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Thread: Flames Over Southern Ergoth

  1. #1
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    Default Flames Over Southern Ergoth

    Several weeks some of us on the forums started a 3.5 DL game over Google Hangouts. This is a very interesting experience for each of us as none of us has ever played online before. Many in the group haven't played in several years. Trying to work out schedules has been difficult but so far they have been handled without leaving anyone behind.

    The game takes place about 5 years after the War of Souls on the island of Southern Ergoth. Frost is recently dead, and the elves still live in the forrests of Qualimori and Silvamori. The PCs begin the game guarding a merchant caravan led by a former cleric of Reorx turned Mystic named Morge Greyhammer. As they game opens they have been together about 3 or 4 months as they finally reach their destination, Castle Eastwatch.

    Krain Bloodwon is Tantalum Ghostforge, a dwarven merchant and pugilist.
    Devyn is playing Keppi Eberhardt a half-kender rogue
    elder is playing Kain Lightwood, a Qualinesti elven cleric of Kiri-Jolith.
    We are also joined by my friend Thomas who is playing Pellum Warwind, a half-elf (Silvanesti) former kirath.
    I am running the game.

  2. #2
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    Default Session One

    Keppi Eberhardt, Pellum Warwind, and Tantalum Ghostforge arrived with Morge Greyhammer at Castle Eastwatch just prior to the annual festival honoring Kiri-Jolith. There they were introduced to Riva Silverblade, an aged Knight of the Sword and commander of the garrison of knights stationed there. With her was Markhus Dane, a visiting noble from Northern Ergoth who claims to have come to see the celebration and nurture the relationship between the Knights and the empire.

    The small town that has grown up around the castle is full of locals and visitors alike eager to taste the ale that is said to be the best in all Ansalon and made available only once per year. Master Bender is a gnome whose lifequest has been to produce the perfect ale recipe. He claims to have not yet succeeded, but begrudgingly sells what he claims to be inferior ale to the knights once a year in order to keep his operation afloat.

    Because the town is so full it difficult for the PCs to find accommodations, so Markhus suggests that they stay with him, as he has booked several rooms at the local inn for his own personal comfort. The PCs agree to this arrangement. Pellum and Tantalum follow Markhus to the inn while Keppi lingers behind to enjoy the festivities.

    At the inn Markhus and Tantalum engage in a dagger throwing contest to pass the time while Pellum quietly observes. Something, however, is not entirely as it should be. Several hours go by while, to those at the inn, it seemed only thirty minutes. They remain oblivious until a fight breaks out amongst the other patrons.

    Meanwhile, Keppi has enjoyed the dancing, the food, and the drink in the courtyard of the castle. As it comes time to toast Kiri-Jolith she raises her pint with everyone else and tastes the frothy brew supplied by Master Bender. Immediately her mood begins to darken. Where are Tantalum and Pellum? She suddenly remembers conversations they shared over the past months which seemed innocent ar first but now seem full of sexual innuendo, misogyny, and condescension. The more she thinks about it, the angrier she gets, until she marches off the tavern to confront and kill her companions.

    Back at the inn, Tantalum and Pellum manage to knock out the fighting patrons. When Keppi enters she takes Tantalum by surprise and shoves her knife into his gut. With great effort Tantalum and Pellum manage to subdue Keppi by knocking her unconscious. When she recovers, she is herself again. Only then do the companions hear the commotion out in the streets. They decide to try to make their way back the castle in order to regroup with Morge and to check on Riva. As an afterthought the three companions realize that Markhus Dane is nowhere to be found.

  3. #3
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    Default Session Two

    The scene outside the inn is horrific. Knights and townspeople are slaughtering each other in a grotesque free-for-all where only the strongest survive. A very few number were unaffected by the drink. Those attempting to restore order without killing their fellows are quickly overwhelmed. Only those who run and hide have a hope of escape.

    The three companions, Keppi, Tantalum, and Pellum, eventually make their way to the castle and find Riva and Morge locked in the grand hall with 20 knights who were on duty during the toast, thus avoiding its effects along with Kain Lightwood, a visiting cleric of Kiri-Jolith from Qualimori. He manages to bind and heal the wounds of the companions and vows to help restore order and bring those responsible to justice.

    By morning of the next, the effects of the tainted ale have subsided, but throughout Eastwatch the scene is one of utter devastation. Bodies litter the courtyard and the corridors of the castle. Where only eight hours ago people were laughing and dancing, now desperate mothers cry out their children’s names. Of the scores of knights that once manned the castle walls only a handful remain. For them, the physical injuries they sustained pale in comparison to the emotional and psychological trauma they have suffered. Their memories of the previous night’s slaughter will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

    While Keppi, Kain, and Morge attend to the dead and injured, Tantalum and Pullum pay a visit to Master Bender, the gnome who supplies the ale every year. At his cabin a mile out of town they find the gnome bustling about the copper vats and pipes that make up the overly complicated still that he uses to produce his famous ale. The two notice that he is an odd one, even for a gnome. When their questioning becomes too persistent, Master Bender suddenly transforms into an eight-foot tall draconian! The battle is fierce, but the two manage to put the monster down. In the cabin, they find the partially eaten remains of the real Master Bender and trap door leading to an underground stream formed from melted snow that runs from the mountains to the ocean. According to Bender’s papers, this was where he got his water.

    They follow the stream in an easterly direction until they come upon a huge cavern dominated by an underground lake. Here, they set upon by two smaller draconians who lick their blades before attacking. They are easily dispatched. Beyond the lake the pair find a carved out passageway that seems to have been recently uncovered from some long ago cave-in. They follow the winding passage until they see a dim light around the next corner. They hear the harsh voice of a commander issuing orders. Apparently, the draconians are readying their departure. They notice leader stands a head taller than the other six draconians as they move in to attack. The battle is a long and difficult one, especially when the leader begins casting spells at them. Even more frustrating is the fact that every time one the beasts die they either explode, or turn to acid or stone. Eventually, though, Tantalum and Pellum are victorious and manage to kill the leader and two of the followers and to capture four others who they decide to march back to Castle Eastwatch for questioning.

    Instead of searching all of the contents in the room, the two bundle everything up and use the remaining draconians as pack mules. The only other way out of the room besides the one they came through is a finely carved wooden door. When they try the door, it becomes obvious that it is stuck, either by age or by magic or both. The decide to head back to the castle and investigate the door later.

  4. #4
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    Default Session Three

    Back at the castle, the remaining knights sift through the evidence collected by Pellum and Tantalum. They discover a letter presumably written by the Bozak leader of the draconians. It reads as follows:

    General Krull,
    All indications are that the poison has worked as planned. Pfosh played his role perfectly. Our dark Master should be pleased. If our operatives and allies meet with similar success, the forces of light on Southern Ergoth will soon be crippled and unable to thwart our plans. We are preparing our departure now and will rendezvous at the keep within a fortnight.
    Ever loyal,
    Talon Commander Koth

    Upon questioning the prisoners, the heroes learn that these draconians were a smaller part of a much larger community of draconians. As for who the ‘Dark Master’ is, no one seems to know, except that it was his plan they were carrying out. They also learn the general location of the draconians current base of operations.

    Riva is concerned that whoever is using the draconians against the Knights of Solamnia may also be using them against a Legion of Steel outpost located roughly a week’s journey north. She also fears for the elves of Qualimori and Silvamori who are only now beginning to recover from their time under the dragon overlord Frost. If this “Dark Master” is commanding a private army of draconians, what’s to stop him from allying with the ogres of Daltigoth? To make matters worse, the knights discover that someone has stolen an artifact, dubbed the Cat’s Eye Gem, recently uncovered at the Silver Dragon Mountain and being held until the Tower of High Sorcery at Wayreth can send a White Robe to collect it for study. No one at the keep knows what its properties are. Was this all an elaborate distraction so someone could steal it? If so, why was there no mention of it in the letter they found?

    As it sits, the companions have several paths laid out before them to choose from. First, someone should go and check on/warn the Legion of Steel to the north. Second, the same should be done for the elves to the south. Third, someone needs to go to Sancrist to request reinforcements. Finally, there is the question of the strange door in the catacomb underneath Master Bender’s cabin. The companions decide to head on to the Legion of Steel, but, being good adventurers, that door under the cabin keeps gnawing at them. Besides, it isn’t like its very far out of their way...

  5. #5
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    Session Four
    The heroes return to Master Bender's cabin, this time with Keppi and Kain. They make their way to the draconians' hideout without incident and find the mysterious door. As turns out, the door has been magically sealed. Fortunately, Kain is able to get it open through the power of Kiri-Jolith. They follow a downward, winding staircase that ends in a grand hall. Faded carvings line the walls and there are two doors on the left side of the chamber, and two on the right. At the end of the hall are a set of double doors. The ceiling rises twenty feet above their heads and all of the doors are twelve feet tall.

    They open the first door to right which opens into what appears to be a dining hall. A massive stone table dominates the room. At the center of the table is an onyx statue of a five-headed dragon. They also locate a kitchen.

    On the left side of the great chamber, both doors are locked and trapped. After being caught off guard by the first door, Keppi easily disables the second trap. Each of the two rooms houses piles of ancient bones and a pair of starving ghouls. After dealing with them, the heroes find evidence of long forgotten adventurers who did not fair so well as they. A breastplate, shortsword, and holy symbol of Habbakuk are recovered.

    Through the large double doors the heroes follow a long hallway which leads to a room which they discern was once a bedroom of some sort. Dilapidated bunk beds are on the right and left side of the room. Within two wardrobes the heroes find two pieces of black fabric inlaid with silver thread.

    A secret door is discovered in the room which leads via another hallway to a chamber housing two stone coffins. Wall sconces line either side of the chamber. Upon entering the room, the sconces light of their accord and the two coffins open. A pair of ten foot tall mummies emerge from them. This fight is particularly difficult, but the heroes finally manage to overcome the fell creatures thanks to the holy power of Kain's deity.

    At the oppisite end of the chamber another set of double doors open to what seems to be the heart of this ancient structure. A huge sarcophagus dominates the center of the room and an alter for blood sacrifices stands to the right. When Pellum approaches the sarcophagus it opens and he is attacked by the mummy lord that emerges. A long drawn out battle insues. Except for Keppi, each of the companions suffers grievous wounds. Pellum takes the worst of it, as a brutal attack from the mummy lord causes his skin to begin to rot. Once the battle is done Keppi rushes back to Castle Eastwatch ahead of everyone else to bring Morge, hoping his mystical power is strong enough to heal Pellum. With only minutes to spare Pellum is saved. He awakens the next day at Eastwatch weak, but otherwise fine. Meanwhile, Tantalum recovers the crown that fell from the mummy lord's head. He also finds a golden sceptor in the sarcophagus.

    The heroes are now left with even more questions than they had before. Was it a coincidence that they discovered an ancient irda temple to to Takhisis? Or, could it be that the draconians knew what lay beyond the locked and warded door? How do all of these puzzle pieces fit together?
    Last edited by Aelfwyn; 06-09-2013 at 09:15 PM.

  6. #6
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    This campaign went on for almost a year. I just got lazy posting about it. Here's a brief summary.

    After helping with the clean-up at Castle Eastwatch, the companions decide their best course of action would be sailing to Sancrist and requesting reinforcements. On their way to the port town to the south they come across the trail of an army. Pellum quickly deduces that the army is made up of ogres. A kagonesti elf visits him on watch and warns him that the army heading to the very town they need to go to.

    The party follows only to find the town practically burned to the ground. Around 12 ogres stayed behind to loot, drink, and otherwise terrify the surviving townsfolk who are being held prisoner in the town hall. Three of the beasts guard them while the rest are reveling in the local inn near the docks.

    After rescuing the prisoners, the heroes move on to the tavern and defeat the ogres there. They discover Markhus Dane among the prisoners. He still has the Cats Eye Gem in his possession. Markhus explains that he is actually a member of the Imperial Artifacts Ministry of the Ergothian Empire. He was sent to recover the gem as it may be an imperial relic. Riva refused to hand it over and he was left with little choice but to steal it. He swears he had nothing to do with the poisoned ale and only used the chaos as cover.

    He claims that he found a footnote in the journal of a long forgotten adventurer that details an artifact that had the power of restoration.

    The power to restore what? Well, anything, really. Anything corrupted by magic, arcane or divine. The artifact had three parts: a crown, a gem, and a pedestal. The jewel is fitted into the crown. The crown is placed upon the pedestal. Words are spoken and a person, pure of heart, is sacrificed.

    Markhus' information says that the pedestal is located somewhere in Foghaven Vale. The heroes still do not trust Markhus but, with him in tow, they head off to Foghaven. Travel takes several sessions and they have several run ins with ogres along the way. Meanwhile, our heroes manage to discover that the ogres are currently in an all out war with the elves...and they seem to be winning. They also discover that the contingent of knights stationed at the Silver Dragon Mountain were defeated in a surprise attack by both ogre and draconian soldiers. About this time, Markhus escapes the PCs.

    Some of the captured knights are being forced to work some ogre mines to the East, but first they decide to liberate the Mountain as they do not want the legendary dragonlances to fall into the wrong hands. They come across Huma's tomb. The spirit of Huma gives them several powerful magic items, and they also come across a sabretooth tiger cub (my personal tribute to DL 7). The cub warms up to Pellum, the ranger, but refuses to enter Huma's tomb.

    Upon entering the mountain of the Silver dragon, the heroes defeat wave after wave of draconians and ogres, including the ogre king's son. Making their way deep inside the mountain, they discover a network of caves that leads them to a huge chamber. In the chamber there is a wall lined with dragonlances, a cage holding several solamnic knights, the mystical pedestal, and three dark skinned Irda.

    As it turns out, the dark irda were looking to use the artifact to restore themselves and their ogre kin to their original condition before the curse. They needed the knights to act as a pure sacrifice. Failing that, they were going to destroy the last remaining dragonlances to enact the ritual.

    The cub was, in fact, Markhus Dane. This poor bard bastard had been compelled by the irda via a geas spell, to bring the other two pieces of the artifact to them by whatever means necessary. At the last minute he overcame the spell and attacked the irda. He didn't last a round, but that gave the PCs time to position themselves and flank their enemies.

    This battle lasted nearly an entire two hour session. I wasn't sure they were going to pull it off, but the heroes actually won the day. Barely. While there was still plenty of room for more adventure, I wanted to test out DL using the Fate system. So we decided to put a pin in that adventure for now. Still it was a great time.

  7. #7
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    Good times were had by all. Thanks for writing that up.
    "It's not a game of Final Fantasy where you can step outside the plot for a bit and train up your stats, it's a potentially apocalyptic final chapter in an epic drama." - Brass Tiger Captain

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