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Campaign Journal

by Giulio Frandi

So far, we have four PC (two warriors, a cleric - Church of Karameikos and an elf - Callarii). During the first game session, they were able to defeat the Orcish Leader of B11. Somebody reached 2nd level and now he should be christened. This is an old, scaramantic habit of my players: they don't give a name to their charachters until they reach 2nd level. I have to recognize that a lot of heros were forgotten by history without even a name...

Funniest thing of the first game session: "Who opens the door?". Last time I said: "Who opens the door?" was during 2004. It's always wonderful to say: "Who opens the door?".

Next step: they defeated the orcish leader and captured the orcish females and youngster. Now they will bring them to the village and they should role play how to punish them. Our cleric comes from the Karameikos church. Let's suppose that Aralic, the village cleric is from the Traladaran one

After defeating the orcish leader in B11, the PC came back to the village with Aralic and were able to start the King Festival. Since they captured the orcish females and children, they had to discuss what to do with them. Aralic suggested to keep them and punish them with compulsory community work, for instance they could be used to work in the village fields controlled by the farmers. The elf was happy with it, the warrior and the cleric wasn't able to offer a better idea and so they accepted. Aralic close them in a small pit under his wooden church and the PC came back to the dungeon.

Here they discovered that there still were eleven orcs and a giant spider waiting for them because they forgot to check the right part of the dungeon. The orcs organized themselves under the former lieutenant and were ready to ambush them. However, the orc lieutenant was inclined to discuss. He addressed the elf knowing that he was able to understand him and explained that he wanted to strike a deal. In his opinion, the former chef had been corrupted by an human cleric residing under their caves and had become unfit to lead them. Now he was the new boss and offered to trade the return of their females in exchange for them to leave the area. The orc also pointed out that the villagers could keep the children as hostages (he didn’t mention that they were offspring of the former leader and that he had no need for them). The party agreed and left him a magical ring +1 as a proof of honesty. They came back to the village to take the orcs females but they discovered that they had disappeared. The party investigated this mystery but wasn’t able to understand what happened (guess who is making people disappearing in Karameikos…).

They came back to the dungeon frightened, planifying how to explain to the orcs that the females weren’t there anymore and also preparing to challenge ten of them, their lieutenant and the giant spider if things worsened. To their surprise, the male orcs weren’t there anymore (guess who is making people disappearing in Karameikos…). Thinking to find a solution in the second level of the dungeon, they went down by the secret door behind the chief throne.

The party explored the second level using hit and run tactics but their cleric did a mistake when he turned a few skeleton and left them go away without finishing them. Since the undeads rallied themselves near to the evil cleric quarters, he decided to try a sortie and attacked the party at a time they were retiring after a difficult encounter. The PCs, already wounded, suddenly faced four skeletons, two zombies and the evil cleric. This time the cleric was lucky and was able to turn most of the undead, but one of the warriors died here. Moreover, since the party had to concentrate into healing his agonozing members, the evil cleric had enough time to escape through a secret door taking with him his best magical items and a good part of his belongings.

In B11, the evil cleric name is Petrides but the party wasn’t able to discover this. Since he escaped, I thought he could become a recurring villain and thus I told to the group cleric that he saw that his opponent bore an Orcus holy Symbol.

The party finished the adventure by finding a note pointing to the next one, then they came back to the village and even if they were able to collect only a fraction of the whole treasure, there were enough of it to buy a horse for everybody. This make them happy. The happy group met another warrior (very similar to the dead one indeed, but with no experience) and left the small village directed to Penhaligon.

During the last WE we were able to meet with my friend and play a third session.
We simply went on with B12 and started exploring the Basement of Karvorquian’s estate.

At first the PC were a little bit suspicious about Kaerin and the butler. Perhaps I exaggerated the butler role because they arrived at the mage estate late in the evening and I used the catchphrase of Lurch from the Addams Family to welcome them (“Chiamato?” which is the Italian for “You Rang?”). They descended in the basement without fully believing that Kaerin was completely clean about his father death.

Half the group immediately fell in the pit of area #3 and the other half met Sarrah and Erring who came helping them fighting the Magen of room #4. PC and NPC soon befriended each other, even if the two girls flatly declared that were adventurer coming there in order to loot the basement after the old mage death. Obviously they also declared that they didn’t know that the mage had an heir (false: they knew…). Through this discussion, the PC verified that the mage really died of old age and that he recently had a real funeral in Penaligon a few days ago. The group was thus able to start believing in Kaerin and offered the two thieves to join them in a lawful-aligned quest to help the basement owner retrieve its belongings instead to continue into their out-of-the-law looting of the dungeon.

From there on the session went on quite smoothly but one of the warriors of the group lost his armor to the slime of area #13, so they were able to progress only at a pace slower than the one expected. So far, they are well advanced into the third day of gameplay and they arrived only to area #16 which they choose in order to make their camp for the next resting session.

The PC finished to explore Karvoquian's Basement, made friendship with Sarrah and Erren and fought with the second party of rogues in the final room. They killed every NPC of this second party except the mage who had been able to levitate and escape through the ceiling. Luckily, Kaerin was waiting for him on the other side of the floor and was able to knock him off sacrifying an old and precious vase on his head.

This let the party interact with him. As suggested in this forum a few posts ago, I depicted him as a a part of a cell of the broader Irong Ring organization, altough the party wasn't able to understand this at this time. Hints included the manacles tatoos on everybody forearm and the sindian aspect of the cleric. The party was neverthless able to force him explain that the NPCs came there because they heard that there was an old tapestry into the basement and their boss wanted it. Obiouvsly this is a teaser for another adventure planified further on.

I was afraid that the party wasn't strong enough to immediately play the next part of B12, so I prefered to add an interlude. First of all Kaerin asked them to bring the mage to a local judge in order to instruct a proper court (one of the PC is a cleric of Tarastia). When the party came back to Kaerin mansion, after the preliminary hearings, they had dinner with him and then they all had a nasty surpise.

A young shepherd came in announcing that he saw scaly humanoids bringing on convicted humans: an old male and a young women. The party immediately went investigating and thus they played through The Abduction of Princess Sylvia from B9. Obviously this became the abduction of... Arelena. I put the dungeon in the Unnamed Moor of Karameikos and, while going there, the PC had been able to spend a night at Sielo's Fort (from B10) wich I moved a little bit toward the north in respect to the canon position. There they met the local woodcatters who reported an increase in local humanoid activity...

The battle with Oliver and his pet was very difficult. The party won but Oliver escaped. Since they did not learn his name, I think that I'll change it too and make it become Golthar... Probably they will meet him again.
In the dungeon, they also discovered Karvoquian's Butler. He had been charmed and thus led there as a prisoner. Obviously, once the charm had been put off, he volunteered to testify in the upcoming trial.

Since everything went fine, the party, Arelena, Sherlane and the butler happily came back to Kaerin home.

The PC went back to Kaerin with Sherlane and Areleena and were greeted by him with great affection.
He invited them to stay with him for a few days in order to be able to attend to the trial of Mordrain, the Magic User they found in his basement.

We choose to role-play the trial. One of the players left his PC aside for a while and took the role of the prosecutor.
The Iron Ring paid a renowed lawyer from Specularum in order to defend Mordrain.
They run the trial up to the parution of witnesses but during the following evening they settled for a class 5 crime.
During the trial, the butler explained that he had been charmed in order to let the Iron Ring thugs enter Karvoquian Basement. Moreover, he was forced to join the wizard who charmed him and serve him in the dungeon where the PC found him. While there, working unnoticed, he discovered that the local Iron Ring cell is searching for ancient tapestries. The PC went immediately analyze the one in Karvoquian basement, but were unable to understand what was happening.

A few days after the end of the trial, Kaerin and Arelena annonced their engagement.
Sherlane held a short ceremony, asking Alexander, the party cleric to assist him.
During the ceremony Lady Arteris annonced that she wrote to the Duke about the PC heroism in rescuing Aralic and obtained a Lordship for them. Obviously, she also praised them for their role in the saving of Sherlane and Arelena.

After this nomination, they were approached by Anders Corran, the Karameikan Country Manager for the Hallonica Family.
He sold them a villa on the sout-eastern end of Penhaligon estate. With the villa and the surrounding land, the PC acquired a few old feudal rights preceeding the estate constitution. They were now in charge of five families of peasants and had the right to raise a small force of up to nine man at arms.

This was very important because Sherlane approached them in his turn and explained the issue of Lady Arteris half-sister. Aralic was invited to the ceremony too and suggested to Alexander to go with him to his church in Stallanfor and run a Karameikan / Traladaran common service in order to preach togheter and raise an angry mob to assault Haradrit Keep.

Strenghtened by their new-found mercenary force and by a few volunteer from Stallanford, the PC went to Ilyana's keep. We played the siege using Games Workshop Mighty Fortress and all the necessary miniatures. It was great

In the end the PC were able to return the orcs versus their masters and enter the keep. All the PC survived except Sarrah (who became a pc a few session ago when another friend joined us in the very middle of the exploration of Karvoquian's basement).

We had to stop there but the PC are only half way into this mission. I suppose that they will now make their camp there and rest for the night in order to continue the adventure on another day.

During the last session, our PC were captured by ilyana minion's.
Jailed in the dungeon keep (B12 - Area #27), they were phisically abused by Ilyana and Blackmaer.

After some time, Ilyana decided to sell them and contacted the Iron Ring. Blackmaer escorted them to the iron ring camp (B10 - Area WE7) and left them to the slavers. Rucker, Sydnor, Sgagast and their hounds put them in cages with other slaves and organized a travel toward a safe house near Rugalov.

From here on, I used material from U1-Sinister Secrets of Saltmarsh, describing to the players the Hunted House and the Sea Ghost while they were visiting them. I assumed that Sanbalet from the hunted house works in Golthar's cell while the ship is a cell on its own, with the captain as its master. The PC were then ferried to Thyatis and sold to Senator Osteropolus (DDA1).

The Senator used them as private gladiators for his renowed Bunga Bunga parties. As everybody knows, Bunga Bunga is a Nuari word commonly used in modern Thyatian. You can translate it as "Ludi Privati". The PCs were enlisted to play a long string of combats for the Senator and his decadent guests.

One of Senator' guests is Theodoric, his right hand in charge of the XIV legion. Theodoric has a young lover called Ascanius and, during a Bunga Bunga night, a phrophet told them that one of the two has to die in order to let the other become immortal. The young Ascanius, in love with his master, choses to flee in the acqueduct and tries to throw himself into a pit in order to suicide. The PCs, promised freedom if they bring him back followed him in the dungeon but were able only to take back the corpse because the young boy had been divored by a crocodile.

Fianlly, the PC were able to win back their freedom impressing their masters by killing an ogre bare-handed and took a passage on a ship directed toward Specularum. Unfortunately, a storm forced them to take cover in Rugalov where, discussing with the local people, they discovered that there is an hunted house near the village very similar to the one were they had been taken prisoners a few weeks before...

We have been playing throughout all of 2012, albeit only once a month. We played a revised version of U1 - The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, settled around Rugalov. The pirates were, of course, a local cell of the Iron Ring, the same that traded the PC from Ilyana’s band to the corrupted Thyatian Senator. The PCs were quite happy to take their revenge over them. The adventure was quite easy. The PCs already knew the pirate’s hiding place and chose to enter “by the backdoor”. Took by surprise, the pirates fell one by one.

Rejoiced by their revenge, the PCs elected to follow the Rugalov river upstream and search for the other Iron Ring cell, the one described in B10, event WE7 and led by Rucker, Syndor & Sgagast. They never found the slavers because their trek through the forest led them to Sukyskin and thus to the beginning of B10 itself.

We played a good part of this excellent module. Agathokles told me once that usually it is quite difficult, almost lethal from a certain point on. I think that he should be right but for this group it came out quite easy because the PCs had an average level a little better than the one suggested. On the other hand, I found it quite slow. More often than not it became a string of endless goblin-slaughter expeditions.

Things changed abruptly when the PC arrived to Golthar’s tower in Xitaqa. This part of the module came very short to cast the end of the campaign. The battle among the PCs and Golthar’s defenses was very tense for both parties and the evil magician was able to flee only by a whiff. The PCs had a few casualties on their side too and notably Stephan, butchered by an enraged minotaur.
However, the PCs found the silver needle and were able to connect the dots, thinking that the solution of their quest lied in the big tapestry they saw in Sukyskin. Unfortunately, they were too enfeebled to immediately go there and so elected to come back to Penhaligon and to rest before continuing their adventures.

In Penhaligon, once again, their plan changed because two old friends were in need of their help. On one side, the local Merchant, Anders Corran, asked them to fly to Bronsdale in Darokin and help his brother Jeddarin collecting a heritage (-->WOTI) on the other side, Baron Sherlane needed them to go investigating a sudden string of dangerous problems in Verge (-->X12). Summoned by the Patriarch, our heroes were forced to stop their current quest and to fly to Threshold using the magical carpet transport services of Cardia the elf.

During the last few months we played out another story arc of our campaign. I chose not to post here what happened session after session because Agathokles joined us during some of the sessions and I preferred not to spoil it out for him. However, the story arc is now finished and I wished to share.

Basically we put together three existing modules:
-X12 Skarda’s Mirror
-The second (The Skinsaw Murders) installment of Rise of the Runelords adventure Path from Paizo
-The sequence of WOTI where the PCs discover Rheddrian and get him free from the Mirror Shield

The adventure started when the PC came home to Penhaligon after defeating Golthar in Xytaqa. At this time, the PC raised to about 4th level and I needed to introduce new plot elements foreshadowing the upcoming WOTI events before coming back to the main plot, so while shopping In Penhaligon, they were asked by the local merchant, an old acquaintance of them, to help his brother who lived in Bronsdale (Darokin). The darokinian merchant had a problem collecting an overdue credit from a business partner of his. Since they got the Silver Needle battling Golthar, they were more interested in traveling on to Sukyskin and use it with the Magic Tapestry to locate the Lost Valley, but they were unable to follow their preferred course of actions because they owed a huge debt to the local merchant and so he was in a position to push them to immediately board Cardia Flying Carpets Services and fly to Bronsdale.

However, even this mission was interrupted because, when they arrived in Threshold, Baron Sherlane intercepted them and asked them to visit Verge and help the people there with the sudden disappearance of Lord Retameron and Lady Alya. The PCs duty explored the empty tower of sir Retameron (X12 – Retameron’s Tower) but came out without a clue about what was going on. They reported their failure to Baron Sherlane and went off to Bronsdale, not suspecting that they made a very powerful enemy in the person of Skarda.

In Bronsdale, they met Anders Corran, the brother of Jeddarin Corran from Penhaligon.

At this point, since we already played the first adventure of WOTI (Phase I – the Prelude) in a previous campaign, I chose instead to adapt to Mystara the second (The Skinsaw Murders) installment of “Rise of the Runelords” adventure Path from Paizo.

When the PCs meet him, Corran has two problems: first he can’t collect a debt from a business partner of him (Aldern Foxglove) who recently disappeared without notice and second his name has been tarnished by being connected to a string of murders going on in Bronsdale (Sandpoint in the Original Module from Paizo). The PCs investigate both string of clues and start to understand that they seem to be linked, thus they travel on to Foxglove Manor, the old family house of the Foxgloves. Corran had stressed out to them that the old family house is now decadent and haunted but, still, it is an asset that could be of value for him once they free it from its ghosts. Arriving at Foxglove Manor, the PCs find the mansion haunted by Aldern’s ancestors. Aldern himself has been exposed to an ancient relic of his ancestors: the Mirror Shield of Reddrian. The magical energies emanating from the shield made him into a particularly insane Lightning Zombie. He now dwells in caverns deep below the manor.

After the PCs confront the Lightining Zombie, they discover the Mirror Shield and free Rheddrian. They also get a glimpse of a vein of Soul Crystals in the caverns below the manor but are not able to take them away. Obviously, all of this foreshadows future events.

Back to the current plot, they also learn that Foxglove was committing his crimes at the request of a larger conspiracy based in the city of Akorros (Magnimar in the Original Module from Paizo).. When they report back to Anders Corran in Bronsdale, he is very happy to have proves that clean his name from the string of murders but, still, he needs the PCs to investigate the larger conspiracy before starting out legal actions to claim the former foxglove manor for himself. Visiting Akorros, the PCs learn of the existence of a cult of murderers who call themselves the Skinsaw Men. The PCs strike against them, yet even here the puppet strings do not end, for the cult is being manipulated by a shadowy mastermind that has moved into an abandoned clocktower in Akorros’ most dangerous district. The PCs must brave this crumbling tower and defeat Xanesha, the powerful lamara matriarch who has claimed it as her lair. It is evident that even more powerful enemies lye behind this local mastermind, but the PC had no way to dig deeper into this clue and thus reported their partial success to Corran and tried to come back to Karameikos.

Again, their trip was interrupted, this time by Skarda who ambushed them somewhere on the road from Darokin City to Selenica and got them trapped into his mirror. At this point, the PCs having faced: the shards of mirror in Retameron Tower, the Mirror Shield of Rheddrian and now Skarda’s Artifact, which is a mirror too were completely clueless about what was going on. However, they played through the last part of X12 and were able to save the Duke, thus being enrolled in the Second Division as Lieutenants.

Most of them enjoy their new status (civil servant in Karameikos Palace at 750Royal/month is a better life than adventurers in the Dymark Forest…) but the need of adventure is coming back and the players asked me about the Magical Tapestry.

And so the adventure continues…