Realms of Acadecia

The Tomb of Gabronathis

NOTE: Due to the amount of time that has passed between adventure log posts, there may be some information or smaller sessions missing, for which I apologize.

Robin and Cendred must make the journey to the continent of Arcadia, where rests the tomb of the ancient hero Gabronathis. Gabronathis’ journal is believed to have the location of the Cog Man, a construct built to be the lock on a prison to one of the oldest and most dangerous evils in Acadecia: Vassago, Demon Lord of Blood and the patron “saint” of the Aspect of the Prisoner. They have already learned that the cursed ring Cendred carries is one of three artifacts used to activate the Cog Man, along with the Staff of Moldavi the Betrayer and the Veral Flame of Gabronathis—both of which are believed to be already in the hands of the enemy.

On the way, the two meet a young woman helping her aging grandmother to run her small village tavern, by the name of Miria. With plans to start their own bar in Freeport, the two convince her to be their resident cook after tasting her ambrosia-like cabbage pies.

Soon after their stop at the tavern, they find their way into the depths of Gabronathis’ catacombs. They even manage to have a brief conversation with the ancient hero’s spirit—and Robin manages to rein in his Nemesis Rage—before taking his journal back to Deimos in Vaarsuvius.

According to the journal, the Cog Man rests in a buried labyrinth east of Velanaar, at the foot of the Earthspine Mountains. Before making the trip, they stop in Freeport to get construction started on their bar. Then it’s time to find the Cog Man—hopefully before the enemy.

Into The Dreadnaught

When Robin and Cendred recently arrived in Velanche, they happened to find Grunt sitting on his heels. While not terribly surprised—these things happen all the time with adventurers—they were rather confused as to what he was doing there.

As it happens, Grunt arrived in Velanche nearly two months ago, following the trail of an old war buddy named Vedo Pox, who sent him a letter requesting help with some sort of problem Vedo was trying to solve. Grunt found no trace of Vedo, but did fall in with a monk and wizard who were trying to solve a series of murders committed by someone known only as “The Black Lotus.” Having solved that case less than a week before Robin and Cendred arrived, Grunt has been languishing at the Bawdy Gnome, drinking and eating and trying to decide how to ease his boredom.

After the trio completed the task of rescuing Cora—not to mention Deimos’ priceless shipment of rare golem ingredients—they return to the Bawdy Gnome victorious. When they arrive, Grunt is surprised to discover he has received a message while he was out. He instantly recognizes the handwriting as belonging to Vedo. It simply says, “I’m in Dreadnaught Keep. Please help.” There is also an address to a house in Somber Downs, the run-down Shantytown of Velanche.

The party heads to the address to find an abandoned, boarded-up hut. Inside are some dilapidated furniture, an empty lock-box, and some very strange footprints. It appears someone matching Vedo’s stature visited the hut over two months ago, and more recently the hut was visited by six or seven halflings or gnomes. Robin discovers a trap-door in the floor. Grunt heads down to investigate and finds another lockbox as well as several large sheets of paper.

Inside the lockbox are a handful of potions—two potions of disguise self and a potion of invisibility, to be exact. The papers turn out to be rough blueprints of the infamous Dreadnaught Keep, the prison of Velanche that is renowned through the continent as being impregnable. With the blueprints are several notes on guard patrols and floor layouts, as well as the hastily scrawled words: “Adamantine Ward, Cell Six.”

The trio makes a few preparations and takes to sneaking into the keep through a large sewer grate near the back. The entrance is guarded, but more lightly than the front gate, and with prodigious use of a sap and manacles, manage to dispatch several of the guards, disguising themselves as part of the watch.

Making their way past the complex warding system—mostly by conking the living daylights out of more guards—the three eventually climb the keep up to the Adamantine Ward. In Cell Six, who should they find but Vedo Pox.

While he is grateful to see Grunt, he explains the whole reason he broke into Dreadnaught Keep in the first place: one of the prisoners has in his possession the legendary Queen’s Heart, a priceless ruby almost a foot in diameter, once the jewel of the royal family of Eronar and now lost to thievery.

After some haggling (read: intimidation) Vedo agrees to split the profits four ways if they can help him retrieve the ruby. He had been informed—quite falsely—that the prisoner was in Cell Six on the Adamantine Ward. When he was caught, the guards thought it amusing to throw him permanently into the cell in which they’d discovered him. In fact, the prisoner in question is a former monk turned thief known as Quiet Step, and is currently residing in the Diamond Ward, the heaviest-armed ward in the keep.

More sap-happy fun ensues, and the party finally breaks into the Null Zone at the center of the Diamond Ward. Inside, they find two prisoners chained to the walls amidst an anti-magic zone. One, they immediately recognize as Quiet Step due to his monastic outfit. The other Cendred recognizes as the notorious sorcerer and spree killer, Vagris Talamon. Both prisoners are reticent and refuse to give any information to the party. Vedo knows, however, that the reason the Queen’s Heart was never found is because Quiet Step has it hidden in a magic tattoo on his body which acts much like a bag of holding.

Vagris offers to tell them the secret of how to reach the ruby if they agree to release him. Obviously wary of releasing a mass murderer, they ask him of his crime and his motivations for escape. Vagris explains when he was younger, he tried to enter the wizard’s academy here in Velanche. Because he was a sorcerer, they refused to teach him. Furious, he went on a killing spree in the streets, killing six and wounding dozens. Now, he is slowly dying of an incurable wasting sickness, and all he wants to do is breathe the free air before he dies. As unbelievable as his story is, both Robin and Cendred are well-trained in detecting deceit, and can find no lie in his words. They agree to free him, and release him from his chains.

Vagris tells them the magic tattoo is inaccessible as long as the anti-magic zone remains in effect. There is a small gem in the ceiling emitting the spell, so the party destroys it after knocking Quiet Step unconscious. Unfortunately, Quiet Step was a very convincing faker, and takes the opportunity to attempt a sneak attack on Grunt.

After a long and brutal fight in which Vagris lends the aid of a few spells before teleporting out, the party finally defeats and kills Quiet Step. With the owner of the magic dead, the magic tattoo dissipates and spits out the ruby. By now the alarms have sounded, and the party begins racking their brains for a way to escape. Fortunately Vagris left them with one last gift before departing: they find a wand of invisibility on the ground. Enveloped by illusory magic, the party makes their way past the troop of guards that fill the keep with little trouble and find their way back to the abandoned hut.

It is at this point that Vedo says he’s off to make contact with his buyers, and Robin informs him that they will not be selling the ruby at all. They’re going to return it to Eronar for a reward and hopefully the queen’s aid when Robin eventually goes to retake Echinea. Robin explains that while selling the ruby on the black market would fetch them a lot of gold, retaking Echinea would lead to Vedo owning his own land and keep. Vedo eventually agrees, and tells them he knows of a discreet ship captain that can get them out of Velanche without alerting the guard.

The next night, Vedo leads them to a boathouse where they are to meet the captain. To absolutely no one’s surprise, it turns out to be an ambush. To absolutely everyone’s surprise, they’re ambushed by a pack of halflings. The party fights through hold person spells, grappling hobbits, and a human fencer, not to mention a traitorous Vedo. Amid the confusion of spells and swords, the party is grappled by a black tentacles spell but eventually get free. Vedo, sensing the odds turning against him, tries to flee and subsequently finds his head pinned to the door by one of Cendred’s arrows. The black tentacles spell ends up doing more harm than good and kills most of the halfling thugs, and Grunt and Cendred take care of the fencer, leaving only the mage to deal with.

After a brief exchange with some spectacular blunders, the party begins to wear down the halfling mage, but the fight is cut violently short when a familiar halfling plummets from the skylight and lands on the mage. The result is not so pleasant for him; he’s crushed instantly. Cora greets the party and explains that when she saw the ambush, she knew it would be trouble for them, but had difficulty reaching the roof of the boathouse to get an advantageous position. She recognizes the fencer as Banza the Slicer, a notorious enforcer for the Fipp Merchant’s Guild. As it turns out, Grunt and Vedo had once attempted to scam the guild out of thousands of gold and failed miserably, forcing them both to flee the Fipp Republic. Apparently they’d caught up with Vedo first and coerced him to help them capture and kill his former friend.

The party wastes no time taking the ruby to Eronar and returning it to a very surprised and grateful Queen Lilliandra, who gives them a generous reward, a feast, a parade, and of course, a pledge of half a dozen ships and sixty marines to the cause when the time comes for Robin to retake Echinea.

The Craftsman's Dilemma

After retrieving the journal and cipher of Vargo Gryne, Cendred and Robin return to Deimos, who immediately begins deciphering the journal. He informs them the task will take some time, and if they’re interested in making some money, he has a late shipment of rare solvents and unguents for use in his golem project. He offers them each five thousand gold to go to the city-state of Velanche, capitol of Velanaar, and find his contact there to discover the fate of his goods. Not interested in sitting on their hands, and hard-pressed to turn down such a handsome fee, the duo agree and set out immediately for Velanche.

They arrive in the dock district of Port Cavalier and begin their hunt for Cora Highhill, Deimos’ contact. She is a regular at the high-class tavern and eatery known as the Bawdy Gnome, so they start their search there. To their complete lack of surprise—such happenstance is all too common for adventurers—they find their old compatriot, Grunt, enjoying the dishes and drinks at the Gnome while pondering his own quandary (more on that in the next adventure). Since he’s currently without anything to do, he agrees to help his father and Cendred hunt down the shipment.

The bartender informs them that Cora, a regular, has not been seen in over two weeks. He recalls that she mentioned some business at the Shrike Nose Pub, down by the docks. The party heads out to check out the place. They find the Shrike Nose to be a much rowdier crowd, and highly suspicious of strangers. Fortunately, acquiring discreet information is Cendred’s specialty, and with a few drinks and well-placed comments, learns that Cora was here two weeks ago, sitting with a handsome human male in noble’s garb. The locals are pretty sure he wasn’t actually a noble, however—their kind are almost never seen at a dock bar like the Shrike Nose—but he had a distinct-looking silver ring, bearing a skeletal hand holding an open eye. His name, as they recall, was Calavander.

The trio head out to hunt down this “Calavander,” but are spared the trouble when a group of thugs, led by two half-orc brothers, jump the party in the alleys. After dispatching their would-be killers, the party roughs up a survivor for info and learns they work for Samson Calavander as hired muscle. They give directions to the estate, and the party sets out.

Cendred and Grunt disguise themselves quite cleverly as the half-orc brothers, with Robin in tow as a “prisoner,” and are welcomed past the guards into the mansion without so much as a whiff of suspicion. They find their way through the mansion to the basement, where Calavander is supposedly usually working at night, but there is no sign of him. After searching his bedroom, they find a hidden door in the wall with a staircase leading down into a sub-basement chamber. There, they find a strange sight.

There are two cages here, both small enough for a dog or perhaps a gnome or halfling. Indeed, Robin notes signs that one of the cages held a halfling not long ago. In the second cage is the crumpled and distorted body of Samson Calavander. On the far side of the room, a portal. Robin’s suspicions are confirmed with a quick glance: the halfling was recently taken from the cage through the portal.

On the other side, the party finds themselves on one of the Infinite Layers of the Abyss—specifically, the Rack of Gorvoth, home of Gorvoth the Mad, a Balor Lord. The landscape appears to be comprised entirely of rotting meat and bone; the stench alone is enough to drop a lesser man, but our intrepid adventurers are not lesser men. They tough it out, following the path through this dark and horrid plane on the trail of Cora. After inching their way through a forest made of pure darkness, they finally come to a great lake of lava at the bottom of an eighty-foot crater. At the crater’s center, across a great bridge, is an onyx tower. Undaunted, the trio heads toward it.

After deftly dismantling the trap and lock on the great double doors, the party enters the tower and makes their way up to the private chambers of the tower’s current resident: the bastard son of Gorvoth, a vicious half-demon named Argonoth. He holds Cora hostage, torturing her for information on the shipment of unguents. She’s in bad shape, so the party wastes no time rushing in to her rescue.

After a brief but violent exchange, Argonoth plays his ace-in-the-hole and sets off a contingent teleport glyph on the floor. Once he’s gone, they turn their attention to Cora, who is covered in demonically-cursed wounds that refuse to heal. Thinking fast, Robin uses a scroll of break enchantment they had found on Calavander’s body earlier. With the demonic curse broken, he heals the halfling without any trouble. After looting Argonoth’s treasures, they set fire to his possessions and make haste for the portal.

Cora makes immediately for the docks and goes about preparing Deimos’ shipment for immediate departure to Vaarsuvius. She stays one more night to have a celebratory drink at the Bawdy Gnome with our adventurers before escorting the shipment the next day, but when they arrive at the inn, Grunt is surprised to find he received a message in his absence…

The Tainted Temple

After rescuing King Rannos from the hands of assassins and attaining a copy of Vargo Gryne’s journal, Robin and Cendred take up the king’s offer of teleportation to the elven realm of Zanthalon to seek out the journal’s cipher.

The two arrive in Zanthalis, the elves’ capitol, and from there make their way into the depths of Everwood to seek out Xivamor, the hidden sacred grove of the druids. The druids find them before they find the grove, and speak telepathically. They ask what Cendred seeks, and when he explains their situation, the druids offer a trade. Gryne’s resting place has become drenched in unholy energy, and the druids wish it cleansed. If the pair promise to cleanse the temple of this taint, the druids will give them the location. Cendred promises, and the druids tree stride the pair to the temple’s location.

When they arrive, Robin and Cendred find themselves before a ruined temple to the Sleeping Moon and immediately they can feel the unholy aura of which the druids spoke. Room by room, floor by floor, the two destroy the undead and wayward guardians of the defunct temple, until they reach the half-buried catacombs and the place where the body of Vargo Gryne does not rest easily.

They discover Gryne lives on as a skeletal mage, and he and his minions fight the pair with unholy vigor, but Robin’s newfound training and invigorated hatred for undead, along with Cendred’s unparalleled skill with the curve blade, eventually win the day. They find the large gem emitting the negative energy pervading the temple and smash it, releasing the ruins from the grasp of unholy despair.

They also find a dusty old treatise on the mating habits of bulettes. Figuring such a Center-damned boring tome could be nothing other than the cipher, they grab it and some newfound loot, and head back to Zanthalis to rest and recuperate. When they arrive, there is a package waiting. The druids have sent a thank-you gift to Cendred: a new curve blade, made of purest mithral, as well as no small amount of gold.

For now they rest up, enjoying the estate of Cendred’s father, a member of the Council of Elders. Soon, however, they will have to make the journey back to Vaarsuvius to see if Deimos can make heads or tails of Vargo’s journal, and perhaps begin to unravel this mystery…

The Missing Monarch

The intrepid duo of Cendred and Robin have been pondering a small quandary: why did Cendred have the inescapable urge to drink blood during their fight to free the captured dragonling in the Weirdling Wood?

Suspecting one of his newly gained magic items may have had something to do with it, Cendred decides—grudgingly—to call on the aid of the Summoner Deimos Phenom, who had much to do with the plague outbreak in Freeport months before, and whose decisions on that matter Cendred has never agreed with. However, Deimos is well-versed in magic, perhaps the most well-versed of anyone they know.

While Cendred is pondering this issue, Robin is approached by the dwarf Hagvar, who gave him his trial a few weeks before to enter the Black Cloak Hunters. At the time, Hagvar felt Robin needed more experience before taking the mantle of the Black Cloak. Now he has decided it’s time, and leads Robin into a nearby wood, where Robin meets three of the five Hunter Lords. There, he swears an oath to the Black Cloak Code and dons the namesake item. After some brief training by Hagvar in the finer points of hunting and destroying undead, Robin returns to Freeport to rejoin Cendred—only to find Cendred already gone, traveling southwest to find Deimos. Robin quickly follows after, and they soon meet on the road.

Cendred explains what he’d learned from Blade Commander Alturin at the now-rebuilding chapter-house of the guild: Deimos apparently has a tower not far from the river city of Vaarsuvius on the Dembram Republic’s western border. The two travel to Vaarsuvius without incident, and after a strange bit of illusory magic, find themselves in Deimos’ “tower” (it’s actually hidden underground).

Deimos takes a gander at Cendred’s newest acquisition, apparently a simple +1 ring of protection, only to discover the ring is not what it seems. It is in fact a very rare item once belonging to an adventurer from eons past named Corso Rayne. Corso was famous for battling the shadowy faction known as The Vassagians. Corso was also a vampire.

Deimos believes the ring does not actually bestow the curse of vampirism to its wearer, just its original owner’s thirst. Hoping to understand more about the ring and potentially cleanse this curse from it to make it a potent magic item (it actually functions as a +3 ring of protection) the two take on the task of finding two items that Deimos believes will shed light on the ring’s mysterious past: the first is the journal of Vargo Gryne, the man who is reputed to have finally killed Corso. The journal is encoded, however, and is useless without the second part, the cipher.

Deimos proposes that a man such as Vargo—who had a nasty reputation of his own—was probably too paranoid to keep the cipher anywhere but on his person, and was likely buried with it. He was rumored to be buried somewhere in Everwood.

The journal seems to be a much simpler task: Deimos has a friend in the king of Hyperion, one Marcus Rannos. The king has a copy of Vargo’s journal. Deimos writes a letter to allow them access to the royal library and the two begin by heading to Hyperion’s capitol city of Arcturus.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the journey doesn’t go smoothly.

Once they reach the city by boat and present their letter to the city watch, Cendred and Robin are immediately arrested on suspicion of treason. They are disarmed and led to the castle, where they’re tossed unceremoniously into a parlor to await one of the Keepers of the Crown, the group who runs the kingdom in the ruler’s absence and after the death of the king, before a new ruler is crowned. (For more on the unusual customs of Hyperion, read about them on the wiki page for the Continent of Suinvar.)

They are soon met by Keeper Saran Kincaid, who tells them the king has recently gone missing. The reason they were met with suspicion is because Deimos, another Keeper, happened to leave the city on the same day King Rannos went missing. She does not believe Deimos is actually responsible, but the city watch is without leads. Upon learning the reason for their visit, she offers the adventurers a deal: find what happened to King Rannos, and she will allow them to take their copy of Vargo’s journal. She suspects foul play, but hopes the pair might find a different answer.

She leads the two of them up to the royal bedchambers, the last place King Rannos was seen. There, they find a bloodstain on the carpet next to the king’s bed. Robin, using his keen tracking and perceptive skills, notes it is not a bloodspray per se, but rather an unusually-shaped blood trail, leading to a nearby section of wall. Cendred’s sharp elven eyes quickly discern a hidden door, and the two find themselves in an old stairwell leading to an abandoned servant’s entrance on the other side of the castle grounds.

After asking around the nearby neighborhood, they discover that the night of the king’s disappearance, a man who appeared wounded was seen fleeing from the vicinity of the castle toward the dockside district. The shopkeeper alerted the watch, but no one was found. Following the clues, the pair learn that the wounded man was seen again near an abandoned warehouse. They investigate outside the warehouse and pick up the trail of blood there.

After that, Robin is like a wolfhound on the scent, and follows the blood trail through the dockside alleys to a pier, and into a nearby sewage grate. They follow it through the sewers, where they can see the clear signs of offensive magic having been used (specifically, the spell scorching ray). They follow deeper into the sewers, eventually coming to an exit grate above that leads them directly back to the castle—this time in the royal dungeons.

They head into the dungeons and come to a man sitting lotus-style in front of a door. It is none other than King Rannos himself. Rannos looks battered, malnourished, and a bit dehydrated, but otherwise he is alive. He explains he had two attackers, a master and apprentice. The master is dead, and his apprentice fled from Rannos and wound up locking himself in the room next to him. Rannos has been keeping vigil over the door, but detected a magic trap set up to disintegrate whoever opened it. He has been unable to leave for help for fear of losing the attacker.

Now that help has arrived, Rannos explains he will open the door and take the brunt of the spell. Whatever happens, he says, Cendred and Robin must get in there and take care of the assassin. While they are not giddy about the idea of letting the king take a disintegrate spell to the face, Rannos insists.

He throws open the door and suffers the spell. It does not kill him outright—a testament to the king’s fortitude—but the secondary damage drops him unconscious. True to their word, Cendred and Robin rush in to face the would-be assassin, an accomplished monk. However, it’s two-to-one, and eventually the pair finish him off.

Afterward, Robin revives the king with a couple of healing spells, and they escort him back upstairs. After he recovers, he throws a lavish feast in their honor. They explain the reason for their visit, and he is only too happy to give them the journal, being the least he can do for them. (It is Cendred who has to go into the library and attain the journal, seeing as one of the veteran loremasters who run it is an ancient lich known as The Archivist; since this creature is sworn to fealty to the king and a member of the royal staff, Robin’s newly acquired Nemesis Rage would force him into combat, causing no end of grief for the two of them had they survived—which is unlikely.)

In a flash of inspiration, Robin and Cendred ask if the king can offer them one more boon. It has long been Robin’s dream to one day return to his decimated home of Echinea and reclaim it from the undead horde that now resides there. He asks if King Rannos can spare warriors for this task when the time comes. Unfortunately, Rannos tells them he is already stretched to his limits fighting a war on two fronts: firstly with the armies of Velanaar to the North, who have been pushing into Hyperion territory for more land, and secondly with the armies of the Grindel Territories to the East, who sense Hyperion’s weakened state and seek to take advantage. Until his problem is solved, he is unable to give aid. For the time being, all he can offer is quick passage to Everwood to attain the journal’s cipher, by way of teleportation. Considering Everwood is several weeks of travel away, the two don’t hesitate to take his offer.

But even with this setback to Robin’s long-term goal, a solution is already formulating in his mind…

Acadecia: The Story So Far, Part 3

A Brief Summary of the Post-Invasion Missions
Malina has been missing since the kobold invasion.

Feyred disappeared mere days before the kobold invasion, leaving a letter with his brother stating there was something he had to do and would hopefully see Cendred again someday.

At the behest of her aunt, the party searched for Sierra Arcturus in the massive city-state of Eronar. They were joined by a half-orc spear-and-shield warrior who, as it turned out, was one of Robin’s many illegitimate children. Once in Eronar, they rescued Sierra from kidnappers and discovered she had been attempting to make contact with a thieves’ guild called the Shadow Hand in order to set into motion a plot to take vengeance against her father, Lord Arcturus, for her mother’s murder.

The party escorted a halfling caravan to the city of Ner Dargonholme.

Robin was tested for entry into the Black Cloak Hunters. The test went well, but it was ultimately decided Robin needed more experience before being allowed entry.

The party helped the dwarves recover the rest of the stolen pistols from Darion Pallbane. Pallbane was sent to Ner Dargonholme to await justice.

The party was sent to the port city of Belfast in Southwest Dembram. Jeffrey reappeared to join them, as well as a young oracle and a half-orc pugilist. The city had suffered some kind of attack, and refugees are pouring out all across Dembram. After investigating the city ruins, the party found several inexplicable clues and were attacked by strange creatures in the mist.

The party escorted a group of refugees to the town of Southgate, located between Freeport and End-Vaald. Once there, they helped the local guild emissary to clear out a B&E ring run by a group of novice robbers.

The group returned to Freeport, where they met with the recently-arrived Blade Commander Alturin, who asked the party to look into an inexplicable roaring that had been coming out of the Weirdling Wood near a lumber mill to the southwest. This time they were joined by a half-elf archer named Nayanna. The party discovered a group of cultists had captured a young dragon and teleported away, but their teleportation went awry and they were stuck in the wood until their magic could replenish. The party rescued the dragon, a very young green named Alestrixistrasza. Dragons have not been seen in Acadecia aside from a handful of blues in the deserts outside the Durance Shiekdom. It is too early yet to tell what this means for the world at large.

Acadecia: The Story So Far, Part 2

Mission 2: Keseth’s Curse

The party was chosen for another, seemingly simple, mission: protect the cargo of the Shimmering Amazon from possible hijacking. Captain Keseth had already been singled out for piracy twice in the last three months, and rumors abound that her ship was cursed. It was up to the party to make sure her curse was finally broken. This time, Borador was not in attendance, but they did have two new members: a fistfighting woman named Malina, and a half-elf investigator named Jeffrey.

Unfortunately, after stopping the inevitable hijacking and taking a surviving pirate prisoner, disaster struck. The party discovered the cargo was actually an experimental new weapon: a pistol modified to carry six rounds instead of one, and lots of blackpowder. During the night, the prisoner escaped his bonds and detonated the blackpowder, destroying the ship. The party barely survived, but Keseth was not so lucky.

After washing ashore on a jungle island and surviving the sahuagin inhabitants, the party finally made it back to the mainland to make their report. After some investigating, they discovered the weapons were stolen goods in the hands of one Darion Pallbane, who was intending to sell them to the Volgan States for a tidy profit. Though they searched Pallbane’s mansion, they found no evidence of the man’s whereabouts. In a moment of inspired pettiness, Robin stole all the doorknobs in the mansion and Jeffrey left some “homemade sausage” in the icebox.

Side Mission 1: Robin and Feyred

Robin and Feyred were tasked with finding the missing daughter of the mayor of a small village to the southwest. She had been kidnapped by cultists and taken to an abandoned temple in the woods to be sacrificed for some horrible archaic ritual. During the fight, Robin discovered for the first time that his sack of doorknobs taken from Pallbane’s mansion could be used as a surprisingly effective weapon.

The two managed to stop the ritual, but Katrina was left in a coma. They brought her to Freeport, where the Church of the Waking Dawn agreed to do what they could to heal her.

Side Mission 2: Malina and Cendred

Malina and Cendred were grouped with three others—Borador, a cleric named Cora Highhill, a gnome alchemist named Linni, and a young witch named Sierra Arcturus—to clear out a previously abandoned fortress of any “current residents” (read: monsters) so that it could be recommissioned for use. During the mission, Borador secretly rigged everyone’s backpacks with explosive satchels. After clearing the fortress of monsters, he detonated everyone’s packs. Linni and Cora were killed outright, but Malina, Sierra, and Cendred were simply rendered unconscious. When they woke, Borador was gloating over them. He informed them that his only target was Sierra, but getting to kill Cendred was an added bonus (he suffered a great deal of humiliation at the hands of him and Robin due to his string of mishaps during the Nesmeth Mine mission). Through the clever use of a grease spell, Sierra managed to help everyone escape their bonds and fend off Borador, but it was Cendred who delivered the final blow, gutting the dwarf so deep he nearly cleaved him in half.

Sierra admitted she’d been on the run from her father for the past year. She was the only witness to her mother’s murder at her father’s hands, and he had been trying to tie up the “loose end” ever since.

Mission 3: Reaver’s Unrest

The party’s next mission was to investigate undead activity in the cemetery of the nearby city of End-Vaald. The party entered the church’s long-abandoned catacombs to discover the source of the problem and eventually found a strange magic item animating corpses, guarded by none other than the demon-touched assassins who had harried them on the road during the Nesmeth Mine mission. During a fight with one of the more potent undead, Malina had been blinded. In a most unusual fit of generosity, Feyred offered to have her eyesight restored at Freeport’s church of the Waking Dawn.

Mission 4: Invasion of Freeport

Not long after, guild intel determined that the kobold forces who had captured Nesmeth Mine were holed up in a nearby forest. Nearly every guild member geared up in preparation to assault the kobolds. The mission was to be led by none other than the High Commander of the guild, Axl Blayde.

The party’s unit leader was a guest at the guild and apparently an old acquaintance of Axl’s, a tall, gaunt, and hideous man named Deimos Phenom. On the morning of the mission, when nearly all of the guild was gathered at the city’s North Gate to march on the kobold army, a sudden barrage of arcane fire fell from the skies and portals opened all over the city, spewing forth the kobold horde. In the chaos, the Aspect District and the guild chapter-house were both obliterated, and zombies sprang up in the wreckage to aid the kobolds in their destruction.

The party made their way to the ruins of the chapter-house, just in time to see a marilith demon dispatch Axl Blayde with little trouble. The demon disappeared, but the party’s troubles were just beginning. A mysterious figure rose from the wreckage holding the strange orb they’d uncovered in the Nesmeth Mine. He summoned more zombies for them to contend with, and disappeared.

Eventually the invasion was quelled and the zombies dispatched, but the city was in a bad state. Many of the guildsmen were dead or missing, thousands of civilians were killed, and the High Commander was dead. Blade Commander Alturin, a paladin of the Aspect of the King’s Crown, stepped in to lead in the interim. The party holed up at the Sleazy Waif Inn to await further orders. After a few days, rumor began to spread of more zombies springing up all across the city. Panic began to bloom in the streets, until one day, the city received a new visitor: The Mithral Mask, Archmage of Seers, who declared Freeport was hereby quarantined. None could leave, on pain of death.

Mission 5: Return of the Archmagi

The party was tasked with finding a cure for the plague. The problem was thus: the Archmagi had erected a prismatic barrier around Freeport, barring travel both mundane and magical until the plague could be curied. Unfortunately the Archmagi were splitting their attentions between two such barriers; they had also erected one over all of Echinea so that the undead horde there could not escape. They could only hold both barriers for so long. If their strength failed before the plague was cured here in Freeport, both barriers would fail and undead would sweep the world.

The party did what they could to quell the unrest in the city and investigate leads to find a cure. Eventually they learned of a powerful magic rod held in the deepest vaults under the ruins of the guild chapter-house. It would eradicate the undead plague, but it would also cause catastrophic damage to the bodies of anyone currently infected but not yet zombified.

In the end, the decision fell to Blade Commander Alturin, who had the only key to the vaults. She was finally persuaded against her better judgment to use the rod. The plague was cured, but at a terrible cost. Thousands more died from the “cure,” leaving a city of 75,000 reduced to less than 40,000.

After that, the barrier was lifted. Blade Commander Alturin soon left the city. The party later discovered she had lost her paladin abilities due to her decision to kill thousands in order to save the world.

Acadecia: The Story So Far, Part 1

The Dembram Republic, spread across the southeast quarter of the massive continent of Suinvar, is no stranger to conflict. On top of the constant invasion attempts from the Grindel Territories on its southwestern border, Dembram has been in four wars over its history with the neighboring Volgan States to the north.

Until last year, the Dembram Republic and the Volgan states had been embroiled in the Fourth Volgan War, lasting a brutal 17 years. In the fall of last year, the armies of the two countries were battling along the River Running at the northern border of Dembram. It was a two-year campaign with terrible casualties on either side, but neither had been able to truly uproot the other. While Dembram had pushed the Volgans back to the far side of the river, they remained at a stalemate from then on. It took intervention from a third party to bring the conflict to a halt.

In the middle of a fortnight-long river battle, strange men and women in blue tunics and mithral armor appeared out of thin air. Spells on either side were suddenly nullified before they could even be cast, and powerful blasts of arcana knocked soldiers of both armies onto their backs. Stunned and confused, the soldiers listened as the newcomers gave them an ultimatum: cease all aggression and agree to meet peaceably to negotiate a treaty, or face complete destruction.

The newcomers, as it turned out, were Mage Knights, the heralds and followers of a group whose name was previously lost in mythos and legend from ages past: the mystical and immortal Archmagi. The Archmagi have returned to Acadecia after a millenia-long absence. And if these powerful wizards have returned, it can only mean that they have been drawn here by a terrible impending doom.

The tale of our heroes begins a few months later, in the bright, cool early spring of Freeport, the largest city in the Dembram Republic, nestled on the east coast and a center for trade, culture, and of course, adventurers. Most notably, the world-renowned Shining Blade Guild has its largest chapter-house in Dembram located here. Over one hundred adventurers claim membership in the guild, each there for their own reasons, but all of them looking to make a name for themselves by blade or spell. Four people sat in one of the chapter-house’s briefing rooms, waiting for their first assignment from one of the guild’s lieutenants.

Two elves sat among them, Cendred Tear and his adopted brother Feyred. Both hailed from the massive, sprawling forest of Everwood that absorbs most of the central north half of the continent. Both were rogues of a sort, one in skillset and the other in personality.

Also with them was a stocky dwarf, scarred and callused from years of skullduggery. He introduced himself only as Borador, with no clan name—highly unusual for a dwarf, as their people hold their respective clans in high regard.

Finally, a middle-aged man sat with them, wild-eyed and wild-haired, of nebulous temperament and questionable sanity. He carried a beautifully-crafted chainblade, a hand crossbow, and a large oak trunk. This was Robin Wolfgang.

Their first mission: to investigate a silent mining village to the northwest. The mission was perilous, and suffered no few setbacks thanks to a series of rotten luck on Borador’s part and an assassination attempt on the road, but eventually the party made it to the mining village—only to find it completely overrun by kobolds. Nearly all the miners and their families were already dead. Through some clever trickery, the party managed to drive off many of the kobolds back into the mountains and slew the rest. Investigating the mines, they came upon a discovery that would shape the future of the world.

Apparently the miners delved into a long-sealed chamber with a great and terrible treasure locked inside. After slaying the ogre sentry—nearly killing Cendred in the process—they discovered a magic orb whose arcana was so potent that it nearly killed anyone who even touched it. After sending word back to the chapter-house regarding the assassination attempt and the discovered orb, the party was immediately transported via powerful magic back to Freeport; the brass didn’t want such a dangerous object traveling on the open road. Afterward, it was discovered the assassins had demonic contact of some sort; their touch was tainted, and their coded messages were in Abyssal. Curious as to what these developments meant, the party nonetheless took a few days of much-needed relaxation time.


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