Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Session One: "Birthright"

The party
Mattias (NG, 1st level Monk/1st level Cleric, played by Scott). Mysteriously losing his parents at a young age, Mattias was brought to the monastery of the Brethren of the Supernal Skies as a toddler by his somewhat famed adventuring uncle, Gustavus. Raised in the disciplined ways of a warrior monk of the Celestial Lady's Morning Star society, Mattias now has a single-minded devotion to restoring the cosmic balance ripped asunder by the decadent followers of the Sun Lord. His obsessive cleanliness flows naturally, in his mind, from this discipline and devotion.

Erak (CN, 2nd level Barbarian, played by Dave). The son of a Jarl of the frigid northern lands of Thule, Erak was also orphaned at a young age when the Skha, a displaced and now-genocidal race of seaborne raiders, sacked the great hall of his father. His revenge fueled-rage—and strong axe arm—have found guidance from the monk, Mattias.

Pavise “the Good” (NG, 2nd level Fighter, played by Andrew). A natural warrior by temperament, Pavise grew up on a small farmstead near Mattias' monastery. Growing ashamed of his humble roots, Pavise left his plow for the lure of the sword. Smart, yet unwise he now looks to Mattias for leadership.

Sister Anya (NG, 1st level Cleric NPC). An ardent feminist follower of the Celestial Lady and supporter of the righteous cause of Mattias. Sister Anya is known for her wise (if not book learned and clever) ways amongst the women's cultural and arcane circles in the Hill Cantons.

Thundarr “the Barbarian” (CN, 1st level Barbarian NPC). Thundarr was a member of the Jarl's bodyguard, now without a clan he guards his master Erak with his own life.

Bobo (the NPC manservant formerly known as Baldrick). Former manservant of the great Uncle Gustavus, now in the service of his nephew Mattias. Perpetually dirty and scratching at mysteriously-flourishing scabs, Baldrick nevertheless is the ultimate survivor of many an adventure. Though incredibly dense, he often has a “cunning plan” on his lips.

What happened
Upon learning of an inheritance from his recently-deceased uncle, Mattias convinces his flat broke and desperate adventuring companions to accompany him on a trip to find his inheritance in the provincial town of Ostrovo. The party finds the will's executor, the corpulent, skeptical Father Pavel, luxuriating in the rays of the Sun Lord under the garden trees near the parish temple. Pavel presents Mattias with his birthright: the trusty manservant Baldrick, the more-trusty mule Bocephus, a rusty dagger, a 10-foot pole, and, most important of all, a treasure map marked with points of great danger and opportunity throughout the Hill Cantons.

Keen on making their fortunes--or perhaps merely looking to not starve to death--the heroes bravely ride out on the southeastern road leading out of town. Several miles out of town they run into a watchtower in front of which is boisterous group of six landsknechts (mercenary soldiers of the Overking) roasting pullets over a fire and drinking from a barrel of ale.

As the party approaches the giant-of-a-man leader of the drunken louts orders the party to hand over their boots. Perplexed at first, the party notices a large pile of boots—some of which still hold the severed feet of their former owners--behind the soldiers and decides that bravery may be the better part of discretion in this case. Battle ensues. Despite the considerable fighting skills of the landsknecht leader, the thoroughly drunken soldiers are quickly overpowered by Pavise's sword, Erak's axe, and the thundering noise of Sound Burst spells from Mattias and Sister Anya. Leaving the bodies on the top floor of the small watchtower, the party absconds with a handful of gold and silver coins, a silver altar plate, several fine hats, and a silver-plated pair of boots.

Wary of pursuit after not being able to catch a watching rider up in the hills, the party spends several days hiding out on back-country mule paths before deciding to detour back into the hills to visit a spot marked simply on the map as “The Oracle.” Said Oracle turns out to be an exquisitely-sculpted statue that dispense advice in the main to local shepherds. All oracular utterances begin with the demand that the supplicant kill and bury a goat in the northeast corner of their abode (and deposit a gold piece in the offering box in front of the statue) before answering. The party quickly suspects that the mumbling elderly man on a nearby marble bench may be the source of the statues' utterances.

Sneaking back under the light of a full moon later that day, they discover an eight-foot tall gray giant of a creature with a single horn protruding from his snout emptying the contents of the offering box into his giant purse. The old man is nowhere to be seen. The party follows the creature to a grotto underneath the oracular hill and return in the morning. Sneaking into the grotto they find a cave—and the cave's 11 goat skeleton guardians. Raising his holy symbol, Mattias turns the goats and the party makes short order of them. A chest is discovered and when Erak tries to open it he is overcome by a murderous compulsion to kill his fellow party members. After subduing the berserk barbarian, the party finds more gold and silver.

Finally deciding upon their dungeoneering destination, the party decides to make out for the Undercity marked under the seemingly-sleepy fishing village of Ennsmuth. The fishing village of Ennsmuth lying over the caves to the Undercity, of course, turns out to be more than the party originally reckoned for. Sinister villagers--bug-eyed, stinking of fish, and with curious mottled folds around their necks—suspiciously eye them as they pass through the mostly ruined town. Disturbing, fleeting glimpses of figures in their peripheral vision and the crazy utterings of the town drunk direly warning the adventurers to stay away from the Esoteric Order of Dagon's temple in the town square set the mood further.

The party finds the cave mouth in a ravine that divides the lower town from the high mound of the richer houses. The session ends as the fearless Pavise is lowered by a rope down 50 feet to the first ledge in the cave pit.

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