Heroes of Styness

Session Three
In which we Interrogate our Way through Bumpkin Land

After the Goblins
Phylacteries aren’t necessary to practice Necromancy, but they make better skeletons which last longer.
Curteel’s wounds are worse than previously appeared, and he collapses into unconsciousness. Erik Bornald says that we need to get him to Werrickshire, the largest settlement in Rholv. The main road between villages in Rholv is called the Cowpath. Rholv ranges from 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level.

Werrickshire has a population of approxomately 500, not including skeletons, who are more common than people (/elves, /dwarves, etc). Erik Bornald believes Bork and the Goblins destroyed some skeletons and took the Phylacteries from them.

Olin, Bill, and Jolly are from Werrickshire. We arrive there late in the afternoon, on the second day of the three day Moving Up festival, the spring festival when the cattle move up to summer pastures in the north of Rholv. It appears to be a pleasant county fair; cows wander the streets of the village.

We are met by a fat and greasy man, who questions Erik who we are. He’s mostly upset because he thinks our appearance ruined the Celebration. Erik gives the fat man, Delm Fryborg, a piece of paper, with orders concerning us. We’re to do light work, lighter than we should be doing given our cover story, but giving us more freedom to spy. We’re set to sweep up after the celebration. Delm Fryborg also brings a cleric to tend our wounds and look after Curteel. Erik Bornald tells us to keep our ears open.

Spy Labor
Patrick Kelley appears on a horse, posing as a researcher from the Styness Institute to investigate strange magic residue. He takes the best room at the inn, the Haddock’s Finn. The innkeeper is thin, cleanly, and hungry for ready gold. Surprisingly, he understands Old Tongue, indicating he may have contact with Foreigners.

On the street, a gnome is selling mead from Northlund, an unusual sight in Rholv. He describes himself as a “Northlunder,” not “Northie,” as is more common. Patrick Kelley and Bel mention a (non-existent) note in Old Tongue they found in the room of the Inn where the gnome, Humbart Brommel had been staying; Humbart Brommel gets a little nervous and tries to run. We threaten him with the guard (it appears gnomes are second-class citizens and easy to boss around), and he and his bodyguard, Flordian try to fight us.

After we subdue them, we manage to talk Erik into letting us interrogate them out in the slaughter house. We also take their ledger, which uses codes based on Old Tongue. We decipher the codes; the ledger contains records of the goods and information Humbart Brommel has smuggled, the payoffs he received, and the costs he’s incurred, but each file uses code names for the goods or information, as well as the clients and mooks.

Quentin and Patrick Kelley proceed to tortureHumbart Brommel for information; essentially, he’s a smuggler. He’s been collecting information on the clergy for someone named Tholme, from the far north of Rholv. He drops the information in a secret spot, and someone else picks it up. We learn where that dropbox is.

Midnight Raiders
We turn Humbart Brommel and Flordian in to Erik Bornald to hold. We then turn to investigate the inn and innkeeper. Patrick Kelley and Quentin torture the innkeeper, but don’t learn much. By now Curteel Bundo has recovered and joined us. He, Malcolm Chandler, and Beladon Mancyas investigate a suspicious closed room. Zanas sneaks in to what appears to be a kitchen; there are a few people in there. In addition, Zanas picks up auras of Necromancy on the people.

We try to find a window into that room, but instead find a sleeping chamber with a woman sleeping. There are papers in the desk, and the same aura of Necromancy emanating from the wardrobe. Curteel makes his way to the room and sneaks in successfully. However, when he opens the wardrobe, he triggers a trap which causes a pound of marbles to drop out. Patrick Kelley stuns the woman with a color spray spell before she wakes. In the wardrobe we find an (inanimate) skeleton and a Phylactery. We grab the Phylactery and scoop up the papers from the desk, and make a hasty-yet-subtle retreat.

We regroup and meet up with Erik Bornald (bringing the innkeeper, who has been tied up), and proceed to tell him everything.

Bel’s Thoughts
Since we’ve almost certainly overstayed our welcome in Werrickshire, it’s likely time to continue north to the drop location and see who shows up. If that doesn’t lead to anything, we should go find this Tholme and find out why he is collecting information on the clergy. We need to decide whether we think the people in the kitchen where making Phylacteries, smuggling them, or something else. I should try to learn more about the process of making (although since it’s likely a divine spell, I probably won’t be able to replicate it). And who is going to such trouble over these Phylacteries, when as Erik Bornald said, it would be pretty easy to go around Rholv destroying skeletons and taking their Phylacteries?

Next session, we should go through the papers and also the magic items we took from Bork. I will have identify and comprehend languages prepared.

Also, what happens if you remove a Phylactery from an animate skeleton? And shouldn’t we also ask around in Werrickshire to see if we can find out what Olin, Jolly, and Bill were up to?

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Session Two
In which we are Deputized in a suspicious matter

The following day. We’re at work, when guards arrive separately at our workplaces. They insist we accompany them to the headquarters of the Guard to see I forget if there is another name for this place. All of us but Patrick Kelley are there. We’re gathered in an opulent waiting room. It’s a nice place. Guards wait on the couches, we stand.

5 minutes go by. We discover that we’re in the waiting room to the office of the Antistitor Primoris, Bernard “Sheriff” Corson. Quentin bounces and picks a fight with the guards, but nothing comes of it. Five more minutes pass, before a lieutenant opens the door and escorts us in under guard.

The most noticeable feature of the room is an enormous mahogany desk, behind which sits a very bored looking Bernard Corson. He has heard from Eduard Masterson that we “assaulted a member of the night watch,” and proceeds to grill us on our involvement. After a while, he dismisses all the guards except for Lieutenant Erik Bornald. He then reveals that he knows the truth, that the guard was Bill masquerading. Bernard Corson tells us that he believes that Foreigners are forging Guard uniforms and badges. Because Bill, Olin, and Jolly all work in the agriculture bureau in Rholv, Corson believes the foreigners are based there. He wants us to find evidence of foreigners and/or counterfeiting. Erik Bornald will transport us to Rholv in the guise of prisoners. Bernard Corson gives each of us 10 pp and the rest of the day to shop and prepare.

That afternoon, we meet to discuss our options. Bel and Curteel Bundo don’t trust that the Sheriff is telling us the truth: either he is so paranoid he believes this is the work of foreigners, or he’s lying to us to cover something, likely political infighting. In case we’re way over our heads, we’d like to find an escape route short of running off into the mountains. We don’t come up with anything , but agree to keep on the lookout for signs that we don’t know the whole truth.

Into the Wilds
The next morning (Sunday), we gather at the West Gate. Erik Bornald demonstrates the secret hiding places in the wagon. Bel wonders what the Guard uses these wagons for normally. We’re manacled to the wagon, but there is a release mechanism under Erik Bornald’s control. We begin our journey.

A few hours away from Rholv, passing through a narrow pass along a mountain stream, we’re ambushed by half a dozen goblins, a pair of orcs, and several goblin skeletons. The skeletons have the same Phylacteries as Stynesian skeletons. Erik Bornald releases us, and we defeat them, despite the fact that one of the goblins is a cleric and created several skeletons. One of the orcs escapes, and we capture Bizog the goblin. He tells us about his tribe’s village, and how their Shaman Bork became smarter recently and learned to create skeletons. We question Bizog and then after an argument about what to do with him we leave him to signal us if he sees anyone following.

Bel’s Thoughts on the Matter
I’m not sure whether we’ll find foreigners or someone else behind this. I need to know more about how skeletons are created, but if the Phylacteries are a necessary part of the magic, it makes sense that the same group who is forging badges could be forging Phylacteries for the goblins. However, it seems unlikely that Foreigners would be using necromancy in any kind of attack on Styness. Assuming there is nothing immediately strange in Rholv, I think we should find out who could be forging badges and/or Phylacteries. I think many artisans make Phylacteries, but it might be an unusual thing for someone out in Rholv to be doing.

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Session One
In which we are Attained and go to a party

Background Information
Styness is a city of approximately 100,000. The city is arranged in a circle. The whole region is cut off from the rest of the continent by the Kelkar Mountains, and there are only a few (one?) difficult passes to the outside world. There are two other valleys connected to Styness by lower passes – Northlund and Rholv valleys. Styness was founded approxomately 850 years ago by outcasts from elsewhere on the continent. These outcasts were driven out due to their use of Necromancy.

Styness City is divided into three sections, corresponding to the three Paths: Artisan, Artist, and Philosopher. More important members of society have residences closer to the center. At the center is an enormous Grey Tower of unknown height which houses the Empyrean. The Empyrean is an enormous blue flame. Blue Smoke rises over the city out the top of the tower. Styness’s governing Religion holds that the souls of the departed enter the Empyrean, where the afterlife is located. Since Styness acknowledges planar Cosmology, do the souls of the dead not appear on the planes?

Styness is a bureaucratic theology. The chief of state is the Prelate Nullius (awesome title) Gerod Tremane. Lives are controlled by the state, and everyone has a permanent record.

Bodies of the dead are animated as Skeletons. These skeletons provide cheap labor, allowing the entire society to function at a fairly high technological and intellectual level. The skeletons are not associated with the people to whom they once belonged. The skeletons break down over roughly a century, so the population does not grow astronomically.

Northlund Valley is lower than Styness, and is connected by the Sigrid River. Most of the agricultural products come from Northlund. Rholv is higher and connected by a mountain road. The terrain is high prairie, and a lot of animal husbandry (primarily goats and sheep) takes place there.

It Starts
We begin the game at our Attainment (promotion from apprentice to journeyman in our various careers. Essentially graduation). This takes place in a large square just north of the Grey Tower. 1,500 young people are attained today, slightly larger than usual. Quentin notices Jane and her sexy alterations to her robes. There is discussion of food.

Several long speeches ensue. Bernard “Sheriff” Corson is the police chief/captain of the Guard for the city and speaks first. Bel is discretely reading a historical essay about the hushed-up case of the heretical uncle of a previous Prelate Nullius. Attainment is the “social event of the season,” and all the movers and shakers are there.

The next speaker is Jory Hern, the First Artisan. He repeats himself frequently, using short sentences. Not much of a public speaker.

The next speaker is Carlotte Malmsten, the First Artist. She uses obnoxious metaphors and tries to sound smarter than she is. Next comes Manwe Suchkin, the First Philosopher. He’s impatient at having to wait to speak, since he’s such a better speaker than the others (and knows it). He has a morbid turn of mind, and the gist of his speech is “be a good citizen, because someday you will die.”

Finally Gerod Tremane speaks. He reads segments from an ancient history of Styness analogous to the Bible, although not a holy text itself. He speaks well, but gives the same speech every year: be good citizens so you will join the Empyrean.

We’re all glad that Fredrik Fegal, the old First Artist joined the Empyrean five years ago – he seemed to believe the longer the speech the better.

After Attainment we have a chance to go to the fancy State Dinner/Tea Party or a student after party. Naturally, we choose the student party and proceed to get drunk. Shenanigans ensue. Quentin tries to rufie Jane (and Patrick tries to rufie Bel…). Patrick picks a fight with Emmond Braggus, Malcolm is working, and Bel is dancing with Queelie, an attractive young gnome.

Emmond Braggus is a bully. Patrick tricks him into getting too drunk. Frena Goldwin, a “nancy-type” cleric shows up and heals him of alcohol poison, then drags him off. Emmond‘s friends/mooks Olin (human) and [[:jolly] (Dwarf. It’s his name, not an ironic nickname) come and start arguing with Patrick about his tricks, but they’re too drunk to figure out what to say.

Quentin and Patrick are trying to get some illicit substances. Patrick summons a toad to try to get high, but I bet the toad was poisonous. They don’t actually do anything. Then we find out that Jolly’s buddy Schmidt is dealing. We “pimp” Jane & some of her friends for Lady-Jane-esque drugs. We get walking to another party, where the drugs are. We now discover that the original student party was at Jane’s family’s house.

We’re on our way to a bad neighborhood when we round a corner and see Jolly, Olin and one other figure coming toward us. The other figure is dressed as a Day Guard, although it’s night. The guard tries to detain us, but he doesn’t have solid justification. The three of them try to grab us, so Bel runs for help. Before he gets back with a Night Guard, Quentin and Patrick have knocked the three out. They discover forged Guard badges. The name on the badge the guy dressed as a guard is Josef Karamazov. Olin has a day guard badge with the name Gabriel Nyder. Jolly is carrying a sack with 20 gp?

Bel returns with a mustachio’d night Guard, who recognizes the “Night Guard” as Bill, a local malcontent and/or drunkard. Fortunately he believes that they attacked us, rather than the other way around, and halls them off for impersonating guards. The mustachio’d guard is named Eduard Masterson. We thank him for his assistance with 8 gp and Curteel can I call him Curt? promises to spread his fame. We reach second level.

Bel’s Thoughts on the matter:
I would have thought Jolly and Olin had roped Bill into a plot to get back at us for what Patrick did to Emmond, but the counterfeit badges required preparation. Also, what’s with the 20 gp? Were they payed to go after us? If so, we have enemies more threatening than a few bullies, about whom I know nothing. It’s clear that I’m currently useless in combat, although I hadn’t prepared my spells with combat in mind. Schmidt ran off as soon as trouble started, so he might be the cause of some trouble later. Jane & her friend (never caught her name) seem like good eggs, maybe deserving of more respect.

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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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