Valendia

Valens at Last
The heroes have arrived, but will it do any good?

The party started out on the road to Valens, the capital city of Valendia to report the news of Silas Dreadbane’s takeover of Silvertown, as well as Sarrieth Dreadbane’s subsequent betrayal. The journey was for the most part uneventful, with the party hunting for food. The party also listened to some more of Tamera’s jokes.

Tamera’s Jokes of the Week:

What do you call a Paladin that’s been frozen solid? A popsicle. …you get it? Because they’re a block of ice with a stick up their ass.

What do you get when you cross a half-orc and a pig? Nothing, there’s just some things you can’t get a pig to do.

On the 3rd day of their journey, the party saw another merchant cart. However, it was immediately attacked and tipped over by a marauding Ogre. The driver was thrown out of the cart and hit the ground hard, injured and terrified. The party quickly hopped out of their cart to help, attracting the Ogre’s attention. The Ogre charged towards them in a rage, taking a Seeking Ray and a Fireball from Donovan and two arrows from Ari before he got anywhere near the adventurers. Lissa and Tamera began to buff the party with spells. Once he was somewhat close, Garek lunged at him and took a large chunk out of the Ogre with his Enchanted Greatsword. The Ogre fell quickly to this maelstrom of spells and swords, and the party tended to the poor merchant.

The merchant was unconscious from the attack. Lissa tended to his wounds, while Ari and Donovan began to gather the scattered merchandise. Among this assorted junk Donovan found a small box that contained a small fortune in platinum and gold pieces; Donovan quickly gathered them up and put them back into the cart. After a few heal spells from Lissa, the merchant stated that he was heading to Kentgrove, a place that was previously attacked by a goblin wizard. Garek took a couple of hours to fix the guy’s cart and also instructed him on the use of a crossbow, so that he could better protect himself on the road. Very appreciative of his rescuers, the man set off on his journey with renewed vigor.

Three days later, the party arrived in the Outer City section of Valens. They passed many inns and restaurants and shops on the way. Despite the alluring smells of cooked food, which was a huge distraction to Garek, Portia was determined to keep on her course. They were momentarily delayed by a procession of soldiers, headed by the legendary Thunder Hooves. More delays were to meet them at the front, as the soldiers had to search their cart before they allowed them into the city proper. They finally arrived at the Marketplace district of Valens, with the castle visible from the entrance. After some gathering of information, they found that one of the gates was located in the Residential District, and passed through the Guildhall District to get there.

Yet more delays awaited them at the gate, as the guard had to consult with the king before letting them in. But they finally achieved their long-awaited audience with King Arturos Knightblade, as he was recently freed from a meeting. King Arturos is an aging man of at least 60, with long, gray hair and a goatee. He dressed in blue noble finery, wearing a Silver Holy Symbol of Reidman, a circlet, and a longsword at his side. Portia quickly spilled the story about Silvertown, with help from the rest of the party. Portia urged for his help in this matter, perhaps sending troops with them to retake it. However, Arturos stated that he could not make acts of war without consent from Parliament – and because of their lack of love for him, he would need some time to get a plan together. Portia became very frustrated at this, and resolved to find a way to liberate Silvertown herself. Arturos, apparently somewhat flustered at this lack of respect, stared her in the eye and stated that he would retake Silvertown if he had to go swing a sword himself. He told them to stay in the city while he had time to think it through, and that he would find them when he needed them.

Still, the heroes left somewhat disappointed. At the gate, Lissa told the party that, now that this job was complete, she had other authorities to report to. She bid them farewell, saying she hoped to see them again, and headed off into the city, much to the party’s dismay. Donovan still possessed the scroll from the High Priest of Reidman – he thus saw it as his duty to report the death of their deceased clergyman. So, he and Ari went to the Guildhouse District, to the Temple of Reidman. The High Priest, Elden Merril, was in the midst of a ceremony in which he anointed the swords of a couple of knights, saying a series of prayers to Reidman. Ari and Donovan waited patiently for the end of the ceremony, then confronted the priest, telling him of his fallen comrade. The priest and the knights were grieved at the news, and said several prayers. Donovan ventured an inquiry into the nature of the ruins the priest had been looking for, but the High Priest dismissed it, saying that it was for members of the church to look into.

As he walked out of this temple from a strange religion, Donovan reflected that the ceremonies of Reidman were quite similar to those of Tiernach, contrary to his idealized church.

Portia decided that she still needed to take more immediate action – and that involved getting drunk. She and Garek found a nice looking inn, The Hearty Knave, and immediately ordered the house special. Garek resolved to drink only milk with his 16 oz steak, but Portia immediately downed two of the inn’s specialty drink, also called The Hearty Knave. She became drunk with relative speed, and so began a wild night. Tamera later showed up and began to play her mandolin for money.

Meanwhile, Ari and Donovan began searching for shops to sell their loot from past battles. After wandering a bit from the main street, they found a shop on the corner called the Devil’s Luck. As they entered, the shopkeeper, a short woman with devil-like horns, was arguing with a town guard, insisting nothing illegal was going on. The man left in a frenzy, bumping Donovan on the way out. Ari and Donovan then began to conduct and discuss business with the woman. After selling several of the acquired enchanted items, Ari was able to afford a +1 Flaming Scimitar that the tiefling possessed. They next visited an Armor shop known as Bastion of Bargains – the scarred, shirtless man that ran the place bought their spare chain shirt and studded leather armor, and offered them a 25% discount if they bought a shield and a suit of armor at the same time. Donovan inquired about Mithral Armor, and the man said that he’d have to special order it. Unsure of the amount of time they’d spend in Valens, Donovan backed out. The two ended their trip at Dryxie’s Spells and Scrolls, where Donovan sold his (useless) scrolls of Feather Fall and bought a Cloak of Resistance +1. Ari likewise sold the Boots of the Winterlands.

Satisfied, Donovan and Ari went to find an inn or Temple of Aeneas, when they heard some raucous singing coming from the Hearty Knave Inn & Tavern – unmistakably Portia’s voice. Donovan almost continued, but stopped when he heard a familiar melody played on a mandolin – obviously Tamera. Thus they entered the Hearty Knave, where a man in worn-down armor immediately placed a drink in Donovan’s hands, and stared him down while Donovan took a sip. Accepting this brutal hospitality, Donovan sat down, confused. After awhile, another man ordered a drink from the bar – despite the man’s cheery disposition, the bartender seemed terrified of this man, and didn’t even charge him for the drink. As luck would have it, the man sat down next to Donovan, introducing himself as Zacuren. Donovan likewise introduced himself, and the man furrowed his brow and checked a paper, and further asked what his last name was. Donovan replied, after a moment’s hesitation, that it was Donovan Kent, and the man laughed. Zacuren stated that, as luck would have it, he was supposed to kill Donovan. And he said that he would, though not right now – he was having a good time. He said Donovan would know when the time came.

Donovan pressed the man for information, finding out that he was only interested in Donovan himself – and was in fact unaware of his traveling companions. The man eventually got up and left, leaving a few copper for Donovan to buy himself another drink (“You look like you need it, pal”). Portia eventually passed out from the alcohol consumption, and Garek carried her to her room.

The next morning, the adventurers awoke to a hearty breakfast in the Hearty Knave. Portia possessed a massive hangover, and wanted coffee to help ease the pain. The Half-Orc innkeeper complied, and then Garek and Portia went shopping, stopping at Eberk’s Armaments, Bastion of Bargains, and Dryxie’s Spells and Scrolls. Portia picked up a red Cloak of Resistance +1, while Garek picked up a Handy Haversack and 7 of each of several different kinds of weapons to store in it. On their way back to the inn, the two travelers saw a woman get mugged on the street, and both began to pursue the thief, with Portia yelling “GUARDS!” as she charged forth with her sword. They chased the thief into a dark alley, where he suddenly stopped, and was unresponsive to all of the commands from Portia and Garek. Garek grabbed the purse from his hands, and Portia took the opportunity to grab him, and at this point the man apparently came to his senses, wondering aloud where he was. As the town guards caught up with them and carried the man away, he noisily proclaimed his innocence, to which the guards regarded with skepticism. Garek personally returned the purse to the woman it was stolen from, along with some money to eat with for a week. She thanked him and gave him a hearty hug, then went about her day.

The adventurers returned to idle some more at the inn, wondering what they should do. At this point, Tamera suggested that they should join a guild to make some money while they wait for the king to get his ideas straight (“If he’s caught up in a bunch of political nonsense anyway, this could take longer than he’s letting on…”). At this point, Portia remembered the party’s membership in the Emerald Gauntlets, and wondered if they would possibly come to their aid in Silvertown. Apparently rejecting this idea, Portia recalled the legend of Morgan Squared, who liberated Silvertown from the first Dreadbane in the first place, and wondered if she could be magically contacted. Ari likewise revealed her membership in the Scales of Lotanokos, and attempted to give Garek the short version of the story of Valendia I. She said that, other than Morgan, Lucilia Delgado might come to help the city – she was, after all, in the same party with Morgan. Portia and Ari resolved to try, and asked Donovan along, since he knew about this weird magical stuff.

As they walked down the street to Dryxie’s Spells and Scrolls, Donovan was accosted by a man with a knife, who told him to give all his money. Donovan thought he was acting a little strange. Before he could act, Portia drew her sword and disarmed the man, sending his knife flying. The man continued to stand before Donovan, apparently awaiting his gold. Portia finally just punched the man, knocking him unconscious with a single strike. As the town guards showed up, seeing the commotion, Donovan stopped them from dragging the man away, telling them that he suspected Enchantment, and that he’d like to question it. He pointed to the inn where he was staying, and the guards agreed to come pick up the man later. Thus, Donovan decided to question the man at the inn, abandoning the quest to Dryxie’s.

After questioning the man, Donovan learned that he was delivering supplies to the Normandy Academy of Martial Arts, when he suddenly blacked out. He also noted that this was located next to the Valens Arcane University.

The girls and Garek went to the shop anyway, asking Dryxie if she knew of the Heroes of Valendia; specifically, Lucilia and Morgan. Dryxie seemed surprised – “Knew them? Hells, I sold them magic items!”. They then hired her services in sending the heroes a message, 25 words or less. Dryxie first prepared a message to Lucilia, which pleaded for her help to revive Silvertown.

Lucilia’s reply: That’s terrible! I’ll see what I can do.

Not encouraged by this response, Portia paid for a message to be sent to Morgan.

Meanwhile, in a distant meadow…

Morgan sits on the ground under a shady tree, watching a couple of rabbits jump around in the tall grass. She sighs, wondering where to go next. Suddenly, a vaguely familiar voice echoes in her head.

“Morgan! Silvertown has been seized! Please come liberate it once more!”

Morgan stands up, surprised by the voice, and draws her sword, which had been napping peacefully in his sheathe.

“How did you get this number?!” Morgan exclaims, awakening her sword with a sputter.

“Morgan,” Gerald’s ringing baritone moans. “Who are you talking to? People will think you’re weird if you keep responding to the voices in your head.”

“SHUT UP, GERALD!”

Thus, Donovan uncovers an odd happening in Valens, while the others attempt to gather strange allies to decide Silvertown’s fate. What will the final outcome be? Find out next time maybe, on D&D!

(Great session, guys, almost completely role-playing and no trouble. More action next time, probably, whenever that may be. Meeting in the library could be a good plan. If you guys have any other ideas, feel free myspace, call, or OP me! Thanks again for a great D&D experience.)

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Of Goblins and Vampires
The Goldmine of Sarrieth Dreadbane

The adventure continued, but hit a snag. The adventurers were quite worn out from their earlier encounters with the Hobgoblins that inhabited the Goldmine of Sarrieth Dreadbane – many were gravely wounded, and the spellcasters were nearly out of spells. After several minutes of debate, the party decided to camp right where they were, in a natural pit in the cave, right next to a door to the next room. Garek took the first watch, whilst the others tried to get some sleep. It wasn’t long into the first watch that a hobgoblin stuck his head out the door. Garek did his best to intimidate the goblin – it seemed to work, as he pulled back and closed the door.

However, 20 minutes later, three goblins came out wishing to talk. Garek woke Portia up to talk to them. The unarmed goblins spoke to her and gave her an offer – to avoid pointless fatalities on both sides, the hobgoblin chief would fight their strongest warrior in a one-on-one battle to the death. Portia agreed, on the condition that they were allowed to rest so that their warrior would be at his peak. The goblins agreed, but didn’t seem happy about it.

8 hours later, the party awakened, somewhat refreshed. Portia and Garek stalled for more time so that the casters could prepare their spells. Tamera revealed that she had some healing magic, and proceeded to heal Garek a small amount. After an hour, the casters were ready. Lissa healed Garek the rest of the way and followed the goblin envoys through the door to a cavernous opening, apparently the throne room of the Hobgoblin chief. The chief, a burly hobgoblin dressed in Scale Mail armor and wielding a greatsword, stepped forth to meet Garek in battle.

The fight ensued, and Garek sprang at him with his new-found magical Greataxe. Tamera strummed her lute to create an ambient background for the battle, and also to subtly boost Garek’s morale. The Chief swung his mighty greatsword and sundered Garek’s Greataxe; a flash of light engulfed the cave as the magic was destroyed. Unphased by this, Garek pulled out his Ranseur and continued his assault. This, two, was soon sundered under the goblin’s axe. All the while, they traded hits, and the others waited to spring in should Garek fail. Seeing that Garek was seriously injured, Donovan finally broke and threw a Fire Bolt at the Chief, killing him. The goblins stared in stunned silence for awhile; however, the new chief ordered them to leave, and they all slowly filed out of the cave. Garek went and sat on the chief’s throne, exhausted by the fight. At this point, he also claimed the chief’s sword.

After a few minutes, the party decided to go check out the parts of the cave they hadn’t explored. At the end of one of the paths, they found a treasure chest full of gold and silver pieces and various gems, as well as magical boots (Boots of the Winterlands) and magical Spectacles (Spectacles of Minute Seeing). They also stumbled across a deceased Cleric of Reidman, who carried with him a Potion of Cure Light wounds and a scroll case. After exploring for awhile longer and claiming some rocks with gold dust in them, the party left the cave. On the way out, Donovan read the letter inside of the scroll case picked up from the dead priest.

The letter described the priest’s mission to seek out some hidden ruins rumored to be located around this area. The writer cautioned that the ruins may contain very powerful magical items of divine significance, which should not fall into the wrong hands. The letter was signed by Elden Merril, High Priest of Reidman. Realizing the possibility of powerful magical items, and figuring the cleric must have mistaken the goldmines for the location of the ruins, Donovan suggested they spend a few days looking for signs of the ruins before returning to Sarrieth to claim their reward. The party agreed, and so they searched for three days. During this time, Tamera asked if she could tag along with them, and explained her skills: though she was mostly a traveling musician and stand-up comedian, she could also fight a little and cast spells. She said that she had bombed as a comedian, though, and so started adventuring. No one seemed to object too strongly to her coming along, though Portia remained somewhat suspicious. She continued to exchange jokes and discuss the nature of humor with the party.

Tamera’s bad joke of the week: Four Orcs walk into a bar. The Fifth one ducked.

She later wondered if it would be funnier if the fifth orc simply crashed through the bar, as this seemed reminiscent of Orcish fighting tactics.

After finding no sign of the ruins, the party decided to return to Lady Sarrieth. They arrived at her manor at nightfall, and her servant, Wardwin, led them to the dining hall where she waited. A feast was already laid out. Sarrieth asked how the mission went, and Portia told them that they were successful. Sarrieth then instructed her servants Wardwin and Roger to fetch their reward, which was a large chest of 10,000 gold. However, upon picking up the chest to leave, Garek noticed that it felt way too light, despite the jingle. He plopped it onto the ground and opened it, revealing a small pile of copper and a note on top. The note read I.O.U 10,000 Gold Pieces, and had strange runes on it…the note exploded in Garek’s face, also catching Portia and Lissa in the blast.

Sarrieth seemed quite disappointed that they survived the blast, and instructed her servants to kill them. Thus, the battle began, with Roger and Wardwin confronting the party unarmed and unarmored. Donovan opened dramatically by jumping onto the table and nailing Sarrieth with a critical blast of electricity, which also created a beam of light to guide his next targeted spells. Sarrieth screamed in agony, revealing her sharp fangs, then likewise jumped on the table and fired an explosive bolt of energy at Donovan, injuring him dramatically. Portia, Garek, and Ari confronted Wardwin and Roger, while Lissa rushed to heal the injured Donovan and Tamera attempted to buff the party with her spells.

Garek eventually dispatched Wardwin, and then with a dramatic snap cut Roger in half. Meanwhile, Sarrieth had Donovan held helpless with a spell. She took this opportunity to bite him with her fangs, draining some of his life blood, which trickled down her face. Lissa managed to dispel the enchantment, but then Donovan was dominated. Before Sarrieth could turn her pawn against the party, Garek swung his new Greatsword, cleaving into the vampire. With a shriek, the Lady Sarrieth dissolved into a misty form, which then drifted past the stairs into a narrow slit near the floor. Donovan quickly came to his senses.

Worried that she was not dead, the party began to search the house looking for her. They eventually came to the kitchen, finding a hidden door in the cupboard. The door opened up to stairs leading down, into a dark corridor. They first saw a large, iron door, which had a space for a keyhole, but was quite locked. Realizing that none of them could pick locks, Garek resolved to simply dismantle the door with his tools, as it had hinges on the outside. After a few minutes, he succeeded, ripping the door out of the opening, and the party was allowed to continue on. Donovan opened the next door, and was surprised by a Fire Trap. He flung the door open, revealing three more vampires inside, who called out to them: “WHO GOES THERE?” Donovan responded with a Fireball, scorching them. Ari jumped forth and stabbed one with her silver rapier, destroying the scorched vampire. Garek and Portia quickly dispatched the others. Each of them likewise took on a gaseous form, and drifted into different coffins. The party dispatched the vampires by opening the coffin and cleaving off their heads.

The final door was unlocked, and led to a place where a coffin was put under a stone grating. A chest, full of platinum pieces, lay on the other side of the grating. Garek first bored through the head of the coffin with Lissa’s Halbered, eliciting a shriek from inside. They stabbed it several more times, getting no response. Finally, Donovan fireballed the room, destroying the coffin and eliciting a piercing shriek. Not much was left where the coffin formerly was.

Donovan claimed her spellbooks and a monocle that sat at her desk in the tower.

For good measure, the party dragged the coffins outside and opened them, in hopes the sun would obliterate all traces of them. Update: the next morning, the coffins were filled with ashes. Realizing that Sarrieth probably didn’t send the letter she had promised, the party resolved once again to leave for Valens, the Castle City of Valendia, in the morning.

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