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WotBS Tolamaker's Burning Sky


I got the impression that Seaquen was quite young at the time, and they decided it was far enough away to be Dassen's problem (while they were trying to be independent of Dassen). If Lsi Pu causes a ruckus on a mountaintop, who does it really hurt?
I like this one. I'm planning on running Simeon as a bit more like a Dumbledore-like figure and this might be something he regrets.

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Session 15
Leaving Sir Quincy Felthuf behind, the knight pulls Gruz aside, and tells him "Those at Seaquen are scoundrels. My lord begged of their help in the Psi Lu affair, and they rebuffed us. You would do best to steer clear of them. And they're lousy with Ragesians these days."

A day later, they hear a roar in the distance, there, they see a sphynx prancing about, and playing with a dwarf clad in silver. Eluriah tells the others this is very strange behavior for a sphinx, as they are normally quite intellectual creatures, intent on learning and keeping knowledge.

Two days later, they reach Tundaport in Namin. A port city, they see there are a lot of elves and half-elves, and even the occasional half-elf half-dwarf. Here, they see their first signs of refugees, a smattering of humans, orcs, and half-orcs begging for money or work. Guards tiredly ask refugees to leave places of business. Mishka goes around, handing out some money, and accidentally runs into a step-half-brother, Marcus, who says she is the spitting image of his younger sister, Lucia. Mishka gets word that Seaquen was already so full of people Marcus and his family didn't even bother going there. "We're Pine Owls, we know how to stay on our feet."

Aripos continues his crime wave, relieving the merchants of Tundaport of their coinpurses while Gruz and Torrent attempt to charter a ship. However, they quickly learn that the Shahalesti have erected a blockade around Seaquen, and Namin has levied tariffs against those who attempt to trade with the small city. Haddin goes off grumbling, and as the group discusses their options, he returns with Hedrik, the captain of The Penrose, who says he can take them to Seaquen for 10 gold a head, a very low price. He seems unfazed by Haddin's gruff attitude, and tells the group they set sail in the morning.

Eluriah goes to the elf ships in the harbor, and asks what they're doing there. A deckhand says they're there for diplomatic reasons. When Eluriah asks about the blockade, the deckhand kindly tells her to piss off. As the group discusses their options that evening in the Black Tankard, Torrent tells them she doesn't know how Seaquen has gotten a bad reputation, and speaks of the good that Seaquen does. While talking, a bard takes up the tune "Queen Izli's Illness," a raunchy song about how she's always on her back and birthing children. Gruz tells the group this song would never play in the West, as Steppengard is popular there, but Aripos still joins in the drinking song.

Eluriah returns to the elven ship as a spider, and overhears the captain and another elf speaking of the blockade. The unknown elf says that the captain's ship may have to join the blockade, and the captain asks if it is really likely that Ragesians have infiltrated Seaquen. Eluriah returns and reports to the group, and suggests caution as they get closer to Seaquen. She and Orwin begin making more copies of the intelligence, and begin hiding the copies on their person, with plans to make more.

The next day, they set out to sea, and find the captain overly accommodating. Gruz realizes that Haddin has Dominated a person again. Not an hour out to sea, and Haddin has seasickness, losing concentration, and soon the entire ship's company has surrounded the group. Gruz reveals his badge from his military days, and informs Captain Hedrik they need the ship under the orders of King Steppengard. Slowly, Hedrik lowers his saber, and with a glint in his eye, demands 1000 gold in payment for "services rendered unto the king". Gruz provides a writ for him, and Haddin is thrown in the brig for the voyage.

In a week, Crystin seems to grow more adventurous without her father around, and begins climbing the ropes of the ship. Mishka and Gruz spar, Aripos does yoga, and Eluriah goes fishing. As they travel southwest, stormclouds grow on the horizon. On the seventh day, the mate atop the mast says he sees the blue flags of Shahalesti ships on the horizon...

Post-Session Thoughts
A very fun session, with a lot of world-exploration by the players, asking questions and finding more out about the politics of the war. Also always happy for a druid to get the chance to wildshape. The interaction with the ship went perfectly, with the group realizing what was going to happen literally seconds before I was about to start narrate Haddin's decline. I would have played the realization by the captain straight if it weren't for the fact that there were multiple 20+ rolls for persuasion and deception made by the only Dasseni of the party. I figure I can find a way to bite them back for it in Castle Steppengard when Hedrik comes looking for payment.

One of Mishka's backstory details is a lot of half-siblings scattered around due to her Ragesian dad traveling about without a care in the world. I don't want to make them happen too often, but I do have plans to introduce other connections down the road. The players have been getting excited about breaking out the ancestry cord for any reason.

Changes to the Module

I didn't so much as change things as just flesh some things out. "Izli's Illness" was borne entirely out of me deciding that it didn't make sense for Lord Iz to be friendly with Steppengard (considering Steppengard's land was carved out of Iz) unless Steppengard had forged a marriage alliance. Izli seemed like a nice feminine name, and then the Illness came about because it was alliterative. I didn't come up with any lyrics, but I described it as a drinking song, with each verse adding another child, and anyone who gets a name or order wrong has to finish their drink. Fun Stuff. We haven't reached it yet, but I decided that finagling their way to stay on the ship will save them a week of travel, and shift some events around in their favor.

Pine Owls was the name of a tribe of nomads I made up for my Ironsworn game, so that's where that came from.

The elf ship encounter came from the idea that Namin's friendliness with the elves would make her cities likely to harbor their ships.


I keep reading "Tundaport" as "Tundraport", but the latter would have to be on Ragesia's north coast, wouldn't it? 😁
Here's the thing, I named the land Tunda (now Namin) because the map says the mountains between Namin and Shahalesti are the Tunda Mountains. But if I had read the rest of the adventure closer, they're always called the Tundra Mountains. So the map has a typo, I just liked the sound of Tunda more so I kept it.

Bill T.

Curious -- I have the 3.5 version of the campaign, and neither "Tundra" nor "Tunda" appear in the text. The only place either appears is the map, where it's called the "Tunda Mountains". So it looks to me like the text has the typo, and you spelled it right!

The adventures should have had them be the Tunda Mountains. Going back to my middle school AD&D campaign, I always had Tunda as a place name, and I know I tapped a lot of my teenage recollections when I was working on WotBS.

I wonder if the 4e conversion folks assumed 'Tunda' was wrong, and switched it (most of the time) to Tundra.


I'm putting the two sessions at once, so that we're all caught up. Session 16 was the last one before the holidays, and 17 was the most recent.
Session 16
The party prepares to be boarded by the elven ship, and Diashan hides her armor. A detachment of five elves boards and immediately begin searching the ship and the party for items. They seem intent on searching half-orcs especially. Soon however, a flotilla of fishing boats and rowboats arrive, filled with dwarves and humans armed to the teeth. General Xava, a Dasseni general, tells the elves to piss off, and guides the Penrose into port. There, the players find out that The small city of Seaquen has tripled in size thanks to the refugees from Ragesia pouring in. Xava agrees that there are likely spies among them, but that you can't turn them all away. Torrent leads the group to her master, Lee Sidoneth, a hydromancer who has a small island home off of the port. There, they relay all of their information, and Lee takes them to the Lyceum Council.

There, they meet, Simeon, an aging wizard who warns the council to steer conversation away from the minutiae of the war effort, as they are still working on defensive measures to ensure their secrets remain secret. Once the professors immediately break that rule, he sends them off, and receives the intelligence from Eluriah. He announces that the code changes as you observe it, and will take some time to crack. He also accepts Crystin into the academy, when he sees the magic residing within her. As thanks, though the Lyceum is short on funds, he gives them medallions that will allow them to see Madame Xendros, a tiefling broker who deals in magic items. The party sets off to see what's for sale, and discuss raiding a dragon's hoard for all the magic items they want to have.

Session 17
The group hems and haws over prices at Xendros’ but doesn’t buy anything. When they leave, they run into Han, a sailor who says that a woman from the Auyang family was offering a reward for anyone who brings them to the mansion. Mishka notices that the man’s eyes are a little glassy. He seems sincere, but there’s something off about him. Orwin recognizes the signs of someone who has been charmed, but with far less artistry than Haddin. They leave him behind as they enter the Tattoomancy shop, but Eluriah notices that he’s hanging around outside.

Inside the shop, they meet Tenga, an elven tattoo artist with a wide array of selections, from normal black tattoos to luminescent, and even animated. The party spends a long time talking about different designs they’d like. They think as a group they’ll get the Sword of Innenotdar. Torrent seems wary of a tattoo. Aripos wants to get an animated tattoo of Fern dancing. Orwin wants a copy of Mechanicles’ mechanical core on his hand. Eventually, Orwin goes out,a nd enchants Han’s shirt to glow bright blue, and they sneak out the back of Tattoomancy. The alleys are filled with refugees who are camping out.

The party splits up, with most of the party looking for an inn, and Orwin and Aripos go to the Auyang estate to find out why they’re wanted. Orwin turns Aripos invisible, and he goes sneaking about. He discovers the Auyang seem largely uninterested in the Party, as they refer to a woman by the name of Jess who wants to see them. The servants are gossiping about Jess as well, theorizing that she is sleeping with Master Auyang, as she has been placed in one of the lesser Auyang’s rooms. When Aripos investigates the room, he finds a distinct lack of personal items, almost as if no one is staying there.

Eventually, the group meets up, and they decide that while they will camp long-term, they will celebrate their first night at Seaquen in a real bed. They pay the money, and say goodbye to Torrent, despite Mishka’s insistence that she stay with the party. Aripos offers his assassination and thievery skills if she needs any help, and Torrent says she’ll pray for him. The night ends, and the party goes to rest. Before they’ve slept even an hour, a hand touches the door outside. Orwin’s Alarm spell goes off, and Eluriah awakes at the sound. They alert the group, and come rushing out in time to see a red-haired woman rushing down the stairs.

Post-Session(s) Thoughts
Both of these were more RP heavy sessions, and they were fun, though I am getting antsy for some action to get rolling now that they're in Seaquen. Thankfully last session ended with some excitement to get moving.

The encounter on the ship was essentially the elf detachment they were supposed to meet just outside Seaquen. Because they arrived a week earlier than they would have, the blockade is not quite assembled, so I think a few brave or quick ships could rush through. The group is suitably disgusted by the casual racism of the elves, and I was happy with how it was handled. Normally, I steer away from fantasy racism, but it's pretty impossible to separate the Shahalesti from the racism that's going to happen throughout the adventure. I played Xava as a rough and tumble general. She'd have to be to leave her homeland behind to throw in her lot with a bunch of independent mages.
Most of Session 16 was just delivering information, so not a lot of information was gained by the group besides meeting a few big NPCs. Lee was a perfect gentleman, and Simeon is a tired man. They were sad to see Crystin go. They didn't give a hoot about Haddin, which sounds about right. They really enjoyed the magic brokerage. I read somewhere on reddit that the best way to stop people from stealing from magic shops is to hide the items, and this seemed to work. I wouldn't be surprised if Aripos still tries eventually.

Session 17 was a bit more eventful, but dear god, everyone wants a tattoo. I assumed they would talk to Tenga for a bit, but I think they were there for an hour, half in character talking about what they want, half asking me the prices. So I'm going to start working up a price-list. I'll probably use something like this as a starting point, and then add some multipliers for luminescent and animated tattoos. Critical role attribute tattoos and Tasha's tattoos will also be available later, but that's quite a ways out of their price range at the moment.

I was really happy they picked up on the weirdness of Han so quick (partially thanks to a lucky roll), and I was glad they decided to investigate, but I did not have anything planned for a reconnaissance mission. I also don't like focusing on one character like that for long. I trickled information, but like with the shrine in Innenotdar, Ifelt like I gave too little information. But on the fly, they were all things that made sense for a devil with unnatural means of communication. They definitely know something is up with this Jess character, but don't really know why. I was kind of hoping htey would just go to the mansion, because the inn isn't exactly the most exciting place for this encounter. I think I'll set it up as a half chase/half fight for next session.

Changes to the module
Besides the elf encounter moving to the sea, I liked giving the Dasseni army a bit to do. General Xava and her motley crüe are essentially a militia that have been arguing with the elves, saying they don't have the right to stop anyone from coming through. For now, they're able to keep the elves away, but that won't last long. General Xava was originally Xavious, and I renamed and regendered him simply because the group hadn't met any dwarven women, and Xavious sounded more like a Ragesian name than Dasseni.

I began the Lyceum meeting, and then halfway through realized that it sets a few things off, so I prematurely ended the scene and set up another meeting when Simeon decodes the intelligence.

Madame Xendros is straight up Captain Xendros from Ghosts of Saltmarsh. I wanted a nice gold sink if they start doing some real adventuring.

Next week, a chase, and a trap.
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This is a group of tables to help facilitate coming up with a few holidays as the group helps to flesh out the game world. Every player (and me) is going to make at least two holidays.

Where did this holiday come from? Is its origin Cultural or Racial?

Flip a coin (You can also roll once on each table if you would so like. Perhaps a holiday originated from Dasseni Orcs, or Sindairese Elves)
  1. Heads - Culture
  2. Tails - Race
Culture Table. Roll a d6. (Parentheses if you want to find real-world inspiration)
  1. Morusan (Fantasy Rome)
  2. Ragesian (Fantasy Rome/Byzantium)
  3. Shahalesti (Fantasy British Isles)
  4. Dasseni (Fantasy Central Europe)
  5. Ostalin (Fantasy East Asia)
  6. Sindairese (Fantasy North Asia)
Race Table. Roll 1d10 (These are just the most common races. Feel free to make a merfolk, or goliath holiday)
  1. Human
  2. Dwarf
  3. Elf
  4. Orc
  5. Half Orc
  6. Halfling
  7. Gnome
  8. Tiefling
  9. Dragonborn
  10. Goblin
Reason for the Season

Is this primarily a religious or secular holiday? (The gods are real, and their miracles evident, so even a secular holiday may have a patron god)
Flip a coin:
  1. Heads - Religious
  2. Tails - Secular
Religion Table. Roll a d12 (Substitute with whatever gods you are using)
  1. Airgetlamuada
  2. Gruumsh
  3. Ilmr
  4. Meditrina
  5. Nantosuelta
  6. Sif
  7. Suijin
  8. Svarog
  9. Talasius
  10. Tamanoya
  11. Uzat
  12. Zorya
Alternatively, this could originate from the four primordials (See the WotBS Player’s Guide).
Roll a d4
  1. The Earthshaker Worm
  2. The Tidereaver Kraken
  3. The Flamebringer Dragon
  4. The Stormchaser Eagle
Secular Table. Roll a d10, Then flip a coin.
  1. Great Battle (Celebrating Victory or Remembering Defeat?)
  2. Story of a Nation (Its Founding or Dissolution?)
  3. Famous Individual (Their Life or Death?)
  4. Work (Practical or Celebratory? [e.g. First day of harvest vs. take a day off])
  5. Celestial Event (Regular or Rare?)
  6. Weather Event (Delightful or Dangerous?)
  7. Rare Creature (Delightful or Dangerous?)
  8. Local Legend (True or False?)
  9. Adventure/Adventurer’s Past (Triumphant, or Never Heard from Again?)
  10. Acts of the Gods (Loving or Wrathful?)
Customs/Themes table.
What do you do on this holiday? Roll a d12.
  1. Perform
  2. Eat
  3. Abstain
  4. Celebrate/Play
  5. Give
  6. Create
  7. Remember
  8. Compete
  9. Learn
  10. Journey
  11. Share
  12. Destroy
Example Holiday

I decided to roll on both culture and race. I rolled a 2 on both Culture and Race, so this comes from Ragesian Dwarves. That probably means its from southern Ragesia, but not necessarily.

Heads on Reason means this is a religious holiday. I honestly don’t remember much about the primordials off the top of my head, so I’m going to stick with the gods I made earlier. I rolled a 12, so the patron of this is Zorya, Goddess of Dawn, Children, and Time.

Out of curiosity, I rolled on Secular events and came up with 10, or acts of the gods. I rolled tails, so the act was wrathful. I may use that as inspiration farther down.

For Customs I rolled a 10, which means Journey is what people do for this holiday. What kind of journey? Physical or spiritual?

So, Ragesian Dwarves began a holiday for Zorya that has something to do with a Journey. Because of my secular roll, I could also involve a wrathful act of Zorya into the history.

Zorya is Goddess of the Dawn, and Dwarves are usually known for being underground dwellers. Perhaps This holiday is a day when the dwarves made a point to come out of their mountains and see the sun rise. This spread across the continent, and now every Zorreise (zor-RYE-zsa) people travel to the tops of hills or mountains to see the sun rise as early as possible. People often ask Zorya to bless them with long life, as there is a story that one dwarf never went to the surface, intent on her work, and Zorya cursed her to age as quickly as a human, dying at the young young age of 85. Families often make sure to help the elderly make this trip.


Session 18
The party leaps out of bed, and begins to chase the would-be intruder. Eluriah turns into a spider in order to latch onto the woman if she gets away. Orwin throws a darkness spell to obscure the stairs, but the woman rushes through with no worries. At the bottom of the stairs, Gruz misty steps to the door to block it as Mishka wrestles the woman to the ground. Orwin and Aripos join her, and Eluriah joins as well. She discovers that the woman has an illusion over her that hides full head to toe plate armor. The woman looks up at Gruz as he's about to join them and asks "Could you block the door for me?" and misty steps herself out of the pile and out into the street. The charmed Gruz tries to block the door, but Eluriah is able to scuttle underneath it, and Mishka soon barges through after, leaving Gruz holding a broken door on its hinges.

Out on the street, The party rushes past refugees, dogs fighting over scraps, and a large sheet of glass being carried across the street. Mishka is able to get some good hits on the woman, causing the woman to shed her disguise and reveal large, almost angelic wings. When the woman trades her poisonous bow for a sword wreathed in flame, Mishka feels the Blade of Innenotdar shout "not again!" and lights itself as well. Unfortunately, the woman is immune to fire damage. As Gruz chases after the group to stop them fighting his new friend, Orwin throws a vial of Shatterspell on him, stopping the charm. Eluriah has managed to clim into the armor once again and is biting her way through the woman's defenses when a shriek echoes through the alleys. "Submit to the divine Laurabec!" A Giant Eagle and its rider rush the winged woman, and the rider jumps from her eagle to impale the creature into the ground. Eluriah, transformed by the fall, rushes to ensure the woman doesn't die so they can question her. Laurabec, a half-elf paladin, is at first wary of someone saving the life of an erinys, but when she realizes who they are, tells them to come with her to the Lyceum as they figure out what to do with this creature.

Post-Session Thoughts
This was a mixed bag of a session. On paper, it sounds like an exciting chase, but in reality it was kind of a slog. There were a loooot of bad rolls in this fight, both in attacks and damage. The poison from Jezska made the main damage dealers roll poorly, but even Jezska hit only maybe 6-7 times? And half the party didn't have their armor on. The first two were crits, which were exciting, but then the rest were pretty low damage. And because of the poor rolls, I decided to give her the rope of entanglement to make up for it, and then the players start rolling like gods. I changed her poison on the sword to fire, because it seemed cool and matched older artwork of erinyes, but then it led to the reveal of the Living Blade's 5th level ability in a very anticlimactic way.

I used the DMG's chase rules for the first time ever, which is basically a normal fight except no one uses their movement except to dash. It assumes everyone is running the same speed, and then you roll for random stuff. I kind of forgot about using this as the chase went on, because I was wanting to wrap things up, but they were fun when they came up. The image of the players jumping over snapping dogs, and bursting through stained glass windows (I wonder which church that will put them on bad footing with?) was very fun. In fact, visually, this was a great session, with players clambering up rooftops and chasing a fallen angel. I blame the dice.

Changes to the module
As written in the module, Jezska is written as either a TPK or an anticlimactic "the higher level characters dealt with it" situation. I kind of figured that a 5:1 fight wouldn't quite shake out like written, and I was kind of right. The inn was pretty cramped, and she doesn't have any nice AOE damage to want them grouped up. The "chase" out of the inn was meant to be a trap so that Jezska could utilize her air superiority, but by the time she made it out, she kind of had to leave if she wanted to live. But I decided on Laurabec as a kind of deus ex aquila in case things went south. As it was, Jezska had 10 hit points left when she finally arrived, so they were handling it nicely. I almost felt bad, but I think the players, like me, were just happy the fight was over.

Next session, possibly an interrogation, and then some well-earned downtime!


A question for anyone out there, but I have a few questions regarding the motivations of a couple of character throughout the adventure. I don't necessarily need "canon" answers, even just some off-the-wall ideas could be good. I'm more looking for inspiration. (Spoilers obviously)

Lee Sidoneth - I don't think everyone needs to have a deep motivation, but I'm not aware of any reason Lee sides with Ragesia for adventure 3. Is it for moral reasons, or material? At one point the adventure mentions Lee reveling in the power of the orb of storms. What kind of power has Ragesia offered him?

Katrina - I have skimmed enough of the future modules to know that Katrina has served in the Ragesian court under Leska. I'm curious if there is somewhere in the book I need to read deeper to find out how she ended up in Ragesia and working for the Inquisitors? I know she's conflicted, and wants to survive the war, but she joined Leska at a time of relative peace.

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