Secrets & Riddles

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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