The Story So Far... (Old)

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The Story So Far... (Old)

Postby DM_Tudor » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:43 pm

SESSION 1:
PCs: Seek (James Turner), Jasper Vichohk (Christopher Ickle), Brother Odo (James Whitmarsh), Fredrick (Callum Cormie), Kumori (Robert Pressler)
Summary: Whether through fate or design, the party found themselves within the company of Dwarin Stonefel, a dwarf merchant and brewer of sizeable renown. Hired as guardians of his caravan for the duration of their journey down the King’s Road, the five individuals were soon brought before the large, golden gates of Anorok, the first dwarven city to be established above ground.

Despite some hesitancy from the Stone Guardians manning the gates, the party was admitted inside alongside their one-time employer, who eagerly escorted them to the Dawning Glory - a simple, but comfortable tavern that he owned (in small part) alongside his step-sister Diesa Stonefel. Dwarin declared that the party would be allowed free room and board for the night, despite Diesa’s momentary protests: she was concerned that they did not yet have valid Writs - mandatory documents that authorised an individual’s right to remain within the city - but her step-brother assured her that he was about to handle the matter.

After offering the party a sample of one of his ales (the only kind of ale or whiskey sold in the Dawning Glory) - namely the sweet, but potent, Firestryder - Dwarin explained that his on-and-off business associate Gideon Fairweather might be able to supply them with Writs that would allow them to remain within the city. The group agreed to speak with Gideon, and so Dwarin provided a letter of reference, as well as a map to Gideon’s place of business, and sent them on their way.

The Fairweather Dwellings and Estates Company was not hard to locate, being one of the dourest looking buildings in the Merchant District of western Anorok. Inside the unaccommodating building the party encountered Gideon Fairweather - an aging man of little patience, who considered their letter of reference carefully before deciding to speak with them. In the end he confessed that he had potential work for them, if they were capable: he had acquired a disused mine from a young gnome called Gimble Raulnor, whose father Maximus was a former business associate; as it turned out the young gnome had fallen into bad graces with the Thetus Cartel, and sought to sell up and leave before his fortunes worsened. Gideon bought the property rights and set about restoring the mine immediately - but soon after sending his workers there, one fell through the floor into a mysterious chamber and died on impact. The foreman vacated the mine immediately. Gideon, in an attempt to salvage something of his purchase, sent an investigative team down the hole; only two returned, claiming that the chambers below were part of an as-yet-unidentified dwarven thaig - and that the chambers were host to some dangerous beings or shadows or ghosts.

It was clear to the group the importance of Gideon’s discovery: Anorok was governed not by one, but by four dwarven factions belonging to the cities that had aided in its construction - Kar’mora, Adelheim, Kragfel, and Sundefast - resulting in a disorganised system of government in which four factions vied for advantage and power. The discovery of an unaligned - and unoccupied - dwarven thaig so close to the city would give any faction willing to pay significant advantage - a fact that was clearly not lost on Gideon.

In exchange for a monetary sum of 100gp per investigator, plus a Writ of Employment with Fairweather Dwellings and Estates that would allow each person access to the city, Gideon demanded that the party enter into the thaig and determine who once resided there, as well as where they had gone and why they had left. The party agreed and signed a contract of employment, receiving in turn a temporary (24 hour) Writ that would allow them into, and out of, the city; should they return with the information desired, Gideon stated, he would then exchange their temporary Writ for a permanent one. He also reminded the party that they should bring back anything they find, and that he would allow them to take away a portion of the findings, depending on how successful they were.

After departing from Gideon’s presence, the party made a quick visit to the neighbouring store fronts, including Cedric’s Wondrous Oddities! - where many arrows, potions, packs, and kit pieces were purchased - and Alanora’s. In the former they encountered the excitable Cedric, and eyed the display for the upcoming marvel, “Gallant’s Wondrous Boomstick - Coming Soon!”, and in the latter they encountered Alanora, a professional, insight elf who provided the party with a number of healing potions. An arrangement was reached between Kumori and the herbalist: the ranger promised to find and bring back the elusive, dangerous, but potent, shigoraa fungi in exchange for future discounts at her store.

With their items in hand and the sun lowering in the sky, the party made immediately for the exit of the city, but not before having their Writs checked by the wandering, varied Stone Guardians. Upon leaving the city limits they journeyed north-east towards a small, cut-back woodlands and, by following both map and tracks, found themselves shortly standing before the Folkstead Mine. A quick examination of the tracks underfoot gave credence to Gideon’s story about there having been another investigative attempt a week before, and also led the party towards the hole admitting entrance to the thaig far below.

Securing their rope to the mine’s wooden framework, the party descending a good 20-22 feet to a platform suspended in a large chamber. Connected to the platform was a passage to a religious temple, the statue of which identified it as a temple to Moradin, god of creation. As well as a number of broken pews and tapestries, the chamber was littered with a dozen or so skeletons, all looking to be dwarven. Further inspection of the dais at the head of the chamber resulted in the discovery of a large tome, through which a dagger had been stabbed. Caution drove the others away from the book, but curiosity got the better of Seek, who pulled the weapon from the book. Alongside Brother Odo she began pouring over the book, which was written in dwarvish, and was soon revealed to be a copy of the Religious Codex (although a version that focuses almost exclusively upon the dwarven pantheon). Whilst the two considered the tome, the other examining the rear of the statue, wherein they found a chest, carefully hidden at the base of the gargantuan idol. After safely disarming and unlocking the chest, Jasper found the container to be the home of two piles of coins, as well as a golden, smaller-sized Moradin idol.

No sooner had the group finished their respective tasks than did a small, fast moving creature move into the light cast by Brother Odo’s torch - a small, rounded, four-legged thing which leaped upon the shoulder of Seek, clawing her as she called out in pain. Her companions leaped to her aim in time to see her wrestle with a four-legged brain, one that was resistant to all attempts to dislodge it from its chosen prey.

After a brief, but rapid skirmish in which the creature was burned, struck, and then crushed by a powerful, expert swing by Brother Odo, the brain-thing lay dead at the feet of the shaken party.

SESSION 2:
PCs: Seek (James Turner), Brother Odo (James Whitmarsh), Fredrick (Callum Cormie), Ilithag Stonebite (Mitchell Brown)
DM-Controlled PCs: Jasper Vichohk (Christopher Ickle), Kumori (Robert Pressler)
Summary: With the strange creature lying dead at their feet, the party immediately set about gathering themselves, tending to Seek’s injuries, and checking the temple for signs of further danger. To their collective relief, the diminutive being seemed to have been alone.

Unbeknownst to them, they were not in fact alone, for a fresh visitor to the thaig waited within the mines above. Tasked with the objective of ensuring that the party kept to their side of the bargain (that is to say that they brought back their entire findings to Anorok to be split with their employer), the towering and intimidating Goliath, Ilithag Stonebite, had hastened to the thaig and descended down into the derelict chambers himself.

After a tense stand-off between the party and the newcomer it was soon proven that Ilithag was a genuine employee of the Fairweather Dwellings and Estates Company, and that his involvement with their ongoing investigation was to be expected and tolerated. With this inevitability understood, the group vacated the temple and proceeded back into the large and damaged “entrance hall” into which they had arrived.

A brief examination of a jury-rigged stone barricade and some noticed scorch marks upon the inner-side of the chamber’s large doorway convinced Jasper - and through him, the party - that the second half of the bridge had been purposefully destroyed in a desperate attempt to slow the progress of some attacking force. That the temple had been lined with skeletons betrayed the futility of such an attempt, however.

Beyond the bridge chamber lay the war-room, which was identified as such by Ilithag upon entry. He set about searching for a sigil that might make clear the identity of the thaig’s prior rulers, whilst Fredrick and Jasper conspired to steal a fine and expensive looking tapestry of the thaig’s previous ruler out from under the nose of their newly acquired supervisor. As Jasper distracted Ilithag with questions about what the Goliath was looking for and how he knew the room’s purpose at a glance, the wizard successfully lifted down and stowed the tapestry away in his (now filled to the brim) backpack.

Whilst her companions checked the room for a sigil, and Brother Odo concerned himself with the two other exits leading from the chamber, Seek became fixated upon the room’s sole other occupant: a large, humanoid skeleton that lay upon the long, central table’s unnatural division. Despite a close examination by the halfling monk moments before, the nature of the deceased being could not be determined, and Seek was left only with a cold chill that she did not understand.

As Seek gathered herself from the odd sensation, Ilithag finally located the sigil of the thaig’s former occupants upon the rear of the war-room’s largest chair. Though neither he not Seek could identify its origin, Brother Odo recalled that it belonged to one of the minor dwarven clans, the Castirns. According to the halfling, the clan had existed around 100 years ago, and had maintained a grudge with humankind over some issue or other that never quite escalated to bloodshed. Then, and without warning, contact with the Castirn clan ceased: the humans, glad to be rid of the dwarven sect, did not investigate, and larger, grander dwarven cities maintained little trade with such a minor thaig to be concerned. They fell away into the depths of history, their fate undetermined... until now.

With the name of the ruling family now known (as well as the identity of their last known monarch, King Thorek), the party progressed through the southern exit, having forced it open through a mixture of Seek’s magic and Ilithag’s overwhelming strength. Beyond lay a corridor with broken and unnatural entrances leading to the sewers below, and past that a solid, metal doorway, before which lay the remains of inhuman creatures and a lone, solitary dwarf adorned in well-crafted chainmail, a handsome warhammer besides it. The dwarf had been pinned to the doorway behind with some force by a knife similar to that which had pierced the Religious Codex in the temple. The dwarf’s head, laying besides it, carried a dented crown which, alongside the royal sigil on the armour, marked the figure as royalty.

As Ilithag gathered up the dwarf’s warhammer and armour, and Brother Odo examined the variety of skeletons that littered the corridor surrounding it, Jasper revealed a key which had been carefully hidden within a wall-dent close by. He tested it upon the door behind the dwarven remains - and it unlocked it. Beyond lay an armoury, nearly picked clean by the thaig’s former occupants... and eight, child-sized skeletons, all huddled close to - or clutching at - the door. The party considered the room and its few remaining weapons briefly before departing, moving on to a second doorway further down the corridor.

Though stuck, a solid blow from Ilithag’s newly acquired warhammer removed the wooden door from its hinges, admitting the party to a number of chambers intended for the use of the thaig’s Stone Guardians. Most were uniform in appearance and well kept, whilst others contained oddities such as personalised articles of dwarven poetry, letters regarding changes in dwarven patrol schedules, and a chamber which had been sealed from the inside. Through this latter door Ilithag and Seek forced themselves, and found beyond the skeleton of a child in the arms of an adult dwarf; besides them both lay a near-empty, corkless vial. Suspecting suicide-by-poison to be the cause of death, Seek gathered the empty vial and stole away to join the others.

Prior to Seek’s discovery of the vial, the group had located the largest of the barrack chambers, one possessing a bed larger than the others, an idol of the Unnamed God, and a number of books and other, more expensive articles. During their search of the room, Seek and Brother Odo located a note hidden in a slat behind the bed’s head - a note written hastily in dwarvish. Brother Odo read the script and then summoned the others, who learned of the letter’s contents through Fredrick’s translation.

It read:

“My beloved,

“If you end up reading this then it will mean that I am dead. Know that I go down fighting, and that I protect my people to my dying breath.

“Look for my remains and bury me besides my brother. Recognise my sigil if not my body, for the bastards may pick it clean. I don’t believe they eat the dead, but if they do then feel no guilt if you cannot find me at all.

“Tell your King to bolster his defences. These things may come to you next.

"Don’t die. Live a long life. I love you.

Ilde”


Brother Odo, thinking back on what he recalled about the Castirn clan, confirmed that King Thorek had only one legitimate heir - his daughter, Princess Ilde Castirn. He theorised by the letter’s dialect, the adornments within the room, and the wording used in the prose, that the writer might indeed be the same woman.

Before further thought or discussion could be given as to the author’s identity, Ilithag - who had remained in the corridor connecting the rooms in order to oversee the movements of the group - came to realise that the two large statues within the chamber (that of Moradin and a smaller, female dwarf depicting a Stone Guardian) had shifted positions very slightly... and were now staring straight at him. His finely-honed reactions were just quick enough to allow him to step aside before the larger statue’s massive warhammer collided with his head - and instead punched a hole in the wall besides him, allowing those in the room beyond to see, as well as hear, the conflict beginning beyond.

Through a series of accurate spells, solid blows, and broken noses, the party overcame the two animate statues and left the barracks with their fresh knowledge in tow. Continuing around the principle corridor the party discovered a tapestry of the thaig’s King Thorek, in which his daughter featured prominently, wearing armour and carrying a warhammer identical to those discovered outside of the armoury. Opposite this tapestry (which the party also took down and stowed away) lay the thaig’s splendid entrance hall, which was filled with hastily assembled barricades, pit traps (down which Fredrick almost fell), and large entrance doors which had been utterly destroyed. Beyond this chamber lay an entrance to the Deep Roads - tunnels and passages of the Under Dark that ran between dwarven cities and thaigs, having been made “safe” by the linked city’s Stone Guardians - but the party did not have the time or desire to try and shift the debris enough to confirm that fact.

Returning back down the corridor through which they had arrived, the party learned that the spiraling stairway that led further into the thaig’s depths had been flooded from below. Rather than risk venturing further the party doubled back to the armoury’s corridor, and examined the hole leading to the thaig’s sewer tunnels. With Ilithag taking the lead the group leaped down to the tunnel below, with most falling down upon the sludge and muck - all save for Kumori and Brother Odo, who caught themselves with ease. Ignoring the terrible stench surrounding them, and the nature of the sludge into which they had stepped, the group pressed further down the disgusting tunnel, all the way to the drop off where the water spilled out to a large chamber underneath.

With the help of Ilithag and his rope, the party leaped over the gap to the neighbouring sewage tunnel opposite. Remembering their agreement with Alanora regarding shigoraa mushrooms, and having spied a cluster of fungi lining the tunnel ahead, Kumori began checking the fungus for any signs of the elusive mushroom - but before he could complete his search, his movements awakened and ear-splitting shriek from the largest of the fungi ahead. Caught off-guard the party reacted slowly, uncertain how to proceed, until Seek impaled the shrieking entity with her blade and twisted it in half. The tunnel fell silent, giving Kumori the chance to locate and collect a single shigoraa mushroom (with some help from Seek and her mage hand).

Moving further up the tunnel and through the filth and stink the party - minus Kiki, who had returned to the sewer tunnel’s other side, having been startled by the shrieking - found themselves nearing the end chamber... but before they could reach it, Fredrick discovered that he and the party had moved into uncomfortably close proximity with a hideous, eyeless being that had masked itself upon the walls of the passage. This same being stabbed Fredrick in the chest as he sought to flee its reach; before the others could respond, more hissing, gargling creatures of near-identical appearance detached themselves from the walls and began surrounding the group. Kumori, likewise surrounded, fell victim to a savage thrust of a bladed-club into his side, and he, too, fell to the ground.

Through the application of quickly administered potions of healing, the wizard and ranger found themselves back on their feet. Having spotted a similar fungus across the tunnel to the one that had shrieked moments before, and realising that these creatures seemed to locate their enemies through sound, Ilithag threw an axe into the mushroom, causing it to fill the tunnels with painful screams that disorientated the attacking monsters. Despite Ilithag falling and then rising through the aid of Brother Odo, the party systematically killed each of their ambushers.

In the aftermath of their skirmish, the group moved into the tunnel’s final chamber, which was likely used to “collect” the waste of the thaig above before moving it down to the sewer tunnels below. Around this pool a number of piles of bones - both old and new, animal and gnome and dwarf - had been clustered, and a thorough search by Seek turned up a small collection of copper and gold pieces. Jasper, likewise, spotted more coins at the bottom of the mirky waters and, through the judicious use of mage hand, the spoils were recovered easily.

With their investigation’s time allowance almost over, and the party being unwilling to venture lower into the thaig without proper preparation, the group returned through the tunnels to the bridge chamber and began ascending one-by-one to the mines above. Seek, the last to return to the surface, was gripped for a second time by a feeling she didn’t fully understand: a cold and unsettling chill that made her body and mind weak and uncooperative. With the help of the others she tied the rope about herself and was hauled bodily to the surface - but as she soared higher, she spied, back in the war-room’s chambers, a pair of glowering, identifiable eyes staring straight at her.

Despite her experience, Seek did not confess what had transpired to the others, and instead joined them in their return to Anorok, into which they were admitted after a thorough checking of their Writs. Back inside the city and with their spoils in tow, the group began making their way back to the Fairweather Dwelling and Estates Company building.

TO BE CONTINUED IN SESSION 3.
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Re: The Story So Far...

Postby DM_Tudor » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:20 am

The above has not been updated for a while (clearly); but since I have moved our group discussions to here for all future sessions, I will begin updating this thread with ongoing installments of Story So Far... posts.
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Re: The Story So Far...

Postby DM_Tudor » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:48 am

I know I've mentioned it before (namely above), but I do eventually intend on getting around to updating the Story So Far..., though I can't say as to when that will happen. My primary focus right now is the World Gazetteer, which should make it easier for us all to navigate the setting and found the characters' place therein.
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Re: The Story So Far...

Postby Seek » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:23 am

What would be super helpful if you have the time would be a quick cheat sheet of the characters we've encountered, their occupation, and any significant relationship they have with other NPCs or some of the PCs. Just a couple of sentences per character really.
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Re: The Story So Far...

Postby ZeitAki » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:00 am

Its called notes seek. You should be making them
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Re: The Story So Far...

Postby DM_Tudor » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:41 am

Seek wrote:What would be super helpful if you have the time would be a quick cheat sheet of the characters we've encountered, their occupation, and any significant relationship they have with other NPCs or some of the PCs. Just a couple of sentences per character really.

I will consider putting something together, but yeah, notes are the way to go really.

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