Price of Courage Session 1:
[Editor’s Note: if you haven’t read my Age of Mortals Redux Thread, this won’t make much sense]
Whoah (in the Keanu Reeves way)! I just realized I have two sessions of my Age of Mortals game in the books and no campaign journal updates. So…uh…welcome back and stuff. The holidays really hamper my motivation to write anything, but here goes.
We opened with our heroes tooling around the Dragons Graveyard, recovering from their battle with Lothian and the Betrayer. In an arcade voice “Level Up’:
Sir Ellinghad uth Saxis (LG male Solamnic human Wizard 5/WoHS 4/War Mage 5), an intrepid member of the Solamnic Kingfisher auxiliary and renegade hunter.
Hyphen Umlaut (CG male true kender Rogue 14), a bitingly sarcastic kender who is another version of the original party member from an alternate Krynn. He also bears the Tears of Mishakal.
Lyajaida “Lya” Denissa (CG Silvanesti elf Ranger 10/Wizard 1/Arcane Archer 3 [Dragon Singer Template]), a quiet, prideful elven ranger who has accepted the call of the elven Dragon Singers.
Grrrr (Large N male wolf), Lya’s steadfast bonded ally and protector.
Sir Royse uth Seeckt (LG Solamnic human Noble 4/Cavalier 6/Solamnic Knight 4 [Rose]), an initiate to the Order of the Rose who holds a dark secret of the coming future which he is desperate to change.
Gygax Polyhedron (LG Solamnic human Cleric 14 of Habbakuk [Animal and Travel]), a stranger who rides a tiger into battle and serves the will of Habbakuk with the Solamnic Knights.
Sir Otto Reichstag (LG male Solamnic human Fighter 10/Inquisitor 2 of Kiri-Jolith), a young knight-clerist who is Sir Royce’s current squire and assistant.
We started the session with some housekeeping. During the down time, the heroes realized that through a blessing of the gods of light, they gained special powers and reflexes. I figured this was a good time to institute the Hero Points rules from the Advanced Players Guide as Price of Courage has some tough encounters. Every level is a potential TPK, so I wanted to at least even the odds a bit. Everyone received two Hero Points for reconnecting the Dragon’s Graveyard to the Dome of Creation. The players also had a chance to craft weapons or magical items, but none took it. I also allowed a Kender Pouch Grab from Races of Ansalon between Earth 1 and Earth 2 Hyphens. Hyphen got some Dust of Illusion from his counterpart. Lya had also taken up the mantle of the Dragon Singer (template). She got a bonus to her horrible CHA, immunity to dragon fear and some nifty dragon singing powers including Perform Singing as a class skill. The spectral dragons also informed her that when a goodly dragon was ready to pass on, they would seek her out. I am excited because this opens a nifty side quest.
The ghostly dragons also interred Gilthanas’ body for burial. There was a small service with several dragons mourning the fallen Hero of the Lance. What remained was the elf’s magical items and equipment. Anyone who took ownership was bound by oath to tell Silvara, the silver dragon D’Argent, of her mate’s demise. Hyphen swore to do so. Gilthanas’ Freezing Burst Longsword sword went to Sir Otto, with the rest to be sold later, lol. Oh I missed my Orphan Murder Hobos after a five-week break! The spirits also charged them to defeat Frost (Gellidus) for committing the atrocity of creating a dragon vassal in the deceased elven noble. They shared concern that perhaps Silvara was in danger or even imprisoned for her closeness to Gilthanas. The group as a whole agreed to investigate the matter. Ellinghad asked the spirits that since all the souls returned to life, why didn’t Gilthanas? The dragons returned that the only explanation was Frost had some type of Geas and Soulbind on the elf, perhaps connected to the dragon scale. Lya made a 31 Knowledge Arcana check and confirmed it was a possibility, and as Frost’s safeguard, Gilthanas’ soul could be in the scale. As Gilthanas was a man of means, potentially removing the scale could easily ruin the overlord’s plans. So that was the running theory for now.
With the end of the conversation, the heroes agreed to leave the Graveyard and travel to Kalaman. They would impart the Tears of Mishakal to Father Jon Bolitho, head of the Mishakite church. They then geared up to head towards the portal out of the sacred site. Stepping back into the Prime Material Plane, they stood atop the great granite cliffs overlooking Nordmaar’s western coast. A late summer wind warmed their progress of coming down the cliffside away from the coast. Several of the players made Survival checks to find out approximately four months had passed in real-time since entering the Dragon’s Graveyard. While the others discussed the ramifications of further time travel, figures approached from the sky, heading their direction. On successful Perception checks, a large group of armed ogres riding Huge Spider Eaters came into view. The party had time to ready themselves and pepper the lance-wielding mercenaries with arrows and spells prior to the intercept.
Since I am a session behind, I won’t post the entire combat. It turned out a minor inconvenience except for a few lance critical attacks on Ellinghad that almost ended the wizard’s career. At the end of the battle, only one ogre survived whom they took hostage. Gygax cast Tongues, and the ogre explained he was a mercenary paid 12 thousand steel by a feminine-looking Knight of Neraka three weeks earlier to kill anyone who came from the cliff. Gygax asked how much the ogre’s head was worth, to which the ogre replied 12 thousand steel, in confused tones. Everyone had a laugh and the mercenary told them his mercenary band was in Haant, an abandoned town up the coast known to occasionally home outlaws and ne’re-do-wells. Wanting information and the money (of course), several of the party wanted to go there. Lya made a Knowledge Geography check as the topic of which way they would travel to Kalaman was a factor as well. There were three options. They had three options of travel: go north to Pentar to catch a ship; head southwest through the Woods of Lahue (home to the green dragon Fume and tribes of cannibals) to hit Haekal’s Causeway (a highway leading to Kalaman); or west along the coast through the Shadowglade Marshes. As the road to Pentar led by Haant, they decided on that course of travel. Ellinghad also intoned that perhaps getting steel handled by Cole could aid in his Divination spells. That sealed the deal. They tied up the ogre to head north. The party also collected the numerous magical chain shirts and masterwork weapons from the dead ogres to place in their Type II Bag of Holding.
During the two-hour walk they grilled their prisoner about the Essekar Mercenaries encampment with numbers and fortifications etc. The ogre mentioned his band having a tamed Behir on hand as well. The heroes resolved to parley first, not wanting to fight. On their way, the gentle planes became dotted with small trees, denoting the change to light forest. Up ahead, they encountered a plainly dressed man sitting down in their way, eyes closed. He wore simple monk’s robes of brown and green, and his blue skin and green hair threw off most of the party. A medallion of faith from the order of Zivilyn hung from his neck. Hyphen and Ellinghad identified the traveler as an irda, a very rare and secretive race from which ogres were descended. Their captive growled and became angry, but was cowed by the party.
The heroes curiously approached, noticing a dog-eared book and set of cards set out before him. He opened his eyes and intoned he’d been waiting for them. The players groaned, thinking perhaps he was the Wayfarer/Journeyman. He introduced himself as Pango-d’Deus, but said they could call him by his shortened name Pang. He also said that due to their benefactors meddling, the River of Time on this Krynn had fractured. To many this sounded like mumbo-jumbo, but the group still listened to what he had to say. He shared that Zivilyn enabled him to travel multiple forks of the River, and this one was the most damaged. It was therefore his responsibility to help them on their quest to right the course.
As an aside, Pang is a PC that I played from Tauren Kaijere’s Age of Mortals campaign. As he disappeared into the ethers of time/alternate dimensional travel, I decided to bring him into my game in the place of Rasca the kender. In the vein of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…it’s all connected!
Pang intoned that Takhisis not be allowed to ascend to godhood and Frost be defeated. He asked that a reading from his Calantina would aid them in guiding on next steps on their quest. He shuffled the deck of cards, and asked Hyphen to choose two from the deck. After completing the reading, Pang gave hints to five different locations for the five evil progenitor dragon skulls that Cole and Frost are searching out. It was read in verse, but the players made successful checks to find the skulls in the following locations:
• the blue skull is located in Throtyl the realm of Cinder the evil red dragon
• the green skull is located in Bastion, an extradimensional wizard fortress
• the black skull is located on the isle of Cristyne, a place of ancient elven ruins
• the white skull is located in the ogre city of Daltigoth in Northern Ergoth, ruled by the Ogre Titan Tdarnk
• and the final red skull is in Khimel on Southern Ergoth, Frost’s former lair
The reading also hinted at Frost potentially wanting to take a mate and queen. The party theorized perhaps the Overlord wanted either Cole/Takhisis or perhaps Silvara. They weren’t totally sure, and discussed the merit of turning a good dragon or seducing a goddess, and all the jokes of those subjects in between (Ray and Ghost Busters etc.). They completely missed the hint of the location of where Frost planned to strike first when plans came to fruition. From there Pang shapeshifted into an odd-looking human, his face completely free of lines or expression (kind of like Odo from Deep Space 9). He bid them farewell, promising to visit with them again once they have found the skulls. Pang then clicked his boots, and disappeared with a Teleport spell.
The heroes continued discussing their mission on their way to the mercenary camp. Sir Royse, Sir Ellinghad and Gygax took point carrying a white flag of truce, with their prisoner in front. Hyphen and Lya stayed back out of sight, their bows and sithaks at the ready. Seeing guard towers, there was a commotion and yelling, and a group of ogres moved towards them, weapons at the ready. The largest of the ogres, wearing a necklace of tanned ears from several races, came forward speaking broken common. He asked why they were there and what they wanted. He also ordered them to free their prisoner. Sir Royce obliged, freeing the captive. When close, the leader drew a monstrous greatclub and brained the other ogre for his failure. With the ogre’s low hp, it was a kill. “Weak” he said in common. Sir Royce then surprised me in making a Diplomacy check to ask the ogres to trade the steel given them by Cole with an equivalent amount provided by the knight. Gygax Aided Another, with the knight’s final check being a 34. Though confused, the ogre’s tone changed and he stowed his club.
The leader followed up with asking why they wanted to trade money, to which Royce answered finding the person who put the hit on them through magical means. Not wanting a fight, the ogre simply asked Royce to show the steel first. The knight produced 12k from his Handy Haversack. The ogre barked for his lackeys to go to the hiding spot, and again made sure they’d be left alone after the exchange. The knight swore upon his honor. Sir Royce knew that mercenaries were perfectly legal in Nordmaar, and therefore didn’t feel the need to provoke needless violence. Color me impressed. They exchanged funds and the party left the mercenaries for Pentar. After the exchange Ellinghad jokingly added he only needed one steel piece, to which Royce replied “be more specific next time” to laughs around the table.
The party traveled another six hours, making FORT saves on their forced march to Pentar. Finding an old trade road, they followed it to the walled town to arrive at dusk. Amongst groups of other travelers, the adventurers grudgingly paid the 5 steel entry tax to find an inn for the night. After finding lodging and gathering basic information about the town, they settled down for the evening at the Monkey’s Ear. During this time, Ellinghad told the group he needed to check in with the Order of High Sorcery, Teleporting to Wayreth. He also offered to do some shopping for items the group wanted. Being that they hadn’t had a chance to gear up in a while, I was open to the idea. The party then figured out what to sell and what to buy.
During Ellinghad’s time there, he was called to see Coryn Brinewater, the head of the white robes. He gave a brief report of his time in the Dragon’s Graveyard and turned over the Scroll of Stellar Path back into the care of the Conclave. Coryn thanked him, and instructed Ellinghad to return with his allies in six days for a Conclave meeting. They would be asked to explain their influence on the River of Time and any shifts sensed in reality by other wizards. Coryn added that if their answers were satisfactory to the Conclave, she would sponsor Ellinghad for a petition to be a ranking member. Ellinghad was gaining power more quickly than any other wizard, and she wanted him to join. Coryn ended the meeting in saying that if he didn’t plead his case, there was no hope of him moving up in rank. Dan the player balked at being lectured by a 20 year-old to more laughs around the table. Coryn also gave him a scroll of Discern Location to aid in his search of Cole/Takhisis. Ellinghad then sold the rest of the items and retired to his domicile for the evening. I’ll also add that thanks to a donation from the party (mostly Matt/Hyphen), Ellinghad finally had enough money to buy White Robes of High Sorcery. He’d been whining about it for months .
That’s where we left it. I’ll be working on Session 2 through this week.
Up Next: Privateers, Sea Monsters and Kalaman!