The Age of Kings

Campaign Background
The Story So Far

The Age of Kings is a political-based game inspired by Game of Thrones and set in a low-fantasy setting based on things such as Conan or Lord of the Rings and using a Dark Ages Brittania backdrop. Magic exists in the world but is rare. The gods are in decline and backing out of the world and the old religion is being slowly edged out by the new religion of the east based on the Lord of Light.

The land is divided by squabbling lords and houses. Many kingdoms exist, but they are kingdoms unto themselves. The temple at Erethas has been barred and where once the gods convened with mortals, there is naught but silence and icy wind.

The players have chosen to serve House Silvermane of Landinium, one of the four great powers of Cict. Through a process of randomization, one of their members is nephew to the King of Landinium and a couple are minor noble houses that support him.

The lands near Erethas are being settled and the King has commanded that Landinium be the one that wins the mountain lands near the temple to prove that their claim over the Sky Throne is the legitimate one.

The first session begins in Landinium as the settlers and military force prepares to move north to lay claim to this land…

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The Story Begins

Charter in hand, the party made their way north through the wilds of Landinium via the King’s Road as spring began. The wilds were beautiful, with sprouting flowers on trees, rushing streams, and jade green fields awakening from winter’s slumber.

Eighteen days later they arrived at Isca’s Hold, a trading post on the frontier of Landinium’s northern expanse near the foothills of Erethas. The hold was really a wooden palisade surrounding a series of wooden buildings that housed Isca and his wife, a guest house, stables, and a common courtyard for merchants to sell their wares.

Upon arriving to the hold, the party were greeted by the owners with relief, for they had sent requests to the king for aid from bandits that had plagued them. The party agreed to help, and on the next day when bandits arrived to collect their “tax”, they were dealt with swiftly and brutally.

Emboldened by this, Isca offered the hold as the party base of operations, giving free beds and a meal every day in exchange for protection from the bandits and other things that encroach from the wilds.

Later that day, Sir Kesten arrived at the hold with three of his retainers. A relative of Kris, Kesten smelled a bit of ale and a tale to tell of honor redeemed. He left for the hold to answer the call for help that Isca had sent out. The post owner was overjoyed, for on that day not only were several of the bandits dealt with, but the number of his guards seemed to have swelled many times.

The party set out on the 20th day, intent on fulfilling their charter and mapping out the wilds. To the east they traveled first, uncovering a dense forest and part of a swiftly flowing river. The river was home to much game and was a sight to behold.

Unfortunately, the forest was riddled with traps which caught the party unaware. Suffering from injury, the forest was marked as containing hazards. Back to the west the party headed, mapping out more of the forest as they neared Isca’s hold a little over a week after setting out.

A good half day away, they discovered an abandoned gold mine. Upon approaching the place, the party was accosted by a shambling mound, a carnivorous plant that almost had a meal before the rogue tossed a vial of alchemical fire at the creature. As the flames exploded outward, the plant creature shrieked and fell back, and the wounded and dying were collected and dragged off to safety, where their wounds were treated.

Limping back to Isca’s Hold, the party discovered that since their absence another man had arrived. Dressed in green travel-stained robes, the man introduced himself as a priest of the old religions. He claimed to have been drawn to the hold from visions of a long ruined shrine to his gods that were out in the expanse of wilderness, and offered the party his services should they find the place and escort him to it.

With the weather warming up, the party stayed at the Hold another day performing menial tasks such as scribing, repairing, and preparing for their next foray out into the wild.

They headed back out to the mine, and were relieved to find that the plant creature was no where to be found. Investigating the mine, they found that it had caved in, but there was a crack near the cave-in that allowed access to the tunnels behind.

There was still gold to be found in the mine! Marking this on the map, the group explored the mine fully, discovering a small chamber under the mine that contained a rotten but empty chest and a mouldering pile of bones in rotted leathers (apparently the victim of a fall into the chamber).

After exploring, they made camp in the area near the cave as the sun went down and it is there that they concluded the first session…

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Paikea Star - Letters Home I

April 3

Jacque,

Well I am still alive! I was not sure we would make it up to Isca’s Hold – much less trekking through the wilderness for days. So far we have mapped about 48 square miles of territory to the North and East of the outpost [four hexes at 12 square miles each]. So far this has been a learning experience unlike any I have experienced so far. The initial trip was long and tedious – it was rather easy travelling on the Kings Road. We have had to spend some time hunting and none of us are that skilled at it but so far in over 30 days we have only gone hungry once.

I wanted to tell you about my companions, so that I can form opinions and chronicle how they change over time. As you know of my companions is the nephew of the King, Soreon is valiant and just as strong willed as ever. He is learning the way of the warrior. I think the shield he carries is as tall as I am. Hopefully as he grows he will grow as a diplomat as he grows as a warrior. Xavian Grey is a cleric of Pelor. As you know I sort of favor the charitable work of his church – so I am dealing ok with his ramblings on about faith and belief. He definitely has his gods favor. The mystical working of his powers have come in handy on several occasions. Soreon stepped in a bear trap and broke his ankle. Thanks to Pelor and Xavian we were able to travel on the next day with Soren being mostly healed. Then there was an incident with a plant that was alive – it was like something out of a nightmare. It tried to grab ahold of Xavian and the Kris – almost strangling them as they were pulled into the beast. Luckily it did not like fire! Soreon was able to pull their unconscious bodies away while I held the beast at bay. Luckily we had some healing elixirs that returned the cleric to consciousness so that he could channel Pelors powers to further heal himself and Kris. Kris is a descendent of the fabled Paladin and founder of the Order of the White, Kris I. He is very level headed and very firm in his belief that we shall do good and help those we encounter on our journey.

When we first arrived as Isca’s Hold there were merchants about and Isca was pleased to see the King had sent people to help him, but he was disheartened by us only numbering four. He has been experiencing troubles with brigands in the area. He enlisted our help in putting an end to the protection money they were demanding of him. As a group we surveyed the area and made plans to stop the brigands when they next showed up. We did not have to wait long, the next day they were due to pick up more protection money. I hid on top of the stables ready to fire my bow at them instead of going to toe-to-toe with more experienced fighters than I. When the brigands showed there were four of them. One stood out – his armor was in better shape than the others and the bow he was carrying was of better quality. As soon as we sprung our trap the brigands did not seemed inclined to parlay and work-out our differences peacefully. Before I knew it – I let loose with an arrow. I had this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as the let go of my bow string – sure enough the arrow caught one of the brigands in the throat – piercing completely though all matter of skin, sinew, cartilage and bone. I did not shed a tear for the life I took but I did not feel good about it. I know the sins of the brigand brought the death on him – but still it was my hand that dealt the justice. Soon only one brigand was standing and we tried to take him peacefully – to question him about the area but he tried to escape. I landed a shot but it was not a kill shot, the fool fell to his own death by jumping off the palisade. When we scavenged salvageable gear, money, and weapons from the brigands one of them had on a symbol of the fire god of Caer Twyn.

I have met a few other interesting folks on this journey. I am sure you remember the Knight Kresten. He has a few men at arms with him and he is helping defend Isca’s Hold. We are looking for one of his men-at-arms while we are surveying the land. He has promised us gold if we bring the man back in so he can face justice for his offenses. In addition when we just stopped back at the outpost to restock our supplies an older man was there. He goes by the name Jhod. He claims to be a cleric of Corellon an old Elven deity. He is here because of dreams he has had – fearing malevolent spirits being in the woods nearby at an old shrine. We are on the look-out now for the man-at-arms turned brigand, a spirit infested shrine of a god of the old ways, other brigands, and whatever else we encounter. I am sure we are up to the task.

I will send along another letter next time we are in the outpost.

With regards,

Paikea

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The Journal of Xavian Grey Part I
Xavian's Journal

March 1, 542
The King has issued a decree to explore the lands of Caer Twyn, to the north of Landinium. Rumors have it that the houses fighting for the throne are in a race to be the family that can open the temple of Erathas first. It is likely that there is some connection between these.
As a direct result of this decree a small group has been assembled and I, Xavian, have been appointed to ensure the good health and provide blessings for the adventuring party. The members of the group are all friends and acquaintances whom are not unfamiliar with working together, due to past interactions.

And so the journey begins. The first destination is set as Iscar’s Hold. The hold is a trading post and a foothold for Landinium in Caer Twyn. It would appear that the King desires to explore the surrounding lands to plan future development and expand his control. The journey to reach the hold is said to take eighteen days. Hopefully the trip will be uneventful.

March 18, 542
The group has arrived at Isca’a Hold. Upon arrival we were greeted by Iscar and his wife. When informed that we were sent to assist with exploration and upkeep of the hold, we were briefed on the current state of everything. It would seem that the areas surrounding the post have a severe problem with banditry. We were told that once a month the local bandits enforce a tax upon the hold to guarantee that it will not be raided.

Iscar began with tasking us with the job of dealing with some of the local bandits. He has asked us to bring proof of the demise of six bandits. He has also requested that we try to find his wife’s ring that was used to pay the tax a few months ago.

After a party discussion it was concluded that, since the following morning was the time that taxes would be collected, we should have a trap set up to take care of the bandits who show up to collect the tax. We now have a plan of action developed, and it is time to rest for the morning.

March 19, 542
On this morning we awaited the arrival of the bandits for tax collection. Upon the bandits entering the hold we launched an ambush that swiftly eradicated the threat. For the remainder of this day we all stayed around the hold to ensure that if any other bandits came looking for those missing, that they could also be dealt with. Luckily no other bandits arrived.

Around mid-day the hold was graced, if you can call it that, by the arrival of Sir Keston with three guards accompanying him. Given his past I am unsure how to feel about his character of person, but the added support of his blade to act as some added security to the fort will certainly not be unwelcome given the current bandit issues. It turns out that even one of his own guards has recently deserted to join the bandits of the area. He has asked that we bring Falgrim back in, preferably alive.

The remainder of the day passed uneventfully.

March 22, 542
Over the course of the past three days the adventuring party has explored roughly a 12 square mile area (this is what we will be breaking the land up into for exploration and mapping purposes on our journeys into the wilderness) of plains just to the east of the hold. The exploration was uneventful.

March 26, 542
For the past four days the party has been exploring the territories east of the previous exploration. This time around things were more colorful than previously encountered.
On March 23, the first day traveling into the area, we found out quickly that we needed to proceed with caution in the area. Soreon stepped into a bear trap, nearly severing leg completely. Luckily I was able to provide my aid and the blessings of Pelor to swiftly heal the wounded leg and get us back up and moving. It was after this and upon further inspection that we realized that the area is riddled with traps.

March 30, 542
During this three day window the party decided to turn things to the northwest so that we could begin a loop back toward the hold. This was mainly due to the fact that our supplies were beginning to run short. The territory covered in this time has only been more forest, and the exploration passed as uneventfully as it did in the first area we took a delve into.

April 1, 542
The past two days of exploring has been quite interesting. From the forest, we were heading back west toward the hold. The first day of exploration passed uneventfully, and we found nothing but plains. Today is when things got hairy. When we stumbled across a tattered cart path this morning we thought that it would be worth investigating. Upon further inspection we found that it leads to abandoned mine. This is when all chaos broke loose.

Outside the mine there was a large mass of heavy vegetation. When Kris stepped near it to investigate the broken sign that confirmed that we had found a mine, the large mass of vegetation animated and attempted to grab him. My immediate response was to attempt to deter the vegetation by clubbing it with my mace. This turned out to not be a good idea. The plant lashed out and hit me with a blow that had me teetering on the fine line between life and death.
I am still not feeling completely well at this point, and do not fully recall what happened after being stuck. I was informed that while attempting to drag me out of danger that Kris was also badly injured and we both had to be drug to safety by Soreon, following a swift reaction from Paikea who tossed an alchemical fire on the mass of vegetation. This managed to buy enough time for all of us to reach safety, where Kris and myself are now recovering.

April 2, 542
On this day our party made it back to the hold, having to cut the exploration of the area short to ensure that everyone recovered fully from out near death experience with whatever that mass of vegetation was. Upon arrival we met an interesting gentleman, Jhod, who is a priest of Corelon. He informed us that he is here in search of a temple/shrine to Corelon that he has been dreaming about. It has been asked that if we find this temple that we take him to it, but we have also been warned that the dreams indicate that the temple/shrine of interest is occupied by a benevolent spirit.

Prior to facing this task, I believe we are going to need to spend more time adjusting ourselves to the new lands we are surrounded by.

April 3, 542
On this day everyone has been working to catch up on various things. Soreon spent his time working on repairs for the catapults for the hold, which he has had his eyes set on ever since we arrived. He is very excited by the idea of having them fully functional at some point in the future. Kris, to my knowledge, spent the day catching up with Sir Keston, who we have been told is a relative to Kris. Paikea spent the day reading, and updating her log. It appears that, much like myself, she enjoys soaking up knowledge from books at any opportunity possible. And as for myself, I have spent much of the day updating the logs and maps for our adventuring record that has been requested by the King.

April 4, 542
Having restocked out supplies and recovering our strengths, on this day we set out to complete our exploration of the previous territory, and investigate the mine itself.

Upon returning to the cave there were no signs of the mass of vegetation being in the area still. Once certain that the creature was not around we further inspected the abandoned mine. In this investigation the party has discovered that the mine has multiple cave-ins blocking the access to much of the mine, so far as we could tell. Perhaps at some point in the future this mine can be repaired and utilized once again.

The day has passed quietly. It is now the evening and we have pitched camp for the night to prepare for more exploring tomorrow.

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Session II - Into the bandit forest

Having spent the last night at a gold mine, the party met up with two new members… a half-orc berzerker named Xavkul Mankin and an elven druid with a wolverine animal companion.

On their way back to Isca’s Hold, they encountered a giant centipede creature, which at about fifteen feet long, was more than a match for the party. The venomous creature dropped several party members before the elf managed to charm the beast and lure it away from the party.

Poisoned and sick, the party staggered to the hold where they took a couple of days off for rest and recovery. Three new bandit graves had been added to the growing cemetery and the party learned that a bandit attack had been stymied while they were gone by the hold’s newfound guards.

Soreon Silvermane Sorben took a day to help repair one of the catapults, and Xavkul Mankin was sent to fetch some rope (to prevent him from breaking anything).

Following some rumoured goblin attacks in the forest to the northeast, the party ventured that way and after following the river that they had discovered previously, found a bandit camp near the embankment some thirty miles from the Hold.

Perhaps these bandits were the ones troubling Isca?

Paikea Star snuck up to investigate, finding the camp filled with men in ratted leather armor sharpening swords, and a female dressed in studded leathers and twirling bronze dwarven hand axes in either hand.

Seeing enough, the rogue snuck back down the path but was spotted by a bandit in a tree stand. The arrows began flying and an alarm bell was sounded, as Paikea took off down the road in full run, being staggered by a trap but making it back to her friends ok.

The clanging bell drove Xavkul into a fury, and he charged headlong into the forest, falling prey to a trapped log that stabbed at him, leaping over a pit trap, and eventually ending up amidst the entire bandit mob.

They looked at him for a moment, and then arrows filled the half-orc and brought him low, before the woman with the axes directed the charge. The bandits broke off into two forces, one coming down the roadway and the other through the forest.

The party split up as well, with Soreon planting his tower shield in the road and being flanked by Xavian Grey, with Paikea behind adding her support via ranged bow attacks.

Kris IV and the elf took the left forested area where the berzerker had raged through, and were met by the woman and a couple of bandits. The woman with the axes proved to be a fantastic warrior, chopping through Kris’s armor and dropping him with one hit before being set on by the wolverine that accompanied the elf.

The battle on the road was also desperate, with bandits dropping to Soreon’s glaive and Xavian’s weapon. Raging on, it ebbed and flowed, with the elf dropping and then Paikea dropping. Xavian was doing his best to keep the healing powers of Pelor flowing and it was enough to make a difference, bringing back the elf and Kris to hold up the axe wielding warrior woman.

It was the elf of all people that dropped the woman with her sickle through the lady’s chest. Beaten, the remaining bandits fled, leaving five of their number dead on the road. The party did not get away unscathed, for nearly all save Soreon suffered some severe wounds in the fight.

They now rest at the bandit camp, attempting to gather their strength, and the loot from the camp…

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Paikea Star - Letters Home II

April 22

Dear Father,

I am sitting in the former camp of a group of brigands that have been exhorting money from merchants and the trader at Isca’s Hold. The cleric in our group has been patching me up. I took several arrows in our fight. At one point I know I lost consciousness. I am giving thanks that I am alive to tell the tail.

Father, I am feeling dazed – not because of my wounds but because of the fight. As we were traveling and mapping the territory the King commissioned us to explore we heard noises up ahead. I snuck up to the edge of the camp and observed the brigands and hid watching them. After finishing my reconnaissance I tried to sneak back to my friends. I stepped on a blasted dried branch and it snapped. The noise drew the attention of a brigand and I had to run back to my cohort, setting off traps as I ran – though I avoided them.

Dad, I led all the brigands right to my friends. I am such a failure, I could barely warn them quickly enough to let them react before the rain of arrows descended on us. The fight was most difficult – the worst we have faced. By now I was beginning to expect how Xavian (cleric of Pelor), Kris (paladin of Pelor), and Soreon would react in a fight. I had confidence we could work as a team. However we have picked up a couple of others in our group – of all things we have met at Elf in this woods who goes by Kerigan and a 1/2 Orc named Xavkul. It was hard to predict how they would react in a fight.

During the fight I was able to move around looking for vulnerable foes. At one point I attracted the attention of the brigand leader. She was a horrid woman who dual wielded hand-axes. I knew I would not be successful at firing arrows at her in such close range – so I poured alchemical fire on her. Oh Father, it was awful. I can still smell the burning of her flesh and hair. When her face scrunched up in pain – my soul wrenched. It was awful – the pain I caused her, was not noble. When I am next in town I will have to fast and pray for this transgression – though at what temple I am not sure.

I am full of doubt now, Father. What if I do not have the stomach for this? I managed to hide my disgust in the fight because there was no time to dwell on what I did – there were others that needed to be fired upon with my bow and the steel of my rapier. After the fight when the cleric brought me back to consciousness the pain of wounds was almost as bad as the pain my guilt was causing.

I must toughen myself – I am not sure how to do that. I could use your advise on this. I do not want to fail in my tasks. Its odd how things others find so hard come so easy to me – but suddenly I am confronted by something that does not come easy to me. Even though they were brigands that stole, caused pain and suffering, and killed citizens of Landinium I feel bad about killing them. I am not a sissy nor a coward – I just never expected taking the life of someone to be so damaging to my own soul. I suppose I will also talk to Xavian and Kris about this. They may have religious advice on how to cleanse myself of this guilt.

I will recover and not dwell on this. My friends and I have to much to do to mope. As soon as we are able to travel we will continue on in our endeavor to map this territory for the King. We have hard rumors of goblins raiding anyone traveling on a nearby river. We are planning on clearing them out and driving them from this land. I wonder if I will feel the same way about any goblin deaths. If I don’t what does that say about me? I will be strong Father, I just needed to talk this out with someone I trust and I trust you over anyone else.

By the time I get back to Isca’s Hold and send this letter to you – I will be fully recovered from my injuries – though I should have a few scars to prove I was hurt. I know time will help me heal other parts of me that are injured.

I look forward to the next time I am able to see you and the rest of our family.

Love,
Paikea

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The Journal of Xavian Grey Part II
Xavian's Journal

April 5, 542
Last night our party had and odd, but possibly beneficial encounter. In the middle of the night we were awoken by a drunken half-orc who stumbled into our camp to use our campfire to relieve himself. Shortly after, he passed out near the fire. Only a short time after an elven druid arrived to inform us that she was searching for her traveling companion, the half-orc. It was then that we found out that the half-orc’s name is Xavkul and he is a barbarian of the wilds, and the druid’s name is Kerigan. Their exact motivations for traveling the area are unknown, but we reached an agreement that they will aide us in our explorations of the area, at least for now.

April 7, 542
For the past three days, following the arrival of our new companions, we have explored a new area of plains to the immediate west of our previous location. On April 6th we discovered a very large tree that has been struck by lightning, a very noteworthy landmark to place on our map. Upon discovery of this tree the party also encountered a very strange creature, that to my knowledge none of us know what it was. The creature was definitely humanoid, but it was far too small to be any form of human, elf or orc. It was also faster than any other creature I have ever encountered personally.

The remainder of this exploration was quite uneventful, other than some unexplained rustling in the woods outside the camp last night.

April 9, 542
The party has decided to adventure into the next territory to the southwest. This area was more plains, and for the most part the trip was uneventful. While exploring the area we stumbled across a hut, which late this evening we found out to belong to a hermit of sorts. His name is Bachen and he brews assorted potions for travelers of the area. He also does business with Iscar’s post. Perhaps he may be a hedge witch, but currently it seems that it will be beneficial to know this Bachen given that he can provide us with various brews from time to time for our adventures.

We discovered the hut belonged to Bachen upon passing him on the road. He has offered to allow us to stay at his place, which is where we are currently preparing to get some rest. Kerigan has made dinner, and in the conversations that have been carried we have reached an agreement with Bachen to assist him with gathering needed herbs in return for a small discount on potions that we may need in the future.

April 12, 542
These past two days, after leaving Bachen’s hut, have been quite uneventful. The time has been spent exploring more plains to the southeast of Bachen’s. Perhaps there will be something more interesting in the near future.

April 14, 542
Again, I feel like this journal entry is lacking a bit of spice. The past two days have been, once again, more plains. We decided to head west to begin our journey back to the hold. It seems that these plains will never end.

April 16, 542
The party has made our way back to the hold. We are have all been roughed up and are in need of some nice rest and recovery time. In the process of returning back to Iscar’s we stumbled across a terrible creature, of very substantial side. This creature I speak of can only be described as a very large centipede, and it obviously had the desire to devour anything that crossed its path. This encounter was less of a fight, and more of a struggle to survive and get the party safely away. Luckily, Kerigan was able to use her powers to gain the creatures good graces and lead it away from the party before escaping to return to us.

Upon arrival back here at the hold, those of us who had previously been here, noticed that there were three fresh graves outside of the camp. We quickly learned that the graves belonged to more bandits who arrived at the camp in search of the bandits that were dealt with when we first arrived in these lands. It would seem that Keston and his men swiftly took care of the bandits without much trouble, seeing as how none of them suffered any injury. We also had to explain our new companions to everyone at the post. Many seem uneasy about Xavkul’s presence. It is hard to tell if the unrest is due to him being a barbarian, and the notorious behaviors associated with them, or that he is a half-orc. Personally I think it is a combination of both. Perhaps with time everyone will grow to accept his presence if all stays well.

April 18, 542
The past two days have been spent recovering and in preparation for further adventuring into the wilds. This time has also given the opportunity to become better acquainted with our new companions. As usual, Soreon spent much time tinkering with the catapults in hopes that he can soon get them functioning to aide with defense against bandits, and anything else that would threaten the hold.

We plan to head back out for more exploration first thing in the morning.

April 19, 542
Today we have made our way to the farthest point of exploration to pitch camp for the night. So far there have been no troubles. Hopefully we can uncover some new and exciting things in the coming days as we adventure into the adjoining forest.

April 22, 542
We are two days into our time needed to explore and map this section of forest, but it is difficult to write tonight. The party is in great danger, and lucky to be alive at this moment. None us our doing well, and Xavkul is barely hanging onto life.

Perhaps I should explain. Today, as we explored we caught wind oof the distinct smell of a wood fire. Upon investigation Paikea discovered that we had come across a bandit outpost. Unfortunately as she discovered this, she was also spotted by one of the bandits that held a watchtower. A deadly fight followed.

As Paikea came running back to the party, we all noticed that she was being trailed by a large group of bandints. Some with bows, and some with short swords. They were led by a female who dual wielded hand axes. She matched the description of the female who had originally been coming to Iscar’s hold to collect taxes with her men. I think during this fight all of us, except for Soreon, fell unconscious at least at one point. I did everything I could to keep everyone standing, and luckily for myself, when I fell Paikea was able to locate one of the potions in my pack and administer it to me. It was very unfortunate that I could not aide Xavkul, for he had charged far ahead on the rest of us. He had fallen to a combination of traps in the forest and physical assault from the bandits. This is why he is currently hanging onto life by a thread. The turning point in the fight, and probably the only reason that we are still alive, was when Paikea managed to douse the bandit leader with an alchemical fire. This opened the leader up to a brutal assault from Kerigan’s sickle. Kerigan buried her wepon into the bandit’s chest as she was screaming in agony from the alchemical fire. This was the point when the remainder of the bandits fled in fear for their own lives.

We have scouted the camp for anything useful and to ensure that we are safe for now. Everyone has been tending each other’s wounds in hopes that we will make it through the night. I am going to do all that I can to ensure that Xavkul makes it through this night. If we are lucky, we will be able to make our way back to the hold tomorrow to fully regain our health. I will update further at my next opportunity.

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The Journal of Xavian Grey Part III
Xavian's Journal

April 23, 542
We made it through the night after our battle with the bandits. In the morning Xavkul regained consciousness, and the party has spent the day resting to recover. Tomorrow we head out to complete our exploration of this portion of the forest.

April 26, 542
Over the past three days the party has finished the exploration of the forest surrounding the bandit post and returned back to Isca’s. On the first night of the trip back we stopped to camp outside of the mine where we have a good idea of the surroundings. Around dinner a pack of wolves circled the camp for several hours, but luckily never showed any aggression. We made it back to the hold this afternoon.

Upon arrival at the hold we have caught wind that a merchant spotted a unicorn in the wilds during their journey through the surrounding areas. I do not yet know what this means for our adventuring group. Before dinner we made a point to turn in the heads of the bandits that were required to collect our bounty to eliminate six bandits in the area. In the morning we will be heading back into the wilds for further exploration and mapping.

April 28, 542
We have made our way NE back to the river and followed E to the farthest point which we have mapped. In the first evening of our journey to this point, once again a pack of wolves showed up around camp. As before, they showed no aggression towards the party. Perhaps this is some sort of omen. Perhaps I should have discussions with Kerigan, knowing that she seems to be quite in tune with nature. The following morning the wolves were gone. The remainder of the journey to the outskirts of our explorations was uneventful, and we have pitched camp for the night. Tomorrow we will once again be setting foot into unknown lands.

May 2, 542
For the past four days the party has been exploring to the east along the river. On our first day of exploring further into the forests we encountered a pack of wild boars, who seemed less than pleased that we interrupted there gathering. In the fight that ensued, Xavkul and Kris were both nearly killed. These near death experiences are beginning to become far too common for my tastes. I suppose I will need to further improve my abilities to support the party in our adventures. On the plus side, we came away with quite the supply of boar meat to smoke and create bacon with. Needless to say, we could eat well for a few days.

On the following day we stayed camped out to rest from our fight with the pack of boars, and resumed exploration yesterday morning. In the past two days we finished our exploration of the immediate area. In doing so we discovered that the river abruptly ends into what appears to be an underground cavern of sorts. Perhaps someday we can investigate this further. Not far from where the river comes to an end we found what we could only assume to be the corpse of a poacher who had the misfortune of triggering his own trap in the process of rigging it.

Tomorrow we will continue to head to our E into what appears to become plains, so far as we can tell from our scouting the immediate area surrounding camp.

May 6, 542
Due to extenuating circumstances I have not been able to log anything for quite some time. In our second evening exploring the plains we have entered we were greeted by a Willow Whisp. All that we know of this type of creature is that they lure people away into the forest and steal their spirit. During the night the whisp hung around but did not act hostile. The following day we turned our explorations to the SE, still being followed by the whisp.

As we continued through the plains the whisp started to dart away to a patch of woods, and then back to us repeatedly. It almost seemed that it was trying to tell us something. After a short time as a group we decided to investigate the patch of woods together. Upon investigation we discovered a large quantity of traps with skeletal remains of animals, and one in particular held that of a human. We removed the human remains from the trap to give them a proper burial, and in doing so the whisp dissipated. I supposed that the spirit could finally rest now that the body received proper burial rights.

In this same area we discovered a notable landmark. There was a set of cairn stones, which as far as Paikea could translate, were constructed as a burial site for an ancient chieftain’s son. It looked as if they have been here for at least one hundred years.

May 10, 542
We have spent the past four days exploring more plains to begin a loop back toward the hold. There has been nothing noteworthy in this time. Whether this be good or bad is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. I have enjoyed the break from violent battles, however, I get the feeling that Xavkul grows impatient in his time of having nothing to hit.

May 12, 542
Over the past two days we have made our way back to the hold. Upon arrival we were troupe. We were informed that bandit activity has increased as of late. They also had a letter from the king intended for Soreon. Our party has been tasked with eliminating the Flame Lord. In return for his head we will be granted 500 gold and a settlement charter. Nobody in the camp seemed very thrilled about the charter to settle the lands. I personally think that most of them like the remoteness that currently exists.

May 13, 542
We have ventured back out for further exploration, and along the way stopped in to visit Bachen at his hut. We spent this evening discussing various things about the bandits and his business ventures, particularly related to the bandits. We intend to spend the evening here and head out in the morning.

May 15, 542
The past two days we have spent exploring more plains. Earlier today we stumbled across what seemed to be a bone yard. Soon after, we discovered the culprit of the mess of bones. There was trap-door spider that launched an ambush on us and tried to grab Paikea. Luckily the spider was given a swift death before it could bite anyone, because we discovered it is definitely poisonous. In investigating the spiders hole, we discovered a corpse and ruined gear. The corpse was grasping a map that seemed to indicate some sort of treasure that is buried beneath the large tree that we previously discovered in another area. Specifically, this is the landmark tree that was struck by lightning.

We spent the remainder of the day carefully exploring in hopes to avoid any additional spiders of this sort. I shall be glad to get out of this area in the morning. I do not much care for large insects and arachnids.

May 19, 542
We have spent another uneventful four days exploring to the W and S into plains. I begin to contemplate whether I prefer the forest over the plains. While the forest usually holds more trouble for us, it at least has scenery that changes, and does not feel like you have been walking in place endlessly.

May 21, 542
The past two days we have been exploring the last bit of plains to the W of the hold before turning back. On this night we spotted a camp fire in the distance and opted to not build our own fire. Instead we have ventured to investigate the source of the fire. Upon further investigation we have come to discover that the fire belongs to an elf, Kira, who seems likely to be a druid, and her cat companion. She informed us that she is on her way to trade with Iscar and other merchants at the hold.

Over the course of the evening we discussed the bandit threat, and learned that she travels this route quite frequently. She is also quite familiar with the bandits. She mentioned that they once offered her a place in their ranks, which lucky for us, she declined. Perhaps we should travel with this Kira on our return trip back to the hold. We will just have to see in the morning.

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Session III - A Bacon in Time Makes the Half-Orc Hungry

Being a level 1 character is tough, and exploring the dangerous wilderness can be risky on one’s life. The group picked up where they last left off last week, recovering in the bandit hold as spring began to warm up a bit.

The remainder of the eastern forest was mapped out for the most part uneventfully. Xavian Grey’s journal reflects this pretty well in minute detail.

They came across a deadfall with the smashed remains of the poacher who had been setting traps, and who had been the cause of Soreon Silvermane Sorben’s broken ankle a couple of sessions ago, retrieving another masterwork hand axe (putting their tally at three now).

Once the woods were mapped out, the party encountered a fey spirit as they were leaving the area. The creature appeared at night as a globe of light and the party was understandably worried about it and chose to ignore it. The ball of light was not to be denied and stuck around until morning, where it followed them as they headed east towards the swampy marshes towards Caer Twyn.

As chronicled in Xavian’s journal, the ball of light became excited near a copse of trees and the party discovered more poacher traps, one of which contained the body of a human skeleton. The party did the right thing and buried the remains, causing the light to twinkle out and lay the spirit to rest, which netted them a nice little +300xp reward.

Heading back to the hold, they were greeted with more merchant traffic and rumours of the Flame Lord’s activity picking up, perhaps due to the party’s actions regarding one of his bandit cells.

Soreon received a letter from the king indicating that the Flame Lord should be brought to justice, and once this had been done that he would receive a charter to settle the lands instead of merely exploring them.

This news was not taken happily by Isca, and even several members of the party, who had no desire to be dealing with politics or encroaching on wild areas.

The month of May is a wet one in Cict, and the party left the hold and struck out west to finish mapping the area to spring storms. They were able to quickly take down a giant spider who attempted to make Paikea Star into lunch.

The real test of the night came from an encounter with a small group of wild boars. While hunting, the group lucked into some boar meat, but boars are not happy to give up their yummy nutritional bacon, and so in a clearing the party cornered them.

Boars are pretty nasty little beasts, especially for a first level group. Xavkul Mankin was more tactical this time around, waiting for the boars to charge him, while the elven druid calmed two of the three, making the first part of the fight easier to handle.

Xavkul was gored pretty badly but the first boar was taken down. The party tried dragging its corpse out as well as the bleeding form of Xavkul, but the charm on the other two boars wore off and the smell of the spilled blood enraged them and they thundered after the party.

The end result was a battered party, but three dead boars which contributed to a lot of ham and bacon, and when combined with eggs makes a tasty meal for several days.

The remainder of the western portion of the land was mapped out and the party ended the session at the fire of a mountain woman named Kira, who had come from the Erethas mountains to trade at Isca’s Hold for some medicine.

She seemed quite distrustful (wisely so, these are dangerous lands), but shared that she had her own run ins with the bandits that operate in the area. Her caucasion kitty next to her silently munched on some fish, oblivious to the strangers while the druid pet her…

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Paikia Star - Letters Home III

May 21

Dearest Aurora, Gavin, Beckett, and Alisa

The strangest thing happened the other day and I could not wait to tell you all about it. Remember the time our dearest father came back from a boar hunt with that nasty wound to his bicep? His wound was caused by his spear shaft splintering when he held it against a charging boar. He has quite the nasty scar from it. I am sure he would love to tell you all the story if you do not remember it. I remember him saying how much better the meat tasted after being injured on the hunt.

Part of why you should ask Father about the hunt is so that he can talk to you about how to properly hunt boar. I remember his instructions and then going on a hunt with him once. I just had an experience the other day with three boar that made me miss all of you terribly.

My companions and I came upon a clearing while mapping the land and clearing it of bandits. In the clearing were three boars, a large sow and two mostly grown piglets. Since we had been eating mostly trail rations for the last month or so, the thought of fresh meat got to the best of some of my companions. Before I could blink twice people were running at the boars with hand weapons. We did not have a hunting dog and we were on foot.

The tusks on the boars almost turned out to be deadly for one of my fellow explorers. Let me tell you about my band of explorers, map makers, and bandit hunters. There is my friend Soreon who you have met. He actually knew how to hunt the boards, thankfully. Xavian Grey is a cleric of Pelor. He is a most dependable guy – I enjoy his company and his devotion to his god is admirable. Pelor has been bestowing his blessing upon us during our journey’s thus far. Then there is Kris the Paldin of Pelor, he is a descendant of Kris the founder of the White Order. He is most intimidating in a fight with his great sword. He puts himself in danger to protect others not as strong or steadfast as he is, he is valiant and incredibly trustworthy.

Now my next two companions are more exotic than anyone you have probably met in Landinium. Xavkul is a barbarian from a half orc tribe. He is brash, burly, and more different than anyone I have ever met. Half the time I am worried he has a death wish and the other half I wish I was as brave – though not as foolhardy. My last companion travels with her own companion – let me explain. Her name is Kerigan and she is an Elven druid – a practitioner of old nature religions. Her companion is a badger named Logan. Logan is ferocious and I am wary and intrigued by him. I am not exactly sure what to make of Kerigan yet. She is a good traveling companion and she knows how to cook – which has improved things on our travels. She knows a great deal about the wilds and I am learning from her. In all of Fathers stories about Elves and Ordar – he never mentioned anything as exotic and as wild as Kerigan. She has a lot of rules – she can’t wear metal, she won’t abide trees being cut down, she doesn’t like the idea of mining gold, etc……

Ok so back to this boar hunt. Kerigan used the powers bestowed upon her by nature to calm two of the boars – so we didn’t have to fight all three at once. I kept my distance – firing arrows from a ways back – taking a chance each time I fired of injuring my friends instead of the boar – but I was not going to close in on it. Xavkul attacked with this huge axe he wields, I doubt I could even pick the thing up! To attack with his axe he had to stand right up next to it! He went toe to tusk with a boar! It was a sight to behold – that is until he was gored and tossed like a sack of potatoes by the beast.

By the time we had that boar ready to be dragged off and put over a fire Xavkul was close to death. We had to drag him and the boar from the clearing – trying to put some distance between us and the other two who were sure to turn on us sometime soon. We were barely into the woods before the other two boars tried to come after us. We hastily set up on a game trail – Soreon planted his shield in the middle of the trail to offer protection to others who wanted to enter melee with the boars. Once again I stood back and fired a volley of arrows into the fray.

Wounds stink! Don’t let anyone tell you different – whether you are cut by a blade, a arrow, a claw, a bite, or a tusk it stinks. I advise you all to avoid it. When a boar gets a cut it stinks even worse. It was almost a deadly fight for us – many almost succumbed to our injuries but we prevailed and managed to take down all three boar and no one suffered a mortal wound.

So the rest of that day and the next full day we had to camp so wounds could heal, thanks to the blessing of Pelor and meat could be smoked. Dad was right when you hunt the food the meat tastes better. It also tastes better when someone who knows what they are doing when cooking has a go at making dinner.

Well my next story turns out fine – but you might not want to tell Father and Mother about it. The other day we were headed towards the border of mountains to the west, when we came upon a strange sight. It was a boneyard – bones that were picked clean and some so old they were bleached white. The sight made us a bit more cautious than usual, thankfully so. I was leading the way – being the most sure of footing and able to spot traps most easily. (Though if you want to find every trap you could possibly encounter I advise you to let a barbarian lead the way.) Suddenly between me and the rest of the group a huge spider sprang from the loose sand and soil. Now when I say large spider I am not saying the size of Alisa’s hand and no I do not mean the size of Fathers hand. I do not even mean the size of Father’s favorite hound. What I mean is the size of Alisa’s pony that she got for her last birthday.

So this spider the size of a PONY sprang its trap and tried to lunge for me. I could see the poison on its fangs as it lunged and tried to strike me. I am sure I shrieked in anticipation of dying a painful death from the poison. Luckly Kris and Paladin of Pelor was trailing behind me he was able to strike the spider before it could bite me. His attack was fast and powerful for this I am grateful.

Well I am going to close – it is getting dark and I am feeling tired. Tomorrow we are off to more exploring. I will post this letter to you the next time I am in Isca’s Hold. I love and miss you all and hope you are doing well. Tell Father and Mother I love them. I will write to you again, hopefully soon.

Love
Paikea

P.S. Remember to never ever ever ever try to fight boars in hand to hand combat!

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