Beneath Aetherian Skies

Dominus Episode 2: Through the Reach
Of tribesmen, curses and swamplands.

The gathered band of adventurers had previously taken on a quest for one Uruuk Shaataz's bounty, murdering the young half-orc in a back-alley. They had learned that the journey to the capital Illuminias will take weeks, prompting a quick trip to the marketplace in search of preservatives for their bounty's head.

Their bard Basil Gareth had left the group to return home on an urgent mission, taking with him Uruuk's ring and the chest containing the half-orc's genitals smothered in shit.

While questioning the peddlers about acquiring some brine, Ron Cutler bumps into an orc identifying himself as Yugg the Manbreaker, a pirate — he is immediately recognized by Jason Silversun as he proceeds to plead that the young half-elf return with him to the sky pirate's life. Ron stresses the need for the bounty in order to get Jason's ship out of port, and Damaia then suggests that they have Uruuk's head preserved by some cleric at the city's Temple District; Yugg briefly distracts them by attempting to preserve the head with salt from his own piss. Before they head off, they have a brief run-in with a black arms dealer — and Z.E.C.H.S.' disdain for such dishonorable practices ends up preventing any purchases from the hooded man.

They enter the first temple they see, which turns out to be dedicated to the Raven Queen: a goddess of death made popular by her church's dedication to caring for the dead. The item that will preserve the head for the entire trip is a Wand of Gentle Repose, far too expensive for anyone in the group. They settle on paying 5 gp for a single casting of the spell that will last ten days: Long enough for them to reach their first stopover on the trip, the town of Riverbridge. All of them book a trip aboard a coach cab to Riverbridge, with everyone paying 150 cp (or one and a half gp) for themselves except for Jason: He is forced to cover for Z.E.C.H.S.' share of the fee.

The road to Riverbridge is bandit-free, giving everyone a week of idle travel. Yugg, in introducing himself, mentions that Captain Sparsebeard is looking for means to take his pirate fleet to the Darklands beneath Aetheria's sea of fog: reportedly he is the only man to have returned from the surface below, in his previous exploration of the lost Dragonborn empire. Z.E.C.H.S. also introduces Yugg to his strange ability to divide himself into five smaller (and weaker) versions of himself, then admits that he has never tried dividing into more than five copies; he apparently sees five as his limit due to the fact that each of his five selves is just barely above animal intelligence.

The curious orc then proceeds to express his mistrust of magic-users by angrily questioning Ron Cutler's new habit of practicing his magic by flinging Poison Sprays out the coach's window; the drow demonstrates his default response to hostility by magically charming Yugg. Oddly enough once the spell wears off, there is no change in the dim orc's demeanor.

They arrive at Riverbridge, a town rumored to have 'a dark secret'. Damaia recalls that its mayor is Wilson Stoutly, the descendant of Willas Stoutly: a notorious mage who had gone mad from arcanite addiction and attempted to start a peasant rebellion (this was foiled by the timely intervention of some hired killers). After brushing aside another attempt of Yugg's to piss on Uruuk's currently-preserved head, the party asks around for the mayor. They are told that he has departed for the capital to attend the upcoming festival, as Mayor Wilson himself is a fan of the joust.

It doesn't take long for them to find the town apothecary; upon entering, everyone but Yugg manages to get high on the herbal smoke filling the shop. The shopkeeper, a halfling who seems to be extremely high on the fumes, informs them that he can use an herbal solution to preserve the head for an entire month — it will cost them 10 gp. Ron successfully haggles the price down to 5 gold. As the halfling turns around to begin preparations, Jason picks the man's pocket and simply takes the gold back.

While the halfling is out back preserving the head with special herbs, Yugg entertains himself by flinging one of the smaller Z.E.C.H.S.-es around: He manages to grab a potion off the shelf, which Ron immediately identifies as a bottle of Black Lotus Extract: one of the deadliest ingested poisons known. The drow opts to take the bottle for himself.

Everyone decides to settle in for the night, and Damaia's exceptional singing (and dancing) earns them a free stay at the inn; they also purchase more rations for the trip ahead, a week's worth; enough to get them to their next stopover at the border of the Blackroot Swamp. The innkeep reveals to them that he's looking for someone to talk to some Barovians who have spent the past three days holed up in their room, with no one emerging to pay for their lodging.

The group agrees to remind these guests about their overdue rent, heading up to find their door very much locked. Z.E.C.H.S. fails to break it down before Yugg simply kicks it open, revealing the guests to be three oddly-dressed men chanting in a circle. Talking to them or shaking them doesn't seem to break their concentration, though one does pause for a moment to mutter some nonsense about 'the mists' and 'the darklord' before resuming the ritual. The party opts to simply return to the innkeeper and report this; he in turn takes a crossbow from under his counter, comes back up and shoots the three men dead. Upon looting the corpses, the party finds no weapons on them and no treasure beyond three crystal balls; the sort commonly sold as arcane implements in towns with negligible resale value. Ron, however, examines them for a moment and finds that one of the balls was actually painted to appear white; it was in fact a full pound of platinum in a perfectly spherical shape. He takes this for himself, and moments after Yugg snatches the single gold piece that the innkeeper was paying the drow for the meager help with those three Barovians.

Everyone sets out on another coach ride, this time heading towards the town of Blackroot: the last stopover before cutting through the Blackroot Swamp, the most direct path to the capital. The charge is again 150 coppers, with Yugg paying for Ron's ride and Jason paying for Z.E.C.H.S.; Ron realizes that he has officially spent every last coin on his person.

Yugg proceeds to further explore Z.E.C.H.S. strange ability by forcibly injuring his smaller selves and making them rejoin. They discover that he is unable to physically separate his limbs from himself (due to the orc simply pulling a limb off), and he can't be forced to divide into his multiple form: Only Z.E.C.H.S. and Z.E.C.H.S. alone decides whether he is one man or five. Oddly enough they discover that he has a crude form of healing: Removing a limb from one of the duplicates does not leave the limb on Z.E.C.H.S.' natural form, though it does still leave him somehow hurt.

On their second night out from Riverbridge, the adventurers are forced to defend their ride from an ambush by wolves. The beasts are easily dealt with and everyone settles down to work on skinning them for pelts and preparing the meat as additional rations. In the act of skinning the pelts, Z.E.C.H.S. remembers that at some point in his past he had been tasked with torture; he remembers being in a dark room, flaying a man alive.

While splitting the pelts and cooked wolf meat, Yugg trades part of his share to Ron for the emerald earring, and notices that it seems to be making a faint noise. After the group experiments around with it, Ron manages to identify it as a magical item used exclusively by members of the Emerald Enclave to communicate with their field agents. A deep voice finally gets through as Ron tries placing it on his ear, looking for Uruuk; the drow manages to bluff that they'd found him dead in an alley back in Saltmarsh, and the speaker on the other end urges them to meet up with an Emerald Enclave agent at the Blackroot Ruins, not too far within the Blackroot Swamp.

On their fourth day out of Riverbridge, the group happens upon a band of tribal warriors from the Frozen North; they immediately threaten to kill them all if they don't allow Damaia to return with them to her husband. Ron and Yugg manage to talk them into leave without her somehow, using the power of true friendship.

On the day before they arrive at Blackroot, they run into a strange hooded man on the road; he proclaims himself to be a devotee of Kos, or as some say, Kosm. He hands the group a pamphlet that seems to be written in gibberish (upon Jason's examination), then simply continues along the road. Ron suddenly recalls that the cult of Kos have a reputation for worshipping a deity whose benevolence is questionable at best, and are known to be passing around cursed relics known for causing madness; they decide to simply crumple the pamphlet and wrap it in the ruined wolf pelt that Z.E.C.H.S. brought along. Ron also decides to leave the Black Lotus Extract with Z.E.C.H.S. instead.

That night, Jason dreams that his brain has been lined with eyes. He wakes up in a cold sweat and discovers to his horror that the crumpled pamphlet is now neatly folded in his pocket, and the gibberish has started to shift into barely-legible writing in Draconic. Yugg tries to solve the problem by making Jason eat the pamphlet instead; he spits it out and Yugg eats the pamphlet of Kos, or as some say, Kosm.

Completing their second full week of travel, they finally arrive at Blackroot Village, a settlement at the edge of the darkened swamplands between The Reach and Dominus' central Windspear Region (wherein lies the capital of Illuminias). The place is notably surrounded by a palisade, with the most fortified wall facing the swamp itself. Atop the guard towers are gunmen — wielding the new form of black powder ranged weaponry developed by the dwarves, known simply as guns or more formally, firearms.

The group seeks out the town's armory, a large structure filled with firearms of all shapes and sizes. They are greeted by the operator of the armory, a gatorman identifying himself as Ol' Ace — interestingly enough he speaks in the accent of Blackroot Swamp's bayou folk. Upon discovering that they're nowhere near able to afford any guns, he proceeds to threaten any attempts at trade or theft by tossing a coin, drawing his pistol and shooting it out of the air. Ron attempts to chip some pieces off his platinum orb but instead causes glowing blue lines to run across its surface. When he offers to trade it for some weapons, Ol' Ace vehemently refuses, informing them that it's a key for the nearby ruins and muttering "I'm not dealan' wit' anudda damn curse."

Ron checks their supplies and informs everyone that they've got two days of rations left; just enough to get them to the Blackroot Ruins and back before having to resupply. They spend the next day trekking through the swamp, strangely avoiding any encounters with any of the Blackroot Swamp's infamous wildlife. They finally find the Blackroot Ruins; little more than a partially-crumbled monolith atop some steps, in a center of a stone 'island' in the swamp. At the front of the monolith is what appears to be a circular groove that fits the platinum sphere.

Yugg takes the sphere and starts ascending the steps to place the key as everyone else draws their weapons in preparation of any surprises. They hear the noise of some large creature beneath the murky waters and everyone but Yugg turns around as a black dragon's head abruptly rises in front of them. 

Commoners: 30 XP
Wolves: 200 XP
Tribal Warriors: 200 XP
Cult Fanatic: 250 XP
680 XP/5 = The adventurers gain 136 experience points each.

Character changelog updated.

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Tieresia Episode 1: The Child of Prophecy
Wherein the band sets out on the trail of a mysterious elf.

The newly-formed band of adventurers talks their way through the checkpoint and exits the port city of Old Ashton, begining their journey to the Republic of Padavona. Their wagon driver Chunt Pilgrim informs them that it will take them three days to reach Snakebite Pass at the other end of the Kingdom of Bain, though the law enforcement of the region has ensured that the main roads are bandit-free. On their way out, Garzad decides to name their mule Hamilton.

On their first day Garzad attempts to alleviate boredom by singing about the countryside, and horribly fails geography by singing about the countryside underground: stalagmites and drow raiders. A farmer on their route takes notice and approaches, only for Gelion to try and draw his attention to Magnificus. The former superstar (now in hiding during the trek through Bain) deflects this by convincing the farmer that his mother was a fan of the Magnificus and named him after the famous minstrel.

Gelion is jealous at the farmer calling attention to his companion's exceptional voice, drawing his throwing knife and accidentally hurling it through the farmer's daughter's head. The farmer is distraught, though strangely implores the adventurers to raise her from the dead; according to him an oracle (who he describes as an elf who was wearing a fake beard and a hat) came by recently and told him that the girl would 'do something important' (the farmer was clearly confused by the oracle's words of prophecy, and only took that away from the conversation). Gelion attempts and fails to convince the man that his daughter was in fact prophesied to destroy the world, and they all decide to continue on with the child's corpse in their wagon. When asked more about this supposed oracle, the farmer explains that he seemed to know much about the ways of medicine and death (causing Garzad to conclude that he must be a necromancer of some sort). The dwarf sorcerer proclaims that they have clearly stumbled into an epic tale just like the old legends, and stand to gain much glory from helping this prophecy along. They move along and camp out on the road.

The group awakens the following day to strangely bland rations; unbeknownst to them Gelion had extracted the salt the night before and applied it to the child's corpse in order to preserve her. They head into the next town on their path, Strathmore, in order to purchase some salt. Gelion buys a silver piece's worth of salt (roughly 200 pounds) for the corpse, and Magnificus gets seventy-five coppers' worth — he applies this to the rations. They inquire about the mysterious elf, who they learn also came this way and no longer wore his false beard during the townspeople's sighting of him. They stay in Strathmore for the night, performing for the inn and earning a free stay.

On the third day the mountains containing Snakebite Pass finally come into sight, and Chunt proceeds to give the group a brief history lesson: He tells them of the fortress Vauban's recent occupation by House Huer's forces after the House Velkin officers stationed at the castle had been assassinated. Magnificus remembers House Huer well as one of the oldest noble houses of Lund, and advises the group to let him do the talking. 

Magnificus is immediately recognized by the guards at the gate of Vauban, who let the group in and invite him as a guest of Lord Huer himself; Chunt oddly decides to stay and guard the wagon instead of joining them for dinner in the castle. As the adventurers are asked to disarm Gelion attempts to hide eight of his twenty-eight daggers in his pants, and decides to show his cock to the guards when they make him leave all of his weapons at the door (they strangely don't detain or harm him for the display, possibly deciding to just restrain themselves from hurting a guest). Magnificus receives a cordial greeting from Lord Huer over dinner but doesn't really make an impression. Gelion, on the other hand, borrows a guitar from one of the soldiers in the common room and plays a song that lifts the men's spirits so well, they feel much more inspired to annihilate their Bainite foes. The gladiator-musician receives a tip of three gold pieces but asks for the guitar instead, and Lord Huer grants his wish as well as passage through into the Duchy of Lund. Asking about the elf they learn that he's no longer wearing a hat, and is characterized as someone with quite the attitude; the soldiers recall him refusing to refer to the head of house as Lord Huer, though he did pay the toll and make his way into Lund. The guards advise them on their way out to exercise caution in Lund, with the roads being as bandit-ridden as they are.

Finally out of Bain, Magnificus starts on the road to his solo comeback career; he proclaims himself as Magnificus, no longer a member of the band STYLEMACHINE, and proceeds to sing as well as he can at every town they pass on their route. Over the first day of such showboating he earns a silver piece's worth in tips, and hears a rumor that a bastard heir of House Velkin was found and assassinated in the port town of Old Ashton. Gelion correctly deduces that this was the murder they'd seen the authorities investigating when they'd left that town mere days ago. That night they happen upon a man standing alone in the middle of the road between some lightly forested hills; Gelion urges Chunt to keep the wagon moving. They ride right past the hidden bandit ambush, easily avoiding the skirmishers' arrows and making haste towards safety in the town of Woodhurst. Once again the group's performance arts earn them a free stay at the inn.

Their fifth day of travel goes by uneventfully, though at night they come upon a scene of slaughter; evidently a group of bandits and merchants that managed to kill each other to the last man. Garzad hears some movement off to the side, and hurls his hammer; this causes the group to discover that four of the scattered corpses have risen as zombies and are shambling towards their wagon. The group is clearly ill-equipped for combat as Hamilton and Gelion nearly go down, prompting Chunt to finally draw his mace and show off his skills from the battlefield. 

As the group settles down to heal their wounds, Garzad attempts to draw upon his wild magic to glean the source of this undead menace; he fails to learn much beyond them being animated by "dark magicks" and concludes that this must be the work of 'that foul necromantic elf' they've been following.

Seeing that their own meager healing spells aren't enough, they decide to rest up at the town of Millstone (known for having been built around a ruined library). They inquire more about the elf and learn that he goes by the name Bishop Laurence (though the townsfolk swear that he doesn't look religious at all); he was asking about purchasing a property in town, though none are for sale in Millstone. They'd urged him to look around the town of Peterburgh instead, a haven for gopniks from distant Barovia (another Aetherian realm separate from Tieresia and Dominus). The place is coincidentally on the party's route to Padavona, thus they agree to make a stopover in search of this mysterious Laurence.

That night in Millstone, Garzad is plagued by nightmares of a pale-haired elf in white, whispering something in Elvish…which he sadly does not speak. Garzad describes his nightmare to Magnificus the next morning, who immediately recognizes the description of his fey patron…and opts to not tell Garzad, who concludes that he has truly become an agent of prophecy.

The sixth day of travel sees the group arriving in Peterburgh, where the resident Barovians direct them to 'Bishop' Laurence's recently-purchased holding: A previously-abandoned house on a hill on the outskirts of town. Basil stays behind to guard the wagon and the rest investigate, being greeted by boarded-up windows and a raven looming at them from the roof.

No one answers as they knock, and Gelion attempts to draw their quarry out by playing his guitar loudly; a wand pokes out from one of the windows and a sleep spell is cast, instantly knocking Chunt and Garzad out. The ensuing fight sees Magnificus and Gelion shaking off a barrage of paralysis spells, before Gelion opts to simply break through one of the windows; he successfully smashes through only to discover that their assailant had stepped away from the window, avoiding the lunge and polymorphing Gelion into a trout.

Magnificus manages to shake off more paralyzing spells from within the house while returning fire with eldritch blasts and completely failing to hit through his dodgy opponent's cover. He hears the sound of earth moving behind him and turns around to see a quartet of what appear to be men in trenchcoats and tricorn hats, with their faces completely covered up by their high collars and some wraps. As they four slowly walk towards the nervous warlock, someone claps him on the shoulder from behind. He turns around just in time to be punched out cold by an elf with the words:

"Welcome to the family, son."

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Tieresia Session Zero: The Road to Stardom
Wherein the band is formed and the stage is set.

Basil Garreth makes landfall at Old Ashton in Bain: a port town on the fringes of civilization. He puts out a call for adventurers, identifying himself as a merchant working for House Ravenstein and in urgent need of an escort to Padavona. This is a perilous journey indeed, having to cut across both Lund and Bain before finally arriving at the destination.

The job's first taker is one  Magnificus, a half-elven minstrel of some renown in Tieresia; he is in fact currently on a tour of the continent. With some reluctance he has finally arrived in Bain; as a native of Lund he is well aware that the two realms are at odds. He sees this escort job as a way for him to keep his profile low and get back out of Bain while making a profit; having toured Tieresia he is well aware that House Ravenstein pays well — especially when it comes to adventurers getting their merchants home safe.

They are overheard by Gelion, self-proclaimed 'last song of Starfall'. The singer-songwriter-gladiator from Dominus recognizes Magnificus (Gelion's research on the enertainment industry extends beyond his home continent) and inserts himself into the party, proclaiming that he's simply better at both fighting and the arts. He becomes even more interested in their destination upon hearing that they're headed for the Republic of Padavona. He questions them on Padavonian politics and after a brief debate concludes that it is not in fact a Republic, which he will prove once they are there.

Garzad the Glamorous notices this growing assembly, and wonders what sort of party consists of a merchant-bard hiring a renowned Tieresian singer and an (in)famous satirical singing gladiator from Dominus. Concluding to himself that this must be the next big musical act in the making, he too jumps in and joins the group on their trip across half the continent.

Basil makes arrangements and procures slow but steady transportation for the group: A mule and wagon. Here they meet the final member of the party, a retired soldier introducing himself as Chunt Pilgrim.

As they prepare to leave town, they are stopped by the local militia. It turns out all visitors and residents are currently being detained as the guards investigate a recent murder…

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Interlude: The Bard's Journey
Can one man's trip save Tieresia?

Lost in the marketplace of Saltmarsh's central district, the bard Basil Garreth manages to blunder into a dilapidated building containing a deactivated warforged enforcer—most significantly, one branded with the sigil of his employers House Ravenstein. Its memory banks contained dire tidings indeed: A recording of none other than Lord Vyles Huer himself, head of the Duchy of Lund's noble House Huer. He is seen conversing with some unseen ally, and clearly stating: “Our pieces move across the board. Soon they shall be in place and Tieresia will yield to our glorious bloodbath.”

Alarmed that this could be the portents of some grand conspiracy to return Tieresia to the last seven years' bloody war-torn state, Basil has decided to hurry home and present this to his superiors; a scheme of that scale is simply beyond one man to handle. 

He has arrived in the Kingdom of Bain, seeking adventurers to escort him back to Padavona. The treacherous journey will involve cutting across Bain then heading through the dreaded Snakebite Pass (unless one can obtain passage through the stronghold Vauban that guards it) and then navigating through the Duchy of Lund's bandit-ridden roads until finally crossing the border into Padavona.

The worst part of his find is that it shows neither who Lord Huer speaks with, nor the supposed 'pieces' readying their 'bloodbath'.

_________

DM's Notes:

Full Wiki write-ups to follow but here's a quickie: During the one-year timeskip from the original Tieresia setting, Lord Voss Huer suffered an untimely demise and his son Vyles Huer is now head of house. While the father was already a 'shrewd political animal' his son is aggressive and worst of all: ambitious. His ascending to the house's seat of power happened shortly after the Huer forces took the fortress Vauban by sabotage, and anyone with half a brain can easily conclude that 1) he had his father assassinated and 2) the Lund forces aren't marching into Bain due to some other underhanded scheme of Lord Vyles.

 

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Dominus Episode 1: Welcome to Saltmarsh
Wherein guards are dodged and friendships are forged.

The game begins well into the night, rain battering the cobblestone streets of this rundown gothic city.Those without homes of their own or establishments to take refuge in, duck into the abandoned buildings in Saltmarsh's docks district.

  • 11:00 P.M.; Rusty Cleaver tavern, Saltmarsh docks district


    • The scene opens with one Jason Silversun deep into his cups; the young half-elf has been drinking for the past two days, having spent a gold piece's worth on alcohol; he has managed to crash the ship he'd 'borrowed' into port, getting it impounded with the city's Thieves Guild demanding an exorbitant fee of 10,000 gp for the return of his aircraft.
    • His crewmate and the ship's navigator-minstrel Basil Garreth finds the young half-elf at the bar and proceeds to chew him out, scolding him for his carelessness and lamenting that this will further delay his plans to travel to some better locales and perform his music there.
    • A drow calling himself Ron Cutler abruptly enters the conversation, having just arrived at the tavern. He introduces himself as a traveler from the Underdark in search of new and interesting dishes around the world, blatantly demonstrating his passion for the culinary arts.

      • Basil meets this with some suspicion but entertains the newcomer with some conversation, very quickly displaying his penchant for racist and lewd remarks.
    • A tall, attractive tiefling named Damaia provides the evening's entertainment as a lounge singer, dancer and fire eater; she notices the bit of commotion at the bar and discreetly keeps an eye on them.
    • Z.E.C.H.S., a traveler from the Far East, has been spending his time simply relaxing at a corner table—he hasn't a single coin to his name for purchasing his own food and drink. He opts to remain quiet and also watch the bar conversation from afar.
    • After a string of insults, Basil gives in to Ron's insistence on trying out 'local food' by shoving him the remains of Jason's most recent meal: Some bread crumbs and ale (that he is charged an entire gold piece for). The dark elf almost retches at the horrible flavor.

      • He implores the bartender to tell him where the good food is, and receives a sarcastic remark that only the Thieves Guild is wealthy enough to actually enjoy good food in the city. In response, the drow raises his coin purse, proclaiming that he has ten gold pieces on him and will willingly pay for the best food and drinks in the establishment.
      • The bartender's eyes grow wide and Damaia hears him muttering that ten gold is literally more than the entire tavern makes in a year on average. Well aware that she also stands to earn some coin from that as well, she ends her set and plants herself a few seats away from the drow with a ladies' drink in hand while flashing him 'the eyes'. Meanwhile, the bartender sends one of the wenches down to the cellar with orders to fetch something from 'the special stash'.
      • Ron approaches the tiefling lady and manages to impress her with the amount of gold on his person, with lewd commentary from Basil all throughout.
      • Their 'special order' arrives, a bottle of suspicious liquid that looks as clear as drinking water. The bartender proudly proclaims it as rare Barovian wine from a distant continent, pricing it at 8 gp.
    • Jason makes a scene over the price, having spent the past two days on a single gold piece; he calls the bartender out on the sudden price spike and is simply told that there has been an increase in demand. The commotion (and his accidental mention of his being a pirate by profession) draws the attention of the authorities; four guards begin crossing the tavern towards the bar, clad in the city watch's signature trenchcoats and tricorn hats.

      • Z.E.C.H.S. suddenly gets up and attempts to talk the guards out of this potentially violent action; they simply leave one of them to pay attention to him as the other three continue their walk towards the commotion at the bar.
      • Damaia manages to distract the guards by inviting them over for "drinks at my place", urging them to meet her in the alleyway out back. They take the bait and all four guards exit the tavern through the backdoor. Basil and Jason make their own exit while the tiefling has the guards' attention.
    • Ron stashes the Barovian wine in his pack during all this, then heads over to Z.E.C.H.S. and commends him for his altruistic action. 

      • Introductions are made between the two: Ron telling his tale of the culinary quest out of the Underdark, Z.E.C.H.S. introducing himself as a traveler from the East who can't quite remember all that happened. He also gives Ron some 'surface street wisdom', advising him to not go around telling people how much gold he has; especially in a town like Saltmarsh where majority of the populace is destitute.
    • Ron and Z.E.C.H.S. exit the tavern, following Jason and Basil out into the rainy street.

      • A few brief words are exchanged (most notably Jason explaining the deal with the ship and 10,000 gp) before Damaia manages to barrel straight into the group, knocking over her, Basil and Ron. She is clearly in a foul mood over having earned a single copper piece for tonight's performance, but informs the party that she has distracted the guards long enough for them to make a quick exit.
    • Running out of options, the group decides to follow Damaia's lead; she's clearly a local. She starts leading them towards the boarding house she stays at, also within the docks district.
  • 12:15 A.M.; a rundown boarding house, Saltmarsh docks district

    • Ron decides to get a better view of the district and casts Jump on himself in an attempt to get up on the roof. He manages to get just high enough to see into an open window—right as an elderly woman is undressing. She shrieks, which draws the attention of a nearby patrol.
    • Damaia guides everyone away from the scene towards the address she'd listed on her note to the man from earlier; it turns out to be an abandoned house, large enough for everyone to set up camp but with no comforts whatsoever.

      • Everyone sits down and Jason begins to take a nap and try to sober up.
      • Ron lays down his cooking pot and utensils, then asks if anyone has rations to spare while producing some dried fish from his pack. He receives a combination of a bit more fish, some bread and some cheese from Z.E.C.H.S. and Jason.
      • The next hour goes by with the drow making a stew from the ingredients and offering it to the entire party. Everyone except for Damaia accepts (she'd just had dinner at the tavern) and is flat-out amazed at the quality of his cooking. (DM's Note: The party except for Damaia gains an Inspiration.)
  • ​​​​​​2:00 A.M.; abandoned house, Saltmarsh docks district

    • Z.E.C.H.S. tells the party his story: That he's a traveler from Rannouchi, glorious capital of the Eastern empire—he also relates how he remembers invaders from the Dragon's Grave desert taking the capital. He himself was once a member of the Satsugaidan (which he translates into Common as "Murder Force"), the city's elite guard; he was knocked out during the initial attack and somehow woke up on the other side of the continent, thus his being in Saltmarsh.

      • The rest of the group does remember hearing news that the East is currently at war, but somehow not having the detail of how long the war has been ongoing.
    • Damaia decides to try the food upon seeing how everyone seems impressed by it. Being a traveling performer who has been in some of Dominus' upscale cities, she immediately notes that it is of gourmet quality, good enough for a restaurant frequented by nobility.
  • 3:00 A.M.; abandoned house, Saltmarsh docks district

    • The man from the alley arrives, immediately putting everyone on their guard with his outfit's similarity to the city watch (made worse by Basil and Z.E.C.H.S. having no darkvision; their only initial sight of the stranger is a silhouette framed in the doorway by a flash of lightning. Damaia takes the lead in talking to him and he asks: "Are you hunters?"
    • Jason immediately expresses suspicion at the man hiding his face and asks who he is. Before even stating his name he draws his quarterstaff and makes a small cut in his palm; the blood then flows out of the wound and the droplets swirl around the staff before abruptly setting themselves aflame, without actually burning the staff itself. He then lowers his collar to reveal that…he's nothing more than a very slim human.
    • The man introduces himself as Dave, and explains that he has no noble house or family attached to his name; he was born and raised as a man of Saltmarsh's gritty streets.
    • The group agrees to hear his proposal. He explains that he wants them to bring in the bounty on a half-orc named Uruuk Shaataz, who is convicted of murdering General Hein Pharamond: a fabled war hero who helped the current king of Dominus' central Windspear Region win the throne.

      • The bounty on the murderer is a staggering 15,000 gp, and is to be turned in at the Windspear capital: Illuminias, the literal center of Dominus' civilization.
      • The prey was last seen working as an enforcer for the Thieves' Guild, guarding one of their safehouses in the Central Saltmarsh district. He is known to work the night shift and leaves at roughly 6:00 A.M., normally relaxing at a tavern in the area before heading off to bed.
    • They agree to the quest after some discussion, though Damaia claims that she won't settle for less than a 4,000 gp cut out of the 15,000. The group does agree that they must proceed with utmost caution; the Thieves Guild are known to be the effective rulers of Saltmarsh, a.k.a. not someone who they want out for their blood.
    • At the very end of the conversation, Z.E.CH.S. demonstrates his bizarre ability to divide into five smaller copies of himself; everyone immediately notices that doing so also divides his physical and mental capabilities, to the point that it takes the efforts of all five to coherently attack as one man. He also reveals that his name is an acronym for the five individuals: Z, Earl, Char, Harry, and Stream.
  • 4:00 A.M.; abandoned house, Saltmarsh docks district

    • The long conversation ends and the party gets ready to leave for Central Saltmarsh; the walk there will take a couple of hours, and no one is able to afford one of Saltmarsh's carriages. Dave departs as mysteriously as he came, seemingly disappearing in an instant.
    • En route, they go over their plan: Z.E.C.H.S. will stealthily tail Uruuk to wherever he goes to sleep, and they'll assassinate him from there; the group themselves will split up but follow Z.E.C.H.S. from a distance. 

      • Ron makes it very clear that he is very interested in meeting with the Thieves Guild (despite Damaia advising him that this is a foolish proposition) in order to sit down with them and enjoy a great meal.
  • 6:00 A.M.; Central Saltmarsh

    • The group sees the safehouse just as it was described to them, with Uruuk himself just about to end his shift: He is a tall but teenaged half-orc clad in plate mail carrying a shield, with a battleaxe on his belt and a greataxe on his back.

      • The stealth part of the plan is botched when Uruuk manages to spot everyone in the group, pointing to them one by one and calling them out of hiding. 
      • When pressed by Ron for a meeting with the Thieves Guild, Uruuk questions him and explains that majority of public meals with the Guild are poisoned; they are a faction filled with internal strife and poison is one of their favorite assassination methods.

        • This sends Ron into a brief stupor as he begins to reconsider his life choices.
    • In order to not arouse suspicion, Uruuk keeps the entire group walking as he explains his situation: He is merely working as hired muscle for the Thieves Guild for money, but his real goal is to end General Hein's true murderer—also someone in the capital.  In fact, he offers that if they take him back to Illuminias and help him with this kill, he can give them more than the bounty's reward off of the kingdom's treasury.

      • Damaia suggests that they can get into the capital just in time for the kingdom's Jierdan Eve Classic, the Windspear region's premiere joust — which also comes with a massive festival, with the best chefs and entertainers being permitted entry to the castle.
      • Upon being pressed for more details, Uruuk reveals that his target is none other than the crown prince of Illuminias. According to his tale, he witnessed the deed and the prince had him framed for it (resulting in the bounty). He also explains that he has a personal stake in this because General Hein was killed alongside his war comrade and Uruuk's father, Colonel Dabbert Shaataz.

        • The party calls Uruuk out on the foolhardiness of his plan; he seems to be asking them to come with him and help him raid the capital, to go against the royal family and murder the prince. They notice that the young half-orc is only intent on his revenge and fails to see the ramifications of his plot: The current king of Illuminias is well-loved by the people, and offing his prince would undoubtedly case a whole new level of instability in the realm.
    • The party agrees that they're better off just taking the bounty on Uruuk's head, and moves to engage in combat. They then realize that he had distracted them with the conversation while backing them into a corner; he now stands blocking off their escape from a narrow alleyway.

      • The fight is ended quickly by some backstabbing from Jason and a daring jump attack from Ron that nearly costs him his life, with Basil stepping in to heal the drow just in time. 
    • They set to work looting Uruuk's corpse while making sure to hide the body after beheading it for their claim on the bounty.

      • The falling attack destroyed his armor but the shield, battleaxe and handaxe are all intact.
      • Basil tries to con Z.E.C.H.S. into searching the half-orc's orifices and fails; he decides to search on his own and manages to dig out a sizable portion of his shit, which is then stored in the chest within his diplomat's pack. He also decides to castrate the corpse and store the cock with all the shit.
      • Basil does manage to acquire a piece of jewelry: The ring from Uruuk's mouth piercing.
    • Ron sets off for the marketplace to gather ingredients to pickle Uruuk's head, to preserve it for the three-week trek to Illuminias. Basil opts to come along and have Uruuk's cock pickled too.

The player characters gain 100 experience points each for this session.
Character sheet changelog for the first session.

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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