Fortune and Glory on the Borderlands

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Rhetorical Gamer
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Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59
Fortune and Glory on the Borderlands

Session One

After a little discussion about how ACKS works and is different than many other games a party formed. I am basing this campaign off of B2, The Keep on the Borderlands, but with some changes – notably, making the wilderness much larger than the tiny area in the original adventure.

The players have typical luck rolling up their initial characters and do not have much in the way of HP…

Voletta Palestalker – Assassin (Level 1). Str 13, Int 9, Wis 9, Dex 13, Con 7, Cha 9, 1 HP
An exuberant young woman of 19 wearing black leathers and fighting with twin swords.

Bruellyn Giantsgrave – Dwarven Vaultguard (Level 1), Str 15, Int 10, Wis 7, Dex 7, Con 13, Cha 10, 6 HP
A proud female dwarven warrior, she adventures to destroy the hated goblin-kin. Takes trophies from her kills.

Jym – Elven Enchanter (Level 1), Str 9, Int 16, Wis 8, Dex 8, Con 9, Cha 15, 1 HP
A mysterious elven magic-user from the south, his mystic aura impresses all he encounters.

Jarek – Thief (Level 1), Str 5, Int 9, Wis 9, Dex 16, Con 9, Cha 14, 2 HP
17 and lusty, Jarek wants to survive and get rich. Relies on his bow to keep enemies at a distance.

4th of Saltis, Year of the Brazen Youth (53rd year of the Realm)

On a fine spring day, meeting on the road to Fort Gar (the Keep), the players meet the Watch Corporal and are recorded into the keep’s book. They wandered the keep for a while, checking out the fountain statue dedicated to Lord Gar – who pushed back the wilderness – and met Emil the Provisioner, Gavrin the Trader, and Floria, the owner of the Smiling Griffin tavern. While at the tavern, they also met Fane, one of the Trader’s sons, and hired him as their first henchman [I ignored the hiring rules here as this developed organically during play]. Deciding to waste no time, they left Fort Gar to push north. From their nosing around, they had discovered that the Trader was paying for furs and that there was a bounty being offered on kobolds. They also learned that a mighty ogre was somewhere nearby in the wilderness.

Bruellyn, the dwarf, was so heavily loaded with gear that she moved very slowly – especially in the hilly terrain surrounding the keep. So much so that the players were barely able to explore a single hex in a day. Very close to the keep, on an old cart trail, the party met a group of bandits who demanded a toll. The dwarf had little interest in giving in to their demands and a fierce combat ensued, quickly ended by the arrival of 4 fearsome berserkers (elven Stormkin) summoned by Jym’s magic. It was not a good day for the bandits.

Pressing on, they continued to push through the wilderness when they began to feel they were being stalked. Voletta slipped quietly from the path and moved into the woods to attempt to see what was upon them and got up close with a fearsome mountain lion. Rather than flee, the exuberant Assassin cried out, “Mountain Lion” while drawing her twin swords and attacking!

It was over quickly for poor Voletta. As she expired, she saw her companions take down the beast with a combination of luck and missile fire. After looting her body, the party buried Voletta but was unsure of her beliefs and unable to give any last rites. They also saw a shadow of something fly over them and caught a glimpse of what looked like a lion with dragon wings. Wanting nothing to do with whatever that was, they veered off in a new direction.

Despite their loss, the party was still feeling pretty good about their chances against the wilderness. After a quiet night of camping, they ventured northeast and came upon a group of goblins with a captive. Collectively, they dispatched the goblins (saving one as a captive) and Bruellyn made a monument to the battle by mounting the goblin heads on the hilts of their own swords, which she left stuck in the ground. Interrogating the little guy, he told them that if they were hunting kobolds, they’d need to head “that way” and pointed them to the south.

The goblins' captive turned out to be a Paladin of the Summer Lord, and introduced herself to the party. She was grateful for their rescue but it took a little persuading to convince her to join the party rather than strike off on her own again. With this new addition, the party decided to return to Fort Gar and improve their chances by hiring henchmen, arriving back at the keep on the 7th of Saltis.

On their earlier trip, Jarek had made overtures to Gabinne, one of the barmaids at the Smiling Griffin, and after impressing her with tales of his adventures, the two retired to a private room in the Last Rest Inn to share the night. The next morning, as he attempted to slip away before she awoke, he was surprised to find her already trying to do the same, admonishing him, “I start work early!”

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

With 1hp, Voletta didn't stand much chance of surviving. If I were a cynical man, I'd almost imagine her player might have purposefully gotten her killed.

One of the things I'm happiest about Player's Companion is that it provided some additional 1st level spells that are worth taking in lieu of Sleep - one of them being Summon Berserkers.

Rhetorical Gamer
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Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59

We. Love. Summon Berserkers. I was worried about it being too good (as if that's a thing) when I first saw it... but it's so much fun to see unleashed. And it is a great alternative to Sleep for new mages.

Rhetorical Gamer
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Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59

Session Two

The party is joined by the Paladin, Bernice D'Alesandro. Who, of course, only has one hit point... This player was not having much luck.

Bernice D'Alesandro – Paladin [Ossian] (Level 1). Str 13, Int 11, Wis 6, Dex 9, Con 11, Cha 13, 1 HP
An independent warrior in the service of the Summer Lord, she is eager to come to blows with Chaos.

Bruellyn Giantsgrave – Dwarven Vaultguard (Level 1), Str 15, Int 10, Wis 7, Dex 7, Con 13, Cha 10, 6 HP
A proud female dwarven warrior, she adventures to destroy the hated goblin-kin. Takes trophies from her kills.

Jym – Elven Enchanter (Level 1), Str 9, Int 16, Wis 8, Dex 8, Con 9, Cha 15, 1 HP
A mysterious elven magic-user from the south, his mystic aura impresses all he encounters.
Henchman: Fane Olind (NM)

Jarek – Thief (Level 1), Str 5, Int 9, Wis 9, Dex 16, Con 9, Cha 14, 2 HP
17 and lusty, Jarek wants to survive and get rich. Relies on his bow to keep enemies at a distance.

8th of Saltis, Year of the Brazen Youth (53rd year of the Realm)

The party awoke to a beautiful spring day as they prepared to venture forth once more into the Borderlands. They approached the Gavrin Olind (the Trader) to sell the mountain lion pelt and only dealt with a little ribbing from Fane’s twin brother over his decision to become an adventurer.

Having lost a party member going north, the group decided to push south. Their reason, of course, being that they expected to find kobolds to the south thanks to intel from a captive goblin. Their first day of travel was uneventful and Fane still seemed excited about the adventuring life. After a skirmish with a giant badger and another run in with a pair of goblins who couldn’t stay quiet enough to sneak past the party, the group was doing well on their second day out. Jarek found evidence of recent campers in the area (messy types) and the party saw evidence of campfires in the distance as they crested a hill.

The third day out from the Keep they encountered an armed camp of humans. After Jym impressed the heck out of the day guard, he invited them in to speak with the captain. The captain was evasive but pleasant, saying that his band were mercenaries in between contracts. He claimed to know the watch corporal at the Keep and spoke with the party over wine. [It should be noted that Jym’s Mystic Aura and Charisma bonus make a devastating combination]. Everything was fine until Bruellyn thought she heard a protesting female voice in the camp. The captain claimed that there were no women in the camp and suggested (still pleasantly) that it was time for the party to leave.

Deciding to keep a watch over the camp, the party ascended a hill and put themselves in position to see what was going on. They saw the camp settle down for the night and a small group leave the camp and head into the woods (but not in their direction). Later that night, while Jarek is on watch, the party is attacked by that small splinter band from the camp. It is a ferocious scuffle which sees Bernice sorely wounded – she is now missing an eye – and in need of rest. The battle was ended again by the timely intervention of the mighty stormkin at Jym’s magical call, and when it was all over, he sent them down into the camp to spend the rest of their time on this plane taking as many mercenaries to hell as they could! Needless to say, this was a rude awakening for the night watch. Alas, Fane was killed by an arrow to the spine and would adventure no more.

Returning again to Fort Gar, they left Bernice at the temple on the 13th of Saltis and decided to spend the two weeks she would need to recover in pursuit of additional henchfolk. Jym told the trader of the loss of his son – and thanks to his amazing charm, the man, while heartbroken, held no ill will toward the party. The party spent their time wisely and over the course of the next two weeks managed to hire and outfit two new henchfolk. Miro, a pretty and agile young woman and Essus, a man strong of arm but of somewhat consumptive stamina [high strength, low con is an odd combination]. They discovered this as Essus was snoring after only one strong ale at the Smiling Griffin. Bruellyn also bargained with the youngsters who run the Common Stables (specifically, a 12 year old girl named Becca) to acquire a mule named Fritter.

Healed, and with a silver eyepatch in place, Bernice returned to the group. She was filled with the desire to press once again into the borderlands and confront evil. The party, having learned from the mercenary captain that they were not likely to find kobolds to the south decided to follow his instructions to head northeast and seek the Caves of Chaos. Why they trusted the advice of a man who sent his men to kill them in the night is anyone’s guess… They trusted the advice of a goblin after all.

Setting out on the 28th of Saltis, the party began their trek across the hills, hoping they were finally on track to find some kobolds and a decent haul of loot. The first two days were uneventful, just nice weather and game trails. On the third day out, they overtook a centaur who spoke with them of scouting these lands and returning to his people. They offered to travel together for a time but he declined and left them to continue their explorations. The fourth day out saw them run across another party of goblins, which they also dispatched with little trouble. Fortified by their henchfolk they defeated the goblins and took their meager treasure.

On the fifth day (4th of Eres), still searching for the Caves of Chaos, the party stumbled across a lone cave entrance, covered with vines and obviously long empty. Deciding to explore, they found a set of rough hewn stairs at the back of the cave, leading down into the hillside. Exploring the first few chambers, the party stumbled into a group of morlocks and fought a violent and bloody encounter. With the aid of Jym’s summoned stormkin, they defeated the morlocks – but not without cost. Essus, Bernice, and Bruellyn all fell in the battle. Essus was merely knocked out and disoriented by the experience, but Bernice took a lasting wound to the knee and Bruellyn bore scars which slowed down her reaction time even more. Both would require some time to properly heal. Fritter bore all of this stoically, as only a mule might. [At this point, I decided that Fritter is basically the pinnacle of mule-kind and is unflappable. Except for dragons.]

Looting the bodies proved fruitful though, as each morlock possessed an amber statuette of a squat, humanoid figure emblazoned with a lightning bolt and their champion wore a sewn-on leather collar holding an opal of great worth.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Great write-up! I hope someone takes Beast Friendship and adopts Fritter as a henchmen so he can level up.

(You're a cruel man, by the way, to make them roll for hit points. I always give maximum hit points at first level!)

Rhetorical Gamer
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Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59

They seem content to let Fritter be his own man. Well, mule. But we have picked up a War Dog.

As for the hit points... well, I considered max hit points for first level but then they started rolling, and we got some 1s and 2s... and it just sorta happened that way.

Rhetorical Gamer
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Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59

Session Three

Bernice D’Alesandro – Paladin of Ossian (Level 1), Str 13, Int 11, Wis 6, Dex 9, Con 11, Cha 13, 1 HP
An independent warrior in the service of the Summer Lord, she is eager to come to blows with Chaos.

Bruellyn Giantsgrave – Dwarven Vaultguard (Level 1), Str 15, Int 10, Wis 7, Dex 7, Con 13, Cha 10, 6 HP
A proud female dwarven warrior, she adventures to destroy the hated goblin-kin. Takes trophies from her kills.
Mule: Fritter

Jym – Elven Enchanter (Level 1), Str 9, Int 16, Wis 8, Dex 8, Con 9, Cha 15, 1 HP
A mysterious elven magic-user from the south, his mystic aura impresses all he encounters.
Henchman: Essus (NM)

Jarek – Thief (Level 1), Str 5, Int 9, Wis 9, Dex 16, Con 9, Cha 14, 2 HP
17 and lusty, Jarek wants to survive and get rich. Relies on his bow to keep enemies at a distance.
Henchman: Miro (NM)

4th of Eres, Year of the Brazen Youth (53rd year of the Realm)

After the difficult battle with the morlocks, leaving Bruellyn and Bernice in need of a little time off, the party retreated to the wilderness to lay low, making a comfortable camp and relying on Essus to forage and hunt while their companions rested. On their second day of rest, with Bruellyn back in action, the party heard a terrible commotion, and going to investigate they found themselves witness to the devastating power of a dragon. A few hundred yards away from their camp, on a bald hilltop, a Green Dragon had dropped from the sky on a pair of ogres and was tearing them apart. Wisely, the party decided to just go back to camp.

On the fifth day, they had another odd encounter as a group of giant ants wandered into their campsite. Jym immediately called forth his Stormkin and set them on an ant, while Bruellyn and Essus engaged another. The remaining giant ant, oblivious to his fellows, just wandered out of the camp, prompting Jym to suggest to the party that they should let the ants leave. As they had watched their arrows bounce off the ant’s exoskeleton, Jarek and Miro stepped aside, and after seeing one of the elven berserkers get neatly cut in two by an ant’s mandibles, Bruellyn did the same. Essus gallantly helped the still wounded Bernice out of the way. The party quickly moved their camp and over the next two days, watched as giant ants made their way across the old campground.

The adventurers resume their attempts to delve the Morlock Cave on the 12th of Eres with Bernice back in action. Exploring a cavern they previously ignored they find a cave full of glowing fungus infested with similarly glowing beetles. Jarek decides he needs some and scrapes it into a sack – minus the bugs. They push on and encounter another gang of morlocks, including a huge one the party dubbs Ogre-Lock and his “wives.” This fight went well save for Essus. Jym’s skinny-legged henchman was killed by friendly fire as Bruellyn pitched a flaming oil directly into his hair… He died badly, with his face melted right off. The party takes a dim view of this but, hey, it was an accident.

Looting the morlocks, the party finds more of the strange amber statuettes. Loading their take onto Fritter, who they’ve been keeping a chamber behind them in the cave, they press on into the next chamber. It proves to be an ill-fated decision, as one of the morlocks in this chamber is wielding a magical elven blade and proceeds to reduce Bernice to a cloud of bloody mist. Turning his attentions to Bruellyn he cuts her down and the last thing she sees is Jym, Jarek, and Miro fleeing for their lives as the darkness takes her…

Fleeing back to Fort Gar, Fritter in tow, the party manages to dodge any encounters in the wilderness. Once back at the keep they meet with Master Envo, the jeweler staying in the private apartments. After making a deal to sell all their treasures – including all the odd amber statuettes – they spend a little on improving their supplies, picking up some better armor and a war dog. Then… then… they blow away the town on a massive, week-long bender. A bender of such legendary proportions that when they come around a week later they have a new party member and no idea where she came from…

Pilar Verdin, a beautiful fighter with no memory of her past has joined the party. While hunting for new henchmen, the party also meets up with a zealous Bladedancer, Illya Zetahli, seeking to push back the boundaries of the borderlands like a modern-day Lord Gar. They also hire a pair of brothers, Tevis and Sherritt, farm-boys who ran away to the border with dreams of adventure. Tevis has been keeping them afloat as a gambler, but it is Sherritt’s massive muscles which most interest Jym – just one more living wall between him and his enemies. Of course, it may also have just been the aftereffects of their epic party. Jym was overhead muttering, “I have opium under my fingernails,” during the hiring discussions.

Jarek and Jym have sold the party on the quest to retrieve the magic sword in the morlock cave and on the 25th of Eres they set out into the wilderness again. Only hours out from the keep, they surprise a raiding party of gnolls but get more than they bargain for. Tevis and Illya are seriously injured and the party decides to return to the keep and nurse their wounds. [It occurs to me at this point that I really should remind the players that they don’t have to engage every encounter they come across.]

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

"Then… then… they blow away the town on a massive, week-long bender. A bender of such legendary proportions that when they come around a week later they have a new party member and no idea where she came from…"

Best. Way. To. Introduce. A. New. Party. Member. EVER.

STEALING THIS

Rhetorical Gamer
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Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59

Thanks! And it was an awesome bender. The best part is, Pilar has no idea where she came from either (yet).

Rhetorical Gamer
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Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59

Session Four

Pilar Verdin – Mysterious Fighter (Level 1), Str 18, Int 8, Wis 9, Dex 10, Con 9, Cha 16, 4 HP
A beautiful fighter with no memories of her past and only a letter in a mysterious language for a clue.

Illya Zetahli – Blade Dancer of the Twins (Level 1), Str 13, Int 9, Wis 16, Dex 16, Con 9, Cha 12, 1 HP
A disciple of Iris and Irae, she is here to push back the borderlands and make room for civilization.
Henchman: Tevis (NM)

Jym – Elven Enchanter (Level 1), Str 9, Int 16, Wis 8, Dex 8, Con 9, Cha 15, 1 HP
A mysterious elven magic-user from the south, his mystic aura impresses all he encounters.
Henchman: Sherritt (NM)
War Dog: Thaddeus (hench-beast)
Mule: Fritter

Jarek – Thief (Level 1), Str 5, Int 9, Wis 9, Dex 16, Con 9, Cha 14, 2 HP
17 and lusty, Jarek wants to survive and get rich. Relies on his bow to keep enemies at a distance.
Henchman: Miro (NM)

26th of Eres, Year of the Brazen Youth (53rd year of the Realm)

Deciding to wait out the time needed for Tevis to recover fully [he needed a full two weeks], the adventurers spend much of that time resting and interacting with other personalities at Fort Gar. Becca and the other young folk who run the stables are happy to have Fritter stay with them for a while again, and by the time Tevis is recovered, the party is keen to be on their way back to the strange Morlock Cave where they hope to recover the magic sword. During this down time, Pilar managed to scrounge together enough coin to secure the services of a henchman and met Kalli, a rough and tumble human woman who claims to have learned to fight serving in a militia, “back west.”

It is also during this down time that Jarek is approached by Ravno, the barkeep at the Smiling Griffin. It seems that Gabinne, one of the serving girls at the Griffin has run off. Ravno thought she might have left with Jarek’s group – because he remembered them getting close – but Jarek assures him that he hasn’t seen Gabinne again in some time. Ravno asks that Jarek keep an eye out for Gabinne – asking other adventurers, etc. and Jarek agrees, though doubting he’ll find much. It was an awkward conversation for both men.

Setting out again, they push through the wilderness without any serious encounters, though they do have to spend some time calming Fritter when the green dragon they had previously seen chooses to do a flyby of the group. It must have decided they did not look tasty enough to eat though, as it simply circled once then flew away.

Reaching the cave, the party realizes that their previous map is still with the body of Bernice, who was mapping for the group before she died. Carefully retracing their steps, the group moves through the chambers they’ve previously explored and finds little changed. In the room where they fought the huge morlock, (the Ogre-Lock) the party finds that the morlock bodies have been stacked in the recessed part of the cave and that strange red slashes have been painted on the walls. They search for any evidence of their lost companions but it appears that they might have been eaten.

Returning to the cave where they found the morlock with the magic sword, Jym calls forth the stormkin and sends them charging in while the rest of the group attempts to maintain a more orderly battle line near the entry to the cave. This proves a good strategy and with minimal damage they defeat the magical morlock gang and claimed the elven sword. The party seems somewhat stunned by their victory though, as no one rushes to claim the sword. After a moment of looking at one another, Illya claims the blade and the party presses on. Jym tells Illya that the sword is named, Niau, an elven word meaning Undoubted.

A long, wider hallway overlooked by a large stone shelf proves to be a trap as the party is surprised by javelin tossing morlocks waiting above them. Jarek and Miro proved adept with their bows and quickly killed two of the attackers, prompting the other two to flee – making as much noise as they can as they run. Rather than pursue, the party chooses to defend the narrow chamber, with Jarek claiming the high ground from which to shoot. Within only a moment, a huge white ape burst into the chamber making hideous sounds and followed by the two morlocks who fled and a large whip-wielding morlock who seemed to be the ape-handler. The fight with the ape is fierce but no one is lost and just as the ape falls, the morlock chieftain and his harem burst into the cave for one final battle.

Bigger even than the previously encountered ogre-lock, the chieftain proved a fierce foe. Thaddeus bore the brunt of his attacks and the noble war dog was instrumental in killing the monstrosity. Sadly, a violent blow from one of the wives struck down Illya who, when examined by Jym, turned out to be too far gone, with her neck broken by the morlock’s club. Tevis, unmanned by the death of his boss, flees the field of battle but doesn’t go too far. After all, his brother is still in the fight!

After Illya’s death and the last of the morlocks is defeated, the caves fall eerily silent. Taking a few moments to rest and tend to their wounds, the party decides to check out the rest of the cave and see what treasure the mightiest of morlocks may have hidden. Pilar, with the approval of the party, takes up Niau on behalf of Illya, and the adventure continues.

Though the party explores the rest of the cave complex, the only treasures they discover are more of those amber statuettes and a single potion in a slightly crusty old vial. Jym confirms it as a potion of longevity and the party realizes that they could probably sell this for a significant sum if they can find the right buyer. None of them are yet feeling the sting of age – and Jym simply scoffs at the thought – being an elf and all.

At the back of the Chieftain’s cave, the party is faced with a decision. Covered in tattered cloth and hidden by piles of junk (or, morlock love-nests, as Jym points out) is a tall arch, clearly not made by the morlocks and covered in runes which seem to be just slightly out of sync with the stone of the arch itself. After noting that some of the runes seem to be more refined versions of the lightning bolt engraved on the amber statuettes, Jym declares this place a gateway to a dangerous area of Chaos and suggests the party not push forward. (“We should leave.”) After some discussion between Jym and Jarek, they decide to take their current plunder, return to Fort Gar and then decide on their next course of action.

Their return trip to Fort Gar is also fairly uneventful. The party does encounter a group of soldiers from the keep who have been out hunting the mercenaries the party reported on a previous trip. It seems that the first unit sent out to investigate was wiped out and that since then, the soldiers have been scouring the area for signs of further mercenary activity. One of the young female soldiers does have gossip for the party about Gabinne, recalling that she left with a party of flashy adventurer types just before the patrol went out. These other adventurers didn’t show a lot of coin but did seem impressive and their leader invited Gabinne to join them.

Envo, the jewel merchant has finally moved on, leaving the party with a stash of statuettes and no buyer. Without much sense of what to do with all this amber, the party decides to take a chance that the loan banker might be interested. The banker, a middle-aged woman named Adala Kolovir and her uncle, Luca, run the loan bank [the party quickly caught on to the idea that the bank is basically a pawn shop] and after spending some time discussing their adventures – and a little flirting with Jarek – she agrees to purchase their amber figures. It is not quite the price they got from Envo, but everyone walked away happy.

Luca Kolovir, being a mage of minor skill, also suggested – after examining the statuettes – the party had possibly stumbled upon the Temple of the Thunder Prince [a chaotic demigod who played a part in the last stages of the Mages’ War]. The party filed this away for later, perhaps considering a return to the Temple.

Then, Jym showed Adala and Luca their true treasure, the potion of longevity. Adala couldn’t hide her desire for this potion and offered them a hefty sum, on the spot, to acquire it. The party, realizing that they could probably make more but understanding the difficulties inherent to doing so, agreed to her offer.

Later, Jarek, Jym, Pilar, and their henchmen once again threw a raucous wake for their lost comrade, Illya, spent time with the newly rejuvenated Adala (who had obviously already partaken of the potion), and prepared themselves for their next excursion into the wilderness.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I'm very pleased that Bernice..er... Pilar...has survived a session! Particularly since she has an 18 STR and 16 CHA - what great ability scores!

Are Jym and Jarek close to leveling?

Rhetorical Gamer
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59

Jarek does make level two. Unfortunately, I'm still acculturating this group of players away from the idea that combat is the prime driver of XP. They are all-too-ready to plunge headfirst into a fight even when little reward seems to be in the offing.

This is one of the drivers for the high mortality rate and has slowed advancement considerably. We just reached session 7 and even as the judge I'm starting to grow weary of the party churn. I'm taking steps to address this as the campaign has moved to a new location and the party is going to experience some urban adventuring.

Rhetorical Gamer
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Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59

Session Five

Pilar Verdin – Mysterious Fighter (Level 1), Str 18, Int 8, Wis 9, Dex 10, Con 9, Cha 16, 4 HP
A beautiful fighter with no memories of her past and only a letter in a mysterious language for a clue.
Henchman: Kalli (F1)

Mellista – Cleric of Novanna (Level 1), Str 10, Int 9, Wis 13, Dex 9 Con 7, Cha 11, 3 HP
A catechist of the goddess of knowledge, she never misses an opportunity to instruct another.

Jym – Elven Enchanter (Level 1), Str 9, Int 16, Wis 8, Dex 8, Con 9, Cha 15, 1 HP
A mysterious elven magic-user from the south, his mystic aura impresses all he encounters.
Henchman: Sherritt (F1), Tevis (F1)
War Dog: Thaddeus (hench-beast)
Mule: Fritter

Jarek – Thief (Level 2), Str 5, Int 9, Wis 9, Dex 16, Con 9, Cha 14, 4 HP
17 and lusty, Jarek wants to survive and get rich. Relies on his bow to keep enemies at a distance.
Henchman: Miro (F1)

18th of Irisae, Year of the Brazen Youth (53rd year of the Realm)

Without the need to wait for recovering companions, the party is able to plan their next step much more quickly than usual (just waiting for the hangovers to clear up). The year has turned from Spring to Summer and it is a rainy time on the Borderlands.

Jarek and Jym decide, during their revels, that they would like to engage in a dangerous level of debauchery and risk the slings and arrows of drunken fortune. [Jarek’s player found the Debauchery Chart on the Autarch website.] Waking up after two days of intense partying, Jarek is missing a horse, Pilar is found wandering drunk through the streets handing out money to anyone who looks like they might need it more than her, and while doing so… she sees someone (or something) scuttle away from the private apartment Jym is renting after a late night tryst.

The next day, the party takes on the task of finding Jarek’s horse. During their breakfast, they are approached by Mellista, a young Catechist of Novanna – the Lawful goddess of Knowledge – who witnessed Pilar’s drunken charity and decided the party must be decent folk (if perhaps a bit dim). Perfect for her to proselytize while also striking out into the borderlands in search of lost remnants of civilization. Her relationship with them begins on a high note as she decides to try and educate Jarek about the difference between someone stealing his horse and him drunkenly giving it away… which it turns out he might have done. On their way to the Watch Tower, they encounter Luca Kolovir, now the owner of the Loan Bank, as his niece Adala has gone back west to civilization – taking her adventuring gear with her. Luca is not pleased, but doesn’t blame the party. Jarek concludes that most likely Adala absconded with his horse – gift or not – much to the satisfaction of their new companion.

Luca provides more information to the party as he gives Jarek a private note from Adala and proceeds to translate Pilar’s mysterious letter. Though the translation may create more mystery than it solves, it reveals that Pilar’s father may be someone important who has a lot of enemies. And the kind of father who feels the best way to keep his daughter safe is to wipe her memories.

The party decides to re-enter the Temple of the Dynatron, and after a brief interlude to gather supplies, they strike out again. The rainy weather seems to be keeping the monsters in their caves though, as the party makes it to the Temple without any dangerous encounters. They do witness a Pegasus and her foals drinking at a stream in the hills but they decide to keep a respectful distance.

After a cursory re-exploration of the Morlock caves, the party descends the stairway to the Temple. Mellista is intent on hunting for anything which might shed more light on the Dynatron or his cult here, searching for runes and symbols. It seems the Dynatron’s leadership style might have been more of a cult of personality though… as most of the imagery is just paintings of him looking impressive.

Their initial efforts find Pilar tumbling into a pit where the floor of the temple has cracked, and the party witnessing the power of Novanna as Mellista turns a group of skeletal soldiers, allowing her new companions to easily grind the undead into bone dust. They have not encountered much in the way of treasure when they enter a shield shaped room with an altar and a single pew. On the altar, a single vial of luminous amber liquid rests and without much fanfare Pilar strides confidently forward to pick it up. This sets off a blade trap in the altar which leaves poor Pilar unconscious. Jarek hops up on top of the altar and claims the potion, which after testing they determine to be a potion of heroism.

Carrying their companion back outside, the party huddles up and discusses their next move, deciding to power on, leaving Kalli to guard Pilar. Not ready to give up on the Temple, the party takes a second foray. Pressing deeper, the party encounters a group of older morlocks, who prove to still be dangerous despite their encroaching old age. Sherritt is crippled by a fierce series of blows which break his spine at the waist, leaving him paralyzed. Tevis – normally quite cowardly – leaps into the fray to defend his brother with rage in his heart.

After the party puts down the last of the morlocks, which again involves Jym summoning the Stormkin, they are figuring out how to get Sherritt out of the dungeon when they are approached by a dwarf adventurer whose party is holed up in the next room, nursing injuries of their own. This other party consists of Argus (Dwarven Vaultguard), Nuro (human mage), Grader and Radigan (a pair of human fighters), and Tam Ferris (injured human bard). They agree to join forces with the group, and are willing to share the coin they have liberated from this place, in exchange for help with their wounded and the sharing of rations. This turns out to be a decent sum of copper, silver, and electrum coins.

With Sherritt and Pilar both out of action, and another group also nursing wounds, the parties decide to return to Fort Gar. Again, the journey is uneventful – possibly because they are now practically a small army passing through the wilderness – and their return to the keep is cause for some small rejoicing. After dividing the coin, and planning for the future by opening accounts at the Loan Bank, the party deals with their wounded. Tevis informs Jym that he plans to take what they’ve earned and go west with Sherritt, both of them feel that giving up the adventuring life is best, though they bear no ill will toward the magically charismatic Jym. It occurs to Jarek and Jym that they are sort of running a temp agency for henchfolk and adventurers, though only a few go on to better jobs…

This leaves Jym in the position of hunting new henchfolk while Pilar rehabilitates. Jym finds a pair of likely candidates and has a brief bout of conscience about continuing to lead the young and naïve of humanity to dangerous fates. He decides to hire one anyway, directing the other to seek employment with Jarek, who turns him down, happy with Miro’s services.

This new henchman proves to be a garrulous islander named Kethres, who left home to seek out adventures after being raised on tales of the Tuan’Isfa – Guardian of the Prismatic Deeps! Both Mellista and Pilar are highly interested in these tales, but for different reasons. Mellista wants to chronicle these tales, but Pilar’s interest is more personal. The man who claims to be her mystery father signed his letter… Tuan’Isfa. It is as if destiny is calling to the young woman.

Flush and happy again – though Pilar seems a little stiff around the midsection – the party decides to return to the Temple of the Dynatron. As they are traveling through the wilderness, they encounter a band of kobolds. Despite forming a battle line and doing their little dog-man best, the party easily overcomes the kobolds and decides to return to the keep and see if the bounty is still being offered for kobolds (it was their original goal after all).

Rhetorical Gamer
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2015-07-30 16:59

Session Six

Pilar Verdin – Mysterious Fighter (Level 1), Str 18, Int 8, Wis 9, Dex 10, Con 9, Cha 16, 4 HP
A beautiful fighter with no memories of her past and only a letter in a mysterious language for a clue.
Henchman: Kalli (F1)

Mellista – Cleric of Novanna (Level 1), Str 10, Int 9, Wis 13, Dex 9 Con 7, Cha 11, 3 HP
A catechist of the goddess of knowledge, she never misses an opportunity to instruct another.

Jym – Elven Enchanter (Level 1), Str 9, Int 16, Wis 8, Dex 8, Con 9, Cha 15, 1 HP
A mysterious elven magic-user from the south, his mystic aura impresses all he encounters.
Henchman: Kethres (NM)
War Dog: Thaddeus (hench-beast)
Mule: Fritter

Jarek – Thief (Level 2), Str 5, Int 9, Wis 9, Dex 16, Con 9, Cha 14, 4 HP
17 and lusty, Jarek wants to survive and get rich. Relies on his bow to keep enemies at a distance.
Henchman: Miro (F1)

4th of Ossia, Year of the Brazen Youth (53rd year of the Realm)

Now, it is nearly High Summer. And flush from an easy victory over the band of kobolds – the party has collected their ears and returned to the keep. They discover that there is no longer a bounty being offered (and that someone has claimed the bounty on the dread ogre – the party is pretty sure that someone discovered the bones after the ogre was eaten by the dragon)… They are unhappy about this news but looking over the other postings in fountain square they discover that the Priest living in the private apartments is looking for adventurers to go with him in search of an Evil Shrine. Luca Kolovir is also looking for help in collecting special ingredients from the fens near the keep.

After a brief interview with the Priest, Dorin Carlo, they establish that he is not looking for the Temple of the Dynatron [they had assumed it was the same quest] but they decide instead to talk to Luca and see what he needs from the swamps. Luca tells them about a special blossom – Hag’s Bottom – which only grows in the fens and only grows near the hottest part of the summer. After some questions Luca explains that the Hag’s Bottom is useful in making certain infusions which stave off some of the infirmities of old age. Jarek assumes this means something lusty. Jarek always assumes this (and it turns out to have been strangely prescient).

On a clear but humid day, the party sets out into the wilderness again, moving toward the fens. They are equipped with a map, a special container and satchel Luca gave them for the blossoms, and with good weather. Their first day into the fens they spend slogging along and as they search for a place to camp they stumble across a strange tableau. A raised mound of dry land looms out of the muck but it is occupied by five strange human-like creatures in swamp-encrusted chain surrounding a stone table. As the party approaches and discusses what to do, the creatures turn on them with predatory quickness and with a red gleam in their eyes.

A bolt from an arbalest flies, a turning is attempted, and four summoned Stormkin are drained and banished. The party decides that five wights is out of their league and they flee. It is an awful night, fleeing through the swamps and staying just ahead of the wights. As the sun rises, the undead warriors give way and the party, exhausted, seeks out a place to camp.

Finding a bit of shelter in a dry tangle of tree roots, the party makes camp and Jarek climbs a tree to see what he can see. Mellista has been talking about giant spiders since the party decided to come into the swamp and sure enough… she is right (as usual). Jarek is surprised when a camouflaged spider pulls away from the trunk and strikes, filling him with poison. Another leaps down from a nearby tree and the party is set upon by two pony-sized spiders! They fight and Jarek falls, killed after so many successful sorties into the wilderness. Kethres proves a sure hand, helping Mellista obliterate one spider while Thaddeus and Pilar destroy another. Miro – who had a great respect and affection for Jarek – takes him off to bury him with his coin while the party investigates the trees the spiders dropped from. They find the old corpse of a merchant with a few small gems on him but little else.

The next day, leaving Jarek’s grave behind and with Pilar’s uncanny navigation, they find the Hag’s Bottom blossoms. Thankful not to be attacked, they collect ten blossoms in the container Luca gave them and then place it in the satchel – which Jym discerns is a bag of holding – and then return to the keep to find it fully engulfed in the second day of the High Summer Festival!

After selling their gems to Luca and collecting the reward he offered (a gaudy, golden belt and a jade ring), Jym sets out to look for likely buyers; which he finds in the form of the wife and daughter of the Castellan, who have come down to participate in the festival atmosphere of the outer bailey. Jym is his usual magically charming self and manages to not only sell the items to the lady, but also gets an invitation to the inner bailey should he come across more such items.

Pilar meets an islander merchant named Renos [pronounced Reenosh] who sells her a map of the island mentioned in her father’s letter and suggests that she should head to Valta and the great port of Tawanaru if she wants to learn more. That’s where he’s headed after all.

Mellista spends the afternoon watching Becca – the girl who runs the stables – earn a little coin putting on a show in the fountain square with a few trained dogs. And when they return to the inn, they discover an elven entertainer putting on a show for the crowd. Lain agrees to join the party over dinner, thinking a quest to an ancient temple sounds fascinating.

Later that night, the party indulges in the festive atmosphere further and chooses to debauch themselves a little, enjoying the peace of the keep. The only truly notable result of this night is the fulfillment of Jarek’s earlier statements when Pilar wakes up after having spent a truly strange night with old Luca Kolovir.

As the festival winds down, the party decides to take Dorin Carlo up on his offer and help him clean out the evil shrine of chaos in the wilderness and equip themselves for the journey. Along the way, they encounter an ambush set by a group of Thoghrin, and though the fight is somewhat desperate, they all walk away. They find little in the way of coin, but make an even greater discovery – one of the monsters was equipped with a mighty sword of ancient human make named Death Eater. [Death Eater is Sword +1/+3 versus Undead]. With the party’s blessing, Lain claims this as his first adventuring spoils and the party presses on to the caves of chaos.

Dorin the Priest and his acolytes hung back during this battle and did not engage the Thoghrin. When questioned, Dorin explained that he wanted to see the party in action, having only taken their word that they were truly capable adventurers. Though they were suspicious, his willingness to heal those who were wounded in the fight mollified the group and helped to establish him as a worthwhile traveling companion.

This healing was accompanied by promises that he and his followers would certainly take part in the party’s next battle further smoothing over any hard feelings.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Jarek, noooooooo!