Ongoing Games (In-Character)Play-by-post games are going on in this forum as we speak (well, read). All threads on this board are actual games, so please, only post on a thread if you are a player of that game.
Having completed your most recent mission slaying undead, the group is resting at the Captain's Quarters Inn in the town of Lakeside. A messenger dashes in and goes to the front desk and you hear "...looking for...problem...undead specialists..."
The innkeeper nods in your group's general direction, and the messenger looks relieved.
"Greetings, friends. At least, I truly hope I may call you that. I have been sent by Lord Ibrahim III of Ogdenhall to request your aid. Our region used to be a very prosperous one, with numerous trade routes going through the city proper. Over the past few decades, those routes have stopped being traveled, and as they have gone, so has our fortunes. The city, and surrounding area, are now a mere shadow of their former glory. However, we have hope again, but we cannot do it without your assistance. We believe we have traced the origins of our situation to a tower near the edge of our influence that had been abandoned almost a century ago, and we thought it was still abandoned. We believe that some form of evil influence or power has taken up residence there and it is this force that is causing our troubles. We are also almost certain that whatever is there is related to undead abominations. Lord Ibrahim sent his most trusted and powerful knight, Sir Kramer, to investigate. Alas, Sir Kramer never returned from the tower. This is why you are being sent for. Clearly, the task is beyond our current forces and your reputation for expertise and ability to deal with undead precedes you. I have been sent with sufficient transportation to bring you to Ogdenhall to speak to Lord Ibrahim regarding our situation. Will you come with me?"
Before anyone else can respond, a handsome Aasimar in high-end clothing bolts up from his seat at the table, "Sold! Why, if we get trade routes to our very own tower then there's no reason not to burn a few undead! But of course that's just icing on my duty to make the world a more brilliant place!" He pauses to think, "But I forgot to ask my familiar to give me my manners. I am Xenolph the Brilliant, the greatest wizard of the five material planes!" A small yellow orb with spider legs crawls up onto his shoulder, "He's truly a wizard to be reckoned with."
Showing no acknowledgement of the crystal's comment or existence, Xenolph continues. "This is truly an occasion worth celebrating. Bar slave! Another round of Jimmie Rustlers for us! In fact, I'll even buy a sixth one for my familiar, since this is such a great time of midnight!" A strange pale spider-like creature, dressed in surprisingly clean rags, sitting behind his chair suddenly perks up and seems delighted at the prospect of getting a free drink, but doesn't say anything.
Not even Xenolph knows what a Jimmie Rustler is, so don't get a headache over it.
Bonus points for the DM if it's actually not midnight.
Mortheon, a pale man draped in robes, quickly adds, "By which my, er, esteemed colleague means that where there are undead to be found, so can we! Er, I mean, if they're doing evil then we'll be there. To stop them." He coughs nervously.
"Er, rustled jimmies aside, I think that you are in luck insofar as we are recently back from campaign and so ready for the next round of vengeance which we may visit upon the evil dead. We have a bone to pick with them."
"It appears that you have come to the right people then. We will deal with this little undead problem in no time, after all, we are", Renasha turns to the others: "How did we call ourselves again? I am sorry for forgetting all the time, but the celebrations haven't been all that great for my presence of mind.". She turns back to the messenger: "What I meant to say is that we will go on this quest, and put an end to the undead plague."
Yawning slightly, the silver haired lady blinks at the messenger's long speech. She plays idly with one of the floating blue sigils above her head as he drones on. "Hmm... I wonder what I should have for lunch today... Maybe some ham and cheese? I haven't had that for a while..." As the lord's envoy finishes, she shrugs. "Yeah, sure..."
Glaring at Renasha, she gives the other woman a light rap on the head. "Next time, you don't get to have that much wine! You were drooling all over me!"
*ahem* "Anyway, didn't we decide on the name 'Esoteric Remnants'? Or was that something else?" She sighs and slumps down onto the nearest person. "Ugh... so tired..."
Penance continues staring at the table, as he has done for the past 15mins without a stir. Then all of a sudden he jerks away from the table and jumps to his feet, his yellow eyes glowing ablaze:
"GLORY!" he rumbles, swinging his massive maul aloft almost decapitating his fellow party members and messanger.
"We go where the evil blaspemies are the thickest, for it is there where my maul thunders the loudest so the gods may hear my plea!"
There is then a silence in the bar area as the patrons gawk at the large robust adamantine giant. The only sound, the dripping of the spilled drinks covering the now tipped over drinking table of the party and the sound of the half broken mugs rolling around on the stone floor.
In the aftermath of Penance’s mishap, the messenger walks over to the innkeeper and has a couple words with him. You see the innkeeper nod and start replacing the drinks of the other patrons.
The messenger looks at Mortheon, "My name is Telain, and I am a personal messenger for Lord Ibrahim. I would not worry about your friend’s mess, the innkeeper was most understanding. You asked about a letter, let me show you this parchment."
He takes out a rolled up piece of parchment, which has affixed to it a very ornate seal:
If you unseal and read the parchment, it essentially says what the messenger already said, and it is personally signed by Lord Ibrahim.
Telain sighs heavily. "I wish I knew more. “ He looks at Renasha, "Your reputations are precisely why I was ordered to find you. It is very frustrating to see one's home slowly decay and die."
I don’t remember anyone having Knowledge (Nobility), but if you do you can make checks regarding the seal and the names Sir Kramer and Lord Ibrahim.
Telain then sits down, although he sits on the edge of his chair like a man ready to jump back up at any time. He signals for a drink and when it arrives he takes a deep drink before continuing, "I have no direct information. When I say that I have watched my home decay, I mean that in a general sense. Trade used to be vibrant, artisans would come from all over to perform in the bazaar, and the land was simply alive. That is no longer the case. The only trade that comes through is that which is strictly required. Performers, artisans and similar folks don't come around anymore in any appreciable numbers. Even the weather seems to have gotten worse."
He seems to be lost in thought for a moment, but then snaps out of it. "Of course you hear rumors. People have moved away, or so we are told. Stories of the families being kidnapped or killed abound. A storm comes through and a graveyard is ripped up. Did the storm do it, or something more sinister? As times have gotten tougher, the stories and rumors have gotten darker. Of course, when we learned about the tower and the potential source of our troubles that it is, dozens of rumors about what is going on there erupted, each more horrifying than the last. When Sir Kramer and his party failed to return those stories got worse." Telain shakes his head and sighs. He looks at Xenolph and says "Sir Kramer was...is a good man. I am proud to call him a friend, and I know for him not to return is very dire indeed. I hope you are as good as you say."
Mortheon listens seriously to Telain's tale. "You say the graveyard is defiled! Aborath preserve us. Such blasphemy. Let us away to meet your master at once!"
He stands and gathers his meagre possessions - all that he was able to salvage from the ruins of Altgrave. "Your tale is a sad one and I am much moved. Aborath teaches us not to fear death or those that refuse the embrace of the afterlife, but that death is only the reflection of the cosmic force of life, the unlit half of the whole. My studies have granted me a measure of power over that which has chosen to step away from the path of life, and I would gladly use them to aid you and the people of your town."
Last edited by Mr Adventurer : 02-21-2013 at 07:10 AM.
As soon as Telain puts down the letter, Xenolph immediately grabs it and looks at it, his face moving from interest to disappointment as his eyes wander from the colorful emblem to the far less pretty words. The Aasimar snaps his fingers and immediately his "familiar" climbs onto the table and begins reading the letter out loud for Xenolph. Partway through he raises his hand to pause the cohort, and responds, "WHAT THE HELL IS AN ESOTERIC?"
"That is our field of studies, the mystic powers of magic. /we told you that a thousand times or more.", Renasha says before gulping down more wine, "It is how we decided to name ourselves, it is coming back to me now."
Xenolph looks the half-elf in the eye, his own showing a glare of contempt with no obvious cause. He only breaks the gaze after signaling his cohort to finish reading the letter to him, resuming his regular enthusiastic demeanor.
"Well, it is how the University named its department for the study of unusual magical or historical practice, at any rate," Mortheon supplies. Unsure of how to deal with the suddenly aggressive aasimar, he elects to ignore him.
Telain stands and says, ”I must prepare to depart, I am glad you seem eager to assist. Lord Ibrahim sent me with an escort and transportation for you.”
As you exit the tavern, you see the caravan Telain referred to. There's half a dozen riderless horses, a wagon with some supplies, and half a dozen armed men on horses. They are wearing chainmail and have longswords on their hips and longbows on their backs. Their chainmail has the same seal that was on the scroll emblazoned across the chest. One of them is holding the reins of what must be Telain's horse.
Telain takes the reins from the man and says, "Thank you, Sergeant. I see your men have finished preparing to depart, excellent. This is the group we were sent to find, and they have agreed to return with us."
The Sergeant nods sternly and replies, "That is good news. Men, prepare to depart as soon as our guests are settled on their horses. We must make haste back home."
Telain turns to you and says, "It's about 5 days with minimal stops to return to Ogdenhall. I don't expect much trouble."
With that, he mounts his horse and prepares to depart.
The caravan sets out west. You travel fairly constantly, with minimal rests for the horses. At night the sergeant and his men take shifts keeping watch, urging everyone else in the group to rest.
On the third day of travel you start to pass by some farms and similar lone homestands. Towards the end of the day you begin to notice occasional patrols of soldiers, usually 4-5 men, that have the crest of Ogdenhall on their armor. These patrols salute the sergeant and Telain, but otherwise continue on their way.
Throughout the fourth day the population increases, and now you see periodic villages. Everywhere you go, people that see the caravan tend to watch it with mild curiosity, but so far the land and its people seem healthy and content, if not happy.
Around midday you see a structure off in the distance. It appears to be a very large fortress-like building which Telain informs you is Ogdenhall. Once it is in sight, you notice that the character of the land begins to subtly shift. People seem to be moving a little faster, carts they are pushing are not quite as full, fields don't seem to have the same bounty growing in them. There's nothing you can put your finger on as wrong, it just doesn't feel right.
On the fifth day, the sense of unease and discontent increases. The walls of Ogdenhall come to dominate the landscape. The structure is impressive, and you can see men patrolling along the walls. You think you also see ballistas positioned periodically along the walls. As you get closer you notice that a second set of even taller walls rise from the center of Ogdenhall.
The road leads up to the northern wall of Ogdenhall. In the middle of the wall are a set of giant doors, each one roughly 20' wide, made of what appears to be solid steel. The walls themselves appear to be roughly 20' tall and are made of stone. As you pass through the gate you notice there appears to be an inner keep structure with walls that must be 30' tall. The other thing you notice as you pass through the gates is the pair of stout dwarves immediately on the inside of the gates. Each is wearing full plate, wields a battle axe, and carries a shield. They look even sterner than your typical dwarves.
On the other side of the doors is an open courtyard area, roughly 80'x40'. Straight back from the gate is a small 20' wide structure, from which a large man in plate mail exits as your caravan goes through the gate. As Telain gets off his horse, he greets this man with a nod, "Captain Karath, it is good to see you again. Please send a runner to inform the lord that I have returned."
The captain nods, and motions to a boy behind him. The boy takes off like a shot. Another boy approaches and Telain tells him, "Take care of these horses well, they have been ridden hard for five days and have earned a respite."
Telain turns to you and says, "This is Captain Karath, the head of the Ogdenhall's guard and also overall defense forces in Sir Kramer's absence." Captain Karath's face darkens at the mention of Sir Kramer, but he says nothing. Telain continues, unaware of the Captain's reaction, "To the east are living quarters. In general, artisans who are staying long term will stay there, and many merchants and tradesmen who have shops inside the walls also live there with their families. To the west is where the shops, the inn, and similar buildings are."
Telain begins to walk towards the west and beckons you all to follow him. He begins pointing at buildings while talking, "Might as well point out where stuff is while we are on our way. The entrance to the inner keep is on its southern wall. In the northwest corner there you can see the entrances to The Sheltered Soldier, our inn, and The Thirsty Soldier, our tavern." After turning the corner and walking south about a hundred feet there's a gap between buildings where armor, weapons, and various metal goods are displayed. Telain points and says, "As you can see, these two buildings are where our armorer, weaponsmith, and blacksmith work. They are called The Soldier's Shield, The Soldier's Sword, and The Soldier's Supply." Telain chuckles a bit, "And, as you can also see, there's a bit of a theme to the naming of our establishments. It goes back to Ogdenhall's founding, when this land was much wilder than it is now. The armorer and weaponsmith are both very old dwarves that have been here a very long time. In the southwest corner there are the leatherworker, the tailor, and the general store."
As you round the southwest corner you see a large, open area in the center of the southern area. Telain says, "This is our bazaar. Right now it's not that busy, but it used to be crowded like you wouldn't believe, day in and day out. I hope you are able to help us restore those days. Over on the other side of the Bazaar is the temple to Heironeous. Most of us here worship Heironeous, though some do worship Pelor, and an altar to him is also set up inside the temple."
In the center of the southern inner keep wall is a tunnel that leads north through the wall. There's a raised portcullis at the entrance, and standing by it are two armed guards. They wear banded mail and wield greatswords. The tunnel is 7' wide by 10' tall, and if you look up you notice that it has murder holes all along it.
The tunnel opens up into a roughly 30'x30' courtyard. Around the courtyard are benches and flowers, and in the center is a fountain. In the northern wall of the courtyard is a wooden double door.
Telain pushes this door open, and beyond it is a 20' wide corridor. He walks due north and you follow him. You see various hallways that branch off the one you are in, and doors that must lead to other rooms. At the end of a 50' corridor is another double door, this one is open with a herald and a guard stationed outside it. Inside you clearly see a moderate throne room.
The herald looks at Telain and nods, then enters the room slightly ahead of you.
"My lord," the herald announces, "your messenger Telain returns from his mission with the party in question with him."
With that, the herald exits the room and shuts the doors behind him. The room is 30' deep x 50' wide, with a throne in the center of the northern wall. Around the room are various chairs, suits of armor, decorations, and other things you would expect to find in a throne room.
Lord Ibrahim is seated on a throne made of bronze with some gold highlights. The crest is emblazoned along the head and back. Standing next to the lord is a tall man, dressed in green and black robes. In each corner of the room stands a guard at attention. They appear to be wearing different uniforms than the rest of the guards you have seen.
Lord Ibrahim stands after the doors shut. He is a tall man, powerfully built and he moves with a certain ease.
"Welcome," he intones, speaking in a rich voice, "thank you for coming. I am glad to see that Telain's journey bore fruit. I just hope there is something you can do to help us. The message Telain bore contained the essence of what I know, but I wanted to meet you and answer any questions that you may have. While you are here, I have instructed all of the various shopkeepers to give you as much of a discount as they can. I cannot ask them to take a loss of course, but they will do what they can. You may also wish to seek out Quelaas, he is the high priest in the temple of Heironeous and a resourceful man."
He pauses, and then continues, "I would imagine that you are interested in being paid for your assistance, which is of course only natural. I will pay you 12,000 gold if you are able to confirm elimination of whatever is in the tower. If you can find Sir Kramer and return him to us, I will pay you another 6,000 gold. If he is dead, please try to return his armor and sword to us. They are family heirlooms and his son should have them."
Lord Ibrahim looks melancholy for a moment, and clearly Sir Kramer was important to him. The lord then looks at you expectantly.
Xenolph stands at the front of the group, K'thil clinging to his back out of fear of a bad reaction from the guards. "Wait . . . you want to pay us money to do work for you? What an odd country . . . but as I don't trust my comrades to properly speak for themselves, we'll take the job. Tower renovations are our specialty."
During the journey Penanace would be up every night, sinsce he does not require sleep, and would ask every night shift guard his views of life, death and souls. Later on the gaurds started too dread the night shift...
" I will accept your lord's gesture as a sign of your support of our cause."
"Of course we'll help!" chirps Naesri. She seems a bit slap-happy from the ride, being jostled up and down and all. Glaring at Xenolph, she hits him lightly across the shoulder. "Hey, don't bite the hand feeding you. We'll accept the money."
Lord Ibrahim nods and says, "I appreciate your willingness to help. I suggest you speak to Quelaas, he's the high priest for Heironeous here and his divinations are what led us to the tower as the source of the problem. The tower is roughly three days ride west of here, so the sooner you can head out the better."
"Most generous, my Lord. If we may take our leave, we will consult with the town elders you mention with all haste."
Out from the enormous castle, Mortheon speaks quietly to the others as they make their way to the temple of Heironeous. "The Lord Ogdenhall was very keen for us to meet this resourceful priest, mayhap he has something specific for us."
Telain leads the group over to the temple which is immediately southeast of the entrance to the inner keep. The large double doors stand open and welcoming. The interior of the temple is 30' deep by 40' and is dominated by an altar to Heironeous. Along the side walls you see altars to Pelor and Kord.
An older man dressed in vestments of Heironeous comes forward and says, "Greetings! Welcome to the temple of Heironeous, although as you can see we honor any deity devoted to good. My name is Quelaas. You must be the group that Lord Ibrahim informed me was coming. Please, come this way." With that, he walks over to the corner of the temple where a table and some chairs are set up. He sits down and beckons you to do the same. Telain stands slightly back from the table.
"I'm sure Lord Ibrahim has filled you in on most of what has transpired. For my part, all I can really say is that the necromantic auras definitely are coming from the tower, and that they have been getting stronger. I fear they are quite a bit stronger than the magic I command. There are also auras of enchantment and abjuration, which I assume are responsible for my inability to get any readings from inside the tower itself. The necromantic auras combined with disappearances and graveyard defilations can only mean undead." Quelaas shudders for a moment. "It saddens me to think of that fate for those I have ministered to. Especially Sir Kramer, he was such a proud and able warrior, he would be horrified to suffer that fate." He reaches into the folds of his clothing and extracts a scroll. Speaking of fate, please take this scroll. I fear the dangers you face and while I hope you never it, it is best to be prepared. Unfortunately, it's the only one I have."
"Thank you indeed, good priest," Mortheon adds sincerely. "Um. I hope that one of us is able to decipher this writing," he steals a peek at the scroll and then puts it back.
With respects paid at the temple, the group files out of the cool building and back into the daylight. "I think that we should solicit advice from some more people," Mortheon suggests to the others. "Maybe they can furnish us with a map, and give us an idea of what to expect on the way there. I feel a little under-prepared for a wilderness trek, I must admit."
"Perhaps Captain Karath would know something?"
Last edited by Mr Adventurer : 02-26-2013 at 06:17 PM.