Secrets & Riddles

A Flower for a Cure

As the trio sets off in search of the final ingredient they need for the lycanthropy cure, Vlad surprises them with horses on loan from the militia. They set out across the rolling hills toward the Tusk Mountains. Their first night passes without incident and the following day’s ride is met with an unseasonably chill day.

On the second evening, as the final night’s watch is almost over, several pairs of yellow eyes emerge from the darkness, reflecting the firelight. Emitting an ominous, guttural growl, the alpha male of the hunting wolf pack begins to move in as the rest of the pack surrounds the encampment.

Kicking his comrades awake, Serin strikes first – perhaps out of fear, perhaps because he knew it was inevitable. A bloody battle ensues, leaving Serin and Ivan scratched and beaten and Vlad seriously injured, but they are victorious and able to route the beasts.

Continuing on their way, they make it into the foothills and come to a massive gate, guarded by a score of gruff, heavily armed and armored, dwarves. With Vlad’s help, they are able to secure an audience with the Dwarflord and request permission to pass into their lands. They are granted this permission with a stern warning: stay away from the mines under penalty of death.

Accepting the condition, the three travelers ask to see the Hall’s apothecary before they continue on their way. They are escorted to a small shop at the edge of the market where they can inquire where the orchid may be found. The apothecary, a scraggly old dwarf named Content Not Found: dietrich-bergfalk, knows the orchid well and would be willing to pay for any they find and do not need.

With the information that the orchid can be found in the next valley, they travel through the mountain pass where they spend their first night just below the summit. The night is quiet and chilly, but as they break camp, they see a solitary figure standing at the summit of the pass. He doesn’t move to approach or strike out, only watching as they gather their gear.

Serin, Ivan, and Vlad all approach cautiously as they head toward the summit and the next valley. Getting closer, they become even more cautious when they realize the long figure is an orc. He stands, barring their path.

“What business have you here?” the orc asks in guttural common. He is dressed in simple earth-tone robes and carries massive black staff, but continues unthreatening.

They explain they seek the orchid and the orc leaves them with a single warning: “Very well, but do not disturb the balance in this valley.” With that, he stands aside and allows them to pass unhindered.

They arrive in the valley just as the sun begins to settle low in the sky. They set up a hasty camp, then begin their search. They travel west for a time, finding no trace of the orchid. The forest grows thick on the floor of the valley and their only company is the hooting owl and the sounds of scurrying rodents and crickets. Turning south, they come across their first orchid, growing on a vine spiraling up a tree. Searching the area, they uncover several more.

Remembering the orc’s warning, they take only three of the eight orchids. As they head back toward camp, they hear only animal sounds – the owl and an occasional caw of a raven.

That night, while Vlad and Serin sleep, they both toss and turn. At first, Ivan ignores it, then Vlad begins to toss more violently. Ivan kneels over Vlad to shake him awake. Lightning quick, Vlad’s hand shoots out and grabs Ivan’s throat. Vlad growls and his eyes are wide open, flashing yellow in the firelight, he bared teeth seeming almost pointed. Ivan pulls at Vlad’s iron grip, jostling the ranger awake, but Vlad has no memory of what happened.

Unable to sleep, Ivan stays awake with Vlad, noticeably keeping the fire between himself and the ranger, and wakes Serin for his watch a few hours later.

As morning comes, Ivan wakes from a fitful sleep and the three break camp for the return journey. As they leave the valley, they see the orc kneeling atop an outcropping overlooking the trail. He makes no move to attack them and the trio pass out of the valley unabated.

Setting a brisk pace, Ivan pushes the group to return to Lepidstadt sooner rather than later. They bypass the Dwarven hall and exit their lands as well, riding out onto the open plains.

Vlad agrees to be tied down and Serin takes the second watch. As Ivan keeps watch, Serin begins to toss and turn. Ivan, not wanting to chance it, tosses a small rock at Serin to stir him awake. It works and Serin jumps up, hair bristling, eyes wild. He begins to circle the fire, stalking Ivan. Ivan circles with him, keeping the fire between them. Picking up a more sizeable rock, he throws it at the snarling man. His aim is true and he clobbers his friend, but doesn’t deter him and Serin snarls in response.

Ivan heaves a second rock, striking Serin’s head again. Serin shakes it off, but bolts into the night in search of easier prey.

Serin awakens the next morning at the edge of a field, half naked and cold, his hands covered in blood. Ivan remains awake the remainder of the night, freeing Vlad in the morning. They hastily pack up camp and search for Serin’s trail. Picking it up, they track down the young sorceror. They catch up to him, only to find, not only his hands, but his face as well, covered in blood.

Ivan pushes the group even faster back to Lepidstadt, not willing to spend another night in the wilderness with these two. They arrive back in Lepidstadt just before dusk and head straight to the University. Collaborating with Professor Niven, they concoct a potion.

They return to The Maidenhead to confer with Calina and to get some much-needed sleep. Ivan disappears into a room immediately upon receiving a key. Serin convinces Calina to chain Vlad and himself in the cellar for the night.

The evening passes without incident and the pair appears to be rid of the affliction. That morning, they rise late and confer on their next course of action. Deciding they need to somehow draw out the werewolf and, if possible, locate this “Longstride” fellow. They decide to return to the ruins where they were both first encountered.

After resupplying, the three companions set out into the swamps, crossing the tribal territory of the lizard men without incident. They leave the trail and enter the bogs, coming to the site of the standing stones. Searching the area, they discover a large number of footprints coming to and leaving the stones. They track the prints through the bogs, quietly approaching a small compound.

Surrounded by a low wall is what appears to be a simple village. Two large building on opposite sides of a central courtyard and several smaller buildings are erected in the swamp. Black-and-crimson robed figures mill about and perform tasks, before starting to file into one of the larger buildings.

Vlad covers Serin and Ivan from the wall while the other two check out the two larger buildings. Serin investigates the building on the north side of the courtyard, peering in through windows to find a large banquet hall. Ivan checks the other building and sees a large gathering, but is unable to hear what is being said.

The cultists all have their hoods drawn except for the speaker – an aging human with an ornately designed robe. To his right is a hooded figure adorned in full plate and carrying a black morningstar on his (or her) belt. To the orator’s left is a robed figure, with brown locks of hair flowing from under the hood. Her curves suggest femininity and her robes are nearly as ornate as the speakers.

Ivan and Serin return to Vlad’s side just as the cultists begin to exit from the building. They disperse around the compound and go about their tasks. The three figures from the dais all stand and converse at the front steps of the building. Deciding now is a good time to leave, Vlad, Serin, and Ivan try to stealthily make their way back into the swamps.

They reveal themselves with the crack of twig. Looking over their shoulder, they see the unhooded woman sniffing at the air. Cursing their luck, they bolt into the swamps, the cultists in pursuit…

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A Rescue and An Ally
The heroes fend off the gnolls and gain a new ally

After setting out from the Militia outpost near the foot of the Tusk Mountains, Serin and Ivan are led by Pavel’s cousin, Vlad across the plains to a network of deep gullies amidst the foothills. At the end of one of these gullies lies a gnoll encampment and a cave entrance where several frontiersmen and women are being held captive.

As the group approaches, they formulate a plan – two archers, one on each side of the gully, and the remaining 4 will sneak to the edge of the gnoll encampment. As they approach, Serin and Ivan flank the camp to either side of the watchfires while Vlad and the other militiaman approach from the front. As they do, the militiaman stumbles stepping over a large log, attracting the attention of the gnoll band’s hyena and one of the sentries.

Serin and Ivan strike at the stragglers, Ivan preventing the gnoll leader and his bodyguard from entering the fray from the cavern entrance. Ivan first a shot from his crossbow at the nearest sentry, missing by small margin.

The battle rages on and the gnolls fall one-by-one, but not before the clumsy militiaman is torn to shreads by the hyena, Ivan is mortally wounded, and Serin is left severely injured. But, the small group of allies prevails, slaying the gnoll leader and sending the lone remaining gnoll scurrying off with his pet in tow.

Inside the cavern are three households and some of their ill-gotten spoils. The gnolls had the settlers mining for uncut ore and gems. Thought not worth as much as cut stones, they will certainly give the pair some spending money with their other magical spoils from the gnoll leader.

Having rescued the settlers from slavery, Vlad entrusts their care to the other militiamen and returns to Lepidstadt with Serin and Ivan. First getting supplies for their journey and getting updated on information about the swamps, they learn that news of a murder in Lozari has begun to filter into the County. It’s only a matter of time before the bounty hunters follow..

Though still needing information to clear their name, the trio opts to get a fresh start in the morning, which turns to late morning after their evening of drinks and carousing. The bard which frequently performed at The Ghoul’s Jawbone is now also performing at The Magic Maidenhead. He gives a rousing performance before he retires to a racous applause.

The three make it to bed, but have strange dreams of a clamor and ruckus outside the inn. When they awaken, they find Calina speaking to the local guardsmen and one of the windows of the inn cracked. Over breakfast, Serin inquires about what happened, learning of a massive brawl outside the tavern involving some of the patrons.

With fresh packs, full bellies, and hangover-free, the three set out north along the river to the crossing into the swamps…

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More Questions than Answers
The mystery deepens as our heroes search for answers

Through the evening, Ivan and Serin examine the notes they receovered from Professor Kirov’s body. As they read through the pages, they discover one of the pages, containing what appears to be some key information, is missing. Unfortunately, they can’t make sense of the remaining information, though everything confirms their plan to travel to the standing stones the professor had been studying.

As the evening winds down, a bard takes the stage at The Ghoul’s Jawbone, once again enthralling the audience. After the bard’s performance and the tavern has begun to empty out, the pair heads off for a good night’s sleep before meeting Professor Peskow.

They awaken early for a morning meal and the Professor arrives as expected. She’s surprised by Kirov’s murder and proves helpful in deciphering the notes. With the professor’s help, the heroes learn about the existence of a book given to Kirov by someone named “Longstride”. Hoping to find this book, they opt to search Kirov’s office at the University. Professor Peskow offers to check for the spare key and meet them at the university. With that, she takes her leave.

With a little bit of time, Ivan and Serin decide to check in with Calina at The Magic Maidenhead. On the way to the docks district, Ivan and Serin are halted by a city guardsman. A little nervous at first, but recovering quickly when the guardsman asks them to take the next avenue over, they inquire about what’s happening. Looking down the street, a man sits sobbing on a stoop under guard and a woman’s body lies in the street.

The guardsman tells them the man flew into a rage the night before, beating his wife to death. The couple looks familiar to Ivan and Serin, but neither can place them for certain. With nothing they can do, the pair continues on to The Magic Maidenhead. Once there, they help Calina with some of the opening chores and ask about “Longstride”. Not recognizing the name, they ask her to keep an ear out for information which she accepts.

From the Maidenhead, the pair heads to the University and Professor Peskow meets them at the office, key in hand. As she tries to open the door, it seems jammed. Forcing the door, they discover the office has been ransacked. Searching through it, they discover what was once a hidden compartment ripped open and empty. The window frame has deep gouges from what appears to be claws. Finding little else of use, Serin and Ivan decide it is time to go meet with Pavel’s cousin, Vlad.

Stopping for some provisions for their week on the road, Serin and Ivan start on the trade road toward the Tusk Mountains and the Vieland Militia outpost to the west. Throughout the first day, neither can shake the feeling of being watched. The first day passes without incident, as does the night. Breaking camp, the group continues, noting the build-up of a storm in the mountains on the horizon.

Making camp the second night, the pair sees, against the sunset, a lone figure watching the camp. Stoking the fire as a distraction, Ivan and Serin sneak around to the figure. As they get close, they startle it, but quickly assure it they mean no harm.

Questioning the creature reveals they are being followed something else and have been since the night of the murder. Lacking any kind of description from the figure, a roughly humanoid creature standing nearly eight feet tall and with necrotic skin that appears sewn together in places, they learn only that this lone figure is both terrified of the other creature but also that it provides the figure with food on occasion. As Serin and Ivan ponder their next question, the figure, suddenly spooked, turns and runs into the night.

Serin and Ivan return to camp, taking turns at watch again. The night passes without incident, and the pair breaks camp and continue the journey toward the outpost. The feeling of being watched persists and the gathering storm begins to drop a steady drizzle. The moisture in the air and cooler weather results in a thickening fog blanketing the area. Camp is again set as the daylight retreats, but the fog remains.

Ivan’s final watch of the trek passes without incident. Serin, however, notices shadowy figures moving in the fog. As the creatures approach the camp on three sides, Serin wakes Ivan. The creatures give a yip of anticipation, identifying them as gnolls. A thinly veiled threat and offer to not hurt them if they come quietly for “work” is declined and the three gnolls attack.

Serin incapacitates one, but the hyena fights off the effects of the spell, leaping at Serin and dropping the sorceror quickly. Ivan takes a hit from one of the two gnolls surrounding him, but returns blows injuring one. The hyena, too distracted by its hunt, stands over Serin, while Ivan successfully blocks the first spear aimed at him, but is stabbed by the second. He returns blows again, but is blocked. Trading blows a final time, Ivan drops one of the gnolls, throwing the other into a panicked retreat.

Acting quickly, Ivan stabilizes his companion and stands guard the remainder of the night. The pair survives the night, though badly beaten, and complete the trek to the outpost the following morning. Arriving near mid-day, they are admitted and ask to see Vladmir. They are sent to the clerics and told that Vladmir will meet them there.

Vlad meets them at the hospital building and the two relay the events thus far. Vlad, saddened by news of Kirov’s death, is willing to help, but first, he needs to rescue some local frontier folk from a band of gnolls. The lair lies at the base of the Tusk Mountains, a half-day’s travel west.

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Framed!
Our adventurers meet and are accused of murder

After 10 years, Serin returns to Lepidstadt for a good friend and mentor’s funeral. Fillyp Asimov taught him much of what he knows and news of his death reached him in Caliphas. Not knowing what to expect, he meets Petr Kirov, a professor at the University of Lepidstadt and friend to Fillyp. The professor had helped Fillyp gain admittance to the University and had heard much about Serin and their friendship from Fillyp. Fillyp was also working with the professor as an assistant and apprentice and had traveled with him on more than one excavation.

The professor asks Serin to meet him at The Ghoul’s Jawbone to talk more about Fillyp. With him, he brings Ivan, a young monk who met the professor through his Order and wished to study alchemy at the university. The group conversed into the evening as a bard played a variety of melodies and told folktales. They talk of Fillyp’s life as well as the professor’s work. He has made a tremendous discovery, but is unwilling to reveal it just yet.

As the hour got late, the professor took his leave, but revealed plans to travel home to the town of Orsk for a festival. Seeking protection, he asked Serin and Ivan to join him, believing there would be safety in numbers.

The trio departs the next morning, talking as they travel. In the distance, they hear the yips of local wildlife and observe a storm brewing to the South. The first night, they camp in a small grove of ash trees, just off the road. A fire is built and somewhat sheltered from a brief rain shower by the trees. The yips of the animals remains close and they set a watch for the evening.

As Ivan sits watch, he hears rustling and yips all about the camp. Exercising caution, he awakens the others. Serin, not wanting a confrontation, conjures voices of additional travelers. The yips die down, but not before one source, a large gnoll, bursts from the trees and runs through the camp. The professor is left unnerved and stokes the fire, but the remainder of the evening passes without incident.

Serin, Ivan, and Professor Kirov continue their travels. The day is dreary, overcast, and rainy and a thick mist covers the ground to their knees. Trudging along, they find camp in a second, sparse grove of trees near the road. Again, they set a watch, the professor taking the first shift.

The following morning, Serin and Ivan awaken to the sound of crows and the smell of blood mixing with wildflowers and morning dew. The professor’s body lies where he sat down to take watch, his face frozen in terror and agony and his body torn open, flesh and entrails exposed and torn to ribbons.

Confused, they search the camp. They find a small bit of silver dust, but no idea what it means. The find a stack of notes, complex and confusing, in a satchel. They save these to study later for clues about his murder. As they search, Ivan spots a lone figure set atop a nearby bluff. He sets out after it, but after a short chase the creature – almost humanoid, with mismatched, necrotic skin colors and a shambling, hunched gait – eludes him.

Honoring his wishes, Ivan and Serin return the professor’s body to Orsk, seeking out his family at the town square. Unfortunately, the town is a superstitious lot and fearful of strangers. They are accused of the crime and their arguments go unheard. Overhearing that they will be jailed for the crime simply to avoid their being lynched, Ivan and Serin make their escape, an angry crowd in pursuit.

Running through a cornfield and hearing the baying of hounds in the distance, they are tiring quickly. Getting as far ahead of their pursuers as possible, Serin covers their trail with blast of acid, then they retrace their steps and hide in a nearby barn. The hounds follow the trail, yelping when they come across the remnants of the acid and preventing further pursuit by the hounds.

After escaping the townsfolk, they decide their best course of action is to return to Lepidstadt and try to determine what the professor was working on. They travel off the roads through the Shudderwood, eventually coming to a crossing over the river. Paying the ferryman, the two young men travel back to Lepidstadt along the north bank of the river in Vieland.

Once back in Vieland, Ivan and Serin split up, agreeing to rendezvous at The Ghoul’s Jawbone. Ivan went to the university, seeking out Professor Feona Peskow and being directed to her assistant, Pavel. He arranges a meeting with the professor at The Jawbone and is given the name of a tracker, Pavel’s cousin, who may be able to help them on their expedition into the marshes to the East.

Serin remembers an old friend who may be able to tell him if word of their status has reached Lepidstadt. He seeks out Calina at The Magic Maidenhead and rediscovers an old friend. Now the proprietor, Serin fills Calina in on the past 10 years, including the events of the past week. Confident that they can investigate without fear of being arrested on sight, Serin says good night and returns to the Jawbone to meet with Ivan.

They formulate a plan and decide the best course of action is to meet with the professor in the morning and go over the notes before going to meet with Pavel’s cousin, Vlad, to enlist his tracking services.

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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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