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Campaign journalby RPGPundit
Ok, another session has passed. This week we had Corwyn and Alendalan, plus Galafilo, and at long last Sir Firearm has returned to us from the north.
So to review we have:
Corwyn, Darokinian Cleric Patriarch of Asterius lv. 25
Alendalan, Karameikan elf Lord Wizard lv.10
Galafilo, Karameikan/Five Shires Halfling Sheriff lv. 8
Sir Firearm, Thyatian-Karameikan Fighter Lord Avenger of Vanya lv. 19
So the adventure starts out with Corwyn and Alendalan still in Dengar, in Rockhome, ready to kill a beholder alongside about twenty of King Everast's best men.
Corwyn casts a find the path, they manage to sneak up on it using Silence 15'. Alen is also invisible and he flies around the beholder, avoiding the central eye.
On a signal from Corwyn, he and the dwarves charge. They hit the beast, doing it some damage; and the beholder stares back at them and undoes their magic. He also puts some of the dwarves to sleep. He tries to disintegrate Corwyn but fails. He bites the dwarf captain, for good measure.
Then its Alendalan's turn. Alen casts teleport on the Beholder, from behind, teleporting it to the middle of Alphak's Volcano. Just like that, the fight is over. Surely, the Beholder is now dead and will never bother the PCs again, right? I mean, they sent it right into the middle of a place of great entropic energy... that couldn't be a bad thing, could it?
Anyways, Corwyn tries one last shot at convincing King Everast that he really shouldn't invade the Five Shires after they win the war with the Master of Hule, but Everast won't hear any of it. The only concession he gives Corwyn is that he's really only interested in the Mountains of the Five Shires and some of the nearby plains hexes for farming. "I don't really like the coasts.. its highly improbable we'll conquer all the way to the coasts. I really just care about the mountains and all the delicious gold that's in there!"
Unable to deal with the Dwarves' racial insanities, Corwyn and Alen head back to Darokin City via teleport. When they arrive, they are surprised to find an old friend in their house.. its Sir Firearm! You all might recall, gentle readers, that he had been called up by the Church of Vanya to participate in Darokin's war against the Master of Hule. So far, he had spent the last two months in Selenica, on the other side of Darokin from where Hule was invading. So he hasn't actually seen any action. But now that Akorros has fallen to the Master's forces, his unit has been called back to Darokin City to supplant its defences, and for now Sir Firearm is on leave until something happens.
Shortly thereafter Galafilo reaches the city and joins the group. Galafilo had been away last adventure, along with his girlfriend Delune the High Sheriff of Heartshire, he had attended a meeting of all the high Sheriffs in Shireton, where the leaders of the halfling nation discussed the war in Darokin. Some, like Delune, want the halflings to send troops to help Darokin in the war. Others disagree, arguing that if Darokin loses the war, the Shires will need all its people to defend the Shires on their own territory. And that it will be easier to fight in the Shires than in Darokin. Essentially, the Sheriffs who want to send troops are the ones who's shire is in the north, in other words the ones on who's land the fighting will happen if the Master's troops come to the shires. The sheriffs of the coastal shires appear rather more willing to risk that happening, rather than sending their boys prematurely to die on Darokinian soil. In the end, the halflings vote to send supplies to Darokin, but not troops. Although, at the end of the meeting, the Karameikan ambassador to Shireton requests of the halflings that they keep an open mind and reconsider this idea "if things change in the near future".
Now all in Darokin, the PCs take a few precious days to do personal work.
Corwyn goes to inform the Darokinian government about his success in getting 2000 dwarven fighters to come join the war effort. When the news comes out he is quickly sent to the "ovoid office" to meet President Corwyn Mauntea himself. Mauntea is the consummate politician, who immediately gets Corwyn the cleric to agree to a press conference and a portrait session, and basically plans to turn Corwyn into a national hero through the magic of propaganda. After all, the Darokinian people desperately need heroes!
Plus he makes sure Corwyn joins his political party, and tells him that "if you don't have any skeletons in your closet, no regrettable sexual incidents with orcs or something like that, I promise you that by 1008 you'll be a Senator!"
Sir Firearm decides that it'd be a good idea to find out some more about the Masters forces from the people who've actually been there, so he visits the Military Hospital. There he finds hundreds of soldiers maimed, with amputated limbs or missing eyes. The soldiers welcome him and are quite willing to talk of the horrors they've seen. They explain that the Master's nomads are not the barbarians they seem, that they fight with remarkable discipline, and are backed up by "clerics who are at least companion level" and "magic users who are at least expert level", as well as undead and terrible entropic creatures. Without a sufficient quotient of mages, the Darokinian army didn't stand a chance.
They also tell Sir Firearm the troubling news that they all think that the 1st and 3rd legion, currently stationed in he hills between Akorros and Darokin City, couldn't possibly hold that ground against the master's army, and that Darokin's government must know this. The vets think that Pres. Mauntea has sent those legions to the slaughter just to buy himself and his political buddies some time.
Alendalan, meanwhile, goes off to get a few new spells. At first he goes to the Mages' guild and buys himself a membership, but then he finds out that he can get a cheaper deal from the Alfheim Elven consulate. He finds the consular office to be a lovely sylvan park where the elves are running around frolicking, and so he joins in the frolics and trades a few spells. He realises that the hippie-like Alfheim elves are way more his type of person than his own highly conservative Callari people. And by "more his type of person", I mean total degenerates.
He spends the next couple of days in gay frolics.
Finally, Galafilo finds himself a teacher who can train him in the offensive use of the shield.
Eventually, Corwyn gets the gang together, and explains to them that Pres. Mauntea wants him to go try to use his diplomatic magic on Karameikos, the Shires, and Ylaruam. The party's original plan was to go behind enemy lines and try to wipe out some of the enemy leaders, but the Darokinian government doesn't actually want that. Firearm expresses his concerns from his visit to the veteran's ward, and the gang agree that they need to meet with someone from the government to clear up exactly what Darokin's plan is, before deciding if they should help the politicians or not.
A meeting the next day with the Minister of Defence turns out to be promising. The minister explains to them that first of all, Darokin doesn't want adventurers going behind enemy lines because such attacks could prompt the Master's forces to hasten their invasion of central Darokin. He tells the PCs that the Darokinian government is painfully aware that the legions in the hills can't possibly hold out, and that at this stage they have to desperately hope for sufficient time. The longer the master hesitates with his forces looting Akorros, the better the chance that Darokin will be able to get help from its allies. He explains that the government has no intention of letting the legions die in the hills, and that the legions will pull back as soon as the master's troops invade. The first legion will move north to Corunglain, where it will hopefully be joined by armies from Alfheim as well as Corwyn's Dwarven battalion, and the third legion will move south to Athenos, where they hope to be joined by whatever help may come from the Shires or Karameikos. Meanwhile, the 2nd legion has been hard at work preparing Darokin city for a siege.
The Darokinian forces in the north and south will wait for its allies to arrive, and then will move in to relieve the siege of Darokin city in a pincer manoeuvre. The whole plan depends, of course, on the Master's forces going straight for Darokin rather than moving north or south first.
The PCs feel a lot more secure now that the Darokin government does actually have a coherent plan, and they are willing to try to help recruit allies. The party is in a good position to attempt this with the Shires and Karameikos, since Galafilo is currently dating one of the five High Sheriffs of the Shires, and Sir Firearm is a distant relative a few times removed of the Duke Stephan of Karameikos; he also reminds the group that his second cousin, Alexius Korrigan, is the Seneschal of Karameikos. (the PCs met Alexius once early in the campaign. It turns out Alexius is actually a Vampire, but while its painfully obvious to the players, none of their characters have clued into that yet, nor have the Karameikan people.. they all just think he is really dedicated to his job, working late into the night hours).
So with that, the PCs decide that first they will teleport to Specularum, and try to talk to the Duke there, and then later they will go to the Shires. The Darokinian minister informs the PCs that Darokin's spies have reason to suspect that Duke Stephan is thinking of formally separating from Thyatis, they have heard Stephan comment in public that he thinks the Thyatian empire is doomed for trying to war with Alphatia, the realm of high wizards. And, the minister counsels them, Darokin would be willing to recognise any Karameikan declaration of independence, if in exchange Karameikos sends troops.
The PCs are ready to go, but Alendalan only has two teleports and there are four of them. So they hire a very deadpan mage ("hi.. I'm a mage") from the Darokinian magic guild, to teleport two of them.
He gets his teleports totally wrong, and Galafilo ends up teleporting into solid rock. Fortunately, Corwyn had cast Survival on everyone before leaving. So Galafilo is alive but stuck.
Corwyn, himself the other one teleported by the incompetent mage, ends up in a room in what appears to be an ancient dungeon deep below Specularum. In the room with him are four medusas! Fortunately, none of them petrify him straight away, and after that he closes his eyes and gradually kills them all. The first two are easy, but the other two decide to back away and play the waiting game with him, waiting for him to open his eyes. But instead, Corwyn just casts two "Find the Path" spells to lead him straight to where the medusas were hiding! After that he uses Travel to get up to the city surface, where a confused Sir Firearm and Alendalan were waiting. He uses his last Find the Path to go rescue Galafilo, and then they all head to the bar.
The city of Specularum hasn't changed much since they were last here. Its a big city, a little bigger than Darokin city, in fact, but its strictly backwater in comparison to Darokin. Magic items are hard to come by, and everything is cheap. Firearm and Galafilo are extravagant tippers at the tavern, and the party is surprised by just how rustic they find the land that all but Corwyn had started in, remembering the beginning of the Campaign when they all thought of Specularum as "the big city" and oh- so cosmopolitan.
The gang decides that they're in desperate need of some monster-killin and loot-gettin, and Corwyn lets them know about the Medusas and how there appears to be an old dungeon about a hundred feet under the surface of town, probably ruins left over from the old Traladari metropolis of Krakatos on who's ruins Specularum is built.
First they agree to have Firearm arrange a meeting with Lord Alexius (Firearm's vampiric second cousin, the Seneschal of Karameikos), and Corwyn to meet with Madame Elena Whitehall, the old consul from Darokin to Karameikos.
Madame Whitehall proves to be very useful to Corwyn. She lets him know that she knows for a fact that an agent of Alphatia has just visited Karameikos in secret last month, and that its known that Duke Stephan is planning to declare independence from Thyatis. She tells Corwyn that even now Teldon, the head of Karameikos' (rather pathetic) school of magic has gone off to Alphatia. She thinks Duke Stephan is trying to secure a treaty of neutrality and recognition from Alphatia, something that would royally screw Thyatis. If Karmeikos separates with Alphatia's help, then emperor Thincol of Thyatis couldn't invade his rogue ex-province without giving Karameikos an excuse to invite Alphatian troops to come in and start attacking Thyatis from that front as well. Thyatis would have no choice but to recognise Karameikos' declaration of independence. Especially, adds Whitehall, if Darokin recognises Karameikos' sovereignty, a move that would mean almost every other nation in the known world would do the same.
Obviously, this info is invaluable to Corwyn. Now he knows to be bold in offering Stephan direct recognition, not to beat around the bush. Unless Whitehall is drastically wrong, Karameikos will be more than willing to send troops to Darokin in exchange for this kind of political gravitas. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Corwyn has been allowed to suggest that Darokin could make Specularum a more frequent stop in the Darokinian trade routes.
Meanwhile Sir Firearm has managed to arrange a meeting that evening with his second cousin the Seneschal. The whole party agrees that its a bit odd that he'd meet them at night, but they are all duly impressed with just how dedicated a public servant Korrigan must be to work so late.
So with a little while to kill the PCs Travel down to the dungeon Corwyn had stumbled upon. In the dungeon, they only find a couple of nasty traps, a pair of huge rock pythons that Corwyn gleefully casts Snake Charm on (from a scroll, its the first time he's ever been able to find a use for that damn spell), and a rust monster that Galafilo slays with a couple of quick arrows.
But most amusing is the PCs way of travelling through the dungeon, the "submarine method": Corwyn casts Travel, and casts Survival on the whole party, and then they phase through the floor travelling under the surface, while Alendalan casts wizard eye and uses it as a "periscope" to view what's in each room above them.
Eventually the PCs run into a level of caves that are under the dungeon, and they set about exploring those caves. There they run into a cavern where there's a sarcophagus made of stone and a black pool. Cautiously, they go in there, expecting the sarcophagus to have some kind of asskicking undead. Their divinations reveal no such thing, and the indication that there's treasure inside the sarcophagus, so they open it up. Indeed, it is full of treasure. That's when the black pool/black pudding attacks them all from behind.
They manage to kill it with fire, but not before it rots away much of Alendalan's prized scale mail. He switches to elven chain instead, but is highly ****** off about it.
With some of the caves left to explore the PCs realise that they must return to the surface to meet with the Seneschal. And the players realise its time to end the session. We leave it with the PCs about to go visit the Seneschal in Specularum, Nuwmont 23, 1006 AC.