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Tuesday, 15th January, 2002, 10:02 PM #1
[FR] Heroes of the Vilhon Reach I
Here is the tale of the Heroes from when they first met.
Backstory is interspersed throughout the tale. The adventures begin in Alaghon, Turmish a city of more than 80,000
and the Jewel of Turmish
Holidays of Turmish: Feast of the Moon (1 Eleasias)
Reign of Misrule (15 Marponeth)
Here are the characters:
Aris Cloud-dancer: 1st level male air genasi fighter from southeastern Tethyr
Benito Moltos: 1st level male human cleric of Tyr, a native of Alaghon, Turmish
Nosr: 1st level male half-elf sorcerer from the Dragon Coast
Mourn of Evereska: 1st level male sun elven bard
Ellysidel : 1st level wild elf barbarian from Chondalwood.
1 Eleasias, 1372 , Feast of the Moon : Meetings
Let's begin with Aris... Coming from a well-established house of artisans but not being the first-born sibling, Aris decides to take part of his inheritance and travel east away from Riativin towards the Sea of Fallen Stars to begin his family's trade. A genasi male of impeccable honor but very brusque, Aris means to spread the Cloud-dancer name to the main trade-ways of Faerun. He also wants to see adventure and is trained as a fighter being blooded by conflict in Tethyr. After crossing the Shining Plains, and traversing from Hlondeth across the mountains into the rolling hills of Turmish, he arrives at the port city capital Alaghon. Once in Alaghon he begins scoping the competition. It is at one weaponsmith's establishment-House Silvio's Weaponcrafters that he comes across Benito Moltos. Aris gets both himself and the young cleric thrown out after alllowing Silvio to examine Aris's masterwork scimitar. The weaponsmith belittes its quality and claims its display is a ruse to get Benito's business.
Benito has just left the temple of Tyr after being raised there all his life. The brothers and sisters of the temple(clerics) related that he was dropped one evening on their doorstep. All he knows is the worship of Tyr . He was raised to follow Tyrĺs precepts being trained in ways divine. Inspired by the fervent charges of Denton Crimsgard, high priest of the Temple of Tyr in Alaghon, he decides to begin questing to stop the ravages of the Stalker [Malar] in the Vilhon. On recommendation by his mentor, Brother Giepeto, he goes to Silvio's to have a masterwork longsword commissioned. The negotiations do not go well and Benito leaves sullen convinced that Silvio is in league with the Stalker.
However, he runs into Aris outside the shop. They begin a conversation during which Aris allows Benito to examine his shield, armor and weapons. Benito is impressed and the two strike a deal. Even though Aris is very rude and talks down to the cleric, Benito is struck by the goodness in this fellow and the possibility that he may help in his quest against Malar and his minions. They purchase raw materials, gather coal and wood for the forge, and move outside the city where Aris can work without any guild hassles. They discover that one of Silvioĺs apprentices is following them through the streets of Alaghon. They chase him away but lose him in the crowd.
While Benito and Aris camp on the beach a few miles south of Alaghon, something strange occurs the next morning;a wild elf washes up on the beach. He is injured, so Benito heals him but the elf is also exhausted. Aris and Benito carry him to the tent, give him water and let him rest. All they get out of him is that he was captured and on his way to become a slave, but escaped. He is rude to Benito because of his capture by humans, but thinks Aris is elven. The elf then drifts off into dreamland.
The wild elf's tale.... begins several weeks earlierůEllysidell was en route to counterattack humans raiding the woods for lumber. This was in the great wood called Chondalwood. This was the elf's first raid and he underestimated the humans. So did all the raiders. He fell capture to a simple net trap and was beaten to unconsciousness. He remembered a gloating human with a symbol of a skull in a black sun emblazoned on his armor. He awoke and was sick with much of his own vomit around him and still nauseous. His armor gifted to him by his uncle and his weapons were gone. He saw many humans capture and he and a wild halfling separated from the group. The halfling spoke to him without moving his mouth. The elf did not know whether or not his mental replies were received but the halfling did relate that they were on a floating tree on the Big Water far away from their home forest. The elf faded in and out for a while but finally regained a bit of health and stopped wretching. Some guards even cleaned him and his area up and gave him food. At some point the floating tree stopped. The halfling informed the elf that he would try to escape.
It was night when the manacled prisoners were led on deck and the elf watched as prisoners were pushed overboard into a barge to be apparently taken to another ship several hundred yards away. Right before the elf was trussed into the barge, the halfling shook into a rage and attacked. The elf went into a rage as well but was unable to break his manacles that held his feet together. The halfling was whacked hard on the head after tackling and taking a guards short sword but was still up and fighting four armed men. The elf did his best to avoid attacks from one guard watching him. He decided to make a break for it and ran to the rail, jumping overboard. Unfortunately, as he made his break, the guard slashed with his spear and cut a deep wound in the elf's thigh. Arrows or bolts plopped in the water as he swam despite the manacles on his legs. Somehow he swam and swam and swam towards a distant coastline. He saw lights on the coast to his right, but the current, to strong to fight in his condition and he drifted. His arms became fatigued, he gave himself over to the goddess of the forest, and all went black.....
Last edited by Broccli_Head; Thursday, 20th February, 2003 at 09:58 PM.
Tuesday, 15th January, 2002, 10:33 PM #2
Note on the poll: Please use this poll to rate all the threads of the Heroes of the Vilhon Reach. Please be merciful with the early posts in this thread. I realize that from being long out of practice, the first several posts are hard to read and not so good. I have tried to edit as best as I can.
Eleasias 1, 1372 : Elves are falling from the sky!
Mourn had been wandering for a long,long time from his home is Evereska. He wanted to travel South and further South. By the time he got to Alaghon for the Festival of the Moon (a two day affair with this year's Shieldmeet!) he was dirt poor. Fancy that, an elf with no money and only a lyre as a possession. So near the docks of Alaghon he plays and sings so he can get a room and a meal somewhere here in Turmish's capital.
Similarly, Nosr recently arrived from the Dragon Coast. More precisely, he hailed from the city of Starmantle, Westgate's younger brother (with most of its habits) . There he was an aspiring wizard's apprentice. However, he never studied and had become rather bored under the tutelage of the small school for mages. Spells just came to him. This irked both his masters and his fellow students. Much to the chagrin of his family he was let go. He was also disowned. So he left and travelled the Sea of Fallen Stars to the first port of call on a ship of questionable origin (his sister's last favor despite the familial rift) to Alaghon. It is here that he ran into Mourn, playing and earning a few coins. They joined up as kindred wanderers despite Mourn's prejudice against half-elves. A beggars couldn't afford to be choosey and Morn saw the naivety in the lad, and so was inclined to protect and watch over him. It's also good to have a captive audience, he thought.
They both went to the first tavern, the Salty Dog. Right away it was clear that this was not the best choice. Mourn was harassed but played it up as part of his performance and did tumbles and flips while avoiding a drunken dock-worker, all the while earning some coin. At some point the drunk threw a real weapon. The watch was summoned, but before they arrived, Nosr put the man to sleep, scooped up the coin and joined Morn in his escape of the tavern amid a round of applause.
Nosr revealed his upbringing by greedy merchants. He only gave Mourn a quarter of the take and claimed the rest as part of being his agent. Mourn began to argue and follow Nosr as he leaves the city.
Aris on the road into the city, saw the oddest site right outside the gates--a gold elf pursuing a half-elf and arguing vehemently about some issue. He paused and tried to dissolve the argument and made a remark about seeing too many elves in one day for it to be a coincidence.
After some discussion, Aris helped to resolve the issue by hiring Mourn the bard and Nosr to work for him. They entered the city to buy provisions. Almost as soon as they entered they were accosted by members of the city guard and questioned about the disappearance of two of Silvio's apprentices. Mourn helped to get the watch to back off with some playing of the lyre and the trio continued on their way to buy provisions for Aris's make-shift camp outside the city.
They returned without incident to see the elf still sleeping and Benito in meditations. Upon hearing of the missing apprentices, Benito immediately called for the new group to search them out--they could have or may become victims of the Stalker! Debating whether to awaken the wild elf, they formed a plan.....
Last edited by Broccli_Head; Tuesday, 15th January, 2002 at 11:01 PM.
Tuesday, 15th January, 2002, 11:21 PM #3
Elesias 2, 1372 :On the Hunt for the Stalker, part I
[DM notes: I used the Color of Ambition adventure in the new FRCS. It worked well since some of the players already had pre-conceived notions about the Red Wizards, especially Aris. As it turns out they were both wrong AND right...]
Benito and Morn decide to return to town and question Silvio about his apprentices. They learn that Tolf and Elohnn frequent a tavern on the northwest side of Alagohn, where the stone and brick construction so prevalent in Turmish's capital gives way to wooden and mortar structures. The tavern is called the Black Bull and is frequented by day-laborers involved in either farming or hauling produce from the nearby hamlets and farming villages into the city proper. This is basically Alaghon's suburban sprawl and it is during the lunch hour so the place is crowded.
Benito, not being subtle and somewhat naive in the ways of economics, drops 5gp at the bar before Mourn can advise him a proper course of action, to ask the bartender to get everyone's attention. For that handsome sum of money, the bartender complies and bangs a nearby rusted bucket. Everyone stops and Benito has the floor. He takes the opportunity to remind everyone about the menance of the Stalker especially this day after the Feast of the Moon [for the past 12 yrs, the Feast of the Moon has become dangerous in Turmish, and especially in Alaghon as members of the Cult of Malar take advantage of lovers or newlyweds meeting in romantic places to commit murder], and that he and his companion are looking for two possible victims. Benito's speech is incredible and he even gets many of the patrons to renew commitments to the gods of good (and especially to Tyr). They are also very forthcoming and tell Benito and Morn that the two apprentices were seen leaving in the company of a tall dark-haired woman. No one know where they went, however.
Frustrated from the lack of more information, Benito decides to go back to the Temple of Justice and seek advice from his mentor, Brother Gippeto. On the way out, Morn suggests that they at least check out around the building and alleyways. They spot what looks like a body in the alley and rush to its aid!
As it turns out, the person is not dead, but hung-over. The body reeks of spirits, but Benito uses a cure minor wounds to revive the drunk. With some incentive money, they discover which direction the two apprentices went with the dark-haired woman.
They find the trail of the three people thanks to recent rain and moist ground. About a mile or so away on the outskirts of the city where it is wooded, they see that the three met a wagon. Two sets of prints disappear and the wagon tracks head south while a lone set of prints heads northeast back towards the city. Morn and Benito follow the lone set of prints which leads then to the Red Wizard Enclave on the northside of the city. It is late afternoon, and the enclave is still open for business. Benito spots a lone raven circling the establishment while he talks to a guard and honestly explains the situation. A wizard is called for and she begins goading and accusing Benito of bringing falsehoods and lies to discredit her and her fellows. It is clear that she is hiding something. Her superior is called for by the guards, but before another wizard can arrive, Morn pulls Benito away from the enclave before a fight errupts and they are thoroughly thrashed. The two leave. Benito decides to head for the Temple of Justice, but Morn runs back to the Heroes' beach camp on the south side of Alaghon. They arrive at their destinations without incident.
Back at the camp, Mourn relates to Aris and the rest of the company what happened. Aris is perturbed. They set watches, but the night goes by uneventfully. The heretofore nameless wild elf, Ellysidel, spots a lone wolf watching the camp.
The next morning Benito rises early and has morning prayer with the brothers. He is challenged by Gippeto to think first about the abducted apprentices instead of the possibly guilty Red Wizard. So he leaves the temple to gather his fellow Heroes so they can track the wagon, already a day and a half ahead. En route to the camp, Benito is attacked. A roguish character attempts to suprise him, but Tyr is with the young cleric and he spots the mugger before he strikes. "You ask to many questions," he says, but Benito takes him down before the rogue can speak again. He then has to whirl around while another thug tries to charge him from behind. The thug misses. The next round Benito misses and takes a nasty stab to the shoulder as the assailant jabs with his short sword . He notices that the thug is sweating and cries out in pain, and accuses Benito of not fighting fairly and of using foul magicks. The cleric then calls upon the retribution of Tyr for his attack and strikes the fighter mightily across the abdomen, downing him with his longsword. He also sees the muggers chain shirt melt and the fighter blister from the heated metal. The thug goes down screaming.
Benito stabilizes both his attackers with his minor healing magic and awaits for the militia to arrive. The thugs are taken in for questioning where Benito learns that they were hired from the Salty Dog by a tall, dark-haired woman to mug him. He takes possession of their weapons armor and coin as compensation, but give the militia sergeant the fighter's short sword and some money for his and his fellow's help. He returns to the Temple of Justice where once again he is encouraged to pursue the kidnapped apprentices and refrain from exacting justice/vengeance on the Red Wizards.
Worried that he has not shown up to the camp by highsun, the Heroes under Aris pack up their gear and enter the city to check on Benito's whereabouts. They catch up with him at the temple and learn what had happened. Already provisioned, they set off at once in pursuit of the wagon.....
[Next time....our Heroes catch up with the wagon and learn a little of the power of the Emerald Enclave]
Tuesday, 15th January, 2002, 11:29 PM #4
Eleasias 3-9, 1372: On the Hunt for the Stalker, part II
The Heroes of the Vilhon Reach have no trouble following the wagon since it travels off the beaten path in moist ground towards the south. They pursue the wagon for two days each of which is uneventful except for the wolf that watches them at night just outside their camp. By the third day Aris and Ellysidel realize that the party will not catch up to the wagon unless they force march during the night. Therefore, they decide to continue pursuit despite the possibility of fatigue. Tymora blesses them, however, as they come across the wagon encamped four hours later. Aris and Ellyisdel are fatigued and decide to rest before anything else happens. Most of the party rests for four hours while Mourn sneaks to within 50 ft of the camp to keep an eye on what the party has decided are slavers. He sees one guard and two sleeping bodies as well as a team of horses and a covered wagon.
Four hours later, Aris joins Mourn at the 50 ft mark. Nosr, Benito, and Ellysidel hang back at around 100ft. The slavers are subdued quickly with a combination of sleep spells from Nosr and two uses of Mourn's color spray wand. Ellysidel and Benito run through the grass and brush creating plenty of diversion and the slavers only get on crossbow shot off which goes wide. They are tied up quickly and the prisoners--Talf, Elohnn and two others--are discovered. They are drugged to near unconsciousness and cannot be revived.
Interrogation of the slavers reveals that they are Thayvan and taking their slaves, which the merchant contends were purchased legally, south to slave markets. While slavery is not practiced in Turmish, other countries and city-states in the Vilhon have a brisk trade in humanoind cargo. Clearly, there seems to be an underground slave trade in Turmish as evidenced by Ellysidel's experience and the Thayvan slave merchant. In time, Benito's cross-examination shows that the kidnapped apprentices were not obtained as debtors and there is no clear record of the transaction. He discovers the monetary exchange for the boys in one of the merchant's account books. The guards spill the beans readily and even tell that the transaction was with the Red Wizard Kizzaf.
This is enough evidence for Benito and the rest of the Heroes. They high-tail it back towards Alaghon. It takes 3 days and on the 2nd night back, the camp is ambushed. The lone wolf has become 10, complete with several druids who demand that the slavers be handed over. A daylight spell is sent amid the camp to emphasize the point and show the Heroes that they are outnumbered. They have no choice but to hand the Thayvans over. Benito and Aris squirm as they feel that they have cheated the guards after promising them freedom. Ellysidel has no problem and is glad that justice will be done. A mist obscures the camp, and screams of the slavers are heard as they are led or whisked away. As quickly as they arrived, the druids depart.
The Heroes of the Vilhon have mixed emotions as they return to Alaghon, but are resolved to tie up the loose end of the Red Wizard Kizzaf. Benito has an audience with Denton Crimsgard, the high priest of the Temple of Justice. Denton reminds Benito that the supervisor of the enclave is not evil, nor are most of the Thayvans present. He warns him not to cause trouble that would jeapordize the enclave's relationship with Alaghon.
After resting a day, the Heroes of the Vilhon proceed to the enclave. Benito asks to speak to Hinnar, the head of the Red Wizards in Alaghon, but Kizzaf comes out instead and her and Benito exchange verbal insults. A savvy guard does proceed to get the supervisor and Hinnar arrives on the scene. Seeing that the jig is up, Kizzaf summons four zombies that errupt from the ground. Hinnar and the guards watch as the battle is joined.
Mourn attempts to tumble around the zombies and get into position to take Kizzaf out with a color spray. However, he fails to do so and is knocked unconscious by a zombie. Benito calls upon the holiness of Tyr and the might is sufficient to destroy them. This blessing allows Nosr to get a clear shot with his magic missile and Aris to close on Kizzaf. He strikes her across the leg. Ellysidel also weighs in with his greatsword, but the attack is deflected by Kizzaf's protection magicks. She backs up and blasts the attackers with burning hands, but they roll and duck to avoid the full force of the flames. Benito draws his longsword and attempts to flank the evil wizardess, but misses his attack. Aris and Nosr connect, with scimitar and magic missle to finish her. Benito stabilizes Morn who thankfully will live to play another day.
Hinnar allows the Heroes to give Kizzaf the coup de grace,and as the guards clean up the mess, sits down with Benito to examine the evidence. She has a wizard make a copy and the players are rewarded with 300gp worth of potions and thanks from the enclave for helping them to sustain their cordial relationship with Alaghon. There is also the understanding that the Heroes will use discretion in talking about the actions of Kizzaf, the rouge wizard. They leave the enclave before Tymora's smile leaves them...
Tuesday, 15th January, 2002, 11:31 PM #5
Down time in Alaghon, 10 Eleasias to 10 Eleint, 1372
The next month, the Heroes rest and recuperate from their journey. Aris joins the weapons & armorcrafters guild in Alaghon and he and Benito begin to make armor and weapons to sell and better equip the party. Benito also finds greater enlightenment as a cleric of Tyr. All of the party takes quarters at the temple and end up paying only for their meals. Aris also rents out space at the temple for him and Benito to work.
About 1 month later, the Heroes are contacted by the Hinnar of the Red Wizards Enclave. She has a job for them. Benito and Aris go to the enclave to meet with her...
"As you know, we are in the business of selling minor magic items. We wish to expand our business to include trading and selling magic items that are not so minor. We would like to hire you and your companions to treasure-hunt for us."
"What's the catch?" Asks Aris
"Catch? There is not catch. We are hiring you in good faith."
"What do we get to keep, then?"
"The monetary reward that you find we will divide 70% for you and 30% for us. We reserve the right to select gems and jewels for use in our arcane studies. We also ask first choice of magic items that are found. Worry not, warriors," Hinar smiles assuringly, " we look for only things that we as wizards may use."
"That sounds fine by me," says Benito.
This earns a glare from Aris, who responds, "Give us a day to think about it."
Amidst Benito's protests, they leave.
Aris decides to take Nosr along and gather some information on this new venture by the Red Wizards.
Not particularly thrilled with the prospect of being "adventurers-for-hire" for the Red Wizards, Aris goes job hunting. He takes Nosr with him to see what they can find.
They discover that they are not the only 'heroes' that the Thayvian Enclave hires, and that there are always jobs for caravan guards across Turmish (which is "Assuredly safe," according to the militia) to Hlondeth ("Once you reach those border foothills, it is utter lawlessness. Those snake-lovers can't even keep the kobolds in line!").
However, one lead takes them to a restaurant called Razmiko's. There they are treated to lunch by the day manager and asked for some pretty good money to hunt for some rare blue snails on the fringes of the country near dangerous forests and mountains. Snails in a pot are a delicacy in Alaghon and Turmish. Aris frowns and excuses himself and Nosr. The prospects do not look good....
That night, the Heroes discuss their options in the safety of the Temple of Justice. Aris has a dream--He sees snails covering tall grasses and crawling over reeds. The reeds part and he sees a majestic unicorn being led by an athletic, bronzed and dark-haired woman who appears to be a huntress or at least spends a lot of time outdoors. She says simply, "Your master is to be found here, " as she motions to the surrounding marshy landscape. The dream abruptly ends and Aris awakens.
"Snails," Aris mutters as he rubs his face. "Yuck!"
Tuesday, 15th January, 2002, 11:52 PM #6
Benitoĺs encounter with Salazar (12 Eleint, 1372)
As the rest of his new found friends were making the preparations for their long journey north towards the mountains, Benito went back to the only place he has ever called home, the Temple of Tyr, to seek advice from Brother Gipetto on the upcoming trek. Walking through the solemn halls of the temple Benito can't help but smile as he thinks back upon his childhood. How many times did brother Gippeto send him to scrub these very floors as punishment for boyhood pranks on some of the more somber brothers of the temple. Suddenly shaken from his nostalgic haze an old blind brother known simply as Salazar starts to slowly make his way towards Benito.
"Nito, is this you I hear?"
"Yes brother Salazar, did you need something ?"
"Yes young one, come closer I think the time has come to tell you the truth of your past."
Intrigued by this Benito goes to the eldery man. The elder brother tells Benito that he was not left on the steps of the temple as he has been told his since he was young enough to listen. Instead he assails Benito with a tale of a fair young maiden of noble birth who came to, then young, Brother Gipetto in the dead of night carrying a small infant. She tells Gipetto that the childs father is in fact a powerful Malarite and intends to sacrifice the newborn to Malar at the newmoon. In a bizarre blood ritual intended to elevate him to the head of the cult of Malar in Chondath. Though the mother herself is a Malarite she claims she was seduced by the older man and new little of the evil ways of the cult till recently. Sobs wracking her body she begs Brother Gipetto to protect the young child from the Malarites and explains that the last place he would ever think to look for the child would be in a haven of the god Tyr. She tells him that if the man should ever find young Benito and spill his blood in this ritual that he would gain power from on high and become a true monster in form as well as spirit. After reassuring the young girl that no harm would come to her child she fled into the darkness of the night leaving the young acolyte to ponder what had transpired.
Brother Salazar tells Benito that even as Gipetto raised him as his own he always kept a watchful eye out for agents of the stalker whom might have discovered where the child had been hidden. His head spinning with turbulent emotion Benito turns his back on the elder brother and begins to weep bitterly.
Later that day Benito regains enough composure to go to the one man who can tell him the truth, Jepetto. After telling Gipetto of the tale that brother Salazar told him he pauses for a moment and then solemnly asks him if it is true. Gipetto replies almost flippantly that Benito should not put any stock in the inane ravings of an obviously crazy old man. Yet Benito notes that Gipetto never comes out and denies the allegations merely sidesteps the issue. Feeling as if his worst fears have been confirmed Benito asks him if he thinks that the son is responsible for the sins of the father. To this Gipetto places a hand on Benito's shoulder and tells him that each man must forge his own destiny independent of the shackles of heritage or birth. Somewhat comforted Benito bids Gipetto farewell as he heads out to meet with his fellow adventurers.
Wednesday, 16th January, 2002, 08:15 PM #7
Quest for the Snails
13-23 Eleint, 1372 The Quest for the Snails I,
Getting there is half the fun!
After provisioning for 2 days (including a trip to the Red Wizard's enclave to buy potions!), the Heroes set out for Starfall Stream Pool in the shadow of the Orsaun Mountains. From here they will travel into the Shadow Wood to hunt for the snails. This is all the way across Turmish to the west, a journey of 10 days, but at 50gp a bucket, the Heroes decide that it is worth the effort. Plus, Aris being the leader, made the final decision after consulting with Benito about his dream.
Here is one surprising side-note and maybe some insight into Aris's character. He asks for a blessing by Brother Gippeto for the journey before the adventurers depart.
After the first day, the party makes it to the shores of Evenstar Lake where they are greeted warmly by villagers of Evenstar village, a small hamlet of fisherfolk on the shores of the lake. Benito takes the time to preach and heal while the rest of the party makes camp near the lakeshore slightly outside the village. That night, their peace is broken by an assassination attempt on Benito. The assassins are subdued through force and magic and the discovery is made that they worship Malar. Benito explodes and kicks the teeth out of one of the prisoners, after which the prisoner spits blood on the cleric of Tyr. Aris has to forcibly pull him away, but an enraged Benito kicks the prisoner unconscious before Nosr can cast sleep on the cleric to calm him down. In the meantime the constable is called and the two prisoners are taken to the villageĺs hardly-used jailhouse. The party is ever vigilant the rest of the night, but is passes uneventfully. The next day the village leader and constable apologize to the party and help to re-provision them as much as they can (mostly with dried fish and other foodstuffs). Benito scours the village to try to detect more evil, but is unsuccessful. He taunts the prisoners but quickly repents, realizing that his anger and confusion have gotten the best of him. He leaves telling the Malarites that he will pray for their souls.
The party makes their way around the lake and head northwest towards the ruins of Ironcloak Keep. The day is uneventful, but at night one and then two worgs watch the camp. The party scares them away with lanterns. They move northwest at a more rapid pace not wanting more of the twisted wolves (servants of the Stalker?) to catch up with them. Near dusk they run across another adventuring party. There is a tense standoff as the spokeswoman for the other group and Aris threaten each other with a crossbow. Mourn sees one of the other group attempting to hide in the brush and calls him out. Benito attempts to smooth things over. Nosr readies a spell. Ellysidel holds back his rage. In the end the party is asked to move on even with the possible threat of worgs in pursuit.
"We'll take our chances," says the crossbow-wielding woman after talking to her hulking, great-sword wielding superior that the party sees from a distance.
"Suit yourself, " says Aris shrugging his shoulders and motioning for the party to move on.
The night and the next few days are uneventful. During the afternoon one day, with the standoff far behind, a giant bee startles the horses and the wagon is overturned spilling Nosr and almost trapping Mourn under empty barrels and buckets. The bee is angered by an arrow shot from Ellysidel, Benito hacks at the bee, Aris and Nosr knock it to the ground with bolt and magic missle. However, it is left up to the wild elf to dispatch the vermin. He does so to great effect cleaving the bee in twain with his House Cloud-dancer masterwork greatsword, covering Benito with bee goo and guts.
Tyr and Tymora are with the party as they continue towards the west and begin to see foothills and mountains in the distance. There are no events for several days.
Estimating a day to go to the town of Starfall Stream Pool, they camp in the shadows of the Orsauns. That night, while Benito is on watch, the party is attacked by orc scouts. Feeling that Tyr is with him, Benito charges the orcs and decapitates his first adversary with a mighty blow from "Mano de la Justicia" [side note: the character who plays Benito has decided that Turmic is like Spanish. Trans. of the sword's name : Hand of Justice]. Two of the orcs flee into the rocky hills. One stays and trys to do battle with Benito. The cleric avoids a cleave from the orc's greataxe, but misses with his attack. Aris, however, takes out the raider with his crossbow. Benito decides to pursue the remaining orcs. The Heroes are forced to follow to prevent the suddenly bloodthirsty cleric from getting himself killed. Fortunately Nosr is able to subdue the fleeing orcs with a sleep spell. Benito stabs one orc in the face before he has to fall back as other orcs fire arrows from cover. He takes an arrow in the leg before ducking behind some rocks. The rest of the party catches up. Several rounds of bow fire are exchanged and two orcs are knocked off with super-accurate shots from Mourn,Nosr, and Aris. Aris hits one in the neck. Nosr is also hit in the shoulder. All the while Mourn is singing a mighty war song in elvish from days long past. It inspires the troops. Ellysidel and Aris tire of the exchange and while Benito heals the wounded and Nosr and Mourn keep the orcs honest with crossbow fire, the warriors sneak up the rocks to flank the orcs. Ellysidel charges his and chops him in half, spraying blood across the rocks. The other orc grabs his weapon and turns to face the madly grinning and bloody elf, but before he can take action, he is cut down from the flank by Aris. Victory for the Heroes!
The other orc is manacled and Aris is shocked when he discovers the vicious coup de' grace of the cleric of Tyr.
"Your manner of justice strikes me as very, very odd, Benito."
To which Benito responds at first with prideful silence and later, in private, shame....
The next day the party reaches Starfall Stream Pool more experienced than when they began the journey. Nosr has gotten the hang of his magical gifts and a new spell comes to him. Mourn decides that he will train under Aris to gain some fighting skill. Ellysidel has improved with his new great weapon and the training of his ancestors comes back to him during the period of reverie after the battle. Benito has to go and pray privately to reflect on his chaotic actions. They take quarters at the Wood's Edge Inn and rest and train before the next leg of their journey...into the Shadow Wood and the hunt for the snails.
Wednesday, 16th January, 2002, 08:18 PM #8
Here is an update on the characters! As of 23 Eleint, 1372
Aris Cloud-dancer: 1st level male air genasi fighter from southeastern Tethyr. He has fought in the recent wars against the Knights of the Black Gauntlet in Ithal Pass. He is also realzing how much woodcraft and ranging is neccessary. Hence the pursuit of the 'Snail Quest'.
Benito Moltos: 2nd level male human cleric of Tyr, a native of Alaghon, Turmish. Read the post above to learn more on this young, fervant priest's history.
Nosr: 2nd level male half-elf sorcerer from Starmantle, on the Dragon Coast. Aris has taken this lad under his wing to temper his emotions and perhaps curb his maliciousness, bred from the influence of foul Westgate.
Mourn of Evereska: 1st level/1st level male sun elven bard/fighter . A sun elven bard? Why would a sun elf travel from the Fortress and without any wealth? His past remains a mystery.
Ellysidel of Chondalwood: 2nd level male wild elf barbarian. He loves his new greatsword and bides his time with his new companions--but not without gratitude to Aris and Benito--in the hopes that the slavers can be found and he and the ghostwise halfling that saved his life can be avenged or rescued.
Wednesday, 16th January, 2002, 08:21 PM #9
originally posted by honorwolf:
Let it be known that I am the teller of Aris's Tale. Just a little background information on our resident, brusque Air Genasi fighter. Aris hails from the Southeastern reaches of Tethyr, most recently before Alaghon he was at Ithal Pass, fighting against the Knights of the Black Gauntlet and all their Zhentarim scum, and before that engaged with the civil war in Tethyr to put Queen Zaranada and King Haedrak III on their rightful throne. On behalf of his family Aris CloudDancer risked much of his business (Armour and Weapons) to the war effort in the early days of the war and fought much as the next soldier in the later days, especially at the First Siege of Myratma, where Aris learned and watched first hand how nobility and titles did not necessarily confered leadership abilities and how inadequate leaders led to a slaughter of an army.
IN particular his, being one of the few survivors Aris has further taken the view of being pragmatic, especially in warfare. Aris cannot stand inefficiency having seen so called nobles lead their soldiers to their deaths because of their pride, to this point he has developed a keen interest in tactics and strategy and better ways to wage war with fewest lossed possible, "Victory through superior strategy and not brute force" Pride does not enter into Aris's battle plans or single combat. That is not to say he is without honor, he is just simply pragmatic. Little known background information for all you readers another reason for the straightforward, brusque, and seemingly tactless demeanor, is that Aris CloudDancer was once a slave he sees no point in beating around the bush Life was brutal for Aris in his younger days having to endure harsh, slaving, servitude to a Dao, as payment for a debt going back generations. The rest is a tale for another day.
Our boy is not bitter he is gruff, practical, and needs no guile except in warfare. And in War, there are no rules. Just imagine a darkskinned, no nonsense, Air Genasi. His hair is so dark that it has bluish highlights, and their always seem to be that cool breeze going on there for his hair and cloak in his dramatic victory poses remeniescience of Ryu in streetfighter. He views Benito the fervant Priest as young, brash, and impetous and really fears for his life. Aris cares for the group as a big brother, he sees Mourn as a young elf who needs a friend and someone to confide in him also Aris aware of his own shortcomings hire the young bard as a herald and diplomat for Aris.
He feels that Nosr is a young, angry, abused, potential powerhouse who needs guidance and steering in the right direction, so as not to become bitter and hateful. Ellisydyll as a great ally and friend who would be there for him and also as a brother who needs to learn more of the world so he can accomplish his goals. and possibly stir this great elven warrior to go in the same direction Aris has in mind, and finally Benito as a really younger brother who would get himself killed and whose naivety will allow himself to be used and truly crush the young acoylyte's spirit. Aris cannot abide a crushed spirit, having being a slave for many years. Of course being as Charismatic as Aris is (8) he lets his actions speak for him. He will always be blunt. It will remain to see who will see this of Aris in the many days to come.
Wednesday, 16th January, 2002, 08:28 PM #10
Quest for the Snails (cont.)
24 Eleint to 1 Marponeth, 1372 The Quest for the Snails part II, A Paladin Rides In
[DM note and SPOILER WARNING :I am running the adventure 'The Valley of the Snails' found in Dungeon #87. It has been scaled up to reflect the party's numbers and levels]
Starfall Stream Pool does not have much nor is there much to do. It does possess a shrine to Lathander. Vineyards dot the hilly landscape and vintages are requested on the coast in droves. Somehow, it remains small.
For the last week of Eleint, the Heroes train and rest for their Snail Hunt. They also interrogate their orcish prisoner. It does not go well for the orc. He is eventually gutted by Aris and the party learns nothing of any orcish strength in the area. The local constable is frightened of the prospect of orc raiders in Starfall Stream Pool. He sends word to Blisingdell requesting troops from the lord there to help bolster his meager militia. Aris talks him into placing the orchead on a stake to scare any would-be raiders off. The head works well as a scarecrow according to the Wood's Edge Inn's proprietor who owns the field.
On the first of Marponeth, Benito's attempts to proselytize the locals, and Aris's morning training session with Mourn and Ellysidel are interrupted by a not so normal site. An amazingly beautiful woman enters the town leading a horse. She proceeds to the Inn and when she meets Benito on the street outside the shrine to Lathander she agrees to celebrate Tyr's Holy day (which occurs on the 1st, 13th, and 22nd of the month). Apparently she is a worshipper of the god of justice. She introdcues herself as Alberia "someone's"-daughter from Cormyr. She takes quarters at the inn, has her horse and gear stowed, meets the rest of the heroes practicing their martial arts (Ellysidel remarks, "I've never seen a woman like you before!") , and then accompanies Benito in worship services. By this time the shrine to Lathander is empty and over the course of the week, Benito had established a relationship with the local priest, so they hold their services there. The woman clearly has this presence about her.
Meanwhile, a old man named Ryan Tollocke seeks the rest of the party out at breakfast. He tells them that he is concerned that his friend Jazzad is overdue and may have come to harm especially with orcs in the area. Aris wonders what business is it of theirs if a woodsman gets lost in his own woods. He tells Ryan that he would like to help, but they are looking for rare blue snails. The old man replies.
"There is a valley in the forest where Jazzad tells me the snails are found under every stone and crawl over every bush."
Aris, Mourn, and Nosr's eyes light up and they imagine lots and lots of gold. Ellysidel has already decided to find this Jazzad for the old man. Plus it is an excuse to get into the woods.
"We'll find your friend, Ryan Tollocke," says Aris. "In fact we will leave today." Aris slams an open palm on the table.
Ryan Tollocke beams, "You are truly heroes. Thank you so much."
Aris instructs Mourn to retrieve Benito. Mourn goes to the shrine and listens for a while hearing Benito speak of seeing hammers and other Tyrite holy symbols. Mourn is unmoved. After the worship is over, Mourn informs them of Aris's decision. Benito is ready; Alberia is reluctant to divert from her quest, she says to Benito, but on the way to the Inn, the priest of Tyr convinces her to join the Heroes.
"Perhaps, you meeting us is part of Tyr's plan. One cannot always quest alone. Lend us your swordarm and I am sure we will lend you ours when the time comes."
They proceed back to the inn, where Aris and the rest have already packed and made arrangements. He assumes that the warrior woman is going with them, so he pays for the stabling of her horse for another tenday. This irritates Alberia, who 1)insists on taking her horse and 2)the presumptuousness of the man to pay for her even when she is not part of the group of adventurers.
"Do what you want to do," Aris shrugs,"but we have been told that the woods are thick and treacherous. It is unwise to take your mount."
Alberia does not budge and the company proceed towards the Shadow Wood. It takes them but an hour and a half to reach the wood's edge. Here they see a rock shelf covered with jack-o-lanterns with a trail snaking down into the woods about 200 yrds away. Alberia and Mourn do not detect evil or magic and the party continues. They find that they must travel single file and Alberia decides to lead her horse. She is assigned to the guard the rear.
Ellysidel leads the party scouting about 40ft ahead. A few hours later, they arrive at a clearing/crossroads in the woods. The trail continues west and another trail branches north. There is a used fire pit and a wooden box. Ellysidel spots a not-very-cleverly hidden covered pit at the edge of the clearing in front of the trail and sees the box rattle. He gets the rest of the party. After much to do, the heroes open the box and release a fox. Aris spies a leather collar on the fox.
"Catch him!" yells the Tethyrian.
Benito tries and after much clumsiness falls into the pit which has spikes. While gravely wounded, Benito is not dead. Aris manges to grab fox and he and Ellysidell calm him down. They discover that his name is Willy. Perhaps he belongs to this Jazzad fellow, they muse. Mourn finds two more pits and uncovers them to avoid any more clerical acrobatics. Aris discovers rotten venison in the remains of the fire. The campsite has been unused for days. The adventurers proceed west.
During the course of the next few hours they are assaulted by wolves. The first group mauls Ellysidel visciously, but does not knock him down. The elven barbarian savagely cuts them down with the help of his companions. Two try and escape but are killed with sword slash and bolts. Both Benito and Alberia heal the barbarian. Alberia secretly uses her lay hands, which confuses the cleric greatly as he sees her patch the wild elf with bandages and his wounds heal.
"Where did you learn that and where did you get those bandages?!" exclaims Benito. "I can't do that with my training at first aid!"
[DM note: this was really funny as the player even went so far as to look up heal in the PHB. Way to go malachai_rose!]
More wolves attack much later in the day at dusk. The woods are dark, and it is hard for Benito to see. No one else has much of a problem. Aris is hit and knocked to the ground and Ellysidel takes more damage from the wolves. Aris levitates into the air, shaking the wolf from him. Nosr blasts one with magic missle. Alberia casts light on herself and charges forward. The rest of the party is suprised by Alberia's and Aris's use of magic. Benito exclaims that Aris must be possessed and Alberia must be blessed. One wolf flees into the forest. The other two are slain. Benito finally realizes that Alberia is a paladin.
Aris decides to scout on ahead by levitating through the trees [imagine Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon]. The party travels in the dark. Only Benito cannot see, so Alberia helps to guide him along the trail. The trail turns south and Aris can see the edge of a cliff 2-3 miles away. Beyond that he sees a large batholith rising from the forest. Fearing more attacks from wolves, he makes the call to travel at least to the cliffs if not the great rock so they can defend on open ground.
Before they Heroes can move forward, Nosr, Aris and Mourn feel sharp pains on their arms, neck, and legs. They the party hears running through the underbrush and when Benito opens the shutters of his lantern, they see goblins running away through the brush. Aris fires his crossbow, and Ellysidel lets loose and arrow, but they hit trees and bushes instead of the fleeing humanoids. Aris also sees that he was hit by a dart. He quickly pulls it out and sees a blue resin at its tip.
"Poison! Be careful, companions. These darts are coated with poison."
The goblins get away. Mourn is alright. Aris has a nasty gash across his neck from what appears to be an expert strike, but is otherwise fine. When they look to Nosr, who has suddenly grown quiet, they see him lying on the ground, unconscious having succumbed to the poison-ladden dart. Benito heals Aris while Alberia straps Nosr to the back of her horse. Aris ammends his decision to lead the party to the cliffs.
"We camp here and prepare ourselves a defensible position. Let us expect to be besieged this night by those treacherous beasties."
"Tyr be with us. I fear we will not leave this forest alive," mutters Benito.....
Will the heroes survive the night? Will they find Jazzad and the blue snails? What is Alberia's quest?
I love cliffhangers!
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