Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
Player Warning - this is not a journal - please stay out!
I am starting this thread because I have seen several others get interesting feedback on ideas and questions for their campaigns from the fan community. And since my campaign ties in with several other projects such as the Alternate Mystara Timeline and the Books of the Known World, I thought it would make sense to have a place to post the things that don't really fit in elsewhere.
Spellweaver's Mystara Campaignby Jesper Andersen
At the moment, the campaign is just 3 game sessions old, so very little has happened and the characters are still level 1. We play Pathfinder and the party at present consists of a Rockhome dwarven ranger (missile specialist), a human fighter (lore warden), a human conjurer specialist wizard (the fighter's twin brother, both from Biazzan in Thyatis), and finally a human Traladaran Summoner Synthesist (the summoner is a new class in Pathfinder).
When we started playing, I didn't relly know where to start the players out, so I more or less adopted Ville Lähde's Caravan Campaign plot, but made up all the NPC's in the caravan from scratch. The characters know that they are going on a possibly 7-month trip from Darokin through Ylaruam, Soderfjord Jarldoms, Vestland, the Heldannic Territories, Ethengar, Glantri, Broken Lands and finally back to Darokin.
The adventurers met at the Wizard's Pipe Inn in Darokin City before setting out but they all know each other as old friends one way or another. They left Darokin City in a 6-wagon caravan on Tserdain the 2nd of Vatermont in 1000 AC, heading for Selenica. Many of the wagons were run-down and needed maintenance, which they would get in Dolos, where the caravan would also pick up additional cargo.
On Vatermont 11th, the caravan reach the tiny hamlet of Farstead. The adventurers soon learn that the river coming from the southeastern hills is rapidly drying out, threatening the very existence of the small community. The adventurers manage to negotiate with the caravan leaders that the caravan is well enough protected that it can make it another 1 1/2 day to Dolos, while the PCs hike into the hills to discover what has happened to the river.
This was an adaptation of the scenario "Dovedale" from Dungeon Magazine 46, but I altered most of it except the basic plot line: the king of a local goblin tribe has kidnapped the nixie Unda, who is keeping the river feed, in order to make it easier to catch a fantastic talking trout called Savel, who lives in the river. The goblin king figures that when the water drops, it will be easier to catch the elusive fish that taunts him.
Long story short, the PCs set out and first visited some farmers, who could tell them that the local druid, who had kept the goblins a bay, disappeared 3-4 years ago and since then the woods had turned dark and evil. Following the tracks of goblin chick-thieves at the farm, the PCs go into the woods, fight 4 huge wood spiders (from Creature Catalogue) and finally find the druids cabin just before nightfall. None of them wants to risk a nighttime confrontation with an entire tribe of goblins.
They find the remains of the druid in his bed - apparently dead of natural causes. They loot his modest library of books, which immediately gives them the notion that Morfraith (the druid) was researching something important at the time of his death. They also find a magical staff with blooming buds at one end and all withered white wood at the other end. It takes them a while to figure out that this powerful weapon has the ability to wither someone, which then charges the staff's opposite end to heal someone (inspired by the staff from the Wanderer's Grave from the Darokin Gaz).
The next day the PCs locate the river and encounter Savel the talking Trout. He guides them to the goblins' lair, where they manage to sneak in through a back tunnel after first fighting off a nest of scary skull spiders that live in the remains of the goblins' victims. Inside the goblins' lair, the goblins and their wolves are sleeping, so the party stealthily tries to rescue Unda the Nixie from her cage. Unfortunately, the goblins wake up and a major battle ensues. I was certain that the party would either die or be captured, but through a perfectly timed Grease spell and using great teamwork tactics in a narrow corridor, they actually manage to kill 17 goblins - including the goblin "king" (tribal chief). The rest of the goblins then flee into their other tunnels and the PCs run as fast as they can down to the river.
With Unda back in her river, the water starts flowing again and the next day everything is back to normal. Unda gives each adventurer a kiss on the forehead, granting them "faiery luck" for a month and also gives them a bucket with 4 live clams, instructing the characters that when eaten, the live clams will grant Water Breathing for an hour. Back at Farstead, the PCs tell the villagers of the defeat of the goblin tribe and the death of their druid (the PCs decide to wrap the characteristic magical staff in cloth so as to not appear as grave robbers). The mayor of Farstead, Gavan, pays them a handsome reward for helping out the tiny settlement.
And so, the party is now on its way to Dolos, trying to catch up with the caravan there, which will leave on the 17th.
At the moment the caravan consists of 4 medium wagons, 1 large six-wheeled wagon (the home of Wulfrand Morris), and 1 small wagon (the kitchen wagon).
So far, the personas are:
- Wulfrand Morris - leader of the caravan and senior merchant in House Corun
- Luthier Tint - senior merchant and the day-to-day administrator of the caravan. He is a senior merchant in his own right, but also Morris' right hand man in all affairs.
- Tybalt Cearl - merchant and devout follower of Asterius
- Branderick le Bon - merchant from a wealthy family and somewhat of a foppish dandy, always yawning. He wears expensive cologne so powerful it makes many people around him gag.
- Jules Sagar - bright and eager junior merchant, comes from very poor means and is very determined to increase his status and his wealth on this trip and win recognition from the more experienced merchants.
- Derek Zelsil - haughty and arrogant junior merchant who treats the drivers, porters and guards like his personal servants. He is probably insecure for some reason.
- Franchesca Rimund - another junior merchant and also very insecure, though Franchesca's problem is her incredibly good looks. She strives to be taken seriously by men who see her merely as a pretty girl. Her specialty is gemstones and she secretly yearns to learn how to harness their power (see below).
- Tamora - driver and experienced caravan guide
- Glorend and Carec - drivers
- Portia - driver and the caravan's animal handler
- Bedemere - driver as well as Wulfrand Morris' manservant
- Jack - cook and driver of the kitchen wagon. Secretly helped the PCs with lunches, bandages, lamp oil and other things when he heard they were going into the wild. Often smokes a corncob pipe
- Conwynn - kitchen boy and the only child on the trip
- Gulhan, Miggs, Jorkell, Narl and Sevalith - porters, they do all the heavy loading and unloading of cargo as well as different camp duties
- Thurbald Iron-Eye - leader of the caravan guards, a hard warrior with a stern stare at people he dislikes (which seems to be everyone)
- Bosi and Bui - caravan guards, two strong bully brothers who like to play cruel pranks on others
- Merthur, Hamon, Owen, Famagus and Siegfred - caravan guards
Secrets on the trail
To keep the players guessing for as long as possible what the true scope of the journey is all about, there are a number of diversions planned:
- Branderick le Bon is a weretiger. He never goes near the animals and douses his own smell with cologne, but it is possible that the ranger PC's dog might become suspicious. If so, Branderick will try to poison the dog's food. He is not particularly evil, but he is smart enough to know trouble when he sees it. Branderick will examine some dried wolfsbane, which the characters brought back from the druid's cabin - perhaps this will lead them to think he cannot be a werecreature. Branderick is actually just trying to live the life he had before he was affected with lycantropy on a journey to Sind. He has learned to master his affliction very well, so he only changes on nights of the full moon and the nights just before and after that (which next time will be in Dolos). He always manages to make some type of excuse to not be around when that happens - sneaking out into the forest at night etc. - but clever PCs might be able to cathc him in the act so to speak. Whatever they will do then with an angry weretiger and without silver or magical weapons is another question
- The House of Umbarth has a saboteur in the caravan, who will try to make life miserable for everyone. During a night attack by zombies from the bad magic point Dragontree in Alfheim, he will place book worms in the conjurer's tent in an attempt to destroy his spellbook (but will most likely only damage the druid's books). He will also sabotage wagons, cripple horses and spoil supplies if he can get away with it. It shouldn't take the players long to figure out there is a traitor in the caravan and then the fun begins
- An Umbarth mage named Bedalaine is waiting further down the road with a group of bandits to attack the caravan and burn the wagons
The druid's books
The books that the player characters found in the cabin of the dead druid Morfraith are meant to wet their appetite and get them curious about plant lore, alchemy, minerals, gemstones etc.
I want this because I have recently purchased a number of downloads from RPGNow.com with new rules for how to integrate herbs, plants, minerals and gemstones into the game and make these items more interesting as treasures and as items for use in craft and profession skills.
Especially, "Mineral Magic vol 1-3" is interesting to me, because it provides an alternative to lots of magical items in the game. Basically, by using the new feat Harness Gem and a difficult Craft Gems skill check, a player can make gemstone items with magical powers that mirror those of enchanted items that costs more. This means that gemtones can either be sold for cash - or you can try and cut the gem just right, perhaps turning it into magic or perhaps just ruining the stone and loosing all the value in the process.
To get their interest, I included a selection of books that the players would find that hinted that the druid was on to something. Now it is up to the player characters to find out what. If they are smart and read the books and perhaps talk to Franchesca, they will eventually be able to wield the power of gem magic themselves - sort of like crafting jewelery in World of Warcraft
The only problem is, that the mysterious sorcerer Whiteclaw is still out there. He managed to silence Greywand but he didn't get a hold of the journal. The longer the PCs hang on to the book and ask questions about gem magic - perhaps even use Whiteclaw's name - the faster he may track them down.