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Freeport campaign Mark II: Freeport through the eyes of Ember, cleric of the War God

S. Baldrick

Explorer
SPOILER ALERT for the Freeport Trilogy

After the final encounter at the end of the Freeport Trilogy ended with a TPK, Freeport being saved the return of the Unspeakable One, the death of the EVIL Milton Drac and the destruction of Milton's Folly, I have restarted my campaign with a new group of characters. This time, we are starting out in the power vacuum that was left in the aftermath of the Milton Drac's death. This time, the campaign journal is being kept of Ember, a cleric of the God of War.

This is chronicled here:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/story-hour/267427-pages-personal-journal-victor-von-vargas.html

SPOILER ALERT of the Green Ronin adventure module: Crisis in Freeport

Being the memoirs of the cleric Ember during her travels as an initiate of the Bellum Ecclesia

Editors Note: Character backgrounds and summaries
Ember (played by Amy) is a cleric to the God of War and thus no stranger to conflict in many forms. Although the church is officially neutral in its outlook, Ember herself is not which has occasionally led her into trouble since what her conscience dictates does not always match with her superiors’ expectations. She is capable of empathy and compassion, but tends to conceal this behind a habitual reserve. She will seldom venture advice unless asked, but follows orders with quiet efficiency. Ember sees herself primarily as a defender who functions as both warrior and healer at need. She is fiercely loyal to those few she considers friends, but never outwardly demonstrative.
Rudolf Caskbreaker (played by Mark) is a dwarven fighter and barbarian. He has no concept of tact or restraint, instead his approach to any situation is to “run in and smash things”. Rudolf is rarely sober and habitually carries several flasks or skins of intoxicating beverage. He is accompanied by a trained war-dog called simply “dog” and refers to this companion as “the best bitch I’ve known since my third wife”. Rudolf is incredibly tough and tenacious and is not one to back down from a fight or any other challenge.
Celestia Starfall (played by Robin) is a halfling sorcerer who specializes in pyrotechniques. She arrived in Freeport as a traveling entertainer for the recent Swagfest Celebrations, but was forced to part company with her former troupe after her enthusiasm caused their largest tent to burn to ash while patrons fled screaming. Celestia is quite adept at juggling magical energies and very formidable in a fight. She prefers to conjure fire and lightening or something equally flashy and won’t hesitate to demonstrate her skill, especially if she has an audience.
Bergo Ironbelly (played by Chris) is rogue and master chef. He is a native of the City of Freeport, and a member of the Halfling Benevolent Association, although he has been known to refer to the latter as the Half. Ass. on more than one occasion. Bergo sees himself as a jack-of-all-trades, but will admit to a particular skill with locks and traps. He also takes great pride in his culinary skills and will frequently offer a meal as an incentive to nearly anyone. Bergo wears glammored armor and uses thrown weapons.

Day 14, Month of the Swordfish
Strange events in Freeport last night. Many claim to have seen a mysterious sigil in the sky over T’wik. This was followed by an explosion of the upper stories of the just completed Lighthouse commonly known as “Milton’s Folly”. We investigated using various bribes and disguise to reach the island. There we encountered a group from the Temple of Knowledge who claimed to be seeking the Jade Serpent, a statuette that was necessary for the city’s survival. We uncovered this along with several weapons and a battered journal. The serpent was relinquished to its seekers.

15 Swordfish
Announcement today that the council has repealed the Rule of Succession; likely as there exist no further candidates. This was followed by rioting in the streets and rival gangs took advantage of the chaos. The commissioner of the guard was slain.

The Cutthroats, led by Bloody Jack, attacked the Temple of the Sea God. Several acolytes were slain before we arrived and dispatched the malefactors. Mother Lorelee stated that her god would send a storm to cleanse the temple of its defilement. She also expressed concern for a Sister Gwendolyn who was missing. We found her speaking to Thuron at the Temple of Knowledge and escorted her back.

16 Swordfish
The Sea Lord’s Guard are conducting a purge of the city, hunting down the surviving members of the Cutthroats and Buccaneers. First hurricane of the season appears to be brewing.

Sister Gwendolyn, a Cleric of the God of the Sea and a member of the Captain's Council, approached me and asked that we speak to Captain Marcus Roberts regarding the rumored disappearance of Lady Elise Grossette. Roberts stated that he suspected a political rival, Arias Soderheim of abducting the lady. Reconnaissance at her estate led Bergo to discover that she had been removed through her second story window by elven pirates the night before. Further investigation revealed that Captain Sharpe of the ship The Knife had departed in haste. He appeared to be heading to Windward.

We decided to seek passage in order to pursue and soon encountered Captain Buster Wallace of the Gallant who agreed to take us to Windward before the storm broke. Upon our approach, we sighted a caravel and were attacked by Sahuagin. A malenti fired a wand at Celestia who replied, quite efficiently, with scorching ray. Rudolf’s dog was slain, and his resulting rage quickly cleared the remaining foes from our decks.
We bypassed the larger ship under cover of the storm and made directly for the shore. Captain Wallace agreed to wait three hours for our return. The beach was littered with bodies, and we discovered some undead, serpent-like people feeding on the remains.

The resort inn had been overrun by elven pirates. These were led by Captain Sharpe, a bald and scared caster called Kyl, and the rogue, Dirty Malone. We eventually overcame them, capturing Sharpe and Malone in the process, and rescued Lady Grossette and five other survivors. Once again, Celestia proved invaluable in the fight while Rudolf more than held his own.
We returned to shore where Celestia signaled Captain Wallace by igniting Sharpe’s caravel with no less than four fireballs. The return crossing was rough but uneventful. We made landfall and I asked that Captain Wallace as well as those from the inn accompany us to Captain Robert’s residence for shelter and to make our report. Two hours later the storm hit.
 
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S. Baldrick

Explorer
An unwritten Journal:
Being the memoirs of the cleric Ember during her travels as an initiate of the Bellum Ecclesia
Day 14. Month of the Swordfish
Strange events in Freeport last night. Many claim to have seen a mysterious sigil in the sky over T’wik. This was followed by an explosion of the upper stories of the just completed Lighthouse commonly known as “Milton’s Folly”. We investigated using various bribes and disguise to reach the island. There we encountered a group from the Temple of Knowledge who claimed to be seeking the Jade Serpent, a statuette that was necessary for the city’s survival. We uncovered this along with several weapons and a battered journal. The serpent was relinquished to its seekers.
15 Swordfish
Announcement today that the council has repealed the Rule of Succession; likely as there exist no further candidates. This was followed by rioting in the streets and rival gangs took advantage of the chaos. The commissioner of the guard was slain.
The Cutthroats, led by Bloody Jack, attacked the Temple of the Sea God. Several acolytes were slain before we arrived and dispatched the malefactors. Mother Lorrel stated that her god would send a storm to cleanse the temple of its defilement. She also expressed concern for a Sister Gwendolyn who was missing. We found her speaking to Thuron at the Temple of Knowledge and escorted her back.
16 Swordfish
The Sea Lord’s Guard are conducting a purge of the city, hunting down the surviving members of the Cutthroats and Buccaneers. First hurricane of the season appears to be brewing.
Sister Gwendolyn approached me and asked that we speak to Captain Marcus Roberts regarding the rumored disappearance of Lady Elise Grossette. Roberts stated that he suspected a political rival, Arias Soderheim of abducting the lady. Reconnaissance at her estate led Bergo to discover that she had been removed through her second story window by elven pirates the night before. Further investigation revealed that Captain Sharpe of the Knife had departed in haste. He appeared to be heading to Windward.
We decided to seek passage in order to pursue and soon encountered Captain Buster Wallace of the Gallant who agreed to take us to Windward before the storm broke. Upon our approach, we sighted a caravel and were attacked by Sahuagin. A malenti fired a wand at Celestia who replied, quite efficiently, with scorching ray. Rudolf’s dog was slain, and his resulting rage quickly cleared the remaining foes from our decks.
We bypassed the larger ship under cover of the storm and made directly for the shore. Captain Wallace agreed to wait three hours for our return. The beach was littered with bodies, and we discovered some undead, serpent-like people feeding on the remains.
The resort inn had been overrun by elven pirates. These were led by Captain Sharpe, a bald and scared caster called Keel, and the rogue, Dirty Malone. We eventually overcame them, capturing Sharpe and Malone in the process, and rescued Lady Grossette and five other survivors. Once again, Celestia proved invaluable in the fight while Rudolf more than held his own.
We returned to shore where Celestia signaled Captain Wallace by igniting Sharpee’s caravel with no less than four fireballs. The return crossing was rough but uneventful. We made landfall and I asked that Captain Wallace as well as those from the inn accompany us to Captain Roberts’ residence for shelter and to make our report. Two hours later the storm hit.
17 Swordfish
Captain Roberts requested that we attend an emergency meeting of the Captains’ Council. He provided coaches that conveyed us to the Plaza of Gold in the Merchants’ district. We were then asked to present the evidence acquired during our recent excursion and to testify against Soderheim. Documents and confessions obtained during the rescue of Lady Grossette indicated that Soderheim had hired Malone to kidnap her. Sharp was paid by someone from the continent to insure that she did not survive.
Marilise Maeorgan proposed that Soderheim be formally tried, his household dissolved, and his relatives banished from Freeport. This led to a further two hours of debate which were interrupted when crossbowmen concealed in the crowd of about forty spectators opened fire.
Celestia fell, but I was able to heal her by the power and will of the God of War. She returned quickly to the fray, firing spells at her assailant until he was dropped by Rudolf. The three remaining assassins then drank potions and vanished from sight. Bergo, however, assured us they were still present, so I called once again upon the power of my god; this time to purge invisibility.
We felled two more, but the last escaped. Of those we defeated, only one remained alive for questioning. From him, we learned that the assassins had been hired by Deadeye Dan Marsh, who was himself in the employ of Soderheim. Their instructions were to kill us and then the council members.
The Sea Lord’s Guard were dispatched to apprehend Soderheim, but he had fled the city. Documents discovered at his residence revealed payments to Captain Sharp and Continental Trading as well as letters to both the Cutthroats and Buccaneers inciting the riots as a citywide distraction.
We also discovered that Soderheim owned a house in the Old City Quarter listed as Mrs. Safe’s Retreat. Celestia posed as a fruit seller and made the acquaintance of the only resident, an elderly woman who revealed to her that Arias was an infrequent visitor who also spent his time at a nearby “house of ill repute”. This, in turn, led us to the Serenity House.
Enroute, we became aware of watchers signaling to one another. The building itself was locked and barred, but yielded to Celestia’s magic. Inside, we encountered more crossbowmen and assorted other thugs. One threw a barrel at Rudolf, causing him to rage and storm the third floor.
Resistance was stiff and we were outnumbered by about three-to-one, but were gaining ground until the appearance of an unknown man with an eyepatch who appeared to be a spell caster. Rudolf was controlled and slew Celestia. Arias appeared and cursed us all, before being himself slain by Bergo.
We retired to the Temple of the Sea God where Mother Lorrel was able to restore Celestia, although the later seems quite subdued and unlike her usual self. We also dispatched a messenger to Captain Roberts informing him of what had transpired, and he shortly thereafter sent his carriage to retrieve us.
Roberts informed us that the guard had succeeded in capturing the renegade gunman who had been hired to kill Soderhiem and destroy the House of Serenity. He was in the employ of Saul Hawthorne, a priest of St. Cuthbert. Hawthorne had been staying at the Rusty Hook in the docks district, but checked out early this morning. We searched his room, but discovered nothing further.
However, as we were leaving the Rusty Hook, we were attacked by a large, heavily armored man mounted on a clock-work centaur known as an inevitable. This, as we soon discovered, was Saul Hawthorne. I demanded that he desist, but he refused. He claimed that he was working to destroy Freeport as it deserved, and that we had ruined his plans and must pay.
Notes and documents discovered on his body confirmed that he had been sent from the continent with instructions to cause disruptions in Freeport. He had engineered riots, kidnappings and general unrest in service to the Empire of Hexworth.
19 Swordfish
Marilise Maeorgan has been elected the new Sea Lord of Freeport. She has appointed a new commissioner and begun plans for rebuilding the city. Perhaps, we can look forward to quieter days ahead.
Day 3. Month of the Osprey
Bergo invited the rest of us to dinner at the Diving Fin, perhaps the only establishment in the docks district where one does not need to purify food and drink. Bergo, who is a member of the Halfling Benevolent Association, informed us that its president Finn and an associate of his named Trask would like to meet with us tomorrow. They are apparently concerned over a large number –perhaps 10 to 20 – of beggars who have been disappearing from the streets.
4 Osprey
We arrived at the HBA as agreed and were shown into Finn’s office. Finn himself appeared to be a middle-aged Halfling who walked with a limp which he tried to conceal. His office was predominantly utilitarian but did contain one unusual bit of décor-- a human sized war hammer bearing the symbol of the god of justice. This, he later said, had belonged to a former adventuring companion of his.
According to Finn, the disappearances had been occurring throughout the city and not all of the victims were halflings. He offered to pay us 400 lords to investigate and 600 to stop the attacks. In addition, we would receive 100 lords for every halfling rescued and 50 for each additional victim. This is assuming that they are still alive and can be recovered. The coin was apparently enough to satisfy Rudolf and we all agreed to help.
We began our investigation in the Eastern District where we uncovered rumors of cults and “great vultures” that came by night and carried away their victims, leaving no trace behind. This reminded me of stories of Pazuzu, a demon who is said to be the Lord of Winged Predators.
Gradual disappearances, including the docks district, had been occurring for over two months now, although they initially went unnoticed. Strangely, none of the victims have been dwarves; most are halflings, then humans and a few elves.
We decided to try to lure this mysterious attacker into the open. Celestia and Bergo were to act as bait, while Rudolf and I waited nearby to intervene. Nothing happened until after midnight when our two halflings were unexpectedly hit by bird droppings. This sickened and weakened them. A swarm of birds then appeared together with a robed figure which spit at Bergo apparently releasing a cloud of spores. We drove them off, before the guard arrived and began asking questions.
Later, at the Temple of Knowledge, I dug into some old records and discovered that spores are often used by Vrock, a type of vulture-like demon known to serve the Demon Lord Pazuzu.
5 Osprey
We informed all of the temples and churches in the district of what we had learned so far. Perhaps this will help them to protect their members. Bergo also met with Finn and when he mentioned the spores, learned that Finn and his former companion, Arych Sante, a paladin of justice had fought a Vrock , years ago, at Lonely Shore, and that Arych had died from the spores. Are these two incidents related?
I decided to pray for guidance in finding and confronting our foe. My first attempt was interrupted by another swarm like those we encountered last night, but later I was able to receive instructions. These were to speak to Berlin of the Booty Trading Company in order to find the one I seek; and to stop him before he dances over the city.
We located Berlin’s office near the docks. Berlin himself was a stout man with dark hair. He seemed nervous and mentioned money problems that had led him to rent an unused warehouse to a crazy old man for the past two months. He did not know the man’s name and said their dealings had occurred in person in the office. This crazy man apparently matches the description of an individual whom Bergo had encountered yesterday in scurvy Town who was raving about the end and “coming to take us away”.
On our way to the warehouse, we were ambushed by a mixed group of hobgoblins and bugbears. The survivors fled except for one captive who revealed that they had been hired by a creepy, old man who appears to match the description we were given before. This person sent a messenger bird to instruct them when and where to attack us.
 

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