Gods and Empires

Getting started...
My First Summer Job!

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D01

This story begins, as so many others have, with the need for employment. A halfling of questionable means, fearing the lynch mob and short on cash, looking for a place off the beaten path. A wild elf, recently departed from his home in the tundra in hopes of finding a mentor and possibly a sponsor to become a registered magic-user within the Imperium. A well-traveled common elf, devoted to a life of wandering and devoted to his interesting new companion of the road, who simply follows the path in front of him. These and many others lined up at the wizard’s tower this day, following the rumors that a powerful wizard seeks adventurers of cunning, skill and courage to work for him. So they join the others, gathered outside the door: mercenaries and brigands, a snotty wizard and a beefy barbarian. All await the appointed hour…until the dragon arrives, that is.

When the dust settles, it seems the only ones who remained were the halfling, the two elves and a barbarian. The illusionary dragon heralded the introduction of the wizard Andoth Waylan: reclusive researcher, humble historian and wizard of no meager talents. Brief introductions and a settling of the terms lead to an offer of employment that is quickly accepted by the group. So they begin to earn their keep, and perhaps be tested along the way.

Results

  • The opportunity to explore new places (the barn), and see exciting wildlife (snakes).
  • A chance to test one’s skill (or lack thereof) with locks and traps.

People Met

Places Found

  • Andoth’s Tower
  • Andoth’s Barn

Rewards

  • Employment grants several perks, including free room and board in Andoth’s tower, as well as access to a meager library.
  • Lucius receives 200xp.
  • Taran and Vyeter each receive 100xp.
  • Party receives a vial of snake venom and a vial of antivenom.

Experience Point Totals

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The second day on the job...
To market, to market!

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D02

A new day greets the party, as do more chores. Entrusted with a bag of coin and a shopping list, the party must venture to town to meet the inhabitants of Waylan’s Bluff and to gather supplies for future assignments. Splitting up, the halfling and barbarian meet an elderly herbalist in need of assistant herb harvesters…a task which pits them agains raiders from a local goblin tribe. Meanwhile, the elves learn of a missing caravan and a reward offered for news of its fate.

Results

  • Picking herbs is vastly more difficult when being assaulted by goblins.
  • When raiding a caravan, it would seem that goblins have no appreciation for fine wine.
  • The local children can be a bit annoying.
  • There is a standing bounty of 1sp per goblin ear turned in to the city watch.
  • Waylan’s Bluff is home to a Temple of Eldoth, the God of Wisdom and Knowledge.

People Met

  • Meribeth the Herbalist
  • Allisandra, the half-elven Priestess of Eldoth
  • Orly Shalefoot, the dwarven merchant
  • Bhurkan Shalefoot, the dwarven blacksmith
  • Captain Peters of the town guard
  • Byron, an enthusiastic local youth

Places Found

Rewards

  • Lucius receives a healer’s pouch and two feverfew poultices (+10 to Fort saves vs disease) from Meribeth.
  • Lucius receives 300xp for goblin slaying.
  • A night of hard drinking thanks to a salvaged cask of Cold Harbor Red.
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 200xp for defending against a goblin ambush on the road…and for not killing each other over a cask of wine.
  • Taran receives a hooded lantern and four pints of oil from a grateful merchant.
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 500xp for the successful completion of their tasks.

Experience Point Totals

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The Elven Ruins of Cort
For research purposes only!

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D03

The party learns that Andoth is a historian interested in learning more about the ruins common to this area, as well as the purported disappearance of an elven civilization in the distant past that may be linked to the ruins. Andoth has received word of some newly-discovered ruins near the town of Cort, some two days of travel to the west. Seeking writings, rubbings or artifacts from the ruins, Andoth send those of his employees who are sober enough on a mission to learn more about these ruins. Supplied with a suitable bribe and several days worth of travel rations, the part sets out for Cort to meet Baron Alivair of Cort and explore his future basement.

Skillful negotiation earns the party the opportunity to explore the ruins while the Baron’s workers take an unexpected holiday. In addition to searching for artifacts, the party also agrees to seek out the fate of some missing workers and guards. An afternoon of sifting through debris, crawling through tunnels and battling giant snakes yields a handful of minor treasures, a collection of charcoal and paper rubbings, as well as news on the fate of the missing persons. Confident in their success, the intrepid adventurers return home to recover from the ordeal.

Results

  • Unlike goblins, the Baron Alivair appreciates a good vintage.
  • Leaving no stone unturned, save for the ones that crushed the guards, has its rewards.
  • Taran has an irresistable allure…to snakes.
  • Elves just have a knack for spotting secret doors.
  • Waylan’s Bluff is home to a Temple of Illandra, the Goddess of Sacrifice.

People Met

  • Baron Alivair
  • Brock, the Foreman

Places Found

  • Cort
  • Future site of Baron Alivair’s keep/ancient ruins

Rewards

  • Party receives two vials of a pale, red liquid (healing potion) from Andoth.
  • Lucius receives 100xp for his diplomacy skills.
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 200xp for thinning out the snake population.
  • Party discovers a sword hilt, a mithral ring (plain), a mithral amulet (crossed spears), a statuette and 5 rubbings (4 statues and 1 altar).
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 30gp for a job well done.
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 750xp for the successful completion of their tasks.

Experience Point Totals

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Hostage Negotiations
Making friends and influencing humanoids!

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D06

Translating the rubbings, which appear to be in an unknown elven dialect, reveals that there the ruins may be one of several outposts. Andoth wants the party to locate and explore any or all of the others in hopes of finding clues that may lead them to the ruins of an actual elven city. The party seeks out the Priestess Allisandra in hopes of learning more, only to learn that their recent altercations with the goblins seem to have enraged the violent humanoids. It seems that one of Allisandra’s Acolytes, a priest named Wellin, has been kidnapped, and she refuses to aid them until the situation is successfully resolved.

The party tracks the goblins back to their camp by the river, where the poor Acolyte is trussed and gagged and awaiting rescue. When stealth and the element of surprise fail, and a headstrong sorceror nearly killed, the mighty halfling negotiates the release of the hostage and manages to avoid loss of life…while making an enemy of the goblin shaman leading the raiders. In exchange for the return of her Acolyte, Allisandra willingly offers her assistance in deciphering the meanings of the cryptic rubbings taken from the ruin.

Results

  • Goblins do have an appreciation for beer, and tobacco, it seems.
  • Goblins do not appreciate it when you kill the goblins that are trying to kill you. What hypocrites.
  • There are potentially three other elven outposts in addition to the one already explored. The names of the four are the Lonely Hills Watch, the Lady’s Mirror Watch, the Whispering Mountain Watch and the Laurelwine Crossing Watch.
  • The altar in the ruins seemed to be dedicated to an unfamiliar Goddess.
  • The local youth are still annoying.
  • The party learns of three major goblin clans in the area: the Clan of the Red Claw, the White First Clan and the Broken Spear Clan.

People Met

  • Acolyte Burt
  • Acolyte Wellin
  • Goblin Shaman

Places Found

  • A lovely meadow for picking flowers and being abducted by goblins
  • A goblin camp by the river

Rewards

  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 500xp for the successful rescue mission.
  • Taran receives a nice scrollcase and 2 divine spell scrolls (1st-level Bless and Calm Animals).

Experience Point Totals

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A Return to Cort
The quest for more ruins!

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D07

The clues uncovered by the party’s recent achaelogical expedition, combined with the Priestess Allisandra’s limited knowledge of local geography, suggest that there may be another elven outpost near a river crossing on the Laurelwine, which is rumored to be somewhere west of Cort. With no other solid leads to follow, the party prepares to return to Cort once again in hopes of learning more, or possibly finding a guide who could lead them to the river. Along the way, however, the party discovers that they are being followed and mounts a surprisingly successful ambush upon the goblin scout, thus ensuring themselves a peaceful night’s rest (without a fire). The next morning, however, the party is ambushed on the road by the rest of the goblin raiders, who find themselves outmatched by the party and quickly dealt with.

After finally reaching their destination, some time is spent gathering the required information. The party learns that the river is located to the west, and can likely be reached by an old road that seems to be little used, save by a group of halfling traders who make monthly visits to the town in order to trade for supplies. More intriguing, however, is the rumor of another set of ruins located only a day’s hike north of the town. A human ranger named Slade offers his services, for a nominal fee, and agrees to lead them to the tower the next day…

Results

  • A goblin in the bush is not worth nearly as much as a spear in Vyetar’s hand.
  • A group of halfling traders, led by a fellow named Lefty, make monthly trips to Cort from an unknown location to the west.
  • More ruins exist to the north of town.
  • The local guards are fascinated by strange elves with outrageous accents.

People Met

  • Slade
  • Ernie and Elsie Huddles, proprietors of the Lonely Flagon
  • Gelph, proprietor of the Trading Post

Rewards

  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 175xp for fending off a goblin ambush.
  • Vyeter receives one shiny gold piece (and the adulation of the Baron’s men) in exchange for is goblin ears.

Experience Point Totals

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The Lonely Hills Tower
Location, location, location!

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D09

Led by their guide Slade, the party spends the majority of the day picking their way through the Lonely Hills, following a route that leads North by Northeast of town. As the sun begins to set, they finally reach the tower, which is indeed a ruin, as a significant portion of the top floors appears to have been demolished. Closer examination, however, reveals that it is likely a more recent structure, and not the ancient ruins that their employer sent them to find. The tower is locked up tightly, but it turns out that it is not completely uninhabited, and the party finds themselves confronted by a pair of small, winged, fire-wielding creatures with obvious magical power. The battle proves rather challenging, however, the would-be explorers prevail and reduce the strange beings to ash.

Though the main entrance to the tower is stubbornly sealed, and there are no windows on the lower floors, the inventive adventurers manage to scale the tower wall and enter the upper floors, where they discover what they suspect to be the charred remains of a former occupant, along with a strange stone disc. A thorough search of the tower reveals some treasures, some mysteries, and a sealed trapdoor leading to an underground level. Curious, but cautious, the party ventures downstairs, only to be confronted by a ravening horror that seems to be composed of equal parts fangs and claws. After dispatching the creature, the party explores the ruins of the basement, which appears to have been largely demolished by the creature that now lies dead on the floor.

Three locked doors remain. Behind one lies what is left of a wizard’s lab, where a thorough search reveals a wand, several scrolls and a pile of research notes. Behind another is a macabre dungeon and a room full of bones, which turns out to be a trap. As the party enters the room of bones, the trap is sprung and the trio find themselves surrounded by animated skeletons. Drawing upon the holy power of his Goddess Liira, the cleric swiftly strikes them down and the battle is over before it had even begun. The guardians vanquished, a small vault is discovered and the wizard’s treasures are claimed by the adventurers. At last, only one door remains: a giant, intimidating pair of reinforced doors that seem even stronger than the entrance to the tower itself. Even more strange is that they appear designed not to prevent intruders from entering whatever lies beyond, but rather, to keep something from getting out.

Rather than take chances, the party elects to rest for the remainder of the day and explore further that evening. A brief examination of the door reveals that it is sealed, but that it can be opened using the magical stone disc that was discovered earlier.Placing the disc in a depression in the door causes them to swing open, into the room, revealing a large chamber with a raised dias in the center. Although the room appears empty, the trio finds themselves greeted by strange laughter, and suddenly a small girl appears in the center of the circle and pentagram set into the dais. Suspecting her to be some sort of daemon, or otherworldly being, the party is torn between fear and curiosity. A negotiation, of sorts, begins and the girl suddenly becomes a beautiful elven woman, claiming to have been trapped these many years and seeking release. Though wary of her, the cleric is unable to bear seeing anyone held against her will, even one who may be evil or dangerous, and so agrees to free her.

What ensues is a dance of words and a struggle of wills, but finally Taran agrees to free the creature, and tell her his name, if she will offer three things in exchange: her name, a gift and the promise that she will return from whence she came without harming him or his companions. A bargain is struck, and so Taran sends his companions away, determined to see this foolish venture through on his own. Following the woman’s instructions, Taran sets about undoing the spells that bind her to this place, only to find that he instead traps himself within her bindings while allowing her to go free. Revealing her name to be Astrith, the woman leaves him for a moment and seeks out his companions, discovering their guide as well, who she enspells and brings back with her to the tower. Holding the ranger’s life as ransom, the being demands that Taran request his freedom of her as his gift, for she declares that she will not remain beholden to a mortal, and so he reluctantly agrees.

With that, the mysterious woman disappeared and the party returned to Cort, questioning the wisdom of their action.

Results

  • The tower was not related to the ruins that the party sought, but the trip proved to be a lucrative venture.
  • The tower seems to have belonged to a practitioner of forbidden arts.
  • A mysterious rune was found carved into a giant circle on the floor of the entrance hall, but its purpose was never discovered.
  • Several new creatures were encountered for the first time.
  • Taran made a new ‘friend’.

People Met

Places Found

  • A ruined tower in the Lonely Hills

Rewards

  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 300xp for defeating the winged creature that attacked them with fire.
  • Lucius discovered two masterwork daggers in a small case, as well as a pouch containing two small gemstones.
  • Vyeter claimed an enchanted cloak as well as a smooth wand crafted of a light-colored wood.
  • Taran now bears a smooth, thick bronze ring set with a brilliant red stone. He also picked up three spell scrolls from the wizard’s lab.
  • The party discovers 250gp in a chest in the vault.
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 200xp for defeating the horror awaiting them in the basement of the tower.
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 300xp for overcoming the skelton guardians.
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 275xp for surviving this adventure.
  • Taran receives an additional 250xp for his attempt to hold true to his nature. The wisdom of his actions remains to be seen…

Experience Point Totals

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The Laurelwine Crossing Ruins
Yup...definitely more ruins.

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D10

After returning to the town of Cort, the party joins Slade for a drink in the local bar to discuss their plans. The party agrees to hire him to lead them west to the river, so they arrange to meet in the morning. Unfortunately, their presence attracts some unwanted attention and the party is accosted outside of the bar by a group of ruffians looking to relieve them of their coinpurses. Moments later, the ringleaders have been struck down and the rest flee in terror. Showing mercy, and perhaps some common sense, the party leaves the thugs alive and return to the inn to prepare for their morning departure.

Setting off the next morning, the travelers spend two and a half days on the road, following the border of the Briarwood. Along the way, they are ambushed by an ogre. Though a formidable opponent, the party manages to overcome the brute, who is ultimately felled by a stone slung by Lucius. On the third day of travel, the party arrives at the river to find that there are indeed ruins of an old crossing and one or more towers, but a thorough search turns up nothing. Disappointed, the party pays Slade for his services and sends him to meet their employer along with a letter of recommendation.

Uncertain what else to do, and reluctant to return empty-handed, the party decides to follow the river south into the Grimwall Mountains in hope of finding some clue to the elven ruins that they seek.

Results

  • Racism rears its ugly head…and the party smacks it down.
  • Getting hit by an ogre hurts. A lot.
  • The Laurelwine Crossing was discovered, but the ruins proved unhelpful.
  • A potential employee was sent to Andoth.

People Met

  • Some unfriendly locals

Places Found

  • The Miner Bar
  • The Laurelwine Crossing ruins

Rewards

  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 600xp for dealing with the local thugs…and not actually killing any of them.
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 150xp for defeating the ogre.

Experience Point Totals

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The village of Laurel Hill
We are not in Kansas anymore...

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D13

The party sets out along a trail following the Laurelwine River south into the Grimwall Mountains, eventually realizing that it was once a road as well. Two days of travel finds them standing outside of the small, halfling village of Laurel Hill, where they are greeted by its wary, but polite, inhabitants. Through conversation, the party learns that they are very close to a lake called the Lady’s Mirror…a promising sign. After camping outside of town for the night, the party awakens to meet the village Elder, a soft-spoken old halfling woman named Violet.

From Violet, the group learns a little about the surrounding area, and also learns that she may be able to help them in their search for more information about the elven ruins…provided they are willing to help her deal with a problem. Apparently the village has new neighbors, in the form a kobold tribe that has moved into the hills north of town. Uncertain of their intentions, and fearful that the diminutive lizard men may prove dangerous should they be allowed to remain, the Elder requests that the party find some way to get them to leave. Should they succeed, she will help them find what they seek, so they set off for kobold territory.

Prepared for the worst, the party makes contact with the tiny lizard people and quickly find themselves surrounded and greatly out-numbered. Trying for a peaceful resolution, Vyeter manages to convince the leader of the tribe to meet with the halflings the next day in order to discuss the terms of peaceful coexistance. Leaving Lucius as a hostage, the sorceror and cleric return the village where Vyeter once again employs his silver tongue to convince the Elder to attend the meeting as well. While Lucius passes the day with little to do, Taran and Vyeter have an encounter with one of the river crocodiles…a meeting which nearly proves fatal for the sorceror. Later that day, a somewhat dramatic meeting between the two leaders in the shallows of a river crossing result in an accord being reached, preventing the bloodshed and loss of life that would almost certainly have taken place otherwise.

With that, the party returns triumphantly to the village, where they are treated to a celebratory feast. In the morning, who knows what lies in store for them?

Results

  • The party enjoys some true ‘southern’ hospitality.
  • Getting bit by a crocodile hurts. A lot.
  • Some successful negotiations lead to a peaceful resolution.

People Met

  • Lefty
  • Violet
  • Luke
  • Dink
  • Stinky
  • Pete
  • A bunch of kobolds

Places Found

Rewards

  • The gratitude…and assistance…of the village Elder has been earned.
  • Taran and Vyeter each receive 300xp for butchering the local wildlife.
  • Lucius, Taran and Vyeter each receive 1000xp for helping the halflings to reach a peaceful agreement with their new neighbors.
  • Vyeter receives 200xp for his diplomacy skills.

Experience Point Totals

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The Lady of the Lake
...some Watery Tart threw a sword at you!

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D18

The party awakens once again to go and meet with Violet, the village Elder, who has promised to help them in their quest. She offers little explanation, but sends them with the halfling Luke and his companions to meet the Lady of the Lake. After a brief shopping trip to restock on some supplies, during which time Lucius acquires a pony, they set out with the warning that they must travel during the daylight hours for the Fens are not safe at night. A daytime trip around the edge of the Fens of the Dead finds the party camping on a rocky overlook with no sign of an island anywhere to be seen, but the promise that in the morning they will meet the mystery person that can aid them in their quest. The next morning the party is led down to the lakeshore and shown a hidden causeway, just below the surface of the lake, that appears to lead to nowhere. Following the causeway leads them to an island, masked by illusion to anyone on the shore, and there among the ruins of another watchtower they find an amazing garden and its sole inhabitant, the Lady of the Lake.

The Lady turns out to be a reclusive High Elf named Calithara, the last survivor of a devastating war that took place almost 1500 years ago. She proves to be a wealth of information about the former inhabitants of the region, known then as the Gray Elves, and is more than willing to share her knowledge of history with the party. In return, she asks one favor: that the companions visit the Fens of the Dead at night to see the spirits that dwell there and find some way to release them from their cured existence. In thanks, she gives them the only gifts she has to offer: the weapons and armor that her mother once bore. Amazed at their good fortune, the party sets out to lift the curse that has kept the spirits of those who fell in battle trapped in unlife for more than a millennium.

Results

  • Ride the pony is purchased.
  • The party meets their first High Elf.
  • The party gets a history lesson.

People Met

Places Found

Rewards

  • The story of the Gray Elves straight from the mouth of one who lived with them and bore witness to their destruction.
  • Lucius receives a High Elven Longknife (Keen mithral dagger +1).
  • Taran receives a mithral chain shirt.
  • Vyeter receives a masterwork mighty composite longbow (Str +2).

Experience Point Totals

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The Fens of the Dead
Don't lose your head!

CR 1470 (IR 248): M5-D21

The party bids farewell to Calithara and sets out with their guides to visit the Fens of the Dead at night. Finding the spirits proves to be no challenge, for at night the Fens are covered by faint apparitions who play out the scenes of their final moments, scenes of combat and death as the soldiers of ancient Valoria slaughter the Gray Elves who fought to defend their home. Silent and insubstantial, the scenes play out all around the party, who are completely ignored by the spectral figures. One figure stands out, however…a tall, proud-looking warrior who seems detached from the battle. This figure stares to the north, beyond the lake, as though waiting for something. Cautiously, the party makes contact and eventually learns that this was the Gray Elf Commander Vis’denal, who was stationed at the Lady’s Mirror watchtower, and he says that he is waiting for reinforcements to come from the city of Adon’sothis. Sensing that he may be the key to breaking the curse, the party decides that they must seek out this other city and learn what became of the rest of the Gray Elves.

Having decided upon this plan, the elves and halflings attempt to make their way out of the Fens, only to find themselves attacked by winged horrors that appear to be flying heads, complete with glowing green eyes, vicious fangs and slimy tentacles. One of the heads utters a horrible cry that causes several of the halflings and Vyeter to freeze in terror. While Taran and Lucius attempt to fight off the monstrosities, the flying heads descend upon the helpless victims and latch onto their faces. Though the strange creatures are quickly defeated, the worst is yet to come. As the elves and halflings attempt to make their way out of the Fens at night, the two halflings and Vyeter begin to show signs of some horrible infection, so the companions make haste to return to the village.

As they make their way back to find the Elder, the strange disease begins to progress rapidly in one of the halflings. While all three begin losing their hair, one of the halflings begins to go mad from the pain as his ears grow into leathery wings, his teeth elongate into fangs and tentacles begin sprouting around his neck. Though they make it to the village, it is too late for the halfling that Vyeter bravely carries in his arms. The head rips from the body of the halfling and the transformation is complete. A new winged horror has been born, only to be dispatched by Lucius. Fortunately for the other two, the Elder is able to cure them of their malady, saving their lives (though not their hair).

While the halflings mourn the loss of their friend, the party retires for the night and prepares to set out in the morning.

Results

People Met

  • Commander Vis’denal
  • A bunch of flying heads

Places Found

Rewards

Experience Point Totals

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