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Campaign journal

by RPGPundit

Ok, today's session almost didn't happen, as only three players showed up and one of them got there quite late. We almost gave up before he arrived.

Fortunately he did, so the party was Corwyn, Alendalan (the late one) and Li Ho.

The trio started out in Sateeka, with the absence of Hathalon and Galifilo explained away as those two going off to try to convince their respective nations (Alfheim for Hathalon, and Galafilo's adopted homeland of the Five Shires) to come to Darokin's aid in its desperate war against the Master.

Meanwhile, Corwyn decides that this dwarven crown of his might just be useful in trying to convince the obstinate dwarves of Rockhome to come help too. But first, he decides he needs to learn more about the crown and this "Loktar Ironshield" fellow who owned it.

So the gang decides to head out to Darokin. Alendalan has two teleport spells memorised, so he teleports Corwyn out there first, and then Li Ho, and decides he will catch up with them tomorrow.

Corwyn and Li Ho arrive in Darokin City. Corwyn goes off to find some sages, hiring them to research into the history of Loktar Ironshield. He finds the city vastly changed, as desperate refugees from Akesoli and the west stream into the city, and important citizens stream out, deciding that Darokin as a whole is just too dangerous for comfort. Martial Law is in place and Darokinian troops roam the streets.

Meanwhile, Li Ho has never been to Darokin City before, so he decides to wander around a bit. He finds a tavern that looks nice enough, where he sits down to have a drink. The bartender tells him that he has just received a shipment of a dwarvish beer called Grum, that's very strong. Li Ho likes the sound of that, and orders a pint, which costs him a whopping 12 gold pieces! "war economy", he's told. He finds the beer to be absolutely disgusting, and he says so, only to hear the sound of a half dozen dwarves stand up at the table behind him.

"Those are fighting words!!" say the dwarves.

Li Ho moves toward the door, but four of the dwarves charge him and try to hit him. He easily avoids their attacks, and punches one of them back. His punch snaps the dwarf's neck, killing him instantly.

Li Ho runs away, but is soon caught in the market by the guards. Ochalean monks are not exactly common in the Darokinian market, so its easy to catch him. Officer Sully, the Darokinian cop that caught him, takes him down to the station house of the 55th Darokinian police precinct, where he's subjected to a line-up. The other dwarves identify him easily, and he's arrested for murder. Officer Bosco spits on him; "you people make me sick, killing a helpless dwarf, he wasn't even expert level?! You think because you're a mystic you can do whatever you like, just because you have the hardest class requirements? Its people like you that give adventurers a bad name!"

Meanwhile Corwyn has no idea all this is going on. He went home, and when in the morning Li Ho hasn't shown up (and Alendalan has by then teleported in), Corwyn casts Find The Path to localise him, only to discover he's in jail.

Corwyn and Alendalan get there and find out what's what, and proceed to go hire a lawyer. Benjamin Metlock is a little old, but the best darn country lawyer ever to work in the big city. He assures the two that he'll be able to get their friend off on the lesser charge of accidental death, which only brings a 10 year prison sentence, rather than death and cremation. Also, the 10 year prison sentence can be remitted if the accused can come up with 50 000 daros. In any case, the trial will take 2 weeks, so the PCs will have to wait until then.

Alenalan uses that time to train in the long sword.

Corwyn tries to do a ritual to enter in direct contact with Asterius, desperate for something more than the info he can get from a mere commune, since he's not sure what Asterius wants from him, and whether the Master of Hule is the real problem or the Radiance, or what. Sadly, he doesn't beat the required roll and ends up just getting a week-long bless spell instead.

And Li Ho is stuck in his cell until the trial.

Also, the new year rolls around. Its now 1006. Corwyn has to pay taxes to support the Darokinian war effort, but his social status remains at platinum-level. Following up on his plans to visit Rockhome, he finds out that Loktal Ironshield was a dwarven king who had lived about 1900 years ago. He'd invaded the lands now known as the Five Shires, interested in the mountain range in the north of that country. He'd defeated the orc hordes who were overrunning the country at the time, but went on to enslave the halflings and force them to work in his mines. Eventually, new hordes of Orcs and Gnolls began to invade his kingdom. Loktal went out to face them, and defeated the Orcs, but as he was about to face the Gnollish army his halfling slaves revolted and cast down their oppressors in a bloody retribution. Facing the Gnolls on one side and the halflings on the other, he fled into the mountains with what was left of his men, and disappeared.

Corwyn also learns the Dwarves have stricken Loktal from their memory, claiming he never existed and that its all a fairy tale made up by the Halflings.

Anticipating that he might have some trouble, Corwyn uses his connections with the church of Asterius to secure himself a ambassadorial license from the Darokin Diplomatic Corps; making his mission to Dengar a formal one in the service of the Darokinian government.

Finally, the day of the trial. Mr. Metlock does a stirring job of planting his client's defence, arguing that it was easy to mistake these dwarves for being higher level than they actually were, and that the death was purely accidental. The prosecution, however, argues that a monk as powerful as Li Ho ought to have attacked with the intent of doing subdual damage, and clearly did not, indicating he was out to kill. Li Ho's defence that he didn't know there were subdual damage rules is considered inadequate. He is sentenced to death.

Mr. Metlock lets the PCs know that all is not lost, they can appeal. After that, they could go on to appeal to the supreme court. And even if that fails, a raise dead fully spell would be able to restore Li Ho. Even so the appeal will take some time, time the PCs haven't got. The next day the news arrives that Akorros has also fallen now to the Master's hordes, and that the only thing that stands between the Master and central Darokin (and Darokin City) is the 3rd legion and what's left of the 2nd, who have bunkered down in the hills. The city is in panic, and Corwyn and Alendalan decide they have to go to Rockhome now, otherwise help from the dwarves would arrive too late.

Li Ho will spend the rest of the adventure rotting in his cell.

Alendalan has never been to Dengar (or anywhere in Rockhome), so the chance of a catastrophic teleport failure are fairly high. To be safe, Corwyn casts Survival on himself, and Travel, before Alendalan teleports him. After he's gone, Alendalan teleports himself to Dengar after him.

Alendalan ends up in a room surrounded by monsters! There's a bugbear, a Rust Monster, a Giant Snake, and others. Panicking, he sees there's a window that seems to look outside, and he quickly casts teleport on himself to the outside. He ends up on a busy street, and notices that the building he'd just teleported himself out of was a Taxidermists.

The sudden teleported arrival of an Elf in the middle of the Dwarven capital makes for quite a scene, and Alendalan is quickly surrounded by Dwarf guardsmen. There's no sign of Corwyn, and his best efforts to convince the Dwarves is meeting with trouble. Luckily for Alendalan a Ylari cleric named Hasim was in the area, and he helps Alendalan defuse the situation. The Dwarves find Alendalan's story "highly improbable", but let him off with a warning. Alendalan decides to wait right where he is for Corwyn to arrive, figuring that Corwyn's teleport was faulty.

Meanwhile Corwyn is in a subterranean cave, at the shore of a great underground lake. Having done some research he knew that Dengar had huge under levels where the Dwarven aristocrats live, but he appears to be in an unused natural cave on the other side of the lake from the underground city. He decides to fly and shift through the rock up to the surface, but finds that his spell appears not to be working. Hearing something behind him, he turns around and finds himself face to face with a dreaded Beholder!

Unable to use spells against the beholder he turns and tries to run past the beast into the hallway. Underestimating him at first, the beholder only hits him with the "cause critical wounds" eyebeam. This gives Corwyn time to flee into the corridor, and once he's out of range of the Beholder's antimagic range he reactivates his Travel spell and phases up to the surface.

Once there he's reunited with Alendalan, but once more the City Guard show up, finding his whole story about being a Darokinian diplomat and his encounter with the Beholder to be "highly improbable". Nevertheless, Corwyn does have the official DDC papers, and its some Beholders have been known to show up in those caves, coming up from the lower mines where the dwarves had once "dug too deep.. we always seem to make that mistake". So the Dwarves agree to let Corwyn off with a warning.

Corwyn asks to see King Everast, but the dwarvish guardsman finds that "highly improbable". Corwyn insists, and the guards agree to send up a counsellor the next day, to consider whether Corwyn ought to be granted an audience with the Dwarven King. They warn him that the chances of that happening are "highly improbable".

After spending the night at the Darokinian embassy, Corwyn and Alendalan meet the next day with Koris, the dwarven counsellor. Luckily they see past Koris' thick beard and realise that Koris is a female dwarf, and thus avoid making an unpleasant social faux pas.

Corwyn tells her about the Master of Hule, and the threat he presents. Koris insists that the chance of the Master actually being able to threaten Rockhome is "highly improbable", and that its "highly improbable" that he king would be interested to hear them out, since he's already rebuffed previous pleas for help from the Darokinian government. That's when Corwyn shows her the crown of Loktal Ironshield.

She is stunned by the existence of a Crown, clearly of dwarven make, of a king who their records say was only a myth. Realising the dangerous scandal this could cause she orders the two to remain in the dwarf hall where she received them, and promises that she will talk to the king to find out what he wishes to do with them.

In the end, they are granted an audience, for which they are lead through the great stone gates down into the under city of Dengar, a city far more impressive and majestic than the small upper city. Corwyn and Alendalan both marvel at the stunning beauty of the Dwarven architecture, and in particular of the gigantic royal cavern of Dwarfheart, a palace-fortress hewn in a cavern as big as the entire upper city.

They are taken to Everast's throne room, and while at first the King finds Corwyn's story "highly improbable", Corwyn explains that the crown proves that king Ironshield was real, and that in fact he was a deeply heroic figure who fought courageously against the orcs and gnolls. He gifts the crown to King Everast, feeling that this long-lost king's memory should be restored to the Dwarven People. Everast is duly impressed, and faced with undeniable evidence that Loktal's existence is true, he is forced to quickly rethink the interpretation of events: the Dwarves had wiped Loktal from their records because of the shame of being defeated by the halflings, but Everast reinterprets the story as one where Loktal heroically fell, a great Dwarven Lost Cause, betrayed by the very Haflings he'd "saved" from the humanoid conquerors.

In gratitude, Everast considers Corwyn's request for military aid, and offers Corwyn an army of 2000 dwarves, if Corwyn is willing to pay for their expenses to go and fight in Darokin. Corwyn agrees readily, since he can easily afford it. Everast proudly proclaims that his Dwarven army will make short work of the Master's minions, and that after that, at the dwarves own expense, they will go down to the Five Shires and "teach those halflings a dire lesson, and make them pay for what they did to the Dwarven people!"

Corwyn realises he's just set up a situation for a war between Rockhome and the Shires.

Still, he figures he can find a way around that later. For now, the Master is the bigger problem and Darokin needs the Dwarves to help them. Corwyn and Alendalan agree to be the King's guest for the next couple of days, and when he mentions the Beholder to the king, Everast decides that after a feast, the Dwarves will accompany Corwyn and Alendalan to go take out this beholder, offering them a share of its loot, of course.

Meanwhile back in Darokin, Li Ho's appeal goes well, and his sentence is reduced to ten years or fifty thousand daros. Unfortunately, since Corwyn is the one with the money, Li Ho will have to serve out his sentence until his friends come back to bail him out.

That's it for today. A lot of RP this session, but there was no treasure gained, and the only actual monster killed was the Dwarf that Li Ho accidentally murdered. As such, this session actually had the least amount of XP ever in the campaign; only 7 experience points, not counting the role-play bonus!

Ah well, that's what happens when you're playing the game "by the book". The players had fun anyways.