Campaign of the Month: June 2008

Horn of the North

Up In Flames
5 Flamerule 1479 DR

The heroes approached the longhouse; at Rurick’s suggestion initially planning to set the building on fire to flush out the occupants. After shouting out a warning, a voice inside replied (a prisoner of the thugs who identified himself as Guk) and so the plan was abandoned and Rurick kicked in the wooden door. Inside the fairly normal longhouse was another band of thugs on the ground floor, who were alerted to the arrival of the heroes by the shouting (they had apparently been getting dinner ready in the cooking pit). Battle was joined and it was intense but no more difficult than any other battle with the gangmembers that the heroes had encountered. After slaying the goons and freeing the prisoner – who by this time, by the calling upon of Torm and a few spells here and there it became clear the Dwarf was a cleric of Torm – and without waiting even for the chance to catch their breath, Rurick went upstairs.

He was shot in the head by upstairs crossbowmen for his trouble and tumbled back down the staircase. The apparently Shadar-Kai leaders of this gang attacked! This battle was very much more difficult than any others the group had fought before. Since Rurick didn’t wait for the remainder of the group to recover via a short rest – or wait for the cleric to don armor – most of the advantage for many, many long seconds rested with the Shadar-Kai. Luck stayed with the heroes and though both Alain and Dot were rendered unconscious during the battle – the heroes lived. Which of the Shadar-Kai or thugs was Nightshade… was never discovered.

After searching the longhouse, a shrine and ritual circle to Shar, as well a strange alchemical lab was discovered upstairs. The lab was the place where the Remorhaz’s Breath was produced; they also found nearly 200 lbs of the purple powder. Though it would have been extremely useful evidence for Lord Huntcrown or even the War Wizards to help discover how it was produced; Alainn destroyed the lab with his Halberd scattering the dust everywhere and inhaling it himself (as did Dot who was too close) and they were affected by the noxious chemical. But that wasn’t sufficient warning of the dangers of this Netherese alchemical substance for the heroes; having never bothered to discover how Remorhaz’s Breath was actually consumed by its addicts (it is generally added to pipe tobacco and smoked – hence the name) they set fire to all the barrels of it. This produced a gigantic cloud of the noxious, oily purple smoke, that drifted like a cloud of toxin over the surrounding farms and fields. The villagers and heroes fled the scene.

Ultimately the thorpe of Corhen’s Crossing was abandoned later that year as the forest groves and barley fields most directly hit by the cloud produced by 200 lbs of fired powder had to be burned and salted. Purple Dragon and War Wizard investigators would later do this to prevent the growth of Netherese alchemy tainted crops. Having never been a large village to begin with, the loss of almost of third of their crop production was a hit from which they never recovered. Many villagers left for other towns and villages – those affected having to abandon farms they had lived in for generations. The final “human cost” of the heroes “victory” was high indeed and the secret of the production of Remorhaz’s Breath remains a mystery.

  • Game: 3/28/09 via OpenRPG
  • Submitted as RPGA Home Campaign Sanctioning # 09-03-1874232
  • XP: 350 each (no end of story bonus)
  • Gold and Treasure
    • Coin: 480gp
    • Items: Bashing Heavy Shield
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Riders at Noon
5 Flamerule 1479 DR

The heroes rode into Corhen’s Crossing at noon and some of the sharp eared members of the group overheard a commotion in the thorpe’s sleepy streets. A young ruffian was shouting to the homes something about “Give up the luthier’s boy and nobody gets hurt! The boss is being lenient giving you another chance.” – Rurick and Elithia headed straight for the ruffian. They arrived on the empty street on their horses and after a moment or two of a standoff; where a couple more ruffians appeared down the street armed with crossbows like the first one, Rurick charged in.

A hail of readied crossbow bolts took down both the dwarf and his horse, leaving him sprawled in the dirt. More ruffians that were hiding down allyways charged into the fray and battle was joined.

When it was over, an interrogation of the two survivors began. It was discovered that “Nightshade” was in fact in the thorpe. He was in the former burgomeisters home; the only two story longhouse in the village. Apparently Corhen’s Crossing had been under the thumb of Nightshade and “his ilk” for nearly two years. The luthier’s boy was wanted because his father had insulted Nightshade and was killed – the boy was being hunted (it was guessed) for Nightshade’s further vengeance. After asking the villagers and the survivors a few more questions, it was guessed that Nightshade was Shadar-Kai and that the Remorhaz’s Breath was; in-fact, being produced locally. The most cooperative of the ruffians was allowed to live (the very same one that was overheard threatening the thorpe earlier). He was stripped to his underclothes and given a shortshort and one day’s “head start” – the other was axed by Rurick.

The heroes then set their sights upon the two story longhouse and Nightshade.

  • Game: 3/14/09 via OpenRPG
  • Not Submitted as RPGA Home Campaign – forgot to prelist the event, sorry
  • XP: 175 each
  • Gold and Treasure
    • Recovered from pockets and pouches of the brigands: 140gp
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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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