The heroes awoke early and groggily the next morning and with a farewell to the elf Tharivol and the innkeeper Garam they mounted their horses and took off out the southern gate of Wychton. They hoped that they would reach Miragar before sunset as they feared another attack by the minions of the Shadow Dragon.
The land south of Wychton was less wild and forbidding than the terrain north of the town. It consisted of rolling green hills dotted with copses of trees and the fall air of the month of Redleaf was crisp and clean. Although, to the east the party could still see the line of the imposing Ironstorm Mountains with its ever-present thundering storm clouds looming above them. As they travelled south the party began to see farmsteads and rows of ripe crops soon ready to be harvested. The hard packed gravel road to Miragar was also well maintained so travel was easy. As they got nearer to Miragar the wind shifted and began to blow from the south bringing with it the salty tang of sea air.
Miragar could be seen far in the distance as the adventurers topped another low hill and fields of wheat flanked the road. The sun was now low in the west, sunset was not far off, and it seemed that the party would make it to Miragar without incident.
This was not to be so. Ahead the adventurers could see that the wheat on the right hand side of the road was moving and swaying as if something, or somethings, were making its way through it towards the road ahead of them. From out of the wheat came a pack of what seemed to be large black dogs that ran snarling right towards the party. As they got closer it could be seen that these were no natural creatures. These creatures had smooth black coats and they stood more than two feet high at the shoulder with diabolical almost humanoid faces and maws full of sharp teeth.
Most of the party dismounted and made a line to receive the attack but Lono, Norgrim, and Martijn did not dismount. Martijn the knight set his lance and charged knowing full well his prowess in mounted combat. He plowed into the creatures with great effect. Svarnos took one of the creatures down with sleep spell. As the battle commenced the party learned that the baying and barking of the evil beasts had an unnerving magical effect causing some of the party and their horses to panic. Things seemed dire as most of the party was affected and could barely defend themselves against the beasts for the first couple rounds of combat. Eventually, much to every ones relief, the panic wore off and they were able to take the attack to the enemy. Eventually the battle was won mostly through the might of the party's warriors with even Lono pulling a sneak attack on one of the monsters and cutting the throat of the sleeping one.
Bloodied but not broken the weary party travelled the last couple miles into Miragar.
The party passed through Miragar when they first set foot in Malavon many months ago. It is a city of gray stone and cobblestone streets. Homes, establishments, and stores rise above the street and are stacked on top of each other with arched stone walkways, bridges, and stairs connecting the differing levels. The men-at-arms of the city wear liveries with a simplified version of the heraldic symbol of the Knights of the Sword (a simple green surcoat with a gold chevron upon it). The city is ruled by the Lord Farethlon a knight of some renown. He has a moated keep at the center of the city.
Note: Miragar can be seen in the background of my painting Charge of the White Leopards.
On their way through the city the party noticed an odd structure. It was a stone tower shaped like an obelisk. A sign next the entrance read The Red Moon - Purveyors of the Arcane - open noon to midnight - closed on weekends - hours subject to change without notice.It was obviously a magic shop and the group decided to investigate but they were quickly discouraged by the prices as they had already blown all their gold on the bag of holding.Lono considered doing a little thievery but he was quickly dissuaded by the party.
A man-at-arms directed the weary adventurers to an inn near the docks where they could rest and possibly hire a ship as their plan was to travel to the Wizard's Isle. The inn was called the Barmy Kraken. It was a stout timbered three-story high building with a decidedly nautical decor. Old ships anchors are bolted on the walls, ship wheels serve as hanging chandeliers for old lanterns, and painted wood mermaid statues look as if they were pried from the prows of galleons. There was also a beautiful model of a ship in a bottle behind the bar. The sign creaking in the sea wind outside the entrance depicts a kraken holding a foaming beer mug in each tentacle.
The party spoke with the proprietor Vorgen Larmaster — an old gray haired sea dog with enormous Picadilly Weepers (sideburns that connect to a mustache) that always seemed to be smoking a large clay pipe shaped like a mermaid. Vorgen set them up with rooms for the night and the party settled down to some food and drink. They looked around the room to find someone they could possibly hire to take them to Vegraine. There were quite a few sea-faring types in the inn and after a couple of tries they found an owner of a cog ship named Captain Malrick — a young man with sun-bleached hair and mustache armed with a longsword and girt in studded leather armor. He would take them for a fee to the Wizard's Isle even though there was a rumor that the wizards were turning away visitors. The party agreed to this and they were set to embark the following morning.
Note: I know that I'm missing some stuff here. If anyone can fill in the blanks feel free to do so in the comments.
The cog that was known as The Triton had a crew of fifteen men and the weather was clear as they set sail. As soon as they were a good distance from the coast the Stormwind Sea grew choppy as it always seems to. The sky began to cloud over and grow dark and it looked as if a storm was brewing. By midday in the distance the party on the ship could see a land ahead — it was the Wizard's Isle. There seemed to be a tiny red light winking at them from the land mass. Suddenly, they could see in the distance a wave forming and rising out of the water. It rose to thirty feet high and began to rush at the ship! The crew and Captian Malrick sprung into action trying to evade the wave but it kept changing course right for the prow of the ship. As it approached the onlookers could see that the wave seemed to have vague semblance of a face upon it with shining sea green orbs for eyes. Those on the cog braced for impact as the wave approached but miraculously it stopped right before hitting the ship and instead it just sprayed the deck with foam.
A voice emanated from the wave that stood before the ship and it said that the wizards of Vegraine wished to have no visitors at this time. It also threatened to sink the ship if they continued on their present course. Svarnos called out that they were invited by the sorceress Aness. After a moment the voice told them to drop anchor and wait. The wave waited patiently.
Captain Malrick was angry. He felt the danger wasn't worth the price the party had paid him and he was ready to turn the ship around. They party convinced him to stay.
Note: Did you guys give him more money?
After about two hours of waiting and listening to a grumbling captain the voice returned and told them to pull up their anchor. When they did so the wave sunk into the water and then rose up behind the ship. It then proceeded to gently but firmly push the ship in a direct line towards the blinking beacon in the distance.
The wave sunk away as they approached the shore and the crew steered The Triton to a single long dock jutting out into the water. An armed contingent of grim faced gnomish warriors awaited them on the dock. Beyond the dock the Tower of Four Moons with its illusory moon (now red as the Blood Moon approached) above it could be seen —formed by sorcery of the strange red-hued rock found only upon this island. The adventurers had made it to the Wizard's Isle.
Note: The first part of this post is a short recap of our session before last. The second part is a more detailed recap of our last foray in Malavon that was graciously written up for us by Dan (AKA Svarnos, Gjord). Thanks Dan this really helps a lot.
With the manticore trapped in the High Tower of castle Riveon the party fought their way out of the citadel. Hacking their way through troops of orcs and wargs the party made it to the Arcas River and stole some orcish boats which they used to make a quick getaway. The Arcas flows swiftly and they were quickly drawn away from any pursuing orcs. Even though they were fatigued they continued traveling through the night and the next day they arrived at small dock near the city of Arrain they abandoned the orc boats and went to the city.
Arrain is a large stone walled city with a deep moat surrounding it. The land around it is swampy with twisted copses of trees dotting the landscape. Most of the stone structures within are covered with green moss due to the humidity that builds up in the area during the summer.
The adventurers immediately found a place to recuperate and rest at a fine inn called the Silver Tankard. Here they rested and after throwing copious amounts of some of their hard earned gold at the owner and staff of the inn they enjoyed a fine celebratory meal. Here they learned that the ranger Eldan would be leaving the party to join up with his fellow rangers of the Broken Lands. Now that the main power of Riveon was overthrown the rangers would see if they could find a way to drive the remaining orcs out of the citadel forever. The next day with many thanks and good wishes Eldan left the party.
The party made its way to Grisoan then to Berengel to retrieve their horses that were being kept in a horse traders paddock that they had paid for before leaving on their adventure to Riveon. The horses were well kept and the adventurers would need them for they wished to travel as swiftly as they could to Miragar. In Miragar they hoped they could hire a ship that would take them to the Wizard's Isle where they knew the sorceress Aness awaited them. They also knew that she would be pleased with their success in retrieving the Shadow Cylinder that was hidden away in Riveon all these years.
On their way to Wychton however terror and tragedy struck. In the night as they prepared for sleep they were assaulted by shades and shadows — minions of the Shadow Dragon! The creatures first tried to persuade the party to give them the Cylinder for these beings claimed that they could feel its presence on them.
The parley was short lived and battle soon commenced. The shades used darkness and magic to their advantage and the shadows drained the strength of those the touched. The fight was harrowing but the party managed to be victorious although one of the shades escaped into the dark of night. Also, they found to their horror that their loyal companion Tursan lay dead — drained by the cold touch of a shadow!
Note: The shades appear as men except with all color drained from them. Their skin and hair is gray and even their eyes are a milky gray making them appear blind. They were once men that in their greed for power gave their allegiance to the Shadow Dragon. In exchange the Dragon gave them access to the mysterious forces of the demi-plane of Shadow but he also drained all their humanity from them and made them his slaves forever.
The shadows appear as vaguely man shaped clouds of swirling darkness and it is said they were once living beings. They have no solidity but they can still attack for their icy touch drains the strength of their victims.
Our adventurers had just finished up with a gruesome battle against the shades. They were able to despatch all but one of their attackers. "There always seems to be one that escapes" said Gjord, speaking thoughts that as of late, have consistently crossed the others' minds. Unfortunately, at this time, their thoughts were with Martijn's apprentice, Tursan; he was slain by one of the shades just moments ago.
The rest of the party decided to bury Tursan in a cairn. They took his gold but left him with his armor and weapons: 'He would need those in the green, battle-torn fields of a warrior's afterlife,' thought Galifynakus. As they were going to and fro, collecting various rocks and stones from the broken lands, something unnerving happened. Tursan's body had disappeared and his chain shirt had fallen to the ground. The party was quite stunned and confused about what had just occurred. Svarnos stated that maybe the diety he worshipped not only took his soul, but his body as well. That thought brought back awful memories to Fionula's mind. "When someone gets killed by a shade," she explained, "they take the body for their own, only to make another one of those shadowy creatures." The party's hearts grew heavier with this information and they knew that when they told Tursan's family of his death, they would have to leave out that part. They would be greiving enought without that horrible news.
The party was now trying to figure out their next move. There was some talk of using Rope Trick to hide for a few hours and possibly blank the magic cylinder from the shades' senses. Svarnos said they could strategically place the rope right at the edge of the cliff, so when it was time to escape, they could scale down the cliff wall to the river below, changing their direction towards Sulthe. After some discussion, they agreed that their best plan of action would be to pack up their camp, and ride straight through the night. They would make it to Wychton in about 4 hours, and they would be extremely tired, but it was worth the risk.
They arrived in Wychton a few hours before dawn. Both the guards at the bridge and the tower, recognized the party as the ones who rescued the Mayor's daughter, Monnene, from the dreaded Wyvern. Due to guards' memory, they didn't have to pay the bridge tax, and they were spared the questioning a typical rag-tag bunch would receive at this hour. They headed straight to the Wyvern's Watch. Upon entering, they encountered a younger man at the bar, and not the owner, Garam, whom they knew well. They all felt a bit better seeing that second Wyvern's head hanging on the wall. It brought back memories of that very successful adventure. The younger man didn't recognize them, but the party really didn't care; they just wanted their much needed sleep.
The next morning, as the entered the common area, they saw Garam working behind the bar. He greeted them happily and treated them to a fine breakfast. When they had finished, they began asking him if anyone had been looking for them or even asking about them. They didn't want to fully reveal that the shades were following them, but they wanted to find out anything they could. Garam didn't have much to offer, but he did inform them that Tharivol, the elf who had given them the Fey wine, was coming in that night to visit. He and Garam were going to have a few drinks and talk about the one party member they lost when they fought the original Wyvern, whose head was the first one to hang in the Wyvern's Watch. Garam asked the party to join them for dinner that night and they agreed.
Before continuing with the rest of their day, the party convened to one of the two rooms that they had gotten. Due to Svarnos' paranoia that they were being scried or perhaps had some sort of listening spell cast on one of their objects, they placed all of their belongings (besides their clothes that they wore) into the other room. Jarvis sat in the hall, keeping his eye open for any undesirables. The party talked about the options they had, and finally decided to leave early the next morning and make a quick break for Miragar. As they ended their conversation, Jarvis let Svarnos know that someone was coming. As Svarnos opened they door, he saw Moneen, trying to pet Jarvis; but the cat wanted nothing to do with it. Svarnos stepped out of character and greeted Monnene with a big smile and a hug. "Monnene, it's so great to see you." She returned the hug but was definitely more interested in seeing Martijn; the one, in her eyes, who saved her from the Wyvern. The entire party said hello, and Moneen invited them to the manor house for dinner. They politely declined and told her that Garam had already invited them to dinner. Monnene, extended the invitation to Garam as well, in hopes to sway the party to dine with her and her father. When they asked him, Garam accepted, but very reluctantly. "I would have rather had a nice dinner under the natural sky than in a stuffy manor house," he quipped, "but it is not a good choice to turn down an invitation from the mayor."
Magic items were the next topic of discussion, so the party headed out to visit Gilac. He greeted them in his usual aloof manner, but he did invite them in to peruse his current inventory. There were potions and scrolls, and even a few wands, but two certain items were worthy of the adventurers' gold: a Bag of Holding, and a scroll of Teleport Without Error. The latter, they felt, was the safest and quickest way to Vegrain. Their optimism was quickly shattered when they realized the level of experience needed to cast such a powerful spell. They all remembered the debacle with the last Teleport scroll that they tried using while in Ilnath's Tower in the Ruins of Riveon. They then focused their eyes on the Bag of Holding; not only as a means to travel unencumbered with a great deal of items, but also as a possible hiding place for the cylinder. During their last battle, the main shade had revealed to them that the shades could sense the cylinder. Was this true or was it just a ruse? Either way, the party felt that this bag could help them on multiple levels. They told Gilac that they would be back late this night and would be purchasing either the scroll, if they could find an experienced wizard to cast it, or the bag. Due to all of the window-shoppers that Gilac dealt with on a day to day basis, he didn't put much stock in their words.
The party returned to the Wyvern's Watch and arrived about the same time Tharivol did. They were all happy to see each other again, and as usual, they started the questioning. Tharivol told them of Orcs coming down from Goruthim and traversing into the lands just outside of Malavon. When Svarnos brought up the grey-skinned creatures that they had seen, a very concerned look fell onto the elf's brow. He attempted to find out why the party was seeing these shades, but they skirted around the fact that they battled together. Instead, they just told Tharivol that they had seen them several times from a distance and felt it was a bit strange. Tharivol had corroborated Anes' stories about the shades.
As they spoke, two carriages, provided by the mayor, pulled up to the Wyyvern's Watch. All of the guests were then brought over to the manor house. The dinner was regal, as was to be expected, and the party delighted mayor Evaloix Arandire and his daughter, with their tales of adventure. Even Garam and Tharivol took interest in some of the more intriguing stories. It was short lived for Garam due to his quickened pace with the strong drink that was readily available.
There was a small hedge-maze in the courtyard, and Monnene invited Martijn to view it with her. Martijn, not wanting to split up the party at this time, politely and galantly declined. Seeing the rejection in Monnene's face, and knowing damn well how to take advantage of a stituation, Svarnos quickly interjected. "I would love to see the hedge maze with you." Monnene's spite got the best of her, and with a quick look towards Martijn, she accepted Svarnos' offer. Svarnos glanced back, smiling at Martijn, only to see the knight throw up his hands and mouth "what the fuck?" During their short walk, Svarnos was able to hold Monnene's hand, but was unable to go any further. It wasn't for lack of trying. "Maybe next time," he thought to himself.
As the night wore on, Garam's intoxicated voice rose over the conversations. His words stumbled out, but everyone could decipher that he was making a toast to that female party member they lost while fighting that Wyvern. By his tone and words, they could tell that there was a stronger feeling that must have been present between Garam and this female, but the party would not find out that night, for the alcohol had finally taken Garam's consciousness. At this point, Galifynakus, also heavily clouded by beer, began asking; almost demanding, for someone to tend to his feet. The level of awkwardness grew quickly and the rest of the party knew it was their time to leave.
Note: The woman Garam was going on about was named Melil. She was an elven cleric that Garam used to adventure with and that he obviously had romantic feelings for. Unfortunately, she was paralyzed in the battle with the wyvern of The Wyvern's Watch fame and was trampled to death by the monster before the eyes of Garam.
I don't know why, but that description just made me laugh.
After they dropped off Garam and Tharivol at the Wyvern's watch, they party quickly made their way back to Gilac's. As he invited them in, they heard an older women's drunken cackle resonating from the main room. They saw a women with grey hair, holding a mug of some potent drink, enjoying herself throuroghly. Gilac introduced her as Marna, his mentor. Svarnos questioned her to see if she would be able to cast Teleport from the scroll they were eyeing earlier. With a great laugh she had revealed that it was too powerful for her to cast without great risk of failing. With that information, they opted for the Bag of Holding.
They decided to pool all of their platinum and gold in order to attain the 5000 gold-piece price tag. Unfortunately, they did not have enough, but they delved into the party treasure to get some gems for the balance. Luckily, Svarnos convinced Gilac to sell them the bag for a total of 4600 in platinum, gold, and gems. He graciously took the offer and let them know that this was a more powerful bag than a typical one. It could hold up to 500lbs and 70 cubic feet. After this purchase, Gilac realized that the party actually followed through on their word, and he thanked them for their business.
The party quickly returned to the Wyvern's Watch and began to bed down. The knew tomorrow was going to be an early and long day.
Don't get scared but we will be delving into the updated rules for our next session. There are some very minor changes that make this "primeless" version even easier to play.
The new character sheet can be found under Useful Files & PDFS in the sidebar (over there ---->) so if you want to print it out and get a head start on it you can. I'm talkin' to you Dan. Norb, your characters are here so I'll probably copy them to the new sheets myself just to save time (your character sheets right now look like someone let their retarded cousin play). Lisha will copy hers tonight.
The full rules can be downloaded at Chris Perkins AD&D3 site. This is the revised primeless version making the game a little less like Castles & Crusades. He has done some amazing work putting this together.
The evil illusionist Illnath has been slain and his treasure has been plundered! The Shadow Cylinder has been found! The adventurers have escaped Castle Riveon and Margor the manticore is trapped in the observatory of the High Tower! Chaos reigns in the citadel as news of the death of Illnath spreads among his orcish minions!
Things seem to be going well for our intrepid party but they still have to escape the city!
Note: I’m a little pressed for time so I’m just going to give a condensed overview of our last two sessions.
The party had fled Riveon. They fought and outwitted the goblins and worgs that pursued them through the Broken Lands. They made straight for the tower of the sorceress Aness seeking aid as they planned to return to the citadel.
They found Aness greatly weakened due to her possession of two of the Shadow Cylinders.She could hardly walk and was unable to retain any spells as she was experiencing terrible nightmares that did not allow her to get any real rest. Aness still was able to assist the party by giving them a powerful teleport scroll.The scroll would be able to teleport the whole party almost wherever they wished (some locations with considerable risk).Many plans were discussed and many arguments ensued on what to do.
Aness and her apprentice Vanen (along with the guardian stone golem) then left the tower for the safety of the Wizard’s Isle. They hoped that Aness could find a way to shield herself from the dark influence of the Shadow Cylinders.They also knew that the minions of Zorvoath were still watching the tower.Aness loaded all her valuables into a Leomund’s secret chest and they vanished away. Before leaving the sorceress gave the adventurers the key to the tower so they could use it as a safe house once they returned from their quest.
The heroes restocked their supplies in Berengel and checked on their horses before setting out for Riveon again.They saw a rider upon the road to Berengel but they were unsure if it was an enemy.
They traveled back through the Broken Lands guided by the ranger Eldan.Riveon was reached mid-day on Redleaf the 4th.Their travels were interrupted briefly by a sojourn into a troglodyte cave that they saw before when fleeing Riveon.The party battled the disgusting creatures but it turned out to be a fruitless venture.
The party waited until the darkness of night to reenter the citadel.Jarvis the cat familiar was used as a scout and it was discovered that the rents in the northern wall were too well guarded by contingents of orcs and ogres. Lono suggested that they scale the wall in a less guarded area using his grappling hook.This was done with the help of Svarnos’ levitation wand.Two patrolling orcs had to be dispatched as they discovered the infiltrating adventurers.The orcish bodies were flung outside the wall.Scaling the wall proved to not be difficult but descending caused some falls and rough landings.
The adventurers were in luck. Once inside the citadel they could see a large coliseum type structure that was full of firelight and activity. It seemed that Illnath and his evil minions were enjoying another night of arena battles.The eyes of the orcs in a nearby guard tower were pulled towards the action within the arena thus allowing the adventures to steal away into the citadel.
The party reached the cemetery and the Curthor crypt. They descended into it but discovered to their dismay that Illnath had discovered how they entered the castle before.There was a group of orcs guarding the entrance to the secret tunnel into the castle.The party wasted no time in kicking down the door and slaughtering the surprised orcs.Their bodies were hidden in an adjacent tomb full of sarcophagi and rotting dead zombies (really dead!).
The adventurers carefully reentered the castle and after some scouting by Lono bee lined straight for the mysterious High Tower of Cyndara via the throne room.The castle seemed almost deserted as it seemed Illnath and many of the orcs were still at the arena.
The first obstacle the party encountered was the great iron bound wood doors of the tower itself. They were carved with strange mystical symbols and as they were approached the doors cast a confusion spell upon the party.This resulted in many of the party members temporarily loosing their minds (screaming, running, attacking friends, babbling, and doing nothing).Eventually, Gjord was left in the door hallway alone to try to batter it down despite the insidious spell.After a couple tries (and getting magically confused in the process) the stout dwarf was successful.
The walls within the tower were covered with phantasmal sigils and runes with walls made of solid granite blocks.A dim light emanated from the ceiling but no light source could be seen to cause it.
The second obstacle was a sleeping red dragon!It scales glistened, heat could be felt emanating from its body, the smell of smoke was in the air, and the sound of its breath rumbled through the room. However, it turned out to be a stunningly real illusion but the party was ready to bravely do battle with the creature even though they thought it was really a dragon. Svarnos did have his suspicions from the beginning though.
The heroes made for the top of the tower immediately so they ascended the enclosed spiral staircase bypassing all the other levels of the tower. They reached the top level and entered by an iron bound door.They were in a great overgrown green house with a domed green-glass roof reinforced by an ornate copper latticework.The dome was half open to the cloudy night sky as the sectioned dome could be closed and opened by a lever connected to a gearbox upon one side of the room.The room was filled with stunted dead trees, moss, and weeds.Here the party also found a great trove of treasure! There was a large chest covered with moss on the opposite side of the room.Lono easily picked the lock and within the party found a hoard of gold and platinum and what were obviously items of a magical nature. Two swords (one thin dull gray shortsword, and one golden handled longsword with a hilt that looked like entwined flames), a large steel shield with the heraldic crossed lances of Riveon embossed upon the front, a suit of mithral elven chainmail (sized for a human or half-elf), a warhammer with a metal haft and a head that shimmered slightly, a gold ring set with a ruby (Svarnos donned this and discovered it was a ring of spell storing with a fireball spell within), a purple colored potion, and a black hooded cloak with a silver web-like pattern stitched into it (Lono donned the robe and found that he was able to scale the walls and the dome as if under the influence of a spider climb spell).The party quickly took all the items and pocketed some coins as well.The heroes knew that the adventure was far from over for they had found no Shadow Cylinder and the evil illusionist Illnath still lived!
Let me know in the comments if I left anything out!