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Campaign journal

by Robert J. Nuttman, Jr.

I ran a Mystara campaign some years ago (it started before it was even called Mystara...). The name of the country the PCs wandered through never really came up, but they stayed for a little while in the town of Stallanford, in the Barony of Penhalligon.

I'd like to say the PCs' meeting was a cheery event, around a table at the inn, the fire crackling in the hearth. Their initial meeting was, to be sure -- sharing a table and a drink after a long day on the road, staying out of the way of the townsfolk as they prepared for the next day's King's Festival.

The heroes met again by firelight in the dark hours before dawn -- but the flames came from the temple and parts of the town around them. The orcs, perhaps, had felt some cheer, as they charged through, with steel and fire...

Having shared a table that afternoon, the priest and wizard stuck close, and also close at hand, though he tried to appear aloof, was the dour elf who'd arrived with the wizard. They were soon joined by a coughing, soot-streaked pair, more or less pushed there by the milling, panic-stricken townfolk. A young lady with dark hair, save the red streak above her left brow. She was half-dragging, half-supporting a man with a soldierly look, one arm in a sling, and several ugly bruises still colouring one side of his face.

"Orcs," he rasped, nearly doubling over as he coughed more smoke from his lungs. "Probably the same ones who ambushed the caravan three days ago. I told them they were out there, but they didn't believe me. And now they've taken two of the priests, and that elfess they'd been nursing back to health as well..."

So met Balder, orphan of the sword, taken in by the city watch in Selenica until he was old enough to serve in their Militia.

His charge, who gave her name as "Shadow" when he caught her burglarising a merchant's home.

Brother Thomas the Gray, itinerant priest of Odin, formerly of the order's Ravenguard (military sect).

Travelling with him are Pierce Munday, apprentice on the run from his master, and the elven scout and tracker Thelandarian Kahoki of House Erendyl ("Call me 'Davim,' its much easier on your tongues, and less grating on my ears.")

Their adventures together took them through the King's Festival. Davim's sister, the elfess Adellandrallen was found and joined the group. From there, a message found on a victim of the orcish raiders led them to a slightly modified version of B7: Rahasia. The third witch swapped souls with Adelle, fleeing with the Black Opal Eye through a magic portal as Elyas' tower crumbled around the heroes.

They chased her through the Void to an adventure of my own design, beat the puzzles in the witch's Temple and got Adelle back with the help of Barnabas, a fallen cleric of Hel. His intervention allowed the PCs to escape the temple (did we mention it was swarming with dark clerics?).

Unfortunately, their trip through the Void left them ravaged by fever, and they spent several weeks floating in and out of consciousness, watched over by a young acolyte of Chardastes, Marillena. Once back on their feet, though, trouble reared its ugly face again. Goblin raiders, this time, attacking a shipment of dwarven-forged weapons and armour bound for the capital from Highforge.

Tracking the wagons up into the mountains, the heroes find the trail leading them to... one of the Grand Duke's mineholds. The PCs are welcomed, given food and drink by the captain of the guards, told that they came all this way for nothing. They'd dispatched the goblins, and the weapons were safely in their custody....

... the ruse almost worked.

But the hour grows late here. I'll post the rest of the campaign notes (if anybody is interested, that is...) tomorrow.