A Relic of the Past

Session 5
The Bandits' Cave

The party makes their way into the cave, with Rif leading the way as the only one capable of seeing. She relays what she sees in the first room: weapon racks and a door to the right, and ahead silhouettes of several archways into a larger central room. They enter the door to the right. It is a dimly-lit kitchen.

The kitchen looks to be recently used, but there is no one inside. Rif casts light on a ladel to illuminate the room, which the party explores. They find the remains of a book in the oven. Rif recognizes it as one of her father’s spellbooks. Now she is sure he’s here. They also find some expensive-looking silverware and a wine cellar—also unoccupied.

Moving through the kitchen, they come to another large room filled with tables and benches. It’s also dark, and it connects to the central room. Vayol, still with his detect magic up, senses a powerful magical circle in the central room, radiating enchantment magic. The group maneuvers around it, crossing to the other side past and back into the room with the weapon racks and toward two more doors in the dark. They find racks of armor as well. Among them are Potterstead town guard uniforms. They hear someone snoring on the other side of the door.

D’Jango clumsily knocks one of the armor racks over, waking the sleeping person. He opens the door, sleepily scolds whoever woke him, and returns to his bed. At this point, Vayol considers identifying some items, but Rif becomes impatient and storms into the room to find out where her father is. The halflings rush in after her.

The fight is over before it starts. D’Jango recognizes the man as the one who slew their prisoner the previous night. One well-placed stab later (“Ow. OW!”), and he’s more interested in talking than dying. He reveals that there are two other occupants: the jailer and their boss Ona. He begs the party to protect him from her.

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Session 4
Keeping up with the Vawaryns

As the rowdy bar patrons close in on Rif, Vayol leaps to her defense. He casts Inflict Wounds, killing one of the patrons immediately. Most of the patrons are too drunk to notice that he’s dead. D’Jango vaults over the bar and gathers their equipment from the chest. Tess doesn’t interfere, merely choosing to watch the drama unfold. Rif casts Thunderclap, injuring one of the patrons and also Vayol. D’Jango casts Sleep on the crowd, halving the number of hostiles, and then brings Vayol his shield and mace.

After a couple of rounds of everyone missing, Tess casts Calm Emotions on the room, causing the remaining patrons to lose interest in fighting. She then clears the bar and pulls Rif aside to address her in Elvish. (Vayol, who knows the language, hears Tess encourage Rif to control her power, lest that power control her.) Vayol explains to Rif that he’s pretty sure he knows where her parents are. That’s all she needs to hear to join up. Tess points them to the back door, saying the town guard will be there soon to respond to the report of a death within the city limits.

Rif leads the two halflings to her home to gather supplies and rain gear, as the storm continues. Rif’s parents are wizards, and their Potterstead vacation home is an opulent three-story mansion. She asks the party to be quiet so the servants don’t know they’re there. They make their way to the third floor, where Rif equips herself, and then down to the second floor where Veluar (Rif’s father) has set up his study. D’Jango finds a crude map where a spring has been labeled outside of a cave. Vayol asks if he can have a 100gp pearl (for his Identify spell), which Rif finds in a small chest full of various gems. By the time they’re done, the town guard has mobilized around the Rolling Leaf, and the group barely manages to avoid them and make their way to the east gate.

On the way to the bandit hideout, Rif finds Erathar‘s body. He’d been a friend of the family for so long, but Vayol explains that he had attacked them the previous night. Rif is confused by this. They find two notes on his body, missed in the rush in the night.

Dated eight months ago:

Erathar,
Your assistance tracking down the escapees was, as always, much appreciated. Please find enclosed an official recognition of your service to our city. Maybe I can unofficially recognize you this weekend at the glade.
Yours,
Ona

Dated last week:

Beloved,
My dock contacts tell me our wizards just arrived. I want to know everything they know about the cave. They trust you. Can you bring them to me?
- Ona

The party follows a trail off the main road to a cave entrance. Two thick wooden doors fill the entrance into what Vayol recognizes as ancient stonework. With Detect Magic, Vayol is immediately aware of powerful magical energy from inside the cave, though the source is well outside the range of his spell. A clear pool of water to the right of the opening (a spring?) signals to D’Jango that his map may prove handy. The doors are elaborately trapped; moving the handles causes hidden crossbows to fire. D’Jango learns this safely at the expense of his Unseen Servant. After careful search, he finds dozens of trap holes and a handle in a small cavity in the stone above the door. Rif, the only one who can reach the handle, cautiously ties a rope to it. The party flanks the doors while D’Jango pulls the rope to turn the handle from a safe distance. The doors swing open.

Inside the cave, there is no light. The group is reluctant to light a torch, as it would reveal their presence to whoever is inside. Only Rif can see in the dark. They use the rope to form a chain of people, with about 10 feet of slack between them. Rif takes the lead into the cave.

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Session 3
The Inn Crowd

While lying paralyzed on the docks, D’Jango and Vayol drift off to sleep. They are awakened shortly thereafter by the fishmonger that D’Jango met the day before. He introduces himself as Gus Welker and offers to take them to The Rolling Leaf Inn where they can rest and stay dry from the storm.

The poison has worn off. Falco’s ship is nowhere to be found. While Gus leads the two halflings to the inn, they discover that Falco also stole their gems but fortunately not their potions.

It has already started to rain, and the wind is picking up. The Rolling Leaf Inn is mostly empty this early in the morning. The party reluctantly relinquishes their weapons and spell component pouches. Tessa Welker, the inn’s proprietor, has food and two private rooms prepared, and Gus covers the costs.

After a rest, the halflings wake to find the inn full of sailors who are waiting for the storm to blow over. D’Jango tries to win over the crowd and find passage to Baleton with mixed results. He also learns that several shipments from the north are late. Meanwhile, a young elven woman (~80 years old, the equivalent of a human teenager) watches the festivities with a look of concern. Tess tells Vayol that her name is Aerifyn Vawaryn, the daughter of two “insufferable wizards” who vacation in Potterstead. He approaches. She introduces herself as “Rif” and nervously explains that her parents are missing, then brushes past him to address the room, pleading for help.

Rif’s parents had left town a few days prior, she explains, with the local guide Erathar. They’d gone on similar excursions with him many times before and assured Rif they would return to Potterstead and depart for their home in Baleton before the storm hit. They are late, and Rif is desperate for help. Vayol recalls that the captured bandit had mentioned hostages at their base in the nearby foothills.

Instead of receiving sympathy, Rif is assaulted by a seedy patron and angrily defends herself with Shocking Grasp. He collapses. A hush falls on the room as the unconscious patron’s friends stand up and surround Rif…

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Session 2
Trust No One

D’Jango interrogates one of the captured bandits while the other flees. The visibly shaken bandit lets on that they were sent for the halfling to be taken alive and back to their camp nearby. The camp is said to be comprised of 4 others: their leader (named Ona), some spirit presence, and a few scouts. Ona had recruited the bandits from Potterstead.

Vayol, D’Jango, and Durnoth decide to turn in the bandits back in town. On their way they are ambushed by a single scout (likely the one who ran away or escaped from the rope). Durnoth does his best dwarven pincushion impersonation until Vayol scares them off.

Further on up the road, a fallen tree blocks the road. The group is ambushed by 3 more bandits who kill the captured bandit the group was aiming to turn in. D’Jango puts faerie fire on the scout, and Vayol shoots him dead. The other two bandits flee.

The group arrives at town in early morning, with a storm rolling in at sea. They hail Falco, who now has two hired deck hands. Falco has prepared a marvelous feast below deck, in which D’Jango and Vayol happily partake. In their fatigue, they don’t notice they’ve been hexed, and the poisoned food and paralyzes them. Falco takes a box from Vayol and mutters things to D’Jango about it being just a job. Falco then leaves the two on the docks in Potterstead and sails away with the box (which contains the relic).

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Session 1
The Mission

D’Jango lands upon the shores of Potterstead and briefly checks out the town by way of chatting up a fish monger at the port. The fish monger indicates that the Rolling Leaf is an inn/tavern his sister works at and could be a good resting place. There appears to be a heavy city watch presence, though none of the guardsmen D’Jango interacts with seem to think anything is amiss or more troublesome than normal. The tower guard at the gate has zero idea about people leaving his gate.

Django makes it to hermitage without issue and exchanges the secret greeting with Vayol. And thus they are bound in their journey to Baleton.

The drunken Durnoth, the dwarven hermitage keeper, is of few words but seemingly hospitable to newcomers. Vayol relates that his mission was from the Iris of Baleton – a high ranking official in matters of law and religion, knowledge of the Church of the Vigilant Eye.

In the middle of the night, a small group of bandits are quickly dispatched with mace, fist, and psychological warfare. 2 of 3 are unconscious and 1 flees.

A horde’s worth of treasure is upon them:

  • Light crossbow (Vayol)
  • Oil of slipperiness
  • Potion of growth
  • +1 bolts (20)
  • Potion of greater healing
  • 2 gems
    • Moonstone (50gp)
    • Carnelian (50gp)
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Prologue
Sent to players before the first game

To Vayol

Sixteen years ago, the Iris of Baleton entrusted you with a small wooden box and sent you to a hermitage outside the town of Potterstead. The Iris gave strict instructions not to reveal the box’s existence to anyone (even to other members of the Church), not to attempt to open it or divine its contents, and to remain at the hermitage until someone came and gave a secret countersign. Since then, you have lived with Durnoth Alestone, the hermitage keeper.

Sign: You say, “Understanding is the seed from which Good Fortune sprouts.”
Countersign: They respond, “Yet a poisoned seed yields poisoned fruit.”

To D’Jango

Three weeks ago, you were offered an anonymous contract to escort a halfling named Vayol Falorin from Potterstead to the Grand Temple Library in Baleton. Anonymity comes at a price in the Hand—triple the usual amount—so it seemed a straightforward and lucrative job. Your handler Falco Burrows, who captains a small cutter, transported you from Dunwall to Potterstead. After all, “Two Hands make steady work.” However, the contract is yours; only you were given its details.

Sign: Vayol says, “Understanding is the seed from which Good Fortune sprouts.”
Countersign: You respond, “Yet a poisoned seed yields poisoned fruit.”

You’ve worked with Falco a lot before. You can assume he is transporting you with the understanding that you’ll share the payout, but he hasn’t insisted on drawing up a subcontract. You can only conclude that he trusts you… perhaps a strange feeling?

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Session 0
Josh and Jason create their characters

Personae Dramatis

  • Mark (DM)
  • Jason (player)
  • Josh (player)

Summary

Heh, we’re all newbs. This is Jason’s first experience with 5e. Mark’s too, and also his first DMing gig in about a decade. This is Josh’s first time playing any tabletop RPG.

Jason had an idea for a necromantic bard coming in (“like the Pied Piper but with zombies”). Josh liked the idea of being victimized inspired by the dice, so he determined many aspects of his character randomly, including race, class, sex, and name: a female halfling cleric named Vayola Falorin. Jason made his bard Django Dobbledock a halfling also. They chose their subraces based on their classes: Lightfoot for Django and Stout for Vayola. (A cleric probably wouldn’t be thrilled about a bard with a zombie horde.)

Mark had a lot of trouble picking a pronoun when referring to Josh/Vayola, so Josh changed his character to a male, Vayol Falorin.

Jason had found the Spy background for Django. Josh reviewed the PHB and chose the Hermit background. Each chose a personality trait, ideal, bond, and flaw. Vayol had entered hermitage because he was guarding a mysterious relic and was being hunted. A theme began to develop by the time they chose alignments. Vayol (LG) had the Knowledge domain, while Django (CG) was all about keeping secrets. This is going to be fun.

We went with standard-array stats: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. Both players chose proficiencies and equipment. Because skills for his background, class, and domain overlapped so much, Josh basically had little choice when it came to his character’s skill proficiencies. Mark let him pick one skill proficiency outside of the lists. By the end, their character sheets were basically done.

Mark pitched two story hooks to tie these characters together:

  1. Django has been hired to acquire the relic. Vayol learns it’s evil, convinces Django, and the two halflings team up to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mt. Doom… You know, I’m pretty sure that’s plagiarism.
  2. Someone (TBD) is coming after the relic, and Vayol’s church hired Django to help keep it hidden.

We went with the second one.

Homework

DM: Set up this campaign here on Obsidian Portal. Prepare the first adventure.

Players: Pick spells. Populate your character pages here with your Trait, Ideal, Bond, and Flaw.

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