Rise of the Runelords

Urist's Journal 8/20
From the Journal of Urist Silverharp

Despite our, shall we say, harrowing first encounter, our noble band of heroes continued the assault on the Thistletop Depths. Notably, we were joined by another new companion, a wizard by the name of Teodoros. Alden vouched for him, probably knew him from some previous crusade. While I take no formal issue with the group’s new Iomedaean majority, I refuse to hold hands and sing O Glorious Inheritor of Light. A Dwarf must maintain his principles.

Our continued assault brought us to yet another accursed temple of Lamashtu. Poor Marcus nearly became food for some manner of devil dog. (Barghests, hellhounds, and yeth hounds, they’re all black, all shaggy. I can’t be arsed to tell the difference.) We also ran into two of Nualia’s hired lackeys. The sellsword seemed like the sort of gent I could have a drink with, the elf witch not so much. Luckily for us they decided their pay wasn’t worth their lives and let us pass only lightly singed.

Our efforts brought us to what I presume is the lowest level of this mess, some ancient Thassalonian something-or-other dedicated to the Runelord of Greed. After avoiding a rather nasty trap and exploring a few rooms full of magical claptrap, we found ourselves in front of a rather imposing door. The only thing I can find myself thinking is that something down here must have made those claw marks at the beginning of these ruins. Something big.

Urist's Journal 8/14
From the Journal of Urist Silverharp

Our invasion of the goblin fortress at Thistletop continues. Although our battle with the goblin chief got off to a rocky start, the arrival of our new companion, Marcus, turned the tide of the battle. Marcus seems like a good enough lad. He holds his liquor well for a human, and his clandestine skills will certainly come in handy. The battle will make a decent verse in my ongoing ballad, The War at Sandpoint. Ripnugget is a typical idiotic goblin name, but it takes to meter surprisingly well.

Our sack of the fortress turned up some objects of note as well. Ripnugget’s sword is of surprisingly high quality, despite being of goblin make. The only logical explanation is that the idiot creatures got their hands on a piece of good dwarven metal. I’ll hold onto it for the time being, until I can get a proper dwarf-make sword. The idiot creatures had also locked a horse in a closet. The poor beast was half-mad from starvation, but we managed to get it safely out of the fortress.

As our assault of the fortress took us underground, we were forced to witness horror that I am reluctant to record here. When I say we caught the bugbear Bruthazmus with his pants down, I unfortunately mean this literally. I think it will be best to leave this particular incident out of my ballad, though it may make an excellent tavern song after time and a few strong drinks have eased the memory.

Memento Mori
Antio Mattim and Lilliayn Genestra

The incident involving Colhad and one of the girls of Sandpoint had spread through town even faster than news of the Glassworks Massacre, wiping out much of the goodwill the little band had gained from the townsfolk. While not openly hostile, the feeling in town had turned decidedly suspicious. At least the guard barracks was still open to them, deputized as they were and awaiting the return of the sheriff.

“Women,” Antio mused aloud, taking another pull from his tankard. At least he still had Cyrdyk’s favor—though he’d have to replace the cask of beer he’d liberated from the old thespian’s private stock. “Nothing but trouble,” he added.

“Pish,” Lilliayn tutted, adding with sarcasm, “I happen to know you’re rather fond of women.”

“Certain women,” Antio smirked back.

“Women who are more demure?” Lilliayn fluttered her eyelashes dramatically. “Women who know how to play the coquette?”

“Women who know how to not get caught by their fathers,” added Antio. Lilliayn surreptitiously crossed her eyes at him and flicked the V. Korvosa’s infamous vulgar salute, “the V” consisted of two fingers raised with the knuckles facing out. Antio laughed at the gesture, and returned it, as was their irreverent custom. Far from the laugh he expected it to receive, however, Lilliayn frowned.

“You know I jest,” Antio said, putting his fingers away.

“Show me your hand again,” said Lilliayn. With a sideways look of uncertainty, Antio extended his hand to Lilliayn, his fingers all extended this time. She studied his outstretched hand and arm for a few moments before speaking again.

“Where is the bracelet I gave you?”

“Where is?” Antio began to repeat the question, and reflexively brought his wrist up. Lilliayn had given him a simple bracelet of braided cord and wooden beads shortly after they had met. He had worn it every day, especially since she had been taken by the Skinsaws. It was the only thing he had of the living Lilliayn. And it was gone.

“I—” Antio was perplexed, revisiting mentally the last time he remembered it’s presence. He recalled having it when he entered Sandpoint. He recalled having it at the festival. He recalled having it at the glassworks brawl. Or did he?

“I don’t know where it’s gone,” he breathed. How could he have lost it? “I don’t know how I could have missed it. I’ll check the theater.” How could this simplest of mementos simply be gone?

Force of Will

Alden stood impatiently. He hated letting the other move on without him, but the ward was a tangible force to him, and though he could move through he would be leaving a piece behind, and one he feared he may never get back. as he was feeling sorry for himself, he could feel the presence of Lillyann approaching him, her own concern weighing heavier on him, he then feels the tinge of the telepathic plea entering his head. the scripture turning his own fears into a rage, and wall of pure stubbornness. he returned to the catacombs entrance and despite the stubborn wall pushed his way through, his rage feeling as a tangible force versus the barrier pushing himself forward and eventually breaking its hold all together. the effort made him feel incomplete though.

Eyes in the Dark
Lilliayn Genestra

Lilliayn paced. Or at least looked like she was pacing—she didn’t precisely touch the floor anymore. Before her, the warded doorway yawned with both menace and mockery. Antio was in there, beyond the horrid statue of the angry woman, fighting sinspawned horrors and being brave, and she could not be with him.

I knew these moments would come, she thought. I knew there would be times that he would have to act on his own—to choose for himself without aid or encouragement. I just, she slapped her arms helplessly against her sides, didn’t think it would be so soon.

Worse, something had happened to Antio. His thoughts had turned dark and vicious. She could feel bubbling anger from him that he was keeping in check for now. The cause she could not glean, which only made her more anxious. Perhaps this catacombs excursion was ill-advised.

No, she thought. Confronting darkness is never ill-advised. Stands must be taken. But knowing she could not stand beside Antio to confront whatever was in there made her lip curl and her fists clench.

Helpless. She had never felt so helpless. Spiritual powers beyond anything she’d known in mortality, and still she was helpless. She stamped her foot in frustration, or at least gave a good approximation.

She was glaring at the ancient ward on the doorway again when the wave hit. Consciousness—a vast, evil consciousness—swamped over Lilliayn like a wave. It seemed to gaze balefully on her for an eternal moment, its power boring into her being and weighing her against some impossibly foreign measure. No sooner was it was on her, though, then it was gone, roaring forward to some unknown and dreadful destination. She felt it sweep past Antio, and caught notes of fear and rage from him before the great presence moved again.

Something terrible was about to happen, and there was nothing she could do! There had to be something. Think, girl. There has to be help.

Of course! Alden was guarding the entrance to the caverns. She streamed down the dank corridor to find the dour warrior as a passage of scripture flitted into her memory:

“Then Saith Arnisant, I am one, and thou art one, and every knight is one. And each one may say I am but one. But behold the Host, arrayed for battle. The Host numbers many, though each knight is but one. Therefore take heart, and fear not for yourself, for though you may be one, you number among the Host, and within it find your strength.”

Tsuto's Journal
Antio Mattim and Thirus Alnarr

News of what quickly became known as “the glassworks massacre” tore through Sandpoint with the sort of speed only lurid gossip in a small town can achieve. The death of Lonjitsu Kaijutsu and the goblin sacking of his glassworks turned the mood of the townsfolk alternately dour and angry. It was this that led Antio to ask Urist and Cadon to circulate and calm nerves as best they could. Urist’s harp and straightforward Dwarven manner coupled with Cadon’s silver tongue and exotic wisdom would hopefully be balms for the wound inflicted on the town. Full of zealous fury, Alden had been tasked with guarding the cliffside entrance to the discovered catacombs, as in his mood it was unlikely any Goblin army would enter town that way while the big blonde man still drew breath.

For their part, Antio and Thirus tore into the traitor Tsuto’s journal, quite literally. They turned the sheriff’s office into a war room, carefully clipping page after page of the journal from its bindings and filling an office wall with pinned sheets. Hours were spent poring over the journal for names and intimations of plans. Finally, Antio stepped back from his position transcribing names onto a single list as Thirus read them.

“That’s everyone?” he asked.

Thirus stood before the wall covered in torn pages and maps and absently nodded back to Antio with his dark emerald eyes pouring over the list obsessively. The tall mage was without his robes this night, wearing simple breeches and a white shirt kept unlaced to let his bandaged wound air. He had already been to the priests, now all he needed was a night’s rest, but not before all this information was sorted out.

“Alright, let’s see if we have the gist of what Tsuto’s describing,” said Antio, flicking a finger at the top name on the list. “In no particular order yet, starting with Tobyn. Whoever this Tobyn was, his ‘casket’ was the target of the Goblin raid. Nothing about whether this casket is a chest or coffer, or an actual coffin?”

“Aye, who ever this Tobyn was he’s sure to be known around town seeing how theses goblins sure seem to know a lot about him,” replied Thirus, lifting his lit pipe to his lips and taking several puffs before continuing “we’ll have to ask around town first thing tomorrow.”

Antio nodded, tapping the second name. “Ripnugget,” he said simply.

Thirus stared absently again at the wall of information before him. He suddenly perked up with delighted interest for the first time of the evening, turning to look at Antio as well for the first time in awhile. “Certainly one of the chiefs of the local goblin tribes, and more importantly, he seems to be closer to the middle of this situation than the other warlords, as far as we know of course.” he noted.

“Agreed,” said Antio, pouring himself a glass of wine. He gestured with the bottle and at Thirus’ nod filled a second glass. “And this Bruthazmus seems to be the Bugbear that Shalelu harbored special hate for, yes?”

“I don’t think it’s safe to assume that. We don’t know enough about this area to assume a Bugbear sighting is rare,” replied Thirus, shaking his head as he accepted the wine.

Antio nodded, and looked at the bottom three names. “This seems to bode especially ill, since it means we’ve got a hell of a lot more than Goblin thieves to worry about. A quasit is some sort of demon, isn’t it?”

“Aye, a rather nasty one at that!” Thirus exclaimed. He turned to slowly pace around the table in the center of the room as he continued, “Although I have never personally seen one myself, I have certainly seen them in many tomes and scrolls. They’re sometimes used by evil magi as familiars. Quite small, about nay big,” he bent down, holding a hand at his knee, “but what they lack in size, they more than make up for in craftiness. Shape-shifting, invisibility, and a bite so poisonous, it’ll drop you like that!” snapping his finger to get the point across.

“Is this Quasit named Malfeshnekor, do you think?” asked Antio. “Or is this some other demon we’ll need to contend with?”

Thirus tapped the tip of his pipe over the torn out page of the journal mentioning Malfeshnekor as he shook his head, “As of this time, we will have to assume that this quasit and Malfeshnekor are two separate beings. These goblins surely aren’t simple enough to believe a small demon such as a quasit could be the answer to their assault on this village. No, whoever, or whatever, this Malfeshnekor is, it is the key to their solution, and the key to our problem.”

Antio grunted thoughtfully, “And last, we have Nualia, who may or may not be a succubus,” Antio wagged a hand to punctuate the uncertainty.

“Ah, Nualia,” Thirus exclaimed in a sigh as he made his way back to the wall covered in maps and torn pages, holding his hands out wide at his sides to take in the sight “It all comes back to this Nualia,” he quickly turned back on his heel to face Antio, pointing a stern finger at him “and Succubus she surely is, or at least some way into a transition into one.”

“Does it stand to reason that this Tobyn could have been her father?” Antio asked.

Thirus took a moment to quietly think over the possibility of this. Taking several more drags from his pipe as his eyes darted back and forth along the wall, sternly nodding back as he reached out and pointed between the two journal entries “Aye! Quite an astute observation! Between these two passages, you can correlate that Tobyn’s casket, is in fact the same one she burned on this ‘Thistletop shrine’. It shouldn’t be too hard to confirm the identity of this Tobyn around town.”

“Indeed,” stated Antio, punctuating with a sip of his wine. “That should happen soon, but should it happen before or after we take action on the catacombs?”

“There’s no reason we can’t do both. But first thing in the morning we should investigate these catacombs further. They still have much to offer us in terms of information, especially concerning exactly where that tunnel leads.” Thirus explained. “The militia men seem to have done a good enough job with barricading the door,” Thirus went on “And hopefully the blessing I had placed on the door by one of the priest will do us some good… at least until morn.”

The two men were silent then, considering the coming day and its promise and undoubted dangers. Thirus smoked, and Antio drank, the two men staring at the wall of information, willing the pages to reveal their secrets even as their dread at the specifics grew.

The Man in Black
Antio Mattim, Travelogue 1

Antio woke with the now-familiar ache. Since the attack on the road, he had not slept well, and mornings had been especially difficult. His empty left eye socket was still tender, and he groped blearily for his patch. Sitting up in his rough bed, he swung his legs out and gently twisted his trunk to work out the night’s stiffness.

“Good morning,” said Lilliayn, sitting in what was now her usual chair. It was a big overstuffed thing from Cyrdyk’s prop store—almost a crude throne. She nestled in it with her feet tucked under her as was her way.

“We shall see,” Antio replied, working up spit in his night-dry mouth.

“It’s the swallowtail festival today,” said Lilliayn. “Shall we try and have some fun today? Forget what’s happened, at least for a little while?”

Antio smiled a grim smile. Forget? Lilliayn was dead, along with their four friends. He’d spent a week in bed recovering, and had only yesterday been back on his feet in any meaningful way. He looked at his hands as he slowly clenched and flexed his fingers.

Sensing his mood, Lilliayn moved fluidly to the bed beside him. He sagged into her arms, and she caressed his back as he sighed into her shoulder. He had no tears left, it seemed. No tears for this, the ghost of the woman he loved.

“It’s going to be better, my sweet Antio,” she whispered. “I’m here.”

“How long?” he murmured. He could feel her, but she had no scent. Her scent was gone. “How long before you fade into eternity? I don’t know if I can do this without you.”

“Of course you can,” she encouraged. “You’re stronger than you know. It’s why I’m back. You have it in you to do great things. I know it.”

He sighed again. Always sunny were things for Lilliayn. Except, of course, that she was dead and he was not. In the back of his mind, the question flickered again. His last memory of her alive was the sound of her screaming as the Skinsaws dragged her away. He could not ask how she died. He did not think he could bear the answer.

“Come,” she said, looking to move the subject forward into things of motion, “get dressed. I see you’ve picked some clothes out. Is this the best Cyrdyk had?”

“It suits me,” replied Antio, picking up the black trousers and wriggling into them.

“Good morning!” intoned Cyrdyk, bustling into the chamber with a breakfast tray. “How is our favorite invalid today?” he asked, more to Lilliayn. “It’s the festival. If ever there was a day for one to get onto one’s feet, this would be the day.”

“He’s fine,” Lilliayn answered for Antio. He simply nodded, reaching for his boots. “I’m still not sure about his color palette, though,”

“It does seem…” Cyrdyk searched for a word, “monochromatic.” If Antio had learned anything about Cyrdyk, it was that the man couldn’t use a small word when a large one would do.

“I’m a man in mourning,” Antio shrugged. “Black makes sense.”

“Perhaps,” Cyrdyk mused, setting the tray down and sharing a long look with Lilliayn as Antio laced his shirt. “May I make a suggestion, good Master Mattim?”

“I owe you, Cyrdyk,” said Antio, meaning it. “Make whatever suggestion you feel appropriate.”

“I understand your desire to wear the black, but may I suggest you consider a broader reason for such a somber tone?”

“Broader? What do you mean?”

“May I suggest you consider that there are troubles in the world that need attention. Wear the black, for instance, for the poor, the beaten down, the hopeless and hungry. Those who have never known love or charity.”

Antio frowned thoughtfully. Leave it to Cyrdyk to turn any instance into an opportunity for monologue. Lilliayn, though, clearly understood where Cyrdyk was going.

“Yes,” she put in, “don’t wear the black for me. Wear it for the sick and lonely old. Don’t mourn my life—mourn the lives that could have been.”

“Wear this dark color,” added Cyrdyk, waving a stage flourish to punctuate, “to remind you that there are troubles aplenty among those you will meet as time goes on. Wear it as a reminder to help. Wear it… I feel a couplet coming on.”

Antio and Lilliayn rolled their eyes in unision.

“Carry off a little darkness on your back,
that things be brighter, you’ll be the Man in Black.”

Cyrdyk struck a proper stage pose to punctuate the couplet. Lilliayn clapped politely. Antio pinched the bridge of his nose, and then shrugged with a wry smile.

“Well, how can I argue with that?”

“That’s the spirit,” Lilliayn nodded, holding up Antio’s doublet to help him don it. “Now then, eat your breakfast and let’s go to the festival.”

A First Session - Tech Issues and Character Creation

Not in attendance: Fopory, Mikal & Scott
Greg, Ryan, and Loran stopped in to talk about characters and the campaign.

It looks like Greg will be playing a Courtier with a bodyguard Lt., Ryan will be playing the studious Mage and Loran will have a brutal soldier and his dear but not completely departed love.

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.


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