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53 posts. Alias of Branding Opportunity.


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Iammars wrote:

I feel like the part that no one is talking about is that this is written by Alex Greenshields.

You know, right?

Red Harvest?

A Case of Missing Persons?


Nothing good is coming of this scenario.

That being said, I am so excited to run/play this. I _love_ Alex's scenarios.

Thanks so much :) Always nice to get positive feedback, especially during these trying times.

Just wanted to say a quick hello. Are there enough folks for Wardstone Patrol? I'm around and will keep an eye on this thread, so let me know what you decide.

The High Paymaster raises an eyebrow at Tanith's question. "Well, that's the interesting thing, isn't it? I hear that when our soldiers first arrived, they found the city empty, untouched, with no sign of King Galmoor or his retinue. Where did they go? Why did they go? Nobody knows."

High Paymaster Randos walks over to your group, giving everyone a perfunctory nod. "Well, it was pleasant to meet the heroes of Fitela. Good luck on your upcoming endeavors, whatever they might be. Remember that the temple of Zilchus is always available to tend to your needs, especially if they involve an investment."
He then leans in a bit closer to make sure the stevedores unloading the cargo don't overhear him. "I have heard through the grapevine that you might be coming into some property. Zilchus always rewards those who help themselves, but I doubt you'll have much luck in Istivin. It is sadly not the same place it once was." Randos shakes his head in concern and shrugs, "But what can be done? We must make the best of what we are given. The people of Fitela certainly have done that," and quickly adds, "with a good bit of help from you, of course!"


Village of Fitela, 12th of Coldeven, 593 CY

It was an emotional day for everyone involved in the rededication. After over eight years of sorrow, struggle, and disappointment, the surviving common folk of this small village along the rushing Davish river had come together to remember the past and make a fresh start.

After the giants and their allies began retreating into their mountain strongholds in 588 CY, the villagers had slowly begun to trickle back over the border from Keoland. On barges, wagons, horses, and even on foot they had returned from the refugee camps, spurred on by reports that their homeland was once again on the path to freedom. The frost giants of the Jotens and Crystalmists had held on longer than anyone could have imagined. Even now it was said they still controlled a number of the old Borderland forts built hard against the mountainsides. The people of Fitela had to wait patiently until just over a year ago before it was safe enough to make their way home. With the monetary support of the young Baron Veaublanche, and even a few lions from the court in Istivin, the people here had slowly rebuilt their community. Invitations were sent out, proclaiming that there was to be a celebration in honor of the laying of the cornerstone for the newly built church of Allitur. As the local heroes, you had been brought here to be guests of honor.

You hadn’t seen each other since the freeing of the dwarven hold of Eagle’s Nest three years ago. The winter had not been a particularly harsh one for this part of the Flanaess, and with the coming of spring the smell of hope seemed to hang in the air for the first time in a long while.

Upon arrival, each of you had been greeted not with the formal stiffness of visiting dignitaries, but with a familial warmth and genuine affection that surprised and touched many of you. Old mothers had fallen into your arms weeping, as seeing you reminded them of the brothers, sons, and daughters they had lost at the Last Stand by the Davish. Mothers beamed with quiet pride as they introduced you to their young sons and daughters, who had been named after you in recognition of your deeds. Others came up to you, sadness and joy mixed in their eyes, telling you of the many struggles they had endured since you had parted ways.

You met a young dwarf barely in his beard who carried a warhammer with great reverence, carved with runes holy to Moradin. He looked somewhat familiar and introduced himself as Grintur, son of Grinnur. He had been asked to travel here from his home in the South, and mark the occasion in his father’s stead. Grinnur, you soon learned, had been killed two years before in an attempt to retake a dwarven mine still held by the giants. Grintur spoke of his father in the present tense, telling you that even though his spirit had gone on to sit beside the Allfather, he still guided his decisions and gave him much courage.

The ceremony had thankfully been brief, as the newly appointed priest of Allitur gave a somewhat poorly-delivered speech on the importance of tradition and structure to the workings of society. Following this, the visiting High Paymaster of Zilchus and even a stonewoman of Ulaa had joined with the speaker in laying the cornerstone of the new church to the accompaniment of great applause. A large banquet in the recently rebuilt town hall followed and had gone on late into the night.

The following day you said your goodbyes and accepted the invitation of the High Paymaster of Zilchus to accompany him on his boat back to Istivin Crossing. Upon mention of Istivin you had realized that for whatever reason, none of you had visited, or even thought about the capital in quite some time. It was as if the city had faded from your memory, which seemed odd considering that it was the meeting point of the three major highways crossing Sterich, in addition to the only city of any size for hundreds of miles. You assumed that this was simply the result of too much stress and excitement over the past few years; mostly spent fighting the invaders on the borders of Geoff and the March. You also recalled that there was still the matter of the land in Sterich’s southwest that had been promised to you as payment for service during the war. A few of you had tried to claim your prize over a year ago, but the newly formed government, now under control of the strict Marchioness after the mysterious disappearance of her husband three years ago, had told you that various conflicting claims were still being sorted out, and politely asked you to come back later. In any case, it had been too long since your last visit: Istivin was calling!

Port of Istivin Crossing, 14th of Coldeven

Early this morning the High Paymaster’s boat has docked at Istivin Crossing. As you disembark, he bids you safe journeys. True to the tenets of his faith, the high priest of Zilchus has combined the ceremonial visit to Fitela with a supply trip to Godakin Keep, and the local dockworkers are busy unloading numerous heavy boxes with the royal stamp of the Kingdom of Keoland on them.

It is still chilly this early in the season, and a freezing wind blows hard across the river from the south. In that direction, far in the distance, the high, snow-covered peaks of the northern Jotens are catching the first rays of the sun, sharply silhouetted against the grey steel sky. A few miles to the northwest you can see the tall, triple towers of the Javan Gate, and the dark-grey curtain walls of Istivin. The imposing Krelont Keep sits atop the Promontory behind them, still shrouded in the night’s last shadows.

This is a chance for you to catch up a bit and possibly talks to the high priest of Zilchus.


Karri Velthundle, Marshall of the Sterish Cavalry has extended an open invitation to you to join her as an instructor for her forces. You met Marshall Velthundle, a sylvan elf originally from the Oytwood, during the war and were very impressed by her. She has been Marshall of Sterich for over 200 years, and has been offered the role of general commander by a succession of Sterich's rulers, but she has always refused, preferring to concentrate on her passion and combat specialty: light cavalry. Velthundle's tactics combine horsemanship and magic, and the ranks of her renowned mounted order swell with multiclass fighter/wizards and fighter/sorcerers. They reside in West Citadel, near the Trade Gate.

You have heard from other worshipers of Mayaheine that the church of the Maiden's Shield in Istivin is very worried that something is seriously wrong in the capital. None of them can exactly put their fingers on it, however, and just confess to a general uneasiness. The head of the Maiden's Shield, a half-elven woman by the name of Sarai Miskmatar, is a recent high-profile convert to the faith from the temple of Pelor in Keoland, and has been in Istivin for less than a year.

On a previous adventure you heard the tale of a magical bow of some power, which was found in the Demonweb Pits and then lost by the group of adventurers who defeated the minions of Lolth 14 years ago. You've heard that there are members of this group still living in Istivin, one of whom is now the Captain General of the Istivin Watch.

The dwarven Council of Princes recently contacted you to let you know that they, in conjunction with the Union (the dwarves you worked for in the freeing of Eagle’s Nest), have let it be known that the entity known as the "Red King" still controls the glacier that is the headwater of the Devish river. This glacier is also the location of a number of dwarven holds and mines. Any information about who or what this Red King is would be greatly appreciated.
A rumor has also existed for years that the original adventurers who defeated the machinations of the drow and their giant stooges forteen years ago (as told in the AD&D “Giants” series) stole a powerful weapon known as the Axe of the Keeper from a giant's den. This axe later disappeared and no one has been able to find it. A few of the original party are rumored to still live in Istivin.

Does anyone else want to post a final time to wrap up the "prologue" before we begin the next adventure?

Everyone's a critic.

It's only the prologue. Sometimes wars end with a whimper. And I can't believe you want to hold up "Revenge of the Sith" as a positive example.

Here's the final adventure synopsis. As I stated, this is just a summary, and will not require your stories in the same way as the last three adventures have. I just want to get started on the actual adventure, but thought you might refer to this escape once we actually start the real deal. This adventure will probably be the last time you all are together before we move the story to the present (CY 593).


In the fall of 590 CY the group is hired by the Dwarven Union for the Liberation of Occupied Holds and Other Sundry Communities (D.U.L.O.H.O.S.C.) to investigate and if possible liberate the dwarven hold of Eagle’s Nest. It is located within the peak of the Witch’s Hump, a mountain between the Dear and White Oyt rivers.

The Union’s sources have revealed that although the Eagle’s Nest has been held by a family clan of fire giants and their hobgoblin mercenary allies since around 585 CY, there may be some upheaval happening. The hold sits on a large mithral (or mithril for the Tolkien purists) vein, so the Union members feel that it is essential that it be retaken. The party is hired partially because of their reputation in the retaking of the Oytpass Keep during the war.

The Union has recently received confirmation that a number of dwarven slaves have been brought to this location to assist in the mining and smelting of the precious metal. The melting in particular is quite difficult, dangerous, and labor-intensive process, requiring dangerously high heat, and the dwarves’ reluctant expertise is greatly needed. The work is being overseen by a misshapen half-illithid derro who has been employing his psionic or magical powers to keep the miners and metallurgists in line. This information was provided by a dwarf miner named Nadolf Pickstrike who managed to escape less than a year ago.

The party travels through the Stark Mounds where they encounter a raiding party of dire badger-riding gnome rangers and druids, who have recently relocated there from the north-eastern regions of the Stark Mounds. They are tracking a large band of gnolls who have been despoiling the lands around Gorna. They are mainly interested in this task, and are only secondarily interested in fighting the larger humanoid and giant menace. They seem to know nothing of the Eagle’s Nest.

After arriving in the vicinity of the Witch’s Hump, initial scouting reveals that all of the mapped entrances to the hold, including the supposedly secret ones, have been made impassible or are heavily defended by traps and/or monsters.The only seemingly undefended access to the Nest is through the ventilation shafts which descend over a quarter of a mile into the mountain to the foundries of the hold.

The party makes camp for the night in a well-hidden cave nearby. During the night they are partially surprised by a large drow raiding party. Rather than attacking, however, the dark elves indicate their desire to parlay, stating that fighting would only result in needless heavy losses on both sides. In addition, they state, your goals might be mutually compatible.

Whatever the party decides to do, one observant member of the party notices that the drow spokesman bears an unknown drow emblem which arouses his/her curiosity. If the party agrees to the parlay, the drow reveal that they have heard of the Eagle’s Nest but have avoided it due to the strength of its defenders. They are currently focusing their attentions elsewhere and agree to withdraw without incidence. If you attack, the drow quickly retreat.

The next day you make your way to the top of the mountain employing some stealth. Your carefulness pays off when you realize that an invisible, yet powerful air elemental guards the top of the shaft. You quickly dispatch it before it gets a chance to alarm its masters.

Following this encounter, you devise a way of lowering your party the quarter of a mile down the shaft. As you descend you notice that the gets colder and colder. Near the bottom you discover to your dismay that an enormous batch of brown mold has been planted here to provide some defense and aid in the circulation of air.

Once you devise a way around this obstacle you find yourself near the ceiling of a cathedral-like cavern. Dozens of forges line the floor, heated by geothermal forces. Scores of human-sized humanoids make their way between them, guarded by a handful of vigilant fire giants.

Through some subterfuge you eventually manage to defeat the surprised giant guards, including one who seems to be a wizard who paradoxically focuses on cold magic. Upon approaching the dwarven slaves, you find they have been horrifically transformed to better deal with the intense heat found here. Strange, heat-resistant scales have somehow been grafted onto their bodies, so that they barely resemble dwarves anymore. In addition, all seem to be under some form of mind control.

Through magical or mundane means you break one of transfigured dwarves’ control. At first he is overcome with grief at the sight of his new form, and begs to be killed. After being calmed down a bit, he realizes that he can still be of some use in freeing his companions.

With his help you track down the half-derro slave lord and defeat him in a pitched battle after first overcoming his enthralled umber hulk bodyguards. Before the party is completely over, the remaining fire giants return slightly bloodied from a raid, but soon flee before your onslaught.
Freed from their mind control the mutated dwarves liberate the rest of the slaves, but decide that they do not wish to return to their surface. Refusing further aid, they meet and tell you that they wish to travel further into the Underdark, and make a new home there, far way from everything they know.


After this adventure, you guys disband, supposedly for good. Each of you goes off to do your own thing, and being around 10th or 11th level, you guys have plenty of gold to throw around. The giant invasion is pretty much over at this point, although some distant holds are still held by the them or their allies. Because of your service to Sterich during the war, each of you is promised a decent plot of land, although some of them are still held by the enemy. If you try to collect on this land before the beginning of the next adventure, you are told that the government is still reforming itself and cannot immediately deal with your problem. You are told to return at a later date and petition again.

The next time you meet as a group is when you receive an invitation to return to Fitela in the Spring of 593 (three years after the end of Adventure IV) to be guests of honor at the rededication of their ecumenical temple that was destroyed during the war. You are to receive special honors for your bravery during the evacuation of the town.

Considering how much we've slowed down of late, I'm going to just summarize Adventure IV for your guys, okay? After that we'll go straight to the beginning of the actual adventure.

Have we hit the wall on these player-led pre-adventures or have folks just been busy?

I know that Adventure II is not yet concluded, but I thought I'd give you a little bit of extra time to start thinking about Adventure III. At this point you are all 5th level, and will be 6th or 7th by the end of this adventure.

We now take a large leap forward in time from your adventures at Godakin Keep. The time is early Coldeven, 586 CY, about a year after you led the evacuation of Fitela. The war for the liberation of Sterich and Geoff has been raging with many successes and failures. The Confederacy for the Reclamation of the Occupied Territories (or just Confederacy) now holds the banks of the Javan River, and is beginning to make inroads into the heart of Sterich. It is composed of the remnants of the Sterich military, combined with volunteer forces from Keoland, the Yeomanry, the Gran March, and even as far afield as the Duchy and Country of Ulek.

Spies have recently reported that something strange is happening among the giant and humanoid Occupation forces. After the betrayal of Hilden’s Grange last fall, where the orc chieftain Yagga One-Ear turned against the eldritch giant sorcerer Hawesti, there has been much infighting among the occupying forces. Reports of skirmishes between the giants and their erstwhile allies are heard with growing frequency.

Even stranger, there have been no reports of the frost giant King Galmoor in Istivin since last Sunsebb. None of the magical or mundane spies of the Confederacy seem to know what has happened to him; he simply seems to have disappeared. Without a strong central leader, the giants are becoming sloppy, and lesser leaders are siphoning men and resources to benefit their own territories and goals.

The forces of the newly titled Marquis Querchard, with the support of King Skotti of Keoland, are taking advantage of this by striking hard and fast against the nonhumans. Still headquartered in the Keolandish town of Flen, they have just begun a new campaign whose ultimate goal is to retake Istivin. The Marquis has offered noble titles and lands in Sterich to any knights who are willing to join him, and quite a number of men from all over the southwestern Flaness (many with noble titles of dubious provenance) have joined him.

Your group has been kept busy over the last year. After your success at Godakin Keep, you were put under command of Valtgraf Jorgen Wallur, a famous gnome noble from the Stark Mounds. Based in his secret, underground base about 50 miles north-north-west of the ruins of the village of Steryn, you have been conducting spying and hit-and-run operations against the local occupation forces headquartered at Oytpass Keep. You are also in contact with the wood elf forces of the nearby Oytwood, who are currently trying to keep the trail that leads to their sylvan home from falling into Occupation hands. Most recently, a small band of dwarves under the leadership of Chief Kurgi Hammerhand have crossed back over the Javan and have joined your group. They are here to support the retaking of the Oytpass Keep, but ultimately wish to retake their lost communities in the western Stark Mounds.

For this adventure, I’m going to leave it up to you to decide on exactly what happens. The only thing that is essential is that at the end of the adventure the Oytpass Keep is held by you or allied forces. How exactly you achieve this is up to you.

Forces on your side:
1. Gnomes of the Stark Mounds under Jorgen Wallur
2. Dwarves under Kurgi Hammerhand
3. Wood Elves from the Oytwood
4. Some Human Forces (mainly light infantry and skirmishers) from Gorna
5. The young adult Copper dragon Maetus who lives in the Stark Mounds, who although he is selfish, has no great love for the giants and their allies.
6. The Sisters of Righteous Vengeance, a flock of harpies from the White Oyt River valley whose initial attempt to ally with the giants was rudely dismissed and who are now out for a bit of payback.

Forces against you:
1. The defenders of Oytpass Keep. A collection of hill and stone giants.
2. Bonespear and Bloodmoon tribes of gnolls and flinds from the Stark Mounds. They know the area exceptionally well and are good at many of the same tactics you are. They are led by a powerful flind antipaladin named Keetith the Joker.
3. The fallen of the battle of Gorna. Mainly wraiths, specters and wights who haunt the Stark Mounds at night. They are not allied with the giants, but present a constant danger to anyone traversing the Stark Mounds at night.
4. The Tuskbreakers, a small band of near-feral wereboars working for the giants who have difficulty following orders.

Locations which you might avail yourselves of:
1. Oytpass Keep: A small keep surrounded by a tall curtain wall. It sits an a steep-faced hill overlooking the road. Its defensive towers contain ballistae and catapults, and the gates are defended by numerous murder hole with, boiling oil dispensers. The walls of the keep were reinforced magically and have heightened hardness and hit points. The main gate is magically warded and has the equivalent of SR 18. This effect can be dispelled, but this only lasts for 1d6+1 rounds.
2. Valley of Sorrow: Highly haunted area as a result of the Battle of Gorna in the 5th century CY. It is reputed to hold a magical weapon of some power.
3. Grey Wood: A small forest once connected to the Oytwood. Home of the Tuskbreakers who inhabit a complex on connected tunnels.
4. Ruins of Soraoh: Ancient Flan standing stones in the Stark Mounds. Used as a gathering place for the local gnoll and flind tribes.
5. Oytwood Trail: Connects Sterich to the Oytwood. Not maintained by anyone. Ancient path first used by the Flan people over a thousand years ago.
6. Roothome: The underground base of Jorgen Wallur’s band of gnomes. Not a full gnome community, more of a bolt hole for raids and hunting. Well-stocked with supplies and weapons. Not sized for Medium or larger-sized folk.
7. Oytwood: A dense deciduous forest, whose southern half is home to a large population of wood elves. The northern half of the forest is under the rule of a powerful hag coven allied with the giant rulers of lost Geoff and is quite dangerous.

Once again, really good and creative stuff, guys. Keep it up!

Tanith 'Kordson' Creed wrote:

Sounds good. I won't be able to post tonight as I moved into my new place and don't have Internet setup yet. I'm posting from my phone now and this small amount of text was challenging enough.

Hopefully the others will get the ball rolling and things will be well underway when I get to a PC tomorrow.

Good luck with everything!

Tanith 'Kordson' Creed wrote:
Wow, a lot happens in this chapter. About what level are we at this point?

Let's say 3rd at the beginning and 5th by the end.

Below you'll find the synopsis for the second adventure. As before, it's pretty general and needs a lot of fleshing out. Have fun!


About two weeks after the defense of Fitela you find yourself at Godakin Keep (see Map of Sterich in the "Campaign Info" section), on the border between Sterich and Keoland. This time could be spent in many different ways:

  • You can protect the villagers of Fitela, who travel to Godakin keep for protection. There could be more humanoid attacks, or you could encounter a group of small ice elementals summoned by cleric of Kostchtchie.
  • You could break off from the villagers to try and find out what happened at Istivin and where the Earl and his forces are. After all, there's a war going on and where's the army?
  • You could try to track enemy troop movements to eventually report to someone important at Godakin Keep.
  • Anything else you could imagine.

Whatever you choose, you end up at Godakin. It is the lynchpin which secures the defense of eastern Sterich, as it sits on the confluence of the Javan and Davish rivers, controlling water access to both Sterich and Geoff. In addition to providing an inroad into both of these countries, the Javan River also forms the natural western border of Keoland, and is vital to that realm’s defense. If any serious bid is to be made to keep the invasion from spreading into neighboring territories, or to eventually retake the lost territories, Godakin must stand.

Once you arrive at Godakin, you discover that the war in Sterich has only gotten worse. The giant and humanoid armies have advanced much faster than expected, pushing Earl Querchard to declare a general evacuation of all of Sterich. He was convinced that this was the only viable option by the loss of Morrard, a small keep 45 miles northwest of Istivin. The lord of that manor believed that he could withstand a siege. The giants, however, were not interested in anything of the sort. With heart-wrenching ease they scaled the walls of the keep with simple grappling hooks, while orc shamans on a nearby hillside chanted foul spells of protection. In the end, the keep was burnt to the ground, although one survivor was allowed to flee the devastation in order to give account of what had occurred. The Earl feared that the giants would have similar success in Istivin despite its defenses, and withdrew.

  • How do you feel about these developments? Do you think the Earl was in the right?
  • Has your PC been to Istivin? Does he have family there or know anyone who lives there?

Now the Earl’s court is traveling as fast as it can down the King’s Highway towards Flen. The regular army is being used to defend the fleeing population, while the Sterich cavalry, under the command of Marshall Karri Velthundle launches hit-and-run attacks against the pursuing humanoid and giant armies’ flanks and rear.

Upon first arriving in Godakin Keep (which is under the command of the forces of Keoland) you undergo intense scrutiny by its defenders. Refugees have been pouring over the border from Sterich for weeks, setting up makeshift camps in the shadow of the castle. All crave the defense of the keep’s strong walls, yet few can fit inside. Eventually someone who knows one of you vouches for you and you are let inside.

Within the keep you find everything in an uproar. Volunteers from all over Keoland have been pouring into this part of the country, wishing to volunteer to defend their neighbors. Sadly, the local baron is not the best at managing large groups of people, and many are beginning to get tired of just sitting around, waiting for orders.

Eventually you decide to take surveys of the local warriors, dividing them up by experience and specialty. Knowing that there is a large lack of good intelligence, you organize and lead small scouting parties into enemy-controlled territory, and also make contact with small groups of sympathetic demi-humans and creatures who are willing to be of assistance.

  • What races/creatures do you make contact with? How do they help you? How could you convince them to help the people of Sterich?

Back at Godakin you start suspecting that the seneschal of the baron is more than he seems. After carefully monitoring his movements for a few weeks and using divination magic, you discover that he is secretly passing messages to a foreign power. Unable to get definite proof of this, and worried that the baron would not believe you (or worse, might be a co-conspirator) you follow the seneschal’s messages which eventually lead you to a seemingly abandoned house in a nearby boggy forest. Infiltrating the house you discover that it in fact houses a cell of agents working for the Despot Turrosh Mak, new lord of the Pomarj.

You eventually clear out this cell, discovering that the Pomarj had formed an alliance with King Galmoor of the giants, in addition to a quite nasty tribe of local goblins. The Pomarj agents were planning on taking and holding Keep Godakin from the inside, thereby cutting Sterich and Geoff from any outside assistance. In return, Galmoor was to promise certain mineral rights in the Jotens and Crystalmist mountains.

Armed with this evidence you return to the Keep, confronting the seneschal in front of the assembled court with his treachery (but not before a big battle erupts between you and those loyal to the overlord of the Pomarj).

Oooh, this is getting exciting! What happens next, what happens next?

Great posts, guys! Feel free to make bold choices and really define the story if you feel like it. Nobody is right and nobody is wrong here. You're telling a story about your character, but you can also tell stories of the other characters as well, once you feel you have a good insight into who the PC is.

Let's try to finish this story up today if possible, unless the story takes an unexpected turn that we wish to explore in more detail.

Just talked to Matt. He's up in Seattle tonight but will be posting from the hotel later this evening.

Tanith 'Kordson' Creed wrote:
Should we wait for Matt or just move on?

Since these are the first postings, let's wait for Matt. After he's posted it'll be a free-for-all.

Yay, I like all the stories so far. More, more!

Stats for Fitela added to "Campaign Info"

Oh, and don't worry about the mechanics of any of this. If you say you do something, it happens, unless it makes no logical sense, in which case I have veto power to excise it from the ongoing narrative. Does that sound fair?

EDIT: One final request. Let's move the actual storytelling to the IC Thread.

Something I didn't mention is that in order to keep things moving, I was hoping you'd post your "versions" of the background stories more like normal prose, and less like normal PbP writing (i.e. less back and forth talking, more of a single story told from 1st or 3rd person perspective). I don't want to spend a huge amount of time on these, and move the story forward (unless we all end up having a lot of fun with these).

Let the stories begin!

You'll find the synopsis for your 1st-level adventure below. I'll also repost my original comment on what you should do with it.

Alex Greenshields wrote:

Okay, I think I am ready to start the "background" section of this adventure. What I will do is post the basic outlines of the first adventure: where and when it took place, what you encountered, what obstacles you overcame, what obstacles you did not overcome, and generally how it ended. These descriptions will be intentionally vague, as I would like you to fill in the rest.

After I post them, you will fill in the rest from the perspective of your character. You can focus on the entire adventure, or just pick out a dramatic scene and work on that. The only rule is that anything that has been written before you immediately becomes canon and cannot be changed, although different characters might obviously see things differently. You can post more than once on a given story, but try to let others get out their first post before posting again (unless someone is out of town and won't be posting for a while). This will give us all a chance to flesh out the PCs personalities and create backstory that we can draw on later.


It is the 3rd of Fireseek, 585 CY and for the March of Sterich, it is the beginning of the end. Fate, that most inscrutable of mistresses, has brought you all to the village of Fitela, on the southern banks of the rushing Davish river. Each of you has come for different reasons, but you all find yourself as the best defense the village can muster today.

Much of the southwest and west of the March of Sterich is already in flames, put to the torch by large bands of marauding orcs and bugbears that have been slaughterering every living thing in their path for the past month. Sadly they seem to only have been the vanguard of the main assault. Once the brave Sterich halberdiers and the rightly famous light cavalry were drawn out onto the field of battle, the giants of the mountains, led by the mightly King Galmoor of the Frost Giants, appeared out of nowhere. They drove a blinding snow in front of them, freezing unprotected men in their tracks. Hundreds died in these assaults, and the brave men and women of the March’s forces, blinded and half-frozen, retreated in desperation to the capital of Istivin. That was a week-and-a-half ago.

The small village of Fitela is in a panic. Although they have not seen the enemy, they have heard rumors of humanoids massing in the Jotens to the south. The village aldermen, in consultation with the local priest of Allitur, have decided to wait for further instruction from the Earl before simply abandoning the settlement. They hope that the Marquis and his forces will stop the attacking forces at Istivin, and end the invasion there. The capital has been safe behind its enormous, protective curtain walls for centuries, and the village leadership has little reason to doubt they will be able to stop this attack in its track.

Flynt has been living in Fitela for the past few months, trapped here by an early winter storm. He had traveled up the Davish River from the Javan, and has been making a living as a trapper. He's grown to like the somewhat gruff, independent people of Sterich, and also appreciates that they don't immediately think he's a thief, just because he is Rhenee.

Tanith has the ignoble distinction of being the youngest member of the town guard. He was posted here the previous fall when the rumors of gathering humanoid forces in the mountains had first surfaced. He had hoped for a chance to prove himself, but has encountered nothing but the endless tedium of small town military life here.

Mortifice has been living as a spy among the orcish forces mustering in the Jotens south of Fitela for the past four months. Although he had vowed never to return to his orcish brethren, when rumor reached him in the town of Kalibac that humanoids were gathering in the mountains, he knew he could not idly sit this one out. He took off the robes of a devotee of Mayaheine, and disguised himself as a cleric of Luthic, traveling into the Jotens to find others of his kind. He found a group of orcs mustering not far away and successfully parleyed his skill in healing into becoming a member of their warband. Luckily for Mortifice, the orc leader was desperate for soldiers, and did not ask a lot of questions.

Solaufyn Ithilnelle has spent much of the last few years living among the wood elves of the Oytwood. These elves had been fighting incursions from giants and humanoids of the Stark Mounds and the Crystalmists for years, and have seen a rise in these attacks in recent months. Their diviners foretold that a great war was coming, and ordered their people to retreat deeper into the woods. Solaufyn thought that a message should be sent to the local non-elven populations, but the wood elf elders still harbored old grudges against the local humans and dwarves. Solaufyn decided to take matters into his own hands and traveled south through the Stark Mounds into Sterich. Although he was able to warn the gnomes of the Stark Mounds, by the time he got to Sterich, the attacks had already begun. He traveled through the March, warning of a great attack and advising folk to marshal a defense in Istivin or else flee the land. His travels have led him to the small village of Fitela in the past few days.


  • All PCs (except for Mortifice) begin in the village of Fitela. A terrible snow storm has been raging for the past two days, cutting visibility to 20 feet. Most of the town is gathered in the barn-like town hall, deciding on whether to abandon the village or not. Most of the common folk want to leave and flee downriver to the much more defensible Godakin Keep, while the elders wish to wait to hear from Istivin. Nothing has been heard from Istivin since the great battle a week-and-a-half ago.
  • The PCs decide to go out and scout in the foothills to the south, despite the horrible weather.
  • While scouting, the PCs encounter a small company of dwarves (40-50) from a local mine, lead by Grinnur "The Hammer of Moradin". They are fleeing an attack by a combined force of orcs and bugbears who nearly trapped them in their own mine. Though the wounded wish to flee, there are some who might be convinced to fight with the PCs (10-12).
  • You encounter a small group of orcs and defeat them.
  • The weather breaks for a short time, allowing you see a much large warband of orcs and bugbears (numbering in the hundreds) headed toward Fitela. They are led by a terrifyingly huge bugbear.
  • The village is convinced to flee to Godakin Keep, but due to their numbers, many will not have enough time before the humanoids arrive.
  • You help delay the enemy forces, allowing most of the villagers to flee to the far side of the Davish. This is done by any means other than a frontal assault.
  • At some dramatic moment, Mortifice reveals himself, leading to the death of either the orc or bugbear leader, although not necessarily by his hand.
  • You make a last stand on the banks of the Davish against the humanoid forces.
  • You are somehow able to keep the humanoid forces from slaughtering you, and safely make your way to the far side of the river with the rest of the town's population.
  • You are assisted by the militia of Fitela for any or all of this, in addition to the dwarves of the mine.

Been discussing this over Gchat. Limit is still three, but Matt gets a bonus wondrous item, and Jacob get's a bonus weapon or armor at crafting price.

Also, Matt and Jacob's character are also limited to three items, same as everyone else, otherwise it would be unfair.

Flynt wrote:
Ok, so just the Belt, the Bracers, my armor and my bow then. So only an extra 36.5k

Jeez, that still puts you at almost 150% of wealth per level. Sheesh. Sorry to change my mind AGAIN, but I will go ahead and cap it at 3 items. Sorry, didn't realize how much of a difference that makes at 11th level.

Er, I meant 3 total, not 3 each. but since that seems a bit skimpy, I'll say 4 total.

Tanith 'Kordson' Creed wrote:
just do the math and include it in our character sheets?

This is fine.

Okay, I think I am ready to start the "background" section of this adventure. What I will do is post the basic outlines of the first adventure: where and when it took place, what you encountered, what obstacles you overcame, what obstacles you did not overcome, and generally how it ended. These descriptions will be intentionally vague, as I would like you to fill in the rest.

After I post them, you will fill in the rest from the perspective of your character. You can focus on the entire adventure, or just pick out a dramatic scene and work on that. The only rule is that anything that has been written before you immediately becomes canon and cannot be changed, although different characters might obviously see things differently. You can post more than once on a given story, but try to let others get out their first post before posting again (unless someone is out of town and won't be posting for a while). This will give us all a chance to flesh out the PCs personalities and create backstory that we can draw on later.

We'll evaluate how many more of these we want to do after your "1st level adventure".

Any questions before we get started?

P.S.: Always copy all text before hitting "submit post", that way you won't lose stuff to the postmonster.

So the way I've decided to work the "Craft" issue, is that the people with the feats can craft all the items they own that they have the feat for. All others in the group have to pick 3 items that one of the other PCs has crafted, and that they can therefore "buy" at crafting cost. Since Mortifice has Magic Arms and Armor, and Ithilnelle has Wondrous Items, that means that everyone can pick up to 3 items from those two categories. You can have any number of each (from 0 to 3). Remember that each magic item has a crafting check (either a Spellcraft of other skill check). If you can't take 10 on this check, you'll have to make the roll here on the boards. Remember that not having a prereq for the item increases the DC.

Any questions?

I'm back and feeling better today. Will post something substantial later today.

Tanith 'Kordson' Creed wrote:
I think he was asking because you didn't explicitly allow the ARG and that option was not available for half-orcs until then.

Oh ...

So what's it going to be Matt? You're our last holdout. Once everyone submits a basic background bio we can get started! Stats aren't actually that important right now, as long as you have a good idea of where you're going with this PC.

Munkwunk wrote:
Alex: Half-orcs have an alternate Favored Class ability for the Oracle that's identical to that of the human's (+1 spell known/level) but it didn't show up until the Advanced Race Guide. WOuld it still be okay to take that?

It's still there.

Advanced Race Guide wrote:

Oracle: Add one spell known from the oracle spell list.

This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the oracle can cast.

BTW, we have four players now. Do we want to add a fifth?

Feral wrote:

Yeah I knew.

Actually it's 1550. Armor is only 150 to masterwork.


Nick, remember the FAQ in regards to animal and barding. Also remember that Large barding costs X4 (so 100 X 4 + 300 (MW) + 1000 enchantment = 1,700 gp).

I've updated the "Campaign Info" section.

Okay, so we have two fighter types already. Anyone want to be a face/skill monkey or caster?

As you're figuring out your PCs, start thinking about their backgrounds as well. Are they originally from Sterich? If so, what did they do there before the war? Do they have family there? If they are from abroad, what brought them to Sterich at the beginning of the war? A lot of this campaign will have you in non-combat situations. Unless you have a well-developed character and backstory, these situations will be boring.

Peter, Ranger (falconer) is okay, but just to let you know, there's a fair amount of indoor activity in this adventure.

And here are two maps to get you started on the WHERE:


Local Area

So what classes/races are people interested in playing? Also remember that the more backstory we create for these folks, the better the RP will be IMO.

So years and years ago I ran a PbP game of Greg A. Vaughan's "Istivin Trilogy" (from Dungeon 117-119) on a different forum. I really loved it, and really loved the folks who played with me, but sadly it went the way of many forums and never concluded.

I'd like to finish what I started.

This time, of course, we'd be using the Pathfinder rules, but it would still be set in the world of Greyhawk, which was my first love.

Here was my introduction back then. Luckily it still serves with minor adjustments:

I am pressganging for a new medium-level mini-campaign set in the World of Greyhawk, specifically the March of Sterich. The time is CY 592, eight years after the invasion of the March and its neighbors by the humanoid and giant forces from the Crystalmists and Jotens. While the Grand Duchy of Geoff is still under non-human control, Sterich was able to drive off most of its occupiers four years ago, although much of the country still lies in ruin and it is a far-from-stable realm.

In order to muster support against the invading forces, King Skotti of Keoland promised titles and land to anyone who could provide soldiers to come to Sterich’s and Geoff’s defense. In the aftermath of the war, the March is now overrun by petty nobles, many of whom lay claim to the same land, and some whose titles are shaky at best.

Sterich’s capitol, Istivin, is at the center of their squabbling, but something else is amiss in the city. When the liberating forces first fought their way back there in CY 586, no trace remained of King Galmoor of the giants, or indeed of any destruction after the initial raids of 584. In striking contrast to other liberated towns that had been destroyed, most buildings in Istivin remained in perfect repair. Though most of the returning citizens noticed few differences, the city’s buildings seemed to cast longer shadows than before the war. Men in taverns seemed more likely to raise a fist in anger. A rash of mysterious fires consumed the homes of several important clerics.

Nights now find the streets of Istivin nearly empty, even of city guards. Those brave souls who dare the darkness do so in great haste, running from place to place with weapons drawn. Many have disappeared in the city at night.

It is to this that the PCs now return.

Players will take the part of warriors (in the general and not the NPC-class-specific sense of the word) who have been battling the humanoid and giant forces through most of their adventuring careers. Having served the people of Sterich, Geoff, Keoland and the Yeomanry well and dutifully they now come to Istivin to claim their rewards at court. In order to tell this story, I will use the mini-campaign “Istivin: City of Shadows” from Dungeon magazines #117, 118, and 119 as a backdrop.


LEVEL: 11 (at 155,000 XP Medium Track)

RACE: Any of the common races from the Core Rulebook and in addition: Gray Elves, Wood Elves, Mountain Dwarves, Deep (Stout) Halflings, and Tallfellow Halflings (we can figure these out using the rules in "Advanced Race Guide").

ATTRIBUTES: 20-pt. Point buy (plus don’t forget stat adjustments at 4th and 8th level).

BOOKS/RULES ALLOWED: Core Rulebook, APG. No UM; check with me for others, but I will probably say no. The main point is that they make sense within the campaign setting of the “Reconquista.” In addition, you can use the Greyhawk Regional Feats presented in Dragon magazine issues #315, and #319. If you don’t have access to these, let me know, and I’ll tell you what is available to you, depending on your home region. No Leadership feat, don't even ask. Also no summoners, they don't fit into Greyhawk and they drive me crazy.

HIT POINTS: Max at first level, after that average using same rules as PFS.

MONEY/EQUIPMENT: Standard amount for 11th level PCs from the Core Rulebook (82,000 gp, with no single item worth more than half. )

HOME REGION: Everyone needs to be from somewhere, with citizens of the Sheldomar Valley preferred. You can be from other areas of the Flanaess, but it should be the exception, not the rule.

CAVEAT: I’m sure I’ve forgotten some aspect of character creation, so please feel free to ask.


Before we start the first adventure, I’d like to try something a little different. Since we’re starting at a fairly advanced stage, there is probably a lot of shared history between the PCs. Well, actually, I’m saying that there is a lot of shared history. Period.

In order to create this backstory, I am planning on posting a few short adventure synopses, those adventures which brought the PCs (as a group) from 1st to their current level. After each synopsis, players can make short comments as to what they learned from that adventure, outstanding monsters or traps overcome, magic items they acquired/made, friends lost or found, mortal enemies made, new classes begun, etc; everything that normally happens during the course of an adventure. These descriptions don’t have to be long, a short paragraph will suffice. In addition, players can add more normal life events which occurred between adventures, such as marriages, births, deaths, training with a wise, old man, travel, enlightening experiences, etc.

The reason I think this will be interesting, is that not only will it create tons of material for role-playing (“This reminds me of the time you polymorphed me into at otyugh for three days!”), but it will ground the players within the setting, giving everything a context. That +2 keen kukri that the rogue owns will be the one that he nicked off the high priest of Vecna while they were battling the gnoll iconoclasts in the Vevse Forest.

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Thanks for the PathfinderWiki shout-out, Timitius! It was nice to meet you at PaizoCon.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
This thing better be based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name, or I'll cry foul! Otherwise, it's like naming an adventure "A Tale of Two Cities," and then it turns out to have nothing to do with a revolution. Or naming one "Moby Dick," and having no ships or whales in it.

Dashiell who? This is an hommage to the great Bruce Willis movie "Last Man Standing"! :)

Woohoo! :)

Thea Peters wrote:
Ok .. so I know it's been out for a whole day or so ... but honestly I'm kind of freaking about running this at Origins .. any tips or advice from those that have either run or played this one?

Make sure you read it thoroughly, probably a few times. The first encounter can get a little complicated, so be sure you've got all the mechanics under your belt. Try to emphasize the need for the PCs to hurry and get everyone out of there. Also be sure you familiarize yourself with the abilities of the boss in the final encounter, especially if you're playing it at higher tiers. There's a lot happening in that encounter, so be sure you can describe it clearly.

Mad Alchemist wrote:


Does anyone know what map pack set the third map on page 6 of the mod is from. The titling implies that all three are from the same set but either the third is from another set or I lost that specific tile.


Actually, it says it's from the Map Packs City and Shops. The two on the left are from Shops and the one on the right is from City.

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