Crossroads in Cain

Episode VIII & IX: Dead Princesses & Kings
As told by the narrator of this epic tale...

After the battle with the terrifying hook monster, our party of brave adventurers followed the tunnel down its one path — a path which turned out to be the subfloor of Princess Miranda’s Tower.

Princess Miranda’s Tower is an ancient structure, which oddly appears as though it sprouted from the earth, rather than a structure of exotic masonry. Rumor has it that the tower goes back to the time of the Titan Gods. It is know to be made of immensely strong stone. Even the largest boulders cast from catapults have not damaged the structure. Many say the Titans themselves carved the stone like someone would whittle away wood. However, many historians believe the Titans most likely used slaves to build, instead of any other tall tale. The interior is said to contain many inscriptions, all being unintelligible or from some ancient language. The tower is made up of a multitude of levels, all made of strong oak design. A rough stone staircase lines the interior walls, spiraling up to the top.

The Princess — the second born daughter to King Cyric — has been exiled in the Tower. Her father visits her regularly, yet these visits are usually short. The story goes is that the 24 year old Miranda has been held within the walls of the tower for four years, apparently the victim of madness.

Miranda was said to be a sweet child — and curious. While most princesses cared about their wardrobe or a young knight at court, Miranda was fascinated in the arts of magic. This perturbed King Cyric, and her sister Elise — who has always reviled her. Rumor has it that King Cyric favored his sweet curious child over Elise, his eldest daughter and heiress to the throne, who was cunning and shrewd. Anyways, back to to the story of Princess Miranda’s exile to the tower…

Queen Zara, mother to the two daughters, and wife to King Cyric would die of the fever The rumor is that Miranda, having studied some magic in a book, attempted to revive her mother using dark magic. The experiment was successful. But in doing so, the spell twisted Queen Zara into an abomination which attempted to devour a royal guard. All this happened in front of her and her father’s eyes. Miranda — watching the horror of her zombie-like mother trying to eat a guard, and then watching her become deceased a second time —caused her to descend into madness. It is said she never recovered from the traumatic experience, guilt and shame.

To protect her from herself and others, Miranda was quarantined in the top floor of the tower – guarded by an elite group of soldiers, who have also sworn to keep her from meddling in any magic.
_
Okay, enough recent history, let’s get into what our murder hobos got into…._

The large sub-floor was a wide open space with a dirt floor. A vaulted wooden ceiling looms 40 feet up with a rough stone staircase lining the interior walls. At the top of the steps, a wooden constructed bulkhead tunnel with a solid dungeon door blocks any further ascension.

In the center of the room stands a large archway, which is elevated with a few rough steps leading up to it. The stone structure is of a bright green marble complexion. Etchings mark the arch. No one is able to determine the language, except that it looks very ancient. A strange-shaped basin protrudes from the right, with a flat, smooth stone surface. The center of the archway is bright white, much like a perfectly painted drawbridge.

Screen_Shot_2017-02-20_at_9.21.09_PM.png

Screen_Shot_2017-02-20_at_9.22.13_PM.png

Gaitus notices some fungus that he can use in his alchemy attached to the arch. In his attempt to scrape the sheen-like substance from the fungus, he pierces one of the mushrooms. A mist explodes from the fungus and sends the party into a Winter Hallucination Dream about some green demon terrorizing a village of gnomes.

Eventually they snap-to, and resume their activities. Gormak finds a little blood next to the steps of archway, which he deems as black bear blood. He goes into full hunter’s mode. Spoilers: He never finds a bear.

Instead of going back through the tunnel, the party (specifically N’ogg) decides to bash the dungeon door at the top of the steps with Chop-Chop. It does the trick, and miraculously no one in the upper levels hears a thing. Why is that, you ask? Evidently the staff and royal guard assigned to Miranda’s Tower are too busy trying to deal with a demon that evidently has possessed Princess Miranda.

The party listens intently. Farhan is summoned by a royal healer, as Miranda’s needs require a religious intervention. It is when Farhan arrives that N’ogg makes herself known by stepping out. The guards — already on edge — make a move to attack the half-orc. Gaitus also makes a move to blend in, but nobody notices him due to the towering barbarian causing a big scene.

Cooler heads prevail when Farhan vouches for the party. Just then a demon-like voice thunders from above. Everyone agrees they should probably go check that out and they ascend the steps to Miranda’s chambers.

The party is instantly greeted by a foul stench in Miranda’s chamber. Gaitus recognizes it as alchemy related. As they enter they see and smell quite the scene.

Miranda is being attended by a small staff, including the healer. The Princess lies in bed covered with boils; her skin is a light green tint and her hair is strewn about the floor around the bed. She speaks in tongues, which seem to come and go in waves. Farhan rushes over and begins to pray. Quick thinking, Lusor casts a spell to keep her from speaking, and it seems to have some effect.

Meanwhile, the party does some investigating. Gormak finds some more blood (this time, he finds it to be Elvish. He asks the captain of the guard if any elves had been present. No traces of elves have been seen. Gormak also finds some of the trippy spore substance which sent the party into the hallucination adventure. So odd!

In a personal study area of the room, Gaitus finds some expended potion bottles, complete with the insignia of the Black Hand. He is troubled by this, as this is his guild. Gaitus then attempts to ask party members to split and go find Digan of the Black Hand and warn/inquire about the discovered bottles. No one agrees, but he does convince a trustworthy guard to deliver the message.

Tyson finds a spell book of dark magic. One of the spells in the book was that of N’ogg’s old rival of the Rog-Ridguz clan. N’ogg cannot believe tbis and rips the book from Tyson’s hand. By the looks of it, Slog is somehow alive. N’ogg had killed Slog in combat. But N’ogg abandoned the clan and left it without a leader. Perhaps the clan reverted to dark magic as a way to resurrect their leader? As it was, you needed to earn clan leadership by vanquishing another’s leader.

King Cyric rushes in.He is given a grim prognosis. There seems to be nothing anyone can do, and Miranda is expiring. Cyric asks the guards to fetch Princess Elise so the family can be together.

The king addresses the party while Miranda is quiet. He is briefed about the mission. They discovered the Drow likely originated from the subfloor of Miranda’s Tower. Perhaps Miranda let them in? Or perhaps they had accessed the archway as some sort of portal? It is unclear, but both are theories. Suddenly, Miranda is goes into her final death throes and dies.

The guard clears the room so the King can have a few moments. He asks that Farhan and the party stay. He embraces his daughter for one last kiss. Suddenly, a spirit-like entity emanates from her body. It wraps itself around the King, who goes white, and falls lifeless to the floor. Cyric, who banged his head hard, begins to bleed profusely.

The party is then attacked by the wight. During the fight Gaitus tosses a bomb that goes erroneous and hits the lifeless body of King Cyric, which catches fire. At the sight of this, Farhan faints. The Wight then summons a lesser being from the King’s lifeless body, and attacks. Now they’re fighting what appears to be the spirits of the King AND Princess!

Thankfully, Lusor does some serious damage and both spirits are defeated. Unfortunately, Princess Elise and Master Troubador along with a number of royal guards stream in. Princess (now Queen) Elise places the party under arrest for the crime of regicide. She orders the arrest of Digan of The Black Hand after being told about the bottles Gaitus found.

The party agrees to lay down their arms and surrender in the hopes that their clear innocence would exonerate them. Master Troubador — probably knowing the Queen’s hatred of orcs (and half orcs) and the fact that their are two of them in the party — rescued the party by bewitching the Queen to “protect the Queen” and escort her back to the Castle. The party was then teleported to Master Troubador’s residence.

Troubador explains that the shit is about to hit the windmill. He explains that the kingdom is in grave danger. Cantwy is using Elise — using her hatred of the Orcs of the North to try and start a war with them, so as to weaken the Northern Sanction. This would weaken the Realm of Cain. He is twisting the Dorian religion, bewitching the Council of 5, into starting a crusade on all things magic. In addition, Troubador thinks Cantwy he is making an alliance with the Drow. Rumors persist of the Drow preparing their war against the Duergar.

The Drow, led by Empress Veylastravix (the Dark Star) will wage a fight against the Duergar — the dark dwarves residing in the mountain, with whom they were recent allies.

Evidently the Drow were using the Duergar to reactive The Great Forge — which only dwarven magic can unleash. The Great Forge had been dormant since the Duergar siezed power from the Ull’Thar Clan. If activated, the Great Forge under the mountain would be a big prize for the Drow, and Cantwy. Troubador asks about the archway. He suspects it is a portal and wonders if the perhaps the Drow infiltrators figured out a way to activate it.

Troubador urges Lusor to admit to the party that he is part of a spy network, and he has heard all of these troubling tales. The party doesn’t seem all that surprised. Before long, Troubador tells the party that they must figure out a way through the archway portal. He hands Lusor a magical lute for his adventuring and teleports them back to Miranda’s Tower subfloor.

After some trial and error, the party figures out that their blood is what activates the portal. Each party member has their own “planewalking” experience but end up in the same place — an ethereal plane where odd storms and a deep fog keep them on their toes.

Venturing forward, the party encounters a guardian. Turns out, it’s one of those Dorian Elite Guards of Cantwy that the party attempted to fight in the Dorian Cathedral ambush.

“How did you get here?” asks the Dorian Elite Guard.

“We ask you the same question,” as the party engages the knight in combat.

View
Episode VII: An Underground Mission
Black Everything (Oozes, Towers, Stones, Elves, Tunnels...)

Tyson is son of elf-king, Oranus. He say dark elves overrun his city and did many horrible things to his people and family. Only little Tyson escape. With dark elf mischief, elf-king must keep Tyson’s royal blood secret. Cyric thinks dark elves fight with Cordnaa. Wants to keep magic rock. Good idea. Cantwe not think so. He fight with king. Gives up easy and leaves. Hmph!

King asks Nogg and her friends to search hole that dark elves come from. Gives Tyson old wand from war against the dark elves. Nogg not like wand, but Tyson know magic. Messenger says Farhan’s palace burns. Maybe cause Little Man, Gaitus, throw fire bomb when we fight Noble Knights. On way to cathedral, we see burnt placae of Fahran. Much fire. Many repairs. Nogg not good with repairs. Nogg would go fight dark elves instead.

In dark elf hole, Little One track dark elf who ran away. Gaitus take strange mushroom and get poison. Stupid. Little One find dark elf being eaten by black ooze. Gaitus throw lightning bottle and torch ooze. Little Man strange fighter but getting stronger. Hmph! Bottles. Silly. Little one gets burned badly by ooze. Tyson use fire magic and destroy ooze.

Tyson ask dark elf many questions. Has strange tunic with strange buttons from mountains. Dark elf say little. Tyson stomps on dark elf’s throat. Nogg like when Tyson fight with strength instead of magic. Black stone is stuck in dark elf chest. Hmph! Nogg not like black stones. Bad magic. Insist we leave stone. We continue and Little One sets off steam traps.

We find chamber with big hammer and big bow. Not good weapons. Little one find good bow. Magic, maybe. This one not scared Nogg, though. We keep going. Path is slippery but Little One leads us. We must crawl. Tunnel falls out under Nogg. Little One catches her. Good fighter. Protects friends. Strange clicking noises from underneath. Hook monster attacks. Is no match for us. We cross hole and run on. Big explosion. We end in strange place of smooth black rock. Lusor says we are in Miradnas Tower by the Grey Castle. Hmph!

View
Episode VI: Drow-ning in the Realm's Problems

The adventure began with soldiers of Lord Oranas, the leader of the High Elves of Elafal, coming to the rescue of the party. As they engaged Cordnaa and two of the Noble Knight Guards of Cantwy, the party made a dash for the catacombs — well most of them. Retreating was not in Nogg and Gormak’s blood. You know, the whole half-orc thing. They put up a good fight, but the Noble Knights and Cantwy were too much to handle — even with Oranas’ high elf warriors. Eventually they split and Gaitus tossed a fire bomb and set the room ablaze. At least that’s what he last saw. He was down the passage before he could make out what had happened to the room’s inhabitants.

(Wait, did Gaitus just firebomb the Elves?! Oh, Gaitus.)

Once underground the party made its way through the catacombs. Farhan told the group to rub some of the holy water from a basin on their heads and hearts and casted a spell. Suddenly everyone felt completely healed and rested.

They made their way through the catacombs with Farhan in the lead. As they made their way down a dark hall and loud explosion was heard. Eight Drown warriors emerged and fought the group with pesky poison arrows. (Nogg was put to sleep a few times! Thankfully Farhan was always there to pull the arrow and shake the half-orc awake.)

But eventually the party destroyed all the Drow (except for one who made an escape through the blast hole they came through). Some sweet loot was discovered (see below) as well as some stone weapons, which Drow sometimes use to defend themselves off simple steel weapon immune underdark monsters. (Thanks for that knowledge Tyson and Gormak.)

The party exited the catacombs to Farhan’s residence to wait and watch out for any trouble. During this time Nogg and Farhan got to know each other…ahem….a little better. It was decided that Gaitus would go to his Alchemist Guild, the Black Hand, to tell the leader of the news and to seek guidance. Meanwhile, (per Farhan’s insistence) the rest of the group would meet with the king to warn him of the danger and seek guidance.

Gaitus met with Digan, the leader of the Black Hand, to warn him of the party’s problem. It was unsure what came of that though.

At Castle Grey, King Cyric was pulled from the Alliance meeting. Him and Princess Elise met them in the King’s solarium. The news of the attack, the appearance of Oranas’ elves, and the story of the Titan Stones was told to Cyric. Cyric was appalled and definitely concerned with the Drow making such a raid.

The dots were connected — Cordnaa and the Drow likely were in on it. But was he just taking orders from Cantwy? And how did Oranas know when to save the party by intervening?

The King asked to see the amulet. Farhan and Nogg had to twist Gormak’s arm, but he eventually showed it. The King looked it over for a few minutes and proclaimed that the amulet and the Ironwood chest should remain at the castle for safekeeping. Reluctantly the group agreed. Gormak set a poison arrow trap and Lusor spun it charismatically that Gormak was just marking the chest and its content.

Once the amulet chest was secured, the King asked for Cantwy and Lord Oranas to join to explain themselves. Cantwy was defiant, and said that his paige likely bribed the two guards and made an alliance to sell the amulet. Cordnaa was stupid.

Next, King Cyric switched to Oranas. What interest did he have in the amulet? Confused, Oranas replied that he had no clue of any amulet. Rather, that he was protecting other precious cargo. His son…..Tyson.


The party earned:
800XP for fighting the Drow (200 each)
800XP for good role-playing (200 each)

Party loot earned in this session:
30 GP
3 gems, each worth 50GP
Bead of Force (magic item)
Potion of Invulnerability (magic item)
6 Chainmail shirts
15 poison arrows
3 simple daggers
3 stone warhammers
10 charges holy water/spells

View
Episode V: Feast and Foes

A couple hours after the conclusion of the games, it was time for the feast. The banquet hall was full of local dignitaries, save of course the royalty.

Nogg sees his uncle and goes over to talk with him. Nearby is Victor Roybouff. Nogg is noticeably distracted as he speaks with his uncle. Nogg’s uncle remarks kindly about Nogg’s friends’ accomplishments at the recent tournament. Nogg beckons the rest and they join the discussion. Gaitus recognizes the uncle as someone he had conned a few years ago.
The uncle explains how Nogg’s family had slowly lost influence since the death of his mother Elena. He also notes that Victor Roybouff may be responsible for this fall of family favor. Uncle believes that Elena may have been poisoned by Roybouff.

Trumpets sound and the royalty enters. Cyric greets the guests, making sure to note the recent accomplishments of our party. He also alludes to some threats still facing the kingdom, especially from the Spine Mountain region. Cyric then hands the ceremony over to Orlin the Bard, who bring the house down with his virtuosity. Lusor, no slouch of a musician himself, is rightfully mesmerized.

Gaitus is looking at a reflection of himself in a bottle, checking for food between his teeth when Nogg gets his attention. Nogg asks him if he knows anything more about Victor, who Nogg believes may have hired an assassin to kill his mother. Gaitus says that he does not but that he will try to help him out. Nogg takes a big swig of ale and thanks Gaitus.
A couple of Oranas the Elf’s friends approach Tyson. They present him with a topaz gem as a gift from Oranas. The elves soon leave. Tyson studies the gem and recognizes it as a seeker stone. Were these elves trying to track Tyson? And if so, what could be the cause?
Gormak and Lusor are drinking some portwine when Cordnaa and Farhan join them. Farhan asks them about a ‘certain item of import’ that they may have found. Lusor knows they are talking about the pendant they found back at the church, however he plays dumb. “We found some curious potions, which we gave to Gaitus,” he lied. Gormak can read genuine excitement from Farhan.

Thoros notices that Thane Gilmarad and Elise have been having a serious discussion for quite some time. His curiosity gets the better of him as he goes to the keg as an excuse to get closer to them. As he is filling up his mug, he gestures to Gaitus to come closer too. The best that Thoros can make out is that they are talking about some sort of alliance. Gaitus and Thoros decide to bring them a drink to strike up a conversation, but they are quickly rebuffed by a guard.

The festivities end and a tipsy crowd adjourns to their respective domiciles. The next morning, the party meets at the library. Tyson explains that the pendant they found was made by Dorian himself and that it gives the wearer unimaginable power. After some discussion, everyone decides it is a good idea to go to the outskirts of town to test it out. They do just that. Tyson dawns the pendant and tries to hit a tree with a spell. The ground shakes and splits and out of the chasm emerges a horrid abomination.
The abomination however is no match for Tyson and his friends who easily dispense with its existence. Thoros says that we should alert the guards of the chasm just in case more evil comes of it. The crew heads back towards the cathedral.

At the cathedral, Farhan and Cordnaa are together. Cordnaa leaves and Farhan brings everyone into a private back room. He explains more about the pendant. Its stone is linked to the person for whom Dorian had given it, and therefore may not be reliable when wielded by another.

As Farhan is explaining, a couple of Cantwy’s bodyguards barge in, followed by Cardnaa. “Fools! Hand over the pendant,” he cries. From seemingly out of nowhere, the two elves that Tyson had met earlier also enter. It seems our heroes are in quite a bind.

View
Episode 4: Yiuset, You Said?

The hag’s corpse emits a befittingly foul aroma, as our party awakens from a long rest. The spoils of her defeat are being divvied up as Tyson hears a rustle in the bushes. Tyson alerts the group just as a Halfling appears. “Orlin!” he crys. Orlin turns and returns the gesture. “Michelt, where did you come from?”

Orlin and Michelt have a quiet moment. It is evident to the others that they are old acquaintances. Their brief chat ends. Michelt gestures to Lusor as he hurries off. Orlin calls ahead, “Tell the magistrate we are on our way, and to prepare for a hero’s welcome for these fine travelers!”

Gormak returns from his hunt and rejoins the group as they head south to Yiuset. Once in Yiuset, Orlin directs the group towards the castle. At the castle guardhouse awaits a magistrate and a servant. “I see you’ve made it back alive,” grumbles the magistrate Orlin. The magistrate’s stern glare has not left the direction of Gormak and Nogg. Orlin replies, “Yes, barely!” He continues to regales the magistrate in an already embellished story of torture and agony at the hands of the evil Hag, as only the most skilled bard could. The magistrate seems unimpressed as he retrieves a sack of gold set aside for the adventurers who saved Orlin. “Here,” the magistrate urges, as the sack drops with a loud thump. “Here’s your reward. Oh, and take this too.” The magistrate hands Gaitus a parchment. “If that’ll be all?” The magistrate is clearly bothered by the presence of Nogg and Gormak. The party takes their leave.

Outside, Gaitus reads the scroll. It says:

IN THE NAME OF DORIAN, THE MARTYR KING
KING CYRIC THE GREY & QUEEN AELETH REQUEST YOUR PRESENCE
TO CELEBRATE THE OCCASION OF NOBLE KNIGHTS DAY
PROPER ATTIRE

Nogg starts heading in the direction of the market they had passed earlier on the way to the castle. “Nogg need clothes,” she says in an urging voice. The others follow her. She apparently needs clothes urgently. Gaitus mentions that he wants to head back to his place to pick up a few items. The group arrives at the market and exchanges some of the items they had acquired in their recent adventure. Lusor wants to look the part for the celebration, and heads over to a leather merchant and picks up a new studded armor set. Nogg purchases a beautiful dress, almost too proper for the occasion.

The party breaks off in separate paths for a while. Gaitus heads back to his place. Tyson and Gormak trek over to the library to research the earlier acquired pendant. Nogg and Lusor grab an ale and walk to the section of town where Nogg had apparently lived before.
When they reconvene prior to the celebration, Gaitus shows the party a couple of new weapons he picked up back at his place. He also mentions being accepted in to the Blackheart Alchemists Guild. Though many revere their accomplishments for the Northern Sanction, The Blackheart does have a reputation of deceit.

Tyson and Gormak show the group a book they picked up at the library pertaining to the pendant called, “Dawn of the Worlds – War With the Titan Gods.” In it, Tyson tells, is a story of Carek slaughtering some elves for ironwood. Incidentally, the box holding the pendant is made of this ironwood.

Nogg is visibly distraught as she returns with Lusor. Lusor, not wanting to break any confidence with Nogg, tells the party they had visited a nearby mansion owned by a family named Ruyboff, hoping for some hospitality. They were, however, rebuffed by Ruyboff.

View
Episode Three: Revenge of the Bard

We find ourselves in a room containing the tomb of a knight of King Dorian. The search for Randall Mattockblade is beginning to feel grim. However, Nogg urges the party move on. Sounds can be heard from the next room. It is the bard Orlin who also was sent to find Randall.
Orlin looks tired and emaciated, so Nogg begrudgingly gives him a couple of rations. Orlin devours them as he tells the party of a hag who has been keeping him tied up in this room. The room itself appears to be a makeshift kitchen. Orlin points the party in the direction where he saw the hag leave. The party decides to pursue the hag, hoping it would lead them to Randall. Lusor gives Orlin a viol, a worthy substitute for Orlin’s favored multi-instrumental approach.
In the hag’s room, we can see two exits – a door and a cave. In the room some various trinkets and a gold chest. Gaitus decides to pick the lock and open the box. Right as he does, spikes fly out and hit his hand and it snaps shut. Lusor decides we should instead open it from afar with his Mage Hand. Inside, we find all of Orlin’s instruments as well as some books, a couple of full vials, another small box, some bracelets, buckles, and belts. Gaitus reads the engravings on the small box, “Sir Carak the Brave.”
Gormak asks Orlin if he ever heard a door slam when the hag had him prisoner. Orlin responds in the negative, so Gormak decides to check the cave entrance for prints, as well as any other signs of entrance at the cave and the other door. He is unable to find any definitive sign of which direction the hag may have gone.
As if he did not learn his lesson the first time, Gaitus eagerly opens the small box. A gust of poison sprays out, which Gaitus deftly avoids causing the mist to hit Nogg squarely in the eyes. Nogg lets out a huff, as though she is used to but still marginally annoyed by Gaitus’ antics, and pushes him aside. She takes a burlap sack out of the chest and opens it to find a couple of sapphires, a ruby, and three emerald gems. Underneath the sack she finds a belt buckle with some blood on it. Tyson snatches the books from the chest then takes a close look at the vials, identifying them as possibly being able to cure wounds.
The party decides to check the door exit first. Nogg leads. She sees a dug-out tunnel ahead. Gormak enters and immediately feels cold. He calls Thoros to use his divine senses. Thoros sees jars of body parts. The rest of the party enters the room as the air around them seems to get even colder. Gaitus decides he has not set off enough traps today, so he and Gormak approach the jars without care. Fate decides otherwise, as the two spring a trap and are knocked on their posteriors.
Gaitus takes out a bottle which had a bit of water in it. “Lusor, grab that blue object and put it in the bottle.” The party wisely stayed a safe distance back while Lusor used his Mage Hand to pick up the object and place it in Gaitus’ bottle. The object hit the bottom of the bottle then instantly froze.
Gormak looks in a nearby chest and finds a deer carcass, a jug of blood mead, and some eggs. Gaitus eyes the bottle to add to his collection later. Nogg urges the party to move on and find Randall, who she keeps lovingly referring to as, ‘the boy.’ The party retraces their steps into the hag’s room, then out the cavernous exit. Tyson, always the master of timing, warns his fellow adventurers that the topaz artifact we had smashed may have possibly released a demon.
The party exits into a field outside the structure. Ahead a blue-leafed tree lies toppled over with a hole in the top. Gaitus asks himself, “Could fate be so cruel?” as he investigates the opening. Inside he finds some rations, a purse with some silver, some rusty thieves tools, a crossbow, and a canteen filled with dwarven spirits.
As they approach the structure, Thoros sees a cauldron. He takes a closer look and reveals it to have some sort of ritualistic purpose and can create skeletons. “Nogg smash!” The cauldron breaks into dozens of pieces. “Nogg not take chances,” she snarls.
The ample moonlight allows the party to get their bearings. They are behind the church where they had entered with the battering log. Returning north to the front of the church, Tyson suggests that the party take a rest. Lusor and Gaitus take watch. As Gormak is sleeping, Gaitus tries (and of course fails) to take a bottle from him. As Orlin is getting ready for a rest, Lusor asks him about Randall’s whereabouts. Orlin responds that he thinks Randall is dead. Tyson reads the books he had earlier taken from the hag’s chest.
Morning beckon’s the adventurers to press on. They head back to the tavern after a long, deserved rest. Tyson, who is known to be an occasional sleep-reader, informs the others that he read both of the books they picked up. He says that the first one is about Sir Carak, who was in service to the Martyr King Dorian. Sir Carak’s role was to purge the magic using villages. The other book was a Madduckblade family journal. The pendant the party had earlier looted was identified by Lusor to be something Sir Carak had worn, perhaps as part of a ritual. The stone inside was some kind of ‘godstone.’ Gormak decides that he had better carry it.
A commotion can be heard ahead at the Tavern and Nogg hastens the party’s pace. As they arrive at the tavern, they see Delb at the center of it all, trying desperately to calm the crowd. “I don’t know how he died,” and, “his livestock was ruined,” were all they party could make out amongst all of the ruckus. Lawrence (the server) tried bolting up the stairs but Nogg was just as fast. She chased after him up the stairs, giving Delb a quick glance at the belt-buckle she had taken from the hag’s room last night. Nogg corners Lawrence up in Randall’s room. Lawrence though is not trying to escape. Rather, he knew when the party returned without Randall that the story did not end well for him. Nogg showed Lawrence the blood-stained belt-buckle, which Lawrence remembered as Randall’s. She comforted him and gave him the belt-buckle and headed back down to the tavern.
Meanwhile downstairs, Gormak and the others are able to determine that a farmer was killed. The body, which was brutally gashed and impaled with spikes, lay just outside the tavern. Gaitus disguises as a farmer himself and joins the rabble, trying to subtly subdue them. “Calm down everyone, let’s just all calm down,” he urged the crowd. As the day was new, so too was Gaitus’ luck, as he convinced the crowd that the danger had passed. Some nonsense about ‘spike-pigs.’ Gaitus looked proud of himself.
However, his luck was about to end. Delb confronts Gaitus about the alleged “Titan’s Gate Elixir” Gaitus had used in trade prior to their adventure. Tyson interrupts to show Delb the journal they had discovered back at the church. Delb’s face turns from anger to shock as he gasps, “Lawrence!” and races up the stairs to look for him. Lawrence is nowhere to be found.
Nogg, sensing the calm is tenuous, decides to keep the crowd spiritually lubricated and takes Delb’s place behind the bar. While she’s keeping the ale flowing, the others notice three people in the corner who do not look like they belong. Thoros and Lusor decide to bring them some drinks. A woman, who appears to be some sort of ranger, and her two male counterparts, graciously accept their company. Thoros asks them if they know any more about the commotion. The woman replies that there is a demon roaming around outside. Gormak comes to the table and introduces himself as a fellow hunter. The two hunters trade verbal barbs, each bragging about their own tracking prowess. Nogg, overhearing it all, prods the woman into a bet that Gormak can track down the demon before her. She agrees. Lusor, wanting to put a proper name to the story, finds out she is called Mera Arper.
Both parties headed in the same direction for a couple of hours. Gormak’s senses then told him to head south as Mera and her mates maintained an eastward path. Just as the two parties diverged, Mera’s disguise wears off. She is the Hag, accompanied by two minions. Lusor quickly casts his Faerie Fire on the three, but it fails! Thoros moves closer to his friends to help out. Gormak pulls an arrow out of his quiver and lands a shot on the Hag. The Hag lashes a vicious insult towards Gaitus as he disengages and fires his crossbow at her. Tyson fires three magic missiles at the Hag and Lusor finishes her off with Bane. The minions attempt one last desperate strike on Thoros and Nogg. Gaitus and Nogg finish off the minions with ease.

View
Session 2: Going to the chapel, and we're...

In our last episode, the party was sent by King Cyric the Grey (of Yiuset) to find his missing bard. The bard, Orlin Swift, was set to headline the upcoming ‘Noble Knight’s Festival’ — likely King Cyric’s last — but had not been seen.

However, Farhan, the high priest (dubbed “Knight”) of the local Cathedral of the Martyr King, received an urgent letter from the proprietor of The Coach, a near-ancient Inn & Tavern. In the letter, Delb Mattockblade, wrote that his son Randall went missing and he recently hired Orlin (who was traveling back to Yiuset) to find his son.

Delb notified the church is because he had a feeling it has something to do with a ruined centuries old Dorian Chapel & Guard tower called Lightwatch Tower, which has a long history of dark legends attached to its name.

Royal officials had sent a few adventuring parties to investigate, with no luck (and frankly, no word of what has happened). The adventurers, the third by King Cyric by the church’s insistence travelled two days to The Coach.

They met a cast of characters:

  • Delb Mattocksblade — The owner of The Coach. An agreeable, burly man. His family has been stewards of the near-ancient tavern for many generations. Together, Gaitus and Tyson searched his son’s room for any clues of his disappearance. They found nothing, though Delb did tell them Randall was wearing a gold belt buckle. Gaitus later would con Delb into trading away some much needed healing potions for a worthless bottle of liquid.
  • Grundle – An angry dwarf who complained out loud when Lusor decided to busk in the tavern. Nogg almost got into a brawl with the surly patron for defending Lusor’s honor.
    *Laurence – Human tavern server. Was very interested in Lusor’s playing ability. He clumsily knocked over some flagons and bottles watching him perform.

After a little bit of a debate when to leave, the party decided to head out that night. Delb gave traveling instructions on how to find the tower, and warned them that the tower is bathed in unnatural darkness the closer you get to it.

The party traveled and on the way encountered a Wood-Elf Ranger by the name of Kestrel. Kestrel playfully fired a warning shot that landed in a tree next to Nogg. Nogg, not happy about it, charged him. Gormak, the Half-Orc Ranger stopped Nogg and told her that he protects the woods from evil, and that it’s probably not a good idea to attack Kestrel. Nogg reluctantly agreed.

Kestrel told the party:

  • The Lightwatch Tower is dangerous. Two parties of adventurers previously sent by King Cyric have not returned.
  • The Bard was also seen entering by himself, and did not come out.
  • Randall Mattockblade and Laurence (the server) were lovers and they entered the Tower thinking they could keep their relationship hidden. Laurence was able to escape. Randall did not.

Thanks to Gormak’s effective shaming, the party convinced Kestrel to lead them in to the darkness that enveloped the Tower. The party overcame some of the darkness with a help from Tyson casting some light. The party encountered some skeletons and defeated them.

They soon discovered the chapel entrance and looked inside. Kneeling in the center of the ruined chapel was a humanoid skeleton, apparently made out of or coated in gold. Piles of bones were spread around the chapel. The party devised a plan to trick the gold skeleton with an illusion. While distracted, the party rammed the doors open with a felled tree.

The party hit the skeleton with the battering ram, knocking it prone. As it stood, it issued an otherworldly wail as a topaz the size of a hen’s egg in its bony forehead flashes with sudden pulse of brilliance. Four piles of bones lying about the ruined chapel glowed brightly with golden light and sprung to their feet….

View
Session 1: Ready Player One, Two, Three, Four, Five
Our story (sorta) begins....

The port city of Yiuset bustles with trade and teems with excitement. The city has begun a week-long celebration that will lead up to “Noble Knights Day”. The religion that celebrates this occasion is called the Dorian Religion or Church of the Martyr King.

Here’s the story of the Dorian Religion, also known as the Church of the Martyr King:

The Titan Gods, who were angry at the Speaking Races for twisting arcane magic and creating new gods, began destroying the world in wrathful vengeance. Abyssal creatures and the “splintering” unleashed by the Titan Gods caused the continent to split into three. Dorian, the first human King of The Sanction (North and South combined), wove a tapestry of combined lesser god magic and sacrificed himself for the good of all the inhabitants of the world.

Dorian’s plan worked. The Titan Gods were destroyed, never to return. The Abyssal creatures have never entered Cain, even though their presence lingers in the ocean and in Cain’s sister continents. Worshipers believe that Dorian’s protective magic still holds strong, keeping Cain free from Abyssal Splinters and the creatures that spawn from it.

Dorians worship the sacrifice and life of Dorian, “The Martyr King”. They try to embody the principles of sacrifice for the greater good, and live a life of charity and decency to their fellow man. Churches are ornate made of stone masonry, painted glass and numerous torches. (Think Catholic cathedrals, but more fire.) Churches must be built in stone. No wood can be used in making the structure. This is to signify the enduring strength of the religion and its worshipers.

The main symbol is an empty throne to signify the sacrifice made by King Dorian. Church services are led by local “knights”, which are basically just priests. Clergy leadership is a council of five. They reside in Ardenia City in Lorna.

As a rule, they practice no magic except for defense. It was said that King Dorian bent the arcana to safeguard civilization. He knew that such magic could be used to wield immense, and dangerous power. Therefore, worshippers to the religion are forbidden from using magic all together, so as to not become tempted to evil thoughts and deeds.

The celebrate three major events in in the King Dorian lore:
1. Empty Throne — Once per week every year worshipers pray in seclusion and silence. Pilgrims travel to Ardenia City to pray to the Empty Throne. It is a solemn seven days, and one not taken lightly by worshippers. It it the holiest of holidays.

2. Noble Knights Day — Once per year, worshipers pay homage to the valiant knights who protected and safeguarded Cain during and after the Splintering. These anointed knights fought off monsters of Cain and hoards of undead (with the magical defensive power of the Dorian religion) when the Southern Sanction was destroyed by the evil druid, Kaleth-varr of the now Dead Kingdom. Their sacrifice and bravery are celebrated on Noble Knights Day. Worshippers turn out, feast, give thanks and contribute to the churches coffers. Priests (now called “knights”) are treated like celebrities during the day (and even in the lead up).

The lead up to Noble Knights Day are true celebrations with feasts, music and parades. (Think Mardi Gras with slightly less crowds and less boobs.)

3. Good Deeds Day — As a way to pay tribute to Dorian, many worshippers do a good deed for someone in need. It’s usually a day to help the needy or poor, though it can be used for good days all around.

We begin our story 60 miles outside of Yiuset. Our group of adventurers have been hired by Yiuset’s royal crown to search for Orlin Swift, a young Bard in service to King Cyric. Orlin is set to headline “Noble Knight’s Day” celebration concertos. The King — sensing it may be his last before he dies — needs Orlin to be returned safely in time for the concert to preserve his legacy.

Luckily, royal officials have a good idea where Orlin is. Recently, the “Knight” of Yiuset’s Dorian cathedral by the name of Farhan received a letter from the proprietor of The Coach, a near-ancient Inn & Tavern. In the letter, Delb Mattockblade, wrote that his son Randall went missing and he recently hired Orlin (who was traveling back to Yiuset) to find his son. The reason the church was notified is because Delb has a feeling it has something to do with a ruined Dorian chapel/guard tower, which has a long history of dark legends attached to its name.

Royal officials have sent a few adventuring parties to investigate, with no luck (and frankly, no word of what has happened). Our party has travelled two days to The Coach and have just stored their belongings in a room.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.