Saturday, December 6, 2008
Located to the far north of the Eldeen Reaches, by the Eldeen Bay, the town is situated on an open area of land approximately 30 miles east of The Towering Wood.
Originally a frontier fort to protect the farmers in the region, the town grew with the families of the guardsmen and various support facilities. The town grew slowly until House Vadalis established an estate there. The town swelled in size, stabilizing on todays population of about 1200. A city wall was erected on the insistence of House Vadalis, constructed from locally mined granite. While the city itself may seem gray and dour, the inside of the buildings are usually quite colorful.
Merylsward has a small dock area down by the Eldeen Bay. A steep ridge separates the city and the docks, accessible through a set of stone stairs predating the city, a lift constructed and operated by House Cannith, and a road traversing the ridge about a mile to the south.
The town is highly seasonal. During summer and fall the city swells with seasonal workers helping with the spawning, hunters, traders from the Lhazaar Principalities and people wanting to earn money on those. These people take up residence in the Pens, an area outside the city walls consisting of tents, semi-permanent and quickly built structures. The Pens contain huge markets where someone can get their hands on just about anything during the season.
Friday, December 5, 2008
The walk through the dock district was pleasant. Tharunn carried the conversation pointing out landmarks and favorite locations. He pointed out to Ethan the first place he ever stole food, his face turned red as he realized what he just said. Ethan just chuckled and thought of the first loaf of bread he ever stole. Truth be told he was rather fond of the boy and that was part of the problem.
After Tharunn had gone to bed the evening before Ethan had sat around as his companions planned their next move. Ethan couldn’t care less where they travelled, so long as he had the opportunity to practice his craft. He’d been working on some new maneuvers that he wanted to try out. He’d sat back and let the others debate the merits of the choices set before them. One thing had become abundantly clear, Tharunn wouldn’t be travelling with them any further. The task of breaking the news had fallen to Ethan and he still hadn’t figured out what to say.
Tharunn hadn’t spoken with Braddoc since the boy felt the dwarven warrior abandoned him when the dragon attacked. Ethan didn’t want the boy to feel betrayed again; he’d lost enough over the past weeks. It was something Ethan was familiar with and it had taken him years to finally find a new home. Tharunn had latched onto the party quickly, adopting them as his new family. Ethan dreaded the task ahead. Six take the others for leaving the task to him.
Stopping at a merchant’s stall Ethan purchased fresh fish and crisped potato’s for the two of them. Ethan continued to listen to the boy as he talked with a full mouth. Finding themselves at the beach Ethan began skipping stones into the bay. Looking down at a stone in his palm he figured now was as good a time as any.
“We’re leaving Flamekeep tomorrow,” Tharunn’s ear’s perked up at the news. “It’ll be dangerous, we’re heading after Jaryn. We feel it’s our best chance to figure out what’s been going on.”
Tharunn was obviously excited about the prospect of further travel, “That’s great! I’ve got my bag all packed, I’m ready to go. You don’t need to worry about me.”
Ethan chuckled, “I know Tharunn, you’re a smart kid and you know how to handle yourself. You’ve grown a lot over the past few weeks. I’m proud of you.”
Tharunn glowed as the comment was delivered. “I won’t let you down Ethan, you can count on me.”
The look on Tharunn’s face was serious, far too serious for a boy so young. “I know Tharunn”. Ethan sighed, here it comes he thought. “Unfortunately the others don’t feel that way. They worry that you might be a liability to the group; that you might get in the way.”
“That’s not true” the boy protested. “You told ‘em didn’t you Ethan? You told ‘em I could hold my own didn’t you?”
“I did Tharunn and I know you’d be a valuable addition to the party.” Ethan paused, his face clearly showing his frustration.
“What is it Ethan?” Tharunn asked.
“The others are right Tharunn; you are too young to travel with us. Your uncle Dourstone would tan my hide if I let you come with us. You understand don’t you?” Ethan clearly didn’t know where to go from here; he could see the disappointment written on the boy’s face. “I want to give you something Tharunn. You’ve proven yourself to be fairly good with a dagger, it’s time you had a good blade. My first dagger was given to me when I was a little older than you. It was given by ah, a friend of my mother’s.” Ethan fought hard to control the anger that was rising from within. “This dagger has been my most prized possession for many years. It carries with it many memories and lessons. Lessons I learned the hard way. I want you to have it and when you’re ready I promise that you can join us on this adventure. Do we have a deal?”
"I have a message for the warforged named Sterling."
His face showed no emotion as he waited patiently for Thelio's assistant to retrieve the warforged from his musings.
"Are you the one known as Sterling?"
"I am." replied the warlord.
The gnome's eyes glazed as he spoke a quick incantation beneath his breath. Whatever it was he did it seemed to satisfy Sterling's claim. He handed over a sealed note, nodded, and left.
"Thank you Reeson." he said to the butler. He opened the letter and read it to himself. No emotion showed upon his face as he took in the information it contained. When he was finished he turned and went to seek the others. They needed to hear this.
Hail respected members of the Clifftop Adventurer's Guild,
In my last letter I told you I would help you in any manner I could. To that end I wanted to update you on some information and happenings that pertain to your current situation.
The elf, Kal'ser, who hired my dear friend Kartenix and his group is here in Sharn. He came to see me late the other evening. He was concerned that he had not received the item and was looking for an update on its status. After learning of the fate of his employees his mood seemed to darken. Aside from his obviously sincere condolences, he was very concerned that two of the items now seem to be in the hands of the tiefling Skamos. He wishes to extend the contract that was drawn up with Kartenix. Upon retrieval of both stolen items he will not only make good on the gold promised Kartenix and such, he will double that amount. He would not name the amount of the payment. My years of experience in dealing with these types of folk tell me he is holding back information but I do believe that he is honest in his offer.
I did not tell him that I have already asked you to follow up for the Guild's sake. A shrewd adventurer would consider this an opportunity to make additional profit for something they were goig to do anyway. Of course, the choice to do anything is yours.
Enclosed is a letter of credit for 100 gold to help cover the cost of your stay in Flamekeep.
It is my hope that I receive word from you regarding your next move.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I’ve heard many veterans speak of a euphoria they experience when returning home after a long campaign, but it wasn’t until I got off the lightning rail in Sigilstar that I truly understood what they meant.
Less than two years had passed since I left Thrane for Breland. But upon seeing the familiar sights, walking down the streets I travelled during my childhood, and seeing my father again that I truly realized how much I missed it all.
When in Sharn I learned to ignore the stares and insults thrown at me simply because of my nationality and my faith. Being home and being accepted allowed me to lower my guard. People smile as I walk past them. Many offer me the blessing of the Flame and wish me well. The warmth of community has reminded me just how brightly the Flame can burn.
But as I enjoy this homecoming my companions receive the flip side of the coin. Their clothes, mannerisms, and speech clearly mark them as foreigners. The sight of a warforged walking freely causes great concern for many common folk.
It seems that my own countrymen have the same dislike for my companions that the Brelish have for me. It’s funny how people of different countries can behave so similarly. Perhaps they are not as different as they all think they are.
- Raptor’s Mask – taken from Hi’relle by Skamos. Said to give bonuses to sight and to protect the wear from conditions such as blindness.
- Crown of Flames – taken from Delver’s Dale by Skamos via Sinruth
- Talon Scepter – location unknown
- Phoenix Cloak – location unknown
He also tells you the following lore regarding the set known as the Regalia of the Phoenix.
The regalia of the phoenix sears its story into the mind of every ambitious noble who hears it. It made its first fiery appearance in the possession of the Phoenix Queen, a sorcerer of tremendous power who took the throne of a long-forgotten kingdom by force. Because the Phoenix Queen possessed all the elements of the regalia, she could not be defeated, and anyone who rose against her was burnt to a cinder. After years of her vicious rule, a lover tricked her into removing her mask, pleading with her to see her face. When she pulled the mask away, revealing a face of cold beauty
untouched by remorse or sorrow, assassins rose from the shadows, and she fell beneath their many blades.
After the assassins killed the Phoenix Queen, they quarreled over the regalia. Only four survived, each taking a single piece. Fearing attempts by the others to steal their pieces, they fled the kingdom, spreading knowledge of the regalia of the phoenix to foreign lands.
The forgotten kingdom of legend was an elf-empire, and some say that the Phoenix Queen’s lover also survived the assassin’s quarrel. According to some, the lover was true to his pitiless mistress, and the assassins tricked him into asking the queen to remove her mask. Rumours persist that this elf lives still, clutching to life despite his extreme age and the call of his ancestors, hanging on with the inhuman strength that only a thirst for vengeance can give. It’s said he seeks any who would dare profit from the assassin’s foul deed by using any piece of the regalia. When he finds them, he snuffs out their lives as calmly as one might blow out a candle.
8 Vult - Sinruth’s trial
9 Vult - Received letter from Ragnolin
11 Vult - Left Delver’s Dale
11-18 Vult - Travelled by horse to Hatherill
18 Vult - Arrived in Hatherill, got on the Lightning Rail
18-19 Vult - Lightning Rail to Sigilstar
20 Vult - Lightning Rail to Flamekeep
20-25 Vult - Investigating in Flamekeep
The date you arrive in the Eldeen Reaches depends on the mode of transportation you choose.
Assuming that overland travel is not an option, we’ll have to travel by air or sea.
Taking an airship is prohibitively expensive and I don't think we can afford it. Although the journey to Merylsward can be covered in just over 1 day it would cost us 600 gp each. I know I cannot afford that.
That means we travel by sea. And as with the airship, cost will be a huge factor for us. The two options that fall into our price range are a traditional sailing ship or soarwood sailing ship. Neither typically has any ties to House Lyrandar and as such are not powered by elemental and do not usually have a Lyrandar captain at the helm.
The sailing ship will take 13 days to reach Stormhome and then another 15 to reach the north coast near Merylsward. The 28 day journey will cost us 39 gp each.
The soarwood sailing ship will take 6 days to reach Stormhome and then another 7 to reach the north coast near Merylsward. The 13 day journey will cost us 64 gp each.
So for a difference of 15 gp we can cut our traveling time in half.
Since Merylsward is landlocked we’re looking at a 25 mile ride through the forest once we disembark. But even at half speed we should be able to cover this distance in 1 day.
Assuming we can all afford the 64 gp, I've got contacts in the Church who can help us find an honest and reliable captain. Once we agree on a course of action it should only take a day or two to find a suitable ship.
I can also arrange for everyone’s travelling papers. That’s another 25 gp each and is an unavoidable cost of crossing an international border.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
After reading the letter from Ragnolin Dourstone the party decided it was time to do some information gathering. They talked to Tharunn, Sertanian, and Sinruth. Here is the information in no particular order:
Tharunn’s details and info on the NPCs
- Tharunn had been born in Sharn. In fact he spent the first 2 years of his life within the guildhouse.
- He moved to Flamekeep when he was 2 and lived within the church while he father was away. His mother died at birth.
- He had been travelling for about a month with his father. They were taking the scenic route to Sharn so that Kartenix could teach him about travel and general wilderness survival.
- They had been beset by wererats and his father contracted filth fever. That is why he was in bed in the inn during the original hobgoblin raid.
- He knows the following people:
Kartenix (human fighter) usual travel companions were:
Hi’relle – Halfling Ranger was killed by Skamos and relieved of the item he was carrying.
Dylol – Gnome Wizard
Tassad – Human Cleric - Both Dylol and Tassad were found dead in the Silver Mug Inn where they had been staying. Evidence of a battle indicates they died fighting.
Hovet – Half-Elf Bard went missing around the same time Dylol and Tassad were killed.
Jaryn Votuur – Human Paladin of the Silver Flame was a long time friend of Kartenix. Tharunn speaks highly of him as Jaryn taught him to read.
Thelio – dwarf who owns an extensive library of old books and historic data. Tharunn is fond of him as the old dwarf has taught him many lessons based on history.
Kristoff – Human mage who was helping Kartenix research information on his latest mission. Not many people like him as he has the social graces of a bugbear. He never smiles, is snobby, and very matter-of-fact.
Info from Sertanian
- Sertanian checked records. Didn’t think it was magical. Been on display for so long. No one has touched it in decades.
- In 816 YK, Elmen Von Jallach obtained the helm after a great battle against the goblinoids in the area.
- It is said the power of the crown helped the leader of the goblinoids to bring the tribes together.
Info from Sinruth
- Delian promised to ensure Sinruth’s last days were as comfortable as possible.
- Sinruth wants revenge on Skamos for leaving him hanging
- Only reason PCs weren’t swarmed by the crypts denizens was that Skamos wouldn’t allow it. Almost like the tiefling was testing the PCs.
- Skamos had promised Sinruth leadership over all the regions hobgoblin tribes in exchange for his assistance in raiding the town.
- Found it amusing that after countless battles his bodyguard Gorax was essentially hugged to death.
- Only request was to be buried with his weapon.
Details on Kartenix’ recent job
- Group was hired by elf named Kal’ser to obtain an artifact from a ruins on the edge of the Demon Wastes.
- They were successful in obtaining and returned to Flamekeep to retrieve payment.
- Thelio told them it was a Mask known as the Raptor’s Mask. Not sure of full powers but knows it help you see better and helped protect the wearer from effects that obscured vision.
- Old temple in the North of the Eldeen Reaches. It was in the possession of a viscious Mezzodemon named Harkulith. They are known for hording treasure. How the group managed to retrieve the item from him and his lackeys remains a mystery to Thelio.
- When they got to Flamekeep they were given a note requesting the item be moved secretly to Sharn.
- They were asked to avoid air and rail travel as those modes of transportation were being watched.
- Kartenix and Tharunn took the opportunity to make the trip together so Kartenix could teach his son about the wilderness.
- Hi’relle was given the item since he was most familiar moving stealthily through the wilderness if it was required.
- Other 3 members stayed in Flamekeep to keep up appearances that item was remaining there.
Info Learned in Flamekeep
- Kristoff seems to have taken an expedition to somewhere in the Talenta Plains.
- Jaryn left Flamekeep 3 weeks ago with his 4 usual party members. Seems he made a promise to help fight a cult uprising in the Eldeen Reaches.
- Tharunn actually came through for the group and found out that Jaryn must have been in a rush as he pulled in some favours within the church and made use of an airship to get to Owl’s Perch. From there he was heading to Merylsward.
- Before you guys leave Flamekeep you receive a message from Delver’s Dale that a hobgoblin raiding party managed to sneak in and free Sinruth two days prior to his execution. 4 guards were killed in the escape. Nothing has been seen or heard from him since.
- Info on the Regalia of the Phoenix is in another post.
Encounter in the Wilderness
- En route to Flamekeep the group had a run in with a young green dragon.
- Nenia managed to hide herself, Braddoc, and Delian with the magic candle but failed to include Tharunn who assumed he'd been abandoned. He no longer trusts those three.
- Sterling struck a deal with the dragon. In exchange for safe passage he gave the dragon his Amulet of Health +1, 300 gp, and a horse.
- The deal was almost blown by Braddoc who REALLY wanted to fight the scaley beast.
- The incident strained some relationships within the group. Tharunn lost all respect for Braddoc as his father had always stressed that the only way to survive was to work as a team. One loose conductor stone can bring a whole train crashing down as Hi'relle used to tell him.
I’ve read of dragons and seen illustrations in books, but never did I expect to see one with my own eyes. The dragon we encountered must have been very young because it stood only three times the height of a man. Only three times! I say it like it’s not still a tremendous size for any living creature.
I credit the quick thinking of Nenia and Sterling for our survival. I know Braddoc wanted to fight the creature, and I’m sure he could have dealt it a tremendous blow, but cooler heads prevailed in the end. The use of the magic candle to hide most of the group, and Sterling’s decision to talk to the intelligent beast allowed us to survive the encounter unscathed. The material costs were high but how can anyone put a gp value on a life.
I don’t know if I would have been able to keep my cool and composure in the face of such power. I feel I owe Sterling a debt of thanks and have told him so. In the short-term I have given him 100 gp to ease his material loss. But I feel that there is still a great debt that has gone unpaid and I look to the Flame to provide me guidance as I seek the appropriate means to repay him.
(1) Long Sword +1 [360gp]
(2) Long Sword +2 [1,800gp]
Currently no magic weapon.
Happy for now with what I have+3 would be nice :)
(1) Bashing Shield (1,000gp)
(2) Guardian Shield (Level 10)
(1) Amulet of Protection +1 [360gp]
(2) Cloak of Resistance +1
(3) Cloak of Resistance +2
(1) Horned Helm [1,800gp]
(2) Goggles of Night (Level 14)
(3) Helm of Ghostly Defense (Level 22)
(1) Potion of Healing - A bunch[50gp]
Iron Skin Belt [1,000gp]
Dimensional Shackles (Level 17)
STR 19 +4
CON 13 +1
DEX 11 +0
INT 8 -1
WIS 14 +2
CHA 14 +2
Hit Points = 50
Bloodied = 25
Healing Surge = 12
Surges/Day = 8
AC = 22 = 10 +8[Chain Mail +2] +2[Shield] +2 [1/2 Level]
Fort = 17 = 10 +4[Str] +1[Human] +2 [1/2 Level]
Ref = 15 = 10 +0[Dex] +1[Human] +2[Shield] +2 [1/2 Level]
Will = 17 = 10 +2[Wis] +1[Human] +2[Class] +2 [1/2 Level]
Senses:Passive Insight: +19
Passive Perception: +14
At Will Powers:
 Priest Shield
 Righteous Brand
[R] Sacred Flame
[C] Divine Fortune
[C] Turn Undead
[C] Healing Word
 Wrathful Thunder
 Split the Sky
 Avenging Flame
 Weapon of the Gods
Ritual Book: Gentle Repose, Make Whole
[R] Weapon Profiency (Long Sword)
 Shield Proficiency Light
 Shield Proficiency Heavy
Basic Weapon Attacks:
Long Sword +2:
Attack: +11 (+4[Str] +3[Weapon Profiency] +2 [1/2 Level] + 2 Magic )
Damage: 1d8 +6, Versatile
Attack: +8 (+4[Str] +2[Weapon Profiency] +2 [1/2 Level] )
Damage: 1d6 +4, Heavy Thrown
Equipment (Non Magical):
Standard Adventurer’s Kit
Javelin x 5
Weapon Slot: Long Sword +2
Armor Slot: Chaim Mail +2
Item Slot: Holy Symbol +1
Feet Slot: Acrobat Boots
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Cowardice. That is the type of leadership they have chosen.
Appeasers. Skulking about. This is no way for warriors and heroes to behave. Buying our way through public land, at a price immeasurably too high. Hundreds of gold and an innocent, loyal animal just to avoid combat with a puffed up reptile.
Pusillanimity. Hiding behind undue fear of loss to minor challenges.
Honour. In order to retain my honour, I may have to bid adieu to these folks. If they continue to conduct themselves as spineless syncophants they are not worthy of my companionship or friendship.
My association with them hangs in the balance.