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Crypt of the Everflame 5e conversion

Game Master Koldoon

As the end of the harvest season approaches, Kassen prepares for its annual Quest. Each year the town sends its dignitaries to the crypt of its founder to recover the eternal flame, in a spirit of renewal. Some years adventurous youth get to go instead, braving the dangers of the journey as a rite of passage to adulthood. Rumor has it, this is the year—your year.


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This is the gameplay thread for my 5e conversion of Crypt of the Everflame. Our recruitment forum has given us some wonderful players and a fairly well balanced group and I'm excited to get started. Just as a reminder, this is the gameplay thread, and so I ask that everyone try to post as their aliases.

Please remember to use blue text for out of character info and feel free to make use of spoilers if you're whispering to someone or leaving something specifically for me to look at, just be clear who you want to look at those spoilers.

My next post will be a stage setting post, giving the general background that all players know. Because players will start slightly scattered about, there will be a few posts with specific smaller groups of characters to help each character get a little intro time, then we'll delve into the adventure proper.

Game rule discussions will be in the game discussion thread (to be created momentarily) - feel free to point to them in out of character comments, but try to keep them very minimal in this thread. I'm so thrilled to have all of you and there will be a few starting posts shortly!


Male Human Ranger (Soldier)/1; AC: 18; HP: 9/12; Passive Perception 14; Init +3 (Adv); Saves: Str +6, Dex +5; HD Used 0/1

Dot!


Female Gnome Druid (Hermit)/1; AC: 14; HP: 9/9; Passive Perception 12; Init +2; Saves: Int +2, Wis +4; HD Used 0/1

dot


Character Sheet Female CG Half-elf Bard 1 | Rapier +4: 1d8+2 (P); Dagger +4: 1d4+2 (P); Light Crossbow +4: 1d8+2 (P) | | HP: 8/8 | AC: 13 | Saving Throws: Dex +4, Cha +6 | Init: +2 | Passive Perception 10; Darkvision 60' | | Speed 30ft | Bardic Inspiration 2/4 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | [ooc]Active conditions: None.[/ooc

So much dot...

Dark Archive

M Human Sorcerer 1 | AC: 16 | HP: 9/9 | 1st: 1/2 | Luck: 2/3 |Init: +2| Perc:+2 | Insp? Yes! =) | FX: |

...---<<<{{{[[[mystical dot]]]}}}>>>---...


Roll20 map

The autumn leaves are falling. Lamashan has ended, the harshest of the harvest months. Like most communities so close to the Fangwood, the economy of Kassen depends on logging and woodcraft. But the life of the town still depends on the hard work of the farmers, and on the harvest.

Nirmathas is a country embroiled in war, but that is far to south and many rangers patrol the Fangwood between you and the enemies of Kassen’s people. Here in the humble town of Kassen, life is simple rituals, the toil of hard work, and the simple pleasures of life.

On this Moonday, the first of Neth, the winter winds have started. Nearly two hundred years ago, the fledgling town was beset by mercenaries—raided ceaselessly for months. The town's founder and namesake Kassen challenged the bandits, tracked them to their lair at an ancient crypt, and routed them. But the town paid a heavy price.

Each year, in memory of that bravery, a band sets out to the crypt to light a lantern from the everflame, a magical fire that burns in memory at Kassen’s tomb. Most years, it’s a somber affair, the mayor and a few handpicked officials departing and returning a week later to cheers of celebration, for where there is sadness, sometimes there is also hope.

But the youth of Kassen know that some years, not often, the mayor will choose young women and men who are only just to come of age. Some who have something to prove. Some who have a wanderlust. Some for reasons who no man or woman can say, though perhaps old Holgast the sage has whispered in the mayor's ear.

It’s said to be dangerous, this quest. It’s said to be exciting. And certainly on those rare years when youth are chosen to go, they are hailed as heroes, and beloved (by most) for their part in the ceremony.

There are mutterings this year. Renet’s young apprentice says the mayor hasn’t brought in his sword for sharpening. And those who patrol? They know no changes have been made to the patrols so that Arnama could go. At the church, Father Praast has set the Sunday services, and were he to go, certainly he’d not set a schedule he could not, himself, attend?

While the old and the seasoned try to calm them, the youth are abuzz with rumor and excitement.

The adventure begins on the first of Neth, with the adventurers split into a couple groups. There will be two following posts, please note the beginning of each one, so that you know where your characters are. We'll bring the characters together shortly.

The first post will be In the Forest, On Patrol. Characters present for this location will be Cole and Finlogan. Venssa will be joining the group at this location shortly, I'll note when.

The second post will be At the Seven Silvers. Characters present for this location will be Adelenna and Rankev.


Roll20 map

In the Forest, On Patrol (Finlogan, Cole)

As Lamashan winds down, Arnama has taken you on a patrol. In itself, that’s not so unusual. While Kassen is mostly safe from threats from Molthune to the south, the Fangwood itself can be dangerous, a den for kobolds and goblins, not to mention worgs and other beasts. And while Lastwall to the north protects much of the northern reaches, there is still a border with Belkzen and the orcish armies there. Incursions are rare, but as Arnama always says, better to be certain than dead.

Sadly, the patrol only acts to confirm two things. Arnama will not go to the Crypt of the Everflame—not this year. That means youth are meant to go. And no one on patrol will be going, of that you can fairly certain.

Much of the patrol is routine. You’ve been out in the wilderness for enough days to wish a warm bed and a fire not kept low for fear of being spotted. It’s the first of Neth, Moonday. At home in Kassen, you know everyone is speculating who the chosen will be. If Arnama isn’t going to the Crypt, they must be trembling with anticipation. Who will go?

The fire from last night is not much more than ashes, still warm, and in the winter weather, most take a moment to let their hands warm, for all of you know that Arnama will soon demand the ashes buried and with them any chance of warmth.

Expecting the abruptness of your mentor at any moment, none of you are expecting the boy who steps into the campsite, carelessly snapping twigs and cursing under his breath.

He looks up. His messenger bag is almost as big as he is, marked with sign of the rangers of Nirmathas, but his eyes are pure Vargidan. He reaches into the bag, pulls out a sealed letter and speaks. If the eyes had left any doubt over his lineage, it leaves at once with the calm purity of arrogance that comes from a boy of scarcely twelve winters.

"Message for Arnama. Where is she?"

The boy raises his eyebrow, as though wondering why it is taking you so long to answer.

Both Cole and Finlogan are present and can respond. Venssa, you will be brought into this location shortly, and then both locations will be brought together to start the adventure.


Roll20 map

At the Seven Silvers (Aldelenna, Randev)

The Seven Silvers is a rustic tavern and inn. More than that, it’s a common gathering hall where many in town come for a home cooked meal and a tankard of ale, finding amusement in games of dice in off hours before finding their way home in the autumn darkness. As much a boarding house as an inn, the Seven Silvers houses both travelers and some long time residents of the town. Entertainment has been sparse of late. The innkeeper lost his wife to childbirth a year ago, and the infant son did not last the winter. In a town where most everyone knows everyone else, that makes it hard for patrons to make merry—though the innkeep's daughter makes sure enough ale flows to get the mood raucous, and the good folk spending coin.

Last night was the end of Lamashan, ushering in Neth: the gates of winter. Asina managed to keep the common room cheerful last night, but it wasn’t because of Jocyn strumming on his lute or telling stories, and it wasn’t Trelvar’s cooking, which after months of steady improvement had tanked with the innkeep's realization that it had been a year to the day since his wife’s passing. Instead it had been Jimes, with an uncanny knack at being the most cheerful seeming person in the room, and Aldelenna, who had kept every eye on her.

Asina had been grateful, but the unruly crowd meant a morning of mending what could be mended, throwing out what could not, and not a small amount of cleaning up. The only bright spot is that Jocyn, perhaps realizing that everyone else had performed for his wages the night before, had dunked his head in the river and was doing a credible job helping.

Which would be fine, except Trelvar had yet to wake to start dinner, which meant he, too, had surrendered to drink last night, and unlike Jocyn was showing no signs of being helpful.

Jimes had grumbled, uncharacteristically grumpy, “Oi. Pays to be the owner, don’t it.” Which hadn’t stopped him from whistling, or from pocketing half the coin in the pockets of the two drunk loggers who’d passed out at their tables. Even Asina, the innkeeper’s daughter, pretended not to notice—or maybe she just didn’t see.

For Rankev

Spoiler:

Rankev—having been, essentially, temporarily expelled from the Vargidan home in the center of town to what, you’re sure, is an out building belonging to peasants, you woke to find yourself hungry and without any servants to cook. The Seven Silvers is really the only place you can go to get something that isn’t trail rations to eat unless you want to beg from a peasant family, so you’ve found yourself here. Your position is such that Asina didn’t even question the request, and bacon rashers and eggs are on cast iron skillets, sizzling over a fire, and doing much to combat the smell of the drunkards from the previous evening. Feel free to roleplay this however you like (either as having already arrived, or as arriving as the mayor talks with Jimes). There’s even a few clean tables (but only a few) that you could sweep into as though you were sure clearing them just for you had been the intent all along

The doors sweep open, letting a seemingly vast amount of light into the hall. Mayor Jonark Uptal enters, surveys the room, and without looking at any one person asks, “Where’s Trelvar, I have business.”

It’s Jimes who answers first, “Ah, Mayah. Nice of ya to stop in.” He looks around, pulls the nearest chair and sweeps it clean in two quick swipes. “‘ave a seat. To what do we owe da pleasure?”

The Mayor tsks Jimes away from the seat before taking a seat. Clearly, he’s been around Jimes before. He leans back and sighs. ”Trelvar’s ‘unwell,’ I take it?” He doesn’t wait for an answer. ”No matter. It’s been well enough guessed already. But I need the news to spread.”

Asina’s eyes seem to glitter, even in the darkness. She’s never been shy about being a gossip, but usually she’s asked to rein it in.

”And you’ll need to plan, Asina, you and your father, both, for Aldelenna’s absence.” The Mayor turns to Aldelenna. Unless you truly wish not to go?”

Aldelenna is present and working with the crew to get everything cleaned up. Per the spoiler, Rankev will chime in on whether he wants to already be present, or whether he wants to burst in on the conversation. I know maintaining separate locations is awkward, and we won't do it long, just remember to post the location you're responding at near the top of your post to help others keep track.

Dark Archive

M Human Sorcerer 1 | AC: 16 | HP: 9/9 | 1st: 1/2 | Luck: 2/3 |Init: +2| Perc:+2 | Insp? Yes! =) | FX: |

I'll come in before the mayor, patiently waiting for my bangers and patiently watching. =)

Preface. Condensed due to length.:

Rankev woke up in a foul mood. What's this? This isn't my four-poster feather bed? What's this? These sheets are common wool! Where are my silk--oh, that's right. Father. Something about 'stiffing the character of the house's future leader'. Right.

He crawled slowly out of bed into the cold room that did NOT have a fireplace of it's own and called for his slippers. Captain Attero brought them, good man that he is. 'At least I have that.'

"What's for to break my fast this day?" he questioned the servant.

"Begging you pardon, milord, there is but naught in the larder. Thy lord father hath said there would be stores laid in but there is precious little."

"Eh? Well have you breakfasted?"

"Aye milord. That we have. Oat porridge. There is some left, an' it should please you," he said, pointing to a pot that no longer steamed.

Rankev groaned. Ugh. There is only one thing worse on this planet than hot oat porridge and that is cold oat porridge. And he would rather die than eat hot oat porridge.

"Well, there's naught for it. Let's dress and begin this fortifying of the spirit that Father hath commanded. If I live through a rough breakfast at the Seven Silvers, then there's nothing under the sun that can kill me, eh?"

Power entered the main taproom like a happy landlord, come to collect rent from a profitable property. "Ah! And what have we here? Had a good night last night? Indeed, indeed. If mess is the sound that profits make, then from the evidence 'twould seem thy coffers overflow! Good, good. You do thy House honor. May coin forever flow thy way," he says, in what is, of course, known as a high compliment.

He sweeps into a table along the side, the clearnest one he could find, as Attero takes a kerchief and wipes the table cleaner before standing against the wall, already forgotten.

"Well, well, let us have some of that famous breaking that fast that we have heard about, and be quick of it! Much to do, much do to."

Rankev waits patiently, the Mask of Affability firmly fixed upon his face, practiceing the first rule: All Warfare is based on deception.

And life is war.

He cocked an eyebrow at the mayor, but kept his peace. There was a time to act and a time to learn. This was the latter.


Male Human Ranger (Soldier)/1; AC: 18; HP: 9/12; Passive Perception 14; Init +3 (Adv); Saves: Str +6, Dex +5; HD Used 0/1

Cole steps from the dying fire towards the youth.

Well met, messenger. I am Cole Hillman, and Fin here and me are charges and students of Arnama. You can wait for her, cause she'll be here soon, or you can leave the package with us. She'll get it.


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

In the Forest, On Patrol (Finlogan, Cole)

Finlogan is a handsome half-elf of average height. His colorless white hair, indigo eyes, and pointed ears distinguish his elven lineage, while his strong torso and relatively large hands show his humanness. He wears simple traveler's gear and shoulders a quiver of arrows and a backpack with a hunting trap and coil of hempen rope strapped to it. His weapon’s harness carries a longsword, longbow, and shield. Around his neck, he wears a large bear claw on a leather necklace.

Currently, he is burying the ashes of last night's campfire as he was rigorously taught, in order to prepare to leave. He enjoys the closeness of the last bit of external warmth that he expects until camp tonight.

The young half-elf looks up from his task without pausing when the young messenger arrives. He nods at his nickname when spoken by Cole and finishes disguising the turned soil among its neighbors.


Character Sheet Female CG Half-elf Bard 1 | Rapier +4: 1d8+2 (P); Dagger +4: 1d4+2 (P); Light Crossbow +4: 1d8+2 (P) | | HP: 8/8 | AC: 13 | Saving Throws: Dex +4, Cha +6 | Init: +2 | Passive Perception 10; Darkvision 60' | | Speed 30ft | Bardic Inspiration 2/4 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | [ooc]Active conditions: None.[/ooc

At the Seven Silvers

After dropping Rankev's sausage and eggs unceremoniously on his table, and walking away without asking if he needs anything further, Aldelenna picks up some of the scraps of wood from a broken chair on her way back toward the bar. At the mayor's words, her usually serene demeanor slackens for the barest of moments. Her blue eyes twinkle, and a broad smile crosses her full, painted red lips, as she says, "Do you really mean it?! It's been decided? I get to go to Kassen's tomb to retrieve the Everflame?" She grabs Asina and spins her around grabbing her skirts and twirling them playfully in a moment of pure glee, then, breaking all social mores, she grabs the mayor and dips him, planting a wet kiss right on his lips. "Of Course I want to go!" Realizing what she's done, she sets the honored mayor back to rights, brushes him off with her wet dishrag, and dusts off his shoulders affectedly, collecting herself and saying, "Your honor, sir."

Dark Archive

M Human Sorcerer 1 | AC: 16 | HP: 9/9 | 1st: 1/2 | Luck: 2/3 |Init: +2| Perc:+2 | Insp? Yes! =) | FX: |

Rankev nods and motions for Attero to lean his head closer. He mumbles softly to him, "See what I mean about the lower classes? No sense of decorum. Father would have rescinded his favor had a commoner treated him suchly. Of course the low-born mayor will not, in his ill-guided quest to secure the votes of the plebeian caste. Indeed living among them is my greatest test."

Attero simply nods, "As you say sir," before standing and resuming his post.


Roll20 map

In the Forest, On Patrol

The boy lifts up his chin and stares down his nose at Cole.

"I'm supposed to give it to—"

"That's enough, Hansyn. To be a ranger is to trust your unit, in the wild, you have no one else." Arnama steps silently from out of the bushes. Her hair is pulled back, and yet still has managed to catch and tangle, not from lack of skill. Arnama has clearly been up and patrolling for some hours already. She holds out her hand, waiting, and the change in the boy is immediate, yielding to a face of rapture. The boy scurries forward and salutes, then hands over the missive. After she takes it, he sort of cradles his hand where she touched it and smiles.

Arnama pays him no attention. She breaks the seal and reads through the note. A sly smile plays across her face and she turns back to the boy. "Hansyn."

The boy jumps from his reverie and salutes again.

"You will show respect for my rangers. Cole and Finlogan have worked hard in the wilderness to earn my trust. You do yourself no honor by dismissing them." There was disappointment in her voice, easy to discern, even to the boy, whose face grows bright red. "Tell the Mayor we will return by Wealday." She sets a hand on the boys shoulder and he immediately perks up. "Go. He has much to prepare."

The boy nods vigorously, shifts his bag, and gives both Finlogan and Cole a glare. Then he rushes back through the brush toward town.

She turns to Finlogan. "Your friend the gnome has been offered a gift that few are granted. An opportunity to be a hero to the village, and perhaps to bond with a few of the townsfolk. She has been selected, if she is willing, to seek the Everflame with our youth. Do you think you can find her?"

For Cole

Spoiler:
The salute that Hansyn is doing is a traditional ranger salute that you are familiar with from your time in service with your home community, brief though it was. Arnama does not believe in such displays, but you are familiar enough to know that Hansyn was precisely correct, almost too much so, like it was something he'd read about and practiced but never seen done.

For Cole and Finlogan

Spoiler:
Even without training in insight, it's painfully obvious to both of you that Hansyn is in love with Arnama.


Roll20 map

At the Seven Silvers

The mayor looks startled at the sudden onslaught of affection, but properly pulls himself away from the unexpected kiss, and brushes smooth his clothes. "Yes, Aldelenna. You are one of the chosen. Your hard work has helped keep this place running. Your optimism and charms have not gone unnoticed. I know your mentor has had some hard times of late, but Jocyn"—the bard quietly looks away, focusing on wiping away the filth of one of last night's drunkards—"felt that some experience would add depth to your already powerful performances."

"Oi."

"Jimes might also have said something about you and Asina working your tails off while the adults take credit." The Mayor smiles. "So it's decided. The others are being gathered, but you'll all leave on the 4th of Neth. It's Oathday this year. A day for pacts and agreements sworn. Appropriate, I think. The journey to the Crypt is serious business, but no one will think ill of you if you celebrate. Being chosen is an honor, and one you deserve."

The Mayor smiles at Aldelenna again, points a finger at Asina to remind her to spread the word (which was never in doubt) and then turns, quite unexpectedly to look at Rankev.

"What am I to do with you?" The Mayor gives Rankev a startlingly deep look, that says, among other things, that he heard every whispered word between Rankev and Attero, and for once it's clear he's not going to pretend to have missed the insult.


Male Human Ranger (Soldier)/1; AC: 18; HP: 9/12; Passive Perception 14; Init +3 (Adv); Saves: Str +6, Dex +5; HD Used 0/1

IN THE FOREST, ON PATROL

Cole smiles and nods as the boy leaves.

Well now, that's quite a boon. You need me to help ya track her down, Fin, or do ya have more patrolin' in mind for me, Arnama?


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

In the Forest, On Patrol (Finlogan, Cole)

Finlogan dusts his last task from his gloves and smiles. "Aye, ma'am. Matter of when not if. We head to her last burrow and see if she's home. If not there, then we determine how long ago she left, what she took with her, and which direction. Depending on time, we can wait her return or follow her tracks." He replies trying to pass a test.

After a slight pause, the rest of Arnama's comments sink in. "Everflame? Why would the mayor invite Venessa to seek the Everflame?" He asks with a puzzled look.


Roll20 map

In the Forest, On Patrol

As Finlogan works to determine the best route from camp to Venssa's burrow, Arnama inspects the scuttled camp. She grunts, something Cole and Finlogan both recognize as a sign that she considers the work adequate. She speaks briefly to the two other rangers, sending one toward the river to patrol, and the other to follow Hansyn.

"Be stealthy. If you cannot hide from a boy, you cannot hide from an orc," she says to a young ranger only a year or two older than Cole. "Hansyn wants to believe himself brave, and he'll make a good messenger boy one day, but I'll have the Jonark's hide for sending that kid alone. If he sees you, reveal yourself and travel with him, simply inform him it was a test that he passed, rather than one you failed."

She turns to Cole and Finlogan.

"Venssa has wanted to be a part of the community for some time. But you are right. It is not the honor that will sway her to go to the Crypt and bring back the Everflame." She walks past both young men. "It is that her friends embark on a dangerous journey, and she will not want you to suffer it alone."

She pauses at the edge of the clearing where you camped and narrows her eyes as though looking for something she may have missed. "Okay, Fin. Which way?"


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

In the Forest, On Patrol

Finlogan finds his bearing with the sun. Remembering the obstacles to Venessa's burrow, he determines the first direction toward the creek ford. He's ready when Arnama turns to address him and Cole.

Friends? Wonder if she means me and Cole. What other friends does Venessa have? The Everflame! What an adventure! The half-elf wonders to himself. After a slight pause due to the reflection, he quickly replies to his tutor's question while pointing, "This way, ma'am."

Dark Archive

M Human Sorcerer 1 | AC: 16 | HP: 9/9 | 1st: 1/2 | Luck: 2/3 |Init: +2| Perc:+2 | Insp? Yes! =) | FX: |
GM Koldoon wrote:
"What am I to do with you?"

Rankev returns the stare boldly, chuckling deeply as if the mayor was commenting on a fine joke. "Indeed indeed! What SHALL we do about...this?" he asks, waving a hand and taking in the whole room.

"The lord mayor SEDUCING young women picked for the Quest of the Everflame! In broad daylight no less. Once I return and tell Father I've no doubt I'll be sleeping in my 400 thread-count down bed by eventide. Oh how they shall talk at the parties once this gets out, and how it shall be received by the -proper- ladies of the town.

Ah, speaking of ladies of the town, one might wonder how thy Lady Mayor will handle this? Not one to be too accepting of open relationship she is, so I hear. One wonders if she will allow to you to live, or will leave with your life, and little else, after seeking annulment....

Ah, BUT, on the other hand. If I were to find myself with, say, other diversions?"

Power holds up a hand and eldrich flame dances along it, making it clear what he's referring to. "Why, were -I- to receive some manner of, say, honor, well then, I might be so very, very grateful at such a boon that I'd be so excited I'd forget all about the little details I just witnessed. Indeed, that would make us good friends, Lord Mayor. And you know how our family makes sure our friends get taken care of.

We leave on the 4th of Neth, you say?"

Rankev grins, and fires a wink at Aldelenna, loving the game.

Knowing he had won.


Roll20 map

At the Seven Silvers

The mayor laughs.

"I have several witnesses more credible than you that would say otherwise. And don't think your father's stature in any way transfers to you—not now."

The mayor pauses and then visibly relaxes.

"You know, I swore to your father, I'd never get you to agree. He wanted you to go. Said you needed to prove yourself more than the simpleton in finery he believes you to be." The mayor's voice lowers. "Or get yourself killed and save him the trouble of arranging an accident."

The mayor turns and walks to the door. "I'm not at all sure he was kidding. But you have your wish. You may go. Perhaps the journey will teach you what it means to earn honor."

The mayor heads for the door, and before Rankev can even think to say anything in return, Attero nudges him.

"milord, the lady mayor, she died six summers past."


Character Sheet Female CG Half-elf Bard 1 | Rapier +4: 1d8+2 (P); Dagger +4: 1d4+2 (P); Light Crossbow +4: 1d8+2 (P) | | HP: 8/8 | AC: 13 | Saving Throws: Dex +4, Cha +6 | Init: +2 | Passive Perception 10; Darkvision 60' | | Speed 30ft | Bardic Inspiration 2/4 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | [ooc]Active conditions: None.[/ooc

At the Seven Silvers

Playing with an obstinate wisp of her hair, that refuses to stay tucked behind her ever-so-slightly pointed ear, Aldelenna chuckles at the wily Captain Attero's pointed comment. Then, grabbing a mop and swaying it rhythmically across the floor to clean the blood and other bodily fluids from the floorboards, she gives Attero the slightest of nods. Rankev is to accompany us, eh? She thinks, scrutinizing the disavowed magic-user out of the corners of her eyes. He is rather handsome, if ridiculously doltish. I swear, sometimes the things that come out of his mouth!? Oh, well, best play the nice girl, you've got a long journey ahead, and traveling with enemies won't do at all.

Oh, Rankev? She hollers across the common room, not looking at him, still swinging her mop and hips in a seductive rhythm, if mopping a bile filled floor can be, in any way, seductive. Do you need anything love? More eggs, another drink, more sausage? The gods know I can always use more sausage. She says, and gives her rump a slow and careful jiggle as she slides across the floor with the mop.

Dark Archive

M Human Sorcerer 1 | AC: 16 | HP: 9/9 | 1st: 1/2 | Luck: 2/3 |Init: +2| Perc:+2 | Insp? Yes! =) | FX: |

Rankev chortled as the mayor left. If he thinks he beat him, that makes it all the sweeter.
He pointed ignored his servant's comment. He had considered the mayor's love life beneath him to keep track, and either he had a wife--or lover--and needed to be loyal to them, or he didn't, in which case we was loyal to the deceased, and would hate being reminded of it.

In victory he picked up a succulent piece of sausage and was about to bite it when the waitress called, and he looked up, bile and wit playing along his tongue ready to give some kind of banter.

But as she sways and dances in a way both subtle and not-so-subtle, his mouth goes dry and he involuntarily crushes the bacon in his fist.

For once at a loss for words, Rankev just stares, mouth agape, for a moment more, before lowering his head and contemplating the table.

Attero smirks and chuckles.


Male Human Ranger (Soldier)/1; AC: 18; HP: 9/12; Passive Perception 14; Init +3 (Adv); Saves: Str +6, Dex +5; HD Used 0/1

IN THE FOREST, ON PATROL

Hack moves slightly out to the right flank as they progress towards retrieving their friend. He nearly stops in his tracks when it dons on him the words that his mentor used. Cole was often slow on the uptake, especially when the words had potentially hidden meaning.

Are you sayin' we are headin' into the crypt with her? Both of us?


Roll20 map

In the Forest, On Patrol

Arnama keeps her eyes on the trees and the trail, and she does not answer immediately, as though other thoughts weigh heavily upon her.

"You were rushed to service, Private."

Arnama never used rank. She believed, much like salutes, that it created a false hierarchy when every scout and ranger needed to be able to see any other as the leader when their particular skills were primary. It was one of many things that she never said, but that everyone quickly learned.

She stopped suddenly. "I do not question your dedication. But you gave up much to follow in your father's footsteps. I knew him as a girl. I was raised as an orphan by the rangers in the wilds. He was proud, I'm sure, of your devotion to him, and to Nirmathas."

Slowly, she holds out a hand to slow Finlogan's pace. "We rest here for a moment. We are close, yes? Perhaps she will find us. In any event, it is time for water and a pause, lest we become exhausted and unwary."

Pulling out small canteen, she drinks. Water, fortified with herbs. It's a recipe she has not shared yet. One that keeps her alert. "Many times as I rushed to be an adult, to find my parents,"—she spares a look to Finlogan—"Cole, your father was among those to tell me to slow down. To be a young woman. To experience the rituals that help us find ourselves and our identity. He gave me this lesson, and I ignored it. I do not doubt your dedication, but it is in my power to give you this rite of passage, a thing you have skipped, and also to give it to Fin as he earns his place here among us."

She sighs.

"I came to this position friendless and alone. And I have stayed that way. There is no shame in the life of a ranger, Cole. But it need not be a lonely life. We are are an order of brothers and sisters bound by blood and friendship. I am bound to many by blood. Blood I've spilled for them and with them. But I never took the time to bond as friends or companions. To experience what that was. And I have seen it, and envied it. So I offer that chance to you. Not to envy. To experience. With Fin, and Venssa. A brother and an ally."

Gently she sets a hand on Cole's arm.

"You have yet to drink. We still have a distance to travel. As Fin tells it, her travels take her sometimes far afield."


Male Human Ranger (Soldier)/1; AC: 18; HP: 9/12; Passive Perception 14; Init +3 (Adv); Saves: Str +6, Dex +5; HD Used 0/1

IN THE FOREST, ON PATROL

Cole smiles broadly at Arnama, and he merely nods before taking a draught of the drink that was proferred. He looks at Fin.

Well, my brother, it seems we will need to watch eachother's backs, as well as the others with us. I look forward to the right of passage.


Roll20 map

In the Forest, at the Burrow (Venssa)

Winter draws near. The winds that mark the change of seasons bring an unsettling cold and foreboding.

The Fangwood is quiet, mostly. Thanks to Venssa's friend Finlogan, and the human Cole that he sometimes brings with him to her lessons, the loggers and woodsmen of Kassen have respected her territory, and the cave that acts as her burrow, and the menhir from ancient times is safe.

The life of a hermit is not an easy one. But Venssa needn't do everything herself. The small creatures of the wood that are her friends help her gather nuts and berries to the burrow, and still give her privacy as she studies, again, the paintings of ancient practitioners of druidcraft upon the walls.

It grows near dusk already, and Venssa realizes that a large hare sits, alert, thumping one rear leg into the dirt in a gesture of alarm. The hare twitches its whiskers, thumps its leg again, and the position of its ears shift back.

To Venssa the meaning of those strange shifts is clear

Spoiler:
Big ones near. Hair like snow, eyes like lake. Walks like friend. Careful. But not alone. Frightened.


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

In the Forest, On Patrol

Finlogan is amazed when she confirms that he, Cole and Venssa will travel to the crypt this year. Together, they will ghost through to forest as one. He wonders where it is saving thoughts of Arnama's and Cole's past for later.

He takes several long swigs from his waterskin and leans against a tree. "Ma'am, where is the crypt? Have we ranged near it? The three of us will travel well together. "


Roll20 map

In the Forest, On Patrol
Arnama takes another brief swig from her canteen.

"It lies south of Kassen, into the Fangwood and past the Gray Lake that is the usual limits of our customary patrols—some 40 miles, much of it rough terrain." She shakes her head. "Safe territory, so they say, but as both of you know, there is nothing truly safe about the Fangwood."

She straightens peering into the wood. "As for three, I tell you this now: prepare yourselves. It is not only rangers and scouts who need to come of age. I do not know who the mayor has selected. I am gratified that he handed me so many of the choices, but you will not go as three, but as five. Venssa is taking a place usually reserved for fostered youth, to create a bond with another community. But there were none the right age, and to the mayor and council, including Venssa served a similar purpose, creating allies and bonds with a local community. Holgast, of all people, persuaded them of it." She shook his head. "Old coot is useful at the oddest times."

Fin, go ahead and role a perception check.


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20


Roll20 map

Finlogan:

Spoiler:

The animals here aren't acting right. They're paying attention to you in a way that seems off. It isn't menacing, and they're actually being quite stealthy about it. All small animals, rabbits, and squirrels and small birds, quietly watching you, and then flitting or scurrying off as soon as they're noticed.


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

In the Forest, On Patrol

Finlogan notices the small animals behaviour and remarks with a grin, "Ma'am, Venssa appears to be home. Her neighbourhood watch has spotted us. Her burrow is just over there."


Female Gnome Druid (Hermit)/1; AC: 14; HP: 9/9; Passive Perception 12; Init +2; Saves: Int +2, Wis +4; HD Used 0/1

Looking at her friend the hare, she too thumps and moves her head in a certain way that tells her that it will be ok and that she can hide while they are here.

Gathering some of the fresh water from the small rill by the cave and preparing a number of fresh berries in the way she was shown by the spirits of the forest. One such berry will sustain a person for an entire day.

Once ready, Venssa waits for her guests, a little nervous as 3 people is the most she has ever hosted at her home. She is use to the one called Fin and has even gown to ...enjoy?..his visits. The one called Cole was a new addition, and while she does not trust him as she does Fin, she does not mistrust him either. The last one, is one who has left her spoor around her home, but has never shown herself before. She appreciated the respect this woman has given her, and so is fine to finally meet her.


Male Human Ranger (Soldier)/1; AC: 18; HP: 9/12; Passive Perception 14; Init +3 (Adv); Saves: Str +6, Dex +5; HD Used 0/1

IN THE FOREST, ON PATROL

Cole nods at Venssa.

Good day, Venssa. I believe we have a message for you.


Roll20 map

At the Seven Silvers

The Seven Silvers is busy for a Moonday. With night held for many for their religious devotions, it is mostly travelers in the inn seeking service and youth who have either finished their meager schooling or their required work for the day. With so many farmers finished with the harvest, there are many of those, and not a few young men not yet ready to take to the trees for logging, but determined not to be left to chores at home.

A fair number of young women, too, have come to the tavern, for drinks of their own, either to watch or to drink, or simply to while away the hours before taking to the task of making dinner for hungry farmers and loggers. The job of women at harvest is no less than men, and they seem just as glad of the break as the raucous young men.

Asina has taken to her task with gusto, slyly insinuating at table after table that not only will the Mayor not be going on the Quest, but that she knows someone who is. It's true, of course, but when Asina says it, the young folk of the town hang on every word.

The Quest is important business, the success an omen of good and hope for the winter, and so much of the talk at the tables is about Kassen, its founder, and Quests past and present.

With an afternoon clientele of mostly young teenage men, Aldelenna is kept on her toes. But some of the young men are flush with more coin than they've seen in their lives, having been hired as help for the harvest and received their full wages.

for Randev:

Randev can have remained at the tavern, drinking and watching, or not, as he likes. If he has remained, just drop a post saying so and let me know if you want to interact with any customers. As a point of interest for Randev, his fourteen-year-old brother Luthos, is in the tavern with an ale, dressed in the properly cleaned and pressed clothes of a gentleman. Although young, as a half-orc, Luthos is fully as mature as Randev is at twenty and, in the moments when Randev is honest with himself, is the favorite to succeed the Vargidan line.


Roll20 map

In the Forest, At the Burrow (Cole, Finlogan, Venssa)

Finlogan has led you to a small cave entry, marked by an ancient menhir. He has clearly been here before, though Cole has not—his lessons were always held away from the burrow. The presence of animals is markedly less, as though they've fled.

Just inside the entry, Venssa waits. She's clearly been expecting you.

Arnama, at present, hangs back. She is always watching and looking, but if there is something to be said, she is clearly willing to let Finlogan do the telling. Perhaps she feels the message would be best coming from a friend, or perhaps this, too, is a test. With Arnama it can be difficult to tell.

While Arnama's eyes are everywhere, searching, her hands are weaponless, and that is the surest sign Cole and Finlogan know that they are, for the moment, safe.


Character Sheet Female CG Half-elf Bard 1 | Rapier +4: 1d8+2 (P); Dagger +4: 1d4+2 (P); Light Crossbow +4: 1d8+2 (P) | | HP: 8/8 | AC: 13 | Saving Throws: Dex +4, Cha +6 | Init: +2 | Passive Perception 10; Darkvision 60' | | Speed 30ft | Bardic Inspiration 2/4 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | [ooc]Active conditions: None.[/ooc

Mmmmmmmm, now here's something. Aldelenna thinks, while bobbing and weaving her way through the room crowded with teenage boys with overfull pockets, ripe from the harvest fields. She uses ever one of her seductive charms to keep the boys entertained, well fed, and, most of all, well into their cups. Always hoping, of course, that they don't become as rowdy and unruly as the patrons from the night before. A full day of cleaning and meal preparation means she's got little energy left for breaking up fights. Throughout the night she uses her musical talents and her linguistic grace to try and keep the crowd both happy and subdued, and also, as usual, to garner as much in tips as possible.

Performance: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Persuasion: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

I wonder who else Mayor Uptal has decided to send with us this year? She wonders, while slapping away a stray hand that was attempting to lift up her dress. "That'll cost you a lot more than I think you've got in that little purse, lad." She says and heads back to the bar so Asina can refill a pitcher for her.

Edit: Sorry if I jumped the gun on the dice rolls there, I just figured in that situation one or the other would have been asked for, and since I probably won't be able to post again tonight, I wanted to have them there, in case they were needed. In the future I'll refrain from posting dice rolls until they are asked for, or clearly mandated by the rules.


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

In the Forest, At the Burrow

Finlogan broadly smiles at the sight of his wee friend, he addresses her in the tongue that she taught him. "Helo Venssa. Mae'n edrych fel eich bod chi wedi bod yn disgwyl i ni. Gadewch i mi eich cyflwyno i'm canllaw Arnama yr ydym wedi'i drafod. Ac rydych chi'n cofio fy nghymaith Cole. Rydyn ni'n dod â newyddion o bwys heddiw. Mae ein pentref wedi'ch gwahodd i ymuno â Cole, fi a rhai eraill ar geisio defodol flynyddol i griw y Everflame. Mae'n anrhydedd sanctaidd."

Sylvan:
Hello Venssa. It looks like you have been expecting us. Please let me introduce you to my guide Arnama who we have discussed. And you remember my companion Cole. We bring momentus news today. Our village has invited you to join Cole, me and some others on an annual ritual quest to the crypt of the Everflame. It is a sacred honor.

The half-elf turns to Arnama and Cole, "I've introduced us and shared the invitation with her." He turns back to Venssa knowing she can speak in Common waiting for her reply.


Female Gnome Druid (Hermit)/1; AC: 14; HP: 9/9; Passive Perception 12; Init +2; Saves: Int +2, Wis +4; HD Used 0/1

In the Forest, At the Burrow

Venssa smiles at Fin's use of the sylvan tongue.

"Mae'n dda gweld nad yw fy ngwersi wedi bod yn ofer. Mae croeso i chi fy nghartref. Cymerwch y dŵr a'r aeron yma fel cynnig o'r goedwig a phawb sy'n byw o dan ei heibio."

Sylvan:

It is good to see my lessons have not been in vain. You are welcome to my home. Please take this water and berry as an offering from the forest and all who live under her eves.

Realizing the other two do not seem to understand her, Venssa repeats herself.

"I am sorry. Welcome to my home. Please accept this water and berry as an offering from the forest and all who live within her eves."

Once the formalities are over, the little gnome woman looks at the other two visitors to her home, but directs her questions to Fin.

"What is this honour? Is my skill needed to help the villagers? Is this some sort of passage I need to complete to be accepted by them?"

The whole idea seems so foreign to her...she has not reference to understand what you are telling her.

The berry is a Good-berry from the spell. She has 3 left for the day.


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

In the Forest, At the Burrow

Finlogan thanks Venssa for the berry and hospitality.

The half-elf turns to Arnama and Cole, then back to Venssa, "At the end of each harvest season, the town sends dignitaries to the crypt of its founder Kassen to recover the eternal flame, in a spirit of renewal."

After a slight pause, he asks Arnama, "Ma'am, what else would you add to answer Venssa's questions?"


Roll20 map

In the Forest, At the Burrow

Arnama nods and crouches in the burrow, for at her full height the burrow is still quite small.

"There are times when, for the strength of our community, we send those on the cusp of their adulthood to bond in a sacred memorial rite. It is a rite of hope for the community, and one of passing of sacred memories." She gestures to the ancient paintings on the walls and out the burrows entry toward the menhir.

"It is our belief that this bonding makes the community strong, and the young men and women strong. Each time we choose youth rather than respected elders for this ceremony, it is a careful selection. The ones who protect us"—she nods at Cole—"the ones who seek"—she nods at Finlogan.

"Always we try to also choose for friendship someone near but not of the community. A fostered youth. An envoy. This strengthens the town as well. There will also be youth from Kassen who have never ventured much beyond the walls. I do not know who. But I know that by going, you will gain."

Arnama gestures to both her young rangers. "You will strengthen your bonds with Finlogan and Cole, this I believe. And they may need your protection and guidance. But you also get to know these other youth. And by your participation, the quiet arrangement that keeps safe this burrow, and the menhir outside—that keeps safe the hare and the birds in this tiny corner of the wood, becomes something more than a quiet understanding between me and Finlogan. It becomes something between someone who had quested for the Everflame, and Kassen."

Arnama bows her head. "We thank you for your hospitality, and the vitality of the earth you offer us. We will make camp in the clearing to the east, where the stream flows and offers us fresh water. This quest is a rite of passage for my young men, but for you it could be a gate into the community. A bridge to allow you to participate when and how you wish, but leave your home safe and protected. We return to Kassen at dawn, so that Cole and Fin can prepare. If you wish to accompany us, find us then."


Roll20 map

At the Seven Silvers
As the afternoon progresses, the inn slowly empties. Moonday is given over to religious devotion at night, and at the end of the harvest, with winter coming, the superstitious folk of Kassen are taking the time for their devotions at the church.

By dusk most of the young folk have returned to their homes, either to take part in dinner preparations of their own, or to sneak off to the fields or a farmhouse for other activities. Few can afford the cost of a room for the indulgence, or the scandal paying for one would create.

That leaves a sparsely filled hall, which means an easy Toilday morning, but a difficult night for tips. Of course a few well meaning young men are still quite deep in their cups and offering coin (and not enough) for a chance to get up into Aldelenna's skirts, but most of the patrons are travelers lodged at the inn, passing time.

Luthos Vargidan is seated against one wall, dressed in his customary Taldane suit. The ruffles look out of place on the young half-orc, but he cuts a fine figure. Unlike the others he is not shy about his desires and paid Asina for a room the moment he arrived. He's disappeared from his table twice, both times whisper quiet, and returned as carefully coiffed as he'd left, though somewhat flushed of cheek.

For Aldelenna:
Better to make the rolls and have me not need them than to have us waiting for a day or more. Your persuasion check was really high, and with your performance I'm going to award 10 sp in tips, most of it from young men who clearly want into your skirts, but who you've deftly kept right on edge.


Female Gnome Druid (Hermit)/1; AC: 14; HP: 9/9; Passive Perception 12; Init +2; Saves: Int +2, Wis +4; HD Used 0/1

Venssa nods as the ranger talks to her and understanding floods into her.

"I understand, and I do accept this honour. I will protect Fin...and the others from any harm and return with this fire to prove my friendship with your town. Do we go now?"

Venssa gathers a few items and stuffs them into a old sack she has been using for such things. It rips as she tried to place too many items within, but with a quick word and the wave of her hand, the tear repairs itself. She finally reaches up over the entryway of the cave and removes a stout cudgel of wood, which for her size is more like a quarterstaff.

Finally she steps out of the burrow and looking around she stomps on the ground in an odd, rhythmic manner. A short time later a rustling can be heard and two large badgers waddle out of the underbrush. With some motions and more thumping she seems to communicate with the creatures, who disappear into the cave.

"I am now ready to go. My friends will watch over my home while I am away. Please lead on."


Roll20 map

In the Woods, At the Burrow

Arnama raises an eyebrow but does not hesitate.

"Such decisiveness will serve you well on the Quest. Cole, Fin, let us go. Observe well your friend for she is surely more practiced at navigating the woods at night than you."

She looks at Cole. "Be wary. To carry light in the darkness of the wood makes of you a target. To lack it hinders not your friends, but it will hinder you. Your shots in the night are less certain. The terrain must be your friend, you must know it well, and follow your instincts, lest a passing cloud lead you fall into a ravine."

She watches, knowing you're considering her words, then lightly punches Cole in the shoulder. "In friendly territory, a lantern is best. Without it, a patrol might mistake who you are and shoot first, thinking you bandits. Take the lead. Fin showed his trail skills getting us here, now you shall get us home using the stars to point the way, until you find terrain you know."

She hands him a lantern; they've traveled enough that she knows he don't carry one. "I know you prefer torches. When you make rank, remember, a lantern can be useful for signaling at night."

"Venssa, when we reach town, we will rest for a night before the Quest begins. I made arrangements with our local inn for a private room. I think the barracks of our rangers and scouts would probably be uncomfortable for you. I don't doubt you will find the beds strange, and probably too soft, but at least there will be some quiet, and a window you can open to the night if you wish."


Male Human Ranger (Soldier)/1; AC: 18; HP: 9/12; Passive Perception 14; Init +3 (Adv); Saves: Str +6, Dex +5; HD Used 0/1

IN THE WOODS

Cole takes the lantern, smiles at Arnama, then leads the way forward back to town.

Survival: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9


Roll20 map

In the Forest, headed toward Kassen (Cole, Finlogan, Venssa)

That Cole had never personally been to the burrow is evident by his struggle, at first, to recognize landmarks. But soon he hits enough of a clearing to see the sky, recognizes his mistake in direction, and corrects for it. The familiar landmarks to Kassen scouts start to appear—a great oak that has burled oddly so it seems almost to make a face, the two great stones stacked that seem as though the one on top will certainly fall at any moment (though every scout knows that three strong men jumping won't budge the top stone even a little).

The forest is eerie, and the sounds of night in the wood are not like those of day, and worse for lacking the familiar talk by the fire, the clink of a pan, and woodsman Bellins foul snore to block out the howling of wolves far in the distance.

Though you are not hungry, you are weary only an hour into the journey, and you have many hours yet to reach town.


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

In the Forest, headed toward Kassen

Finlogan smiles and puts a welcoming hand on Venssa's shoulder when she closes her home, prepares to depart, and joins their group. He knows what a big step this is for the reclusive gnome and admires her for it.

As Cole leads, Fin takes drag following the other three.

Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Stealth: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25


Roll20 map

In the Forest, headed toward Kassen

Finlogan notices that Cole starts them in the wrong direction, but an almost imperceptible shake from Arnama keeps him from saying anything. It seems like Arnama must have known Cole would find his way given a little time.

for Finlogan:
You notice a plant on the side of the trail that you've seen Arnama collect leaves from before. You suspect that it's the ingredient she uses for her canteen drink that helps keep her alert.


Half-elf ranger | HP: 13/13 | 2nd wind 1/1 | d10 1/1
Stats:
AC 18 | Str +5 Dex +2 Con +5 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha +3 | Initiative +2 | Perception +5, Darkvision | Insight +3

In the Forest, headed toward Kassen

Finlogan:
If Fin has a pause to collect the plant, he will carefully and stash it in his gear. If he doesn't have time, he just tries to memorize the look, in order to ask Venssa about it later.


Character Sheet Female CG Half-elf Bard 1 | Rapier +4: 1d8+2 (P); Dagger +4: 1d4+2 (P); Light Crossbow +4: 1d8+2 (P) | | HP: 8/8 | AC: 13 | Saving Throws: Dex +4, Cha +6 | Init: +2 | Passive Perception 10; Darkvision 60' | | Speed 30ft | Bardic Inspiration 2/4 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | [ooc]Active conditions: None.[/ooc

Leaning against the bar, with little in the way of work to do, what with such a sparse gathering, Aldelenna leans in conspiratorially to Asina's ever-waiting ear and whispers, "What in the world do you think Luthos is doing in his room when he disappears? He's not in there long enough for anything noteworthy?" Aldelenna has her guesses, of course, but sparking Asina's wild imagination about the thinly veiled darkness in all men is one of her favorite activities to pass a slow night.

For the GM:
Thanks for the silver! I'll add it to my profile. :)

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