Tag Archives: fantasy

Heroes of Harrowdale: Session 4

Returning to Harrowdale with the moonstone, we were amazed that so much was dying so quickly after the river’s course had been changed. But between us, we were able to transform the moonstone into a magical latticework that spanned the chasm, restoring the water’s natural flow. A magical, white spire rose from the latticework, forever commemorating what had transpired.

We gathered supplies, information, and errands from those in Harrowdale and set off on horseback toward Anvil. Along the way, we faced a number of setbacks, culminating in a wandering band of undead. We tracked them back to where they had come from and found a cave, whose archway had been protected by the Icons’ magic. But that magic was failing, and undead was escaping.

Fearing the depths, we sought to perform a ritual to reseal the opening, and Arthus summoned a powerful undead to be used for it. That decision proved to be fraught with peril. While we managed to subdue the monster and use its power to seal the archway, it came at the cost of Emberlight and Matraz’s lives.

The remaining two days’ travel to Anvil passed in silence, and when we arrived, we kept our saddened minds and hearts occupied by seeking out contacts there who might be able to help us in our quest.

Heroes of Harrowdale – Session 3

We emerged on the hill overlooking Harrowdale to see the walls engulfed in flames and besieged by trolls. Their leader, Bloodtusk, was at the city gate, tearing it apart piece by piece. He became aware of our presence and threw a piece at us where it crushed Kawanishi. We met in combat where Emberlight cast lightning into the river, damaging friend and foe alike, hidden thieves’ guild traps went off, Matraz discovered his sword could be used like a boomerang, he was also beaten with the gate like a nail and hammer, and Arthus deathknelled Bloodtusk who then rose from the dead to strike out one last time at Maris, knocking her unconscious. But despite all that, we emerged victorious and set about helping the town put out the fires, heal their wounded, and cleanse the undead taint from the battlefield.

As the tempo of battle disappeared, we learned much about the Stone Thief – a massive living dungeon that the Prince of Thieves and the Archmage had subdued years ago by taking its 13 eyes and hiding them. But it seems that the Lich King is seeking to summon it again and slay its heart thereby subduing it and raising it as a living necropolis. We learned that the Eye that had been hidden nearby was taken by Darien the Great to either ShadowPort or Glitterhaegen, and we committed ourselves to tracking him down and recovering that Eye.

But in the meantime, Harrowdale and those downstream will suffer from the damage wrought by the Stone Thief’s disruption of the river’s flow. We could perform a healing ritual to mend it, but that would require a potent source of earth energy. The mushroom-eating, puma-riding, pixies told us where we could find such and object, and our dryad and druid contacts sent us across the root systems to the location. We had to fight off a band of redcaps, but at last, we had secured the ‘ground magic’ needed to fix that which the Stone Thief had broken.

Zaharets: Session 1

The five of them, Kenin, Famia, Bet, Shem, and Azor had been journeying togethers as Jackals for some time and recently found themselves arriving in Orsem Yahan where they were hoping to find employ. The various traders in town were worried about recent attacks that had taken place, and the town leader, Nomar, explained that two caravans headed North had been beset by local bandits, otherwise known as Wolves. In the most recent attack, a Trauj warrior by the name of Bai had managed to escape after slaying a number of them.

The five Jackals agreed to pursue the Wolves and easily followed the tracks to a cave hidden being a cascading waterfall. Leaving the sunset behind, they stepped into darkness and were greeted by the smell of blood and death. They found the Wolves, but they had been slain by something else…ancabars! The surprise attack by the burrowing spider-like creatures was as quick as it was vicious, and Bet was almost taken alive down one of the ancabar’s tunnels. But the Jackals emerged victorious.

After scavenging bits of black coin and examining the Serpent-like tattoos each of the bandits wore, the party descended into the tunnels and discovered an ancient complex. The party momentarily split, with Shem and Azor finding a massive mosaic map while the others broke a pulsating orb of corruption. The explosion drew the attention of a large group of undead, and Famia, Bet, and Kenin fought a retreat until they were bolstered by Shem and ???. Shortly thereafter, the undead were put to their final rest.

Curiosity getting the better of them, they traced the undead’s tracks back to a room housing a large, stone sarcophagus. There they also found the skins of the missing caravan. Disturbing the sarcophagus brought forth a fierce battle against a potent spectre. Again, flesh and blood prevailed against the dead, though the battle was closer than any cared to admit.

Licking their wounds, the Jackals returned to Orsem Yahan where they got some much needed rest in the barracks.

Heroes of Harrowdale – Session 2

We all entered the underground chamber and took a look around. Kawanisi emerged from the shadows to join our group just in time to pocket one of the finely wrought pieces of miniature gear we found. But she freely gave it up in the next room when we were faced with an unique challenge of matching equipment to statues then throwing them into the correct gullet.

That opened a door to another chamber where we fought gemstone dragons and guardian constructs after touching a fake rendition of the Eye of the Stone Thief – left by the one, the only, Darien the Great! We looted his cache then narrowly escaped back to the surface as the puzzle reset itself and several of us were almost eaten by hungry stairs.

Up top, we found the remains of a necrotic ritual that we destroyed with some excellent sake before following the tracks back to a troll warcamp. The camp had been abandoned as they all marched for war, though there were an unlucky few who stayed behind to fix a siege engine or tow. Like the heroes we are, we promptly ensured they’d never make it to the front lines.

After gathering some intel, we sent out an alert to a number of the Icons and hightailed it back to Harrowdale. We encountered a few hardships along the way, and crested the ridge overlooking the town to find Bloodtusk and his horde besieging the place.

Plains of Aeco – Session 8

I awoke famished the next morning and ate a massive breakfast. Malek joined me for the meal which was concluded by him combing wine through is beard and tucking fish under his arms for later. I made my way over to Tagi’s armory and inquired after some sort of bracer with a blade attached. They said they could fashion one, but with Sameel’s group departing for Bar’tak Ken’tak, my project would be a lower priority.

Content with that, I wandered outside where I met Dabar’s new friend, Shuma. He looks like an able enough lad, and it will be nice to have someone else for Dabar to talk to. We also ran into Nabal, who is exploring what could be Hulathi ruins to the West. He requested our aid when we were done helping Japeth, and he was kind enough to give us a blessing for our journey. Dabar wasn’t impressed with him, but I liked the priest. I’m looking forward to spending more time with him.

Shuma then led us to a vendor where I could buy a mule. We briefly haggled on a price and settled on one that seemed fair. Just as our business was concluding, Malek offered to buy up the rest of them! The owner was just as shocked as I was, but he gathered his composure quickly enough to take Malek’s gold and dance away, rejoicing at the windfall. Malek attempted to let the mules go free, but this was obviously a new concept for them.

I spent the rest of the day amused by Malek’s attempts at releasing them and finished my evening back at Sameel’s barracks. The afternoon rains had cleared, and as the stars slowly twinkled into existence, I was once again reminded of the skies over our enclave. The sky is the same, but the world seems a much larger place somehow out here on the plains.


The next morning, I saddled up the mule, swung by Tagi’s (only to find the bracer wasn’t finished yet), and we left Sentem behind. I can see the mountains rising up from the plains in the distance; it’s looks like it’s going to be a good day for traveling!

Plains of Aeco – Session 7

I found I had some time before dinner and far more money than I knew what to do with, so I wanted Sentem. Preparations for the festival was evident everywhere, as people were moving to and fro. It was in passing just such a group that the attention of my nose was captured by the heavenly smell of freshly baked bread. The aroma took me back to the enclave where we would bake sweetcakes together, and I had a brilliant idea: I would share those sweetcakes with the town of Sentem at this festival! I found the baker, a man named Har, and bought everything he would have sold and then some and commissioned him to make the Hulathi sweetcakes and distribute them freely during the festival. I left him and made my way to Sameel’s house quite content with myself and eager to attend the festival and have that little taste of home.

Sameel’s ‘feast’ was a spartan affair, and I think we were all too polite to eat much. The conversation quickly took a turn toward the inner conflict Sameel had between what he wanted to do, what his father would do, and what he thought would be best for the surrounding lands. He recounted a tale to us of the Fountains of Amena Woami and how it was a place where the three people had gathered: the Hann, the Hulathi, and the humans. Sameel has a vision for this land to return to such a time…a time where people can come and go in peace. I was deeply moved by his vision, and promised I would do what I can to aid him in that.

Shortly after our ‘dinner’ and conversation, Dubar requested that we be able to see Jepeth, for he might be able to better ascertain what is ailing him. Sameel consented, and we found ourselves in a darkened, warm room with a crazed, naked man hunched in the corner. What caught my attention though was that the windows were boarded up from the outside. Glyphs had been scratched on the walls, and one of them matched the scrap of map that we had previously found.

In asking Sameel about it, he said that the ‘black-bound tree’ had long been used by the takan. That phrase reminded me of some ancient murals back at the enclave. Painted images of armies rising up against my people carrying banners with the symbol of the Iron-Bound Tree emblazoned upon them. That phrase whispered from my lips and Jepeth reacted violently. He hovered in the air while I felt my very soul begin to leech from my body. We both collapsed at the same time – he looking haler, and I feeling quite weakened.

Our course of action is confirmed. We must drive out that which is embodying that poor man. Its evil was a force that drove my people into hiding, and I will not stand by and let it be unleashed again. We will spend tomorrow gathering our supplies, then we will head East to look for the last ingredient needed for this ritual of cleansing.

Plains of Aeco – Session 6

After we finished scavenging the remains of the norakan and tucked the ayal’s heart safely away, we took our bearings and decided to cut as straight a course as we could back to Densem. With Malak leading the way, we made good time and found a nice hill to rest for the night. Everyone but Dabar and I were too tired from the forced march to continue the next day, so we took it easy. Arina found some more herbs and I wandered around, looking for any evidence of the civilization my people left behind. Other than a few scraps that might have been something once, I didn’t find anything.

The second night also passed uneventfully, and the next day Malak led us unerringly to the banks of the Wuma Amwa. Dabar was familiar enough with the surrounding area to know that Densem was just a ways on the other side. We found a long-abandoned raft, but not quite trusting it, everyone but Toara got into the water and tried to wade across. The current was stronger than we had anticipated though, and we all lost our footing. Other than getting wet, no harm was done, and we finally made it to the other side and then on to Densem.

The sights and sounds of an event being prepared assaulted our senses, and Dabar told us that the Festival of First Planting was only a few days away. Gann and Zakar spotted us as we entered the town and gave us their greeting and congratulations on our success. Before leaving us, Zakar told us about a Ger trader that had passed through on his way. He then gave Arina a missive to deliver to Sameel upon our return to Sentem.

Gann pulled me aside and asked if I had found anything in the woods. I suspect he was looking for more electrum, but he wasn’t explicit about it. I showed him the two rings I had found but he wasn’t very interested in them. We spent the night at his place again, and I was able to regale him with the tale of our slaying the tiger beetles. I might have embellished the truth a bit, but he was certainly entertained. He and I had a good chat later that evening after the others fell asleep. He seems like a good fellow, though lonely. I wish there was more I could do for him, though I think simply being friendly might be helping in some small way.

Ari met us the next morning with horses and told us to make for Sentem as fast as we could. She bade Dabar return soon and asked us to take word to Sameel that she doesn’t think Densem could wait much longer for aid against the takan that have taken residence in Ba’tak Kentak.

We had an enjoyable ride North and came across the Ger peddler Zakar had told us about. He introduced himself as Ashoar, and he was very keen on the various pieces of jewelry we had found in the woods. He promised to buy them once he set up his stand in Sentem for 1100 gold! I had no idea that what we had found would be worth that much!

Riding ahead, we found Arashad as quickly as we could, who rejoiced at our success. We have just one more element to recover, and she’ll be able to complete her ritual. And on that note, she had heard rumor of a piece of an old Hann road had been discovered in the mountains to the East.

I think we’ll probably head there next, but before we can resupply and depart, Sameel has requested us to join him for dinner.

Plains of Aeco – Session 5

After returning to Dabar and the others, we fashioned a travois from the Tiger Beetle carapaces and decided to press on a bit further before night descended, hoping that we’d find a more defensible location to set up camp. We followed the ayal tracks to the southeast until we happened upon an old ruin. It appeared to be a long-abandoned outpost of some sort, so we commandeered it. Just as we were settling down, Malak let out a terrifying roar. He said it was to warn his foes of his presence and call his friends to him. I don’t know about that, but the trees above him did fill up with all sorts of night fowl. He’s a strange one.


The night passed uneventfully, and Dabar ate a hearty breakfast. I think he’s feeling better, but we knew we’d be there another day. We all made the best of it though. Arina had found some acacia trees the previous night and after searching around the tower, found some wild thyme to compliment it. I had found some writing on the tower, and Toara helped interpret it. It seems that this was one of three ‘shields’ securing the ‘vault of the exiled.’ The other two had fallen, and a dire warning had been added to the inscription that it was only a matter of time before they come. I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but by the looks of the tower, the warning had probably been fulfilled. Malak also dug around in the tower and found an old backpack with some gold and such in it. I walked around the tower a bit and found takan tracks headed in the same direction as the ayal. We debated about pressing on toward them without Dabar, but in the end made the decision to wait till morning and try to catch up then.


When dawn broke, Dabar was in much better spirits and devoured everything we put in front of him, including some boiled tiger beetle juice. Malak had been munching away at the remains he brought with him and assured us that it was tasty, but based on the reaction Dabar had, I’m fine letting Malak eat the rest.

We pushed hard after the takan. The going was much easier with the takan tracks being considerably more obvious than the ayal, and by the end of the day, we could hear the norakan’s raucous cries. We surprised them with our attack, and working together, we slew them all and emerged mostly unscathed.

The norakan’s frenzy we had heard was because they had cornered the ayal we had been tracking and had been taunting and perhaps even torturing it. The poor thing looked absolutely terrified, but as soon as Arina released it from the net it was trapped in, it lay its head down on her lap. She spoke to it, explaining our need for its heart, and it bared its chest to her. The dagger’s work was swift, and when the ayal’s lifeblood poured out, I was almost knocked over by a sudden, fierce wind. It briefly swept away the smell of the battle and left us with a moment of profound peace.

I don’t know exactly what I witnessed in that moment, but both the self-sacrifice of the ayal and that wind-blown moment of peace weighed heavily on my mind as we scavenging the norakan’s bodies. We found quite a few valuable items, including a ring of invisibility, though we’ll have to wait till we return to Densem or Sentem to determine their actual worth. Malak sampled some liquid in a vial we found and fell to the ground convulsing. I thought for sure the poison would take his life, but he climbed back to his feet seemingly none the worse for wear. He’s made of hardier stuff than I am!

We’re all pretty worn out from double-marching all day, so I think we’ll make camp here and head back to town in a couple of days.

Plains of Aeco – Session 4

The funeral service was a simple affair. It seemed that a fair number of the villagers were in attendance, though perhaps most were family members. Sari-Avi introduced the fallen as Kenesh and Nahi then handed the ceremony over to Dabar with a word about two having been taken from Densem and one having returned. Dabar spoke a good word over them. When he finished, Hagmed lit the biers, and the dancing flames snared my attention. This world may not be the place I had expected to find when I left the enclave, but even here death still reigns.

I don’t know how long I was lost in those thoughts, but as the flames were growing smaller, Gann approached me and offered his house as a place where we could reside. He said that he has room to spare having lost his family and Alwain has not seen fit to expand it again. It saddened me that even such an act of kindness could not escape the painful touch of death. In hindsight, it was fitting that such dark thoughts crowded my mind considering where I was, but it is not like me to dwell on such matters.

I found Dabar and Arina in conversation and asked Dabar what his thoughts were on Gann’s offer. He saw no ill-will or danger in it, so Arina, Toara, and I went there while Dabar went to find Malek.

Gann’s house was a quaint place, and one I easily imagined having once been filled with the love and laughter that comes with a strong family. Instead, we slept quietly on the simple mats. Strangers, yet again, filling the space, serving as a reminder of what had been lost though hopefully providing a measure of comfort as well.


We awoke early the next morning and my gloomy thoughts had been slept away. Hagmed had brought us some dried fish and after eating ravenously, I felt whole again, thanks to Dabar once again praying to Alwain on my behalf. As an added blessing, Gann’s family had experience in the wood we were headed into, and he provided us with some direction on where to go.

Dabar led us quickly from Densem. I don’t know what his hurry was, but he kept looking around and ducking when he saw someone. I don’t know what his problem was – either he had an altercation while he looked for Malek last night or his eulogy had not been well received. Maybe that mystery will be solved upon our return. We left the village without incident and were soon in the woods.


Malek keeps calling himself a bear and named his wolf Cousin, and until now I thought he was just crazy. But considering the way he led us along the Wuma Amwa, I’m starting to wonder if he might be telling the truth. His keen eyes had us find the pile of stones Gann had told us about, and I saw him catch a fish right out of the air as it jumped! Despite all my Hulathi training, I don’t know if even I could have performed such a feat.

Turning South, he led us deeper into the woods, which grew denser and darker. Our progress continued to slow, and we began discussing when to stop for the night. We decided to press on just a little bit further when Malek suddenly halted at the top of a ravine. Dabar loudly called out to him, and before we knew it, a pair of tiger beetles were upon us!

Despite their size and speed, we made relatively quick work of them, though not before they had mortally wounded Dabar. Arina had pulled him from the jaws of one even as Malek slew it, but there’s a hole where his eye had been, and were it not for the acacia resin and Arina’s skills, he may have entered into Alwain’s eternal embrace.

Having slain the beetles, Malek and I dug through one of the mounds in the glen, finding a beastman’s hand (still wearing two rings). The glen bore evidence that we were not the only ones to have fought tiger beetles, yet despite that, Malek spotted tiny deer tracks heading South. Could it be an ayal? Also in that direction, though more southeasternly, was a very clear trail of mushrooms heading into the forest.

I don’t know which direction we’ll take, but I should get back to Arina and Dabar. He was such an aid to me after our last battle, that I feel I ought to do what I can to help him in return. And we really do need to set up camp somewhere…..

Plains of Aeco – Session 3

Now that the skirmish was over, we gathered the fallen and tended to the wounded. While Malak tried vainly to take their champion’s weapon from the wagon, we became acquainted with those we rescued: Hagmet, Albier, Beriti, and Zakar. They had been foraging for supplies to sell to Jepeth. Zakar’s wagon of herbs had been taken, but the others were still intact. I don’t think Hagmet will end up with much profit for the fish they caught for she has a voracious appetite! And one matched by Malak who also seems to be fond of dried fish.

Before burning the beastmen, or more specifically ratakan now that I got a good look at them, Albier and Malak harvested their ears for the bounty while I went through the little bit of clothing they wore looking for anything of value. I managed to find 17 oddly-designed black gold pieces and some sort of map. No one in the group was able to make heads or tails of it, but perhaps someone in Densem might.

We agreed to journey with the survivors back to Densem, and the rest of the night passed uneventfully. We each took our turn at the watch: Malak and Cousin taking the first, Arina and myself the second, and Dabar and Toara the third. That arrangement seemed to work out well, and we may decide to make that our nightly rhythm. I know I slept better knowing I wouldn’t likely be slain in my sleep.


We arrived in Densem where Zakar, who had been quite impressed with Arina’s administrations, introduced us to Sari-Avi. We explained why we were there and what we were looking for; she was grateful for our helping the caravan and freely answered our questions. When I showed her the map, she reacted strongly to the marking of the black tree – said that she thought the beastmen tribe had been long wiped out. (It turns out that Dabar is originally from Densem and they all thought he was dead too, so I don’t know how much stock to put into her claim about the black tree tribe).

She couldn’t tell us for certain where the few remaining ayal roam, but she gave us a direction to start. When we told her about the ayal’s rebirth ritual, she turned hopeful for it provided an alternate interpretation of an old prophecy. If true, she seems to think we might be able to restore all the ayal – not just the one we slay. She also gave us a number of doses of layona and directions on where we could find layona trees if we wanted to take branches back to Arashad.

There’s to be a funeral later this evening for those we weren’t able to save, and while we waited for that, I asked around the village about the map as well as to find someone interested in the black gold I had found. No one could help me with the map, but a man named Gann was willing to buy the coins. I might have been able to get more elsewhere, but he seemed eager to acquire them, so if we find more, perhaps we could get a better rate.

I think the funeral is about to start.