1507's D&D Campaign

2/28 - Entering the Tower

(This is just my part of the adventure right now, so if it seems unduly Reyn- and Arcubix-focused, that’s why. -Dave)

A year passed since the party broke up, scattered to the four winds by fate. Little contact between members of the group that defeated the hags occurred in that year, if any, and generally life went on for each adventurer.

Each member of the party received a message from one Count Werner – an invitation to his estate in the country of Jaspier on a certain day so he could offer a proposition.

Garcon and Ando arrived together. Arcubix and Reyn came separately, and Qutugan brought with him a young man he introduced as Tomi Milenko, an Orine native (Everyone’s okay with “Orine” meaning “of Orium”, right? It fits “Byzantium” and “Byzantine”, which is why I chose it) and a recent convert to the worship of one of the gods of Gan’s homeland. Aldo was nowhere to be found. Each member of the party was surprised to see the others, and the impact of the reminder of those events a year prior left the party sitting in an awkward silence until Count Werner entered to present his proposition.

The count revealed that he had heard of the party’s exploits in Dantrimal, and being no friend of the royal family there had decided to find and employ the group which had caused Dantrimal’s prince so much grief. He had a job for them, he said, one that required the party’s skills and prohibited him from using his own people.

On Count Werner’s fief (sitting in the midst of some of his farmland, in fact) was a very old wizard’s tower. It had been sitting sealed since long before his family had come to control that land. Several attempts had been made to break the seal, the most ambitious of them involving an anti-magic field and a battering ram. Nothing seemed to work for many years.

According to the count, however, a peasant working the land had recently noticed that the shimmering field around the door had disappeared. He dared not approach, but informed one of the count’s men, who told the count. Evidently, the seal had finally broken down enough that the tower could be entered safely, and that was precisely what he wanted the party to do. The reason he could not have his own men do it was because he wanted to have the first chance at the treasures within before his own liege, the Crowned Emperor of Jaspier, was notified of the tower’s unsealing; the count was especially interested in making it look like the tower was ransacked by vandals rather than cleaned out for his benefit. He offered the party gold in proportion to what magic items they found for him, and left to get a map to the tower for them. The party conferenced while lunch was brought in for them, and despite the initial hesitance of several party members, decided to investigate the tower for the count.

The party was given until sundown the next day to be out of the tower – the Crowned Emperor could be stalled until then, but not for much longer. Ando was also given a wand with many castings of a spell that could identify magic items held in it, so the party could easily assess the items they found in the tower. They left for the tower shortly after finishing their lunch.

The tower turned out to be a white marble edifice rising at least forty stories above the flat farmland around it, well-engineered but fairly nondescript. The double doors were well-made portals of solid oak with silver latches that broke easily when Gan struck them with his mace.

The bottom few floors turned out to be simple living spaces – guest rooms, dining rooms, small reading rooms, etc. Garcon concentrated on vandalizing – destroying furniture, tearing up bedsheets, etc., while Tomi and Gan followed in his wake, searching for anything interesting in the wreckage. The only thing of note that the search turned up was apparently an old journal – one of several the owner of the tower kept, evidently – that mentioned that the magic used in the tower had started to bleed into the structure itself, and space within the tower had a tendency to become skewed. It also mentioned a mirror in the wizard’s study that was anchored to the Material Plane and was useful when a person’s nature was accidentally changed by the unpredictable magic in the tower.

The library occupied the next few levels of the tower, featuring an enormous upwards spiral the width of the tower into which bookcases were built. The doors leading out of the library were even themselves hidden in bookcases.

(Here’s where I’ll stop for now. Either another DM can pick up from here or I can finish later.)

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The Campaign Thus Far

The campaign began with the formation of a group of adventurers in the land of Bia. This group included the swashbuckling former pirate Garçon; his younger brother the sorcerer Ando, fresh from the university where he had been studying; the traveling bard Marcel, formerly a jester for the nobility of Bia; the elven scholar, mage, and thief Reyn Suralis; and Qutugan (Gan for short), a horse-trainer and Cleric of Vachir hailing from the plains of Jamurath. The group was headed north to find Hiro, Garçon and Ando’s long-lost brother, who they had found was living in a tea-house in Cercival, capital of Dantrimal.

Their travels brought them to the edge of the Morrnath, an area of swampland in Bia, and as they were detouring around the swamps they stopped in the frontier town of Orburgh to restock provisions and rest. While there, they discovered that the town was occasionally beset by grotesque giant wolves that seemed to conform to what the adventurers knew of werewolves. A wizard was also mentioned to have recently passed through the town and into the Morrnath. After talking to the people of the town and committing a few counts of breaking and entering, it was surmised that the mayor’s son Sampson, one of the highest-ranking guards in the town, had been transformed into a werewolf and then left bound in the swamp to die by his parents but had escaped; the mayor denied all accusations. With the realization that the full moon was fast approaching, the party decided to stay in Orburgh to help defend it against the terrors of the transformed Sampson.

The first battle against the transformed Sampson was quick and terrifying, but would have been much worse had the werewolf not had a potent curse cast on it by Gan – the monster occasionally found itself unable to act when it wanted to. It fled into the Moornath, carrying with it a woman of the town named Elisha. The mayor sent the party to pursue the monster with a promise of a reward if they could return its head. The party chased the monster into the swamp until it was joined by the necromancer who had freed him from his bonds, the same one who had passed through the town. The fight ended with the creature subdued and the necromancer dead; Gan told the rest of the party that if they kept the creature restrained until morning, he would be able to ask his god for a spell of curse removal to cure Sampson. They did so, secreted the naked and unconscious Sampson back into his parents’ home to recuperate and collected their reward.

The next day brought a visitor to the town of Orburgh, introducing himself as the assistant of the merchant baron Hans von Stiermarck. He was seeking the help of the militia of Orburgh to help recover a caravan’s worth of goods that had been taken by a minor tribe of lizardfolk, the latest in a string of attacks on von Stiermarck’s shipments near the Morrnath. The acting militia captain informed the assistant of a competent group of mercenary adventurers staying in town and sent him to the inn where the party was staying. Money was offered and the party was taken to meet the baron.

The baron’s camp proved to be a flurry of chaotic activity, with the corps of caravan guards preparing to set out to recover the goods once the tracker they had employed returned with the location where the lizardfolk had taken them. At the center of it all was Baron von Stiermarck himself, a forty-something former adventurer whose reflexes had been dulled by age and comfortable living but whose quick wits had not been. Accompanying him was a pleasant but quiet man dressed as a priest of Kassen, introduced as Brother Aldo. After introductions were made, the Baron was informed that the tracker had returned, and was given the report: The lizardfolk had two separate camps and the goods could have been at either one. The baron decided that the larger camp would be best taken on by his guards, and the smaller could be taken by the adventurers, accompanied by Aldo to keep them honest. They would be compensated when they returned.

The party was led by von Stiermarck’s tracker to within sight of the hidden cave where the tracks led. The noncombatant tracker withdrew back to the camp. The party, crouched in a thicket, began to plan their attack.

Reyn stealthily approached the cave and went inside. He listened hard and heard the sounds of the lizardfolk within, and came out to inform the party. A plan was formed to draw them out and an ambush was set, with Garcon and Reyn climbing up the sides of the steep hill into which the cave was set. A few members of the party went into the cave to make noise to lure out some of the lizardfolk warriors. A few came out, carrying spears and slings. Garcon jumped down from the hill after they were clear of the entrance and blocked their escape back into the cave, and Reyn supported the party with a few arrows from above, which stopped before the party had finished dispatching the lizardfolk. A few moments after the battle had been finished on the ground, Garcon narrowly dodged the corpse of a lizardfolk being dropped from above. Reyn leapt down after it, his weapon bloodied; he had been attacked from behind.

The party decided to enter the cave, and quickly entered a chamber in which more lizardfolk, led by a druid, were prepared for battle. The fight, led by Garcon and Gan at the head of the party, was long and bloody, almost claiming the life of the bard Marcel, who was saved at almost the last moment by a healing spell from Gan. During the fight, it became apparent that Aldo, the party’s new ally, was not what he appeared – rather than casting spells typical of a cleric, he stuck to the shadows and administered surprise attacks against his enemies. A lizardfolk warrior managed to escape, fleeing out a hidden passage.

A large part of von Stiermarck’s shipment was discovered, but not all of it, and what could be carried was. As they approached the camp, they passed one of von Stiermarck’s men – a noncombatant – fleeing from the camp. When questioned, he stopped for just long enough to alert the party to the fact that the camp was under attack by terrible monsters. The party broke into a run, Gan easily pulling ahead astride his horse, Bolt.

Gan was the first to arrive back at the camp, in time to see three armed and well-equipped ogres terrorizing the people there, looking for something or someone. Eventually they seemed to turn their attentions to the Baron, even as Gan was scoring hit after hit with his scimitar and bringing the weight of his warhorse to bear to keep the ogres off their balance. The rest of the party arrived together, in time for the head of Hans von Stiermarck to land at Garcon’s feet. One of the two ogres that remained at this point took the amulet the baron had been wearing and held it up triumphantly, bellowing. Taking it, he turned to flee, and met a shower of magical glitterdust conjured by Ando. As Gan’s allies engaged the other ogre, the cleric rode after the blinded one and slew it with the help of Reyn, recovering the amulet.

This is heavily a work in progress, which needs your help! If you have something to add that I missed – I’ve never made my poor memory a secret – or would like to remind me what’s supposed to happen next, then by all means send it to me in an email. -Dave

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