Rel's Faded Glory III: Glory Reborn (FINAL UPDATE 6/22 - SHE'S DONE, BABY!!)


Liquid Awesome
Westward Into Danger

As the newly formed band of adventurers made their way out of Glynden and set their feet on the increasingly frequented road to Aquae Sulis, they were a quiet lot. This was typical for Speaks who usually kept his own council when traveling (and couldn’t talk in any event since he wore the form of an eagle at the present time) and the other party members all seemed lost in thoughts of their own as well.

For Lazarius, those thoughts were of his family, particularly his older sister, Solvaria. He came from a large family but seldom got a chance to see his siblings very often as his duties to the Imperial College had kept him busy for the last several years. His posting with the 2nd Cohort of the Coastal Auxilia Guard along the Sythian border had been boring but he had been a time to relax and enjoy the camaraderie with the other men and his most recent mission to the Northlands had certainly been interesting at times. But he worried about how the rest of his family was getting along, especially his older sister who had always been a bit of a “free spirit” to use a polite term. He hoped she was staying out of trouble. He felt there was plenty enough trouble on the horizon as it was.

Cathal was ahead of the rest of the group on point where he liked to be. It would have been difficult to travel as slow as the rest of them even if he had wanted to for he wore a pair of magical boots that had been purchased on his behalf by his Chieftain in thanks for his efforts during the Winter War. Those boots lent him incredible speed and he could outrun even the swift horses employed by the Almani scouts. If they also kept him somewhat distant from the others in his current party, so much the better. The folk of the Fodor may have made peace with the people of Glynden but traveling with so many men who hailed directly from the Empire made him nervous. It was hard to forget that just a few generations ago, their forefathers made slaves of many of his people. And the tribes east of the Fodor had been exterminated entirely. To these men who now journeyed west with him, he would offer his aid freely. His trust would have to be earned.

Marcus rode eagerly into the unknown ahead. He had been itching to come to these lands for over a year and he was finally getting his chance. Not only was he anxious to prove himself a devoted warrior to the cause of St. Cuthbert, but he had a personal stake in what lay ahead. Raised as an orphan in a monastery in Oar, he had only recently learned that his father, a Holy Warrior for St. Cuthbert himself, had been slain by Orcs in the Northlands. Further, his mother had fallen at his side and it had been revealed that she came from one of the Barbarian tribes of the Fodor. Somewhere up ahead was part of his past and those who had robbed him of it.

Marius tried unsuccessfully to spark some conversation with Lazarius and Marcus but neither seemed in a mood to talk. Just as well for he preferred to take in as much of his surroundings as possible to enter into his travelogue when time permitted. Already his journey north had shown him things he’d never seen before, though certainly nothing beyond what he’d imagined.

Behind him lay the city of Opal, where he’d begun his journey, sitting upon the southern edge of the Crescent Sea. It held the signs that the Empire was bootstrapping itself out of its long slide into decline. The western part of the Crescent Sea now nearly swarmed with ships from the Imperial Fleet, even boasting a few War Galleons as hadn’t been seen in years. It seemed that the Emperor’s son, Flavius was serious about trying to rid the Crescent Sea of the Corsairs that had so long plagued northern shipping.

In sharp contrast to Opal was his arrival in Oar, a city that was almost a caricature of the glory of the Old Empire. It still maintained a veneer of the Imperial ways, but the cracks in that veneer were not well hidden. Even a minor official such as himself, a representative of the Imperial Explorers Society received a handful of invitations to meet with various factions seeking advantage in the rat’s nest of intrigue that comprised the politics of Oar. He was thankfully able to beg off of these meetings, citing the urgency of his journey if he were to arrive at his destination before the winter snows set in.

And thus he found himself on a road seldom traveled, bound west through a town that once was the northwesternmost outpost ever established by his once great country. That in itself was a bit of a landmark, wasn’t it?

To Be Continued...

Sorry for the slightly truncated update. It seems I've come down with a bit of a cold so I didn't get much more writing done over the weekend like I'd hoped. But I'll keep pressing forward a bit at a time. Hope you enjoy some insights to the personalities of the new members of the group.

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Liquid Awesome
gerg861 said:
Hoodyhoo! More Faded Glory! This campaign is what originally got me hooked on EN world a few months ago. :)

Well golly, here's a reader I didn't even know I had. I'm glad you have enjoyed the story, gerg. And I'm honored that a full 50% of your posts are in my very own thread! ;)

Great to have you aboard!


Well, here, have another reader you didn't know you had. I just polished off the first two threads, so now I'm left champing at the bit for the third series. Champ, champ. Keep up with good work.

Any chance the PCs will have any better luck with complex tactics than the last time around? Nahhh, that sounds too much like work.

. . . . . . . -- Eric

PS -- Couple new players, yes? Or have I mistaken some NPCs for players?


Liquid Awesome
Pyske said:
Well, here, have another reader you didn't know you had. I just polished off the first two threads, so now I'm left champing at the bit for the third series. Champ, champ. Keep up with good work.

Any chance the PCs will have any better luck with complex tactics than the last time around? Nahhh, that sounds too much like work.

. . . . . . . -- Eric

PS -- Couple new players, yes? Or have I mistaken some NPCs for players?

Great to have you as a reader, Psyke. So far in the latest rendition of the campaign, the battles have been hit and miss (as you are about to see). The individuals are performing fairly well but I'm not sure I've seen too much in the way of cohesive group tactics yet. But that's as it should be since the group is newly formed.

And yes, we've got three new players in the group, in particular those playing Cathal, Marcus and Marius. There are no NPC's traveling with the party at present (unless you count Scipio, Speaks' animal companion).

Thankfully, so far, the cold has not hit me as hard as I was afraid it would. I might be able to sneak in part two of the post above sometime tomorrow night.

I think tactics would be a great plus - especially knowing how much thought Rel puts into the bad guy's tactics. I also don't think you are likely to see any brilliant moves on our part. At heart most of our players are very individualistic and we also have a lot of players who are fairly new to the rules and at least one of the new characters isn't really optimized for combat all that much. Right now setting up flank attacks seems to be the extent of our tactics and that is rather hit or miss.

I hope that we can build up some synergy as everyone gets used to their characters - but we'll see.

On the up side, we have a lot of character building and interaction. We all seem to have clear ideas of who we are and I think that is a fun part of the game. We have always been a little less effective in combat, but we've always had good character reasons for being that way (if that makes any sense).

Oh, and as to the Awakened animals and tree . . . I was really psyched at the end of the last campaign because I had made it to 9th level. I loved the idea that during the downtime I'd be able to make the woods more "enchanted" with awakened critters and trees. But then Rel informed me that he wanted everyone to start at 8th level. Since I lost a level at the start of the campaign, Rel did allow me to rearrange a few feats and stats and gave me some awakened critters to account for the lost level. I dropped my strength and improved my charisma to reflect the greater reliance on shapeshifting and spells as well as diplomacy. I didn't really intend for Speaks to be so diplomatic - I mean he wears a wooden mask when he meets most people so it's a little hard to form trust - but it's a role he fell into in the last campaign. Anyway, he's not much better at it, but enough to get by on. I like to think of Speaks With Stone as his own political unit north of Glynden. I came to see him that way during the Inquisition. So the awakened animals gives me a more communicative population to lead. Also, it allows me to make absences without worry of my wood being unprotected.
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Liquid Awesome
Darklone said:
So you lost a level, Speaks? Hmm. Guess we saw enough Flame Strikes already.... ;)

This was not intended to be a punative measure in any way. What happened was that in the intervening year and several months since we had last played this campaign, Speaks' character sheet got misplaced. We tried to remember what level he was and knew that he was either just shy of 9th level or just barely over 9th level.

Lazarius was 8th level and I had three new players coming in who needed to make new characters too. Speaks (the player) asked if it would be fine with me if he were to just remake Speaks (the character) at 8th level to the best of his memory but with a few minor changes (like his Str and Cha changes he mentions above). I told him that was fine by me.

So everybody created their characters and just about a week before our first session, we found the old character sheet for Speaks. He had indeed just made it into 9th level but, in the interest of keeping everyone the same level to start the new campaign, we decided to go forward using the "NEW and IMPROVED" 8th level Speaks. But, in deference to those lost XP, I let Speaks have a half dozen or so Awakened wolves and trees in his woods.

It looks as though he'll make 9th level (again) next session.


Liquid Awesome
Darklone said:
Ahh... Do you usually like to keep your characters at one level?

Only at the very start of a campaign. The alternate XP system that I use combined with the possibility of the occasional character death conspire to have the party advance at slightly different rates. But in this case, even though we were continuing on with the same setting and a couple of the same characters, I considered it effectively a new campaign with more than half the party being completely new to it. Under that circumstance, I prefer a level playing field.


Registered User
Hidden bump...

Do you have the character sheets in digital form somewhere, e.g. will we see them in the rogues gallery without too much typing effort ;)?


Liquid Awesome
Darklone said:
Hidden bump...

Do you have the character sheets in digital form somewhere, e.g. will we see them in the rogues gallery without too much typing effort ;)?

I doubt it. Most were done to some degree with PC Gen but there's been a lot of handwriting on many of them. I could ask the guys if they wouldn't mind linking them somehow. Actually, on that note, I should make sure they're aware that this thread has started...

Oh and the latter part of the week has been busy for me but I was a good boy and got the rest of my work done last night so I should have time to post an update this afternoon before my lovely wife and I go out of town for a weekend together (sans child) up in the mountains.


Registered User
Rel said:
Oh and the latter part of the week has been busy for me but I was a good boy and got the rest of my work done last night so I should have time to post an update this afternoon before my lovely wife and I go out of town for a weekend together (sans child) up in the mountains.
Stories like these make me think about looking around for some girl to marry :D


Liquid Awesome
Darklone said:
Stories like these make me think about looking around for some girl to marry :D

You should try it sometime. I love being married and I'm not just saying that because I want you to be miserable too. ;)

How about a Story Hour update instead? They say it's the next best thing to getting married:

Westward Into Danger (Or “Can I Have Fries Instead of a Salad?”) continued...

The group remained mostly quiet but they made good progress. Thanks to a few magical Mounts provided by Lazarius, they moved considerably faster than they would have on foot. Thus, as the autumn sky began to grow dark, the group spotted the silhouette of the crenellated turret of the abandoned “Wizard’s Tower” jutting above the treetops ahead. A few minutes later they passed by the tower.

It appeared that it was no longer abandoned as they could see light coming from a few of the narrow windows of the upper floor. Speaks wondered who had taken up residence there but now was no time for a social call as the night fell around them. They pushed on in the dark and quickly found themselves at the eastern gate of Aquae Sulis.

The Glynden guardsmen who manned the gate recognized Speaks and Lazarius and admitted them to the town without question, though they did balk somewhat at the sight of the giant mountain lion that strode at Speaks’ side. The group moved quickly through the sparsely populated town as it huddled, tiny and neglected among its ruined walls. As they went, they could hear a bit of noise coming from the direction of the gate that led to the mines. Whatever was going on there would have to wait as the group sought shelter from the cold night of the Northlands.

Clearly the guardsmen must have been passing their spare time by doing some repairs on the walls and reinforcing the palisades installed by the former, gnollish, occupants. But most of the buildings remained burned out husks with few having intact roofs. Some bore timbers more recently scorched than others thanks to the various Flaming Spheres unleashed by Speaks on his previous visit here.

While the guards and miners had clearly lay tarps and some thatching over the roof beams of a few of the smaller buildings for their own accommodations, the party would have to make due with camping in the semi-enclosed corner of one of the larger buildings. The weather had started to take a turn for the worse with a cold mist turning into a light rain shower. The remaining boards of a loft in one corner of the old store they occupied would not serve as a decent shelter for long but the group only planned to stay the one night.

Looking for some diversion from the increasingly nasty weather, the members of the party decided to see what was afoot over near the mines. They headed that way and saw that a sizable group was gathered near the smelting works located outside the entrance to the mine. Inside there seemed to be an argument brewing.

One piece of equipment that was housed inside the smelting works was that which pumped the mines clear of water. A large windlass behind the building was hitched to a pair of mules. The windlass turned a gear attached to a shaft that ran through the wall of the building where it turned another pair of gears that ran a series of buckets attached to a rope. These buckets pulled water up from a sump shaft and emptied it into a trough that carried the water out away from the building into a small swampy area nearby.

The trouble was that one of the large gears inside the building had shattered due to age and rot. There was apparently one faction among the miners who had urged the fabrication of a new set of gears, fearing (correctly it turned out) that the old ones wouldn’t last much longer. Instead, the opposition had won out, instead voting to just patch up the existing gears in the hopes of pulling more silver from the mines for the year instead of spending valuable time making new gears that might not be needed.

Boss Brathwaite stood amid those arguing and finally lost his cool and told those arguing to “SHUT UP!!!” He gathered the most skilled pair of carpenters from the crowd and asked them how long it would take to make a replacement for the shattered gear.

They looked appraisingly at each other before one replied, “Probably at least a couple of days.”

A young, red-haired man with a bushy beard yelled from the rest of the crowd, “The eastern shaft will be under water in a day! With the time it will take to remove all the timbers we’ve carried down there and move the ore carts, we’ll lose nearly a week’s work! I guess we can kiss goodbye the idea of sending one more wagon of silver south to Oar before the snows come.” A low grumble of agreement ran through the rest of the men. All of them knew that that would cut their earnings for the year by nearly a third, which sat well with none of them. The fact that all had been separated from their families for several weeks left them in a sour mood and this did nothing to improve it.

“All the more reason to quit your gripin’ and get to work on the new gear! Let’s get moving. Pontius, take your crew down and start making ready to move the equipment out of the eastern shaft if we need to. You others can take turns hauling buckets out of the sump shaft by hand. It’s going to be a long night so the less you bitch and moan the happier we’ll all be!”

The party exchanged glances but none could think of anything immediately helpful so they retired back to their meager abode for the evening. As the night wore on the light showers turned heavier and by morning there was a steady rain. Speaks rose early and walked outside the western town wall with Scipio to conduct his morning prayers in the woods. He returned an hour later and made his way back over to the smelting works.

He took a close look at the gear the men were trying to hastily fabricate, paying special attention to its various dimensions and the number of pegs around the perimeter. He walked off into the woods nearby and found some cut limbs left behind from the timbers cut by the miners to use for reinforcing the mine shafts. He began to hum a song and took the wood into his hands where it became pliant and easily workable. Before long he had fashioned a seamless gear and then spent a few more minutes carving a design on one face of it that strongly resembled the mask he often wore (rolled a 20 on his Craft: Sculpting check). He then rolled his new creation out onto the path between the town and mine and up to the door of the smelting works.

Knocking on the door, he drew the attention of Boss Brathwaite who didn’t appear to have slept the previous night. The halfling’s jaw hung open at the sight of the completed gear that also bore a fairly nice piece of art across one face. “Bless my soul. You’ve done us a good turn there, Speaks With Stone!” The carpenters came around to see what was going on and looked in astonishment at the Druid’s seamless work.

Speaks nearly blushed but held his emotions in check. “Well, I’ve got an interest in this mine too you know.” He referred to the one percent of the mine’s proceeds that he had been gifted for helping to liberate the town from the Gnolls and the mines from the Kobolds. He took a moment to wonder how Frakir was doing these days.

“Indeed you do. Well thank you just the same. Sonto, run in and fetch some of the boys so we can get this thing mounted and get the buckets moving again!” With that, Boss Brathwaite went back to work and Speaks returned to his companions who were already risen and ready to move west.

The weather was growing more miserable by the hour but nobody considered stopping. They were just glad it was rain and not snow that was falling. It was still a bit early in the season for snow but it certainly wasn’t unheard of to get several inches of it a few weeks early. If it were falling already when they were ready to ascend the Black Peaks, it would be a difficult journey.

By late afternoon it was already dark and the weather had gone from bad to worse as the darkness was occasionally illuminated by flashes of lightning. The group stopped to make camp and immediately came to the understanding that their preparations for this journey had not included a shelter. “I thought about buying a tent,” Marcus said uselessly.

Lazarius came to the aid of the group by announcing boldly, “I’m damned if I’m sleeping in the rain. My spellbooks must stay dry.” With that he held aloft a piece of rope and spoke an incantation. The rope rose a short distance into the air and he climbed it before disappearing completely from view.

“Neat Trick” said Marius. He grabbed the rope and tested it. It seemed to hold his weight even though it hung in midair with no visible means of support. He climbed up and found himself in a small room with Lazarius. There was no sign of the outside world, nor could he even hear the sound of the rain and lightning. “Where the hell are we?”

Lazarius’ grin was visible thanks to a golden glow that sprang from his palm. “Remind me to explain the nature of extra-planar spaces to you sometime. Right now I’m hungry and tired and wet. Speaking of which…” The wizard spoke a few magic words and began to wave his hands over his clothing. After a few moments he did the same to Marius who found that the water disappeared from his garments leaving them dry and fresh smelling. “You’re full of neat tricks, aren’t you.”

Lazarius did the same for Marcus as he clambered into the confines of the magical space they shared. Marcus was likewise pleased at being dry for the first time that day. “It seems that Speaks and Cathal will be spending the night out in the weather.”

Marius and Lazarius both raised an eyebrow at such an insane notion. But then again those two were more used to spending the night in the open than the three Imperials who now occupied the pocket realm that the wizard had conjured. “As they like,” said Lazarius, “I’m getting some grub and some sleep.”

Outside, Cathal looked at the rope with a cautious longing. He wished to remain dry as well but the idea of sleeping in close quarters with three men of the Empire who he’d only just met did not appeal to him. And it wouldn’t be the worst weather he’d ever slept out in. He wouldn’t melt. He found a slightly elevated hummock and pulled his cloak over him. He wasn’t terribly exhausted but the drumming of the rain finally lulled him into a restless sleep.

Speaks decided to make the most of the situation and transformed himself into the form of a large boar. He then proceeded to find the muddiest spot he could locate and try his best to wallow. While the action somehow suited his current form, he apparently lacked the instincts that must have made the activity truly enjoyable. Still, he was able to settle down next to Scipio and eventually doze off to sleep.

It was not dawn that woke the companions who slept out in the rain, but rather a brutal assault that took them completely by surprise.

Scipio was the first to react and he leapt upon the nearest of his foes on instinct. As he landed his claws found some purchase in the mass of vines and rotting leaves that comprised his enemy. Cathal woke unpleasantly as a thick club of vines lashed across his midsection. He scrambled to his feet and tumbled out of the immediate reach of his enemy, desperately trying to understand what it was they were up against.

Surrounding the three of them were at least five distinct, Mounds of vegetation that all appeared to be animated. As Cathal watched helplessly, another pair of them Shambled over to Speaks and struck him where he lay sleeping.

It was all over nearly before it was begun. After his initial assault, Scipio was thrashed mercilessly into unconsciousness as was his master. Cathal lasted a few moments longer as he flew into a rage and began to lash out with Mailbiter, the hand-and-a-half sword passed on to him by his father. But his foes outnumbered him and quickly swarmed him under. He fell unconscious to the ground as lightning flashed overhead and rain pelted his body.

Hours later as the day was reluctantly yielding a grey dawn to the sun above, Marcus descended the rope to relieve his bladder. He had donned his plate mail again for the day’s travel and hoped that its rattling wouldn’t awaken Speaks and Cathal. But when his feet touched the ground he looked about and they were nowhere to be found.

“Where did everybody go?”

NEXT: Where Did Everybody Go?


Nice to see you back, Rel.

And the (mostly) new cast looks like a good crew; I add my vote to those who'd like to see a Rogues' Gallery at some point. It should be interesting to see the threats you come up with now that your players are both a) greater in number and b) high enough in level to take a bit of a pounding.


You won't get this until Sunday or Monday, but oh, well:

You didn't TELL us you nailed 'em RIGHT after Speaks fixed the gear!?!?! They got walloped right on a high note!

Cruel, Cruel DM! Bad DM! Yes, it BURNS us, it does!


Great dramatic timing, by the way.

Old One

First Post


Glad to see you and the crew (some new, some old) back! I always love to see how you have crafted FG into your own unique creation...

Way to open up with a nice arse-whuppin ;)!

At least one Faded Glory SH is getting some updates...just finished three road trips which have kept me away from home for 18 of the last 22 days...bleah. Hope to get some updating done myself over the next week or so.

All my best to you and your players...

~ Old One


Liquid Awesome
Wow! I come back from a fantastic weekend away and find some of my favorite posters have bumped my Story Hour. I must be livin' right. As for this:

Henry said:
You didn't TELL us you nailed 'em RIGHT after Speaks fixed the gear!?!?! They got walloped right on a high note!

I wouldn't exactly say I "walloped them on a high note". Speaks fixing the gear was something that even he had some reservations about. At first he held back because, if you recall from way back when, the party got cut out of a sizable chunk of the silver bars they recovered from the mines of Aquae Sulis when they finally (painfully) vanquished Frakir and her wiley band of Kobolds. Speaks saw little reason to do them a favor after that. But I suspect that the player's good nature overcame his reluctance a bit and he made the gear anyway.

It was only after the fact that I said to the player, "I guess you figured you wanted to keep your 1% share in the mine profitable, huh?" To which he replied, "Actually I'd completely forgotten about that." I tweaked the story hour a tad to make it seem the other way around.

The rest of the party gave not a damn about the mine of Aquae Sulis. They lacked the ability to fix the gear themselves, (well, I suppose that Marcus could have helped them out with a Make Whole spell but that player hasn't played at all in some time so I don't blame him for missing that) and were more concerned about staying as dry as possible. Isn't it cool when rain is still a motivating factor for a group of 8th level characters?

Anyhow, I'm having a blast running this latest version of the campaign. The characters are interesting and so are the NPC's (especially some of the "bad" guys who the party can't figure out whether to thank or smite). The players are all doing a superlative job of roleplaying and are great friends to boot.

Like I said, I must be livin' right. :D

Old One, I'm glad you're home from your sojourn. I look forward to more updates to your Faded Glory SH, the one that so inspired me a couple of years ago.

And Lazybones, your Story Hour productivity belies your username. I've got to try and catch up on reading them one of these years. Maybe I'll have some time around the holidays. At least I can hope so.

Thanks for reading and keep your eye out for more to come. So far everything I've posted happened on the first night. My next update should carry us into "Night 2" while tomorrow will be Night 6 of the campaign. Lots of neat stuff has happened and I hope you enjoy watching it unfold.


First Post
Watch, who needs a 'tinkin Watch?!'d think we'd learned by now that this is Rel, Rel who has earned the title of Rat Bastard DM Extrodinaire (my addition, ;) ). Nope.....

By the by I am the player that ran Krase and then Raven. Raven was really supposed to make it through to the end, but the evil of the Dark Druids took him to Moradin far too early and now their is Lazarius.

As to the shambling mounds, well A) we overlooked the RBDM syndrome and B) we had just, i mean just left Aqua Sulis, it was wet, miserable and I (Lazarius) had no intention of staying in the rain. Being miserable tends to make one forget you can't hear a blessed thing inside a rope trick.

Lazarius Rameous.

Tactics, who needs tactics when you have a nuke in your back pocket!


First Post
Raven_Khazundam said:
As to the shambling mounds, well A) we overlooked the RBDM syndrome and B) we had just, i mean just left Aqua Sulis, it was wet, miserable and I (Lazarius) had no intention of staying in the rain. Being miserable tends to make one forget you can't hear a blessed thing inside a rope trick.

One would think that y'all would be wary at just such a time, but I guess that's probably because I just read the part II straight through, and I'm starting to see a trend.

The title of the next update probably needs some tweaking, like so...

Where did everybody go... and why am I in this handbasket?

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