Wandered Roads 41

Wandered Roads of Varisia
Session 41
June 27, 2015

Campaign Timeline

Meeting the Grey Maidens

Starday 6th of Neth

The Battle with the Grey Maidens

A Grey Maiden
Both sides advanced and engaged. At first it looked like it would be trouble for the Heroes of Sandpoint, but with careful strategy, precision arrows, summoning magic and excessive Dwarven axes the tide began to turn in their favor as several of the heavily armored knights went down. They were given the option to surrender and throw down their weapons but the haughty leader of the knights called for a retreat. A hasty Daellin, fleet footed Samad and several magically summoned firepelt cougars were able to cut the retreat short.

The Grey Maidens threw down their weapons and surrendered. Upon taking them captive, it was soon discovered that they were in fact all beautiful female knights, though each of them bore some horrifying facial scarring or disfigurement. The knights were fully disarmed, tied and put into the storeroom that Daellin had earlier hidden in.

Questioning the Maidens

An interrogation was made of the leader, a knight named Robleen, or Robbie, but she was not very helpful and shortly sequestered alone while another of the knights was questioned. Josobbi, or Jo, as she called herself, was much more talkative and helpful. She described what amounted to some
Robleen - not very cooperative
discension in the ranks of the Grey Maidens, who had been under the Lady’s Llight for some time and currently working with what some thought to be the Runelord of Lust herself, Lady Sorshen. She told how many of the Maidens were currently missing and said to be “on assignment” up above somewhere inside the towering statue itself. Their leader, Oriana, had not been seen for some time and whenever she was seen, she was in the company of Lady Sorshen. Jo explained how some of the Grey Maidens were beginning to believe that coming to the Lady’s Light was a bad idea and things kept getting worse. Some of them believed that the Runelord was not who she said she was and they fear for the safety for their missing companions. She described the layout of the next few chambers, where the Maidens spent most of their time and described a dangerous garbage chute that Robbie had tried to pass off as a hidden treasure trove. She was thanked and put back into the room with the other knights.

Exploring the rest of the Suite

The Golden Gallery
The doors to the holding rooms were secured as well as they could be, but that was not very good so Ehlyna and Samad volunteered to stay back and guard them while the others checked out the rest of the area. The next room was a warm and steamy bath room, past that was a strange golden gallery, where the Runelord and other visitors would come from when they visited. This long room was filled with golden columns, shiny black statues of Runelord Sorshen, rich tapestries and three large golden plates in the floor of this room. Another door led out past that.

Vexeron used a Wizard Eye to fly through the room and examine it before anyone entered, in case there were traps and he send it past to the next room, which was where the dark chute was. The Eye flew down the hole and eventually came to a disgusting trash heap. Before much other investigations could be done, a slimy dark shape came from the wall and enveloped the magical orb, causing it to wink out of existence. Thinking that some sort of dangerous slime or trash monster lived at the bottom, it was left alone and the crew went back to investigate the golden gallery.

No traps, magical or mundane, were discovered though the metal plates and statues did radiate magic. Upon closer inspection, the two outer plates seemed more worn and dull than the two outer plates. Identical inscriptions on each of the four statues read something like “touch me and enter the inner sanctum.”

Daellin Disappears… Again

Without thought to his, or his companions, safety, Daellin reached out and touched the outstretched hand of one of the statues. Immediately the three plates began to glow. He quickly hopped onto the center plate but nothing happened. He then touched another statues hand. The plates intensified in their glowing. Again he jumped on the center plate and nothing happened. He then went and touched the other two statue’s hands, each time the glow intensified. After touching the fourth statue, he hopped onto the center plate once again, and at that moment, the glow on all three plates disappeared, as did the impulsive Elf.

The other heroes stood there for a second, blinking, wondering what trouble Daellin had gotten himself in again. They decided to wait a few minutes for him before returning to tell Samad and Ehlyna what had happened. They hoped he was ok and wondered if they should continue exploring this area of the complex more thoroughly before replicating his activation of the magical teleporter.

Session Pics

The Grey Maidens rush Ehlyna
Calina and Kalin take out some foes

The aftermath of Ehlyna's whirlwind attack - downed knights!
Daellin makes sure his friends are not in danger

Vexeron fills the battlefield with summoned beasts
Samad and Ehlyna fight side-by-side with some magical firepelts

The evolving battlefield on the beach

Session Notes

A few players short again, but the game must go on! As always, a great fun time playing with these folks! We plan to put this campaign on hold for a bit after another session or two to play some Star Wars role playing. It will be GMed by Greg, one of our players, so I will get to sit in the player's seat for a while. I am looking forward to that!

Characters Present:

Kallin Hawkril, Half-Orc shaman and budding Priest of Pharasma - played by +Daniel Ernst
Calina - Varisian Human archer and scout - played by +Carol Coburn
Daellin Silvanthalas, Elven Farstrider Ranger - played by +Ben Lipe
Vexeron, Human wizard - played by +Greg Grady
Ehlyna Fuzziface - Dwarven Warrior - played by +Jodi H
Samad Aldhul, Human ex-mercenary - played by +JeCorey Holder

and +Jason Woollard as the DM


Grand Duchy 61-G

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 61 (Griffin)
June 27 - July 28, 2015

Chester Copperpot Has a Drink

Soladian 17th of Yarthmont

The Jug and Platter

Griffin takes his time in the tavern. Verge is on a major road, so there is a good chance that some of Golthar’s spies would be about, or passing through. Gactis said that a Reaver, what was her name? Jocasta? No, Jolenta! had been sent north to arrange an ambush for them. He scans the crowd, looking for someone who could be this Jolenta, but no luck.

There are quite a few other folk, though. A trio of halflings work the bar and kitchen. A white-haired Calarii bard sits in the corner strumming her lute, a large grey dog at her feet. The clientele seems a good mix of locals and transients. A dour group of mercenaries sit together, eating quietly. A burly Traladaran, greatsword over his back, sips his drink at the bar, his eyes flicking about the room. A boisterous female halfling, oddly dressed in grey skins, chatters with an comely Human barmaid. Griffin grins as he sees a game of what could only be Three Dragon Ante in the corner.I will definitely have to head over there later. Hmmm, maybe there’s a way to mix business with pleasure?

He corrals a bread and cheese board and a mug of ale and heads to the card game. “Gentlemen and ladies, may I join your game? I’m Chester, by the way.” he asks as he approaches the table. A large woman, not doing too well by the look of the small pile of coins in front of her, grunts and shifts over. He settles in to play and get to know the players.

It’s a mixed bunch. The large woman is Gerda, an assistant to Blackforge the smith. There are a couple of farmers, Hamish and Atlee, a traveling Dwarvish tinker, Grode Andurlson, and Vyncis, a red-headed human mage. He relaxes and tries to get into the flow of the game. He encourages the players to talk about themselves and the other patrons of the tavern, trying to tease out any potential guides.

As Griffin gets comfortable at the table, the others continue a conversation they had been having. Vyncis, the mage, presses the local farmers what they know about the land to the west of Verge. Hamish shakes his head, “It’s true, I heard it from a fellow from Varnica that used to mine up at Braltov. He found some sort of, um, something, a plate or plaque, with an engraving on it. It was a map. Supposed to be one of Halav’s treasure troves. Buried in some temple at the bottom of the lake.”

a friendly game of Three Dragon Ante... Griffin's favorite game!

“No, the temple is in the hills, above the lake,”Atlee interrupts. “But you don’t want to go snooping around there. There have been sights of a Dragon in the hills. A green one. Might be Argos or worse, some other Dragon coming in, looking for the treasure and trying to make a run at the Worrier. That’s just what we need, a Dragon war going on in our backyard!”

Gerda downs her drink in one big gulp, belches loudly and spits, “You’re both fools. There ain’t nothing in them hills but goats an’ Goblins. An’ a bunch of stupid, dead “adventurers” who gone looking for more’n they knew they could handle. But, hey, any o’ you get the fire up yer ass to go looking, why don’cha drag back some ah them dead adventurer bodies and gear, and ole Blackforge’ll pay ya a sack of silver for ‘em.” She laughs and signals one of the servers for another drink as she plays her round, scoring well and taking the gambit. “We’ll fix an polish that gear up for the next batch of idiots coming through town wantin’ to make a big score an be famous.” She shoots Griffin a glare as she collects her winnings.

Griffin smiles back, not letting his irritation at her gambit show. “Wow, that sounds dangerous, wandering around in the mountains looking for treasure.” He looks at his cards. “But surely there are folk that go into that area? Prospectors, trappers, rangers? Have any of them tried to find this place? Halav’s treasure, I mean, wow. Somebody’s gotta have tried.” He looks around the table expectantly.

She laughs at Griffin, “The mountains? Yea, that’s a deathwish, stranger. Them hill’s ‘er bad enough. But don’ go running off to the mountains, then n’body will ever find yer corpses and drag ya back here so I can resell yer shiny gear!”

Vincys listens closely as Atlee and Hamish argue their way through their differing accounts of where this lost Traladaran treasure or temple might be located. The consensus is that it is somewhere to the west, past Varnica in the hills. Not in the mountains to the north, where Griffin wanted to go. He keeps trying to steer the conversation in that direction, but no one seems to be interested in discussing the mountains any more than, to say that the mountains in this region are unpassable and not worth going into.

He spends some time finishing the game and finds that he ends up breaking even on it. Gerda is the big winner and Grode loses his entire stake. He sulks off while Gerda makes a spectacle of herself, insulting and browbeating the two local farmers. The mage, Vincys, heads to a quiet corner to drink some wine near the table of mercenaries. Griffin notices the fur clad Him sneaking glances at him and the burly Traladaran swordsman looking his way occasionally by way of a large mirror that hangs above the bar.

Griffin wanders up to the bar for another tankard of ale. He stares at the swordsman in the mirror until their eyes meet, then nods. He smiles and makes his way across the tavern to take a seat next to the Hin.

Seraphina Copperpot

He stares straight ahead as he takes a long pull on his ale. “So, what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”

The Hin, also in the middle of a swallow, snorts into her beer. Foam flies. She looks up at him, laughing. “Seriously? That’s what you got?”

The rogue shrugs, his eyes twinkling. “I got a laugh out of you, not that I imagine that’s difficult. But a laugh is a good way to start a friendship, don’t you think?” He extends his hand. “Chester Copperpot, at your service.” She eyes Griffin up and down, then slowly extends her hand. “Seraphina.” Griffin starts to shake it as she finishes. “Seraphina Copperpot. Funny, I don’t recall you at the family dinners.”

Griffin tries to laugh, stumbles, then plows on. “I was in the back row. Why do they always put me in the back row?” She says nothing. He sighs. “I guess we’ll just have to chalk it up to ‘small world.” She glares at him out of one eye. “Er, right, I mean… Oh, hells, I’m Chester. Pleased to meet you, Seraphina.”

She nods, turning back to her beer. “Likewise, I guess. What do you want,Chester?”

He looks around the room, “Well, you look like someone who might be comfortable in a more rustic setting. I’m trying to learn more about the wilderness around Verge. Am I right, or am I wasting both our times?”

Seraphina Copperpot... a long lost Hin cousin?

“You might be on to something there. I know my way around the places connected by roads. I heard you talking about mountains over there at your silly game, why do you want to go to the mountains? Especially north of here, there ain’t nothing in them mountains and no way to get there. This part of the Black Peaks are known as the Black Wall cause nobody gets through ‘em.” She lifts her drink to her mouth and takes a long drink. “But then again, I might know somebody who knows somebody who might know something about them mountains. Gonna cost ya though. Twenty Royals.” She sets her drink down and stares Griffin straight in the eye. He has the feeling that she is not in the mood for bargaining.

Griffin looks sad. “Here we were getting along so well, and you bring money into it. Fine. Let’s talk money. Twenty royals is not a small sum. I hope you understand that I am paying for you to connect me with the person you think I want to talk to. Ten royals now, ten if I’m satisfied.” He stands. “I’m ready now. Let’s go.”

"Make it 15 now and be done with it," Seraphina smirks. "And to be clear, I'm connecting you to someone who might know someone. Any further business will be with him." She remains seated, tapping her short, nimble fingers on the wooden table. "I get the coin first."

“You’ll get the coin, cousin. After you swear on the name of Copperpot that you’re not just sending me off on a wild goose chase.” Griffin jingles his purse to show he can hold up his side of the deal.

“You sure drive a hard bargain, cousin. Yes, yes, of course, I swear on Grandmammy Zelga’s grave, rest her soul. A friend of mine, he knows folk that should be able to get ya into those mountains. But they’re not from Verge, which is why I don’ know ‘em. But I know the Bear, and he knows ‘em,” She looks at Griffin with a pleading look on her face that seems to say, that’s it, this is all I have. Honest truth. She smiles at him and casually touches his hand. “Maybe you come find me after you talk with the Bear? We can catch up on family news, whatcha say?” She winks at him and slides the gold coins into a pocket in her grey fur outfit. She winks and hops up from her seat, “Hey, Bear, my cousin here wants to talk to you. We’re kin so treat ‘em good!”

The Bear

She heads toward the front door of the tavern looking back over her shoulder toward Griffin as the burly Traladaran swordsman cranes around from the bar and looks at Griffin. “Kin ‘eh?” He chuckles and downs his beer, slamming the empty mug on the bar. “You want to talk to me, friend? I like to talk over drinks. Come buy me a drink and let’s talk.” He kicks out a rickety stool next to him for Griffin to come sit next to him.

“What are you drinking? Tika?” Griffin calls the barmaid. “Another of whatever Bear is having for him, and one for me, too!” The barmaid dimples and hurries off, returning with two tankards. He takes the offered stool.

“So, Seraphina says you might know someone who can guide folks in the wilds around here. I really hope that’s true.”

The burly Traladaran nods, “I think I remember someone like that, but you know, my memory ain’t so good on an empty stomach.” He looks expectantly, taking a sip of his drink. Griffin groans. I must look like I’m made of money. At least it’s good food. He motions to the Hin barkeep. “Dinner for me and my friend, good sir.”

Dinner comes as only Hin dinners can. Griffin digs in beside his new friend Bear, and for a while conversation comes to a standstill.

The Bear
Finally, Bear lets out a terrific belch. “So you know, I think it’s coming back to me. There’s a guy, not too far from here, fought in the gnoll wars a ways back.” He gives a sidelong glance at Griffin. “Yea, them hills is infested with the critters.” He drinks again. “So this guy, he was all over there hunting those varmints down. I figger he’s what you’re looking for.”

He stands abruptly, looks around the room, then heads to the door.

Bear turns at the door. “Meet me at the Threshold gate at dawn. Bring a horse. We’ll be gone all day.” He turns and leaves.

Griffin tosses a few coins on the bar and watches his new friend leave.

“Fine,” he mutters. He looks around the tavern, and his eyes light again on Seraphina. He grabs a bottle and joins the boisterous Hin for a few more drinks. She is obviously in a good mood due to her recent windfall.

“Really? Fifteen gold to point out Bear across the room?” Griffin grumbles good-naturedly.

“Hey, a girl has to make a living somehow!” the Hin smiles back at Griffin. “It was either that or we could have waited til you got a little more drunk and rolled ya’,” she winks. “Probably could have made a few more coins, but that would have probably messed up that pretty face of yours.” She slides a little closer to Griffin and puts her hand on his thigh. “I suppose I could have also relieved yourself of your purse while you were distracted with something else. Then again, who says I’m done working you. This may all just be the set up. Bear is probably waiting outside hiding behind the woodpile, ready to knock you over the head when you step out to take a piss.”

Griffin jumps a little at Seraphina’s forwardness, jostling the table and her. He smiles to himself as he comes away with her purse, only to find a surprisingly strong grip on his wrist.

A Misunderstanding

She looks at him and scowls, “I thought we were going to be friends. Bear! Get back in here! Bear!” Her voice carries over the hubbub of the tavern.

The burly Traladaran comes bursting back into the tavern through the back door. Griffin realizes he must have really been hanging out just outside the door. The big, dark man growls and reaches for his sword over his shoulder.

The Hin behind the bar starts yelling and the remainder of the patrons begin scattering for doors, windows or dark corners. The Elf bard continues to play, lost in her own music and oblivious to the commotion, the dog still fast asleep at her feet.

“Okay, okay, okay, jeez, everyone just calm down! It was just a test! You were the one talking all tough-grrl about picking my pocket or having your *gulp* very large and intimidating friend jump me when I went to take a piss.” He holds up his hands. “Just didn’t want you to think I was that easy a mark…”

Bear drops his hands from his sword hilt and the Hin barkeep keeps yelling at both him and Griffin to get out. “I’ll show ya easy you Thyatian scum!” Bear launches a huge fist directly at Griffin’s face!

“Oh hells,” thinks Griffin as he tries to knock the powerful blow off-line. He barely manages to pull his chin back as the very large fist passes within a hair of his nose.

“Stop it, stop. Bear, stop!” Seraphina is climbing up onto a stool trying to get into Bear’s face. “Stop. Not worth it. I mis-read it. Leave it be. Come on, let’s get out of here.” The large man stops, but continues to breath heavy and clench his fists for a moment. Seraphina hops down and tugs at Bear’s arm. “Come on.”

Bear stares at Griffin and grinds his teeth. “Dawn. At the gate. And bring 15 more gold, Thyatian.” He spits on the floor, which brings another round of protests from the barkeep, then Bear and Seraphina exit through the front door of the tavern.

Griffin breathes a huge sigh of relief. Well, that could have gone better. And fifteen more gold? We may not be able to pay this guide when we find him! He looks around the tavern and realizes that he has probably worn out his welcome. He dusts himself off and leaves.

He heads across town to the Boars Head Inn to get some much-needed rest. The innkeeper has a private room, and Griffin takes it without a second thought. He does pause at the desk and leaves a note for Marcel and Draven, telling them of his quest for a guide. He would update them when he returned. He asks that if his comrades do not check in that a boy take the note and look for them at the Farmer’s Rest, or, failing that, at the Church.

He is about to head up the stairs when he pauses,then returns to the front desk. “Master Tullus, I believe that this lovely town is known not just for it’s comfort, but also some unusual libations. A bottle of Shire Fire, please.” The innkeeper nods and putters off towards the kitchen, returning quickly with the liquor.” He hands it over, a touch of pride. “Truly a fine spirit, sir.” Griffin nods and pays the man, then turns and heads up the stairs. He secures the bottle safely in his kit, then makes short work of stripping and climbing into a real bed. I’d almost forgotten what these felt like. Exhausted, he is asleep in seconds.

Lunadain 18th of Yarthmont

Going to Meet a Scout

Morning comes early, and Griffin has an appointment he does not want to miss. He makes it through the early morning mists to the gate leading to the Threshold road. The Traladaran emerges from the shadows. His face is hard.

“Fifteen gold.”

Griffin thinks about some light-hearted banter, but quickly decides against it. He counts out the coins into the warrior’s gloved palm. He stands waiting, not willing to let the fellow succeed in his intimidation. “Well?”

Bear grunts, “There’s a village up the road about two, three hours. Northolt. In the woods north of town is an old ranger, called Old Gren. He fought in the Gnoll Wars. Loved killing him some Gnolls. If anyone in these parts could help you, it’d be him.”

With a grunt, Bear turns and walks into town. Have a nice day to you, too, you larcenous thug. Griffin watches him for a moment, then mounts his horse and turns to hit the road. No time like the present.

There are two guards at the gate, still closed at this early hour. “Gentlemen, if you’d be so kind? I’d like to get an early start on my day’s travels.” The younger guard, obviously a townie, looks to the older one. The senior guard chuffs into his mustache, “Well, get on with it, Reggie!” The gates open and Griffin finds himself on the road to Northolt and eventually, Threshold.

As he heads up the road, Griffin hears the clip-clop of another horse approaching from along the outside of the town wall. The horse and rider head towards Griffin. He can see eventually that it’s Ree.

“You’re up early,” he says.

She looks him up and down. “I was up and decided to take a ride. It’s boring at the camp waiting for you guys. Where you going?”

He shrugs, “Looking for a guide. My sources tell me of one, lives a bit up the road. Want to come along?”

She smiles, “Well, if you don’t mind the company, sure. Been awhile since it’s been just us.”

He nods, “That it has, that it has. Things have changed a lot since Penhaligon. Mostly good, I think.”

She smiles,”Yea, I’d have to agree.” She smirks, “At least it’s less boring than Penhaligon.”

The two set a good pace, and their time on the road passes quickly. Ree seems lighter, still sharp, but with some of her edges worn smooth. Griffin finds himself relaxing as they ride along.

It is barely mid-morning when the road takes them through a small village. “This must be the place,” Griffin says, as they view the sleepy burg. Griffin picks a young woman, seemingly more on the ball than the rest, dismounts, and wanders over.

“Excuse me, miss, but I could use some directions. Are you familiar with a body named ‘Old Gren’?”

The Traladaran girl dimples, showing off all four of her teeth, “Ooo, tha’ scary old man in the woods? What’d ye be wanting with him?”

Griffin looks her up and down. “I’ll let that be my business for now, lass. But there’s two coppers in it for you if you deal straight with me.”

Her eyes brighten at the mention of actual coin, and she launches into an enthusiastic if somewhat random series of directions.”Well, you go out the west road, past old Master Mouzalon’s place, that’s the farm with the big barn what’s fallen in on one side. Anyways, after that, three streams cross the road. Turn left into the woods at the third stream, follow it up no more’n a mile or two…”

She is cut off by an older woman who wanders over to keep an eye on strangers in her village. “Ach, Xenia, what are you blathering on about?”

The girl blushes, “This man, he’s looking for  Old Gren, ma’am, and I was sending him up past the Mouzalon place...”

The older woman cuts her off, “Are ye daft, girl? They want to follow the north road, then cut up just past the ditch where the Doukas’ wagon got stuck last winter…”

The two women launch into an argument as Griffin watches helplessly. Soon a small crowd has gathered, each with their thoughts on where and how to find Old Gren. He looks at Ree, who is trying to hide her amusement, to no effect.”

Just as he is about to give up and start yelling, an older gentleman comes running up. “Here now, what’s all this?” He eyes Griffin and Ree. “I am Anton Dvorkin, headman of Northolt. Who might you be?”

Griffin bows low, “Honored, headman Dvorkin. My name is Chester Copperpot, and I and my companion are searching for a fellow named Old Gren, said to be native to these parts. We hear he is well versed in the histories of the Gnoll Wars, and I am working on a new historical treatise of those dark times.” Griffin pauses and eyes the villagers. “Would you like to hear it?” he asks, wide-eyed.

Suddenly, it seems everyone has a task they had forgotten to attend to. Griffin catches Xenia briefly and presses the promised coppers into her hand,then rounds on the headman.

“Now, if you could be so kind as to provide directions or a guide to this ‘Old Gren’s’ home, I could be quite appreciative.” The glint in the elder’s eye shows that Griffin’s words have found a clever ear, and soon he and Ree are heading out of town again.

The directions are clear, and soon they are riding through thick forest, following a stream up into the foothills of the Black Peaks. Griffin can tell they are heading west. After about an hour they come to a little thicket, piled high with blackberry vines and other pricklies. Animal skulls and fetishes decorate stakes driven seemingly at random across the path. Griffin recognizes a security perimeter and plunges through, finding himself in the gloom of a small clearing outside a small, comfortable cottage. There is smoke coming from the chimney, and the smell of venison wafts its way on the breeze.

Old Gren

Old Gren.. a long lost uncle!
As they approach, the door opens and an older man in a robe, still hale, steps out, holding a quarterstaff easily in one hand. He looks stern.

In a gruff voice he says,“Those bushes usually deter most folks wanderin’ by. Any reason you didn’t take the hint?”

Griffin dismounts and approaches the old man. “I’m looking for a decent guide to the area. It seems you are the only one for miles around. Could we discuss it, perhaps come to some sort of arrangement?”

While Griffin is speaking, the man is scrutinizing him carefully. “Well, I don’t know about that, nephew. Why don’t we go inside and discuss it. By the way, how are your parents?”

The small, spartan hovel is cluttered with forest junk but still manages to radiate an air of time-worn comfort and security. Griffin sits in one corner, still trying to process finding an uncle in the middle of nowhere. Old Gren sits thinking, puffing on a pipe.
Griffin says, “Well, Dad passed about a year and a half ago. Mother is well, of course, as long as she has the business to focus on. Waldorf is helping her.” He nods, “This is Ree, er, Ariadne. A good friend.” The young maid briefly inclines her head, but says nothing.

Griffin says, “I certainly didn’t expect to find a relative out here in the wilds. Mother said you were a knight in service to some lordling out west.”

Old Gren says “That's what your mother told you. She didn't hold with my change of heart, if you will. She thought I should have stayed in Penhaligon and not ‘gone native’.”

Griffin says, “So, you fought in the Gnoll Wars?”

Old Gren says, “Yes, I was once a Knight of the Three Suns, the same as your father.”

Griffin says, “I wish he’d told me”.

Old Gren says, “He was the best thief in the land, and a cunning warrior. It appears you've become something of an adventurer yourself.”

Griffin says, “How did you end up out here?”

Old Gren leans back and scratches his head. He silently puffs on a tarnished chrome water pipe. Griffin has stars in his eyes.

“I joined in your father’s search for something, something your father had talked about for years. The Star of Sairalinde.” Suddenly, the old man has Griffin’s full attention.

“We traveled together for a time, back then. He was obsessed. It bothered me that he spent so much time chasing after it, while my sister stayed home. I think finally, it bothered him. He went home once, and didn’t show up at our appointed rendezvous. I think he knew by then that I would know what that meant.

“So, I was on my own. And suddenly, the Star seemed awfully far away. So I stopped.”

Griffin looks shocked. “Just like that?”

The old man smiles, “Well, there was this girl.” He shakes his head. “We fell in love, got married. All the things I hadn’t had time for before then.” A brief pain crosses his face. “She’s buried out back.”

The fire pops loudly into the sudden silence. Finally, Old Gren speaks again. “But enough of the past. Why are you here, showing up  on my doorstep? What sort of damn-fool idealistic crusade are you on?”

Griffin says, “Well, could you guide me and my team into the Black Peaks? That’d be great!”

“The Black Peaks? Why in the hell would you want to go there? There’s nothing in those mountains but death! Seriously. The Death’s Head tribe of Gnolls live up there! Not that I need any good reason to go kill some Gnolls but what’s your plan? Why go there?” Old Gren spits on the dirt floor.

Feeling he has to share at least some information with his uncle in order to get his help, he shows him a crude and partial map of where they want to go.

“See, it all started with a horse drive. Goblins were razing the countryside, attacking all the homesteads. We got involved, traced them back to a ruin where we discovered a mage was searching for a tapestry that could lead to some lost treasure.” He looks at his uncle,”It could have something to do with the Star of Sairalinde.”

“Searching for the Star? Just like your father? Probably going to get you killed, you know,” the old man says. He studies the map for a moment then turns and pulls out some other maps and charts on crinkly parchment and faded scraps of leather. “Hmm, ahh, yes, ok, ok. Yes. It looks like where you are wanting to go is somewhere north of the Galt-Kalat Valley. That’s the home of the them Gnolls of the Death’s Head that I was talking about. The upper Foamfire runs through the valley. I could get you there, but it could be pretty rough going to get through it. There is no other way to get there. I suppose you could fly, but I know that the winds in those peaks and valleys are pretty fierce. It’s a pretty tricky route to get to the valley, but I could show you, no problem. The path into the mountains is about halfway between here and Threshold, hidden and difficult to traverse. The trip to the valley should take just less than a day from here and the valley is about 20 miles long, bout 4-6 miles wide, I’d guess. I’ve never actually been to the far end, but I’ve seen it from a distance. Tall waterfall comes out of a narrow notch in the cliffs high above. There might be some stonework or something up in that area too. Might be what you are looking for.”

“We’ve got a good team, Uncle. There’s myself and Ree, a priest of Karameikos, a soldier and another fighter, a mage, a scholar, one of the homesteaders, and even a few kids to watch the horses and tend camp. We’ve managed to survive so far against bugbears and the Iron Ring. If you are willing to guide us, we’re up for the challenge!”

The old man rummages around in the back of his hut for a few minutes then pulls out a pair of nice looking hand axes and some heavy leather armor. “Guess I better find my gear if we’re going Gnoll hunting!” He smiles a tired, weary smile, but there is a glint of excitement in his eye. “Just so you know, I’d estimate the Death’s Head tribe at around 200 these days. Mostly Gnoll, a few Ogres and they like to keep wild boar as well. My suggestion would be to move through slowly and carefully until we are spotted, then make all haste to the far end. If your map is accurate, there’s gotta be some way through up there. From what I know, they generally shun the northern end of the valley anyway, mostly congregate down toward the southern end.”

What Do You Know About Gnolls?

He rummages through his stuff some more. “So, what do you know about Gnolls? Not much, I’d wager if you’re still willing to rush headlong into this. Gnolls are filthy, lazy creatures. That will work to our benefit. I say we get close to their valley and enter just as the sun is rising. Most of them will be asleep. The damn filthy beasts sleep half the day easily as it is. They can also see in the dark, so traveling at night is not an advantage to us. Ahh, here they are!” he exclaims as he pulls out several large, folded tarps. “My Gnoll hunting ponchos.” He flaps one open, revealing a wide piece of old canvas painted with tans, browns and dark greens. “We wear these, they are long enough to drape down over our mounts as well. You do have mounts, right? No way we're making it across the valley on foot!”

“Oh yes, we have mounts. Do you? I didn’t see a horse as I came up.”

“A horse? No, I don’t have a horse, but don’t you worry, I’ll be find. I’ll find something to ride. I know a few things!” A sour stench hits Griffin in the face and he now realizes where the underlying stench of the room is coming from as he examines the Gnoll hunting ponchos. They smell like what he imagines dead and decaying Gnolls would smell like. He coughs a few times and sees Ree trying to hold her breath before she hops up and rushes outside “to check on the horses real quick.”

“Them bastards might be some of the stupidest things to walk on two legs, but they got pretty keen noses and can track with the best of ‘em, so ya gots to do something to throw em off.” He tosses one of them over Griffin’s head, nearly causing the young man to lose his lunch and pass out at the same time.

“So, ok, I’ll do this, but when it’s over, you have to do something for me,” the old ranger pauses for a moment. Griffin sees the sparkle of what must be a tear or two coming from his eyes. “You have to take me back to Penhaligon to see your mother. I’ve wanted to for years, but have not had the courage to do it. You MAKE me go back and see her. I miss her.” He turns away, Griffin sees his shoulders shake a few times. The man then barks, “Now, get the hell out of here. Be back here with your team as early as you can. We need to get up into the mountains and down the trail to a secret camping spot I know. It’s close to the Death’s Head Valley but safe. We will be able to start our trek there the following day. Horses, mules even pack goats, they are really good in the mountains. Now get, before I change my fool mind and mount your head out there on one of them spikes!”

Griffin grins, “Fine, fine! We’ll be back tomorrow.” He sobers, “And thank you, Uncle.” He turns and walks out, calling to Ree where she tends to the horses. “C’mon, Ree! We have to get back to our camp pronto!” He swings into the saddle, and the two ride off down the trail to Verge and beyond to their campsite.

The Company Reunited

Remar stands as Griffin enters the camp. “I took the liberty of getting us some supplies and another mount. I assume the company funds can compensate me?” Griffin checks out the horse and nods. “Excellent work, comrade. And the horse looks to be a fine one. Just excellent.” Remar nods, rubbing his hands. “I got the supplies and the horse combined for only $1500.” Griffin frowns. “Hmmm, the group only has $1400 at this time, comrade. I’ll adjust things so we  make sure we pay you back.” Remar looks surprised, then displeased. Griffin spreads his hands. “I can show you the books if you’d like.” The Alphatian waves a hand, “No, I’m sure it’s all in order. I just hate to wait.” He looks thoughtful, then shrugs.

Griffin steps back and turns to the group. “As for me, I found us a guide. Cost us a bit, and we’ll ‘ll have to have to get an early start tomorrow, but I think he is just what we need to make some decent headway through these cursed mountains.”


This week's continuing story is actually three separate stories, one told from each of the PC's points of view. Upon arriving in Verge, the three characters went their separate ways and each had a bit of an adventure of their own. Normally in the continuing story, I direct a lot of the action and look for reactions from the players. This time I did a little different and asked for the players to lead the action, with input from me as the story unfolded. It was interesting and I still had quite a bit of say in the direction, but it was fun to see where the players took their characters!

This is the last of 3 posts, the other two were posted yesterday. Thanks for reading!

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM


Grand Duchy 61-D

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 61 (Draven)
June 27 - July 28, 2015

Draven Preaches From On High

Soladian 17th of Yarthmont

Moments of Quiet Meditation

As his friends depart for more secular concerns, Draven allows himself to take a deep breath and relax for the first time in a while. Watching the portly fellow waddle off to his no doubt richly appointed chambers, he had to upbraid himself for thinking ill of his nominal superior. “Not everyone is cut out to be a justicar, and Koryis and Patura deserved the same sort of respect.”

Turning to the temple aspirants, he allowed some of the tone of command to enter his voice. “I know that I am of slight build, but surely there are garments here that I can change into while I am closeted with the Bishop, and you find a local washerwoman to take care of cleaning these up for me?” He waits just a moment to be led to a room where he can freshen up before joining in on the rewarding work of writing a timely and relevant sermon for later.

A momentary flash of common sense crosses his mind. “I shall have to be circumspect after all, rather than attempting to leave a lasting impression on my impromptu and temporary flock. It would not do to have my comrades exercising caution not to leave any trace, only to be responsible for a hundred-days of chatter over the one-handed priest of the lady of justice!”

The Church of Karameikos and Lord's Manor hose - Verge
The two boys, Mikel and Alban, hurry off to take care of the things Draven has requested of them. Before leaving, they show him to a washing room where he can clean up and even draw a bath if he so chooses. The small stone room is beneath the church and has a large hearth, a copper tub and a water pump in the wall for filling the tub. Zeno builds a fire and explains that there is a  small cistern behind the hearth that allows the water to be heated. Phillip brings some food, cheeses, bread and fruit, with a flagon of wine and a glass. Draven is given a soft woolen robe while his clothes are being washed.

Draven does some quiet meditation while waiting for the fire to warm the water and after a few minutes, he gathers some soaps and oils that are on a nearby shelf. He fills the copper tub with warm water and enters the tub. The water is warm and refreshing. Draven soaks for a few minutes then takes his time and cleans himself like he has not been cleaned in some time. When he is done, he allows himself to lean back and fall asleep in the warm water. The proximity of the fire in the hearth keeps the water nice and warm.

Some time later, Draven slowly begins to wake. He can hear voices talking nearby. Young voices, probably Mikel and Alban. He hears them discussing something in hushed whispers, something that both of them seem worried about. He hears the words “evil” and “sacrifice” and “stone circle” then one of them suggests asking Draven about it while the other one loudly protests, exclaiming “The Bishop has forbidden us from speaking of this!”

This last statement is enough to fully wake Draven. He sits up, still in the tub, shaking his head. The temple boys look startled and quickly begin apologizing for waking him. They have some vestments for him laid out and a thick woolen towel.

“Anything else we can do for you, Brother Draven?” Alban asks while both boys wait impatiently to be dismissed.

Getting to Know the Altar Boys

Given how little time he has spent with the boys, Draven tries to ascertain which of them was keen to talk to him, and which the more loyal to the bishop, though he makes no move to speak to them of what he overheard. Instead he keeps his tone jovial and tries to keep the concern from his face. “I must be as shriveled as a dried apricot after all the time I’ve dawdled here in the bath. Come, help me dry off and vest myself. I should not keep the Bishop waiting any longer.”

As he prepares himself, he ponders his predicament. Apparently something is amiss in this small town, or in the vicinity thereof, or at least something of an unorthodox nature - it didn’t do well to jump to conclusions. No, he would do a little looking, and a little evaluating, and perhaps get some time alone, one on one, with the lads, if the situation allowed for it.

Dressed and prepared, he chooses Mikel to take him to the Bishop, thinking that he, being a good Thyatian boy, might be the more likely to be orthodox in his faith.

“Tell me, Mikel,” he asks as they walk, keeping the pace slow and easy, “as you surely get out into the town far more frequently than your master, of the nature of things here in Verge. How fare the faithful, and the faith? Are the people of good character as well as true to our teachings, or do they dig in their heels against the inevitability of the coming of the true Church?” As he listens, he attempts to ascertain Mikel’s true nature, and seeks for any reluctance or deception in the boy.

"Oh, yes, Verge is good place, good folk. Most attend service at least once a week. Either here or at the Traladaran Temple. The Bishop encourages everyone to attend both churches. He says as long as the people are praying and devout, it does not matter which service they attend. He even holds ceremony at some town festivals with Father Dimitri. We have many Traladaran members in our congregation, and even some of the Thyatians are regulars over at the other Temple."

Mikel grimaces a bit as he says this last part and Draven uses this as an opening to press on with further questions. "Do you disagree with the Bishop's open and unorthodox approach to his congregation?"

Mikel goes wide-eyed and tries to look away. He stammers, "Um, well, no, but, um it's just, ahh, well my father says, well, um..." Draven puts his hand up to silence the boy, realizing that the disdain he had detected was not the boy's, but his father's.

Draven convinces the boy to continue and Mikel goes on to describe what sounds to be a fairly happy and healthy community. The people sound like they work hard and help each other out as needed. A true community. Mikel gives much credit to Bishop Andropolos and the Lord of the village, Sir Retameron Antonic. The only issues Draven can see comes either from unsavory travelers or from the feud between the two Halfling clans that inhabit the town.

Thanking the boy, Draven enters into the chambers of the bishop. “Your holiness, I’m sorry I’ve tarried so long. My time on the road left me wearier than I expected and I might have drowned in that tub had the boys not been there to watch over me!”

“I must prevail upon your kindness once more, before I dive in, however. I’m not sure I know what sort of homily or message might be best suited to your flock…” He lets the thought trail off, hoping to draw the bishop out.

A Fiery Sermon

The Bishop talks with Draven and goes over the main points of his service, some standard prayers and hymns and a few bits of local business the congregation needs to take care of. He tells Draven that he would like him to speak of his experiences in other parts of the land. He encourages him to tell of his time in Kelvin and on the road as well as his experiences with the Elves of Rifllian and other travelers he has met. “It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant, I’m not expecting a full house this evening, but I think they would like to hear something new from a fresh face, not the same old things I spout off week after week to them.” He smiles and carries on.

Given a free hand, Draven feels more comfortable. It would be easy enough to talk about the good people he’d met and befriended, and without too much detail the sort of things they’d encountered, and defeated, in the wilds in their earliest forays.

Tomorrow would be soon enough to talk with the others about stone circles and evil sacrifices.

The service was sparsely attended, as Andropolos had said it was likely to be, but Draven didn’t let that put him out. Planting the seeds of future growth was never wasted, and so he dove into the talk he’d prepared, about the breadth of lawlessness and chaos he had encountered, from the organized gangs of goblins to the scourge of werewolves, and even the presence - seemingly tolerated - of a dragon loose in the countryside. But he tempered this with stories of Susikyn and the survivors of the goblin raids, and their perseverance in the face of all the dangers and setbacks. The law, he asserted, will always win out.

During the sermon, he kept his eyes open, wondering if there weren’t recruits to be had when next he came through here, to rout out the demon or other bane that was summoning hell hounds in the wilds to the southwest, and to return to the profane temple of Orcus that still needed cleansing.

After the service is concluded, Draven stands in the vestibule with the Bishop and the two boys greeting and talking with some of the attendants of the service. Draven is happy to see that at least a quarter of the attendants appeared to be of some level of Traladaran heritage.

Halia Antonic, the Lady of Verge

Lady Halia Antonic of Verge
A regal looking Traladaran woman approaches wearing a rich dress of green velvet with silver designs. Draven would guess she is in her early 30s. She smiles at the Bishop, Alban and Mikel. The two boys blush and bow. “Ahh, Lady Antonic, how nice to see you. Thank you for coming to the service tonight. I hope you fare well. How is Lord Retameron? I did not see him during the service. Is he well?”

“Why of course he is well, Calvin. He is merely off galavanting around the country side. Chasing Orcs, or Kobolds, or something like that, I can’t remember. He should be back within the week. Who is this? A new priest for us here in Verge? I am Halia Antonic, Lady of Verge. Pleased to meet you Brother Draven. What brings you to Verge?” She extends her hand to Draven. Several interesting rings on her long, white fingers catch his eye.

Flustered as always in the presence of a beautiful woman, Draven starts to reach for her hand with his own missing right hand. Catching himself before he makes too big a fool of himself, he takes her own in his left and bows over it, kissing it briefly in Thyatian style. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, my Lady,” he says, recalling the times he had interacted, however briefly, with the ruling classes in Kelvin. “It would suit me, I think, to settle down here in Verge one day, but I fear I am not meant for any rest any time soon. The life of an itinerant priest and justiciar of the Lady of Justice does leave little time for comfort or finery. I hope you enjoyed my meager offering this evening?”

Lady Antoinc bows slightly and smiles at Draven. “Why yes, I did. It was interesting and a pleasant change of pace to what we’re normally accustomed to,” she clears her throat and chuckles in the Bishop’s direction. “And by all means, call me Halia, the formalities of court still stifle me. I am glad you agree with Verge, it is a wonderful little town my dear husband and I watch over. I would invite you to sup with us on the morrow but with my husband gone, I cannot. If you are still in town when he returns, would you grace our presence and join us for dinner? I would love to hear more of your travels and tales.”

“Without question, my… Halia… er...yes.” He quickly tries to rally and recover. “As you can surmise from my sermon, I didn’t travel here alone, and our journey will almost certainly bring us back through Verge once more. Hopefully your husband will be returned and we can speak further and at greater length.” Beet red, he pauses, hoping he’s unentangled himself from his misstep.

She bows again to Draven, clasping his one hand in both of hers. She smiles at him then turns and says her farewells to the Bishop and kisses him on the cheek. Two armored men step from the shadows of a nearby archway and escort Lady Halia Antonic from the church.
Spending the evening at the temple, Draven does his best to listen more than he speaks. He prods conversations in the directions of the mountains and prospectors and the like, as well as listening for any sort of indications of unearthly activity that might have brought the hellhounds around.

“Oh, yes, these hills are dangerous and full of unholy places. I have heard rumors of the Hellhounds, though never from good sources. Lord Reteramon has seeked them out before, but to no avail. Most of what I hear, though, is purely superstitious rumors from uneducated herdsmen, miners and hunters, no more.” Bishop Andropolos confides. “But don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of dangers out there. Evil tribes of Goblins, Orcs, Kobolds, Gnolls and worse. Monsters of many types, both inhuman and Human! The most recent story I have heard is one of a witch in the nearby woods. She hunts Elves and the tales say that she must bathe in their blood. But again, most of this is nothing more than rumors passed back and forth at the tap.” The Bishop laughs and refills his wine glass to the brim. “Tell me more about your adventures. Tell me of the things you did not share in your sermon. I am sure there is more, I can see it in your eyes! Have you battled true Evil? Slain the heretics? Sent demons back into the fires of the Abyss?”

Destroying the Amulet

“My good Bishop, the sights I have seen in these few short weeks out here in the untamed lands. You want to hear of my exploits? Well, let me start with one that may wish you’d asked not.” Returning to his room, he rummages through his pack for the profane amulet.

Returning to the room, he gingerly presents the amulet to the Bishop, relating to him the details by which he came to possess it. “I have also a foul idol - in storage, in the wilds, for I didn’t know that I would be passing so close to a safe place such as this - that I must destroy, but it possesses rather more power than I felt compelled to tackle on my own, out in the wilds.”

The Bishop looks at the amulet with disgust. “Yes, this is a thing of Evil, I can feel it in the air, taste it in my mouth. Come, you shall help me. I know of rites that will first strip away its evil, then we will destroy the object. If you come back with this idol you speak of, we can do the same.” He busies himself gathering holy vestments, items, books and other accoutrements then calls Draven to the altar. Following the Bishop’s lead, Draven assists him in purifying the unholy symbol. Smoke and foul wails fill the room for a time, but then, as if they had never occurred, it stops. The amulet is nothing more than a spot of melted metal. The Bishop wipes some sweat from his chubby brow, “And we are done. That took some out of me, I need to retire to my chambers. We will speak more of this tomorrow, Brother Draven.”

Making a night of it, he avails himself of a rude bed in the guest chambers, which after so many nights on the road, feels like sleeping in a cloud.

Lunadain 18th of Yarthmont

The Bishop Gives Draven a Hand

Draven rises the next morning to a truly glorious day. The sun is shining, the sky is clear and blue, birds can be heard chirping in nearby trees and the bubbling sound of the flowing water of the Foamfire can be heard.

Giving in to luxury, he has a large breakfast and continues any threads of conversation from the night before.

Taking the Bishop aside he does ask, contritely, whether the Bishop has any of the healing gifts of so many of his order back in Kelvin, sufficient gifts to perhaps set his maimed hand on the path to restoration.

“Ahh, yes, your hand. I was wondering about that. I do possess the knowledge to do this, but it does take some time to complete the process. One moon must pass before the hand will fully regrow. If you would like me to do this, I will have the boys make preparations on the altar,” the Bishop replies. “Our Church here has been struggling a bit, a generous and pious act on your part would no doubt turn the favor of Chardestes toward you. Your tithe would help sustain us for some time and relieve you of the burden of hauling it around with you,” he smiles at Draven slyly. “It really would help, you know. It helps sustain us, especially when visitors come through, like yourself.”

Bishop Calvin Andropolos of Verge
“Thank you, father, I think I would like for you to try. I have invested much of the wealth I have in equipment to help me through these wild places, and sadly the tax man made my acquaintance before I could make yours. Well you know, they ask with teeth rather than warm smiles for their due. But,” he says, reaching into his belt pouch, “the church here needs my fealty as well as my home in Kelvin.” He places 30 Nobles on the table between them. “Will this suffice as a down payment for your good keeping of me, in earnest of more to come when next we arrive in Verge? If it will, I hope you will entreat Chardastes to look kindly upon me, and my holy mission. It will be better served by a servant made whole, even if that takes time,” Draven intones.

Bishop Andropolos places the tithe in a gilded lock box and then leads Draven once again to the altar of the Church. He prepares the area and anoints Draven’s severed arm with holy water and other ointments as he begins his prayer. He chants and prays for what seems like forever, Mikel and Alban lighting candles and fetching holy objects at his bidding. Finally, he stops. “Your fate is in the hands of Chardestes,” he blushes and puts his hand to his mouth. “Forgive me, Brother, I did not mean to make light of your situation.” He bows his head and says one more last prayer. This time, Draven joins him.

Later that afternoon, Draven makes his way back to the Grey Company’s camp just outside of Verge to reconnect with his companions and find out what the others learned. Remar announces that he had purchased a horse and some more food stores off a passing farmer earlier that day to replace one of the missing mounts. Griffin and Ree return to camp later that evening with the news that they have found a guide to lead them into the Black Peaks. When Remar tells Griffin how much he spent on the horse and food, he is upset to find out that the Company treasury is not able to cover it and says he should be the first one paid back whenever new funds are gained.


This week's continuing story is actually three separate stories, one told from each of the PC's points of view. Upon arriving in Verge, the three characters went their separate ways and each had a bit of an adventure of their own. Normally in the continuing story, I direct a lot of the action and look for reactions from the players. This time I did a little different and asked for the players to lead the action, with input from me as the story unfolded. It was interesting and I still had quite a bit of say in the direction, but it was fun to see where the players took their characters!

This is the second of 3 posts, the last will follow tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM