We started a new storyline with a new set of characters a while back. Because I was a bad, lazy GM, I made only the barest skeletons of plot notes. Here’s a brief summary of what’s been happening. I’ll start making regular session posts after the next session. Players, feel free to add missing details. There will be a lot of them.
Zor, 26 Nymm 998 – Far, 27 Lharvion 998
A bunch of bounty hunters showed up at the Seat of the Valnar High King to track down and capture the people behind the New Valenar Empire. The NVE was a conspiracy of Valenar who were using subterfuge and a huge stockpile of cursed items to increase racial tension between Karrnathi humans and Talenta halflings. The idea was that if Karrnath and the Talenta Plains went to war, Valenar could step in and scoop up a bunch of territory. The High King was worried about bounty hunters competing for bounties and getting in each other’s way, so he arranged an organized bounty system. The bounty hunters would be divided into small groups, and each group would be assigned certain bounties. No matter who brought in any given fugitive, the reward would be divided evenly among the group to which the bounty had been assigned. Higher bounties would be given for live prisoners than for corpses, but both would be rewarded. The party was one group of bounty hunters.
Aelred (Cable): male human assassin
Lint Underfoot (Ryan): male halfling artificer
Bailiff (Benjie): warforged cleric of Aureon
Ivellios? (Brent): female human bard?
Az (Will – The GM will be called Willie until further notice): female half-orc monk/barbarian
The party captured a few bounties with no trouble. They met up with an old friend of Ivellios’s and his travelling companion.
T’Nari Niti (David): male human cleric of the people
Name? – Let’s call her Beatrice. (Travis): female elf wizard?
Unfortunately, while maneuvering through a trap-laden dungeon to get to a druid, Ivellios cast a spell that reacted badly with an anti-teleportation mist that pervaded the dungeon. The magical reaction swept him, Bailiff, and Beatrice away. The party found them in a nonplanar space and discovered that they had been afflicted with some kind of planar leprosy, and rescuing them without finding a cure would risk a global pandemic. The party decided to go back to their bounties and hope for the best.
Sar, 28 Lharvion 998 – Sar, 21 Barrakas 998
The party travelled back to the Seat of the High King to collect the bounty for the druid they had captured. They were then assigned a cleric named Enialol, who was believed to be in Vulyar. The uncovering of the NVE conspiracy had helped to cool racial tensions between humans and halflings, but there are still a lot of hurt feelings on both sides. It will take time before humans and halflings really trust one another. That said, the party of two humans, a halfling, and a half-orc walking around in Vulyar drew a lot of odd looks. A few people made aggressive motions, but thought better of it. A halfling approached Lint and asked him, if he came across the Proudfoot tribe in the Talenta Plains, to tell Moira that Rupert would come for her when he could.
After exploring a bit and looking at sewer maps in the city center, the party found a suspicious portion of sewer near the edge of town. They descended through a nearby manhole and approached the suspicious section. It turned out to be crawling with rancid beetles and rancid beetle zombies. David’s character decided that the best way to deal with them was to cast resist fire, douse himself in lamp oil, set himself on fire, and run around burning the beetles. It was an effective strategy, but the party still barely survived. By the end of the battle, everyone in the party had been afflicted with rancid beetle rot, and David’s character had fallen unconscious and could not be revived.
The party decided to search the room before leaving to recouperate, and they found Enialol hiding in a small room behind a hidden door. Enialol knocked out Aelred but did no serious damage. Az knocked Enialol prone, and he started screaming in pain, yelled “read the book!” and plunged a dagger into his heart. The party gingerly took the book that he had dropped and sat down to discuss the fact that, while two humans, a halfling, and a half-orc drew odd looks, a human, a half-orc, a halfling, an unconscious human, and a dead elf walking around the streets of Vulyar would probably invite more trouble than the party was prepared to deal with. David’s character had a wagon, but it was too large to get through the side-streets and sewers. Eventually, Aelred patched himself up and went to the wagon to get a cask of cheap ale. Az drank a decent portion of it, and they dumped the rest over themselves and Enialol. They stuffed Enialol in the cask and drunkenly staggered through the streets to the wagon, where they stashed their pickled corpse and unconscious friend.
They spent the next day in Vulyar getting themselves healed and looking over the book, which turned out to be Enialol’s journal. The journal started off in neat handwriting talking about how excited Enialol was to be chosen as an acolyte of Heol. Heol was a minor deity who had decided to patronize the Valenar. He had chosen a few Valenar to swear a blood oath to serve him. Enialol had served him well, but when he found himself running random errands for a group of humans in an unsettled section of Valenar, he became suspicious. Eventually, he realized that there was far more to Heol’s plans than simply promoting the Valenar, although he wasn’t sure what the larger plans were. From here on out, the entries became increasingly frantic. It was clear that Heol could check in on any of his acolytes, and if they did not please him he could cause them excruciating pain with a wave of his hand. Enialol became convinced that Heol had something sinister planned, and the final entry of his journal simply said, “I do not know to whom I have sold my soul, but I can be redeemed.” over and over.
The party went to do research at the Korth library. They found no mention of Heol, but they did learn that angels who have been cast out of Syriana have been known to impersonate deities and start cults. These cults tend to end badly – mass suicides, doomed insurrections, etc. They also realized that there was a portion of Valenar and the Talenta Plains that had a tendency to spawn cults of various types. Aelred decided that, while he was at the library, he would look into theories about what caused the Day of Mourning. Amid a plethora of crackpot theories, he found one essayist who pointed out that the one thing that made Cyrie different from the other nations was the presence of a creation forge. Before they left, Az left a message about Heol at a Shining Path enclave.
They returned to the High King to receive their bounty and do more research in the King’s library. Their bounty was slightly smaller because the target was dead, but they were rewarded for the information and the journal. At the High King’s library, they learned that no Talenta or Valenar tribes spent much time in the cult-spawning area because there was no water and not much useful wildlife. The group who had uncovered the NVE had spent some time right in the middle of it, although they had refused to say why. Lady Ashinana, a half-elf Cyran noble, had reclaimed a small ancestral manor just inside the area.
Aelred knew of Lady Ashinana, but he had little respect for her. She was only interested in rebuilding her own fortune, not in Cyrie. Her ancestral manor was expensive to maintain, since water had to be brought in from elsewhere. Looking into her ancestry revealed that the expense of irrigation was not mentioned until about a hundred years ago. Aelred suspected a dried-up river or something similar, but there was no evidence of a river in old maps.
A few months ago, Lady Ashinana had thrown a party. She and her guests had been drugged and taken away to be sacrificed, but most of them didn’t remember much, and they didn’t speak of it after that.