The Minaria Campaign

Arrival into Saltmarsh

The adventurers arrive at the backwater town of Saltmarsh in the far north of the Principality of Lyris. They include Yanev Velshin, Darryl Corsello, Radigast, Thorvald Hammerstone, and a monk who left the group just as they set off on their first quest. This quest was to investigate a nearby haunted house.

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The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

The adventurers follow the coastal road north-east out of town to the haunted house that stands on a cliff overlooking the sea.

Outside the house they encountered Ferula Niadelle who was collecting berries for her goodberry spell. She agreed to join the adventurers and they set off into the house. They were met with ominous noises and discovered a man tied up in an upstairs room named Ned who agreed to tag along.

They eventually found a smugglers ring operating in the cellar and while they tackled the smugglers Ned turned on them. Darryl was forced to retreat from the combat after being badly wounded, something which Thorvald would never let him forget with songs of “Brave, brave Sir Darryl”.

Once the smugglers were defeated the group returned to Saltmarsh to collect their reward.

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Darryl Investigates

While the adventurers rested in Saltmarsh inbetween adventures Darryl decided to make friends and discover the local town gossip, especially concerning the local thieves guild. He successfully befriended a young gang leader named Kredan Ashstel and he promised to keep his ear to the ground. Darryl became aware that he was being followed and even confronted the shifty man that was tailing him but gained little from it.

Meanwhile Ferula struck a relationship with a local druid and innkeeper named Elkwin Burnerdor. She also rented a property on Armour Street and set up a market stall for her non-magical lotions and potions.

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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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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 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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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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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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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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