1507's D&D Campaign

10/10 - A New Beginning
12 Cortar, 1264 F.I.

Three years have passed since the death of the cleric Qutugan and the mage Ando. The party has gone their separate ways – Tomi Milenko to return Gan’s body to his homeland, Reyn Suralis and Garcon to their own adventures. Arcubix, still bearing the mysterious amulet that he knows to somehow be related to the demonic entity that Qutugan sacrificed himself to re-imprison, decided to continue his own personal quest. Accompanied by a new traveling companion, the Orine noble scion and former gladiator fight promoter Jale d’Illici, Arcubix decided to follow a tip that would lead him to the city of Lohen, a large port city on the coast of the Nallianan nation of Anembarg. The two were looking for the mysterious crime lord known as the Morningstar – Arcubix for information related to his quest and Jale to put his own hand into the illegal gambling interests the Morningstar is part of in Nalliana.

Another pair of travelers was also exploring Lohen: a Xevierian priestess of Jian Qing Liu named Miss Chen and the Bian warrior-mage Torin Ilphukiir. They had met on the ship on which they had entered port, and decided to travel together. They first explored the market district, where a man attempted to sell them a fake magic sword and they received an incoherent “prediction” from a “seeress”. At one point, Miss Chen gave a gold coin to an orphan in the street, which attracted a mob of orphans also looking for charity. The swarm of needy children was broken up by a guard, but Miss Chen decided to find an orphanage, which they did in a temple of the goddess Dannas.

Meanwhile, Arcubix and Jale were searching for the Morningstar. They came first to Lohen’s dock district and found the gated section that companies and wealthy citizens used; the gates were barred and overseen by a guard that seemed to have been at his job a long time. Arcubix attempted to communicate with the man and ask about the Morningstar, only to discover that he spoke neither Biath nor Arcubix’s native Sisakrai, which resulted in a language barrier that Jale had to translate past with difficulty. Jale attempted to convince the guard that they were trying to get past him so they could purchase weapons at the docks, but the man was nonplussed.

It was about that time that another man came to speak to the guard at the docks, a well-dressed K’hamidin claiming to be passing through to sell wine. He heard Arcubix and Jale’s conversation about the Morningstar and seemed to perk up slightly when he heard it. When he finally decided to bribe the guard (“We are here to see a Mr…Shazam,” he told the guard, producing a small pouch of coins, seemingly from nowhere), he told Arcubix and Jale to come with him through the gate. The man introduced himself as Tariq al-Kharim, telling the two adventurers (Arcubix through Jale, as Tariq’s Biath was spotty at best and the only Nallianan Arcubix knew was “Morningstar”) that he himself was searching for the Morningstar and that he wanted to know what they knew about it. It seemed the three were at similar levels of knowledge – little more than the crime lord’s name was known – so they agreed to join forces to find the man. Arcubix led the way to the first ship, a galley that seemed to be swarming with activity.

Arcubix (taking the direct path in classic Arcubix fashion) decided the way to get the crew’s attention was to climb their gangplank. They did, only to discover that no one aboard the ship spoke any Sisakrai, Biath, or even intelligible Nallianan – they were told in halting, broken Nallianan to leave and the sailors attempted to push them back down the gangplank while Arcubix continued to demand in information about the Morningstar’s whereabouts in a loud voice. Eventually one of the sailors came up to them holding a spiked mace – a morningstar, in other words – in answer to his finally (mis)-understood demands, and the trio gave up.

The next ship was a luxury vessel crewed by clean-cut Xevierians, and Arcubix and company were greeted by the first mate. When asked about the Morningstar, the first mate told them that he knew nothing. He said that if they wished to speak to the captain, they could wait until he returned from meeting with the ship’s owner – “What’s going on?” Arcubix asked. “Is the captain the Morningstar?!” Unsuccessful, the trio had a short discussion about a different tactic, though Arcubix proved unreceptive to any route more subtle than “ask anyone who will listen”.

They decided to ask at the first bar they found, which turned out to be a small, dingy establishment called the Crusty Glass. Inside, the establishment was hosting five customers – three men at the bar, two speaking quietly in the corner. Arcubix entered, demanding (in Biath) information on the Morningstar – of course, the only word the Nallianan speakers in the bar understood was “Morningstar”. They were pointedly asked by the barkeep to get the hell out as two of the men sitting at the bar, sensing a confrontation, fled the room in haste. Arcubix was, predictably, unfazed. The bartender tried to physically force Jale out of the bar while Arcubix tried to get him to calm down – “Calm down!” he said, over and over again (in Biath, which the bartender did not speak). The bartender attempted to punch Arcubix, but failed, and called out for a man named Tom. Tariq spoke a command word as the man was emerging from the back and became suddenly arrayed in heavy armor styled like the body of a demon and was carrying a warhammer. Jale tapped into his magic powers to unobtrusively cast a spell of charming on the bartender and convinced him to calm down – the man still wanted Arcubix and Tariq to leave his bar, however, and they decided that that would be the best option.

Outside, they were told by one of the bar patrons who had left that they might have better luck in the temple district of Lohen, but due to the lateness of the day they decided to return to the Alabaster Dragon, the inn at which Jale and Arcubix were staying.

Torin and Miss Chen had by that time left the orphanage they found after donating some money and returned to the inn they were staying at, which also happened to be the Alabaster Dragon. Chen had asked the owner if she would be allowed to dance for the patrons, and she was allowed to. As Chen was dancing, Arcubix and his group were discussing plans. After Miss Chen’s performance (to thunderous applause), the tavern part of the inn began to clear enough for the sudden sounds of a struggle outside to be audible. Torin leapt to his feet to investigate, with Miss Chen following behind – Arcubix, Jale, and Tariq decided to investigate as well (Arcubix trying to rationalize a possible link between Torin and the Morningstar).

Torin arrived first in the alley where the fight was just finishing – a man protecting a younger boy was felled as he arrived by several armed thugs. Using a spell of speed, Torin closed the distance quickly and gutted one of the thugs with his magic blades. Tariq arrived next and used his magic ring to appear in armor again, once again holding his warhammer. Jale stepped into the fray as well and used a spell to knock everyone in front of him unconscious (including the young boy) except for the apparent leader of the thugs. Chen began to use a spell of mass healing to make sure that those who had been knocked out would recover as the leader attempted to charge Jale, missing the mage with his attacks. Torin struck the man down, knocking him unconscious. Tariq began to tie up all those involved except those who had come from the bar, evidently with rope he carried for that purpose.

The young man woke up, then, still tied up, and began to babble incoherently. It became apparent that he was wearing a white blindfold – when asked about it he claimed that it was hiding his demon eye. Chen removed it and saw that the boy’s eyes were sewn shut with careful stitches that did not look recent. She attempted to heal his blindness and discovered that it was impossible. Arcubix, tired of this, bent to cut the stitches off – the boy begged him not to “let the ponies out of his eyes”. As Arcubix was about to cut, the boy’s demeanor changed suddenly, and in a dead-sounding voice, he spoke the following:

“I see a field, and a host of winged people crossing it. Some are flying; some walking.”

Arcubix’s mood seemed to shift completely, and he slung the tied-up young man over his shoulder and told the group he would take care of him. An argument between him and Miss Chen ensued – Chen argued that since the man the boy claimed to be his uncle was dead, he should be taken to an orphanage, but Arcubix said the young man would be safer with him. Tariq stepped into the argument and pointed out that if they found out who it was that was trying to take the boy, they might know where to bring him. He woke the leader of the thugs and asked him about the job he was asked to do.

The leader claimed that he was asked to find the boy and take him, unharmed, to a certain inn in Lohen. The man giving him the task would not say where it had come from, but the man’s guess was that the ultimate source of the job was none other than the Morningstar himself (though Arcubix now claimed not to care about the Morningstar at all). “I will make you a proposition, my friend,” Tariq told him, crouching next to him. “Either you can come with us to deliver this child – or a substitute – to where he needs to be delivered, or I will take my hammer – it is a merciful hammer, you will not die – and beat you with it until my arms are tired.” The man agreed to take the party to where the boy was supposed to be delivered.

“We are your hired thugs,” Tariq informed him.

“Best in the business,” he agreed.

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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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