Acanthian hopes

The Final Mission
The group manages to stop trying to kill each other long enough to take the Man down

The midday winter sun pours weak light through the Windmill Inn windows onto the shambling sleepy forms of the party after the previous night’s ordeal with invisible bitch, an ancient unknown time ritual, and Red Cloaks. Except Nakor, who kicks the party awake.

Much has happened in the Caldera in the past 24 hours, as Varis reveals in his last liaison with the party. Clad in a Robin Hood-esque costume rather than his regal inner-city red and gold, he tells of the orcs’ activities (poisoning the river, massing in the east) and the final mission: to assassinate presidential candidate Vizier Deling during his parade.

Offering 10,000gp up front and 5,000gp for any who survive capture, Varis strongly suggests the party skip town back to the Empire after the job, much like he and his Elven Resistance will be heading south back to the Elven highlands. He gracefully (yet with slight trepidation) lends his Greatbow of Distance to Lilith for the mission.

The party spent the next 3 days scouting out the central boulevard where they plan to snipe Vizier and then take him into an alley for stabbity stabs. They also get a hold of a lethal necrotic poison from a shady fellow in the second ring. As you do.

On the day of the assassination, the party takes up positions in surrounding alleyways (team stabbity – Zhara and Nakor), rooftops (team pewpew – Lilith), and the crowd (team backstab – Borja). The carriage carrying Deling arrives with extravagant pomp and circumstance. Moving onto the dais, he begins his speech with promises of wealth for all, moving onto “with allies like this, what can stand in our—”

fffft-thunk!

Lilith, with her minus 6 penalty to perception, hasn’t noticed that there is in fact a blue dragon wyrmling flying overhead. It lands with a crunch of timber next to the podium behind which Deling is writhing, being attended to by his personal guard. Literati draconic translators appear on the scene, shouting at it to find the assassin, which it does by flying straight at the building Lilith is on. “Oh shiiii—”

Nakor, seeing that Deling is down but not out, throws a ruby incendiary into the fore, burning the two dwarven snipers attending the president. Understandably miffed, they fire on him once he breaks cover to run from the City Guard captain, gravely wounding him. “Oh shiiii—”

Borja, caught for a moment in the crowd’s surging away from the stage, keeps a cool eye on Vizier’s status. Vizier writhes in pain but doesn’t appear to succumb to the poison, so he takes the opportunity while the dwarves are distracted to bring some more pain to the president. The warforged mercenary bodyguard is unimpressed. “Oh shiiii—”

Zhara, going for the oldschool technique of hiding in a trashbin, springs/rolls onto the scene but is unable to control the path of the bin, tumbling out into a crowd of panicked noobs. Unpredictability appears to be the order of the day, and she quickly dispatches one of the dwarven snipers as they turn their sights on Borja. “Boo-yeah!”

Everyone having done their thing against Vizier, the party tries their escapes. Lilith managed to hide from the blue dragon wyrmling and evades a crossbowman in an alley by wall-walking into a window; Nakor blinked up onto a nearby building to escape the righteous fury of the beserker captain of the city watch; Borja melded back into the crowd of noobs while his Literati and warforged pursuers sneeze simultaneously; and Zhara took advantage of Borja’s distraction to slink away.

At the rendezvous point – Laval’s estate – the party learn that Laval is making a run for it and will give the party safe haven within Acanthia, but is unwilling to help them escape the city with him because they are marked men. “All that killing has made me tired” the party mutters.

Hours later, the orcish forces have begun their assault on the city from the east and the north. Time to b! After bravely trying to force their horses to trample the crush of commoners at the south-western gate, and also refusing the call to duty from another captain of the city watch, they join the queue to exit normally.

elevator music plays

The party finally make it to the Windmill at Novale where they exchange the Greatbow for their 5000gp each. From there, they stalk through the southern forest around the orcish forces until they make a break for it northward, back to the Empire. Unfortunately, the party has to weigh up how many supplies vs. how much lootz to carry, so they bury the large part of their stash in the woods. (Could this prove to be a plot hook for a lucky adventuring party in the future, searching for buried treasure? Only time will tell.)

Epilogue

ACANTHIA. The battle of Acanthia raged fiercely but briefly. Acanthia is not totally razed by the Orcs, who take it as a their own stronghold after victory.

THE ELVES. The party did not hear from Varis or Lien during their escape. One can only assume Varis was telling the truth when he said they were withdrawing back to the southern Elven highlands with both copies of the black & gold ritual book.

THE PARTY. They arrived safely into the cosy embrace of Amon, which sits on the SW fringe of the Empire, loaded with gold and XP.

The Tiefling used her capital to start a high class escort service, quickly becoming the most feared Madame in Amon and neighbouring cities. Behind the facade of her business, however, she still indulges in assassin work (for the right price).

The Doppleganger, by contrast, essentially vanished upon re-entering the confines of the Empire. Like Kaiser Soze, he became a myth, a spook-story, as he shape-changed to suit his purposes. What he is up to, no one can tell…

The Eladrin and the Elf, bickering all the way back from Acanthia to Amon, fell into a righteous rivalry, hunting each other throughout the edges of the Empire using their ample funds and wondrous weapons to their full extent. Who ends up killing who will have to wait until the next campaign.

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The Plot Thickens
The party turns nocturnal

TH-TH-THUD goes 75% of the party as they exit the time bubble at 9pm. There is a tinkle as various gold coins spill out of their bulging backpacks, past their prone forms, and onto the cavern floor. Zhara considers her options atop a small mountain of unforetold wealth, but before long, an Elven nobleman arrives into the sunrod light. It is Lien’s contact, Varis.

Barely conscious, Lien reported the day’s and previous day’s events, glossing over various non-flattering aspects. Varis then advised Zhara that the only way out of the bubble was to roll the fortitude and endurance saves. THUD

After waking up in the lair, eating the wholesome breakfast laid out by their Elven guards, the party temporarily forgets about the hoard. Outside, the grey mists of dawn lift as they meet Lien and a helpful sparrow messenger which whispers a congratulatory message and directions to the next meeting with Lien’s contacts – The Red Cross (or Le Croix Rouge if you’re snooty).

Wait, wait… Now they remember about the dragon’s lair. And the Loots. Squabble ensues as they enter the city with bulging backpacks of gp. Somewhere in Novale, Nakor taps his foot.

After a little window shopping, the party goes to the Red Cross cafe in the inner ring for lunch. They recognise the dragonborn soldier from Laval’s estate idling by the bar. There appear to be no Red Cloaks. Sitting down with Varis, the party gets their next assignment vaguely outlined for them, on assurance that when further intelligence comes to hand, they will be promptly informed. Due to Lien’s public profile in Caldera City, however, Varis removes him from the party as observer. Lien sulks off, probably to get smashed, and the party is told to find their next attache in Novale.

The party interrogated Nakor for a bit, wary of the lack of information from Varis, and then set off back to loot central for an afternoon of experimentation. They toil into the night to figure out a way to get their wondrous items out, but finally they achieve the impossible and get all the items out (hooray!). The metals have serious cases of rust pox, and the cloth and leather smell like expensive cooking oil, but they’re otherwise intact.

As the last oily item is lifted across the time barrier, word comes from Varis that the Red Cloaks have discovered the location of the cave, and every effort must be made to conceal the time magic and the black & gold ritual book. Varis presses a scroll on which is the address of Gael Moncrief, the most powerful wizard in Acanthia, into their hands. The party races on horseback to the city.

The party suspects they will be followed, so they take the backstreet way to the residential part of the middle ring district. Weaving towards their destination, they manage to lose a few Red Cloak tails as well as cap one in the face. “Booyah!” Lilith cried as the sentry dropped like a sack of potatoes.

Gael and his “secretary” take some convincing, but a few intimidate checks and a 4000gp bribe later, the party are close to nabbing their target. Just some paperwork to be done in the barracks nearby… Oh, whoops, I guess Gael works for the Red Cloaks! And the nearest ranking officer is bunking up with a platoon of mercenaries. Will hilarity ensue?

This particular Red Cloak isn’t on the lookout for the party, so all goes well until a Red who is comes up and starts talking. Before arrows start flying, Borja volunteers to be insurance while the rest of the party (except Zhara who is keeping watch in a nearby alley).

Borja is taken upstairs into a holding room, and Zhara takes out her grappling hook and twirls it silently. Nakor and Lilith escort Gael towards their horses at the western gate.

“Didn’t you say the cave was in the southern valley?”

Shit. No amount of assurance will calm the wizard, and even Nakor’s knowledge of the Literati watchwords doesn’t convince him he’s safe. Lightning bolts flare from Gael’s wand as he bids a hasty retreat. Between him and the Elf and Eladrin suddenly comes… Borja?

As it turns out, the most powerful wizard in the city under the protection of a powerful underground syndicate did have a bodyguard. A good one. Nakor and Lilith soon find themselves over the unconscious body of Gael as an invisible doppleganger threatens them with sneak attacks where the sun don’t shine.

Meanwhile, Zhara has hit the lights with his Darkskull. Borja, unable to break out of the holding room without being seen, teleports into the hall. After a brief encounter with a poor human guard who gets dailies, encounters, and an action point thrown at him, Borja has regaied his weapons and Zhara has gracefully chucked her grappling hook through the upstairs window. Some more broken glass and a downwards shimmy later, the two of them are running top speed towards the Western Gate.

By this time, the Elf and Eladrin have revived their quarry and are headed to the Western Gate as well, under the watchful eye of the doppleganger, who has now assumed her secretary form. Lilith catches a brief glimpse of Borja retreating into the shadows behind them, and for a brief, panic-filled moment imagines that the secretary is the real Borja and has teleported back to… No, wait, that would be silly.

Back at the cave, the preparations for the counter-ritual are complete, with no signs of the Red Cloaks yet. Gael’s escort arrives, and the ceremony begins. The doppleganger is invisible somewhere, but Varis appears to have calmed her down into non-murder-mode.

As the escapee party arrives and the ritual is underway, the party notices everyone getting a little sleepier than 5am calls for. Time passes, and there is a sighting of maybe 2 humanoid silhouettes headed towards the cave that the Elven guards cannot account for. The Elves get sleepier and sleepier, even collapsing. It dawns on Varis and the party that the time zone is somehow extending its effects over the whole of Acanthia and a lot of built-up time is now unravelling.

The ritual is stopped by a threatening gesture from “hats on hats off” Borja, and Varis quickly orders everyone out of the cavern. The humanoids have been momentarily thrown off the cave by some Elven skirmishers, and the party and Varis’ elves flee into the night.

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Of Dungeons and Dragons

The adventurers wake up quiet early as dawn breaks through the window of their room and steals some junk. Dawn has apparently multiclassed to rogue.

Back in reality now, and our whacky troupe of the faithful ranger, the cunning rogue, and the pudgey warlock set out into the chilly dawn, ready to fight what monsters may come on Lien’s high-stakes “mission”. After an uneventful trip across the city, out of the western caldera gate, and towards Novale (making no perception checks as they go), they see their contact. They are surprised to see that it is Lien, who implied it would be someone else yesterday.

The party’s (empty) wallets overcome their suspicions and they set off westward and up the northern embankment of the valley they’re in. Surprise surprise (round), their banter and lack of stealth checks lands them ambushed by some kobolds and their cute pet dire rats. After a battle that lands Zhara unconscious and Lien about to collapse, they decide to try the mission again tomorrow.

The mission goes quite successfully once they reach the huge old Dragon Cave which Lien sought. Some Kruthniks give them strife in the antechamber, and they encounter a blue dragon wyrmling in the lair, but it all seems rather easy. Oh yeah, and the lair contains an ancient time-magic field and a hoard of wondrous items so uber that it’s all the party can do to stop their eyes bugging out.

After the dragon is laid to rest permanently on its pile of lucre at about 11am, the party loots the x%x#$ out of it and starts to take the booty back to their high-security inn room in the 3rd ring. Unfortunately, the time bubble doesn’t like this and immediately starts ageing anything that leaves the bubble. The party doesn’t like this, and immediately sets about trying to leave the cave with their loots intact for about the next 9 hours.

Lilith finds a couple of tomes that look interesting, considering Lien’s orders are to take what is desired, except tomes & scrolls & books. They are both books of rituals, but one is filled with rituals that Borja, the party caster, has neither seen nor heard of in the Empire. Lien and Lilith read the tome before casting it back onto the pile of lucre, and towards the end there are a few rituals that look like they’re meant to alter time somehow.

  • Looting an ancient dragon hoard for half a day without posting a sentry, check.
  • Forgetting that the mission deadline is midnight tonight, check.
  • Living inside a time bubble that served as a prison for the late blue dragon, check.

Ah, the things that a high level bunch of wondrous items can do to the mind!

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Humble beginnings
The gang shows how street-wise they can be...

From out of the vast fertile outer plains of the Oasis, the biggest commercial hub in the south-west kingdom looms over the party. It’s shaped like a volcano…

Arriving at the caldera, the party decides to split up to work the 3 areas of Acanthia they’ve heard about: the outer ring slums (Tiefling), the middle ring marketplaces (Elf), and the posh inner ring (Doppleganger).

The Tiefling chewed the fat with some mercenaries in a pub, sussing out the good prospects for mercs in Acanthia’s hour of need against the “bloodthirsty orc hordes”. After fumbling over a few social graces in the outer ring, and fraternising with a Colonel Mustard-type figure in the posh inner ring, she ekes out the address of one of the Big Merchant figures called Laval who lives in middle ring West End.

Meanwhile, the Elf is talking up the merchants in the middle ring, inquiring about the Merchant Guilds the party has heard so much about. Unfortunately, her bluffs about needing financial backing from the Guild(s) for some “diamond” and “weapon” businesses fall short because of a few 1’s, but also because of her being an elf. The party can’t help but notice that all the Elves in Acanthia occupy the higher social strata..

Fresh from the inner ring, the Elf and Doppleganger meet back at the rendezvous point at the Eastern Gate. The Doppleganger has done some more successful posing as an agent of Lord Kell back in the Empire, thanks to a suave shape-change. He also noted he got the attention of a few huddled figures in the upmarket 7-silver-piece-coffee cafe.

After failing to pull off the old “lovely lady of the night” ruse on Monsieur Laval’s estate in West End 2nd ring, the party learns of his favourite cafe Le Croix Rouge, fountainside in the inner ring.

The party finish day 1 by finding their fast-talking contact Lien who has a high stakes, high return job lined up for them in the western valley of the Oasis. What will they make of the shadowy, red-cloaked figures they keep seeing in the inner ring?

They decide to concentrate on Lien’s mission for now.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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