The Shattered Lands

Bring Him Back Alive!

It’s a warm summer evening, close to perfect. A cool breeze blusters in from the northwest, carrying with it a promise of the encroaching autumn, but at the moment it simply brings a welcome relief from the heat of the day.

After spending most of your day traveling back to town and reporting in to collect your bounties, you’re just happy to be able to relax in comfort. For what seems like the first time in ages, you’re not so worried about what might be lurking just around the corner or behind the next door as you are about the terrible prospect of draining dry Arumn’s Dagger’s stores.

You’ve just finished a great dinner and round of drinks, happy to have something besides trail rations or cold food. Just as you are about to raise a toast to your deserving host, a rumpled shape staggers through the alehouse’s open door.

Startled by the intrusion, but before you can act, the figure crumples to the floor. The bartender dashes over and turns the stricken stranger onto his back. " Marceus!" he gasps, and then looks back up at you, his face filled with dread.

You rush to the man’s side. he’s alive, but barely so. He’s literally been beaten to withing an inch of his life, and his right leg is broken and twisted. You roll him onto his side and he groans loudly as the bones in his battered leg crunch together.

His eyes flicker for a moment and then open wide. His gaze, clouded by pain fixes on you. Just before he mercifully passes out, he reaches up and grabs your shirt.

“My son,” he whispers through his battered lips, “they’ve got my son!”

After searching the area around the Alehouse, the group decides there is no immediate danger. When asked, the barkeeper informs the party that Marceus is a wealthy merchant who frequents his alehouse, always pays in full and never casues trouble. He often recruits some of the barkeeps’ friends for jobs and is generally accompanied by his son, Lucente. Upon searching Marceus for more wounds, they find 50gp in his pouch and rings still on his fingers. Appearantly the motive of the attack was not robbery. When Marceus is awake he tells this story.

“It was horrible.” he says, his voice barely a whisper. Any hint of the merchant’s natural jovialty is gone.

“My son Lucente and I were riding along the road, just like we’ve done dozens of times before. A couple of hours from here, though, in the shadow of those old woods, it all fell apart.

“One moment I’m riding along, and the next thing I know my horse throws me..

“I look up to see Lucente fighting these things for his life. He has his sword out, and he’s laying about to his left and right, but there were just too many of them.

“I managed to struggle to my feet, and then they’re on me as well. As short as a human child they were, with skin the color of black earth, and eyes as round and dark as those of some netherwordly beast. And they had spears.

“I fought back as best I could, tried to recover my blade from my horse, but it was no use. Before long I was overcome. As I fell once again, I saw Lucente being dragged from his horse. I cried out his name as he disappeared from my view. Then I knew nothing.

“When I awoke on the road later, night had fallen and Lucente and our attackers were gone. And so were out horses, well most of them. I staggered off in the direction of the nearest haven I could think of, and ended up here.”

Marceus offers a handsome reward of 1000gp to whoever can bring his son back alive. He would go himself but almost passes out in trying to get up. The Party agrees to go find the boy, in return for such a high reward. After taking a moment to make prayer at their respective shrines, the group takes the road back long Marceus’ path. Two hours later they come across the partial remains of a horse, some broken weapons where it looks Lucente made his stand, and a hastely covered trail leading off the road into the woods. Looking up the group can just make out the top of a broken tower far back from the road. The party has little trouble following such a bloody trail all the way to the base of the ruined tower. The outbuildings have long since fallen to pieces and only the flagstones of a small courtyard and the tower itself remain to mark a small keep that once must have stood here. The moss covered stones show no wear and no one seems present, but still the trail ends here.

Upon inspecting the ruins of the tower the party spooks a nest of Dire Rats into attacking. The group easily dispatches this simple foe with the loss of a couple arrows, and prepares to continue the search.

The game ends here for the night, as our time was short. The party is leery of possible ambush and eager to discover more about the keep and its mystery.

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Bring Him Back Alive! P2

The party continues to search the area for any sign of the boy. Noting a trail of smoke coming from the tower they search the tower but find only a grate in the hearth where the smoke and smell of roasting meat is rising. Continuing about the grounds Garr spooks a Choker from it’s hole and it attacks. The party quickly puts it down and Garr proceeds to skin the kill. Schurr’s keen eye finds the door down in an alcove and the party proceeds into the dark.

Once through the hatchway, you find yourselves in a low and tight tunnel leading down into the darkness at a sharp angle. The passageway is only about four feet wide and seven feet tall – just wide enough for single file and tall enough for Garr and Schurr to make it. Cramped but manageable.

You make your way down the tunnel, through switchbacks and a wider room, further into the depths beneath the old ruins. Soon you sense that the darkness up ahead is brightening a bit. As you go lower and lower, a faint scent of smoke reaches your nose, along with the smell of roasting meat..

You step into a large, high-ceilinged room. In the back stands a large fire with a half-cooked harse scorching on the upturned spit.

A number of small, dark skinned, hariless people stare at you, eyes as black as the darkest earth, their spears at the ready.

The party immediately fans out entering the cavern. Garr tried to reason with these small creatures, but their fear and mistrust won’t allow it. The party proceeds to attack, with Schurr setting the mood by decapitating their best fighter in the initial attack. The King and Queen make a run for it but are cut off, and as the party decimates their ranks, the little people throw down their arms and surrender.

The party convinces the King to remove a golden amulet from around his neck in exchange for his peoples lives. He falls to the floor, the amulet beside him. Garr picks up the unconscious King and heads to the surface. The Queen scoops up the amulet and retreats with what is left of her people. Holg investigates and gathers a pile of leather, clothes, and weapons to bring up as well. The party leaves the hysterical Queen with the remnants of her people and follow Garr up to the surface. They breathe a sigh of relief and stretch as they reach the open skies and prepare to make the trip back to town.

Here the session comes to a close. The group seeing their mission all but complete are eager to get back for their reward. The mystery of those strange little people already receding from their minds. Arumn should have some ale left this time of night.

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A Brief Encounter

The Party is stopped on their return by a city guard patrol. Marceus arrives to forestall any issues and take his son into custody. Grateful for Lucente’s return, Marceus gives them a writ for their reward and leaves, bidding them to check in at Arumn’s Dagger for future work.

A cool breeze blows through the streets, causing torches to flicker and reminding you that it is late and you are weary from your long day.

The group decides to return to Max’s for rest. The warehouse is abustle with activity as another party assembles for a job guarding a caravan headed upriver. The party finds two bounties of interest on the board, one for investigating a nearby cemetary for disappearances, and another for a wolf infestation upriver at Treefell. The party rests for a few hours, prays at their temples, and gets ready for the next day.

Going into Miirym proper to exchange their writ for gold, Gaar interrupts an altercation with a merchant, a halfling, and two thugs. Afterwards he gets two things, a ceramic jar and a warning to not mess with the Grey Traders.

A short game, mostly wrap-up and getting ready for the next adventure.

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The Crypts and the Bloody

Not all threats lurk in the wilderness, and not all dungeons lie far from the realms of the common man. The greatest threats appear in the heart of civilization, hiding beneath harmless veneers and waiting for the moment to strike.

The Party has exchanged their writ for cold hard coin and paid their respects at their respective temples or watering holes and are eager to move on to the next challenge. Next bounty, investigate and stop the recent disappearances in the cemeteries, so that the living may return to pay their respects without fear of joining the dead abruptly.

Walking through the busy morning streets of Miirym you turn your heads and your feet to the south and the domain of the dead. The area is quiet, and no one seems to be about as you begin your search of the graveyards for anything suspicious. A few fresh graves seem your only lead till you hear a blood curdling scream. Racing to the sound you find a man sprawled dead on the ground, face frozen in fear. Several stab marks ooze fresh blood, and its flesh is marred by what appear to be acid stains. The skin is still flush and the injuries still smoke, he’s not been dead for more than a couple minutes.

The body shifts slightly as you examine it, and for a moment, you think the victim may still be alive. Then the truth reveals itself; small, sinewy worms, colored a strange pinkish purple color, twist and writhe within his clothes. They number less than 20 and seem to cluster around the acid burns. A faint trail of slime leads from the body to an open stairway leading beneath the mausoleum that looms over you.

The City watch arrives and questions the group about the body and their intentions. The Captain, recognizing Garr, permits the group to descend, leaving two guards to ensure he is aware of the results.

Trudging through a storage cellar littered with useless furnishings and debris the group chooses one of two doors and finds a smaller room and a hole in the wall hidden behind rotting boxes and jars that once held food. Crawling through, the party finds themselves exploring a network of man-made tunnels beneath the mausoleum and the surrounding grounds. Behind one door they combat a nest of ghoulish creatures. A hard-fought battle brings little reward and the group continues on. Next they discover a large cavern, containing cages, one still containing two more ghoulish creatures. Dispatching these easily they search and loot the room before continuing. Passing back across a 4 way intersection they find a short passage and a door. A voice and motion can be heard as it’s occupant has heard the party and escapes. Picking the lock they find a strange laboratory, with it’s subject still strapped to a metal table. Within minutes the poor retch is painfully transformed into another ghoullish creature and Garr dispatches the poor wretch. More looting, and on they travel, searching for a killer. Garr inadvertantly trips a small alarm of bells before reaching the next door. The lock is beyond Zarek’s ability, but not beyond the combines brute strength of Garr and Schurr. Battering the door down they find a curious chamber containing a large wooden box and a shrine. The trail of slime and worms has led them here, to this box. As they inspect the box and wok to pry it open, their quarry erupts and attacks. The party quickly destroys the abomination, torching the remains within the box. Holg discovers 3 small gems on the altar he takes with him. Moving on, the group finds a door with the sounds of other men behind it. Pushing it open they find guards and a spellcaster. A fiery battle ensues. Victorious, the party strips the room snad it’s inhabitants of valuables and ships them up to the guards on the surface, blaming them for the death and the disappearances. The party splits the loot and goes to town to get what they can for the arms and armors they have aquired, as well as order some upgraded ones for themselves.

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Night of Mischief

While returning to Mirrym from Treefall, the party is passed by an armed party rushing West. When the group return to town, they learn that the caravan that had preceeded them West had been attacked and destroyed.

Their employer, Max Capricorn, has been pleased with the parties successes and invites them to a meeting at sundown. At the meeting, the party is given a list of tasks to complete, such things as a kidnapping, an assassination, planting evidence, and a timeline. Dawn.

The details of the night are better left unpublished, as the city guard may catch wind of who was responsible, and trouble would follow. Suffice it to say, the party did well, finishing their tasks well in advance of dawn, and with a minimum of bloodshed.

At dawn, Max meets again with the party, and offers them an opportunity that they cannot decline. To work for him as part of the Black Hand. A secretive group that is still shrouded in mystery. Their first task? To go and investigate the attack on the caravan and establish the location of a particular piece of cargo.

With a minimum of rest, the party goes forth, weary but wondering; who is this Max? What is the Black Hand? What is in the box they are to seek?

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Journal/Writeups

The Adventure Log can be used for Journal entries or Write-ups of events from your character’s perspective. Items that you do not want other players to see, please send me through facebook or the messaging system here on Obsidian Portal. Current value for submissions will be 2 points for a good background/history, 1 point for any other entries.
-GM

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Through the eyes of Astrid Vol.1
Max (the unusual business man)

Max has a suave demeanor. Intelligent and abitious in his persuits,he is very secretive with his motives and can be described in one word: HUNGRY. Well connected, Max has a seemingly endless supply of resources and tasks. As a result, Max is a good acquaintance to have and an interesting first boss. I am content to work for Max, and I will gladly get my errr…hands dirty in exchange for a fair payment.

Next up: Just a fill in
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Through the eyes of Astrid Vol.2

Another night with not much going on. The local tavern is busy as usual, and it’s a good thing the crowd is fairly calm. I come here often to learn things about people and study their mannerisms. On this night, though, my studies are interupted by a young lad bearing a letter with an all too familiar seal on it. His dim-witted look tells me he is no longer focused on the task at hand but on the thought of winding down for the day. My post man has a staring problem and a very tired pick up line, so before he gets much farther I decide to cut short his pointless advances. Easy is the weak mind to manipulate, and with but a few soothing words and a few suggestive thoughts planted in what one can only assume is a mind, a single command given: GO GET A DRINK. With that settled, I retire to my room and read the letter.

I prefer to work alone; I find the thought of joining a group troubling. I arrived at Max’s at the scheduled time, and as I was introduced to the party, I could see they were a ragtag bunch, and not at all what I expected. Max had said they were bounty hunters, but this group looked put through the ringer and some had wary looks on their faces. This group of individuals still had a drive and a determined look. Max was right; even when a comrade was lost these guys would continue till the objective is reached. This should prove very interesting, indeed. I’m eager to see how well I will fit in.

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Through the eyes of Astrid Vol.3
Mission one

My first mission with this ragtag team was a trip to a place called Greenhallow. There were reports of a horde of goblins that are super agressive and attacking the town. Our journey to this small outpost went rather quickly and uneventfully. We arrived at the outpost to find just a skeleton crew of guards, outnumbered by the people they protect. With resources running low, this situation was bleek. Our party needed to be swift with plans and action, for we had only till sundown to prepare for the coming onslaught.

With much discussion and brainstorming, we hatch a plan. Knowing we don’t have a lot of time, I take a moment to rally some of the townfolk to help us. This was not too difficult, especially after I explained that they had very little time and their resources are running dangerously low. I told them that the time to act was upon them or there would be nothing left. With a small work force and the cunning of our group. we assembled traps and a strategic lookout point.

That evening, we waited for the inevitable to happen. The goblins didn’t disappoint; they arrived full of vigor and ready for almost anything. The first wave reached the traps, and I sprang them by firing a bolt lit on fire into the oil slicks and igniting the goblins in a blaze of fire and smoke. It would have been nice to have it end there, but as I looked further I noticed a demon rallying even more goblins to advance onto the town. I focused my attention on the demon, attempting to enter his mind and lock his higher intellect out and stop its leadership capabilities. The demon began to flee as his goblins continued to fall. With the goblins leaderless and fleeing, the Gnoll’s bloodthirst was triggered and the Half-Orc barbarian went into a full out leap over the walls. The Cleric and I pursued as well, and we caught up with the remaining goblins in the fields. We clashed head-on as the goblins turned to fight us. I wasted no time with the first opponent, blasting his mind with my psionic energy. I then continued to skirt the edge of conflict as the Gnoll, Barbarian, and the lagging Cleric engaged the goblins with a lust for blood and victory. I took another goblin down and increased my speed in the hopes of catching up to the demon who was ahead of us all and desperately fleeing into the woods. After a few brief moments, the demon was spotted going into the cave.

The team finally assembled at the mouth of the cave, some of us still breathing heavy from combat.The Rogue volunteered to go into the cave first, and with his quiet footfalls, I think even death could not hear him coming. The Gnoll is ever ready for a fight and almost seems to have a death wish. The Half-orc went next, eager to finish this night and possibly add a few more scars of battle to his collection. The Cleric, vigilant and clutching her bruised hands, had shown me she wasn’t afraid. They had no trouble moving around in the cave, but I could barly see five feet in front of me. So I lagged behind just a bit, lit a torch, and entered cautiously. In mere moments, we were spotted and all hell breaks loose. We followed the “Scouts” down a winding hall and out into an alcove with a large statue. The demon was there, catching his breath and readying himself for combat. My wish for an easy fight dissolved quickly as goblins come down from ceiling dwellings via columns and ropes. The Gnoll sprinted into combat, followed closely by the Half-Orc barbarian. Both were vicious and swift in dispatching their foes. It dawned on me that we needed to stop the demon as fast as possible. That proved no easy task as the ground soon started to shake. I knew we were in for more than we bargained for. The statue came to life and began to attack the nearest foe. The Half-orc met the goliath head on. With some concentrated efforts, I realized the Gnoll and I had the same idea and worked togeather to take down the demon, who to our suprise was just a mere man. With the demon’s defeat, the statue came to a halt, ceasing to move. The Gnoll grabbed the sword beside the mystery man, changing our Gnoll instantly. He let out a commanding roar of victory, his voice booming with authority, which cleared the room of opposition. With the battle over, we escorted the man back to town and brought him to the jail. Apparently, the townsfolk knew him and had picked on him for being a hunchback. He was not thought highly of. One night spent in the town and we were on our way to claim our payment from Max.
I believe this group might be just what I needed.

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Through the eyes of Astrid Vol.4
The Motley Crew

Traveling with this crew, I’ve realized they have quite a lot of potential. I compiled my thoughts here in my journal.
First up would be…
Schurr, Gnoll: barbarian
I prefer to think of him as a battle hound without a leash. If you want to remove an obstacle from your path or a life force from its body, this is your ummm… man? Grizzled and tested, this Gnoll is no ones pet, but perhaps I can make him mine.

Holg, Half-orc: barbarian
Warrior of God, this Half-orc has a true fighting spirit. He is willing to do anything to appease his god, and he is always willing to test his strength. He is a valuable team member.

Rurga, Half-orc: Cleric
What can I say… a person of God, though why she prays, chants, and goes through her divine rituals, I’ll never know. It is comforting to know that, like Holg, she fears little. As such, she has unique skills that this team needs.

Zarek, (not human): Rogue
Quiet and cautious are two excellent words to describe how one should be when near Zarek. His actions are secretive and stealthy, and he likes to work the same way. A part of me is truly curious, and I genuinely think we have a mutual respect for privacy and methods.

In closing, I believe we are in for a grand adventure.

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