The Emergence

Quasdar's (Mis)Fortune

Stepping off the ship onto land brought Quasdar so much relief that he knelt down and kissed the ground. He had never enjoyed the open sea.

“Welcome to Augustana!” shouted a vendor on the dock.

“Huh?” Quasdar wondered audibly. “This isn’t Cassomir?!”

“What? Ha! No. Why the hell would you want to be in Taldor, anyway?” the man chuckled.

“But… I…” sighed Quasdar. “Just tell me when next ship sails to Cassomir.”

“Well, my friend, that one right there.” The man pointed across the docks, and as he did the large vessel pushed off into the sea with surprising swiftness. “Right about now.”

The man laughed again, this time with vigor. “Looks like you’ll be here for a few days. You should settle into a room at the Sleepy Dragon. It’s a new inn they just built attached to the ol’ watering hole near the edge of town. Only been open for about a week now, so you’re likely to get a deal. Also, It’s my brother’s place and he needs the business. Don’t tell him I said anything.”

“Uh, thanks.” Quasdar muttered in defeat. “Which way?”

The man pointed to the northeast. “Just at the edge of town in that direction. You’ll see a sign for the Camel Holocaust. Just follow that path.”

Quasdar walked to the edge of town but saw no such sign, so he continued walking. He thought to himself, I might as well keep walking. It sure beats the sea. This must be part of Saranrae’s plan, though I can’t understand how.

After many hours of tireless walking, Quasdar came across a nook in the woods bustling with activity…

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Rickard's Departure

It had only been a few days since he met this adventuring “team”, but Rickard had made up his mind: he must go. He felt a slight pang of guilt since he was responsible for getting the group involved with the quest for the stones, but it quickly subsided as Arduin showed such fervorous interest in the subject. He quietly backed up while Arduin discussed stones and reward with Dr. Gancho.

As he reached the entrance of the tent, he gently placed the breastplate they found in the woods on the ground. It made a soft “cling”, but nobody seemed to pay any attention as the conversation between Arduin and Gancho began to get interesting. However, Kamesh noticed both his slow departure and the sound, but he didn’t say anything.

Rickard stepped aside once outside the tent. He breathed a deep sigh of relief and began walking toward the fairground exit. His mind began to wander again…

Whatever I need to find, it’s certainly not with these folk. They appear to be just as confused, if not more so, than me! But I do wish them luck in whatever they stumble upon… it could certainly not end well with that little one’s mouth and baldy’s lack of one. And what’s up with the fire? Someone is bound to get hurt with that hormonal mess around.

Something deep within me is being called, and I must find it. Maybe it has something to do with my dreams… a beast of light. Yes, I must find this beast of light. Perhaps I can find myself in the process.

Lost again in thought, Rickard “rode” south in search of something to fill the dark void in his soul…

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Session #3 - An Unfair Fair

After lighting yet another creature on fire, Maxwell becomes the sole target of the creature inside the abandoned inn. Unbeknownst to the party, the rival team’s first instinct was to destroy the creature, too! Unfortunately for them (the rival team), our party didn’t care. Everyone was slaughtered on sight!

The remaining Panoply was recovered and returned (reluctantly) to Dr. Phineas. At his suggestion, the party travels southwest to a small fairground that hosts numerous attractions.

After a small run-in with drunken gnomes, they peruse the tents. Some swindling occurs, and Arduin loses 30gp, but Crey’s sharp eye and instinct causes the carnie’s “game” to backfire.

Crey is denied services at the whorehouse because of his hideous appearance, so he storms off after many insults.

Kamesh gets drunk at the food vendor, and some sexual remarks (and gestures) are exchanged with the dancing bear.

A strange woman insists on showing the group what the spirits have to say through her crystal ball. Several strange images are shown in the smoke… some of which are recognized by the party. She loses consciousness as the images disappear.

In the last tent the party visits, Dr. Gancho tries to get the party to be his gofer! Arduin and Maxwell want nothing to do with it, but something he says to Rickard causes some interest. After some lengthy Q&A, the party agrees to the task… but only after Crey convinces Gancho that gold is most important. They get some funds to help with the journey, and Gancho states they will receive more once they arrive at Ralf Stumpleton’s.

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Session #2 - The Panoply of Narven: Part 2

As the party continues their search for the Panoply of Narven, they stumble upon a wounded bear. After slaughtering the bear, Maxwell lights the corpse on fire while Kamesh searches a mysterious, but empty, box. The party uses the smoke to lure the opposing party to no avail.

Without direction, the party travels south. There, they find a young “master adventurer” named Gern Blanston who claims he is looking for a “wizard”. After much confusion and frustration, they find he simply has a speech impediment. However, before leaving, he barters with Arduin for a few of his belongings.

Further southwest, the group runs into a band of thieves apparently hiding out after an art heist. Maxwell snatches the racy artwork and is sure it’s worth a fortune!

Remembering they are on a mission, the group heads north to an abandoned inn. After peeking inside, they are ambushed by the other party. To make things worse, a creature appears out of the debris and begins to attack!

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Session #1 - The Panoply of Narven: Part 1

The group heads into the Arthfell Forest in search of the lost Panoply of Narven or else risk imprisonment…

A giant beetle is encountered, which sprays half the party down in acid. However, it is quickly slain with an arrow through the eye. Crey finds a remarkable pile of dung behind the giant stump which was the beetle’s home, but not before they group finds the Codex of the Firmament.

Shortly after, the party stumbles across an old druish ritual site and watches as the life is squeezed out of a curious wolf by an assassin vine covering the alter. Sparking the vine in vain, the party slowly irritates the vine. However, it seems to be more defenseless against strong blows. Kamesh gets himself wrapped up in vines, but Crey’s extreme acrobatics and pin-point accuracy allows him a quick escape. Maxwell is more self-sufficient and greases himself like a pig, shooting up in the air as he forces himself out of the vine’s grasp. After the slaying of the mighty vine, an aquatic ring and the Breastplate of Sacred Fire are found atop the inscribed monoliths.

Since being greased isn’t very comfortable (even for a hormonal teenager), Maxwell decides to strip naked and go for a swim to wash up. As he does, the group is ambushed by the fat man from the Inn! He’s quickly slain, but a mysterious entity from the lake also appears. Crey swims below her and shoots her in her “lady-parts”, killing her instantly. He then dives down to recover any lost loot, but ends up stuck underneath a boulder in an attempt to lift it off of a vial. Kamesh comes to his rescue as he nears drowning. The Vial of Pure Water has been retrieved.

Piling around the pile of ash that was the fat man (and his loot), the party sets up camp to rest for the day…

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Introduce Yourself 2
Party POV

The group travels into the forest in search of the lost Panoply of Narven wondering to yourselves how you ended up in this mess. Each of them sigh and glare with slanted eyes (especially Kamesh) in the direction of Crepusculo. Crepusculo, oblivious to your exasperated expressions and proud of himself for his actions back at the inn, whistles to himself as he plays with his newly acquired blade.

Arduin stops the group to take another look at the map. Everyone crowds around except Maxwell—he whines and kicks at the dirt, sitting down against a tree to pick at his fingernails. As Arduin lifts his head from the map to orient himself, he sees a figure on pretending to be on horseback slowly walking towards them in the distance.

“Oh, shit. We have company, guys.” Arduin grumbles as Nox flutters over his head.

Kamesh chimes in, “There is no need to act preemptively. I’m sure he will simply pass by and mean us no harm.”

“Well, I feel threatened. I’d say he’s coming right for us!” squeals Crepusculo.

Maxwell scoffs.

They continue down the path discussing hypotheticals as the “horseman” nears. The man on “horseback” stops abruptly thirty feet in front of the group. His pristine posture suggests he must come from good stock or be well trained. For what feels like an eternity, everyone stands silently waiting for the others to speak.

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Introduce Yourself
Rickard's POV

Fresh out of your training and eager to prove yourself, you travel from your small village to Almas before setting a course west towards Cheliax. As Lumiere trots gracefully down a seldom-beaten path into the Arthfell Forest, your mind begins to wander.

Cheliax. The empire run on the backs of fiends. Surely there is a worthy quest here to prove oneself if anywhere at all. What will likely take much time and perseverance is finding a like-minded party. How will I know their nature and intentions? What is my nature, what are my intentions, and are they true? Even if they are like-minded and join me in my quest, who is to say they provide the needed recommendation to the Order? Will the quest and the recommendation I get be adequate? What is enough? I must achieve something grand as to not waste my time, and my group must be strong and convincing. There’s no other way: I’m sure of it. Why do I think so much? What’s wrong with me? It must be one of the consequences of being alone so often…

As your mind trails off onto more trivial questions about your future, Lumiere snorts softly at you but does not lose her rhythm as she continues to trot through the woods. Your mind immediately snaps back into reality.

“What is it, girl?” you asks Lumiere. She snorts again, lifting her head slightly pointing forward.

In the distance are four figures along the trail just before the horizon line. Their silhouettes hardly grow as you move closer, so it’s apparent they are on foot. One of the figures is noticeably smaller than the rest.

I wonder if that’s a child. What would a small child be doing out in the middle of this dangerous forest?

The minutes drag on as you seem to inch closer and closer—the figures slowly growing larger.

What a strange crowd. That bald man is clearly from a foreign land. And that boy… that boy doesn’t look like he belongs in the company of these men at all. He looks so… angsty. Ha! Teenagers. Wait. Is that other one wearing a mask? That’s strange. And if I didn’t know any better, I would think that bat is following him. I… I think it is. And that child is so… shadowy? What is that thing…?

It becomes quite evident that these men are armed and that is no child (if it is, it’s the ugliest child you have ever seen).

Being no stranger to combat, you aren’t scared. However, Lumiere notices that the small creature is a goblin, and she becomes noticeably distraught (though her combat training helps her keep her nerves and continue forward). Her reaction, more than anything, causes you alarm. You sit up straight and present yourself with dignity and might.

Lumiere immediately stops in her tracks about thirty feet away from group without any command from you. Anxiety stirs your stomach acid as you survey the party and prepare for the worst. The party in front of you stops abruptly as well. Silence fills the air as you wait for them to speak.

You suddenly awake drenched in sweat.

Why do I keep dreaming of a white horse and some strange group of adventurers?

In your dream you never speak, and neither do they; you simply stare at each other until you wake up. And the horse…

what’s up with this damn horse?!

This time you’ve passed out from a wild night on the outskirts of the Arthfell Forest. You can’t remember how you got there, but you can see footsteps from the east leading to your makeshift bed. You figure you ought to continue headed west. Why not, right?

As you stave off a hangover for just a little while longer, you have deja vu… in the distance are four figures along the trail just before the horizon line. Their silhouettes hardly grow as you move closer, so it’s apparent they are on foot. One of the figures is noticeably smaller than the rest.

What the….

You stop just short of the party, and they react similarly.

Hopefully one of you speaks…

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Session #0
"How did we end up in this mess?"

As each of you make your own way to your individual destinations, you merge onto a single path through the woods. Knowing full-well that traveling in a group is safer than being alone, you continue together: a goblin shadow assassin (Crepusculo), an Oread monk (Kamesh), a human witch (Arduin) and his bat companion (Nox), and a human sorcerer (Maxwell Stumpleton).

After a brief encounter with a pack of wild dogs, you discover a fiery dagger that attracts not only the interest of Crep, but that of another adventuring party at the local inn. A fight erupts after one of the aggressors demands the dagger and Crep deftly slices his scrotum open with a bolt from his crossbow. After a few minutes of fighting, the town sheriff, Sheriff Cage Blunnde, puts a stop to the fight and demands the dagger for safe keeping.

During the night (after Crep’s failed attempt to steal the dagger back from Blunnde), the dagger goes missing! Because of Crep’s attitude and reluctance to work with the sheriff the night before, he is one the the suspects and is locked away. The remainder of the group interrogates witnesses and the accused.

The lengthy investigation leads the team to the stables, where an owl attacks them, only to be blown apart with one mighty punch from Kamesh. It turns out that one of the suspects, a gnome sorcerer, has trained his pet owl to steal for him! He would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for that pesky stable boy.

Blunnde commends your find, but brings up the fight that occurred the night before. He blames your party for the destruction of a mysterious tapestry that the traveling Dr. Phineus Krane intended on displaying at his exhibition. The value is well beyond your cumulative wealth, and in lieu of prison, the sheriff has agreed to allow you to go on a quest given by the doctor: retrieve the Panoply of Narven. He hands you a map and gives a vague and not-very-helpful suggestion on where to start.

On your way out, Crep demands the dagger from Blunnde. Reluctantly—and more to just shut him up—Blunnde agrees, but tells the group that the other traveling adventurers have the same quest as them! The group who retrieves the panoply has their sentence waived. The one that fails has 20 years on the line…

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