Dreaming at the Misted Borders

Gray on Gray, the slog and the shapeless
second session

Mud. Mud and gray and wet. Gordy is still lingering at death’s door as we slog our way back towards Stillwell. Despite our prayers and healing skills, his condition continues to worsen, and the pressure to get him back to town where he may recuperate is weighing upon us, heavily.

As we began to emerge from the swamp, we heard the sound of a female crying somewhere off of the path. Lia volunteered to scout out the situation as the rest of us laid Gordy down, propped up against a tree. She soon returned to describe an area of ruins not far from the path. In the corner of a demolished building lies a young human girl, huddled into the shadows and attempting to be quiet. What appears to be her mother lies dead a few yards away. Worse, the girl’s hiding space is about to be overrun by vile flying blood-drinkers that Grumbar identifies as Stirges.

“Nasty buggers,” he whispers to us. “They burrow into your body and drink your blood. But, on the upside, they’re delicous…hehe, and high in iron, as well.” At this proclamation, Therkla licks her lips and giggles. I blink at him, unsure if he is joking, and not really wanting to know the answer.

The party seems torn on whether we should just get Gordy back to town, leaving the girl to her own fate, or risk losing them both in an attempt to save them both. Theren tells us that we have a moral imperative to help children in distress like this, and denies that we even have a choice in the matter. “Our road is not defined by the easiest way through the swamp. Our road is defined by the good that we can do.”

Bolstered by his words, we approached the ruins…

…and were immediately beset by the “nasty buggers.” Their method of attack is as damaging to the psyche as it is to the body, as they pierce their victims with a needle-like proboscis, aiming for the chest, and drinking the blood from the still-living victims.

Much of the detail of the fight is lost to me in the haze of battle and the dispiriting gray of the swampy countryside. My friends fought well, with Grumbar and Therkla repeatedly killing Stirges still attached to their chests. It was certainly the bloodiest fight I’ve ever been involved in, as the Stirges exploded in a blood-filled mist when they were destroyed. This made battle-field triage for Theren and myself more difficult, as it was always hard to tell exactly how much blood covering our comrades was their own.

Lia’s eyes and bow proved themselves invaluable once again. She spotted the local origin of the beasts, a corrupted tree lying on the other side of the ruins. Once she began attacking the “hive,” the Stirges began to retreat, and the battle was over.

As we moved in to take care of the little girl, we were met with a shock. She was a Changeling. In her relief at being rescued, she reverted to her natural form, a gray humanoid lacking discernible features. She and her mother were on their way to Stillwater when they were beset by the Stirges. Her mother did not survive.

I must say that the child unsettled me. There is something about Changelings that lacks…integrity. Inherent structure. A defined place in the world. They make my scales twitch and remind me of the Chaos that seeks every day to engulf civilization.

But the child can’t help being born into this race, and so our obligation to help her stands firm.

A quick search of the ruins unearthed an amazing suit of armor and a holy symbol. Because it was Theren’s wisdom that guided us to this place, we thought it only right that he should keep the treasures. We now move for Stillwell at our best pace, carrying Gordy, and escorting the Changeling. I am glad that we helped her, but I won’t weep to see her leave our party, either.

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You Can Never Go Home Again
it begins, first session

(I will be half-assed writing these posts in character and in the first person, and will probably start doing so with more conviction once I have some more free time to do so, and if the group looks like it will be stable (and once I get a better feel for my character, as well). For now, I will use this space for adventure summaries and as a shared knowledge base. If there is something I left out, please let me know via comments and I will update it. The narrative will appear Rache-centric, but this is only to help me maintain a narrative and perspective, should I start writing more deeply in-character.)

I have returned to the town I grew up in, and was happy to reconnect with my childhood friends, Lia and Grumbar. Lia’s carefree attitude and Grumbar’s thirst for encounter and experience were like a breath of fresh air after the months of travel, prayer, fasting, and study that was required for my induction into the Holy Order. Their antics bring an easily-remembered smile to my face, and I immediately quash the feeling as somehow…unbecoming of my new status.

Grumbar seems to have found a fast companion and drinking buddy in Therkla, who is, like him, a Half-Orc with significant martial prowess. There is something…off…about Therkla. She has a wildness to her eye and pitch to her voice that makes me question her stability. Grumbar seems slightly wilder in her presence as well. Some strange from of Half-Orcish mating ritual? Perhaps they are both simply trying to out-Orc each other, as they are the only ones of their kind nearby.

The three of them also seem to be spending a significant amount of time around another person I do not know, a half-elf Priest named Theren. He has my respect, of course, as a man of faith, but I can’t quite get a handle on him. Theren treats my friends well, and has therefor earned my affinity, but until I know more about the man, I will reserve my judgment. He seems fairly well ingrained to the House of Dennith, which gives me pause in itself. The House has been good to me, has taken me in, fed me, and provided me with some rudimentary weapons-training. But I know that there is no beneficence in their strategy, and Dennor’s cautions about becoming wedded to their lifestyle makes me apprehensive of those who appear to have done so, like Therkla.

Speaking of Dennor, it was, of course, very good to see him still here in town, and doing his best to hold the chaos and darkness of this world at bay. The peoples’ reactions to him seem different than when I left, however. The townsfolk do not seem to be giving him the respect that is his due. Have they forgotten the disarray and hardship that we endured before his arrival? How short the memory of man, and how lacking in gratitude is he. Thus it is, though, and we don’t do what is right because we hope people will like us for it. We do it because we are called to do it, and because nobody else will.

After a couple of days of reacquainting myself with my companions, old and new, I report to Dennor to see how I may be of assistance to the town. He instructs me to assemble my friends and to speak with Benwick, an itinerant friar who has been here in town since shortly after I left. Apparently he is attempting to liaise with the lizardfolk who live outside of town, and has asked Dennor for aid.

I don’t like Benwick. He is a drunk and undisciplined man. He seems to have the best interests of the people at heart, but I wonder how much more effective he would be with a sober head and a less circuitous approach to everything. Also, his drinking habits make a bad role model for the Half Orcs.

Benwick tells us that his nephew Gordy had been working for Ferdinand Rannick, the local banker of some repute. Gordy suspected that Rannick has been engaging in Tiamat worship. Obviously, my interest is piqued. Benwick instructed Gordy to gather as much information as he can and report back to his uncle. After hearing this, my dislike of Benwick kindles into outright anger. To send an untrained errand boy to investigate HER doings…if I were in Dennor’s shoes, I’d hold Benwick legally and spiritually responsible for anything that happens to this boy. And apparently, something has. Benwick’s lizardfolk contacts have informed him that Gordy is being held by a rival tribe, located nearby.

The five of us left Benwick to his drinking and immediately set off to rescue Gordy. Lia’s knowledge of the land and instructions on how to move through the marshes are invaluable. Using only a crudely (and drunkenly) drawn map, she is able to select the fastest path to the lizardmen’s hideout. I remain convinced that this time she bought us went as much toward saving Gordy’s life as everything that happened inside the hideout.

We were somewhat exhausted from the forced swamp-march when we arrived at the lizardmen’s lair, and certainly not at our best, physically or mentally. Grombar and Therkla charged inside, which is right and proper, but were immediately beset by a host of lizardmen and their vile pets. In seconds, Therkla was unconscious and Grombar was covered in blood. The rest of us ran in after them as quickly as we were able and joined the battle.

Therkla’s will to fight and intestinal fortitude are simply amazing. Time and again she was droppped, snared, captured, poisoned, and bloodied. And time and again she jumped back up with a fury, killing one lizardman with her bare hands as she was being hauled away in the net of another. Her frenzy went far in occupying many of the lizardmen while we fought the others.

When I left for my pilgrimmage, months ago, Lia was the finest archer I’d ever met. Now, she may be the finest in the land. Arrows flew from her bow faster than I could track or count, lodging into scaled villains left and right. Grumbar, despite his larger-than-life personality and loud mouth at the drinking table, is a flawless tactician. He fights coolly, engaging the greatest threats and maximizing the effectiveness of every swing and parry.

Theren and I did our best to share the favor of the gods on our companions, keeping them in health and spirit when the fighting was at its nastiest. Theren has a good eye for battlefield healing, triaging wounds and treating the most serious with a second’s glance and devout prayer. It is through his quick attention and the blessings of our Gods that we all walked out of that lizard hive alive.

Including Gordy! After the last of the lizardlings were dead, Theren found Gordy lying beneath the body of a lizardman that Lia had dropped with one arrow, right before the creature would have ended the poor errandboy’s life. Gordy is alive, but badly poisoned. We were able to take one of the lizardmen prisoner and question him while Theren tended to the boy. The lizardman gave us definitive proof that Rannick is either engaged in Tiamat worship, or wants the lizardmen to think that he is. Theren looked into the lizardman’s soul and assured us that he was telling the truth.

We are taking a short rest, now. As I pen the last of this, my friends are helping Gordy to his feet and we will return him to town, to Chundera’s careful ministrations. Then, we face Rannick.

Is this my calling? There must be a reason that I, a Dragonborn, was left abandoned in this place as a foundling. Fate must have put me under Dennor’s holy tutelage, and surrounded me with these capable companions. And only the Platinum himself could have put me on the path to Tiamat’s downfall.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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