Tales of the Fortune's Favored

21st November, 2009
Opposing Authority. The Church of Grumbar.

23rd of Kythorn (Continued)

Having scoured the Beholder’s Lair for all manner of magical goods, the Fortune’s Favored make their way back up out of Strangler’s Hold (with a little help from Markur, the Ascendant Major’s Giant Eagle companion). They take the bodies of Menethiel and Galdrerd with them to the surface where Markur flies off with the Major back to their home for proper burial and the Fortune’s Favored head back to the remains of Summersend.

The Fortune’s Favored find that Snowdrift the Weather Wizard’s soul has been restored to his body, but that he can offer little aid in their war against Illisuspiria. He gives the Acorn of the Tree of Life back to Balthus and bids them to hurry back to Damara, where their presence is urgently needed.

The Fortune’s Favored use Balthus’ power to teleport back to Castle Dragonsbane, where they reacquaint themselves with some of the other members of the Fortune’s Favored. The reunion is somber when the adventurers reflect on the many people that have died recently. To further sour the mood, King Gareth (and especially Lord Vipur) is most displeased to hear that the Fortune’s Favored were not able to procure the services of Snowdrift the Weather Wizard. This news is exacerbated by the fact that the Damaran war effort has been significantly harmed and that Prince Gnyr Thunderfoot of the Thunderfoot Clan has been kidnapped by agents of Illisuspiria.

Lord Vipur proceeds to scold the Fortune’s Favored for what he perceives as incompetence and Saladin leaves the court in a huff of outrage. When given a chance to redeem themselves, the three adventurers delegate Prince Thunderfoot’s rescue mission to the other Fortune’s Favored, reasoning that the power within the Necrotic Cradle is of far more importance to the war effort.

On the night of their preparation before heading into the Rawlinswood, the Fortune’s Favored stay at the Bloody Stump, Balthus’ newly purchased tavern. On this night, the adventurers are interrupted by belligerent Clerics of Grumbar, who pressure Shaffer the Calishite into a strange ritual that he barely understands himself. By the end of the ritual, Shaffer has lost the Amulet of the Earthlord and has instead received His blessing. His sword-arm and falchion have both been transformed.

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4th June 2009
Vampire rematch. The Major. Xar'Zhul the Beholder.

23rd of Kythorn

After falling back to one of the guard towers of Strangler’s Hold, the party decides to rest up before venturing beyond the vampire crypt. During this time, a powerful cleric of Mystra Selûne, the Ascendant Major Galdrerd Wechir Barstont, arrives and introduces himself. He explains to Balthus that they are both descendants of the heroes that originally trapped Illisuspiria some one thousand years ago. With the Major’s addition, the party sets out again in search of Xar’Zhul the Beholder and Snowdrift’s trapped essence.

Once back in the vampire crypt, the adventurers find that the vampires have all returned, this time with a full force of freshly-created vampire spawn. A half-fiendish hobgoblin vampire reveals himself as the seventh, missing vampire who resurrected all the other vampires. Balthus is horrified to find that the horde of vampire spawn attacking them is all that is left of the villagers of Summersend.

Having dispatched the vampires, the party descends down a vertical shaft that takes them deep into the Beholder’s lair where Shaffer’s strength and Saladin’s Enlarge Person spell combine with a lava-floor trap to form a powerful anti-golem attack. The party finds Xar’Zhul the Beholder and a mighty battle ensues. Major Galdrerd is struck dead by one of the Beholder’s rays and Armistan is turned to stone by another. Shaffer manages to escape the Beholder’s Antimagic Field long enough to kill it.

Raiding the Beholder’s Lair, the adventurers uncover a vast treasure hoard and three large glass spheres that glow with energy, one red, one blue, one green. Saladin and Balthus deduce that one of these spheres contains Snowdrift’s trapped soul. They destroy two of them, the blue and the green, while taking the red one with them. The game had to end there, before the next step was decided.

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31st May 2009
Storming Strangler's Hold. The Death of Menethiel Windwhisper

22nd of Kythorn (Continued)

The party of adventurers decides to storm Strangler’s Hold and with the liberal use of fire, invisibilty and… more fire, they manage to wipe out most of the stronghold’s giant and goblinoid denizens. They then make their way down to a crypt full of vampires, one of them the newly-turned Fatty Happensap, one of Menethiel’s closest friends. A desperate battle ensues, in which Menethiel is felled by a vampire Frost Giant and then bitten by Fatty. The rest of the party emerge from the crypt with barely their souls intact. Rather than risk going further into the dungeon, the party retreats topside to regroup.

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15th May 2009
Back to Summersend

21st of Kythorn

After a night of revelry, the adventurers spend most of the day after in recovery. With intense research, Saladin is able to discern the Necrotic Cradle’s location and encourages his fellow adventurers to make that their next destination. Menethiel and Balthus insist that the village of Summersend is a bigger priority. Armistan and Shaffer remain neutral so Summersend wins out.

22nd of Kythorn

The adventurers seek an audience with King Gareth and, thanks to Menethiel’s diplomacy, are able to convince the king that helping Summersend will earn the allegiance of a powerful weather wizard. Lord Vipur expresses his doubts, but is cowed into silence by Armistan. The king also presents the adventurers with their very own squad of Griffon mounts. The whole group stocks up on gear and, knowing that time is of the essence, use Balthus’ teleportation spell to get to Summersend.

Once in Summersend, the adventurers find that the village has been raided and all of it’s people taken by hobgoblins to a fortress called Strangler’s Hold. Snowdrift is in some form of trance, his soul captured and held prisoner by a creature named Xar’Zhul, a beholder that dwells in Strangler’s Hold. The party sets out to free the prisoners.

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9th May 2009
The Party is Knighted, then the Knights Party.

20th of Kythorn (Summer Solstice)

The adventurers receive their knighthoods along with their rewards. Balthus gets the sword of Burlor, Menethiel gets the Cloak of the Nightwind, Shaffer gets a ring of Friend Shield and the Amulet of the Earthlord, Armistan gets the Rod of Redemption and Saladin gets the Headband of the Wilde One as well as a staff of Charming, the other ring of Friend Shield and a map that shows the way to the Necrotic Cradle.

In the festivities that follow, Balthus wastes no time in winning the women’s favor via a subtle blend of natural charm, magic and an attention-craving familiar. Unknown to him, he has also earned the ire of many noble-bachelors and the parents of virtuous women.

Menethiel is approached by Grep Wyldshot during the party, who reveals himself as an agent of King Irgen of Altumbel and invites Menethiel to meet the king after the war. Menethiel is then approached by Meela Nordwyn, who asks him to work as a spy for the Simbul of Aglarond. Later in the night, he is “kidnapped” by the Invisible Blades and put through a very painful, very humiliating and very fun initiation ritual.

Shaffer, a crude, earthy man, invites all comers to join him in a drinking contest, which he wins. Unfortunately, his suit of armor turns out to be a poor choice of wardrobe when his bladder needs emptying.

Saladin turns melancholy during the festival, as it only serves to remind him of how much he is missing, trapped as he is in his un-living form. He tries to study the map to the Necrotic Cradle as best he can, though the festivities distract him somewhat.

Armistan sits by himself for much of the party, a pariah among the snobbish and fearful upper-class of Damara. Menethiel sees this and invites Armistan to join him and Shaffer in their drinking contest. Armistan obliges, and half-heartedly takes second place in the contest, his unholy physiology rendering him practically immune to the alcohol he imbibes. As he retires for the night, Armistan is abducted by strange beings from beyond space and time and is transported to a bizarre nightmare-realm where he gains an understanding of things incomprehensible to mortal minds. He wakes up again the next morning in his chambers, something horrific and wonderful unlocked within him.

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17 April 2009
Knighthood in the works, tailor-made clothes, devastation of Summersend, a summoning ritual undone

Sixth Day of Kythorn:

The adventurers return to Castle Dragonsbane where their great deeds are celebrated. The King announces that for their valorous acts, they are to be knighted on the 20th of Kythorn during the summer solstice. The heroes are sent to have new clothes commissioned for them. When the seamstresses arrive, (all of them lovely, young women) the heroes, with Balthus’ noted exception, start acting rather awkward.

In the evening, the party attends dinner with the king and his royal family. They are introduced to Lady Nadina Evenscales, High Justiciar of Tyr and acting head of the church in Damara.

Eighth Day of Kythorn:

Menethiel reveals himself to the king as an agent of the Invisible Blades and attempts to convince the King that actual culprits in the assassination attempts are the Shadow Blades, bitter rivals of the Invisible Blades. He and Saladin show the king a glamored symbol of Shar on one of the daggers taken from the assassins. The king takes the matter into advisement.

Tenth Day of Kythorn:

The adventurers attend the execution of Lord Edmund Aitros, the King’s nephew responsible for the series of assassination attempts. It is a somber affair and rain follows for several days.

After the execution the party pays a visit to the dungeons to see General Yokulhart, the Frost Giant general they captured at Highgate. The general is in poor health, is unable to speak and can barely write his thoughts. Yokulhart is under a powerful Geas that prevents him from betraying any of his mistress’s secrets. The party, along with Lord Vipur Sturnstead and Sir Ander Pureshield argue over whether killing him is an act of mercy or if he even deserves such mercy. Before anyone can stop him, Shaffer unsheathes his sword and decapitates the prisoner. Everyone is stunned, but Lord Vipur is furious.

The party spends the next few days each doing their own thing. Some vague, otherworldly calling beckons Armistan to the castle library, where he spends much of his time. Menethiel goes to the Invisible Blades headquarters in the warehouse district to further his training. Balthus tests his new-found power of teleportation. Shaffer spends all his time on honing his skill with his blade. Saladin seeks out a merchant of magical goods.

Nineteenth Day of Kythorn:

Menethiel, Balthus and Saladin decide to take advantage of Balthus’ new teleportation power and go visit Summersend village. When they arrive, Summersend has been ravaged, its people hiding out in barricaded houses. Snowdrift the weather wizard is in his tower, casting a spell of warding to protect the village from further attacks. He asks Balthus to give him the Acorn from the Tree of Life, which Balthus does without question.

When the three return to Castle Dragonsbane, Shaffer has startling news: While out training in the Evergreen Forest, he witnessed several maroon-cloaked men preparing a summoning ritual of some kind. When confronted about it, the men pretended to be druids conducting a blessing ceremony of some kind. Shaffer encourages the rest of the party to investigate.

That night the adventurers arrive, interrupt the ritual in mid-casting and kill all the maroon-cloaked men. Unfortunately, the ritual is in full effect and something is coming through the summoning circle. With their combined magical expertise, Balthus, Saladin and Armistan manage to reverse the summoning before whatever is beyond the portal escapes.

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10 March 2009
The Battle of Highgate

Fifth Day of Kythorn:

The morning after the second assassination attempt, the party is swiftly pressed into service as a special task force for the Damaran military. The king commands them to aid in the defense of the Highgate garrison, a day’s ride north of Heliogabalus. A vast army of hobgoblins and frost giants is on the march from the northwest. Meela Nordwyn, Captain of the Aglarondan Skyriders, flies the heroes to their destination via Griffons in less than three hours, much to Balthus’ delight and Saladin’s terror.

During the battle, Menethiel is nearly stung to death by a Wyvern, Balthus crashes his Griffon, Armistan raises a giant zombie to do his bidding, Shaffer slays several frost giants and a mammoth and Saladin employs Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere to capture the enemy commander. With the heroes’ aid, the Highgate garrison manages to hold until reinforcements arrive from Cormyr. The hobgoblin army is routed and the adventurers are lauded as the heroes of the battle.

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21 March 2009
Hector leaves, Saladin comes back from the dead, Shaffar joins the party, a second assassination attempt.

Fourth Day of Kythorn:

After seeing to Rhogar’s burial, the party goes to a nearby tavern called the Bloody Stump to get some rest and drown their sorrows. Hector, disgusted with his current surroundings leaves for Tyrhaven to fight the war against Illisuspiria on his own terms. Balthus spends a mountain of gold on drink and strange magical concoctions to drink away his problems. Menethiel wastes no time and starts poring over the note that his Gith quarry dropped. Armistan keeps aloof and merely observes his new companions.

Late in the evening, the party is approached by a mighty warrior of the South who introduces himself as Shaffar. Shaffar travels with a stunted, withered looking man who is none other than Saladin Il’Muhaji returned from the grave. He is an undead shadow of his former self who subsists only on the regular and copious consumption of strong alcohol. His powers of sorcery are gone but he has used his natural affinity for magic to become a formidable Evoker.

As part of his wizardry studies, Saladin has become quite skilled at deciphering codes and cryptic texts. With his help, the party is able to decipher the Gith’s note and discover that a second assassination attempt, commissioned by Edmund the King’s nephew, is imminent. The party rushes to Castle Dragonsbane with this information.

The party reaches the king’s quarters in time to warn the king, but not before the King’s elite guards succumb to a poison administered to them by Edmund. Soon the King’s bedchambers are swarmed by assassins, the Gith leader from before leading the charge, but the party is able to save the King and Queen as well as capture Edmund. King Gareth offers the adventurers his sincerest thanks and asks them to stay in the castle for the night so he may thank them properly in the morning.

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7th-8th of March, 2009
Investigation of the assassination plot, Armistan joins the group

Third day of Kythorn:

Hector interrogates one of the assassins’ corpses and learns that the assassination attempt was carried out by a group called the Invisible Blades. Menethiel keeps his affiliation with the Blades a secret, for now. Hector also learns, to his disgust, that the council has employed assassins in the past. One of the King’s Royal Guards is revealed as a traitor and is taken down into the dungeon. Baltus suspects that Edmund, the king’s nephew, had something to do with the assassination and follows him, but loses his trail in the labyrinthine castle. Menethiel and Hrogar go into the city and press their sources for information. Hector is further offended when the king orders a morally dubious warlock named Armistan (played by outfoxed) to aid the party in their investigation.

Fourth day of Kythorn:

Early the next day, Kierian Knifestorm, Menethiel’s contact in the Invisible Blades, reports that the assassination attempt was carried out by a rival school of duelists called the Shadow Blades and that one of their safehouses has been uncovered. He urges Menethiel and his allies to strike there immediately, before the enemy can relocate.

During the attack, Rhogar is slain by psionic assassins, but not before taking a significant number of Shadow Blades with him and protecting his weaker allies throughout the battle. Menethiel unmasks the Blades’ leader and discovers that she is a Githyanki (or Githzerai?), though she manages to evade capture. He also finds a neatly folded piece of paper that the leader dropped and takes it with him for a later examination.

The tension between Hector and Armistan comes to a head when Armistan raises several zombies to fight the Shadow Blades. When Hector tries to strike Armistan down as a foul necromancer and demonologist, Armistan simply turns invisible and forces Hector to swear a truce on his honor.

Any thoughts, gentlemen?

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Out of Hiatus
Has it really been seven years?

After a well-deserved break, I’ve returned to the helm of the Gaming Group’s Most Favorite Campaign Ever!* While ‘Roac’ is running Shadows over the Commonwealth I think I’ll use the time to get my own campaign in order. This campaign has been going on for about… 7 years now so it’s got a lot of history and a lot of characters that need straightening out.

I’ll make due with a short recap now:

On their way down from the Great Glacier, the party (now consisting of Menethiel Windwhisper, Baltus of Battledale, Hrogar the Dragonslayer and Rrathmal Kalla the Planewalker) clashes with a band of monsters consisting of three Orcs, two Githyanki and a Frost Giant. During the battle, Kalla is blasted back to the Elemental Plane of Limbo and Hrogar accidentally kills Menethiel during his Frenzy. Thankfully, Baltus manages to utilize some of the powers locked within the Acorn of the Tree of Life and resurrects Menethiel, who is none too pleased with the out-of-body experience.

The party then comes upon the Monastery of Tyrhaven and the village built around it. They arrive just in time to see Hector of Kratopolis, High Priest of Tyr, depart for Heliogabalus to join the King’s war council during these trying times. Hector sees great potential in the three companions and agrees to let them accompany him as his retinue.

As soon as the four adventurers arrive at Castle Dragonsbane in Heliogabalus, a band of assassins explodes from the shadows and attempt to kill the King and his war council. With the aid of the Fortune’s Favored, the assassination attempt is foiled, but Hector suspects that there is a traitor on the war council. The council hall is sealed and Hector begins his investigation.

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