Saturday, August 30, 2008
I’ve been keeping an eye on Del as promised. He’s faring far better than I’d expect for a Thrane in Breland. He doesn’t flaunt his belief in the Silver Flame (which is smart), but he doesn’t go out of his way to conceal it either. He’s found a very delicate balance which works for him.
His companions from the Guild are a motley bunch. They include a human priest of the Soverign Host, a Dwarven warrior, a Warforged battle leader, a human wizard, and a human rogue from the streets. They seem to be doing a lot of in-fighting but so far they haven’t come to blows. I’ve seen this behaviour before and I have no doubt that they’ll overcome their differences. I did learn that Del had some very harsh words for his companions after a bitter defeat. It caused a few of them to view Del harshly, but the result was an overall improvement to the team. I have no doubt that Del realized this would be the case. It was a smart and calculating move on his part.
In Sharn he’s been spending a lot of time at Coldflame Keep. He generously donated a sizable portion of his earnings to the church. I don’t think they’ve had that kind of donation in a long time. It will certainly win over Father Tana. He’s old school and sees generosity as a true virtue of the chosen. Del may not realize it, but Father Tana would probably do anything he asked of him if it was within his power.
Father Tana’s acolytes have come to worship Del in their own right. Nondar has taken to learning the ways of the sword and Del has been kind enough to provide the boy with some basic training. Liola, a comely human girl of 17 is smitten with Del. But Del doesn’t seem to realize just how much the girl truly adores him. I hope he doesn’t do anything stupid and break her heart in the process. Ah, to be his age again.
Since Del’s return to Shran from his voyage at sea, he’s attracted some of the wrong kind of attention. His new-found wealth and his newly acquired magic sword have not gone unnoticed. On his third night back some ruffians broke into Coldflame Keep. They were clearly after Del’s money and his magical treasures. I took steps to make sure that Del was given adequate warning once the men were inside the church. (Don’t worry, he didn’t know that I was even there.) He quickly took charge of the situation and with the help of the Templars stationed within the church they took down the four burglars without difficulty. None were killed and their arrest sent a message to others who might think that a Church of the Silver Flame is an easy target just because it’s outside of Thrane. This also had the additional bonus of letting the Templars see some much needed action.
I “bumped into” Del a few days later. He remembered me from the Tea House, much to my surprise. We had a brief lunch and talked about the state of Sharn since the end of the war. I didn’t ask him anything too specific and he didn’t volunteer details. He’s very good at reading people and I have no doubt that he knows my meeting was not mere chance. I’ll have to be more diligent if I’m going to continue keeping an eye on him. I suspect he’ll be keeping an eye out for mee too in the days to come.
He reminds me so much of his mother. I’m glad that he didn’t get buried under the bureaucracy of the Silver Flame during his time in Flamekeep. He’s turning into a very interesting man.
I read you letters with tremendous happiness and pride. You seem to be finding your way in the world and putting your skills to good use. I am also very glad to hear that you continue to proudly follow the Flame, even in Breland where there is much less tolerance for it. Please continue to write when you have the opportunity.
A good friend of my, a half-elf named Aloniff, will be in Sharn for the winter. I told him that you’ve been staying at Coldflame Keep and that you’ve recently become a member of the Clifftop Adventurer’s Guild. He said he will look you up if time permits. You may remember him as he used to stop in the tea shop many years ago during the war. I thought a friendly and familiar face would be a welcomed surprise.
I am sending you three tea blends by post that I think you will enjoy. They should are in the next week or so. They are made from the leaves of plants indigenous to Q’Barra (don’t ask how much it cost me to acquire them). Enjoy the tea and may the Flame keep you safe.
Your loving father,
After many weeks on the road it was good to be back in Coldflame Keep. Although I feel the presence of the Silver Flame within me wherever I go, it always feels most gratifying and pure when I’m in a holy place such as this. But before I could get too comfortable I was called to duty once more.
We were all granted full membership in the Clifftop Adventurer’s Guild upon our return to Sharn and it only took a mere five days before we were charged with a dangerous recovery mission in the Thunder Sea. A man named Aubreck had fallen on hard times loosing his ship – The Emporer of the Seas – and the bulk of his estate. Aubreck had a lead on the possible location of his lost ship and he sought a group of adventurers to retrieve a small box contained in the cargo hold.
We traveled across the Thuder Sea for eight days before finding Aubreck’s ship, or what was left of it. We boarded her and began our search. There were unspeakable creatures, alive and undead, within the bowels of the distraught vessel. But our adventuring company succeeded in overcoming these obstacles and found Aubrek’s box. In addition we discovered a few other magical treasures.
I found a beautiful hand-and-a-half sword. I have never wielded a blade of this size with such balance and grace. But the blade’s true magic is its ability to deliver a blow of cold and frost when it strikes an opponent. For this reason, I have dubbed the blade Frost Bite. And so far Frost Bite has not let me down.
The return trip to Sharn only took five days thanks in large part to a strong northerly headwind and uncharacteristically clam waters. Hopefully my stay in Sharn will be longer than five days this time.
Father Tana seems very appreciative of my help when I’m around Coldflame Keep. His advanced age and mediocre health limit his duties considerably. I have noticed that his two teenage acolytes, Nondar and Liola, have found new motivation in their calling. Both have shown noticeable improvement in their tasks and much stronger motivations to do good since I started staying at Coldflame Keep. Father Tana thinks that I am unknowingly acting as a positive role model. I don’t know if I accept this explanation as readily as he does.
May the Flame keep you safe,
Friday, August 29, 2008
Chain +2 (I’m happy with this already)
If I were to upgrade I might go for Exalted Armor +2 (Level 10)
Thundering Weapon +2 (Level 8)
A mace for now. For 4th level I am thinking of using my feat for a proficiency in Long Sword. If I do that, I’ll need this as a Long sword. I’m doing it for two reasons. 1. Role Playing – Jonathon would consider training in Long Sword an honor as its Dol Dorn’s favored weapon. As for the mechanics. It’s the same as taken Weapon Focus because it has a +3 proficiency bonus compared to +2 for a mace.
I’m happy with a +1 Holy Symbol. It’s rarely used. I have very few powers that can benefit. Most of my powers are melee/weapon focused.
Guardian Shield (Level 10)
Acrobat Boots (Level 2)
Not very powerful but I’m tired of being knocked prone. Getting up as a minor action would be nice.
Gloves of Piercing (Level 3)
Gauntlets of Ogre Power suck in 4th edition.
Head Slot:Goggles of Night (Level 14)
Helm of Ghostly Defense (Level 22)
This will come in handy when I start laying the Smack down on the evil Dark Six priest.
Cloak of resistance +2 (Level 7)
It’s has to be red to match my photo. J
Iron Ring of Dwarf Lords (level 14)
Dynamic Belt (Level 9)
No more slipping on boats.
Dimensional Shackles (Level 17)
This will come in handy to bring criminals to justice when they must be captured alive.
I fought valiantly against overwhelming odds, but alas I fell to the horde of filth. By the luck of Moradin I was only knocked unconscious, my last memory being the cry of a small child being carried off to a fate I wish not to think of.
Seven innocent bystanders shall pay the price of their decisions. Why are my companions such fools?
Battleforged Plate +1 (Level 5)
Mountain Plate +2 (Level 8)
Shield of Defiance (Level 8)
Dwarven Greaves (Level 7)
Battlestrider Greaves (Level 12)
Guantlets of Ogre Power (Level 5)
Horned Helm (Level 6)
Amulet of Protection +2 (Level 6)
Iron Skin Belt (Level 5)
Bag of Holding (Level 5)
Reaching this decision was hard enough. I’d come to realize over the past weeks that violence and killing came to easily to me. I fear I’ve been struggling with this demon my entire life. With the exception of when I killed Mikhal I’ve always avoided conflict, preferring to run and hide instead. Now, in this new set of circumstances we are seeking out violence to accomplish our objectives. I’m just afraid I won’t be able to contain the darker side of myself. I find my hand strays towards Nibbler whenever the potential for danger arises. Sometimes the blade is out in my hand before I’m aware of it. No, I wouldn’t be going to the Silver Flame. They’d lock me up as a monster or a murderer. Best to stick to what I know.
That presented its own problem though. What I know is the Sovereign Host and Olladra in specific. However, Jonathon is the last person I want to have knowing about this. He already judges me and thinks of me as a vicious thug and murderer. It’s a hard thing to know. To travel with someone whose life I’ve saved and who has saved my own life. Yet to know that at the end of the day he feels I probably don’t deserve to live. That I should be the next evil put out of its misery.
So if I’m going to talk with a priest of the Host I need to make sure that Jonathon isn’t there. The problem is I don’t know which Temple he worships at; which brings me to my present situation and why I’m moving from shadow to shadow and rooftop to rooftop. I need to follow Jonathon to his regular place of worship so that I know to avoid it. I mean there are enough Temples of the Host around, and it’s not like I need a big fancy one; which is probably where Jonathon is heading.
It’s interesting to watch him as he walks. He stands so tall and proud, wearing his armour as though he were born to it. A group of Dwarves look up startled at his greeting to them. I know Jonathon has his own demons he keeps I’ve heard him scream in the night. But he sure lives a charmed life otherwise. His demeanour is welcoming and he’s gracious to all he meets. I suppose I’m jealous of his easy way with people. Folks see me and they shy away, hand on their coin purse and a quick gesture to ward of evil. Six take them! I’d never hurt an innocent. At least I hope.
As he winds his way into the Temple district I use a market to the left to move through. We’re close now and I can’t afford to be seen. He enters the Temple with a loud greeting. Perfect, I know where he’ll be and therefore where I won’t. Olladra guide me.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Level 8 - Mindiron Vambraces [3,400gp]
Level 9 - Cloak of Survival +2 [4,200 gp]
Level 8 - Orb of Unlucky Exchanges +2 [3,400gp]
Level 4 - Everlasting Provisions [840 gp]
Level 10 - Handy Haversack [5,000 gp]
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
As soon as we returned from our mission for Aubrek, I invited Kathra out to dinner for some fine Dwarven cuisine. We spent a few hours reminiscing about the way things used to be. She told me stories of my father’s adventures and when the conversation turned to the tales of the mother’s kindness I was blessed with the warmth of Boldrei. I kept reminding myself that when my work is done in this world I would be reunited with them in the afterlife. May the host be with them.
If I leave this life prematurely, it will be an honorably death. One worthy of tales while seeking revenge against the Dark Six. Dol Dorn will not let me down. I will avenge their death and make my parents proud.
I told Kathra about our latest adventure and spoke fondly of my friends. Well, nearly all of them. She pointed out that I spoke of Ethan differently during my stories. Putting me on the spot, she asked why I spoke his name with such distain. I had not realized I was doing it until she pointed it out. I had nothing to say to her because she was right. I’ve been adventuring with him for months now. We have both saved each others life numerous times. I would lay down my life for Ethan yet I subconsciously speak his name in a negative tone. I’m sure it’s because he represents the exact opposite of my ideals, especially in combat. Yet he is a loyal friend and I’ve never felt threatened he would betray me. Why can’t I get over my prejudice towards him? Whatever my personal feelings right now, I must still include Ethan in my prayers to the host. I’ll sort it out eventually. For now, I just hope my opinions do not cause any problems because we are beginning to work better as a unit.
The following day I told Ragnolin that I wanted to keep my job as the guild’s priest and promised I would find someone to take over my duties permanently. The adventurers in this guild need spiritual guidance and I can’t abandon that role. The other party members frowned upon keeping their jobs. I can understand but my job was different. I was not sweeping floors. Spiritual guidance and having a Soverign Host presence in the guild is vital. It has a purpose.
On my down time I went to the church and spread word that I was looking for someone to take over my role. I managed to find three candidates and with permission from Ragnolin invited them to the guild for interviews.
During one of my visits to the church I donated 10% of my gold. It was just under 20 gold so I rounded it up. It was my largest donation ever and I hope the church puts it to good use. I’ll have to ask where the money went a few months from now. During one of my visits, I ran into a young cleric adorning many symbols of Dol Dorn. He looked like a good candidate for a hand up, not a hand out. I introduced myself and we sat and prayed together. Afterwards, I gave him my second hand chain mail, 5 gold pieces to buy himself a nice weapon and a few words of encouragement. I think I made a new friend of him. His name was Eathal. Remarkably similar to Ethan, I noted. It felt nice to be successful enough this early in my adventuring career to give back a little.
Speaking of which, when I returned to the guild I tracked down the captain of the Dwarven crew that helps us on the last mission. I made arrangements to invite the crew out for drinks. During my younger days, I might have went crazy and spent 40 gold to treat them properly but I’m a priest now. I can’t be seen getting drunk and losing control. I must be responsible. So after a few hours I retired and took care of the bar tab to that point. 20 gold it cost me. The dwarves appreciated it and were impressed that I mastered their language so easily. One of them came to me the next day and expressed interest in learning more about the Sovereign Host so it was worth it.
On day twelve I made a decision on the 3 candidates to take over more role as the guilds priest. I introduced him to Ragnolin and he signed off. I’m happy that a presence for the Sovereign Host in the guild will continue during my absence. Raylin will do a great job I’m sure.
Expecting the worst within the next room, the group proceeded cautiously. It was all for naught however as the room was empty of any living - or unliving - creatures besides small spiders. Webs covered everything. In one corner of the room was the debris-filled stairway that led up to the altar room. In the other was a trap door leading down. Somehow the spider-webs covering this trap door seemed newer. Almost like the door had been opened recently. (dun-dun-dun!)
Ethan carefully checked the door for traps. Determining it was safe, Delian flung it open to reveal a ladder leading down into the dank hull of the ship. A large amount of debris could be seen floating in the waist-deep water. Using his sunrod, Sterling lay on his stomach and peered into the darkness. The hold ran the entire length of the ship. Nothing could be seen moving aside from the gently lapping water.
Not convinced of their safety, Sterling and Ethan proceed down the ladder. When a small perimeter was secured around the base of the ladder the rest of the group climbed down. In the now illuminated area a large crate floated bearing a stylized letter "A" upon it. Old and damp, it looked to be intact.
Hampered by the watery terrain, the group proceeded slowly toward their goal. However, upon reaching their quarry two ghouls and a corruption corpse burst from the water near the bow! The undead proved to be tough foes in and of themselves but, to make matters worse, the entire ship suddenly shuddered as if being struck by some unseen force. The battle raged on while the party attempted to remain on their feet. Water started pouring in from ever-widening cracks in the hull. At one point the tip of a tentacle could be seen ripping a board from the port wall.
Sensing the urgency of the situation, Sterling turned his attention from the undead to the box floating beside them. With a mighty blow he smashed the lid to reveal a blue, sealed container and a set of chainmail. He quickly snatched both up as the rest of the party bested the undead. Noticing the form of Jonathon under the inky water, Sterling stepped to his comrades aid and pulled him up. All thoughts turned to a hasty retreat lest the group slide beneath the waves with the doomed shipped.
Indeed, had it not been for the assistance of the more surefooted of the group and rope of Ethan, several of the team would surely have met their end here. However, the party was able to make it topside as the Emporer of the Seas listed heavily to port and began slipping to her resting place. The waiting skiff of dwarves braved writhing tentacles and panicked insects the attempted to clamour aboard their vessel as they pulled the party to safety. With a sense of pity, the crew watched as the Emporer finally was laid to rest with all her mysteries of the past several years.
A week later The Soul of the Winter returned to Sharn. Aubreck quickly met the party at the docks and ushered them to a quiet place aboard the ship to learn what had happened. He was absolutley elated at the recovery of his box. He was convinced that it's contents would put him back on the road to regaining his former mercantile glory. He paid the members of the team their owed 100 gp each and instructed them to keep the extra items they had found. He also instructed them to look him up if they ever had need of a ship. It would not take him long to get set up again. With that he bid them farewell.
A dozen days passed. The group rested and went about personal business as they kept an eye out for signs of a job worth of their skillset. It was not long in coming - and it was thrust upon them by none other than their boss Ragnolin.
While enjoying a little down time at the pub, the party seems a messenger burst into the guild hall and rush to the barkeep looking for Ragnolin. He then rushes into back to the bosses office. After several moments, Ragnolin strides into the main room looking angry. With very few others around he points to the group and ushers them into his office.
It seems that the rest of Hi'relle's party (the old man slain by Skamos north of Black Pit) have begun to vanish. Two the group disappeared within Flamekeep and a third never arrived at his destination of Fairhaven. Ragnolin believes that the remaining member - Kartenix - is in extreme danger. Kartenix is enroute from Flamekeep to Sharn via the King's highways. He is travelling with his 8 year old son Tharunn. The best guess to his location is a town called Delver's Dale in northern Breland. Ragnolin wants you to leave within the hour on a chartered airship in order to determine Kartenix' whereabouts and to protect him on the rest of his journey to Sharn. Ragnolin informs you that Kartenix is a very old friend of his and a long-standing, respected member of the guild. He takes any losses to the guild seriously. An adventurer's life is dangerous enough without someone targetting it's member. He won't stand by idly while his friends disappear.
Gathering your things you quickly jump aboard an air taxi hired by Sterling and proceed up to the airship dock. You are not on the ship for more than a minute when it drops its moorings and heads North to Delver's Dale.
The party is dropped off in the northeast corner of the mining town of Delver's Dale. Since an airship is a rare sighting, their arrival is met with curiousity and suspicion. While children stare and point at the retreating ship, the town guard question the group as to their business. After a brief discussion the party learns that Kartenix and his son have been staying that the Rusty Kettle Inn for the past week or so.
Thanking the guard the party begins to head up the street towards their destination. Suddenly a loud bell begins ringing in the lookout tower. People being to scramble and a half-dozen militia being running east through the streets - presumably to the covered bridge marking the entrance to the town. The party overhears something about "It's big! A dragon I think!" and "I heard Ogre" as people rush passed. After a brief discussion, Sterling and Braddoc head to the Inn to check on the whereabouts of Kartenix and the rest of the group heads in the direction of the attack in order to assist.
Entering the inn, Sterling quickly assertains that the young lad looking out the window at the commotion is none other than Tharuun the sone of Kartenix. Sterling bluntly instructs the lad that he needs to see his father immediate and demands to know where he is. After an initial shock Tharunn finds a bit of courage and shoots back that he isn't about to reveal his father's location to just any walking piece of scrap metal and demands to know what is going on. Sterling introduces himself and Braddoc and tells the youngster that his father's life is in danger. The Clifftop Guild sent them to assist him. With that Tharuun takes you to the rented room his father is sleeping in. It seems the man took ill about a week ago and is still recovering.
Kartenix quickly assertains the situation and promises Sterling and Braddoc that, though weak, he and his son would gather their things and be ready to go as soon as possible. Braddoc remained behind in the tavern as a guard and Sterling took off through the streets to assist his companions.
Meanwhile the rest of the group arrived near the eastern edge of the town only to be confronted by a strange sight. Rounding the corner of some warehouses was a wagon being driven by two Hobgoblin Archers and drawn by an Ogre Savage! As one archer fired arrows at any militia, the other was lighting small kegs on fire and handing them to the ogre who in turn flung the bombs at buildings and groups of people. Anyone who got too close was set upon by its massive greatclub.
The group quickly moved into position and attacked the train of destruction. Ethan used his deft moves to gain advantage in combat and began decimating the ogre with precise attacks. Luckily for Ethan, he had received a blessing from Jonathon that bolstered his defense just enough to avoid the deadly crush of the greatclub (dude you barely avoided two hits of 2d10+5 - lucky bastard!) Nenia proved her worth by wisely targetting the explosive wagin with a firey attack. While Delian and Jonathon closed in to assist Ethan the kegs began exploding and damaging the wagon's denizens. It was not long before the archer jumped from the wagon and began fleeing for their lives. The unlucky ogre was unable to unhook itself from its yolk and eventually succumbed to the blows of the group.
As the battle wound down Sterling arrived. It was then that they noticed the warning bell had not stopped with the defeat of the wagoneers. After a moment of confusion, some of the militia began running back toward the center of town. The party followed. As they neared the inn they saw the retreating wagons of more hobgoblin attacked. However the backs of the wagons clearly contained a number of bound prisoners.
Rushing into the inn, the group found Braddoc soundly beaten and unconscious. Several of the patrons lay dead and the inn was in shambles. One of the surviving patrons informed the party between sobs that hobgoblins had burst into the inn. Braddoc had fought like a madman trying to protect them but was overcome by sheer numbers. When he fell and remaining resistance quickly faded. The hobgoblins had quickly bound no less than seven people and dragged them out onto waiting wagons.
Kartenix and Tharunn were among the captives.
Having cleared the altar room, the group tended to their wounds and took a closer look around. Delian took a few moments to study to symbols and runes decorating the altar area. The cleric was able to determine that the room was dedicated to the worship of some being devoted to creatures of poison. This seemed to coincide with some of the log entries found within the captain's log Ethan found lying amongst the debris. The log seemed to indicate that the vessel sailed for several weeks after being blown well off-course by the huge storm they encountered. Eventually they made landfall on a tropical island far to the south. Unfortunately once they were on land they were attacked by a group of orcs that fought along side a variety of large insects. The crew was able to defeat their attackers but took heavy losses. In his last entry the captain admitted his fear that the first incursion seemed only like a precursor to a much larger attack.
Having settled down, the group opted to proceed through the bow door of the main deck instead of attempting to clear the stair in the altar room. Inside they were accosted by a number of smaller centipedes and a spider. Once dispatched they discovered some brittle charts and maps and, within a small compartment, an Amulet of Health +1. One of the maps seemed to indicate the approximate location of the island the crew had found. Ethan took the maps and the group proceeded down a stairs to the next deck.
Within the confines of a hallway the party was attacked by two large spiders and a few spider swarms. With less room to maneuver the group had a bit of difficulty getting around the creatures but were eventually victorious.
Proceeding bow-ward once more the party found a room that held two humanoid figured lung up like webbed coccoons to the ceiling. Jonathon's sharp eyes noticed they actually moved a little! Had they found two of the crew? They group quickly stormed the room with the intention of freeing the captives but were surprised to find two zombies and a spider rise from the shadows and attempt to thwart them. While the battle raged, Jonathon reached the coccoons and, with a quick swipe, cut them free. To his dismay however the captives turned out to be two more zombies! The group quickly surrounded the unfortunate souls and laid them to rest permanently.
Three other rooms were empty of denizens but the party did find a shield and spear that seemed to be of tribal orcish design.
Proceeding down the hall toward the stern the group came to a closed door. Ethan's perceptive listening noted the sounds of skittering from the other side. Bursting into the room the group was confronted by a orc and 3 large scorpions. The orc was a mighty foe but some decisive blows from Braddoc and some well-placed blasts from Nenia quickly quieted the foes. Nenia was pleased to lighten the orc's burden by taking his Bloodthread Cloak +1.
Even with all their victories however, there was no sign of the goal of the mission: Aubreck's blue box. An unopened door to stern beckoned to them.