilled the venom of the Undmoric spider into a toxin which causes paralysis without the necrotic effect on the flesh the spider’s bite causes naturally.’


    ’Third day of Fifthmonth: The perfect predator needs to hunt its prey using all the senses possibly available. Many serpents from the southern lands rely on an ability to sense the life-flame of their prey. I have deduced that the ability to do this comes from the presence of organs in the front of the skull.’

    ‘Fifth day of Fifthmonth: I have isolated the life-sensing organs from a southern viper. Now the enlargement process must begin.’

    ‘Twenty-Second day of Fifthmonth: The enlargement process now complete, the organs are now ready to be implanted.’


    ‘Twelfthday of Sixthmonth: The beast escaped last night, but returned to the lair before day-break. It doesn’t want to be fed, it wants to hunt.

    I shall let it continue to do so, unless the creature becomes too unruly.’
    The notes are confusing to read to say the least. They flit back and forth from day to day, and worryingly, sometimes are written not from the perspective of the mystery surgeon, but as if written by the beast itself.

    Plenty of tracks can be seen on the soft cavern floor, the tracks of a large humanoid. While the others look around the room, Kel’Serrar quietly takes the medical texts to study in his own time.

    The tracks lead to a solid stone wall at the rear of the cavern. Set into the wall is a shallow stone bowl, stained with years of use. Around the bowl is an inscription:
    I come to life the more you die.
    “Right well that’s obvious. It’s a blood offering.” – Maebh, to general agreement.
    The companions discuss whether or not they would be better served lying in wait in the cavern or opening the door and hopefully following the path to whoever is responsible for all this.
    “I reckon we wait here for him to come back and then ambush him.” – Harold.
    “We might be here for a long time. Time we don’t necessarily have. We are waiting for a messenger, remember?” – Kel’Serrar.
    “Aye. We go through. Who is going to bleed for it though?” – Maebh.
    “There’s a rapidly cooling corpse outside, full of blood.” – Breanna.
    Kel’Serrar heads out, collecting the beast’s blood in a bowl and pouring it into the stone basin in the wall.

    The wall shifts aside, revealing a short staircase and a long, perfectly hewn tunnel. The companions head in, and quickly realise that they are heading back underneath Urik’s Landing. Eventually they come to the end of the tunnel and find a trapdoor above them. Tremor goes first, opening the trapdoor to reveal the storeroom of DoktorJurdric.

    There is a fair bit of discussion regarding what to do next. Harold is all for waiting in the laboratory again, hoping that they won’t be waiting too long. Tremor meanwhile believes the best option is to have Breanna lying in wait, ready to alert the rest of the companions if someone heads down the tunnel.

    Eventually a decision is reached and Maebh sets a ward on the ground of the tunnel, a short way down the passage. It will alert her if it is crossed and will remain active for a few days until tripped. The companions go back to the Blackmane Inn and hope it is enough.

    * * *

    The sun has not yet risen when Maebh is alerted. The ward has been tripped. She hurries to alert the rest of the party.
    “We need to split into two groups, one from either end of the tunnel. As Harold and I both have horses, we will go out into the swamp and approach from that direction. Agreed?” – Maebh, to the nods of the rest of the party.
    She and Harold then make their way to the stable to pick up Toirneach and Amadeus.

    Tremor, Breanna and Kel’Serrar:
    The three companions run to the doktor’s residence, the streets empty in the early morning. Tremor then spends a good few minutes knocking furiously on the door, until a dishevelled Endric opens it.
    “The hell is going on here? It is really early! What do you want?” – Endric, not happy.
    “Move.” – Tremor, shoving the young man aside. Despite the size difference, the bulky Dwergar has no trouble doing so.
    “Who else is here?” – Kel’Serrar, to the surprised Endric.
    “Well my father is in the storeroom. I think Welyn might be as well, if he’s not sleeping at the inn.” – Endric, surprised.
    “And how much do you like the idea of a giant death monster being let loose on the town?” – Kel’Serrar.
    “Not much… I’m sorry, do I know you?” – Endric.
    “No.” – Kel’Serrar, who has taken on the face of someone else again. I honestly have no idea who at this point.
    “Look, we’re going to the storeroom. We may have to kill some people.” – Tremor.
    Endric looks startled, and then he’s back to being angry.
    “Look, tell me what is happening here!” – Endric, shoving Kel’Serrar and pinning him up against a wall.
    “Did you miss the part about the giant death monster?” – Kel’Serrar, sarcastic and unconcerned. “Do you know what is happening under this place?”
    Endric shakes his head.
    “Look, just come with us, you’ll want to see this.” – Kel’Serrar, who is slowly released by the doktor’s son.
    Endric pats the ranger’s cloak and smooths out where he had caused the fabric to bunch up.
    “Sorry about that. I just don’t know what’s happening.” – Endric, ashamed of his outburst on, an admittedly self-invited, guest.
    I asked Sins to make a Charm Check there, which is rolled against Charisma. There were laughs from most of the group and groans from Sins.
    “Here we go, time to get my face punched in.” – Sins, as he rolls.
    The dice fall, and lo and behold, he has passed.
    “I have no idea how that happened.” – Sins, laughing.
    “Well Sins, first of all, Charisma… WHEEE!” – Ladyhawk.


    They enter the storeroom, Tremor and Breanna first with weapons at the ready, Kel’Serrar and Endric next, both of them slightly more calm. The room is more or less as they left it last night, save that the trapdoor on the floor is open.
    “Oh no. Someone’s down there aren’t they?” – Endric, to the others.

    Maebh and Harold:
    The two companions are riding side by side through the swamps, spears in hand and scanning the ground for safe passage. Harold’s experience on marshy ground proves to be a life-saver as he picks out a path through the marshes which they can take at a break-neck pace.

    They reach the cavern, the shattered boulder littering the landscape and the dead murder-beast lying on the ground where the companions left it.

    Maebh and Harold dismount and search the ground for any tracks and evidence of people in the area who shouldn’t be, but are unable to find any tracks other than their own from last night.

    They decide to wait in the laboratory, assuming that the alarm must have been tripped by someone entering the tunnel from the doktor’s storeroom. Interestingly, they notice that the stone door, which they opened with a blood offering last night, has closed again at some point.

    Naturally, Maebh collects some, slightly congealed, blood from the corpse of the beast and opens the door.

    “Look after the horses, I’m going in.” – Harold, to Maebh.
    “Look after the other horse, I’m going in.” – Maebh, to Toirneach.
    “Look after yourself, I’m going in.” – Toirneach, to Amadeus.


    Tremor, Breanna and Kel’Serrar:
    The companions jump down into the tunnel, Tremor first and Endric bringing up the rear. Ahead of them, a single lantern bobs up and down as someone walks slowly down the tunnel.

    Breanna takes up her dagger and stalks up the tunnel, making no noise on the smooth, stone floor. The others follow a fair distance behind, knowing that Breanna will be much quieter than themselves, and hoping she can prevent the target from escaping while they catch up.

    Upon approaching the target, the Leathe can see that he is a solitary man, elderly and moving very slowly. He is muttering to himself under his breath too.
    “I’m going to tackle him.” – LD.“Who is that?” –Elderly man, turning back towards Breanna, just before she comes flying out of the darkness to tackle him.
    He gives a somewhat panicked scream and tries to throw her off, but is unsuccessful.
    “I didn’t mean for it to hurt anyone I swear! I didn’t mean for this to happen!” – Elderly man, revealed as doktorJurdric.
    “Stop it, you’re hurting him!” – Endric, who rushes forward to pull Breanna off his father.
    The Leathe only half-heartedly struggles.
    “Let’s keep going down the tunnel and we’ll discuss this in the laboratory.” – Tremor, to the concerned Endric.

    They meet up with Harold and Maebh in the tunnel and Kel’Serrar takes Breanna back to the storeroom, leaving Tremor, Maebh and Harold to hold onto Jurdic and lead Endric to the laboratory. The doktor’s son is horrified by what he sees.
    Spoiler: Animals in the cases and the beast:
    Show

    Amongst other creatures, the glass cases contain a chameleon, an Undmoric spider and a pit viper. These creatures provided the skin pigmentation alteration, the paralysing venom and the heat-sensing organs respectively.

    The fact that the chameleonic effect was natural is why Maebh was unable to see through its disguise, and the heat-sensing organs are why Breanna was still visible to it while still under the effects of Shadowskin.


    Kel’Serrar and Breanna: The two companions wait underneath the trapdoor and can hear Welyn fussing around above them.
    “I’ll grab you…. I’ll probably need you…” – Welyn, absent-mindedly talking to himself as he gathers up medical supplies for the day.
    There are footsteps and the sound of a door opening, as Welyn enters the storeroom.
    “Well then, what are you doing open? There’s nothing down there anymore…” – Welyn, confused. He walks over to the open trapdoor and closes it.

    It is closed for merely a second before Breanna throws it open once more.
    “What are you doing down there?” – Welyn, confused again as Breanna springs out from the underground tunnel.
    “Look come with us. There’s something you need to see about the good doktor.” – Breanna.

    Harold, Maebh and Tremor:
    Jurdric has stopped muttering how sorry he is and has started wandering around the laboratory, feeding the animals in their cases and discussing with himself under his breath what pieces he should add to his beast. It’s like the companions and his son have just ceased to exist and the last fifteen minutes never happened.

    “The beast he created is just outside. You can have a look if you want.” – Harold, to Endric, who immediately heads out.
    A low whistle of surprise is the next thing they hear from the doktor’s son.
    “Holy ****…” – Endric, walking back inside.
    “The important thing here is that he is an old man, performing a valuable service for the community.” – Harold.
    “I think the important thing is that he stops building this ****.” – Tremor, interrupting.
    “Your father is harmless, as long as he isn’t allowed down here, at least without supervision.” – Harold.
    “Absolutely… This is terrible. We will need to begin to make reparations… I cannot believe we are responsible for all the suffering those poor people in the hamlets have gone through.” – Endric, disconsolate.
    “Well the best way to make reparations would be to help those people, but do not let on that it was your father. If the populace know that he was behind it, there will be riots, and that would be counter-productive. The people would be better served by your aid than your deaths. We will say nothing of what was behind the beast, only that we killed it. But you need to make sure that something like this never happens again.” – Harold.

    Welyn comes in and they deliver much the same information to him too. The apprentice is taken immediately by the severity of the situation and promises that first thing he will do when he finishes his work for the day is come down and try to block up the tunnel.

    For Jurdric’s happiness though, they take the glass cases up the tunnel to the house so he can continue to look after the various deadly creatures inside. It does seem to be one of the few activities which actually gives the old man some joy and peace.

    And then they have a couple of days to rest and recuperate, waiting for some kind of message from Barandin.

    * * *

    A few days later a dwarven messenger bursts into the Blackmane Inn where the companions are sitting, enjoying their breakfast. He is bearing an envelope marked with the seal of the Ironfists. He is scruffy, and looks pretty weather-beaten, likely from a life spent on the open road.

    “It is customary for the recipient to provide a coin to the messenger.” – Dwarven messenger, holding out a grimy hand.
    Wordlessly, Tremor hands over a sulver and takes the envelope, which he opens as the messenger jogs out of the inn.

    Spoiler: Barandin’s Message[/spoiler
    Show

    Dear cousin,

    I have reached our friends and convinced them to send a man to meet with you. You will know him by the phrase, “The Winter Wind has borne you safely.” He expects the response, “None too soon,” as that was the general response of those here when told of your return.

    If the gods will it, I shall see you here safely.

    Your loyal cousin,


    The companions spend another week recovering from their adventures. In this time, Harold gets his sabre reforged and Tremor buys himself a crossbow, already looking at ways he can improve the weapon…

    * * *

    The companions are eating their lunches in the Blackmane Inn, having enjoyed their week-long rest, when a stocky and powerfully built Dwergar bursts in through the door, making a beeline straight to where Tremor sits, nursing an ale and a plate of bacon. The newcomer is clad in dark wool and heavy leathers and his hair and beard are dark and wildly unkempt. A stout shortsword hangs from his belt. The right hand side of his face is covered in clan markings in blue ink.

    The dwarf walks straight up to the table, ignoring the rest of the companions but shaking Tremor’s hand immediately.
    “My name is Rorik Longstride. I am to be your guide. Are you ready to go?” – Longstride, briskly.
    “Is there not some kind of code phrase?” – Tremor.
    “Oh yeah. The Winter Wind has borne you home safely, or some such ****.” – Rorik, impatient.
    “None too soon, right?” – Tremor.
    “**** it, I don’t remember, something like that. Your cousin’s a pain for that kind of thing.” – Rorik, frowning.

    They debate the plan to head north for a short while, Rorik suggesting they go north-west through the marshland, steal a barge from a riverside village and from there end up in the Valleywood. Harold however wishes to appear as legitimate as possible to those they intend to liberate, and suggests an alternate route, first renting a barge at Iceflow Watch and then proceeding north to The Crag, where they will take a route through the mountains and eventually arrive at the Resistance’s main camp. It will take longer, but also provides a better idea of the state of the realm.

    Spoiler
    Show


    Rorik agrees, as long as they get moving swiftly, so the companions finish their food, say their farewells and collect their equipment and animals.

    The companions pick their way through the marshlands for around three days, eventually hitting Iceflow Watch in the evening. The village is very small, a few dwellings scattered around the rocky ford which spans the Iceflow River. A few barges rest on the bank, tied down securely. The village is quiet, and so the companions make camp on the southern bank of the river, thinking to cross the ford at dawn and hire passage north as quickly as possible.

    The companions bed down for the night and are mildly uncomfortable in the cold, but they have no real choice in the matter as Iceflow Watch is too small to have an inn.

    In the morning, before crossing the river, Kel’Serrar sets about altering the features of his companions so they don’t stand out so much. Northmenn, Invarrians and Dwergar are all reasonably common sights so far north, but Leathe and Danann, not so much. Using his newly-found illusory magic, Kel’Serrar changes his own appearance once more into a random Northmann from the Winter Wind and Maebh’s, Tremor’s and Breanna’s into random people he took note of in Urik’s Landing, a Northmann woman, a very rotund Dwergar and a young Dwergar girl respectively.

    So disguised, the party crosses the ford and are hailed by a bargepike on his vessel, a few barrels of fish on the deck.
    “What brings travellers to Iceflow Watch?” – Bargepike, reasonably friendly.
    “We seek passage north. How far are you going?” – Harold.
    “To Lord’s Ridge.” – Bargepike.
    “Would you be open to going further?” – Harold.
    “Of course, provided you had the coin to pay for it.” – Bargepike, smiling.
    “How much for our group here?” – Harold, getting ready to haggle.
    “The animals too? I guess we’ll need the two barges then. Ten sulvers a leg seem fair?” – Bargepike.
    “Not really. How much to get to Lord’s Ridge?” – Tremor.
    “Ah, seven sulvers a leg?” – Bargepike.
    “We’ll offer our protection too. Surely that’s worth a discount?” – Tremor.
    “I’m only going to Lord’s Ridge. Don’t need much in the way of protection. Too cold for bandits at this time of year.” – Bargepike.
    Breanna flicks a crown at the man.
    “Keep it. I have four more for you if you take us all to The Crag.” – Breanna, to the bargepike who is stunned by her wealth.
    “I’ll just go get my brother to help me with the other barge.” – Bargepike.

    The trip upriver from Icewater Watch to The Crag takes approximately five days. On the way, they pass Eastwatch Keep, a stout, wooden border-fort, manned by a company of heavily armed and armoured Dwergar. The party are not stopped, nor even hailed, as thanks to Kel’Serrar, they look like nothing more than an extended family escaping yet another warzone.
    “We’re the Millers, right?” – LD, laughing.

    Though they are not stopped, the companions do take good note of Eastwatch, knowing full well that they may be coming back this way to take it…

    They also pass Lord’s Ridge, a city built on a cliff overlooking the Iceflow River and Sapphire Lake. According to Rorik, the ruler of Lord’s Ridge, Theyne Balof Redclay, is sworn to Bain Ironfist, but he is not the legitimate ruler. Lord Arald Redclay, the theyne’s older brother is one of the primary lords of the Resistance.

    By the companions’ fifth day on the river, they are starting to get restless. The Crag is visible upriver when the bargepike, Willem, decides to ask them just what they want to do.
    “So, shall I just drop you folks off at the docks or what?” – Willem.
    “Yes, take us to the docks.” – Harold.
    “Are you sure about this?” – Maebh, in an undertone.
    “The whole reason we hired the barge was to appear as legitimate as possible. If we sneak off outside the city, then what’s the point?” – Harold, equally quiet.
    “The fact that he felt the need to ask us if we wanted to be dropped off in the city says that we’ve not exactly succeeded.” – Maebh.
    “Honestly, I’d say he’s just as much a smuggler as we are being smuggled. I’d wager this would not be the first time he’s done something like this, nor will it be the last.” – Kel’Serrar, joining the whispered conversation.

    “Guys, the fact is that you guys showed up at dawn, having camped out for the night in ****-awful weather and then asked for a barge north. His response was, ‘Sure, for money,’ and you guys went, ‘Yes, we have gold!’ Which was offered to him by a little girl too. So naturally he thought, ‘Wow, this is odd,’ but he won’t ask any questions regarding that because you paid him and you were pleasant. So that’s enough.

    Back in minute...
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2015-08-10 at 01:45 AM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  12. - Top - End - #162
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    The Crag is a large stone fortress built into the side of a mountain. The dock is reasonably busy, despite the cold early morning weather. The Iceflow and dwarven artisans have combined over the centuries to carve the side out of the mountain, creating a shallow harbour under the rock for river vessels to make port. Sturdy wooden piers jut out from the rock, which leads directly to a modest market, which is only now starting to come to life as the day breaks.

    And so the two barges drift into the dock, Willem and his brother, Rojer, throw out the ropes to tie the vessels down, with the help of those companions who can be bothered. Two guards, stout and very heavily armoured, bearing the insignia of House Windrider, watch the barge closely, but do not approach the companions.

    Upon leaving the market district and entering the city proper, the companions are struck by just how beautiful it is. The stonework is exceptionally impressive and the artistry and ingenuity required to create the huge windows which admit light from outside while still keeping the entire city out of the elements is mindboggling. The companions do not spend long in The Crag though, following RorikLongstride out the gate and into the mountains, hopefully heading west and towards the Resistance.
    “Hopefully we will get through without incident, but there are hill clans, some of which cannot be reasoned with.” – Rorik, pessimistic.

    * * *

    By the time the weak sunlight fades, the companions have made good time into the mountains. It is ridiculously cold, but the party is aided by their newly-purchased warm clothing. They come across a suitable area and Rorik suggests pitching a camp. The companions agree and Harold and Kel’Serrar set to making a fire while the others put up tents and Maebh sets a line of wards around the campsite.

    The night passes uneventfully, although this does not give the party any comfort due to the ridiculously cold weather. Not only that, but the altitude is such that they find it very hard to breathe. Despite this, they all manage to sleep, leaving one person at a time on watch. It is very early morning, the sun yet to appear as anything more than a faint lightening of the sky, when the party is awoken by a blaring noise as a small caorigh trip Maebh’s wards.

    Laughing to themselves, and cursing mountain goats, the companions pack up and move out.

    * * *

    The second day sees the companions moving even further into the mountains, following the bare, rocky path west, or as near to west as they can figure it. A little after midday, the companions start to become nervous, particularly Maebh and Kel’Serrar, an unsettling feeling running up their spines. Ahead, would be the perfect spot for an ambush.

    On either side of the narrow valley run ledges, hidden in shadow. Beneath the ledges, pockets of undergrowth, just about the only plant-life they have seen for the last day.

    Worried about a potential ambush, Kel’Serrar closes his eyes and attunes himself to the environment. In his mind’s eye, he can see humanoid figures upon the ledges, and more of them lying in wait in the scrub. The air is not disturbed by their breath. They are not alive.

    “Is there anything in these mountains we should be worried about?” – Tremor, to Rorik.
    “We’re fugitives, travelling with a convicted murderer and potential claimant to the throne, across a realm ruled by a maniac of a king, through hill-clan and bandit territory and you’re asking me if there’s anything we should be worried about? Are you off your ****ing head mate?” – Rorik, scoffing.
    The companions quickly decide that Breanna and Kel’Serrar will climb to the ledges to take out the things up there, upon which the other companions will spring the trap.

    So naturally the Leathe and disguised Danann climb up to the ledges, Kel’Serrar on the left and Breanna on the right.

    On the ledges, facing the valley floor, are lines of skeletons, six on either side. Most of the skeletons are Northmenn, but a few are Leathe. Very few have scraps of flesh or material on them, but most are bare bone. All are armed with a variety of bows, arrows already nocked to the worn bowstrings.

    Meanwhile, Maebh thinks better of springing the trap, and just fireballs the scrub to hell. Cold blue magic flares up in the midst of the flames, and the eyes of the watching skeletons with the bows blaze with a cold light as their compatriots burn beneath them.

    But now Kel’Serrar and Breanna are in serious trouble, as both lines of archers turn towards them. The Leathe panics, and hurls one of her many knives at the closest archer, crushing the skeleton’s upper arm and rendering it useless. It gives a rattling moan and draws a crude stone dagger from its belt. It charges towards her, but she hacks at its leg with her heavy carving knife and it topples from the ledge.

    Kel’Serrar meanwhile heaves himself up onto his ledge, draws his sword and swings it for the first time in earnest. He charges forward, sweeps under the archer’s arrow and pushes the skeleton over the edge.

    A few skeletons drag themselves from the undergrowth, Maebh’s unnatural flames burning on the desiccated bones. Harold strides forward to meet them, striking with his axe and kicking them down to the dirt.

    Tremor takes out his crossbow and scans Breanna’s ledge, seeing one of the archers about to loose an arrow at the Leathe, who is still clinging desperately to the rock. He brings up the weapon and looses a bolt with outstanding accuracy, punching through the skull of the archer.

    Unfortunately, that still leaves Breanna with two skeletons about to attack her with crude weapons or bony claws, and another two with bows ready to shoot.

    Those two archers do so, one arrow slamming into the Leathe’s shoulder, the other whistling past her ear. Despite the shock and pain, Breanna grimly manages to cling onto the ledge.

    Kel’Serrar’s ledge has four skeletons ready to go with their bows. One arrow flies wide of Maebh, another pings off Harold’s pauldron and the last two go straight through Rorik’s face.
    “Sorry guys, your guide is dead.”
    “Aww no way!” – Ladyhawk.
    “Aww ****.” – Dev.
    “When you see the GM pick up a handful of dice and look at them pleadingly, you know the guide is dead.” – Sins.
    “Yeah…Two arrows.Directly through the eyes. He’s gone.”
    “We are boned. So boned.” – Dev.
    “What the hell is up with your dice!?” – LD.
    “They went all violent on me.” – in a slow, sad voice. After all, Rorik was going to be important in the next few sessions.
    “They do that whenever you need to kill NPC’s.” – Sins.
    “And Harold just looks at him.” – Dev, laughing.
    “That’s why you wear armour, bitch.”
    “Despite the fact that it hit him in the eyes.” – Dev.
    “That’s why you have armoured eyelids like an ankylosaurus, bitch.”


    Two skeletons try to claw at Breanna as she hangs from the ledge, but she uses one of their arms to heave herself up, in the process pulling the abomination over the edge.

    Upon seeing the arrows pick out Rorik with unnerving accuracy, Maebh calls up a blazing disc of golden light in front of her.

    Harold charges towards the leftledge to help Kel’Serrar.

    Kel’Serrar meanwhile hacks at a skeleton with his blade, but is generally unsuccessful at hurting it. He manages to force it back, but only succeeds in taking off a hand.

    Tremor meanwhile, uses Rorik’s corpse as a shield, simultaneously searching the dead dwarf’s pockets. He find a beaten map, with several points of interest in the mountains marked on it, and a small purse of ten sulvers. The silver coins are freshly minted, bearing the face of Tremor’s brother, Bain Ironsfist.

    The two archers on Kel’Serrar’s ledge that are still holding their bows shoot at Tremor, but the arrows pass on either side of the Dwergar. On Breanna’s ledge, one archer shoots Kel’Serrar, grazing the ranger’s calf. The other aims at Breanna, but the arrow sails wide.

    Between them Breanna, Harold and Kel’Serrar hack apart the last of the skeletons on the ledges, only taking a few more minor cuts and scrapes. Tremor takes one of them out with his crossbow too.

    Continuing along the mountain path, Tremor shows the map to his companions.
    “Look what our friend had on him. We should be able to find our way through these mountains without him.” – Tremor, omitting the information regarding the sulvers he found in Rorik’s possession.

    This was probably a bit of meta-gaming here. The players decided to just leave Rorik’s corpse behind with no second thoughts. Probably because they think he was a traitor. Which he might have been, or he might have been carrying those sulvers to show the Resistance proof that Bain was minting his own currency… We will never know.

    A few of the hill-clan territories are marked on the map in the valleys, but quite vaguely. The Mountain Finches and the Baersonlings seem to range over the widest territory. Two crossed swords, just south-west of the Mountains Finch territory likely represent the location of the Resistance. Very close to where the companions believe themselves to be, a black swirl is marked on the map.

    They do discuss some troubling details regarding the ambush. Firstly, that the skeletons, while animated, there did not seem to be a necromancer in the vicinity. If there was, the companions couldn’t find him. Secondly, the presence of Leathe skeletons amongst the attackers. The Leathe are so uncommon as to be almost unheard of this far north. Only the most itinerant of travellers, such as Breanna, make their way so far from their homeland.

    Within twenty minutes, the companions have come across a splinter path from their mountain pass, a crevice in the rock wall to their right. According to their map, the black swirl likely lies at the end of this splinter path.

    So they investigate…

    * * *

    At the end of the path lies a doorway into the mountain. Strange carvings and runes are inscribed above the doorway. Tremor recognises a few animals carved into the stone as being native to the area, snow-wolves, havbaears and gigants. Kel’Serrar finds that he can pick out some of the words, the script appearing to match the Scribhinn, but it is Breanna who is most amazed by what she finds. Whatever language these ancient inscribers were carving, matches the Leathe dialect pretty closely. There is some lingual drift, but not much, despite these runes being carved many centuries ago.

    “Here lies the tomb of the Great Explorer, beloved of his people. Dare not disturb his eternal rest…” – Breanna, under her breath.

    Ignoring the warning, Maebh conjures a flame and lights a torch each for Harold, Tremor and Kel’Serrar before the companions venture into the darkness.

    Before them stretches a long corridor with a high ceiling. On either side, smooth rock walls, carved with lines of ancient text. Breanna recognises the text as an old myth, of a Leathe explorer. She remembers hearing the story when she was very young, as told by the old storyteller of Greenstone. No one ever actually believed it though, the deeds attributed to the young and dashing Brin Greenfield far too outlandish to be taken as fact.

    Perhaps there was more to it than mere fireside stories after all…

    On the left wall lies the story as Breanna remembers it, replete with all of Brin’s amazing adventures. On the right, lies the story of what happened afterwards. After defeating the White Dragain of Hithaeril, Brin Greenfield sailed north once more and established a colony in these very mountains.

    At the end of the corridor, there is a thick stone door. At Breanna’s chest height, there is a triangular indent in the door, very alike to the key-hole in the ruins outside Summer Hill. Kel’Serrar looks around and notices a loose flagstone on the ground. He pries it free, and there lies a silver triangular medallion, around the size of his palm, a green gem set in to the metal. He takes it and pushes it into the keyhole, and the doors grind open.

    Before them is a large, bare room. There is a path leading to the left, two paths to the right and a massive black iron door straight ahead.

    Spoiler
    Show


    “I’ll catch up in a minute.” – Tremor, splitting from the party.
    Everyone bar Tremor goes down the left path, while the Engineer walks straight up to the door to inspect it.

    The companions go down the path and take a right angle turn to the left, turning them back the way they came. A room opens ahead of them, Leathe skeletons in ancient armour lying on ledges set into the walls, weapons held in dead fists.

    The companions dub this room the crypt, and leave quickly.

    Tremor:
    Tremor’s doorway swings open at his touch. A very large room is revealed before him, the light of his torch illuminating a massive cavern. The outline of an ancient ship is the first thing the Dwergar notices, but then rank upon rank of Leathe skeletons come into view. They are armed for war, facing the doorway. They look as if they have been standing there, like that, for an age. Having seen them, he turns and joins the others.

    Having left the crypt, the other companions inspect the pathways on the other side of the main hall. The furthest from the original corridor has caved in at some point in the past and egress is blocked by massive slabs of granite. The other however is a long, winding path which leads further underground. The further they go, the colder the air becomes, and the light emitted by the torches seems to penetrate the darkness less and less.

    The companions eventually come to a room, in the centre of which sits a stone sarcophagus. Around the sarcophagus, set into the walls, are more biers holding heavily armoured Leathe skeletons, surrounded by a dark glowing energy. The sarcophagus appears to be the source of the power, the dark light seeping from the rock.

    “Ladyhawk, would you be a dear-“ – Dev, about to ask for the Coke.
    “Baaaaah!” – I made the closest approximation I could to a deer noise.
    “Actually, when I went to the deer park with my family I saw a deer and all it did was stand there going, ‘BUK-Ptthhhh! BUK-Ptthhhh!” – Ladyhawk, with corresponding facial expressions.
    As an aside, I do encourage the readers to look up elk noises. They really are amazing.
    “But we wouldn’t want this scene to stag-nate, so we’ll get back to it.” – Sins, the Lord of the Puns.


    With a crunching of bones, the sarcophagus shifts and the skeletons around the room turn to look at the companions, a fell light gleaming in their empty eye sockets.

    “Maebh, set up a few walls of blades in the hallway. We might be in a bit of trouble soon.” – Harold. She does so, careful not to draw too much energy, knowing that if she does so, it might lead to her soulfire being corrupted.

    The skeletal constructs stagger towards the companions, eight strong and gripping ancient iron weapons.

    Throwing caution to the wind, Maebh blasts the skeletons with torrents of boiling water with enough force to crack five of the dead Leathe against the stone wall.

    The lid of the sarcophagus hits the floor and a crowned Leathe in finely crafted leather armour springs out, making for Maebh with a rusted sword. He attempts to strike her, but the mage hurriedly moves out of his way. Breanna pings off a bolt from her crossbow, but is unable to cause any lasting damage.

    Not so Kel’Serrar who smashes the undead king’s skull and puts him down with a single arrow.

    Harold moves to intercept the last three guards, taking the arm of one and the head off another, which falls the stone floor. Tremor puts the last two down with his greatsword, leaving the king’s crypt in silence as they listen to the army of dead Leathe feeding themselves into Maebh’swoodchipper. None make it through.

    The companions look around the crypt, Breanna setting her paws on the king’s finely crafted armour. They do find a chunk of dark, purplish rock in the bottom of the sarcophagus, which Maebh confirms as the source of the dark energy.

    Harold picks it up and throws it into the closest wall of blades, the companions expecting an explosion similar to the one which resulted when last time someone threw magic into a wall of blades. Instead, the blades appear to almost be sucked into the chunk of rock, and it falls to the stone floor with a heavy thud.

    Tremor takes his hammer to the rock and parts of it chip off and seem to melt into nothing before their eyes, but it hardly seems to be damaging the rock in any real way. So they resolve to leave it be.

    Before leaving, Breanna takes down a brief recap of the whole story to take back to her people. The companions also check out the ship, which Breanna vaguely remembers was called the Northrunner. It is not special, just the equivalent of a caravel, (No guns obviously.) though it is pretty amazing how old it is. The room is otherwise empty, those skeletons around it having been ripped apart by Maebh's blade walls.

    The companions seal the tomb by closing the doors and taking the key with them.

    * * *

    The companions follow Rorik's map as much as they can over the next few days, but it is all they can do just to hope they have not become lost in the mountains. By the third day of travelling, the valleys have steadily become lined with trees, giving way to the Valleywood.

    It is early morning when they are halted in their tracks by a soft lilting voice coming from the trees above the path ahead.
    "What is your business here? Oh wow, you really are a Leathe!" - Voice.
    Onto the path ahead drop two Leathe, armoured in tough leathers and holding bows. One is brown furred, the other dark grey.
    "Where are you from? I would recognise you if you were from around here." - Brown furred Leathe, friendly.
    "Uh, Greenstone. I would not have expected to find any of our people so far north." - Breanna.
    "The Mountain Finches have been in the Valleywood for centuries. Come, you and your friends are most welcome to our hospitality for the night, and all questions will be answered at Imreitibh." - Grey furred Leathe.

    The companions follow their two new guides to the settlement of the Mountain Finches, Imreitibh. It is a small town, built in the treetops with rope bridges spanning the gaps between trees and dwellings. One can walk from one side of town to the other without ever setting foot on the ground.

    The companions are led to the chieftain of the Mountain Finches, a heavily built white furred Leathe named Caober Snowtail, and the clan shaman, his brother Merrt.
    "Welcome, my friends, to Imreitibh. The limited services and hospitality of my people is yours for your time with us. And now you, dear girl, what is your name and story?" - Caober, warmly greeting the companions. Which is more than they could expect really considering their state. They've spent a fair bit of time on the river and then on the road. They are dusty, bloodied and probably smell. But despite this, or perhaps because of this, Caober has decided to treat them as well as possible.
    "Breanna Blackrose, of Greenstone." - Breanna, by way of reply.
    "Ah Greenstone, I know of the village. After all, the great Righ Brin Greenfield hailed from that very place. Do you know his tale?" - Caober, friendly.
    "I do, vaguely, but as much as I would love to discuss our history with you and find just how you came to be here, we are on a pressing mission." - Breanna, sidestepping the whole, 'Yes I just finished killing your legendary king again,' with great success.
    "Indeed? Well then tell me about it and we shall help if we can. After all, you are family, if distant, and family must always aid each other." - Caober.

    Spoiler: Leathe Miscellanea:
    Show

    The Leathe society is clan based to the extent that an individual Leathe's family is often the most important thing in their lives. Naturally, Caober's words send an immediate pang of regret through Breanna, who has left her own brothers to their own devices for years. The whole reason she is adventuring though is because she was forced into a life of crime to support them, but that backfired horribly.

    Betrayal within the family unit is seen as just about the worst crime a Leathe could commit, hence Breanna's fervent belief that her brothers hate her utterly.

    Another note, the Mountain Finches are one of the descendant clans of Brin Greenfield's settlers. The other clans have since been destroyed or amalgamated into larger clans, eventually leaving only the Mountain Finches in the Valleywood. Caober Snowtail is an indirect descendant of Greenfield, which is why he considers Breanna family, not just because they are both Leathe.


    "This map has a pair of crossed swords to what I assume is the west of this location. Would that happen to be the location of the Nordtarnet Resistance?" - Tremor, trusting that the Mountain Finches are not allied with Bain.
    "That would appear to be correct yes. We are aware of their location. Not much happens in these forests without our knowledge. We do not aid them, but nor have we clashed with them. We try to stay out of dwarven politics. It is not our fight." - Caober.
    "These troubles are those of men and dwarves. We have our own way of life in these valleys and that is how we like it." - Merrt, coldly to the companions.
    "Who else lives in these valleys?" - Harold, curious.
    "Well the other main power among the hill clans would be the Baersonlings. They are all Hillmenn, large men and wild. Powerful fighters, though easy to misdirect. There are plenty of other clans too, Hillmenn, Dwergar, even more civilised Northmenn. Oh, and the Sons of Wyre." - Caober, grim.
    "The Sons of Wyre... I have heard of them. A mercenary band." - Tremor.
    "Yes, a band of the most vicious mercenaries available to one with enough silver to pay for them. And after he took The Crag, Ironfist has silver enough to do so many times over." - Merrt.
    "They scour the valleys for the Resistance, but so far they have only found clans. They have encroached on our lands too many times and we have shot them for it, but they retaliated by burning five of our scouts alive." - Caober, sadly.
    "This band, where are they now?" - Maebh.
    "Baersonling lands, to the north." - Merrt.
    "Well, I guess all I can ask is that when you get the chance, kill as many of the bastards as possible." - Tremor.
    "We shall. We shoot them on sight." - Caober.
    "Why didn't you shoot us? Just out of curiosity." - Harold.
    "You travel with a Leathe and our scouts were curious. Be thankful you were so fortunate, many are not." - Merrt.

    The companions are granted a dwelling in the treetops for a night, a sturdy wooden affair with a very low ceiling. The Danann quickly find it quite claustrophobic, while Breanna feels right at home. Tremor, after forgetting the fact that he is gently swaying twenty odd feet above the ground, also feels pretty comfortable, while Harold just falls asleep straight away. It has been a long and uncomfortable last few days.

    The companions are seen off with many well-wishes in the morning, with replenished supplies, a newly marked map and a promise from Caober Snowtail that the companions can send word and the Mountain Finches will send aid.

    It is midday when the companions stumble upon the camp of the Resistance. Immediately they are ringed by Northmenn and Dwergar, bearing spears and other weapons. One heavily built dwarf forces his way forward. He is grim in bearing, clad in a simple long white robe. His beard is long and a dark slate grey. His face has the sunken look of a man who has enjoyed many years of comfort followed by a short, sharp period of deprivation.
    "Who are you, and what do you want?" - Old Dwergar, harshly.
    "Who do I look like?" - Tremor.
    The old man takes a long look at Tremor and recognition gleams in his dark eyes.
    "My lord Ironfist." - Old man, falling to his knees.

    And we left it there...

    The Wrap-Up
    I didn't realise it while writing it, but this session is actually longer than the previous one, which I guess explains why it took so long to write it. I do apologise for that. I really dropped the ball. It has been years since I have not finished the previous write up before playing the next session and I do apologise.

    This was a pretty cool session I thought. Everything went pretty quickly in the combats because we had played recently and everyone still remembered how to do things. Unfortunately, we then had two months off and everyone forgot again, but hey, it was fun while it lasted.

    The next session truly is gigantic by the way. I know some people here play non-stop for 12 hours and things like that, but by our standards this next one is an absolute beauty. Over 7 hours of gameplay had my throat raw as all hell by the end of it, so if you are a GM who has been able to deliver a game comfortably over that period of time, my hat goes off to you. You bloody legend.

    Again, any comments or questions are more than welcome. I have some artwork and maps and such coming up too which I will add to this shortly.

    That ought to do it, thanks for reading. Catcha next time.
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2015-08-09 at 12:02 PM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  13. - Top - End - #163
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Okay, it is late but I'm set on posting the character's sheets as of the end of Session 4.4, which is hopefully coming soon.

    Spoiler: Harold Oakenshield
    Show

    Invarrian Level 8 Duellist
    Stats:
    Combat Skill: 51
    Ballistic Skill: 32
    Strength: 46
    Toughness: 47
    Dexterity: 36
    Agility: 41
    Initiative: 42
    Health: 19/19
    Charisma: 41
    Perception: 32
    Intelligence: 52
    Willpower: 32
    Luck: 6/6

    Skills:
    Animal Care +10
    Charm +20
    Command +20
    Concealment +10
    Deception +10
    Disguise +10
    Dodge Blow +10
    Gambling +20
    Haggling +20
    Healing
    Intimidation +20
    Riding +20
    Silent Movement +20
    Taunt +20
    Common Knowledge (Duelling)
    Navigation

    Talents & Traits:
    Reaver: +5 to Navigation and Sailing Checks.
    Invarrian Senses: +10 to Perception Checks.
    Ambidextrous: No penalties for attacks made with non-preferred hand.
    Cool-Headed: Re-roll a single Intelligence Check per day.
    Dashing Figure: +10 to Charm Checks.
    Moves Like Quicksilver: +10 to Dodge Blow Checks.
    Experienced Duellist: +10 to Parrying.
    Flurry of Blows: May attack twice per normal attack with a -10 To Hit.
    Lightning Parry: May sacrifice any number of attacks in a round for that many attempts to Parry.
    Fall On Their Own Blades: On a successful Parry Check against multiple opponents, the parried strike is resolved against another target in the same combat.
    Swordmaster: +1 Critical Damage when using a sword.
    Deathsword: +1 attack for every enemy with a lower Combat Skill in the same combat.
    Called Disarm: +10% to Disarm on a Called Shot.
    Seize the Moment: +10% when Parrying to get a Counter Strike.
    Riposte: Gain an additional Counter Strike on a Critical Parry.
    Bladelord: +10% to Combat Skill when using a sword.
    Swordsman's Grace: Count first digit of Agility for Damage Reduction.

    Equipment:
    Weapons -
    Sabre (Quality: Common)
    2 shortswords (Common)
    Walking staff (Improvised)
    Arming sword (Masterwork)
    Boarding axe (Common)
    2 spears (Common)
    Longsword (Common)
    Dagger (Common)
    Armour -
    Chain haubergeon (Common)
    Steel vambraces (High) Enscribed with Runes of Protection
    Steel plate cuirass (High) Enscribed with Runes of Blinding Light
    Steel greaves (High)
    Miscellaneous - (All stored in a backpack, save the tent which is usually left on the party's cart.)
    Tent
    Tinderbox
    Torch
    Rations
    2x winter clothing


    Spoiler: Maebh Raven-Wing
    Show

    Danann Level 8 Mage
    Stats:
    Combat Skill: 33
    Ballistic Skill: 51
    Strength: 39
    Toughness: 47
    Dexterity: 30
    Agility: 39
    Initiative: 50
    Health: 15/15
    Charisma: 22
    Perception: 39
    Intelligence: 51
    Willpower: 47
    Magic: 4
    Soulfire: 75/75
    Luck: 5/6

    Skills:
    Climbing
    Concealment
    Dodge Blow
    Drive
    Healing
    Intimidation +10
    Riding
    Search
    Silent Movement +10
    Survival +10
    Channelling +20
    Hypnotism +10

    Talents & Traits:
    Danann Senses: Night-Eye and +5 to Perception Checks.
    Unrestrained Power: +1D10 to Cast.
    Lightning Reflexes: Re-roll a single Initiative Check per day.
    Master of Destruction: +1 per Magic Level to Cast Destruction Spells.
    Make It All Burn: +2 Fire Damage.
    Dual Casting: May cast two Spells with a single Action. -4 to Cast the second Spell.
    Destructive Will: Adds the first digit of Willpower to Destruction Spell damage.
    Force of Destruction: Doubles the effect of Destructive Will.
    Master of the Bri: +1 per Magic Level to Cast Weathermancy Spells.
    Mage's Eye: +10 to Search Checks.
    Master of Protection: +1 per Magic Level to Cast Protection Spells.
    Arcane Lord: +2 per Magic Level to Cast all Spells. Stacks with the Mastery Talents.
    Stormlord: Weathermancy takes one less turn to prepare.
    Defiance of the Laws of Nature: Weathermancy may be used underground and indoors.

    Equipment:
    Weapons -
    Hunting spear (Common)
    Arming sword (Common)
    Tower shield (High)
    Longsword (Masterwork)
    Golden Dagger (High)
    Armour -
    Leather bracers (Common)
    Leather jerkin (Common)
    Leather boots (Common)
    Miscellaneous - (Most stored in a backpack, save the tent which is usually left on the party's cart, the sash over her chest, the bronze chain which is worn on her wrist and the wolf-fang talisman and focus stone which are pendants and worn around her neck.)
    Tent
    Rations
    "Candle-clock"
    Lesser focus stone
    Wolf-Fang Talisman (+10 to Survival Checks)
    Bronze chain bracelet (Ignore 1 Miscast per Session)
    Red sash (Increases maximum Soulfire by 15)
    Summoning coin (Uncharged)
    Fire Scroll
    Wand of Alderwood
    Wand of Oak - Enscribed with Runes of Decay
    Pouch of Precious Stones
    The Scripts of Udlar (+20% to Ritual Magic Checks)
    Winter clothes with big heavy coat
    Mantikor egg (Approximately a month until hatching)

    Magic:
    Flare - Magic missile, D10+Fire Damage (Destruction)
    Create Element - Small amount of fire, water, wind or electricity.
    Magic Alarm - Wards an area, producing a loud noise, plus alerting the caster to anyone in the immediate vicinity of the ward. (Protection)
    Remove Curse - Caster nullifies any active Curse effects on the target.
    Whispering Wind - A slight gust of wind carries a short message to a target. (Weathermancy)
    Wall of Blades - Creates a wall of magic blades which shred anything which tries to pass. (Destruction)
    Fireball - Magic missile, 2D10+Fire Damage (Destruction)
    Aethyric Shield - Magic shield, provides heavy cover against ranged attacks. (Protection)
    Eyes of Truth - See through illusions, invisibility and magical darkness.
    Gust of Wind - Strong gust of wind which staggers anyone it it's path. Causes minor damage.
    Fury of the River - Torrent of magical water, D10 Damage, can drown targets.
    Bloodboil - Causes the target's blood to boil. Fire Damage on touch.
    Call Lightning - Once the weather is called, lightning bolts streak down from the sky at selected targets. (Weathermancy)
    Devastating Gale - Much like Gust of Wind, Devastating Gale causes more damage over a great area.


    Spoiler: Breanna Blackrose
    Show

    Leathe Level 8 Assassin
    Stats:
    Combat Skill: 43
    Ballistic Skill: 38
    Strength: 42
    Toughness: 34
    Dexterity: 38
    Agility: 38
    Initiative: 37
    Health: 14/15
    Charisma: 27
    Perception: 40
    Intelligence: 40
    Willpower: 38
    Magic: 2
    Luck: 6/6

    Skills:
    Animal Care +10
    Charm +10
    Climbing +10
    Command
    Concealment +20
    Deception +10
    Disguise +10
    Dodge Blow +10
    Drive
    Evaluation +10
    Haggling
    Healing +10
    Intimidation
    Riding
    Search +10
    Silent Movement +20
    Survival +20
    Swimming
    Lockpicking +20
    Sleight of Hand +20
    Prepare Poisons +10

    Talents & Traits:
    Tree Dweller: +5 to Climbing Checks.
    Sixth Sense: On a successful Perception Check, may ignore the Ambush rules.
    Blade in the Shadow: +10 to Concealment Checks.
    Sneak Attack: +D10 Damage to unaware enemies.
    Excellent Vision: Re-roll a single Search Check per day.
    Knife-Fighter: May still Parry with a knife.
    Like Killing A Shadow: +10 to Dodge Blow Checks. Increases to +20 in shadowy areas.
    Backstab: +2 Damage when Sneak Attacking.
    Sturdy: Re-roll a single Strength or Toughness Check per day.

    Equipment:
    Weapons -
    Carving knife (Common)
    2 daggers (Common)
    Crossbow with 20 bolts
    Shortsword
    Armour -
    Reinforced leather jerkin (Masterwork)
    Light leather vambraces (Common)
    Leather light helm (High) Enscribed with Runes of Awareness
    Miscellaneous - (All stored in a backpack, save the tent which is usually left on the party's cart.)
    Tent
    Rations
    Torch
    2 daemonology books
    Summoning coin (Uncharged)
    2x winter clothing

    Magic:
    Shadowskin - Caster is wreathed in a shadowy veil. Counts as light cover and provides +20 to Concealment Checks. (Illusion)
    Magic Dart - Magic missile, D10+2 Damage (Destruction)
    Phantom Noise - Creates a single noise from a specific location. May duplicate two syllables of speech. (Illusion)
    Obscuring Mist - Creates a blanket of fog. +10 to Concealment when within the fog. (Illusion)
    Sleep - Causes the target to fall into a short magical coma on touch.
    Terrifying Visage - The caster causes Fear for the duration of the Spell. (Illusion)
    Shadow Figure - Creates the sillhouette of a single man-sized figure, which may perform any action the caster desires. The figure is insubstantial and disappears after a short time. It cannot be harmed, nor can it interact with the environment. (Illusion)


    Spoiler: Kel'Serrar Naya
    Show

    Danann Level 6 Ranger / Level 2 Mesmer
    Stats:
    Combat Skill: 32
    Ballistic Skill: 56
    Strength: 45
    Toughness: 32
    Dexterity: 41
    Agility: 37
    Initiative: 36
    Health: 11/11
    Charisma: 20
    Perception: 50
    Intelligence: 51
    Willpower: 29
    Magic: 4
    Soulfire: 40/40
    Luck: 6/6

    Skills:
    Climbing
    Concealment +20
    Deception +20
    Disguise +20
    Dodge Blow +20
    Healing +20
    Silent Movement +20
    Survival +20
    Swimming +10
    Woodland Senses +20
    Common Knowledge (Wilderness) + 20
    Mesmerisation +10
    Hypnotism +10

    Talents & Traits:
    Danann Senses: Night-Eye and +5 to Perception Checks.
    Quick Reload: Nock and loose an arrow in a single Action.
    Mighty Shot: +1 Critical Damage when using a bow.
    Herblore: +10 to Healing Checks.
    Forest Cloak: +10 to Concealment Checks in the wild.
    Whisper in the Tress: +10 to Silent Movement Checks.
    Secrets of the Ancient Archers: +1 to Cast Arcane Archer Spells.
    Might of the Ancient Archers: +3 to Cast Arcane Archer Spells.
    Aimed Shot: Sacrifice an Action for +10 To Hit with a ranged attack.
    Cool-Headed: Re-roll a single Intelligence Check per day.
    Eagle-Eye: +3 Damage for Aimed Shots.
    Powerful Shot: Adds the first digit of Strength to ranged damage.
    Witchflame: +10% To Hit with the Flaming Arrow Spell.
    Precise Shot: Adds the first digit of Perception to ranged damage. May also make a called shot with no penalties.
    Skillful Shot: Adds the first digit of Ballistic Skill to ranged damage.
    Masterful Shot: Combines Skillful, Precise and Powerful Shot Talents. They do not stack normally.
    Improved Alter Self: May alter the apparent race of the target of Mesmer disguise spells.

    Equipment:
    Weapons -
    Longbow (Common)
    Longknife (Common)
    Quiver with 38 arrows (Common)
    Arming sword (High)
    Hunting bow (High)
    Armour -
    Leather bracers (Common)
    Leather jerkin (Common)
    Leather boots (Common)
    Miscellaneous - (All stored in a backpack, save the tent which is usually left on the party's cart and the Ring of True-Sight which he wears on his left hand.)
    Tent
    Rations
    Compass
    Writing implements (Stolen from Tremor)
    Silver ring
    Golden ring enscribed with Runes of True Sight (The One Ring)
    20ft of rope
    5 arrowheads
    Winter clothing with white cloak

    Magic:
    Flaming Arrow - Arrow causes Fire Damage and can used as a lightsource. (Arcane Archery)
    Patriot Arrow - Auto-Hit. (Arcane Archery)
    Starlight - Creates soft glow of visibility around the character.
    Alter Self - Alters the caster's appearance. (Illusion)
    Deceptive Façade - The same as Alter Self, save on a target within touch.
    Phantom Noise - Creates a single noise from a specific location. May duplicate two syllables of speech. (Illusion)


    Spoiler: Tremor Ironfist
    Show

    Dwergar Level 7 Engineer / Level 1 Necromancer
    Stats:
    Combat Skill: 32
    Ballistic Skill: 22
    Strength: 30
    Toughness: 48
    Dexterity: 33
    Agility: 34
    Initiative: 36
    Health: 16/20
    Charisma: 21
    Perception: 34
    Intelligence: 40
    Willpower: 41
    Magic Level: 2
    Luck: 6/6

    Skills:
    Climbing
    Command
    Concealment +10
    Disguise
    Dodge Blow +10
    Evaluation
    Gambling +10
    Haggling +10
    Intimidation +10
    Silent Movement
    Survival
    Invention +20
    Alchemy
    Craft (Wood) +10
    Runesmithing +10
    Craft (Metal)
    Common Knowledge (Herblore)
    Raise Dead +10
    Common Knowledge (Necromancy)
    Common Knowledge (Black Magic)

    Talents & Traits:
    Craft Master: +10 to Evaluation Checks.
    Innovative: +10 to Invention Checks.
    Stout-Hearted: Re-roll Fear Checks.
    Cold of the North: Re-roll Strength reduction Checks due to cold.
    Bloodrage: Can go beserk.
    Expert Driver: +10 to Drive Checks
    Metalworker: +10 to Metalwork Checks
    Woodcrafter: +10 to Woodwork Checks

    Equipment:
    Weapons -
    Hammer (Improvised)
    Hatchet (Common)
    Greatsword (Common) Enscribed with the Rune of Silver Arrows
    Wooden roundshield (Common)
    Spear (Common)
    Iron dagger (Common)
    Crossbow (Common) with 15 bolts
    Windrider Axe (Masterwork) Enscribed with Runes of Flaming Ruin
    Steel heater shield (Masterwork) Enscribed with Runes of Warding
    Armour -
    Steel wolf-skull helm (High)
    Chain hauberk (Common)
    Leather bracers (Common)
    Leather jerkin (Common)
    Miscellaneous - (All stored in a backpack, save the tent which is usually left on the party's cart.)
    Universal Key
    Saw
    Nails
    Tent
    Rations
    2 vials of healing salve
    1 vial of pain-killing draught
    1 vial of pain-inflicting draught
    1 vial of paralysing venom
    Silver whistle
    Pipe and weed
    Writing implements
    Summoning coin (Uncharged)
    Amulet (Luck enchantment)
    Blueprint - Mechanical falcon
    Blueprint - Universal key
    Blueprint - Otherworld Runes
    1 Deadstone (Uncharged)
    Winter clothing

    Ingir's Journals: +10 to Metalworking
    Cune's Folio: Unknown
    Hossimmo's Daemonic Manual: Unknown
    Scroll Crafting: Allows scroll making as a skill.
    Apocrypha of Ribha: Unknown
    5 Unidentified Scrolls
    Codex of Blood: Unknown
    Manuscripts of Odon: Unknown

    Magic:
    Withering Touch: Reduces the Toughness of a single target within touch. (Necromancy)
    Corpse Bomb: All corpses within 18 yards explode. (Necromancy)


    Spoiler: Aeva Nordur-Vatn
    Show

    Selkye Level 5 Druid / Level 2 Mesmer
    Stats:
    Combat Skill: 21
    Ballistic Skill: 34
    Strength: 29
    Toughness: 52
    Dexterity: 30
    Agility: 26
    Initiative: 22
    Health: 10/10
    Charisma: 57
    Perception: 29
    Intelligence: 51
    Willpower: 55
    Magic: 4
    Soulfire: 40/40
    Luck: 4/6

    Skills:
    Animal Care
    Charm
    Deception
    Disguise
    Dodge Blow
    Healing +10
    Intimidation
    Search
    Survival
    Common Knowledge (Wilderness)
    Common Knowledge (Spirits)
    Wildform (Small) + 10
    Wildform (Medium)

    Talents & Traits:
    Cold of the North: Re-roll Strength reduction Checks due to cold.
    Herblore: +10 to Healing Checks.
    Magic Mask: +10 to Deception Checks.
    Life on the Waves: +5 to Swimming and Rowing and +10 to Fishing
    Beast Tongue: Communication with animals.

    Equipment:
    Weapons -
    Longspear (High) Enscribed with Runes of Leeching
    Bone knife (Common)
    Recurve bow (Common)
    Quiver with 38 arrows (Common)
    Hunting spear (Common)
    4 throwing daggers (Common)
    Armour -
    Leather bracers (Common)
    Thick fur coat (Common)
    Hide jerkin (Common)
    Leather greaves (Common)
    Miscellaneous - (All stored in a backpack, save the tent which is usually left on the party's cart and the animal bits which are worn on her belt)
    Tent
    Rations
    Compass
    Linen bandages
    Writing implements (Stolen from Tremor)
    5ft of rope
    7 dyes of different colours and needle and thread

    Thick leather belt (+5 Initiative)
    Rabbit foot
    Fox paw
    Cat paw
    Hawk feather

    Magic:
    Alter Self - Alters the caster's appearance. (Illusion)
    Create Element - Small amount of fire, water, wind or electricity.
    Magic Snare - Wards an area, rendering any who walk into it immobile and helpless. (Protection)
    Whispering Wind - A slight gust of wind carries a short message to a target. (Weathermancy)
    Blinding Light - A surge of light which blinds those in the target area. (Illusion)
    Illusory Pit - Creates an illusion of a giant hole in the ground, along with inducing the sensation of falling to those caught within it. (Illusion)


    Spoiler: Therressa Bannimagen
    Show

    Invarrian Level 7 Warrior
    Stats:
    Combat Skill: 34
    Ballistic Skill: 23
    Strength: 39
    Toughness: 31
    Dexterity: 26
    Agility: 27
    Initiative: 23
    Health: 28/28
    Charisma: 21
    Perception: 29
    Intelligence: 35
    Willpower: 29
    Luck: 6/6

    Skills:
    Animal Care +10
    Charm
    Dodge Blow +10
    Gambling
    Healing +10
    Riding +10
    Silent Movement
    Survival
    Swimming

    Talents & Traits:
    Suave: A single re-roll to Charm and Haggling per session.
    Reaver: +5 to Navigation and Sailing Checks.
    Invarrian Senses: +10 to Perception Checks.
    Cold of the North: Re-roll Strength reduction Checks due to cold.
    Survivor: On a successful Toughness Check, at the end of a combat regain +1 Health
    Fear Me: -10 to enemy Morale Checks.
    Let's Get 'Em: +5% To Hit in Close Combat and +5% to allied Morale Checks.
    Cunning Warrior: +10 to Parrying.

    Equipment:
    Weapons -
    Arming sword (Common)
    Wooden round shield (Common)
    Skinning knife (Improvised)
    Dagger (Common)
    Armour -
    Leather jacket (Common)
    Leather bracers (Common)
    Miscellaneous - (All stored in a backpack, save the tent which is usually left on the party's cart.)
    Tent
    Tinderbox
    Rope - 12 feet
    Torch
    Rations
    Compass
    2x winter clothing
    Wineskin
    Map of Norbayne
    Winter clothing with heavy winter cloak
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  14. - Top - End - #164
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Just a quick update,

    We are due to play on the 2nd of August, hopefully another all-day session. Delphi will be joining us, Opal most likely not. The session is likely to be marked by the emergence of a few secrets that we didn't know about the cast of characters.

    I am also over three hours and 10,000 words into the write-up for 4.4. It has been suggested to me that I may need to stagger the posts over a couple of days so we don't overload you guys.

    So stay tuned for Session 4.4: When the Bat-**** Insanity Hits the Fan: In which our heroes storm fortresses, cause havoc and bury an underground city in guano...
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  15. - Top - End - #165
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Session 4.4 (a): When the Bat-**** Insanity Hits the Fan

    “The masters of the Icebays, the Selkye are an incredible people, capable of surviving in some of the harshest conditions imaginable.

    The Aett’kviss Nordur-Vatn, or the Tribe of the Northern Waters, are typical of the Selkye as a whole. Ruled over by a caste of priestesses, the Aett’kviss Nordur-Vatn make their home on the eastern-most Icebay. They worship a pantheon of animal spirits, much like the other Selkye tribes, the priestesses often spending many nights at a time out in the wilderness in the shape of the spirit they wish to contact, seeking wisdom from the creatures which roam the tundra.

    The Selkye are renowned as skilled hunters and fishermen, and those of the Nordur-Vatn are no exception, bravely rowing out into the deep, black sea to hunt the massive whales which make their home beneath the waves.

    The Aett’kviss Nordur-Vatn have a rich tapestry of legends which are passed in an oral tradition from generation to generation. These range from tales of horrifying creatures from the icy depths of the ocean which seek to cover the world in dead, grey, water, through to the legends of the mischievous Fox, an animal spirit considered to be an ill omen…”
    - From A Treatise on the Aett’kviss Nordur-Vatn.

    Welcome to Session 4.4.

    We had a short delay on starting as I engaged in a spot of ego-stroking. I just had to show off just how many readers we have. Naturally of course, the effect was spoiled by the fact that I had to spend over five minutes trying to bring it up.

    The players started to build towers out of D10’s at some point. Ladyhawk’s was particularly impressive, 9 tall.

    Anyway, with that out of the way, we got on with it.


    The companions spend the next two days in the camp of the Resistance, which has been thrown into a little bit of unrest by the arrival of their rightful king. On the advice of Harrick Stonehammer, the old Dwergar godsman who first met them when they arrived, the companions have sequestered themselves away from prying eyes until a council meeting can be convened to determine Tremor’s motives and the Resistance’s stance towards him. They are joined in this by Aeva of the Aett’kviss Nordur-Vatn, a Selkye woman from the Icebays of Norbayne.

    Allow me to introduce our newest player, Delphoxie and her character, Aeva of the Northern Waters. Aeva is a quiet and rather eccentric young woman. She is primarily a Druid, but is multi-classed to Mesmer.

    And she turns out to be very useful.


    The camp has been pitched in and around an ancient settlement, set into the walls of a secluded valley. Many of the dwellings and chambers have been reclaimed by the Resistance, one of which has been given to the companions for their usage before the council meets. A wooden palisade has been set up at the mouth of the valley which is really a last line of defence.

    As to the members of the Resistance, most are Dwergar, but some are Northmenn. The two races tend to keep to themselves. As a fellow outsider, Aeva gravitates towards the companions, but does not share what led to her presence in Nordtarnet.

    When the companions leave the safety of their dwelling, they often notice forbidding stares and black looks from many of the populace. Of course many of these people are still struggling with the upheaval which has just taken place in their lives. Naturally, the companions therefore stay indoors as much as possible.

    The companions spend their first few days amongst the Resistance resupplying. Harold sees to his equipment, spending a few coppers on upkeep. He and Breanna also take some time to continue bonding with Wolfgang and Bach, hoping that the marcwolves might soon be able to contribute in combat. Maebh, Kel’Serrar and Aeva spend their time listening to the rumours and general chatter of the peoples of the Resistance. Much of the information detailed below is due to their investigations. Tremor is reunited with Barandin, who counsels the companions to caution, at least until the council meeting. They spend much time deep in private conversation.

    To the Resistance, the companions are basically Tremor’s retinue, with Tremor in command. To the Dwergar, political little bastards that they are, it is unfathomable that he might not be in charge. After all, the Dwergar exist to rise to the top.
    “Well they do start at the very bottom.” – Dev, making short jokes.

    There are four main powerbrokers in the Resistance.

    The first, Ersun Blackbear:
    - Dwergar, grim, scarred and heavily built with a thick black beard.
    - The last of his line, ancestral rulers of Valewatch, the keep in the Valleywood.
    - He was the first to rise up against Bain Ironfist, but Valewatch was stormed and he was captured. His wife and sons were put to death in front of him as a warning and Ersun was exiled as Bain, “Would not take the life of a noble lord.”
    - Is likely to leave the Resistance if Valewatch is retaken. Valewatch is his stake. If they get it back, he’s got what he wants and is probably out.

    The second, Freida Grimstone:
    - Dwergar, short and fair-haired.
    - Her father, lord Mordin Grimstone is held prisoner in The Crag.
    - The Grimstones ruled The Crag until the rise of Bain Ironfist, who granted ownership of the keep to Orrin Windrider. The Windriders took over in a single night, Mordin was imprisoned and most of the Grimstone household slain.
    - Freida seems mainly motivated by vengeance. She wants Bain dead more than anything else, or so it appears.

    The third, Arald Redclay:
    - Northmann, tall, dark haired.
    - Elder brother of Theyne Balof Redclay of Lord’s Ridge, the family came to prominence due to high quality pottery.
    - When Bain Ironfist came to power, Balof took the opportunity to murder his father and run his elder brother Arald out of town.
    - Easy enough to depose when Arald is not a people person, being far more concerned with numbers and money.

    The fourth, Harrick Stonehammer:
    - Dwergar, elderly, grey haired and heavily built.
    - Godsman of Nordtarnet Keep, essentially the most senior priest.
    - When Godric Ironfist died, Harrick asked that Tremor be found to contest the succession.
    - Bain didn’t like this and tried to have the old godsman executed, but Harrick managed to escape, stripped of office.
    - It is rumoured though, that this escape was due to him using his brother as a decoy…
    - Of all the powerbrokers, Harrick seems to be the most patriotic. It would appear that he just wants his position back.

    The companions are invited to attend a council meeting in the evening, seeing as the meeting is intended to sort out what to do about Tremor. And so it is that the companions, plus Aeva, are having a quick chat in the afternoon before the meeting, discussing just what they know of the powerbrokers, and how to approach them. The mood is subdued, except Breanna, who is her usual cheerful self, rolling around with Bach and Wolfgang on the floor.
    “In my opinion, Redclay and Stonehammer are the two we are not really sure of. Blackbear has defined goal.” – Kel’Serrar, lounging in an armchair. His features change subtly every few seconds, which is disconcerting at first, but they’re all used to it by now.
    “Yeah, Ersun just wants Valewatch. That much is clear.” – Tremor, sitting at the dining table with a tankard of mead.
    “Freida Grimstone, that’s just about vengeance apparently.” – Kel’Serrar.
    “Also clear cut.” – Aeva, fiddling with the animal bits hanging from her belt.
    “Arald Redclay…” – Tremor, knocking back his mead.
    “His cards are far too close to his chest to tell.” – Kel’Serrar.
    “You probably won’t have time to speak to more than two of them…” – Harold, sitting in the corner, sharpening a blade.
    “Okay, well then I shall have to find Stonehammer and Redclay and find out what they want, but without asking them. That would be suspicious.” – Tremor, finishing his drink.
    “I’m going to go out too and see if I can find out anything more.” – Kel’Serrar, getting up.
    “I’ll come too.” – Maebh, eager to get out of the enclosed room.

    Tremor leaves the rest of his companions in their abode and heads off to meet with Harrick Stonehammer first, the godsman being the most ambiguous figure as far as the companions are concerned.

    A bit like Yoda, the players sense that the grey-bearded Harrick, who hobbles around on a cane might be a case of disability fraud. He looks like a man who has been forced out of a sedentary life very swiftly, and is too old to adapt comfortably. That being said, he is probably a lot stronger than he looks.

    Tremor finds the white robed godsman in a reclaimed dwelling built into the valley walls. Harrick invites him in to speak and the two sit down at a small stone table. A young dwarf sets down two tankards of ale and leaves the room.
    “So what can I do for you?” – Harrick Stonehammer, setting his cane against the table. A golden medallion, the symbol of his office,hangs around his neck and gleams in the firelight emanating from the hearth.
    “Firstly, thank you for the ale. Secondly, what can you tell me about the formation of the Resistance?” – Tremor, cutting straight to the point.
    “Well, Ersun Blackbear was the first lord your brother moved against. After he was rooted out of Valewatch, Blackbear took to the forest, trusting to the density of the Valleywood to protect him. From there, your brother’s actions caused many to abandon their homes and join Blackbear in the forest. Of course, those of noble clans didn’t much care to be under Blackbear’s control, and so they declared an alliance rather than vassalage. Blackbear’s troops are outnumbered by the refugees from other keeps, so he had to accept.” – Harrick, providing a political summary.

    “And the last month? What have you been doing?” – Tremor, taking another mouthful of ale.
    “Well we’ve just been surviving. The Sons of Wyre are a large and savage mercenary company who have been smashing their way through these woods to find us. So far the Butcher’s men have been unsuccessful, but it is only a matter of time.” – Harrick, grim.

    “The expense of maintaining such a large mercenary company for such a period of time would be substantial. How is Bain affording it?” – Tremor, pondering.
    “The Blackhand Mines, near The Crag. The silver from those mines is more than enough to pay for their services.” – Harrick.

    “So what is the plan for this meeting tonight?” – Tremor.
    “Well figuring out what to do with you for starters. Half of us want to name you king. The other half wants to murder you!” – Harrick, with a laugh.
    “Great.” – Tremor, finishing his ale.
    “The fact is lad, you were banished on pain of death for murder. Now the truth of that is something I do not particularly need to hear, but that is the fact of the matter at hand. Now you have two options the way I see it.” – Harrick, pausing for a drink.

    “Option number one, you make yourself invaluable to the lords of the Resistance as a general, which I daresay you have the capability to do so. You do that and there is a lesser risk of someone wanting to stab you in the back, although you run a far greater risk of someone ordering you to get stabbed in the front.” – Harrick, who takes another drink and then launches into his second option.

    “Option number two, well that’s the tricky one. Come in and shake things up. Put forward your name as Konungr and do your own little forceful takeover. No one has the power to **** on you from a great height this way, but the downside is that you’ll make enemies doing it, something your dear brother has been learning for a while now.”- Harrick, chuckling before draining the last of his ale.

    “So you’re saying I have a choice in the matter?” – Tremor, standing up to leave.
    “Of course you do lad, and you have maybe an hour to decide which one you’re going with. Now off you go, I have some choices of my own to make.” – Harrick.

    Because this scene only involved one player, I summarised it quite a bit in-session. In hindsight, this was a mistake so I have expanded it to include a monologue from Harrick Stonehammer which was actually delivered by me out of character. Hopefully it will help everyone understand the character just a little better. Unfortunately he came across as pretty bland and generic on the day.

    The pavilion of Arald Redclay is a large and ornate affair, which Tremor approaches in his typically gruff way.
    “Halt! Who seeks audience with Lord Arald Reclay?” – Doorward, a young Northmann clad in a heavy chain hauberk and holding a halberd.
    “Tremor Ironfist, king of these lands. Let me in.” – Tremor.
    “Oh… Well, I guess you can come in then.” – Doorward, totally out of his depth.

    Tremor is let in and his first impression is that the man before him wishes dearly the chair he is seated upon was a throne. Arald Redclay is tall, but has none of the bulk usually associated with Northmenn. He is rakish and dark haired, handsome but darkly so. He gives the surly Dwergar a small smile.
    “Well, Tremor Ironfist… To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?” – Arald Redclay.
    “I need to know where you stand.” – Tremor.
    “I’m sitting at the moment.” – Arald, the cutting response.
    “Oh, so that’s how this is going to be.” – LD, laughing.
    “What would it take to solidify your loyalty to me and the Resistance?” – Tremor, ignoring the jibe.
    Arald is silent for a moment.
    “Look, I want my city back. I want to be in a position that when I get my city back, I won’t be screwed by whoever is in charge and I want to get a good deal out of it.” – Arald, leaning forward.

    “Sounds like a weasel.” – Ladyhawk.
    “How so? He just wants what is rightfully his.” – Dev.
    “He wants a good deal out of it. He wants what is his, and then wants to profit from the war. He’s a weasel.” – Ladyhawk.
    “The way I see it, he wants what is his and he wants to do well out of that. If he wants to deal then he is willing to sacrifice, as long as he gets what he wants.” – Dev.
    “As long as we don’t give him any dirt, that’s all I’m saying.” – Ladyhawk.
    “I’ve got a jar of dirt, I’ve got a jar of dirt, and guess what’s inside it!” – Sins, singsong.


    “If I make a play for The Crag, would you back that?” – Tremor.
    “I would consider it. What would I get out of it?” – Arald.
    “Well once we have The Crag we have a foothold and silver mines. We can use that to-“ – Tremor, to Arald’s wry grin.
    “Ah, now that’s interesting. I want a cut of the mines.” – Arald.
    “Course he does.” – Delphi.
    “Help me get into power and I will see what I can do.” – Tremor.
    “You expect me to hang my support on that? I couldn’t even hang my coat on it. I need something a little more solid than that. The fate of a kingdom and a rebellion hang in the balance and you are going to, ‘See what you can do?’ I don’t think so.” – Arald, laughing blackly.

    “The mines belong to the Grimstones don’t they? Or are they just the mines under The Crag?” – Ladyhawk.
    “The mines under The Crag do belong to the Grimstones, but these particular mines are outside the keep and belong to the Blackhand family, hence the name.”
    “I have an idea. Why not use the mines as incentive for the lords to back you? Split ownership four ways. One part for each of the lords, the last for yourself.” – Dev.
    “That means eradicating the Blackhands.” – Sins.
    “That’s fine.” – Wings.
    “Well ****.” – Ladyhawk.
    “They’ve supported my brother for however long, providing silver for his mercenary armies. I don’t really care if we have to kill them all.” – Wings.
    “Look at it this way though. Blackbear was the first to rise against your brother and he was the lord of an entire keep. He got smashed and his family executed right in front of him. These people are presumably not as powerful as Blackbear, but they don’t want that happening to them. They might not be evil, so to speak, just scared. That’s how regimes like this work.” – Ladyhawk.
    “Fair enough, but it’s not in my race’s nature to think like that, let alone my character’s.” – Wings.


    “You’ll get your cut Redclay. I’ll see you tonight and expect your support.” – Tremor.
    Redclay inclines his head, and the Dwergar is ushered out.

    Kel’Serrar and Maebh don’t exactly find anything else useful, but do enjoy their opportunity to get out from under the stone ceiling. They head back in when Tremor appears and the companions prepare themselves for the council meeting. Barandin comes to collect everyone, his armour polished to a high shine.

    For their part, only Harold and Aeva have changed into gear more befitting the retinue of royalty, although this is probably because they are the only party members with a change of clothes. At least they did take the opportunity to bathe and clean themselves up a bit.

    Before they leave, they have one more chat.
    “So, Tremor, have you given any more thought to how you’re going to approach this? A lot rides on this meeting going smoothly cousin.” – Barandin.
    “Well then, what does everyone think? Assert myself, or be subservient?” – Tremor.
    “If it were me-“ – Maebh.
    “We know what you would do. Anything that moves, you’d fireball it.” – Harold.
    “I would bully them into submission.” – Maebh, ignoring the interruption.
    “Aeva?” – Tremor.
    “I’d assert myself. From what I can tell, dominance is key among your people.” – Aeva.
    “Clan chiefs assassinate officials, kings assassinate clans.” – Kel’Serrar, being all mysterious again.
    “Well it would seem that asserting yourself is the prevailing opinion, but I’m not sure if that’s the best plan just yet. I mean assert yourself to a point, and claim the kingship, but make sure that they know that you’re willing to make compromises to make the rebellion work.” – Harold.
    “You can’t let them walk all over you though.” – Maebh.
    “I’d listen to other people’s opinions though. You can see what they want and act on it.” – Aeva.
    “You can assert yourself without being a **** though, that’s all I’m saying.” – Maebh.
    “Breanna?” – Tremor, who notices the Leathe about to say something.
    “Pretty much what Maebh said. Be assertive, not a ****.” – Breanna.
    “You need to listen to what people have to contribute and then take that on, but the final decision should be yours, because if you let them determine the way all the time then you end up being their hound. And if you are the hound, then we are in serious trouble.” – Maebh.
    “Be assertive, but not necessarily authoritative.” – Kel’Serrar.

    * * *

    Harrick Stonehammer convenes the meeting in a high-ceilinged chamber carved out from within the valley wall. A large stone table takes up the middle of the room. Around it sit the three other lords of the Resistance, with Harrick standing at one end. Behind the lords stand their retinues, bodyguards standing with weapons ready for their lords.

    This leaves a number of spare seats, which Tremor, Maebh and Harold sink into gratefully, the Danann on Tremor’s left and Harold on his right.
    “I’m a noble, **** ‘em.” – Dev.
    “I’m the leader of this party, **** ‘em all.” – Ladyhawk.
    “So three seated, the other three standing?”
    “I’m missing. I’m just part of the crowd…” – Sins, mysteriously.
    “You serious?”
    “Why did you let him get that power? We hate you for it.” – Dev, to me.
    “Because it’s useful.” – Sins.
    “Yeah, but you don’t use the power for what it’s useful for! You just use it to screw with us!” – LD, laughing.
    “That is what it is useful for…” – Sins.

    “Moving on, I’m going to have to introduce you two before they kick you out.” – Wings, to Ladyhawk and Dev.
    “It’s simple, leader of a band of mercenaries and raving lunatic dog-man.” – Sins, gesturing to Ladyhawk and Dev respectively.


    “We need to discuss now where to strike. So far we’ve managed to avoid detection, but our luck cannot hold. We can’t remain on the defensive forever. As most of you know, our scouts do fine work killing any of the forces in the forest who come close to us, but every skirmish we have paints a clearer picture for Bain as to just where we are hiding.

    Our agents are spread across Nordtarnet too. They are few, and only the most canny have survived this long.” – Harrick Stonehammer, addressing the gathering.

    The companions get the feeling that most of that was for their benefit. Stonehammer sits down, and Ersun Blackbear stands and begins pacing around the room.

    “I am descended from the lords of Valewatch, a mighty line which stretches back further than those most of the folk who are in this room. The blood which flows through my veins has ruled the Valleywood since time immemorial. Lord’s Ridge was built when my grandfather ruled in Valewatch. The first Stonehammer was a mason in the employ of my great-great grandfather. By the blood of my ancestors, my blood, have your families been able to prosper, growing rich off the trade of the Iceflow, or leeching gold in taxes from the mines. It is my blood which has been spilt to get this Resistance where it is today! And I request, no, I demand, that I be recompensed for it! Valewatch is mine, and I want it back!” – Ersun Blackbear, impassioned.

    Harrick Stonehammer rolls his eyes. He has heard this before. Freida Grimstone then stands.

    “And have not we sacrificed too? My father, from a line at least as old and storied as your own, languishes in the depths of his own dungeon. A dungeon beneath the most heavily fortified keep in these lands, save perhaps for Nordtarnet Fortress now that Ironfist has been working on it for years. We have bled too, but unlike Valewatch, Ersun, The Crag has a legitimate use for the Resistance as a stronghold. The Crag could weather a storm the likes of which would reduce Valewatch to ash. And that is where we must strike, to retake my home, liberate my father and then use The Crag as our own stronghold, where we need not hide, but instead launch our own attacks. And while we are at it, we’ll kill that bastard, Bain.” – Freida Grimstone.

    Arald Redclay, lounging in his own stone chair does not stand.

    “Naturally, I want my own home back. Lord’s Ridge would be valuable to the Resistance, but I understand that it is not viable as of yet. So therefore, on the condition that Lord’s Ridge will be considered a high priority, I throw my support behind Tremor Ironfist.” – Arald Redclay, with a wry smirk.

    And that sets the crowd muttering. Neither Grimstone nor Blackbear look particularly happy with this turn of events, and all the retinues start to chatter amongst themselves.
    “Traitor to his own kind, turning to a Northmann before his kin.” – One Dwergar near where Kel’Serrar stands disguised, not quite under his breath.
    “How could he trust such a snake to hold to his agreement?” – Another Dwergar near Kel’Serrar.

    “Quiet! Now we come to the other matter we must discuss. What to do, with Tremor Ironfist… In fact, why don’t you speak now Tremor? Lay your case before the council. What would you do if granted the mantle of kingship?” – Harrick Stonehammer.
    “By the blood of my father, I am the rightful heir. I will personally see you all restored to your rightful positions and see that you are well compensated for your losses.” – Tremor.
    This is met with general approval, with Redclay smirking in his chair. Blackbear stands once more, adding all of an inch to his height.
    “But what will you do first? That is all well and good for a long-term plan, but what will you do now?” – Ersun Blackbear.
    “I believe that The Crag should be our first point of attack, to liberate the Blackhand Mines, free Lord Grimstone and most importantly for me, my sister, who is currently there and by reports, being forced into an unwanted marriage. Once we have The Crag and the mines under and around it, we have a stronghold to strike from and access to the river.” – Tremor.

    “That gives us mobility and the choice to be able to go south and strike from the river. We would be able to use the Iceflow to our advantage.” – Harold, who is given stern looks from the gathering.
    “Ironfist, control your servant, please.” – Freida Grimstone.
    “I am no servant! I am Harold Oakenshield, a reaver lord of Varr and a friend and ally of Lord Ironfist here. Do not mistake me for a mere swordbearer.” – Harold, angrily.

    That cows the councillors enough for to allow him to speak, but Blackbear immediately jumps back onto attacking Tremor’s plans.

    “The Crag is the most heavily defended fortress in these lands. How do you plan on taking a fortress built into the side of a mountain with the pathetic force at your disposal? Because I assure you, none of my troops will be joining you on this hare-brained scheme.” – Ersun Blackbear, incredulous.
    “Using the abilities of my companions, I will take it using only a small number of men. We will be able to mount a surprise assault which I believe will be effective in gaining control.” – Tremor.
    Blackbear grumbles and sits back down, for now cowed into submission.

    "I still say that Valewatch should be our first target." - Ersun Blackbear, grumbling to himself.
    "Valewatch will be our second target then. Once taken, you can keep forces coming from Borsa in the west busy while we take Lord's Ridge." - Tremor, suggesting an alternative.
    Blackbear offers no more dissent.

    As an aside, no one has any luck with pronouncing The Crag. The damned thing has around seven different names, including The Craig, which led to a picture of a mountain with a smiley face. LD suggests referring to it as the 'Big C.'

    The council meeting has been a relative success. The companions have hardly made many friends, but at least for now all four lords are willing to work with them. Redclay and Grimstone both stand to directly gain from the immediate course of action and Stonehammer seems happy with the plan for a swift strike. Only Blackbear is put out by it all, but he is mollified for now. Of course part of that is due to him not seeing how Ironfist could be successful in taking The Crag, but obviously he hasn’t dealt with this band of lunatics before, or he would never doubt the outcome.

    Discussion turns to the number and disposition of available troops.

    I will briefly go into numbers here.
    Blackbear - 200 skilled and heavily armed light infantry.
    Grimstone - 300 levied and well-equipped heavy infantry.
    Redclay - 400 levied and poorly equipped peasants and less than 50 archers and hunters.

    The Valewatch dwarves are lightly armoured woodsmen armed with an assortment of axes, spears and swords.
    The Crag dwarves are heavily armoured levies, armed with pikes and shields.
    The Lord's Ridge Northmenn are poorly equipped with spears and shields. The hunters have an assortment of bows, crossbows and knives.

    There are no magic users of note in the Resistance, although Dev does remind everyone that the Mountain Finches can be called upon to provide skilled archers.

    I've condensed most of the planning process here for ease of reading because the conversation was hard enough to follow in person, let alone over the recording.

    Delphi pointed out her ability to talk to animals, which led to discussing the weaponisation of the ability. As The Crag is within a mountain, that restricts the possible animals, but in the end that doesn't end up affecting Delphi's plan negatively...


    The plan Tremor outlines meets with approving nods. There is a definite lack of belief around the table, but none are willing to gainsay the impassioned Tremor.

    * * *

    I’m going to try something new with this battle. Because it is such a huge set-piece battle, I’m going to include somewhat of a later historian’s account. Let me know what you think.

    Spoiler: Map of The Crag’s ground level
    Show


    “It is the Thirteenth day of Sevenmonth,1648 CE when the party of Andin Grey-Hammer, a minor noble of Nordtarnet, entered The Crag through the southern gate. Though unnoticed on the day, a kite-hawk flew overhead through the great doors too. This would prove significant in the days to come…”
    - From The Definitive Guide to the Ironfist Conflict

    Upon entering the mountain fortress, Aeva swiftly finds that flying underground with no thermals is very tiring and lands somewhere inconspicuous. Moments later, a small black and white cat with piercing blue eyes emerges from the shadows, heading directly for the barracks.

    “The garrison of The Crag was made up of approximately 2000 heavy infantry, loyal to the Bloodaxe and Windrider clans. These troops were very well-equipped, but unlike the usual standing forces of The Crag, not especially experienced. This is due to Bain Ironfist calling upon the mountain fortress to provide forces to put down a small insurrection in the south and further fortify Nordtarnet Fortress.

    This led to a drafting of troops in The Crag, which resulted in a large number of inexperienced soldiers guarding the fortress at the time of the battle…”

    - From The Definitive Guide to the Ironfist Conflict

    Spoiler: Bat-**** Insanity
    Show
    “And how many of them can we make deathly ill in three days?” – Wings.
    “How are you planning on making them ill?”
    “Really, really, really bad Heal Checks.” – Sins.
    “Poison sumac, right?”
    “No, apparently that has a chance to heal them, and we can’t have that. No I expect Delphi can find some way to poison them.” – Wings.
    “Rats, bats and automobiles. Just plague proportions.” – Delphi.
    “She could keep releasing their pigs too. Make them tired from chasing the pigs and rats and stuff.” – Dev.
    “What, and annoy them into leaving the fortress?” – Ladyhawk.
    “It could work.” – Sins.
    “I don’t care really, however she sees fit.” – Wings.
    “With her boundless creativity.”
    “Fear me, and my pigs. Fear me! I’m really scary.” – Delphi, almost pleadingly to Sins.

    “Basically anything which disables as many guards as possible, bats dropping **** on them...” – Wings.
    “Dropping **** on the guards? Sure, that’s annoying. You guys went from full-on Mission Impossible style siege to just having bats **** on everything.”
    “Well guano is quite acidic.” – Wings.
    “Yeah, bat-**** insane is a decent descriptor of this plan.”
    “In our defence, they will not be expecting it.” – Delphi.
    “No, no they won’t. Because how do you expect your day to come to this?”
    “So we give them three days of that and then proceed with the plan.” – Wings, cheerful.
    “Oh lord, give us thy guano.” – Sins.
    “And The Lord did grin, and the people did bathe in bat ****.” – Quoting Monty Python.


    “The Crag is an underground fortress of three habitable levels, built into the very rock of the Blackspine Mountains. Alongside the Iceflow River and beneath the edge of the mountain, sits the dock and a thriving market district. A short, beautifully carved tunnel leads to the city proper, a craftsman’s district and packed residential area and wide main streets, all of which lead a courtyard of white marble. In the centre of the courtyard sits a running fountain, a wonder of architecture fed by the Iceflow River. Before the fountain lies the palace of the Windriders, a massive structure, heavily fortified and draped with the black banners of the Windrider clan. The palace is so large it spans the habitable levels of the fortress.

    Beneath it all lay the Grimstone Mines, a winding labyrinth, the supports in some places centuries old. The main products of the mines are silver, copper and iron, but the volcanic nature of the Blackspine Mountains have led to the discovery of diamonds deep in the rock.

    The gates, though heavily fortified and solid stone, reinforced with iron, are not defended by siege weapons. This however is due to the fact that they are not required. The construction of the walls was devised in such a way as to prevent any from storming the walls, with only a slit high enough for a crossbowman on the ramparts to aim at approaching enemies. This also affords practical invulnerability to conventional ranged weaponry to the wall’s defenders.

    The only way in would be to break the gates, thick stone which is operated by an ingenious device utilising the power of the Iceflow River itself. In previous times of strife, those inside would simply shut the gates and let the harsh conditions of the Blackspine defeat the besieging force for them. The proximity of the Iceflow River precludes any attempts to starve the defenders out, and the wealth of the rulers of The Crag allowed them to buy off any credible threats if necessary.

    Until 1648, The Crag had never been in serious danger of being taken…”

    - From The Wayfarer’s Companion: The Crag
    “We are screwed… Let’s just get on with the plan…” – Dev.
    “This is not a plan, this is a bat-astrophe.” – Sins.


    Aeva, the small black and white cat, snoops around the city for the afternoon, taking in all the information she can on troop numbers and deployments, defences, alarm systems and strategic targets. All the while, a plan is formulating in her mind…

    “As an underground fortress, the risk of cave-ins and other dangerous events was very high, despite the meticulous attention to detail of Dwergar craftsmen and miners. Small silver bells on iron posts lined the main streets, to be rung in times of emergency. This would attract runners to the site, who would take a message to the appropriate authorities, be that the guards or commander of the fortress…”
    - From The Definitive Guide to the Ironfist Conflict

    Breanna
    Meanwhile, miles away, Breanna Blackrose has been engaged in soliciting aid from the Mountain Finches. They send her what few troops they can afford, what with the Sons of Wyre attacking them. Forty Leathe archers join the Resistance, to be led by Maebh Preachain-Eite in the siege.

    Breanna notes that while the chief, Caober Snowtail is happy to lend the aid of his warriors, his brother, the shaman, Merrt, is less keen. He stands, scowling unpleasantly through the proceedings, and offers only the barest civility to Breanna throughout.
    “Bitch please, I’m a psychotic, knife-wielding, daemon-strangling, magic-casting sociopath with a pet wolf. I will murder you.” – LD, summing up Breanna pretty well.

    Aeva
    The small cat enters the mines beneath The Crag, searching for a colony of bats. Upon finding them, she implores them to do her bidding.

    And she is successful…
    “To give everyone an idea of what just happened here-“
    “You convince them to do your dirty business.” – Wings, to Delphi.
    “A cute little black and white cat nonchalantly strolls through the underground fortress and mines, eventually coming to a massive cavern. Hanging from the ceiling are some gigantic bats, some with a wingspan of more than six feet… ‘Mraow!’ And the human part of your mind can understand it to some extent, and basically the bats are saying, ‘But it’s still day time, don’t get me up!’ but you persevere, and eventually through your cat-speak, and I can’t believe the words are coming out of me mouth.”
    “Just imagine writing this later.” – LD, gleefully.
    “I know, but I already managed the anthropomorphic turnip without throwing the computer away in disgust. How bad can this get?” – In hindsight, I shouldn’t have said this. Sins and Delphi took it as a challenge.


    A storm of bats leave their cavern, ripping up into the upper levels of The Craig, The Creg, The Big C, and they let the Big C fly. They just let it rip.
    “Essentially carpet-bombing the city?” – Wings.
    It is indiscriminate fire, and it gets everywhere.
    As an aside have you ever tried to get bat-**** off something, like your car? It’s awful, the stuff is stuck on there for weeks no matter how hard you try, and leaves a nasty orange kind of stain.
    “So basically the cat went in, asked for help and the bats went, ‘Well, ****, eh?’” – Sins.
    “Look at this, Delphi has been here for one session and the campaign’s already gone to ****.”
    “Fear me, I’m scary!” – Delphi, who is starting to warrant the fear.
    “Isn’t guano flammable?” – Dev.
    “Now I know most crap is, but I’m not sure. It’s worth having a look.” – Looking up the flammability of guano on Google.
    “What I love about this, is that now guano is in his search history.” – Sins.
    “Well, would you look at that, guano was used historically in explosives due to its high nitrogen content.”
    And so originated the plan to blow up parts of the city with fire and guano.


    The cat wanders off with a smug little grin on her furry face, job done for the night. After all, she’s managed to convince the bats to continue their strafing run every night. The bats return to their roost, considerably lighter. Aeva has been so successful, that the bats may even continue their mission after the next three nights, as they actually rather enjoyed it.

    So now The Crag is covered in ****, and explosive **** at that.

    Back soon guys,
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2015-08-09 at 11:08 PM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  16. - Top - End - #166
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    And here we are again.

    “Thanks to the unorthodox tactics of The Resistance, the defenders of The Crag found themselves in a poor position to combat the coming siege…”
    - From The Definitive Guide to the Ironfist Conflict
    “Have we forced the surrender yet? Can we rock up to the gates, ‘Do you want the **** to stop?’ ‘Yes!’ ‘Then open your gates and surrender!’” – Dev.
    “We will turn your water to blood and your skies to ****.”
    “This got really out of hand, really quickly…” – Delphi.
    “This is a high level campaign now…”
    “I don’t think the problem here is what is coming out of hand, but rather what is coming out of other places…” – Sins.


    “The plans of the Resistance required the presence of a handful of insurgents already on the inside by the time of the storm …”
    - From The Definitive Guide to the Ironfist Conflict

    Kel’Serrar is able to change the appearance of Tremor, Breanna and a few Resistance fighters, getting them into the city as part of a refugee party. The disguise only lasts a few hours, but that is all that is needed for the two companions and their small party of dwarves to get in. Once inside, Tremor and Breanna focus on just staying out of sight. They are joined shortly by Aeva, who tracks them down by scent. She then changes her form into the shape of a hawk and sits upon Tremor’s shoulder.

    Then they wait for the dawn of the third day, the time that the assault is scheduled to begin.

    * * *

    “Historians disagree on just what caused the devastation at the West Gate of The Crag on the morning of the Seventeenth day of Sevenmonth. Eyewitness accounts from the battle there, report a single mage raining death and destruction, while others suggest a small force of elite archers laid waste to the fortifications. Naturally these reports must be taken with some degree of scepticism, as the damage wrought upon the West Gate appears far too extensive to be the work of a single mage…”
    - From The Definitive Guide to the Ironfist Conflict

    A single figure, clad in grey wool and brown leathers, a black wolf-fur coat and a deep hood shrouding her features approaches the West Gate, nothing but a spear in hand.
    “Halt! Who goes there!?” – Commander of the West Gate.
    Above, the grey sky darkens, storm clouds scudding across the dawn.
    And the hidden Mountain Finch archers take that opportunity to loose their arrows.

    That first volley of arrows is terrifying to the inexperienced troops defending The Crag and they take cover as quickly as they can from their unseen assailants. The rock walls of the mountain fortress afford them great protection, and only very few arrows find their target from such range.

    But that wasn’t the goal of the volley.

    As soon as the last arrow pings off the stone, Maebh hurls a golden lightning bolt from the sky, pounding the entire mountain with her fury. And this continues for an entire hour, over ninety bolts of lightning smashing the western walls with the force of a god. Between each lightning bolt, the Leathe archers, which have run much closer to the walls, shoot at any guard who raises their head above the parapet.

    After an hour of this, the gates are a blackened and cracked mess, the heat of the constant lightning bolts having melted the very rock in places. Some few lightning bolts were directed at the gap in the wall, frying any guards there. Burnt and crispy bodies are strewn across the top of the wall, lying atop shattered stone. By the end of the hour, all the surviving guards have left the immediate area.
    “Those guardsmen were just trying to feed their families! How do you feel now?” – Dev, trying to make Ladyhawk feel bad.
    “Hehehehe” – Ladyhawk, chuckling.
    “She feels like frying a few more and their families.” – LD.


    The silver bells are not rung, but then the golden lightning storm raging outside for an hour is hard to miss.

    No casualties are recorded by the Resistance among the Mountain Finches. They help the drained Maebh away from the field to rest.

    * * *

    “The constant warfare to the south and skirmishes and raids in the Valleywood and the foothills of the Blackspine led to a constant influx of refugees into The Crag. Tremor Ironfist’s insurgents used this to their advantage, hiding amongst the refugees and taking shelter in one of the hastily erected shacks in the refugee districts…”
    - From The Definitive Guide to the Ironfist Conflict

    Breanna, Tremor and Aeva:
    Outside the little shack the companions have taken over for their own personal use, a runner can be seen. He is clad in very light clothing, despite the chilly weather, and is easy to tell apart from the crowd by both his blue uniform and his short, trimmed beard. He stops at a bell and rings it quickly before running on again.

    “As soon as he reaches the Palace, he’s going to blow the Great Horn. And once that happens, the garrison will be in full force.” – Tremor.
    “So, we need to take him out?” – Breanna, readying her knives.
    “No, we want them leaving the barracks and South Gate as much as possible. Maebh’s attack is only a diversion. No, we just need to delay him while we cut down the bells.” – Tremor.

    “I could swoop him, and dent his skull. Ca-caw!” – Delphi.
    “Bird Attack Simulator…” – Dev.
    “I’d buy that.” – It’s true, I certainly would.
    “I should have picked goat as one of my animals.” – Delphi.
    “I want the Goat Simulator too.” – Again, the truth.
    “I have it on Steam. It’s greatly entertaining, but after a couple of hours your start to question what you’re doing with your life.” – Delphi.

    “Anyway, back to the runner, what are you going to do?”
    “… I’m going to poop on him.” – Delphi.
    “Yeah?”
    “Why not?” – Delphi.
    “Why not indeed. Okay, Ballistic Skill Check, see if you hit.”
    “You’re going to have her roll for this?” – Dev, astonished.
    “Of course, have to see if she hits. It’s not easy. Seagulls get a bonus.”
    “What about pigeons?” – Dev.
    “Rapid fire, you get two shots.”


    A strange kite-hawk flies overhead, the shadow (Don’t forget those windows in the mountain letting air and light in. See, not an error!) of which passes over the runner’s head. He looks up.

    That was his first mistake. The poor dwarf had already lost a hand in a torch and guano-fuelled explosion, and now has to struggle to wipe the raptor excrement from his face. He gags and retches, before continuing his trip.

    Trying to keep out of sight, the insurgents break cover, sprinting up and down the main streets and cutting the clappers from the bells. Tremor and Breanna observe the process, swiftly joined by Aeva who takes her now customary position, perched on Tremor’s shoulder.

    And then they hear the horn-blast, three great long notes which ring throughout the mountain, calling the garrison to muster at the West Gate. Within minutes, guards are stirring in the barracks, forming up on the main street and in the courtyard just inside the South Gate.

    To get to the West Gate, those troops must pass the insurgents on the road, catching them in the act of cutting down the last of the bells. Over two hundred heavy infantry are now converging on the approximately thirty insurgents, the others making for the West Gate as fast as they can.
    “What are you fellows doing?” – A guardsman.
    One of Tremor’s dwarves takes the initiative and knifes him before his shouting draws more attention, but it is too late. Too many have seen the insurgents at their clandestine work.
    “Aeva, I need you to tell Harold and Kel to be ready.” – Tremor, quietly to Aeva.
    The kite-hawk takes to the air and perches on the roof of a house overlooking the battle at the gate as Tremor and Breanna wade into the scrape.
    “You two need to be ready. We’re in the process of clearing you a path, but things are getting a bit bloody in here.” – Aeva’s Whispering Wind to Harold and Kel’Serrar.

    Harold and Kel’Serrar:
    “Can you see any crossbowmen or bolt throwers on the walls?” – Harold, to Kel’Serrar.
    The two companions stand side by side outside the South Gate, at the head of a force three hundred strong, made up of dwarves loyal to Freida Grimstone and Northmenn loyal to Arald Redclay.
    “No, there doesn’t look like there’s anyone up there anymore.” – Kel’Serrar. Truly, the guards on the South Wall left it when the Great Horn rang.
    “Let’s look at scaling it then, if we can.” – Harold, hoping his forces can squeeze their way through the tiny gap at the top of the wall.
    “We have so many dwarves, are you sure we can’t just throw them at the gates until they crack open?” – Dev.
    “These gates make Minas Tirith’s look like papier-mache.”
    “You underestimate the number of dwarves we have.” – Sins.


    Breanna, Tremor and Aeva:
    Breanna darts through the fray, knives flashing. She takes three guards down in a matter of seconds and Tremor follows her, putting down another two. Aeva flies down once more, perching on Tremor’s shoulder and hits a half-score of the guards with a snare.
    “I’ve only got them for a few moments.” – Aeva, straining with the effort.
    Naturally, one second Breanna stands beside Tremor, grinning at the carnage. The next, she is happily dancing through her helpless foes. Nine guards fall, lifeless, to the ground, leaving only one for Tremor to cut down.

    The other insurgents take heart at this and surge forward, hacking and stabbing at the bewildered guards. Almost fifty of the defenders have died in the last minute, the companions and their strike force having taken a horrible toll in lives.
    “Caw caw mother****ers.” – Delphi.
    Aeva unleashes another blast of paralysing magic, catching another half-score in the snare, which Breanna butchers mercilessly. A handful of the insurgents dart into the gatehouse to open the gates for Harold and Kel’Serrar outside, while the rest hold off the rest of the guards with Tremor, Breanna and Aeva.

    Harold and Kel’Serrar:
    Observing the efforts of the erstwhile climbers gives the two companions a bit of a laugh. Of the many grappling hooks which are thrown, only a small handful manages to cling to the ramparts. By the time the ropes are secured and the climbers ready to ascend, the great gates have begun to slowly grind open. Most of the troops drop the ropes, readying themselves to charge into The Crag and the teeth of their enemy, although two dwarves stubbornly decide that they are halfway up, they might as well continue, and keep climbing.

    Spoiler: The Fate of the Two Climbers:
    Show
    Those two climbers are never seen again. Being Dwergar, it is most likely that their rivals scaled the wall from the inside and cut the ropes as they were climbing to the top. But no one will ever know, and it is not particularly important to our tale.


    The arrival of the Grimstone and Redclay reinforcements under Harold and Kel’Serrar break the defenders and they flee to the east, to the docks. Unfortunately, at least half of the original insurgents have fallen.

    Tremor wanders from corpse to corpse, imbuing a handful of them with unholy life. The undead creatures gather up body parts left over from Breanna’s rampage, creating a small menagerie of awful, awful creations, a hand with only a head attached here, a torso with two sets of arms and a partially severed head there. All of them clearly want to eat Tremor and his friends, but they are too firmly bound by the engineer’s will. He directs them after the fleeing guards and towards the tunnel leading to the docks, stalking after them with a horrified, but intrigued, Aeva on his shoulder.

    The Dwergar of the Resistance generally turn a blind eye to the desecration of dwarf-kind Tremor is perpetrating here. As it happens, Dwergar aren’t really against Black Magic, not like Midlanders are for instance. It just makes you a bit like Uncle Mort. Redclay’s Northmenn are horrified, but no one really cares about them anyway, right?

    Breanna, Harold and Tremor:
    The three companions, after watching Tremor stalk away with his vile creations, decide to take advantage of the guano everywhere, particularly its explosive potential. They head directly to the richest houses they can find, a district just outside the Windrider Palace. And then they do their best to level the place, cracking stone buildings with exploding bat-****.
    Spoiler: The Physics of Explosive Guano:
    Show

    Now I know, I know, this is not really how guano works, but they were having such fun that I figured that Norbayne bats are special, particularly these giant species. For starters, we are talking a much large amount per dropping thanks to the creatures’ sheer size. The guano is in concentrated amounts thanks to Aeva’s request. And being such a large and completely fictional creature, its excrement contains enough nitrogen to cause the following explosion to be feasible.

    If my players want to use bat **** to blow up a city, how can I refuse them?

    In addition to this, I ramped the explosion size up due to the rolls I got from them. Out of a possible 300, they scored 294, which I decided was more than enough to explain why they got such a fantastic result.


    The companions efforts lead to the noble district going down in a shower of rock-dust and a massive flaming bat-fart. The section of the mines beneath the district has been caved in. In fact, part of the third level has been deposited in the mines.
    “Operation Burn-ination has been a success.”

    Tremor and Aeva:
    Tremor, having chased the fleeing guardsmen into the markets alongside the docks, has a brilliant idea. Watching the routed guards from the South Gate join up with the, as yet fully-manned, Dock Guards, he sets his undead monstrosities in a line stretching across the access tunnel between the docks and the city proper, and starts to draw on even more Black Magic.
    “What are you doing?” – Aeva, concerned.
    Tremor doesn’t reply, but a moment later the answer becomes clear.
    The corpses explode with a blast of sickly green light. The explosions are not prodigious, but are more than enough to cause the tunnel to cave in, separating the main body of the remaining guards from the rest of the fortress.
    “There, that will take hours, if not days without the proper equipment.” – Tremor, to Aeva.
    “Weren’t we planning to take this place over?” – Delphi.
    “Yeah, that was the plan.” – Wings.
    “Then why are we blowing it to ****?” – Delphi.
    “New plan.” – LD.
    “Us doing this is retaliation for completing a quest without killing anybody.” – Sins.
    “You kidding me? You finish a quest without killing someone, and your compensation is, ‘**** people, let’s kill a goddamn mountain?’”


    “The commander of the Crag at the time of the battle was Orrin Windrider, a former comrade of Tremor Ironfist in the Nordtarnet Border Wars with Rivervind in 1638 CE. HIs subordinates were Leeroy Bloodaxe, captain of the guard and Edrik Blackhand, head of that clan, who was married to Marya Ironfist in exchange for the use of the Blackhand Mines…”
    - From The Definitive Guide to the Ironfist Conflict

    Breanna, Harold and Tremor:
    Having caused a fair bit of destruction, the three companions approach the Windrider Palace. Their forces have set up a number of chokepoints on the main street to head off any defenders returning from the West Gate to relieve those within the palace, leaving only the three companions to face off against the lords of The Crag and their retainers. Coming out of the front doors is a party of grim, heavily built and well-equipped dwarves, a lord and his huscarls.
    “My name is Harold Oakenshield, and we have just finished blowing up your nobles’ district and setting fire to stone. Lay down your arms and surrender.” – Harold, trying to Intimidate them into backing down.
    The idea of a vicious pirate-viking type with the technical know-how to set fire to stone is pretty terrifying, and the huscarls look like they might be wavering but their lord’s voice steadies them.
    “Set fire to stone says you? Set fire to MY stone says I! We do not surrender to the likes of you.” – Lord Leeroy Bloodaxe.

    Spoiler: Naming NPC’s:
    Show
    I’ve experimented recently with having the players provide names on the fly for inconsequential NPC’s, to avoid them all feeling the same, and if I’m honest, to help me out because coming up with names on the fly can be tough.

    In hindsight, LD is the last person I should ask for a name. It takes half an hour to get a decision from her, and we still end up with Leeroy the dwarf…


    The heavily muscled, red-bearded Dwergar charges forward with his greataxe, trading blows with Harold for a moment before Kel’Serrar blows his head off with a Flaming Arrow.

    Breanna, carving knife in hand whirls into action, slamming it into a huscarl’s arm. He swipes at the Leathe in retaliation, but fails to connect and the Leathe leaps back.

    “Your lord is decapitated! Do you wish to be decapitated too?” - Harold, attempting to intimidate the huscarls once more. They bunch up, shields out and weapons brandished, but these are the very elites of the Bloodaxe clan. They are well-equipped, highly disciplined heavy infantry and will not be cowed easily.
    "Seriously, throw down your arms!" - Harold, desperately pleading with them not to sacrifice themselves.
    They refuse and Kel'Serrar looses another arrow, which blows off a huscarl's arm. A moment later, Breanna dances back into the fray, whipping her blade across the throat of the huscarl she injured earlier.
    And then Tremor steps forward, having made his way to the scene, putting himself directly in harm's way. Behind him, Aeva settles herself on Harold's shoulder, and watches the face-off.
    "I am Tremor Ironfist, the rightful king of Nordtarnet. Lay down your arms, or lay down your lives." - Tremor, meeting the eyes of the remaining huscarls.

    The huscarls have not had a great week. They've had to deal with all the guano everywhere for starters. Then the early morning assault has had the entire fortress on guard. Then they failed in their duty and had their lord decapitated in front of them. And now they are being told that they aren't even fighting for the rightful king.

    They drop their weapons, save one, who fancies the idea of being a regicide.
    "Death to the pretender!" - Huscarl, who hacks at Tremor's right arm with his axe.
    The blade bites into Tremor's chain hauberk sleeve, inflicting a nasty flesh wound. Aeva flies at the huscarl in an attempt at retaliation, but her talons just scrabble at the huscarl's steel helm.

    "Dev, you're up."
    "Meh, I'll just put my sword through him." - Dev, preparing to roll.
    "You've got Deathsword and these huscarls have a lower Combat Skill than you do. You could potentially put a sword through all of them."
    "Yeah, but..." - Dev.
    "But they've surrendered? Hasn't stopped you in the past mate. Look, their weapons are right in front of them. They might pick them up and attack. Better safe than sorry."


    Harold's sabre punches through the huscarl's chest and the dwarf slips to the ground.

    And so Clan Bloodaxe is no longer an issue for the attackers. Their lord's head has exploded, along with their ancestral home, thanks to guano. The remaining huscarls are taken into custody by the invading forces, and the companions make their way up the stairs to the palace. Before they go, Tremor questions the huscarls.
    “Windrider, Blackhand and my sister. Where are they?” – Tremor, ready to move out.
    “Edrik Blackhand was supervising the mines. Lord Windrider is in the palace, with Marya.” – Vanquished huscarl.

    Spoiler: Map of The Crag’s Palace
    Show


    Once the huscarls are taken away, Tremor quickly consults with his companions.
    “Which way do we go?” – Tremor.
    “Blackhand may have died in the cave in for all we know. Even if he didn’t, it could take days to get in there to find out.” – Harold.
    “The Palace, now. We can’t afford to let Windrider escape either.” – Kel’Serrar.

    They walk up the stairs at the front of the palace wary of attack. Tremor leads them, Aeva having taken a moment to pad his ripped arm with bandages before resting as a kite-hawk back on his other shoulder. Harold comes next, sabre in hand, Breanna and Kel’Serrar flanking him with blades and bow ready. Maebh has entered The Crag with the reserve forces, overseeing the mop-up of the remaining defenders. She is slowly making her way to the Windrider Palace, but will not get there by the time the other companions have entered.

    We had a short break here as Ladyhawk presented us with some seriously spiffy headgear. Unfortunately, she was not feeling too flash on the day and had to go lie down at a few points. To her credit though, she really did try to contribute where she could, and once back at the table, took her character’s absence as an opportunity to help build some player camaraderie.

    Hence the crowns.

    Spoiler
    Show


    I took the opportunity to explain how the Mesmer spell, Cruel Disappointment works.
    “Basically you believe you pass any Checks you might be called on to make for a short period of time. Even if you failed. Which can lead to all sorts of hilarious situations like you thinking you are murdering your bastard half-brother, but then you snap back to reality and realise you have been stabbing yourself in the leg for the last minute and a half and your half-brother is over in the corner laughing at you.”

    Honestly, I can’t wait for Sins or Delphi to take that one. It should be great.


    Upon entering the palace, the companions storm down a long, richly decorated hallway. But they spend no time taking it in as they are intent upon their prize. Before them is another doorway, which Harold busts open, revealing an entrance hall and throne room.

    It is empty.

    "It's a trap." - Delphi.

    The throne room has two more doorways, one on either side. Tremor, Aeva and Breanna take the left doorway and Harold and Kel'Serrar the other.

    Harold and Kel'Serrar:
    Before the two companions stretches a long hallway, with rooms off to either side. It appears to be a guest wing or perhaps servants quarters.

    Tremor, Aeva and Breanna:
    The companions open the door and reveal a dining hall, with a high table for the lord of the hall on the right. Straight ahead, a lit hearth, the flames flickering fitfully. Someone has been here recently. To their left, three long dining tables, bare of everything save candlesticks, which are probably lit for feasts and other stately events. Beyond the tables, a closed wooden door.

    The companions approach the door, Tremor first with Aeva on his shoulder, Breanna trailing them. The Dwergar pushes it open and reveals a large, cavernous room, tapestries and ancient weaponry decorating the walls.

    And there, standing in the middle of the room is Orrin Windrider, looking much the same as Tremor remembers him, clad in his ancestral plate armour. Around him, ten huscarls, heavily armed and armoured. Beside them, a single grey-robed Dwergar, surrounded by a glowing nimbus of lightning.

    “Found the bastard!” – Tremor, to Harold and Kel’Serrar.
    “Ironfist! What are you doing here?” – Windrider, who doesn’t seem to view Tremor as much of a friend anymore.
    “Reclaiming my throne.” – Tremor.
    “Get out Ironfist, this is my throne.” – Windrider.
    “Not for long.” – Tremor, hefting his greatsword.

    Windrider throws himself at Tremor, flaming axe and rune-inscribed shield clenched in his meaty fists. Tremor rolls away from the strike, Aeva fluttering a little to retain her seat.

    The Dwergar mage flings lightning at Breanna, but the Leathe is able to shrug it off with a pained groan.
    “My God, you would be the biggest puff-ball ever.” – Ladyhawk.
    “I am the Fluffy Queen of Death.” – LD.


    Harold bursts through the doorway, having been alerted by Tremor’s shout and engages the huscarls with his blades. He holds most of them off from his companions, but one manages to sneak through and take a swing at Breanna, who flips out of the way.

    Tremor takes a quick glance at Windrider’s shield and identifies the runes upon it as ones of protection. Doing so gives him an idea, and he activates the Silver Arrow runes on his greatsword, flinging streams of molten silver at Windrider and a couple of huscarls. One guard gets his shield up in time, the other gives a hoarse scream as the molten metal seeps into the gaps of his armour.

    But the three molten darts which slip through the air towards Windrider are ineffective as the runes on the lord’s shield blaze with a cold blue light. Wards appear etched in the air before him, and the magical silver is sucked into it, brightening the cold light of the runes.

    Kel’Serrar stands by the doorway and nocks an arrow, taking careful aim across the room at the mage…

    Breanna meanwhile dances back into the fray, knife flashing in her attempt to shank him in the kneecap. Blood spurts as she withdraws her knife, but the huscarl doesn’t fall.

    From her vantage point on Tremor’s shoulder, Aeva is able to catch most of the enemy force in her Magical Snare, though Windrider, the mage, the huscarl facing Breanna and two of the huscarls facing Harold resist the effects.

    And then the back wall explodes in a blast of flame, chunks of stone flying out, threatening to crush the combatants in the room. Maebh strides in, looking haggard and worn, but her hands are blazing with arcane power. She stretches herself to the limit of what is safe and with a flash of light, a handful of golden blades materialise around the Dwergar mage, eviscerating him completely.
    “I thought I would still be needed.” – Maebh, quietly.
    The Danann slumps against the wall, exhausted by the sheer weight of arcane destruction she has caused today.

    Windrider throws himself at Tremor again, axe blazing through the air. It is met by Tremor’s blade, which rings, but holds steady.

    Harold carves his way through the huscarls, blades flashing as he whirls his way into the dwarves. Only one survives his assault, backing away steadily from the Invarrian’s bloodbath. Carried by the momentum, Harold strikes at Windrider too, but the runes upon the lord’s shield flare into life once more, protecting him from the Invarrian’s vengeful blades.

    The hobbled huscarl facing Breanna again swings at her, but the nimble Leathe dodges out of the way once more, before flicking her knife across the guard’s throat, killing him instantly.

    And then Kel’Serrar’s Flaming Arrow bursts through the wards surrounding Lord Windrider, killing the cold light of the runes and setting the lord’s beard alight. The arrow itself merely skates of Windrider’s armour, but he is too concerned with trying to kill Tremor to worry about it. He charges forward, flailing wildly, but only meets Tremor’s greatsword.

    Orrin Windrider is decapitated. The last huscarl throws down his blade.

    It is done. The Crag has been taken. Orrin Windrider is dead and hopefully, Marya Ironfist has been saved.

    This isn’t the end of Session 4.4, but due to the massive size, I have decided to split the session into two parts for ease of reading.

    The Wrap-Up
    Dev said early on that he has friends at his college who want to hear our sessions in a podcast, but I honestly don’t think I’m ever going to do that.

    We used this session to trial a couple of changes. Some complaints were made that the caster classes were too powerful, which is something which plagues most systems. To help try to remedy this, we brought in the Soulfire stat, which is basically a magic-points tracker. In exchange for that limitation, there’s now some crazy huge spells.

    Health now goes up at a fixed rate, at 1 point every two levels. Some classes have Talents which adjust this rate. This is to prevent some characters from becoming mountains of health. Even at high levels, characters should still be vulnerable.

    The last real change was just enforcing the action economy changes I devised some time ago.

    That ought to cover this particular write-up for now.

    Until next time,
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2015-08-06 at 08:22 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #167
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Ladyhawk and I played the first session of a solo game tonight set in Norbayne. Stay tuned for In the Depths of the Rayncrann Forest...

    Along with Session 4.4: Part B of 3 Coins.

    In addition to all that material we also have Session 4.5 of 3 Coins and 1.2 of Whispers due to be played on the 23rd.

    So do stay vigilant readers! As always, we'd love to see comments letting us know that these are appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  18. - Top - End - #168
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Into The Depths of The Rayncrann Forest

    Welcome, dear reader to the first instalment In The Depths of The Rayncrann Forest, a solo game that I am going to run for Ladyhawk.

    She pitched her idea to me as a game where she focussed on a series of much smaller scale events than the 3 Coins group and had access to a sandbox in the forest. A major theme was that her character was at odds with the civilised world.

    And so Lily Roisin was born.

    This game is an interesting one. I have dispensed with a lot of the Checks, focussing instead on cultivating Ladyhawk's creativity. I am less concerned with the mechanics in this adventure, and more with the idea of cinematic roleplaying.

    So I will now introduce Lily Roisin.

    Spoiler
    Show

    Name: Lily Roisin (Ro-sheen)
    Race: Midlander (Woodsman / Half-Fey)
    Spoiler
    Show
    The people of Norbayne are a strong race, tough and adaptable. Compared to the Northmenn of Unterguardt, they are quite slim and stocky, built more like wolves than the northern bears. They are the most populous race in the known world and most cities have at least a small Midlander population. They are almost universally of pale complexion and dark haired, with sharp angular features. Their hair is usually worn long while facial hair is neatly trimmed.


    Age: 22 years old. Lily is considered to be entering the prime years for adventuring.
    Eye Colour: Piercing green eyes.
    Hair Colour: Long, wavy golden hair.
    Birthsign: The Hare.
    Spoiler
    Show
    There is ingenuity around those born under the Hare, a kind-heartedness, which unfortunately is sometimes played upon by others for their advantage. Despite this, most Hares find cynicism a foreign concept.
    Generally creative, Hares are also often delicate and shy, happy to allow others to take the glory but are fully capable of standing up when necessary.


    Height: 5' 9"
    Weight: 68 kg

    Lily usually wears a long green dress, but her home, Rosehollow, a dwelling coaxed into existence from the very centre of a hollowed out great oak, holds several other outfits, including one particularly expensive gown for special occasions when she must deign to mingle with other people.

    When performing her duties in the Rayncrann Forest, Lily usually wears her green dress with a light leather jacket over the top, high, well-worn leather boots and a belt, from which hangs a slightly curved knife and several pouches filled with spell components.

    When winter comes, the light leather jacket is replaced by a much heavier hide coat and a warm fur cloak and hat.

    She owns an expensive silverwood staff too, carved by her own hand, but it usually remains in Rosehollow.

    A lion fang is strung around her neck, infused with potent spirit magic, the only remains of a ghul-ish forest-lion Lily struck down some years ago after it was tainted. In times of need, Lily may call upon this power, whether just to lend her strength or heightened senses, or indeed the very shape of a massive forest-lion. Lily also carries the components to take the form of a hawk, a squirrel, a horse or a dog.

    Lily is accompanied the majority of the time by her familiar, a red fox named Pixy.


    Lily is not entirely sure of her own past, but believes herself a foundling as her first memories are hazy ones of being raised amongst the fey. She does not remember much of those years, just snippets here and there.

    That being said, she feels a duty towards the safety of the forest and its denizens and has taken the Rayncrann Forest as her home.

    That will probably do for the prelude. On to the story!
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2015-08-13 at 09:01 AM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  19. - Top - End - #169
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Session 4.4 (b): Flying Shadows and a Night of Knives

    Welcome back everyone to Session 4.4.

    We took a break here for dinner, chats and snacks. And then unfortunately missed Delphi’s care-bear reference with regards to the loot picked up by the characters.

    Oh yes! The loot!


    Harold Oakenshield:
    - A Masterwork steel cuirass, with a runic sunburst inscribed on the chest. The runes are currently not functional. Engraved with Runes of Stone and Blinding Light. Provides an additional +1 to all armour values and has a chance to Blind opponents upon being struck.

    Maebh Raven-Wing:
    - A dull red sash, embroidered with magical sigils along the edges in gold thread. Provides +15 Soulfire to the wearer.

    Breanna Blackrose:
    - Rune-encrusted light helm, made of leather and banded with steel. Engraved with a Rune of Perception, providing +10 to Perception to the wearer.

    Kel’Serrar Naya:
    - Ring of True-Sight. The wearer is able to see through magical illusions. Sins chose to have Kel’Serrar raid the Windrider Palace for jewellery, and found a fair few pieces which could be sold on for a substantial price. Amongst it all, he found a Ring of True-Sight, which he kept.

    Tremor Ironfist:
    - The Windrider axe, a heavy hand axe of Masterwork quality engraved with a Rune of Fire and a Masterwork quality steel shield, engraved with Runes of Warding. The equipment of Orrin Windrider, this is Tremor claiming his legitimacy. The axe adds Fire Damage to every strike and the shield, when repaired, soaks D10 Damage from each strike the bearer takes. Once the soak is beaten, the runes fall lifeless and must be recharged once more.

    Aeva Nordur-Vatn:
    - The Vampyre spear, named after the haematophagic creatures of legend and a thick leather belt engraved with a Rune of Speed. The spear drains Soulfire from those it strikes, equal to the Damage the strike causes and the belt grants the wearer +5 Initiative.

    I pointed to everyone as I recapped what they got, which was pointless because I couldn’t see myself pointing in the audio recording anyway. Luckily, I wrote it all down.

    The days after the taking of The Crag pass busily. Marya is found in the highest levels of the Windrider Palace, alive and apparently unharmed. Physically, she is well but mentally she seems broken. She speaks to no one, a far cry from the spirited girl Tremor left behind all those years ago.

    Of Edrik Blackhand, none can say. The miners who have been recovered from the cave-ins confirmed that he was down there with them, but he never emerged. That being said, many miners and guards were killed in the assault, the bodies unable to be recovered and it is possible that Blackhand was amongst them.

    The mood is sombre. The army the companions have with them is still greatly outnumbered by the defenders, but without their lords, the common people have lost the will to fight.

    In fact, the Resistance plans to use them in the upcoming conflicts. The Crag may be taken, but it is only one fortress after all and the war goes on.

    Mordin Grimstone was found in the dungeons, alive, but weak. He is taken to a wing of the palace to recover from his captivity, the Dwergar unwilling to let outsiders see their lord so weak.

    * * *

    Three days after the taking of The Crag, at dawn, a procession arrives at the south gate. Freida Grimstone leads the procession, at the head of her personal forces. The other lords of the Resistance flank her, also accompanied by their retinues. Next to the heavily armoured dwarves of The Crag march hastily equipped militia from Lord’s Ridge and hardy woods-dwarves from the Valleywood.

    Along the main road leading to the ‘Windrider’ Palace, Harold has organised an honour guard evenly made up of the Resistance forces which took the fortress and the defenders of The Crag who stood against them, in a show of solidarity.

    Harold notices that the lords of the Resistance appear to be quite disconcerted at the fact that the noble dwellings close to the Palace have been replaced by a noble hole in the ground. The companions have gotten work crews in to try and clear the mess, but it’s not done much good.
    It was almost like sliding the trash under the bed and putting a sign up which reads, ‘Do Not Approach.’
    Let’s be honest, the nobles aren’t too happy about the massive hole in the ground. The companions’ clean up job involved the application of a plank-
    “Several planks!” – Delphi, like that makes it better.
    The application of several planks almost like a band-aid across the gaping wound in the earth.

    This goes down about as well as you would expect…

    Most of the companions wait for the procession in the throne room, Tremor, Barandin and Maebh standing on the stairs leading to the throne. Kel’Serrar is hidden in the corner of the room and Breanna and Aeva are standing at a respectful distance flanking the throne.

    The errand-runner Tremor sent to have Mordin Grimstone fetched to present to his daughter returns, without the lord.
    “I am sorry Lord Ironfist. I was halted at the door by Grimstone soldiers who told me that Lord Mordin is missing. I came as quickly as I could.” – Errand-runner, catching his breath.
    “****.” – Tremor, facepalming.
    “Freida probably had him killed. Dwarves, remember?” – Dev.
    “She killed Papa!” – Ladyhawk, in an Italian accent.
    Ladyhawk and LD spent most of the rest of the night cracking up about this line.
    “Don’t be upset-y, have some spaghetti.” – Delphi, in the same accent.

    This is another five minutes of discussion regarding where they want to stand. Or in Ladyhawk’s case, well…
    “I want to sit in the throne.” – Ladyhawk, laughing.
    “No, you can’t do that.” – Dev, frustrated.
    “Well she can, but it would be highly advised against.” – Sins.
    “In that case I’ll stand on the stairs too with Tremor. No, one step behind Tremor, so I look more imposing.” – Ladyhawk.
    “You could sit on the floor in front of him and look more imposing.” – Sins.
    “You could sit in the throne and look more imposing. And I’ll sit next to you on a little mini-throne and throw accusations. ‘You killed Papa!’” – LD, cracking herself and Ladyhawk up again.

    As another aside, who knew that Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain could be so pertinent to the siege of The Crag?


    Freida Grimstone enters the Palace, followed by the other lords of the Resistance and their retinues. They are stony-faced, obviously not happy with the damage to the fortress, but Grimstone’s face lightens when she sees the throne left vacant for her. She walks up the stairs to come face to face with Tremor.
    “Has there been any news of my father?” – Freida, quietly to Tremor.
    Ladyhawk and LD lost it again at the question, barely able to wheeze out, “You killed Papa!”
    “I think we broke them…” – Delphi.
    I was too busy laughing to restore order.
    “I’ve never seen Ladyhawk cry before.” – Dev.


    Maebh and Breanna snigger to themselves, but no one present remarks upon it, though some of Freida’s retinue look disapprovingly upon the lack of decorum. Freida ignores it all.
    “No word. He has thoroughly disappeared.” – Tremor, gritting his teeth.
    “So be it. The throne of The Crag is mine to take, and so I will. I pledge my continued support to the Resistance, until my fellow lords regain their seats.” – Freida, turning to acknowledge the other lords of the Resistance.

    She then climbs the remaining stairs and sits upon the throne.

    And with that, the Grimstones are back in charge of The Crag, and the Resistance officially has a stronghold.

    * * *

    A council meeting has been scheduled for the evening, to discuss the next move for the Resistance. In the intervening hours, the companions entertain themselves as they see fit.

    Harold:
    The Invarrian, who has been formulating a plan for the last few weeks, does a few rounds among the newly arrived members of the Resistance, looking for Invarrians. He finds four, two farmers, a miner and a settled raider. He resolves to train them as reavers, ostensibly to help the war effort, but the others think he may just be lonely and pining for Invarrian company.
    A succession of Command Checks passed as Harold trains his would-be reavers over the course of a several hours. He focusses on improving their individual abilities, as that is his own speciality, and the Invarrians agree to meet up again the following day to continue their training.

    Tremor
    While this is happening, Tremor chases up information on the Blackhand Mines outside The Crag. According to his sources, the mines are unlikely to have anything more than a skeleton crew of miners there, most of whom would, like as not, feel no loyalty to the Blackhand clan beyond being paid.

    “Perhaps we can have some forces go there? For ‘protection.’ – Aeva, stressing the last word.
    The others agree, but it will probably have to wait until after this council meeting.

    There is some discussion here about Dwergar society and how the Resistance is currently viewing the companions.

    Spoiler: Dwergar society and the current situation:
    Show
    You see, Dwergar society is based around using people. Anyone too powerful to be used, are a threat. The companions have just proven they are a handful, taking a heavily fortified city with next to know casualties, causing a fair bit of mayhem and destruction in the process. In taking The Crag, the companions have made a case for themselves that they may just be too dangerous.

    Already, factions within the Resistance are weighing up their options when it comes to dealing with the companions, for while the company is going along with the Resistance for now, that will not necessarily always be the case, especially since the various factions within the Resistance are not exactly keen on each other to begin with.

    “Well, they’re going to have fun taking their places back without us then.” – Delphi, summing up the party’s reaction.


    Breanna and Aeva:
    Seeing as they have some spare time before the meeting, Breanna and Aeva head off to the market district. Aeva is in need of some general gear and equipment, and Breanna feels an urge to look at more stabby implements of death, so they go off together to ensure each other’s safety.

    Aeva goes on a shopping spree, picking up a new set of finer clothes, sheafs of parchment, writing equipment, a sewing kit, a selection of dyes, a length of rope and a tent. They then go to the armoury where Breanna picks up some finely tooled leather bracers and some more bolts for her crossbow and Aeva picks up four throwing daggers.

    Kel’Serrar:
    Aeva and Breanna did not leave alone as Kel’Serrar is with them for a short while, but swiftly blends into the crowd and starts rumour mongering. The slight ranger is completely unrecognisable, and anyone following him would quickly lose him in the crowd.

    As could be expected, the common people are not particularly pleased with how things have turned out over the last few days. For one, they aren’t happy about the destruction caused by the companions. Secondly, the bat plague, which it is rightly assumed, the companions were responsible for. Thirdly, Freida Grimstone. Her father was a popular ruler, and now he is missing and she so conveniently happens to be present to pick up where he left off.

    Naturally, there are plenty of cynics.

    And then of course there’s the fact that where Mordin Grimstone was a well-liked ruler, he was probably too nice. The treasury was a mess when Windrider took over. The Crag’s reputation as a military powerhouse was in ruins, simply because old Mordin didn’t see the maintenance and upkeep of armed forces as necessary.

    Grimstone, while just and fair and generally likeable, was just not very effective. Windrider on the other hand, he got **** done. In a short time Windrider returned The Crag to its position of prominence. The mountain fortress was Bain’s jewel in the crown, the ace in matters both military and mercantile.

    Windrider may not have been particularly well-liked, but he inspired pride in the citizens of The Crag.
    “I love the fact that I just sat down and listened to one old guy rant for a few hours.” – Sins.

    Tremor and Maebh:
    Tremor meanwhile retreats to private quarters to write out some legally binding contracts to try and lock in the lords of the Resistance. Maebh goes with him to assist him. The mage has turned her keen mind to the political situation, and the two of them spend hours hashing out the exact terms of these agreements.

    * * *

    The house the companions have commandeered following the assault is one of very few still standing in what was once the noble district. It is a nice place, especially now that work teams have repaired any damage from the explosions and cleaned up the shattered rock and dried guano.

    It is two storeys tall, built from solid rock and has more than enough rooms to accommodate the party. A pen sits against the wall too, built for a small herd of livestock which must have escaped in the chaos of the assault.
    Cue jokes about wild pigs and goats roaming the underground halls, hungry for dwarf-flesh.
    The pen has now been claimed by Toirneach and Amadeus. Breanna and Harold have given up on trying to keep Wolfgang and Bach contained though. The beasts are both large and clever enough to escape, and too mischievous by a mile to be left unattended for more than a few minutes. They have already rampaged through a butchery in the last few days, and have threatened to do worse.

    Before the meeting, the companions gather together once more in the parlour of their new home, to discuss what has happened.
    “How did the rumour mongering go?” – Breanna, to Kel’Serrar who sits at ease upon his chair.
    “Not too badly. They aren’t happy with us at all though.” – Kel’Serrar, master of understatement.
    “Can you blame them? We blew up parts of the city, covered it in bat-**** and then killed their leaders.” – Aeva, sitting at the table.
    “Don’t forget we caved in their mines and completely showed up their supposedly excellent military by taking this place with a handful of fighters.” – Harold, over in the corner maintaining his weaponry.
    “Forgetting that, they liked Freida’s father. And then Windrider took over, and they liked him too. But we killed him, and it is only a matter of time before they start pinning Grimstone’s death on us too. They’ve already started to say it was Freida herself. And we just put her in power. We look like her servants.” – Kel’Serrar.
    “We need to start spreading some propaganda on the sly then.” – Harold.

    Silence falls over the company as they think about the situation they now find themselves in.

    “So how did the writing go?” – Harold, to Tremor and Maebh.
    “Well, I think. We’re pretty happy with what we’ve got. We want to make sure that they agree to being subservient to me, with it being a bit ambiguous as to whether they continue to hold to that after they get their lands back. A little bit of uncertainty there would not hurt us.” – Tremor.
    “We also need to make sure that it is clear how we are spreading the wealth of the Blackhand Mines. With Edrik missing, presumed dead, we can parcel them out as we wish, our spoils by right of conquest.” – Maebh, looking up from the depths of the focus stone she wears at her throat.
    "So, I assume that's what we have done?" - Kel'Serrar, quietly.
    "Pretty much. One quarter of the mine's wealth to each lord of the Resistance, minus Stonehammer as he is not really a lord." - Tremor.
    "That's only three quarters then. What of the last one?" - Breanna.
    "That's ours." - Maebh, with a wild grin.

    * * *

    The lords of the Resistance meet once more in a hastily organised audience chamber in the palace of The Crag. Lords Blackbear and Redclay are present, along with Lady Grimstone and their retinues. Also present are the companions and a small party of Mountain Finches, attending their ceannasai Rhen Featherwind.

    Tremor sits at the meeting table, Maebh and Harold on either side, as equals with the lords of the Resistance. Behind him, acting as his retinue are Barandin, Breanna and Aeva. Kel’Serrar has made himself inconspicuous and taken a place in Arald Redclay’s retinue, the better to keep tabs on dissenters among the parties of the lords.

    Again, Godsman Harrick Stonehammer convenes the council meeting.
    "Things have certainly changed for us now, but most of the faces I see before me are familiar. My Lady Grimstone, as this is your hall, I shall sit and allow you to continue."- Harrick Stonehammer, before taking his seat.

    “After the tragic death of my late father, I have taken up my clan’s ancestral seat. I pledge to continue my support of the Resistance until my fellow lords have also been reinstated.” – Freida Grimstone, beginning her spiel.

    Breanna and Maebh struggle to hide their amusement at Grimstone’s pronouncement, but other than a few sideways looks, no one calls them out.

    “I said as much publically and I hold to that behind closed doors too. I believe we have some pressing matters to attend to? I invite everyone to speak their minds.” – Freida Grimstone, opening up the floor to the others present.
    “Do we know the location of Bain Ironfist?” – Maebh, leaning forward on the stone table.
    “My spies report that Ironfist is currently just south of Nordtarnet Fortress, pillaging the countryside. A few villages surrounding the fortress have been withholding taxes and harbouring our agents. Somehow, Ironfist has gotten wind of this and they have paid the price. I am led to believe that we will be seeing refugees seeking shelter at the Southgate within the week.” – Arald Redclay, leaning back in his seat.

    There is some muttering around the council at this.
    “They’ll never make it this far. We’ve left those poor people to die.” – Concerned Dwergar near Kel’Serrar.
    “Aye, they’ll never escape Bain’s riders.” - Another Dwergar, presumably the friend of the first.
    “Might be a good thing. We would struggle to feed more mouths.” – Third Dwergar, coldly calculating.

    “That brings me to another point. How are repairs and reinforcement of the city coming along?” – Harold.

    “Well enough, Herrn Oakenshield. The work of your own people before we even arrived was greatly appreciated and I have had my people join their efforts since. The Westgate is devastated, but we have begun work on a postern gate to provide access to and from the western road. We expect that to be complete within a fortnight. The Westgate itself may take a year or more to repair.” – Freida Grimstone, throwing a dark glare at Maebh, who coldly returns the stare.

    “And troops? How many warriors can The Crag provide us with now?” – Ersun Blackbear, gruffly.

    “We have the remnants of The Crag’s military, along with the forces who accompanied me to the Valleywood. That is over a thousand troops. I have my steward conducting an audit of The Crag’s military capacity as we speak.” – Freida Grimstone, defensive.

    “And now what of our next target?” – Harrick Stonehammer.

    The muttering grows louder.
    “Grimstone gets her keep, but what of my lord?” – One of Blackbear’s retinue.
    “You wait for it, Ironfist will back out of his oath.” – Another of Blackbear’s retinue, nodding in agreement.

    “What of Valewatch? Is it feasible to take with, say, five hundred?” – Harold, keen to talk matters of strategy.

    There is some laughter at this.

    “Ha! Never could Valewatch be taken with such a small number. Your tricks may have worked here, but my people are far cannier. No less than a thousand will suffice. You will find Valewatch a tough nut to crack.” – Ersun Blackbear, amused.

    “We just took The Crag, supposedly the most heavily fortified stronghold for many miles around with a handful of fighters.” – Maebh, quietly.
    Many of those present are laughing to themselves, but Rhen Featherwind looks at the companions approvingly and Stonehammer is shaking his head at the reactions. For her part, Freida Grimstone is not sharing in the laughter, but has a dangerous glint in her dark eyes.

    Tremor tries to speak calmly over the laughter, but is just ignored.
    “Quiet! Lord Ironfist wishes to speak!” – Harrick Stonehammer, smashing a hammer down on the table with an era-splitting crack.
    “Aye, thank you Godsman. Lord Blackbear, are there any back entrances we might know about? Ways we can enter without the knowledge of the defenders?” – Tremor, to Ersun Blackbear.
    “Well, you might not be too keen on going down there, but one could potentially go in through the sewers.” – Ersun Blackbear, still chuckling to himself.

    “Who else knows about it? Will the sewer system be guarded?” – Aeva, from where she stands behind Tremor.
    “Guarded? Most likely not. It is not a closely guarded secret for all that.” – Blackbear, deigning to respond.

    "Valewatch is some distance away and we have enemies closer to The Crag. We should make for Black Hill and destroy it." - Freida Grimstone, to the approval of her own retinue.

    "Dame Grimstone, Lord Ironfist has made a vow to retake Valewatch next." - Harrick Stonehammer, to growls of assent from Blackbear's retinue.
    Tension starts to grow.

    "We have already retaken The Crag for you Lady Grimstone. We must do what we can for others now." - Aeva, blunt.
    Grimstone sneers at the Selkye druid, but does not respond.

    "The way I see it, we need to take Valewatch. But we need to take it in summer, once we have a large body of well-trained troops. We must also be wary of Ironfist's counter-attack. It is inevitable, and we should not strike out again until we have beaten it off." - Harold, expressing his point.

    This is met with some derision around the room.

    "Summer is another half a year away. We must move quicker than that." - Stonehammer, so often the voice of reason, this time condoning hastier action.

    "A small party, from the inside. It can be done again." - Maebh, with gravity.
    "We cannot pull the same stunt again though." - Aeva, from behind the mage, who nods in agreement.
    "A veteran force then, storming the keep?" - Harold.

    The ceannasai of the Mountain Finches nods at the companions.
    "Though this cause is not our own, the Valleywood is our home and therefore the Valewatch situation is one my people must play a part in. I will volunteer my archers to aid you in this endeavour." - Rhen Featherwind, solemnly.

    "That may not be necessary. No, I'm speaking of just two or three people, taking out key targets. Victory through assassination." - Maebh.

    That gets a reaction once more, generally praising. Assassinations are a topic dear to every dwarf's heart, and a favoured method of warfare, business and settling domestic disputes. Redclay does look less than pleased, though probably not due to any moral difficulties with the activity.
    "He won't be happy about that. Potential powerbrokers getting offed is not good for trade." - One of Redclay's attendants, whispering to a friend.

    Kel'Serrar's undetected presence in the crowd is proving quite useful.
    If only as an exposition device for me.

    Freida Grimstone inclines her head, a small smile etched on her cold features.
    "I approve of this course of action, and would happily support such a motion." - Freida Grimstone.
    "Yeah, that's no surprise." - Ladyhawk.

    "Well, we do have an assassin." - Harold, looking towards Breanna, who had been generally ignored up to this point by the assembly. As such she quickly drops the peach she was messily devouring to the floor and licks her fingers, grinning at the lords and their retinues.

    "She sneaks in, kills the commander and then we can head in and take advantage of the confusion and their lack of direction and we take over with little to no difficulty." - Maebh.

    The debate rages further, but no counter-points are made to this. Grimstone is content to let this play out as the others see fit and Blackbear just wants to gets his keep back. Redclay obviously disapproves of the whole affair, but says nothing to countermand the decision.

    "My lords, the hour is growing late. Do we have a decision?" - Stonehammer, eager to get a plan in place and sorted.

    "As Herrn Oakenshield suggested, we shall move troops to Valewatch as soon as the season changes. Winter is no time for large troop movements in the mountains, especially since The Crag is so vulnerable at this moment.

    Dame Raven-Wing's plan to assassinate the key figures of Valewatch is one I highly approve of. I suggest we implement that as soon as possible." - Freida Grimstone, to nods of assent from the other lords.

    Arald Redclay gives his only grudgingly.

    Aeva is suddenly struck by inspiration.
    "To divert attention from us as we launch our assault on Valewatch, could we not have rumours spread that we are holing up in The Crag for the rest of the winter? Even though it is true, take attention away from our eminent assault on Valewatch by focussing their attention on what we are doing here." - Aeva, to a chorus of agreement.

    There are a few other local matters brought up in the council which the companions do not embroil themselves in and then Tremor speaks up.

    "Before we bring this meeting to an end, I have a few legal documents I wish to circulate amongst you and have you sign, to confirm your allegiance and continued support." - Tremor, bringing forth the documents he and Maebh prepared earlier.

    The documents are circulated, and the lords read them with interest.

    In base terms, they are Tremor's demands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tremor's Demands:
    - Continued support of Tremor as the rightful Konungr.
    - Troops and supplies according to their means.
    - Military alliances at least until the death of Bain Ironfist.
    - Shared training and outfitting of troops.

    In return, Tremor offers the aid of he and his retainers and a quarter share of the yield of the Blackhand Mines. As Stonehammer is contributing no troops, he gets no silver.
    The lords find this reasonable and sign the documents, though Stonehammer hesitates slightly before he does so.

    Ladyhawk asked me to sign a piece of paper as all the lords, offering to sign for Grimstone herself. I took this as an opportunity for the group to have a bit of fun and asked them all to sign for a particular lord.

    For brownie points readers, guess who signed as each lord.
    Spoiler: Signatories
    Show


    Now these documents are not exactly worth all that much themselves, but it does give the companions the moral high ground if the lords do not hold to their word.


    "Very well. Lord Ironfist, I will leave you to organise your companions on their mission. With the permission of Dame Grimstone, I call this meeting to an official end. May the Old Gods guide us all." - Harrick Stonehammer.

    * * *

    Back in a minute...
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  20. - Top - End - #170
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    And we are back!

    On their way from the council chamber to their own dwelling, the companions are joined briefly by the ceannasai of the Mountain Finches, Rhen Featherwind.
    "We were sent to aid Breanna Blackrose and her companions in this endeavour, an oath we have fulfilled. As I stated in the council meeting, though our goals do intertwine in places, this is not our fight. For all that however, Valewatch lies close to Imreitibh and though we are to return home, we would be honoured to provide an escort to your hunting party until we must part ways." - Rhen, not unkindly. Though losses amongst the Mountain Finches were very low in the conflict, he has still lost personal friends in this struggle, a loss compounded by the sorry fact that they were participating in a war that was not theirs to fight.

    "We would be glad of your company." - Breanna, simply.

    It is all that needs to be said.

    In reality, more was said.
    "We'll arrive at Valewatch with two very fat Danann and one conspicuously absent archer corps." - Sins.
    "If you eat them, I swear to God I will murder you." - LD, laughing.


    * * *

    Over the next few days, the companions seek to complete their own individual tasks.

    A city-wide celebration is to be held in honour of all those who took part in the siege on both sides. Breanna travels to Imreitibh with an invitation to the clan elders of the Mountain Finches to attend as guests of honour.

    Harold continues training his reavers, joined by Kel'Serrar who has tried to gather up some archers for the same reasons.

    Tremor though has been engaged in kingly duties, dealing with all manner of complaints and issues with the lords and nobles. Aeva has maintained her place on his shoulder, and the kite-hawk becomes a widely recognised symbol of Tremor's presence.
    "I just sit on his shoulder, watching over him. Whispering obscene things in his ear. 'Look at that girl's tits!'" - Delphi, to general laughter.
    "When I have free time I'll just bounce ideas off her too." - Tremor.
    "I could totally be his advisor." - Delphi.
    "Cause Incitatus worked out so well for Caligula..."


    While all this going on, Maebh has been examining all their equipment, particularly the new additions they picked up. In addition to this, she has been seeing to Toirneach and honing her magical abilities. She knows that Bastaird is still hunting her, and wants to be prepared.

    Spoiler
    Show
    They asked me about regaining Soulfire, Luck and Health and I acquiesced to their requests.
    "Is taking a city singlehandedly worth a level up?" - Sins.
    "Aaaah, no."
    "Worth a shot." - Sins, grinning.
    "Oh come on, why not?" - Dev.
    "Because if I did, we would probably have to wrap up the session right now."
    "But we did good and killed a lot of bitches." - Delphi.
    "So does that mean we start the next session with a level up?" - Sins.
    "Possibly."
    "I will be here next session by the way guys, you can't get rid of me now." - Delphi, to a chorus of "Awesome."
    "Are you here forever?" - Ladyhawk.
    "Forever. Five-ever. That's right. Fear me." - Delphi.
    "No." - Sins.
    "But I'm scary!" - Delphi.
    "No, you're not. You're wearing cat ears. That's not scary." - Ladyhawk.
    "It can be scary."
    "Mewww" - LD.
    "That... That's a bit scary."


    A remembrance of the names of the fallen is recounted on the fifth day after the siege, at dawn, at several points throughout the city, many hundreds of names read out as the people of The Crag remember those who were lost. Harrick Stonehammer himself leads the ceremony in the fountain court before the palace for the lords and nobility, but other godsmen are recounting the names at various points through the city to ensure that all get to pay their respects.

    The rest of the day is carried out like a Selkye viesla, Aeva having prevailed upon the lords to be allowed to organise the event. All work is abandoned for the day as the people of The Crag revel and make merry.
    "I do like to party." - Delphi.

    That night, a feast is held in the dining hall of the palace, with the archers of the Mountain Finches held in high honour. For their part, the provincial clansmen of Imreitibh are taken aback by the whole affair, but the companions hope that it might go some way to acknowledging the loss of the Leathe in the fighting and the appreciation of the Resistance for their aid.

    * * *

    Ahead of the companions lies a heavy task. First, they must travel through the Valleywood, a dense forest with a fell reputation. A reputation well-deserved due to the predators, pools of dark magic leaving lingering parties of undead and a malicious fey court. Making the task more difficult, the Sons of Wyre are still in the area, a hard-as-nails company of elite mercenaries. On top of that, reports from the Mountain Finches suggest that there are Krowavir tribes in the area.

    Spoiler: The Krowavir
    Show

    The huge, ill-tempered relatives of the Feartarbh, the Krowavir are rare in the world today, owing to their intemperate personalities and lacking intelligence. Few colonies exist in the wilds, particularly amongst the Southern Ranges of Sothbayne, the darkest valleys of the Wardenfells and, apparently, the depths of the Valleywood, all areas renowned for their fell reputations.

    In appearance they are massive, furred beasts, fully grown individuals easily twelve feet tall, with heavily corded muscle, large fangs and tusks and a crown of massive horns. They are usually sparsely clad, if at all, and only rarely use weapons. Those weapons are usually no more sophisticated than a club made from a fallen tree.

    When the Bovus Empire fell apart, (Basically the Roman Empire with minotaurs) the Bovus split into two factions. The Feartarbh, who retained a semblance of culture, many of whom assimilated into the various cultures which arose of the fall, and the Krowavir, who retreated into the deepest woods and quickly regressed to a state of bloodthirsty rage at what they had lost.


    And then there's Valewatch itself, a well-defended fortress filled with heavily armed woods-dwarves.

    Spoiler: Map of Valewatch
    Show


    This is not going to be easy.

    I cannot hear many things in the recording as Ladyhawk, LD and Delphi keep chatting about something or other in the background. Whatever it is must have been really funny because they were cracking up about it for a good fifteen minutes. Snippets I was able to glean include:
    - Conversation about my cat, Satan, who does sound like she just crawled up from the depths of hell.
    - Delphi's yawn can and indeed does sound like a Velociraptor.
    - Dev's Kingdom of Heaven reference flew straight over all their heads.
    - Sometimes Ladyhawk mishears me and that makes me sound like an alcoholic.
    - We are making shirts and jackets for the group... I already have a shirt.


    There are three commanders present in Valewatch:

    The first, Magnar Runestone, new lord of Valewatch.
    - An elderly, grey-bearded Dwergar.
    - Was once one of Ersun Blackbear's foremost advisors, but was instrumental in his downfall.
    - Never remarried after the death of his first wife. Has only one surviving relative, his heir, Brannigan.
    - Has now become grotesquely fat. He's had the run of the place. And the larder by the look of it.

    The second, Boris Mordrickson of Clan Yealblade, captain of the guard.
    - A tall, dark-haired, heavily built Dwergar.
    - Was the captain of the guard during Blackbear's reign. Opened the gates to Bain Ironfist's forces.
    - Is not of noble stock, but was elevated thus following his role in deposing Blackbear.

    The third, Brannigan Magnarson of Clan Runestone, heir to Valewatch.
    - A young, well-built, russet-haired Dwergar.
    - Is well-liked and charismatic.
    - Disapproves of political machinations. Because of this, is seen to be a little dull by other nobles.

    Following the feast, most of the companions leave The Crag, along with the Mountain Finches returning home. The Leathe are not going to aid the companions in taking Valewatch, but the ceannasai is more than happy to provide an escort for Maebh, Breanna, Aeva and Kel'Serrar.

    Of Tremor and Harold, they remain at The Crag for now, keeping a close eye on the disparate parts of the Resistance. In three days time, Ersun Blackbear will march on Valewatch with 500 Resistance troops. Harold and Tremor will join them.

    * * *

    Maebh, Breanna, Aeva and Kel'Serrar:
    The Mountain Finches make swift time through the Blackspine passes and part ways with the companions just east of Imreitibh. The ceannasai, Rhen Featherwind offers his blessings to the group and a carved stone to Breanna to remember him by.

    And then it is just the four of them, alone in the wilderness, in a very foreboding forest. Ignoring the sinking feeling in their stomachs, the four companions set off to the south-west, to Valewatch, the early morning sun barely glinting through the dense canopy.

    Unnervingly, they saw very little in the way of wildlife on the trip to Valewatch. A good thing considering the potentially deadly creatures which inhabit the Valleywood, but also very strange. In essence, no giant death-bears is good, no birds, caorigh or deer is bad. It isn't like their party made much noise, the Leathe skirmishers and three of the four companions all at home in the woodland. Of the fourth companions, a hawk overhead is hardly out of place.

    The companions eventually set up a campsite about two miles from Valewatch, hidden deep within the woods. While the three do so, Aeva continues on to get an idea of the layout of the place from the air.

    The kite-hawk sees no sign of Lord Runestone himself and cannot pick out Yealblade from his men, but the Runestone heir, Brannigan is easy to find. Indeed, he makes himself very busy, at ease amongst the soldiers. It seems they like him too, their spirits lifting where he goes. He's obviously quite popular.

    The keen eyes of the kite-hawk also reveal that the crafts-dwarves of Valewatch are very busy. Smiths, carpenters, masons, tanners, all of them are hard at work. They are cranking out equipment, weapons and armour loaded onto creaking wagons in huge quantities. Fortification of the curtain wall and the construction of more dwellings is also taking place at a feverish rate.

    When Aeva returns to the companions' campsite, they cluster around a small fire and discuss what they intend to do around a quick meal of dried meat, hard cheese and foraged berries as the weak northern sun fades.

    "So the plan is for Breanna and Aeva to perform the assassination itself, while the two of us provide a reserve force." - Kel'Serrar, leaning back and munching on cheese.

    "That's it. If we need to pass on information, I will send you a whisper, which Maebh can pass on to the others if required." - Aeva, sitting on a fallen log.

    "Now they are xenophobic little bastards, so I either need a disguise from Kel, or to go over the wall under the cover of darkness." - Breanna, chewing on a couple of berries.

    "Well, it will be dark soon. You might as well get on with it." - Maebh, lying down, looking at the stars above.

    * * *

    The guards are patrolling the ramparts of Valewatch, as they are meant to, but no one notices the small shadow flit over the southern wall.

    * * *

    Overhead, a kite-hawk soars on the rapidly cooling night air, keen eyes seeking out the commanders. She will probably be grounded soon though, the large bird needing the thermals to stay aloft for such a long period of time.

    * * *

    A wind carries a faint voice to the campsite where Maebh and Kel'Serrar sit around the fire.

    "Give me an hour, then set fire to the forest just north of the keep. Something which appears dangerous, but won't be." - Aeva's whisper.

    * * *

    In the deepest shadows behind the eastern inner-tower, Breanna lies in wait, knives ready on the off-chance she is discovered. She waits for the call to strike, a signal from Aeva that her first mark is ready to die...

    * * *

    The kite-hawk lands on the thin blanket of snow covering the ground just north of Valewatch, out of sight of the keep. With a shiver, Aeva throws her usual form back on and begins scribing arcane sigils into the snow around her, entreating the spirits to aid her. When she finishes, she sits down in the middle of the sigils and with a wild cry, a pulse of blue coruscating magic bursts forth from the druid.

    Aeva of course doesn't want here wildfire plan to harm the wildlife in the area, so she is using her magic to repel them from the area. As a Spirit Magic Ritual, this took some time to complete, around half an hour. The next half an hour gives the animals time to get clear and Aeva time to get back into position.

    Shrugging back into the shape of the hawk, Aeva wearily takes to the night sky once more.

    * * *

    Now just north of Valewatch, Kel'Serrar watches on as Maebh gathers up a roiling blast of flame and unleashes it upon the Valleywood. The mage artfully controls the gleaming golden flames, weaving it through the trees, doing so in such a way as to prevent any completely unnecessary damage.

    For Kel'Serrar, his vigil over Maebh is constantly interrupted by the crackling of flames and memories of burning pain and ashes wafting on a chill wind.

    * * *

    From her vantage point, sitting on the southern gatehouse, the kite-hawk that is Aeva sees the roaring inferno Maebh is creating to the north. So too can the guards upon the walls, many of which start to abandon their posts to better see what is happening to the north.

    Her keen eyes pick out her first mark, a tough, scarred Dwergar in heavy grey plate and chain shouting orders to the defenders to return to their positions. Guard-Captain Boris Yealblade, mostly unattended on the southern tower.

    On the wall to the north, surrounded by awestruck soldiery, the second mark, Brannigan Magnarson. He too stares out at the growing fire, amazed by the deadly beauty of it. A weaving wall of death, flickering with golden light through the darkened trees.

    * * *

    "Now Bree. - Aeva's whisper, to Breanna.

    With a slight flash of blue light, Yealblade finds himself momentarily paralysed, but he is of hardy Vale-dwarf stock, and Aeva's snare barely finds a hold on him.

    Aeva rolled to determine the amount of time Breanna had to get there and take advantage of the Snare. That did not go well, granting the assassin only ten seconds to cross most of the fortress.

    Anyone else could not have done it, but Breanna's athletic and acrobatic feats are now legendary, and so I offered LD an opportunity. Spend a Luck Point and if you ace the Checks I ask for, you get there in time.

    Trusting to her dice rolling abilities, LD agreed without hesitation.

    05, 01, 00, 03.

    Cue round of applause from all present as LD collapses into hysterical laughter.
    "****ing dice Jesus!" - Dev, which is his way of congratulating her.
    "Give me your crown." - Ladyhawk, who takes LD's crown and adds a subtitle to it.
    "So the possum basically teleported across the fortress into this bloke's face. How far did he get sent?" - Sins.


    Breanna sprints across the streets of Valewatch, vaulting over a startled guard without breaking stride. She is travelling so fast that he never even saw her, just heard her whistling overhead. A split second later, she is on the rooftops, gliding from roof to roof with practiced ease.

    Five...
    Ahead of her lies the southern tower and her keen eyes can just make out the stocky, heavily armoured figure at the top.
    Four...
    She knows she has but seconds left to take advantage of the captain's paralysis. She tumbles forward, landing lightly on the ground in a roll.
    Three...
    She springs out of the roll, launching high into the air with a single, powerful bound. Her blunt claws latch into the timber and heave her up further again.
    Two...
    Muscles burning with the exertion, she realises that she is too late. She can't possibly make it in time as she flies over the parapet of the tower.
    One...
    Yealblade frees himself enough from the snare to start to look back to the north, just in time for the flying Leathe assassin to kick him solidly in the jaw with a resounding crack.

    Yealblade flies backward, released by the snare, neck and jaw shattered, to fall to the ground many feet below, impaled upon the wooden stakes driven into the base of the fortress.

    Not only did Breanna accomplish this in ten seconds, she managed to do it without alerting anyone to her presence.

    * * *

    Magnar Runestone sits on his throne, surrounded by a few councillors and attendants and a single huscarl.

    "My lord, the fire to the north is spreading ever further. We must organise troops to go out there and fight the blaze." - Councillor.

    "No, the fire is just a ruse. It will not harm us. It is merely a distraction to get us to send guards out of Valewatch. Did you not read what happened at The Crag?" - Magnar, disturbingly well-informed.

    "But my lord, this fire is out of control!" - Second councillor.

    "The Resistance wants Valewatch. Blackbear, wants Valewatch. They cannot afford to have it burn." - Magnar, again disturbingly well-informed.

    The councillor is about to respond but he is cut off by a piercing scream from the western wing of the inner keep. The huscarl, councillors and attendants immediately run from the throne room, trying to find the mystery woman. Magnar tries to get up from his throne, but is too fat to do so by himself, and promptly gives up.

    While their backs are turned, a dark shadowy figure, short but well-muscled flits into the room, a wicked knife held in either hand. Magnar tries to yelp out a call for help, but Breanna's daggers find his throat before he does.

    Wiping the blood from her blades, Breanna grins and melts back into the shadows.

    * * *

    "Send word to Tremor, Valewatch is ours." - Aeva's whisper to Maebh and Kel'Serrar.

    * * *

    A few days later, Tremor and Harold arrive at the head of the Resistance troops which have arrived to claim the fortress.

    * * *

    The attendants and councillors who were the last to be with Lord Magnar Runestone alive were all executed on the spot by the huscarl present in the throne room. You see, when they heard that woman scream, that huscarl was the first to turn his back on his lord to find her. In that moment, those councillors took the opportunity to slit his lord's throat.

    Or so he figures...

    * * *

    Brannigan has taken over the lordship of both Valewatch and clan Runestone, and at the very least is more likely to be able to be treated with than his father.

    And we left it there...

    The Wrap-Up:
    Wow, what a gargantuan session. It was thoroughly enjoyable though, despite the raw throat I had afterwards.

    Delphi really impressed me with how easily she integrated into the group. Aeva is a very strong support character, a force multiplier if you will, which will definitely help this party. Already the Aeva / Breanna tag-team is causing some serious damage.

    We are certainly nearing the end of Arc 4. I believe we may only have one or two sessions left before Arc 5 begins. That doesn't mean that Arc 4 has nothing left to give us though, I assure you that some very big secrets are going to be revealed, which may change a few things about this conflict.

    I know that this particular write-up was not huge, but that's mainly because I didn't have anywhere near as much OOC stuff to type up this time. If anything, adding Delphi has helped this group stay on track, something I did not think would happen.

    Ever.

    That's just about it from me. We are going to play 4.5 of 3 Coins and 1.2 of Whispers on Sunday, and I still have a write-up to finish for Rayncrann before we play that next session.

    That's it I think, thanks for reading and have a great night,
    Cheers,
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2015-08-23 at 10:20 PM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  21. - Top - End - #171
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Into The Depths of The Rayncrann Forest Session 1.1: A Doe Comes to Rosehollow

    “I have no idea where she came from, nor what she really is. All that I can say is that we kept her here for no more than a week before she disappeared. All we found in her room was a single hawk-feather…”- Mother Greta, warden of the Goldshire Orphanage, in a letter to her sister regarding Lily Roisin.

    Welcome now, to the first session of Into The Depths of The Rayncrann Forest.

    Our tale begins in Rosehollow in the early morning. The birds have just begun their morning song and the scents of the forest are rich in the air all around. An open window streams warm sunlight into Lily's untidy, but homely bedroom. She lies upon the small but comfortable bed, mattress fluffed with the shed downy plumage of countless woodland birds which she has collected, warm woollen blankets strewn around her, thrown off in her sleep as the ambient temperature began to rise during the morning.

    In her heart she feels as though life is as near to perfect as it could be at this moment. But her mind tells her otherwise. She knows that there is a change coming to these woods, one that she, who has deigned to take upon herself the protection of these lands, must try to halt.

    The Rayncrann Forest can be a dangerous place. Fell spirits lurk in the depths, gliding through the mist above stagnant pools on dark nights. Some say that the trees themselves react violently to those who are deemed to be trespassing. Superstition and ghost stories to keep younglings from wandering off in the night, maybe, but the fact is, not all who venture in make their way back out.

    Not even Lily, attuned as she is to the patterns of the wilds, is completely safe in the forest. Nor does she know all there is to know of the place. And so she must be careful, even as she completes her daily routine.

    The woodland around Rosehollow is reasonably safe, and the closer one gets to Goldshire, the nearest village for miles around, the safer it gets. Bu the depths of the forest are very dangerous, and not just for the large predators which roam the woods.

    Somewhere in the heart of the Rayncrann lies a reservoir of dark magic, daemonic energy which seeps into the soil and corrupts the land and its inhabitants. Lily contends with this taint, slaying any beasts or spirits which become affected.

    She rises from her bed, awakening Pixy as she does so and prepares herself for the coming day before heading down the naturally grown stairs into the main living area for her breakfast. A small bushel of berries hangs from the ceiling and absent-mindedly, Lily plucks them, eating them slowly as she watches over the clearing outside through a window.

    "Any particular plans for today?" - Pixy, curious.
    Yes, Pixy is Lily's Magic Talking Fox.

    "Just the usual my friend." - Lily, distractedly.

    "Well then, I shall see to my own breakfast." - Pixy, sliding through a small hall in the bottom of the front door.

    After Pixy leaves, Lily sees a small brown doe hurrying towards Rosehollow. She appears quite frightened and Lily rushes outside to meet her. The doe nuzzles her snout against Lily's hand, seeking comfort and the druid does her best to commune with the fragile creature.

    Successful Beast Tongue Check.

    It is hard to really understand what the doe is trying to communicate, but Lily is quite practiced at this work, and with a little effort is able to deduce that there are a great number of two-legs, much like herself, with great-fangs, who are coming into the forest on the western eaves, causing destruction.

    The deer have apparently all fled deeper into the woods, and it was decided that they would send the swiftest of their number to Lily for help.

    "I will do what I can. Go back to your herd. I will deal with them." - Lily, to the doe, which flees back into the forest.

    Lily gathers her thoughts and wills herself into the form of a large russet hawk and then takes to the skies, powerful wings beating clear of the forest canopy. She catches a thermal and soars aloft, keen eyes searching the ground for signs of encroaching civilisation.

    * * *

    It is as the doe said.

    To the west, in the direction of Goldshire, a bare three miles from Rosehollow, around a score of axemen are cutting down the trees on the edge of Rayncrann. A handful of tents have been pitched in a campsite, too few for the amount of workers present.

    A team of four oxen are penned next to the creek, their enclosure a low, light wooden fence. The four oxen are still hitched to a massive dray, and teams of workmen are overseeing the placement of felled tree trunks in the base of it.

    The hawk that is Lily alights on a branch near the workers and tries to overhear any information she can, but all she is able to discern is that these men are extremely foul-mouthed, cursing at every small problem. One of them, a short, stocky Lowlander, clad in rough homespun stands on a stump, shouting orders to the other workers. He is presumably the overseer, but does not give away any plans.

    Lily resolves to return at night, and takes to the skies once more, troubled by what she has seen.

    * * *

    Landing on the ground outside Rosehollow, Lily is struck by the quiet of it all. Something is off.

    She notices a flash of rust-coloured fur behind her and to the left.

    "Pixy, it's me." - Lily, before shifting back to her normal form.

    "I knew that... I was... Testing you." - Pixy, shamefaced.

    Lily, still troubled by what she has witnessed goes on her usual rounds through the forest, seeing to the trees and animals around Rosehollow, checking for signs of taint and monitoring the presence of the local fey court.

    A few Search Checks.

    There are no signs of taint here, so close to Rosehollow, but so are there only few signs of wildlife.

    "I did not manage to catch anything this morning. The woods are strangely quiet." - Pixy, under her breath.

    Lily does not respond to her familiar, caught in her thoughts regarding why. She assumes it must have something to do with loggers to the west until she catches sight of a fey Mark, a territorial marking left by the local court. This one is woven of spider's silk.

    The Court of Frozen Leaves would appear to be expanding their territory. They traditionally rule the deep woods near Rosehollow. The court is not malevolent, but so too are they not benign. They are an alien variable, and it would seem their influence is spreading.

    Perhaps that is why the wildlife is fleeing the area?

    * * *

    That night, Lily takes the shape of a grey squirrel and scampers into the campsite. Pixy helps her evade any predators that might take a squirrel as prey until the pair get to the edge of the camp, at which point Pixy slinks back to Rosehollow.

    The squirrel which is Lily sneaks through the camp, past eight tents surrounding a small fire. Drunken snores emanate from each and every tent. She assumes that the other workers she saw today must have retired back to Goldshire once their day's work had ended. The ones who remain are likely not locals, probably itinerant hired hands instead.

    The squirrel hurries to the pen which holds the four oxen, which are no longer hitched to the dray, but are still tethered to the fence with long, thin ropes. Lily approaches them and takes her usual form once more.

    Successful Beast Tongue Check.

    “What is happening here?” – Lily, quietly to the oxen.
    The oxen all reply as one, as they do practically everything as a team. They tell her that they are taking trees to the cutting-building by the river, which Lily deduces must be the sawmill just outside Goldshire. They tell her of a life of servitude, but how it is not so bad. They tell her of the pride they feel in pulling the loaded dray.

    She asks if they would like to be free, and together they give their assent.

    So Lily unties the ropes binding them to the fence and gently opens the gate, closing it behind them. And then the team of oxen stand there next to her, waiting for her commands.

    With a sigh, Lily gathers up her thoughts and gives the creatures a package of knowledge each about where to go and how to survive in the woods. Armed with this, the oxen turn and leave, traipsing straight through the campsite. To Lily’s relief, the workers are too inebriated to be awoken that easily.

    Exhaling with a sigh of relief, Lily decides to sneak into a tent to see what she can find. Throwing on the shape of a squirrel, Lily sneaks into a tent inhabited by a short, hairy, heavily built man. He is snoring and so thoroughly asleep that he doesn’t notice the squirrel dart in and grab some papers in her little squirrel paws.

    Between the poor light and her squirrel eyes, it is hard to make out many details on the pages, but it looks like they are plans and schedules. So she takes them in her paws and legs it out into the night, stopping at the edge of the clearing to change her form once more, now into a hawk again, before flying back to Rosehollow.

    * * *

    Safe back in Rosehollow, Lily sits in her living room, Pixy curled up beside her. A lantern provides enough light to read by, and so she peruses her stolen pages. What she reads has her furious.

    The plans are for a huge mansion to be built in the forest, a location chosen for its proximity to Goldshire. It has been commissioned by Baronet Kalen Steernacht, the only son of Baron Steernacht of Goldshire. The plans call for a truly obscene amount of woodland to be cleared, to provide both the materials and the room for the mansion.

    Why he would choose to build it there is beyond Lily, but she cannot help but think that it is due to a lack of empathy brought about by his family’s obscene wealth.

    The mansion is to be five stories, and over a hundred rooms, with a cleared garden in front and pasture for livestock.

    The schedule suggests that the construction of the mansion will take only five months, with the garden and pastures to take longer again depending on how many groundskeepers are employed. But more worryingly, the schedule suggests that Steernacht intends for the initial clearing to be complete within the next four weeks. Lily realises that in order for this to happen, many more workmen will be arriving over the next month to ensure that the work is completed on time.

    Lily doesn’t particularly like killing in general, but she does feel that this particular conflict is going to grow violent. And make no mistake, this will get violent. There is no way Lily Roisin will allow this to come to pass on her lands.

    But for now she must sleep and recover her strength, for come the morning, it is war…

    The Wrap-Up:
    I really enjoyed finally playing this one. We wanted to go with a very small-scale kind of game about keeping her home safe, so that’s what we’ve gone with. Unfortunately it was a pretty short session as we didn’t start until late, but I think we still managed to cover a fair bit of information.

    As usual, if you enjoyed this or you have any questions, please feel free to comment on the thread and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  22. - Top - End - #172
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Just a quick little update post to let everyone know how we are going.

    Yesterday we played Session 4.5 of 3 Coins and 1.2 of Whispers. Unfortunately, both sessions were a fair bit shorter than they were meant to be, 3 Coins because Dev messed up the train timetable on a Sunday and then LD had to leave earlier than we scheduled due to her dance rehearsals.

    Once we started Whispers, the group split into three and Dev followed Raven while Ladyhawk and I went to pick up dinner. Unfortunately, they ran into a rules query and Dev decided to just stop the game rather than follow Lys or make a call, until I got back.

    Once we returned, we resolved the rules query and continued following Raven after dinner. We didn't get too much further than that before Delphi, who had battled hard all day, finally succumbed to her illness and we called it quits.

    I can only speak for 3 Coins, but unfortunately we didn't cover anywhere near as much ground as I hoped. I envisaged wrapping up Arc 4 either yesterday or next session, but after yesterday I think we are probably still at least two sessions away from finishing up in Nordtarnet.

    On the other hand, we did have a couple of awesome reveals and some nice roleplay in yet another council meeting. So that was nice.

    Anyway, stay tuned for next time:
    - Things start to go south for the Resistance.
    - A massive reveal regarding Tremor which may have massive repercussions.
    - Breanna turns out to be sneakier than any of her companions ever realised.
    - Harold takes over as military mastermind of the Resistance.
    - Aeva brings out the big guns.

    And:
    - Raven furthers his reputation as a loose-cannon.
    - We are joined by Aurion, a princess of the Danann of the Gheimridhe.
    - A knight is killed by a drop-bear.
    - Lysrasor reveals the names of his many voices, and then worryingly starts doing as they say....
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  23. - Top - End - #173
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Whispers in the Dark Session 1.2: Walking Corpses and Dropbears

    I can only wish that I knew just what They want from us out here. As it is, Benny and I are doing our best to find out what we can, but we don’t even know what They want information on, let alone what They want the information for.

    We’ll do what we can, but I fear that this is an impossible task and we are being set up for failure. I must give some more thought to how to deal with this eventuality. I have some plans, but I know that Benny will not like them.

    I also wonder if our compatriots in this cause are to be trusted with my thoughts on the matter.

    I think not.”

    From the personal journals of Branimir Voijcinski.

    Welcome to Whispers Session 1.2.

    *A greeting in Japanese.* - Delphi.

    We begin about a week after 1.1. A few things have happened in the downtime as the four of us have tried to go underground a little bit. Well, except for Raven, who we are informed, snuck out and murdered some merchant while we weren’t looking.


    As for Benedykta and Branimir, the twins managed to obtain a short-term contract as part of the garrison. In Torycastro, mercenaries are only taken on a short term basis. Benny doesn’t want to give away her abilities, so both of them sign up as basic armsmen. They join a handful of patrols over the week, secretly marking the routes down while off duty. They also perform a rough count of the garrison and come to around 300 infantry, 250 crossbows and a handful of casters who they couldn’t get close to.

    That is only the garrison though. Any lords in the keep probably have personal guards, and the twins are unable to get any information on them.

    Their main contact in the garrison is their commanding officer, Karlos.
    We, the players, were not able to ascertain his rank, but Karlos is apparently nobility.
    In addition to Karlos, they also had dealings with the Chief Quartermaster, Gordain O’Loghan, who was honest and forthright with them, telling the twins as they collected their pay, that they were no longer required.

    Lys on the other hand, having found an archive, has been immersing himself in the history of the town. Apparently, Torycastro was founded, or perhaps conquered over three centuries ago by a Southron warlord. He named, or renamed, the fortress after his hometown in the south, and ever since, the ruling class have been the descendants of that Southron and his men. No one really knows why he was so far north to begin with, but he was there.

    And so the four companions find themselves in the Golden Chalice once more, safely ensconced in the back corner, enjoying a quick afternoon tea. No sooner have they begun to take their meal, than they are joined by an elegant Danann youth in a long, richly embroidered dress. She takes out her own goblet from a leather pack and pours herself some wine from the companions’ decanter.

    “And who might you be?” – Bran, curious.

    “My name is Aurion, from the Gheimridhe in the Wardenfells.” – Aurion, taking a dainty sip of wine.
    “You are supposed to do the secret handsign.” – Dev, stage whisper.

    We then decided that the Syndicate’s secret hand signal is the finger with live long and prosper.
    “So live long and die in poverty.” – Sins.


    Aurion, it happens, does not seem as crazy as everyone else, but has still somehow ended up in The Master’s service as a neophyte. Unlike the rest of us, she hasn’t been demoted, rather she is just new. For some reason though, we find her lack of obvious insanity to be unnerving…

    “We do not trust you…” – Lysrasor, looking off into the middle distance.

    “When he says ‘we,’ he means the voices in his head I think. Personally I haven’t made my mind up yet.” – Bran.

    “You have no reason to trust me, but no reason to distrust me either. The fact is The Master has sent me here with additional information for your contract. I am to join you.” – Aurion, finishing our wine.

    “Additional information?” – Benny, whose daydreaming was interrupted by that piece of information.

    “Indeed, the mentor who gave you your contract missed some vital information and instructions. He has been punished, severely, with fire, but will be fit to continue his duties.” – Aurion, cold.

    Apparently we have four main things to find out:
    - Patrol routes in and around Torycastro.
    - The numbers and intended deployments of the regimentas once mustered.
    - The disposition and ability of those regimentas.
    - Who has called the muster and why are they mobilising?

    “All we need to do is hit the nobility until one of them spills who is in charge.” – Lysrasor, tearing into a hunk of bread.

    “Hitting nobility has repercussions on us though. The moment we do that, we are going to be hunted. That’s the end-game sure, but we need to have everything else done before we get run out of town.” – Bran, dipping his bread in a pot of thick gravy.

    “So if the nobles are out of the picture for now, what’s our first target?” – Aurion, leaning back in her chair.

    “Quartermasters and squad leaders will know numbers and dispositions. Hells, we could probably find and steal documentation with that information on them, without even revealing our presence to anyone. That should be our first task. Once we have all that, then we take the riskier actions and find out who is behind this and why.” – Bran, leaning forward conspiratorially.

    “Does that mean we follow up on Ser Karlos or the Chief Quartermaster?” – Benny, inquisitive.

    “Well Karlos is taking orders from someone. He’s handling the grunt work of organising the garrison, but someone is giving him orders. So he might be a lead to someone higher up, but we don’t know how much involvement, if any, he has with the regimentas. We probably don’t have to have any contact with the quartermasters at all, we can hopefully just steal some documents from them.” – Bran, satisfied.

    “I have business of my own to attend to.” – Raven, who abruptly stands and leaves, his food barely touched in front of him.

    Sharing a few questioning looks, the other companions discuss the plans for the night. Branimir, Benedykta and Aurion will remain at the Golden Chalice, just having a general chat, ready to be called upon if the others run into trouble.

    Lysrasor meanwhile is going to intercept a patrol, using the information Bran and Benny give him regarding the routes and schedules. He simply wants to get an idea of their ability and discipline. For the record, Bran didn’t really approve of this plan, concerned that once patrols start running into disturbances, taking losses, or, Gods forbid, going missing, it is going to be a lot harder to get around the town.

    Raven on the other hand, he has just disappeared. No one has seen him after he left the Golden Chalice.

    Raven
    Having left the Golden Chalice, Raven immediately takes to the sky, landing on a balcony on the fourth floor. A moment later he has thrown on the shape of a ferret and slipped his way into the keep itself. Scurrying through the shadows, he finds himself in a long hallway, lined with heavily armoured knights. At the end of the hallway is a steep stone staircase.

    It seems they don’t see him for now, but it appears they are standing guard, presumably outside the lord’s personal chambers.

    And so the ferret that is Raven scurries forward to the staircase, trying to stick to the shadows as much as possible.

    He passes a closed doorway, lantern light visible from beneath the wooden door. A man and a woman are talking in the room, but it sounds pretty inconsequential, like two servants discussing their respective days.

    He passes the door and reaches the top of the staircase, finding another closed door, this one very heavy and crafted of hardwood. Raven/Ferret squeezes under the door with little difficulty and finds himself on the next floor of the castle. Two guards heard the scrabbling and level halberds at the panting ferret.

    He bolts, scurrying into an abandoned room and hides beneath the bed. A moment later, the bed is flipped as the guards chase him into the room. The one who performed the bed flipping has a dagger in hand and prepares to stab the creature, but Raven/Ferret is too quick and scampers up his arm, tiny claws raking at any exposed skin he can find.

    Neither of the guards can get a proper hold of Raven/Ferret, and eventually they end up incapacitating each other. Raven tries to escape once more, but again they catch him and this time, when they tear away his hiding place once more, they are greeted by a squeaky roar, for Raven has tried to shift from ferret to bear as quickly as he can.

    Unfortunately, he’s just managed to become a bear the size of a ferret.

    They laugh at him, but not for long because with a surge of power, the bear rapidly grows.

    Raven/Bear unleashes a horrifically loud roar…

    Lysrasor
    Lys has made his way to the paupers’ graveyard of Torycastro, hidden in the shadow of the north-eastern outer wall.

    With a flare of daemonic magic, six freshly buried corpses pull themselves from the dirt, their eye-sockets pools of gleaming black. Then, with coterie of corpses at his back and Hctib trotting happily beside him, Lysrasor heads out to intercept a patrol.

    Raven
    Those first two guards were mauled quickly, but five more guards, clad in full-plate armour in the southern style, come storming into the room with greatswords and battleaxes. Raven/Bear steadily gives ground, meat hook-like claws lashing out at the armoured knights approaching him.

    He can hear more heavily armoured knights approaching and knows that there is no way he can take them all. With one last swipe, Raven/Bear turns around and lumbers to a window, throwing himself out. Two knights look out the shattered window, but the bear has disappeared. A bat flutters up past them and they look up to follow its path.

    “Wait, is that bat growing larger…” – First knight to his companion.
    With a roar, a bear flies past the window, taking the two knights with him.

    This time, no one is game to look out the window.

    This was hilarious. Two knights with necks broken thanks to a falling bear’s ass.
    “That was ass-tounding.” – PG.
    “The knights are not enemies, merely enemas.” – Sins.
    I guess it was only a matter of time until we incorporated drop-bears in Norbayne.


    Lysrasor
    A patrol, a mere three men in leather jerkins and armed with spears come across a tall, unnaturally gaunt man standing on the road, swathed in dark robes. He appears to be alone.

    “Ser! What is your business out here this night?” – Patrol-sergeant.

    Lysrasor looks up at them and whispers, almost to himself.
    “Words, words, words, Nicaar wants murder…” – Lysrasor.

    With that, the decomposing corpses of his risen slaves burst from the shadows, taking the patrol by surprise, and drag the patrol-sergeant to the ground where they tear him to pieces. The surviving guards try to put down the skeletal creatures, but only cause minimal damage before the foul creatures rip another apart too.

    The last man is sent into a fell sleep by Lysrasor himself, who then arranges his skeletal warriors for maximum terror around him, and then strips the man of his weapons and armour.

    When the guardsman’s awareness returns, he is utterly terrified, and looks up at Lysrasor with dread.

    “Now you tell me, what is your patrol doing out here?” – Lysrasor, the Curial graveblade pricking the poor unfortunate’s throat.

    “Please, don’t kill me. I have a wife and family ser.” – Guard.

    “You still haven’t answered our question…” – Lys.

    “I’m just following orders. From the sergeant.” – Guard.

    “And these orders were to do what?” – Lys.

    “Just patrol the roads, in case of attack ser.” – Guard.

    “An attack from whom?” – Lys.

    “We share a border with Ghotaich. Raids are hardly uncommon.” – Guard.

    “Your garrison. How many men?” – Lys.

    “Around six hundred? I’m not sure. Are you going to kill me?” – Guard.

    “No, I will not.” – Lys.
    “Ah, why not!?” – One of Lys’ voices, the name of which I cannot make out in the recording.
    “No, we will not kill him. I have given my word now.” – Lys.

    “Thank you kind ser.” – Guard.

    “That being said, it is dangerous to be alone on the roads after dark. I hear that there are unliving fiends out here which long to feast on the flesh of the living. So long as you do not move, I am sure they will not find you, but the moment you do, you will probably attract their attention. And then they will eat you.

    I will not kill you.

    But they will.” – Lys, backing slowly away through his close ring of risen slaves.

    The guard remains huddled on the ground, too scared to even shake in terror.

    “Good night.” – Lysrasor, disappearing into the night.

    We then exchanged insults.
    “You sir, are the epitome of a sphincter.” – Delphi.
    “You ****ing wombat.” – Ladyhawk.
    “You are a carcass fit for hounds.” – Dev.
    “The lights are on but nobody is home. The wheel is spinning, but the hamster’s dead.” - My own favourite.


    * * *

    The companions all return to their respective rooms and sleep. Aurion seems to have decided that Branimir is a reasonably normal person, and at least compared to Raven, Lysrasor and Benedykta, she’s just about right.

    Benny for her part sees a malignant thread of magic woven into Aurion’s being and recognises it as a reasonably significant curse, but a subtle one that she would not be surprised if Aurion didn’t even know of its existence.

    She resolves to say nothing of it for now.

    The next morning will likely see some major repercussions for the night’s actions, but there is no doubt that this group of miscreants have not even begun to show what they are capable of.

    It’s time to let it all burn…

    And we left it there…

    The Wrap-Up
    It was a short session this time around due to a late start, compounded by Ladyhawk and I leaving to get dinner sorted out, and then Delphi eventually succumbing to illness.

    That being said, a few things were covered, and we are in a better position information-wise, but unfortunately that has come at the cost of letting Raven and Lysrasor of their respective leashes, which could cause some problems for us down the line.

    Looking forward to seeing how this party complements each other in combat. I get the feeling that Raven will be attracting attention in bear form, with Lys providing a tar-pit of skeletons and battlefield control spells. That leaves Aurion and Bran to run interception and Benny to blast holes in enemies. Benny’s Warrior training should make her a tougher proposition for the usual mage-hunter types as well.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  24. - Top - End - #174
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Okay, this has been a long hiatus, even by our standards.

    First up, we are not dead, though the group's crazy time-tables made the end of last year pretty hectic for us.

    Secondly, Session 4.5 of 3 Coins is on the way. I am currently 2.5 hours into the recording. So that's something to look forward to.

    Thirdly, we have had a group composition change during our hiatus. In a way, it is partially responsible for said hiatus too. Unfortunately, due to a personal issue, Wings, who played Tremor Ironfist will not be playing with us in the future. We are also unlikely to recruit a replacement, at least for some time yet. We are unsure of when our next session will take place, but hopefully it will not be too far away.

    Other than that, everyone is well and we wish you all a happy belated New Year.

    Cheers,
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  25. - Top - End - #175
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Session 4.5: Of Bastardry

    Tremor Godriksson of Clan Ironfist sits alone in his rented room in the Blackmane Inn of Urik's Landing. He takes a long draught from a tankard of ale and sets it down on a small wooden desk.

    With a curious glint in his eye, he takes up his sack and withdraws the mouldering head of Wilmund Brewer.

    "What exactly were you trying to accomplish? You were supposed to have been an innkeeper, not some daemon summoning madman." - Tremor, voice breaking.

    A fell green glow surrounds the skull and balefire gleams in its sunken eyes.

    "Accusing another of being a daemon summoning madman?" - Wilmund Brewer's whispering voice from beyond the veil.

    "Why do you continue to torment me!?" - Tremor, yelling, anguish and alcohol affecting his self-control.

    "You are the bastard who killed me...." - Brewer's shade, before the balefire gutters out.


    Welcome to Session 4.5 of Three Coins.

    “No one said The Game yet.” – Ladyhawk.
    “We are awful people.” – Dev.

    We left off with the taking of Valewatch, the woodland fortress in the northwest of Nordtarnet. Brannigan Magnarsson of Clan Runestone has taken command of the fortress, but he is struggling to deal with the aftermath of Breanna and Aeva’s joint assault.


    The entire council of the Resistance has arrived alongside the other companions, at the head of 500 troops, mainly Vale-dwarves loyal to Ersun Blackbear. Joined by Aeva Nordur-Vatn and Breanna Blackrose, the Resistance forces stand outside the gates, bearing the standards of Clans Ironfist and Blackbear foremost.

    Brannigan Runestone stands on the gatehouse looking over the Resistance’s small host, a slate grey flag beside him, embroidered with a golden runic sigil of peace. A flag of parley, such as the Dwergar recognize them.

    “Surrender you Runestone dog!” – Ersun Blackbear, opening proceedings.
    Harold Oakenshield rolls his eyes, but despite how much he wants to say something, does not rebuke the dark-haired Dwergar lord.

    “What are your terms?” – Brannigan Runestone, not biting at the taunts.

    “Come down and we shall discuss them!” – Tremor Ironfist, sick of having to keep looking up and shouting to talk.

    “I am not that great a fool as to leave my position. Not yet at any rate.” – Brannigan, slightly affronted. To his mind at least, the only reason he survived the assassinations which claimed the other commanders of Valewatch is because he was surrounded by guards that night, patrolling the walls. He knows that the moment he is separated from his own men, he is easy game.

    “Fair enough, I’m just sick of having to look up to speak to you.” – Tremor, trying to appeal to Brannigan as one straight-talking dwarf to another.

    “Look, I know I cannot keep Valewatch, and truth be told, I do not particularly want it. Give me some land around here, allow me to take a position as a lord of your Resistance and promise safe passage and an opportunity to serve for my men and I will pledge myself to your cause.” – Brannigan.

    “We will give your Southbridge Fort as Clan Runestone’s seat, as soon as we take it from my brother.” – Tremor.

    “And I have your word that no harm will come to me or my men?” – Brannigan.

    “You have it. No harm will come to you and yours by my hand or those of my retinue. That is all I can guarantee.” – Tremor, admitting that his position is tenuous.

    “Nor will it come from you and yours…” – Harold, growling in an undertone to Ersun Blackbear.

    “Then by those terms, I surrender Valewatch to you.” – Brannigan Runestone.

    Ersun Blackbear claims the keep as his own, granting rooms to each of the lords and their retinues. A council meeting is called for that evening, and Harrick Stonehammer looks particularly grim.

    * * *

    The companions find they have a few hours to spare before the lords are called together. Harold does his best to continue providing some training to his band of Invarrians, joined by Kel’Serrar’s archer corps and Bach.

    Ladyhawk showed LD her ‘octopus dance’ here. This led to LD dying of laughter, preventing me from hearing much of our conversation.

    Maebh:
    Maebh goes into the forest with Toirneach, to both spend some quality time with her familiar and to scout out the surrounding area. She passes swiftly through her own handiwork, the burned woodland to the north and then spends some hours out on the wooded paths.

    And then, some miles away from Valewatch, she spies tracks on the ground, heading north and away from Valewatch. Toirneach’s reaction confirms what she herself thought.
    “Minotaurs!” – Delphi.

    Krowavir…

    “I freaking knew it!” – Delphi.

    Breanna:
    For the Leathe, the next few hours are quite pleasant, frolicking with Wolfgang in their own room off the side of the companions’ parlour. A pleasant interlude to their otherwise harsh lives.

    “So you are with your marcwolf, Wolfgang von Markus…”
    “Every time he says it, we win.” – LD.
    “Now Wolfgang is a bit large than Bach, because you take better care of him. He’s also a bit fatter than Bach, because you feed him bad food.”
    “Like people.” – Delphi, brightly.


    Wolfgang is a bit larger than Bach, and it will not be long before Breanna is able to ride him into battle.

    Harold:
    The Invarrian duellist proves to be quite an impressive teacher and commander, at least of sentient creatures. His Invarrian duellists and the archers are coming together quite nicely, forming a handy little band of skirmishers. His efforts to integrate Bach are not coming along quite as well.

    A few of his band are former farm hands and have some skill with animals, but even they struggle to deal with the unruly marcwolf, who seems to really only listen to Harold himself.

    Kel’Serrar:
    The Danann ranger can avoid being noticed if he wishes, and so he sets himself to the task of determining the general feeling of those who were attached to the Runestone household. On the whole, he finds that most don’t seem to be that fussed switching from the Loyalists to the Resistance.

    Their opinions on Brannigan differ wildly. The common people find him quite dull, and a bit stupid. This is probably due to his reputation as being quite honourable and forthright. The soldiers however, love him, probably due to those same character traits. He is a commander who will actually ensure the safety of his own men.

    Tremor and Aeva:
    Tremor, with a kite-hawk sitting proudly on his shoulder, strides to the parlour of Brannigan Runestone himself and is eventually allowed in by the increasingly alarmed huscarls.

    “Are you standing or sitting?” – Delphi.
    “I’m sorry?” – Wings.
    “Which one? It’s important.” – Delphi.
    “Ah walking and then sitting?” – Wings.
    “Okay, when you sit down, you find a small black and white cat curled up in your lap.” – Delphi.
    “Aww, kitty.” – Ladyhawk.


    Brannigan and Tremor take one comfortably upholstered chair each and servants come bearing a pint of ale for each of them. Tremor has no fear of being poisoned by this man and drinks happily.

    “So, Tremor Godriksson has returned to take his place at the head of Clan Ironfist. But why would he come see me?” – Brannigan, quaffing his ale.

    “I wanted to know just how you felt about this business. Are you actually with us for the long haul?” – Tremor, setting his half empty tankard on the table. The cat in his lap purrs contentedly.

    “Having surrendered to you, our lives are now forfeit if we ever meet your brother. It is in my own best interests now to ensure we are successful.” – Brannigan. He is known to be a very poor liar, and both Aeva and Tremor feel he is telling the truth.

    Aeva picks herself up and curls up in Brannigan’s lap instead. For his part, this day has just been so weird, he just absent-mindedly starts patting the little creature.

    Maebh and Breanna:
    Maebh is eventually joined by Breanna and Wolfgang, who add their own tracking ability to the cause. Maebh sends Toirneach back to Valewatch, telling him to stay safe, before the mage and assassin take to the trees, Wolfgang questing along on the ground beneath them.

    They follow the tracks.

    Tremor and Aeva:
    After their visit with Brannigan, Tremor wanders through Valewatch with Aeva on his shoulder, familiarising themselves with the fortress.

    Likely to be useful in the future...

    Maebh and Breanna:
    The two companions follow Wolfgang through the undergrowth, and do not lose the trail, albeit it is easy enough to recognise. After some time however, they realise that if they want to be on time for the evening's council meeting, they had best head back.

    They do file away that this particular pack seems to have a range of at least two miles from their den.

    Tremor, Aeva and Kel'Serrar:
    Unfortunately, wandering through the streets of a recently conquered fortress is a dangerous pastime.

    Perception Checks from Tremor and Aeva and a Luck Check from Kel'Serrar. All pass.

    Ahead of Kel'Serrar, looking around the corner stands a single dwarf, clad in dark leathers with a knife in hand. While the Danann does not know that Tremor and Aeva are nearby, the buildings concealing them from his sight, he does realise very swiftly that the Dwergar assassin before him is likely up to no good.

    "I think I hear something..." - Tremor, whispering under his breath.

    "There's more than one something." - Aeva's Whispering Wind.
    At that moment there is a cacophony of noise emanating from the ground beneath the assassin, and he cannot help but jump in fright. He panics and bolts directly into the path of Kel'Serrar's arrow, which catches the unfortunate assassin in the temple, dropping him immediately.

    At the sound, two more would-be assassins leap out, one swinging a shortsword at Tremor, causing Aeva to flutter slightly on his shoulder as the engineer dodges away. The other levels a loaded crossbow at the pair and shoots, but the bolt passes harmlessly over Tremor's shoulder.

    Aeva glares at the crossbowman and he gives a growled curse before he is unable to move.

    The other assassin dodges a number of Tremor's strikes before another arrow smashes into the side of his head, killing him instantly.

    "Thanks Kel!" - Tremor, recognising the arrow, before running towards the still Snared crossbowman.

    Before he gets close however, the assassin breaks free, throws his crossbow away and frantically begins running. Aeva takes off and manages to hit him with enough of a Snare to slow him for a few moments, which is all Tremor needs to cut the gap between them.

    The engineer smashes into the assassin with the force of a dwarven battering ram. Tremor's quite a heavy little guy, so when he gets some speed up it takes a lot to stop him.

    The assassin is rolled over onto his back, groaning in agony. Above him, Tremor puts a heavy boot on his chest and Aeva lands on his shoulder once more.

    "You're not going anywhere." - Tremor, before punching the assassin in the face.

    * * *

    The companions are gathered in their quarters, the assassin Tremor carried in tied to the table on his back.

    "Who are you working for?" - Tremor, holding the vial of Red Potion threateningly above his head.

    The captive refuses to speak, so Tremor forces him to swallow a drop.

    He screams in agony.

    "Again, who are you working for?" - Tremor, holding the vial threateningly once more.

    The captive still refuses, and so this scene repeats itself for some time.

    "Surely throwing him in the dungeon and repeating this over the next few days would be more productive?" - Harold, under his breath to Maebh and Aeva.

    "If we did that, we would need to check for any kind of poisons he might use on himself." - Maebh.

    "Very good point." - Harold, nodding in agreement.

    "The dungeons are not exactly the safest place amongst these people though." - Aeva, pointing out that bad things happen in Dwergar dungeons.

    "This is getting nowhere." - Breanna, to the room.

    "Before we put him in the dungeons, you'd better strip-search him." - Maebh.

    Tremor and Breanna set about the task ruthlessly, with more enthusiasm with ability. It isn't until Kel'Serrar offers his trained eye to the task that they start to uncover some items of interest.

    First is a small pouch of coins, which they split equally in front of the would-be assassin with much glee. Then, two more daggers which were missed earlier. Then, a little white pill which Breanna sniffs and identifies as a fast-acting poison. And finally a small note.

    Quote Originally Posted by Assassin's Note
    Tremor Godriksson is your target. Eliminate him.
    Spoiler: Tremor's Name
    Show

    Tremor's full name is Tremor Godriksson of House Ironfist, but his strained relationship with his father led to him adopting the clan name as his use-name in southern lands.


    * * *

    After stripping their captive, rather than taking him to the dungeons, the companions decide to take him with them to the council meeting and see if they can determine who wants Tremor dead.

    The meeting is convened in a long hall in Valewatch keep, and is again headed by Harrick Stonehammer, although this time Ersun Blackbear is in the head place.

    This time, the meeting is joined by Brannigan Runestone and his small retinue. He is accompanied only by the huscarl who slew his father's councilors and an old dwarf-woman.

    "I shall begin by telling you all that the situation across the board has become quite grim. Gamrick Odensson, Dame Grimstone's steward, and now Castellan of The Crag, has sent ill tidings. The Crag is currently besieged by a force approximately two thousand strong. The enemy commander has, as yet, made no attempt to storm the city, which has led Odensson to believe that there is more to it than meets the eye.

    Reports from my own godsmen to the south suggest that the southern border-forts are being stripped of their garrisons. They are joining together on the plains around Borsa." - Harrick, his face grim.

    "They are coming for us here then." - Tremor.

    "In addition to this, now that we have become an open threat, the Sons of Wyre have abandoned the Valleywood. They too are currently heading south, and have razed massive portions of the forest behind them. Many valley clans have been driven out, south onto the plains or east, deep into the mountains. We don't know what the Sons are doing either. Every village they have come across has been pillaged, which suggests they have gone rogue. And with them currently between us and Borsa, they may prove to be an issue moving against that city too." - Harrick.

    "Contact with the Mountain Finches has been lost too. And there is a not inconsiderable amount of troubling information regarding the other valley clans." - Ersun Blackbear.

    "Aye, but that is not the only information we have. In fact, it may not even be the most important..." - Frieda Grimstone.

    "Aye, first of all I have correspondence from one of my godsmen in the south specifically pertaining to you Tremor. According to Bonil Fredriksson, Bain is claiming that Tremor is here is only a bastard, and not actually Lord Godrik's heir. Bain apparently has a letter, signed by your lord father, explaining the presence of the Bad Blood in you, when none of the Ironfist bloodline has born that taint in seven generations." - Harrick, eyes glinting with a steely light.

    Everyone turns to the companions, and there is anger and dissent in their eyes.

    "Is it true?" - Harrick, simply, putting the letter down.

    "I do not know." - Tremor, quietly.

    "That is not good enough!" - Frieda, angrily but she is cut off by Stonehammer.

    "Enough Dame Grimstone! Let him speak." - Harrick, with authority.

    "I believe I am the heir, and was raised as such before my exile." - Tremor.

    "According to Bonil, your father's signature and seal are authentic and he believes it is proof that, before he died, your father believed you to be a bastard." - Harrick, quietly.

    Arald Redclay stands.

    "Do you not see? None of this matters. We have already thrown our lot in with him, bastard or no. If we turn him in now, and claim we are duped, our lives are still forfeit. We must see this through, if for no other cause than self-preservation." - Arald Redclay.

    Everyone in the room accedes the point, though that does not make them any happier about it. Arald retakes his seat and returns Tremor's grateful nod.

    "Okay, now here's a pretty little offer we have been given... I have word from Theyne Balof Redclay, the current lord of Lord's Ridge. He offers us his alliance and all of his troops in exchange for allowing him to keep Lord's Ridge." - Frieda Grimstone, with a slightly unseemly amount of glee.

    From what the companions can make out, Grimstone and Blackbear seem quite keen and seem to believe replacing Balof with Arald would be quite difficult. After all, Arald was not very popular to begin with, which was why Balof was able to take over so easily. Stonehammer and Grimstone seem much harder to read, though Stonehammer at least seems to be thinking about it. Redclay himself of course, is totally against it and looks to already be planning an escape, his retinue all fingering weapons.

    "I believe this would be a bad move. The Resistance would get a bad reputation very quickly if we appeared to drop an existing ally in exchange for an unproven one, who appears to be asking to join simply to be on the winning side. We have taken two strongholds, in the middle of winter. That is winnig my friends. We have the momentum, we can win without him." - Harold, with a triumphant flicker in his eye.

    "You are correct Herr Oakenshield, but look around you. The situation has changed in those very same two weeks. The Crag is besieged by a force numbering in the thousands, and Valewatch is surrounded by a burnt out wasteland. What we have taken in two weeks, we stand to lose immediately. We have the momentum yes, but momentum can only carry you so far." - Frieda, laying out her desperation.

    "Indeed, we are hardly the winning side. There must be somewhat else going on..." - Harrick. thoughtful.

    "Hang that, at the very least it is easier for us to keep a ruler in place than to depose yet another, and replace him with one the people have already risen up against. If we do not need to commit troops to Lord's Ridge, that just pushes our eventual assault on Bain's fortress forward." - Ersun, putting it bluntly.

    "We would need to take Borsa before we take Nordtarnet Fortress anyway." - Tremor, grim.

    "I'm pretty sure Lord's Ridge was to be the next target, was it not? That was our agreement I believe." - Arald, icy.

    "If we take Lord's Ridge by force, we leave our flank open to attack from the force mustering outside Borsa. We must strike there first, and secure Valewatch." - Ersun, pressing his advantage.

    "But then if that force may be led elsewhere, and away from a position to strike, even ambushed and destroyed, then that would eliminate the need to take Borsa..." - Harold, thoughtful.

    Indeed, Harold's words are taking root even amongst the retinues of Grimstone and Blackbear. Interestingly, Brannigan Runestone has said nothing throughout the meeting, but the old woman has been whispering in his ear and he nods in agreement every now and then. Clearly, she is providing him with sound advice.

    Tremor then stands, having thought about his next course of action.

    "Due to this new information, I request that we postpone this council meeting for an hour. I must convene with Lord Redclay in private. Dame Grimstone, I request that you keep that offer secret and do not let that information become common knowledge. Herr Stonehammer, I ask you do the same with the knowledge of my parentage." - Tremor, regally.

    "Because it is all bull****." - Harold, with finality.

    * * *

    The companions take a moment to pick each other's brains in the dining room of their parlour before meeting with Arald Redclay.

    "This is a **** situation isn't it? Obviously the younger brother is hedging here, trying to play both sides of the conflict. I do feel for Arald, but it would be pretty handy just having a stronghold handed over to us." - Maebh, thoughtful, lounging on a low leather chair.

    "I'll just voice the obvious thing I think everyone is thinking, namely that it's a trap." - Kel'Serrar, sitting across from the cold fireplace, staring at the ashes.

    "Yeah." - Harold, sitting at the table with his head in his hands.

    "I'm just thinking, that we have made this alliance with Arald, and that if we break that off it would not be a good look for us if we broke that when they seem perfectly willing to hold to their side of the bargain." - Aeva, leaning against the wall.

    "He did sign your contract, did he not?" - Kel'Serrar, deep in thought.

    "Arald? Aye, he did." - Tremor, pacing the length of the room.

    "Anyway, the younger brother sided with Bain. Screw him." - Breanna, lying on the floor, throwing and catching a peach.

    "True, we can screw him. Say yes and stab him in the night." - Maebh, warming to the theme.

    "The offer does seem too good to be true. We've had a lot of luck, and therefore our tricks have worked, but our luck won't hold forever. We need a good show of force, something tangible we can use to put us in a favourable position. Once there, we may not need Balof, and we can dispose of him. Unfortunately, this offer comes at a time where we are looking vulnerable, so naturally it appears in our best interests to take it, to improve our position. What we need is a pitched battle we can win, which takes some pressure off us to show we actually have a legitimate chance to hold what we take." - Harold, caught in a tangent.

    "But can we win a pitched battle Harold?" - Barandin, sitting at the table too.

    "That's the only problem I guess. At the moment, with forces tied up in The Crag and enemy forces mustering outside Borsa, we're not in a good spot, but they are still reacting to us, and that is a good thing. It's just like duelling. If you force your opponent to go on the defensive and start countering you, eventually he will make a mistake and you have your opening. We need a place which is no longer heavily guarded, somewhere we can crush, and force them to react." - Harold, warming to his theme.

    "So a river assault on one of the southern border-forts?" - Barandin, trying to be helpful.

    "Maybe..." - Harold, getting frustrated.

    "So a distraction then, to draw the forces from The Crag?" - Maebh, an open question to the room.

    "No, the longer The Crag is besieged and holds, the better." - Harold.

    "Yes, that fortress has supplies to last well and truly into the summer. On the other hand, that siege ties up two thousand soldiers who could be garrisoning Nordtarnet fortress or Borsa for instance. The longer they stay out there in the winter, the more they will lose due to desertion, the conditions, perhaps lack of food, any number of things can occur to a campaigning army in the depths of winter." - Tremor, perking up a bit.

    "And they are besieging a fortress whose defensive tactic is to literally sit tight and let the enemy die around them. We only stormed it because we were desperate and we had a plan. They don't seem to have that, so far as we know." - Harold.

    "So we need something else then..." - Barandin, to the agreement of the other companions.

    “What about the Sons of Wyre then? Can we hit them?” – Maebh.

    “The Mountain Finches told me that they were around three battallions, each around five-score strong.” – Breanna, thoughtful.

    “Historically, if I remember correctly, the company has numbered around five hundred.” – Tremor, recalling the numbers from the war against Rivervind.

    “Both sets of information are now out of date anyway, so we can’t set too much stock in either of them.” – Barandin.

    “True, but I think we could probably handle even five hundred…” – Aeva, thoughtful.

    “They are said to be quite savage, and by all accounts their leader lives up to his title.” – Kel’Serrar, referring to Ragnak the Butcher.

    “Oh, speaking of savage creatures in the woods, Breanna and I tracked a pack of Krowavir north. We didn’t find their den, but they do seem to be active in this area.” – Maebh.

    “I may be able to communicate with them…” – Aeva, trying to formulate a plan.

    “Beasts like that are unlikely to want to listen lass.” – Barandin.



    With that, the, companions split, with Tremor and Harold finally going to see Arald Redclay and Brannigan Runestone respectively. While this happens, Kel’Serrar takes the opportunity to gauge the mood of the Blackbear and Grimstone camps and Breanna and Maebh taking some time for a bite to eat and a chat with Wolfgang and Toirneach respectively.

    Tremor and Aeva:

    “Before we go any further, I want to assure you that I have no intention of breaking our contract. As far as I am concerned, your brother has done to you what mine has done to me. Which, as you can imagine, makes me more inclined to stay with you than side with your brother.” – Tremor, cutting all the bull****.

    “That is actually quite the relief. Despite your brother’s most recent gambit, your word and actions still carry a lot of weight. If I can take you at your word, and so far your word has been good, then I shall rest easier.” – Arald Redclay, looking marginally more relaxed than he did when Tremor came into his quarters.

    “Yes, speaking of that, my brother has well and truly dragged my name through the dirt. If you can offer me any assistance in trying to control this situation, I would appreciate it greatly.” – Tremor, concerned.

    “I’m afraid there really is not much I can do. I will have my agents go to work halting the rumours, but such things have a way of getting out by themselves. And if I back you more openly, you risk turning your own people against you even more.” – Arald, falling back into political manouevering mode.

    “That will have to be enough. I trust your spy network is still in place?” – Tremor, acceding the point and taking another sip of Redclay’s excellent mead.

    “It is, though I have cause to doubt the efficiency of my agents after they failed to alert me to my brother’s most recent play. Actually, having said that I do have something to bring to your attention, evidence of insurrection within your own retinue.” – Arald, pulling a letter from his pocket which he hands to Tremor.

    Tremor takes the surprisingly heavy letter and is astounded to learn that it is addressed to Breanna Blackrose. He opens it to find two crowns, and gasps at the sheer weight of gold in this little envelope.

    Then he reads the note attached:

    Quote Originally Posted by Breanna’s Pay Slip
    As promised, payment for the successful killing of Mordin Grimstone.

    10/10 would use this service again.
    “You killed Papa!” – Ladyhawk and Delphi together, as LD laughs in the background.

    On the contrary, Breanna did not actually kill the late Lord Grimstone, but did claim the contract after his death.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Which is why Breanna has so much money. She’s been using her assassin contacts to claim contracts on just about every dead person the company has run across since the very beginning. It is for a somewhat noble cause though.


    Harold:

    “Now you know that you will not be able to stay here and guard this place right? Blackbear won’t trust you.” – Harold, blunt.

    “Oh, I know. I was planning on moving out with a small force to harry the opposition around The Crag, provided that course of action is ratified by the council.” – Brannigan, equally blunt.

    “On the contrary Brannigan, we have an alternate course of action, one which will strike a more decisive blow. We want to use your force to wipe out the Sons of Wyre. Now, do you have any sway over or accord with any of the Valley Clans?” – Harold, with an ambitious gleam in his eye.

    “I have neither, but I would certainly be willing to lead that force.” – Brannigan, proud.

    “Very good.” – Harold, before sharing a toast with his new lieutenant.

    Back soon guys.
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2016-01-29 at 10:50 AM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  26. - Top - End - #176
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    The meeting is reconvened and Harrick Stonehammer cuts straight to the chase.

    “Right, let’s get straight to it then. Who is in favour of courting Balof Redclay?” – Harrick Stonehammer, getting to the point.

    Frieda Grimstone puts her hand up immediately, and surprisingly, so does Brannigan Runestone. He doesn’t look happy about it, but judging by the satisfied look on her face, his elderly off-sider won that particular argument.

    “I wish to see how Herr Ironfist votes before I cast my own.” – Ersun Blackbear, which draws raised eyebrows from plenty gathered for the council.

    “And there is no way in hell I am going to agree to it.” – Tremor, with a growl.

    Ersun Blackbear nods his head in affirmation. The vote stands with two in favour and three opposed, and Arald Redclay maintains his place on the council.

    “Okay, our next piece of business, reports from Nordtarnet Fortress. With Bain out pillaging and what have you, the castellan of Nordtarnet is General Tarik Hammerstrike. Under his rule, almost everyone in and around the fortress have been reduced to thralls. And apparently, our recent activities have made him very paranoid.” – Harrick.

    “Paranoid? How so?” – Frieda Grimstone.

    “He’s offering a bounty on every bird or bat shot down. Six sulvers per wing.” – Harrick.

    “Whoops. I am now officially a cat on your shoulder, not a bird.” – Delphi.

    There is a fair bit of concerned muttering amongst the various camps before Stonehammer gets everyone back on track.

    So, my lords, what is our next move?" - Harrick.

    "Well, I do have a plan, and it is quite bold. We take six-to-seven hundred troops out, leaving a fair garrison here in Valewatch. And then, we take down the Sons of Wyre. They've been a thorn in our side long enough and they have made no friends among the hill clans. So we let it be known we want them dead, and that we will accept any aid from the clans they are willing to offer. Lord Runestone and myself will lead the force." - Harold, sweeping his hand over the map in the centre of the table.

    "Well the other option that we may have would be to offer them an improved contract..." - Harrick, sitting back in his seat.

    That suggestion is knocked back vehemently by the assembled lords. They have no intention of allowing their recently acquired mining assets from The Crag go to some feral mercenaries. No, killing them off would be a far better option.

    "From there, we go south to scout around Borsa." - Harold, continuing his plan.

    Spoiler
    Show
    "As an aside, I will now have to replace 'caw-caw mother****er,' with 'paw-paw mother****er." - Delphi.


    The lords agree with this plan in a unanimous vote, leaving Harold to sort out the details. Amazingly, somehow, Harold has ended up as the Resistance's military mastermind...

    "This will end fantastically...." - Dev, voice dripping with sarcasm.


    "With that, my lords, our meeting is adjourned." - Harrick, getting ready to stand.

    "Actually, I have one more piece of business." - Tremor, standing up.

    He beckons to Barandin who leaves the room and swiftly returns with their captured assassin, who is thrown bodily onto the centre table. As the incapacitated dwarf is thrown onto the stone surface, the companions scan the faces of everyone present.

    "This one. Who knows him?" - Tremor.

    Spoiler
    Show
    The players all fluff their Perception Checks.
    "Can we re-roll those?" - Wings.
    "Aaaah, no."
    "What if we all throw in a Luck Point?" - Dev.
    "Yeah sure, if everyone throws in a Luck Point."
    "I'm not giving up a Luck Point for that ****." - Ladyhawk.
    "I will throw in 2." - Delphi.
    "Ah fine, I'll put in 1. But that means I only have 4 now!" - Ladyhawk, unhappy.
    "I only have 3, calm your tit." - Delphi.
    "Love how you're only to calm one tit. Let the other run wild." - LD
    "It's your party tit." - Delphi.

    The companions have their eyes trained on the other lords, but only Kel'Serrar notices that both Blackbear and Grimstone have momentary flickers of recognition. It could just be a trick of the light, but he is convinced they know of the assassin.

    "They're in cahoots! Cahoots I say!" - Delphi.

    He looks around surreptitiously, but no one else seems to have noticed what he did. Thinking quickly, he starts casting under his breath.

    A soft silver light begins to emanate from the assassin, and then Grimstone and Blackbear. It is very subtle, and hard to notice, but a few notice it and look around, to mutters of discontent.

    "Thank you again Kel." - Tremor, under his breath.

    "So it appears none here know of this man? What do you wish to do with him?" - Harrick, oblivious to the light.

    "Lord Redclay, do you have anyone who is particularly good at interrogation?" - Harold, thinking to assure the man that they do not suspect him.

    "Why don't we torture him?" - LD, helpfully.

    "Yeah, quick suggestion. Why don't we torture him right here and now, in front of all the lords and then keep an eye on them to determine who is getting all uppity?" - Delphi.

    "Because torture is only for amateurs and sadists." - Dev, primly.

    "Well, yeah." - Delphi, rolling her eyes and not elaborating on which she is.

    "I've got a ****-ton of Hypnotism." - Ladyhawk, also trying to be helpful.


    "I have skilled interrogators." - Ersun Blackbear, gruffly speaking up.

    "You do?" - Tremor, taken aback.

    "I do. It's my castle." - Ersun, taking the opportunity to remind Tremor just where he stands.

    "That will not be neccessary. If we want secrets pried from him, then I can take care of it." - Maebh, standing and rolling up her sleeves.

    "Most of you, I would hope, are unaware that this man and his compatriots made an attempt on my life earlier today. If not for my retinue, I would likely not be standing here. As such, I wanted you all to be present for this cretin's... confession." - Tremor, malevolently before taking his seat once more.

    With that, Maebh applies her mental power to bending the barely conscious Dwergar to her will. Her fingertips glow with an amber light as they dance before the assassin's unfocussed eyes. Just as he begins to come to, he finds his gaze locked by the mage's stare, unable to turn away from her terrible golden eyes.

    "Who hired you?" - Maebh, calmly an surely.

    The Dwergar has an insanely strong will, but against Maebh he is unable to resist.

    "It was..."- The assassin, before biting down hard on his tongue.

    The mage applies another surge of will and the captive's resolve falters. His hand rebels against him and he points to one Dwergar standing in Ersun Blackbear's retinue.

    That councillor looks around at the room and makes a run for the door, where Harold's Invarrians stand guard.

    "Hold him!" - Harold, commanding his men.

    The councillor has a fair crack, even managing to shrug off one of Aeva's Snares, but is eventually brought down by the Invarrians, who grab him by the arms and force-march him to the table.

    "Did Ersun Blackbear order this attack?" - Maebh, to the gasps of those around the table. Blackbear himself looks tense.

    The assassin shakes and groans but eventually shakes his head, looking dejected.

    He then turns his head to look at Tremor, but his eyes never focus on the Ironfist scion.

    "Your half-brother wants you dead." - The assassin, voice raw.

    "Of course." - Tremor, before jumping onto the table and violently shoving a dagger into the would-be assassin's throat.

    He then kicks the body off the table, jumping down after it.

    "Next prisoner." - Tremor, angrily.

    Maebh flicks the blood off her hand in vague annoyance before grabbing the squirming councillor and throwing him onto the table. As an aside, the map of Nordtarnet is thoroughly ruined now.

    This captive proves far easier to dominate.

    "Who do you work for? Did you order the hit on someone else's orders?" - Maebh, serene despite the bloodstains.

    "Bain Ironfist..." - The captive, completely monotone.

    "How did he get the order to you?" - Maebh.

    "By raven." - The captive.

    "What do you know of his plans?" - Maebh.

    "He wanted his half-brother dead. I got money to organise the assassination and to ensure it was carried out." - The captive.

    "How much money?" - Tremor, hoping to capitalise on this information.

    The captive names a considerable sum.

    "Where is the money?" - Maebh.

    "In my living room." - The captive.

    "Where is your house?" - Maebh.

    The captive gives the address.

    "Bye." - Kel'Serrar, who swiftly leaves the room.

    "Did anyone in this room know of the assassination attempt?" - Maebh, exerting her influence once more.

    "Arrrrgh.... No!" - The captive, straining under the pressure. Maebh gets the impression that he has fought the compulsion just enough to lie. She redoubles her efforts.

    "Again, did anyone know of the assassination!?" - Maebh, starting to lose patience.

    The captive groans and writhes again, and then nods.

    Maebh gives a small sigh of exasperation and holds a flaming hand to the captive's face.

    "If you don't tell me now and make this easy, I will burn your eyes out one at a time." - Maebh, menacingly.

    The captive nods and points out a Dwergar each from the Blackbear and Grimstone retinues and a Northmann from Redclay's. Redclay's councillor immediately takes something small from a pouch at his belt and swallows it, while Grimstone's and Blackbear's leg it. One of them is caught by Harold's Invarrians, the other gets through them, but is completely immobilised by Aeva's Snare.

    Redclay's councillor has fallen to the ground, mouth frothing and writhing around in agony.

    "Is there anything else we should know?" - Maebh, quietly, as the other conspirators are apprehended.

    The captive is straining and trying to get free but is unsuccessful and this experience is breaking his mind.

    "No." - The captive, gasping in a ruined voice.

    "Then you no longer serve any purpose to me." - Maebh, before snapping his neck with a brief surge of magic.

    Harold then replaces the corpse with the immobile body of the councillor who made it past the Invarrians.

    The process repeats itself, and they discover that this particular captive was not particularly high up in the chain, only responsible for passing on information. Harold puts it to him that he is to work as a double-double agent, and the captive councillor agrees, though not without some snarkiness.

    "Before we put him to work though, I will see him punished." - Ersun Blackbear, very grim, who has two of his huscarls take the traitorous councillor away.

    The other councillor is more of the same when his turn comes up, until Harold asks who in this room is higher in this conspiracy.

    No one else notices it, but Aeva, in the form of a small black and white cat, paws engulfed in flames, sees the man's eyes flick over to Frieda Grimstone. A split second later, he denies anyone being present higher than himself.

    Aeva then turns back into her usual form, takes a knife and holds it to the captive's throat.

    "Do not presume to lie to us. We have ways of ferreting out the truth." - Aeva, coldly.

    The captive actually appears quite subdued by this and provides them with the name and details of a Dwergar who is currently acting as the spymaster in The Crag.

    "I shall have word sent to have him executed immediately." - Frieda Grimstone, upon hearing of the spy.

    "No, we should not just kill him. We kill him and another we do not know of takes his place. Better to somehow limit the information he can send out. You should not kill spies until they have outlived their usefulness." - Harold, who then takes a dagger and runs it across the last captive's throat.

    "Had he outlived his usefulness, Herrn Oakenshield?" - Harrick, disapprovingly.

    "Indeed, we got all we needed from him." - Harold, trying to assert the companions' dominance.

    "I would be tempted to agree with you, but this spy is too dangerous. And beside that, I am the ruler of The Crag, and you, Herrn Oakenshield, will not tell me how to run my own keep." - Frieda, asserting her own authority.

    "This is not about your bloody pride! Do you want to die? Because I sure as hell don't. I still have things I need to do. So if you want to win this war, and hold your keep, then you will capture this spymaster and use him against Tremor's traitorous prick of a brother." - Harold, impassioned.

    After that, the other lords shout Frieda down and agree with Harold's plan.

    "Very well, if it is indeed the will of the council. I will have word sent that he is to be captured and not harmed." - Frieda, dejected.

    "I wish to see that message before it is sent." - Tremor and Harrick, practically simultaneously.

    Frieda agrees to that request and writes it out immediately.

    * * *

    Unfortunately, actually obtaining the troops neccessary for the plan is much harder than the companions anticipated. Brannigan is able to bring 100 trained soldiers, and the other lords are eventually talked around to pledging around fifty warriors each.

    The composition:
    - 100 heavy Dwergar skirmishers, under the command of Brannigan Runestone.
    - 80 archers of mixed race, drawn from Arald Redclay's men and those Kel'Serrar has been training.
    - 50 Dwergar skirmishers drawn from the recently defeated garrison of Valewatch, ostensibly Ersun Blackbear's offering.
    - 80 Dwergar heavy infantry, Frieda Grimstone's tithe. They are well-equipped, but poorly trained.
    - 12 lightly armed Dwergar partisans, all that Harrick Stonehammer has to give.
    - 4 Invarrian duellists, Harold's personal guard.

    "What of these Krowavir? Can we use them somehow?" - Tremor, to the other companions as they make ready to leave Valewatch.

    "Well they will travel as far as they need to for food. This particular pack ranged at least two miles from their den, but as far as we could tell, never got to within a mile of Valewatch." - Maebh, telling what she knows of the species.

    "Bringing them into this could be very dangerous for us." - Kel'Serrar, splitting the party's latest ill-gotten gains equally.

    Remember the money the captured conspirator was paid to have Tremor assassinated? And speaking of ill-gotten gains, Tremor has kept Breanna's payment for 'killing' Mordin Grimstone.

    The companions give a lot of thought to the best way to lure the Sons of Wyre into an ambush, and after a lot of debate, which goes around in circles completely. Maebh is set on using the Krowavir, trying to kill two birds with one stone, but Harold disagrees strongly. He can't see how the troops the companions have at hand would survive a drawn-out retreat, not only with an experienced band of professional mercenaries, but the second variable of uncontrollable slaughter-beasts. He does have a point.

    They also discuss how just defeating the Sons of Wyre is not the only objective. Harold is adamant that the Resistance needs to show they are capable of winning an honest pitched battle to command the respect of the other lords of Nordtarnet. It is hard to disagree with him on this point, but Maebh and Aeva in particular feel that this is too much like underestimating the Sons of Wyre.

    "We're taking on a large, experienced band of veteran mercenaries, who have been kicking around for decades now, if they are the same company that fought with Tremor before his exile. And we're going to take them on with a smaller, poorly-trained force. I'm just trying to come up with advantages we can use to reduce casualties." - Maebh, making some excellent points.

    "There are any number of advantages we can use, in terms of favourable ground, chokepoints, flanking manouevres..." - Harold, countering.

    "Yes, and we should use them too! If we do not, this is going to be a bloodbath. Let's not forget who the real enemy is here. If the Sons of Wyre go down, I don't think Bain gives a ****. But we can't afford to lose any men, or we weaken the force we really want to be hitting Bain with. We don't have anything like enough to begin with." - Maebh, growing impassioned herself.

    "Using the Krowavir might cost us even more again." - Harold, stubbornly refusing to yield the point.

    "But we don't even need to send any troops... I can reach the Krowavir and lure them to a point. Then we get in touch with the Sons of Wyre, tell them Tremor's on the move and give them a location and watch as the two paths intersect." - Aeva, quietly.

    In the commotion though she is ignored. Only Breanna seems to have heard her.

    They resolve to send out scouts to determine a reasonable holdfast to lure the Sons of Wyre to. Meanwhile, Maebh, Aeva, Kel'Serrar and Breanna head out to get an up-to-date idea regarding their numbers of composition. While they are doing that, Tremor goes about his kingly duties.

    Messengers sent to the hill-clans return over the next few days with grim news.
    - The Baersonling tribe fled the Valleywood and drifted south, seeking refuge on the plains around Borsa. The entire tribe has been enslaved and put to work fortifying the city.
    - The Rocklad and the Grey Crows were also driven out of the Valleywood by the Sons of Wyre, and are currently disposessed and roaming the lands south of Valewatch. The scout sent to find the Rocklad has not returned, and disturbing reports have suggested that the Rocklad, in their desperation have resorted to cannibalism.
    - The Mountain Finches are shooting at anyone who encroaches on their territory. The scout sent to them returned with three arrow wounds, and no news regarding their wellfare.

    It would appear that no aid will come from the hill-clans.

    Maebh, Kel'Serrar, Breanna and Aeva:
    The companions learn that, as far as they can tell, the reports the Mountain Finches gave Breanna were correct. They find three battalions, each approximately 100 strong. The northern-most battalion, a well-organised and drilled company of hardened skirmishers appears to be engaged in a running engagement with the Rocklad.

    As for the Rocklad, they appear to have quickly turned from a large clan of nomadic hillmenn, into a horde of shrieking, murderous lunatic beasts. Kel'Serrar, Breanna and Maebh are astonished to find that the Corpsewalkers seem to have followed them so far north...

    "I do wonder if they can be communicated with..." - Maebh, during the couting party's limited down-time.

    "I would be willing to bet they can be communicated with, in the sense that they will know we don't like them when we set them on fire." - Kel'Serrar, maintaining his arrows.

    Aeva has asked them to hang around for a while as she goes off to acquire a little more muscle. She returns that night with a very self-satisfied look on her face...

    Harold:
    Harold has picked through his scout's reports, and by the Golden God, have they found a spot for him.

    A long winding canyon through the hills leads to the ruins of an abandoned fortress, long since forgotten by civilisation. It boasts three easily-defensible chokepoints, easily-repairable fortifications in addition to reasonably intact walls and a potential escape route under the hills.

    Endelige-Faestning, the Last Redoubt.

    He spends a fair amount of time going over a ground-map of the Redoubt with Tremor, who gives his own input on the re-fortification.

    Over the course of the week, Harold and Tremor oversee the troops heading to and rebuilding Last Redoubt. They spend particular time carving two waiting bays into the canyon walls, which will conceal large portions of the defenders ready to ambush the Sons of Wyre when they assault.

    * * *

    It is made known to the Sons of Wyre that Tremor Ironfist will be making his way to a ruined fortress in the hills, with only a small honourguard. They are also led to believe that Bain has tripled the bounty on his brother's head.

    And so the battallions, trailed by the Rocklad, make their move north towards Last Redoubt.

    * * *

    Within the fortress, the companions stand ready. Breanna waits above the entrance of the canyon, a pile of heavy boulders hidden beside her, ready to be dropped upon the unsupecting mercenaries.

    Further inside, Brannigan and Tremor stand ready with their personal troops around them. When the enemy commit to their assault, Brannigan will lead his force forward, as the first line of defence. Before them stretches a pit of stakes, covered with cunningly engineered planks which will drop away when stepped upon, leaving only a very narrow path through. Harold and Aeva stand on either side with their skirmishers, on either side of the canyon, hiding in the constructed alcoves. Kel'Serrar and Aeva have spent quite some time perfecting an illusion of a rocky wall, to hide the warriors within.

    Above, Maebh and Kel'Serrar lie in wait with their archers, ready to rain down hell.

    Another hidden ditch lies before the reserves waiting with Tremor, the force of Grimstone heavy infantry. Further beyond them, the horses and marcwolves are tethered within what the companions are referring to as the keep. It is really just a small area partially surrounded by another palisade which blocks off the path under the hills.

    * * *

    A small party of light horsemen scout the canyon out. They dismount and look around, but do not pass the line of bushes the companions have left to grow at the mouth of the canyon. As such, they do not see anything of importance, save for perhaps the potential landslide Breanna is watching over.

    The companions are, of course, very tense, but the scouts go no further, obviously fearing an ambush.

    Overhead, the sky darkens. Heavy clouds scud across the sky and a light misting rain falls. The scouts mount up once more and leave.

    From her vantage point, Maebh releases her hold on the weather and smiles.

    * * *

    The next day, the weather has not improved and the scouts return. Fifteen light horsemen dismount and start to hack their way through the shrubbery.

    They are careful however, and uncover the pit of stakes. Concerned by this, the scouts immediately rush back to their horses.

    Thinking quickly, Breanna tries to startle the mounts with a Corpsewalker shriek, but is wracked with daemonic energy as she draws on too much. She is successful, and the horses panic and bolt. The scouts appear much the same, seeing as they have been dealing with Corpsewalkers themselves for some time now.

    In pain, Breanna cannot help but elicit a groan of pain, and is astonished that it made no noise. She tries to whisper to herself, but with a growing panic, realises that she cannot make any vocalisations at all.

    Due to the Miscast, Breanna cannot vocalise for the next five hours.
    "Hooray!" - The party.
    Unfortunately, without her voice, she is also without her magic...
    "Luckily I have knives and rage." - LD.


    The scouts return, having found their horses, around two hours later. Behind them are a troop of approximately 50 skirmishers, well-equipped and hardy veterans. Further behind them are a small group of around 10 men carrying wide wooden planks. They are armed only with daggers and wear no armour, and the companions deduce that they are sappers, combat-engineers.

    The scouts dismount.

    "We heard Rocklad in the area, so you must be cautious. That pit ahead is going to cause serious trouble going in, so we need to make sure we can clear it." - The lead scout.

    Only Breanna is in a position to hear or see him, but of course has no way of warning her companions.

    With that, the skirmishers beat their way through the gorse, the front ranks with axes at the ready, the rear with shortbows, arrows already nocked. They come to the pit, and still wary, cross after the sappers place their bridges. Ten of the archers follow the axemen, the other twenty remain on their initial side of the pit, arrows trained on the slightest of movement. The sappers retreat beyond the gorse.

    The axemen spread throughout the canyon floor, covering ground, looking for traps and ambushes. They are a well-drilled unit, and have probably performed sweeps like this plenty of times. They keep looking up at the ledges where the companion's archers remain hidden. It is obvious that they are well-aware that this is a killing-ground.

    Tremor takes the initiative and reveals himself at the head of his eighty Grimstone spears, walking out to stand just before the rebuilt palisade at the end of the canyon.

    The axemen immediately run for cover, and the archers loose a volley. A few arrows land amidst the Ironfist scion's troops, but they are ineffectual. One literally bounces off Tremor's chain hauberk. The ten archers scatter too, finding plentiful cover on the canyon floor.

    "Tremor Ironfist, we are coming for your head!" - Random Son of Wyre skirmisher.

    The companions all have a bit of a laugh at that.

    The squad of twenty archers however do not spend their arrows. Instead they hold, waiting to shoot at any new threat. Which is no laughing matter.

    Tremor, having spooked the skirmishers, pulls back beyond the palisade. In return, the skirmishers fall back themselves, flitting from cover to cover.

    The retreat is going well for the mercenaries until Harold comes charging out of his alcove, a wave of furious Dwergar behind him in a wave of hacking, bearded maniacs. Aeva commands her force to charge too, and then wills herself into a new, powerful form. A moment later, a gigantic tawny dagger-lion leaps from the alcove, tackles two axemen to the ground and leaves them for dead. Already, Aeva/Lion is hunting the sappers. She takes two minor flesh wounds, but they do not deter her from her targets.

    Harold scythes through skirmishers like a hot knife through butter, dropping twelve in a matter of seconds. The Invarrian is quite literally a whirlwind of death, leaving no survivors within reach of his blades.

    Meanwhile, the sappers try to retreat in the face of Aeva's ferocity as she downs three of them. One manages to get back up, cradling a lacerated arm, but the other two are not nearly so lucky.

    In the chaos, Harold is able to put another two skirmishers to the sword, but with his own troops around him, he is starting to run out of targets. On the plus side, such is the Invarrian's skill at arms, none can touch him.

    The sappers finally lose their nerve and leg it, despite the fact that outrunning a dagger-lion is not likely. They split up, thinking that she can only go after one of them at a time. Sniffing, Aeva/Lion turns around and tries to push the sappers' bridges into the pit, hoping to slow down the retreat.

    The final skirmishers either escape beyond the gorse or are put down and the companions have a quick chat about how to approach the next phase of the siege. While they chat, Kel'Serrar and Aeva do their best to patch up some injuries, and Tremor sets about raising as many of the enemy corpses as possible, then leaving them prone on the ground where they died to act as an ambush.

    And we left it there as LD had to go to her dancing.

    The Wrap-Up:
    I honestly thought this was a pretty good session all up. We had a quite a bit of in-character chatter at the start, mixed in with a bit of action, then more chatting and political manouevering. And then we finished off with the opening stages of what was going to be a large set-piece battle.

    In hindsight, this strikes me as a pretty good session, but I remember at the time feeling a bit disappointed that we didn't get anywhere near as far as I hoped plot-wise.

    We have scheduled our next game for February 14th and hopefully we will get a pretty substantial session done. At the moment, it would appear that we will play the first session of the next arc, with an interlude dropping in between this session and the next.

    I hope this was worth the wait.

    Cheers,
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  27. - Top - End - #177
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Interlude 4.6: Onwards to Varr

    When birds clash in fields of Summer, the struggle will be resolved by those who dare wield the Gilded Sword…
    - The opening line of the Greyflood Prophecy, as delivered by Raelda the Seer of Meleret.

    To start with, this Interlude is going to cover a fair bit of time. Due to the personnel change within the gaming group, it was decided that the end of the 'siege' of Last Redoubt should be skipped over. So we're going to cover the end of the siege, the companions subsequent journey to Varr and then another scene which takes place in Valewatch at roughly the same time.

    As before, Session 5.1 will begin with me recapping the Interlude to the group, so I will edit this post to include the best of the commentary and dialogue.


    The companions do not have much time to reassess before the Sons of Wyre commit their heavy infantry. A large force marches into the canyon in good order, armed with heavy shields and longspears.

    Breanna attempts to drop her landslide on the oncoming phalanx, but the wall of rock is held back by some quick thinking mages, a multi-coloured aethyric wall shimmering to life before her eyes. The Leathe bolts from her hiding place, unable to warn the other companions of the new assault, as she is still temporarily mute.

    Taken by surprise, the companions' forces are unable to reset their ambush and are caught in open ground when the phalanx arrives. Caught in a pitched battle, against a phalanx of heavy infantry with far superior reach with flanks secured by the canyon walls, the Valewatch skirmishers drop like flies.

    Faced with such opposition, Harold orders a retreat and does well to prevent it from becoming a rout. Seeing the phalanx brushing aside the skirmishers, Kel'Serrar, Maebh and Breanna, the Leathe having joined them up on the canyon wall, order their archers to loose their arrows. Unfortunately, the enemy shields and armour absorb much of the projectiles, and it isn't long before enemy archers follow the heavy infantry and start shooting back. Maebh's attempts to blast holes in the enemy infantry are generally unsuccessful, the enemy mages, while probably not as powerful individually, are able to curtail her effect on the battlefield by working together.

    Frustrated, Maebh unleashes everything she has, tearing apart their attempts to stop her and the sky opens up. Heavy rain starts to lash the battlefield, quickly turning the dirt to churned mud. Golden lightning flashes down into the midst of the melee, giving Harold's skirmishers enough space to disengage completely to regroup with Tremor and Brannigan's reserve forces.
    "Steady on Maebh." - LD.
    "Nah, I do what I want ay." - Ladyhawk.


    Momentarily spent by her exertions, Maebh is helped along by Kel'Serrar and Breanna as enemy skirmishers start to scale the canyon walls to take out the archers. Many enemy arrows are deflected by glints of amber as they impact with Maebh's weakened shield, but some get through. Breanna takes an arrow to the shoulder which almost causes her to lose her balance and Maebh takes a stinging cut along her cheek from a glancing strike. Weary and wounded, the three companions make it back onto the ground behind Tremor and Brannigan's reserves, who have formed up at the end of the canyon, along with a handful of their archers. Up on the wall, the last of the archers are being butchered by the skirmisher Sons of Wyre.

    On the ground, Aeva/Lion is looking a bloodied mess, her golden hide rent from many wounds, turned red by blood, much of it not her own.
    "Aww savage mate." - LD.
    Now disengaged from the combat, safe behind a line of Grimstone infantry, she takes a moment to turn back into her natural form, and grimaces in pain. One spear-strike has opened her forearm up to the bone and Kel'Serrar silently binds the wound with a clean bandage.
    "You've leveled up! You're now a proper medic." - LD
    "Lol, jokes, it's actually poison sumac." - Ladyhawk.


    Calm descends on the battlefield as the Sons of Wyre finish butchering the stragglers from the retreat. The rain beats down heavily upon the field, but the lightning has stopped, Maebh leaning heavily upon her bloodied spear. The ditch before the reserve has been revealed by the weight of the rainwater, and so the phalanx comes to a halt a mere spearthrow away.

    One man steps forward from the phalanx. He is clad in an articulated suit of fine bronze armour, similar in design to that worn by the heavy infantry, but more extensive and far more ornate. He removes his tall, full-face helm and reveals a long, craggy face framed by long grey hair and a thick beard.

    "Where is the Bastard of Nordtarnet? Where is Tremor Ironfist?" - Ragnak the Butcher, captain of the Sons of Wyre.

    Tremor steps forward, shield and the Windrider axe held at the ready.

    "I am Tremor Godriksson, of Clan Ironfist, rightful heir of Nordtarnet." - Tremor, defiantly.

    "You are the bastard son of a weak king, and your brother will pay me a handsome price for your head. Your troops will all die here if today continues like this. But it does not have to be that way. Your brother will pay for your head, but he cares not for those of your men. Face me in single combat, die with honour and spare their lives. I give you my word." - Ragnak, smug.

    "I should trust the word of a man who encourages the title, 'The Butcher?" - Tremor, incredulous.

    "Well that's your call. You will die here either way." - Ragnak, shrugging and placing his helm back on his head.

    Tremor looks back at the faces of his troops, his companions, the rag-tag group of misfits he has tentatively come to regard as his friends.

    "Very well captain, you shall have your wish." - Tremor, lowering his wolf-helm visor and charging forward with shield forward and axe held high.

    Grinning, Ragnak hefts his greataxe and brings it down on the charging dwarf, who raises his shield and grits his teeth. They exchange a handful of blows each but it is clear that Tremor is woefully outmatched. Tremor is knocked back by a savage punch to his face which knocks his helm from his head. He spits a gobbet of blood and a tooth and adjusts his grip on his weapons before throwing his battered body back into the fray.

    For a moment it looks like Tremor might gain the upper hand, fury serving to redouble his efforts and the Windrider axe melts a long gash in the fauld protecting Ragnak's left thigh, but in doing so he leaves himself open to the Butcher's counterstrike, which hammers the blade of his greataxe deep into Tremor's body, cleaving through armour and shattering ribs.

    Tremor falls to the ground, face up in the mud, peering at the grey sky slowly turning red.

    "We have the bastard. Now kill the rest." - The last thing Tremor hears before the axe comes down one final time.

    As the phalanx closes in on the still shell-shocked companions and the last of their troops, screams can be heard from outside the canyon.

    "Sounds like our distraction has arrived Maebh." - Aeva, stone-faced and grim, but the time for mourning would come later.

    A bestial roar rings across the battlefield, and the phalanx halts again as Ragnak directs more troops to the rear. More roars bellow out in response to the first and the screaming gets louder and closer. Something is tearing its way through the rearguard of the Sons of Wyre, and it sounds very big and very angry.

    And then, there it is, at the far end of the canyon, ripping its way through a company of archers, a massive creature, in shape similar to a Feartarbh but much greater in both size and ferocity, easily fourteen feet tall. Six horns crown its massive, fanged head and it wields a club fashioned from a small tree. It lets out an earth-shaking bellow and more roars ring out in answer. It has not come alone.

    "You brought the Krowavir anyway?" - Harold, furious, grabbing Aeva by the arm.

    Maebh breaks the Invarrian's grip on the druid.

    "It was my idea Harold, and it's a damned good thing we brought them here. Come, quickly, we must escape now." - Maebh, grabbing the duellist and pushing him towards the escape tunnel.

    "If they follow us, we can bring it down on their heads." - Kel'Serrar.

    "Retreat! Make for Valewatch!" - Harold's last command to their troops, as the companions abandon them to their fate.

    * * *

    Last Redoubt is left in carnage.

    The last of the Krowavir are driven off, dragging corpses with them into the woods. Though victorious, the Sons of Wyre have suffered heavy losses, and will likely not play any major part in any continuing hostilities.

    On the other hand, Ragnak the Butcher has claimed the heads of both Tremor Ironfist and Brannigan Runestone, who gave his life in a desperate rearguard action as the underground tunnel was collapsed behind the fleeing Resistance troops.

    As for those troops, they make their way piecemeal to Valewatch. Many never make it, and those who do are greeted by a great surprise when they get there...

    As for the companions, having gathered their horses and wolves, they make their way west. Harold's sister, Helga, has called him home, and has offered the companions safe haven whilst he deals with their 'family situation.' Harold will give no more details, claiming he is sworn to secrecy on the matter.

    The mood is quite subdued as they make their slow and winding way to the coast, avoiding patrols, roving Rocklad and even a splinter group of Krowavir, which Aeva manages to ward away.
    "We went that way!" - Delphi, as Aeva to the Krowavir.
    The defeat was a bit of a wake-up call to the companions, as was losing one of their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kel’Serrar’s Personal Journal
    We have suffered a defeat, something very much foreign to me. While we have been forced to leave places in a hurry, sometimes with a great amount of damage to all along the way, never before have we been unsuccessful. Never before have we actually failed our missions. It hurt to lose a companion, especially one that has been there, with us for so long, but it was nothing to the reminder that we are not infallible, we too can lose, we too can die.

    That moment was a portent, and a question. The question being, was it a portent for how difficult things are going to become, or was it a turning point for the usefulness of this group?

    Is it perhaps time we went our separate ways, or more to the point, Is remaining with the companions still within my best interest, or is it now an unwritten death-wish?
    Conversation is scarce at night when camp is struck. For Kel’Serrar, this suits him well enough. He takes up woodcarving, and while his first efforts are questionable he keeps at it long into the night by the fire. Breanna too seems withdrawn, especially compared to her usual self. During the days she scours the wilderness for potentially useful poisons and at night sorts them into ingredients which will complement each other. Sadly, she cannot find any peaches, which only serves to further deteriorate her mood.

    Despite her being such a recent acquisition to their party, Aeva appears to be the one most affected by Tremor’s passing as she and the dwarf were quite close. For her part, she viewed him as a friend who would never let her down, and now feels her hands are stained with blood as she was not able to protect him at the last.

    Maebh, still angered by what she sees as Harold’s failed plan is very withdrawn and spends most of her time practicing her magic. She communicates little, and when she does it is usually with Toirneach.

    It takes the better part of a month for the companions to reach the port-town of Kabysholm on the west coast of Drakon. The companions do not tarry long in the town, but take two days to replenish their supplies and see to a few last matters before leaving Unterguardt.

    Harold, who wishes to do one last thing for the people of Nordtarnet before leaving them to their fate, spreads the story of the last stand of Tremor Ironfist, who fell with his companions, bravely defending the rights and freedom of the people. In addition to hopefully providing a rallying cry and a martyr for the cause, Harold hopes that the rumours might help to conceal their passage from any enemies who might still be hunting them. The companions also visit tailors and smiths to repair or replace damaged clothing and equipment.

    After accompanying Harold while he purchased the party’s galley, Kel’Serrar abandons the others for the evening, obtaining a collection of small blades for carving purposes before finding a small inn for a warm meal and soft bed. He is not looking forward to the sea voyage on the morrow.

    For Breanna, the time in Kabysholm passes too swiftly. She purchases a handful of vials to keep her poisons in and commissions a specially-built hand-crossbow and a dozen darts. She has to splash out a fair bit of gold for the work to be completed in a timely fashion, but the assassin is quite literally loaded.

    From Kabysholm, they travel by sea to Ravnsalm, the village Harold reveals is ruled by the Oakenshield family. The voyage will take a couple of weeks, and in foul weather, but compared to the squall they weathered on the trip to Unterguardt it is nothing to complain about.

    * * *

    The small galley, named The Tide Tremor by the companions in memory of their lost friend, is a perfect size for the small complement of crew available to Harold. Generally speaking, the Invarrian just about does everything, with the others chipping in when they feel like it. They do however, make good time and with Maebh’s control of the weather, sail adjustment is kept to a minimum. Aeva’s days are mainly spent on the masthead, looking out over the ocean with her hawk-eyes. A pack of three hakal, carnivorous toothed whales approximately seven feet long and native to the northern oceans, approach the ship on a calm day and Aeva takes the opportunity to acquire the form of one of the creatures. After that day, the Selkye spends a significant period of time under the water, exploring. She even manages to dredge up some treasures from the sea-floor in the form of salvageable valuables from shipwrecks.

    When not bending the elements to her will, Maebh retreats to her cabin and pores over books and scrolls of spell-craft, ones both discovered across their travels and a few purchased at a reasonable price from Kabysholm. Her mantikor egg finally hatches on the voyage, the hatchling emerging without difficulty. She is smaller than she should be, likely a result of the temperature the egg was kept at being too low and stunting her growth in the shell. Still, for all that she is strong enough to eat and will probably survive. Her scales are grey with a blue iridescence to them when the light hits them right, and Maebh names her Crithtaluin, after one of the Danann gods, the Mountain Shaker, one of the most powerful of that pantheon.

    Spoiler: Crithtaluin, when she grows up.
    Show


    Quote Originally Posted by Kel’Serrar’s Personal Journal
    When Harold mentioned we were journeying to his homeland, I was mildly surprised that we were neither going to a kennel, nor back to whatever remained of Summer Hill. Instead we would be travelling to another Naya-forsaken island with completely unreasonable weather. It didn't take long before my mood soured. Boats, it would seem, are not my friends.

    On one hand, there are always people moving around who need to be somewhere, on the other, everything is wet. And I mean everything, it makes it very difficult indeed to be an archer of any description, that the boat does not stop moving doesn't aid my archery or my carving.

    Speaking of carving, I have continued my efforts to properly learn how to carve, however this is not the simple task I originally had intended. I have yet to have made... well anything really, unless someone wishes to purchases malformed sticks, those I have a plethora of.

    I have also resumed my observation of the companions, and generally everyone seems to have mostly recovered from the death of Tremor, however there are still moments when it is obvious that it still weighs heavily. I also feel that Harold is about to show us what he has been hiding.

    At least my efforts are not wasted, the rest of my companions believe that I am working hard to learn a new trade, and I have not let my healing abilities lapse. Thankfully, there have been no new injuries since our retreat from the Last Redoubt, but boats seem to be very dangerous, and not just due to the creatures of the sea...
    Ravnsalm…

    The town where Harold was born and raised looks quite different from what the companions expected. The town itself is built on a high cliff overlooking a small bay. Long, winding roads lead up the cliff-face from the substantial docks along the shoreline up to the town proper.

    It is a rare bright morning when the companions finally arrive, gulls crying loudly in the sky and the warm sun behind them.

    The docks are busy, merchant ships and Invarrian longships crowding the bay and it is lucky that the companions’ galley is so small or it would have been a far more difficult approach. As it is, Harold is able to skilfully guide the small ship into shore and a team of young Invarrian dockworkers tie the galley in. As they work, the companions can overhear them speaking quietly of Harold in awestruck tones, which Harold ignores stoically.

    Upon disembarking, the companions are stopped from wandering the dock-side markets by an elderly Invarrian standing beside a beast-drawn cart. The creature drawing it is fascinating and most of the companions have not seen it’s like before.

    “This is a seilbak, and yes that does just mean sail-back. I am well aware that we are not the most imaginative when it comes to naming things. They are very strong and are about as easy to tame as a horse, so we use them as beasts of burden. A seilbak may not be as fast as a horse, but it is far stronger and has much greater endurance. You will find that many of the animals here are probably quite different to anything you have seen before.” – Harold, to his companions before greeting the old Invarrian.

    I have a few pictures I drew of the seilbak, but for now just picture a fluffy edaphosaurus.

    “Well met Harold Oakenshield. It has been a long time but I am glad to finally see you home.” – Ansgard Av-Kaerhund, and he and Harold embrace each other warmly.

    “It has been a long time indeed my old friend. I take it that Helga has sent you down to collect us?” – Harold, indicating the seilbak-drawn cart behind the old Invarrian.

    “Yes, that’s right. Hop on in folks and I will take you up to Ravnsalm proper.” – Ansgard, mounting the cart himself and taking the reins.

    * * *

    The long, winding path up the cliff to Ravnsalm is very busy, carts packed to bursting with trade-goods, either freshly delivered or to be taken to buyers over the sea.
    “Of course, trade-goods is probably a slightly misleading term, as that suggests that the goods were traded for. Most of these wagons are filled with spoils from the reavers.” – Harold, to the other companions, he and Maebh riding behind the cart.

    “So Harold, this is where you grew up?” – Aeva, trying to make small-talk.

    “Yes, this is my home. I spent most of my life here, when I was not away reaving of course.” – Harold, quietly.

    “And when you weren’t in the capital acting as the Stormlord’s First Reaver!” – Ansgard, the old Invarrian’s voice brimming with pride.

    “The Stormlord’s what now?” – Breanna, incredulous.

    “First Reaver to the ruling Stormlord Bjarn Tordenwulf, granted the title many years ago for saving the then-prince’s life in combat.” – Ansgard, oblivious to Harold’s growing discomfort.

    “Exactly Ansgard, that was many years ago. I put that aside when the Stormlord sent me south.” – Harold, unable to stay quiet any longer.

    “You mean, you never told your companions of this? That they were travelling with one of the most honoured warriors on all of Varr?” – Ansgard, astounded.

    “The years had not been kind to me my old friend. They would not have believed me even if I had told them when we met. I am in far better shape now than I was then…” – Harold, wondering.

    It is something that has had the Invarrian somewhat confused for some time in fact. The years of solitary travel in the Midlands of Norbayne since leaving Varr had indeed been tough on the old sea-wolf. He had lost a lot of his old muscle-mass and his skills fell into disuse. Since becoming embroiled in these recent travels however, he has quickly reached a physical condition which, while it may not surpass the days of his youth, at least rivals them. While the high-pace lifestyle he has been living over the past half year or so would have had a beneficial effect on a young warrior, at his age he should be slowing down, not speeding back up again. And it is not just him. The accelerated physical development is also very prevalent in Breanna, who has packed on a truly obscene amount of musculature in a short period of time. That, coupled with the companions swift recovery from reasonably serious injuries, has had Harold thinking that there is something unusual at play here for quite some time.

    * * *

    Ravnsalm proper is a bustling little town, with tall, somewhat ramshackle-looking wooden buildings lining the packed dirt streets. Townsfolk and wagons crowd the roads and street-side vendors hawk their wares over the sound of the traffic. Thankfully, Ansgard is a skilled navigator and the companions find themselves at the gate of Herregard, the seat of the Oakenshield family.

    “Brother, it is good to see you.” – Helga Oakenshield, warmly embracing Harold.

    “It is good to see you too sister. How are the pups?” – Harold, warmly.

    “Growing strong and eager to meet their uncle.” – Helga, proudly, before turning to the other companions. “As friends of my brother, I consider you my friends too. Please be welcome to Ravnsalm and avail yourselves of what comfort we can provide you. Sadly, the task I must ask my brother to perform will see you leaving my home swiftly, but I hope that your time here will be pleasant. Now, my servants will show you all to your rooms for the night to allow you to freshen up after your voyage and I will have them bring you to the private dining hall in an hour for lunch and a proper talk.” – Helga, who beckons the servants forward.
    "I really like her. I hope she doesn't die." - LD.
    "Or at least that we aren't directly responsible." - Sins.
    "True. At this stage, anything more than that is probably too much to ask for." - LD, as Dev looks on uncomfortably.


    The rooms granted to the companions are spacious and far richer than anything they are accustomed to. The furnishings are an eclectic, but for all that charming mix, a reminder that practically everything in the room caught the eye of a reaver, who grabbed it, probably at the point of a sword, and took it home. Laid out on the sumptuous beds are warm, high-quality clothes in the Invarrian style to replace the cold-weather gear which is currently being cleaned, or in some unfortunate cases, burned.

    After tidying himself up, Harold hurries upstairs to find his sister’s pups and spends the better part of an hour playing with and getting to know the boisterous children. He enjoys himself, but with a certain melancholy, can’t help but wonder about what might have been had he rejected the Stormlord’s request and instead settled down with the love of his life…

    * * *

    The private dining hall is a small affair, and even during the day requires a fire for warmth and light. A light lunch of various fruits, dried meat and bread is laid out on the table and the companions sit around one end of the table, Helga at the head.

    “I’m just going to cut to the chase Harold, you’re needed at Isenhjem. You probably haven’t heard about them, but there’s been drownings. No one really knows what is going on, but it seems like they’re connected. Bjarn fears that the Greyflood Prophecy is finally coming to pass.” – Helga, grim.

    “Aye, I fear that to be true. Worse, I think I may in fact be caught up in it all.” – Harold, unhappily.

    “To make matters worse, Bjarn’s not getting any younger and after the business with his brother, there’s no heir.” – Helga, worried.

    “Reinn? What of him?” – Harold, alarmed.

    “He was found delirious in the wreckage of a longship on the south coast. The remnants of his crew were strewn about the place, torn to pieces. Most of them looked like someone had begun eating them. Apparently he was ranting and raving when they found him, covered in blood. Being the Stormlord’s brother, they couldn’t execute him, so Bjarn had him sent to Stillhet. That was maybe six months ago now.” – Helga, quietly. It is obvious that she is still quite upset by the business with Reinn.

    They finish their lunch in relative silence and then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening either exploring Ravnsalm or in their rooms. In the morning they will take ship once more to Isenhjem, the seat of Bjarn Tordenwulf, Stormlord of Varr.

    * * *

    Within the main hall of Valewatch, Ersun Blackbear sits upon his throne, crossbow resting across his lap and a great cave-bear resting at his feet before him. Huscarls have allowed the other lords of the Resistance into the room with their retinues and they stand before Blackbear’s throne.

    “Lord Blackbear, we have not had word from Last Redoubt for some time now, and now reports have come to us which suggest that it was soldiers under your command which attacked my scouts. What is the meaning of this?” – Harrick Stonehammer, clutching the polehammer of his office tightly.

    “Harrick, it is time that your eyes were opened to the truth. We cannot win this war. Tremor Godrikson has been revealed as a bastard, and with the death of his legitimacy dies the legitimacy of the Resistance. This war is no longer about reinstating the rightful heir. It never has been, but now he has been revealed as false and is probably dead anyway.” – Ersun Blackbear, voice rising with every word.

    “You have no way of knowing if he is dead or not!” – Barandin Stonefist, angrily.

    “You are his cousin, and so your judgement in this issue is clouded. We must look to life after the bastard.” – Blackbear, with some venom.

    “Our lands are still under threat from Ironfist though. We cannot halt the war now!” – Frieda Grimstone, fully armed and armoured. Behind her, her huscarls grip their weapons tightly.

    The doors into Blackbear’s hall close and everyone present can hear great wooden beams being dropped into place to bar them. Panic ripples through the gathered lords as they realise they are surrounded by Blackbear’s own huscarls.

    “I thought you might say that. It has occurred to me that we cannot win this war. My only remaining course of action was to strike a deal with Bain.” – Blackbear, quietly.

    “You traitorous bastard!” – Arald Redclay, roaring and drawing his sword.

    “Skremmende, kill them.” – Blackbear, taking his crossbow and putting an iron pellet through Redclay’s eye.

    The great bear rouses himself and ploughs through the lords and their retinues as the Valewatch guards fall upon them from the sides. The fighting is brutal, but over quickly. Only Barandin Stonefist, clad in the armour Tremor forged for him in Dreven, still stands. One of Blackbear’s huscarls holds an axe to a wounded Frieda Grimstone’s throat and is about to swing when Blackbear halts him with a hand on his shoulder.

    “Wait, we can give her to Bain… Take her to the dungeons. Finish the others.” – Ersun Blackbear.

    Barandin, axe and shield in hand lays about himself at the slowly encroaching huscarls. He is a formidable combatant, and fells a few of them before he is eventually overwhelmed and his head hewn from his body by the vengeful axes.

    Harrick Stonehammer, lying prone on the floor, scrabbles desperately at his polehammer, his legs a mangled ruin. Ersun Blackbear stalks towards him, greataxe cradled in both hands. Hvitt, Blackbear’s white weasel-fox looks at the felled godsman with an evil, predatory gleam in its eye.

    “I always despised you and your kind Harrick. Die knowing that your machinations were for nought, that the rightful king will rule Nordtarnet and that Hvitt here will devour your corpse.” – Blackbear, bringing his axe down on the priest.

    The Wrap-Up:
    I originally intended for the players to actually play the scene in Valewatch out themselves. I got them all to put in a request to play their choice of a list of characters present in the scene and we were going to do it until recent events.

    Harrick Stonehammer – Chief Godsman of Nordtarnet (Sins)
    Frieda Grimstone – Ruler of The Crag (Ladyhawk)
    Arald Redclay – Rightful ruler of Lord’s Ridge (Dev)
    Barandin Stonefist – Tremor’s cousin (Wings)
    Haelda Disdottir – Frieda Grimstone’s ‘handmaiden’ (LD)
    Lyria Fisher – Arald Redclay’s swordbearer (Delphi)
    Gladrek Threksson – Brannigan Runestone’s second in command (Possibly Scotticus)

    Unfortunately, I decided that, for pacing reasons it would be best to just move on from the Nordtarnet conflict completely, so chose to represent this as an epilogue of sorts to the arc.

    I hope that this was entertaining for you all. Session 5.1 will be played tomorrow, our first for the new year. I’m pretty excited.

    *EDIT: I have incorporated the pick of the OOC comments when we went through the Interlude at the beginning of Session 5.1. I think the Interlude was received well by the group, and it definitely tied up most of the loose ends in Nordtarnet.
    Cheers,
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2016-06-06 at 11:38 PM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  28. - Top - End - #178
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Session 5.1 (a): A Matter of Prophecy

    "Beasts with skin as grey as a stormcloud and sharp as a razorblade. Teeth and talons like swords. Eyes black as pitch, and a heart to match. They came out of the waves, shrieking and hissing and dragged them all into the water. The foam around our ship turned red with blood as they tore them apart beneath. Poor wretches never stood a chance. To this day I still do not know why they were taken and I was left..."

    - Reinn Tordenwulf, recounted to the court which sentenced him.

    Welcome to Part 1 of Session 5.1 of Three Coins.

    We played this on Valentine’s Day, which happens to coincide with Delphi’s birthday and is only a few days after Dev’s, so the game day was used as a vehicle for birthday celebrations as well.


    The city of Isenhjem, capital of Varr and seat of the current Stormlord, Bjarn Tordenwulf, is similar in style to Ravensalm, though quite a bit larger in size. Built along a wide bay, the city has a somewhat ramshackle appearance, with tall, wooden structures dominating the settlement. The Stormlord’s citadel is similar to the other buildings, save much larger and extensively reinforced with stone.

    The dockworkers admit the Tide Tremor with no incident and ensure the companions’ animals and gear is taken off the ship and to the Stormlord’s stables and their quarters in the citadel respectively. As for the companions themselves, they are taken to the Stormlord’s reception hall.

    * * *

    The Stormlord of Varr appears to be of a similar age to Harold. He is heavily built, though now his bulk is not all muscle, having led a rather sedentary lifestyle since his reaving days, the marks of which are still prevalent in the form of a handful of scars. In colouration he is predominantly black, with some small patches of white fur. He stands from where he sits on his throne and walks down the hall to meet his old friend, flanked by two heavily armed reavers and a younger seneschal.

    “Harold, it is good to see you again. You and your companions are most welcome here in Isenhjem.” – Bjarn Tordenwulf, embracing Harold.

    The companions nod their thanks and Bjarn continues.

    “I assume Helga filled you all in on the situation here?” – Bjarn, leading the companions into a small side-room. He takes a seat at a small table and invites the companions to join him.

    “A little, but she wasn’t able to give us all the details.” – Harold, taking his seat.

    “To be blunt, I fear the Greyflood Prophecy is in the process of being fulfilled. As you know, the Gilded Sword has a major part to play, but no word has reached us of the sword’s whereabouts. All we have to go on is an old record which says it can be found in the ruined temple of Werencha. As far as where that is, we assume it is somewhere on the eastern side of the Dividing Range.” – Bjarn, grim.

    “And I assume that no one has gone and mapped out the eastern side of the Dividing Range in my absence?” – Harold, sarcastic.

    “No one has properly charted the eastern coast of Varr in centuries. That is not something which changed while you were gone and is unlikely to change in the future.” – Bjarn, laughing.

    “And why is that?” – Aeva, speaking up.

    “Well the Dividing Range splits the island down the middle and is practically impassable.” – The Stormlord’s seneschal, Fjorn Av-Baern.

    “And the east coast is shielded by a maze of razor-sharp reefs, which makes a coastal approach exceedingly dangerous.” – Bjarn, finishing the thought.

    “Awesome.” – Breanna.

    “So let me get this straight Bjarn, you want us to go look for a semi-mythical temple, the location of which we don’t know, save that it is probably somewhere dangerous to get to?” – Harold.

    “Wait a minute, semi-mythical?” – Breanna, who is enjoying the peaches brought out by the Stormlord’s servants.

    “Well according to the legends and early chronicles, the temple did exist at one time, but it has not been seen in centuries. It also had a foul reputation.” – Harold.

    “So you’re saying that not only do we not know where it is, but it might not even exist at all.” – Maebh, growing concerned.

    “Ah yeah, something like that by the sound of it.” – Kel’Serrar, quietly.

    “Well we do believe we know where it is, more or less.” – Fjorn.

    “But that may have changed. Legend says that our Gods would ensure that sacred places would remain so by changing where they could be found. Part of the Game and all that.” – Harold, thoughtful.

    “The Invarrian Gods are *****.” – Breanna, still enjoying her peaches.

    “Well one is, sure. The Golden God’s pretty good really. The God of the Waves, yeah, he’s a bit of a ****.” – Harold, getting way off topic.

    Spoiler: Very Poor Map of Varr
    Show

    I apologise for the quality of the map. It is also unfinished and Werencha's location is only speculative.


    “So this prophecy that we’ve only just heard of, that Harold thinks is about him… Can we hear it?” – Aeva, speaking up.

    “Of course. Fjorn, fetch the skald please.” – Bjarn, who then sits back patiently, thoughtfully chewing on some salted meat.

    “What’s a skald?” – Breanna, quietly to Harold.

    “It’s like a bard.” – Harold.

    Fjorn returns shortly with a tall, rangy Invarrian skald in tow. The newcomer is heavily swathed in furs, his own pelt a mousy brown. Many golden rings pierce his left ear and a nasty scar runs down his face. His voice however is surprisingly deep and powerful as he introduces himself.

    “Well met travellers, Ser Oakenshield. I am Morolf Bittersong, the Stormlord’s skald.” – Morolf, solemnly.

    “Morolf, please recite Raelda of Meleret’s Greyflood Prophecy to us. We must hear it once more.” – Bjarn, formal.

    The skald takes a small pouch by his side and opens it, revealing a collection of glass vials filled with strange powders and liquids. He takes a few of them to the open fireplace in the corner of the room and sprinkles measures of some of the powders in. The fire roars up in response. He then takes a draught from one of the vials full of liquid and turns back to the table of his audience.

    His eyes, where before they were a bright blue are now blazing with the intensity of the flames behind him. Quietly, he begins to hum, a deep baritone which at first is barely audible, but soon pervades the room.

    “When birds clash in fields of Summer, the struggle will be resolved by those who dare wield the Gilded Sword.” - Morolf Bittersong, his voice seeming to weave in and out of the almost hypnotic humming. Behind him, two indistinct winged shapes, comprised entirely of flame, fly out of the fire and circle the room before meeting over the table and clashing together. For a moment, the flames form into the shape of a beautiful blade.

    ”Artefacts they shall possess, three in number and forged into vicious circles, coins of an ancient and powerful currency, an eternal link to the Aethyr. Only those of the utmost strength and the purest of intentions will bend the true power of the coins to their will, and they shall do so, bringing fire and death to the lands of the Queen of Eagles.” – The skald continues, and behind him the fire shows a desolate landscape, which even in the light and life of the flames, somehow appears dead and grey. A lone great eagle, wounded, sits atop her nest which lies on a hill and screams defiance at her enemies.

    ”The wielders of the ancient artefacts will be heralded by the demise of the Lord of Wolves, who will rise again before the end, the Bastard King, cursed to hold power for but a short while and the Storm’s Scourge, lord of the waters, yet undone by them.” – Bittersong’s saga strikes a mournful tone and behind him the fires die down considerably. First, a great wolf on its hind legs, a crown on its ferocious head, is decapitated by a curved knife. The crown falls away and is lost. The wolf falls and is buried and a taloned hand rises from its grave, the wolf pulling itself free once more, whole, save for its crown, which it starts to look for.

    Now a short, indistinct figure, crown resplendent on his head, despite his otherwise ragged appearance, rushes at a heavily armoured giant. Weapons clash and the giant’s axe overbears the shorter figure and ends his life.

    Finally a longship, in the Invarrian style, sails on a sea of flames and ashes. A golden crown floats above the ship until a great wave crashes over, sending the ship and crown into the depths.

    ”If fail these companions do, death will reign in all the lands and the Devourer will come forth to reap its harvest.” – Bittersong, reaching the end of his saga. A dark hooded figure appears in the flames, scythe clenched in skeletal hands.

    “If success they can achieve, the Devourer’s reaping will be postponed for two-score, four score or fifteen-score years, but one cannot halt destiny forever. Thrice before has the Devourer been defeated, but it is ever poised to swing the Scythe of Doom and unleash the Greyflood.” – The last stanza of the saga complete, Bittersong falls back into the low, deep humming and his eyes close as the fire plays out the last act of this incredible story. The hooded figure swings its scythe and a great wave of ash erupts from the fire, smothering the flames into nothingness and sending the room into darkness, with only the skald’s humming breaking the silence.

    Finally the humming ceases.

    “I thought you said skalds were like bards? Cause bards are useless. That was nothing like a bard.” – Breanna, incredulously to Harold.

    “Wait a minute… Artefacts… Three of them… Coins… Three coins… OH ****!” – Harold, facepalming epically.

    “What? What is it?” – Bjarn, leaning forward with how intently he is listening to Harold.

    Fjorn meanwhile helps Morolf from the room.

    “Under my nose this whole time. Three coins! We have them! Well, we had them…” – Harold, his face in his hands, despair in his voice.

    “Oh no, you think the ones we took from Brewer are the ones in this prophecy?” – Maebh, worried.

    “Yes, I do.” – Harold.

    “So, Tremor was the Bastard King, and we dealt with the Lord of Wolves… Who, or what, is the Storm’s Scourge?” – Maebh, questioning.

    “So, according to prophecy, the Wolf King, this Lord of Wolves, might not be properly dead… ****.” – Harold, who is getting more depressed the more of the prophecy he figures out.

    “So back on those coins… I have one.” – Maebh, pulling hers out, the coin forged from a dark gold.

    “I have another.” – Breanna, the silver coin gleaming as she flicks it over her furry fingers.

    “Yes, and Tremor had the third…” – Harold, almost in tears.

    “So about that third coin… Did it look anything like this?” – Kel’Serrar, pulling a thick copper coin from his pocket.

    “Would it be wrong to say I love you?” – Harold, beaming at the thin ranger.

    “Yes. Yes it would.” – Kel’Serrar, totally deadpanning.

    “Bless you and your kleptomania Kel.” – Breanna, laughing.

    It is decided that the companions can spend the next few days in Isenhjem, resting and procuring any more supplies they might need before striking out for Werencha. Bjarn gives them a map of Varr which shows a rough indication of where the legendary temple might be found.

    The rest of the day sees the companions let loose on Isenhjem. Aeva commissions some steel claws to help get through armour when in her lion-form. Most of them ensure that their equipment is all in an optimal condition. Breanna purchases 50ft of rope, simply because it might be useful and she has money to burn.

    * * *

    It is now night, and the palace of the Stormlord is quiet. The companions are in their own personal quarters. Breanna and Aeva are sleeping, Harold sharpening a knife which really needs no sharpening while talking to his brother, Hosker, an officer in the Stomlord’s guard, Kel’Serrar starting again with his attempts to craft a longbow and Maebh reads softly to her mantikor hatchling.

    Somewhere in the palace, a commotion stirs the still night air. Instinctively, the companions all head to the Stormlord’s reception hall. They do not know why they are being pushed there, only that they should go, some sense telling them that is where they need to be.

    The companions open the doors and before them, a figure is holding another man’s head in a large bucket of water. As they enter, the figure pulls a dead Bjarn Tordenwulf’s head from the water, draws a large dagger and charges at the companions.

    “For the Lord of the Waves!” – Fjorn Av-Baern, the late Stormlord’s seneschal as he charges.

    The Invarrian is immediately buffeted by a gust of wind, which forces him to his knees, Maebh barely expending any thought to halting his charge. Kel’Serrar sends some tendrils of malicious magic into the man’s brain and Harold steps forward and smashes a fist into the side of seneschal’s head.

    “Combat over. Sorry guys.” – Dev, to the players who hadn’t acted yet.
    “I’m just going to keep the casting going if that’s okay?” – Sins.
    “Oh yeah, no problems mate. Of course.”
    “Great, you’ve cast it on me haven’t you?” – Dev.
    Sins and I crack up laughing.
    “No, but that would have been absolutely hilarious.” – Sins.
    “What was the spell?” – Dev.
    “Cruel Disappointment.”


    Guards rush into the reception hall, and a few questioning looks are pointed the way of the companions, but Hosker manages to quell these suspicions, confirming that Fjorn is the man responsible.

    The unconscious seneschal is taken by the companions to the underground dungeons.

    The Stormlord’s body is taken away to be prepared for the funeral rites.

    * * *

    “Brother, I want to interrogate the seneschal.” – Harold, to Hosker quietly.

    “I will come with you.” – Hosker, nodding in agreement.

    The companions make their way to the dungeons to go and interrogate Fjorn Av-Baern.

    “Is there an heir?” – Aeva.

    “Well yes. His brother, Reinn. But apparently, he’s insane.” – Harold, darkly.

    “Is there a council who can take care of the realm then?” – Kel’Serrar.

    “Yes of course. We will ensure that Varr remains strong.” – Hosker, proudly.

    “Of course Ovar Windchase would be considered to sit on that council.” – Harold, darkly.

    “What’s wrong with him?” – Maebh.

    “The man’s a cretin, and has a feud with our family. He has also sworn bloody vengeance after my sister publically revealed he had stolen longships in his possession. The feud between our families goes back a long way, but he’s just a ****.” – Harold.

    Upon finally arriving at Fjorn’s cell, Harold awakens the still unconscious traitor with a bucket full of water. He sputters back into consciousness, only to find himself kneeling on the ground, manacles around his wrists which are chained to the side walls, and surrounded by malicious eyes.

    For their part, Harold, Maebh, Kel’Serrar and Breanna stand before him, Hosker with them and Aeva/Hawk sitting upon Kel’Serrar’s shoulder. The ranger currently looks like Harold, because he never looks like himself these days.

    “I’ll sit on Sins’ shoulder.” – Delphi.
    “How do you know which one is me?” – Sins.
    “I can smell you, you ****. Accept your fate.” – Delphi.
    “No.” – Sins, unable to let another have the last word.


    “Let us start with something easy then. What is your name?” – Harold, darkly charming.

    “My name is Fjorn Av-Baern, formerly seneschal of Isenhjem.” – Fjorn, bleary eyed.

    “And do you know why you are here?” – Harold, still darkly charming.

    “I presume because I have killed the Stormlord.” – Fjorn, in a matter of fact manner.

    “And now we come to the crux of the matter. Why would you kill the Stormlord?” – Harold, his emotion starting to slip through.

    “For the glory of the God of the Waves.” – Fjorn, quietly.

    “Why would the God of the Waves want the Stormlord dead? He has granted the Stormlords His blessing since the first Stormlord calmed the tempests which surrounded Varr!” – Harold, impassioned.

    “How the God of the Waves treated with the Stormlords past matters not now. The Devourer is nigh and the God requires sacrifices. The Stormlord is the greatest sacrifice we could offer our Lord.” – Fjorn.

    “But we reave to satiate His hunger for sacrifices. The Great Reaving itself was because the Brine-Priests demanded more to give Him, and we did so. We met the demands His priesthood made of us. Good Invarrians died in order to appease Him! Why have we angered Him?” – Harold, confused.

    “It is not anger. The Devourer comes and it is poised to unleash the Greyflood upon the world. Our Lord requires greater sacrifice in order to have the power to halt the Devourer. The Greyflood Prophecy has failed. You and your band will never find Werencha, the temple was lost centuries ago, if it ever even existed. Even if you do, it will be too late. We must put our faith in the God of the Waves, it is only he who can save us now.” – Fjorn, convinced of the righteousness of his cause.

    Silence descends on the room for some few minutes as the import of that statement sets in, the quiet only broken by Fjorn’s ragged breathing.

    Then…

    “Feel free to ask him more questions, he is currently under the influence of a spell which makes him very susceptible to making big mistakes.” – Kel’Serrar, in an undertone.

    Aeva lands on the floor and turns back to her natural form in a flash of ice-blue light and a swirl of feathers.

    “I see. Do you have any money?” – Aeva, to the captive Fjorn.

    “No, you will have nothing of mine!” – Fjorn, desperately as unbeknownst to him, his hands scribble a detailed map of his home on the dirt floor, with where he keeps his valuables clearly marked.

    Aeva and Breanna take some detailed notes of the map themselves and then surreptitiously slip out of the dungeon to go and relieve the traitor of his wealth.

    “So what do you believe is going to happen to you now, what with punishment and all that?” – Harold, darkly.

    “I believe that I will be killed. I ask only that you drown me, so my death may serve the God of the Waves.” – Fjorn, solemn.

    “Let’s set him on fire then.” – Maebh.

    “Actually as his last wish, we might actually have to honour it.” – Harold, not entirely happy.

    “Are you serious?” – Maebh, incredulous.

    “Well, it might be frowned upon to take this into our own hands, but well, who’s going to stop us?” – Hosker, pointing out to his brother that only the Stormlord himself would have the authority to censure Harold over that particular transgression.

    “Have you been over the Dividing Range recently?” – Harold, to Fjorn.

    “No, I certainly have not, and you are a fool to think that anyone has.” – Fjorn, vehemently.

    “When did you feel the urge to kill the Stormlord?” – Maebh, menacing.

    “The plans have been in motion for several months now.” – Fjorn.

    “Who are your co-conspirators?” – Harold.

    “I… will… never tell!” – Fjorn, struggling to break the compulsion brought about by Kel’Serrar’s insidious spell.

    “Who is the head of your order?” – Harold, not dropping that line of questioning.

    ”You will find out soon enough cretin, and you will wish that you never knew!” – Fjorn, laughing manically before the compulsion kicks in.

    “The God of the Waves.” – Fjorn, simply, while in his head he still laughs maniacally about how the companions will never be able to find out his true master from him.

    “Oh ****.” – Harold, quietly, before Fjorn snaps back to reality. Well, in a sense, as he still hasn’t realised what he has revealed so far.

    A split second after being brought back to the present, he finds himself staring deep into Maebh’s amber eyes, entranced by the golden orbs.

    Fjorn is now Hypnotised, along with Kel’s Cruel Disappointment. With Harold Charm bonuses, Fjorn is now at a massive -70 to Willpower Checks to resist telling the truth. If he fails the Check he must reveal absolutely anything he knows about the topic, and thanks to Kel’s spell, will not know he has done so until after the spell is released or its duration runs out.

    This scene really nailed home for me just how terrifying magical interrogation can be.


    “Ha! Your mind-tricks will not work on me!” – Fjorn, moments before he gives a completely blank look, falling under Maebh’s compulsion completely.

    “Who is the mortal head of your order?” – Harold.

    “The beasts from under the waves…” – Fjorn, quietly.

    At this point, Cruel Disappointment has gone into recession as the Hypnotism took over with regards to how Fjorn failed his Checks. While Hypnotised, Cruel Disappointment basically just blanked the whole scene from Fjorn’s recollection. He will have absolutely no memory at all of the questions he was asked, nor the answers he gave while under Maebh’s power. The negative Cruel Disappointment grants to Checks however, remains in effect.

    Aeva and Breanna:
    Going through Fjorn’s house with some large sacks, the two companions ransack it, collecting the money to split reasonably evenly through the party and any potentially valuable items and artefacts in the sacks to try and sell off to merchants on the morrow.

    The two girls decide to split the sulvers equally through the party, so everyone gets 11. The coppers and the proceeds from the valuables are kept to themselves.

    Harold, Kel’Serrar and Maebh:
    “Is the Brine-Priesthood involved?” – Harold, wandering aloud.

    “Yes, of course they are.” – Fjorn, still very much under Maebh’s control.

    “You mentioned ‘we’ earlier. Who is this ‘we’ and where and when do you meet?” – Maebh.

    “We are the people who will see the Devourer stopped. And we meet down by the river every Sevenday.” – Fjorn, who proceeds to carefully draw out another map in the dirt, this time of a meeting place to the north near some ruins on the riverbank.

    “And the other drownings? Are they your order too?” – Maebh.

    “Yes, they are. We do it by divine mandate. They are sacrifices to the God of the Waves, to aid Him against the Devourer.” – Fjorn.

    “And Reinn’s ship and madness? Was that your order too?” – Harold, in a stroke of genius.

    “The beasts told us what needed to be done. Some of the crew were loyal to our order and made the ambush possible, turning upon those loyal to Reinn and butchering them before turning their blades on each other. We do not know why our Lord needed Reinn dishonoured, but they told us His will must be done.” – Fjorn, moments before Kel’Serrar’s spell finally wears off.

    “By the Gods, I have just told you everything, haven’t I?” – Fjorn, still oddly emotionless due to Maebh’s hypnotic power.

    Tears begin to fall from his eyes as Breanna and Aeva choose that moment to re-enter the cell, burdened with sacks filled with valuables, handing out the traitor’s reappropriated money to the other companions.

    A rebellious gleam bursts into life in his eyes and he tries to wipe the map of the meeting place away from the dirt, but a quick glare from Maebh re-asserts her dominance.

    “You will not wipe the map away. Sit down on your hands.” – Maebh, staring hard at the prisoner.

    “I will not wipe the map away. I will sit down on my hands now.” – Fjorn, who proceeds to sit back down on his hands, willing himself to break the mage’s hold on his mind, but unable to do so.

    Kel’Serrar, stolen paper and quill in hand, takes down the map for posterity.

    “Are there any significant events coming up for your order? Any meetings planned?” – Harold.

    “I have told you too much already. There is a meeting tomorrow night, by the river as usual. Just drown me already and be done with it. I beg you.” – Fjorn, dejected, the hypnosis slowly wearing off.

    “One last question traitor. Who is next to die?” – Maebh, hoping to get one more usage out of the hypnosis.

    “I know not. We are usually told at these meetings. Go there and have your eyes opened to the truth.” – Fjorn, resigned to his fate.

    “I think we are done here. As he has been helpful to our investigation, I feel we should honour his final wish.” – Harold, to Hosker, who nods in agreement.

    “Guardsmen! Prepare a bucket! This filth is going to drown, and may the God of the Waves be unmerciful to the wretch.” – Hosker, calling to his guards outside the cell.

    * * *

    The next day sees the companions preparing themselves for the meeting on the riverbank at sundown. Amidst this, Aeva enlists Harold’s aid in a more personal matter, enquiring after her family’s whereabouts.

    After a few hours, they do uncover a lead.
    “Which goes around Harold’s neck.” – Sins.

    Apparently, Selkye matching the descriptions of her clan have taken up a nomadic lifestyle on the southern coast of Southreach. If her family managed to escape the Wrothdar which overran her homelands, then that would appear to be where they have gone. It is a fair way from home, but her people are excellent seafarers and the climate and terrain is very similar.

    As to the night’s plan, they intend to crash the party subtly. Hosker has already spread the rumour that the man responsible for the death of the late Stormlord has not been found, allowing him to show up at the gathering without any problems. No problems, other than the traitor having been drowned in a bucket of course. To this end, Harold has enlisted Kel’Serrar’s aid to help disguise himself, giving the companions an insider. Unfortunately, he will have to leave most of his gear behind to do so, but does have Aeva/Cat in his pocket to help him out. The others will be concealed in the woods, with the rest of Harold’s equipment if it all goes downhill.

    Spoiler: Crude Joke
    Show

    “Hopefully they don’t notice the small furry bulge in your pocket.” – Not really thinking about what I’m saying.
    “Is that a cat, or are you just happy to see me?” – Delphi, laughing.
    There is quite a bit of laughter, but I can see one joke that is just sitting there, waiting for someone to say it.
    Spoiler: Really Crude Joke (Small people, avert your gaze)
    Show

    “I feel an urge to mention the fact that now you have a ***** in your pants.”

    “No love man, no love.” – Dev, laughing.


    They make their way to the meeting site in the late afternoon.

    * * *
    And that's it for now. Back shortly.
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2016-06-07 at 02:04 AM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  29. - Top - End - #179
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    And we are back.

    The meeting site is on the riverbank. Around 200 yards from the water, in amongst the ruined remains of what used to be a farmstead and inn, a huge pyre burns, warding off the coming cold. All up, upwards of fifty cultists are gathered, either chatting around the fire or presumably praying by the water’s edge.

    Harold, unarmed and unarmoured, accompanied only by Aeva/Cat makes his way into the midst of the gathering, trying his hardest to appear inconspicuous. He does not draw any undue attention to himself and the companions collectively breathe a sigh of relief. Their relief however, is short-lived.

    A figure rises from the waters of the river, grey-skinned and humanoid in shape but menacing. It begins to speak in a rasping tone and an unfamiliar language, but only Harold is close enough to be able to attempt to decipher what the creature is saying. It seems to him to be an ancient form of the Invarrian language, but he cannot make it out for sure. To do so, he would have to get closer and he definitely does not wish to do that.

    Willpower Checks from all the companions for the Creature Under the Waves’ Fear effect. Everyone passes, although Maebh spends a Luck point.

    Spoiler: Beast Under the Waves
    Show


    The cultists by the riverbank speak back to it in that same language and the creature appears to get quite irate. It rasps a command and then extends a single talon to point at individual cultists. Out of the forty-odd cultists by the water’s edge, the beast picks out five and one by one they simply walk into the river until they are completely submerged.

    They do not emerge.

    It barks out an order, the horrible rasping more urgent this time and the cultists give their acquiescence. With one last keening shriek, the beast disappears.

    The Creature Under the Waves voice was like trying to speak a Norse dialect of Parseltongue. My cat, Satan, is a lovely little girl, but has the strangest voice. I modeled this thing’s vocalisations off her.

    Stormclouds billow above the meeting site, strange since the day was quite clear…

    With the creature gone, the cultists visibly relax and set about getting completely and thoroughly drunk around the fire. Not wanting to stand out, Harold partakes of the alcohol and then pretends to be feeling violently ill, retreating to the shadowy embrace of the forest, where he quickly relieves himself in the bushes and then finds his armour and weapons.

    We have a houserule that whenever a player goes to the bathroom, so does the character. If you’re in the middle of combat, you’d better hold it in.

    As soon as Harold is clear of the gathering, Maebh moves forward, golden fire crackling in her hands. Cultists look up at her in surprise moments before she immolates them, gouts of flame rushing from her outstretched hands. The mage turns and an amber bolt of lightning crashes down into the midst of the drunken cultists.

    Reflexes dulled by alcohol, some of cultists try to get up and escape the killing grounds, but those that do find themselves pinned by snares of icy-blue magic, as Aeva/Cat prowls in the shadows.

    LD finally gets to do what she has been planning on doing since the very first session. The last few level ups has seen LD invest in Breanna’s Riding ability, and now that Wolfgang is a reasonable size, we have decided that Breanna is able to use Wolfgang as a mount in combat.

    With carving knife in hand, Breanna charges forward on the back of her wolf and takes out two of the cultists as she rides past. She has only a split second to appreciate this before she has to hold on for dear life as Wolfgang pounces on another cultist and rips his throat out.

    Harold, having buckled on his sword-belt takes out his blades and starts to cut down any cultists trying to flee the flames that have avoided Aeva’s snares. He is clean and efficient about it, taking no joy in the death and destruction going on around him.

    One cultist flees north, rather than south through Harold and so Kel’Serrar looses a long shot at the running man. The cultist doesn’t make it to the treeline.

    Aeva morphs into a lion and starts to maul any survivors, cleaning up with Breanna and Wolfgang while Maebh directs a flurry of lightning bolts into the river. A few survivors who had been snared by Aeva are tied up by Kel’Serrar. Very few stragglers managed to escape in the fighting into the river. Whether they were taken by the current or predators, managed to swim to the other bank or were fried by Maebh’s lightning, the companions cannot say.

    Kel’Serrar and Harold take the captives one by one and sober them up by the river.

    “You have a handful of cultists. They are drunk, but at least they are conscious.”
    “Splash water on them.” – Dev.
    “You do so. Now they are wet.” – Completely deadpan.

    “How much alcohol is left anyway?” – Delphi.
    “Well the really strong stuff was immolated in the flames, but most of it was wine and ale anyway, and that won’t burn. So there’s still quite a bit.”
    “I think we can sell that then.” – Delphi.


    So the companions line their seven captives up in order of perceived weakness and intelligence, all of them tied around a large tree.

    “Cruel Disappointment.” – Sins, announcing his successful casting.

    “Hello.” – The supposedly mentally weakest and weediest captive, whose face has brightened considerably in the last few seconds. He thinks his hangover is gone.

    “What’s your name?” – Aeva.

    “Travys. What do you want?” – Captive, still brightly.

    “Want to tell us stuff?” – Aeva, enjoying this interrogation business.

    Travys believes he has spat in Aeva’s face and looks really quite smug and pleased with himself. In actuality, he has said the following.

    “Yes, this is crazy. I have no idea what is happening, but I think that the gods are telling us to drown people.” – Travys, smiling.

    “What do you mean, you think?” – Harold, trying to get to the bottom of this.

    “I know right, it is unusual for me to think, but this time I really have! I gave it a lot of thought, and well, I think this is insane!” – Travys, who thinks he has been silent.

    “Pull down your pants.” – Aeva, thinking she will just embarrass the captive.

    “I will never! You can’t make me do anything!” – Travys, as he shimmies out of his pants with his hands bound. The other captives on either side look at him in disgust and in some cases, horror.

    “What is wrong with him?” – Another captive, in an undertone.

    “He is no help at all.” – Ladyhawk.
    “You did say you wanted the least intelligent first.”
    “Good point. Next time we should try the most intelligent.” – Ladyhawk, laughing.
    “So how long does Cruel Disappointment actually last?” – Delphi, to Sins.
    “Oh yes, a number of rounds.” – Sins, who rolls poorly to determine. “Uh-huh, yeah party-time’s over.”


    All of a sudden, Travys brings his bound hands to his head and winces in pain.

    “Argh, my head. Wait, why are my pants off?” – Travys, confused and very hungover.

    Leaving Travys to his vain attempts to pull his trousers up, the companions move on to the next captive they wish to interrogate.

    “Your name?” – Breanna, menacingly chewing on a peach.

    “Grigor.” – The captive, quietly.

    Sins succeeds with Cruel Disappointment once more, doubling the casting value. Grigor is about to have a very bad time, with all Willpower Checks to resist the effects of the spell taking an additional -20%.

    “So, Grigor… Are you going to tell us stuff?” - Aeva, who enjoys this far too much.

    “No, I will never tell you anything!” – Grigor yells at them, nodding his head energetically as he does so.

    “The beast in the river, what did it want?” – Harold cutting to the point.

    “What creature? Do you mean the creature that came out of the river and told us to drown everyone?” – Grigor, animated.

    “Yes.” – Harold.

    “It wants us to drown everyone.” – Grigor, still animated.

    “Yes, but why?” – Harold, rolling his eyes in exasperation.

    “I’m not sure, but if I had to guess I would say that it would be because doing so grants it power.” – Grigor.

    “Have you stopped to consider that this might be bad?” – Aeva.

    “I have no doubt in my mind that this will turn out perfectly for everyone. Except those who have been drowned.” – Grigor.

    “Which will be everyone.” – Aeva.

    “Which will be everyone, yes.” – Grigor.

    “I’ve had enough of this, take your pants off too.” – Aeva, frustrated.

    “I will never do that!” – Grigor, aggressively doing just that.

    “Actually, one more question. How can we summon the creature in the river?” – Aeva, serious.

    “There is no way to summon it. It summons us. Or you could try drowning sacrifices, but you didn’t hear that from me.” – Grigor, confidentially and in the middle of trying to remove his trousers.

    “What is this beast? What is it called?” – Harold, inquiring.

    “I will never tell you that its name is unpronounceable to modern tongues.” – Grigor.

    “What language is it?” – Harold.

    “Ancient Invarrian, presumably.” – Grigor, conversationally.

    “Where did you learn to speak Ancient Invarrian?” – Harold, confused.

    “It came to me in my dreams. Only a few of us have been able to master the language to communicate directly.” – Grigor. The other captive cultists stare at him like he is a madman, except for Travys of course, who just looks relieved that whatever is happening didn’t just happen to only him.

    Aeva takes on the shape of a dagger-lion and pads towards the visibly terrified Grigor and leans her muzzle against his ear. The captive perks up and then looks happily around at the other captives.

    “It’s okay everyone, this lion just told me we can trust them!” – Grigor, who is completely lost in the depths of his own fantasy right now. He’s currently up to the part where he is kicking Harold’s head in while strangling him with the ropes that currently bind his wrists. The other captives just look at him like he has completely lost it. Which he has, if ‘it’ is a firm grasp on reality.

    “The lion also says that continuing to follow the beast will make you as crazy as I am!” – Grigor, brightly, to murmurs of consternation amongst the other captives.

    Spoiler
    Show
    ”I want him to tell them that the lion says following the fishy dude will make them as crazy as he is.” – Delphi, pleased with her plan.
    “The lion says that following the fishy dude will make you as crazy as I am,’ says Grigor. The companions just look at him like, ‘What the **** man? What’s a fishy dude?’ We can only assume that fishy dude is an old and unique Selkye saying, denoting someone who is a real ****.”


    “Tell us everything more you know.” – Harold, serious.

    At this stage, everything suddenly sinks into the captive Grigor, who groans and promptly just looks utterly ashamed, then embarrassed as he realises his trousers are half removed. He was just in the middle of disemboweling Breanna and then rescuing a group of stunning Invarrian women from an oncoming avalanche in his head, and then he is brought back to a very real, and quite embarrassing present.

    “You will tell us everything now, right?” – Harold, hoping that the knowledge of everything he has spilt, or would have spilt over the course of the spell’s effect, might loosen his tongue in itself.

    “They call us in our dreams and we can’t resist their orders. If we do, they drown us. Now please, just put me out of my misery. Drown me.” – Grigor, miserable.

    “You’ve just said that if you do not do as they say, you will be drowned, but now you say you want to be drowned anyway.” – Kel’Serrar.

    “Yes, I have failed them. I must be punished.” – Grigor, still miserable.

    “You’ve also said that the drownings grant them power, so why would-“ – Aeva.

    “Drown me.” – Grigor.

    “No…” – Aeva, who then laughs a bit to herself.

    “You can understand this creature, no? You said that you learnt to speak their language.” – Maebh, curious.

    “When speaking to the creature, we go into some kind of trance, completely under the creature’s power and control. It knows our minds and commands us to speak in a language we only half know.” – Grigor, struggling to express the facts of something he doesn’t really understand himself.

    There is silence as the companions think over this new information.

    “So we are agreed that we will not be drowning him?” – Harold, eager to move on.

    “No, drown us, please.” – Grigor, who is then joined by a chorus from the other captives, each of them begging to be drowned. It is impossible to hear any alternatives from the other party members as the shouting overpowers them until Harold is able to quiet them by threatening them with immediate execution-by-decapitation.

    “Never mind, I’ve got this.” – Aeva, as with a flash of blue-tinged magic a massive pit of darkness yawns into being under the line of captives and their tree. They begin to fall, flailing wildly in the darkness.

    Well, kind of. The pit is not actually real, they just think it is, and they are not really falling into a random sinkhole, they are just flailing wildly at the air as they sit tied to a tree. One by one, the companions take a captive and, with Maebh’s speciality with ropes, hang the cultists from tall branches, who if they do not suffer a broken neck from the sudden drop, they spend the rest of their short lives suspended by a rope, air supply slowly choked off as they believe they fall through an endless pit.

    With the captives out of the way, the companions make their way back to Isenhjem, Harold specifically hoping he can find some way to find out more about this threat. To help him, Aeva spends some time producing six sketches of the grey-skinned beast from the river and then gives one to each companion, keeping one for herself.

    Upon returning, they discover that the city is in a state of panic. The fact that the Stormlord could be killed in his own inner sanctum has the populace very concerned for their safety and a few small-scale riots have occurred. In addition to this, there is no heir. The brother, Reinn Tordenwulf, being an imprisoned lunatic, is not considered to be much of a safe option for the throne. Naturally, no one has attempted to go and collect him from Serenity, the asylum/prison for nobility built from a ruined fortress on the northern coast of Varr.

    As for a plan, in the morning Harold, Maebh and Kel’Serrar are going to find the Stormlord’s archives and hopefully find someone to question regarding the creature. Failing that, poring through records might turn up some information too.

    For Aeva and Breanna, the next day brings an opportunity to loot the houses of traitors and to question random civilians regarding the creature Aeva has sketched. Sounds like fun.

    The companions sleep fitfully, safe in their rooms in the late-Stormlord’s palace, as the city around them remains in a state of disarray.

    Harold, Maebh and Kel’Serrar:
    Upon entering the Stormlord’s archives in the morning, the companions are informed that the head archivist has fled Isenhjem and no one knows where he might be following a brief riot in which the archives were disrupted. The remaining attendants let them in, telling them not to wreck anything and get back to cleaning up the mess from the night before.

    Harold takes Aeva’s sketch of the Creature from the river and shows it to the attendants.

    “Can you tell me what this is?” – Harold, blunt.

    “Well, it is terrifying isn’t it? A good likeness. Don’t know what it is, but it’s a very impressive sketch.” – Attendants, amongst themselves.

    “You’ve never seen or heard of anything like this?” – Harold, hopeful.

    The attendants all agree that, no, they’ve never seen or heard of anything like it and that they would assume it to be a mythical creature. Harold shares that the beast seems to be capable of domination, meddling with dreams and a lot of other advanced magics and that they seem to be very old and have a connection with ancient Varr. In response, the attendants point him to the earliest records they have of the island kingdom, which might not be much help due to the way the Invarrian language has drifted over the millennium, and to the myths and legends of Varr’s formation and the first Stormlord’s pact with the God of the Waves. If there is anything about the creature in the archives, the information would most likely be found in those parts.

    “Does anyone here speak Ancient Invarrian?” – Maebh, questioning the attendants.

    “The head archivist does, though not fluently I believe. Of course that won’t help you very much.” – Attendant.

    Maebh decides that they may have to try and find some kind of Ancient Invarrian dictionary in the archive. The three companions resolve to do their best to find something relevant in the library.

    Aeva and Breanna:
    After ransacking the houses, the two girls go around the streets of Isenhjem, picking out random civilians and questioning them regarding Aeva’s sketches and what is depicted upon them. Most deny having seen or heard of the beast before, but one takes a single look at the picture before drawing a knife and cutting his own throat. Breanna and Aeva flee the scene promptly, not wanting to be implicated in a murder as foreigners in a city which is on tenterhooks.

    They resolve to find a tavern to question the innkeep regarding mind-controlling fish-people. And to buy lunch.

    Harold, Maebh and Kel’Serrar:
    Kel’Serrar finds the original scribing of the Greyflood Prophecy, as made by the Seer, Raelda of Meleret. He struggles mightily to read it, only having a basic grasp of the written Invarrian language, but does figure out that this version differs slightly in places to the version told to them by the skald in the Stormlord’s reception room. He sees a mention of the Devourer and notices that the root word for ‘devourer’ and ‘shark’ are the same…

    While Kel’Serrar struggles with Raelda’s prophecy, Harold has found records of the very first Stormlord, who foiled a menace which wished to cover the world in what the records refer to as the Grey Death. It is very vague and the lingual drift is just too great for Harold to make out any more than the very broadest of strokes.

    Maebh meanwhile is searching through folkloric accounts of unusual sightings. Fishermen have been reporting sightings of unusual sharks and shark-like creatures for centuries. This is unusual because in the northern oceans, most creatures are mammals or birds. As such, fish, such as sharks are quite uncommon, at least close to the surface where they can be seen by fishermen. The sightings are hardly common, but they do occur. Attacks have been reported to, and in fact most close encounters supposedly lead to a fatal or near-fatal attack. There are, however, no mentions of mind control in these reports.

    They are joined by Aeva, Breanna and Hosker, and they sit down to discuss recent events together.

    “I do have news first. Word has gotten out that you were all present when the Stormlord was murdered and Ovar Windchaser has gotten wind of it and tried to turn public opinion against you. There are already calls amongst the small council to have you apprehended. To add to that, Bjarn was well-liked and the populace might just decide to take matters into their own hands. The situation is difficult enough already what with the riots. I suggest you all leave Isenhjem as quickly as you can and return only when this has all died down.” – Hosker, quietly to the companions.

    “Nah, **** this. We need to deal with him. He’s been a problem for our family for too long Hosker. I’ll challenge him to a trial by combat.” – Harold, regarding Ovar Windchaser.

    “Wait a moment Harold, we’ve got some possibly more pressing issues and we may not be able to afford to be distracted by personal grudges.” – Maebh, laying a comforting hand on the Invarrian’s shoulder.

    “She’s right. And the way the small council talks are going, there is a good chance you will just be arrested for inciting violence, imprisoned and then drowned quietly out of the way when no one is looking. Leave now, come back to fight him another day when all of this is settled.” – Hosker, pleading with his brother.

    “All in favour of trial-by-exceedingly-long-ranged-combat?” – Kel’Serrar, quietly.
    “All in favour of letting Sins do that thing that he does?” – Delphi, laughing.
    “No wait, he comes home and someone has summoned a lightning storm to be conveniently waiting inside for him.” – Sins, warming to his theme.
    “We could fly across the rooftops and then I’ll kick him off a balcony.” – LD.
    “Okay, unfortunately these are not really viable options right now. Off to the asylum!” – Ladyhawk, to the assent of the other companions.


    “If we leave, what do you think the chances are of him following us?” – Harold, to Hosker.

    “Well if he does find out when and where you are going, then yes I’d say he will. He’s been unsuccessfully hunting you ever since Helga went and pissed him off, and he’s been pretty intent on that, even if he’s not had any success. Now here you are, so close to him and circumstances have prevented him from trying to get you while you are well protected. But the moment you leave, if he knows of it, he will be right on your tail.” – Hosker.

    “Okay, Hosker, stay safe, thank you for your help and stay away from Windchaser. He wouldn’t dare attack you as one of the Stormlord’s personal guard, but that position might not afford you the safety it used to with Bjarn dead.” – Harold, embracing his brother tightly.

    “Best of luck brother. I’ll see you when you return.” – Hosker, returning the embrace and then farewelling the rest of the party.

    The companions gather their gear and animals from the palace and make their way swiftly to the dock and their waiting galley. They do not wait for the cover of dark and instead hope that they can leave unnoticed in amongst all the bustle on the docks.

    They are followed out of the bay by a longship flying a black flag with a silver wolf-skull mounted on two crossed sabres. Harold recognises the description as being the flag of the Windchasers. Aeva contemplates the idea of trying to knock a hole in the hull of the ship, decides against it and then just convinces a handful of gulls to **** all over the Windchaser ship. Maebh turns her magic towards the task of outrunning them, blowing a gale into the Tide Tremor’s sails while using the same gust to try to blow against the longship. Aeva/Hawk’s keen eyes, now above the Windchaser ship pick out the Invarrian at the helm is absolutely huge, at least a foot taller than Harold, sleek and black-furred.

    Well out of bowshot and being aided by the wind rather than hindered by it, the Tide Tremor is well and truly away and out of sight and danger within an hour. The companions decide that if the ship reappears they will go full nova and burn it down. The bird**** was a warning shot of sorts.

    They continue north, to the coastal asylum of Serenity, hoping that Reinn Tordenwulf will at least be able to shed some more light on the menace beneath the waves…

    And I shall cut it here so that at least something is posted. The rest of the session will be in Session 5.1 (b): Shades of the Past.

    The Wrap-Up:
    Obviously this is just Part 1 of Session 5.1. On the whole I felt that this was a really solid session, with everyone getting at least some kind of spotlight, but it isn’t until Part 2 that things get really memorable.

    The scene with the skald did not actually occur on the day. I planned for it, but cut it because we had just had a lot of exposition at the start of the session as I recounted the entire previous interlude. As such, I didn’t want to make them sit through an extended scene where they just had to listen as I info-dumped them again, so I cut the scene back into just a recitation of the Prophecy. A pity as I would have liked to have seen their reactions at the time, but a decision I think needed to be made.

    Ovar Windchaser is a villain who has been waiting to be introduced for a long time. In fact, I would say that the build-up for Windchaser before his eventual on-screen moment was second only to one other personal nemesis who has not actually been revealed in its entirety yet, but I am very much looking forward to. All I will say on that count is that Breanna has made some powerful enemies in her time and that things may get a little bit dangerous for her.

    This particular arc is going to be pretty brutal, which is a good thing I think. The characters are getting very powerful individually anyway, but the addition of Aeva has given them an absolute force-multiplier. She may not get many kills herself, but she enables the others to cause some serious damage and has become the go-to scout for the party. Correspondingly of course, the dangers that they may run into are going to be the greatest they have ever faced.

    I warned the players at the start that this arc may see some deaths if they don’t play smart. They’ve gotten powerful enough and the stakes are becoming so high that I will definitely not be pulling any punches. So far, they’ve been pretty good, but we’ll see how long their luck lasts I guess.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed the write-up and I apologise for how late it is. We haven’t played since February due to some seriously busy schedules, but we are hoping to have a session soon.

    Stay tuned for the next update,
    See you next time,
    Last edited by Phoenixguard09; 2016-06-06 at 11:59 PM.
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

  30. - Top - End - #180
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: A Norbayne Campaign Log

    Session 5.1 (b): Shades of the Past

    Welcome to Session 5.1 (b): Shades of the Past.

    ”The things under the waves, grey skin, sharp teeth and claws. It came for us, it knew where we were. It could see our minds and knew our thoughts! It turned us against each other, one by one…”
    - Rantings from a Stillhet inmate.

    It takes around a fortnight for the companions to reach Serenity by sea, and they do so unmolested. They pass the time quietly, all of the concerned that the Beasts Under the Waves might make an appearance, but luckily that does not occur.

    It is just after midnight when the Tide Tremor reaches Serenity. The abandoned fortress looms ahead in the darkness against a starless night-sky. The only light comes from the sickle-moon above as the companions doused their lamps a few hours ago to avoid detection. No torches can be seen on land.

    They choose to wait until morning and drop anchor for the night.

    * * *

    Spoiler: Map of Serenity
    Show
    INSERT MAP HERE


    The next day, Harold informs the party of the history of Stillhet.

    Stillhet, or Serenity, used to be a functioning keep owned by a wealthy family, but when their house died out, the Stormlord at the time decided that it was a good place for a facility to house nobles who were insane, whose families no longer wanted to be bothered with them. Supposedly the patients were cared for, but the place has a fell reputation. Torture, unsupervised and unethical experiments and deaths amongst both the patients and the staff led to Serenity being closed and then reopened multiple times over the course of its history, but every time it reopened, it apparently devolved into the same cesspit it was before. Before Reinn was taken there, it hadn’t been used for many years.

    “We could probably use this as a house. It’s an asylum, so it already has everything we need.” – Sins. I’m not sure if he was being pragmatic or intentionally ironic. Knowing Sins, probably the latter.

    They dock the ship, disembark and walk towards the gates, which are unmanned. They are open, and the whole place looks abandoned. On the far side of the stone gatehouse lies a small wooden bridge which spans a deep ditch, at least 15 feet down, which stretches all along the wall. That explains why the walls seemed so short from the outside. A number of Invarrian corpses lie, decomposing in the grey mud of the bottom of the ditch.

    Aeva sits down upon the sparse grass and concentrates, trying to commune with the nature spirits. She’s unable to get anything like a human construct of time from them, but they are able to tell her that some people did arrive, escorting another who had been touched by darkness. They brought him in, and since then, no one has left. The spirits themselves are weak, like they are dying, which is troubling. She passes this information on to the rest of the party.

    “Hello! Anyone here!?” – Harold, trying to get some kind of reaction from the silent keep.

    Only a slight moaning wind answers him, coming from the gaps between the buildings.

    Harold walks toward the building built into the wall splitting the courtyard from the asylum proper, but stops at the door. He pushes it slightly, and it creaks open, unlocked. Aeva joins him and rests a hand on the stone wall, asking the spirits within if there is any life present within the walls. They tell her that other than themselves, a few rats and some insects, no.

    I ask here what the others are doing, and if anyone is going to back Harold up. I also point out that the circle on the map is a well. Which was a mistake.
    “Well, well, well…” – Just about everyone.
    “I want to go check out the well.” – Sins.
    “I have a feeling he’s going to throw something down the well.” – Dev.
    “That could only end well.” – Sins.
    “It’s a good thing I’m not feeling well or I’d throw you down.” – Dev.
    That didn’t get too many laughs.
    “And the Pun-King retains his crown.” – Dev.
    “All shall tremble before me?” – Sins.
    “I might be putting the rat-poison in your food tonight.” – Delphi.
    “Take her out for dinner Sins, take her out for dinner.” – Ladyhawk.

    We recap what everyone is going to do.
    “Maebh, Aeva and Breanna are following Harold through, Kel’Serrar checking out the well right?”
    “One of us had to check out the prison well.” – Sins.
    “Very well.”
    “Good one.” – Ladyhawk, as the others groaned in agony.
    “Might as well.” – Delphi.
    “We’re going to be here forever.” – Dev.
    “It appears we’ve fallen in a hole…” – It takes them a minute to get that one.

    But moving on…


    Harold, Breanna, Maebh and Aeva:
    Upon stepping inside the building the companions are greeted with an old, musty scent of blood and rotting flesh. It smells foul, and where they have smelt a great many things which smell like death and decay, this is not a familiar one. This is old, and somewhat malevolent.

    An overcast day outside it may be, but inside it is pitch black. The few windows there are inside are boarded up. Maebh and Aeva take a second to conjure a flame each, and light a torch each for Breanna and Harold. Strangely, the firelight does not seem to penetrate the shadows as it should, and their visibility is poor.

    “Hello?” – Harold, calling out to the darkness. The only answer he receives is his own dull echo.

    A long hallway stretches ahead of them. It is quite bare, save for old torches set into sconces on the wall. A flight of stairs leads up, which will presumably lead them up onto the wall. Aeva lights each torch behind them.

    I ask for Perception Checks. They all pass.
    “You notice nothing.”
    “Good one.” – Ladyhawk. I can’t figure out if she was being serious.


    Upon going upstairs there is another set of stairs, these leading down, another hallway and a closed door. They all choose to go downstairs, not wishing to split the party.

    I ask for Perception Check again. All pass.
    “You notice nothing.”
    “You’re wasting all my good rolls! We get into combat and I’m going to punch myself in the face, that is how badly this is going!” – Delphi.


    Kel’Serrar
    The ranger looks down the well and can see at a glance that it is far more full than it should be. Bodies float on the surface, merely feet away from where he stands at the edge, and the water is obviously fouled by the corpses. The ‘water’ if you could call it such, is like reddish-grey sludge. The grass at the base of the well, where most of the grass in the cold courtyard is yellowed and dying, is black and completely devoid of life, like it has been strangled.

    Harold, Breanna, Maebh and Aeva:
    Upon going downstairs, the companions are met with another long hallway another door, this time to the left which would, presumably, lead to the main part of the keep. They have no way of knowing without opening it however, as there are still no windows. Harold opens the door, and a chill breeze buffets them. Ahead, two smaller structures which join onto the towers on the walls, a much larger structure, several stories high which must be the main part of the asylum.

    The ground is rocky, with sparse pockets of dead and dying grass. There is no sign of life anywhere. The companions wander around the courtyard, trying to find evidence of what happened here.

    Kel’Serrar:
    After investigating the well, Kel’Serrar decides to find the rest of his companions, and enters the building to follow them, using the torches Aeva lit behind her as a guide.
    I ask for two Perception Checks. Both are passed.
    “You notice nothing unusual. It’s creepy, but nothing happens.”
    The players are starting to get really nervous.


    Having gone up and then downstairs, Kel’Serrar is about to exit the building to join the others in the courtyard when a strong gust of wind blows through from behind him. The torches snuff out and the door slams shut.

    I ask what their next move will be.
    “Well there’s five of us, and five structures we can investigate…” – Sins, with a ****-eating grin.
    “No! No splitting the party.” – Dev, a sentiment expressed by everyone else at the table.
    I’m feeling pretty good about this. They’re panicking.


    The party decides to check out the main building, approaching the large, carved wooden double doors cautiously. Upon opening the doors, they are greeted by a large, somewhat decrepit looking entrance hall and a large, ornate flight of stairs, leading to a floor above.

    On the floor above stretches a long hallway with four doors. All are closed, but the one on the far left is boarded up with planks nailed to the wall. Like moths to a flame, they go for the boarded-up door first.

    I ask for Perception Checks from everyone. Most pass, Harold and Maebh get just slightly over. I start to scribble down some information.
    “Are you writing down what Sins, LD and I see but they don’t?” – Delphi.
    I don’t answer, but just keep up the manic writing.
    “Is he even listening to me?” – Delphi, to Sins.
    “I don’t think so.” – Sins.
    “He’s just writing down, ‘You notice nothing’ over and over again.” – LD.
    I finish writing and hand the paper to Dev and Ladyhawk.
    “No it must be, ‘You notice the GM is screwing with you.’ – Sins.
    “So they fail and they get information? What is going on?” – Delphi, somewhere between confused and panic.
    “What the hell man!?” – LD, to me.
    “Oh, because we’re seeing things, right?” – Dev, to me after reading his note.
    “Are you?”
    “Aww ****. Ladyhawk, I think we’re seeing things.” – Dev.
    “Just keep in mind, whatever it was, it affected both of you…” – Trying to creep them out just a little more.


    Both Maebh and Harold stiffen for a moment. They could have sworn they saw an Invarrian woman in a white dress walk along the hallway and through the boarded-up door. She was only there for a second, and badly illuminated by the uncertain torchlight, but the mage and duellist turn to each other, their reactions confirming to themselves that they both saw her. Maebh curses under her breath and casts a quick spell which will allow her to see illusions for what they are.

    None of the other companions seem to have noticed anything.

    Shrugging to himself, Harold takes his boarding axe and hacks his way through the planks in short order. On the other side of the doorway, the small room appears to have been undisturbed for many years. It is cluttered with detritus, and an array of what appear to be tables with wheels attached to the legs and thick leather straps on the table-tops. A wooden bench is set into the back left corner of the room and it is covered with a wide variety or rather nasty looking metal instruments which would not look out of place in a master torturer’s lair. Behind the tables, on the left wall there is another door, again boarded up with planks and nails.

    Harold sniffs the air, but despite what he feared he would smell, all he gets is the musty smell of damp and age. Despite this, all the companions have a very bad feeling about this place. They push the tables aside and Harold takes up his axe once again, hacking through the boards with ease.

    They find another long hallway, the dust in which suggests it has not seen use for many, many years. The hallway is windowless and bare, made of piled stone and white wooden panels. After going through the doorway, they turn left to follow the hallway, as to their right is just a featureless wood and stone wall.

    Perception Checks once more. All pass.
    “Very good, you see nothing of note.”
    Sins and Ladyhawk, as Maebh and Kel’Serrar have magically aided sight, Maebh from her spell and Kel’Serrar from his ring he got a couple of sessions ago, are getting quite nervous. Well Ladyhawk was. I’m sure Sins was probably coming up with some sort of cunning plan to somehow become a ghost or something. I can never tell with Sins.


    They reach the end of the hallway and turn right and come across a room filled with coffins which have been stacked upon each other in a very haphazard fashion. Many haven’t been closed and so the companions can see that each holds an ancient Invarrian skeleton. The coffins in many places stack up to over six feet tall, in a flagrant display of disregard for the dead.

    “All skeletons here, as far as we can see, right?” – Aeva, investigating some of the bodies.

    “Yes, that’s right.” – Maebh, poking through the coffins.

    “But the bodies outside in the ditch were killed for more recently than everyone in here.” – Aeva.

    “The well too. It is packed with corpses, no more than a month old.” – Kel’Serrar.

    Aeva starts entreating the spirits in the area to try and bring anything living to the company, but she is unsuccessful. The spirits either won’t, or can’t, listen to her.

    “That is not promising.” – Aeva, sitting back on her haunches.

    “I can try something, but you’ll have to watch my body cause I’ll have to sit down for a while, and I‘ll be more or less helpless while I’m doing it.” – Kel’Serrar, to the nods of the companions.

    He sets himself comfortably on the ground and starts to attune himself to the area. Upstairs, he can just hear the breathing and slight movements of something approximately man-sized. It is probably alive, but not moving all that much. There is nothing else but the tiniest signs of life in the walls, termites and other insects and spiders and slightly larger vermin like the occasional rat.

    Sins passes his Woodland Senses Checks. The only Major Talent taken by the party, it really has gotten a lot of use.

    “We are not alone… It’s above us.” – Kel’Serrar, in the midst of his trance.

    “That isn’t good. We’re going to have to see what it is though.” – Harold, thoughtfully as Breanna carefully shakes Kel’Serrar out of his reverie.

    “And we’ll need to find a way up too.” – Maebh, quietly.

    The companions head back out to the hallway at the top of the grand staircase. There is a doorway to the left of the stairs and two more to the right. Harold and Kel’Serrar take the closest door, Breanna and Aeva the next and Maebh takes the one at the very end of the hallway.

    Harold and Kel’Serrar:
    I ask for Perception Checks once more. Both pass.
    They open the door and reveal what appears to be a mess hall of sorts. Long tables line the room and an empty fireplace sits unused against the far wall. On the tables sit plates of uneaten food, many weeks old, spoiled and attacked by rats.

    “Can you smell… roast meat?” – Harold, quietly to Kel’Serrar, who wordlessly shakes his head. Harold is just confused, but he gets this irrational feeling that dinner has just been served…

    Aeva and Breanna:
    Again I ask for Perception Checks. Both girls pass. They see nothing out of the ordinary.
    Ahead of them lies an expansive room filled with what appear to be cells. The doors to all of them are iron bars, and all but one, are closed and locked. The locked ones have decomposing bodies within, but the open one is empty, the door creaking gently in a gentle wind blowing in from a gap in the wall.

    I ask for Perception Checks again from Aeva, Breanna and Maebh.
    Aeva and Breanna pass.


    Aeva and Breanna slowly make their way across the room to the staircase which leads upwards to the next floor. They see nothing much of interest within the cells and they choose not to bother with the corpses within.

    Maebh
    Maebh of course, failed her Perception Check.

    The mage opens the door before her and is confronted with a large, ornate mirror. The silvered surface reflects a ghastly fanged face for but a split second, which seems to loom out of the darkness towards her. Maebh takes in a sharp breath and then all she can see in the mirror is her own reflection.

    “Everyone, we’ve found a way up!” – Aeva, calling out to the rest of the party.

    Maebh shakes herself, makes sure that her arcane sight is still active and then makes her way to the rest of the group.

    * * *
    Campaign Logs:
    Three Coins, Two Birds and a Gilded Sword: Approximately 30 full sessions so far, with a lot of additional material like side-sessions and artwork.

    The Great Maw:
    Only 3 sessions written up, but with 10 played and more to come.

    Exilian: A friendly place for gamers and repository of interesting content: A link to Exilian. Sign up and say hi!

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