In the beginning, four groups are chartered by the Sword-Lords of Restov, to explore and potentially help settle the stolen lands.
The Greenbelt: Dominated by the woodland known as the Narlmarches and the rolling hills of the Kamelands, this region is the one your group has been chartered to explore. Bandits are particularly rife in this area, and the rumors that they’ve organized under the banner of a bandit warlord . You are to explore as much of the northern half of the Greenbelt as you can. Other rumored problems in the region include a tribe of mites, a tribe of kobolds, mischievous fey, and numerous dangerous monsters and wildlife. “Exploration should be limited to an area no further than thirty-six miles east and
west and sixty miles south of Oleg’s Trading Post.”
Glenebon Uplands: The swordlords sent a relatively experienced band of adventurers into the westernmost reach of the Stolen Lands—an area that is supposedly under the rule of the bandit kingdom of Pitax (although that River Kingdom has done very little to prove its claims over this area).
The Slough: The East Sellen River runs through the swamps known as Hooktongue Slough. Rumor holds that the swordlords sent actual Brevic government agents into
this swampy area, as this could potentially be the most vital trade route South out of Brevoy, this makes sense
Nomen Heights: The easternmost reaches of the Stolen Lands contain a low mountain range and border the long ruined realm of Iobaria. The swordlords sent a band of
mercenaries into this region, lead by a man named, Maegar Varn, if the rumors are to be believed.
You began your adventures on the road outside of Oleg’s trading post and you quickly became a force to be reckoned. Your dealings with the Stag Lord proved vital in securing the region no small amount of peace.
The turmoil to the north, as the race for a new king escalates, dislodges hundreds from their homes. In an attempt to avoid political misgivings, and a potential war, both Restov and Brevoy in a strange twist, grant you the right to rule the lands which you have explored, and rescued. The nature of the laws, and rule, were left for you to define. You put people into leadership positions, and voted for your first ruler. The elf Illestrae (spelling?) was nominated, and accepted. (Go Janel)
A twist of fate causes the bard to travel north, with unexpected companions that she meets on the road. The presence of hundreds of homeless refuges are present upon the roads, and the talk of war is heavy on peoples minds. Official troops man out posts and key points of tactical advantage (the bridges). You eventually make your way and The house Garess accepts you as guests, but you soon find out that there are many mistruths and the information and condition of Steve Garess was, very manipulated and untrue. Who knows of EV? How did they know? Who was messing with the bard?
After designing, building, and settling into your new capital, trouble rises again. This time from the southern regions of the greenbelt, and again your group answers the call. A large group of lizardmen, trolls, wargs, hodags, fey and other creatures are encountered, and overcome. Licking your wounds from one such exploration, you return to your home, to find it demolished. All accounts point towards a HUGE creature, half owl, and half bear. (Yes Michael Woodin half owl, and half bear.) You mount up a hunting party, after ensuring those of your kingdom are safe, and well cared for, and track the beast down. A large fight ensues, and barely, by the skin of your teeth, you pull through.
A small time of peace settles over the kingdom and group. Rebuilding of the capital, exploring, and crafting take place for many months. The group settles into a routine of leadership and rebuilding. People of all races, and class flock to your banner, ( Especially gnomes, cause Jer Swift loves em! ) and growth of the country begins again.
Word comes, that the town to the East has gone quiet. No correspondence for some weeks. Maegar Varn, and the people of Varnhold, what has happened? Restov contacts you asking you to look into the trouble as they, due to political pressure, are unable to investigate themselves.
On the road east, you find more sign of the tenseness of the nation, and wonder again of the potential of civil war. You get to the region and investigate the first farm you come across on the road into Varnhold. You find the front door open and unlocked. Food, table settings, and clothes set out, but many weeks old. It appears as the inhabitants just … left or…vanished. The barn, whose smell and sounds give you some cause for alarm, and you soon discover all the animals still in their stalls, dead, from dehydration and starvation. A feast for the crows.
Speaking to the tree’s gives the ranger some clues, but as you approach Varnhold, the circling of crows puts knots in your stomach…..
A missing recap:
This is the one where you cleared the town and the fort with the sprigans. The Chapter Name award went to Janel for giving it a chapter name of: “This Fortress is the Pits”. Matt and Janel get messed up in a pit trap, followed by Jer and Jester jumping off the top of a building into a pit trap. The words I hate Sprigans are said a few times. One of my favorite games, I couldn’t believe it when you guys jumped off the roof onto the X that marks the spot of the pit trap. It was classic and probably would never happen again if people ran this module 1000000’s of times.
The group finished clearing Varnhold and made their way to the Nomen Centaur Tribe to the East. Gunnar, proving his mannliness again, undertook a trial of bravery, and as a result Yetahae Goldenhoof has taken a liking to him. You spoke to Aecora Silverfire, the druid of Mothermoon and discovered much, who denied any involvement in the disappearance of Varnhold, but did have information on Vordakai, “a slumbering warlord from the time of the mother tribes.” A place called Olah-kakanket, “the valley of the dead”, was discussed, and its importance to the tribes history. A huntress recently spotted movement with in the valley, but no one believed her, and she has since disappeared. It was discovered that the missing huntress Xamanthe Silverfire, is in fact the druids daughter, and she believes that her headstrong daughter has broken the taboo of entering Olah-kakanket, and has went to investigate on her own. She asks that the group please help her, should they cross her path.
The three day festival celebrating Gunnars’ manliness is broken by the receipt of a message from Stagfell via bird. “Courtney has been arrested for the murder of a school teacher. Evidence at the scene points to Igor’s involvement. Be careful.” Suspiciously a short time later, another bird arrives, stating, “Courtney has committed suicide.” The cult of Gyronna is suspected. Begging the centaur’s pardon, you pack up and head for Stagfell immediately. North of Varnhold Liestra is attacked by a Soul Eater. During the course of the combat, Gunnar is not himself, and attacks..Liestra. The soul eater is defeated leaving many unanswered questions.
The group is being pulled in multiple directions, which is the correct choice?
The DM is receiving whispers in the dark, of desperate plans…can’t wait for next game!
NO SUMMARY AGAIN!! BAD DM!
For some reason I can’t find a game summary for in between these two sessions..I believe it was the game where Katt was kidnapped and you all rescued her at the fort. She used her wiles to manipulate one of them to take a cryptic message to Steve Garess, who then was to get word to Barabus. In the end the assassin got a way. You spent the rest of game session exploring the region around Varnhold. Ending at the Ettercap bridge, and getting attacked by a dread zombie.
Game picked up at the ettercap web bridge that had collapsed and where you were attacked by the dread zombie cyclops.
Continuing west out of Varnhold you were discovered by Tat a blodeuwedd. Blodeuwedd are a fey similar to a dryad, but instead of bonding to trees, they bond to open plains or praries. Tat made herself known to you, and also introduced her sister Tit. They are friends of the Nomen Centaur tribe, and were offering their assistance to your endevours. Gunnar took a liking to the sisters, and they spent long nights talking.
Your group continued its search to the South West, and came upon the old spriggan home, which turns out to be an old mine. After a quick exploration, it was discovered that it bore ore of three different precious metals. The entrance was quickly hidden and marked on the map for full investigation at a later date.
From here the group continued to the West, to investigate Talon peak. Here they found a currently abandoned Roc’s nest located in the ruins of an old tower. Scaling up the sheer cliffs, and discovering 5 unhatched eggs, the group had a little trouble taking two of the 4’ diameter 200lb eggs. Using their horses they hauled the eggs south to Lake Silverstep.
At the lake they are greeted by a large mudflat, bubbling sulfurous smelling mud for a length of 3miles . An entombed body in the mud grabbed their attention. While most of the group was fishing for the delicious and elusive Silverstep eels a couple of them when to investigate and give a proper burial to the poor soul which had been stuck in the mud. This of course did not sit well with the mudmen that live with in the mud pits and a battle ensued. Two of the group barely made it through the ordeal with their lives.
Using the folding boat that was found in Varnhold, the group uses the river system and makes their way back to Stagfell.
At Stagfell, Igor makes his bid for Magistrate and a LARGE discussion (cough fight cough) ensues with the board members. A majority of them voting for Igor. In a bold manuveur during the discussion, Gunnar stands down from general of the armies of Stagfell.
Did I miss anything?
Yes Kidd, you did:
Reginald Archebold, a gnome from Restov, turned out to be an old friend of Saif. He came as a spokesman for house Aldori, with the hopes that the board would appoint a person to come to Restov and act as a go between for discussions relating to Stagfell, and the new treaty with the Nomen Centaurs. Based on his previous relationship with Reginald, “Reggy”, Saif was determined to be the best choice and was sent to Restov to act as liason cough spy cough. I think that was the only thing I forgot.
Gunnar is not himself as the group explores the area south of Varnhold, and comes upon an island of a large rock formation jutting up from the center of a large river. Signs point to the fact that it is not a natural formation. Tracks leading into and away from the island confirm that a centaur went in this way, but did not return this way. Other tracks confirm that the dread zombie came from here. As well as a humananoid set of prints coming and going.
You make your way inside, the art and carvings suggest that this is structure is from an age 10,000+ years ago, which was dominated at the time by Cyclops. A battle ensues with 2 dread Cyclops zombies. Signs point to a scuffle with a centaur and the zombies, one in which the centaur lost. Xamanthe Silferfire, the missing centaur, have you answered the question of her fate? A secret door opens into a rough hewn underground tunnel. While crossing the starlight bridge, you notice a large hole, and a separate area which appears to be a set of silt covered stairs leading under the water. Igor transforms into a fish to investigate. While under the water a large creature makes itself known. You fight and defeat an Elasmosaurus. Eventually you make it through the underwater stairs, and find the complex proper. The second room turns out to be a cleverly designed trap and the group, with unconscious members into barely make it out alive. (This was the room with the holes in the ceiling sealed you in, with two dread zombie, a large eel, and a couple swarms of piranha. The water rising a foot a round, while the cascading water jetting in from the ceiling was enough to knock you prone and under the water, making movement near impossible.) Game ends with the group trapped on the far side of the room, with no where to go, but deeper into this underground complex.
Game picks up after the trap room:
The group continues to explore the underground complex, but tension is mounting between Gunnar and the group. He is stand offish, and quiet. Brooding! A room is found honoring Charon (not Sharon), the horseman of death, a member of the Horseman of the Apocalypse, which is a magically sealed door, which requires a blood sacrafice and someone in the room to consume it, in order to open. Another door leading out of the room is chosen, and the group continues deeper into the complex.
The next room has two Soul Eaters, but the group dispatches them, with minimal wisdom loss. Matt discovers a new annoying spell. (Grrrrrr!) A hidden room is found, and the group learns of the Oculus of Abaddon (not abandon sorry) The fate of the citizens of Varnhold is revealed, and the owner of the Oculus, a 10,000 year old lich, puts a new (oh shit) perspective on things. Religion checks are made, and the possibility that this lich is Atrophied, (a new template for liches) raises hope of success.
The group pushes onward, tired, and nearly depleted. A rough hewn passage leads the way, The tunnel opens into a large room dominated by a large sulfurous tar pit. The remenants of an old bridge and a wooden swollen door is on the opposite side of the pit. Many saves are failed (a theme from the game last night, a lot of bad rolls), and each round a save is failed, the character violently throws up and cannot move or take an action. A member of the town of Varnhold is discovered. Cephal Lorentus, the wizard of Varnhold, now a dread zombie, attacks the group as they are trying to negotiate the large tar pit, raining fire balls, acid arrows, and magic missiles upon the group. Gunnar, in typical gunnar fashion decides the best course of action is to JUMP IN to the tar pit, and quickly finds that even his mighty strength is put to the test. The groups ranged damage is enough to finally bring the flying dread zombie wizard down. A secret entrance is found, and it leads (GASP) to the outside, the balcony that was spotted upon entering this cursed placed. FRESH AIR, thanks to the ranger, allows for bridges to be made. After some thinking, it is decided that the group should rest, and regain before continuing on to potentially face the lich. They camp on the balcony for the night.
In the morning a package arrives, containing food, water and alcohol. A note from Vordakai basically states, eat, rest regain your strength in peace, I want you at your full potential when I crush you. (I guess living for 10,000 years makes you a little cocky!)
When the group continues to delve deeper in the morning, the first room to be found is a grand feasting hall. 33 Towns people of Varnhold are seated around the center table, and other seating with in the hall. “Each chair holds the corpse of a human locked in death throes, its mouth agape in anguish, the top of the cranium brutally removed, and the brains with in excised.” Some knowledge nobility checks are made and among the dead are Maegar Varn, Caspar Morgorian and other notable members of Varnhold. The leaders of the town are found, or whats left of them. Then the ambush is sprung, and three dread zombies come out to play, as well as the members of the town begin to stur as they raise as zombies and attack the group. Some members of the group get seriously wounded, but overall the threat is handled.
Recouped and steadfast, the group pushes forward. Barabus stumbles through a secret door, to find a throne room, several bodies slumped before a bloody pool, freshly cut heads decorating the throne. A large Cyclops lich, with a gleaming red gem for an eye (the oculus of Abaddon), sits at the throne reading a book uncaring of your arrival. You notice the image of your group entering the room fading from the bloody scrying pool. Seemingly uncaring of you, or your group, he commands you to leave Matt as a sacrafice and the rest of you may leave. He has already grown bored of you, and you may go. Someone gets snippy, and Janel sicks Gunnar on the lich. “You have chosen poorly..”, this upsets the lich enough to act, and a battle ensues. The players learn of the spell Wave of Exhaustion and how much fun it is, and a new game of “Toss the silenced object in the well” is created. In the end, the group, working togather, are able to keep the lich pinned down long enough, for the quiet unassuming bard hanging out in the back, to put two magical bolts into the head of the lich ending his 10,000 years of existence.
The treasure room is discovered, and among the coins, magic items and art, 42 filled soul jars are found. The remaining citizens of Varnhold are safe, and will be returned to their homes. Exhausted and spent, with people wounded and near death. The group has little choice but to seal themselves in the treasure room and spend the night. Gathering their spoils, the finish clearing the dungeon, and in doing so, eventually go through the sealed doors requiring a blood sacrifice and blood consumption. The creatures bound to the lich are gone, and the guardians in this room are not present. The group walks into the jail area, and find a paralyzed Centaur. Curing her of her condition they discover that she is Xamanthe Silverfire, though starving, thirsty and slightly confused, she is otherwise unharmed.
The group exits the dungeon and return to the centaur tribe, returning the priestess lost daughter. The centaurs pledge fealty to the group, and vow to work with them to form a time of peace and prosperity to the all people in the region. The just ask that the region known as the “Dunsward” be left to them. Janel accepts, I don’t think she fully grasped what she was accepting at the time, and your country grew by 6 hexes. The Centaurs offer up Skybolt, an ancestral weapon of the Nomen Centaurs, to the group as a show of friendship. The group, decides that the weapon, best left with the Centaurs, and that this was its rightful home.
The group returns to Varnhold. The citizens are removed from the soul jars. A time of great happiness, as well as a time of great sadness ensues. All the leadership of Varnhold is gone, so new members are nominated. Barl Delver, a dwarf, is named new govenor. (The name rings a bell, and eventually they will realize that this is the owner of the brewery and creator of the famous Cheerful Delver Stout beer, that is famous in the area.) Others are appointed into leadership positions, and at the feast that evening, the town is officially renamed “New Varnhold”, and the group is informed that it was unanimously decided that “New Varnhold” and all its surrounding territory, should become part of the groups growing nation. Pledging their loyalty to the group, Janel again accepts on behalf of the group.
Gunnar ends the evening with a round table apology session after being “released from duty” from Janel. Everyone at the table, including myself, didn’t know where this was going, and it was a great role playing way to end a night that had been mostly a dungeon crawl. Game ended not knowing his full intent, will Gunnar still be there, if and when the group needs to rally again.
The group has done some truly amazing things, though they don’t fully grasp it yet. 1) Peace with the Nomen centaurs, something that neither Taldor, nor Brevoy had been able to accomplish. 2) The destruction of Vordakai and his minions, and stopping of the plague. (had they forgot about this) These are not minor accomplishments and the full weight of what they have done have not truly hit home. Over the next few months, they will be elevated to a celebrity type status, attracting more attention…good and bad!
I have had a blast running this game. It has been truly my honor and privledge to lay down the story for you guys to play around in; the role playing (some of the best I have witnessed in a long time) and character development (backgrounds and play have been AMAZING) have been a sheer joy to witness. Thank you all!
Game will pick back up in a few months. All characters will be starting off at level 9. I will need town sheets for all towns: Tazzleford, Stagfell, Lizardman village (need a name Bruce, king of the lizardman), kobold village (need a name), and New Varnhold. I will get the information for New Varnhold out to you. Bruce you can have some direct input on how the lizardman village is progressing, but it will be at least a tannery and a craftsman. The unrest generally assoiciated with annexing a new town does not occur due to the willingness of the town, peace with the centaurs, and the death of the lich. The only rule that does need to be addressed is the need for adjacent hexes needing to be claimed: so that all hexes from Tazzleford to the centaur tribe need to be claimed by your nation. Between now and next game close to a year will be passing. Plan what you would like to do with that time. Exploring, crafting, making babies…what ever, just let me know.
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