Against the Shadow V - A Faded Glory Story Hour

Rate the Faded Glory Story Hour!

  • This is the Greatest Story Hour Ever!

    Votes: 8 28.6%
  • It is Among My Top 5!

    Votes: 18 64.3%
  • It is Entertaining. I recommend it!

    Votes: 2 7.1%
  • Not My Cup of Tea!

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  • Total voters
    28

Old One

Villager
Greetings All!

To preempt the imminent Moderator shutdown due to thread size, I am opening the Fifth Installment of Against the Shadows - A Faded Glory Story Hour!

Recent Installments

To catch the entire saga of Rowan, Rosë, Lew, Quintus and Sextus - along with the dearly departed Marcus Tiro and Garrick - from the beginning, click Here

Older Installments - Subject to the Re-Opening of the Archived Boards

Installment One (w/commentary): Original Faded Glory Story Hour

Installment Two (w/commentary): Second Faded Glory Story Hour

Installment Three (w/commentary): Third Faded Glory Story Hour

Campaign Design Notes and Commentary: Campaign Info

Supporting Sites

The Faded Glory Campaign Website, maintained by O'berton, can be found Here - It is currently undergoing significant revision, so please bear with us!

Another great Faded Glory campaign, run by Rel, can be found Here


Thanks to all of the readers and lurkers for their support, their readership, their commentary and their ideas. Stay tuned for further adventures as the PCs face not only the dangers of the Faded Glory world - but the Table of Elemental Evil and a charter member of the Rat Bastard DM's Club (tm)!

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

~ Old One
 
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Old One

Villager
Campaign Synopsis

The Tale Thus Far...

It all began on a blustery spring morning in ER 2994. Kyndalyn the Younger, accompanied by Rowan and two militia members, interrupted Rosë, Marcus Tiro, Lew and Garrick at breakfast. Gnolls had been spotted and their help was needed. Less than an hour and a very difficult battle later, one of the militia members lay dead and several of the party members were near death. The gnolls were defeated, but the cost was steep. They found a crude map on one of the gnolls, indicating several possible campsites around Glynden, but did not have a chance to follow up on the lead.

Recovering from their wounds, the party learned that two local children, Wynda and Meikos, had gone missing in the abandoned mines northwest of town. They decided to go after the children instead of tracking down the gnolls. They found evidence of the missing children in the 2nd mine trace. Entering the mine, they discovered undead miners and huge spiders, which they handily defeated. They continued on, but disaster soon struck!

While trying to cross a yawning pit, several of the party members fell into the hole and giant rats attacked soon after. When the blood and dust cleared, Marcus Tiro and Garrick, childhood friends, lay dead. The rest of the party, weakened by wounds and inflicted with rat fever, spent a miserable night in the infirmary while the rest of the town toasted the success of the Swords of Glynden, an adventuring group made up of several well-to-do townsfolk and their retainers. The Swords had tracked down a large band of gnolls and destroyed them.

The following day, Garrick and Marcus Tiro were laid to rest. One, Quintus Scipio, whose cousins had gone missing in the mine, interrupted the ceremony. He and his brother, Sextus, demanded the remaining party members assist them in recovering the children. Although irritated by his abrupt manner – Lew, Rowan and Rosë agreed. Returning to the abandoned mine, they searched high and low, finally discovering a hidden portal, which led to an abandoned complex deep within the mine. Skeletal archers, more undead miners and a stuttering human necromancer soon assaulted them. After a hard fight, they emerged victorious and discovered a nefarious laboratory, with all manner of alchemical substances, vials and equipment. They also discovered large amounts of food, water and mining equipment.

Stripping the dead necromancer and taking along a large chest, the party retreated from the mine. Rowan and Quintus stayed to keep watch on the mine, while the remainder hustled back to Glynden to refit and gather additional supplies. They arrived back in Glynden, only to find a major barbarian incursion was in the offing. After a hasty conference with Father Thomas – Lew, Sextus and Rosë returned, joined up with Quintus and Rowan and ventured back into the mine.

Rowan discovered the unholy power of a shrine dedicated to evil (to his dismay) and they finally found the children. They hustled the kids back to town, where they discussed the shrine with Father Thomas. He told them it was a shrine to the Cult of Ashai – an ancient assassin’s cult – and advised caution. They returned to the mine, mindful of the need to get back to Glynden before the arrival of the barbarians. They discovered some notes, a map and a journal kept by someone known only as “R”. They also discovered over 150 solidii worth of treasure (a veritable fortune)! Continuing on, they encountered a pit trap and some additional zombies. The ensuing combat left Rowan on the brink of death and Rosë badly wounded. Discretion being the better part of valor, they limped back to Glynden.

Barbarian warbands milled about town for a while, looking for something or someone then faded into the woodwork. The party prevailed on Father Thomas to accompany them to the ruined shrine. They arrived to find the laboratory cleaned up and cleaned out. When they attempted to enter the shrine room, a large band of undead attacked them, led by the rotting corpse of Luc the Necromancer. A very tough battle ensued and the party was victorious, thanks in large part to the help of Father Thomas. Exploring further, they found another secret door, which lead to a long underground passage that seemed to be the result of a long-dry underground river. They followed the passage for an hour before turning back.

After seeing Father Thomas safely back to Glynden, they decided to follow-up on some clues in the journal and explore the 5th and 6th mine traces, where a band of miners from the Monrovian Highlands were said to be working. Part way there, they ran into a barbarian warband led by Kothric, the son of a chieftain who was betrothed to Asralla (Rosë’s former lover). A running battle ensued and the party managed to capture Kothric with minimum damage (due in large part to Quintus’ Sleep spells). Following the battle, they learned much of Rosë’s amazing past. They returned the barbarian warrior to Glynden, then were tasked by the Council of Elders with transporting Kothric halfway to the Western Wilds and releasing him. They started to notice that one or two large ravens seemed to be shadowing their moves.

During the journey, Sextus and Quintus earned the barbarian warrior’s trust and he told them that the warbands were searching for a totem known as the Artosiak. As they released him, the poisoned arrow of an unknown assassin struck Kothric down. They attempted to heal him, but were forced to leave by the arrival of dozens of bloodthirsty tribesman. An epic chase began, with the party fleeing and the tribesmen hot on their trail. They took refuge an abandoned legion hill fort and slowly retreated as the barbarian warriors hacked at them. Rowan and Rosë discovered Asralla, Rosë’s one-time lover, hiding in the ruins and hauled her along in the retreat.

Just as the party was brought to bay, Asralla called upon the power of the Artosiak to transform into a great dire bear. The barbarian’s shaman responded by calling on a spirit bear. The two massive creatures raged against each other while the party and tribesmen hacked at each other. After a brutal fight, which left almost two-score tribesmen dead, the remainder of the barbarians fled and Asralla slumped to the ground, dying. With her last breath, she bade Rosë to care for their infant son!

Scarcely believing they were alive and badly wounded, the party found a hiding spot under a small church to Osirian within the ruins. Quintus, with the Artosiak faced down a large band of barbarians, trying to convince them that an unknown assassin had brought Kothric low and they meant the barbarians know harm. Just when it looked as though Quintus would be slain, Kothric revealed himself and the sorcerer was saved! The barbarians took their totem and retreated. The party, after poking about the hillfort for a short time and discovering an ancient burial crypt, hastened back to Glynden. They arrived to discover Quintus and Sextus’ father in a coma, that Sabrina Scipio had run off with Orsen Jucadius and that Quintus’ one-time lover Abrigal had disappeared!

They decided to resume their exploration of the 5th and 6th mining traces and discovered an abandoned mining camp just outside the 5th mineshaft. Exploring the shaft, they found lots of abandoned mining equipment, but no miners. They also discovered that someone or something was following them around the mine, setting traps. Exploring further, they ran into a group of small reptilian creatures that used magic and shot lots of crossbow bolts. Rowan remembered them as kobolds. After a hard battle, they defeated some kobolds, but found the mine to be riddled with small tunnels – too small for them to clamber about. They had captured one kobold and decided to take him to Glynden for questioning. During the return journey, a large raven swooped down and attacked the kobold, delivering a fatal shock to the poor creature!

Everyone fired at the bird, which managed to escape, despite several hits. They spent several days refitting in town, during which time they discovered that Quintus’ father had been poisoned. Quintus accused Josephus of Bremerton of using the herbal painkiller Krithroot to poison his father. During the “trial” that followed, Josephus as acquitted, although Quintus still had grave doubts about the woodsman.

The party decided to travel to Oar in order to:
  • Find out more about the Cult of Ashai from the library in the Cathedral of Oar
  • Try to reconcile Lew with is brother Marcus
  • Warn the trading caravans coming from Oar about possible bandit attacks, since the caravans are the lifeblood of Glynden
The journey towards Oar proved both dangerous and heartbreaking.

Several days out of Glynden, the discovered a wrecked carraige belonging to the Cassuvius Family and several dead retainers near a beautiful picnic spot. Rowan determined that Gnoll bandits were responsible for the attack and the party trailed the bandits to their hideout...a crude cabin and barn in the midst of a ruined villa. A quick recon revealed at least half-a-dozen gnolls plus at least one human.

The party put together a hasty plan of attack and assaulted the compound. From the beginning, things went badly, and then got worse! Most of the bandits resisted Quintus' sleep magics and quickly counter-attacked. Rosë soon fell the to combined attacks of a pair of human rogues and most of the others were badly wounded. They soon heard cries for help from several women.

The gnoll leader, a huge brute dubbed "Scarnose", threatened to kill the captive women if the party didn't back away. Sextus tried desperately to save them, but the viscious gnoll cut the throats of Calian Cassuvius' three daughters before his horrified eyes!

Quintus fell shortly thereafter and the party retreated into the woods. Lew and Rosë in one direction - Rowan, Sextus and Quintus in another. All were badly wounded and it looked like the end was near!

Fortunately, the bandits decided to take their loot and flee, concerned about facing more searchers and/or rescuers. They took the goods they could easily carried and fired the rest. A heavy rainstorm prevented the fire from spreading into the woods and gave enough cover to the party to escape detection. Rowan, returning to the scene of their defeat, found one of the girls, Drusilla Cassuvius, barely alive with a terrible throat wound.

Lew was able to save the girls' life, but the wound was beyond his power to heal completely and she remains mute. The aftermath of the battle saw fierce debate on whether the party should turn back or continue. Drusilla made it clear that she did not want to return to Glynden, but was evasive about her reasons. In the end, they decided to continue on, after resting and healing.

Several party members returned to the site of the carraige wreck to bury the dead there and ran into an irrascable old trader, Lathan, and his overloaded mule Bogwell. They invited the strange old man to share their camp, swapped stories with him and traded coin for some the mountain of goods he had strapped to Bogwells' back. He drove a hard bargain for some items and let others go for a fraction of their worth. He cooked the group breakfast the next day and departed towards Glynden, carrying letters for Kyndalyn and Father Thomas.

All agreed that he was more than he appeared to be - a feeling confirmed by the fact that most of the items he had either sold them or handled the night before now bore faint magical auras, including: Crossbow bolts for Quintus and Sextus, handaxe for Rosë, a satchel of writing utensils for Quintus, Rowan's battered short sword, a large frying pan and a comb for Drusilla.

Shaking their heads, the party continued south.

After several days, they came upon the dead bodies of several retainers of the Swords of Glynden. The tracks Rowan read pointed to an ambush by gnolls. The gnolls had won and continued south. They buried the retainers and continued. A day later, sharp eyes of several party members prevented them from walking into their own ambush!

Four gnolls engaged the party from either flank, but without the element of suprise, the party emerged victorious with only a few scratches. They barely had time to savor their victory, however, since several of the gnolls had broken contact and fled towards the ruins of Greenspire. Soon, horn calls and gnoll howls echoed across the hills and a huge gnoll warband (about 40) began pursuing the party!

The chase was on, but the gnolls soon ran the party to ground. Selecting the best defensive ground they could and making a quick plan, the heroes turned to fight. Osirian smiled upon them - for a combination of good magic use and good luck soon eliminated about 1/4 of the gnolls. Then "Scarnose" made an appearence and rallied his troops, forming a dozen into a wedge to charge the party and demolish them!

A critical hit by Quintus with an ensorcelled crossbow bolt and a well-timed Hold Person spell by Lew on "Scarnose" broke the gnoll's spirit and the remainder of the warband broke and ran. Howling in triumph, Rosë leapt forward and hewed the head from "Scarnose". To his amazement, the head shimmered and changed into the bloody visage of a young, dark-haired human male. Quintus and Sextus noted a momentary look of shocked recognition on Drusilla's face.

Gathering what equipment they could, they beat a hasty retreat before the gnolls could regroup. Before they departed, however, Rosë grasped a dull black stone dagger pendant from the ruin of "Scarnose's" body and a shimmering portal opened in the air over his head! Rowan, thinking quickly, slapped the necklace from his hand and the portal soon dissapated. They took both the head and pendant with them.

As they traveled, virtually everyone felt that they were being watched. Quintus was afraid the necklace was the source of their unease, so they stashed it and then made camp some distance away.

After dinner that night, Quintus and Sextus questioned Drusilla about the dead human. Reluctantly, she told them that it was her stepbrother, Acrius' head and that discovery confirmed her fears about her stepmother's involvement in her abduction and her sisters' murders! Most of the party slept very poorly that night, haunted by dreams of a dark portal and dull stone dagger aimed at their hearts!

After a hard days' march, they succeeded in finding the caravan, which had encamped in the ruins of Greenspire. Among the loot they had taken from the body of "Scarnose"/Acrius was a missive from "R" to Skilorn, the bandit chieftain, imploring him to leave the caravan alone on the northern journey. Apparently the message had been delivered, since the caravan had arrived unmolested to that point.

Drusilla refused to enter the caravan encampment, since her erstwhile fiance, Tomas "The Bull" Nacalius and the other Swords of Glynden were traveling with the caravan.

Lew and Quintus found a church knight, Pantonius of Tyrial, and persuaded him to carry several messages to Father Thomas in Glynden. Rosë and Rowan took all of the gear they had acquired through several victories over the gnolls and tried to sell it to a halfling trader from House Schulcross. The trader drove a hard bargain and Rowan ended up trading everything for a Sythian horsebow and 50 arrows!

Quintus ran into an old friend, Tomas "The Bull" Nacalius and exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes. Following that encounter, angry and irritated, he drug Lew to seek out a halfling merchant that traded in ores. He discussed the possibilities of forming a trade alliance with Ollandia of House Battenhorn, but received no firm commitmets. He did get Ollandia Battenhorn to agree to meet with his sister, Luella, once the caravan reached Glynden. Returning to the rest of the group, Quintus was highly skeptical of Rowan's trading prowess (or lack thereof).

Continuing on their journey to Oar, the party spent almost 2 weeks traveling down the old legion road through abandoned countryside. They took a short pause while Quintus concentrated on a growing feeling of power and found himself able to call forth a new spell, Alter Self. The magic proved valuable, since they soon found themselves being shadowed by a band of gnolls with huge hunting wolves. Neither side attacked, however, and once the party, ever alert for an ambush, passed over a large stone bridge in the midst of a ruined village, they saw no more of the gnolls.

Finally, they reached the edge of civilization in the form of the Two-Headed Stag Inn and Wayhouse, a small fortified inn run by a father and daughter. They slept in beds for the first time in weeks and Sextus challenged the resident saar bard, Brigit, to a bard's duel. Attempting to defray their expenses, Quintus bet on his brother. It was a close affair, but Brigit proved victorious, much to Quintus' dismay! Brigit ate breakfast with them the next morning and gave them some pointers on dealing with Oar's volatile political scene.

They set off again on the morning of Midsummer's Eve - a holiday - and several felt homesick about missing the celebration they knew would be taking place in Glynden that night. The weather was warm and rainy and the group soon came upon a young farmer with a broken down wagon. After overcoming initial suspicions, they helped the farmer, Kordas, fix his rig and they agreed to travel together the rest of the way to Oar. The young man talked their ears off, especially after Lew straightened his wrenched back. He began calling the young priest the "Miracle Worker", much to Lew's chagrin!

They finally arrived in Oar and, after finding lodging to be much to pricey for their depleted purses, sought sanctuary in the Cathedral of Oar. They discovered that the Bishop, Attelus, was ill with a strange malady and that Brother Patroclian, who was known to Lew, had been installed as Abbot. Over a delicious dinner, they met the others of the Cathedral heirarchy, including Sergeant-Brother Fortian, the younger brother of Pantonius of Tyrial. They discovered that Marcus, Lew's brother, had been sent to the Jewel City of Beryl by the Abbot to seek help for the Bishop.

Early the next morning, a breathless young acolyte - Viato - burst into the guesthouse they were staying in and told Lew that he must come to the Cathedral Foyer. Lew followed Viato and found a large crowd of crippled and disease-afflicted wrethces calling pitifully for "Brother Lew the Miracle Worker"! It seemed that Kordas the Farmer had been busy telling all who would listen about Lew's powers. Despite Lew's best efforts, the crowd soon became frantic and rushed him, grasping at him for a piece of clothing or some other bit of comfort. Lew fell to the ground and came close to being crushed. Only the timely arrival of his friends and Sergeant-Brother Fortian saved him from an almost certain doom at the hands of an adoring mob.

During the commotion, Drusilla slipped away, leaving a note explaining that she needed to seek her friends on her own and that her presence endangered the rest of the party.

Somewhat chastened by the Abbot, the group went into the city via a small postern gate to avoid being seen around the front of the Cathedral. They were amazed at the size and scope of the city, but also somewhat put off by how dirty and seedy it appeared. They discovered curio's dealer, Lonic, who agreed to identify their accumulated magic items for a stiff price. They also learned to avoid roving gangs of the two main political factions - the "Greens" and the "Reds"!

After discovering the nature of the items, they decided to sell the cooking skillet (+10 to cooking checks) and the leather satchel (refills with parchment each night if one sheet is left in). They received about 15,000 denarii worth of mixed coin for their efforts - more money than any of them had ever seen. They also discovered that Rowan's short sword was a "bonded weapon", that a ring they had taken from "Scarnose"/Acrius Sestius was a magical ring of protection and that Rosë's axe could magically alter size between a hand axe and a great axe! While they were marveling at their good fortune, a young lad ran up and thrust a missive into Quintus' hand which bade them meet Drusilla at the Lusty Whale tavern later that night!

This missive leaves off at the end of Session 12 - more adventure coming soon...
 
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Darklone

Registered User
First!

Well here we are...

Old One, I didn't find something about the characters in the rogues galery... Spot check failed?
 

Old One

Villager
First Indeed!

Darklone said:
Well here we are...

Old One, I didn't find something about the characters in the rogues galery... Spot check failed?
I placed several of the PCs in the Rogue''s Gallery on the old board and didn't pull them out before the move. I will wait until everyone levels again, then repost.

Old One
 

Oberton

Villager
Web-Site

I keep checking the website to updates. What happend to the map? I can't seem to find it, or is it still being transfered?
W.Smith
I am still working on Old Ones site and such... I only have a couple of maps that he has sent me, I will make sure the links are live...
 

WSmith

Villager
Thanks, Old One and Oberton.

I should be back east in the summer, June-July.

The other thing I like about FG are the names. Monrovian Highlands, Osirion, Oar, the Sythian Federation, I would love to steal the names, but can't bring myself to have them part the FG setting. I might just have to steal the whole setting. :D
 

Oberton

Villager
WSmith said:
Thanks, Old One and Oberton.

I should be back east in the summer, June-July.

The other thing I like about FG are the names. Monrovian Highlands, Osirion, Oar, the Sythian Federation, I would love to steal the names, but can't bring myself to have them part the FG setting. I might just have to steal the whole setting. :D
Check out a module by SUN & SCALE
http://www.rubicongames.com/SnS/Products.asp

I am running some players through it right now and it seems like a really cool world. I find it has the same grit that FG has...

As far as Faded Glory goes, is there anything you are looking for beside maps that would be nice to have on the web-site?
 

Darklone

Registered User
*grin*

WSmith said:
The other thing I like about FG are the names. Monrovian Highlands, Osirion, Oar, the Sythian Federation, I would love to steal the names, but can't bring myself to have them part the FG setting. I might just have to steal the whole setting. :D
Another addict like me!

Still painting and preparing miniatures.... Next campaign here will be fading away into glory...
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
WSmith said:
The other thing I like about FG are the names. Monrovian Highlands, Osirion, Oar, the Sythian Federation, I would love to steal the names, but can't bring myself to have them part the FG setting. I might just have to steal the whole setting. :D
Ya know, that's not a bad idea. Hmm...

:D
 

Thorntangle

Villager
Old one, I think you need a copyright lawyer quick ;)

Maybe you should shop for a publisher. I'd buy your campaign setting.
 

Lazybones

Explorer
Old One,
Just finished reading the story hour on the AtS-IV thread, and I wanted to chime in with my praise. Your world is well realized and I like the integration of Roman elements (I used to teach Western Civ, and have always been fascinated by that period of history). As a DM, I like the way that you let the dice "fall as they may" and the way that you were able to keep the players on the edge of their seats through several encounters. After their horrible initial run of luck, it must have been quite satisfying to finally defeat that gnoll warband with a combination of good tactics and good fortune.

Looking forward to further updates,
Lazybones
 

Old One

Villager
If Only I Could Take All the Credit...

WSmith said:
Thanks, Old One and Oberton.

I should be back east in the summer, June-July.

The other thing I like about FG are the names. Monrovian Highlands, Osirion, Oar, the Sythian Federation, I would love to steal the names, but can't bring myself to have them part the FG setting. I might just have to steal the whole setting. :D
A number of the place-names IMC - Oar, Jewel Cities, Roses, Lords, Plains of Aresh - come from Glen Cook's Black Company series. I am actually in the process of creating back-up names for everything, just in case I decide to "do something" with the setting at some point;)!

Old One

PS - Definitely drop me a line when you get back to the east coast...south Jersey isn't too far away!
 

Old One

Villager
Thanks!

Thorntangle said:
Old one, I think you need a copyright lawyer quick ;)

Maybe you should shop for a publisher. I'd buy your campaign setting.
I would actually love to get together with the DM of the "Sadly on Hiatus" Byzantium on the Shannon Story Hour and create something...the depth and flavor of that world is truly amazing (IMHO)!

The thought has actually crossed my mind (especially when I am having a bad day at work), but I have no time as it is now:p!

~ Old One
 

Old One

Villager
Thanks for the Kind Words!

Lazybones said:
Old One,
Just finished reading the story hour on the AtS-IV thread, and I wanted to chime in with my praise. Your world is well realized and I like the integration of Roman elements (I used to teach Western Civ, and have always been fascinated by that period of history). As a DM, I like the way that you let the dice "fall as they may" and the way that you were able to keep the players on the edge of their seats through several encounters. After their horrible initial run of luck, it must have been quite satisfying to finally defeat that gnoll warband with a combination of good tactics and good fortune.

Looking forward to further updates,
Lazybones
Lazybones -

Thanks for dropping by! I am going to try to get an update done before our game on Sunday...we'll see:D! I graduated with a dual major - Engineering and History - so the Romans are right up my alley!

I actually thought they were going to get crushed by the gnoll warband, but a combination of very good tactics and substantial luck helped them through. I was glad to see them get a clear-cut victory after several turns of bad luck. Oh well, that just means harder challenges ahead!

~ Old One
 
Official Notice

Ahem, I have been reminded by the Lamp Lighter's Local # 401 that I have not delivered praise to this story hour in over 30 days.

I hereby officially prostrate myself before the wonder that is Old One's world and his long-suffering but finally rewarded players. This is great stuff.

Oh, and PS, I would also pay good money for this campaign setting.
 

Old One

Villager
Session 13 (Part One)

When we last left our intrepid band, they had rescued the hapless Lew from the clutches of the infirm and the crippled! They had also unloaded some magical loot for a hefty sum of money and received a note from Drusilla requesting a meeting for later that night.

Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep Little Adventurers

Following the delivery of the note from Drusilla, a brief discussion ensued over the wisdom going to meet her, but the party quickly decided they had little choice. They spent the rest of the afternoon buying new gear and they all decided to purchase riding horses to make the return trip to Glynden quicker and more comfortable. It took sometime to locate a reputable stockman, but several hours and over 5,000 denarii later; the party was the proud owners of five reasonably sturdy mounts, complete with tack.

(DM’s Note: The stirrup does not yet exist IMC – at least not in this area. Before the players bought the horses, I explained that the lack of a stirrup meant increased DCs on riding checks. My brave players were undeterred and went ahead with their purchase!)

They could not take the horses through the postern gate, so they entered the Cathedral grounds in ones and twos to avoid much commotion. They located Viato and he stabled their mounts alongside Pratto the Mule. They did have to go back out and purchase feed and straw, since the Cathedral had none.

They ate a quick meal, Lew prayed in the Chapel for a short time and they stashed most of their money in the guesthouse. After checking their equipment, drawing whetstones across sword and axe blade and tightening cuirass straps, they set off for the Dock Quarter two hours before their appointed meeting time with Drusilla. They found the wharf-front crowded with a multitude of farmers and tradesmen capping off a Marktday visit to the city with a trip through the seedy waterside establishments. They sidestepped several brawls between farmers and dockhands and avoided confrontations of “Reds” and “Greens”.

They wandered through the multitude of alleys and back streets in the Quarter in seemingly random fashion, taking in the sights and seeking to avoid the smells. Their true aim, however, was to carefully check behind and around them to see if they were being followed. Their caution bore fruit as they noticed an unshaven man with oily brown hair, dressed in a threadbare tunic who was paying them an unhealthy amount of attention.

Every time they looked towards him, he ducked his head and stepped around a corner or into the shadow of a doorway. Quintus quickly tired of the game and actually waved the man over to them the next time they made eye contact. The man’s eyes widened in surprise and he quickly ran to the nearest alley! Quintus smirked and shook his head, ‘Amateur!’

About ½ a turn of the hourglass before their rendezvous time, they got specific directions to the Lusty Whale Tavern and slowly made their way toward the appointed place. The tavern was located in a cul d’sac at the end of Dead Rat Alley, a narrow street that wound through the worst neighborhood the party had yet seen.

Dead Rat Alley deposited the party into an oval-shaped open area approximately 75 paces wide and 50 paces across. Three 3-story building were directly opposite the alley-mouth and all three were clearly taverns, as loud music and bawdy jests floated from the porches of each. The left-most building of the three bore an oversized sign of a carved whale, mouth open and tongue lolling out in an obscene leer. An enormous phallus lit with magical light complemented the carving – this was clearly the Lusty Whale.

The ubiquitous magical light poles that graced the rest of the city had been decapitated here, leaving only lightless stumps. A jumble of rickety tables, chairs and stools filled the open area and smoky tiki-torches were randomly scattered throughout. Many of the seats were filled with raw-boned farmers and weathered sailors who vied for the attention of slatternly serving wenches. The mixed aroma of unwashed bodies, stale beer and cheap perfume threatened to overwhelm the party’s olfactory senses as they observed the poor-man’s beer garden.

Several narrow alleys radiated out from the open space like the spokes of a wheel. Crumbling tenements – most three or four stories tall – flanked the alleys and ringed the entire area. Behind the taverns rose the western wall of Oar. “Great place for an ambush,” Rowan said in a quiet voice.

The others nodded in mute agreement and exchanged worried looks. They noted that the colors of both the “Greens” and the “Reds” were sprinkled throughout the area, but most patrons seemed much more intent on getting drunk than discussing politics. Rapid whispers followed as they quickly laid out a course of action.

They decided to have Quintus and Rowan enter the Lusty Whale while the rest moved to the alley mouth to the left of their current position for better line of sight. Rosë, Sextus and Lew would wait there until signaled for or until trouble started. Quintus took a deep breath, nodded at Rowan and the pair made their way through the throng and into the tavern.

Lew felt himself sweating profusely as the gripped his stave. ‘How could people live like this?’ He thought to himself. ‘They have no faith in the light and no knowledge of the Lightbringer!’

Sextus’ elbow nudged him in the ribs, shaking him from his reverie. “Look!”

At the far end of the alley they stood in, they could make out the dim form of the man who had been following them earlier. “When he ducks around the corner again, I am going to run down there and get him!” Sextus said quietly, excitement evident in his voice.

Lew nodded hesitantly, unsure if that was a good idea and the barbarian grunted non-commitally. A moment later, the head disappeared and Sextus sprang lightly down the alley.

Inside the tavern, Rowan and Quintus found a dozen shabbily dressed patrons, a serving woman with tired eyes and drooping bosom and a lean, hard-eyed barkeep that spit into a tankard and wiped it out with a dirty rag as they approached. “What’ll it be?”

The barkeep’s flat voice bore no hint of friendliness. Quintus regarded him evenly, returning his stare with aplomb. “Two ales, if you please.”

The barkeep held Quintus’ eyes for a moment longer, snorted something akin to a laugh and drew two dark ales from the tap. Quintus noted with disdain that his tankard was the one the man had been cleaning when they walked in. The two companions huddled together at the bar, pretending to drink their ales and glancing about. Quintus estimated that it was five or so turns of the minute glass before their appointed meeting time.

Outside, Lew watched Sextus bound off through the fading light and then caught another elbow in the ribs, this time from Rosë. The Brigante tossed his head skyward as the priest looked at him. Following his gaze, Lew’s heart caught in his throat as he saw several shadowy forms moving about on the rooftops above them. He caught the glint of light of metal from the tiki-torches below. “By Osirian’s light! Quickly, get Rowan and Quintus while I get Sextus!”

The barbarian grunted his assent, hefted his axe and started trotting towards the Lusty Whale. Without looking back, Lew sprinted down the alley, hissing Sextus’ name. Rosë had not gone a dozen paces when a figure on one of the rooftops spoke soft words of power and made a series of complex hand motions. The mighty barbarian felt a wave of lethargy sweep over him and he slumped to the ground, fast asleep. Half-a-dozen patrons around him likewise slumped into arcane slumber. Gray-cloaked men emerged from the shadows, disarmed the barbarian and expertly manacled his hands behind his back within the space of a few heartbeats.

Sextus reached the end of the alley and found himself on the wharf-front. There was no sign of the scruffy man, so he turned to rejoin his companions and collided with Lew. “Men on the rooftops with weapons,” Lew tried to force himself to stay calm but could not!

Without discussion, the pair sprinted back down the alley, drawing weapons as they ran.

Within the Lusty Whale it was quiet. ‘Too quiet,’ thought Rowan, ‘something is afoot.’

The ranger pushed away from the bar and turned to where he could see the entire room. The patrons that were there when they had entered were still there, the serving woman still looked tired and worn-out and the barkeep still looked mean. Rowan’s hand dropped involuntarily to the comforting hilt of the Old Man’s sword. Beside him, Quintus continued to stare ahead

Lew and Sextus reached the mouth of the alley and paused. They saw no sign of Rosë, but a small crowd of people had gathered to look at several people that were slumped at their tables. They moved forward cautiously, and then a curtain of blackness slid over their minds and they both slumped to the cobblestones, asleep!

More men clad in gray appeared and trussed the pair up with quiet efficiency. As the second pair of manacles was slapped into place, the heel of one of the gray-clad men connected with Sextus’ forehead with enough force to jar the bard awake. He found himself face down on the slimy cobblestones, hands bound and body gripped by several strong hands. Some manner of cover or bag was over his head, for he could see nothing and his own breath echoed loudly in his ears. He carefully turned his head to the side, inhaled slowly and bellowed, “Q-q-q-uintus-s-s!”

Sextus started to draw a second breath when something hard and unyielding crashed into the back of his head. A moment of blinding pain transitioned once again into blackness as the diminutive bard went limp.

A score of onlookers watched mutely as the men in gray hefted two more limp forms and started heading toward a door in one of the tenements.

Rowan’s sharp ears picked up a faint cry from outside. ‘Was that Sextus?’ He thought to himself as he moved forward the entrance of the Lusty Whale.

He immediately noticed the beer garden was deathly silent and that a semi-circle of people was crowded around the mouth of the alley where they had left the others. Rowan drew his sword and bounded down the steps. As his foot touched the bottom step, he caught movement into the shadows to his right. He had less than a grain to think about who or what it was before he pitched forward onto the ground, snoring softly.

Less than a minute later, the gray-cloaked men and the unconscious forms of Lew, Sextus and Rowan were gone and silence reigned supreme in the once boisterous beer garden!

Quintus was vaguely aware that Rowan had left his side, but he was trying to calm his nerves about the impending meeting. Without turning to look for the ranger, Quintus motioned the barkeep over and said softly, “I am seeking the Lady in Blue”.

The barkeep’s slightly raised eyebrow was the only reaction. He continued to “clean” the tankard in his hand and jerked his head to Quintus’ right. “End of the bar, through the curtain, down the hall, first door on the right.”

Quintus nodded his thanks and dropped a solidus on the bar. He strode off with a false confidence that belied his misgivings. He passed through the curtain, walked down the hallway and stopped before the door. Taking a deep breath, he rapped sharply on the door. “Enter,” called a feminine voice from within.

Quintus pushed the door open and saw a dimly lit room. A round table occupied the center of the room, surrounded by four chairs. Three of the chairs were occupied by heavily cloaked figures, whose darkened cowls turned towards the sorcerer as he entered. The door swung shut behind him.

To Be Continued…

Next: Session 13 (Part Two) – Another Pit

(DM's Note: The DC for the Sleep spell was 13 and all four of them failed it! We had a bit of a mix-up, since I thougt Rowan had told Quintus where he was going and I was amazed that he just stood at the bar and did nothing. We then sorted out that Rowan hadn't said anything (Quintus failed his Listen check to hear Sextus) and good RPer that Corey is, he just waited for his meeting!)

~ Old One
 
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Re: Session 13 (Part One)

Old One said:
They spent the rest of the afternoon buying new gear and they all decided to purchase riding horses to make the return trip to Glynden quicker and more comfortable. It took sometime to locate a reputable stockman, but several hours and over 5,000 denarii later; the party was the proud owners of five reasonably sturdy mounts, complete with tack.

(DM’s Note: The stirrup does not yet exist IMC – at least not in this area. Before the players bought the horses, I explained that the lack of a stirrup meant increased DCs on riding checks. My brave players were undeterred and went ahead with their purchase!)
They may want to consider Handle Animal skill as well, to try to keep the horses from running away during battle.


Less than a minute later, the gray-cloaked men and the unconscious forms of Lew, Sextus and Rowan were gone and silence reigned supreme in the once boisterous beer garden!

~ Old One
They have been Agated! (The closest equivalent to Shang-hai I could find.)
 

Darklone

Registered User
Re: Session 13 (Part One)

Old One said:

To Be Continued…

Next: Session 13 (Part Two) – Captains Courageous

(DM's Note: The DC for the Sleep spell was 13 and all four of them failed it! We had a bit of a mix-up, since I thougt Rowan had told Quintus where he was going and I was amazed that he just stood at the bar and did nothing. We then sorted out that Rowan hadn't said anything (Quintus failed his Listen check to hear Sextus) and good RPer that Corey is, he just waited for his meeting!)

~ Old One
A sleep spell taking out two lvl4 chaps? Wow. Good rolls for those D4s... :)
Looks like several spellcasters there! Or Greater Sleep? Nah, DC too low for that one...

Iron Will: The feat of your choice!
 

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