It's time for volume 3 of the Runelords' trilogy! Six years after starting Shattered Star, Varisia is at the forefront again.
The marks the 7th AP I've GM'd with more or less the same group (Rise of the Runelord, until the end of "The Hook Mountain Massacre"; Legacy of Fire, Kingmaker, Shattered Star, Mummy's Mask, until the end of "Secrets of the Sphinx"; Hell's Rebels).
The group of players is the same as for Shattered Star, with one addition. We have all played at least half of Rise of the Runelord (most of the players with me) and we obviously finished Shattered Star. The Sihedron Heroes will build heavily on the group that finished Shattered Star.
The heroes of Roderic's Cove are:
- Akkumsah Stonechild, Oread unchained monk 1
- Azriel, Varisian druid (menhir savant) 1
- Dr. Variel, Elf investigator (empiricist) 1
- Ice, Merfolk bard (dirge bard, sound striker) 1
- Szarlej, Human cleric of Cayden Cailean 1
The characters' point of view on the events of the campaign are over here. What follows are Audrahni's notes as things stir in Roderic's Cove…
Secrets of Roderic's Cove, Chapter I
11 Rova, 4718 AR
It all started on Roderic’s Cove’s Circle, a week ago, with what looks like a clash between two gangs. Roderic's Cove is usually pleasant enough, despite some shady activities happening here and there, but those never escalated to a direct confrontation between gangs. The last time the future of the Cove was so uncertaint was 10 years ago, when Gildersleeves, the port-governor, left town, chased by an enraged populace. I guess the Covians can only put with so much despicable deception.
The clash between the two gangs left six dead in the Circle, all bearing the same distinctive rune on their clothes which I learned today from Dr. Variel is a rune of old, from the Thassilonian age. The rune of wrath, he thinks. Why these members of the Horned Fangs (as they call themselves) would bear such a symbol as a rallying sign has me puzzled. It also seems no one really knows what happened that night and who the other group was, but I have heard that Ladia Kelstrop was first on sight and saw a group running away. I haven't mustered the courage to go talk to her. What is clear, though, is that only one of the dead Horned Fangs seemed to have died violently, maybe from a short sword or rapier, but the others showed no signs of violence. Only utter fear was imprinted on their dead faces when I interred them. As if they had died of fright.
People in town say that the appearance of Sir Roderic's ghost today in the Circle may have something to do with that. I don't know. It's true a lot of strange events have been happening, lately, as if Sir Roderic was back to claim his cove. I don't know. If anything, it seems to me that he is trying to protect his namesake. The last time he appeared like this was during the riots 10 years ago. Maybe he's only trying to help with his limited means from beyond the grave? What's sure is that his appearance today caused quite a commotion.
It was during the Circle's Market. As usual for a Toilday, many people were gathered in the Circle to check on the peddlers wares. A group of the Horned Fang gang was there too, somberly raising a toast to their fallen comrades of the week before when a group of the Roadkeepers came looking for trouble. They are from a gang that usually collects "taxes" from travelers in the Churlwood. They have always been a pain but not enough trouble to get the authorities really concerned. Despite my new friends interference, they were intent on causing trouble. But Sir Roderic's appearance cut it short and, as he screamed "NO! MY COVE! NO!" almost everyone started running away from the Circle as quickly as they could. The only two who stayed in the Circle and saw the ghost slowly fade away were Azriel, the druid, and Szarlej, the cleric of Cayden Cailen. They were both pretty imbibed, which I guess helped against the ghost's frightening appearance.
People in town are worried. There have been talks of strange screaming mist and occurence of sudden cold during the night. Could it all be related to Sir Roderic's ghost? And does he even appear? Is he helping or is he a danger? Or both?
That evening, at the Creekside Tavern and Inn, it looks like I was able to convince a group of "friends" to act and get to the bottom of this. I say "friends" because I honestly don't really know them. I guess they seem as out-of-place and different as I feel since Magnimar and it may not be a surprise why we ended up spending some time together since their arrival in the Cove. Like me, they are the misfits. But I hope that, like me, they care about this place and want to see it overcome the currently difficulties.
There is Azriel, a druid who came from the northern Ashwood with his roc companion (Wind), because he eventually heard about the shrine Sirius Fromperton raised for his niece Viveltre Vanderale. It seems she disappeared, adventuring, years ago and the poor Azriel only recently learned about it. In his sorrow, he seemed as lost as I have been in the past and I invited him to stay with me until he recovered. That is what Ashavah would have wanted. I guess the two loneliest souls of Roderic's Cove should stick together, shouldn't they?
Ice is the weirdest one. She is a mermaid from the ocean that arrived a few months ago. I must say I like her voice when she sings (a big surprise for a mermaid, right?) but she's a little creepy and scares me. It seems that she knows a lot about me, almost as if we had met before but that's obviously not the case; I would remember. I also have the distinct impression she's stalking me.
Akkumsah Stonechild looks human but there is something about her that looks… "rocky," I guess. I haven't talked to her much since she arrived in the Cove a few weeks ago. I'm not good with people anyway. What I know is that she is some kind of monk from a monastery in the Wyvern Mountains, that she was visiting the Winding Abbey until recently, and that she is quite interested in Thassilonian ruins and artefacts.
Another one who is interested in these things is Dr. Variel, and elf and a scholar from Korvosa. He seems as oblivious to the ways people interact together as I am. I think I like him. At least it makes conversation with him easier. He is one of the only people I know who doesn't get uncomfortable by large pauses in the conversation. What's the point of saying something without reason?
And there is Szarlej, the cleric of Cayden Cailen. He is always drunk and I've never really talked to him. I think he scares me a little bit. What's clear is that he seems to have some sort of connection with Akkumsah and Ice. They are almost always together.
Anyway, they decided to go to Roderic's Wreck to investigate the reason why Roderic's ghost manifests and whether it's to do harm or good. I really wanted to go with them and help them do something for the Cove but I couldn't. I just couldn't make myself go to the Wreck. This whole thing reminds me too much of the Event and the damage I did then. I would only have hampered their investigation. I did give them the holy water I usually carry around and gave them my wand so they are prepared if they ever meet some undead creatures. I just hope those won't be Sir Roderic's ghost, or else I fear they may not survive. Ghosts are very powerful beings. But I didn't tell them that. I didn't want to scare them. They are the only ones who seem ready to help. And maybe Sir Roderic's ghost won't be threatening if they meet him?
The next morning, I heard from them over breakfast that their first foray into the remnants of Sir Roderic's house, the Wreck, as they call it in the Cove wasn't entirely successful. They were beset by vermin in the sagging wooden house that, nowadays, threatens to collapse in the Chavali River. First stirges (which, I guess, are not vermin), then cockroaches the size of dogs, swarms of spiders and, in the river, some nasty reefclaws (which aren't vermin either). But it seems the worse part happened when Szarlej almost stabbed himself to death with his longspear. I hope they quickly learn how to work efficiently together or Roderic's Cove will soon need new heroes. I truly hope it doesn't come down to that. I would pray for it, but…
Oh, they did find one interesting-looking map in the Wreck. It's a map of the nearby Churlwood, it seems, with an X labeled "St. Hs." near a ridge line. I don't think this place is more than an hour away but I have no idea what the label means and neither do they.
So here we are: a gang clash between the Horned Fang and another group a week ago (Ladia Kelstrop may know more about what happened and maybe also the authorities, captain Freson or port-governor Thort?); something strange is definitely involved since most of the dead seem to have died of fried (was it Sir Roderic's ghost?); the Roadkeepers are stirring things up (could they be the other group?); Sir Roderic's ghost reappeared after 10 calm years and people talk about weird events happening in town (are these linked? a consequence of each other?). Is he here to help or do harm? I'm pretty sure it's the former but I also know my penchant for wanting to save the lost and how much it's cost me in the past.
I guess we'll know soon enough, for good or bad.
Largest amount of damage taken from an attack: 14 (Szarlej stabbing himself).
Largest amount of damage taken from an effect: 4 (Szarlej from a spider swarm).
Largest amount of damage dealt with an attack: 11 (Szarlej on a cockroach with his longspear).
Largest amount of damage dealt with an effect: 6 (Ice on a spider swarm with a torch).
Unconscious: Szarlej (-6), stabbing himself with his longspear (fumble deck critical hit on self).
Akkumsah Stonechild looks human but there is something about her that looks… "rocky," I guess.
Namely, she moves more deliberately and sparingly than humans do, without all the little flourishes and wiggles we take for granted. When she doesn’t move, she is disconcertingly still. Combined with her opaque sandstone-colored skin, this may lead some people to mistake her for a statue at first sight.
|Ice Cracking In The Sunlight|
Quote:Akkumsah Stonechild looks human but there is something about her that looks… "rocky," I guess.Namely, she moves more deliberately and sparingly than humans do, without all the little flourishes and wiggles we take for granted. When she doesn’t move, she is disconcertingly still. Combined with her opaque sandstone-colored skin, this may lead some people to mistake her for a statue at first sight.
People are so judgmental, aren't they? You're "rocky", Szarlej is "always drunk", I'm "stalking" somebody and that's before they even know about the suicide attempt.