D&D-licious Planning

Session 09 - Where You Came From, and The Road Ahead
  • Solidified the world, discussed Felix’s upbringing in Neverwinter, Rel’s upbringing around Heaven’s Branch, Thorin’s abandonment of his previous culture which was at the settlement now called Reservoir because they dammed up a small valley, and Sadie’s previous life amongst a faith that didn’t fit with her at Lilydale. Oh, also Nikra’s cave near some Old Kingdom ruins before being saved by the creepy lich mother.
  • When they were discussing Rel’s previous work with teleportation, Felix had a flash of memory of strange shipments in Neverwinter that used to puzzle him.
  • After obtaining Master Kiln’s mask & blindfold and making it through the broken portal, the cursed tree portal was restored. Sadie and Gren restored the ward at the tree and Sadie felt some warmth from Iora as well.
  • In examining the blindfold, Nikra figured out he could probably attune himself to the blindfold if he could enact a ritual with some ash from a tree struck by lightning, a thread from a used funerary shroud, the shadow of a spider, and some part of himself. He also realised that even with the attunement, the blindfold is still immensely powerful and dangerous.
  • While waiting for Sadie to return to the group, Felix had gotten everyone there to dip their hand in the tree sap that was in the trees that Rel and Nikra had travelled through and put their handprints on his new mask.
  • It became clear to the whole team that much larger forces are at work here, and there is a powerful, organised group interested in taking control of the land.

We returned to the Jackal village in a heavy storm and hunkered down for the night.

  • Doma essentially asked for more help, specifically the powerful blindfold. We told her that we’re doing our best and to back off. Doma left the conversation and became much more stand offish.
  • Gren revealed that he used to be a warlock, and that an inquisitor from The Order of the Burning Sky (part of the Church of Iora) had arrived at the chapel. They had been worried that the Burning Sky was after Gren for his past, which is why he was chosen to refresh the wards.
  • Gren encountered some suspicious activity that made him think the Burning Sky may be serving another entity other than Iora, and requests Nikra to be wary of them but also keep an eye out for any information on who they serve.
  • First thing the next morning, we ventured to restore the ward that existed at the previously corrupted tree that we cleansed. That went smoothly. Knowing that Master Kiln was probably targeting the trees as they could be corrupted, it was decided to replace the tree wards with stone wards.
  • We then returned to Jackalville to see that they are making preparations to leave, as it has grown too dangerous. Mosscloak mentions that they don’t get along with the lizardfolk in the south of the valley as the jackals used to be enslaved by the lamia, and so they are going to try their luck up north. Doma still sent out scouts to the wards as agreed with the party.
  • The party ventured forth to the final Tree ward, as scouted by the Jackals.
  • Nikra used the mask to control nearby shades, which assisted us in fending off the lizard-fish people who had been crossing the river and attacked the party.
  • The two shades hanging around the tree are Tengah, the squire that had tried to warn the chapel of the initial shadow attack, and an old elf lady. They currently don’t have their full memories, but the elf lady has some flashes of her previous memories.
  • One of the shades killed a big lizard-fish and a shadow appeared from its body.
  • Nikra felt strange and his vision has been affected after using the blindfold to command the shades. He can still maintain control for another hour.
  • Sadie fell unconscious but was promptly healed back up, the rest of the crew remained fairly healthy despite some serious grapple action.
  • Aside from the shadow lizard person, two others are dead on the ground/water (one was boiled alive by Rel’s Hellish Rebuke) while another two have fled across the river.
  • Nikra sent a message to the Ioran group who were refreshing the other wards and are on their way to the party now.
  • We’re ready to set up the next ward, we’ve also caught word that Master Kiln and his forces use the Lizard-Fish camp as a halfway point, and has been recruiting other parties on the other side of the river to his cause. It may be worth investigating.
Session 04 - Bone, Fur and Blood

The party rests in the shade of the cleansed ward tree, and are refreshed as the ancient tree expresses its gratitude at the cleansing. The twig blights, before falling back into inanimate sticks, form themselves into a magical javelin for Sadie to thank her for calming them down and healing the tree. Thorin is slightly jealous of Sadie’s gift.

Rel examines the sap in the cracked pot and finds that the pot is marked with an archaic rune from the time of the Old Kingdom that prevents it from spilling its contents, and that the black oil is most likely sap from the Gulthian tree which in legends is a cursed tree in the middle of the Old Kingdom.

Thorin communes with the trees and plants and gains knowledge of a clearing near a small hill, where wood has been cut down in recent times and figures have been moving about.

The party follows the trail out of the ward tree’s grove that indicated a large group of people moving off through the forest.

Not long after following the tracks, the party is confronted by a wild youth in the trees before they could reach the low hill that Thorin had sensed.

Greypatch asked if they were looking for the “sun boys” and indicated that they should give up, as they are surrounded, and that the forest takes and doesn’t give back easily. Before Felix can negotiate further, Rel fires an arrow into Greypatch’s shoulder, who falls off the tree into the form of a jackal and howls.

Greypatch’s howls are answered by 5 other jackalwere who surround the party.
The jackalwere manage to use their magical gaze to put Nikra, Sadie and Felix to sleep. Thorin wakes Felix and together with Rel they manage to kill 3 of the jackalwere including Greypatch. Although the jackalwere appear to heal quickly from most physical attacks, Felix’s magical water blade manages to stop their regeneration. Sadie is also woken up before the jackalwere can steal her away, but Nikra is still stuck in a deep slumber and suspended by Thorin’s vines.

Two of the jackalwere manage to slip away during the melee, while another is tackled to the ground by Felix before they can escape. However, more howls can be heard in the distance.

Session 03 - The Green Grass, The Black Blood

After dispatching the blights, the party safely stow away their raft and recuperate.

During the rest, Lucky runs off and returns with some beads that had been part of the attire of some of the Ioran clerics. Lucky then leads the party back to the old lumber track marked on their map and then off onto the trail to the next ward. Sadie finds more beads and a broken bracelet hanging off a branch.

Travelling down the trail, the party notice more blights in the distance and manage to take a needle blight down before encountering a vine blight that attempts to restrain them.

While fighting the vine blight, the party also encounter other twig blights, but most of them are rushing back toward the ward tree to defend it.

After dispatching the blights, the party comes into a clearing where a giant old tree is being surrounded by many twig blights. Black, oily liquid coats the tree bark and dark tendrils stretch out from its roots into the trees around the grove. Discarded holy symbols are scattered around the tree. There are signs of a fight in the grove, with slash marks on the surrounding trees and dried blood on the grass.

Sadie invokes a divine blessing to calm down and charm the blights, which allows Felix to step through them and climb up the tree without resistance. Up in the midst of the branches, he finds a ceramic spike driven into the wood and broken fragments of pottery around it. He pulls out the spike which reverses the ritual and returns the black sap into a cracked pot.

Sadie, Thorin and Felix then get a vision of the ritual that was performed to corrupt this tree, which was enacted by a figure in brown robes and clad in armour of cracked earth.

Session 02 - Into the Woods, Onto the Water, Out of the Mists

Boulder in Swift Waters succumbed to the attack of the shadows while defending Enam Diawan, the half-elf musician and craftsman from Kalen’s caravan.

In the morning, the chapel holds a strange memorial service for Tenga, the fallen squire, and Boulder in Swift Waters. Pili declines the gift of a budding sapling from Thorin, stating cryptically that the two are not dead but lost in darkness.

After the memorial, there is a short discussion to discuss future plans. Kalen and Kukka were both impressed by the party’s skills and composure under fire from the night before. Kalen offers to pay them to escort his caravan, while Kukka requests them to help find out what happened to a group of clerics and paladins that had embarked a couple of days ago to renew the wards in the Saidn Forest.

The party choose to take on the request from Hope’s Last Light Chapel to find out what happened to the ward renewal group.

Relieved that the party would take care of the situation in the forest, the chapel sends Suyin and a few other escorts along with Kalen’s caravan to their next stop, Day’s Rest Chapel along the way to Halaren.

Sadie spent some time talking with Suyin and learning more about how her blessings worked, while Nikra received an omen and several boons from his otherworldly patron. Felix practiced a ritual imbuing his blade with water, while Thorin communed with the trees around the chapel and Rel completed the final touches on her glove of holding and got Enam’s business card. Kalen also gifted the party with some rations and a small cask of Drago’s Old Peculiar whisky, brewed by his cousin in the mountains near Daban.

The next day, the party reached the first ward, which was a stone cairn near an abandoned sculptor’s cottage. While at the stone cottage, Thorin took inspiration from the many sculptures of lions in the yard to take that form.

Sensing the need to overtake the ward group, the party built a raft to take on the river, with Felix helping with the steering in the water.

After a night’s travel, the party stop by the bank in the morning mists to continue their search for the second ward. However, in the low visibility the party is ambushed by needle and twig blights and fight a hard battle at the banks, with Felix, Sadie and Rel taking grievous injuries.

Session 01.5 Interlude - The Light You Obscure

At the end of the last session, Rel had an inkling of it but didn’t quite manage to spot the shadow creature lurking around the front gate. The shadow struck while some of the paladins followed Rel out of the gate and went to the aid of the caravan.

After the initial attack, another shadow appeared out of the trees, from the direction where the ill-fated messenger fell. The paladins recognized the form of this shadow, who looks like their fallen companion.

Sadie emerged from the keep with another cleric, Quan Suyin – a short human lady with long black hair tied in 3 braids and a spear adorned with paper tassels. Kukka had sent her along with Sadie to help the defenders by casting blessings upon their weapons which would enable them to permanently banish the lemures which also allowed them to harm the shadows.

While the concerted efforts of the party enabled them to drive off the lemures and the strange shadows, the shadows claimed another victim that night.
(For the players:
Who was this victim?

A member of the party?

A member of the caravan?

A member of the chapel?

Make your choice. You can discuss it in the chat and let me know what all of you decide before the next session)

Session 01 - A Warm Dinner and A Long Night
22 February 2017

A weary sun slinks low across the evening sky.

A trade caravan is parked outside the weathered stone walls of a keep situated at the edge of a wide valley, its members bustling to and fro making checks and preparations for their journey ahead. The caravan master steps into the small chapel within the keep to seek blessings for the roads and tracks to come.

This is Hope’s Last Light Chapel, dedicated to the Unbowed Sun, the Light and Warmth, the bright deity Iora. The paladins of Iora form the humble garrison of the keep which watches over the gloomy greenery of the Valley of Saidn. Within the chapel, clerics provide blessings and succour to the occasional travellers that stay the night on their way to or from the nearby town of Daban.

Across the valley, past the imposing peaks of the Sudta mountains, lie the ruins of the Old Kingdom. The name of the Old Kingdom has been banished from the record books, but the tales of the downfall and exodus still persist. Farther east in the glorious empire, these tales are half-forgotten memories, folk tales told with a knowing wink to young children to warn them of the dangers of hubris or straying too far from home. Here in the borderlands, these tales are shared like a secret – the hardy folk who live – nay, survive here know that while people may have forgotten the Old Kingdom, the Old Kingdom has not forgotten them.

Although many travellers go out of their way to avoid being close to the borders of the Old Kingdom, some still make their way to the chapel as part of a pilgrimage, or trusting in the blessings of Iora to keep them safe over mere physical distance.

Five such travellers have joined the caravan at Hope’s Last Light this evening.

Sadie Bones, a half-elf cleric looking for answers beyond the strictures and dogma of her commune, accompanied by her dog Lucky.

Felix Undertow, a genasi fighter expanding his horizons outside the only life he’s known.

Thorin Lumberback, a dwarf druid endeavouring to show nature’s way in an increasingly industrialized world.

Rel Varsin, a tiefling alchemist on the run from past persecutions and bonds.

Nikra, a drow warlock emerging from the shade of a lonely hermitage to see the wider world beyond.

Sadie and Nikra take up the offer of slightly warmer beds within the barracks, on loan from their regular tenants who have embarked on duties outside the keep. Felix and Thorin make camp outside not far from the caravan, while Rel stakes out her spot within the branches of a stout old tree.

As the sun sets, the travellers each make their way to the caravans to see what barter can be made for provisions or food. The caravan master, a tall dwarf named Kalen, variously offers them a seat at their evening meal in exchange for handcrafted leather goods, honest labour, and a song to lift everyone’s spirits. While Felix and Thorin offer their help with securing the loads and preparing the food, Rel climbs up onto another nearby tree and starts tuning her lute. A young elf takes up a familiar tune on his flute as the other workers whistle and sing along. As he catches Rel’s eye, they attempt to play together in harmony; and though Rel’s unfamiliarity with the tune leads to a less-than-regular beat, their audience is charmed nonetheless.

Having traded some of her leather handiwork for some food, Sadie re-enters the chapel to meet with the head cleric. She steps into the chapel just as the gathered supplicants are finishing their evening rituals, led by a tan human lady in a light blue tunic emblazoned with a golden sun. At the end of the service, she introduces herself as head cleric Pili rai Tuhar of Hope’s Last Light. Another lady, whose looks resemble Pili’s and who has been standing behind her throughout the service, excuses herself to consult with her lieutenants in the hallway. Sadie converses with Pili on the subject of faith, but does not get any answers to her doubts. The past few months have been distressing, with many unanswered prayers and news of strange tragedies befalling many sites blessed by the gods. While the gods have had periods of quiet before, no one remembers the last time the gods have stayed silent for this long. On the way out, Sadie overhears Commander Kukka rai Tuhar and her paladins discussing a person named Gren and whether they should check up on him.

Re-joining the festivities outside, Sadie attempts to strike up a conversation with Kalen, but is waylaid by his quartermaster to discuss leatherworking techniques. Nikra and his invisible servant lurk among the edges of the caravan, furtively secreting scraps of food for his current and likely future meal. A small crowd gathers around the low table where Felix is taking on the supposed best dragonchess player in the caravan. While she boasts about her prowess, Felix realises she has made a critical error in her opening moves and capitalizes on that to swiftly defeat her. However, she takes her defeat in stride while her friends in the caravan tease her.

The sun sinks behind the lofty peaks, and the members of the caravan start packing the makeshift tables and leftover food away. Thorin subtly stashes away a few extra pieces of fruit and bread as the remains of dinner are being cleared away, though it doesn’t seem like they will be sorely missed. Small specks of light flare up in the distance as the torches along the wooden perimeter wall are lit, and farther still lies the dim glow of Daban. A few senior members of the caravan stay by the dying campfire to finalise their plans for the next day’s travel as the guests slowly trickle away to their own lodgings.

Suddenly, a bright orange flare scars the inky blackness of the starless sky.

Nikra’s superior night vision allows him to spy a lone figure running towards the keep. Alarm bells ring throughout the keep, in response to the signal from the outer walls.  A pair of attendants rush out into the field to urge the caravan and the travellers to seek refuge within the sturdier stone walls. A red-scaled dragonborn paladin clad in dull bronze splint armour and wrapped in orange sashes appears to be organizing the defense of the front gate and figures appear up along the stone walls as more torches are lit and bows are strung.  Felix runs into the keep and up onto the walls where he joins the paladins there with his own bow. Sadie helps the attendants usher in some of the caravan members into the keep, while Kalen organizes his remaining guards to protect the merchandise.

The running figure doesn’t quite make it to the keep. Several metres out, they stumble and fall with a gasp. They are not alone. The ground around them seems to roil with unnatural bulges that reveal themselves in the light to be misshapen grey-fleshed creatures. They stream in from the darkness, surrounding the caravan and heading toward the keep. The caravan guards do their best to contain their revulsion as they attempt to ward off the creatures. The archers along the walls provide covering fire and Felix manages to strike one of the creatures before it can maim one of the guards. Thorin lunges into action to follow up on Felix’s hit and strikes a mighty blow with the massive branch that he wields as a weapon. To his disgust, he witnesses firsthand the unnatural shifting of flesh that allows these creatures mobility. Seeing Thorin wade into the fray, Felix ties off a rope to the battlements and swings down acrobatically to join his friend.

Sadie and Rel join the paladins at the gate and prepare to weather the attack there, while Nikra takes his stand somewhere between the caravan and the gate, using his icy spells to slow the creatures down. Sadie goes into the temporary command post in the chapel to inform Pili and Kukka about the attack on the caravan and gate, and learns there that the beings attacking them are lemures – malevolent spirits manipulating animate flesh that never truly die unless killed with blessed weapons. The lemures are known to inhabit the nearby forest, but they are perplexed by their numbers and brazenness in attacking the keep as the wards they maintain should keep them away. At the gate, several lemures begin their attack. Rel helps the paladins to fend them off and manages to keep Lucky away from harm, but is suddenly attacked by a strange force. In the flickering torchlight, the shadows appear to dance with a life of their own and Rel is filled with dread at the sight.

A long night lies ahead.

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

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