Campaign of the Month: April 2014

Tyellador

Pieces in Play

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The festival has arrived, with all of its madness and frivolity. Runa, Lina, Ra’s and Shil meet clandestinely up at the Healwud Temple of Ehlonna, and solidify their plans. Runa, and her performance, are to be the primary distraction for guards, townspeople, and Xavhorn alike; Lina will make sure that Xavhorn, his steward, and as many of Xavhorn’s personal guard are away from his mansion as possible; Ra’s and Shil will infiltrate the mansion, and find out what Xavhorn has been hiding.

At the Xavhorn mansion, Lina engages all of her charismatic, sultry wiles in convincing the Steward, and Xavhorn, that there may be fringe benefits to attending the festival. Xavhorn reluctantly leaves his work; the Steward is love-struck.

Meanwhile, Runa sits tensely offstage, tuning her lute and trying to practice. A crowd begins to amass out front, as vendors set up selling mead and ale and meat roasting on spits around the fringes of the Aldeon Ehlenestra. Guards and servants from the Soulaxe manor start to arrive, along with Lina. Lord Xavhorn has gone all out for this performance, hiring local gnomes to do pyrotechnics, dancers, and percussionists… and suddenly, someone runs by and snatches Runa’s lute from her hands.

Outside of Xavhorn’s manor, Ra’s and Shil notice a decrease in guards along the grounds. First, Shil and Ra’s start to climb over the outer wall, dropping in surprise as a sleep rune explodes in their faces. Luckily immune to its effects, they continue, jumping to the roof of the warehouse. Thunk! The bolt of Shil’s custom crossbow with rope attached wedges into the wall of the manor proper, allowing the two to aerially traverse the gap between the warehouse and the main building. Slipping through the window and then cutting and removing the rope from the bolt to hide their traces, they enter Xavhorn’s manor.

Ra’s, having been at the manor before, leads the pair quietly up the stairs to Xavhorn’s private study. Reeking of luxury, the room is woodpaneled with mahogany desk and bookcases, brightly colored tufted rug from Tellzmala and fine leather furnishings. Quickly casing the office, the pair identifies the safe (emptied in opportunistic fashion by Shil), and a book which seems to hold account information. Shil breaks into the desk, finding what appears to be the real ledger, and pockets it in his satchel. Ra’s opens the book on the desk and…Boom. An explosion rocks the room, nearly burning Ra’s face off and splattering blood and embers of the book across the wall.

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Cleaning up the Mess
One day to the festival...

Standing in the middle of the road from Easteðgeat to Healwud, the group of four determine to split up. Shil McTire remains behind to make it appear as though the three men are the Clerics of Vecna that Lord Xavhorn is searching for, and to make it appear as though they put up more of a fight. Lina Bowman and Runa Egilsdottir head the hour and a half or so back to town to alert Sheriff Leaf to the bandit camp, now confirmed, in their minds, to be the single same that they had been kidnapped to previously. Ras returns to Healwud also to bring word to Lord Xavhorn Soulaxe that he has found and slain three Clerics of Vecna.

As Ras, Lina, and Runa enter Healwud at about four in the afternoon, Lina and Runa dash over to the Guards’ Headquarters, seeking assistance. They explain to Tegan Riverlarch, Leaf’s second-in-command, that they have found the bandit camp and that they need a detective or high-ranking officer with ranging or tracking experience in order to find out where the people in the camp have been taken. To their knowledge, there are also a few people left in the camp, so Runa and Lina request other support. Frustratingly, Tegan says his hands are tied, as he needs to remain in the city, and there is no one he can send, as he already has two bands of guardsmen sent down the west and south roads where the kidnappings have been happening. He offers no help, but is willing to lend the two women a horse from the East Gate to ride to find Sheriff Lyfalia, sent on a fool’s errand by Ra’s to find orcs in the East.

Meanwhile, Ra’s Al Ghul arrives at the court of Lord Xavhorn, and requests a private audience to disclose delicate information. Lord Xavhorn accepts this, and listens as Ras describes encountering three men on the road who fit the description of the clerics of Vecna, though, as he says, “words are just words, and one should never assume.” Xavhorn is pleased with this, and recommends that Ras, in the name of “keeping the people calm”, destroys all evidence of the bodies, for a fee. Ras accepts the bursary, agrees to destroy the evidence, and departs to spend some of his purse-change at the blacksmith’s shop.

Equipped with a horse at the east gate of Healwud, Runa and Lina ride straight east, turning only once when they see an explosion of flame to the north. After a ride of an hour or so, they encounter Lyfalia Greyelm, alone but having slain two wolves, and not too pleased with her lot. She is surprised at their appearance, but hears their story: while investigating out of town, they were ambushed on the road, but then found out where the bandit camp was. To their knowledge, some people still remain there, and they entreated Leaf most heartily to come with them and solve this present mystery, with evidence and enemies clearly visible, rather than remain in the East near the Ieldranweald hunting shadows of Orcs. As she had in a day’s march only encountered one camp, which did not even wholly resemble that of an Orc scouting party, Leaf is convinced to go.

The three women ride back to and through town, heading down the southern road from Healwud, and then letting the horses go, trek west through the woods, encountering the bandit camp. It was indeed the camp which Lina and Runa remembered; however, it was clearly abandoned. Tents were gone, shallow graves had been dug, tables had disappeared, tarps were in disarray, and footprints reflecting massive movement were scattered throughout the main clearing. Frustrated with coming up emptyhanded, the women entreat Sheriff Leaf to do some tracking and detective work. They explain that the way they met was in being abducted and brought to this very camp, and Runa rambles on about how detective work needs to be done to find out who employed Garrick, the ranger who kidnapped her in the first place, who appeared to lead the operation under the directions of some unseen foe, and who was likely in one of the shallow graves. Leaf is very much disturbed, but promises to follow up with a tracker the next day, despite the festival.

Back at the bodies, Shil is perturbed to see that all of his disguising has been for naught once Ra’s returns without Lord Xavhorn. Taking the pieces of “evidence” that his men were Clerics of Vecna— some black cloaks and a letter vaguely resembling the one which was found on the bandit Ranger— Shil walks back to town, intending to find Lord Xavhorn and at least get the money for his ICU commission before blowing open the whole case the next day at the festival. In town, Shil decides to head north to the shack in which he met Lord Xavhorn and received the commission in the first place. Frustrated with the lack of answer to his knocking, he picks the lock and enters…

Ra’s remains with the bodies and inters them as befits the traditions of Nehrule. Eventually, he returns to Healwud

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Frame or be Hanged
In which we do the ambushing.

Meeting at the Temple of Ehlonna the next morning, Shil shares with Lina, Rasand Runa the information from his encounter with Lord Xavhorn. In order to better investigate the kidnappings, and to set up fall-men to be the “Clerics of Vecna” that Lord Xavhorn is looking for, the quartet head out of Healwud’s gates down the West road towards Clifforð.

On the road they run into an apple merchant (Runa: “Song for two coppers!”), who informs the troupe that he hasn’t had any trouble on the road, nor has he heard of any road blocks, nor seen any guardsmen. Sensing that the West road is clear, the group cuts through the forest to the south road, where they spot an archer and decide to divide and conquer. Lina and Runa startle the archer with the usual offer (Runa: “Song (and dance) for two coppers?”), and distract him as Ras and Shil clear the right and left side of the road, respectively.

As the women engage the archer in conversation, drawing him down the southern road, Shil ambushes a fairly unskilled bandit guardsman to the east of the road. At knife-point, the man is made to take off his belt and allow Shil to bind him with it. On the west side of the road, Ras ninjas another bandit man on duty, stabbing him through the leg and eliciting a scream of pain. At the sound, the archer with Runa and Lina becomes paranoid, shouting, “Who are you people?!” and attempting to make an escape. Shil and Ras drag in their bound bandit counterparts, and begin to interrogate them all.

After some violence and bloodletting, in which the throat of the most afraid bandits, clearly not one natural to the profession, is slit, Runa entreats and then demands for Shil and Ras to stop. When they do not heed her, she sings “sleep”, and, against all rulebooks and regulations, Shil, Lina, and the bandits slump to the ground. As Shil threatened from an ethereal realm that if the three men weren’t dead, he would kill Runa, she has Ras kill quickly while asleep the man which Shil brought in. Then, she and Ras interrogate the remaining bandit, confirming the information given by the other bandits:

-The man who recruited them was named Garrick, a ranger with a wolf who gave out odd jobs to the men of the town. The “bandits” were not informed of the end result of their kidnappings, only given instruction by Garrick to bring all travellers on the road to their camp, situated between the West and South roads. Every so often (yesterday was the most recent day, in fact,) the prisoners are taken away, to where the men know not.

-The remaining man expects there to be three more of their band at the camp right now, but then also expected Garrick (fairly surely confirmed to be the powerful ranger who we slew) to still be alive.

With this, the remaining man is killed as quickly and fearlessly as possible, and Shil wakes up frustrated, but with three bodies to present to Lord Xavhorn.

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Sneaking.

Shil McTire follows up on a lead from the ICU, meeting in the north-west corner of the Soulaxe Estate with Eny (Enigma) his ICU contact. Ironically, Lord Xavhorn Soulaxe has hired the ICU to investigate the presence of Clerics of Vecna at the town’s gate three days prior.

Lord Xavhorn had never seen reports of Clerics of Vecna operating in the day, stating that they were “not ones for polite society.” He had also never heard of Clerics of Vecna coming to a city gate and “knocking”. Shil pressed Xavhorn for more information: after sending Eny out from the room, and being made many promises of secrecy, Xavhorn finally admits more knowledge. He confesses to hearing of bandits on the road to the south and west kidnapping people, and potentially bringing them to the North. When asked about possible associates of the clerics of Vecna, Xavhorn mentions an Adept north of the city who may be knowledgeable about Vecna— or connected to clerics.

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Shmoozing.

In the late morning, Lina makes arrangements with the elders of the Temple of Ehlonna to become a religious adviser to Lord Xavhorn Soulaxe. Pleased both with her prestige and good looks, Xavhorn accepts Lina’s offer, hiring her shortly before Runa appeared for her 1:30 audition.

At the gate to the Soulaxe manor, Ra’s speaks to Frank the gatekeeper to get Runa in for her appointment. After the usual pleasantries, Runa plays her lute and sings a song of adventure (quaffing a potion of Eagle’s Might before starting, to be more convincing):

-

While not entirely convinced by her surprisingly good performance, Lord Xavhorn is persuaded by Ra’s and Lina to hire Runa at least for a party in three day’s time to increase the morale of the townsfolk.

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Putting pieces in place
Our adventurers do all the prepwork.

Deep in night’s darkness, a shadow sleuths around the edges of the Xavhorn manor…

Having rested overnight in the Temple of Ehlonna, Runa, Shil, and Lina meet their second day in Healwud. Eager to uncover the mystery surrounding the kidnappings on the roads to Healwud‘s gates, the three make plans to infiltrate the court of Lord Xavhorn Soulaxe to decipher his involvement. Ra’s Al Ghul, being already employed in the services of Lord Xavhorn, enters the manor first, arranging an interview at an hour and a half past noon for Runa Egilsdottir to meet with Lord Xavhorn Soulaxe. A bit nervous about Runa Egilsdottir‘s capabilities, Shil McTire pulls out all the stops searching for an aid for her awkward singing voice. At Orville Redinpoplar’s General Store, Shil McTire uses all of his persuasive skills to get Orville to part with a potion of Eagle’s Might for a third of the price…

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Schemes'n'Things
In which no one trusts anyone else.

At the Grainary, Ra’s the wild elf has bought the use of the space from the owner till 10 at night. Not too long after the fight breaks out in the bar, Shil enters the now-empty Grainary, casing the joint and hiding behind the door frame as best he can. When Ra’s places a letter with the seal of Lord Xavhorn Soulaxe the Rising Hawk on the Grainary counter, all potential trust between the two evaporates, as the seal matches that on the order to kidnap people from the forest, keeping them alive and away from Healwud for no doubt nefarious reasons. Shil thus greets Ra’s with a dagger in the face, but although Ra’s does not give satisfactory reasons to produce trust despite his working for the Soulaxe family, Shil puts faith in Ra’s word, promising to return to the Grainary after conducting some business.

Ra’s heads forth to meet with Leaf. When she inquires about his location and injury, he lies and states that he was injured by orcs outside the south gate of town, and sends her guardsmen on a wild goose chase after orcs in the Ieldranweald.

Lina Bowman, Runa Egilsdottir, and Shil McTire meet again in the woody sanctuary of the Temple of Ehlonna. Aware that a man-hunt is ongoing for both Shil alone and for three strangers, two female and one male, they agree that Lina, the most respectable of the group and the only one with a public face of good standing, should meet with Sheriff Lyfalia. Lina agrees to signal when it is safe for all to reappear (and, presumably, charges with violent outcomes are dropped) after the 4pm meeting, and the party disperses.

In this brief window before meeting with the Sheriff, Shil decides to test Ra’s’s ability to be trusted by giving him an assignment. Despite having just promised the Sheriff he would be on the southern side of Healwud’s wall, Ra’s is to accompany the Sheriff to the meeting at the Temple of Ehlonna at 4 and ensure that all goes well. Ra’s smooth-talks his way into accompanying the Sheriff. Arriving half an hour early with an armed guard, Leaf is much surprised to see a lovely cleric of Ehlonna instead of the rowdy bar-patron who she agreed to meet at 4. Lina diplomatically explains Shil’s and the party’s predicament, and alerts the Sheriff to the ill-happenings beyond the town limits and Lord Xavhorn Soulaxe’s potential part in them. After Ra’s offers to pay the bar fine, and Shil appears from his tree to vouch for himself, Leaf agrees to let the party investigate Lord Xavhorn Soulaxe without armed supervision from the town guardsmen.

With permission granted from the Sheriff, the adventurers decide to have Ra’s, who is part of Lord Xavhorn’s court, introduce Runa as a wandering bard seeking to write the deeds of the Soulaxe family— and thus have her pepper him with questions on all of his doings. Shil plans to sneak in and raid Lord Xavhorn’s papers, but also perhaps to make an appearance in court himself. Lina, as a person of import to the Temple of Ehlonna, may also drop by the Soulaxe hall, but may also stay at the Temple gathering information, networking with the other clerics of Ehlonna, and formulating an escape plan in case Xavhorn becomes wise to the party’s scheme.

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Clerics on the Run
Disguises and drinks. What could go wrong?

After exiting the bear cave, Shil, Lina, Runa, Angelica and Bragi rest briefly and consider where they are headed post-kidnapping. Angelica decides to report the scheme about the bandits posing as guardsmen posing as priests of Vecna to the authorities in Eastethgeat, and Bragi follows on the same path, heading to his next secret quest. Danen Gandalf Moniker declines to head towards Healwud, deciding instead to ply his wares elsewhere. Lina and Shil have business in Healwud, so head away in that direction, and Runa tags along, hoping for a good story. The three decide to pose as the people-posing-as-clerics-of-Vecna mentioned in the letter found in the bandit camp. Shil disguises everyone using his knowledge of…disguising people, and Runa changes the color of everyone’s cloaks 15 minutes from town so that the party better fits the intimidating description of clerics of Vecna.

Once they reach the town gate, Shil intimidates the guards, who appear unsure whether to treat the party as VIPs or wanted criminals. Runa shows the guardsman the seal on the letter found at the bandit camp, and Lina uses diplomacy to convince the guardsman to let them in— but the guardsmen call both the head of the guard and, potentially, the person to whom the seal belongs. Leaf, the Sheriff of Healwud, is alerted from her conversation in a pub to the presence of three people claiming to be clerics of Vecna.

Once in town, the three adventurers abandon their clerical disguises and split up. Briefly, Lina walks into the Grainary, before being redirected into a local inn/bar. In that same bar, Shil buys rounds of stout for everyone, talking the barkeep into a price of 1s7c/pint, and meets a couple of mysterious strangers. Unfortuately, Shil also gets into a fight with the Sheriff Lyfalia Greyelm at the bar by making a “your mom” joke, and then is goaded into a drinking challenge by Ra’s, a charismatic stout wild elf, with the loser headed to the stocks for the day (it is only noon, after all). At the seventh drink, Leaf and Shil agree (sort of) to meet at the Temple of Ehlonna in four hours, as Ra’s has passed Shil a note saying to meet at the Grainary nearby as soon as possible. A barfight breaks out, incited by Ra’s invisible pushing, and Lina and Runa take this as a cue to cast obscuring mist and to sing up some swirling lights, distracting that bar patrons further as everyone makes their escape.

In the pub, Runa poses as a devotee of the god Obad-Hai to Ra’s, claiming to have been in town for three weeks, and retires to that Temple after the barfight. She learns from Ra’s that trade has been disrupted to the South and West, and from the other bar patron she speaks to she learns that his shipments have been disrupted for at least a week.

After the barfight, Lina heads to the Temple of Ehlonna, gaining both local favor and potential places to sleep at night for the whole party. Runa heads to the Temple of Obad-Hai, and Shil heads away secretly to his secret spot and/or the Grainary.

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Dwarven Ruins Part III
Fuck the Bear

Our band of adventurers regroups after slaying the ghouls, and decides to quickly finish exploring the ruins. Searching the small southern room, they find a room very similar to the small room to the north. They once again find very fine Dwarven armor, a Dwarven longsword, and a gem.

Heading west, the party enters an empty room with complex glyphs and a large circle on the floor. Runa Egilsdottir is able to determine that the circle is arcane, and belongs to the Conjuration school of magic.

Leaving the room and heading north, the party decides to check out the room with the howling/windy noises. They find a stream running from north to south with a small pond towards the southern end of the room, and they see some old water barrels. Finding nothing of interest, the group decides that it is time at last to leave the ruins.

Winding their way back to the entrance, Lina Bowman has a moral quandary on whether or not she should take the cubic locking device that is keeping the door sealed. Shil McTire, who suffers from no moral dilemmas, tries to take the cube.

WRAAAAAA! WRAAAAAA! WRAAAAAA! WRAAAAAA! WRAAAAAA!

Danen quickly walks past the party to silence and deactivate the device.

The entrance door is slowly opened, and a sleeping bear is noticed towards the side. Bragi Hammerfell stealthily walks up towards the bear, keeping himself between the bear and the rest of the party.

The rest of the party… not as stealthily. Loudly and rudely waking up the bear, various party members futilely attack the bear until Bragi hefts his mighty hammer, bringing it solidly down on top of the bear, staggering the bear under the mighty blow. Shil takes this opening to stab the bear, which he does. The bear is quickly ended.

The bear is thoroughly searched by Shil, and skinned by Runa, who also takes some bear-meat for rations. Their foe now being thoroughly defeated, they venture forth from the cave and ruins 25 hours after entering. (Though to some, it seemed like months…)


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Dwarven Ruins Part II
Door Bangin'

From the dormitory the party made their way south again. Seeing a cracked stone door, Bragi Hammerfell begins to pummel the door with his mighty hammer. Within a matter of minutes he creates an opening large enough to squeeze through. Carefully making their way through the passage, Shil McTire notices a magical trap triggered to go off at anyone over 5’ tall. Telling the rest of the party to crouch, they make their way further down the hallway into a small dark room with a semi-circular console set in the center, glowing glyphs appearing on its face.

Of major note was a set of glyphs in the center of the console. Two blinking red. 3 D, 2 O, one IG, and numbered.

Making their way back to the room, the party decided to head dungeon-East, finding a living area. Opening the North door, Bragi found some Dwarven full-plate to wear, while finding Angelica Starfist a new longsword.

Opening the East door, Runa Egilsdottir steps in, noticing that Who seems very uneasy about this room. After stepping back to have the party regroup, Runa walked in further turning around, seeing a ghoul behind the door that she opened. Shil tries to wedge it behind the door. (A few times.) Bragi smashes it with the hammer. (Lina shoots it with her bow?)

Angelica notices another ghoul in the far corner. Shooting, Shil throws dagger.

Group break.

A quasi-map of the area:


Back towards the cave
_________| |_________
| |
__ | | ___
Windy | Dormitory Area
Noises_ ___|
| |
|________ _________ |
| |
| _ _ |
100’ passage Small room
| _ _ | with armor
__________ | | __________ _____| |_____ ___________
| | | | | |
| | | | | Room |
_ | | _ | |__| with |
Unknown beds |
__ ___ __ and |
| | | | | ghouls |
| | | | | |
|___________ ___________| |______ _____| |__________|
| | | |
Room with glyphs Unknown

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