WotBS Lylandra's War of the Burning Sky continued - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    After realizing that they will be free at last, the Seela throw a "big" party in their village to celebrate the coming, brighter future. Papuvin offers the heroes gifts which might help them on their journey (his amulet and his enchanted armor - Tinu really enjoys the fact that it is glamered to enhance his bodily features) and all of them enjoy one night in happiness. Even Durval manages to forget his grief for a little while and it seems that life really has a chance in Innotendar forest. Over a lot of Seela mead and feeling relief for the first time in days, the elves and Torrent share a brief romance after the festivities.
    The next morning, Crystin asks Tinuviel (whom she gets more and more attatched to) "what happened last night" which puts the young elf in a pretty awkward situation at first. He then realizes that Crystin doesn't know anything about personal relationships (due to her years of being mind controlled) and he starts explaining that adults sometimes share their feelings "that way". She then asks him about his feelings for Torrent to which he doesn't know an answer. Cuin saves him by stating that Torrent seems like that kind of woman who knows exactly what she wants and that Tinu shouldn't have to fear breaking an "innocent girl's heart" again.

    Note: He was referring to Katrina. Who ran off after Tinuviel broke her heart by cheating on her and Rantle ignored her pain, claiming that is was "just a phase".


    Cuin takes Tinu and Torrent aside and taks about their plans for Crystin and Haddin. They agree that they want to get Crystin away from her father as soon as possible - they planned on taking Haddin through the forest and set him off in the next village afterwards. But now, Cuin fears that Haddin might resume his mind-controlling habits once they get out of his sight and that he might not act as restrained towards victims who are not his blood relatives. Tinuviel agrees but fears that they might estrange Crystin who was promised to be free from Haddin for good. They all agree that they will keep an eye on Haddin and continue their discourse as soon as they reach the next village.

    Afterwards, Cuin, Tinu and Torrent go to say goodbye to Gwenevere. They realize that her pool has started to recover and that even she has lost some of her hag-like features. They encourage her to stay on this track and encourage her to visit Timbre who is now free of her burning pain. Cuin mutters that she may become a true nymph again in time and plans on visiting the forest again when his mission is over.

    Together, they travel back to Nelle and the Ghaele who managed to heal almost all of the elves after their everburning flames went out. The elves are traumatized, but Nelle promises the party to care for them as long as they remain in Innotendar. One elf, however, has remained in his stasis. Cuin and the Ghalele examine the magically contained body again and suddenly, the Living Blade resonates with the stasis magic. The Ghaele states that the stasis magic is growing weaker and manages to dispel the effect. To their surprise, the elf turns out to be Diashan Shediell, a Shahalesti officer. He starts asking for Bhurisrava and is shocked to hear of the priest's death. Cuin'halar immediately asks the Shahalesti why he even was in this forest and is surprised to see the elf burst into tears, revelaing the whole story of the Shahalesti plan to blame the fire on Coaltongue, Ragesia and the Torch:
    He explains that he was told by his commander, a Shahalesti Solei Palantis named Torfendar, to disguise himself as a Half-orc and to hire Goblins who set the forest on fire. He, his Commander and his troops were originally sent on a diplomatic mission to Innotendar forest to get the "exilant Shahalesti" who were living there to re-join the Shahalesti forces when Coaltongue was occupying Gate Pass. But as the elves turned down their request, Torfendar muttered something of "plan B" which a certain Aurana Kiirodel ordered him to execute in case of rejection.

    Tinuviel immediately recognizes the name of Shaaladel's advisor and explains that this "witch" is a dangerous and cunning woman who has a lot of influence at the court in Calanis. They ask Diashan to accompany them to the Lyceum in Seaquen to testify his version of the story so that maybe the Shahalesti aggression can be brought to public one day. Cuin'halar is not keen on keeping a Shahalesti "criminal" in his company, but he understands that Diashan regrets what he has done. He also supports any plan that might ruin Shaaladel's "shining" reputation, so he finally agrees.

    The now even bigger group resumes their journey through the forest and heads towards the Dasseni border. Just before they leave the last tree of Innotendar behind them, Crystin, who seems to be more in tune with herself now, closes her eyes and mutters one final vision: That Indomitability is gone for now, but that Deception remains and that they will meet him again when the bones of their grandmother look at them, weeping for her fate. All of a sudden, Tinuviel understands that Deception is Vuhl's true nature and he vows to take the fight to his treacherous "brother" should he truely meet him again.

    Note: And so ends adventure#2. My next post will start at the beginning of #3 where I was happily mish-mashing the 3e and 4e versions of the module together. For a fun fact: I didn't know that Dassen was the name of a small town in my home state. So when I was googling around for additional info about Dassen, I found a lot of weather forecasts for this town. And guess what? It was pretty rainy back then

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lylandra View Post
    What I really enjoyed was the additional Syana lore that came with the 4e module - as I want to expand on the gold dragons and their history, every bit of their life and deeds is more than welcome.
    I have not looked closely at the 4E modules since I downloaded them originally as part of my subscription, and am somewhat surprised by this. Should I be scouring the 4E versions for additional campaign source material?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lylandra View Post
    But now, Cuin fears that Haddin might resume his mind-controlling habits once they get out of his sight and that he might not act as restrained towards victims who are not his blood relatives. Tinuviel agrees but fears that they might estrange Crystin who was promised to be free from Haddin for good. They all agree that they will keep an eye on Haddin and continue their discourse as soon as they reach the next village.
    This seems like a match for my read on Haddin. He has revealed a deeply sociopathic streak, where others are mere things without value independent of how it impacts or serves himself.

    A lot of my players enjoy sarcastic and biting commentary, so if I play it right, I think many of them will start by enjoying Haddin's presence. My goal is to have them deeply disturbed by the depth of Haddin's vile nature over time. It sounds like you have gotten your party to that state without them having much enjoyment or attachment to Haddin himself.

    Afterwards, Cuin, Tinu and Torrent go to say goodbye to Gwenevere. They realize that her pool has started to recover and that even she has lost some of her hag-like features. They encourage her to stay on this track and encourage her to visit Timbre who is now free of her burning pain. Cuin mutters that she may become a true nymph again in time and plans on visiting the forest again when his mission is over.
    Nice follow up. If my party deals well with her, I hope I can arrange a scene like this as well.

    The Ghaele states that the stasis magic is growing weaker and manages to dispel the effect.
    Providing proof so early on in the campaign regarding Shahalesti's treachery seems an interesting choice; or least letting the party have the eye witness Diashan. I will be interested to see how that impacts your groups interactions with them later. This is a plot reveal I have been spending some time thinking about, because I think it is going to be a major influence in my party's attitude and treatment of things long term.

    He explains that he was told by his commander, a Shahalesti Solei Palantis named Torfendar...
    I really enjoy your expansion of material here. These are details I will happily include in my campaign, and thank you for sharing them. They are great! The inclusion of Aurana Kiirodel in particular is a nice touch of foreshadowing. I will have to consider how that can get to my party, as I am not sure I want Diashan released from his stasis this early in my campaign.

    Speaking of foreshadowing...

    and mutters one final vision: That Indomitability is gone for now, but that Deception remains and that they will meet him again when the bones of their grandmother look at them, weeping for her fate. All of a sudden, Tinuviel understands that Deception is Vuhl's true nature and he vows to take the fight to his treacherous "brother" should he truely meet him again.
    Nice way to put that into your campaign, and sounds like you really provoked a good response from your player with it.

    Note: And so ends adventure#2. My next post will start at the beginning of #3 where I was happily mish-mashing the 3e and 4e versions of the module together. For a fun fact: I didn't know that Dassen was the name of a small town in my home state. So when I was googling around for additional info about Dassen, I found a lot of weather forecasts for this town. And guess what? It was pretty rainy back then
    That's a funny bit of synchronicity there!

    Look forward to seeing a bit about how you pulled from both versions of the adventure.

    Thanks again for these posts. I am enjoying them!

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by thekwp View Post

    I have not looked closely at the 4E modules since I downloaded them originally as part of my subscription, and am somewhat surprised by this. Should I be scouring the 4E versions for additional campaign source material?



    There are definitely some interesting additions in the 4e adventures, most of them were added to provide further storylines to recurring DMs or to incorporate the new 4e core races, i.e. Dragonborn. What helped me most so far was the additional info on the Dasseni nobles and some possible marching routes (including locations and encounters) to Seaquen. For my own campaign, I've only included 4e material that added more information on the main storyline or aspects that my players would find interesting and that made sense to me. For example, there is a sequence at the beginning of #5 where Haddin would be seeking out Troll flesh for his experiments (if Haddin lived to this point!) which leads to a Taranesti pyramid, center of an old Taranesti city, a small version of the Temple of Echoed Souls and a possible first contact with Fayne.

    Despite the fact that Cuin is interested in everything remotely Taranesti, I decided to tone the magnitude of this sunken city in the swamp down to a single grave of a great Syllith Archmage, because a Taranesti descendant and the scholars of the Lyceum would have certainly known about a 1000 elf strong city that had been abandoned for 100 years. Also, as I want to put a great emphasis on the Temple, I do not want to have a "temple light" version spoiler the potent soul magic in #7. And last but not least, including Fayne or even her companion fox this early on would only lead to a curious Cuin running off to Ycengled (he has already stated that he wants to visit his ancient home some day...).

    This seems like a match for my read on Haddin. He has revealed a deeply sociopathic streak, where others are mere things without value independent of how it impacts or serves himself.

    A lot of my players enjoy sarcastic and biting commentary, so if I play it right, I think many of them will start by enjoying Haddin's presence. My goal is to have them deeply disturbed by the depth of Haddin's vile nature over time. It sounds like you have gotten your party to that state without them having much enjoyment or attachment to Haddin himself.
    Yep. He's used to getting what he wants and generally hates people whom he cannot control. My players usually love sarcastic, snide characters, but I guess since their characters really loathe Haddin for what he's done, they more or less despise him. I must admit, I've played him pretty creepy and they feel a pretty strong attatchment to Crystin.


    Providing proof so early on in the campaign regarding Shahalesti's treachery seems an interesting choice; or least letting the party have the eye witness Diashan. I will be interested to see how that impacts your groups interactions with them later. This is a plot reveal I have been spending some time thinking about, because I think it is going to be a major influence in my party's attitude and treatment of things long term.
    Since my two players are both not on good terms with the Shahalesti officials (a Taranesti and a Shahalesti exilant), it only cemented their view on what Shaaladel / Aurana are capable of. Cuin doesn't hide the fact that he's a Taranesti survivor and is rubbing the story of their genocide under the nose of anyone who falsely calls him a Shahalesti elf. Tinu feels great sympathy for his brother's and foster father's fate and, having been in Calanis as a kid, rejects the Shahalesti supremacy. Those two combined made the interaction with the Solei Palantis and Shalosha... quite interesting


    That's a funny bit of synchronicity there!

    Look forward to seeing a bit about how you pulled from both versions of the adventure.

    Thanks again for these posts. I am enjoying them!
    you're welcome! I'm glad that you enjoy them

  5. #15
    After leaving the former fiery forest of Innotendar behind, the group suddenly realizes that the weather out there is quite cold and frightful and unnaturally chill. Those who interacted with Indomitability seem to feel alright though and only Tiljann (who accompanied them to find the lost, legendary farstrider Entifini and to see the beauty of the world) and Diashan feel pretty cold. Cuin'halar feels sorry for the Seela and tries to make her comfortable by offering his spare clothes and mantle while completely ignoring, even sneering at Diashan. Tinuviel pities the Shahalesti captive and offers him hs own winter mantle as well.

    Note: As I said, Cuin has a very... special relationship with anything Shahalesti

    After travelling the road to Dassen for a day and hearing the howls of wolves nearby, they take a rest in a hidden cave. This happens not a moment too soon, because strong winds and snow indicate that sleepng outside in a tent could be quite hazardous. Cuin sneaks deeper into the cave, fearing that he might find a sleeping/hibernating bear in there that might lead to unpleasant surprises. To his surprise, he finds three dead dwarves who appear to be Dasseni soldiers. Torrent confirms this by looking into their boots for soil and dirt - a Dasseni tradition - which makes her seem a bit weird to the rest of the party. Cuin mutters that the dead might not find rest here and that he fears they might be undead and just in that moment, one of the dwarves starts moving and clawing at Torrent. The cleric quickly channels the essence of the goddess Yara and Cuin decapitates the icy zombie. They decide to play it safe and bathe the rest of the frozen dwarven patrol in Torrent's holy radiance and perform a small funeral afterwards.

    Note: The howls and the lost patrol are both taken from the 4e "skillchallenge" to Cornerwood. I took a lot of the first part of adventure #3 from the 4e version and adapted it a bit.

    Since the storm outside grows pretty hefty, the group decides to stay inside the cave until the weather is getting better. After Torrent's feet/boot examination, the elves get curious and ask her fellow resistance member about her past and her home. She explans that she was once the child of farmers in the lands of Lord Dashgoban until a wandering monk who followed the traditions of Yara named Lee Sidoneth came along and felt that she had potential and a special connection to rivers and streams. He trained her for a while and took her to the Lyceum where she learned to be a priestess and warrior of the elven water goddess. Afterwads, she traveled to the outer regions of Shahalesti in a pilgrimage to learn more about her goddess and to connect to her original followers. She says that yes, many Shshalesti thought she wouldn't fit in and that ahe wouldn't be able to pass all the tests that an aspiring priest of Yara would need to take. However, she turned out to outperform even experienced priests in terms of bravery and athletics and was accepted into their ranks. She joned the resistance afterwards because of her sense of justice and has never regretted it.

    Note: At this point, I was more than happy for having made some rough sketches about Torrent's past. I knew they would ask someday. Especially after all that romance.


    The elves are impressed and tease her that if she's so brave, then why would she not dare to try out a dream seed and have a look at something that could be important for her. She grins as a response and takes one of the seeds, only to awake a mere seconds afterwards, pale and in shock. Torrent explains that she had seen herself, standing in Lee's hut, gazing out at the sea of Seaquen. Then, all of a sudden the sea swell and a huge tidal wave crushed the whole town while a strong, rain-filled hurricane accompanied it. The storm was strong enough to send shps flying, including big vessels with Shahalesti colours that she has never seen before. As the wave crushed her, she began to drown and suffocate, feeling a hostility and danger coming from the sea that she has never felt before. The elves are alarmed and especially Cuin thinks of it as a warning of what might happen somewhen in the future.

    After one long day in the cave, the party continues their journey towards Seaquen. They manage to navigate to Cornerwood (Waldeck in German - which is the name of some real villages) without drawing too much attention from wannabe-muggers (read: Hobgoblins living nearby) and are greeted by surprised guard posts who didn't expect any travellers from the old Elfroad. They rent beautiful, but old rooms in the Palatin inn and decide to not tell anyone about the quenching of the Innotendar fires. The party fears that the Ragesians might get word on this and use the second entry into Dassen someday, endangering the Seela and the surviving elves who live there.
    After a long discussion, Cuin, Tinu and Torrent decide to take Haddin along with them until they reach the Lyceum for they believe that the mages might have an easy time dealing with him once they knew what he was capable of. Cuin convinces Haddin that the mage's school might actually kind of employ him and let him use his enchantment magic for educating young students (or interrogation) and that living in a secluded village again won't do him any good. The Lyceum might even find a cure for his (still bad) cough.

    Note: This was basically last minute. I've been thinking about what would Haddin do for a while and after the party told him that they would leave him in the next best town, he was totally sure that they would have left him in Cornerwood. His next action would have been to charm/dominate Torrent and let her tell the party that she couldn't stand the thought of leaving all those poor citizens at Haddin's mercy. He would then have had an obedient bodyguard and start from there... Getting to the Lyceum and expanding his magic skills (and being able to stay close to Crystin) was just a bit more interesting for the old geezer.

    Tinu has the rather hard part of telling Crystin the bad news that her father will acompany them for the rest of the trail. She's about to stay behind herself, leaving them all for good when Cuin joins the two and tells her to not throw away her future and the magical guidance she might recieve in Seaquen. He says that he thinks she might be important for the fate of them all and promises that he will totally cut off parts from Haddin if he ever tried to control or harass her again. After a bit of hesitation, she agrees to stay with the party. Tinuviel is more than happy to have her come along and gives her a long hug.

    They buy a waggon and a horse and ask Torrent which way they should go to get to Seaquen (since she's been there before and is a Dasseni). She tells them of two possible roads, one near the mountains in the east and one going through Thornwood valley. They decide to go through the forest since they suspect that some Ragesians might have come over the eastern mountain passes and the area can be pretty harsh and monster-infested this time of the year.

    On the long road through Dassen, they ancounter the Rego knight Quincy Felthuf who tells them that the Lyceans and the Seaqueni cannot be trusted because they abandoned his Lord Rego when his country as under attack by some crazy air mage named Lsi Pu who unleashed a devastating storm which lasted for 2 weeks 20 years ago, leaving the land in ruins. The party travels with him for a while (he cannot let the little ladies, as he calls Tiljann and Crystin, travel that defenseless), but the two elves are soon bored by his continuous tales and his praising of his Lord. After breaking up with Quincy, they meet a small Timor patrol (the road follows the border between Rego and Timor) who speak fondly of the Lyceum and seem to be mages themselves. They offer to share camps for a night and are curious that two of them know the famous evoker Gabal. They also hear that Lady Timor, the great Archmage has offered shelter for all refugees who are fleeing Ragesia right now and that Lord Rego is not that keen on letting them into his own (albeit poor) land.

    After a few days of travel, the party reaches Trenalath, the "capital" of Rego. They are astouned that the city is still not fully rebuilt after the raging storm and that the people living here are generally poor and a bit thuggish. They gather information and hear the story of Lsi Pu and his elemental storm again. The people in Trenelath are pretty afraid of ragesian refugees who might come to their country to take what is left from them. To make things worse, Rego himself has called off all audiences and wishes to speak only to his advisors. They also hear some Trenalathians talk about how everything was better when the late Lady Rego was still the one holding the reins. The party decides that they cannot help the people of Rego, even if they wanted to and decide to leave the city as soon as possible.

    Note: I didn't know if the whole Dassen trip would be too boring or not. My players told me that yes, it took a while, but that the whole episode helped them to feel what Dassen and its people are like, helping them invest more in the issues of the Dasseni in #4. So I am really happy that this episode was added to the 4e adventure so I couls harvest freely from it. Also, I didn't expect them to let the decision on which road to take fall to Torrent. Must be because of her backstory she's told earlier.
    XP Bill T. gave XP for this post

  6. #16
    The party continues their journey through Dassen and reach the outer regions of Iz. When they reach the outskirts of an old dwarven fortress surrounded by villages, they are greeted by Iz' guardsmen and escorted into the fortress/town hybrid where they witness Lady Sharka of Iz giving speeches and rallying her people and calling for solidarity with the war's refugees. Lady Sharka turns out to be an experienced dwarven fighter who's doing all the abovementioned work on her horse. When she's told that there are visitors from Gate Pass nearby, she offers them a small, private audience after her evening dinner. Despite their preference for secrecy, the elves and Torrent know that it would be unwise to rebuff a local lady, so they agree to meet up with Lady Iz.
    After a bit of small-talk they reveal to her that the fire forest has stopped burning so there might be another way for the Ragesians to enter Dassen - even if they most likely did not notice yet. Sharka is alarmed and plans to inform the other Lords and Ladies on this news immediately. She also tells them that her husband, Lord Fuko of Iz will be glad to hear that the northern road is open for travel again since he's managing the state finances and Gate Pass seems like a pretty good trade hub. The party and Lady Iz get along pretty well (she's upfront and a bit rough) and when they leave her fortress the next morning, she reminds them to greet her old friend and mentor, Xavious Foebane, once they get to Seaquen.

    Note: I liked the image of the "dwarven" sturdiness that came to my mind the moment I first read about Iz, so I decided to give Iz a proper dwarven government. I made it pretty clear that the Iz' are very loyal to the crown and will give their life to defend Dassen and the Queen.


    They travel the lands of Lord Megadon afterwards and are outraged at the high pricing for even the most mundane goods and services. Tinu even dubs the local lord "Lord Megalomaniac" at one point, which gave everyone a good laugh. Despite their hurry, they try to help some of the refugees who are on the brink of starvation and feel grief for all those who died along the way.

    Note: I really really love the way adventure 3 includes the refugees and their dangerous journeys to Seaquen. Their whole situation sets a much darker and serious tone than most campaigns would go for. And I'd say that the adventure menaged to tackle their issues pretty realistically and in a mature way. As a coincidence, the "refugee crisis" was still a very big deal in Europe when we got to adventure 3, so... we could all feel a bit like Dasseni or Seaquenians at that time, seeing arguments like Laurabec's and Votberg's, Timor's and Rego's brought up in public discussions all the time. It felt... pretty strange, but also made the whole experience way more immersive.

    Once they reach Vidor, Cuin talks Leto into teaching refugees his art of making rowboats ("those who don't have the money will not pay for your boats anyway and you don't want them to lurk around and die in Vidor, so why don't you teach them for a silver?"), buy some boats and take an orphaned teen named Martin with them since they have a free seat in one of their boats anyway. Leto warns them of the witches in the swamp and some crazy red-head girl with two hullking bodyguards who went into the swamp despite his warning. Tinu jokes that he hopes for the witches that the girl wasn't Katrina or they might be sorry...

    The weather starts getting all cloudy and rainy which leaves the party in a rather uneasy state as they walk and row through the swamp. They make their camp on a small island inside a dead and hollow tree and try to get some rest. During Tinu's watch, he starts to hear an eerie song and realizes that something is not right at all. He can't see anyone singing, so he wakes the rest of the party (clever boy!) and together they try to find out what the hell is going on out in the swamp. The more vulnerable people (Haddin, Crystin, Durval and Tiljann) agree to stay close to their camp and fight alongside Diashan should they get attacked while the elves and Torrent sneak out (okay this entence is sooo wrong... Torrent cannot sneak at all) and spot the witches H'andrea on their spooky boat who then attack on sight. Diashan and Tiljann keep the sneaky Cricket croc away while the Seela buffs everyone with her encouraging version of the Song of Forms while the elves and Torrent deal with the H'andreas. The fight doesn't last too long this way. They find strange blood filled orbs with the witches and begin to wonder what they would do with such items, so they try to track the witche's trails back to their lair while they leave Torrent and the rest of the party at their camp. (So now Torrent has become the babysitter. What an upgrade to #1 )

    When they arrive at the witche's island, they are clever enough to search for traps, so they manage to find out that the skeletons on the big pile are not quite as dead as they seem. A bit of alchemist's fire burns most of them away. They search the huts and find alchemical equipment, more blood orbs, a lot of dead and half-eaten bodies and a note stating "Check with Nelebekus - is 'Katrina' a ragesian spy?". And suddenly they are in a very, very blank state. They try to argue whther it could be simply a coincidence, but once they get to the final hut, they indeed find their old acquaintance bound and gagged inside. Who seems as astonished as the elves themselves and tries to fight off her shackles. They free Katrina who thanks Cuin and mutters that it had to be her bad luck that her "glorious saviour" had to be that bastard Tinuviel. Tinu is baffled, but Cuin is enraged by her ungrateful statement and says that he could bind her to the stake again and leave her for good if she doesn't show at least a bit gratitude towards his "brother". Katrina isn't used to such harsh words from Cuin's mouth, sighs and mutters a short "thank you, too" towards Tinu. Cuin then shows her the witches' note and demands that she explain its contents for thy surely wouldn't take a ragesian spy with them. Kat finally understands Cuin's demeanor and explains that she overheared the witches talking about a Ragesian customer named Nelebekus and, after seeing her bodyguards getting eaten by the H'andreas, claimed that she was an acquiantance of Nelebekus in hope of being spared. Turned out that this story bought her some time indeed so yes, she claimed to be a spy but only to save her life. The elves say that they understand her story but are still not 100% convinced. They explain that she may travel to Seaquen with them, but she will have to tell them a bit more about her on the way there.

    Note: I didn't expect Cuin to be so rude to Katrina as her flight from Gate Pass was clearly Tinuviel's "fault" and he felt remorse for breaking her heart. I guess the witche's not must have made him pretty wary. I had originally planned to have Kat flirt with Cuin in order to make Tinu jealous, but so much for that plan... At that point I thought that their meeting ruined all chances of getting Katrina to the party's side as she was rejected from the very beginning and takes things pretty personal. As I didn't want to have their relationshio ruined in just one small moment, I decided that maaaaybe Kat could warm up to someone else.

    The group reunites in the middle of the night and Torrent is a bit amused to finally see the girl Tinu is so afraid of. Not knowing about the note, she gives Katrina a warm welcome and invites her to their camp. Before she finally gets some rest (and after the rest of the group has already fallen asleep), Cuin and Tinu show Torrent the note and tell her the story Katrina told them. She says that she wants to believe Katrina's version of the story, but doesn't really know about her. The elves ask her to keep a close eye on her, especially when she's around Crystin or Haddin. Together they identify the blood orbs as tidereaver's tears and are alarmed by their properties as they allow its user to walk through a storm unhindered. They remember Torrent's vision and decide to hurry to Seaquen as the city might be in grave danger and the Ragesians might be planning something.

    The next day, they finally manage to get out of the swamp and continue their travel by foot. The weather is still nasty when they see a strangely familiar sight in the sky nearby: A wyvern who's on the descent. Because they already suspect the Ragesians to be up to no good, they decide to sneak up to where the beast has landed and take a closer look. They tell a protesting Katrina to stay behind and Torrent to keep them all safe (who's the babysitter now?) while they ambush the Ragesians. Which was maybe not the best idea... as the still mounted wyvern rider takes his beast to the sky and starts shooting bolts at them. In a very close shot, Tinu manages to strike the still attatched Dragon Bomb with a psychokinetic thrust and... BOOM! Both wyvern and rider fall from the sky in a burning ball of fire while Cuin manages to disarm the other Ragesian. A mere seconds later Katrina, holding a fireball in her hand, arrives at the scene and is disappointed that the fight is already over. She throws the fireball aside and laments ove rher missed chance to see a good fight. Cuin (who's busy tieing up the surviving Ragesian) cannot understand that she'd be so eager to see bloodshed and say that she's changed a lot over the last four years. Katrina shrugs than and tells him that the world out there, especially Ragesia, is not all sunshine and flowers and that a girl had to grow up too fast.

    They interrogate their prisoner and demand to know more about a certain Nelebekus who would be in Seaquen. The Ragesian claims to know nothing - they simply had the mission to transport the tidereaver's tears to a contact named Nelebekus. They also find a note written by a certain "Guthwulf" where a "druid" and a "control rod" and "destruction" are mentioned, but the Ragesian truthfully explains that he doesn't know jack about the "mad inquisitor's plans" who must have thought that he'd understand his cryptic words. But who was he to question an Inquisitor? Katrina on the other hand gets all pale when she sees the name Guthwulf written at the note and after a bit of "Cuin friendliness" explains that she does know an Inquisitor Guthwulf from her time in Ragesia - he has been the one who introduced her to Ragesian officials and offered her a "good job". The elves are even more alarmed now and demand to know the whole story. Kat explains that she had run off to Ragesia, hoping to start a new life, but it didn't turn out so well in the streets of Ragos. She got quite a name as a fire-hurling witch and was then approached by an impressive man named Guthwulf who asked her if she wanted to put that fiery talent of hers to good use. Being fed up with her life on the run, she decided to give it a try and ended up training Inquisitors by hurling fire magic at them (which they had to counter or be toasted. Ouch.). She says that Guthwulf had been nice and very polite to her and was a good listener on top of that, but after a while she realized that the Ragesians were up to no good and that even Guthwulf started to act pretty creepy and brutal when it came to other subjects. So she fled and simply wanted to be reunited with Rantle. As soon as she mentions her brother, Cuin presents her the note she had left for him and demands an explanation for the mention of "making trouble" in the Lyceum. She says that yes, she had been contacted by Ragesians who knew that she wouldn't go back to Ragos and who somehow wanted her to turn the Lyceum upside down with her fire magic and that's why she didn't want to stay in Gate Pass for longer. But who was she to throw fireballs at innocents? (Tinu wasn't innocent. At least on tha Cuin and Kat can agree). The elves find this story to be believeable, but say that they will still keep an eye on her to which Katrina agrees.

    Note: Phew. They had soo much information on Katrina already that it was really tough to keep up the facade and still have a believeable story. Which is basically true. Just that "making trouble" doesn't necessarily involve hurling fireballs. Kat has learned quite a bit during the last four years and she made sure to not mention her time at the ragesian court. Her main goal is to stay safe and survive the coming conflict and she will do whatever she has to. Right now she doesn't feel personal attatchment to anyone (maybe Rantle, but he's too stupid to understand the trouble she's gotten into). Guthwulf on the other hand is a tricky one. The way he is written implies that he is good at making friends despite his evil nature and that he's quite nice to people he knows better. I'd call him "charming evil". And Kat fell for it. She didn't know what he was truely capable of, especially since Guthwulf doesn't like to torture when someone else is watching. And yep, he... developed a sweet spot for the firey mage. Which is... quite creepy considering that she was maybe 17 when they first met.

    They continue their travels and take the Ragesian as prisoner with them, as they plan to hand him over to the Seaquenian officials. On their way through the swamp they meet Thalan, a young Solei Palantis officer with his troupes who claims to be checking for Ragesians and troublemakers and who is invoking the Sherayel Delrathi on behalf of Princess Shalosha, the secretary of state of Shahalesti (At this point I wasn't quite sure on what Shalosha's position was meant to be as the directly translated "Staatssekretńrin" and the american "secretary of state" - more or less the minister of foreign affairs - are two totally different shoes). Cuin is outraged that a Shahalesti soldier is proclaiming anything, let alone in a foreign country and Tinuviel and Torrent can barely keep him in check. Tinuviel takes a look at the concrete wording of the Sherayel document and wonders whether it would be even legal to proclaim this law anywhere but on Shahalesti grounds. Thalan explains that he was sent to be sure that Seaquen - which will be an ally of Shahalesti soon - stays safe and free from spies. Tensions get high as soon as Thalan spots the Ragesian prisoner and demands him to be handed over. Cuin is on the brink of outright attacking Thalan, when he suddenly... grabs the surprised Diashan and demands the "fellow Solei Palantis Officer" to explain the situation to his "green peer". Being a rather quick thinker, the Shahalesti nods in agreement and tells Thalan that he was sent to bring the "noble Tinuviel ar' Shahalesti" and his captured Ragesian spy to Seaquen as a sign of good will. He presents his rather old Solei Palantis medal and Thalan lets them pass for he wouldn't dare to question a veteran of the order.

    Note: Combat averted at last second. I didn't expect Cuin to cool down that quickly, but I also made sure to play Thalan honest and straightforward with only his best intentions in mind. Cuin would have hated himself to take a young elf's life over a piece of paper.

    After some hours of travel, the party makes rest for the night. During Cuin's watch, he starts to hear an eerie wail and a quiet sound of crumbling stone. He ignores it for now, but the sounds don't cease until morning. Before they continue their travel, Cuin takes Tinuviel aside and asks him to find the source of the strange noises before they run into something nasty. A few minutes later they are quite surprised to find an adult green dragon who seems to be crying and flailing at stone buildings. Cuin knows that green dragons can be pretty territorial and dangerous so he's quite hesitant on what to make of this awkward situation. But the dragon seems to be in pain and he suddenly remembers the stories of Syana who was both dangerous and kind. To Tinuviel's surprise, he leaves his hideout and addresses the dragon formally and politely and asks what happened to cause auch a majestic being such great pain. The dragon, who surely didn't expect any visitors, ceases her tantrum and explains the "small elf" that a bad, evil man has come and stolen her baby. She states that she would go after him herself and melt him to the ground, but whe promised the dwarf Kiernan to stay out of the city so the humanoids would leave her and her lair alone. Cuin is relieved that the dragon seems to be so sociable, so he tells her that he will keep looking for any sign of her "baby" since his people owe a lot to another dragon, Syana. Naielasza instantly recognizes the name of the golden wyrm and reminisces about the stories her father told her of the mighty guardian of the north, explainig that Syana was said to be a paragon to all dragonkind. The elves are impressed by her story and politely bid her farewell, promisiong to return when they have found hre child, who turns out to be still in egg state.

    Note: After reading about that half-Taranesti man in adventure 4 who said his mother revered Syana as a goddess, I decided that other dragons might have looked up to her as well. After all, she was one of the oldest and most powerful dragons in the world and knew a lot about life and soul magic. She's kind of "the" famous mage of dragonkind.
    Last edited by Lylandra; Tuesday, 13th December, 2016 at 05:46 PM.
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lylandra View Post
    they are greeted by Iz' guardsmen and escorted into the fortress/town hybrid where they witness Lady Sharka of Iz giving speeches...
    I do not see any reference to Sharka of Iz in the source material, but I really enjoyed your description. As my group has not gotten that far, I have only skimmed Shelter from the Storm so far. Does she appear there or somewhere else?

    I only have brief references to "Lord Iz" in my notes for The Mad King's Banquet, but I haven't gotten through that one for notes, either.

    Note: I really really love the way adventure 3 includes the refugees and their dangerous journeys to Seaquen. Their whole situation sets a much darker and serious tone than most campaigns would go for. And I'd say that the adventure menaged to tackle their issues pretty realistically and in a mature way. As a coincidence, the "refugee crisis" was still a very big deal in Europe when we got to adventure 3, so... we could all feel a bit like Dasseni or Seaquenians at that time, seeing arguments like Laurabec's and Votberg's, Timor's and Rego's brought up in public discussions all the time. It felt... pretty strange, but also made the whole experience way more immersive.
    I bet that overlap really did add to the depth of the story! I am glad that the play through supports the "pretty realistically and in a mature way" because that was my impression on reading it through originally.

    I am curious about how you handle the timing. The time between the first two adventures is so tight, with only a day or two to get out of Gate Pass, then a day or so before entering into the Fire Forest, and then only a couple of days to resolve that before running out of Stand the Heat, not much time has passed since the actual start of armed conflict. I have assumed that the refugees are people fleeing the coming battle, but in general it seems like the party should be ahead of most refugees from the Gate Pass conflict. Otherwise, the refugees must be running from the Scourge in other areas. How are you handling it?

    Tinu jokes that he hopes for the witches that the girl wasn't Katrina or they might be sorry...
    It's always fun when the planned adventure lines up with the player's foreshadowing!

    A wyvern who's on the descent....

    They interrogate their prisoner and demand to know more about a certain Nelebekus who would be in Seaquen.
    Reading through your campaign is definitely helping me ferret out the additional information from the 4E version of the campaign. The wyvern encounter does not appear in the 3.5 material, and Nelebekus appears to gets a better treatment in the 4E material. Likewise, the additional references to Guthwulf rather than the single mention of him with Jezska.

    Note: Phew. They had soo much information on Katrina already that it was really tough to keep up the facade and still have a believeable story.
    And that's why I am impressed with how you have handled it. I fully expect my party to be in full paranoid mode with the note and other references. They were pretty paranoid about just taking the note from Rantle! It sounds like you have done a very good job of providing the evidence but also providing convincing interpretations of the information as well to keep Katrina's role in doubt. Sounds like your players are really enjoying figuring it out as well, which is the real goal.

    Guthwulf on the other hand is a tricky one. The way he is written implies that he is good at making friends despite his evil nature and that he's quite nice to people he knows better. I'd call him "charming evil". And Kat fell for it. She didn't know what he was truely capable of, especially since Guthwulf doesn't like to torture when someone else is watching. And yep, he... developed a sweet spot for the firey mage. Which is... quite creepy considering that she was maybe 17 when they first met.
    I think "charming evil" is a good way to describe him. He's a monster, and a very twisted individual. But charming. And I find it quiet creepy. I want the pay off with him in O, Wintry Song of Agony to be very much a twist for my party. He will have been a remote evil for so long in the campaign, to find him both charming and willing to work with them will prove difficult for them to swallow.

    At this point I wasn't quite sure on what Shalosha's position was meant to be
    As the King's daughter, and her official envoy, I thought of her as a Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador, but one able to making binding alliances or agreements directly, not just negotiate them for review by her king. However, the title on the hand out in the 4E version for Sherayel Derathi, has Shalosha as "Secretary of State." Sherayel Derathi does not appear in the 3.5 version.

    Cuin is on the brink of outright attacking Thalan, when he suddenly... grabs the surprised Diashan and demands the "fellow Solei Palantis Officer" to explain the situation to his "green peer". Being a rather quick thinker, the Shahalesti nods in agreement and tells Thalan that he was sent to bring the "noble Tinuviel ar' Shahalesti" and his captured Ragesian spy to Seaquen as a sign of good will. He presents his rather old Solei Palantis medal and Thalan lets them pass for he wouldn't dare to question a veteran of the order.
    What a delightfully brilliant bit of role playing! That was really nicely done, and fast thinking on the part of your players.

    As always, I find interesting extra bits that I want to include in my campaign, plus fun takes on how your players have handled things. Thanks for posting these.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by thekwp View Post
    I do not see any reference to Sharka of Iz in the source material, but I really enjoyed your description. As my group has not gotten that far, I have only skimmed Shelter from the Storm so far. Does she appear there or somewhere else?

    I only have brief references to "Lord Iz" in my notes for The Mad King's Banquet, but I haven't gotten through that one for notes, either.
    Lady Sharka is one of my personal additions to the story, as I took the original Lord Iz and made him a dwarven couple. Her husband, Lord Iz, is the one who does most of the actual ruling and paperwork, while the veteran Lady Iz is more of a military commander who sometimes makes decisions on the fly and who keeps up the morale of their country.

    I am curious about how you handle the timing. The time between the first two adventures is so tight, with only a day or two to get out of Gate Pass, then a day or so before entering into the Fire Forest, and then only a couple of days to resolve that before running out of Stand the Heat, not much time has passed since the actual start of armed conflict. I have assumed that the refugees are people fleeing the coming battle, but in general it seems like the party should be ahead of most refugees from the Gate Pass conflict. Otherwise, the refugees must be running from the Scourge in other areas. How are you handling it?
    The refugees in the north-east of Dassen are mostly from Gate Pass and Ragesia and I guess they took one of the more frequently patroled passes to Dassen. The way I read the refugee situation in #3 was that the majority of refugees came originally from Ragesia, as the inquisitors were rounding up and taking mages in their area of influence first. And they had plenty of time to arrive in Dassen in advance. The refugees who fled from the coming war came later, when it was clear that Ragesia would cross borders in order to find "the mages who killed Emperor Coaltongue".

    And that's why I am impressed with how you have handled it. I fully expect my party to be in full paranoid mode with the note and other references. They were pretty paranoid about just taking the note from Rantle! It sounds like you have done a very good job of providing the evidence but also providing convincing interpretations of the information as well to keep Katrina's role in doubt. Sounds like your players are really enjoying figuring it out as well, which is the real goal.
    And they still haven't fully figured out Katrina yet, at the end of adventure 5! Although they've made quit an impression on her, pushing her into the more goody-good path and helped her to become Simeonne's assistant. Still, of all people in the Lyceum, Torrent seems to be the one who's closest to her.

    I think "charming evil" is a good way to describe him. He's a monster, and a very twisted individual. But charming. And I find it quiet creepy. I want the pay off with him in O, Wintry Song of Agony to be very much a twist for my party. He will have been a remote evil for so long in the campaign, to find him both charming and willing to work with them will prove difficult for them to swallow.
    ha! My husband (Cuin's player) joked about trying to sway Guthwulf to their side should they ever meet him in person. I guess they will be surprised to see that it is actually the other way round in #8. Tinu stated that he will certainly kill Guthwulf for what he has done (he did order the abduction of Cuin's father...), but we'll see how this will turn out

    As the King's daughter, and her official envoy, I thought of her as a Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador, but one able to making binding alliances or agreements directly, not just negotiate them for review by her king. However, the title on the hand out in the 4E version for Sherayel Derathi, has Shalosha as "Secretary of State." Sherayel Derathi does not appear in the 3.5 version.
    that's how I played her as well. She didn't have the authority to order back the fleet on her will though. I used the Sherayel Delrathi specifically to incite a bit of Shahalesti antagnoism in Cuin and Tinu so they had to make some tough choices later when they met Shalosha in person (she's Tinu's cousin twice removed, so... family business).

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lylandra View Post
    Lady Sharka is one of my personal additions to the story...
    Well done.

    The refugees in the north-east of Dassen are mostly from Gate Pass and Ragesia...
    I had planned on having most of them from Gate Pass fleeing the anticipation of another war in the area. I had not considered the possibility of many of them being Ragesians fleeing the Inquisition's Scourge. That adds a very good element to the complexity of the issue and the issue of how to handle the refugees. That will also fit will into the back story of one of my player characters, who's family was picked up by the Inquisition already. Thanks.

    ha! My husband (Cuin's player) joked about trying to sway Guthwulf to their side should they ever meet him in person. I guess they will be surprised to see that it is actually the other way round in #8. Tinu stated that he will certainly kill Guthwulf for what he has done (he did order the abduction of Cuin's father...), but we'll see how this will turn out
    I look forward to reading about it. Sounds like you have some good role playing elements for your players there!

    I will be interested to see how much my players pay attention to his presence and role in events. I expect by that point the party will also be dealing with some of the theological implications in my campaign, such as the semi-divine nature of the Flamebringer Dragon, Tidereaver Kracken, etc, the metaphysical issues raised by the trillith and the possible conflict with Desna's role as the goddess of dreams, and the Inquisitor's heretical nature. I am speculating that Guthwulf will have to have changed divine patrons; that or I will have to come up with a theological interpretation that allows him to maintain his divine spellcasting while actively working against the other Inquisitors at that point. I am leaning toward him taking Asmodeous as his patron, given his history of diabolatry.

  10. #20
    Because Naielasza told them of a dwarf named Kiernan Stekart and Torrent remembers him to be the Abjuration advisor and sort-of bodyguard of headmastress Simeonne, (and because they still have a coded book to hand over) the group decides to visit the Lyceum as soon as possible. On their way, Torrent reminisces about her time with her mentor Lee and encourages her new friends to go visit him and his pet Lula should the opportunity arise.

    As soon as they enter the Seaquen outskirts, they are quite surprised about how many refugees already found their way here. They also get an eerie feeling about smaller tensions rising up between the multitude of towntrodden refugee groups and the Seaquen citizens. As citizens of Gate Pass and Dassen on a mission for the Lyceum school of magic, they are welcomed by the city guards and Torrent leads them directly to the rather big school Campus. Torrent explains their situation at the school's gates and after making sure the colourful group is really who they claim to be (they said it would be only Torrent plus THREE other resistance fighters...), they are quickly escorted to the headmaster's office.

    They have to wait for a short time until Simeonne Gohanach finishes her talk with an older, armed dwarf she only calls "Xavious" who wishes her goodbye in a strangely familiar way. Knowing Gabal and his rather harsh and rude way of teaching, they are a bit surprised to see a warm, almost matronal smile on the middle aged, dark-skinned woman in front of them. She insists to speak to the "orinigal Gate pass resistance" first and the group has no chioce but to agree (not that Cuin and Tinu would have it any other way...)

    Note: Yep, I switched Simeon to Simeonne because 1) I thought adventures 3, 4 and 5 would be quite guy-heavy otherwise and 2) because I found a pretty inspirational picture online and thought that she'd be perfect for a full ornate wearing headmaster of a magic school (not the Simeonne would wear stuff like that very often...). My players instantly hooked up with her, so I count my experiment as a successful one

    They tell Simeonne everything that happened along the way, from their flight from Gate Pass to the two devils who were summoned by "Inquisitor Guthwulf" to the Shahalesti with whom they made a bargain to the quenching of the everburning forest and their travels to Seaquen. The also mention the strange "Indomitability" who was a "Trillith" and who has some sort of connection to Tinuviel and the Prophet Crystin (in whom Simeonne, being a diviner herself, is particularly interested). The elves explain the rather tragic situation of Crystin and her suffering at the hands of her father Haddin whom they had brought here because 1) he maybe could be best kept in check with other enchanters/abjurers around and 2) they genuinely think that his skills might be useful some day and that he might become a better person in time. Simeonne agrees and assures that she and Kiernan will keep an eye on the old man and let his daughter stay away from him as far as possible. Then they discuss Katrina whom the tho elves still don't trust at all. Simeonne thinks it would be wise to keep an eye on her but not necessarily let her know of their distrust. And if she's really a Ragesian, then she could have even more useful information...
    They also mention Durval (keep an eye on him and give him something useful to do or he might hurt himself), Tiljann (she can come and go freely as Seela have been friends of Lyceum decades ago) and Hragesh (he may stay and study Alchemy, he also had a letter from Gabal to Simeonne in which Gabal thanked her for her friendship and "dark magic"). Simeonne then hands them a letter for the school's office which will grant them each official school papers and a two-person room to stay in as they certainly won't return to Gate Pass too soon.

    As they are about to leave, Simeonne asks them to stay just a few seconds longer as she's about to get a sending from Gate Pass. She then looks very upset as she tells them that Gabal, headmaster of Gate Pass' magic school had been killed by the red dragon Vorax-Hul. And as if that's not enough bad news, she also has to tell them that their father, Tharaleth, is missing in action and might have been taken prisoner by the Ragesians.

    Note: I wanted to keep them on track with what happened in the rest of the world, so I needed info from Gate Pass as well and I thought that maybe mage schools would stay in (magical) contact about the recent news. Also, I wanted to have the war have consequences on their previous lives as well and push their limits a bit. For a moment, I thought about killing Tharaleth, but that would lock away a good source of info and interaction forever. Plus, I didn't want to be that cruel. So I decided that "Mission Tharaleth" could be a fun little side-quest which would help me see where the character's priorities lie.

    Tinuviel and especially Cuin'halar are crushed. They would love to leave Seaquen immediately, but remember their promise to Naielasza and Torrent's vision of (maybe) impending doom for Seaquen (oh yes, they told Simeonne about this one, too) and decide to keep their heads cool. They realize that if they truely want to help their father, they will need more information. The group thanks Simeonne for her update and bids her farewell. She tells them that for now they may call Lyceum their home and that she will definitely seek a way to free Tharaleth, avenge Gabal and decode the Inquisitor's book. After she dismisses the four resistance fighters, she then asks each of the other people to enter her office one by one.

    As they want to search for the egg-thief first, the group decides that it would be the easiest way to gather information among the refugees. They suspect the thief could be one of them, as most of the refugees don't have much money and would be desperate enough. One refugee from Gate Pass (who remembers Tinuviel from the "very manly tavern") tells them that he'd start searching at Paradim Dogwood's shop as the biomancer would be the maybe only one who has enough money and interest to buy a dragon egg. The mysterious Dogwood (they are really creeped out by his two tentacle extensions... thanks WoW and Putricide ) seems to be a bit crazy and asks them whether they want to become "cute cat persons" like Kitty, a woman he served a few weeks ago. They tell him that no, they don't want to change *themselves*, but they'd be interested in acquiring a half-dragon-half-dog and ask what it would take and cost to get one. Dogwood seems more than pleased that his maybe-customers show interest in something draconic and after a bit of chit-chat he reveals that some woodsperson named Nathan Lowduke has offered him a dragon egg earlier this day and that he didn't know whether or not to buy it. He thinks they might find him in the Royale and explains that he might give them a discount if they bring him the egg (whether they buy or steal it from Lowduke doen't matter to him).

    Since they heared that "Nelebekus" might be in the Royale as well, they decide to give the tavern a try and head toward the infamous etablissement. On their way, Cuin thinks over the fact that most people come to the Royale for duelling (OOC he joked "that'll be just like the Golden Lion's inn in Goldshire... lots of people who cry 'Duel me noob!'"), so Lowduke might have hidden something as fragile as an egg somewhere else. He then searches the area around the Royale for signs of eggs or digging and to his surprise really finds the missing egg hidden in a hole underneath a bush.

    Note: Originally, Nathan would have had the egg in his mantle, but Cuin's logic made a lot more sense to me, especialy as Lowduke was trying to duel himself. Dragon eggs are not that fragile, but he wouldn't have risked losing a 5000 G egg in a tavern full of scoundrels.

    Then they wait near the spot where they found the egg and hide until a rather drunken Nathan Lowduke goes to retrieve his hidden treasure. They take him by surprise and beat him up quickly, then tie him to the next tree. Afterwards, they switch into the leather uniforms they took from their ragesian prisoners (the ones they handed over to the Seaquen guards before) and try to find Nelebekus. After a while, they do find him in one of the upper duelling areas and are a bit astouned to find a rather brutish looking half-elf who's wondering why on earth the Ragesians would send him elves as contacts ("Because they wouldn't suspect the Shahalesti to be Ragesians, you know?" they say). He doesn't know anything about a control rod, he says, but he would try to gain more information on their letter and visit them in two days at the same spot. He also asks them to keep a low profile and don't do anything suspicious.

    Note: Brutus/Nelebekus would't have known about the orb and the control rod, though he does know "the druid". At this point, I was worried that my party could end the adventure before it even started by following Nelebekus to his brother and finding out about Lee and the Ragesians too soon. If they kept up their undercover play, Nelebekus would have taken them to Lee and by shading Lee they could have gained enough info on the sunken prison. This worry was fueled by the fact that my group was 1000% certain that some storm will threaten Seaquen soon and they kept looking for hints of it everywhere. I was more than happy that mission Tharaleth was looming around, but decided that maybe it was time for more red herrings to keep them off Nelebekus' tracks.

    The group collects Nathan Lowduke after their contact with the Ragesian spy and hand him over to Kiernan Stekart as he was the one who originally made the pact with the green dragon. Kiernan is happy that they found him rather quickly and promises them to punish him for endangering all of Seaquen. (For a second they thought about giving him to Naielasza instead but they feared she'd consume him on spot - or worse). Then they travel to Naielasza and bring the egg back to its rightful mother. The dragon is thankful that the "small ones" kept their promise and offers them her lyre of building as compensation. The elves are deeply grateful and decide that the Lyre might help ease the refugee situation a bit by building stone houses for them bit by bit.

    After a long, eventful day, they decide to give their new rooms in the Lyceum school a try and spend their night in realtive peace.

    The next morning, they are greeted by a wet-headed Torrent who complains that Katrina has thrown her out of their bathroom to have some time in private. For a moment, Tinuviel panicks at the thought that his ex-girlfriend is sharing a room with their current companion, but quickly dismisses his fear. He asks Torrent to keep an eye on Katrina and report if she's doning anything suspicious. Torrent agrees and leads them to the huge dining/breakfast room where she greets her "old friend" Kate, a young and rather shy bard who cannot look either of the elves straight in the eye. Torrent gives her the fish dagger she got from Erdan Menash as a gift and Kate warms up over the funny looking thing. She then tells Torrent and her (cute) friends that she's got a new music project, but Cuin'halar asks her to wait just a bit longer because there's something he has to do in advance.

    Note: Torrent said she would have a friend in the Lyceum, so I invented the half elf Kate as a hommage to the wonderfully gifted Kate Covington. Bard-Kate a bit nervous around guys, but otherwise really talented, researchful and intelligent. She managed to get a long-term side quest for Cuin which unfolded over the course of three adventures.

    Cuin then drags his two friends out of the dining hall towards the big, magically-heated Lyceum garden and... disrobes until all that's left is his living blade, his sash, pants and boots. He then starts a unique spell-dance performance where he combines the style of Gabal's discipline with his Magus/Swashbuckler martial arts. He enhances the visual spell effects of all the spells he knows and dances until he's completely out of spells, firing firework after firework to the sky until he finally bows elegantly in front of all the curious students and advisors, including Simeonne and a certain Pristina Whitehair - who formed quite a crowd. He then proclaims that his art and discipline have been formed by the now-deceased haedmaster Gabal of Gate Pass' magic school and that his performance was made in his honour. Both Tinuviel and Simeonne shed a tear, before Tinu shouts out a heartened "For Gabal!" which is joined by many more voices.

    Note: What a beautiful way to say goodbye to the old gnome. I love it when my players come up with ideas like this one to connect their characters with people who mattered to them.
    XP RangerWickett gave XP for this post

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