A Relic of the Past

Session 0
Josh and Jason create their characters

Personae Dramatis

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


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.


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.

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?

Session 1
The Mission

Fastday, 1844 Rain 5th

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)
Session 2
Trust No One

Soberday, 1844 Rain 6th

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 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).

Session 3
The Inn Crowd

Soberday, 1844 Rain 6th

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 members reluctantly relinquish 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…

Session 4
Keeping up with the Vawaryns

Soberday, 1844 Rain 6th

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 Zealday, 1843 Hearths 10th (eight months ago):

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.

Dated Fastday, 1844 Nets 26th (last week):

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.

Session 5
The Bandits' Cave

Soberday, 1844 Rain 6th

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.

Session 6
Ona Gets Owned

Soberday, 1844 Rain 6th

Before being tied up and gagged, the party’s prisoner shares one last detail: the jailer likes to torture people. Rif is alarmed at this and urges the party forward.

According to the map, there appears to be a wing for the jail and a smaller chamber where Ona stays. The party heads for the jail. Once again, Rif barges in, opening fire at the surprised jailer with chromatic orb, her most potent spell. However, it misses. D’Jango follows up with sleep, ending the fight quietly.

They drag the sleeping jailer into one of the cells and lock it. They discover a few dead bodies in other cells as well as two barely-alive elves: Rif’s parents. Vayol revives them both with magic and a potion. Rif’s mother is incredulous before she is appreciative. The jailer wakes up and screams for Ona. They hear heavy footfalls outside.

D’Jango leaps behind the jailer’s desk, taking aim at the door. Rif’s mother Lythie grabs her daughter’s bow, and she and Vayol aim down the jail’s hallway. The extremely beefy jailer grabs Rif through the bars and begins pulling the bars out of the wall as he chokes her. Upon opening the door, Ona is peppered with bolts and arrows. She closes to melee with Vayol, then proceeds down the hallway. Rif’s parents are pretty worthless in battle, despite their best efforts. Still, Ona is set upon from all sides and falls. The jailer tosses the heavy bars onto the weakened Vawaryn family and attacks Vayol also. D’Jango puts a bolt through his throat.

Veluar laments his involvement in the events leading up to this, explaining he had hired Ona to guard the cave and keep people away from what he believed to be a dangerous magical site. He explains his intention to ward the cave magically while he returns to Baleton to research it. The party asks for passage to Baleton, which Veluar happily agrees. “We owe you our very lives. Of course!”

The Vawaryns will need a few days to recover and pack, giving the party a bit of downtime. They ransack Ona’s vault and spend the time identifying their magical items.

Session 7
Underway to Baleton

Soberday, 1844 Rain 6th

The two halflings find a key on Ona‘s body and make their way to her chamber. It features ornate furniture, a small stockpile of weapons and armor, a wardrobe full of nice clothing, and a large iron door set into the far wall. This is in contrast to the rest of the cave, which featured fairly ramshackle furnishings. Ona’s key opens the vault, and inside they find three chests. Vayol takes the time to identify their contents:

  • A sword wrapped in white silk (Rapier, +1)
  • A wand wrapped in black silk (Wand of the War Mage, +1)
  • Scroll case containing a scroll of Warding Bond
  • Goggles of the Night

They make their way back to town. Vayol, acting on the authority of his church with holy symbol on display, has taken the lone survivor prisoner. The guards at the gate summon the lieutenant (the next ranking officer after Captain Tesh), who takes the party’s prisoner into custody.

The Vawaryns offer the party the use of the guest rooms in their home.

Almsday, 1844 Rain 7th

Veluar recovers at home. The Vawaryns’ servants begin packing their belongings and loading it onto their yacht.

Vayol probably deals with some judicial proceedings and other administrative junk. The prisoner from the cave confesses. Vayol also identifies the items found earlier: Oil of slipperiness, potion of growth, potions of healing (x4), and a potion of poison (which is pretty powerful).

D’Jango scopes out the town and finds a tavern/brothel called the Bitter Kiss. They’re decidedly disinterested in his musical talents.

The PCs apply their level-up.

Loneday, 1844 Rain 8th

While Lythie oversees the final preparations for travel, Veluar gathers a few scrolls and heads back to the cave to seal it. The halflings accompany him to make sure there’s no trouble. His first attempt to use a Stone Shape scroll fails, but his second attempt succeeds. He molds the stone around the entrance to close it. During the walk back, he asks Vayol if he could see the Baleton Grand Library’s private collection (the works that have yet to be copied). Vayol gives him hope without promising anything, knowing it could ruffle some feathers. Before they make it back to town, Veluar collapses. With help, they make it to the mansion, and Veluar’s footman helps him onto the wagon and conveys the group to the waiting yacht.

Veluar is taken to his quarters on deck 2 immediately. Lythie gives a brief tour of the ship (two masts, 3 decks, a whale oil engine, crew of 3 – shipmaster, first mate, engineer) and then goes to be with her husband. Veluar’s personal physician is in Baleton, so the crew is eager to be underway. The ship departs Potterstead. The first mate estimates the trip will take about two weeks.

Truesday, 1844 Rain 9th

Smooth sailing.

Zealday, 1844 Rain 10th

Smooth sailing.

Peaceday, 1844 Rain 11th

Lythie hasn’t left Veluar’s side. Elves don’t sleep anyway, but she also isn’t trancing. She looks exhausted.

Rif takes a break from sitting with her ailing father and visits the top deck. She leans against the railing, alone, using Prestidigitation to distract herself.

Fastday, 1844 Rain 12th

The ship passes by a body in the water. The gnome engineer has rigged up a harness to lower someone to fetch the body, and he’s prepared a funeral pyre for burial at sea because “It’s the right thing to do.” After an awkward game of “Not-It,” the first mate reluctantly volunteers to retrieve the body. The corpse is that of a half-orc, with bruises and cuts from battle. The party recognizes it as one of Falco’s crew. It’s been in the water about two days.

Falco had a three-day head start. Assuming the body hasn’t drifted far, they’re only two days behind, meaning they’ve caught up to him by one day. (They surmise that this larger vessel was able to take a more direct route across open water instead of hugging the shore.) At this rate, they should overtake Falco before he reaches Baleton. However, they don’t share their goal with anyone else.

The engineer douses the pyre with a bit of whale oil, and Vayol lights it with Sacred Flame. A column of black smoke issues forth.

Soberday, 1844 Rain 13th

Early that morning, another body. It’s the other half-orc from Falco’s crew. This one is in worse shape—his leg was severed by a large blade which cut through the femur—and it appears he went in the water at the same time as the first body. The wounds are obviously from combat and not an execution. Besides his wounds, there is discoloration around the mouth and nose, which Vayol ascribes to poison. Also, something about this orc’s teeth remind Vayol of the sadistic jailer from the cave. Perhaps they were related? Another pyre is prepared and lit.

The party discusses what this means. Falco can handle his ship by himself, but he’ll be slower.

The shipmaster and the first mate get into an argument about whether to alter course. Veluar’s health is on the shipmaster’s mind, and he intends to stay on their present course. The first mate, meanwhile, has already charted an alternative that will take a little longer and avoid what he fears is danger on their present course. The party, wanting to catch Falco, sides with the shipmaster to stay on the present course. Vayol assures the first mate that he and D’Jango are capable warriors and can handle any trouble that comes their way.

Famous last words.

Session 8
Not THAT kind of Dragonborn

Soberday, 1844 Rain 13th

The ship nears the opening into Potter’s Cove. The first mate is pretty sure that’s where the danger lurks.

D’Jango and Vayol speak with the ship’s engineer to learn about the ship’s maximum speed. D’Jango also gets a bit of whale oil in several bottles he finds. Then he climbs to the top of the main mast to look for danger.

Vayol checks on Valuar. He uses detect poison and disease to determine that Veluar does indeed have a disease, but is appears to be magical in nature and beyond his ability to identify. Veluar, though weak, agrees with Vayol that the disease is related to him sealing the cave back in Potterstead.

Based on evidence of poison in the bodies pulled from the water, Vayol patrols the ship, continually casting detect poison and disease as a ritual. He detects something beneath the ship—a humanoid as revealed by his spell—and is able to warn the others before it attacks. Vayol channels divinity to tap into the vast knowledge of the Vigilant Eye in matters of nature. He also prepares to attack with his crossbow when he has a clear shot.

A greenish dragonborn with several different weapons emerges from the water and immediately takes a critical hit from Vayol’s crossbow. It claws its way up the side of the hull and responds by throwing a spear into Vayol’s arm. D’Jango peppers it with vicious mockery from the top of the main mast. The shipmaster retrieves his saber from the cabin. Rif emerges from the lower decks.

Based on his divine knowledge of the dragonborn’s poison cone breath weapon, Vayol instructs the others not to clump together. Possessing poison resistance himself, he drops his crossbow and charges into melee, but his mace just bounces off the dragonborn’s thick hide. It tries and fails to push him over the side, then begins climbing the rigging on the foremast. D’Jango flings another vicious mockery and maintains his elevated position. The shipmaster pursues the dragonborn up the rigging with saber in hand, and Rif shoots it with an icy chromatic orb.

Vayol retrieves his crossbow. The dragonborn slices through the taut rigging, catapulting himself upward and sending the shipmaster slamming into the deck. As it rises, it also slices through several of the sail’s anchors, and upon reaching the top of the foremast, it dives off into the water. D’Jango watches for it to surface, and Rif fires another icy chromatic orb into the water, hoping to trap it in ice. She fails, and all is quiet as it disappears into the deep.

The damage to the ship is not disabling, but it does slow them down. The engineer begins repairs immediately with Rif’s help. Vayol resumes his magical patrols, and D’Jango stays perched on top of the main mast. They pass the first outer point of the cove and see several shipwrecks within the shallower waters. Not long after, they spot a single rowboat moving in their direction, waving a white cloth. Vayol gets his detect magic up and asks for the ship to be slowed to come within range.

As the rowboat gets closer, they learn it has six kobolds. From a distance, the party shouts and tries to ascertain what the kobolds want, but their command of Common is somewhat lacking. Vayol, who understands Draconic, picks up a few names: “Jerrosh” and “Undazudrir.” The kobolds claim to be slaves escaping from these two larger “dragonkin.” They come within range of Vayol’s spell, and they are not magical. However, something magical does briefly pass through the spell’s range. Vayol demands to know what that magical thing was, and the kobolds look very frightened. Then a familiar sound: claws against the hull.


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