Broken Nations

Broken Nations Adventure Log!

The Adventure Log will allow us to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, I or one of the players will come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. That way, we’ll be able to look back at the crazy antics, inane quote and general awesomeness of the game.

Hero's Hands

Hero’s HandsAs recorded in the songbook of Yivellor Sa’Kaasv

Three did gather at the camp,
a fourth to tell the tale.
Some for coin and riches gold,
Others to see evil fail.

They left at dawn upon one request,
on Refuge wood they set.
Bringing new found hope to all,
they hoped they wouldn’t regret.

A Hero’s blessing to be found, while mending broken lands. Restore to order all good things with a Hero’s Hands.

A villainess sought to squelch the light,
and lit the town ablaze.
Alessa’s champion drew his blade,
to meet her in the fire’s haze.

She turned to run and leave behind,
the suffering she had wrought.
She knew too late this fight would be,
the last she’d ever fought.

A Hero’s blessing to be found, while mending broken lands. Restore to order all good things with a Hero’s Hands.

Within a field of waving grass,
the final stage was set.
Try as they might they could not change,
the heart of that wicked lass.

She struck out with all the fury,
of a bear caught in a cage.
But a valiant gnome did fell her fast,
and put an end to her rage.

A Hero’s blessing to be found, while mending broken lands. Restore to order all good things with a Hero’s Hands. We travel ‘cross the many fields and hope to see a day, where breath of life comes back to this place, a Hero’s Hands did save.

So It Begins...

Our tale starts outside the Nyhelm Mercenary Camp, amidst the ruins of the former nation of Mirrenwald. Torim Steindhoven, the grizzled drill sergeant for the mercenary crew, grills four new recruits: the Whisper Gnome Ugagn; the musically-inclined Elf, Yivellor Sa’Kaasv; Illusionist Pall-Bar Wodahs; and burly Paladin Daukua.

Each has come to the camp for various reasons — money, a chance to perform good deeds, a temporary bout of insanity — but their motivations matter less than their willingness to fight to Torim, who admits each of the recruits into the Nyhelm crew.

The new tent mates settle in, but rifts in the group quickly appear when the clumsy Pall-Bar accidentally(?) shoots a crossbow bolt through the roof of the tent, much to the chagrin of his more battle-hardened compatriots.

After exploring the camp, the group is called together to meet Bannen Lycern, the Nyhelm commander, who quickly informs them that he has a special request of the party. The Nyhelm’s rivals, a group called the Isra Hatim, have established a presence in a nearby refugee camp. Bannen wants Rayja Shasel, the Isra Hatim lieutenant coordinating operations in the refugee camp, assassinated, and he wants our plucky band of adventurers to complete the task.

Lycern introduces the group to The Nose — a Nyhelm agent with a large nose and a penchant for talking to himself. The Nose promises to lead the party to their quarry, and Lycern informs the group that he’ll pay each member of the party 500 gold if they return with evidence that they killed Rayja.

Our merry band, accompanied by The Nose, departs that night from the mercenary camp, and travels south for two days on foot to reach Refugee Woods. The journey is uneventful, save a spirited attempt by Ugagn to scare Daukua during a night watch. Daukua doesn’t rise to the bait, and Ugagn — dismayed by his companion’s powers of observation (or lack thereof), pledges never to let Daukua maintain a night watch by himself.

Upon reaching Refugee Woods, the group debates how best to enter the camp without arousing attention. The gnomes opt for a subtle approach, but Daukua, clad in shining armor and sticking out like an orc in an Elven village, opts to walk right in.

He is quickly surrounded by beggars and young children, who plead for favors, money and his blessing. A bemused Yivellor follows from a distance, while the gnomes take a more clandestine route. All eventually rendezvous at The Hard Times Inn, a ramshackle wooden tavern at the center of the refugee camp.

They sit and relax while The Nose, disguised, disappears to gather information about Rayja’s whereabouts. The party’s reverie is soon interrupted by a distressed man, who runs up to Daukua’s side and warns the Paladin that The Nose has betrayed them. Forewarned, the group starts to clear the tavern of bystanders when a volley of rocks shatter several of the tavern windows.

Daukua catches a glimpse of mercenaries prepping vials of some unknown substance. Moments later, the assailants toss Alchemist’s Fire into the building, and all Hell breaks loose.

Daukua storms out the front doors, dodges an arrow and brings his blade crashing down onto one of the attackers. Ugagn isn’t so lucky, and catches another arrow — fired by a blue-eyed woman — full in the shoulder.

While the two occupy attackers in the front of the building, Yivellor takes a moment to escort the innkeeper and his daughter from a back window. Pall-Bar investigates the back door, and finds two more mercenaries prepping an ambush there.

One of the mercenaries steps forward to peer through the door window, and Pall-Bar takes the opportunity to slam the door open and cast Glitterdust, which temporarily blinds the man. Closing the door, Pall-Bar narrowly avoids catching a crossbow bolt in his groin. Yivellor, seeing the altercation break out, sneak attacks one of the mercenaries, but has trouble penetrating the man’s armor. Pall-Bar, inspired by the burning building perhaps, tosses his own Alchemist’s Fire at the blinded attacker, who quickly burns.

Back out front, our combative adventurers are getting the worst of the fight. Retreating to the burning tavern, they pause to trade arrow-fire with the woman (who they now know is Rayja, their target). The fight swings once more to their favor when Daukua handily dispatches another guard, and they watch as Rayja retreats.

Running to the back of the collapsing building, they pause long enough to help Yivellor and Pall-Bar dispatch one more mercenary. The group chases after Rayja, and Yivellor catches her in a field outside the camp. Yivellor, trying to negotiate, learns the Nyhelms killed Rayja’s daughter several months ago in a botched ambush. After some knife tossing, and arrow dodging, Rayja is brought down with an arrow through her skull.

Following the battle, Yivellor is immediately dispatched to bring news of the mission — and The Nose’ apparent betrayal — to Bannen. The rest visit a local healer, Andreas Honselm, who is not pleased by the destruction caused by the party. She patches up their wounds, but not without an old-fashioned tongue-lashing.

Traveling by horse, Yivellor makes fast time back to the Nyhelms. He tells Bannen of their success and presents the commander with Rayja’s bow. Bannen confirms the Nyhelms killed Rayja’s son — a fact that disturbs Yivellor. Yivellor declines to mention The Nose’ betrayal, and the commander appears to be unaware of the fact.

Yivellor returns to Refugee Woods with gold-a-plenty, and finds his companions embroiled in a new intrigue. It seems the man who warned Daukua of the impending ambush is a toymaker who fled the city of Palisade Head after running afoul of a bandit gang. The gang, it appears, has traced its quarry to the refugee camp.

The toymaker asks Daukua to “take care” of the bandits, and the Paladin, eager to punish wrongdoers, readily agrees. They ambush the bandits in a field north of the camp and capture most of the gang following a brief but bloody fight. Deciding to be charitable, the party takes the gang’s weapons and armor and makes them promise never to return. Our party sends the rabble out on foot with a few days rations — but neglects to take the bandits’ horses, which are hidden over the next hill. After watching the bandits ride off into the sunset, the dispirited party returns to tell the toymaker that the threat is eliminated — for now.

The party pauses long enough for Yivellor and Ugagn to seduce an old merchant woman and rob her blind — an action the Paladin fails to notice. After some good, old-fashioned burglary, the group decides to investigate a mysterious note that Rayja possessed.

They travel to Lantern Tower, the former dwelling place of a powerful and charitable wizard. The tower has been overrun with bandits, and as night settles, the group scouts out their opposition.

Journal Entry 749-

Where am I? And how did I end up here? Yes, strange things have been happening of late. Thats to say, strange beyond the particularly strange life of a nomadic gnome. Perhaps it happened again.

Nonetheless, here I am in the Nyhelm Mercenary Camp surrounded by bands of brutes willing to do anything for some food, shelter, and a pocket full of coin. Can’t say I blame them. These are troubled times. Whether they can be trusted is to be determined. I share a tent with another gnome, Ugagn. Though judging by his demeanor I find it unlikely we have much in common. There is also an elf, Yivellor. He’s lived a mercenaries life, but I can’t place my finger on his motives to continue this lifestyle after parting from it years ago. He did mention that he was attempting to find himself. A wise elf indeed. He will learn much from self reflection in the midst of an adventure. The last of my tent-mates is a Dragonborne named Daukua. He seems to be the most forthcoming about his intentions, but doesn’t possess the street smarts necessary to avoid attention. Perhaps he doesn’t mean to.

We are set to meet with Bannen Lycern within the hour to discuss our roles within the mercenary camp. Bannen’s second in command, Torim, made it quite clear that we would need to know how to fight…not my strong suit.

More to come…

~P.B. Wodahs

Part 2

Our tale continues just outside the Lantern Tower. The band had traveled there upon receipt of a mysterious note that Rayja, a mercenary foe, had possessed. The Lantern Tower had been home to the wizard Eluvi Daltara, but was now said to be the headquarters of the bandit leader Solynder Azamir. Our characters Yivellor and Ugagn had gone ahead to scout the tower. After seeing the size of the tower and realizing their lack of information regarding what was inside, they had decided to return to the other characters Pall-Bar and Daukua to plot their strategy. Here we begin again..
Yivellor and Ugagn returned to the campsite to relay what they had seen. There had been one guard outside the tower, although they had been too far away from the guard to glean any details other than he/she was human sized. There was a giant hole about twenty feet up and to the right of the entrance. It was large enough such that several humans could fit across and appeared to have been blasted out of the rock. The rest of the tower looked as it had almost been fashioned out of one humongous piece of granite. It appeared to be 60 ft in diameter and could hold scores of soldiers if needed. There had to be several levels, either 2 or 3 by their estimation.
It was about midnight when they returned. Several plans were bandied around. Even Daukua seemed hesitant for a full frontal assault with the info we had and did not even stir with faint ribbings about his lack of faith. There were several plans about possibly drawing the soldiers out of the tower into a trap, but the in the end the group decided upon scouting out the place for another day to see what else they find. Yivellor and Ugagn volunteered to remain in a tree, several hundred meters to the east of the Tower for the next day with plans to return at dark the following night. Daukua was left under Pall-Bar’s keeping. Both to watch the path to glean any info they could on the comings and goings in the tower and to also restrain the brave paladin from giving away the groups position. Yivellor and Ugagn left under the guise of darkness to get settled and found a good nook in one of the trees they had scouted earlier. Pall-Bar and Daukua moved camp so to be relatively inconspicuous yet within view of the path.
Pall-Bar and Daukua saw nothing over the course of the night. In the tree, Ugagn volunteered to have first watch as Yivellor drowsed. There was little to no action for a long period of time until Ugagn saw an owl flit in and out of the giant hole in the tower. He woke Yivellor to discuss, but they both didn’t come to any conclusions. Ugagn’s shift ended and Yivellor took second watch. His watch was much of the same, although he took much notice of the owl. It seemed to fly in and out of the hole in the tower all night. Each time it would fly out in a different direction and return within the hour. He noted it was strange and came to the conclusion that the owl must be a servant to one of those in the tower.
Day came and the entire group kept eye on their areas. As day had come, the owl returned to the tower to stay. Pall-Bar and Daukua saw no one on the path all day. Ugagn and Yivellor continued to watch the tower. They saw what appeared to be four different guards come out of the tower to relieve themselves at different times of the day. One of them had chainmail on, but the rest seemed dressed in common clothes. Night fell again and as it did Yivellor and Ugagn saw the owl once again emerge from the tower and fly in a northwest direction of the tower. This suited them as they were east of the tower and so they decided to rejoin the rest of the group.
As the returned though Ugagn caught his feet upon some loose rocks and caused a minor landslide while he slid down the hill, causing a loud racket. He cursed himself and Yivellor noticed the guard that had once again been posted outside the door run inside and shut the door of the tower. They returned to the group knowing that their element of surprise had just been taken away.
As Pall-Bar heard two individuals approaching, he cast his magic to obscure himself and the paladin, however he removed the enchantment upon hearing Ugagn and Yivellor whispering their names. They asked what had happened and the paladin then proceeded to lecture the ranger/rogue upon the intricacies of being silent. They hurriedly discussed what their next plan of action was to be as they were sure that the guards in the tower were aware that someone or something was outside. At that moment they heard a loud ‘Hoot’ as an owl flew overhead. They saw it circling the place where Ugagn had previously slipped. It was then they came up with a plan to blind the tower’s eyes in the night. Daukua ran out to the path making noise while Ugagn and Yivellor hid themselves nearby with arrows strung to their bows. The owl had been on its way back to the tower but reversed itself back to Daukua’s direction upon hearing his clatter. It’s worth noting that at this point Daukua was wearing only clothing and a bear pelt that he had wrapped around himself. Once the owl flew over Daukua, Ugagn released an arrow. It pierced the owl, and with a ‘hoot’ it dropped to the ground. Upon it being killed there was a strangled roar of anguish from the tower. The bear man, Daukua, stripped the owl so to make a tasty stew later and the group reconvened to come up with a plan.
Yivellor revealed at this point that he had a substance that once released from its container would drive any magician to feel overconfident. As it was a wizard’s tower, the group consensus was the most dangerous individual in the tower would be a wizard. They decided that Yivellor and Ugagn would approach the tower and Yivellor would scale it to toss this substance in the giant hole on it’s east side. He would mask the substance by also tossing in a smoke bomb and hope that if there were any wizard, that he or she would waste their spells and energy thinking they were all powerful. Pall-Bar and Daukua were to wait on the path a couple hundred yards away.
Yivellor and Ugagn snuck up to the tower, seemingly unnoticed and Yivellor easily scaled the tower up to the hole as there were many vines of ivy that provided easy climbing. Yivellor tossed in his smoke bomb and container and scaled back down. As he had done so, he heard a man shout to another to get back. Ugagn cast a spell to create ghost sounds that declared Eluvi Daltara had returned and all needed to leave his tower or die. Yivellor proceeded to hide behind the front door of the tower such that if it were open, he would be hidden. Ugagn proceeded to stealthily move to some rocks southeast of the tower within range of the door, the hole opening in the tower and several windows.
At this point Pall-Bar and Daukua approached. Pall-Bar approached stealthily enough, however it seems the lecture Daukua had given earlier about moving silently didn’t apply to him. He crashed forward and as he approached the tower a man appeared in the hole and released an arrow that pierced Daukua’s side. Pall-Bar quickly reacted and cast a spell that caused the man to fall backwards, seemingly asleep. Pall-Bar then approached where Yivellor was hidden and whispered to him that he had caused the archer to fall in a slumber. Yivellor decided to climb back up to the hole to finish the man off and got to the opening to see a large room with a giant triangle in the middle with a glowing rune and two men asleep by the hole. At this point seeing there were no targets visible to shoot at, Ugagn scaled the tower as well only to see Yivellor had stabbed his daggers straight into the hearts of the two sleeping men.
Daukua who had recovered from his arrow charged at the front door and proceeded to attempt to bash it in but to unfortunately lose hold of his sword and have it fly backwards. He ran back to retrieve it and bash again.
Pall-Bar at this point also decided to scale the tower and join Yivellor and Ugagn in the large room. In the large room, aside from the rune in the middle, there were three doors. Yivellor opened the first door on the left to find it was empty, but had probably been used as a storage closet. Ugagn opened the second door on the left (both avoiding the rune as much as possible) to find ransacked library that was empty of all persons. Pall-Bar attempted to identify the rune, but to no avail.
At this point Daukua had returned to the door and continued his bashing. After he had opened a sizable enough hole such that he could stick his head in if he wanted, he unfortunately had another accident. As he proceeded to bash, he lost grip of his sword again and this time it flew through the newly created hole in the door. He heard a man say, ‘What the hell?’ but then charge out brandishing a battle axe with a swordsman just behind him. The man with the battle axe swung, hitting Daukua and injuring him badly.
Pall-Bar upon hearing Daukua being attacked went by the hole and cast a bit of magic that disoriented the axe man, putting him out of commission for a short period of time. Yivellor opened the third door across from the hole and bounded down the stairs that were behind it. Once he reached the bottom he saw the front door opening and a swordsman and axe man standing just outside. He proceeded to move stealthily to position himself ready to strike. At this point Ugagn also moved toward the opening to stand next to Pall-Bar and unleash an arrow that struck the swordsman.
Daukua with this happening around him and being unarmed, was flustered, but proceeded to take a step back to heal himself with a concoction and breathe a large cone of fire that enveloped both the axe and swordsman. The swordsman maneuvered around his stunned bandit colleague and struck at Daukua yet missed. Pall-Bar at this point ran to go down the stairs and Yivellor jumped out at the swordsman and stabbed him in the neck with one of his daggers. As he did this though, he heard a man behind him shout ‘Get em’ to someone or something behind him. Daukua drew his shield and proceeded to bash the swordsman, but being badly bloodied, then jumped off the steps that led up to the front door into the bristle below. The swordsman then turned upon Yivellor being that he was the only remaining target on the steps. An arrow from Ugagn downed him though and an extremely luck arrow struck the axe man between the eyes just as he was coming about.
Upon being the only target remaining on the steps and a creature & man coming behind him, Yivellor decided to climb the tower once again to be above the front steps. Pall-Bar at the foot of the stairs saw a giant spider go out the door with a man right behind it. He cast a debilitating spell that caused both the spider and man to be blinded. Daukua healed himself and rearmed himself with the fallen swordsman’s weapon. Ugagn continued firing at the spider and man below along with Pall-Bar who had drawn his crossbow. The spider being blinded and disoriented fell off the stairs to the bristle below. At this point Yivellor took a bold action of attempting to jump down on top of the remaining man and stab him with his daggers. While jumping on top of the man though, he ended up doing as much damage to himself as he did to the guard and ended up falling off into the bristle below. He ended up knocking himself out for a time. As the spider and guard were still blinded it was short work for Ugagn’s arrows and Daukua’s sword to kill the remaining spider and guard.
Upon their victory, the group proceeded to loot the bodies and proceed inside. Yivellor had the bright idea to act as if the amulets they had stolen earlier was a part of the loot he found. Yivellor triggered a trap where flamed scorched him from the fireplace and Daukua was hit by some poison darts that had little effect on him. They found a trapped chest that Ugagn attempted to disarm to only scorch his hand with acid. Inside they found a ring, a candle and a container shaped as if a message were inside, embossed with a unique seal on it. As Daukua picked it up, he felt a tingling start to creep up his arm to only have it abate soon after.
The group decided to take several days to recover, divide and identify their loot and continue to explore the tower. They found a sealed well in the basement that they decided to explore once they were fully healed up. Pall-Bar proceeded to identify everyone’s items, Daukua helped heal everyone, Yivellor extracted venom from the giant spider and Ugagn explored the tower for traps. Pall-Bar found a number of usable scrolls while exploring the library.
After several days they decided to explore the well. Ugagn descended first using rope and once he reached the bottom relayed back to the group that there was an open cavern filled with water, but with a shore on the far side with a body and also a part of the water that had many bubbles. He was very wary of proceeding further, but Yivellor and Daukua plowed ahead until they reached the body. Noticing Ugagn’s skittishness, Pall-Bar in a mischievous mood cast ventriloquism upon the skeleton that warned the group to stay away. Ugagn immediately drew his bow and loosed an arrow upon the skeleton but with no result or reaction. Yivellor noticed there was a flask the skeleton carried that contained a glowing, airy substance in a corked container and proceeded to take it. He also checked out the area of the water that had bubbles to find that it was nothing but an air hole and proceeded to retrieve Ugagn’s arrow.
Once they returned to the top of the well, Pall-Bar cast some identifying magic to determine that the magic in the substance was good and was actually a message. It told the story of the wizard that owned this tower previously and who was the skeleton below. He requested to take a message to his daughter and donate some gold on his person to Andreas Honselm. The group realized they hadn’t searched his person and after the message was complete returned to find the 200 gold he wished to be donated. After hearing this and exploring the rune to find it also was a good message, they attempted to identify the message container they had found in the trapped lockbox and the candle. The candle turned out to be a Candle of Truth which compels all persons around it to tell the truth when it’s lit. The message was much more complicated. It had both good and evil magic on it. The item seemed to be good, but had an evil bit of magic that seemed to be tracking the device. The seal on it also happened to be a seal of the royal house before Mirrenwald dissolved into the Broken nations. Pall-Bar and Daukua were the only ones to handle the item and odd things seemed to happen them that they kept to themselves and that Ugagn and Yivellor did not notice. Ugagn was extremely suspicious of the item and advised the group just leave it, however the group decided that it was too valuable to leave behind. They decided to return to the Refugee Woods to fulfill the deceased wizard’s request of donating his gold to Andreas and proceed later to Palisade Head.
Once they reached the Refugee Woods, Pall-Bar proceeded in and gave the money to Andreas. The rest of the group stayed outside of camp. When he was leaving to return to his group, Pall-Bar was approached by a dark haired woman. She requested to purchase the message container from him for 1,000 gold. Pall-Bar was extremely wary as to his knowledge no one had been aware that they had found this container. He told the woman that he did not have what she seeked. She then offered 5,000 gold. Pall-Bar replied that 5,000 gold would be nice, but again he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. He eyes narrowed and before she walked off she warned, ‘Beware of the cloaked man.’
Pall-Bar was stunned. He returned to the group to describe his encounter and tell the group of a cloaked man that had invaded his dreams since he touched the message container. The group returned to town to attempt to find the woman, but to no avail. Here is where we leave off on our journey.

Part 3

After Pall-Bar’s run in with the mysterious woman inquiring about the sealed container, the group decided it best to head to Palisade Head. After an uneventful four day journey by foot, they approached the out walls of the city. Pall-Bar had told them about a shop he used to run in the city, but that he had not been back for over five years, and wasn’t very optimistic of it still being in pristine condition. Ugagn was wary of entering the city with Daukua as well, shying away from the thought of being noticed. Daukua garnished some robes to try to hide his glistening armor from onlookers, as he too felt it best to not attract attention until they had a little more time to assess the situation.

Upon approaching the gate the disinterested guard at the front gate asked them what their business was here. Pall-Bar informed him that he had a shop in the city limits and was returning from a long journey with some bodyguards. The guard eyed Daukua, noting his large stature being quite enough for protection, while Ugagn blurted out “You can never be too dangerous while traveling.” The guard somehow let that one slide and let them enter after a 5g entrance fee.

Pall-Bar led them to his shop, where upon arriving found it to be, while still standing, completely ransacked of anything valuable. The windows had been broken in, and a thick layer of dust had settled upon everything. Pall-Bar led them to the back of the store where he revealed a secret door, hiding another secret door which led to the upstairs. The passage was much too small for Daukua to fit without removing his armor, so he stayed downstairs while Pall-Bar and Ugagn went up. Upstairs was his old personal quarters, and it looked as if it had been undisturbed; the thieves hadn’t figured out how to access the upstairs.

They decided to go and check out the city and shops around there. Before leaving, Ugagn made sure to sweep up enough to hide any tracks they had to the secret door, and to leave glass shards around the floor of the window for a make shift alarm system if anyone tried to break in while they were there. Daukua headed down the street the a large armory store called the White Knuckle. Upon entering he was greeted by a half-elf woman named Kaliah, who inquired what sort of goods he was seeking. Daukua was most interested in Bastard Swords, especially those of the magical sort. She told him they had a special back room for those, and that her husband Eldren could bring him back there. Moments later, an older gentleman in a wheel chair but arms of an ox came rolling out, and brought him back. The room had many wonderful magic swords and weaponry, but unfortunately was still a bit out of the price range of what Daukua had to spend. He thanked Eldren for his time and assured him that he would return in due time to upgrade his wares.

Soon enough Pall-Bar, Ugagn, and Daukua found themselves in a peculiar shop run by a gnome named Menchant. The shop was filled with various odds and ends, many of which were of the magical sort. The group inquired upon Menchant’s spellcraft abilities in relation to opening the canister. Menchant said he would have to see it to know what he might be able to do, so the group decided to meet back at his shop at 7:30 sharp.

Heading back down the street Daukua came across a religious raiment’s shop. He entered, offering blessings of Alessa to all, and wondering what goods they had towards the praise and glory of Alessa. The store clerk showed him some prayer robes used by the priests of Alessa, and Daukua purchased them without hesitation. He donned the garments and headed to the Temple of Alessa down to road for prayer and devotion. The temple was a bit run down, and not in the pristine condition that Daukua would of wanted for his Goddess. Nevertheless he was happy a sanctuary was available in town. Upon entering the temple he was greeted by a priest of Alessa who inquired about Daukua’s servitude to Alessa, who informed the priest that he was a Paladin of her, and here to pray for a bit.

While praying, the sudden overwelling desire to stand up and give a sermon swept over Daukua. Without hesitation he stood up to the podium, and what followed was simply mesmerizing. His words washed over all of the priests in the temple. They enlightened, inspired, and gave everyone who heard them a new outlook on life. No one who heard that sermon would ever be the same again. When the sermon finally came to an end, everyone there stood up and cheered for Daukua. The priests were so moved, that Daukua was invited back to give the same sermon the next morning at the 9am service. He happily accepted.

Pall-Bar and Ugagn were checking out some of the city shops and taverns durning all of this, and Yivellor had found his way to Pall-Bar’s old shop. Yivellor noticed the dismal state the place was in and decided to clean up some more. During this Daukua returned, saw Yivellor cleaning, and let him continue. Soon enough Pall-Bar and Ugagn returned. The group filled Yivellor in on bringing the canister to Menchant’s shop to have him look at it, and then all headed there promptly at 7:30.

The group arrived at Menchant’s, and showed him the canister after Daukua had to do some aggressive persuasion upon Pall-Bar to reveal it. Upon examination of the canister, Menchant was able to reveal that the canister was sealed by a powerful good spell, and that without the correct method of opening it, would destroy whatever was contained inside. He also was able to decipher that there was an evil tracking spell on the canister, placed with some sort of scrying magic, and had been put on the canister some time after the good spell had sealed it. Menchant told the group that he potentially had a way to open the canister without triggering the spell, and they agreed to pay him to have him try. He failed.

The group returned to Pall-Bar’s abandoned shop disappointed. But as they approached the building, they noticed a man waiting for them inside.

Wary, the party entered with weapons drawn. But the man, an elderly human wearing a dark robe, held up his hands in peace.

“I mean you no harm,” he told the skeptical party. Then he told them an outrageous tale.

The elderly man introduced himself as Thursten Dunlenning, former tutor to the slain prince Kiren Osenil. Dunlenning, it seems, had been following the party ever since their skirmish at the wizard’s tower some days ago. Dunlenning told the party he was on a mission to reunite the Broken Nations and believes the cylinder the party carries contains an important message from the dying days of the Osenil dynasty. He is surprised to hear of the group’s encounter with the dark-haired girl in Refugee Woods, and surmises that another person or group must be seeking the cylinder for its own purposes.

Although Dunlenning doesn’t know how to open the cylinder, he does have a friend living in the Undercity who may. The party evaluates Dunlenning’s story, and eventually decides to follow the man underground. He leads them to Jakaj Farland, a renowned tinkerer, locksmith and informant, who immediately recognizes the device as a Osenil message cylinder and, after a small fee, tells the party how to open it.

The cylinder, he explains, can only be opened when someone casts the spell daylight on the cylinder at the break of dawn.

The group members also learned that Jakaj creates forged passes to the Inner City, and several of the party members, including Daukua, purchased the forgeries, which would be complete and ready for pick-up the next day.

The group decided to head back to Pall-Bar’s shop to rest until the morning, but en route, the group’s sharper members noticed some peculiar shadows along the walls. Without warning, four shadows jumped off the wall and headed straight towards our heroes. Daukua charged forward to confront the enemy, while Ugagn readied his bow and shot at the shadows. Yivellor snuck around to the side to give himself a flanking position, and started playing a song to boost moral. Pall-Bar cast illusion spells, decorating the battlefield in glitter and wonder.

Viciously they fought. These shadows had some unearthly magic to their strikes, and soon Daukua found himself sapped of much of his strength and life essence. It was as if he was withering before their eyes from the massive Dragonborn he was into a frail mis-colored human. They managed to vanquish two of the shadows before Daukua had to step back to try and recoup.

At that moment, a pair of pale men leapt out of the shadows and attacked our heroes! Someone did not like what they were up to, and wanted them stopped at all costs. Yivellor was able to defeat one with a mighty stab to the back, and all the while Ugagn’s arrows pierced through the battle, striking foe after foe. The shadows took notice of this and attacked Ugagn with their strength sapping swings, and withered him to the point of skin on bone. It was a terribly ugly sight.

Pall-Bar’s spells dazed and confused the enemies, and Yivellor and Daukua were able to stab and bash the last remaining shadows and men till our heroes were the only ones left standing, Ugagn barely so. The group knew they were in trouble and that someone was out to kill them for what they possessed. The morning could not come soon enough.

Growing Unease

[An excerpt from the Journal of Yivellor Sa’Kaasv – the entry does not seem to have any chronology, though all of it appears to have been written around the same time. Partial songs and poems are haphazardly written between the paragraphs.]

To my friends, my family.

I don’t know how you’ll get this, or if I will ever allow this to leave the pages of my journal. I expect that simply writing to you is an effort to calm my nerves and to free myself of the weight that is already growing on my shoulders. Your advice and welcome during my darker times helped to put my burdens at rest. You taught me to direct my troubles into song, poem, and tale. It has carried me out of darker times.

I find myself in the middle of a tale that may echo through the ages. We stumbled across a sealed cylinder containing a riddle that may help to mend the broken nations. Songs and poetry have been running through my head since we cracked the seal, but beneath them I can hear the whispers of the past, threatening to take from me the soul I have struggled to regain.

And lo the shadow as it settles
consuming the lands and people.
Crumble oh cities and bastions of man,
shatter nations and descend to fear.

Yet hope grows so long as man has mettle,
Come forth courage and steel.
Struggle forward ’gainst villainous clan,
and mend a tattered land.

The cylinder is a curious object, used to safeguard information. Kaelan, you would love to have the chance to study it, though I must admit that I was more interested in cracking its contents as opposed to the device itself. I was sealed by magic, requiring a daylight spell to open it. Any attempts at tampering would cause the internal contents to be destroyed. Alas, I suspect that the cylinder itself will end its journey here in Palisade Head as even without its contents, it will likely fetch a decent price.

It hasn’t been without hardship that we’ve held onto it though. There are plenty who wanted to get their hands on the object before we cracked it open. Our wizard lost his shop as a result, along with another poor shopkeep girl who certainly doesn’t deserve the hardship that is being placed upon her for our meddling with the object, but it can’t be helped now.

Petals of crimson
Plucked from the stem
wilting on the ground

Hopes and dreams
dashed to pieces
Longing to be found.

We have been all over the city, and with each trouble we have encountered I grow more restless. I can hear a chant, bubbling up from the depths of my heart. Faint whispers that stir in the forgotten places in my soul. I am trying to do good. To help those in need, but any interventions that I take are only making things worse. Petty crooks and thieves who flock at an opportunity to take from the less fortunate.

My blade stirs, I can feel it, though I no longer know where it is. A cold void maw is lurching forward, stealing life at my hand, and despite the warm sun, and quiet glow of moonlight, the air is becoming chill. The darkness is lasting longer and settling upon the bright places; and I fear it is my own.

Blood soaked entry trim
Dress of flower, Spring delight
Hope lost, none remains

Memoirs of a thief

Our tale resumes with our party at five corners in Palisade Head. Ugagn and Yivellor discussed their plan of action. They had opened the container and read the riddle inside. None of them had any clue how to interpret it. In their indecision, they opted to go back to Jakaj’s shop to pick up the counterfeit passes they paid for to enter the inner city.
Thursten led them to the Underground and back to The Key to Success. They moved slowly to avert any ambush as they had experienced quite an active last several days. When they reached the door, Ugagn inspected it for traps. He spent some time examining the door until Yivellor found that the door was indeed unlocked. They entered the room to find a grisly scene; Jakaj sprawled in the middle of the room with blood everywhere. He was dead. They spent time searching the room. Yivellor found a sack full of different colored gems. Ugagn narrowly avoided disaster as he sprung a trap on a container, but luckily avoided the burst that followed. In it, he found an interesting looking dagger.
The party then left the scene and headed up to an inn around the Arena in Palisade Head. There they ate breakfast and relaxed. During their breakfast, the party talked about their next move. They decided that there really was little that they needed within the inner wall. They decided that they would journey to Radamyn’s Library and try to solve the riddle. After they had supped, the party decided to go shopping. They entered a magicians shop and Ugagn approached the two shop-keeps to identify his new dagger. They found it to be a Dagger of Entry. During their time in the shop, Ugagn spotted the object of his desire, a bag of holding. He asked to see it and soon left the shop. Not before he mentioned the container to the shop-keeps though in an attempt to sell it. The shop-keeps told them though that anything with the Osenil symbol had been declared illegal in Pallisade Head. They said that the party was quite lucky as if they had brought this up at another shop, they may have been arrested. They requested the party leave their shop at once. Once outside, Ugagn asked Yivellor if he would have interest in obtaining this bag of holding.. Yivellor and Thurston expressed their reservations. Thurston was very vocal in his opposition to robbing the shop. Ugagn stated that obtaining this would improve the party, so he really didn’t see what their problem was. As they hadn’t gotten much sleep in the last few days, Ugagn suggested they return to the inn, get a room and start out to Radamyn’s Library the next day. Ugagn suggested that if he saw an opportunity, he would possibly act on it. He said he would take care to not endanger the party if doing so.
They all went back to the inn and obtained several rooms. While the others slept, Yivellor stayed in the common room. He decided to not play his lyre today. As night fell, Ugagn awoke and left the room. He gave Yivellor the riddle in case he ran into trouble. Yivellor used this time to encode the riddle into his journal, taking care to make it difficult for anyone but him to put it together. Ugagn went to case the magicians shop. He waited outside the front door until they closed shop and dark fell. He hadn’t seen the owners leave, but realized they must have a back door they departed from. He approached the door. There was a moment when he felt like abandoning this escapade, but either foolishness, courage or possibly just greed took over. He examined the door but didn’t find any traps, just a lock. He opened the lock using the spell ‘Knock’ from his new dagger. Once open he cast ‘Find traps’ from his dagger. He found a pressure plate was immediately inside the door, but easily avoidable. He avoided the trap and stepped inside. He didn’t find any other traps and so approached the case the bag was in. It was rather high, so he took a potion of jump and tried the lock. It didn’t open. He heard whispers right outside the door. He had forgotten to shut the door! Two men outside were debating whether to go inside or to alert authorities. They decided to go inside. Ugagn used his ability as a Whisper Gnome to create ‘Ghost sounds’. An eerie voice spoke at the entrance of the shop. It said, “If you step foot in my shop, I will haunt you forever.” The two men looked at each other and ran off without a word. Ugagn crept over to the door, avoiding the pressure plate again, and closed it. He then went to the case and still detecting no traps tried to open it. After several tries he opened the case. As he reached to grab the bag, an indescribable and unstoppable fear came over him. He immediately ran out of the shop, luckily avoiding the pressure plate that he took no heed of. It was good he did as if he had stepped on the plate, he would have been paralyzed and arrested once found. He ran back to the inn and made no further comment on the matter.
After the party had rested, Daukua finally arose from what had almost been a walking slumber. No doubt exhausted from the day before. They went to the outside of the city and purchased horses and ponies. Pall-Bar and Ugagn rode a pony (whom they named ‘Horse’), Thurston rode a pony, Yivellor rode a small horse and Daukua obtained quite a specimen of a war-horse. Daukua’s horse took an immediate affinity towards him and they appeared to have an interesting, somewhat disgusting attraction to each other..
It took several weeks to reach the forest where Radamyn’s Library was supposed to be. They ran into little challenge on the way and kept their store replenished through hunting and gathering. Once they reached the forest, Yivellor and Ugagn decided to search through the woods for this library. Ugagn took the right side of the forest and Yivellor the left. Unbeknownst to them Daukua also decided to search the forest and strode right down the center. The forest was too thick for a horse to travel through, but possibly could fit a pony. All the steeds were left with Pall-Bar and Thurston except for Yivellor who took his small horse with.
Ugagn, Yivellor and Daukua went their different directions into the forest. They all separately noticed that the deeper they went into the woods, the more animals followed them. Ugagn bowed to the animals and told them he meant no harm. He received no response. Daukua made some proud statement to the animals whom stared back without response. Yivellor spoke in bird and animal language and received response. They animals said he needed to go deeper in the woods, but didn’t have any clear direction on what he should do and what he would find.
Daukua came to a wall of vines first. He reached out to it and only barely escaped as the wall reached out to ensnare him. He walked along the wall towards where Ugagn had went but after finding nothing, eventually went back to camp.
Ugagn came to the wall of vines last. Upon reaching it, he sent a message to Yivellor saying he found something and he was returning to camp.
Yivellor came to the wall second. He also was almost ensnared, but narrowly escaped. He asked the animals and birds how he could get over, but they had no answer for him. He travelled a considerable distance along the wall. He asked an animal if the library was through the wall and they confirmed. Yivellor approached the wall and allowed the vines to enwrap him. He made no resistance. The vines kept him for several hours until a person approached. This person questioned Yivellor and asked about the party. Yivellor stated that they seek Radamyn and his wish to enter the library. The person explained that he was a servant to Radamyn and his master did indeed wish to meet them and their party. He said he did need to take precaution though. Yivellor felt a prick and his world went dark.
After Ugagn and Daukua returned to camp, they waited but did not hear from Yivellor. Fearing he had been entrapped in the wall of vines, they decided to seek him. They left the horses and ponies and went the direction Yivellor had taken. Soon they heard someone approaching and say a figure of a man dragging what seemed to be an unconscious or dead Yivellor. Ugagn slinked off to the side and Daukua approach the man boldly. This man declared that his master, Radamyn, wished to see them and requested that Ugagn come out from the shadows. He said there is no hiding from the eyes of the animals all around them. The party approached the man and demanded to know what happened to their companion. The man responded he is a servant of Radamyn and that they required certain precautions before they would be allowed to enter the Library. The companions checked on Yivellor and he seemed to be alive, but asleep. Daukua sensed no evil with the man and assented. Ugagn was understandably cautious and concerned, but he agreed that if this was the only way to enter, that it needed to be done. The party all felt pricks on their necks.
They later woke up in stone great room in front of a fire. All their belongings had been stripped of them aside from their clothes. There were two doors in the room that were both locked. Daukua brayed out that they were awake and soon after a door opened. Radamyn walked in. He asked many questions about who they were and why they were here. The group responded back telling a truthful account of the container and riddle inside. Ugagn noted that Radamyn must already know some of this as he had gone through their possessions. Radamyn acknowledged that he had, but said that the companions would soon have their possessions back as they seemed to mean no harm. He was unable to shed any light about the riddle, but said he would allow them access to his archives as long as he is kept informed of what they find. The company assented and offered even to sell the container and scroll to Radamyn after they solve the riddle. They negotiated a price and Radamyn offered 8,000 gold that he would pay before they exit. He offered to show them to the library and their possessions. Here the story left off..

Concealed Blades

After interrogating the party, the wizard Radamyn, apparently satisfied by their answers, allowed them access to his library and storehouse. Radamyn, still cautious, also assigned a young female scribe to serve as a tour guide (and ensure our intrepid adventurers didn’t cause any mischief). The group immediately proceeded to Radamyn’s massive underground storehouse, where they found a museum-like catacomb stocked to the brim with Mirrenwaldian books, manuscripts, statues, antiquities and even a few sets of armor, accompanied by ceremonial weapons.

After thoroughly pissing off their escort with unwanted advances, the group gets down to the business of researching. The party spends several hours gleaning through Radamyn’s small section on the desert nation of Harazeen—on a hunch that the words “sand” and “sun” in their rhyme referred to the desert nation.

During their research, the party was interrupted by Ozran, the only other “guest” captured that week by Radamyn’s forest patrols. Ozran asked several prying questions, which raised the hackles of the more suspicious party members. When confronted, he claimed he was simply a courier for a noble living in the Inner Circle of Palisade Head. Sent to deliver a message to Lancet, he was waylaid by a group of Nyhelm mercenaries and took refuge in Radamyn’s forest.

Perhaps driven off by the party’s cold reception, Ozran retreats for a time, and the party returns to its book-reading—with the exception of Ugagn, who announced to his somewhat amused compatriots that he was illiterate. Thursten promises to teach Ugagn the basics of reading during their travels.

Finally, the party discovers a scrap of a clue that seems to point them in the right direction.

In a dusty, shabby book entitled “Tracks in the Sand,” the group finds this passage:

“Only once did I travel into the High Desert near Haroun. Accompanied by a guide, we reached the great glass city of Iskandar, whose ruins can be seen like a glinting green light from miles away. I spent two days in the city, and barely returned with my life. Respecting the wishes of the Sufia, who have closed the ruins to foreigners, I will not write more of my findings there.”

Deciding that Iskandar fits the rhyme’s description of a place where “sand, sun and glass” meet, the group retires for a formal dinner in Radamyn’s suite. The wizard spends the dinner questioning the party members about their motivations—and about a few of the more curious items in the group’s inventory.

Halfway through the meal, Thursten excuses himself from the table. He doesn’t immediately return, and when the players retreat to their quarters for the evening, they step into a dangerous trap.

Across the room, they see Thursten prone on the floor, with a surprised but surprisingly quick Osran brandishing two stiletto blades. Fortunately, a potentially serious fight is brought to a quick end by a lightning-fast Hold Person spell courtesy of Pall-Bar. The party, still unarmed as per Radamyn’s rules, rushes to disarm Osran.

They do, and Pall-Bar’s spell fades. Osran struggles, but then, in Draconic, utters the words: “I have failed.” Immediately, a strange red gem in an amulet around Osran’s neck drains to a clear color, and Osran slumps, dead, to the floor.

The stunned party demands attends to the mostly unresponsive Thursten, who appears to be poisoned. They then turn their wrath on Radamyn, who confesses he isn’t entirely sure how Osran broke into the storeroom containing Osran and the party’s gear.

The gem is examined, and Radamyn determines it is a gem of spell-storing that, although empty now, used to contain a powerful death enchantment, which was apparently triggered by Osran’s words.

The party slowly revives Thursten, only to learn that the poison in question weakened Thursten’s will to resist, and Osran was able to successfully interrogate his temporary prisoner. Thursten, still woozy, vaguely recalled that Osran seemed to be speaking to an invisible presence in the room, though he couldn’t understand what was said.

Suddenly aware that their mysterious opposition may know the answer to the riddle, the party makes haste to leave the library. That evening, the group begins the three-week trek to D’jamena, the capital of Harazeen.

They eventually arrive at the great gates of the city, which they learn dwarfs even Palisade Head in sheer size, and make their way to the traveler’s section of the city. There, the group stocks up and begins its search for a guide to take them across the desert.


After spending a day recuperating at the Cedar Leaf Inn, which was shaped entirely out of living wood by its Druidic owner, the party makes its way to the Far Oasis to prepare for the long trek across the Windward Desert. They discover the owner, Aksa, may or may not be racist against gnomes, but she takes a shine to Daukua. During haggling, Daukua accidentally lets slip the party’s destination: the Ruins of Iskandar. Aksa, a shrewd old woman, advises Daukua that the Sufia has forbidden travel to Iskandar, and extorts extra money out of Daukua in order to keep his secret.

The party settles on a Sandsail, an unusual from of transport that they hope will shave several days off the journey time to their destination. Built like a small ocean-going ship, the Sandsail skims across the desert on skis, with several large canvas sails to propel it. This particular Sandsail is piloted by a young Talay, Rashid, and his hulking half-orc co-pilot, Gam. Neither Gam nor Rashid are particularly talkative, but the party eventually learns that Rashid, despite being a teenager, is one of the more skilled desert guides under Aksa’s employ.

Several weeks out from D’jamena, the characters spot a group of Formians keeping pace with the Sandsail far out in the desert. Rashid seems exceptionally nervous, and reveals his parents were killed in a Formian caravan raid years ago. The Formians, large, ant-like creatures, are known to inhabit the deep desert and prey on human settlements. The bugs don’t trouble the caravan first, but that changes when the group arrives in Haroun, the last tiny village before their destination.

Smoke rises from the village, and a barricade has been built across the road. The party meets with a group of scared but determined militia, and learns a large group of Formians has placed the village under a state of virtual siege for the past several days, staged skirmishes on the outskirts of town to gauge the defenders’ strength. The town militia, bolstered by a detachment of Fezhazeen warriors, is still poorly equipped to defend the village.

The situation turns critical shortly after the party arrives and pulls their sandsail into the middle of the village. The Fezhazeen commanding officer, Ibn Jafir (also a shopkeep in town), informs our group of adventurers that Formian activity has been spotted on the south and northwest sides of the community. The group is preparing for the worst when Yivellor, acting on a whim, sprints to the south side of town. There, he discovers a group of several Formian surrounding a house. The Formian give chase, pinning a desperate Yivellor on the roof of a neighboring building. The situation is looking grim for Yivellor when a griffin, summoned by Pall-bar, changes the tide of battle. Using quick thinking, the group defeats the Formians on the rooftop, only to be beset by more of the pony-sized insects.

A flying Pall-bar proves decisive in this battle, as he casts a handful of ensnaring spells from a safe vantage point to entangle the creatures, which are easily picked off by Daukua and Ugagn. The battle is turning in the group’s favor when the Formians’ activities are revealed. A huge section of sand outside the first house collapses, and a Formian empath—one of the most feared creatures in the desert—emerges from the mouth of a sand tunnel, along with more of the beasts. Again, ensnaring spells change the tide of battle, and the empath, despite numerous mental assaults, is handily defeated.

With the empath slain, the party pauses to take a breath before deciding its next moves.


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