A Gathering Darkness

Shanghaid!
Tavain finds new adventure

Awakening from a vivid dream of new home at The Four Desert Winds tavern in Tabar, Tavain awakens in an Army camp west of Guadalante, surrounded by his comrades of the highly decorated 8th Battlecasters Regiment. Like others affected by the fever that recently ran through the camp, he has felt disoriented all day, with vague visions of a subterranean labrynth, sneering speeches from shadowed figures, and mocking whispers of false friends. Behind it all is a vision of a single eye as large as a man. Just before the vision went black, Tavain had been rescued, not by his own unit, but by the centurion of the 1st Recruitment Company and two of his soldiers.

For now, his fever has broken, and perhaps after the enemy has been defeated, Tavain will have to figure out what happened beneath the desert – if, indeed, the whole thing was not just a fevered dream.

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The Four Winds
The heroes go their separate ways.

After recovering from the wasting disease contracted in the tomb of Alghor-Khan, the cavalier Thom and his faithful compatriots Rhys and Gog reevaluate their ability to thrive in this strange new land and discuss booking passage back to La Serenissima – perhaps to leave adventuring behind forever while their skins are still intact. Enthralled with the possibilities in his new base of operations, Tavain decides to settle in at the Four Winds tavern and study his newly-acquired spellbooks. With Virlym and Gako to help run the Four Desert Winds tavern, this trio seem to be putting down roots in Tabar.
With the help of the litorian D’Laaw and her badger, Ga-Reth has decided to investigate the bounty on Ith-Karine and learn who is behind it and whether Ith-Karine can be bested in his own territory. Karait is investigating other fortunes.

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A Guild is Born
The heroes put down roots in Tabar and attract like-minded adventurers

Returning from the crypt of Algor-Khan, Thom and Rhys fall victim to the mummy’s curse, and retire to their rooms in the newly renamed Four Desert Winds Inn. Gomor’s son Tol, and Tavain and Virlym’s ward, Gako, put up a help wanted board that attracts a variety of job postings and a host of new heroes exploring new options. Tavain calls on Khalil to help him understand the glyphs the party recovered in the desert. The human prospector and information merchant Karait and a duo newly arrived from the wastes – the giant war marshal Ga-Reth and the litorian champion D’Laaw are inspecting this new jobs board with Ga-Reth’s faithful assistant Brooke and D’Laaw’s giant badger companion Szeni when a local spellcaster challenges Tavain, shouting about “foreign invaders” and summons a giant serpent. Szeni makes short work of this snake while the local attacks Tavain with a fire spell. D’Laaw and Tavain dispatch the attacker more readily than anyone expected and everyone retires for drinks, paid for by another newcomer to town, Oakthorn, a noticeably self-assured adventurer by all appearances. Oakthorn talks privately with Tavian and Virlym, newly returned with Gako from an investigation of the thief who pickpocketed Tavain when the group first arrived in town. Tavain and Oakthorn come to an accord regarding the new magical discoveries the group encountered in the crypt.

Heading back out the crypt and its unusual teleportation circle, the new group, now including Tavain, Gar-Reth and Brooke, D’Laaw and Szeni, and Karait are attacked by a titanic sandworm which swallows D’Laaw whole and viciously attacks Ga-Reth before the beast is slain. Upon reaching the crypt, Gar-Reth bashes through the hardened stone block blocking access to the lower sections and, after refining his understanding of the persistent petrification effect on the midway floor, Tavain uses the teleportation circle to transport the group to a salty marsh on the coast northwest of Tabar, where they meet a surprisingly hospitable hermit woman called Meg who gives them directions out of the swamp and back to Tabar.

D’Laaw and Szeni return to the crypt once more to retrieve the group’s horses abandoned outside while the rest of the group plots their next move, resolved to confront the organized crime elements in Tabar that might challenge the survival of their new adventurers’ guild.

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Recap January 2012
A brief synopsis of the story so far

Though we’ve only had three short sessions so far, we’ve had a long holiday hiatus, so I think it makes sense to revisit what has happened so far.

The group; Thom, Rhys, and Gog, had already done a little adventuring together in Bennetonia before travelling to La Serenisima, where they met the heroine Khalil, and two other adventurers new to the area: Virlym and Tavain. Together, these five companions killed a hydra in the canals of La Serenisima, impressing Khalil so much that she agreed to hire them all to do some investigation in the Golbin Lands to the South.

Khalil’s tasks for the group number three:

1. Travel to Kidorro and find out
A) why there have been almost no slaves sold through the sprawling markets of Tabar in months,
B) why more people than ever before are being enslaved in Kidorro, Glytap, and further afield,
C) and how these seemingly contradictory facts reconcile with one another.
In short, find out who is enslaving the common people of The Goblin Lands and why.

2. Keep an ear out for information regarding The Witch Trinity, a legendary trio of witches named Athalin, Kaerys, and Cinerine from thousands of years ago, mostly forgotten by the world. Khalil is clear that it is unlikely that you will hear anything about these three, but at least one of them is thought to have had a position of strength on the continent which is now called The Goblin Lands, and may be remembered in one form or another there.

3. Get a sense for the politics of The Goblin Lands. Politics there are almost entirely unconnected to the politics of The Central Realms, despite the Imperial Garrison at Tabar. Find out what factions control trade, religion, and military force in The Goblin Lands and where they are geographically located. Who are the “big players?”

This is largely open-ended exploration:

  • The tombs of the pharaohs are cursed and warded, but other crypts from that bygone era are less heavily protected, for those with a penchant for grave-robbing.
  • The jungles in the center of the continent are said to hold tribes that practice unusual magic. You may be able to trade for some interesting items or access to spells that would fetch a handsome price back home in The Central Realms.
  • The Imperial garrison at Tabar was just recently attacked by relatively well-organized locals, and would no doubt pay to have these and other criminals brought to justice.
  • The Goblin Lands have a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous. Wherever goods cross dangerous territory, there is an opportunity for highwaymen and for caravan guards.
  • While Tabar may be small, it is not without its own intrigues: an active thieves guild has a hand in most of the nefarious or dubious activities in the city, and in more than a few of the legitimate ones.
  • Tabar has been built and rebuilt more than once and the current city almost certainly conceals extensive underground networks of tunnels and lairs leftover from previous incarnations of the city.

Current Status: After hearing in Tabar that the general consensus that the slaves were more or less just all gone, the party decided to follow Gog on a bounty to capture Ith-Karine. They happened across some goblins raiding a crpyt and investigated within, killing the goblins and finding traps and a shadow monster within. This shadow monster nearly killed Gog, and though Tavain was able to save him, both Gog and Rhys are badly hurt, and one of the traps sealed the party into the crypt, meaning that you’ll need to find another way out.

Going Forward: Talking with James, I’ve gotten the idea that some of you may not be thrilled with your character builds or with the campaign. After the group manages to get out of the crypt of Algor-Khan, we’ll sit down and figure out how we can make the game more fun for everyone and we’ll build some new characters for those who want to play something different. Hopefully, these new PCs will cohere together as a party better than the current ones are doing.

I’ll start a forum discussion, too, in case you all want to share your ideas.

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Crypt of the High Priest
The heroes find a danger-filled subterranean crypt

Moving to a river to make camp, the party encounters a chimera and manage to overcome it. As they retire to nurse their wounds, they are ambushed by a river monster. This monster threatened to wipe the party out, but without explanation, the party wakes up, unharmed, around their campfire, as though the river monster was only a bad, shared dream. What’s more, the party finds a cache of magic items and a note, and they discover that each of the heroes bears a quickly fading glyph on his or her forehead and a clear, familiar knowledge of their new magic items’ functions. Treasure includes a cloak of comfort, a silver-lined copper ring, a pair or rings enchanted with a familiar fire spell, a magical warhammer, an enchanted dagger, an eldritch glass crossbow, and a powerfully ensorcererled bear-skin shirt with the power to transform the wearer.

As the group continues, they happen across an hieroglyph-lined, above-ground crypt of Algor-Khan, a prominent priest to the pharaoh Ammon, door ajar and half a dozen goblins therein, struggling to break down a secret door into a staircase descending into the earth. Dispatching these goblins with some of Tavain’s fire magic and managing to escape a clay golem which seemed to take offense at that fire, nearly killing Tavain, the group discovers a magical glyph under the plaster concealing the door. Upon seeing this glyph, Thom casts a spell which opens the door enough for Virlym to pull it back the rest of the way and lead the party down to a complex below the surface, leading the party to question whether there may be more to the Bennetonian lordling’s arcane prowess than he has let on. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, an enormous falling block falls from above, injuring Thom, Gog, and Virlym, and blocking any retreat. Rhys finds antedeluvian curiosities – canopic jars – but is unable to investigate whether these might be cursed before Gog wakes a malevolent, creepy darkness that possesses him, and then later Rhys, turning the party against one another and snapping Gog’s neck before Tavain can blast the nightmare into oblivion with a magical light.

The heroes’ individual might is growing quickly, but their trust in one another is still uncertain at best. A clear division persists between Sir Thom’s retainers and Khalil’s pupils. The party’s future is even more uncertain, but if the threats they’ve met thus far in the High Priest’s crypt are any indication of what is to come, they’ll have to work together if any of them is to see daylight ever again.

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To the Goblin Lands
Session Two: The party travels to Tabar

While Tavain, Virlym, and Thom make arrangements to carry the party and their horses across the Mand Sea and to Tabar, a trio of muggers lure Rhys and Gog into an alley and attack them, but our heroes manage to subdue their attackers and turn two of them in to the authorities. Gog also manages to offend the local magistrate, though, and is jailed. Rhys bribes an official and manages to have Gog released with the understanding that they will leave town immediately.

Their voyage goes quietly through the Strait of Cormale, past the Great Barrier Island Lighthouse, and the dragon Ulhar Sjach, Suzerain of the Twin Sands, takes their tribute without incident, but the party witnesses another ship not unlike their own dragged into the deeps by a tentacled monster, before arriving in Tabar some five days after leaving La Serenisima.

Disembarking in Tabar, Tavain is the victim of a pickpocket and the heroes secure rooms in an inn owned by a corpulent local called Gomar whose son Tol guards their horses while they investigate the temple of a local agrarian god called Galtom unsuccessfully looking for clues about the histories of the once-well-known Athalin, Kaerys, and Cenerine. They also investigate the slave markets and learn that Mandian slave buyers are buying up slaves as fast as they can be captured and auctioned. Another auction will be held in two days. Tavain and Virlym buy a local young orphan boy named Gako who has gone unsold in the last several auctions.

Impatient to win glory and treasure, the group follows Gog west out of the city pursuing a bounty on a giant called Ith-Karine about whom Gog learned of from a poster in Tabar. En route, they are ambushed by an ankheg and several kobold archers. Amongst the kobolds’ remains, the party finds a handful of coins and a number of poisoned arrows.

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A Confluence of Fates
Session One: Our heroes meet a sponsor

Following their successes in the north, the Bennetonian knight Sir Thom Merelin, along with his attendant Rhys and their guide, Gog, travel to La Serenisima for a well-deserved holiday and an opportunity to take in the sights of the annual Vernagenic Festival. While settling into a meal at a restaurant known as The Silver Fish, Sir Thom and his companions’ meal is disrupted by the sudden appearance in the city’s canals of multi-headed sea monster Gog identified as a hydra. Despite not having their weapons or armor, our heroes help two fellow diners, Virlym and the elf Tavain, to decapitate and cauterize all of the monster’s heads and send it writhing into the murky waters of the canals. In recognition of their bravery, the heroes are offered the sponsorship of the renowned heroine Khalil Steele, already a patron to Virlym and Tavain, who equips them with new weapons and enchanted tools to travel to the Goblin Lands seeking answers to questions brewing in the Central Realms: Is Mand preparing for war with a breakaway city-state? Have they already begun conscripting a slave army? What would drive the Mask Shamans to attack the Imperial Garrison at Tabar? Finally, what would incite a normally reclusive monster like a hydra to attack such a densely populated settlement?

The heroes accept Khalil’s three tasks: find out why the price of slaves is skyrocketing and where all those recently enslaved in Kidorro are being taken; learn what they can about “The Witch Trinity:” Athalin, Kaerys, and Cinerine; and get a sense for the general politics and interplay of forces in The Goblin Lands.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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