Rise and Fall of Arela

Session 6 Recap

We return to our fearless heroes to find them standing at the top of a long dark stairway with a rather unfriendly Bone Servant charging up at them. As usual, Aramil does the first thing that comes to his head, without considering the consequences, and places the Crown of Bones on his head. Luckily, for the party, Aramils impulsiveness saves their collective asses and the Bone Servant stops and is under Aramils control.

Never satisfied with narrowly cheating death once in an hour, the party makes its way down the stairs to find another door similar to one at the top of the stairs. Aramil commands the Bone Servant to open the door. With judicious use of the light spell on the Bone servant, the party peers int vast chamber that is quite obviously filled to bursting with skeletons of all sorts. Dodging a hail of arrows, the party moves back into the stairwell as a pair of large skeletal champions sqeeze into the stairwell. During the ensuing skirmish, Artas discovers he has a negative energy spell which he use to heal the skeletons. The skeletons leave their new friend alone but are dispatched by the rest of the party.

Sending the Bone Servant in to the chamber to do some reconnaissance, the party discovers that the chamber beyond the door is filled with a horde of over 200 skeletons of various sizes. Ignomine, uneasy with the idea od leaving such a horde of undead untouch, urges the group to use the bottleneck of the stairwell to wage a war of attrition on the skeletons. Aramil and Drael are interested in any treasure that may be down there, while Artas beleives there may be answers to his past. Polycarp is less enthusiastic and beleives it is a fools errand wrapped in a deathwish.

Regrouping up in the forsaken altar, the party has a chat with their skeleton friend and learn some interesting facts. It seems that the horde is dedicated in service of The Queen who was around a long time ago and will return again. Furthermore, she wants “everything” although the creature was a bit vague on what she wanted to do with everything. Finally, the party is able to surmise that the horde they saw is only a small part of a much larger undead army that is lying in wait in the tunnels beneath the continent. Based on this new revelation, the party decides to return to town to seek assistance and resupply.

As the party returns to Freeport, the local constabulary inquires about their magic dealings. Drael pipes up and bluffs the guard with a story about a generous benefactor Art Vandelay. The guards are skeptical, but too apathetic to investigate further. Meanwhile, Polycarp climbs the fence and slips unto the city unnoticed, likely whispering to himself “Suckers!” The party avails itself of the local economy and Ignomine and Artas have a bit of a bro out as Ignomine spots him some cash for a fancy set of armor spikes. Aramil, however, has a less enjoyable time as he is accosted by the parties old friend Jenet, who is understandably upset at having lost the 300g that was paid to her. Always cool under pressure, Aramil attempts to bluff his way out and fails miserably, so instead of taking 300g from him Jenet takes all of his gold.

Aramil returns to the party and explains the situation and as they stand around arguing about what to do, the city guards confront them accompanied by Jenet, Gordimar and Aurora. The guards question the group about their interaction with Jenet. Artas explains that the last time he saw Jenet, he had paid her what was due but that it was possible their companion Polycarp stole from her. Luckily, Polycarp had made himself scarce and the guards had no one to pin the theft on. Aramil explained that Jenet had just stolen from him. Gordimar explained to the guards that Artas has a large bounty on his head. Again, the apathy of the guards wins the day and they return Aramils gold (minus the 300g) and tell the Bounty Hunters that this isn’t Kharlin and to beat it.

Wanting to relax after the run in with the fuzz, the group goes to a tavern for a drink. Artas regales the party tales of his mysterious past and then beings to tell Ignomine of how the group met. By this point Polycarp rejoined the party and was very interested in telling stories. Thinking he was just in one of his sarcastic moods, the Artas continued his tales. Suddenly, Polycarp jumps out of his seat, excuses himself, and runs out of the room. Minutes later, Polycarp returns with news that he had been jumped in an alley and was given a note and a gem. It was obvious then that whoever impersonated Polycarp was looking for information, information they clearly got. The party is visibly shaken by this, but there is not much they can do.

Ignomine and Drael then seek out the local temple trying to get information and recruit help for their cause. Ignomine sends a letter to Toradan Honorforge asking about hypothetical undead armies in hypothetical tunnels. Later, back at the in several Paladins return with word from Toradan as well as Rufus. They ask about Rufus’ tablet, which the party admits to finding, as well as the letter. Ignomine informs them that it was simply a hypothetical situation that he wanted answers on.

After resting and recuperating, the party returns to cottage once again, hoping to deal with the undead horde themselves. When they arrive, however, they find a pair of Nightmares standing outside the cottage. After some deliberation, they party decides to bring the pain. They devise a cunning plan involving buffing the tanks to draw fire from the squishies. This plan is rendered obsolete by Polycarps impatience. Ignomine and Artas spend the majority of the battle closing the distance to the targets as Polycarp, Aramil, Dreal and Vyktor bombard the every loving shit out of the Nightmares from afar. Despite never landing a blow, Ignomine is sickened but not deterred. He and Artas decide to go down the ruins loud and stupid like, in order not to waste their buffs.

The pair, shielded, warded, blessed and enlarged, charge down the stairs past a massacre of bones and into the chamber beyond. The party finds a pair of bearded devils mopping up the last of the skeletons. Ignomine rushes headlong into battle and rains down all the fury afforded by his god and smites the tits right off the first bearded dragon. Artas also strikes a mighty blow, but still feels a bit of power envy next to the holy wrath of Ignomine. As the rest of the party makes its way into the chamber, Aramil decideds to offer air support by way of wildshape. In the heights of the chamber the parties Imp friend returns and attacks Aramil. From around a corner, Polycarp thinks “Ain’t nobody got time for this shit” and one shots the infernal creature with an arrow through the taint.

Seeing its partner smote to dust, summons another devil in an obvious “take him not me” gesture. By this time Vyktor has stepped up and applies some of his signature glitterdust rendering the devils blind. The summon devil drops like a sack of bricks and then it is only the last devil left. Vyktor again steps up to the plate and summons some celestial eagles to harry the devil. At this point the devil pulls his “Fuck this” maneuver and teleports out to the top of the stairs. Vyktor sends his eagles to give chase and they delay him long enough for Polycarps bleed effects to drain him some more, but he eventually escapes. The party spends the next several minutes mopping up some Lemuirs that the devils had left laying around.

Never ones to slow down, the party opens one of the doors along the back wall of the room.

Session 5 Recap
Dungeons & Gelatinous Cubes

After surviving the zombie wolf attack from the previous night, the party got back on the road headed toward Ceres. Not on the road, the party encountered a Dire Bear. The Druid, ever the optimist, decided he was going to make this bear his pet. He approached the bear and whispered sweet nothings to it and amazingly the bear did not immediately maul him to death. Aramil continued his bear seduction and was able to get the bear to put some of the Druids bearies in its mouth, Aramil was overjoyed!

SURPRISE! BEAR ATTACK! Out of nowhere an arrow slammed into the bears hide sending it into a bloodthirsty rage. The bear grappled with Aramil nearly tearing him limb from limb. Meanwhile, Polycarp is in the trees laughing his nose patch off. The rest of the party comes to rescue. Artas takes his usual punishment and shrugs it off, and eventually the bear is slain. Sad that he didn’t get his bear companion, Aramil had to satisfy himself with skinning the bear. Once Aramil discovers that Polycarp was the reason for the bears aggression, he snapped Polycarps bow, which Vyktor quickly mended.

The party travelled on until they reached the ramshackle cottage. It was clear that someone had stayed here very recently and had vacated the premises only hours before. The party went into the cottage and discovered the Rufus’ tablet of soul stealing resurrection. After realizing that they could not operate the tablet, Vyktor pocketed it for future study. The party then decided to return to the dungeon beneath the cottage in hopes of discovering some lost treasures.

Making their way down a newly explored hallway, the party was following Polycarp who was carrying a torch while checking for traps and other dangers. He did a poor job. Suddenly, the torch went out as the party heard a faint gurgling sound. The party quickly realized that they had come upon a gelatinous cube that was currently trying to digest Polycarp. Over the course of the fight, several members of the party entered and exited the cube. Polycarp entered the cube more than once, but had to be fished out of its remains as he was a paralyzed by the cubes digestive juices. With Polycarp in a vulnerable state, Aramil suggested rooting through his pockets. Fearing retribution, the rest of the party decided against it.
They were not long in the dungeon, when Timmy indicated that there may be someone watching at the dungeon entrance. Ever impulsive, Polycarp takes off after the skulker. While the mystery man was fast, Polycarp was faster and was able to hobble the man before he got away. Polycarp tried to get the man, who appeared to be a worker from the ruins, to stand down so that the party could get some answers, but the mystery man would not cooperate. Fighting ensued and while Polycarp fought well, the man fought better. By the time the rest of the party caught up, Polycarp lay broken, bleeding and unconscious on the ground. With Polycarp now unconscious, the party felt safer about searching the man and they quickly discovered that Polycarp had the 4 missing diamonds.

Returning to the dungeon, the party entered a room flanked by two doors and two stone statues. Polycarp begins to open one of the doors and the statues move to unseat their swords. The party yells to stop opening the door, but as if with a death wish, Polycarp continues to open the door and then slips inside the room. Luckily, Artas and Ignomine were ready for the assault and attacked the two golems. Since the golems were immune to magic, the only recourse was to enlarge the meat shields and let them hack away at the stone. As the golems neared death one of them sheathed its sword and began radiating heat. The party scrambled down the hall and slammed the door shut just in time to avoid being exploded. Artas and Ignomine decided to take advantage of their increased size and began running through the rest of the dungeon. As he ran, a magic shield appeared around Artas, and lucky it did because it allowed him to narrowly avoid being porcupined by a dart trap. In their cavorting, the pair discovered a shitter, a bedroom and an evil altar.
Meanwhile, Polycarp had discovered an ancient armory. He quickly snatched up a number of vials and scrolls that appeared valuable as well as a fancy pair of gauntlets, which he promptly put on. Polycarp later discovered that the gauntlets were cursed and would cause him to drop any weapon he carried. Luckily for him, one of scrolls he picked up dispelled the curse and allowed him to remove the gauntlets. Polycarp dropped the gloves down the shitter.

Using detect magic, the party found a rune above a locked door. Recalling a passage from a journal found in the library, Artas told the group that “only someone touched by death could speak ‘the password’”. As Artas spoke, the rune dimmed. Leaving the possible rune of death alone, the party entered the evil altar, where they encountered a surprisingly talkative skeleton who requested to be returned “below” so that he may serve “the queen”. The skeleton also had some interesting comments about Artas, specifically related to the completeness of his soul. The rest of the party had some questions for Artas, but he refused to answer any questions while in the dungeon.

The party moved on to the room protected by the death rune. As they moved through a narrow passage they were attacked by two homunculi, which immediately incapacitated Artas despite another protective spell that had popped up around him. The party dispatched the homunculi and in the room beyond found a workshop. In the workshop, the party found an old book written in an undecipherable language, some notes and drawings related to what looked like a massive suit of armor, and some bits of chitinous carapace. There was also a small chest that appeared to be empty, but proved otherwise once Vyktor applied a generous dose of glitterdust. Inside the chest was a rather foul mouthed imp that attempted to bargain with the party for his release. The party wrestled with the idea of releasing an evil imp into the world, but the desire to get into the lower levels of the dungeon overcame there hesitance. Upon releasing the imp, he handed the key to the door to the lower levels to Artas and flew out of dungeon.

The party then made its way to last locked door. Upon opening the door they found a staircase and a massive Bone Servant charging up at them.

Session 4 recap

The Arrival

The party started with their arrival at the ruins they’d spend so long trying to reach. They reached the fort near sunset, and though they were careful to announce their presence the arrival of a drow set the guards on edge. They refused entry to the party while they were armed, so Drael and Aramil stayed with the cart and weapons while Vyktor, Artas, and Rufus entered the courtyard. Polycarp decided to make himself scarce in the forests surrounding the fort.

Within the courtyard they met the dwarven paladin of Ceres who was apparently leading the defense of the research outpost. When the party requested their pay, Rufus objected by noting they had also stolen several expensive items from him, including a magical dagger, a wand of fireball, and the codex itself. The party countered by saying that Rufus’ tablet had stolen part of their souls and that they hadn’t been warned or consented. Under the paladin’s withering glare the codex was returned, the wand was retrieved from Drael, and the party compensated for the soul theft with a 200gp bounty… each. As Polycarp was missing the paladin sent out a group of mercenaries to find him. They were about as successful as you’d expect. With that, the party was allowed to bring the rented horses and cart within the walls, though they were requested to go about unarmed.

In talking with the paladin he revealed he didn’t seem too interested in the research, but knew enough to inform Rufus that Headmaster Frawk was not there, would never be there, and that he had traveled the exact wrong way if he wanted to meet him. Rufus received this news by sulking in the multistory building co-opted for scholar and leadership residences. Free to go, the party went about the camp meeting the other residents. Having identified the soldiers within the compound as in the service of Kharlin, Drael slyly warned Artas by complimenting the server on the Kharlin cuisine. He angrily shouted the chef was from Ceres.

After dinner, Artas struck up a conversation with a well-armored half-orc sitting alone at one of the tables and seemingly out of place. The other party members talked with some of the higher-ups within the compound, including Ormal Ardem, a human scholar from Kharlin; Prima Quintas, a human cleric of Erastil; Gideom, the head scholar; and miscellaneous cooks, librarians, and other fortress staff.

The party spent a restful, relaxing night within the fortress and were trying to figure out what to do next. Artas invited his new friend to join them, and lacking any clear direction the half-orc accepted. Their plans were interrupted by arrows occasionally arriving over the walls and landing in the courtyard. One came affixed with a note in some crude language, but it was enough to get the guards on alert. With only seconds to spare the fortress guards mounted the parapets to see a goblin army coming to sack the fortress from the north. Horns announced another army approaching from the south, and the party was pressed into service to defend the walls.

The Battle

With the morning sun barely over the horizon the goblins attacked. Vyktor boosted the party with a blessing from Calistria. The guards on the walls were struck down by arrows fired from the treeline, though Aramil was able to stabilize one that fell off with the use of a Goodberry. Artas and the half-orc charged to the open gates, using their bulk as a bulwark against the invaders. A dazzling display of prowess by Artas helped shake the hobgoblins marching on the gates while the half-orc pleaded for them to give up the attack. Meanwhile, two massive vultures with goblins on their backs strafed the fortress with fire bombs, setting the towers on fire and igniting the few remaining defenders. Drael began casting a spell that proved to incapacitate one of the massive creatures, resulting in it landing in a fiery crash and explosion within the courtyard, sending the horses screaming in terror but likely saving the defense of the fortress. Goblin riders appeared to charge the defended gate, while the Kharlin soldiers formed a phalanx to defend a breach in the walls being attacked by something big and nasty.

Aramil joined the defenders at the gates but was struck down by a hail of arrows and blows. Soon Artas fell to a precision shot and was completely struck down, leaving only the half-orc to defend the gate. Hobgoblins streamed past and tried to attack Vyktor and Drael, though a combination of Vyktor’s Darkness and Drael’s Tanglefoot Bag stopped and stymied the invaders. Vyktor valiantly kept the party on their feet. All looked lost when a booming voice called out, ‘The debt of Alion is repaid’ and Artas was levitated back to his feet, the tattoo on his shoulder burning to a brand and smoking through his armor.

Renewed, the defense worked to purge the invaders. Drael enlarged the half-orc and incapacitated the other vulture rider, Aramil and Vyktor fought within the sphere of darkness while Timmy continued to trip the hapless hobgoblins, Polycarp stalked the treeline to take down the archers, and the rejuvenated Artas fought to clear the gates. Unfortunately the Kharlin soldiers were being worn down by the onslaught of their attackers and the breach in the wall looked ready to fall. A cry for help brought down a rain of explosions that exploded one of the towers the hobgoblins were scaling, the breach in the wall, and left several craters in the field surrounding the fortress. Aramil summoned a tangle of vines to block the breach and buy the defenders time while they dealt with the ones who had penetrated their defenses.

Desperately they fought the goblin chieftan, the enlarged half-orc and the half-drow cleric using their darkvision to great effect, while the exhausted Drael soldiered on with magical weaponry. Artas was laid low once again, and it was only the careful coordination of the entire party that kept soul bonded to body. The enlarged orc brought him within the safety of the walls, the Druid tended to his wounds, and the half-drow cleric got him back into fighting shape and back into the fight. With the death of the chief and the rest of the hobgoblins, the party turned their attention to the breach in the walls.

The carnage revealed two enlarged hobgoblin corpses and an enormous snake writhing in the vines summoned by Aramil, the only thing preventing it from flanking the defenders. Goblin shamans in the distance seemed to be directing its actions. The giant armored half-orc leapt over the vines to close with the beast, while Polycarp circled around to take out the shamans. Sensing the battle had turned against them, the shamans retreated and left the snake and their chief to their captors.

The Aftermath

The leader of the Khalin soldiers, Lieutenant Dan, was incensed by the deaths of his soldiers and wanted to slay the giant goblin snake, but the similarly enormous half-orc refused to allow it to be killed after it had surrendered. Instead he interrogated it, as it was apparently an intelligent creature. When asked why they had attacked, it said only “Orders,” and indicated the chief. It also hinted at the history of slavery with Khalin society. The half-orc gave it a message for its tribe: “Your chief is dead, and this place is protected. We have no wish to kill you, but we will defend ourselves. Do not attack again or you will bring destruction upon yourselves. Go in peace.” Lt. Dan seemed displeased, but said nothing. The party then set about tending to the wounded and helping out as best they could. Bodies and casualties were laid out in the great hall, and the goblin corpses were gathered, looted of valuables, and burned. Several people noticed that the goblins were unusually well-armed, including some masterwork weapons and armor.

Prima Quintas did what she could to heal the wounded and used two of her three Raise Dead scrolls on the expired. With the party wounded but on their feet she apologized at not being able to spare any healing. Artas, meanwhile, sought out the dwarven paladin of Ceres to try and learn more about the weird events at the gate with his sudden death and resurrection. Exhausted by the ordeal, the party rested for the night within the safety of the walls. When asked for his name the half-orc revealed that, in his culture, names are awarded only after performing deeds of service to the community. He seemed impressed at first that his fellow combatants all had names already, but allowed that cultural differences could be surprising that way. He said the word for those like him without a name yet was “Ignomine,” and lacking something else they wished to call him it was a suitable enough word.

The next morning they learn that the scholars had been able to get word out about the attack, and received orders to abandon the dig site after reinforcements had arrived in 3-5 days who would escort them to Ceres. The party, not willing to wait around for blame to possibly land on them, elected to leave that day. They made good time heading straight for the cottage above the ruins and camp for the night only three hours out.

During the watch near the conclusion of his shift, Ignomine detected auras of evil approaching and circling the campsite. He silently woke Vyktor, next on watch and who could also see in the dark, to identify the forms as zombie wolves. They worked to wake the other party members and informed them to use bladed weapons against the rotting corpses. So prepared, the group worked to dispatch the shambling undead and was able to come out victorious, despite the frequent tripping.

The rest of the night went uneventfully, and the party continued on towards the cottage.

Session 3 Recap
By Tyler Skirtich

Here is my attempt at a session summary. I apologize if I missed things, or got things wrong.

We started back in the dungeon, shortly after defeating a couple of skeletons and zombies. Drael took it upon himself to open a magical book that was warded with an explosive rune. Drael nearly died, but the rest of us were mostly ok. Artas found some interesting journal entries in one of the non-magic books. We returned to the shack where Artas found that the sack carrying the communal gold and diamonds was missing. Everyone in the party agreed to disrobe and have his possessions inspected, everyone except Polycarp who argued for his innocence and then bolted from the shack. Upon his return he disrobed, and urinated in front of everyone. We decided to drop the issue until the dungeon could be searched. The next morning we searched the dungeon, where we found the missing gold. The diamonds are still missing.

Getting back on the road, Gordon steered us into a wood which we quickly were set upon by 4 giant spiders and an ettercap. Gordon as well as Rufus Amillos were mostly worthless in this fight. Artas turned one spider into pink mist while the rest of the group porcupined the ettercap and Timmy fell down a well hole. Several fireballs and traps later and the monsters were slain. We then looked for a place to rest for the night.

During Polycarp’s watch, a tussle was heard in Gordon/Rufus’ tent. Polycarp stealthily approached the tent but found it tied shut. Hearing more tussling, Polycarp threw open the tent flap to find Gordon standing over Rufus. In a flash, there was a squelching sound, the camp was covered in an obscuring mist, and Gordon was on his trusty riding dog. With the squelching sound, the party felt as if their souls were being sucked from their bodies. Luckily, Polycarp kept his wits about him and was able to rouse the rest of the party. At first there was difficulty in attacking Gordon as he kept tumbling out of combat, but in a stroke of genius Victor cast Faerie Fire which lit Gordon up like Chinese New Year. Taking out the dog was easy enough, and without mobility and stealth Gordon went down like sack a bricks. After combat, the party found Rufus dead but amongst his possessions a stone was found that appeared to be able to resurrect him if it latched onto enough souls. Also, amongst his possessions was his journal, an ancient map, an old codex and a letter from his master. Furthermore, we found, amongst Gordon’s possessions a signet ring of the Shivar Blades. The rest of the useful gear from the two corpses was divided amongst the group.

With neither master nor guide we decided to make our way to Freeport to ask for directions and to sell our goods. At Freeport we said goodbye to Jenet by giving her 300g which Polycarp promptly stole back. Vyktor and Drael stayed outside Freeport with Rufus’ corpse and copied his spellbook. Artas and Aramil attempted to enter to sell their goods but were hassled by a guard. After some haggling and bribing the guard was appeased. Once in Freeport, Artas and Aramil sold some stuff and found out that the Masterwork Greatsword they had found was original Arelan Steel, with some interesting properties. The pair also was able to get directions to the college folk from a local shop keeper.

Leaving Freeport, the party headed back the way they came. On the way, we were again set upon by a goblin ambush, except that this time they were much better armed. While the Goblin Archers were mostly ineffectual, the Goblin Riders with their lances did a number on Artas and Polycarp. Luckily, Drael was able to firebomb the archers with wand of fireball found amongst Rufus’ things, and gave the us time to regroup and turn the tide on the tide of the goblins. During the scuffle, the Rufus’ soul sucking stone latched onto one of the goblins and Rufus was resurrected mid combat. He was confused and not happy.

At this point the party was in a bad way partly from battle, partly from the soul sucking stone and from a disease that Artas had picked up at some point. The party spent several days resting and recuperating before deciding to head on toward the ruins to satisfy our contract to Rufus, despite Polycarp’s dissent. Some of Rufus’ items were returned to him, but not his magic dagger or his ancient map.

We continued on the path toward the ruins where we were attacked by Dire Wolves which went down surprisingly quickly despite their size. Just as the sun was setting for the day, the party came over the hill to find the ruins they had been traveling toward for so many days.

The Journal of Rufus Amillos
From Landfall in Shivar till his death on his venture south

Found in Rufus’ satchel

Arela Day 1
This has been the longest journey by sea of my life by far. Much longer than my trip to the Elven lands of Adweld. The docks of Shivar are simply stunning. The dock hands work tirelessly loading and unloading massive ships around the clock. It is truly a marvel to be seen. Our ship had hardly rested at its port an hour before they had the entire cargo hold emptied, the passengers (myself included) sorted with their belongings, and the ship was sent off to the inactive wharf, where ships awaiting cargo stay while their crews take leave. It is a marvelously industrious and diverse city. On my way from the docks to the inn I passed several half orcs, and even what I believe to have been a full blooded Mountain Orc! I shall settle in to the inn and prepare my wares for the caravan.

Day 2
Tragedy! It was mere hours after securing my caravan token from the guard station, and I have been robbed. My caravan coin, procured at much expense, is gone. With it is most of the funds provided to me by the college! I have informed the local guard, but with no proof of the stolen items I was told there was little they could do. I have explicit instructions not to leave the city without substantial guard, and I know my masters protection will not work with less than 7 companions in my company. I must figure out something. Luckily the satchel is still safe at my side. Thank goodness I thought to lock it so, as it is obvious whoever the thief was attempted to open it while they robbed me blind. Such a beautiful city, yet it appears it can be every bit as dangerous as I was told.

Day 3
The caravan has left without me. I have been looking for guards to take me to Ceres, but few will take any job without payment up front, and even if I could I cannot afford the tolls on the causeway. Without going to the College of Ceres and collecting some coin I have little means to hire a guard to take me. I am authorized to write letters of credit in the name of the College, but few here will accept it. It is a paradox of which I must find some continuity and solution.

Day 4
Fortune at last. I have met with a pleasant fellow by the name of Gordon, a local Halfling who takes work as a guide to the ruins of Arela for tourists from Mareata. Dangerous work no doubt, but also fortuitous for me for he knows of several Ruin sites under study by the various academic organizations of Arela. As luck would have it, there is a Ruin to the south of Shivar being studied by the College of Ceres, and Headmaster Frawk himself is due to inspect the endeavor in two weeks time! Gordon has further agreed to take payment by letter of credit, as he is familiar with the College of Antheium from his working with tourists of Mareata. The only sticking point was when I inquired about where we might hire 6 more guards. He seems very insistent that further companions would only slow our progress, and that he knows this land better than anyone and can get us safely to the sight without incident. Unfortunately, I have my instructions and I fear this will be a sour spot between us.

Day 5
I was forced to sell my wand of detect undead and my wand of mage armor so that I may have a chance at securing additional guards. With the money I have secured my Halfling guide a riding dog, and a road cart to make better time on the road south from here. I was able to verify from other locals that the college of Ceres does indeed have a study site at Runes to the south west, which put what little reservations I had on my course of action to rest. With the remaining money I am hopeful I can hiring 6 more guards for the trip.

Day 6
We leave tomorrow. I met a rather odd group of locals at the inn today, 4 in all who were willing to take small payment up front with the promise of larger compensation at our destination. I will admit the Drow had me concerned, but a discrete casting of detect evil proved him to be the exception to the rule for his kind. There is a human who’s face is badly mutilated, he seems very quiet but holds himself in a fearless and confident manor, no doubt he has some exciting stories he could tell. Perhaps raiding tombs in the wilderness looking for riches?. A Druid from Adweld is also in the group. He seems nice enough, but I do wish he would bathe before we go. Lastly, there is a rather large human, with a rather large sword. He seems to be a friendly giant and should if nothing else make bandits think twice before attacking us. Ha, listen to me! Bandits and Runes, thieves and adventure. I am like a child reading a storybook. Except no, this is very real, and I shall finally see Arela. I am confident our trip to the Runes will be uneventful, but still the precautions are necessary as they where my Masters will.

Day 8
We were attacked last night! Gordon kept me secure in my tent while the caravan guards dealt with a war party of goblins. Goblins! Extinct on Mareata for countless centuries, and yet here in Arela you can be attacked by them just a day’s ride out of a large city. Marvelous. Unfortunately one of the guard, Steve, ran off during the attack. I find myself now unwillingly in violation of my Masters orders and no longer under his protection.

Day 9
Fortune of both sorts today. First we meet another half elf, though he looks like he favors his human side more than I do, much like the Druid in that regard actually. With this happy meeting, and the promise of some gold I am back up to my proper escort, and requirements for my masters protection. None too soon as well, for we were attacked on the road this time. Goblins again, I do not know why they bothered us but they seemed to want Gordon’s dog. For a moment I thought he was going to give it to them, but then he rode up and- I don’t know how to describe what happened. Slaughtered them I supposed. They were taken by surprise at his ferocious attack at first, but even after he simply rode from goblin to goblin attacking them with a bloodlust I have never seen before. He moved with grace and a well practiced hand. No doubt these are the skills that lent him such confidence that he could get us to our destination unharmed, but still. It was…. Unsettling. He also seems rather hostile towards our guards. Many where wounded, and I leant the services of my curing wand to keep us on the road. I fear I grossly misjudged the danger of this course, as well as that of my charges. What else may I have misjudged?

Day 10
I was sucked into a deep dreamless sleep last night. This is unsettling to say the least, as my kind are not typically susceptible to such magic. From the description by my guards we were set upon by the Bane fog I have read so much about. No, to call this unsettling is a gross understatement. I much preferred it in the books. Upon searching our resting place my guards found an ancient Arelan sword. It bore the mark of Sidus upon it, and is made of a material I cannot identify. Oh what Jordan would give to inspect it! It looked of similar make to the sword Master Fawk brought Lord Anthorus to secure this partnership. If that is the case it is a prize indeed.

Day 11
Attacked by wolves today. I wonder, will I ever go a day without something trying to kill me on this journey? We met some mercenaries on the road today also. At first they seemed rather pleasant, but then to my great surprise they turned angry and violent at their camp. Turns out the large human and the man without a face (as I have come to think of him) are fugitives! It might have gotten ugly, but as this was coming to light the camp was attacked once again by Goblins! The man without a face rescued me, and none too soon as a large half Orc brute whom was questioning me angrily was viciously murdered not moments later. I was not in the least bit safe however, for moments later I took several arrows from the Goblin warriors. Me! Taking arrows to the chest! I very nearly put my master’s gift to the test. What the hell is wrong with this land!? Why do these Goblins pester us so!? I am anxious to reach our destination and be under the protection of the college.

Day 12
We have stopped for the night in an abandoned cottage. The large human was swarmed by rats when we first got here. I hope he does not become ill. This journey has taken a toll on me as well. Is all of Arela like this, or have I just had a spectacularly woeful couple of weeks? We are off the main road now, not far from a town called Freeport. I must admit it was tempting to suggest we continue on to the town, but in the end I must get to the Ruin site and Master Fawk as soon as possible. Gordon informs me it is only a few more days away, but his demeanor has me worried. I cannot pin point exactly what or why, but I sense a change in him. It is like he is expecting something, and it makes me nervous.

Head Master Corvus Edmin to Head Master Lorewell Frawk
Correspondence found on the person of Rufus Amillos

Found in Rufus’ satchel a piece of parchment with a wax seal. Knowledge Nobility DC XX to recognize the seal of the College of Anthieum

Head Master of the College of Ceres
Master Lorewell Frawk III the Wise

Master Frawk, I hope my aide finds you well. In the parcel attached are the items we had discussed upon your trip to Antheium. This monumental discovery shall surely bring us both great fortune and enlightenment. Please forgive the manor of travel I have arranged for my subordinate. Rufus has never traveled to Arela before, and although quite intelligent and eager, I fear he is not one for the rough and danger. He is however an indispensible asset for the work to be done, and I trust he shall be invaluable in your work with the codex. His safety is of the upmost importance to me, which is why I invested the coin in his traveling with a well armed caravan to your fine college. I have taken what other measure I can to insure his safe arrival, but I must admit to you now what I do not to him, that I fear interference with our partnership from outside sources.
Not long before sending Rufus on this task I was approached by a third party, working for an organization he would not identify. This man was both well informed and financed and made promises for exorbitant amounts of funds and resources should I relinquish the articles to him instead of sending them to you in Arela. He tried to hide it under a guise of disappointment, but I sensed a murderous anger in him when I refused. I tell you this in warning, someone somehow knows of what we have found and at least partially of its significant. More yet, fueled by my suspicions I had the strongest diviner on my staff attempt to scry on the fellow to learn of his employer, and he got only as far as he originated from Arela himself before he was shut down solidly. Whoever this gentlemen worked for he is no mere collector or academic. His offer, demeanor, and ability to shut down my best diviner speaks of someone with the support on the order of our own benefactors. With this warning I bid you luck.

Please send regular word with progress updates as we discussed.

His Majesty Lord Artorus Anthorus sends his warm regards to your benefactor and wishes you luck in our endeavor. He also asked me to send his sincere thanks for the sword, it is a new prize for his collection.

Head Master of the College of Antheium
Master Corvus Edmin

Session 2 recap
Warning: Books in mirror may explode

You guys started in the cave from which you fought the skeletal troll the day before, packed up camp and hit the road. On the road you left the forested area and the road took you through a grassy hills top terrain. After going for awhile without incident some of your party noticed you where being stalked by Wolves, a pack of 8 wolves to be exact. You guys where able to fight them off with only 2 people really getting hurt bad.

Later that day some of your party also noticed you where being followed/tracked by some kind of b lack bird high in the sky. Polycarp decided to shoot it, and put an arrow into it. It flew away, he shot at it a couple more times but it got away still flapping its wings.

Later on the road you passed a sign that noted the town of Freeport was about 35 miles up the road, which is 15 miles past when you where going to be leaving the road on your way to Rufus’s destination. Not long after you met up with 2 carts coming the other way, they pulled up to chit chat. Polycarp left the wagon and went to ground all sneaky like, because he has trust issues.

The wagons looked like regular trade wagons, with the symbol of the Shivar Merchants Guild on prominent display on either side of both wagons. Upon closer inspection it was clear that the drivers of the wagons where well armed and armored individuals, and that the tarps covering the wagons concealed additional people. While Rufus and Artis where talking to the wagons drivers, Polycapr scared the crap out of the guys in the rear most wagon under the top by asking them “Whatcha doing” from his concealment in the tall grass. After the initial “Oh Shit” moment it caused the now known to be Bounty Hunters, Artis calmed the situation, explaining that one of your group was out hiding in the grass and that he means no harm.

You learned that this group of bounty hunters as by traveling this road up and down for three days, hoping to be attacked by goblins to collect the 35 GP per head bounty on goblin raiders the Kharlin Army has put out. To collect the bounty requires the goblins heads, and their primary weapons, which Kharlin is offering full market price for (Which since all the weapons you guys took from the goblins ot this point were Master Work, is considerably more money than the bounty itselve). Aurora, the wagons driver for the first wagon offers for your to stay at their camp for the night, offering protection and security in exchange for details about the goblin attacks you experienced. After polity refusing, a half orc driving the second wagon offeres to pay YOU full market price for the weapons YOU have taken off the goblins, claiming they can just find some other goblins whos heads they can take for the bounty. With all that gold gingling in your minds eye no one did a sense motive on him, and you agreed to follow them back to their camp. You noticed before they left the Half Orc joined Aurora and Gordimer in their wagon.

On the way back to their camp you noticed the return of the black bird, which followed you all the way to the bounty hunter camp and than left.

At the bounty hunters camp Polycarp choose not to enter with the rest of you, he and Gordon being the only two to stay out of the camp. For once Polycarps trust issues paid off for the party big time, as he snuck around the camp he got within ear shot of one of the two large tents they had set up and heard the half orc enter (Roarvick) and inform his fellow bounty hunters to be ready, because Artas and Polycarp have 1,000gp and 500gp bounties on their heads respectively.

Polycarp thought this was awesome, and going against his initial instinct to just take his chance and ditch everyone right then and there, he went into the camp to inform the rest of the group of the issue.

Meanwhile Bartimus, the bounty hunters “money guy”, appraises the weapons you guys took off the goblins and offers you 4 diamonds (2000gp), 1000 gp and 50000 silver for it (3500 g total), which you except and Artas takes possession of.

Enter Polycarp to gather the group around and discuss their issue. Rufus is left talking to the bounty hunters about the bounties they go after, their camp here, and other local news.

At this time Aurora, Roarvick and Gordimer leave the camp to go have a chat in the woods away from prying ears (they think)

Upon some light discussion as to why those two have such a large price on their heads, Vyktor was kind enough to cast disguise self on Artas, so that he looked like the Drow Cleric instead of a walking bag of gold, and Artas walked right out of the camp on the pretense of going to commune with is god.

Polycarp follows Aurora Roarvick and Gordimer out and hears them in heated discussion, it is apparent that Aurora and Gordimer disagree with Roarvick as to how to proceed. While this is going on Polycarp sees Gordon leave the camp and go to ground.

After while Aurora, Roarvick and Gordimer come back into camp, and start looking for Artas and Polycarp. Not being able to find them, Roarvick starts aggressively questioning Rufus, who has no idea at all what is going on. Aurora and Gordimer go over to Dreal and Aramil with similar, if not AS threatening questions.

Jenet, not liking how Roervick is speaking to her employeers, gets in his face and theyt get into a half orc shouting match. The rest of the bounty hunters look on at the ellivated tension, they all know about the bounty at this point but also know that Aurora Gordimer and Roarvick would be having disagreements as how to handle this, and no one is eager to interject.

It is at this point Polycarp gets a tap on his shoulder, watching all of this from outside the camp. Gordon and snuck up behind him and says bluntly"You got us into this mess, how are you getting us out?" It is apparent he has overheard the talk of the bounties and knows all about it. Polycarp not having any better ideas than Gordon going in there and trying to kill everyone, something Gordon isn’t eager to do since it would be 12 on 1. Gordon asks if Polycarp thinks he could get to Rufus and get him out without being able to see where he is going. Polycarp says yes, and Gordon says fine, go on my signal, and sneaks off towards the camp.

Polycarp sneaks around to the back of the camp again, and suddenly notices a very thick Mist obscure about a quarter of the camp, swallowing Roarvick, Rufus, Jenet and Vyktor (who is hiding in a wagon next to Roarvick) hiding them from view. Polycarp takes this as the signal, and by memory and with impressive skills of dexterity is able to run to Rufus, grab his hand, and lead him out of the fog bank and camp.

At the same time Roarvick lets out a loud and painfull scream. Aurora draw her bow and points it right at Dreals face, Aramil sees Polycarp run out with Rufus and runs after them. Jenet shouts “You son of a bitch” in orcish and attacks Roarvick (though no one can see it happen since they are in the fog bank, by Vyktor hears the whole thing). Roarvick in turn attacks Jenet, and knocks her out in one hit. Following that Vyktor hears him screen again, hit the ground, and then a very wet sound follow.

Meanwhile, Aurora shouts at Dreal “What the fuck are you people doing”, with here bow pointed at his face. He replies “I have no idea”, and makes a run for it. She shoots him. She shoots him hard. But he runs off with a big ass arrow in his chest. Gordimer, a big ass human in full plate, draws his bastard sword and goes running after him.

At this point Aramil sees other shapes out in the woods, watching the camp.

Polycarp hides in th woods with Rufus, but sees one of the shapes about 20 feet from him and shoots it with is bow. Turns out it is a Goblin. The Goblin, and 2 others, fire back. But since they don’t see Polycarp, they shoot Rufus. A lot. Rufus doesn’t handle this well and pretty much does notihng of use byt bleed for the rest of the encounter.

With the camp obvoise under observation/assault by goblins, the bounty hunters stop trying to get you guys and you work together to take down the goblin scouts. You notice they are much more skilled and a lot tougher than the goblins you fought before. You eventually kill 2, and Gordimer knocks one out and takes him prisoner. Vyktor works out a deal with him in which you guys give them the Goblin map and the location of the Goblin camp in exchange for letting Polycarp and Artas leave in peace. They agree, since they didn’t recall the bounty on Artas and Polycarps head when they invited you to camp, and only Roarvick wanted to turn on their offer of safty for the night to get the bounty. Gordimer says he is confident he can convince Roarvick to go along with this if you give them the map. Turns out to be a non issues, since Roarvick is very much dead, and has been dismembered in a style common among the Goblin tribes in the region when they take down a particularly powerful foe. His death is easily pinned on Goblins that snuck into the camp, and the tension is resolved. (And the DM gets pissed because he never got to use any of Roarvicks abilities).

You leave the camp the next morning in a hurry, Gordimer having promise Artas safety for the night, but that if he ever came across him or Polycarp again he would collect them for the bounty. At this time Polycarp reveals that he also had looted a map from the Goblins from session one, and having some of the goblin writing on it translated was able to identify 2 ambush points you would be crossing on your way. Also of note was the symbol for the Shivar Merchants guild labeled “Avoid” and the symbol for the Kharlin army labelled “Attack”.

You make it to one of the ambush points without issues. Polycapr goes to unvestigate and finds it unmanned. Once again his natrual distrust of the univers works in the parties favor, because he sits and watches the sight for aboiut 20 minutes and sees 3 goblin archers enter fighting positions in trees, and a 4th goblin hitch 3 goblin dogs to a log and drag it across the trail. A 5th goblinoid is heard by not seen. He goes back and reports this to the group.

Iti s decided that polycarp will sneak up and attack the goblin and goblin dogs on the ground, while Artas takes the road up to support. Vyktor and Dreal come up the other side in the woods to support once they hear the party start, and Jenet stays with Vyktor. Aramil, Timmy, and Gordon stay with the wagon and Rufus.

Polycapr burns the first Goblin to death with some alchemist fire he took of the Goblin scouts the night before. And burns up the Goblin dogs too. Dreal gets rushed and crushed by a Goblin Snake, which Artas is kind enough to chop in half for him with an impressive critical hit. One of the Archers is burned out, and the other two are shot at with bolt and magic until dead.

Continuing on the trail, you make it several more hours without incident, and decide to make camp for the night at the sight of an old abandoned cottage. The cottage is sloppy stone work built upon the foundation of some ancient Arelan structure. what look like the foundation for large towers surround the cottage.

Upon opening the cottage door, Artas is rushed by a Dire rat which is killed easily.

Coming further into the cottage, there is a rustling and scratching sound coming from some rotted stairs. When Artas gets close enough, he is rushed by about 100 rats, which swarm over him scratching and biting. Lucky for him, Dreal puts ALL of the rats asleep, and they spend the next 15 minutes stomping them all to death. Timmy helps himself to some rat.

After searching the cottage, Vyktor found a vial of Elixr of Truth, Dreal finds some boots of Winterwalk, and Polycarp finds a Phylactery of Faithfullness.

Inspecting the outside of the cottage, one of the old tower foundations is found to contain some stone stairs under some brush. At the base of the stairs is a large stone door, with obvious signs of attempted entry by physical force. The door has no hinges or handle, and reads as magical under detect magic. After searching the area the group finds a stone panel, that when removed revealed a lever, and a stone ‘display’ of sorts with the number 10 scribed into it with deep black ink. The lever was flanked on either side by metal plats with suspicious cut outs.

Polycapr ties his rope to the lever and pulls it, sure enough the panels close on what would have been his hand. More odd still, the scribed 10 burns away to a 9, which burns away to an 8. Each number burning brighter and more sinister than the last. Polycarp reset the switch and the 10 returned.

This unsettled much of the group, who wanted to investigate the mechanism and try to figure out what ti does and how to get around it. Polycarp, not being the most patient and definitely being the most reckless, decided he was going to flip the switch and just let it count down. Everyone got well away, he flipped the switch and ran, and it counted down. The burning away numbers got brighter and brighter to the point that the stairs where billowing light by the end, and then it just stopped.

When the group approached and looked down the stairs they saw the door had opened, and nothing else. Behind the door was a spiral stair case that decended about 30 feet into the earth, and emptied into a rectangular room. Aramil found a pit trap at the bottom of the stairs, which Polycarp was able to disable. Upon entering the room Polycarp noticed a giant spider in a web up in the 20ft high ceiling.

Polycarp shot it, it webbed the entrance, and than the druid got covered in a spider swarm. The party said “Screw this” and threw another alchemical fire vial at the web, letting it burn the spiders off of Aramil and letting the web burn out for 20 minutes. The party then took pot shots at the spiders until one was dead. A second spider also took some damage, but having seen its buddy die and having no where to go, it rushed the stairs and Artas hacked away at it.

In the room was found a secret door, a 10 heavy stone door, and a skeleton with armor and shield. The secret door was locked, and Polycarp was able to pick it.

This lead to another rectangular room which appeared to be a library. Two magical books where found on a bookcase and taken by Dreal, and Vyktor searched the desk and found a magic ring, a ring of protection +1 that he gave to Artas. The room had a 10 foot stone door which Polycarp was able to unlock again, which emptied out into a hallway. Artas walked out and was attacked by 4 skeletons and a zombie. The party was able to beat the undead, and thats where we ended it. The hallway has a bunch of other doors in it and that’s it.

Total XP for the session is 2955 each. Which puts you one goblin dog away from level 3…..

Session 1 Recap
The Halfling and the Half Elf

For those that weren’t at the whole session, a quick recap.

You all (minus Andy) started out in a bar in the south outskirts of Shivar called ‘The Spiked Gauntlet’. You chit chatted for awhile and then approached a half elf and halfling who where discussing whither or not to hire some additional help for some purpose. The halfling was less then friendly, but you discovered that the half elf named Rufus had hired him to be his guide to take him south west of the city to a set of ruins under study.

You convinced him you 4 would be good escorts, but he really really wanted 2 additional guards, which he left up to you guys to hire.

Polycarp ventured out to find some down out there luck ex-con who he might be able to take advantage of, while the rest of the group approached the caravan station to hire guards. The guards where none to pleased with the idea of heading south west, one simply walked away, and another punched your druid in the face when he suggested her life was only worth 2 gold (psst she doesn’t like you Jim). Eventually you settled on paying her 5 gold upfront and 5 when you got to the ruin. Polycarp hired Steve, and ex slave from Fort Vigilance, for 1 gold piece.

Upon meeting up once again you told Rufus the good news, and he said you would leave in the morning. Talking to the halfling Gordon you learned the ruin is about a 7 day ride from Shivar.

At this point a mystery woman no one had been paying attention to pulled off a nice bit of slight of hand as she walked out of the bar and slipped a note into Artis’ (Tyler’s) pocket. It simple read “Don’t trust the halfling”

That evening, while Rufus had come down to take his evening meal, one of your party may or may not have bribed the bartender into telling him which room Rufus was staying at. Finding the door locked and failing to pick it, he may or may not have decided to climb the exterior wall and making it into the room unseen. In the room he found 3 sticks (2 wands and a staff, but he didn’t know that) and pocketed one (Possibly the most expensive thing he’s ever stolen).

Fast forward to the next morning and your off. Rufus riding a horse he had bought, while a second horse pulls a cart that you can all just barely fit in should you so choose. You traveled the whole day without incident, and was able to convince Rufus to stop at sun down (Something Gordon had been failing at doing). You made camp in a clearing not far from the road.

That night a Goblin patrol came upon your camp, and while they where approaching heard shouting (Aramil/Jim shouting a warning to the rest of you sleeping in common), startling the Goblins into attacking the party. (they can’t speak common and had no idea what he was shouting, but it sounded bad).

And so you fought. Rufus stayed in his tent the whole time, Gordon joining him as soon as he was awake. Steve ran away, and you where able to defeat the goblins (though some of you got pretty beat up), killing all but one of them.

You questioned the remaining Goblin, and right before executing him he revealed that they where a standard patrol, that their camps was several miles up and off the road, and other then that he was just following orders. The Goblins where all very well equipped (no one asked them why). You then knocked him out and killed him in his sleep. One of the party decided to harvest some meat from the Goblin dogs, because he didn’t think that would have any consequences.

The next day you set out again, and on the road met up with a loan traveler heading the other way (Andy’s Dreal). He mentioned that he was hired to scout out the Goblins south of Shivar, and came upon their camp which was about 300 strong.

You got passed the camp without incident, but a rear guard patrol sniffed out the goblin dog meet and set up a road block to confront the travelers with their suspicions.

Upon a parlay by the Cleric, they revealed that the sniffed out of the dog meat, and thinking that you killed one of their dogs (luckily they didn’t know about the ENTIRE patrol) they demanded the life of the dog in your party (the dog Gordon happened to be riding). The party almost convinced Gordon to give up his dog, but just failing that he road up to the goblins and attacked them rather viciously (perhaps showing his true colors). Hilarity ensued. and by that I mean a lot of misses, but you guys eventually overcame the Goblins once again. During the fight you noticed Rufus cast a couple of second level spells to help out, but never got down from his horse or in any other way presented himself as a target.

You traveled the rest of the day without incident and made camp in a shallow cave.

That night, on the third watch, a strange green tinted fog cloud creeped towards the cave. Everyone was wakened, except Rufus, Gordon and Polycarp who could not be woken. The druid using detect magic saw the cloud as magical, but strangely tinted unlike anything he had seen with the spell before. Enter an Undead Troll Skeleton, and what shall be ever known as the Drunken Bum Fight.

The druid lifted Rufus wand of cure light, and with the help of a lucky trip by the wolf, the troll was surrounded and beat on for several rounds. There was much dropping of weapons, but eventually the troll was defeated and the bones pounded to dust. The next morning the cave was investigated more thoroughly and it was determined to be an ancient den of a once living troll. In the creek bed, among numerous petrified bones was found and ancient sword. Upon inspection by Rufus it was determined to be an ancient Arelan sword, with the symbol of an ancient Arelan god on the hilt and blade. Rufus informed the party that he was a scholar of ancient Arela languages, and that the symbol on the sword was that of Sidus, a god that was apparently worshiped by some of the ancient Arelans, but that can not be proven to have ever existed. Rufus also revealed in conversation that he works for the head of Arelan studies for a college back in Mareata, and is delivering a parcel from his master to the head of Arelan studies from the college of Ceres, who is at the ruin sight. He did not say nor would he let anyone see what was in the package.


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