Ylan

Episode 7: The Long March

PROLOGUE:

The scene opens in a marble room with a shimmering portal. As we gaze through the portal we see a pitched battle and teenage girls weeping. A gnome appears, grabs a teenage boy, and with strength that belies his small stature throws him through the portal, back into the marble room.

The view pulls back and the marble room is guarded by several soldiers who look unlike any soldiers seen before. Shaven head, dark leather armor, quarterstaves, and an air of sorcery. They surround a group of teenagers. The new boy is picked up ruthlessly by a guard and the rest of the prisoners are led from the room.

Suddenly a woman enters the room dressed in a shimmering gown and heavily jeweled. The gnome drops to a knee and addresses her as “Queen”, while she calls him “Tinker”. The Tinker is obviously awed and stumbles on his words. The Queen tells the Tinker he has failed her and he responds saying that he has brought many “breeders” for her but that the Guild has interfered, spoiling his plans. The Queen reiterates the price for failure is death, but that in light of his usefulness she will instead send him to the Mines to repair the Machinery.

The view pulls back out of the room showing a tall tower in a gigantic city filled with even more towers interconnected by raised aquaducts. These aquaducts are large enough to handle barge traffic and other ships. This city is built above a sprawling everglades type of environment, and as the view pulls back further, more huge cities are seen, all of them in the area east of the Impasse Mountains.

ADVENTURE:

Gazing around from atop the plateau where they were recovering after their last fight, Kurgaz spots two groups of enemies moving over the bridges away from the party and heading south towards Bilmar. The group warily moves to investigate the smoking wreckage of the carriage, finding a tripwire strung underneath the dead body of the driver. Toran attempts to disarm the trap remotely using his Mage Hand, but a huge fireball detonates, obliterating the wreckage. The group is safely removed from the range of the explosion.

Moving off after the retreating groups of enemies, the party moves south in pursuit at a quick trot. The group enters wide grasslands and sees four horsemen gallop off on a road, again heading south. Wary because of the tall grasses, the group reaches the road and follows on foot, aware that enemies remain. Somewhere.

Entering into a forest growing up on both sides of the road, a check of the tracks shows that the horsemen have entered the forest to the west. As they rest and discuss a plan, a rising dust cloud is seen on the road over a mile distant. Predicting that this could be another carriage of apprentices, the party rushes off again down the road to attempt to warn them of an impending ambush.

Fighting exhaustion, they continue to run south along the road until obvious movement in the grasses to the side of the road brings them up short. Several of the Quickling assassins they have fought earlier race into the midst of the party, knives flashing. Toran, surprised, is eviscerated and brought to the ground, out of the fight and struggling to survive. Kurgaz ducks behind his shield and then kills his attacker with his axe in a battle rage while Pelaois explodes another in a heartbeat with deadly magic. The third attacker disappears in a flash, vanishing into the tall grasses.

Kurgaz leaps to the pursuit while a revived Toran (thanks to Kasimir’s quick healing) rushes after him, nearly matching the barbarian in rage. Kasimir yells at the party to stay together, but the two run off heedlessly into the grasses, where the assassin leaps at them once more. Kurgaz, off balance, cannot bring his weapons to bear while an enraged, naked, and bloodied Toran destroys the assassin with his Eldritch blasts.

Racing forward to the carriage, the exhausted and bloodied party realize that while they may have won the fight, the distraction it caused made the ambush of the carriage possible. The driver is found riddled with crossbow bolts, and the passengers are gone, the attackers fleeing.

The party now has a difficult decision to make; try to chase after the abductors while already fatigued, or rest to recover their energy. The carriage and the horses remain ready to potentially use in the pursuit as well.

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Episode 6: The Carriage on Fire
Note to self: avoid quicklings

Kurgaz, a Dragonborn Barbarian, that has been put on a security detail for the peace keeping emissary between them and the Dwarves stays at an inn in Hyrada. While he is there he overhears some Guild Initiates talking about things called Darklings and how one of the Initiates was almost killed by a Gnome. Thinking it unfathomable that three people could be stopped by a Gnome.

While he is at the inn he comes down from his room and in barges Borak Darkblood and demands to talk to Kurgaz. Borak informs Kurgaz that they will not be paid for the trip to Hyrada, since they did not do any work. He suggests that he stay in Hyrada and try to make a name for himself to earn some coin.

Brother Kazimir approaches Kurgaz to attempt to get him to join the Candidate Company, knowing full how that the Dragonborn will want to be paid. Pelaios buys the party breakfast so that the company can discuss his terms on joining the party. Kurgaz is willing to join the hunt of The Tinker so long as he get his pay cut, before the guild takes their share.

Kurgaz meets with Master Iban and agrees to join the party with a ¼ cut before the rest of the Candidate company pays theirs. After that agreement, the party takes the newly brewed potions from Iban along with a questionnaire about the potion. Toran reads the book that was found in The Tinkers’ hut that contained an unknown language and some runes. The book was talking about marshes that are on the morning side of the Great Deep.

The company learns that Baron Gregor has control of Forks, he is also allied with the Duke and Yvarnon. Iban informs them that Bramble is the guild caretake in Forks. The Candidate company then teleported to outside of Forks in the middle of a plateau. They see two farmers in the distance, Brother Kazimir then ran up to them and talks to them about where Forks is.

The Company is just West of Forks, they decide to proceed at a normal pace. After they start walking Kurgaz smells something that makes him think of wood and pine tar. The Company rushes forward to the fire after Toran magically creates somewhat functional telescope to see a box looking thing.

After the battle that ensued on the plateau the two humans were both to be found to have a tattoo of the Rune that was in the portal circle. Nothing else was found after the battle.

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Episode 5: A Tinker's Damn
Ah, the many uses of a Mage Hand...

One minion got away with Wes (one of the three captives), as did the Tinker. The portal closed…

As the dust settles, two other girls are revealed. She is distraught. P looks around, but the rooms have been destroyed. P takes notes. Z tends to the girls.
One girl asks after Wes. She is Annalinn, one of the missing initiates. She shows us the south door, stating that the little man went through there.

We meet other captives in cages; Z tries to speak with them. They are not forthcoming. Z opens the cage doors; one boy runs. T uses intimidation to get him to come back. Z tries to convince the girls to stay as the party rests, but to no avail. Same with T’s attempt to deceive them into believing they’re safer with us. We all agree to go up to the barn instead. We do so, but Z’s big feet trigger a magical alarm. We reach the surface unharmed. There are five here now, besides P T Z.

Z tells the freed captives that we’ll try to find Wes. We talk while resting. The captives have no real memories other than talking with the Tinker, who was complimentary and presented each with a gift – a necklace with a leather pouch. The next thing each remembers is returning the necklace after they had been imprisoned. Wes was captured well before these five. The Tinker called them talented young ones, and said he would take them to a place of opulence, a fantastical place a long ways away, where they would serve the Queen and help to produce more talented people like them. T determines that “talent” is allomantic talent, but T knows of nothing other than crackpot theories about pure bloodlines and breeding such talents.

<24>

Annalinn and the other girl were the final captives. Z asks about the grotto. The boy who smells of urine says Wes had said that creatures came out of darkness and killed Maris and took Wes. Z speculates that the Queen might be related to the Fey. P asks why they killed Maris. Z responds that that may be because Maris was ungifted. Z asks about the little man; Annalinn and the other girl were the only to observe him. They say he spoke briefly to the Tinker and then escaped, right before Z and T fell through the well.

The party rests. Afterwards, Z tells the five captives to stay while we investigate. They don’t want to. We make our way closer to the guard we encountered watching over the Tinker’s property. We tell the guard to take the five to the Guild and hand them over to Master Ebon. He agrees and they depart.

We start with the Tinker’s house. We investigate; we find nothing magical. P finds a small, odd book. It looks a bit like Z’s prayer book. One of the symbols resembles something on the runes P saw. None of us can read it. P takes the book. In the bedroom, we find a loose floorboard. Under it we find a chest with treasure. In it along with coinage, we find a small pouch resembling the one Caleb had. Using Mage Hand, T opens the pouch to reveal 10 gems. T reseals the pouch with Mage Hand and return it to the chest. Z’s Detect Magic reveals magic in the floor of the bedroom closet. T uses Mage Hand to prod the floor. An illusion is dispelled, and a trapdoor is revealed. Opening it uncovers a gnome-sized hole, with a descending ladder. There is a small escape hatch to the side, 10 feet down or so. At the bottom, 30 feet down, is a knapsack. T uses Mage Hand to reach for it; as the knapsack ascends in Mage Hand’s grasp, Z notices that it is glowing magically. T brings the knapsack all the way up. It is gnome-sized. Something inside the knapsack appears to be causing the magical glow. Mage Hand opens the sack and removes a jingling coin purse, and a velvet pouch that is the source of the glow. In the side pockets are two glowing magical potions. In the coin purse is a good amount of coinage. There are other supplies within. In the velvet pouch are three small metal balls. They glow brightly; looking close, they appear to be agglomerations packed into perfect spheres. P notes their resemblance to gnomish machinery. T’s Mage Hand tosses everything back in the knapsack. We leave the house and go back to the barn.

Z renews his Detect Magic ritual. No magic is detected. We return to the subterranean dungeon. The party notes that, unlike most of the objects in the Tinker’s home, the table in the center of the room is human sized. P finds symbols on the portal dais resembling those in the little book. He notes those symbols for future study.

We investigate the doors in the main subterranean chamber. We find the other end of the trap door ladder tunnel. We find a room with bunks and empty chests. Under one of the bunks are some damp leaves. It appears that people have slept here recently. Another door reveals a pantry. T takes the seasonings and spices that are present.

P finds a small carved box behind the shelves that has the same type of runes as in the little book and the dais. T uses Mage Hand to grab and open it. There are herbs inside that look like saffron. After an Arcana check, they remind us of a poem about a merchant’s daughter from a land across the range. P samples some in his mouth. No harm appears to come to him. We take the box.
We return to the main chamber and search the body of one of the dead minions. We search his body and take what we find.

The party does a final check of the surroundings and finds nothing. T asks P to place the little book on the dais. During this, the aftereffects of the Haste potion that P and Z took during battle kick in, and both experience explosive diarrhea. P manages to place the book on the dais; T uses Mage Hand to place the cursed platinum piece, gems, and spheres near the book while in the presence of Detect Magic. There is no reaction. P and Z wipe and wash and the party returns to the surface.

We return to the surface. We search for tracks of the little man who escaped, to no avail. We go to the barn. We find a store of metals and masterwork smith’s tools inside the Tinker’s carriage, which is, surprisingly, human-sized. We find a human-sized compartment, fitted with air holes and a pad at the bottom. We agree to take the carriage back to town. We harness the horses and return to the Guild hall.

We arrive in the afternoon. As T rises from his seat, the seat shifts, revealing a scrap of paper. T reaches surrepticously for the scrap, and takes it in his hand, hiding his actions from P and Z. There are names and dates written on it – Lorem, 4 days ago; Hyrada, today; Forks, 2 days from today. T shows it to the others; the party decides to ask Master Ebon about it.

We encounter Ebon in the lobby; he is surrounded by a number of people. He is flustered and shouting orders. We make out something about peeople on a list. P and Z gripe about their mudbutts. Z ask about Annalinn and the other 4 captives. Ebon says they arrived safely. We ask about Lorem. Ebon tells us that there was to be a pickup there; no students showed up. We tell him of the Tinker’s story of the Queen. We show him the little book and the carved box. He denies that he can read the book, but says that it is a fairy tale about a land across the range, a people called the Hideem (?), ripe with dark almantic arts. He calls the book a rare artifact.

We ask him about Forks. It is a good day and a half’s travel from here, and the Guild does not have a teleport circle in Forks. He refuses to use other magic to get the party to Forks. Z and T use Persuasion to get Ebon to change his mind. He agrees to get us to Forks, via magic, at dawn. We hand over our takings – except that T still has the cursed platinum piece in his component pouch. Master Ebon departs. We leave off with the intention of returning to our inn…

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Episode 4: The Candidates Acquire a "Gnomesis"

The party begins the episode still in the Guild complex, making preparations to further investigate the students’ disappearances.

Master Iban reveals that the gem Caleb the thug wore in a pouch around his neck was a magical item of domination. Linked with another item possessed by …? Allows telepathic communication between possessor and enthralled individual. Now in Guild possession, ensconced in lead box.

Master Iban receives a scroll from a rider, stating: Zoltan the Younger, heir of Brightforge (his father is the High King of all dwarves), has claimed exclusive rights to his name, and ordered Brother Zoltan to change his. Zoltan agrees, but will take some time to choose his new identity.

Master Iban gives us 3 potions of haste/healing.

Zoltan prays over his name situation, receives the guidance: “seek the Silver Fist”

The party acquires some items (Toran intimidates the shopkeeper into a massive discount), then heads towards the Tinker’s house. On the way they meet a guard watching the area who reports that the Tinker arrived home ~3 hrs ago.

The party splits up to investigate the Tinker’s property. The find a well, down which they hear the muffled cries of struggling captives. They also investigate a barn, inside which is a shady creature who avoids light and sneaks off through a hidden door. The party decides to head down the well, hoping to achieve surprise. They clumsily fail (Toran gets to ask Zoltan, “Tell me how my ass tastes”), and end up in a full-on confrontation with the Tinker and his minions, who are attempting to drag three captives (Wes and two girls) through a portal.

The party slays one minion and the Tinker’s summoned creatures, and Toran heroically overcomes the Tinker’s magical domination (brought on by Toran’s heroic decision to pick up a shiny platinum piece the Tinker threw at his feet). However, the Tinker and one minion manage to escape through the portal, dragging Wes with them. The portal vanishes, leaving behind only the Tinker’s mocking laughter and our battered, but still standing, heroes… now nursing a murderous grudge against their new gnomish nemesis, aka: THE GNOMESIS

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Episode 3: And then there were 3

After leaving the secret entrance to The Grotto and fighting the thugs placed to guard the exit, Pelaios and Brother Zoltan found themselves in the company of the castle Guard. Among them was Nigel, they all approached the adventurers and were told, most of, what happened inside of The Grotto.

Nigel, Brother Zoltan, and Pelaios all returned to Castle Hyrada with the thugs Caleb and Fred. There they were taken to the Duke and Pelais and Zoltan both recounted to the Duke what had happened inside The Grotto. After the Duke sent the thugs to the work hard labor they were in the privacy of the Dukes’ Study. There they went more into detail about what happened and what was found. When all was recounted the Duke made both Pelaios and Zoltan swear on pain of death to never speak of what was found in the cave system.

When the meeting with the Duke was done, the adventurers left his study and found waiting for them was Master Iban and Toran. A Warlock that was sent to help Pelaios and Brother Zoltan. All three went to an Inn to relax and inform of Toran of the events that had happened.

After much food and drink the adventurers went to the Guild House to sleep. After waking in the morning and eating breakfast they talked to Nigel, after he came to the Guild House, to tell them that about 20 people went missing. They were informed that disappearances have started happening more and more lately. Toran talked to Master Iban and through some investigating found that all the people missing were charges that were supposed to be sent to the Guild. Upon discovery the adventurers decided to go investigate The Tinker more.

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Episode 1: The Flower of Hyrada

Having reached candidacy at the University of Shyr, Palaios and Brother Zoltan are dispatched as a Candidate Company to investigate the the case of the Duke of Hyrada’s missing daughter Merris.

They find that there was some relationship between Merris and Wes, the jeweler’s son. They find out from Wes’ twin Ainlynn that Merris was to meet Wes at a known lovers spot called the Grotto.

The PC’s investigate the grotto with Merris’ personal guard Nigel. Zoltan’s attention is drawn by the trace of magical glow from his detect magic spell and find the body of a dead Merris. Nigel takes her body back to the keep while the company continues the investigation.

They run across a grate that covers a hole leading to a cavern below. Upon close inspection the grate had arcane runes around its sides. They pursue the magical glow into the caverns below and are ambushed by three darklings. In their first real engagement they work in tandem to dispatch the foes in dramatic fashion as Palaios’ flame strike exploded the last of darklings.

They are in a conical cavern that features ledges leading up to a small opening at the ceiling 200’ above.

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Exploration and pursuit
Exploring the cavern and crypt; back to sea

Monk 1: 1 magical finger ring; eyebrow rings are magical but unfamiliar
Monk 2: choker is very strong magic, again unfamiliar; staff is magical
Monk 3: eyebrow rings, again; armband.

Gregor makes sketches of our deceased foes. Chuck and I investigate the crypt structure, which is covered in pictographs telling the story of Grin (adventurer who explored where he shouldn’t, fought with and killed a god). Inside, a desk with shipping manifests in a foreign tongue, shipments to Aquesta and Tur Delfor. Also, sleeping quarters presumably for the monks. Find a magical black pearl in a lead-lined box.

Follow the cavern passageway outside. Chuck triggers a trap and dies a fiery death. We exit the cavern to observe that the Man in Black appears to have fled on horseback in the direction of Vernes. We make our way back to the ship that brought us here, book passage to Vernes for 9 gp + 9 more on arrival.

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Battle with the mad monks - aftermath

Monk 1: 4 rings, 1 tonfa, 1 parchment note (unknown language), 1 pouch (60 p.t.), 1 pouch (mixed foreign specie), 5 eyebrow rings (unknown black metal, left side), 8 shuriken.
Monk 2 (mage): black metal/ceramic choker (magical), staff with fire opal, 1 ring (apparently nonmagical). Covered in tattoos, runes.
Monk 3 (bodyguard): 2 eyebrow rings (right side), armband of the same material as the mage’s choker, bandolier of 10 vials of alimentic metals (sorium, 7th lvl) and 3 vials of unknown cyan liquid, 1 pouch (10 p.t., 6 g.t.), 1 pouch mixed foreign specie, longbow, 8 arrows, 2 daggers, arm bracer. Heavily scarred from past battles.

Chuck the survivor’s tale: hired with a crew of 30, trained to sail and make night raids. Taken to sea and introduced to the Man in Black. Traveled to a bay in Calais, midnight raid through a Ghezel fleet to the shore amid a Ghezel religious ceremony; delivered the man alone, who returned after some time. Fled with the Ghezel fleet in pursuit. Man in Black had the War Chief’s token, allowing safe passage in other ports. Holed up here in the cavern for about a week, preparing for the monks’ arrival. Obvious that the Man in Black was working for them. Cleaned up the temple, waiting for the Man in Black to finish his business. Hoped to leave in a day or so.

We spare Chuck. He asks to journey with us and we permit him, after interrogating him under a truth spell. He unlocks the gates to the storage cavern, full of valuable trade goods. We grab a couple small chests of gems (1500 g.t.), Chuck locks the place back up.

The “Fang sensor” indicates the Man in Blank may have fled through the back caverns…

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Episode 5: Soiree and Set Sail
Mingling and back to sea

Gregor, Pavel & Zinder attend a “celebratory” dinner party at the Governor’s mansion in Kyrn. Gregor connects with the Captain he’s been seeking and conducts some business. We also speak with the captain of the ship on which the man in black booked passage but learn little about him, other than that he appeared to be avoiding pursuers from the sea. We re-supply, then book passage on a fast sloop towards the sea cave where the Fang has been taken. During the voyage Zinder has a vision of the man in black showing the Fang to two Rhune men in unfamiliar garb and appearance, one of whom is a caster. They are inside the sea cave, which apparently contains a large mansion. Zinder awakes to a call for all hands on deck; apparently the sloop has spotted another vessel in the night. Zinder sends Grundle to investigate.

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