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Monday, February 7, 2011

Campaign Journal: The Northlands and Beyond Chapter 1

So, I thought I'd start posting my campaign journal entries here, in a brief summary format.  For a more detailed version, you can check out the Obsidian Portal site for our campaign.  Because this game is played via a play-by-post method, there are no real "sessions" as we pretty much play every single day.  Instead, I've divided the entries up by chapters.  They don't really act as chapters of a story, per se, but rather offer a break or change in events, so to speak.  So, here is the abbreviated version.  Again, for those that don't already know, this is an adventure played in AD&D 2e in the Forgotten Realms setting (using 1993 boxed set).  The year is 1368DR.

Cast:

Xilus - Lvl 1 Fighter/Mage/Thief half elf, played by Chris
Davrun - Lvl 1 Paladin, human played by Billy F.
Stanley - Lvl 1 Cleric of Torm, human played by Rouse
Flute - Lvl 1 Bard, half elf, played by Billy C.
Bazhur - Lvl 1 Ranger/Thief, human played by Ron
Tymel - Lvl 1 Cleric of Tyr, human NPC

Xilus, Davrun, Flute, and Stanley arrived at the Hall of Justice in Neverwinter on the morning of Hammer 5th, 1368 to answer a call to arms. Over the past two weeks, 4 merchant caravans had gone missing while traveling south along the High Road near the Neverwinter Wood. The party was commissioned to find the bandits raiding the merchant caravans, rescue any survivors, and bring the brigands to justice in Neverwinter. Tymel Greyhammer, cleric of Tyr, and priest at the Hall of Justice accompanied the party.

They departed on Hammer 6th using a cart disguised as a merchant cart in order to lure out the bandits. That night, after traveling along the High Road the group set up camp. During the night they were attacked by a pack of wolves. 

During the late afternoon of the following day, Hammer 7th, the party came across 3 people standing by a broken cart along the High Road. They claimed to be from Neverwinter and in need of assistance to get back on the road. Xilus noticed that there were no fresh tracks to indicate the cart had been moving. From the back of their own cart, Davrun the young paladin, who was hiding in order to surprise brigands, sensed evil nearby. 

While questioning the 3 humans, the party was ambushed by a group of 5 orcs.  During the fray, Xilus cast a sleep spell on the humans. After the orcs were slain, the 3 humans revealed that they were survivors from a previous caravan raid. The raids were not being conducted by bandits, but rather by orcs. The orcs somehow knew of the party's coming and forced the humans to act as bait for an ambush.

The humans informed the party that the orcs had a camp a half-day's journey into the Neverwinter Wood and that there were other human survivors. They also mentioned that every other night an elf would come into the camp, speak with some of the orcs, and sometimes take a few of the humans. Those that were taken had not been seen again. They also suspected that the elf was behind the ambush.  One of the 3 humans, a woman named Myrtha, revealed that her son was still alive in the orc camp. The other two humans agreed to take some horses and ride back to Neverwinter to report the news.

The party then departed through the forest of the Neverwinter Wood headed for the orc camp with Myrtha in tow. Upon finding a ravine with a tree fallen across in the forest, Xilus went forward to scout the orc camp. As he was scouting the camp he encountered another human, this one armed. He revealed himself to be Bazhur Kahn, a warrior from Calimshan. He informed Xilus that he had been scouting the camp for several days, but could not act to free the captives because he was severely outnumbered. With the party waiting back at the ravine about 100 yards back, Khan and Xilus proceeded to the orc camp.

After stealthily taking two of the orc guardtowers, they signaled the rest of the party to come forward. The ambush didn't go as planned, and a battle ensued. The party managed to kill most of the orcs including a chieftain and a shaman. They also freed the remaining survivors. One of the survivors, a merchant named Dalos Ironwinter, attempted to sneak into the chieftain's tent after being freed, but Xilus spotted him and secretly followed him. After observing Dalos, he realized the man was looking for something extremely important in the chieftain's tent. He revealed himself to Dalos, and after some questioning, discovered that Dalos was commissioned by one of the Neverwinter Nine, a man named Balar, to create a map of the city of Neverwinter, and deliver it to Waterdeep to a contact with the Lord's Alliance.

After creating the map, and disguising his journey as a mere merchant's caravan, he was ambushed by the orcs along the High Road. He told of a mysterious elf who came into the camp every few days. He would take a few human captives with him, but the captives would never return. Dalos was digging through the merchant cargo stored in the chieftain's tent looking for the map of Neverwinter. Unable to find it, Dalos feared it may be in the hands of the elf, or worse yet, on it's way to the Arcane Brotherhood in Luskan, bitter enemies of Neverwinter.

While Xilus questioned Dalos, Davrun spoke with the little boy held captive, Myrtha's son. He told the boy that Myrtha was with the party, and after looking around, discovered she was missing. He went to the outskirts of the camp where he discovered a blood stained trail leading into the darkness of the forest. Putting the pieces together, he reasoned that somehow during the melee, Myrtha was taken. Angered, he wanted to pursue her captor into the wilderness, but the party members convinced him to wait until dawn.

At dawn on Hammer 8th, Davrun and Tymel went searching for Myrtha. The rest of the party prepared to depart with the remaining survivors, and return to Neverwinter. Davrun and Tymel discovered a beaten and bloody Myrtha hanging from a tree with a note attached which read: "I will kill them all if you follow me -e.v." Davrun and Tymel wrapped her body in a blanket, and returned to camp. Her son was horrified with the sight and Davrun attempted to comfort him.

The party agreed to take the survivors to Helm's Hold just south of Neverwinter. They arrived at Helm's Hold on the evening of Hammer 8th. Xilus gave the note to a sage at Helm's Hold who revealed a hidden watermark on the note. The symbol was that of the Eldreth Veluuthra, an organization of elves bent on ridding the world of humans and half-elves.

The party determined they must hunt down the elf, and bring him to justice for his crimes, and also recover the map of the city before falling into the wrong hands. They agree to take Dalos with them as he would be able to identify the authenticity of the map.  The party headed out of Helm's Hold, towards the village of Conyberry, a small, human village, and home of Xilus, on Hammer 9th.

So ends Chapter 1 of our heroes' tale.