The following is a brief summary of the main story line for review. For more details, you can refer to Adventure Summary Saturday
Nearly a hundred years ago, the world was plunged into chaos and destruction when Loki (the Evil God of Trickery and Lies) was released from his prison. For seventy years, the world shook and civilization was brought nearly to a point of collapse during a time many thought was Ragnarok (end of the world) but which is now known as the God’s War since the world did not end.
During that time, nearly three quarters of the known world’s population perished from famine, plague and war. The world is just now starting to rebuild, as different factions try to take control of a fractured land.
Refer to Thraes Timeline, Thraes Deities and Thraes Deities for more details.
1216/04 Caravan Duty
Caravan duty is normally weeks or even months of boredom followed by brief and deadly conflict, and your experience with the Fat Pony Trading Company was no different. After months of boring duty (and hiring on a few new guards) the group is on the return to Tobano.
The Fat Pony has a policy of helping people on their trade routes when they can, seeing the region prosperous and peaceful is good for business.
Your fellow travelers:
Belle Winkle: half-orc barbarian and Vall’s “daughter”
Helja: Dwarven cleric
Sinbad: half-elf fighter, Vall’s son
Lawny (Blawnostron Green): halfling rogue
Vall: Elven wizard and Belle’s “father”
Wynn: Half-elf bard seeking fame and fortune
Your first encounter was with some goblins that Lawny had snuck out to investigate (Wynn followed). Fortunately the group handled the pesky bandits with little difficulty.
The next day, Gorrum (the dwarven caravan master) called the group over to speak with a couple from a local village, Ernesto and Olivia. Their son Sergio was missing and they had come to the caravan for help. They suspected he was in some ruins near town, a dangerous area.
Heading to the ruins, the group ran into a hobgoblin patrol riding on the back of Axbeaks, and then ran into some gnolls.
Sergio was found in nearby ruins. He said that the voices were telling him he could be the next emperor, but Lawnie was able to talk him out of it.
1216-05 Investigating Warehouse Robbery
The Fat Pony Trading Company has multiple warehouses in town, and recently one has been broken into. The odd thing is that the only thing stolen was Ergot (a rye fungus used to ease childbirth) and bonemeal.
At the warehouse, there was no sign of forced entry, only some paint smudged on the door. Since there was an art fair being held outside the city gates, the group went to investigate.
On the way to the fair, the group was questioned by a guard (Arnisto) that had been informed to stop and investigate people by Captain Blake because there had been an incident with a madman raving about living paintings.
Deciding to investigate the madman, the group found a raving lunatic in a cell who started playing “drums” that magically appeared. While playing the drums, the guards became mesmerized and giant spiders attacked the group.
After subduing the prisoner, it turned out that he was the missing warehouse guard Larson, who had been captured and used as a test subject for “a new batch”.
Back at the festival, the group was attacked by living paintings (painted by Lerissan Lao ) and captured a merchant that had been acting suspiciously.
After interrogating the merchant, they had the name and location of his contact. Storming the building where the contact (Cielo) is holed up, the group quickly dispatches them.
Unfortunately, Cello was killed in the fight and the guards that did survive did not know much. It appears that Cello was a follower of Gungdryn (The Sleeping God), but what was behind the events was not discovered.
Lawny did get an intelligent, talking sword that she named “Millionaire Molly”. He goes by “Moe”
1216-07 Find the Missing Historian
The group is asked by the dean of the School of History and Theology, Silia Bromidus, to investigate the disappearance of one of his faculty members Salihn Alavara . Salihn has been on a secret project, something to do with the fallen Emorian empire. She believes that bringing back the empire could bring peace to the land.
While getting the explanation, the group is interrupted by Camilia Arcadius, dean of the School of Magic who is quite miffed that the group did not save any of the magical paintings. Vall helpfully handed over the recipes to recreate the paint.
The group is given a map to a plateau 2 days south of the city in a very arid part of the region. On the way the group came across hobgoblins trading with a human (who Octavius recognized from his days in the Red Runners). The hobgoblins are wearing a symbol similar to that of the old empire.
After “relieving” the hobgoblins of their sword, the group questions the runner who claims that he was simply told to deliver the sword by someone called Septimus back in Julisco. They let him go after making him promise to find new employment.
Before getting to the mesa, the group is approached by an elf, one of the Selsurra name Ialon (eagle’s cry) meets the group. He used to know Salihn and has a message for her “sul sira ilyamenie” (loosely translated to “The wind always flows”).
He tells the group to be wary. Not only are they going to an area where the dead are restless, Salihn is trying to shape the destiny of man. While she means well, he is afraid she is doomed to failure.
In the ruins, the group finds one of Salihn’s assistants (NIlah) coughing dust. Before she dies she can only choke out the cryptic phrase “The emperor lies”.
After fighting skeletons, gargoyles, bugs and a mummy, the group finds Salihn.
She was trapped by the undead, unable to escape. She was in this set of ruins looking for the “Baculum Imperatori” or Emperor’s Sceptre. According to legend only the true emperor can wield the sceptre so finding it may help find the one destined to be emperor whom (Salihn believes) can bring peace back to the land.
1216-08-25 Life is But a Dream
When students and faculty start dissapearing at the library at the College of History and Religion – including Belle who was retrieving books for Vall and Salihn’s research – the group jumps in to help save their missing comrade.
Given a concoction by Salihn (based in part on the recipe found months ago after the warehouse robbery) the party enters the world of dreams.
After fighting animated rugs and stained glass, Belle finds an old friend “Thumper the Rabbit” a childhood toy come to life. It turns out that Belle has to face some of her darkest fears to break the spell that she, and all the other missing faculty, have been trapped in.
In a copy of the university (with people replaced with cardboard cutouts) the group is investigating when they find another group led by a junior professor Dominico Reyes . Unfortunately the group is on the roof of a different building and, since they are scholars not adventurers, they are in need of help.
On the way to rescue the scholars, the group ran across several obstacles including a dance hall populated with caricatures of girls that used to bully Belle when she was young.
After defeating those demons, Belle had to face down her birth father Graad, riding on the back of a giant two-legged reptile.
Finally rescuing the other trapped scholar’s, Dominico seemed quite taken with Belle’s fighting abilities.
1216-08-28 Case of the Missing Halfling
Concerned about their missing friend and ally, Lawnie, the group decides to investigate what Lady Camilla (Dean of the School of Magic) knows about the attacks on the library that caused Belle to trapped in a dream.
Attempts to see the Lady Cammilla met with failure when they only got as far as the dean’s secretary Palmira informed them that the lady was far too busy to meet with just anyone simply because they knew where her office was located. After some sweet talking by Wyn, they did get a glance at a schedule book which did have a mysterious entry of “G*”.
With little else to go on, the group decided to rest for the night while Wyn hooked up with a groupie. Unfortunately for Wyn, the groupie had several daggers and wanted information about the rapier that the group had previously requisitioned from the Red Runner/Hobgoblin exchange (the one that Octavius now wields). After exchanging pleasantries and almost killing Wyn, the woman introduced herself as Pepita and they ended up spending the night together. Wyn promised to meet with her later, but it never happened.
The next morning the group finally decided to look for their missing friend and only found Moe, her sword informed them that Lawnie had been kidnapped. After some investigation, the group found out that Vita Giovanni had been looking into the kidnapping and where she had been headed earlier, and that she had not returned.
Heading out to Vita’s location, she had been cornered by a giant and his “puppies”. After eliminating the giant and his dire wolves, Vita gave them information about a mysterious cloaked figure known only as “The Emmisary”. There were rumours that this emmisary was associated to the disappearing women and that he is on a barge down river. She needs to return to Tobano to hunt down other information, but that they can always leave word for her at the Purple Dragon tavern.
The group found the barge with little difficulty, although it turns out that The Emissary was a half-human-half-red-dragon hybrid. After taking out the defenders, there was a mysterious halfling-sized female with a hood on her head. Had they found the missing Lawny? To be continued …
1216-08-30 There and Back Again
The halfling under the hood was indeed a confused Lawny, who had no clue how she had gotten there. Investigating the ship further, they found a ledger detailing the purchase of the women (or the payment for location of where to locate them. There was also a note that indicated that the captives were to be delivered to Marcon, further down the river.
They also found half a dozen women, most of whom were either refugees who recently arrived in Tabano and the surrounding area or who had few ties. All the women were of child bearing age. One woman, Rosalinda Jolanda (a cleric of Frigga), acted as kind of a spokeswoman for the group. She offered her services to the group if they ever needed her.
After dumping the bodies of their enemies in the river, everyone decided that they did not want to stay with the barge and instead would spend the night at a ruined cottage they had passed on the way to the barge.
A couple of hours before dawn, a pair of hunting wyverns found the camp after Wyn accidentally knocked over an old pot. Thanks to some daring acrobatics and the halfling god Leaf, the group managed to drive off the beasts without much difficulty.
Rosalinda told the group that she had received a vision from Frigga, and that they should go see Granny Cammara. Rosalinda was certain she could help the women once they were escorted back to Tobano, the group went to Granny’s house after seeing them to safety.
The trip to Granny’s cottage was not without incident as they were set upon by giant man (and halfling) eating scorpions.
When they did get to Granny’s house, they were told of several visions
- There are two forces gathering power
- To the east in the Bone Hills, a fog of undead and aberrations is growing and will soon be spreading across the land. The sleeping god Gungdrinn is stirring and wishes to return his realm to Cosatoria.
- To the west, fire is spreading on the wings of dragons as a false emperor rises to power.
Gungdrin is stirring because of the God’s War that brought the three realms to much closer proximity than normal. For a time it was much easier to cross between the realms of the real world (Thraes), Alfheim (the fey wild, a realm bursting with life and energy) and Nifleheim (the shadowfell land of darkness, dreams and undead) than was normal. Gungdrin has managed to maintain a connection between Thraes and Nifleheim and wishes to open the connection fully, bringing the land of shadow to Cosatoria.
In Julisco (far to the west of Tobano on the coast) Lord Regnus of Julisco has declared himself emperor and changed the emblem of the empire from an eagle surrounded by a wreath of leaves to a stylized eagle surrounded by a wreath of flames. It appears that he has made a pact with dragons and is breeding an army of half dragons. Lawny and the other women were kidnapped to help grow the army. According to legend, the Emorian Empire never allied with dragons and in fact fought against them.
If nothing is done to stop the two factions, the fog and the fire will collide in and around Tobano leading to a great deal of destruction.
With information in hand, the crew returned to the barge planning to travel to Marcone to “deliver” the slaves and find more information. A handful of hobgoblins were investigating the boat when they arrived, but were easily dispatched.
1216-09-01 Rescue the
Princess Scholar (Part 1):
Lawny decided to part ways with the group for now, she decided that with the kidnapping, she was better off making herself scarce. She left the group and headed north to live with some relatives.
Shortly before leaving to go down river, Belle received a sending that Dominico (her friend, and junior professor at the university) was in trouble and needed her help. The group decided that since Belle was going no matter what, they should accompany her. Since no one had much experience with barges, they did the best they could to hide it, but were not sure how successful it was given Belle’s insistance that they leave RIGHT NOW.
Upon arrival at the city, they met Rosalinda (who was rescued from the ship the day before). She recommended that they add a new member to the group, Anarion the half elf and sorcerer who had aided her in the past.
At Dominico’s apartment, they discovered that something large and probably made of clay had taken the young scholar. After some brief investigation they were able to follow the trail of the monster.
Stopping at the local market to grab some lunch and so that Wyn could give an inspirational speech may have been a mistake however. As the party’s bard was finishing up his rousing oratory it became obvious that someone had been eavesdropping and the party was ambushed.
Belle spotted a mercenary readying weapons and (unsuccessfully) tried to intimidating him into surrenduring. Anarion attempted to read thoughts and shouted a warning, but it was a moment too late as the group found themselves dodging spears and then a magically conjured swarm of biting insects.
Eventually people realized that a little girl who seemed to have panicked when the fighting started was in truth the spellcaster. Unfortunately the caster managed to disappear, invoking the power of Lollth (Evil Drow goddess of secrets and treachery and occasional consort of Loki) was able to escape.
After a brief discussion with the city guard, who wanted the group to report to Captain Blake as soon as possible, they continued tracking the creature to an abandoned house that had at some point been heavily damaged by fire.
Despite a floor that creaked under their weight, everyone valiantly charged in and were able to defeat what appeared to be some kind of clay golem and several pieces of armor animated with appeared to be more magical paint. After nearly destroying the crumbling remains and igniting a new fire in the ruins, the defenders were defeated.
However, there was no sign of Dominico, merely a tunnel leading from the basement.
The tunnel led into the sewer system, which unfortunately for the group was still being actively used. Party members soon found out that waste is quite slippery.
They emerged from the sewers into a bar, and the chase on. Pursuing the enemy through the streets, they were slowed by a flying mage casting web and angry gnomish washer-women.
Eventually catching up, they entered a warehouse where Dominico was being held. A cloud of noxious, poisonous gas nearly killed the unconscious scholar but eventually were able to overcome their enemies.
When the guards appeared a few moments later, the group was taken in to discuss the damage, dead bodies, and the chaos they had caused in the city.
Taken in to see Captain Blake, he makes a show of being angry with the group as he invokes a magical rune on the door that gives him an opportunity to have a private conversation while the rest of the guards heard an angry tirade.
Instead of chewing the group out, Captain Blake explains that he knows of many of the same threats to Tobano as the rest of the group is aware of. The issue is that he suspects that there are people on his team that he cannot trust, but he does not know who.
He knows of a ritual being held out of town, and asks for help to stop it. The group agrees and heads out to stop the evildoers. When they get there, several of the “blessed of Gungdrin” transform into toad-like monstrosities while one of them grew bat like wings and flew into the air.
While regretting a distinct lack of ranged attacks, the group was able to defeat the cultists and won the day.
1216-12-20 Yule Time Tidings
Vall has decided to focus on his studies and Helja has decided that it is time to go to the Bone Hills to meet family, cousins that she has only recently learned about.
As fortune would have it, Sir Manderallan, a Knight of the Last Stand, cleric of the dead god Balder and Belle’s cousin (on her mother’s human side) has just come into town and can join the group and lend the aid of his mighty stick.
It is the time of year for the Yule celebration which always starts with a costume ball at the School of Magic. The group will infiltrate the party, taking various roles. Wyn is providing entertainment, Belle is a guard, Octavius is part of the wait staff and Manderallan is slaving away in the kitches.
As the party is serenaded by Wyn (who does ok but not great) the group comes across various people trying to infiltrate the party, attempting to sneak drugs into the beverages and food. Wyn notices Queen Favonia Tacitus and flirts with her. She asks him to meet her in the rose garden later. He also recognized Vita who seemed to be keeping an eye on the queen.
Meanwhile Sir Manderallen discovered poisoned ale (which made him oddly dizzy) and altered soup (made him angry). Unfortunately no good deed goes unpunished and he was is not having much luck in the kitchens and is eventually busted down to scrubbing toilets after dumping ale and ruining the soup. Octavius blows up poisoned soup which Wyn covers with a fireworks display.
Belle broke up some fights between a dwarf and another guest by insulting him (which he seemed to find humorous) and others noticed that several other small fights had broken out.
Fortunately, the poisoned soup had only been delivered to a handful of people and calm was maintained.
Meanwhile Wyn has a conversation with Dean Camilia who was not overly impressed with his performance. She claimed to know nothing about the use of the magical pigment at the university, only that they were studying it’s properties.
As luck would have it, the group found themselves gathering in the Rose Garden, with a maze-like rose hedges. They spotted the queen who was happy to see Wyn had shown up. Luckily, Wyn’s sharp hearing alerted him to the sound of an arrow being drawn back in a bow in time for him to heroically tackle the queen, preventing her from getting hit.
A short battle ensued as the party valiantly defended the queen from the assassin Pepita and a furry-faced archer with orange and black stripes. Vita Giovanni, the queen’s bodyguard was heard fighting off other enemies in a different section of the garden.
Unfortunately just when in appeared that the group would be victorious, the archer transformed into a tiger and grabbed the queen and Pepita vanished in a puff of smoke.
Just as the group was preparing to chase after the tiger, Pepita ran past, letting the group know that the real queen was in danger. The woman they thought was the queen was actually a duplicate.
In the main ballroom, there were sounds of a circus and two large ceramic automated clowns sending out clouds of toxic smoke that was turning the party guests into statues.
After another fight (fortunately no one in the group succumbed to the noxious fumes turning people into stone), the clowns were defeated.
Once defeated, a small trapdoor opened on one of the clown’s belly and a white flag of surrender popped up. Two bald, grey-skinned gnome-like creatures crawled out the the automated clowns and asked for a moment to mourn before their execution. Belle didn’t think much of this “surrender” concept and knocked them unconscious over Sir Manderallen’s objections.
The king and queen explained that negotiations were underway and that they were trying to build a coalition to fight back against not only the rising threat of Gungdryn but also the reborn Empire. Other cities had surrendered to The Empire after important nobility were kidnapped and used as ransom.
The woman who had been pretending to be the queen (Fiorenza Tanzi) was in great danger. If the agents of The Empire realized she was not the queen, she would be killed out of hand. On the other hand, the delicate negotiations would require a strong front by Tobano’s leadership which would include the queen being at the signing of the treaty on the last night of Yule. [I may not have explained that correctly in game.]
One of the gnomes was revived using a goodberry. Identifying itself as svirfeneblin, he explains that they were forced into service because an agent of The Empire has taken their younguns. Without their younguns, the svirfeneblin have no hope.
The svirfeneblin had spies who know details about The Empire and where the younguns were taken. They also know information about the Fiorenza’s kidnappers which they will share once they have their youngun’s back.
The group agrees to help and set out to the ruins of a small community that fell into ruin nearly 100 years ago when Loki escaped his prison.
The next day the group got to the ruins on a gray, misty day only to be attacked by several flying creatures breathing fire – red dragon wyrmlings! Wyn casts fly on Belle who takes off after the wyrmlings.
The tide of battle seems to be turning in the favor of the PCs when an opening in the clouds sends down a shaft of light which is quickly blotted out by a much larger dragon. Mom’s here!
Looking around, Wyn finds a hidden door in the ruins and rips off the door the hinges with a burst of adreneline. The PCs head down the stairs in the ruin as they hear the roar of an enraged dragon.
To be continued…