On the 6th August 2022 we started a new campaign on my teen table. Based in their favourite town, Red Mills. One of the players, James, has expressed an interest in writing summaries for it. So hopefully we can do that here.
It is twenty years since the murder of the one true god Amet and the world is now a very different place. A zombie apocalypse raged from the time of his death in 858 until 861. During that time, many small gods arose and wreaked havoc on the world. Then the hidden dwarf community of Gladak Bruin emerged and in just a few short years redeveloped many of their technologies. Whether they recreated them from ancient tomes or uncovered hidden stores or some combination of these two is unclear. They set about executing the new gods as they had the old, but this time there was even more death and destruction to the rest of the world. Pretty soon they was almost no one left except the dwarves and the gods as the last remaining pockets of free people were obliterated one by one.
Now, in the year 878, the once great trading city of Parchen stands alone, protected only by its magical barriers. But it cannot last much longer. The Merchant Princes of Parchen and the Wizards of the Three Wishes have come up with a desperate plan. They will send a team back in time to prevent the war from happening in the first place. There is no way for the spell to cross the barrier of chaos caused by Amet’s death, but they should be able to reach back to near that time and maybe some way can be found to repair the damage.
The spell that can send people back only works on non-borns. People who were not yet born at the time the spell goes to. So Parchen can not send back its greatest warriors and wizards because all the time-travellers must be under twenty years of age.
The Merchant Princes and the Wizards choose a group of young heroes. A kenku wizard named Quill, a tiefling ranger named Avihyq, a tabaxi monk who goes by the name of Bag Of Nails, a dragonborn called Tarako and twin tiefling druids named Fernia and Cassia.
An ancient priest of Amet’s dead religion, named Brother Albus, tells them to find Amet’s heir. Amet’s only child must be located and a ritual performed. No one in Parchen knows what the ritual entails, but they know that the details can be found “beneath the birthplace of Amet”. This is thought to be in a cave in the Boorhomec Desert, near the “Gates of Heaven”. After that it is hoped that Amet can be drawn back into existence and that he will hopefully take it from there. The only record they can find of an heir is of a desert religion which started around that time called the Cult of the Butterfly. It’s members claimed their leader and founder was the “Heir of Amet”, but most records of it were destroyed in the wars.
It is explained that some part of themselves remain in the present time and only by saving the world before Parchen falls can they save themselves. When the timeline is broken no one knows if they will snap back to the present, remain in the past or become truly non-born and cease to have ever existed.
The Merchants Princes tell them of a pass phrase which was in use amongst their foreign agents in 858; “The price of ivory is high this year in The Haj”. This should allow them to get help, money and resources. One such agent was Fayn Al-Gha who was a rich trader in Al Hajerit, they should go to that city on the edge of the Boorhomec Desert and seek out his house to enlist his help.
The group are outfitted with all the equipment and magic items that can be spared from the defense of Parchen.
It is decided to send them back to Al Hajerit at a time when it is believed that the Cult of the Butterfly emerges there. During the casting of the spell the heroes hear the wizards speaking in alarm about something they called “interference”. It seems the group end up being dumped in the wrong place and the wrong time. They are too early and hundreds of miles out. They start to see the sea beneath them and experience a feeling of falling. Then one of the wizards says, “There, look, put them there”. “We can’t do that” replied a second. “We have no choice!”
There was a feeling of emptiness and then the group appeared on the benches of a slave galley in the Erdel Sea on the day of Amet’s demise. They are, of course, chained to the oars and none of their wonderful equipment has come back with them, they have arrived with only the barest of clothes.
“Row!” commands a stern voice and a whip licks their backs. They pull on the oars to the mesmerising rhythm of a drum.
Boom-boom boom-boom boom-boom boom.
The ship was run by merciless orcs and for hours the group tried to escape their chains. But every time they got free the orcs whipped them to unconsciousness, chained them back up and forced a foul tasting liquid down their throats. The liquid burned them back to consciousness and once again they fell under the spell of the drum.
Boom-boom boom-boom boom-boom boom.
They rowed and they rowed. From snatches of conversation with the other slaves they discovered they were in the Erdel Sea. The water girl was named Sal and they tried to get her to help but she was too frightened.
Then the sound of the drum was drowned out by thunder. The sky grew black and the storm stretched from horizon to horizon. Lightning flashed and the world mourned the passing of Amet. The ship tossed about on the waves and suddenly lightning struck the mast and it exploded. A hole was ripped in the bottom of the ship. It listed to one side as it started to sink.
The orcs began shouting and the drummer and whippers dashed up to the main deck. Here they joined the rest of the crew in the only lifeboat and launched into the storm, leaving over one hundred slaves chained hopelessly to their oars.
Struggling with their bonds, one by one the heroes broke free of the oars and climbed out the forward hatch as water poured in. In the spirit of revenge they turned the ships balistas on the receding orcs, but whether from the angle of the ship or their inexperience with the weapons they missed. When all the loaded bolts had been fired they grabbied some flotsam and taking Sal with them, they began to swim towards a distant shoreline, sometimes visible during the brief flashes.
Ahead of them the orcs rowed on confidently. But then in a blinding flash their boat was hit by the lightning and they sank into the dark water.
The group swam on and on battling exhaustion until finally they were washed up on a wide beach where they collapsed into a dreamless sleep.
Everyone receives 300XP and is now Level 2.
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Carl playing Bobo the bard.
Tess playing Tinus the sorcerer.
Elliott playing Varis the druid.
Noah playing Monarch the artificer.
Niamh playing Thraa the sorcerer.
Ruth playing Orten the dwarf.
After the struggle with the ivy demon, the group settled down for a rest in the middle story of the gatehouse. When darkness fell a violent storm erupted outside. As far as the eye could see in all directions lightning flashed and thunder roared, but no rain fell. It was as if the world itself was mourning something and crying out in agony. The group got as much rest as they could under the circumstances. Left alone on watch towards dawn, Bobo got bored and decided to draw mustaches on the faces of the others. They didn’t notice until they woke up and it was very obvious who had done this because he was the only one without a fake mustache.
In the morning the storm had disappeared and while they had breakfast Monarch used his skills to make the old wooden duck into a Duck of Holding, capable of carrying a large amount of items. Then he turned his attention to the strange wooden box.
“How do we get this to open?” he mused, and when he said the word open, the box obeyed.
Inside the box was divided into two parts. One had twenty or more books and the other seemed to have a slot marked “In” and a flap marked “Out” next to a tray. They read the titles of the books and then each took one out in turn. Whenever someone took a book out the box clicked and their hand also clicked, but it did not hurt. There seemed to be no way to take a second book. The box only allowed one per person.
While they were studying their new tomes a bell rang and a letter popped out of the Out flap and landed in the tray. It seemed to be from someone called Nessy and it was an apology for killing Amet. If this were true then that might explain the strange storm. They scribbled out a response and posted it into the In slot. Then they closed the box and headed over to The Bad Penny. Rashi stayed behind in the gatehouse, she had had enough of the ivy.
Before entering, Varis called lightning from the sky to strike down the building’s chimney. Then finding the back door locked and not wanting to go back and fetch Rashi, they simply broke it down. The door led to the tavern’s kitchen and inside there were two dead people under the control of the ivy. One was scorched from standing too close to the fireplace. They fought their way in and during the fracas Monarch was knocked out cold. The fight spilled over into the main room of the tavern and on his way in, Orten bent down and took the Duck from Monarch’s unconscious form. Another vine came down from the upper level and it took a while before the group gained control. In the fight Tinus experienced a wild magic surge which cast levitate on him. He clung to the bar in an attempt to control his movements.
Orten and Thraa went upstairs and started searching the room, picking up anything valuable for safe keeping. Thraa found a nice rug and Orten popped it into the duck where it would be safe. Meanwhile Bobo and Tinus entered the store room which was full of barrels of alcohol free wine and beer. Behind the barrels they spotted a stairs going down to the cellar.
Varis noticed that Monarch wasn’t with them and went back to the kitchen where he found him and revived him. The artificer woke with a start, immediately noticed that his precious duck was gone and started to choke the druid. Varis pleaded for his life, his good deed forgotten and unrewarded. Not finding the duck on him Monarch let him go and ran out to find his next victim with screams of “Where’s my duck!”
Tinus and Bobo proceeded down into the basement. From halfway down the stairs they spotted some barrels with dwarven writing on them. Smaller than the wine or beer barrels, this must be the gunpowder. Bobo was about to run down in delight when Tinus stopped him and pointed out the wire running from the bottom step to the barrels. They were booby-trapped.
Varis came in from the kitchen holding his throat. He searched the bar, ignoring the alcohol free beer and the alcohol free wine. “Where’s the good stuff?” he said and his hand fell upon a bottle of Old Parchen Gin. He poured himself a glass, put the bottle down next to it and sat on a bar stool and prepared to take his first drink.
“Where’s my duck!” screamed Monarch at Orten who was coming down the stairs.
“I don’t have it” said Orten unconvincingly.
“Liar!” screamed Monarch.
He grabbed the bottle of expensive gin, smashed the bottom and attacked Orten with it. A shard of glass bounced off Varis’s head into his glass. He looked at it and the broken bottle in dismay.
Orten sidestepped and hammered his fist into the side of Monarch’s head, knocking him out without really hurting him. He caught him as he fell and placed him carefully on the ground.
Downstairs Bobo and Tinus skipped carefully over the bottom step into the basement. Bobo took out his key and started searching for a key hole. “There must be one here somewhere” he told Tinus. After a little while he found it, behind the barrels of booby-trapped gunpowder. As he turned the key in the lock, Thraa came down and Tinus told her about the bottom step.
A secret door opened before a highly self satisfied Bobo. Smiling he looked into the dark and the dark looked back out at him. A second ivy demon emerged and attacked him, knocking him out. Tinus stepped in to protect his friend. Thraa stood in the corner helping from a distance. Hearing the sounds of battle, Orten jumped over the bar and down onto the stairs.
Varis picked the shard of glass out of his gin and took a sip. This world was a strange place. No matter how hard he tried, things always went wrong for him. It wasn’t him really, he reasoned, but the idiots he traveled with.
Downstairs Thraa desperately shouted “Booby trap!” to Orten warning the dwarf about the bottom step.
Then the demon knocked Tinus out in one sweep of a tentacle. Thraa fired again and Orten jumped over the banister to land behind the demon. He slipped through the door there and in the room he saw two cells. One containing a huddled figure the other was empty. But most of the room was packed high with gunpowder and other barrels that appeared to be leaking a bright yellow liquid. He returns to the fray and gets a good hit in on the demon.
Varis looks at his empty glass. Puts it down goes into the store room and rolls a heavy barrel of wine down the stairs.
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, went the barrel down the stairs.
The demon turns on Orten and he and Thraa are in a desperate situation. But if the barrel gets to the bottom step the booby trap will go off and everyone will die. He throws his javelin through the spindles of the banister and it pierces the barrel, holding it trapped halfway down the stairs.
Varis comes down and takes the javelin out, kicks the barrel onward and then casting a spell morphs through the stone wall of the building to what he believe is the safety of the outside.
Thump, thump, BOOOOOOOMMMMM!
The barrels exploded killing the demon, Orten, Thraa, Bobo and Tinus. Upstairs Monarch groaned in his sleep and outside Varis smiled. He was free!
KA-BOOOOOOOOOM went all the barrels of gunpowder and the strange liquid that Varis didn’t know about. The building vapourized. Monarch vapourized. And outside Varis vapourized. A column of green fire extended hundreds of feet into the sky.
Arlsfort the town that was more of a concept really, could now be best described as a crater. The gatehouse was blown off its foundations and rolled for a hundred yards before disintegrating on the hillside. A blood covered Rashi crawled out holding her ears.
Miles away in Pelville, windows shook and shattered and babies began to cry in this forsaken world without a god and with no heroes left to fix it.
Some campaigns end in victory.
This one, not so much.
Technically Rashi survived, but we will retire her for a little while
and perhaps find her along the highways and byways of our future adventures.
For the next session, could everyone bring a new character please.
I haven’t decided exactly what to do yet.
So please bring the same character at level 1 and at level 5.
Carl playing Bobo the bard.
Tess playing Tinus the sorcerer.
Elliott playing Varis the druid.
Robin playing Rashi the rogue.
Noah playing Monarch the artificer.
Niamh playing Thraa the sorcerer.
After resting over-night in The Twelve Oaks in Pelville the group reconvened outside where Orten was loading his wagon with supplies for the trip to Arlsfort. The Rev was nowhere to be seen, having said something about building a chapel for his new religion he had departed. But two likely characters seemed eager to join the group; Monarch a dwarven Artificer, who specializes in potions and Thraa a half-orc Sorcerer.
Tinus and Bobo did some “clothes” shopping at Contin’s Costumes opposite The Shell Theatre. Flamingos were involved. Varis got the proprietor to make him a giraffe mask with a long neck. Monarch went down to what was left of Forester’s Alchemy Shoppe and encountered an angry Noeren Forester cleaning the place. She tried to shut the door in his face saying they were closed, but there was no longer a door and certainly no longer any merchandise on view for sale. Monarch bought some empty vials while Thraa had a look around and asked what had happened but Noeren was in no mood to talk and angrily swept the two out. Rashi just calmly relaxed next to a nice barrel.
When everyone returned to the wagon they saw a hooded figure waiting for them. As they approached they heard the figure tap out Tum-Te-Tum Te-Tum on the wagon boards. Looking around they spotted more of their Kalla “friends” on the nearby rooftops and loitering across the street.
“Hi Guys”, said the hooded woman, “We see you’re finally heading north to Arlsfort like we asked.”
“Yeah”, replied Bobo enthusiastically.
“Well just be careful up there, it seems to all be one way traffic. Plenty of people have gone up that road since the war ended, but no one has come back down.”
“Oh great” they all agreed.
“Keep an eye out for one of our own while your up there. Jana Jeve, runs the Bad Penny, she went up a few days ago. Oh and we got you some doves as a gift” said the woman, indicating a pair of common wood pigeons in a small cage on the back of Orten’s wagon.
“They’ll carry a message back to us when you find the … errr … items” she added with a whisper and slunk off.
With that the group climbed on Orten’s wagon and they drove north towards Arlfort. On the way they noticed that the countryside was quiet. Too quiet. They almost missed the companionship that getting robbed by the Blood Moon Orcs brought with it.
But not quite.
After an hour or so, they topped a small rise in the road and there ahead of them was the concept of a town they knew as Arlsfort. But it looked a little different. It was totally covered in some form of ivy. Over all the houses and the walls the weed spread out, reaching down the road towards them. The ivy seemed to be concentrated on the Gatehouse and the building them remembered as The Bad Penny. In the road in front of them, lying face up on the weed was the body of an Arlsfort soldier.
Suddenly without bending his knees or using his arms he tilted straight upright.
“Who …. goes … there” he challenged in a broken not very human sounding voice. Looking at him carefully the group spotted ivy growing in under his uniform and even a few leaves poking out of his nose. After that the conversation took a turn for the worse and may have involved a fireball. At one point Monarch was grabbed by the weed and pulled in with ferocious speed, but his friends managed to save him although he did get slightly singed.
Once the possessed soldier seemed to be pacified the group looked around a bit. Rashi chopped off bits of the ivy and a black viscous sap dripped from it, burning whatever it landed on. Varis took to talking to a nearby tree, the tree was delighted to have someone to talk to especially since it was frightened of the ivy. It didn’t like the ivy. The stuff had been growing here for about seven days. The tree begged them to move it away from the ivy. Monarch was stuffing samples of everything into his vials. Thraa started to blast a path through the weed to the town gate while Tinus and Bobo took to the air.
As they all approached the gatehouse, the dead soldier reanimated by newly grown vines sprang back up and attacked again. He was joined by the vine-animated corpse of Baron Feldar which came out of a trapdoor on the roof of the gatehouse. Again this conversation involved a fireball but in the end the two were destroyed and the vines started to darken and become brittle as if dying.
Suddenly a figure burst from the trapdoor. It looked like a tree-stump with eight waving branches. In the centre of the stump was a large single eye. It was a dangerous foe and just when they thought they had the better of it, it transformed into a mist and proceeded to attempt to poison Tinus in mid-air. Tinus lost his concentration and he and Bobo both fell to the ground. Varis called the wind and blew the mist back whereupon it turned back to its tree-stump form. They managed to finish it then and when it fell all the ivy that was centered on the Gatehouse died completely. The tree-stump form melted into a black bubbling liquid and started to seep into the ground. Monarch scooped some up in a vial and drank it. He then immediately fell down, dying from a massive poison dose.
Searching the gatehouse, the only interesting thing that Thraa discovered was a large and very heavy wooden box but could not immediately see how it could be opened. Bobo came in via the bottom door just as Thraa threw the box down the hatch. It was undamaged by the fall and Bobo was intrigued. But hearing shouts for medical help from outside he reluctantly came out and revived Monarch.
10200 XP divided evenly between 6 for 1700XP each.
Tinus, 11060 + 1700 = 12760, Level 5
Bobo, 10457 + 1700 = 12157, Level 5
Varis, 9716 + 1700 = 11416, Level 5
Rashi, 9405 + 1700 = 11105, Level 5
Monarch, 7500 + 1700 = 9200, Level 5
Thraa, 6500 + 1700 = 8200, Level 5
Next Session Sat 1st Feb.
Session 9 – 6/7/2019
The battle in Pelville.
Rest in Pieces: Igorok and B’Fai
Tinus, Varis and Rashi survived and got 1153XP each.
Session 10 – 13/7/2019
New characters: Bobby (Issac) and ISTM (Noah).
The group were sent by Lady Altea to make peace with the Blood Moon Orcs. They met the self proclaimed genius Shalzal, leader of the orcs at a tower. ISTM made a treacherous deal to deliver Lady Altea to him and the others all ran away. When they got back they told Lady Altea about it and then Varis disguised himself as the noble-lady and agreed to accompany Istm into the woods to parley with Shalzal.
The orcs ambushed the group but a patrol had followed the group in and in the battle ISTM and Shalzal were captured and returned to Red Mills to gaol.
Varis, Rashi, Bobby, ISTM and Tinus each got 950XP.
Session 2.1 – 14/9/2019
After months rotting in gaol ISTM and Shalzal are put on trial. Things go bad and Lady Altea is about to pronounce sentence when Shalzal gets up, proclaims his genius and then yells “Get Down!” at which point the wall explodes and pandemonium erupts.
Shalzal escapes with his Blood Moon orcs, but ISTM is recaptured and since he was found guilty of his crime he is hanged from the battlements. Where his friends reluctantly rescue and revive him.
Rashi, Bobby, ISTM, Bobo, Varis and Tinue each receive 950XP.
Session 2.2 – 28/9/2019
Because of Lady Altea’s bad record of running the town a new ruler arrives, Count Thothen DeValor of Kaffle. He arrived at night with his nephew Ruben DeValor. Lady Altea and her mage Taldar are to be sent to Kaffle and Bobby is assigned to the escort. Meanwhile the Kalla have a job for the group. Something important has been left in the basement of The Bad Penny in Arlsfort, the group are “requested” to fetch it.
Bobby and the other soldiers in the escort have special instructions from the new Captain that they are not to arrive alive. But before they can murder them they are ambushed by Shalzal and his orcs in a genius plan, if he does say so himself. It all goes wrong and no one is quite sure for a while whose side in the three way split Bobby and ISTM are on. In the end soldiers are killed and Shalzal gets away with Lady Altea and Taldar.
Rashi, Bobby, Varis, ISTM, Bobo and Tinus each get 1041 XP
Session 2.3 – 12/10/2019
The group rest for a while and then encounter a blind crazy woman named Old Meg. She is following a scent no one else can smell. Tapping her stick she heads off towards Red Mills with wooden stakes sticking out of her backpack.
The group follow the trail into the hills to Shalzal’s camp. They find that he has loads of dwarven prisoners that he is using as slave labour for something. They come up with a plan to rescue Lady Altea and Taldar. It doesn’t quite work out and they release ten dwarven slaves but they do manage to free Lady Altea and a mysterious dwarf named Orten. Unfortunately Taldar remains a prisoner.The Blood Moon orcs pursue them and they flee back to Red Mills where they all hide in Chanette’s basement.
Varis, Rashi, Bobby, Bobo and Tinus each receive 1280XP.
Session 2.4 – 26/10/2019
New Character: The Rev (Noah)
ISTM decides this town is too dangerous for him and leaves. Lady Altea sneaks off to do something too. A cleric who goes by the name The Rev joins the group. They get tired of waiting in a basement. They decide to hide out in the abandoned Globe Theatre instead. But there are strange goings on. After a few encounters with swarms of bats the group discover a vampire who has made their coffin from a harp case up on the orchestra’s balcony. A bloody battle ensues and the group flee for their lives and hide out in Chanette’s basement yet again. The next morning the town watch are searching for missing people and cautiously emerging the group encounter blind Old Meg. They take her to the theatre where they manage to get her close enough to the vampire so that she can do her thing. They all survive, but only just.
Bobo, Bobby, The Rev and Tinus each get 1362 XP.
Session 2.5 – 7/12/2019
Hiding once more in Chanette’s basement the group realise the vampire threat is not over as more refugees disappeared the previous night. But they feel that they should leave town nonetheless. Emerging they notice the dwarf they rescued from Shalzal and the Blood Moon orcs packing a wagon. His name is Orten and he is heading north towards Pelville. They hitch a ride with him and hide in and under the wagon to escape detection from the town guard.
As is traditional when traveling in the area at the time, they were again ambushed by the orcs. Shalzal, the self proclaimed genius, leading the attack himself. Even when the group emerged from hiding he seemed unperturbed. The battle was long and hard and full of trickery. Eventually Shalzal was struck down and the remaining orcs fled. Silence fell, the birds in the trees stopped singing, the world had lost a genius.
Delighted, our heroes traveled on to Pelville. After an overnight stay they were surprised in the morning to find that Orten was also going north again. They had a chat with him and it turns out that he is a member of what he calls The Resistance; an organisation dedicated to overthrowing The Dragon Lords who have taken over the country to the north, called Azertina. The Dragon Lords are also plotting to invade this country and all the world. In fact the undead nercomancer Talbor, who the group defeated, was an undead Dragon Lord. A Dragon Lord is a person who has had their heart cut out and replaced with a corrupted dragon egg hatchling. The Resistance is waiting for the rightful heir to the throne of Azertina to return from across the sea. The group remembered the play the thespians had put on about all this and then they remembered the wooden crown which had become a real one. They went down into the crypt to where they laid Igorok, B’Fai and Ida to rest. But the Crown of Azertina was gone. They did however find a single large reptillian scale, copper in colour. Maybe Coop has it.
Rashi, Bobo, Varis and The Rev each received 1500XP.
Current XP Totals as of 17/1/2020
Tinus, 11060 XP, Level 5
Bobo, 10457 XP, Level 5
Varis, 9716 XP, Level 5
Rashi, 9405 XP, Level 5
The Rev, 8503 XP, Level 5
So everyone is level 5 now.