Arantus

Aprantus 25-26, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Days 25 and 26

After spending part of the morning in Ardmore trading some of your valuables for gold pieces, you return to Blithewood and set up camp a few miles northeast of Mother Gerd’s cottage. Wolvar and Rook build a small plank bridge. The next morning you return to the cottage, where a red rooster perched on the weather-vane tells you to leave 300 GP on the bridge. You attack the rooster and engage in another battle outside the cottage. The rooster is joined by a snowy white owl, a dark shadowy figure throwing daggers from behind the curtains, several tainted roots, and several enchanted snapjaw plants. Two of the snapjaw plants grab Balasar and knock him unconscious. You overcome the enemies and enter the cottage. You find a corridor lined with cages containing rats, dire rats, giant bats, stirges, a spider monkey, needlefang drakes, a pair of Harefolk, a wolf, and a badger.

After a short rest, you enter an alchemical laboratory with Bunsen burners, flasks, and other equipment. Two dead bodies lay in a state of partial dissection. One of them is a young man with a beard. The other is a drake that Balasar recognizes as the same one that you had freed at Glyph’s Tower. Three slimy white slugs with bulging purple veins emerge from the corpses and attack using tentacles and emitting a greasy, gray mist. Balasar peers through the window into the parlor room and sees an old crone rocking in a chair, Mother Gerd, who attacks with a loud, painful shriek.

The snowy white owl rejoins the attack, as well as a female Were Boar, who comes crashing through a room of potted black tulips, squeezing herself into a narrow corridor to engage you. The smell of the black tulips is familiar to both Agapanthus and Hypatia; they recall that they were the cause of their drowsiness and amnesia when they were taken captive several weeks ago by Mother Gerd and her accomplices.

With the battle going against her, Mother Gerd attempts to teleport away, but the hag is taken down by attacks from Agapanthus and Wolvar before she can complete her escape. Before long, her remaining allies are also defeated.

You find hordes of alchemical treasures and ritual components, including Mother Gerd’s Book of Alchemical Formulae, as well as a book of rituals that once belonged to Mother Denebola (Hypatia’s previous incarnation). You free the two Harefolk and the natural animals from their cages and allow them to escape from the cottage. You torch Mother Gerd’s cottage and watch it burn to the ground. You spend the remainder of the day traveling back to Ardmore.

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Aprantus 23-24, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Days 23 and 24

You return to Ardmore and escort Felgrim Cornerstone to the office of Ward Marshall Warwick, successfully completing a Major Quest. You are brought to see Lady Ryselka, who tells you that you will spend the next day providing a full debriefing of your recent adventures. There is to be a hearing before King Gwenyk in one week in which the fate of all Adventuring in Ardwen is to be decided by the king.

The following day you are interrogated repeatedly by Chancellor Whitemoat, Lady Ryselka, and their many advisers. Cookie is upset over the fact that Dog Boy was roughed up during the interrogation. Dog Boy speaks poor Common and could not understand the questions well or answer them fully. You rest the night uneventually. Hypatia hands over the pewter crown that the self-proclaimed Prince Flak was wearing, as evidence towards the existence of the slave trader.

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Aprantus 22, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 22

You bring the seven captured mutineers to the western boundary and exile them from the kingdom. You then assist Felgrim Cornerstone with a ninth and final day of Ward inspections (Wards 81-90).

Felgrim wishes to be escorted back to Ardmore using the most direct route possible. Beginning the journey through Blithewood, Agapanthus and Hypatia come upon an eerily familiar woodland path which they recognize as the way to Mother Gerd’s cottage. You are approached by a pixie-like bug creature, a Grig, who demands precious gems for himself and his three fellow Grigs. The Grigs attempt to mesmerize you with a fiddle dance, but you defeat them swiftly.

You proceed up the path toward the cottage. The path opens into a clearing with a cobblestone walkway winding alongside a lily-pond and a swamp. A white owl is perched on a weather-vane over the porch entrance. It instructs you to leave 100 gold pieces on the bridge and come back to see Mother Gerd tomorrow. You ignore its instructions and attack instead, engaging in a fierce battle with Giant Frogs, Hellvenom Hornets, Enchanted Snapjaw Plants, Tainted Root Pods, and a shadowy figure who hurls daggers. Agapanthus, Balasar, Wolvar, and Hypatia are knocked unconscious at various points in the battle, but ultimately everyone in the party survives the encounter. Spent and weary, you retreat away from the cottage to rest and regroup.

Agapanthus leads you a few miles east to a secret hiding place he knows of called Rustling Leaf Grotto. Khashana senses that the grotto has a nearness to Dal Quor, The Region of Dreams, and knowing it to be a dangerous place for Kalashtar, she resists the temptation her Quori spirit feels to enter the grotto. Although the night passes uneventfully, everyone except Khashana loses track of time. Khashana rouses everyone awake the next morning.

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Aprantus 21, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 21

In the morning, Balasar feeds a magic apple to The Creature of the Cone. You complete a full day of Ward inspections at Tower Eight (Wards 71-80). After returning to the tower, the alarm is sounded and Wolvar spots a group of six creatures leaving Ardwen and approaching the Hobgoblin slaver caravan to the west. There is a halfling with a black eye patch, four elven archers, and a large wereboar carrying a huge maul. The elves maliciously shove and kick a group of hooded and bonded captives. The halfling and his gang hand over the captives to the Hobgoblins and are given a chest in return.

You leave the tower and hide in the trees, setting an ambush. As the halfling-led gang makes its way back to Ardwen, the Wereboar rips the head off a live Harefolk and drinks its blood. The five other gang members appear to drink a flask of blood before crossing the boundary of The Wards back into Ardwen. Shortly after they cross the boundary, you surprise the gang and a heated battle ensues.

Shortly after the battle begins, an ogre-drawn wagon with two hobgoblin passengers approaches from the west, stopping just short of the Ward boundary. One of the hobgoblins hands flaming pitch casks to the ogre who in turn hurls the exploding fire bombs at the party. At the same time, from the north, three goblin snipers enjoin the battle. With a surprising change of demeanor, Kashana begins channeling the ogre’s ferociousness and runs across the field to battle it one-on-one. Rook attacks the ogre with a Thorn Strike, pulling it onto the the Ward boundary where it instantly burns to a crisp, leaving only a pair of smoking boots in its place. The two hobgoblins escape to the west, while all remaining enemies are dispatched with. Hypatia recognizes one of the slain goblins as the goblin leader, Prince Flak.

Wolvar detects smoke from the east and observes that Tower Eight is on fire. After searching the enemy bodies, you return to Tower Eight to find that Sergeant Wix is its last surviving defender from an attacking band of goblins. The remaining goblins run away as you arrive and Sergeant Wix collapses. Trapped inside the burning tower are Hethica and Felgrim Cornerstone. You succeed in rescuing them, as well as salvaging Felgrim’s record book, before the tower collapses in flames.

You revive Sergeant Wix and bury the two dead guards. Wix accompanies you to Tower Nine. The tower is physically deteriorating, lurching to one side like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. No one is in the lookout post. One of the guards tells you that the sergeant, Penorbus, is in the latrine for an extended visit. Knowing this not to be true, you overcome all seven of the drunk, mutinous guards and take them captive. Kashana questions the captives and finds that they were pressed into service. They feel no particular loyalty to Ardwen nor any duty to defend it. Discussing their fate with Sergreant Wix, you decide to exile the mutineers from the kingdom come morning. You spend the night camped outside the precariously lurching tower.

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Aprantus 19-20, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Days 19 and 20

You complete a sixth day of Ward inspections (Wards 51-60) with Felgrim Cornerstone. During the course of the day, you spot a Hobgoblin slaver caravan some distance to the west, but it does not approach The Wards.

You depart for Tower Seven. On the way there, you spot a cloud of floating farm animals (cows, pigs, goats, geese), about thirty feet off the ground. The animals are drifting to the southwest, as if caught in an airstream. Hypatia confirms that the animals are levitated by a magical effect. You proceed to Tower Seven. This is also a female staffed tower like Tower Two. However, only the half-elf female Ward Sergeant T’Lea and two female Ward Guards are stationed at their posts. Four of the guards are in the bunkhouse being treated for wounds they sustained in a battle a few days ago. The seventh guard was killed in the attack. A small band of goblins accompanied by a rabid gray wolf had the audacity to attack the tower. The guards killed two of the goblins, wounded several others and drove them off. Sergeant T’Lea is concerned that if another such attack occurs, they won’t be able to defend the tower. Wolvar and Balasar heal the four wounded guards and they are able to resume their posts.

Despite Felgrim’s stern admonitions, you set out west pursuing the trail of the levitating farm animals. Cookie, too, is gravely concerned that darkness is approaching and that you are leaving the relative safety of the Warded Realm. You spot the Hobgoblin slaver caravan heading toward you from the north, and the levitating farm animals ahead of you to the southwest. Approaching the animals, you see that they are being controlled by a Bullywug Mud Lord wielding a wand-like shard object, accompanied by four Bullywug Twitchers and a pair of Giant Frogs. You defeat all the Bullywugs and Giant Frogs and retrieve the shard. Rook feels repulsed by the shard so Balasar handles it instead. On your way back to Ardwen, you succeed in avoiding the attention of the Hobgoblin slavers.

You find that Linosa has arrived at Tower Seven. She gives you a ten-pound sack of truffles and tells you that the Harefolk insisted that you be rewarded with this. She also informs you that she has joined up with the Ward Guards and has been assigned to replace the dead guard at Tower Seven.

In the early morning of Aprantus 20, there is a commotion near the Wards. Linosa is drunk and trying to provoke the Hobgoblin slavers by making obscene gestures toward them and mooning them. The Hobgoblins are out of range but they fire a few arrows toward her. Balasar grabs Linosa and pulls her back toward the tower, while the Hobgoblins continue on their journey south, avoiding The Wards to their east. You complete your Ward inspections (Wards 61-70), eat lunch, and set out for Tower Eight. On the way there, you encounter Ward Sergeant Penorbus, a big human male who is disheveled, filthy, bloodied, and reeking like a sewer. The Sergeant says he was in command of Tower Nine until his guards mutinied and stuffed him down the latrine hole. He managed to escape, and is heading to Tower Five to report the mutiny to Captain Ubada. He wants the seven guards at Tower Nine arrested and brought to justice. Wolvar reminds Sergeant Penorbus to bathe in the river before he sees Captain Ubada.

Arriving at Tower Eight, you notice that this tower is at the edge of Blithewood. There are only two guards and Ward Sergeant Wix, a Tiefling male, manning the tower. Sergeant Wix explains that about a week ago, a little halfling with an eye patch came by and offered the guards kegs of ale, crates of fresh vegetables, wedges of cheese, and loaves of bread. The grateful guards invited the halfing into the tower to join them in a card game. The little fellow began talking of how Adventurers have no difficulty procuring such items for themselves ‘by the armfuls’. He spoke of how the nice old lady, Mother Gerd, who lives in a hut a mile or two to the east, helps young people who are called to the life of the Adventurer. Six of the Ward Guards left Tower Eight the next morning and five of them have not returned. One of the missing guards eventually had a change of heart and did return to the tower. He reported that the forest was very dark and creepy as they approached Mother Gerd’s hut, and when the guards encountered a flying cricket sprite who told them they must talk to a white owl who would lead them to Mother Gerd’s hut, it was too much for him so he decided to return to duty.

During the night, Rook and Wolvar again have troubling dreams. Wolvar speaks to a spirit who tells him that it is bound to a totem trapped in a region to the southwest called The Chaos Scar. It asks Wolvar to rescue the totem.

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Aprantus 17-18, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Days 17 and 18

A fourth day of ward inspections (Wards 31-40) proceeds uneventfully on Aprantus 17. Later that day you travel to Tower Five, the main tower of the West Quadrant, and provide Captain Ubada and her Ward Sergeant with a full report of what you have witnessed over the past few days. Ubada’s spear wound has not been healing well, so Wolvar applies additional healing that relieves her pain.

Completing a fifth day of ward inspections (Wards 41-50) on Aprantus 18, you travel on to Tower Six. Upon arriving, you witness the Ward Sergeant in the act of flogging two guards behind the privy shack. The sergeant, Krengo, is a Dragonborn with a severely harsh temperament who relentlessly insults and punishes his guards. The half-starved guards appear haggard and terrified. You succeed in foraging for food to help feed the guards.

You find that a goblin prisoner is in custody at the tower and, by command of the Ward Sergeant, is being harshly interrogated with thumbscrews and other torture devices. Khashana speaks to the goblin telepathically, but he refuses to reveal any pertinent information about the headquarters of his goblin leader, Prince Flak. Cookie prepares a nourishing broth for the prisoner. While the adventure party distracts the guards, Dog Boy sneaks into the prison cell to feed the broth to the prisoner. Using diplomacy, you succeed in convincing Ward Sergeant Krengo to soften his approach toward his men.

During the night, Rook and Wolvar have troubling dreams about something unnatural that lies to the southwest.

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Aprantus 16, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 16

Completing a third day of ward inspections (Wards 21-30), you set out for Tower Four. About half-way to the tower, you spot a female elf accompanied by two Harefolk. Balasar recognizes the elf as Linosa who you originally encountered at The Copper Codpiece in Braemore. Linosa explains that she was expelled from Braemore and then from Underton. Having nothing better to do, she is assisting the two Harefolk with the attempted rescue of a number of children from their warren who were captured by a Troglodyte and a pack of hyenas. You agree to help her, but only after you have safely escorted Felgrim Cornerstone to Tower Four.

Resuming your journey to Tower Four, a large corkscrew-shaped worm hole opens in the sky, ending in a blast of smoke and dust in the grassy field nearby. Sitting there is a beautiful female woman, seemingly human, but emanating a mystical, other-worldly quality. The female identifies herself as Khashana, an exile from the world of Eberron. You greet her and she agrees to accompany you. Khashana later reveals that she belongs to a race called the Kalashtar.

Arriving at Tower Four, you find that the guards there are raucously celebrating their practical joke on the guards at Tower Three. Over Felgrim’s protestations, you leave the tower to rejoin Linosa and the Harefolk on their journey to the Little Trout river. You locate the Troglodyte’s lair in a cave under a waterfall and swiftly dispatch with it and its pack of hyena allies. Seven Harefolk children are rescued, one of whom is the son of the Harefolk parents that accompanied you to the lair.

Linosa escorts the Harefolk back to their warren, while you return to Tower Four.

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Aprantus 15, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 15

You assist Felgrim Cornerstone with a second day of ward inspections (Wards 11-20). After returning to Tower Two for lunch, the lookout sounds the alarm and the Ward Sergeant orders five guards to investigate a disturbance between Wards 12 and 13. The Ward Sergeant grants Balasar permission to accompany them.

Only minutes later a second alarm is sounded, this time for a disturbance in the area of Wards 18 and 19. You accompany the female half-orc guard to investigate. Two gnolls and three hyenas are attempting to cross the boundary into Ardwen. The hyenas are able to cross, but the gnolls are repelled by The Wards. You attack them, killing most and driving off the rest. You recover a pouch of gold and a pair of magical boots from one of the gnolls.

You return to Tower Two. Balasar and the other guards report that the first alarm was set off because wild boars were crossing the boundary. Balasar had attempted to hunt down one of the boars but it narrowly evaded him.

You set out for Tower Three and arrive without incident. You are rather shocked to find that the Ward Sergeant and guards, all male, are dressed in combat boots and colorful tutu skirts. The Ward Sergeant explains that he and his men were the victims of a practical joke pulled off by the guards at Tower Four.

Before settling down for the night, Balasar checks the condition of the creature in the black cone and feeds it a magic apple.

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Aprantus 14, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day Fourteen

You spend most of the day protecting Felgrim Cornerstone while he inspects West Quadrant wards one through ten. He finds that two of the ten wards are in poor condition.

After safely returning Felgrim to Tower One, you set out to search for the missing guards. You successfully track them and locate five of the guards a few miles east, hiding up in trees. They tell you that their Goliath ward sergeant was killed while fighting a Troglodyte and a pack of hyenas. The guards are terrified that the monsters might still be in the area and refuse to come down from the trees. Agapanthus stealthily climbs a tree and knocks one of the guards out of the tree. After much cajoling, you successfully convince the other four guards to come out of the trees and return to their tower. You accompany the guards back to the tower without incident. Felgrim had worried that you might have traveled to the Kog’s Bane Hills and warns that it is a treacherous area and should be avoided.

Despite a late start, you set out for Tower Two and arrive there after dark but without incident. The tower is commanded by a female sergeant and staffed by seven female guards. Conditions at this tower seem reasonably good. The guards had hunted a wild boar recently and it’s kept them well fed for the past week. In stark contrast to the previous tower, the barracks here are neat and orderly. A large half-orc female guard wearing a red bandana and smoking a Stogey cigar challenges you to an arm-wresting match for a wager of 10 Copper Pieces. Balasar and Rook each accept the challenge and defeat her. The half-orc accepts her defeat and pays out the twenty coppers.

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Aprantus 13, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day Thirteen

Pixelator leaves the tower to deliver a message to Ardmore, informing Ward Marshall Warwick about the attack on Captain Ubada’s wagon caravan and the many casualties that were suffered by the Ward Guards.

You travel north toward Tower One. You spot a search party of halflings and humans with dogs. The party is lead by a halfing, Constable Trueberry, who tells you that they are investigating the disappearance of farm animals in the pastures west of Underton.

After traveling seventeen miles, you arrive at Tower One as the sun sets. You are surprised to find only two guards present and they are both drunk. They explain that the Ward Sergeant, a Goliath, left with five of the guards to forage for food in the Kog’s Bane Hills to the east, but they were expected to return several days ago.

You spend the night resting at Tower One.

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