Paths of Gaeda

Session 21
The Golden Tower

The party has a relatively uneventful night in the living quarters of the vanquished wizard, although there is the occasional distant sound of some kind of movement (possibly mechanical) coming from somewhere. In the morning, the party investigates the main corridor of the temple complex, and discovers that it actually goes back quire a ways – Iolar finds an old map indicating that it leads to some much deeper caves, although it appears to have been partially blocked off: blocked by a hanging tapestry at one point, then a stack of earth filled boxes, and finally a great mass of webbing. Victor becomes increasingly nervous the further the party goes, and eventually has a bit of a freak out – something about this tunnel is familiar to him and scares him mightily, but he won’t talk about it, instead ushering the party back out of th etemple as quickly as possible.

In the process, it’s revealed that the eyes of the giant head statue in the main hall have crystals in them which refract light down this passage. The crystals have been obscured by dirt in order to block the light. Karnack clears some away, but Victor insists on putting it back. Once the party moves on, Karnack surreptitiously removes the dirt once more.

The party moves out into the little artificial hillock in the middle of the valley and discovers the “golden tower” – it is actually some kind of a brass-sheathed reflector which is connected to some kind of mechanism. It rotates to reflect sunlight into the main temple hall. Apparently it is on some kind of a timing mechanism so that it emerges from the hill and then retracts back into it at certain times of the year. Within the hill an ancient elven meeting hall is found, with evidence that this whole valley was once some kind of moot area or otherwise sacred site to the Storm Elves. A few items are found in the hall as well, after some traps are bypassed.

As the party is set to emerge from the hall, they encounter the white-haired half-elven girl that they saw earlier at the Kashwa camp – the one who claimed to be a daughter to the ancestor spirits. She is accompanied by a handful of orcs. She demands to know what the party has done with her “father”. Ishma (who bears a grudge against this elf masquerading as a sacred spirit) proudly retorts that she killed him and that she is prepared to do the same for the daughter. Battle commences, but the arty is hampered because the heroes all need to squeeze through a narrow corridor to get at their opponents. Not an ideal tactical situation.

Liath looses a bow at the Elf-girl, but it is stopped by a spell. She prepares to cast a more powerful spell as the orcs attempt to keep the party hemmed into the corridor. Ishma will have none of that, though – beginning to rage, she successfully overruns the interfering orcs and charges the Elf, scoring a critical (2 successive 20’s rolled!) while power-attacking with a greataxe. It is a MIGHTY BLOW that brings the enemy down to -20 hit points at a single stroke, and the combat is over before it has barely begun. The orcs are quickly dispatched.

As the battle ends, Ishma sees a vision of a sacred wolf nearby and bows before it in respect. Iolar suspects this vision is the remains of an illusion cast by the elf-girl, but he keeps his suppositions to himself. Victor, still acting jumpy but not explaining why, is eager to get clear of the valley before nightfall.

The party retreats from the valley, and meets the Eagle Tribe’s Ancestor spirit (whom they encountered during the Ghost Dance) on the way. The spirit makes gestures of gratitude and it clears their path of hazards as the party returns to the Kashwa camp. They are thanked profusely by the chief and the elder shaman for dealing with the impostor, and press on back to Hearnsward, as they are told that a message has arrived for them. A celebration of some kind is planned for the end of the year, and they are expected to attend.

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Session 20
Living Well is Not the Best Revenge

The party searches the evil cleric’s sanctum, with Victor overcoming numerous small traps and locks as Iolar attempts to make sense of a hidden library. During the search, a new member joins the party: Ishma, a female Kashwa Barbarian from the Eagle clan, has been following the party in order to keep an eye on them, to make sure that they don’t disturb any sacred Kashwa sites in the area. Alarmed by the sounds of the battle in the temple, she has followed the heroes into the temple complex in order to see just what is going on. Though Victor is suspicious, she is allowed to join the search.

There a numerous chambers here which contain books, alchemical supplies, a kitchen, a bedroom, etc. Scattered about a re a number of suspicious clay pots. Ishma impulsively breaks one open and it turns out that they are all trapped – they contain some kind of alchemists fire which explodes, Victor narrowly averts a chain reaction which might have set off the whole place. The party debates about whether the cleric is still around or if he has already fled, and where he could be hiding.

Eventually, a hidden passage is found below a storeroom leading to a deeper chamber. The party attempts to navigate the passage, but the way is blocked by a large undead creature (possibly an ogre skeleton). A bizarre fight ensues: Ishma rushes forward to do battle with the thing, but the passage is so cramped that no one can get in to help her. Liath gamely tries getting in there to shoot, but there is no room to move. Victor, while attempting to enter the narrow passage, sees evidence that some invisible presence might be trying to use the fight as a distraction in order to get out of the storeroom. Ray Stewart (hanging out at the back of the party, as usual) holds the door shut with Karnack’s aid, while Iolar and Savren try to find the invisible thing.

Finally, Victor manages to use his acrobatic skill to tumble, squeeze, and other wise slip beyond the large skeleton. He attempts to aid Ishma, but in doing so, they both discover that this skeleton has been booby-trapped with one of the explosive pots. The resulting blast forces Victor back into a bath chamber of some kind, where he finds the Evil Cleric prone on the floor. Apparently the cleric was trying to ethereally project himself to escape or something similar.

Victor, Ishma, and Liath rush into the room and the Cleric is dispatched as he tries to levitate himself up through a hole in the ceiling of the bath chamber. Victor notes he is wearing some kind of dragonish mask, but underneath it he is an elf – an incredibly old elf, Iolar notes.

In the wake of the fight, there are numerous magical nicknacks discovered, and the party secures their position for a much-needed rest.

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Session 19
Battle Royale

During this very focused episode, the party was surrounded and attacked by skeletons in a dark, partially flooded, mist-filled hall – apparently the entrance to some kind of temple complex. After hearing a sinister voice shout “Kill Them, Now!”, Skeletal creatures shambled out of the dark to attack the heroes. Victor immediately jumped up on the wall and disappeared into the darkness, using the distraction of the battle as cover while he worked his way around the roof of the hall to try to find the enemy leader.

Meanwhile, in the thick of the fight, several skeletons jumped on Karnack and held his head below the water, trying to drown him, while others shambled about trying to injure the party, Savren channeled energy into turning the skeletons, with partial success, allowing Karnack to get free. A spell was thrown at Karnack, however, filling him with fear and causing him to flee the battle temporarily. The skeletons then worked together to drag Savren down a well in the middle of the floor, nearly killing the cleric.

By this time, Victor had stumbled upon an evil cleric hiding at the back of the temple, the source of the party’s woes. At Iolar’s order, Victor attempted to kill him, but a sanctuary spell prevented him from doing so. The evil cleric fled the hall through a hidden stone door which was then barred so that the party could not pursue him. By this time, Karnack had returned and the skeletons were all dispatched.

The party quickly located another hidden door and plunged into a maze of dark passages behind the temple complex. There were several disused rooms and numerous alarm traps, but ultimately the party discovered an incongruously well-appointed set of chambers that were obviously in recent use. The cleric’s lair had been discovered.

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Session 18
Goblin mischief

December 22, 1901

Shaman younger wants the mad ancestor spirit removed and his daughter to take his place of honor.
Shaman Older Wants the Fake Daughter to be driven off or killed so order can be restored to the tribe.(He has promised to reward the party if they can do this)
Rumors about the half-Elvin spirit woman: She walks with the dead, She has a fearsome Wolf spirit companion, she can steal your soul if you look into her eyes, she has decimated orc hunting parties with thunder and fire. She enslaves young warriors in the valley

After meeting with each shaman, and interviewing tribe members the party is lead to the 3 huge leaning rocks. As they travel they manage to evade several Orc and Bugbear raiding groups who seem intent on sparring with each other.

December 24, 1901

Once there, they play a short game of hide and slay with a gang of Goblins lairing under one of the rocks. While the goblins are dispatched Iolar is drawn to the spark of gold within the valley below. The late afternoon sun angling down between the great rocks illuminates a gold pinnacle atop of a small tower cresting what appears to be an hill or structure carved into the valley 150’ below. Also revealed below is a giant Elf like face carved into the stone wall of the valley.

As they look over the valley a Bugbear patrol is spotted traveling along the ridge path of the valley and an ambush is set. The Bugbears are defeated, one falling over the cliff.
The party decides to rappel down into the valley rather than risk more patrols or disturb the burial grounds that are near the mouth of the valley. While lowering themselves, they discover a series of walkway’s, tunnels, and stairs carved into the undercut and follow them down into the valley toward the Giant stone face. After successfully navigating around several traps the party lower themselves into the now dark valley and step into the cavernous mouth. As they do a gravelly voice commands “Kill them now!”….

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Session 17
The Shamans shame

The night of 21 December.

The Eagle Tribe winter camp is a protected hollow in the hills covered with sturdy stone huts. The huts are roofed with newly hewn pine boughs, with long meadow grass and animal skins inside.
The party waits outside of the Eagle tribes camp for a trade exchange to be completed. The end of trading comes as an over large wolf runs into camp summoned by an unarmed pale fur dressed Half-elf woman. She walks with authority from the camp with her goods and fades into the forest but not before Liath Adhmad spots a green and clawed hand reach out to help carry her goods.

Soon after they are allowed into camp and offered a place to stay. There is an important ceremony to be held this night, the longest night of the year. There will be a Bear Dance which is a Ghost Dance. This means that while the living Indians are dancing they can actually see the ghosts of their ancestors dancing with them. After another dance will be held to celebrate the “new” sun and life. There are 2 Shaman present who with the Chief will lead the ceremonies. The party joins the dance some around the fire and others at outer watch posts. As the dance begins the fire and the entire camp is bathed in blue light and the ancestor ghosts begin to appear in the form of apparitions and skeletal figures including what appears to be a fresh and bloody skeleton of a shaman.
The ancestors begin to whisper to or greet the dancers but when the undead shaman speaks to the chief a disagreement ensues briefly compromising the protective sphere around the camp and chaos ensues. Most of the ancestors flee but some of the skeletal forms turn back to attack the dancers and party. Iolar jumps in to sooth the disagreement and help restore and maintain the drumming but not before Several bugbears charge into the camp. A combat ensues to drive out the invaders. After a somber finish to the night the party rests while the sun begin to rise.
The bravery of Karnack of Jorontown, and Victor are noted well as is the help of Savren and Iolar Tuaysheartah.
During the nights events the party heard several stories about the local history and some eye witness’s to confirm the story about a “golden tower” which acts as a harbinger of certain celebrations and should be visible for the next few days.
The pale half-elf woman claims to be the daughter of the Shaman spirit and comes to collect goods in exchange for some minor healing. the tribe offers her tribute as much out of fear as awe. Her “father” haunts the valley below the golden tower, protecting the ancient burial places within. But this claim is felt to be false by the older camp shaman and many in the camp who are loyal to him. They can not risk an open confrontation without putting the tribe in danger with the greenskins watching and waiting.

2 warriors have agreed to lead the party to the 3 leaning stones to see the tower.

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Session 16
The story within the chest

December 12th, 1901.

Ray, Ron, Terry & momma all got their stuff together and made up in the cottage. The party Camps outside in the cold (Savren is in the tent with Sarah) and an uneventful night passes.

December 13th, 1901.

In the very cold morning, the sun comes up and food smells emerge from the cottage. As the party approuches there is a great deal of activity in the cottage. They are invited in and space is made for them at breakfast. we need to take a good look at the stuff we’ve procured. raymond digs out the items in question. In fact he’s sitting on the chest at breakfast. He’s wearing some bits of old leather armor which Karnak offers to fix for him. Ray accepts karnacks offer Raymond in a very serious mood bit of a scowl. Somewhat worried. Ramond will be going with the party – he will represent Cyrus’ interest and make good on his own debts. – this is an opportunity to turn himself around.

Ray: “it’s time that I made my way on my own two feet.” Ray begins his story: Mother stewart settles down with her tea and ray tells the story… “i’m not much of a storyteller, and I’m really not much of a talker when Im sober this was a story that was passed down to us from… we’ll im really not sure where some adventureer who was exploring to the west and didnt quite make it back to his home they left their stuff at our Inn and they never came back to claim it. Us being kids, we were all very interested in it. There seemed to be two groups that traveled several years ago headed west the Wains and the Harpers. The Wains were interested in surveying the established trade routes of the Kashwa to the North and West. the Harpers traveled with them, they were more interested in discovering if there were any metals or mineable materials in the west. They traveled together the group consisting of 2 or 3 sons of the nobles families of Wain and Harper, and a retinue of support people the two groups of about 11 or so folks headed west and met up with some kashwa who acted as guides for them. The territory was still pretty saveage then, and the greenskins were very active… ray is referencing a rough map with some scrawled notes on them hes piecing the story together as best he can… the gist is they headed west snuck around and skirted the area where the orcs were active (maybe goblins?)

The interesting bit of the story is that as they approached the hills, the Harpers split up to explore the hills while the Wains went south of the hills to meet the kashwa. On their return trip they found that the Harpers had gotten into some kind of trouble with something the Kashwa called the “Angry spirits of th ancestors” . The surviving members spoke of seeing a golden tower in a valley among the hills they marked the way to find it on the map as a valley below three leaning rocks.

“There in the twisted valley there are many small caves holding ancient stores of weapons and containers of treasure. It is from one of these that we retrieved several sw#### # ##### #### ink stain #### #### ##nes. We spotted the bl#### #### ##### ## ink ##te and were overcome by a storm of wolves.” – J. Harper

The Wains decided that firther exploration would have to wait the Harpers agreed, investing in the hills were not in their original plans. they had taken a beating in their encounters and chose to go back east rather than following the suspect story of the Harpers.

So raymond has a map to show us I’m looking over the map it shows a few features. features scrawled on the map: wooded lands to the south, Kashwa trade path, leaning rocks, a place labeled “ancestor spirits” something marked as a burial mound or mounds and another, marked as a “tin Mine”, and a space showing the path of greeenskin “armies” .

All of these maps and notes are part of an old logbook or notebook and a handful of artefacts that belonged to this group. Among this stuff is a nice sword – maybe masterwork, Raymond is weariing it .

On a closer examination of the logs, Iolar finds a few interesting notes:
  • of the Harpers, of the survivors, many came down with some disease and perished.
  • Their stories were not generally believed. and perhaps they were mad.
  • Lord wain (in the notes) seems to believe and some of the information that they got from the kashwa in the area seem to coincide with the ramblings of the surviving Harpers.
  • The Harpers never relented on the story – it seems that Lord Harper or the Son of Lord Harper were the ones who were promulgating this story of the golden keep, the notes are in both hands.
  • the notes say is that from the leaning rocks, a gold tower could be seen poking up from the greenery in the valley – a heavily wooded area there are hints that the tower was part of a larger settlement mention of stairways and waterfalls?
  • The burial mounds marked on the map – once you cross-reference the notes – those are the burial sites of the Harpers that survived the “attack” but did not make it home.
  • there is some reference to some interviews with the kashwa but they are too sketchy to draw conclusions from. the kashwa seem to have more information about the area and their shaman told stories about the area which the Harpers paid more attention to than the Wains
  • The logs are dated to about 1883 or 10 or 15 years ago
  • Greenskin problems are a recurrent problem in this part of the world or so it seems.

details about the old sword: its of a very old make. prior to the fall of adastrica, a detect magic reveals it’s magical! a +1 sword. probably worth about 2000 GP . Iolar tells Ray that he should be thinking more about what it can do to protect his hide rather than pad his wallet. For now. If he’s coming with us. Ray: absolutely – he agrees heartily. Ray says the sword is on loan – it officially belongs to the little boy – Mother Stewarts’ grandson.

there was a dress, and the little girl hold it up and says its going to be her wedding dress and there’s a glint of something magic in it – there’s some kind of pendent or something which is magical and attached to the dress , The dress was apparently commissioned by one of the Wains, a former lover of Mother Stewart, but she never got a chance to wear it. The pendant – has a geometric symbol on it and appears to have some form of Very weak enchantment charm. Probably a single use item.

The place where we’re going is more or less due west and head for the hills, then find our way into the mountains. There is a road that heads in that direction that goes back to Hearnsward, which gets us close to the hills, then we look for the right mountain The workable landmarks are the mounds, the tin mine, and the kashwa trade path and three leaning rocks. Ray is coming with his ratty armor and old (but magical) sword . They have two mules that will come with us and some supplies for the road. Victor takes meticulous stock of the supplies ray is putting together. there may be snow on the way.

In recent trading with the Kashwa, there seemed to be some interest in Luxury items blankets, tapestries, etc the notes do not make reference to which Kashwa tribe they dealt with

The 4 day trip to Hearnsward is without incident. No Snow yet.

December 17th, 1901.

look up Otto Goodbarley in Hearnsward and Check on progress of trade with Kashwa Trade is proceeding apace. Goods have been sent o Lyssandria. Otto is taking his cut. He’s happy!

As we’re taking supper in Goodbarley’s in, there’s a small group of kashwa warriors, They are from the bear tribe They want to know if we have any elven goods that they can buy specifically if Iolar or Liath have anything they can buy . You make an agreement that they will take you west along the trade trail to the eagle clan for a bottle of elven wine (10 GP)?

Sarah left in Hearnsward (until we can have a conversation with Alex and maybe retcon her)

The three bear clan warriors lead us west towards the hills along what they assure is an ancient Kashwa trade route. The terrain becomes more rugged, although still forested. about 4 days out to the eagle tribe encampment.

December 21st, 1901.

On the morning before their arrival the party surprises a group of Red Fang tribe Orcs and an unfortunate ogre setting a trap on the trade path. While Liath, Victor and 2 of the Kashwa warriors sneak up on and dipatch the Orcs, an Ogre hearing the battle charges down the hill toward Iolar, Karnack, Raymond, and the mules. Iolar turns invisible and is bruised but unwounded after he trips the 600 pound Ogre as it barrels down the hill. This allows Karnack and even Raymond to attack it as it tumbles down the hill. In shame, fear and in pain the Ogre flees. Victor shows up and crits the ogre from medium range with his short bow, killing him. Raymond is ecstatic that he didnt get killed by an ogre. The party hides the bodies and continue on to the camp of the local Eagle tribe.

It is snowing lightly

XP! 800 for the ogre, 135 each for the 6 orcs XP from the previous session for helping the Stewart family: 800 2410 total, 482 each

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Session 15
Mother Stewart's

The Party meets with Lord Enfield in Adricsdorf to pass on the tale of their adventures in Prophares to Lysandria.

Savron finds his relationship with Sarah Jane has become more complex when she informs him she is with child.

Zarunal takes temperary leave of the Company to pay he hopes, His bond Debt to Gaelen the Alchemist. He introduces “Victor” to the party whom he has hired to pull his weight and make a claim on the treasure the party is pursuing.

The group heads North to Mannadan to locate Cyrus Stewart’s cousin Jeremy Steward. The Village is celebrating the later part of “Lord Wains day of the Giant Boars” with pork pies and strong drink.
The party chases down Cousin Jeremy Steward and finds that getting the “treasure map” is a little complicated. It seems that cousin stewards property has been seized by Jeremy’s mad widowed mother after an accidental still fire destroyed her business and badly scarred her lover. The party manages to overcome the wedge between the addled woman and her drunkard son in a spectacular show of personal bravery and truthfulness inspired by the party when Jeremy jumps between the old woman and the party. The family retreats to heal and Jeremy promises to make good on his Cousins and the parties requests no matter what the personal cost.

So ends the day on December 12th, 1901.

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Session 14
Dangerous Politics

Among the refugees rescued from the Bloody Hand Gang is a merchant named Cyrus Stewart and his wife. Cyrus, in gratitude to the party is negotiating a business proposition with Iolar: he supposedly knows the location of a lost treasure, and wishes to share it if the party will cut him in for a percentage of the spoils. Cyrus also has a friend – a cattleman who lives west of Exenor. He will arrange for the Party to lodge at his friend’s house with the Blackwall tribute while he goes into town and tries to get a message to Lord Alban.

Iolar thinks this wise, and the party settles down on the farm to rest from their trials. Lord Alban shows up two days later, although with a new face that Iolar has not seen before. He opens the sealed tribute chest and discovers that it contains worthless lead weights – there is some kind of plot afoot. He agrees to investigate this and make inquiries with Lord Prophares and Lord Anthec, but he fears that whatever he does will merely delay an inevitable war. He expects that Anthec’s will lead the Prophares army north in the Spring. Taking the prisoners from the Bloody Hand Gang and Pitor Rentsch with him, he warns Iolar not to remain on the farm much longer.

The party opts to stay just one more night – but it it one night too many. Soldiers from the army arrive, hunting them. The party is forced to defend themselves, and eventually Anthec himself shows up. The party fends off the attack, but Anthec escapes to gather reinforcements. The heroes gather what supplies they can, appropriate some mounts from the farmer, and escape into the night.

They spend the next three weeks making their way north once more into Lyssandria, taking care to avoid the Prophares army, or any other attention for that matter. When we next see them, it will be December 7th, 1901.

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Session 13
What Now!?!

In control of the Bandit’s camp, the party find themselves sitting on a political hot potato: what is to be done with the sealed chest which supposedly contains Blackwall’s tribute to Lord Prophares? The party are extremely reluctant to give it to Anthec, as it would remove his rationale for war – most likely he would quietly dispose of them and lose the tribute again.

Iolar and Karnack question Karnack’s half-brother Eric at great length. He claims to have recruited young Pitor Rentsch to his cause, which was to stir up strife and get hostilities started in the region. He tacitly admits that he’s under the orders from a third party, but he refuses to speak openly about that person’s identity, although Iolar has a pretty good idea that it might be someone from Aquilonia.

While this is going on, Zarunal and Liath sneak back into Blackwall Station in the wee hours of the morning to retrieve Zarunal’s wagon. They manage to sneak into Pitor’s rooms, where they find his journal and spellbook, along with evidence of a familiar. They manage to get away without attracting too much notice, although they see Anthec’s soldiers searching around town for Horace Blackwall. They make haste to rejoin the others.

Before they can return, Pitor stages an escape attempt. He sows a bit of confusion, but is unsuccessful in his attempt.

Once everyone is reunited, it is decided to go south and attempt to leave the tribute in the care of Lord Alban of Exenor, who seems like an even-handed if somewhat aloof personage. The party, with prisoners and refugees in tow, heads for the road. Before they arrive, though, Liath spots and ambush and the party is forced to detour through more wild forest land. A large wild Troll attacks the group, and there is a fierce battle. Eric uses the confusion as a cover to slip his bonds and escape. Pitor attempts to follow his lead, but cannot get away. Eventually the troll is dispatched and the party moves one.

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Session 12
It's all Relative

The night of October 31st is the harvest festival, and there is as much merriment as Blackwall Station can muster given the military occupation. The party keeps an eye on Horace Blackwall, waiting for him to make his move. Sure enough, halfway through the celebrations he sneaks away and tries to escape on his horse. Iolar and Zarunal manage to catch up with him before he makes his escape, and they try hard to gain his trust, but he refuses to take them into his confidence.

The party pursues him down the south road, finding what Liath has determined to be the most likely site of the bandit ambush which originally claimed the Prophares tribute. They pick up Horace’s trail, and after some time they catch up to him, just as he is about to be attacked by the Bloody Hand Gang who have an Owlbear in tow. Karnack battles the owlbear while the rest of the arty works to defeat the bandits. The beast is killed, and the bandit leader and his remaining men flee, but one captive is taken.

The captive leads them to the bandit camp, which is in some kind of abandoned cave temple. There the party fights more bandits, their leader, and a mysterious hooded wizard which they had been hearing rumors of back in Blackwall. The battle is fierce, and the wizard unfortunately kills Horace with a flaming sphere. However, the bandits are defeated in the end and captured, but there are revelations to be made:

The leader of the Bandits turns out to be Karnack’s older half-brother Eric of Jorunton, who he hasn’t seen in years. The mysterious wizard colluding with him is none other than Pitor Rentsch, bent on revenge against the Blackwall family for taking over the town that his grandfather founded. Also, there are several captives being held prisoner in the cave – a merchant and his wife, a widow, and a young woman with a familiar face: it is the farmer’s daughter that Savren was accused of dallying with back in the tiny thorpe south of Guildport. She had run away from home to find her true love (actually, it was determined that she had been seduced by the Doppleganger POSING as Savren) and was captured when she joined a southbound caravan. Now she professes that she will stay by him forever and hold him to “his” promise to show her the world.

The cave contains an old temple to The Starbinder, and within Savren finds a prophecy carved on the wall and a magic shield hidden away. Both items appear to portend dire events for the future.

THE PODCAST FOR THIS SESSION IS NOW AVAILABLE AT RPGMP3.COM

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