The Minaria Campaign

In the sewers again!

We had a meeting with the Town Council in the Saltmarsh Town Hall where our new members, Keth and Bryngar, were introduced to the council, the issue of trust came up as Yanev typically let slip that he did not trust Keth, I countered this by asking who, around this table, can honestly say they trust the man sat next to them? They tasked us with following up the investigation of the Thieves Guild and the smuggling operation that we disrupted. The smugglers were arming the Lizard Men and there were rumours of an attack on Saltmarsh. A mercenary force was sent out and although half the Lizard Men were slaughtered only one mercenary survived, but it seems it was never the Lizard Men’s intention to attack Saltmarsh, so what is going on? Obviously the Lizard men are now extremely aggravated so not really approachable.

We have had little success in the past at investigating the Thieves Guild and we suspect somebody within the council as being involved, we tried drawing them out by making out that we already had clues to follow up, but we didn’t get followed when we left the meeting although we are pretty sure the Thieves Guild know who we are and that we are a threat…after all, we captured their ship and it sits in the docks for all to see.

The Town Council gave us authority to question a prisoner they were holding that was a suspected Thieves Guild member, we decided to wait until the following morning when Keth had the correct interrogation spells learnt.

I was very annoyed when Darryl, supported by everyone else, refused to give me the money to buy Elkwin a horse for his Winter’s Rest gift. It was frustrating having to wait until after our next adventure. Meanwhile most of the little personal gold I had left went to pay for materials to make supplies for the market stall. I delivered these to Elkwin at the Silver Sickle and spent the night there. By the morning Elkwin was smiling again, he will get his horse eventually. I asked him if he had suffered personally from the increase in crime I’d been hearing about. He said than he’d not had a break-in since we got our room ransacked before (we suspected Ned may be involved in this), but he had heard that a couple of merchant houses in the docks area had been hit.

Darryl and Keth went to question the gypsy woman that had been caught as a suspected member of the Thieves Guild and was being held by the town guard. Her name was Triestra and although she claimed it was just trinkets she had stolen, Keth was able to determine that she had robbed a merchant house with an accomplice called Kenrick, he had been wounded on their escape through the sewers and had been left lying on a sandbank (she claimed he was hidden at the back of the gypsy camp but her thoughts revealed the truth), she feared for his survival. Keth felt he would know the street where the sewer entrance was if he saw it. Triestra wanted us to bale her out with 150gp but we thought that would be counter-productive at this stage.

Darryl had also been off seeing one of his informants and had a job to do as a favour to one. He had to see if some guy’s ex-girlfriend was being followed from the Cat & Fiddle, so he and Bryngar went off to do this, seems they didn’t have a lot of joy, I’m sure Darryl can expand on this, but when he met his informant again he got a tip-off that a ship was coming in at mid-day that was going to be hit by the thieves guild that evening.

We went down to the docks and to our ship. The harbour master confirmed that there was indeed a ship due in called the Sea Maiden and it would heave-to a couple of moorings along the quayside from ours (The Sea Ghost). We thought we would wait on our ship, keeping watch to see what happened.

The Sea Maiden duly arrived around mid-day as expected and pulled in at the quayside. She was a spendid ship of a smilar size to our own and a kind popular with merchants.

Early on Bryngar thought he saw a pale skinny bloke watching the ship. It may have just been a dock worker but they were acting suspiciously. Later a small boy brought us a message that Oswald Nesrillan wanted to buy us all lunch at the Dolphin, Keth remained keeping an eye out here while we went to see what he wanted, it seems he was just warning us to keep our investigations quiet as he felt we were in danger from the Thieves Guild. We enjoyed the expensive food and drink and returned to the Sea Ghost.

We had a visit from Captain Dellan Redbeard, the dodgy old sea-dog who had supposedly been looking after our ship while we were away, he informed us that he had taken out ship out around the islands and reefs while we were away and cheerfully told us it hadn’t been damaged. Thats just as well for his sake, he is a useless old drunk, we need to find somebody else more capable. We did, however, learn that the Sea Maiden brought goods from Soren among other places.

While our attention was diverted Darryl thought he saw somebody watching our ship and took off after them. He came back a little later saying he had to meet a “gorgeous” woman called Keleena at the Cat & Fiddle who had handed this guy over to the town guard. The description of this Keleena matched perfectly the female mage from the wanted posters at the Town Hall who we had been warned of as dangerous. This hinted of her link to the thieves guild and suggested to us that Darryl had been enchanted.

Darryl knew we had an important job to do here and although he is one for the ladies he was even acting a bit wierd for him, I cast detect magic on him and we questioned him about things known only to us and he seemed himself. The others decided to go with him to meet this woman but first they wanted to see the man who had supposedly been spying on us but he wasn’t at the town hall where Kaleena had taken him. We went along and I called Lupin and left him guarding the Sea Ghost. I was not confident about Darryl’s story and suspected a trap or diversion.

It turned out that nobody had heard of anybody called Keleena, neither did they have any prisoners brought in today. Darryl had obviously been enchanted by this stage, and we were very wary on arriving at the Cat & Fiddle. Keth went and spoke to a town guard patrol to elicit some assistance if there was trouble. By this time I was becoming very nervous about leaving the Sea Ghost and decided to go back there as quickly as i could, and its a good job that I did as my suspicions were well founded.

Lupin was very pleased to see me and licked my face excitedly. I looked over toward the Sea Maiden to see a small craft, heavily laden with either contraband or stolen goods, frantically paddling away.

I cast spider climb on myself and scampered after them along the sides of the quay, keeping in the shadows and I sent Lupin to the Cat & Fiddle and told him to howl when he was outside, hoping the others would recognise him and follow, he had to try and keep out of sight as much as possible so as not to raise too much alarm in the town.

I followed the small boat to the entrance to the town sewers that we had entered once before whilst in pursuit of some thieves from the market. At that time we had given up the chase after a dreadful sense of foreboding have overtaken us in the tunnels. Darryl had been particularly affected by this. I waited at the entrance 15 minutes or so until Lupin returned with the rest of the party. It seemed it was likely that this Keleena meeting had indeed just been a distraction.

I got out our folding boat and we clambered in and set of in pursuit of the villains, Bryngar all the while keeping careful track of our progress. At the first T junction Keth sent Latrine, his rat familiar, along the tunnel to the left, while we investigated to the right. Latrine soon encountered undead and returned very afraid, while we continued, following the paths of easy boat access. I used the remaining spider climb spell to scout ahead a little upon reaching a chamber with two exit passeages, along the tunnel I chose I could hear or see nothing ahead so when the others arrived we chose the other path. Eventually we came to a chamber that had a locked grille on one of the exits, the lock had recently been turned. We were on the right trail.

Darryl picked the lock easily and we entered the passage, it led to another chamber with a sandbank and an empty boat moored on the sand. Footprints showed evidence of a passage hidden in the wall here and after 20 mins or so we gained access. We could see a heavy iron clad doorway leading from this chamber but in our path stood a 9ft tall creature with rubbery skin and sharp claws. Bits of rotting flesh fell from it and by the stench we could tell it was undead.

Darryl quickly side footed the monster and pushed Bryngar into its path who then started being slammed by the foul thing, but he gave as good as he got, while Darryl tumbled round behind the creature and attacked from its rear. I meanwhile fired magic arrows into it, and Yanev attempted to turn it (to no avail). Keth tried some spells without much luck but mostly kept out of the way, he was ill prepared for this adventure as he just expected to be asking questions today.

After a while we eventually overcame the beast but Bryngar was fairly badly hit being in the front line. We had to do some healing and wound curing on him to get him back to a state of reasonable health, but at least we are now ready to go on! I will try to salvage as many arrows as I can, I think we will need them.

Ferula

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Return to Saltmarsh

After collecting a reward in the city of Soren for returning the stolen plans (we all got a minor magic item each – I received a new magical heavy mace to replace the one confiscated in Dessarin) we arranged with our ship captain to take us up the east coast of the Principality of Lyris back to Saltmarsh.

On the way we docked at the town of Restenford where we heard rumours of giant orcs and undead stalking a nearby hill known as Bone Hill. We decided we may return one day to investiage the rumours. We partaked in a game of darts with a local dwarf named Gap at Falco’s Tavern and next morn we set off once again.

Several days later we arrived in Saltmarsh and it was good to be back. We arrived during the festival of Winter’s Rest, much to the annoyance of the sailors who wished we had returned a couple of days earlier. We had many drinks at the Drunkard Dwarf and Brynngar stole a hat off an idiotic fop who threw insults our way and he decided to wear it. Shortly later Darryl got ill from Filth Fever from a festering wound he had received off a rat a couple of weeks earlier. The Patriarch of Omara cured the disease and he soon recovered.

A couple of priestesses of Elodra (or people posing as priestesses) came around the town and demanded donations to receive the Blessings of Elodra. I hate giving coin to these wicked women but it is best not to annoy the evil goddess of winter.

We eventually met with the town council and they informed us that during our absence a group of mercenaries had attacked a nearby lizard man lair as they believed that the smuggling ring we had smashed was providing arms to the creatures to attack Saltmarsh. The mercenaries were killed, all but one, who escaped and reported that the lizard men seemed surprised by the attack and one had said in common We were no threat to you why do you attack us? A scout had warned that the lizard men were preparing to attack prior to the mercenary band being sent. What happened to that scout no one knows.

The town council asked us to investigate what was happening in the Tayn Marsh but they also asked us to find out who or what is responsible for the armament of these lizard men. Someone was behind the smugglers…possibly the thieves’ guild?

Yanev

Ferula receieved some magic arrows as a reward for the recovery of the plans, and she purchased a light hand-and-a-half sword while in the town which she needs to gain skill with. While the others were happy to linger in Soren she was desparate to return to Saltmarsh to enquire after her missing father Harcannath. She forgot to purchase gifts for the Winter’s Rest festival, her mind was elsewhere. Immediately upon her return she rushed to the Sign of the Silver Sickle to ask Elkwin if there had been any news. Elkwin was a little annoyed as she herself had been away too long, had not brought him a gift and seemed little concerned about his difficulties with the market while she was away. There had been no news and Elkwin told her she should go to the forest and enquire there. She bought a drink and sat at the bar until the others arrived and she was greeted by the Dwarf wearing a totally stupid hat! Feeling a little sorry for herself she made herself busy in her alchemy lab over the festival, preparing large quantities of stock of creams, balms, oils and tinctures for the market stall, she resolved to buy Elkwin a horse to make amends for her harshness towards his feelings but she will have to persuade Darryl to give her a little more gold from the kitty as her personal funds are running low. She also hopes she can persuade her fellow adventurers to help find her father but at this moment she feels very alone.

Ferula

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Escape From Dessarin

This was a difficult adventure for Ferula, breaking into a notorious impregnable underground prison that seemed the size of a small city, hopelessly outnumbered, and stinking of unimaginable filth (especially after she fell in a pool of poo while descending the entry shaft and was seriously incapacitated). She had to leave her bow and her beloved wolf behind and felt really vulnerable, she hates these confined spaces, but at least she got to test two new spells, spider climb and summon swarm, both to great advantage. She cast spider climb on Darryl who scouted the prison giving us a good idea of what we were up against, unfortunately Darryl got bitten by one of the rats when she summoned a swarm of them to keep the guards busy. All this was to rescue our crazy cleric who got himself mixed up in other folks affairs as usual, we could have easily all ended up stuck in this place forever. It was very sad having to say goodbye to our old friend Torek during our escape, he was a complete dumb-ass but rather cute, I wish him well in the battle that faces him.

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The Journey Back to Vandastar

We reached the sizable town of Nattenberg and I was relieved to be out of the wilderness and back among civilized people. The town was a smart place of tall townhouses, impressive guild halls and narrow winding streets. One area was particularly easy to get lost in and was appropriately named The Warren. We restocked on supplies and Torek purchased a magical war hammer, inscribed with the symbol of Moradin, one of the signs of Torek’s prophecy, which will apparently guide him to religious fulfilment. In my opinion he needs to dedicate himself to Tiros and stop worrying about his issues of faith. One of the highlights of Nattenberg was feasting at the Hogs Hall, a fine eatery with large portions of good food and excellent ale. While in town Darryl revealed to us that he has inclinations of becoming a bard. I hope he has some talent for it as I don’t want to be listening to a dirge everywhere we go. I think it is just a phase he is going through.

During our stay Darryl picked up some side work regarding a local bard, whose life was in danger, a victim of Nattenberg’s political wranglings. We ended up going to a local theatre which the bard was staring in so we could watch out for a would be assassin. It was a risqué production, mocking our good lady queen, although I must admit they portrayed her very well. The bard was awful and nearly ruined the entire production with his forgotten words and broken lute strings. And then it happened, poisoned bolts were fired from the gallery and he would have been mortally wounded if not for our presence. While I tended to his wounds Darryl and Ferula gave chase to the assassin, eventually confronting him down a side alley. The assassin proved to be more than a match for a Darryl and he fled once Ferula arrived on the scene. We told the bard to get out of town and make himself scarce. He left Nattenberg that night.

Once we had recuperated we moved onto Urlanburg, another sizable town with a less gritty edge than Nattenberg, but considerably more conservative. The town, like most places, had its problems, ones that would have provided an interesting adventure or two had we had the time. Instead we left next morning.

I would like to say the rest of the journey to Vandastar was uneventful but it wasn’t. Wherever we went we came across the presence of some kind of powerful creature that rotted the vegetation wherever it walked, stalking the land cloaked and shadowed. A man, similarly cloaked, tracked it, as though hunting it. The creature attacked a some farmers travelling to market, killing them all – this was the first time we encountered it.

We passed the famous Gilder Stone not too far south of Urlanburg. Legend says that the pommel of the sword of the great King Prayseth is buried beneath it. Whoever can move this great rock can claim the pommel, remake the sword and become king of Hothior, bringing the nation into a new golden age. Noblemen were desperately trying to move it, the pathetic power hungry fools. Darryl got Torek to have a go and unsurprisingly he failed to budge it. We also crossed the famous Kodrakuz Bridge, a feat of dwarven engineering, gifted to the Hothiorian people. It is certainly an impressive sight.

We eventually got back to Vandastar and it was the end of our long quest. We delivered the prophecy, which was a disappointment to drunk cleric that had originally given us the quest. The Fallen Star was supposed to be a sign of good times to come but we could only give bad tidings – “a time of darkness is at hand and we all must prepare for it”. If the cleric passed on the prophecy to the people is a different matter entirely.

We all sought training while in Vandastar, re-honing our skills as we seek to further in our professions. Experience is all well and good but you need to take that knowledge and develop it. Winter descended while we were here, the weather dramatically changing bringing with it snow and cold winds from the north. It was certainly a shock to Darryl who is used to warmer climes.

While in Vandastar Torek decided to compete the tournaments that take place in the arenas beneath the Monastery of the Wolf. It was a good test for him and he did well, winning his bouts. Maybe at last we really are turning into a group of heroes.

It is time for us to return east, back to Saltmarsh, which lies many miles off…

Yanev

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Journey Across the Wolf Wilds

We left the Tower of the Heavens with this crystal that Shalfey had bequeathed to us. It quickly became apparent we were being pursued by Keradites who were intent on capturing the crystal. We had to hide while we watched some dark priests on horseback attempt to decipher our location but luckily we were not discovered.

We continued our journey eventually making camp in the wilderness. When we awoke next day we were being watched by a couple of children, which was a strange sight to see so far out in the wilderness. Some odd events then began to happen – odd distortions in time, or was it in mind – we couldn’t tell, and it became apparent that the children were causing it. An older girl appeared and she admonished the younger two, who scampered off back to whence they came. She fetched us some food from a large nearby building which she described as being a school. It seems that there is a school for psionically talented children hidden way out here in the wilds of Hothior.

We carried on our journey and came across a small village around nightfall. It appears we are steadily getting closer to civilization. We stayed at the local inn and settled down for the night only to be awoken by the sounds of wolves howling. It quickly became obvious that the entire village was populated by werewolves and they were intent on making us their supper. We couldn’t escape through the front door so we had to barricade our rooms and make an escape through the window while the lycanthropes battered down the front door of the inn. We snuck out of the small settlement and ran through the night until we were well clear. We could hear their howls that echoed through the night, hinting of anguish at our escape.

This was not our last encounter with werewolves. The trail we trod followed a winding river and we could see creatures looping along on the far bank. Later that day we were ambushed by a brutish creature. A large and vile lycanthrope, that savaged Darryl, but by the blessing of Tiros he survived the attack. We eventually killed it and we didn’t hang long enough to discover if it had any compatriots.

We eventually reached the village of Hoden, a proper sized settlement that offered us a comfortable inn. We didn’t stay longer than one night even if the rest would have been nice as Torek felt uncomfortable with so much wolfsbane hanging from the buildings, indicating the presence of more lycanthropes nearby. We took the road to Nattenburg, one of the burgomaster towns of north-west Hothior, a part of my nation that I have never been to before.

Yanev

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When A Star Falls

The adventurers left Vandastar passing the haunted elven ruins of Celendrial and the Grand Temple of the Indomitable. The latter is the largest temple dedicated to Kerad outside of Shadowland.

They eventually came upon a group of dead monks and a strange creature known as a memory web. Upon its destruction it transferred some of the memories of the dead monks to the adventurers, providing clues to discovering the secrets of the fallen star. They decided to seek out a druid who held the knowledge to where the star fell. On route they encountered a dwarf named Torek fighting against a griffon. The adventurers assisted the poor fellow but lost their mule in the process which was carried off by another griffon. Torek joined the group and it was quickly revealed that he was the brother of Thorvald Hammerstone. Fate or destiny must have been responsible for this unlikely meeting in the wilderness of Hothior.

The druid Derwyth gave the group the location of the fallen star and they quickly left his company. On the following morning Thorvald went to answer a call of nature and he never returned. All that remained were his possessions. Torek seemed confused and bewildered by the situation but Yanev managed to calm him down believing that there was a logical answer to his disappearance and all would be revealed in due course.

The adventurers eventually reached the crater of the fallen star and investigated revealing a derro lair in the process. After dealing with the derro the star was retrieved and the adventurers set off for the Tower of Heavens – the home of Shalfey the Elder Sage. The Tower seemed to be run by a subordinate of Shalfey’s named Piyarz and the adventurers were not well received. The boatman that had ferried them to the tower’s island warned them that all was not well at the tower and that Shalfey was in trouble. The characters tried to gain some information before confronting the sages but they learned little so they attempted to penetrate further into the tower. They were confronted by the gnome guard and the odds looked overwhelming but some quick diplomacy and well reasoned logic brought the gnomes onside. A combat ensued between the adventurers and the monks and sages serving the traitorous Piyarz, with the adventurers being backed by the gnome guard. Darryl escaped out through a window and managed to navigate his way down to a lower level where he confronted Piyarz. When the dark sage was defeated the remaining sages and monks surrendered, many of which had been duped into backing him.

Shalfey’s hiding place was discovered, where had been protecting the Books of Prophecy, which he destroyed upon the entry of the characters, believing them to be allies of Piyarz. Once he realised that he had been rescued and the coup was over he explained to the adventurers that they needed to take the shooting star to a lair of deep gnomes in the nearby mountains to trade it for a second set of Books of Prophecy. The adventurers promptly set about the task, killing a village of gibberlings on the way. The deep gnomes, known as the Kagu-Svirfnebli, were extremely suspicious of the characters and they were guarded by several strange machines, which proved hostile. Once the Kagu-Svirfnebli realised the adventurers were carrying the shooting star the exchange took place very quickly. In the wake of the trade the upper reaches of the deep gnome lair collapsed in an earthquake with the characters barely escaping with their lives.

The adventurers returned to the Tower of Heavens where Shalfey rewarded them for their efforts and gave them the Prophecy that was needed by the people of Vandastar. The prophecy spoke of ill-tidings and that the people needed to prepare if they were survive the troubling times. Shalfey also gave the characters a large crystal for their safe keeping. He explained it was no longer safe for him to guard it as it was wanted by Keradite priests and they had learned of its hiding place. Arborius and Radigast decided to remain behind at the tower. Arborius wanted to help protect the old sage while Radigast’s motives were more selfish. He had his eye on the store of knowledge present in the tower’s extensive library.

Shalfey also answered Torek’s questions regarding the visions sent to him by the god Tiros. He was to look for three signs that would help guide him in his search for his faith and his destiny. One sign was the sign of Moradin’s Hammer, another was a curved dagger and the final one was a hanging man.

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The Stolen Plans

Upon returning to Saltmarsh the adventurers were requested to meet with the Marquis of the North Province who is based in the town of Jerikal. On their journey Yanev had a run in with some Zothite priests and a small band of orcs tried to ambush them.

The Marquis, Aurin Boldheart, informed the adventurers that some sensitive military plans had been stolen from the city of Soren and taken through a portal near the town of Braga. The adventurers were asked to retrieve the plans.

They travelled through the portal and arrived in the depths of a Cathedral in the city of Vandastar in the Kingdom of Hothior.

While in Vandastar a great shooting star fell from the sky and hit somewhere in the Wolf Wilds. A drunk cleric of Tiros gave the characters a quest to visit an old sage and to learn what prophecy the fallen star signified. To many in Vandastar they viewed it as a sign of prosperity and good times ahead.

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The Sea Ghost

The adventurers were asked to follow up their discoveries at the haunted house by making contact with the sea-going side of the smuggling operation. They used a signalling system to make contact with the smugglers’ ship and crept aboard while Darryl and Thorvald created a diversion. A battle ensued on deck and eventually the crew were overpowered. The battle was not without problems and some characters were forced to run around on deck getting chased by the desperate smugglers.

In the confusion a captured paladin named Arborius Astenon escaped from the hold and helped the adventurers. Without him the group would have probably have failed. He went on to join the group.

Oddly enough two lizard men were found aboard along with a captured sea elf. This will require further investigation.

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The Takathunda Stone

Rumours of trouble in the far north-eastern corner of the Principality of Lyris lead the characters on the road towards Evenstar and to the small communities of Browley, Ringmore and Kuston. The adventurers discover a vandalised church, three sets of stone circles and spider riding goblins. Inspection of a local monument known as the Takathunda Stone reveals a ryhme that speaks of a set of stones known as the Succubus Stones and certain doom if they are found and used.

Further investigation leads to an encounter of barrow wights and all the while some one is following the group. They eventually capture the one that has been spying on them and it turns out to be a doppleganger named Balden disguised as a local villager. He agrees to join the adventurers when they convince him that his current employer, the local lord, will soon be brought to justice.

A raid on a goblin cave follows and then the infiltration of the local lord’s keep. The lord turns out to be a wizard who is intent on collecting the Succubus Stones and activating a portal. The wizard is surprised by the adventurers and quickly killed. Balden is left the castle and he continues to pose as the wizard.

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