Campaign of the Month: June 2008

Horn of the North

A Tavern Brawl
4 Flamerule 1479 DR

The tavern brawl was wild and brutal. When it ended, a dozen of the thieves lay broken and bleeding. The halflings of the gang were left alive for questioning. Both Dot and Doran (who either intimidated or charmed with wiles) assisted Braelyn with the interrogation. Unable to withstand the triple assault from the heroes – in exchange for his life – the halfling sang like a bird.

Their little gang, the Grainsheaf Scorpions, were addicted to “purple powder” (known as Remorhaz Breath to non-street folk) and had been trading some percentage of their ill gotten gains to a dealer to keep them in supply of the powder. This dealer, a Sembian known as “Nightshade,” and his (her?) minions based their operations in a small farming thorpe a few hours away (and completely off the beaten path) in Corhen’s Crossing.

Leaving the tavern keeper to deal with the mess (for which he had been amply compensated); the heroes followed the halfling (Bippy by name, ultimately the only Grainsheaf Scorpion to survive the night) to their hideout where the stolen goods were recovered. They returned the goods to the Blue Scorpion; the town guard had already arrived and were taking statements and cleaning up corpses. The guard captain, outnumbered & outmatched at this time of night; ensured the the heroes’ Charter was in order and took the goods as well as some basic information. The heroes then returned to the Pride of Arabel for a rest; the plan being to head out to Corhen’s Crossing after a late breakfast.

  • Game: 2/27/09 via OpenRPG
  • Not Submitted as RPGA Home Campaign – previous session was short
  • XP: 175 each
  • Gold and Treasure
    • Recovered from pockets and pouches of the thieves: 90gp
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Rooftop Hunt
4 Flamerule 1479 DR

The heroes begin their task, searching the back alleyways and rooftops of Arabel. Many citizens are asked (some discretely, some boldly) what they know, what they’ve seen, and where have the crimes been carried out. Some time after the midnight watch, they come upon a band of thieves that are robbing a large merchant’s property.

Rather than risk detection and push a bad situation against posted sentries, a cunning trick is played by Doran and Dot who use their wiles to extract a single name… the Blue Spider (a seedy dive in Arabel that no one with a respect for their own reputation would ever visit). Elithia and Doran follow a blundering thief from the scene of the crime, the rest of the heroes go directly to the Blue Spider.

Several hours later, the gang of criminals enter the tavern and begin evicting the previous occupants; including the heroes. The halfling leader of the band (or if not the “leader” then at least the “first among equals”) offers the heroes a drink to cushion the rudeness of the eviction.

All seemed to be going well for the robbers until Rurick smashes several of the gang with his now empty mug…

  • Game: 2/21/09 via OpenRPG
  • Submitted as RPGA Home Campaign – Sanctioning #: 09-02-1839149
  • XP: 175 each
  • Gold and Treasure
    • zero
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Shadow Hounds
3 Flamerule 1479 DR

Well… that did not go as I expected.

Lord Huntcrown is the womanizing fop that all the rumors led us to believe, but underneath that façade is a cunning mind. I suppose I didn’t get off on the best footing, choosing to err on the side of frugality with my new clothes – not wanting to appear above my station (in Cormyr). Huntcrown challenged my perceptions of current events in Damara, throwing my own views of nobility right back in my face, and made me realize how much I have to learn. I hope that once we have completed the task that Huntcrown has set us to, that I can spend some time with him – he seems to be a font of knowledge regarding the ins and outs of nobility.

The other surprise he had for me was a Damaran bodyguard, Sergei. From what little time I had to question him, I learned some insights about the people of Damara, as well as enough information to cement my allies for the long term. Yarin is studying necromancy under the tutelage of a mysterious person who is known only as Ashmourne, for the castle he occupies. Needless to say, the presence of a necromancer has put both Braelyn and Rurick firmly behind removing Yarin from power.

I really had no idea what to expect from Huntcrown to prove myself – perhaps a trial of combat or cunning on his grounds – but it turns out he simply wants services from us in exchange for the Horn. We’re to hunt down Netherese operators in Arabel, and root out their influence – as well as any other miscreants we run across.

Although, I suppose, in hindsight – this “simple mission” of services is both a trial of cunning and combat…

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Bright Lights, Big City
1 Flamerule 1479 DR

Arabel.

While I always had expectation of coming here one day, I could not have imagined the circumstances under which I would arrive. Our “quick” two-day trip turned into much more as we eradicated the remaining goblinoid forces faithful to Kalarel. I truly hope that threat is completely eradicated now.

Such wonders the city holds for me – broad, strong walls and gates with guards, roads that you can’t see from end-to-end, and so many strange sights and smells. My relatively sheltered life in Winterhaven hardly prepared me for this…

And then, there’s the Pride of Arabel – our “home” while we stay in Arabel. It’s rates are pricey – I nearly cringed until I remembered how much treasure we’ve accumulated over the last two tendays. But it was worth it – the pampering and food we received were beyond description.

Now, we prepare to see Lord Huntcrown. My newfound allies – no, my newfound friends – are putting their skills to use in finding out whatever they can about Huntcrown before we go to visit him. We are also taking the opportunity to procure new clothes before that audience – to put our best foot forward, as it were.

I just can’t get over how odd it feels to have these resources at my disposal…

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3 Flamerule 1479 DR

When I found this book years ago, I did not know it would give me purpose. However, after learning how to read Ayala’s entries, I longed to travel and see what she had seen and maybe right wrongs as I was able, like she did. When my friend David expressed his desire to leave our home village, I leapt at the chance.

I did not expect to run into the very villains that Ayala herself battled.

It was like a strike of lightning when the shopkeeper Bairwin declared his allegiance to Netheril – up until that point I had thought I was battling Shar and her minions, not the evil that is Netheril.

Thus I begin my writings to help keep the clues and knowledge straight in my head, for the path that Netheril takes is an elaborate maze of deceit and shadow. The trail the Netherese leave is not the simple track found in the soft soil of the forest while the noon-day sun shines through the leaves. It is as the paw print of a mountain lion left on a bare rock in the dead of night.

Fortunately Ayala created this book to protect her writings from discovery, so I fear not that my musings will be revealed to those who are my enemy, as the key to this book lies in the forests of my home. All that is seen upon opening this book is poetry. Bad poetry, at that.

I am watchful and wary as we embark on this new journey. Eventually it may very well take us to the lands far north. I am looking forward to learning a new land, and if it turns out that the current ruler is truly evil as we think he may be, then throwing down a tyrant and freeing a people is surely a good thing.

Huntcrown is an interesting sort. He quite lives up to his womanizing reputation with his interactions with Doran and Dot. However, there is a deeper side to him that I am not certain the others noticed – when Alain spoke of his parents, I saw a very somber look flash across the mercurial face. I believe he knows more of Alain’s past, and Alain’s parents, than he let on. Perhaps I will speak to Alain of this, and then should Alain want to inquire further, he may.

In the meantime we have this side job for Lord Huntcrown…. I have never hunted people in a city before, so my skills will not be as useful as they have been in the past. However, I am certain that the others will be very, very effective. In order to acquire the horn and prove Alain’s ancestry, we must find the burglars that plague this city and determine whether or not they are Netherese spies and then deal with them. Perhaps once we are on a trail and I have found my quarry, my skills will become useful again.

Perhaps in the hunt, I can learn more of two legged prey who would be predator.

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Lord Huntcrown
3 Flamerule 1479 DR

The heroes met with Lord Huntcrown. A charming man of foppish demeanor that has something of a “bad reputation” for womanizing in Arabel. However, Huntcrown is a staunch patriot and part of a faction at court that seeks to shore up Cormyr’s borders and internal defenses against the Empire of Netheril. He “commissioned” the party (using the Horn of the North as the negotiation tool) to seek evidence of Netherese infiltration of Arabel. As agents in secret for Huntcrown (and by extension his faction at court in Suzail in the name of Cormyr), they agreed to see what could be discovered amongst the rooftops of Arabel at night.

  • Game: 2/13/09 via OpenRPG
  • Submitted as RPGA Home Campaign – Sanctioning #: 09-02-1832224
  • XP: 0 (XP deferred to next session to be with the skill challenges, etc.)
  • Gold and Treasure
    • see note for XP
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A New Day
2 Flamerule 1479

We finally get to Arabel and we decided to go stay at the nicest inn in town. They really know how to treat their customers. I doubt we will be able to do this often but it was nice to be pampered for a couple of days.

Yesterday I went looking for sages who could tell me more about the Great Glacier and the Prince of Frost. My head is still spinning from the information I received about the Prince. I had finally got myself over being mad at the Prince he did save my life and he did give me my powers. Then I found out more about the Seelie Prince and his court. I was upset by the fact that he enjoys torturing mortals and gets pleasure out of seeing them miserable. Then I started thinking about how I have been living the last seven years and realize that I was just giving him what he wants. So I spent most of the night up thinking about what I wanted to do with this information. I didn’t even drink any wine.

I finally decided I am not going to be his little plaything. He wants me miserable I will find any and everyway to feel pleasure and joy. It is time that I take back my life from him. I have to complete the task I did make that agreement and I want to be able love again and feel whole. I have to believe that Alain is some how involved with what is going on. He finds out he is the true heir to a kingdom up in the far north about the same time I get my dream. My concern is that if the Prince of Frost wants another cruel king to replace the false king, he will be disappointed. So I will have to do what I can to protect Alain from the Prince of Frost.

So this morning I woke up with a new resolve. After hearing about the womanizing Count Eron Huntcrown at breakfast Doran commented about going shopping for a new dress for the meeting. Elithia and I agreed to go shopping with her. I decided I needed a new dress also so I convinced them to go to the Eladrin section of town and found a beautiful of yellow and greens with purple accents that brings out the purple in my hair and eyes. This is the closest I have felt like to being Dotara since I the day I meet the Prince of Frost.

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Arabel by Midnight
30 Kythorn 1479 DR

The heroes pursued the fleeing Hobgoblin archer north into the Hullack woods. Soon they tracked him to an old abandoned sentinel tower long fallen to disrepair. There they did battle with the remainder of the Bloodreavers – the band of Hobgoblins responsible for providing Kalarel with victims.

Then, having lost several hours dealing with the creatures they pushed on into Arabel, arriving at the Calantir Gate astride the East Way late in the night. Their papers were in order and the city guards allowed them passage. After wandering the late night streets they found their way to The Pride of Arabel Inn where at last they had the opportunity to spend their hard earned gold. Most had the opportunity to indulge in luxuries and amenities that had never before been available (either from lack of money or lack of opportunity).

Two days later, on the 3rd of Flamerule; well rested, fed, clean, and with new clothing and equipment, the heroes felt ready to seek out the person they came to find. They set out for the residence of Count Eron Huntcrown in the northwestern part of the city; amongst the palace and noble residences of that district.

  • Game: 2/5/09 via OpenRPG
  • Submitted as RPGA Home Campaign – Sanctioning #: 09-02-1825030
  • XP: 190 each (1140/6)
  • Gold and Treasure
    • Parcel 4th #3 (#6): – one 250 gp necklace + two potions of healing + 120 gp
    • Expenses: 10gp first night at the Pride of Arabel, 4gp per night afterwards minimum, Sages 10gp per “Entry” you are having researched from the Campaign Guide or Player’s Guide. If you want both entries from both books, so long as they’re the same topic, it’s still 10gp. Fine tailored clothing 150gp. Good tailored clothing 20gp.
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Road to Arabel
30 Kythorn 1479 DR

The heroes spend nearly a full ride in Winterhaven at the request of Swordcaptain Sir Garz Ordeth; they were advisors to the Purple Dragon Knights of the Hullack Company that had been brought into Winterhaven by Lord Padraig. Work had begun on improving the ruins of the old Keegan Keep for the purpose of establishing a regular garrison and patrol of the Shadraxil portal prison. The heroes’ in-depth knowledge of the Keep’s underground levels was invaluable.

In that time, Alain at last was told the truth of his birth and birthright. As scribe, I have already included entries from his journal that describe in detail the specifics. Needing to reach Arabel and Count Huntcrown, the heroes left the mountains and headed southwest along the East Way.

The first day proved grueling as they came out of the high elevations back into the lowlands. Even Rurick, the Dwarf, felt the effects (though perhaps a ride of drinking and leisure may have contributed more) and at the end of their first day – rest was a welcome friend – even though it was amongst the monster infested trees of the Hullack Forest. That night, around the flames of the campsite, Alain informed his travelling companions of the matters surrounding his birth.

The next morning, the heroes encountered a travelling merchant (Threnor of Arabel) and his new wife (Alis Nighthair) being assaulted by what seemed a mere band of hobgoblins. Though the opposition was stout, it was dispatched and as they tended the wounds of the merchant it was learned that they were part of some kind of band – using an insignia of the dwarven rune “B.” Though none spoke the barbaric goblinoid tongue, from Alis it was learned that the name “Shar” had come up several times. Rurick had found on one of the bodies, a bit of parchment marked with numbers and words that suggested either the Hobgoblins were keeping count of kills, or had a list, or perhaps an invoice. Elithia, who had gone off into the forest to seek the riding horses that had fled, brought word of fresh tracks. Sir Braelyn talked sense into the merchant to return to Arabel for safety rather than risk life and limb on dangerous roads without a caravan or escort. Much to Alain’s chagrin (who had asked the merchant to continue with his original plan on to press on Winterhaven with naught but two crossbows between them) the merchant saw the sense in the paladin’s proposal and changed his mind; life being worth more than easy profits on the frontier (selling construction goods to the folks at Winterhaven).

The heroes set off into the forest to seek the truth of the “B” rune Hobgolins and their dealings with Shar. The undergrowth of Hullack was thick and by deep twilight, Elithia’s sharp eyes spotted a camp. Elithia, Doran, and Dot all went forward to glean information and overheard only two words in clear Common – “Shar” and “Kalarel.” Charging forward into the camp, the heroes did battle with another group of “B” rune Hobgoblins; slaying all but the archers who fled further north into the depths of Hullack. Elithia’s sharp eyes brought down one of the fleeing Hobgoblins. Amongst the coin and treasure they found no further parchment, but did find sets of binding ropes and chain manacles. The additional clues were slim, but perhaps the “B” rune referenced the “Bloodreaver” hobgoblins? The clues matched up after all – the Bloodreavers were the ones that found victims for Kalarel’s dark ritual.

They decided to pursue the fleeing hobgoblin archer to see to where their quarry would go to ground.

  • Game: 1/30/09 via OpenRPG
  • Submitted as RPGA Home Campaign – Sanctioning #: 09-02-1821038
  • XP: 380 each (2280/6)
  • Gold and Treasure
    • Parcel 4th #1 (#8): – 280 gp
    • Parcel 4th #2 (#3a): – (unidentified) Magical Rod (purple and decorated with lightning motif in silver)
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Destiny Revealed
25 Kythorn 1479DR

 

I suppose I should have guessed that Joral would notice my restlessness of the last few days, but the conversation we had was nothing like I expected.

It is with no small amount of apprehension that I put the following to paper, for it means that I have fully accepted that my world has changed, and my course is set, but I have considered this long and hard, and I accept what my father has told me as true – regardless of the consequences.

My full name is Alain Dragonsbane, and I am, quite possibly, the last true heir to the throne of Damara, a realm far to the northeast, beyond the Dales and the Moonsea.

My birth father was Aulis Dragonsbane the First, and a usurper, Yarin, stole the throne from him when he slew my grandfather.  Assassins chased Aulis when he and his wife fled Damara, and they took refuge in Winterhaven when my birth mother, Kaari, could no longer travel due to her pregnancy.  They gave birth to me in Winterhaven, but were forced to flee as the assassins closed in once again.  Joral believes they made it as far as Berdusk before they were slain.  My father and mother – Joral and Kera, who were unable to have children through no fault of their own, and agreed to care for me.

My legacy, then, is to reclaim the throne of Damara from the usurper.  But how to prove that I have such a claim?  That's where the story gets more interesting.

Most of the royal artifacts – a sword, "Crusder," a signet ring, and a crown – are in the hands of Frostmantle.  It is the last – a horn carried by Aulis – which I can retrieve.  Joral called it "The Horn of the North," and it reveals itself fully in the hands of one of the Dragonsbane line (an enspelled diamond becomes a bloodstone).  Years ago, Joral turned it over to the Huntcrown family to protect until I was ready to claim it.  I will have to prove my worthiness to Lord Huntcrown, and then we will see if the Horn acknowledges me.

And yet, before I can do that, I must reach his estates near Arabel.  And that means convincing my companions that west is the course our fledgling company should take.  I will explain my story fully to them once we are on the road – with recent events in Winterhaven, I do not wish to risk any further ill on the town, or risk that someone will fell purpose toward me might still be there.  For now, I will tell them that my father asked me to deliver a message to Lord Huntcrown.  It is enough of the truth, without revealing all – of course, the message is "I've come for what my father placed in your care."

The only other information I have at this point is scattered, at best.  My only other living relative that I am aware of is Yarin's wife, Kirsti Dragonsbane – his claim to the throne.  She was the one that encouraged Aulis to run, but I cannot see how she can help me now.  Perhaps that will become clear once we reach Damara.

I also know precious little about the Huntcrowns.  My father served under Lord Eron during the recent conflict with Sembia, and they are one of the "old blood" noble families.  Valthrun knew little more than my father, but Sir Garz was able to give me a few more tidbits – that they are loyal to the crown and Cormyr, are investors in many enterprises, and are information gatherers.

There also may be a somewhat hidden connection of the Dragonsbane's to Tempus.  Another name that Joral used for the my horn is the "Silver Horn of Warrior's Rest."  Warrior's Rest is the home plane of Tempus and the other gods of war, including my own patron, the Red Knight.  However, I know mere basics about the worship and faith of the Lord of Battles, so I fear I must learn more of this as well.

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