Campaign of the Month: June 2008

Horn of the North

Unfinished books

I think it’s safe to say that this campaign is concluded or rather … on an indeterminate hiatus. I have 2 young kids now, several of the players live hours away and all have kids of their own. One is opening up his own law practice and another is in-between jobs thanks to the economy and obviously needs to focus on that.

I will leave this campaign up for as long as Obsidian Portal will let me. I had a lot of fun creating the artwork and running the games. I hope some of the wiki pages provide useful ideas to some other DM somewhere. Freely take and use what you like. Thank you to everyone who played, followed, instant messaged me, or in any way helped to make this such a wonderful experience.

~Matt Ragan

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Journey to Valkur's Roar
16-24 Flamerule 1479 DR

The heroes made fairly good time, arriving in Suzail safely. There, they encountered the difficulties with hiring on one of the big merchant companies… lack of credentials. The Seven Suns Trading Coster and Trueshield Trading Priakos already had plenty of guards for their caravans. House Skatterhawk had no caravans left in town (having all recently left). That left House Glanend. After talking with the well-to-do merchant family, the heroes were put in touch with a caravan in need of guards. A well known and highly skilled halfelf Cormyrian glassblower by the name of Leafall Bandis of Moonever was need of swift transit to Waterdeep. He was desperately wanting to give a presentation at the House of Crystal (the main hall of the Guild of Glassblowers, Glaziers and Speculum-Makers in the North Ward of Waterdeep) in but 50 days. The journey would take very nearly that long!

Wasting no time, the band set out the very next morning – four wagons, sufficient horses for those wagons (and a couple to spare), and the dour caravan master known as “Old Nynys” waited in the pre-dawn for the heroes to arrive.

On the Dragonmere Trail, they learned of the horrors of the Abolethic Sovereignty (as best as Old Nynys could explain) and got to experience bucolic rural Cormyrian seaside life as they rolled along. However, on day three they were attacked by a lizardman hunting party. The battle was fierce and (very nearly) spelled the doom of the small caravan. However they triumphed and continued, making it to Valkur’s Roar in five days – arriving at the 24th of Flamerule.

  • Game: 6/29/09 via Fantasy Grounds II
  • Not submitted as RPGA Home Campaign
  • XP: 300xp per character
  • Gold and Treasure
    • Bundle ID#1 & ID#10: 100gp Pearl, 10gp, an Elvish cloak of entwined vines and leaves (Cloak of the Walking Wounded, lvl 9)

Please try to keep Treasure Tracking updated.

Due to stability issues, we’ll be moving away from Fantasy Grounds II and back to OpenRPG. We seemed to have fewer glitches, disconnects, and general usability was better with OpenRPG.

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On to Waterdeep!

We are on our way to Waterdeep! I know that it is not on the way to Damara, but we go there to find information to help us in our ultimate quest. Waterdeep is our intermediate destination. From there, we will hire on with a trade caravan to Calimshan. Once in Calimshan, we will hopefully find the information we seek: the true nature of of the usurper king of Damara.

We know little of our destination. Rumors only of Calimshan as an evil place unfit for decent folk. Perhaps in Waterdeep we can find more reliable information.

For now, we have hired on as caravan guards for a small caravan out of Suzail. Our acquaintance with Huntcrown served us well, for upon hearing of our work for Huntcrown, we were well received by the representatives of one of Cormyr’s noble merchant houses. With a letter of introduction from the noble house, our caravanmaster hired us on the spot. We guard the finished masterpieces of Cormyr’s premiere glassblower. He goes to show his wares to the Guild of Glassblower’s & Speculum Makers in Waterdeep. He claims to have a new process for creating a new type of glass that is not so fragile as ordinary glass. I hope so, for he is in a great hurry, and pushes his wagons hard.

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Alain's Ordeal

6 Flamerule Today was not so bad. However, I could see the desire growing in Alain as the day progressed. Kelemvor has allowed me to bless and strengthen him. He has been pacing a lot. It is hard for him to sit still (he is still awake late in the night), yet he forced himself to read, in fits and starts, as much of the Adamant Crown as he could. I wish he could sleep, but the growing desire keeps him awake. I fear I will not get much sleep either.

7 Flamerule I awoke to find Alain at the door, trying to open it. When I spoke to him, he turned on me and angrily demanded that I let him out. Oh Kelemvor, what shadow-cursed magic did they use? I feared he would strike me. After I called on the Judge of the Dead to bless him with more of his grace, he was able to regain his composure for a bit.

As the day passed the unfulfilled desire tortured him. I must remind myself that it is the shade-cursed Rhemoraz Breath that has turned him this way; that my friend Alain is just and good. He curses me constantly now, his voice hoarse from alternately begging for more of the foul stuff, and cursing anyone in sight for not giving it to him.

8 Flamerule No sleep last night. The worst has begun. Alain attacked me today, seemingly lost to all reason. I had to call on Kelemvor’s blessings just to subdue him. I have tied him to the bed, though he has already chewed through the ropes once.

Even still, every time I thought he would lose all sanity, he would find some inner strength and pull himself together, if only for a moment. He apologized for striking me during that short moment. It is not his time to pass on, and I will do all I can to see him through this.

9 Flamerule I hope Alain has turned the corner. The near-madness of yesterday and now subsided to random fits of uncontrollable shaking and sweating. I released him, and tried to give him water when he asked for it. It came right back up.

The shaking is awful! It conjures up memories of my father’s passing. However, he has some deeply-rooted strength of will to drag himself back to lucidity, if only for moments. I have prayed over him all day, and spoken to him during the short periods of clarity. It is my voice that runs hoarse now.

Oddly, his shaking episodes are always accompanied by severe sweating. It seems to be similar to fever-sweat, but it is thicker, darker, and discolors the sheets. It also smells quite foul. I wonder if it is his body purging the shadow-taint. He sleeps now, so drained by this ordeal that even the shaking episodes do not wake him.

10 Flamerule Through we are only halfway through the week, Alain seems to be getting better, ahead of schedule. The shaking spells still come, but they are far less violent, and he seems to retain his mind through the worst of them.

Alain must have incredible strength of will. Huntcrown’s household guard told me tales of others that have endured this cleansing process. They said that those usually did not overcome the ravings and regain sainty until the 7th or 8th day.

We have some conversations now, though mostly one-sided. However, he now responds to me intelligently, nodding in acknowledgment, or giving short answers.

11 Flamerule Alain is most definitely improving. The shaking is far less violent now, almost controlled. He also kept down some water for the first time in 3 days. I was becoming worried, for he had nothing to drink since the 2nd day. The gods be praised, he is returning to himself.

Guk came and relieved me for the afternoon. It was a welcome break. Although I prayed for strength to endure with Alain, the past 6 days have been extremely draining for me as well. The afternoon sun was beautiful. It reminded me again of my duties to see that only those whose time is called pass on to the afterlife. There is still much good in the world.

12 Flamerule Huzzah! He is so much better today. He asked to read to himself, rather than have me read to him. Also, the shaking has subsided to mere tremors, and infrequent at that.

Huntcrown visited us today. I think he was pleasantly surprised at how well Alain was. Huntcrown sent us some sweet smelling flowers and herbs to cleanse the air in here. I had not realized how foul the room had become until my break yesterday.

13 Flamerule Strength returns, for sick people do not eat a full meal, and then ask for more 2 hours later! Alain still tires quickly, napping throughout the day, but we are having full conversations now. He is grasping the tenets of the Adamant Crown, and asking probing questions about the parts that he does not fully understand.

14 Flamerule Kelemvor be praised, he actually asked to spar with me today! I was shocked, but assented. I was careful during our short session, for while his spirit and competitive fire have returned, his body is not yet back to full strength.

15 Flamerule The gods be praised! We are through, and he is almost back to his old self. Tired from his ordeal, but clean of the cursed shadow-taint of the Rhemoraz Breath!

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Detox
6-15 Flamerule 1479 DR

6 Flamrule

With the assistance of Count Huntcrown and my friends, the process of ridding myself of the Remorhaz’s Breath addiction has begun. After my encounter at the Purple Dragon garrison, I don’t have much choice. My supply of the Breath that I took from Corhen’s Crossing is long gone, and I could either face the withdrawal symptoms alone, or with help.

So, I am sequestered in a fairly spartan room in Lord Huntcrown’s estate. While Lord Huntcrown and most of my companions have promised to look in on me regularly, my constant companion is Braelyn, lending me the strength and blessings of his faith as I battle this addiction. We have had some minor conversations today, but nothing of significance or relevance. I have begun reading the Adamant Crown, Lord Huntcrown’s treatise on the nature and durties of nobility. I hope to gain insights from both reading this book and speaking with him as the week goes on, but right now it’s very hard to concentrate.

But for now, I am tired. Braelyn has finished his evening prayers, and I pray to the Lady Grandmaster that today is the worst of what I face.

7 Flamerule

The symptoms are _. I can barely hold my quill lo _[smeared scribble]

9 Flamerule

I am forcing myself to record someething to prove that I am surviving this ordeal. Yesterday was… awful. Today, nearly so…

10 Flamerule

For the last three days, I have hardly been able to move, let alone take a meal. The cravings were overwhelming, and what little I had eaten on the first day I had expelled by midday on the second. Only Braelyn’s voice kept me somewhat grounded. He spoke of his faith, read to me from the Adamant Crown, and prayed over me many times. I could not tell you exactly what he said, as I was hardly able to focus on the sound of his voice, let alone what he was saying. Lord Huntcrown and my friends seem to think I am past the worst of the symptoms. I can only hope so – I cannot imagine going through worse.

11 Flamerule

I have finally been able to hold down more than small sips of water and wine. I am shaky, to say the least, but I will get through this. Braelyn has been an anchor for me to hold tight to, with my other allies providing support as they have come to visit, including, surprisingly, additional support from GUK, the faithful of Torm that we rescued. I have noticed that they don’t come as close to me anymore – I must be rancid, but I cannot tell anymore.

12 Flamerule

I can finally read for longer periods of time again, so Braelyn has been able to rest his voice from having to read to me and pray over me. After having his staff hang some fragrant herbs and pomanders in my room for awhile, Lord Huntcrown returned to have longer discussions with me regarding my readings from The Adamant Crown.

13 Flamerule

I was actually able to eat a full meal of normal food today. Between Braelyn and Lord Huntcrown, I have found much to ponder and consider about how I will go about not only freeing Damara, but also ruling it.

14 Flamerule

My strength is definitely returning. I have been able to do some minor unarmed sparring with Braelyn, to begin reconditioning myself. I don’t last long, but it’s not about the battle as much as the exercise. Although, Braelyn does seem to take some pleasure in putting me down from time to time….

15 Flamerule

Today should be the day of my release. While I am still somewhat weak, I am eating well again, and am more than ready to return to the Pride of Arabel for a long overdue cleansing. Lord Huntcrown seems pleased with the things I’ve learned from the Adamant Crown. I’m just sorry that I won’t have a copy with me when I leave Arabel.

Lord Huntcrown says that he has information for us – a possible clue regarding Ashmourne. We’re to return in a day or so to get this information and determine our next course of action.

I also have a much deeper respect for Braelyn and his devotion to his deity. I’ve always tried to live by the tenets of the Red Knight, but it always seemed to be a means to an end, rather than a relationship. I cannot tell what the future might bring, but for now, I feel that my own faith has been strengthened by Braelyn’s example.

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Huntcrown bids Farewell
16 Flamerule 1479 DR

During the course of the Tenday, Rurick found employment with a Purple Dragon Knight company there in Arabel and left the Company of the Locked Portal. The group spent the time trying to find out as much as possible about Calimshan – discovering to their dismay that it was no friendly place.

The heroes met with Huntcrown one last time and at this afternoon lunch, he handed out gifts and “tokens of his appreciation” for their assistance with the Remorhaz’s Breath. He (along with others the party had met) advised the heroes to travel to Waterdeep, and from there travel with a trade company down to Calimshan for their own safety.

The next day (16th of Flamerule) they set out for Suzail. At nightfall they rested at a roadside inn and were attacked by Shadarkai intent on making the heroes pay for their meddling in their various plots in the Arabel region. The heroes vanquished the assassins and continued to Suzail.

  • Game: 5/2/09 via Fantasy Grounds II
  • Not submitted as RPGA Home Campaign
  • XP: (XP deferred to next session)
  • Gold and Treasure
    • 3 Healing Potions, Bracers of Archery 6, Irrefutable Armor 7, Diadem of Acuity 8, The Horn of the North

This session was mainly to learn more about Fantasy Grounds II, how it worked, and about how to use the map and combat features. It also allowed me to catch up on treasure parcels that I had not handed out during the run through 4th level.

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The Adamant Crown
15 Flamerule 1479 DR

Guk of Torm, the dwarven cleric that had been discovered in the cell of the farmhouse took it upon himself to return to the haze covered community to seek out some kind of evidence as to the nature of the Remorrhaz’s Breath. Following the ranger’s lead, everone (except Alain) tied wet cloth around their nose and mouth to try and dampen the effects. In the farmhouse they did their best to recover any notes or books detailing the goings on. Additionally they studied the ritual circle on the second floor (Braelyn destroyed the statue to Shar in the process).

Alain, Guk, and Dotara went to Arabel to fetch the War Wizards, hopefully to come and investigate the alchemical lab more fully. Upon arriving in Arabel, they went to one of the barracks of the Purple Dragons to seek out Swordcaptain Durgan Kyrioth, the one they had met with several evenings before during their investigations of Arabel by night. All seemed well until the guards noticed Alain’s face – and ultimately he was arrested for suspicion of being under the effects of Remorrhaz’s Breath (and when they searched his belongings, they found many pounds of the poweder in his Bag of Holding). Guk, tried to diplomatically discuss things, but as his name was not on any of the adventuring charters the swordcaptain tested his claim. When asked a question about his church, unfortunately it was about a leader from a community far away and removed from where Guk hailed – so he was tossed in the cell as well (for openly carrying arms without a charter). Dot was alone left to lead a suspicious and on-edge heavy cavalry patrol of Purple Dragon Knights back to Corhen’s Crossing.

Upon arriving in the village, things were tense at first, but Braelyn was able to take the swordcaptain on a “tour” of the village and explain things sufficiently to Sir Durgan’s satisfaction. He sent for the War Wizards on his authority, and after leaving a pair of knights to stay behind in Corhen’s Crossing to sort the evidence, returned to Arabel with the party and released the prisoners – dropping all charges (he had run across the Charter from Lord Huntcrown earlier and, upon determining the full extent of the circumstances – for his career’s future he had no other option than to let them go).

After dinner, the heroes went to Lord Huntcrown’s residence to give him a status update. Huntcrown listened to the summary and asked the heroes to return the next day for lunch – he needed time to compose his thoughts and to regain his composure after the details were revealed to him. The next day at lunch, Huntcrown revealed his reservations about Alain’s current ability to lead (echoed by Alain himself) and indicated that he could both help Alain kick off his addiction as well as give him clues that would take him to Calimshan. There, in the desert kingdom, he might be able to learn more about the mysterious power behind Yarin Frostmantle’s throne – the enigmaatic necromancer known only as Lord Ashmourne.

For a Tenday, Alain struggled to throw off the worst of the addiction created by the Netherese alchemical substance known as Remorhaz’s Breath. His only companions were Braelyn (a Paladin whos spiritual strength lent him great assistance), Lord Huntcrown, and a copy of Lord Huntcrown’s book on the nature of political power – The Adamant Crown.

  • Game: 4/25/09 via Fantasy Grounds II
  • Not Submitted as RPGA Home Campaign (I forgot to prelist the game)
  • XP: (since some characters were only a hundred or so XP from 5th level, I’m just saying “everybody is 5th level) so Ding! 5th Level. (minimum xp for the level)
  • Gold and Treasure
    • Coin: n/a
    • Items: n/a
  • Action List
    • Level up to 5, minimum XP for 5th level
    • Guk, I need some pictures for your character so I can create the headers, icons, etc.
    • Please send me a current list of all magic items you’ve got for your character (if you’ve got them successfully into your Character Creator file, just send me that).
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Tripping
5 Flamerule 1479 DR

My halberd shattered the apparatuses that had been used to conduct the foul concoction known as Remorhaz’s Breath. As I continued to destroy the equipment, I failed to notice the purple cloud floating around me.

Quite suddenly, the table wavered before my eyes and I thought I felt myself falling…

But I landed on my throne… the throne of the Dragonsbanes, recovered from foul Yarin and his allies with the help of my companions, who gathered around me, cheering. The people of Damara were celebrating the defeat of the tyrant, and even Lord Huntcrown. King Foril, and Price Irvel were in attendance at my coronation. Regardless of my bloodline, I had come of age in Cormyr, and the ties between the Bloodstone lands and the Forest Kingdom would be strong indeed.

The proceeds of my days adventuring had paid for a grand feast that all Damarans were welcome to partake in – for with my companions by my side, I was in no danger…

Time and the world shifts around me….

Some time after that feast, I sat on my throne, my queen by my side… but I can’t make out her face… it is a rush of images and blurred features… but her hair distinctly shifts from green… to golden blond… to silvery purple… over and over again…

Time and the world swirl around me for a much longer time, in nauseating patterns – I had no concept of how much time had passed as my eyes finally opened and focused on the two dwarves trying to speak to me. The pain in my head was incredible, and I felt very, very tired…

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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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