Tales of the Crescent Isles

Campaign - Session 5 - Hobgoblin Forest
The forest for the trees...and hobgoblins.

The party made it’s way North of Gerald’s Folly in pursuit of the Halfling named Nale (which they learned from his brother whom they captured) with the hope that they can rescue as many of the abductees as possible. To do so, they had to pass through the thick trees and brush that made up the Hobgoblin Forest.

Pushing through a very rough trail, the party tried to make their way carefully Northward. Unfortunately, it was not careful enough as both Seravanon and Murrik Dustborn are pulled high into the air by hunting traps and numerous Goblinoids, mostly Hobgoblins, spring out from hidden areas near the sides of the trail. The party makes battles back, with Murrik and Seravanon cutting themselves loose and joining the battle. The battle ends when the somewhat-less-than-adequate defenders are eventually routed, and are able to push forward once more.

Eventually, the guild-mates reach an abandoned shack. Moving in cautiously, they learn that this cabin belongs to Ryddia, the Hag, an old woman who lived in these woods in harmony with the goblinoids. Evidence suggests she may have been dragged out (footprints outside and signs of a struggle inside). Looking around, they find a unique staff that must have belonged to her. It had a strange, magical presence about it but nothing particularly potent.

Moving onward the trail began seeming more well-worn, and for good reason. The party arrived at what amounted to the front door of the cave. 2 animate crossbows, a shamanistic mage and various soldiers (all goblinoid) stood in their way. A massive battle ensued, with the mage and the crossbows doing the bulk of the damage. The battle was long and grueling, and left the party drained, but they were finally able to break the back of the defenders and mop up anyone before they could flee.

Their party, bruised and battered, rests outside for the night.

Campaign - Session 4 - Gerald's Folly (Part 2)
"Still Sucks"

Lily told the group that she has been essentially working with the Hobgoblins and 2 mysterious Halfling brothers, under threat of wiping out the town and killing her specifically. She also hinted that she had possibly been raped. She explains that the Halflings have been abducting townsfolk for some sort of experiment. She has been used to assist them in capturing people, as well as pushing the blame onto the visiting Halfling circus family. To do this, they provided her with a Magic Journal that would allow them to see what she wrote, thus allowing for communication.

The party let her off easy not sensing anything particularly suspicious about her, though they couldn’t be sure, and hatched a plan. Using the Magic Journal, they laid a trap that night saying Lily will lure the captain of the town militia, near Father Edward’s home.

That night, the party lay in ambush around the not-so-secret entrance into the city at both ends of the tunnel and had Jackson disguise himself to look like the captain. Later that evening, around midnight, a Halfling with a strange head brace (covering one eye) and several Bugbears arrived. Having sent his Bugbear guards ahead, half the party ambushed the Halfling and the other half handled the Bugbears, leading to an easy victory.

Sparring the Halfling, they gathered much information from him. He pleaded for the party not to touch his head brace. When pressed, they determined it was actually a modified Slave Collar, once popular in Illeau during the Eladrin enslavement. They learned that he had actually been subjugated, along with the Hobgoblins by his brother and a mysterious woman simply called the “Lady of Masks” who provided him with a strange mask and helped him overpower the Hobgoblins North of the city. He also told them he had no knowledge of what experiments were being performed, just that he was to abduct whomever he could.

After a discussion with regards to whether to spare him, they gave him over to the (real) captain of the militia and made their way to the North, towards the forest which made up the Hobgoblin’s home.

Campaign - Session 4 - Gerald's Folly (Part 1)
"This Town Sucks"

After a good night’s rest, the party is given ‘leave’ for a week while Wrex determines their next move. The party attends to various tasks including Ralum (unsuccessfully) trying to pick pockets in and among the town (but not badly enough to get caught) and gathering whatever rumours and scraps of information they can.

They learn a few rumours regarding their dockyard assault (some saying a group ‘slayed a dragon’, others that a group of thieves broke in, further others are closer to the truth than they realize), as well as a hint that Jerass may have been seen during his abduction; someone roughly matching his description was seen leaving in a wagon with a couple of large, cloaked figures and a Halfling driver about 2 weeks ago… around the time when he was noticed missing.

Returning to Wrex, he informs them that the wagon may have been heading South towards the town of Gerald’s Folly, a town near the Southern Loccain/Northern Illeau border. They also have been hearing rumours about abductions occurring in the area. Wrex suggests that they visit the town in search of Jerass and do what they can to help if it is needed.

Plains 019Requesting a wagon and the horse they captured, the party headed out towards the town. Along the road they run into Kyle Faren riding towards them. After they a cautious approach, they greet each other; Kyle is on his way to the town to request, personally, help from the Guilds of Biccano (the closest town) with regards to the abductions. The party tells them of their intentions, and he rides back with them back to Gerald’s Folly.

Along the way Kyle Faren gives a bit more of a rundown on the situation: 3 people from the town proper have gone missing: a local militia member and a young boy who were en route to Biccano Port for supplies and the local priest of Bahamut. There’s also been another disappearance: Theo, the owner of a travelling family circus that was visiting during the course of the disappearances. He also reveals that Theo is the local militia’s top suspect.

The party arrives at the run down walls of the Gerald’s Folly. Entering the town itself through the weather-worn wooden gate, they see a poor collection of small buildings, and a wagon caravan in the town center which Ralum. Kyle Faren takes his leave of the party and points them in the direction of the settlements leader.

The mayor’s house is the largest building in the settlement easily. Entering the study, they talk with the leader and confirm what Kyle Faren has told them. He also recommends they talk with Lily. It is said she was witness to the kidnapping of Father Eric, the town’s head priest to Bahamut. The party decided to leave the house and split up and gather as much information as they could.

P7256344Jackson Karrid and Andromir went looking for Lily at the local temple of Bahamut. Not finding her, they looked around, looking through her incredibly neat and tidy ‘office’ within the temple, in direct contrast to Father Eric’s thoroughly disheveled office. A strange journal was found in her office but before they could investigate much Lily, a rather attractive female human with long wavy brown hair and wearing a blue robe with silver embroidery, comes into the temple and catches them snooping.

Jackson Karrid works his magic at calming the girl, though she seems to be thoroughly shaken by something. After she calmed herself down, she told Jackson Karrid that she saw Theo escaping with Father Eric in tow at his home while going to visit him. She claims to not know how they got there or how they escaped, as they threatened her if she interfered. Giving what little comfort they could, they bid her goodbye and made way to Father Eric’s home, adjacent to the temple itself.

Meanwhile, Ralum went to investigate the wagons where his family was being kept under guard. Theo‘s mother was flustered and agitated, although happy to see her son. She said she didn’t know where her husband, as he never mentioned leaving to her. She believes he might have tried to talk to Lily, who pointed the finger at him, or gone to find the real source of the kidnappings. The guards began giving Ralum a hard time at this point, and was forced to depart. As he was leaving, he received a message from Jackson Karrid to meet them at Father Eric’s home to follow the lead they got from Lily.

During all of this, the rest of the party members, with Murrik Dustborn leading, arrived at the Militia House to talk to the Militia Leader. The Militia Leader was annoyed by their presence as he felt he had the situation under control (although Kyle Faren had told them that his agitation is compounded by the fact that his brother was one of the first kidnapped). He confirmed that Lily had pointed out Theo as the abductor, and that he had the family under “house arrest” in their wagons until they could find the now-missing Theo. Feeling they had gotten what they could out of him, they were contacted by Jackson Karrid and went to Father Eric’s home to meet them and see what they could find at his home.

Tumblr ldec33 h7 kn1qegl4mo1 500 The party gathered outside the small, humble abode of the missing Father Eric to pursue the lead that Lily had pointed them to. The party carefully went over the outside of the home and found various tracks. Ari Gold was able to identify them as belonging to a Halfling and several sets of Goblinoid, possibly Hobgoblin, tracks leading to and from the home. Inside, they found evidence of a struggle, though there was no blood that they could see.

The tracks from outside continued inside. One thing that seemed odd, however, was that Father Eric’s bed seemed to have been disturbed, even though the rest of the violence was seen outside. Near the bed, they found several strands of long brown hair. Their thoughts immediately turned to Lily. Somewhat perturbed, they moved their investigation outside.

The party was able to follow the tracks they found outside earlier to a group of bushes found along the wall. After close examination, they found a hole had been buried under a broken section of wall that could allow for someone or something to get in and out as needed. Knowing where the enemy was coming from, they searched the area. After getting a closer look, they found a small piece of ripped cloth. The colours, blue and silver, reminded Jackson Karrid and Andromir of Lily’s robes. The party concluded that Lily knew far more than she was letting on and decided to return to the temple to confront her.

Faced with the party’s accusations, she broke down. She profusely apologizes to the party and tells them what really happened. (Continued in Part 2)

Campaign - Sessions 2/3 - Biccano Port Smugglers
Of Horses and Mages

Seasideport640The group was given their first “real” assignment: to break up a smuggling operation and to find a missing informant, Jerass, who disappeared 2 weeks prior. The only real clue they had was that Jerass often worked the docks, the busiest place in an already busy port city.

The party decided to gather information throughout the town, but to concentrate their search at the docks. The party was aware that a rival guild had a strong presence in the docks, the Varns, and would have to tread carefully; technically the Varners are supposed to uphold the law like the other Guilds, but rumours are that they are not above backroom deals and strong arming others who enter their ‘turf’.

The party isolated and approached a lone member of the rival guild and tried to pump him for as much information as possible on the location of Jerass, and the shipment. The thoroughly intimidated Varner confirmed that Jerass was double-dealing, and that he had gone missing 2 weeks prior without warning. He was also able to confirm that a shipment was due to come in that night. After confirming they got what they could out of him the party dispersed around the docks and waited for nightfall.

I made this a skill challenge, just to get them familiar with the idea. I have since decided I’d rather err on the side of roleplaying and only if it really REQUIRED a structured setup to use a Skill Challenge.

After gathering again, they intercepted and quickly dispatched Varners who came to the dock area heavily armed, accompanied by a mounted soldier pulling a wagon. They killed the soldier and his (very weak) followers, and after a few failed attempts was able to calm the horse, hoping to ride him later.

Making their way inside the warehouse the ship they were looking for docked and was being unloaded during the fighting by a separate group of soldiers. Inside, they could see that the Varners had slaughtered the dock workers and smugglers and were looking for the shipment. Apparently they were not the intended recipients. The party encountered heavy resistance from archers, a few ‘new’ Varn recruits and a Mage of some power.

The mage inside the warehouse was onboard the ship, blasting them from above and stayed well protected behind a few archers and mooks. The party wasn’t really prepared for it and took a ton of damage. Because there are 6 of them they tend to clump up and anything that hits in a burst or targets multiple people really does a number on them.

On the plus side, they really loved the detailed scenery I think and it ended with a bang. Murrik jumped off the ship onto a big stack of crates and jumped 25 feet off THAT to crush the remaining mook with his hammer. Probably going to go down as one of the most memorable moments of the campaign.

After a very hard battle, leaving several people close to unconsciousness before healing could be applied, they found a curious thing: boxes full of blank white masks that seemed to have no value. They checked them for magic, both arcane and divine, and found nothing.

Ship1Puzzled, they moved into the ship where movement could be heard. Going down into the crews quarters they encountered light resistance from a few straggling looters. After a brief struggle with the boarders, they investigated the captain’s quarters looking for some hint on the valuable cargo, and possibly Jerass’ whereabouts.

I should have just skipped the fight in the ship. They were only a 4 random mooks in closed-quarters. I’ve learned now that there is no reason for these fights. They aren’t particularly interesting, and the time investment is way too high for a fight they are going to win effortlessly.

They found a hidden ship manifest detailing deliveries being made to this port, along with a port to the North in Likai. The ship apparently was of Illean origins. It also mentioned that the destination for the crates in Loccain was somewhere South, towards the town of Gerald’s Folly. This thickened the plot considerably. Apparently the masks ARE the ‘valuable cargo!’

Eventually, they work their way down to the cargo hold where a massive Dragonborn Mercenary, lieutenant of Varn, was roughing up the captain of the ship. Apparently Zhoppa, the Dragonborn, thought he was being tricked, and that the ‘real’ valuables were hidden somewhere on the ship. Frustrated by this, and the arrival of the party, he knocked the captain unconscious and engaged in battle.

This was my first “boss fight” idea. I was proud of the flavour of the fight, although I think I should have made them feel more threatened. It started out well enough as Seravanon rushed forward (his character is purposefully reckless in battle) and got punished for it by being picked up and thrown back at the party, nearly knocking him unconscious in 1 turn. Everyone played keep-away at that point, and I don’t know how threatened they felt. It definitely forced them to play more cautiously, but I’m actually pretty sure the mage fight earlier seemed more difficult for them.

They finally managed to bring him down and they were able to resuscitate the beaten and bruised captain. After a short interrogation into the whereabouts of Jerass (who had been arranging the pickups, and who disappeared 2 weeks ago without notice; the same story everyone seems to be sticking to) they brought him back to Wrex to deal with him and to plan their next move.

Campaign - Session 1 - Rats!
It's always rats

The campaign starts as members of a guild in Loccain called Gallindan gather in their headquarters at Biccano. Loccain works such that the Guild Masters (leader of any particular guild) are essentially chosen by Loccain’s noble class back in their homeland (far across the sea). They are basically given the mandate of keeping order, and facilitating trade (some take this as “any means necessary”) although due to the way they are chosen, they often are given other agendas by their noble supporters.

Gallindan is lead by an experienced Dragonborn warlord named Wrex leaning towards his twilight years in life. He is generally light-hearted, shows respect for combat talent and tactics (as he is a former active soldier) but feels that it should be used towards the greater good. He is not above earning a few coin here and there either, though. Wrex is also unique in that he is one of the few Guild Masters who was given his title thanks to his merits in combat. Most are given their titles via political means as opposed to any particular merit or skill.

RatWrex left a missive for the party to return to the guildhouse quickly as it was an emergency. When the party arrived, the main floor was abandoned, but torch light and noises could be heard from the storage cellar. As they descended the steps into the storage cellar, they encountered a Kobold and a company of monstrous rats (2 Giant Rats, 2 Dire Rats and a Rat Swarm). It looked as if they dug a tunnel that came up just beyond the wall and broke through into the cellar moments before.

The battle was quick and bloody as the Kobold’s rat allies fell fast to the combined force of the guild members. With his backup depleted, the Kobold attempted to flee back through the wall and into a pool of water he apparently swam up from. The party denied him and killed him before he could escape.

Wrex returned and applauded the party on their skill and rewarded them with a few provisions and payment, and a much more difficult and interesting task.

This fight was basically just to get the party up to speed on the combat and setting of the game. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and everyone liked fleshing out their characters.


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