Against the Shadows VII - A Faded Glory Story Hour (Re-Updated - 5/17)

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Old One

First Post
Against the Shadows VII - A Faded Glory Story Hour

Greetings All!

Welcome to the VII Installment of the Faded Glory saga. The campaign began in May of 2001 with 5 players + 1 DM (the RBDM known as Old One...that's me :D). I have put my 21 years of DMing experience into a setting designed to challenge the players and their characters and truly hope I am succeeding.

We lost one player and added one player plus a recurring part-time player through the 28 intervening sessions. I have tried to build a world that combines the best elements of Dark Ages ignorance with Byzantine intrigue into a host of plots and subplots. If you look closely, you may see elements of Celtic, Dark Ages Britain, Carolingian France and Norman Sicily amidst the Ruins of Empire that suspiciously resemble declining Rome.

Each character has individual motivations, goals, foibles, triumphs and sorrows. So get comfortable, pour yourself a cool Guinness Stout and stay awhile...

Beginnings (A Player's Introduction)

Your breath comes in quick gasps as you climb the last few feet to the summit of Kyndalyn’s Watch. The cool spring air quickly dries the sweat soaking your tunic, causing you to shiver ever so slightly. Your feet come to rest atop the stacked stone cairn; nearly three spear throws long, a spear throw in width and another in height. Below you, in their granite tomb, lie the moldering remains of Kyndalyn the Fair, his brother Farinmail and their 20-odd staghounds. Here, 20 winters ago, the brothers and their faithful hounds fell protecting Glynden from a fierce raiding party of the Averni.

Your grasp the imaginary sword at your side and swing it over your head! You shout a battle cry as you strike again and again, felling an Averni with every deadly blow, just as Kyndalyn did all those years ago. You have heard the story many times, told late at night in the council hall, as the embers from the banked fire grew dim. Heard the tale of the ranger Kyndalyn, the sorcerer Farinmail and their pack of magnificent hounds; four score and twelve Averni crossed the Thunder River and not one returned home!

You look north and east and see the object of their defense two long bowshots or more distant. The village of Glynden lies between two rocky spurs at the southern end of the Dragon’s Tail Range. The wood smoke from the evening cooking fires curls lazily skyward above the stout stone and timber homes with slate roofs. You can make out the bell tower of the Church of Light, where Father Thomas must be preparing for evening vespers. Two ox-carts are straining to make it up the switchback path, under the every-vigilant eyes of the watch at the town gate.

You marvel at the crumbling, but still stout, walls and towers left behind when the 4th Cohort of the Rustica Auxilia departed for distant Emor, a decade before you were born. Here and there the walls were patched with timbers and lime cement – but they have withstood 30 winters of harsh weather and even harsher neighbors. Without those walls, Glynden would have shared the same fate as many of the other settlements of the Lost Northern Provinces, or so the elders always say.

Aquae Sulis, Ironoak, Greenspire and Bremerton have all been lost to marauding barbarians, fiendish Felevar or other evils in the last five winters alone. Since the legions withdrew, even the imperial provincial capitals of Lords and Roses had fallen, cast down into dust and memory. Now fewer than a score of holds remained throughout all of the Lost Northern Provinces, according the last halfling merchant caravan to make the long and arduous journey to Glynden.

Evening is rapidly approaching, as is usual in the early spring of the North. You should be getting back, before they close the gates for the night – but you linger for a few more moments, surveying the land around your home. To the west, just under the fading sun, lay the Western Wilds; rough, densely wooded hills that are home to fierce barbarian tribes that Imperial Emor could not tame, even at the height of her power. Those tribes; the Averni, the Nervii, the Brigantes and a score of others now raid across the Thunder River in increasing numbers, seeking to pick the bones of the Lost Northern Provinces clean. The river is at least ten days of hard walking distant and those that have made the trip swear that unfriendly eyes watch them every step.

You turn to the south and spot several distant smoke plumes. There are still several fortified villas that survive, due to their proximity to Glynden. They raise foodstuffs and breed hardy ponies, which find a ready market in the town. Beyond the villas, three weeks or more on foot, is the port of Oar and beyond that, the Crescent Sea. Some of the halfling trading caravans that visit Glynden two or three times a year travel by sea to Oar from the Eastenmarch, the Jewel Cities or even Imperial Emor herself. Most, however, prefer the longer (but safer) overland route – or so you have been told. The Corsairs of the Crescent Sea are rumored to be quite fierce and without mercy. Somewhere to the south, beyond the villas, beyond Oar and the Corsairs and the Crescent Sea is the shining city of Emor, Queen of the entire world!

You cast your eyes to the east and can faintly make out the huge bulk of Dragonspire Mountain in the fading light. The peak is lost in the misty clouds that always adorn it like a crown, even on the clearest of days. Everyone knows that a great and fearsome wyrm lives on the mountain. Several of the more permanent fixtures at Nan’s Tavern whisper of seeing the beast winging through the night sky when Seluna is smiling brightly, but only when they are deep in their cups. Rumors hold that the dragon considers the entire North to be its domain and it has destroyed no fewer than a dozen barbarian and Felevar armies! From time to time, foolish adventurers set out to find the wyrm and steal its treasures, but no is known to have reached the peak and survived to tell the tale. The beast does not seem to take an interest in Glynden and the town returns the favor! Beyond Dragonspire Mountain, two weeks or more distant, are the Monrovian Highlands were the ferocious highland clans raise their cattle, drink their mead and bash each other’s heads. Travelers say that the clansmen are suspicious of outsiders, but make sturdy friends, or terrible enemies.

Finally your gaze turns north and you shiver again as the evening breeze picks up. To the north lies the Great Northern Forest, also known as the Darkwood. Beyond that lost in the gathering gloom, but visible on a clear day are the majestic Pillars of Heaven. Even further to the north, beyond those mighty mountains according to tales whispered in hushed tones, lays the hidden Isle of the Dark Druids – the terrors that cast down the Imperial City of Roses in but a single night. The Darkwood is the domain of the fey and magical Felevar, fierce creatures known for their deadly archery and even deadlier sorcery. It is said that they eat the flesh of their victims and hate all of the free folk with a burning and twisted hatred. Somewhere near the heart of the Darkwood is the lost city of Chrysilium, once home to the princes and princesses of the Seelie Court, or so old Sentenius claims. Of course, he is drunk half the time and asleep the other half, so who knows if he is telling the truth!

The half-smile that is playing across your face disappears as the gate horn sounds. You only have ten turns of the minute glass before the gate is closed and barred for the night. You leap down the cairn, leaving Kyndalyn and Farinmail and their hounds to their eternal watch, only to pause and look westward once more. There, far in the distance, framed by the burning eye of Osirian are the low hills of the Western Wilds. One day soon, you tell yourself, the sword at your side will not be imaginary and the barbarians’ best mind their heads! Perhaps you will brave the ruins of Lords or rid the Darkwood of the evil Felevar. Maybe you will travel to the Jewel Cities or the Eastenmarch or even to Emor herself. Perhaps the bards’ will sing tales of your bravery in the tavern halls one day or, you think as you glance one last time at the cairn, maybe a monument such as this will stand for you 30 winters hence.

Suppressing a shudder at that last thought, you race down the slope for home – where a steaming bowl of mutton stew and a soft, down-feather tick await you. As you disappear into the darkness, a pale, translucent shape rises from the top of the cairn and watches you go. As if reading your mind, a brief smile touches the lips of Kyndalyn’s shade. With in inaudible sigh, the apparition then turns its sightless gaze westward, beginning its nightly vigil.

A synopsis of the trials and travails of the "Shovels of Glynden", as the intrepid band now calls itself, through Session 15 appears in the post immediately following. For all previous action with commentary...

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, visit: Installment Four

For the updated adventures of the intrepid band since migrating to the New Boards, visit: Installment Five

For the most recent adventures, visit: Installment Six

Older Installments - Unfortunately, it looks like the older installments are lost to posterity. However, all action from the old boards is started anew in Installment Four.

Supporting Sites

Alas, the Faded Glory Campaign Website has faded into the mists, just like the Elder Races. I hope to have a campaign website up and running again in the near future.

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

Many Thanks!

~ I would like to thank all of the loyal readers and lurkers for their support, readership, commentary and ideas - your presence inspires me to continue

~ I would like to thank my fantastic players and former players - Corey (Quintus/Garrick), Jim (Rowan), John (Rose), Steve (Sextus/Marcus Tiro), Mike (Cragen), Dom (Junior Tribune Metallus) and Kris (Brother Lew) - whose antics inspire and amaze me

~ I would like to thank Morrus and the other volunteers that keep EN World running

Final Thoughts

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I hope you give this story hour a shot. I know there are lots of great ones out there...Seps, Pkitty's, Sagiro's and others...but give Faded Glory a try. I think you might like it!

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

~ Old One
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Old One

First Post
Campaign Synopsis

Warning: This contains lots o' spoilers, if you want to read the whole tale...start have been warned!

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 his 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!

The tavern was located in a seedy area of town near the docks and the party was alert for treachery. Despite taking precautions, the majority of the party was ambushed and captured while Quintus met with Drusilla and her friends in a back room of the Lusty Whale.

A barrage of Sleep spells felled Rosë, Lew, Sextus and Rowan and masked men carried them into the sewers. Meanwhile, Quintus made the acquintance of two leaders of the "Red" faction...the Lady Andrimia and Octavius Rook, Captain of the Sea Eagle. They were able to spirit Quintus away an underground safehouse, so the sorcerer evaded capture.

To his dismay, Quintus learned that the Merchant's Council of Oar had placed a 10,000 denarii price on the party's collective heads for the murder of Merchant Acrius Sestius! He also learned that Antoinine Sestius, leader of the "Green" faction, was behind the issuing of the warrant.

A "Red" faction spy arrived soon after with news that his companions had been captured and were being held in a sewer stronghold of the Shadow Blades - theives and thugs thought to be in league with Antoinine Sestius and the "Greens". Quintus used most of his newfound wealth to bribe Captain Rook's crew from the Sea Eagle to join him in a rescue attempt.

The piractical band burst into the Shadow Blades stronghold and fought their way to where Rosë, Lew, Sextus and Rowan were being held. They managed to free the prisoners and escape with minimal losses, although all the companions were battered and bruised! They retreated to the "Reds" safehouse and pondered their next course of action.

Lady Andrimia and Captain Rook approached them with a plan to simultaneously strike the remaining Shadow Blade hideouts, searching for proof linking the Shadow Blades and their leader, Maythrax, to Antoinine Sestius and the "Greens". Such information, they explained could dishonor the elder Sestius in the eyes of the Merchant's Council and help sway the upcoming Council elections. After much debate and more than a few misgivings, the party agreed to strike one hideout while members of Captain Rook's crew attacked the other.

They spent several days training and preparing for the assault. During the lull, Quintus was finally able to purchase the components needed to summon his familiar. His efforts were successful and a young osprey answered his call. Quintus named the imposing sea eagle Severus. Preparations completed, they launched their raid.

Things went poorly almost from the start and what was supposed to be a quick raid turned into a grinding assault. The party fought their way through successive Shadow Blade defensive positions, expending spells and healing resources, suffering wounds and setting off numerous traps. Finally, they encountered a wizened wizard with a very tough entourage.

The Pit Fighter with the wizard cut a swath through the party. Using skill and stealth, the formidable opponent felled Rosë, Sextus and Drusilla before finally falling to Lew's vengeful crossbow bolt! The wizard's magic entombed Rosë and Sextus under sticky webs and seperated the remaining party members. Rowan and Lew played a game of "cat and mouse" with the invisible wizard while Quintus used magic and bluffing to bully several remaining Shadow Blades into flight.

Despite their best efforts, the wizard eluded Lew and Rowan. The pair was finally able to find a way to Quintus and the three returned to the main battle area. To their dismay, they found Rosë dead and Sextus alive, but badly wounded. Drusilla's body was gone...a taunting note from the wizard in its place.

After a heated discussion, they decided to pursue the wizard, dragging their dead and wounded with them. Using a scroll Sextus had obtained from the "Reds", they bypassed the magically locked portal the wizard had fled through. A clever illusion of the wizard holding a knife to Drusilla's throat delayed them - costing them precious time.

By the time they discoved a secret door, the wizard's trail was growing cold. While Rowan scouted ahead, Lew tended Sextus and Rosë's body. To the priest's amazement, a small spark of life had returned to the massive barbarian!

The three friends still standing gathered around their friend in wonder...

That takes us through the end of Session 15. An Interlude explained what happened with Rosë in metagame terms.

We will pick up the action with Session 16!
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Old One

First Post
Plot Hooks (Updated 12/30/03)

Current Plot Hooks

*Spoiler Alert: Some of the Plot Hooks below will ruin Story Hour it all, then come back!

The Faded Glory campaign is replete with plots, subplots and red herrings. Here are some of the plot hooks and threads that have been introduced during the campaign and may or may not be still active (in no particular order):

The Mysterious “R” and the Cult of Ashai– “R”, clearly a necromancer of some power, is up to no good in the abandoned western mines. What is she up to and how can they stop her? Also, what is her relationship, if any, to Skilorn the bandit king and Domita Sestius, second wife of Calian Cassivius? What is her relationship, if any, with the Shadowblades of Oar, Maythrax the Mage and other unsavory sorts? What is she after? A visit to the Cathedral library in Oar raised more questions than it answered.

Rosë and his Past – The barbarian’s checkered past has raised its ugly head several times. His recent trip to Deathsgate and cryptic propehcy by the Warder of the Obsidian Path trouble him.

Crimson and Black – The colors keep showing up…in the shrine of Ashai, the livery of the bandits operating around the ruins of Greenspire and Lew’s dreams. The Shadowblade garb is dull gray, but what color are their underclothes?

The Felevar Arrow – The arrow fired into Kothric by the “Mystery Assassin” has been identified as a Felevar arrow. The Felevar are whispers of evil that inhabit the Darkwood north and east of Glynden.

Abigail is Missing – The former lover and mining partner of Quintus Scipio. She also displayed talents as a sorcerer and helped coach the power from Quintus. Her unhealthy interest in necromancy drove the lovers apart, but Quintus still cares for her. Where has she gone?

Quintus and Sextus’ Father was Poisoned – With the prime suspect Josephus off the hook (at least temporarily), who did it and why? Will the eldest Scipio ever recover or will he descend into the madness of drink that plagues the Scipio line?

Sabrina Scipio and Orsen Jucadius – Sabrina Scipio is now the consort of Orsen Jucadius, member of the Swords of Glynden, a rival adventuring band. The brothers Scipio are none-to-happy about their wayward sister’s choices, but efforts to bring her home have failed. She seems to revel in playing the concubine to the snooty Jucadius.

Rosë’s Child – The infant, named Gordius Vercinox, after Rosë’s father and grandfather respectively, is currently in the care of the Scipio family. Will Rosë meet his parental responsibilities or will his wayward nature forever sever him from the lad?

The Barbarians of the Western Wilds – The strength of the tribes is such that they could easily overwhelm the Lost Northern Provinces. They raid, but always retreat over the Thunder River within a fortnight. What keeps them from crossing the river en mass and wiping out the remains of the Lost Northern Provinces?

The Abandoned Hillfort – Discovered by the party during a battle with a barbarian warband, the old auxiliary fort is intriguing. What secrets, if any, does the structure still hold? Will Sextus make good his claim upon the fort for the family Scipio?

Rowan and Maxima Scipio – The Brothers Scipio are please to see the interest between their yournger sister and the steady Rowan. Will the growing affection between them lead to something more? And what of the ranger's roving eye for the fair Drusilla?

Drusilla and her family - Set up by her step-mother, her throat slashed by her shapechanged step-brother, her sisters dead...with family ties like hers, who needs enemies? Why is she so determined to get to Oar? Her wounds have left her unable to speak, but have done little to dim her beauty and fiesty spirit.

Drusilla and Quintus, Sextus and Rowan - She is beautiful and quiet...who will win her heart? Sextus bears terrible guilt, feeling he caused the deaths of her two sisters. Rowan has taught her the handspeak of rangers and earned a lingering touch or two. Quintus is torn between his attraction for the fair Drusilla and his unrequited feelings for the lost Abigail. Can there be a match with any of the heroes?

The "Reds" and the "Greens" - The party managed to land themselves firmly in the middle of a trade and political struggle between the free-trader "Reds" and the guild-supporting "Greens" that rule the port city of Oar's political scene. Siding with the Reds, they quickly became embroiled in an underground war with the the Oar underworld and helped the Reds all but eliminate the Shadowblades and capture their leader Maythrax. Lingering doubts about exactly who and what side was in the right continue to plague the party.

The Berylian Edicts - As if the political situation in Oar wasn't tense enough, the party now finds themselves on one side of a growing schism in the Church of Light. Patroclian, Acting Bishop of Oar, adhers to the Edicts, with make worship of Rowan and Cragen's patrons anethma. Is a religious civil war brewing?

The Emorian Gambit - An Emorian delegation recently arrived in Oar, led by the Legate Decius Claudius Cassuvius, a distant relative of Drusilla and the rest of the prominent Cassuvius House in Glynden. He asks the party to escort a young Junior Tribune, Lucius Metallus, and his Optio, Bato, to Glynden with missives for Calian Cassuvius. Is the Empire finally taking notice of the Lost Northern Provinces again and, if so, to what end?

Cragen, the Walking Legend - The dwarves, or at least a dwarf, has stepped from the stones of history. What happened to the Elder Races? Is Cragen an anamoly or does his return herald something more? And what of the steadfast Brother Lew...will Osirian take kindly to the possession of his priest?

Yet more plots and subplots swirl about our heroes...check back soon for more updates :D!

~ Old One
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Old One

First Post
Dramatis Personae (Updated 12/30/03)

Dramatis Personae

The Current Players - In Order of Appearence

Rowan (Human Ranger 4/Rogue 3) - Born on a small farm outside of Glyden. He spent most of his youth shirking his responsibilities on the farm - fishing, hunting and playing in the woods instead. He took a nasty fall from a tall tree at the age of six, leaving him with a large scar on his forehead. He was tortured and almost slain by gnolls at the age of 10 and was rescued by a grizzled woodsman known to him only as "The Old Man".

Over the next 10 winters or so, the Old Man showed up from time to time, always unannounced, and taught Rowan the ways of the Ranger. Recently, he gifted Rowan with a battered short sword - the same one that had been used to save him from the gnolls many years before. The sword bears the faint outline of an eagle etched near the base of the blade, along with some undecipherable script.

No one else in town has ever actually seen the Old Man and some less kind souls whisper that he is a figment of Rowan's imagination, brought about by the blow to the head when he was a boy. Rowan scouts for the Glynden militia from time to time and spends the balance of his time doing as little as possible.

Rowan was deeply affected by the loss of Garrick and Marucs Tiro. He grieved silently for them until he was able to fashion a fetish, made of various components he gathered, for each of them and place them on their graves. After a rocky start, he and Quintus have become fast friends with a growing mutual respect. In fact, Quintus has steered Rowan towards one of his younger sisters, idea that Rowan has been most agreeable too!

Several recent events have complicated life for Rowan somewhat. During a disasterous battle with a mixed gnoll-human bandit group, several daughters of the Cassivius Family - prominent locals - were murdered. Only one daughter, Drusilla, managed to survive and she now travels with the group. The beautiful young woman has caught the attentions of Rowan, Quintus and Sextus. Quintus is quite cross with his friend, since the sorcerer sees Rowan's interest in the Cassuvius girl as an insult to his sister (and a threat to Quintus' own designs).

The second event was a chance meeting with the strange trader Lathan and his even stranger mule, Bogwell. The trader examined his battered short sword and said their was nothing remarkable about it save for a stylized "L" on the blade. The morning after the trader departed, the blade began to tingle and the faint outline of the double-headed eagle of Emor and the "L" became much more visible! Exactly what this means remains to be seen.

Due to the increasing danger of their travels and frequent ambushes, Rowan is now concentrating on his scouting abilities. The recent events in Oar have left a bitter taste in his mouth. He wants nothing more to be rid of the "cesspool that is Oar" and bigotry of the Berylian Edicts.

(DM's Note: Rowan chose to cross-class into "Rogue" the last time he levelled.)

Rowan is protected by studded leather armor, wields his trusty short sword in hand-to-hand combat and uses a short bow for ranged attacks.

(DM's Note: Rowan's player chose to take the alternative pseude-feats I allow for rangers, which are point-blank shot and far shot, instead of ambidexterity and two-weapon fighting)

Rosë (Human Barbarian 7) - Rosë was born into the Brigantes, a fierce and proud tribe from the barbarian wilds. A soothsayer assured his mother that he would be born a girl, so his mother named him Rosë to spite the soothsayer for being wrong. Not only was he born a male, but he had a birthmark across his shoulders that resembled a great bird with outstretched wings - the totem animal of the Brigantes is a great eagle.

He endured many taunts as a youth, for he did not know his father and his mother was rumored to have a wandering eye. The taunts became fewer as Rosë entered puberty and grew into a strapping youth, easily beating tribesmen two or three winters his elder in tests of strength.

At the Gathering of Tribes, a very rare event, he had the misfortune to fall in love with Asralla, virgin daughter of Talorc, Warlord of the Allmani and sworn blood enemy of the Brigantes. Talorc was furious when he discovered that his daughter was no longer a virgin and that a Brigante had taken her flower. During the inquisition that followed, Rosë was stunned to learn that Vercinox, leader of the Brigantes, was his grandfather and that he was the bastard son of a "Steel Man", as the tribes referred to Emorians.

Sentenced to death, he escaped with the help of his mother and fled the lands of the Tribes - an outcast. He eventually made his way to Glynden as a caravan guard for a halfling trade caravan, but took sick soon after arriving. Cared for in the Abbey of Osirian, he met "Lew" and Garrick brought him food from the tavern. Through these, he met both Rowan and Marcus Tiro.

Rosë was stoic in his acceptance of the death's of Marcus Tiro and Garrick, but anxious to return to the field to avenge their deaths. He recently had a major run-in with Kothric, the betrothed of Asralla.

During the course of events, Asralla sacrificed herself to save Rosë and his companions, Rosë discovered he had an infant son and he learned that his father, Gordius, was actually the self-styled "Emperor of the North" for a few short winters. Rosë feels that his life is becoming entirely too complicated!

He placed his infant son, named Gordius Vercinox, after his father and grandfather, in the care of the Scipio family and regularly provides coin for the child's care. To date, he has not formed a strong bond with his son, but it is early yet.

Rosë is somewhat uneven in combat. During some encounters, he fights like a ferocious beast and none can stand in his way. During others, he can't hit a thing! In one recent combat, he was bested by a pair of puny human rogues and has been itching for revenge ever since. During the encounter with the trader Lathan, he bought a battered woodsman's axe which transformed the next day into a gleaming hand axe. He has yet to determine what its exact properties are.

(DM's Note: Rosë is cursed with some of the worst combat dice I have ever seen. More confirmed fumbles than the rest of the party combined!)

Rosë was slain by the Pit-Fighter, the PCs nemesis in the Shadowblade lairs. Miraculously returned to life by the Guardian of the Obsidian Path and Deathsgate, a cryptic prophecy now pulls at the young Brigante.

Rosë wears leather armor and fights with a variety of weapons, depending on the situation. His primary melee weapon is the great axe taken from Kothric and he uses a long bow for ranged combat.

The Brothers Scipio - Quintus and Sextus - The Scipio family has a long history of service in both the Emorian Military and the Imperial Service Bureau. Following the sack of Lords, the boys' father Lucius (the only surviving member of the family) relocated to Glynden and took a position with the Brathwaite Mining Company as a mining foreman. He married Julia Atticus, a distant cousin of the Cassuvius family. A virile man, he fathered two sons and seven daughters by the time he was 40.

Unfortunately, a mine cave-in left him permanently crippled four years ago. Based on his long years of service and excellent work, Boss Braithwaite allowed the family to continue living in their company housing rent free and even provided a small stipend. Lucius constant battle with pain has left him addicted to Krithroot, an herbal painkiller, and he is now bed-ridden and slightly unhinged mentally.

Quintus Scipio (Human Sorcerer 6) - The eldest of nine, Quintus carries a heavy weight on his shoulders. He has worked in the mines since his father was injured on a crew under the ultimate supervision of Ned Gallway, with whom he does not get along at all. He feels he must act as the "Father Figure" for the family now, carrying for his younger siblings and findind suitable husbands for his seven sisters.

A stern and sober young man, he avoids drink and other excesses, since both his grandfather and great-grandfather died early after falling under the spell of the bottle. He has also watched with dismay as his father has declined physically and mentally. Despite his taciturn exterior, Quintus is handsome, has a strong personality and is looked to as a leader by those that know him best.

He discovered his sorcerous abilities two years ago when attacked by dire rats deep in the mines. The power came to him unbidden and he put the two rats to sleep. One of his fellow miners, Abigail Edelman, saw what happened, killed the rats, then revealed to him that she too had the "Gift". She tutored him in its use and the two grew close. Recently, however, she has shown an unhealthy interest in Necromancy and Quintus is concerned about this "dark" streak in her.

In the past several moons, Quintus' world has turned topsy-turvey. His two young cousins, Meikos and Wynda, have gone missing. He had a serious altercation with Ned Gallway, the Brathwaite Mining Company foreman. He caught his beautiful, but foolish sister Sebrina kissing Orsen Jucadius and put them both to sleep after a sharp argument. And his childhood friend, Tomas "Bull" Nacalius, refused to help him find his cousins - taking Orsen Jucadius' side and actually knocking his erstwhile friend down with his war-pony.

In desperation, Quintus turned to the only people who might know where his cousins are - Lew, Rowan and Rosë.

After a poor start, Quintus has emerged as somewhat a leader for the group. The successful retrieval of his cousins, the return of the barbarian Kothric to his people and the semi-successful clearing of several abandoned mines have elevated the sorcerer's standing in the group.

He is quite pleased that Rowan has taken a liking to Maxima, that her twin Luella is turning into a formidable trader and that he has affected the relocation of his entire family to a small caretaker's cabin near the Abbey of Osirian.

Quintus, however, is beset by problems on every side. Ned Gallway is out to get him, his one-time lover, Abigail Edelman has disappeared, his eldest sister Sabrina has taken up residence at the Castellan Jucadius as Orsen Jucadius' lover and he has just accussed Josephus of Bremerton, a close friend of Constable Kyndalyn, of poisening his father!

Following the "trial" in which Josephus was exonerated (at least in the eyes of the law), Quintus couldn't get out of town fast enough!

In the intervening weeks, following the disasterous battle at the ruined villa and the retrieval of Drusilla Cassuvius, Quintus has become more and more paranoid. He is drawn to the beautiful Drusilla, but finds himself competing with Rowan and Sextus for her attention. He is also quite alarmed by the potential involvement of the Cult of Ashai within the Cassuvius Family through the actions of Domita Sestius, Drusilla's stepmother.

The events in Oar brought out the best and the worst in Quintus. His silver tongue helped the party out in many situations and he finally called a familiar to his service. Severus, a majestic sea eagle (osprey) now rides on his shoulder. His power has also grown, but so have his problems. Portents and unsolved mysteries crowd in on every front and some allies almost seem to be enemies!

Quintus makes good use of his magic, both offensively and defensively. He uses a crossbow for ranged combat and a spear on the few occassions that he is called upon for hand-to-hand combat.

Sextus Scipio (Human Bard 5/Ranger 1) - A year younger and two hand's breadths shorter than his brother, Sextus is as care-free as Quintus is serious. He has yet to find any real direction in life - he studied briefly under Father Thomas, spent a season or two with the militia and even managed to persuade "Uncle" Claudius to teach him a bit about magic, showing an inner apptitude like his brother, only not as focused.

For one of such small stature, Sextus has a suprisingly booming voice. He can easily make himself heard over a crowd and has used that ability to become somewhat of a fixture at Nan's Tavern. He is skilled with the hand harp, knows lots of stories and is a fairly talented entertainer when he puts his mind to it. He managed to avoid service in the mines, but picks up a few denarii entertaining or doing odd jobs. Although he is cabable of earning coin, he spends it even faster, so he regularly comes to Quintus seeking "loans"!

His father's illness has impacted him very hard and he often plays soothing music and sings softly to him, which seems to calm the elder Scipio and ease his pain. He is devoted to his older brother and usually follows his lead on issues regarding the family. He is aghast at Sebrina's involvement with the Jucadius boy and just as determined as Quintus to see that put to an end!

His knowledge of local legend and history have proved to be quite valuable and his charming personality has helped the group several times. The barbarian Kothric took a liking to the diminutive bard and that affection probably helped save the group from almost certain death. The band can count on Sextus to raise their spirits when things look bleakest!

Sextus can be quite brave (Quintus calls it foolhardy). Numerous times, he has either charged the enemy unsupported or stood his ground when any sane man would run. He also sings stirring ballads during combat, inspiring his comrades to greater feats of arms. That inspiration has turned the tide during several battles!

Since the rescue of Drusilla, Sextus has been quietly trying to win her affections. Rowan and Quintus are fairly straight-forward, but Sextus use small magic tricks, sleight-of-hand and other tricks to make the young lady laugh. The ultimate results of his efforts remain to be seen!

Impressed by the combat abilities and general "woodslore" of his friend Rowan, Sextus has been trying to emulate the ranger's movements and has been pestering the ever-patient Rowan about the finer points of tracking!

(DM's Note: Sextus chose to cross-class into "Ranger", but chose the more traditional two-weapon fighting to wield a pair of gladii)

Sextus's spirit has been somewhat sapped by their time in Oar. His death and return at the hands of the Dwarven priest Volakir (inhabiting Lew's body), the oppressiveness of the Oar's sewers, the constant battles with the Shadowblades and the burning of Maythrax's library by Rosë have the Bard longing for the open road and a return to Glynden.

Sextus is protected by studded leather armor and uses a pair short swords in melee combat. He relies on a crossbow for ranged attacks.

Cragen (Dwarven Cleric 4/Fighter 1) - Cragen is a walking legend...the first full-blooded dwarf seen in the lands of the Empire in over 150 years. He awoke from his long slumber as a statue in an ancient dwarven shrine to find his brethern shattered into rubble and his shrine overrun. The spirit of the Dwarven priest Volakir ordered him to accompany the upworlders and assured him that Moradin would show him the way.

Cragen is slowly working his way into the band and has proved to be a ferocious fighter. He is still unsure about his way in this strange land bereft of his kin, but is determined to uncover the secret of the dwarves disappearence. A great foe of evil, he tends to swing his consecrated hammer first and ask questions later. Stout dwarven lorica squamata and a large shield protect this doughty dwarf.

He wants to be quit of Oar for no other reason than he is tired of being a curiousity. In addition, he is deeply suspicious of Abbott Patroclian's motives and figures the more leagues between he and the Berylian adherent, the better.

The Graveyard

Garrick (Halfling Rogue 1) - Slain and partially eaten by dire rats in the abandoned Western Mines (Session 2).

Marcus Tiro (Human Fighter 1) - Killed by falling into a 15-pace deep pit - twice (Session 2).

The Missing

Gandlewyn (Lew) Fritinius (Human Cleric 5) - A Cleric of the Church of Light, Lew has advanced to an Acolyte of the Second Mystery of Osirian. Lew was born and raised in the frontier town of Glynden. His parents were killed in a bandit attack when he was 18 winters old and he left Glynden for three years to wander the Lost Northern Provinces and minister to the sick and suffering. He has recently returned to Glynden and has taken up with some childhood friends.

His younger brother, Marcus, is also a cleric of the Church of Light and has advanced to the rank of Acolyte of the Second Mystery. He secretly blames Lew for the death of their parents and relations between the brothers are cool, at best. Marcus recently departed Glynden to travel to Oar in the company of Brother Patroclian, a cleric of Osirian from the Jewel Cities.

Lew has been troubled by strange dreams of late, primarily related to his recently deceased friends, Garrick and Marcus Tiro. He is a kind-hearted and truthful soul and is sometimes distressed at the barbaric and/or underhanded actions of his compatriots - particularly Quintus and Rosë.

Lew recently decided to add some physical armor to the protection provided by the had of Osirian and now wears studded leather armor. He is primarily a defensive fighter and uses a quarterstaff for close fighting and a crossbow at range.

During the events in beneath the city of Oar, Lew was possessed by the strange dwarven spirit Volakir and windwalked away from the party. His current whereabouts and condition are unkown.
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Old One

First Post
Yes I AM...

DocMoriartty said:
All of this and you don't post an update. You truly are a rat bastard.

Why thank you;)! Working hard on it...should have the first installment up by midnight!

~ Old One

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
Thanks for providing the extra summary of "the story so far" - I've not been able to keep up with your Story Hour as much as I'd have liked, and so I've got some big gaps in my following...

I'll try to do better, promise!



Glad to see you back in action Old One. I look forward to the next installment, and hope that all is well with you and your family.

Old One

First Post
Session 16 (Part One)

Since it has been a long time since the last update, our intrepid band (now down to three effectives) is in a very old section of the sewers underneath the port city of Oar. An enemy wizard – whom they believe to by Maythrax – has escaped with Drusilla. The trail ends near a trapped “T” intersection.

Rowan, Quintus and Lew – all badly battered – stand over the unconscious form of Sextus and the miraculously revived Rosë.

Into the Unknown

Rowan dropped to his knees beside the Brigante. ‘The strain has finally gotten to Lew’, he thought to himself. Yet even his meager healing skills confirmed the priest’s claim…the barbarian was alive!

“He does live…” the ranger said, voice trailing off in disbelief.

Quintus’s brows knotted together, released and knotted together again. “Perhaps we should withdraw.”

Lew glanced up with an ‘I-told-you-so’ look painted across his face. “It’s no good. The magic holding the portal open has expired. We have no choice but to press forward and hope for the best.”

Quintus nodded and looked at Rowan. “Which way?”

“I think they went right, based on the operation of the levers on the pit trapdoor.”

“Then we go left.”

Rowan and Lew stared at Quintus in silent amazement. The elder Scipio took their accusing looks in stride and shrugged wearily. “You were right, Lew, we should have retreated. The best we can do now is to find a way out and get some help for Sextus and Rosë. Rowan, can you still carry him?”

“For another turn or two of the hourglass.”

“Very well, I will see to Sextus,” said Quintus. He unfurled a parchment scroll and intoned its magic. The scroll crumbled as Sextus’s body lifted slowly from the floor in response to a gesture from Quintus. The sorcerer answered the unasked question, “Levitation.”

They trooped off down the corridor – Rowan in the lead with bared blade and Rosë’s large bulk over one shoulder, Lew in the middle with a lantern and Quintus bringing up the rear, pushing his brother’s limp form along before him. They carefully skirted the trapdoor at the “T” intersection and took the left hand passage.

The corridor continued for some distance, then merged into shallow steps that led down. At the base of the steps, the passage began curving to the right and the bone dry wall slowly gave way to patches of slime and damp spot of water seepage. The familiar stench of Oar’s fetid sewers began to grow and they soon heard the faint echo of running water.

The echoes grew louder as the reached a four-way intersection. They all felt a slight breeze pressing from left to right, so took the left-hand passage in hopes of finding an exit. After twenty paces, they came to a roughly circular chamber whose walls rose to a dome-like roof. Rank water covered the floor and the path they were following skirted around the right side of the chamber to another opening – leaving the path partially submerged. In the center of the roof, ten paces off the surface of the water, was a large opening covered by an algae festooned, rusty grate.

Quintus’s practiced eye swept quickly over the chamber as Captain Rook’s warning about the tunnels flooding at high tide rang in his ears. ‘Damn, there’s no way to get up there.’

“Let’s keep looking.” The sorcerer’s flat tone brooked no argument.

They returned to the intersection and kept on straight. The passage turned to the left and they soon found themselves on the edge of another domed chamber, similar to the first. They could see the corridor continuing on across the water filled room.

“Lets’ try the middle corridor,” Rowan said, growing frustration evident.

The others nodded as the ranger led the way back. The middle passage continued straight for a number of paces and Quintus thought he detected a slight upward grade. His suspicions were confirmed as the dampness and slime lessened, and then disappeared. Ten paces later, Rowan came to a dead end. Exasperated, the ranger kicked the offending wall and was surprised to hear an oddly hollow sound echo back.

“I think there might be a door here,” he mumbled excitedly as he gently placed Rosë on the floor. “There, I think that might be…”

He trailed of as the wall section moved under his hand just as his ears picked up a faint chittering noise. The concealed door swung inward, revealing three pairs of bright yellow eyes. The light thrown off by Lew’s lantern also glinted off ivory colored teeth and metal. Panic welled up in the ranger, ‘Those are even bigger than the rats in the mine…and these one’s have weapons!’

Rowan fought the overwhelming urge to run and had enough presence of mind to reach out and pull the opening door shut with a resounding thud. A cacophony of shrill squeaks erupted on the other side. The ranger swept Rosë onto his shoulder and began sprinting back the way they had come.


Lew and Quintus didn’t even ask why…they just followed with all possible speed. Rowan didn’t stop until they had crossed over the “T” intersection where they had started. He waited until his companions were across and threw the lever to activate the pit trap. The companions readied their weapons and waited for the inevitable pursuit. Rowan kept muttering, “Rats…huge rats…rats with weapons and clothes and armor!”

(DM’s Note: This was pretty funny…they didn’t even wait to see what they were facing…they just hauled a$$!)

A quarter turn of the hourglass later, no pursuit was forthcoming. By unspoken agreement, the party continued on, leaving the activated pit trap behind them.

“Just remember that’s back there in case we have to flee this way,” Rowan called over his shoulder.

They quickly found the passage roughly mirrored the one on the other side. At the bottom of the steps, Rowan found two sets of booted tracks in the muck. “They went this way,” he said confidently.

Behind him, Lew rolled his eyes, ‘Even I can follow those tracks!’

The sludge and slime seemed much heavier on this side and they continued to follow the footprints even thought they passed several side passages. After 100 paces or so, the tracks suddenly vanished. Rowan called, “There has to be a door along here somewhere…start looking for it!”

Twenty grains latter, they stood on the far side of a poorly concealed door, looking down at muddy tracks on a patch of smooth stone atop some steep stairs heading down. Rowan flashed a quick grin and descended. The passage turned sharply to the left at the base of the stairs. The path made several sharp turns and the moss, sludge and dampness increase with each turn. Soon they were wading through ankle-deep muck.

Just at the outer edge of the lantern light, Rowan saw several steps, a small landing and a door emerge from the gloom. He turned to alert his companions, but froze when a high-pitched cackle echoed through the corridor!

“Ah…there your are. I was beginning to think your courage had deserted you!” The voice was emanating from a small slot in the door, “I was just saying to my companion…”

The grating voice trailed off as Lew set down his lantern, raised his crossbow and buried a bolt a finger’s breadth above the slot. A startled yelp rang from behind the door.

“I say…that was quite rude! Aren’t you going to let me finish my pretty little speech?”

Quintus howled in anger, “No, you dirty bastard, we are going to kill you!”

The nasally voice, dripping with indignation, responded, “Very well then, have it your way!”

The eye slot slammed shut and the party heard a faint rumbling noise. The floor under them began to shudder, groan and tilt forward. Rowan saw a gap opening between the floor and the stairs ahead and realized what was happening. He charged forward desperately, trying to reach the steps twenty paces distant. The slippery slime and muck underfoot gave little purchase.

Lew and Quintus followed Rowan’s lead. Lew nearly fell but managed to keep his balance on the sharply tilting floor. The sorcerer’s feet, however, flew out from under him before he had gone a dozen steps and he sprawled onto his face, losing his grip on Sextus in the process.

Quintus careened forward wildly on his stomach and chopped Lew’s legs out from under him as he slammed into the priest. Lew fell onto the sorcerer’s back and saw the limp form of Sextus hanging in midair. He made a desperate grab for the younger Scipio and managed catch the hem of his cloak before he and Quintus hurtled away.

(DM’s Note: Kris – Lew’s player – showed great presence of mind here. I made it pretty tough for him to do it, but he made both his touch attack roll and strength check to hang on, otherwise Sextus would have remained floating there!)

Rowan, staggering like a back alley drunk, was only five paces from safety. He gathered himself for a desperate leap before the angle of the floor made it impossible. ‘I think I can make it!’

Lew, riding Quintus like a sled, with Sextus trailing behind, hit the ranger at mid-thigh and sent him spinning out of control. They flashed past the stationary steps as the floor, acting like a giant fulcrum, tilted past 45 degrees and sent them sliding in darkness with ever increasing speed. As the quintet disappeared from view, high-pitched laughter chased them from above, urging them on.

To Be Continued…

Next: Session 16 (Part Two) – Of Bones and Marrow

~ Old One
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Old One

First Post
Saw your other post...

Lela said:
Any chance you know when you're going to post the Church Knight PrC? The sooner the better in my book.

Lela -

I will try to get it up this weekend...

Hang in there!

~ Old One


An excellent continuation of this fine tale. There just seems to be no relief or reprieve for our intrepid band of adventurers. You truly are worthy of the title RBDM Old One :D!!

Old One

First Post
Good to Be Back!

Quickbeam said:
An excellent continuation of this fine tale. There just seems to be no relief or reprieve for our intrepid band of adventurers. You truly are worthy of the title RBDM Old One :D!!

QB -

Thanks! It is good to back in action...their situation may be going from bad to worse;)!

~ Old One

Epic Threats

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