Sunday, July 17, 2011

Campaign Notes: DL 1-9

Title: The Search, part I
PC Level: 8th

After the traumatic events of Of Gods & Men, the PCs reach the forest surrounding Tresvka, the last reported location of the neutral Promise Flame icon. On approach to the tree line, the PCs are attacked by a squad of draconians. One of them specifically makes mention of there being a White Robe (Beam) in the group so it must be the right group to attack. The PCs make short work of the dragon-men and reach Tresvka without further incident.

The community features many shops, select groves of trees and at least one large pond within its confines. After leaving their horses at the closest stable, the PCs inquire as to Dravik, the last person on record who possesses the PF icon. A helper baker says that Dravik was Tresvka's second mayor and his belongings can be found in the council building. The PCs find not only find those belongings (under a locked glass case) but those also of the 50 or so other deceased mayors of Tresvka. The current mayor, a man named Thornback, is busy in this chamber giving a tour of the council building to visitors. The PCs manage to get a few moments alone with Thornback and advise him of the draconian attack they experienced. He cannot imagine what the dragon-men would be doing around here but sends guards to the town's perimeter as a precaution. Sir Plaxus notices a familiar-looking journal jutting from the mayor's pocket but can't put his finger on what it is. Thornback gives some information about Dravik, pointing out his case in the chamber and mentioning that Dravik himself was cremated but no one is sure where the remains were interred, although the spot is likely around the deceased mayor's cabin just outside Tresvka.

After the room evacuates, the PCs "borrow" one of items in Dravik's case--a flame holy symbol (which Gundar identifies as the symbol of Sirrion) and then make their way to Dravik's cabin. From what they've learned, no one has lived at the cabin since Dravik as the site is considered haunted by the ancient ranger's spirit. Upon arrival, the PCs note with some curiosity that the clearing around the cabin is bordered with the broken armor and weapons of draconians! Around the back of the small building is a fresh grave. A stick marking the grave head is decorated by a medallion hanging from it. On one side of the gold treasure is the image of a tree with a pair of eagle wings behind it. As Beam moves to touch the item, an arrow whizzes by him and into the wall of the cabin.

A voice from the hidden archer warns the group away from the grave and demands to know what their business is there. The PCs state they are looking for the grave site of Dravik and mean no harm. A human emerges from a tree nearby and cautiously approaches the PCs. He takes the medallion from the grave and listens to the PCs' tale of their search for the PF icons in order to fight the dragonarmies. This allegiance to good calms the archer, a man named Vanik Maun, and he tells his own tale. Maun was, until a few months ago, a lieutenant in a mercenary group. The band attacked a group of elves who were separated from the masses evacuating Silvanesti when that land was attacked by the dragonarmy. But when Maun's eyes met the innocent blue eyes of one of the elven women, he knew he could no longer be a mercenary. The elfmaiden was injured in the attack and in the confusion Maun escaped with her. The unconscious elf quickly became delirious from a fever after Maun tried to tend to her wounds. He learned that the elven refugees were heading to Tresvka to gain transport from a group of griffons waiting for them. Maun did not learn where the griffons were before the elf died in his arms a few hours from reaching the community. He buried her at the cabin and has, in the two months since, been searching for the griffons to release them from a task they will never fulfill (the refugees will never arrive so he wants to finish the last mission of the elfmaiden).

Maun agrees to aid the PC's quest if they aid him in finding the griffons. The PCs agree and the group begins to search the cabin and its grounds. A gazebo on the far side of the clearing is investigated after the house and a seal is discovered beneath it. After clearing away the old wooden structure, the group can clearly see the seal--a symbol of Sirrion in which is a smaller flame symbol--much like the seal of the first Preserver the PCs found in Blackbone's Company. When the holy symbol the PCs took from Dravik's relics is pressed onto the smaller flame symbol, the seal descends into the earth. The group descends with it into a sizable chamber. They find the PF icon atop an altar but a surprise awaits them in this crypt. A construct called a sacred guardian (this one of Sirrion) emerges from an antechamber to attack the intruders.

The PCs manage to defeat the guardian, which then crumbles to dust as ash (the remains of Dravik) fly from the guardian's mouth and out of the crypt to disperse. Maun is elected to hold the icon after Gundar is zapped by a powerful electrical charge when he tries to touch it. Apparently the warning that only those of the same moral inclination can touch an appropriate PF icon holds true!

The group leaves the crypt and sets about finding the griffons. From his studies, Beam knows that griffons are attracted to magical areas. The Mage's Supply house and the Flame Sanctuary are the most likely places (although Maun assures the group he has investigated the latter, which supposedly is the site of one of the actual Promise Flames). After finding no help at the shop, the PCs make their way to the sanctuary but are stopped en route by mayor Thornback and a company of hooded guards. He says the PCs must be taken into custody for the theft of Dravik's holy symbol. It is now that Plaxus sees the mayor's journal again and recalls what it is--a dragonarmy warbook!

All hell breaks loose as the PCs prepare for battle and the mayor's guards drop their disguises and reveal themselves as draconians. Thornback blows a signal horn and draconians descend from their hiding places high in the trees all over town. As Thornback (who is revealed as a sivak draconian) and his crew are dispatched, wave after wave of draconians and the occasional ogre assault the group and the citizens of Tresvka. The PCs somehow make it to the sanctuary and find a woman and her children there hiding from the attack. They are taken under the PCs protection as the group desperately searches for some clue as to where the griffons might be.

Before too long, a large notch on the opposite of the tree the sanctuary is built within is found. The peculiar hole is man-sized and is carved so that several people can fit inside of it. Once inside, the PCs present a PF icon and ask for permission to enter the PF tower. Everyone inside the nook vanishes to appear, as it turns out, higher up in the sanctuary's tree. The tree's bottom is a real tree but the upper--invisible--part houses the actual Promise Flame tower itself. A gemstone the size of an ogre is suspended above the group after they are all whisked inside. Crystalline rods extend from the gem into the crystalline sides of the tower which rise several levels above until they end in a flame-shaped top. Ladders lead from one level to another and the PCs investigate while Maun, Plaxus, and the civilians stay below.

The place is quiet and empty until the group reaches the top-most level in which sits a gnome amidst scattered papers. Spring-glide (his shortened name) accidentally found the invisible tower's flame when his industrial-strength pogo stick with gliding wings smashed him into it. Fortunately, researching the PFs is this gnome's life quest and he has been studying the place for over a week. He cautions the PCs to mind the irritable griffons who are lairing in the flames above them (the PCs see movement of some kind of beasts through the crystal ceiling).

The refugees and NPCs are called to the upper level while Gundar and Beam make contact with the griffons (who understand the common tongue but can't speak it). Maun joins the pair and extends the medallion of the elfwoman, saying that the beasts are free of the burden of waiting. The griffons bow to the man and he tells the PCs that the griffons will help them escape the attack. However, the PCs now spot something more troubling than even the all-out draconian attack--a black dragon flying above the tree line not terribly far away.

The group hatches a plan: everyone will escape on griffonback except Beam and Gundar who will ride their own griffons and engage the dragon in combat to give the others time and cover to escape. They will all regroup outside forest. The plan works well and the two PCs mange to take down the black dragon after a long and furious exchange of attacks. Tresvka, regrettably, is lost to the dragonarmy but at least the PCs recovered the next PF icon and gained an ally in their quest in the form of Maun.

After regrouping with their companions, Beam decides to read the warbook they confiscated from Thornback's corpse. Inside is a warning the PCs are on approach to Tresvka. Thornback confirms he has set an ambush (the draconians who attack the group at the module's start) and, if that fails, he will wait until the PCs have procured the next PF icon to slay them). Beam decides to try and fool whoever has the other warbook and writes a fake report that the attack on Tresvka has gone as planned. He also tries to find out who and where the other writer is, discovering only that there is a safehouse in Solanthus before the writer wises up to the wizard's ploy and says his group will be destroyed. But the conversation confirmed something else--there is a spy in the Solanthus resistance for how else would the draconians have known of the PCs' arrival or intentions?

The group makes ready to return to Solanthus by griffon and find the other warbook's owner (and, presumably, root out the spy).


Blogger SubspaceEmmisary said...

Wow, this sounds like a really well crafted campaign! Not to mention a party that actually seems to function as a coherent group. I guess I've suddenly found a host of backposts to get reading! Oh dear.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

It's been pretty fun so far. Regrettably, we don't game as often as we should so you'll be able to catch up easily. ;)

1:19 PM  

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