The Road Less Travelled

Book 3 - Session 1
The Trouble with Trees

during the party’s journey home, they stumbled upon a very unfortunate hamlet whose inhabitants had apparently been turned into trees by some sort of contamination in their well water.investigation found signs that orcs had ransacked the village’s valuables after they had been turned. Ent tracks were also found near the well. Berengar spoke to a dog in the village who was not much help saying what had happened, but was useful in following the orcs back to their lair.

along the way it became apparent that the Orc and Ent tracks both lead to the same place, a cave leading into a large, round hilltop. after several yards the cave joins a massive cavern, easily over a thousand feet across, and 150 feet high. the ground and ceiling are covered in stalagmites and stalactites of various sizes. strangely, there are numerous patches of weird vegetation growing in large cultivated patches of earth. the sun does not reach this place, it is instead lit by a dim purple haze of eye-aching light which emanates from dozens of crystals which look to have been forcibly embedded in some of the stalactites. an inspection of the crystals with mage sight reveals that they give off an aura of darkness, which permeates the room.

closer inspection of the garden sections revealed many plants with strange properties ranging from harmless walking poppies to exploding apples to ambulatory camouflaged fungus monsters.they also encountered mutated animals, such as a gigantic bat, enormous aggressive rats, and a pair of grizzly bears addicted to some sort of tranquilizing flower.they met a dryad who was being kept captive by a wicked ent, named nockmort, who began this garden. she too had been mutated and was ashamed of her appearance. she explained that the ent had forced her to begin bonding with a pine in the cavern’s central grove, and then pulled her away and locked her up until she promised to obey him. the party released her and Berengar brought her back to the surface while trying to reason her out of bonding with the mutated tree.

after this the rest of the party proceeded to head to the center grove. just outside of it the stone in front of them rose up and asked them for the password. not having any idea the party hesitated too long and a fight ensued. the stone creature had the upper hand but was being slowly chipped away. Pietri and Felix, not having anything that could hurt the stone creature thought to distract the beast. Pietri turned himself to mist and Felix flew above the creature’s reach. they proceeded to head into the grove taunting the creature. the creature, apparently compelled to prevent intruders but unable to harm these two, shuddered and fell apart. a black cloud left the stone, assaulting Pietri’s mist form and knocking him out. Sir Leo attacked the creature with a holy spell, dispersing the black mist which shortly vanished. after the fight he explained that that had been a demon bound to the stone. he also revealed that the area of the grove is desecrated ground

Book 2 - Epilogue

War Recap

• The party survived the Orc fever and chase back to Bagnesport
• The party was healed by a Cleric of St Jenen.
• The city was besieged by Asudithian forces for 7 days. Heavy losses. Had to hole up in the city’s sewers
• The siege was relieved and the Asudithians retreated to north of river.
• 3 weeks later the party captures prince Ujharcalaun (roughly translates from Arcane as Mystic Judge), allowing their side to negotiate an end to hostilities with Asudith.
• War with Empire resumes. Eventually two legions are forced to flee home and one legion is besieged in the city of Novele
• With the war in a long stalemate, the mercenaries are dismissed. The party catches a ride toward home with the Ryseth forces

Post War News

• Unrest in occupied Pelevin has increased. Some open acts of hostility toward the nobility and those who work for them. this unrest is spilling into Ryseth
• Northern Ryseth is experiencing problems of lawlessness in its countryside.many blame Pelevin for inciting the commoners.
• The gold mining town in the north was found to be depopulated and burned when the first resupply caravan came from the south. no survivors or evidence of who is responsible.
• The Freeholds of Wodith have driven off the Giant invasion, but towards the end of the conflict also began dealing with undead. the fighting has ceased for now but the cause or leader of the incursion has not been identified.
• Markus the warlock has escaped from his imprisonment in the Savram mage’s tower. one day, seemingly on a whim, Guild Master Eric Radoux and two journeymen took the prisoner from the tower and began to journey to the guild’s headquarters in Wyrmcastle. a week later the two journeyman’s bodies were found by the roadside and later identified. They had made it about two days south of the city. Both died seemingly in their sleep with mysterious black handprints on their chests and no other visible wounds. Master Eric’s body was found back in his home’s basement in Pheld, dead of dehydration. There was no sign of Markus.

At the beginning of next session the party will be in the port city of Marzio in Ryseth. It is that last day of the equivalent of August

This concludes “The Road of Bones” and opens “The Sunless Garden”

Book 2, Session 7
Player 2 has entered the game

The party stayed in the healer’s tents at Corley for 4 days before being judged fit to recover on their own. during this time the bright blades were assigned a new liaison from the Ecclesiocracy, Sir Leonardo Di Landris. The next two weeks were spent training and patrolling for Orcs in the region, with no success. on this last trip they found something…

Several hours into the morning patrol while walking through a particularly old and dark patch of forest a small pack of Orcs tried to waylay the party. Sir Albrich was cut by a befouled orcish Arrow and Peitri took an unpleasant cut from a rusty, dirty axe, but the fight was otherwise unremarkable.

Sir Leonardo and Sir Itzal tracked the orc party’s trail back to a stream, but lost it there. at this point just over 4 hours into their patrol. They decided to head back to Corley via a different rout so they could cover new ground along the way.

About an hour later the party crested a bald hilltop in the forest with a moderately distant view of Corley. To thier surprise, they could see another army, adorned in argent and gold, surrounding The town. While discussing the possible meanings if this, pietri warned the party that someone was coming. The party rode back down off the hill, encountering another mounted group of equal size dressed in the argent and gold of the Crusade of St. Camarilla.

The leader of the opposing party eyed the bright blades cooly. While a knight beside him held up a medallion, then pointed at each of the party’s mage’s in turn. Even pietri, who was invisible at the time. Sir Leonardo and Sir jean each announced themselves and thier affiliations to break the tense silence.

The opposing leader then announced himself and declared that he was here to find heretics, and that if the rest of the party walked away from the wizards and the cause of the false saint Kobus, they would be free to go. He gave them some time to talk it over. Sit Leonardo attempted to reason with the witch hunter, but to no avail. Just as the party resolved to fight rather than to run, the witch hunter announced that time was up.

Without waiting for the enemy to move, sir Itzal, and sir jean moved forth to meet the enemy. The two parties met in a violent Melee. In the end the enemy party was killed to a man. Sir Itzal, Felix, and Wymond were wounded unto unconsciousness. Berengar rounded up the surviving enemy horses and the party placed the bodies of most of the fallen over their horses and rode to a cave to camp and sort things out.

Now the party waits for it’s unconscious members to awaken so they can decide on a course of action

Book 2, Session 6
Best Friends...

The bright blades made it back to camp unmolested. they took care of a few errands like deciphering a new spell, talking to Councilor Sauvaterre about spy missions and flying with fire, trading the deciphered spell for knowledge of another, getting chewed out by Lance’s mom for going on spy missions and trying to fly with fire, and meeting/sparring with Ritter Anton DiIvo of the Ecclesiocracy, a cultural liaison assigned to work with the bright blades by Ritter Aristedes Bissett.

The next day the army split into two factions. Most of Kobus’s contingent and the bright blades went to Corley to capture and hold the ford while harrying enemy forces, while the larger force proceeded south to besiege the port of Springhaven.

as mounted infantry the bright blades participated in the harrying action, inflicting ranged casualties on the retreating soldiers. between harrying runs the enemy cavalry staged a counter attack. Sir Jean, ever eager, ordered the charge. at first the warriors of bright blades charges looked like they would make short work of the enemy force, but when the enemy cavalry succeeded in countercharging the exposed mage’s things started to go sour. Felix was knocked senseless and probably dying from a lance charge to the helmet. Lance was clobbered by an enemy charge soon after and hit the dirt. Sir Albrich and Sir Jean were charged from behind and dazed by hits to the torso. an enemy horseman charged Sir Anton, who had been unharmed thus far. He trampled Lance’s prone form sending him further into unconsciousness, then Struck Sir Anton at speed with a lance to his unarmored face, killing him instantly. Sir jean and Sir Albrich succumed to enemy blows son after, just before reinforcements in unknown heraldry arrived.

Sir Albrich woke a short time later to find an allied wizard named Master Ven ministering to their wounds. The party was assisted to the healer’s tents where their wounds received further treatment. due to their wounds and blood loss the bright blades are being selected to remain in Corley along with a guard force to hold the ford should the empire try to flank the crusade’s forces.

Book 2, Session 5
Spies like us

The morning after the siege of Bagnesport the Bright Blades were contacted by two Disciples of St. Wiley named Cirino DiNanni and Lorenz Geisler to see if they were willing to go on an intelligence gathering trip into enemy controlled territory. Naturally they agreed without reservation. The party travelled a day and a half by horse to the town of Corley. Berengar, Wymond, Sir Albrich, and Sir Jean stayed outside in the woods to guard the horses. Cirino, Lorenz, Sir Itzal, Felix, and Pietri proceeded into the town dressed as enemy soldiers. Once inside the town Lorenz split off to perform his own mission.

Cirino’s group approached the wizard part of camp and managed to get in through a combination of Pietri’s stage skills, Cirino’s ventriloquism, and a little help from St. Wiley. Once inside they were able to swipe valuable intelligence about enemy forces, and some useful magical texts. Their attempt to leave did not go near so well as their entrance and one of the guards noticed their ventriloquism ruse. Cirino used some help from Wiley to convince the guards to let them pass, but it seemed likely they might soon realize they were duped.

While this was going on, Sir Jean’s group was accosted by an Orc hunting party (or was it the other way around?), but emerged victorious with only a scratch or two.

Cirino’s group reunited with Sir Jean’s group, only to discover that Lorenz was still missing. Cirino spilled the beans that Lorenz had been going to debrief a spy in the enemy camp and should have been back first. Worried Cirino resolved to go back into the town to determine Lorenz’s fate and help if he could. Pietri and Sir Itzal agreed to help and most of the party decided to stay behind. Berengar disagree with the plan and initiated a brief tussle to try to force everyone to leave with the information gained. In the end Cirino and his volunteers went back into the town.

They found Lorenz in the backroom of a tavern being questioned by the tribune in charge of the enemy forces holding Corley and two other wizards with a bodyguard outside watching the back alley. Using stealth, the invisibility spell and a knife, Pietri reluctantly assassinated the body guard. Sir Itzal entered the room where the questioning was taking place posing as a messenger with Cirino using invisibility and ventriloquism to back him up and communicate in the enemy’s language. Meanwhile Pietri lined up his stoneshards spell for a shot through the window at the Tribune. He missed, but Sir Itzal’s almost preternaturally fast reflexes salvaged the situation by stabbing the Tribune in the face. Cirino managed to do the same to one of the other wizards, and before he could fully react Sir Itzal finished the last wizard. The party tried to make a calm retreat incognito out of the town but the exhausted Lorenz failed to keep his aura suppressed and they were noticed. A mad dash and dome magic got them over the walls and back toward the rest of the party.

The rescue party met back up with the horse party but they were pursued by a beast shaper and half a dozen griffins. The party retreated to the far side of the woods and chose their ground for the fight. A short but brutal encounter left Berengar on the ground and every enemy dead or bleeding on the earth. Guarding the intelligence they had acquired the party absconded back to camp.

Book 2, Sessions 1-4
War, War Never Changes

Too much time has passed for me to make an accurate prose summary of events so I’m going to drop some bullet points and brief explanations

Road to War

  • party journeys to Wyrmcastle in Welcor to enlist as a mounted infantry unit under the banner of St. Kobus for the crusade to the wildlands.
  • Felix sees his grandfather to show off the new spell he invented. grandfather is unimpressed.
  • party meets Lance’s Father. after hearing of Lance’s intention to go to war, he also volunteers to join the crusade.
  • a manifested demon attempted to kill Halt in the middle of the night but was rebuffed by the party. felix’s grandpa investigated and confirmed it was a demon working on it’s own and not likely sent by a demonologist.
  • Sir Itzal investigated and experimented with his mystical bond, discovering he is bound to some sort of wolf like spirit being in the fey court of the hunt-master. he discovered that he could avoid having to hunt by defeating the wolf spirit in a mental duel, but this weakened the wolf spirit, angering it’s master.
  • party travels to Er and camps for the winter
  • party trains a group of volunteers into passable soldiers
  • party meets Massimo, a wild water mage in the service of the Ecclesiocracy of St. Azriel. Lance discovers that Massimo seems to have the opposite of his difficulties, he must calm himself and put aside emotion or his powers are disrupted.

The war is joined

  • Crusade forces land at port of Tanad in wild lands. majority of forces begin march south but most of St. Kobus’s forces reboard the boats and after a couple days sail south.
  • Assault on Bagnesport begins. land forces assault northern wall of town. forces from St Kobus, including the party, begin an amphibious assault on the the town’s port.
  • the party and their allies defeat the enemy resistance at the dockside and are preparing to go to proceed to their secondary goal, capturing and holding bridges.
Book 1, Session 2 & 3
When in doubt, resort to violence

The party awoke in the morning and separated to pursue different avenues of investigation.

Sir Albrich and Petri attempted to Illicit more information from the Baron’s Guards but learned nothing new.

Brother Wymond toured the farmlands and spoke to farmers and shepherds who had encountered the bandits and returned with clues as to the armament and numbers of the bandits.

Druid Berengar and Sir Jean visited the Langdenwood and spoke with it’s fauna, learning the general location of the Bandit’s hideout.

Felix went house to house asking about missing persons and confirmed that a great many person’s are missing, but all had plausible explanations. he also learned that the Baron’s cook seriously suspected that the Baron was responsible for these disappearances, and that the Wizard Marcus was helping him hide it.

the party collated their facts, and slept once more. the next morning they set out to the neigboring village to try to speak to the Baron’s Disinherited son, Sir Quinten. shortly after arriving in town they learn from the locals that Sir Quintain is partnered with a local wool merchant and has funded an expansion of his operation. the party goes to the edge of town to visit the merchant and learn of Sir Quintain’s whereabouts.

They met the business partner, who at first welcomed them warmly but soon turned cold and a tad smarmy when it became apparent they were only fishing for information rather than looking to buy anything. after a brief and uncomfortable conversation that illuminated nothing but the wool trade, the party began to walk out, when Berengar, his ire ignited by a parting sarcastic comment from the merchant, turned and struck him. Berengar’s imposing appearance and violent action changed the merchants attitude toward further questions and he revealed to the party that he had been accepting wool from Sir Quintain without asking any questions about it’s origin. his suspected it was stolen but didn’t want to ruin a good thing.

meanwhile, Peitri snuck into Sir Quintain’s house to look for clues. several minutes later he emerged in a huff after alerting the manservant to his presence but escaped being caught do to his invisibility spell.

When the party met back up on the road Peitri revealed that he had taken a locked box from the home. after some discussion they decided to open the box and discovered Sir Quintain’s signet jewelry. upon close inspection Brother Wymond noticed that they were forged copies., only plated gold over common iron, and colored glass. at this point the party decided that they had enough information to make an attempt at taking on the bandit hideout.

in the early hours of the night the party set to scouring the region of the Langdenwood where they suspected the Bandit’s to be hiding out. with Halt’s skill at tracking and the help of some owls Berengar enlisted they were able find the lair.

forewarned by their scouts, the brigands poured fourth in much larger numbers than the party was anticipating. a midst the frayed ravel there was a knight showing no colors leading the attack. Sir Albrich charged the enemy knight, moving too far for his allies to support him. The more experienced and pragmatic knight blocked Sir Albrich’s blow and allowed his underlings to help surround and beat Sir Albrich near to death. he fell within seconds, wounded sorely but not unto death.

despite being outnumbered the superior skill and determination of the party felled or intimidated the brigands into breaking. the enemy knight was captured and revealed to be Sir Quintain, as was suspected. the party dragged Sir Quintain and a few other prisoner’s back to Langdon. the next morning they turned in Sir Quintain to his father and got to watch a very uncomfortable exchange between father and son. the son was placed into the dungeon and the party was invited to partake of breakfast at the Baron’s table, though the Baron did not join them.

While in the manor Felix and Berengar, followed by Peitri, decided to speak to the Wizard Markus and see if they could find any probable cause for the cooks accusation toward him and the Baron. over the course of over an hour of conversation the party members had discerned that Markus was holding very important information from them, and actively lying to certain questions. they had noticed a particular, unsettling light in his eyes when he spoke to them about Soulcaging. When Markus made a quick excuse and tried to move away from the party members, Berengar’s instincts told him that the man was just trying to put space between himself and the party to cast a spell. with no time to consider the consequences he stabbed at markus with his spear, and the man was ready for the attack. he dodged mostly out of the way but was nicked on the foot. once he had some space he cast a spell which surrounded him in a translucent bubble of force.

Peitri in a clever and unorthodox move used his mage hands spell to pull the curtains from the rooms window and drape it over the bubble of force to block Markus’s line of sight to the party, hoping this would rule out the use of soul caging. meanwhile berengar readied his spear for a powerful strike hoping to pierce the bubble of force. felix, also thinking quickly, cast a strength spell on Berengar to fortify his attempt. Markus, hidered by the curtain had to cast his own mage hands spell and pull the curtain from his eyes just in time to see berengar’s spear peirce his bubble and strike him in the forehead. the strike had lost much of it’s power passing through the shield and only glanced off the skull, but the force was still sufficient to knock the frail elderly man out.

searching Markus’s quarters and person they discovered several hidden containers of blood, marking him as a likely warlock. they also found a key in his pocket and discovered that the lowest level of the manor’s dungeon had been turned into some sort of dark blood magic sanctum. there were several bowls filled with blood and floating straw fetishes. when the human hair was pulled from any of these fetishes, it released a member of the household from a spell which modified their memory and behavior. the baron, his guards, and the majority of his staff had all been under enchantment. when the Baron was freed he was immediately furious and nearly killed the helpless Markus. Felix managed to prevent this by explaining it would be best to turn the warlock over to his guild for questioning first. the Baron eventually yielded but still cut Markus’s hands off and cauterized the stumps, for “stealing wills”.

the aftermath of this discovery was frantic. in the end the Baron was begrudgingly grateful and paid the party significantly more than the contract demanded, and stated that he is in the parties debt and will do whatever his honor demands and fortune allows if they seek his aid in the future. Berengar and Brother Wymond prayed to cleanse Markus’s sacrificial alter for 24 hours until it broke in twain, it’s dark powers defeated. Berengar and Lance returned to the oldwood. Lance attempted to learn more about wild magic but found only advice to speak to the dragons where magic is concerned. Berengar stayed a few weeks to learn of the Ent Language culture and history. the party elected to transport Markus to Pheld so they could turn him over to the Custodes Clavis Rutilus.

in Pheld, Felix’s mother chewed out Sir Jean for dragging her son into danger and nearly having his foot chopped off.

the party spent some time relaxing and training at Sir Jean’s lodge while he corresponded with others looking for the next job. about a month after Markus’s fall he sat down with those present and it was decided that they would like to join the crusade to push the Empire of Man out of the territory they had conquered in the wild lands over the summer. the party is just about to begin making thier way south to WyrmCastle where they can join with the Fellowship of Kobus as they marshall for the crusade.

Book 1, Session 1
when it comes to forests, you should probably listen to the druid

The group gathers together in the common room, introducing themselves and disclosing their talents.

  • Felix Durant – a Journeyman wizard of the Costodes Clavis Rutilus, with an interest in swordplay and inventing new magics
  • Laudegrance “Lance” Sauveterre – a wild fire mage who has learned to control his powers. he also can cast a few simple wizard spells
  • Sir Albrich Alvison of House Thearfing – a young knight eager to prove his worth in real combat and bring honor to his house.
  • Brother Wymond of Ayers – a traveling monk of the Highlord, joining the group to assist them in bringing Justice to the brigands
  • Sir Itzal Guerrero de Paso -– a skilled fencer who brings real combat experience to the group
  • Berengar, son of Rengar – A horse nomad who was separated from his people and became a Druid priest of St Silvio.
  • Petri – a wizard with little to no formal training in magic, he is a traveling busker of many talents that uses simple illusions to enhance his performances. Also a ham

Sir Jean recapped his reason for gathering the group, and explained what little he knew about the brigands. after a short discussion the party decided to split up and see what sort of rumors they could gather from the townsfolk.

  • Brother Wymond heard a rumor that the brigands might really be orcs, but this was quickly dismissed based on the low body count.
  • Lance discovered a very drunken who man espouses that he saw a black knight leading brigands on an attack but cannot quantify when he saw it or where he was. next he learned that of the farms that were hit, all had just taken grain to the miller. lasty he learned that there are missing townsfolk. some men, but mostly women, have disappeared over the past year (just before brigand trouble started. (some think they joined or were kidnapped/killed by the brigands.) families of missing people are making excuses and ignoring problem
  • Sir Itzal learned that The baron’s wool barn was burglarized by the brigands, and that The Baron’s Tithe to the prince is composed largely of wool. which will make paying his taxes difficult. some people fear they may be taxed twice this year.
  • Felix learned the Baron disinherited his son after a terrible fight last year, and that If the baron can’t make his taxes, the prince may take his title, giving it to his son or a neighboring lord

After a few hours the party rejoined and went to dinner at the Baron’s manor. knowing that the baron employed a wizard, Felix and Sir jean made sure to forewarn Master Markus that one of thier party members was a wild mage, but had learned to control his powers. Markus was unusually accepting and even intrigued by Lance, and was quite kind and willing to offer what assistance he could to the party. the Baron on the otherhand turned out to be a terse, and ungracious host with little to no patience except when speaking to the Knights within the party. he provided a little more information about the brigands but gave the impression that he was paying the party more than he wished to part with to deal with the problem for him.

one of the things the party learned at dinner was that there were only two likely general places where the brigands might be hiding. either they were in the Baron’s forest, or they were in the old wood. the oldwood is widely regarded as being haunted, and very few people ever get up the courage to venture near it, let alone enter it. Berengar vouched for this rumor, claiming there was truth behind it and that the party should stay out of the oldwood, and that it was unlikely the brigands would be able to stand or survive the place. when the party insisted on verifying this, Berengar agreed that he would go into the oldwood and verify, but that the party needed to stay outside.

as the party came into sight of the oldwood, most lost any desire to come nearer and gladly followed Berengar’s advice. when Berengar had been gone for 20 minutes, Lance decided to go a short distance into the wood to look for him, carefully leaving a chalk trail on trees to mark a path back out. shortly into his search he turned back to check his chalk trail but could not find it. in his panic, he lost his bearings and wandered deeper into the woods. he heard foot falls and panting breaths as a handful of wolves emerged from the forest, flanking him and nipping at his heels to try to disable him.

while he moved frantically to keep his legs away from the wolves footsteps Lance became aware of the sound of something massive crashing through the trees heading towards him. not wanting to unleash his fire amid the forest, Lance used the only other defensive he could think of. invoking the power of his family’s shield he raised a dome of earth about himself. after a few seconds sitting catching his breath in his dirty bubble, he noticed that the sound of footsteps had halted. a few more seconds passed and he heard a low, resounding voice say something in a language he did not understand. then a giant hand calmly and gently broke apart his earthen bubble and gazed down at him.

the creature turned out to be an ent, a rarely seen race of giant treefolk. it was carrying Berengar easily in it’s hand. it kindly and gently told Lance that these woods were not safe for most of mankind, and that it would be in his best interest to depart. having had one of the worst frights of his life, Lance complied and quickly left the wood with Berengar. once outside, Berengar firmly admonished Lance for not heeding his warnings. he also confirmed that they were the first humans who had disturbed the forest in some time, proving that the brigands were not camping there.

after this the party turned in for the night, one avenue of investigation closed.

Book 1 - The Hollow Men

The story begins with Sir Jean of Autenberry, a knight of Savram that wishes to found a reputable mercenary company. This sort of thing takes quite a bit of capital, real fighting experience, and a reputation for integrity and competence. his plan for acquiring these necessary traits is to gather a small corp of adventurous individuals about himself and work toward all three at once. his first step was to take on a contract with the Baron of Langden to rid his lands of some brigands that have been troubling the region for a year. his second step was to take a short riding tour of the land and invite suitable men in person and by posted flier to join him at the Brine and Moon Inn at the Village of Langden around Noon on the 10th of September.

Our heroes arrive at Langden separately shortly before, or on, the appointed day.