Heroes of Peresh

The Story Thus Far... Part Three

The battle continued as the heroes fought their betrayers. Raĭnamel and Melodie continued to wreak havoc on their enemies. Breaking through the archers' defense, Raĭnamel brought down an earth-shattering blow on the back of Apollo's head, breaking his skull. But before anyone could react, Apollo used some manner of magic, effectively sucking the life energy out from Ellywyn, killing her instantly, and leaving her skin and hair a pale visage of what they used to be. The heroes fought on, bringing a devastating attack onto Apollo, but he again used his dark magic to suck the energy from Durik. Durik only barely survived the horror, his face filled with anger and resentment for Apollo.

The mysterious enemy then disappeared from the battle as Bolo commented on the wicked nature of his magic. With all of the enemies dispatched, Raĭnamel suddenly fell unconscious under a burning sensation on the back of her neck. When Melodie ran to her side, she discovered that Raĭnamel had been branded with the same tattoo that the other four (Coàhtar, Bolo, Ellywyn, and Durik) had. It appeared that, with the death of Ellywyn, the tattoo transfered to Raĭnamel. Coàhtar hurried to Durik, seeing that the dwarf was near death. He questioned him on what Apollo was doing, and why he and Ellywyn had been serving him. Durik was only able to mutter this before dying: "Don't let him get it."

And just as Durik died, Melodie too fell unconscious, branded with the same tattoo as the others. D'santos, needless to say, was disgusted that he, having joined the group long before Raĭnamel and Melodie, had not been chosen for either tattoo replacement. ("Ooooh, you gotta be kidding me!") Seeking to distance themselves from the battle, the group carried Raĭnamel and Melodie to an inn (as D'santos attempted to flirt up the unconscious Melodie about her tattoo).

Awaking fully rested, the group returned to the tower, where they split into two groups. The ladies (Melodie, Raĭnamel and Ananua) took to one staircase, while the men (Coàhtar, D'santos and Bolo) took another. The men entered the academy, but despite their attempts to reach the next floor, were blocked by a guard on duty. As they began to leave to reorganize, the classes dismissed. Just then, the Master Erik Brandis stormed into the academy, shouting for Orsella, one of the professors. They argued in front of a growing crowd of students, and the warrior threw down a shield, with three dots forming a triangle painted upon it; the very same symbol tattooed on the heroes' necks.

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The Story Thus Far... Part Two

After clearing the dungeon and receiving information about the Lost City from the sand-orc gaurdian (who was definitely NOT a real dragon, or else the heroes would have been very dead), the group headed further south in to the great forest to seek out a village or some type of civilization to trade with. After a couple days travel through the woods, they happened upon a strange sight.

A lodge, built large but not especially sturdy, in the middle of the woods. It housed a ruckus group of goliaths, a race of 8 foot tall humanoids with rough gray skin (that none of the heroes had seen before). Only Bolo had heard legends about the goliaths and their extremely competitive nature.

But these goliaths took it to the extreme. After a couple awkward moments upon entering the lodge, the heroes ended up in drinking contests and one fire-making contest (in the building!) with the inebriated goliaths. A elf lady was clearly the one keeping a semblance of order in the establishment called The Wicked Chicken. She explained that the place is not the first with the name. The Wicked Chicken has been burned down or destroyed in many ways and many places in the South Forest by the boisterous band of goliaths. She did not explain why they were not in a civilized area with other goliaths.

The group woke up in the still-smoldering ruin of The Wicked Chicken. Something had destroyed it in the middle of the night. Rummaging among the rubble was a big dumb (and relatively weak) giant, who attacked the group as soon as they made any sound. They killed it, and looted some very strong ogre whiskey from his boot.

They also found a goliath under the rubble, bleeding and trapped. They did their best to free him and stabilize him, but were unable to save his life. Before he died, he provided them with some valuable information. The previous night, while they were sleeping, a dwarf male and gnome female had passed by, hot on the trail of a man wearing black clothes and a white head covering. The man also wore a symbol of the sun and moon around his neck. Coahtar recalled that this was the symbol of the Kamlekh religion. Kamlekh is a city-state on a peninsula far to the west, over the Hammerbelt mountain range. The city is ruled over by their sun-and-moon-worshipping religion. Why were the dwarf and gnome following this person? Why was the person on this side of the mountains, in a remote location of a wild forest? Were the dwarf and the gnome the missing companions, Durik and Ellywyn?

These questions were unanswered, and the group needed a plan. They decided to head straight north until they reached the city of Anu (where they were originally headed) in order to find some answers (and buy a repeating crossbow, which D’santos greatly desired). If they ran in to the elf clan on the way, they could maybe get their reward and some more info from Aeharel. But if not, so be it.

On the way to Anu, the group came across an old, dry, long-abandoned tree-house outpost. It was essentially a bunch of elven-style open-air buildings built into a massive old tree and connected by rope ladders and bridges, most of which had fallen to decay. At the top was a small lookout that housed a metallic object of some kind which shone brightly and stood out among the otherwise wood-and-rope structure. The guys decided to check it out.

After failing to climb up the outside of the buildings, the guys had made a bunch of noise and attracted the attention of some kobolds and monstrous bugs which had taken up residence in the old treehouse. Combat ensued, and the group dealt with the first few floors handily, not even stopping to rest. One of the fire beetles set the place on fire at one point, so the heroes pace had to quicken. They rushed toward the top level and found a beastly Tangler Beetle and some nasty stirges (bloodsucking bat-like monstrosities) and a few monster-sized scorpions as well.

After defeating the onslaught of nasty monsters, the guys finally got to the top, the levels below now in a full blaze. They found an armor rack plated entirely in solid gold and gems! On the armor rack was a nice set of magic leather armor, which D’santos claimed, and a cloak with healing properties, which Coahtar claimed. They also stripped the weapon stand of the gold and gems which they could use to barter with once they reached Anu.

They acrobatically made their way (with ropes!) to an adjacent tree and climbed their way down. At the bottom, they found two female scouts from Aeharel’s band. The scouts had come to clear the outpost of monsters and bring back whatever they found to Aeharel, but found the job already done for them by our heroes. After some interesting story-telling by D’santos and barely effective diplomacy by Coahtar (and a few subtle moves in to the shadows to avoid their new gear being seen), the guys convinced the elf ladies that there wasn’t much of value in the tree house and it was better off burning. The elder of the two elves seemed unconvinced, and wanted to take the guys back to Aeharel. The other, a younger elf, was intrigued by the adventurers and ended up joining them! Ananua, a versatile ranger, became a new companion for the group.

The group traveled for a few days and eventually reached the city of Anu, set against the cliffs of the Dwelvenbelt mountains, and home to the amazing TOWER OF ANU, the newest wonder of the world. They entered the market district and found a merchant named Frederick to supply them with their mundane adventuring needs, but were referred to more exclusive districts to buy mechanical or magical gear. A sketchy elf named Zev stopped them and suggested they stop by the Slippery Wench to buy some “real” weapons and gear.

With much of the day ahead of them, the guys decided to be tourists and check out the famous tower at the edge of town, built alongside the majestic cliffs. As they made their way around the exclusive Inner Market and toward the Tower District, the group encountered Melodie and Rainamel, who offered to join the group in their journey (these reasons will be explored more in our next session).

The group investigated the tower and its four main lobbies on the second floor. Listed here are what they found.
Red Stair: The Academy (Martial teachers/snobby professors/arcane and martial students)
Green Stair: Library of Lore and History (Noble’s records/Natural disasters and major events records)
White Stair: Warden’s Keep (Knight commander/dining hall full of well-armed guards/nurse’s station)
Blue Stair: Bureau of Merchants and Trade (pricing guidelines and trade records)

After checking out the tower, the group went through the slums where they scared the crap out of wannabe pick-pocket urchins. They made their way to the Traveler’s Ward, the most diverse place on the continent. There they found a lively tavern called the Slippery Wench. In the tavern they found Zev, who sold D’santos a repeating crossbow and some bolts. They also ran in to Ellywyn, who lured them in with her entrancing bard powers. They followed her outside to speak about their connected fates and the possibility of teaming up on their grand quest.

Once outside, they were ambushed! Ellywyn turned on them as Durik, the dwarf fighter, led Elly and a gang of swordsmen and archers against the heroes. Rainamel crushed Ellywyn with a powerful display of martial prowess, bloodying the gnome bard on the first turn of combat!

Shortly after the fight started, a figure stepped out of the shadows with a contingent of swordsmen. He was the black-robed and white-hooded figure the heroes had nicknamed “Apollo”. He wielded a mace and powerful destructive (and sometimes healing) divine magic. The group ended the session locked in combat, an ice storm brewing and an illusory psychic hole thwarting the enemies.

…There was also a man-sized penguin.

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The Story Thus Far...

Coàhtar, Durik Domil, and Ellywyn Pocklewocket were adventuring companions because of their joint escape from the Dwarven city-state of Domil. The group ventured out from Domil to try to clear Ellywyn’s family name. Once there, they were almost killed by a group of monsters that had overrun the Pocklewocket estate. The evidence left there was that Elly’s family were, in fact, disgraced and fallen crime lords. While in the estate, Bolo Humdeep entered and healed the companions and asked their adventuring purpose. He found their goals (to redeem themselves, clear their names, and achieve glory… or die trying) to be noble. The cleric then took them to the safety of his home, The Houses of the Holy, a cloister of good clerics near Domil.

The adventurers were awoken violently in their sleep by a mysterious spell – a painful tattooing of their necks with a three-dots-in-a-triangle pattern that shifted and moved upon close examination. Durik tried to walk away from the group, but found that the tattoo had a kind of “shock collar” effect that seared him with unbearable pain and immobilized him. It appeared the group was stuck together.

Bolo suggested traveling to either Anugan to see a wizard about the marks or to Nation’s Pass to speak with halfling bards and merchants who have may have more info. The group chose Anu.

On the road to Anu, the group dove in to the forest to avoid a dwarven search party. Once in the forest the group was attacked by goblin brigands and then captured by a scout party of elves.

When Bolo and Coahtar awoke, they were in the elf camp. Durik and Elly were nowhere to be found. Aeharel, the elf clan leader, told Coahtar that Durik and Elly “attempted escape. They did not succeed.” Aeharel inquired about the group’s intentions in “her forest”. They told the truth: They were escaping the dwarven aristocrats who were pursuing them on the road.

Aeharel asked the group to prove their trustworthiness by carrying out a task for her. The kobolds (small lizard-man creatures who are usually cowardly scavengers) have become aggressive and are stealing and hoarding resources in a lair. Bolo and Coahtar were tasked with taking care of them and finding the reason for the disturbance.

Two elf men, D’santos and Erdan, are “given” to the man and dwarf to help in the mission. The guys got the distinct impression that Aeharel was offloading two annoying mooches from her camp. But they did seem to have fighting skills.

The party clears the dungeon. The kobolds seem to worshipping the evil dragon god Tiamat (Bolo’s god’s archenemy). They may also be feeding a dragon deeper in the dungeon!

The group fights a “baby” white dragon, which has an icy breath attack and vicious bite. The dragon severely injures most of the guys in the group, but they survive and defeat the “dragon”.

As the dragon is defeated, it disintegrates into white sand on the floor. The sand then rises back up, piling up on itself and forming in to the shape of an orc. The sand-orc calls the group the “seekers of that which was lost” and entrusts them with a quest (which defeating him was proof of their worthiness for). He also seems to know about their marks and their connection to this quest.

INFO GAINED FROM SAND ORC
-Seek the LOST CITY
-There are three keys, all of them magical artifacts
-The keys must be present and wielded by those who are marked in order to unlock.
-Great power was used to seal off the Lost City, but it does exist.

Erdan leaves the group after clearing the dungeon.

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Session 3

ROPES! THERE ARE ROPES EVERYWHERE!

The heroes took on a kobold warpriest and his defenders.
Ridiculous rope combat ensued. The warpriest held a staff that Erdan took after the battle. After defeating the kobold dragonshields, priest, slingers, and a spiretop drake, the heroes piled the bodies at the door of a small room in the middle of the larger hall. They heroes, tired from their day of journeying in the forest and fighting in the ruin, sleep in the dungeon.

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Session 2

As another kobold minion dies, it seems you have gained the upper hand in the battle. Then, you hear a commotion behind the double doors. Suddenly, two large reptilian beasts burst through, knocking the doors right off the hinges. The beasts let out a ferocious roar. They do not look friendly. “Dargon! Look, dargon! I told you, DARGON!!!” screams D’santos

The party examines the first room for treasure or clues, but find none, other than the seemingly out-of-place religious scrawlings. The adventurers take a short rest, then advance in to the next room in the dungeon. They are met with what seems to be a minimal fighting force. They soon find that the room is rigged. Three kobold skirmishers have positioned themselves across the room from the entrance, and have rigged armor traps to fire darts at anyone who enters. They successfully draw the party in to the trap. The fight is eventually won by the good guys, however they still have trouble with the traps as they try to move on. They must rest again before moving on. After the fight, Erdan finds an altar to Tiamat with 60 gold upon it, some sort of offering. The group decides to split the gold. D’santos strangely seems to offer Coahtar his share as long as the human doesn’t die. Meanwhile, in a fit of righteous anger, Bolo destroys the altar to his god’s nemesis. The group heals and decides to continue to take on the mysteries of the dungeon.

In the next room, there is some sort of game being played by the kobolds. In what seems to be a former tomb, the kobolds have set up a game where they hurl a sticky stone (which is tied to a rope in the ceiling) at animal skulls which are positioned on the various sarcophogi in the room. When the party enters, the kobolds cleverly use the skull stone against them. At one point, D’santos decides his weapons aren’t as powerful as his instincts and use of objects around him. He first tries to use his rope to grab the skull stone rope but fails. The party were attacked first by minions and slingers, but then the fight changes altogether. Halfway in to the fight, two drakes break through two large doors that the party were headed for. The drakes lunge at the adventurers, favoring a powerful bite attack. One drake feels most threatened by Coahtar and attacks him. The other drake notices the emblem of Bahamut on Bolo’s shield, and chases after him in a fury. The drakes almost succeed at killing Coahtar, but the clerics healing powers provide a boost at a needed time. D’santos sees his companion’s plight and rushes in to save his friend. He uses his rope to wrestle with the drake. He successfully grabs the beast and proceeds to drop his bow and attack the drake with his fists. He holds the drake in place with the rope in one hand, then punches him with his other hand, which is equipped with a spiked gauntlet. Meanwhile, Bolo fights the drake that charged him and Erdan attacks the slingers.

In a crowning moment of awesome, D’santos wrangles with the drake and punches it repeatedly with a primal accuracy. As he hits the beast the spikes on his glove do their work and the beast’s face begins to deteriorate. With one final smack, the seeker demolishes the head of the drake, leaving a limp neck and a lifeless corpse.

Erdan cleans up some of the lesser enemies, before becoming critically injured. Bolo is trapped against a wall by the last remaining drake, so he begins to swing his axe in defiance. The waraxe connects, and splits the drakes skull in twain. Coahtar musters his strength, and finishes off the last kobold with his sword. The fight was over, and the group could rest.

D’santos leaps over the pond of sludge in the center of the room and grabs on the rope the sticky skull stone was hanging from. He gracefully shimmies up the rope and unties it from the ceiling. He crashes in to the pool of sludge, landing in pain but with a laugh. He surfaces, grinning and saying, “now have TWO ropes!”

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Session 1

This post marks the first official session of Glory or Death in 4E, and the first ever group session DMed by Mark Brandon Blaede. We started by finalizing our character sheets and entering them on Obsidian Portal. Players introduced their characters. A few questions about the campaign setting were posed and answered. Session notes like this one will be placed at the beginning of each adventure log post in italics. A quote from gameplay may also serve as a header for the post, indicated by bold italics.

I do not trust you. But you may be of some use to us. Prove your worth. Prove you are a friend, not a threat, to the Sylvan. -Aeharel

Coahtar and Bolo awoke on the ground in a grassy clearing, surrounded by sylvan elves, the hunters and guardians of the South Forest. They were greeted by Aeharel, shaman and matriarch of the hunting party. She inquired about their intentions, and the party were honest. They intended to escape from the dwarves on the road, and meant no harm or offense to the elves. Aeharel did not believe them.

Coahtar asked about the whereabouts of his other companions, the younger dwarf and beautiful gnome they had been captured with. “They have been… taken care of,” Aeharel responded, “The disgusting dwarf and the little woman awoke while we were transporting you. They attempted escape. They did not succeed.” Coahtar and Bolo noticed that although the group had been separated, there was no searing pain in their necks from the tattoos. Perhaps Elly and Durik had experienced it, since they were the ones who had tried to escape.

Aeharel proposed a test of the party’s goodwill. She called forward two male elves, apparently the only males in the hunting party. The first is adorned in strange garb for a sylvan. His leather armor is etched and painted with the colors of the sun, and symbols of Pelor, god of the sun. He is an invoker, a pseudo-paladin who uses his ranged attacks and holy abilities to control the battlefield. Next to him is an elf in more typical sylvan garb, but with a strange disposition and a glazed over look in his eyes. He carries a load of many separate quivers, which is not typical of the normally efficient sylvan elves. Bolo notices seemingly random objects like cobwebs and red ribbons protruding from the quivers, along with otherwise plain looking arrows. This is no ordinary hunter. He is a seeker, a spirit-guided and empowered ranger. Some elves have a seeker as a leader of their hunting party, but this one does not seem to fit the bill. He is noticeably shifty and paranoid, quite unintelligible at time. He speaks fluent elven, and broken Common.

The Invoker introduced himself as Erdan, servant if Pelor. At the mention of Pelor, both Coahtar and Aeharel roll their eyes and sigh in disgust.

The seeker is named D’santos. He just knows there is a deeper meaning to this chance meeting. He fumbled almost constantly with the three bone dice in one of his many pouches.

Aeharel sends the group off in to the woods, trusting Erdan with the directions to a place where kobolds have been acting strangely. The kobolds have been very organized and much braver and more clever than usual. They are presenting many problems for the elves, most noticeably to the food supply. D’santos (and his spirit guides) agree on the direction to the threat, but claim the root cause “is a, how do you say, a dargon. I just know it. There’s a dargon in there. They are feeding it.”

The group enters a cave, which looks to be some kind of old ruin or abandoned structure of some kind. The entrance is filthy and the group notices marks in the ground where dead animals and random objects have apparently been dragged in to the building. When the group enters, they are attacked by a group of tactical sound kobolds, who use ranged weapons, sticky glue shots and skirmisher tactics to avoid pain and inflict damage. The kobolds seem to have good aim and knowledge of how to attack against armor. However, the kobolds are no match for the party, who dispatch them without much problem.

As the group begins to search the room, they notice strange markings in the wall. Bolo recognizes them as some type of religious symbols. Oddly, it seems the kobolds have found religion.

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Prologue

In the first session, Coahtar awakened in the Arena in Domil. Unable to remember why or how he got there, he is informed by an orc in the room that they are gladiators. The Arena Master enters, and a gladiatorial bout ensues. In the introduction to the bout, Coahtar is described by the female announcer as a convicted spy, sentenced to Glory or Death in the Arena. Not much is said about the orc, who is described as a disgusting beast. In a single massive strike, Coahtar disables the orc. He must decide between killing the orc or letting him live. If he were to live, the hero would have had to help him out the Arena. Instead of bother with that, Coahtar lifts his sword above his head and proceeds to split the orc in half. Coahtar is told he will be stuck in the Arena for a while, because he has been sentenced to "Glory or Death." His action was dishonorable, so he is no closer to being freed. The Arena Master is very angry, and one should avoid ticking off powerful dwarves like him.

Later that same night, Ellywyn Pocklewocket, a beautiful gnome bard (and announcer at the Arena), visits Coahtar and gives him a choice. He can stay in the Arena and fight for his freedom, or he can escape with her and find his Glory or Death by another way. They leave together.

They sneak through the underground streets of Domil, going through the sketchier parts of town to avoid much law enforcement presence. As a result, they happen upon Durik Domil, a dwarf who has just killed another person in an alley. He explains that what he did was the right thing, but he will have angered his superiors in his gang, The Company. He joins the party, if only to help them out of the city. At this time, Elly also explains her reasoning for escaping. She was sentenced to slavery in the Arena because of her family’s alleged criminal activity. She is out to clear her family name. She knows that as an escaped slave, in order to Domil she must have achieve one of two things: either Glory, or Death. Durik has motivation for Glory or Death as well. He has killed someone important to the Company. If he wants to be rid of the gang life, he must return to Domil much stronger than he was when he left, in order to discourage retaliation from the Company. Alternatively, he could embrace the gang life, and return with accolades and increased strength to start his own rival gang to the Company – or just take over his old gang himself. One of these three "Glory" choices, or Death, are all that he can look forward to.

The band of three journeys a short trip outside the city to the old Pocklewocket estate, an under-hill complex that has been abandoned for almost a generation. It has been over-run with centipedes, trogs, and kobolds. The group fights through, and faces serious injury as they near their goal of clearing Ellywyn Pocklewocket‘s name. As Coahtar lies hurt, Durik finds documents proving that Elly’s family were, in fact, crooks and thieves who swindled the Arena Master. Things look bleak for the group, but Bolo Humdeep shows up.

Bolo is a cleric of Bahamut who followed the group to the estate, out of protective curiosity. He observed some of the fight and conversation, and decided this group’s cause (to clear their names and make a name for themselves) was noble. He proceeds to heal the party, and leads them to a safe haven called The Houses of the Holy. While sleeping at the Houses, each of the four companions are awoken, magically tattooed, and then knocked out again for days. The magical person or force who did this is unknown, but it changes the dynamic of the group’s mission. Durik tries to abandon the group, but the tattoo cause immense searing pain down his spine as he walks away. The group is stuck together.

Upon further inspection, the tattoos are all the same on each of the group members. The tattoo consists of three dots, arranged like the three points of an equilateral triangle. They are black, but have some movement magically imbued on them. The top dot changes to resemble a road, then fades in to a thick drop of liquid. It resembles an alchemists symbol for blood.

Below is a quote from gameplay, as the group tries to decide what to do:
Bolo Humdeep: I’m afraid I have little by way of answers. We must find someone who knows more about such things. There is an elven wizard… in Anu, up the Anu-Domil road. He may have answers for us. Or… up at Nation’s Gate. There are halfling bards who know more lore than any man or dwarf I’ve ever known. Perhaps they would have answers.

The group debates, and decides to head to Anu, to speak to the elven wizard. They set out at dawn, and reach the waypoint whhere the path to Domil meets the Bloodrain trade road. While on the road, they see five dwarf soldiers and two dwarf Assembly members patrolling the road. Rather than face these potential enemies, the group heads off the road in to the South Forest, which runs along the Anu-Domil in many places. Once in the forest, the group is assaulted by a group of kobolds that seemed to be on the run from something or someone. The kobolds could have retreated back into the forest, but chose to fight in order to get to the road.

After defeating the kobolds, the reason for their strange behavior seemed clear. An sylvan hunting party followed quickly behind them. The elves capture the heroes, not trusting their motivations for entering the forest. The party, tired from travel and kobold slaying, agrees to go without a fight. The elves then promptly knock out the group with darts tipped with a powerful sedative.

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