Campaign of the Month: January 2013
DANgerous Kalamar 4
To begin the game, read/paraphrase the following opening:
The author is an elderly, but disciplined man. He sits with what was clearly once perfect posture (made not so much by age) and wears a regal uniform with a red sash, emblazoned with the crest of a shield, bearing the symbol of a white tree beneath a star. Our view rises up to look over his shoulder and the writing of his manuscript (and the source of the scratching) can finally be seen. As the words are read, the voice of the author’s inner monologue can be heard.
"I shall always remember it as if it were but yesterday. The kingdom of Cosdol, the place of my birth and the home I have known all of my days, was beset by adversity. It was 1043 Y.K. and a great tsunami had washed over the eastern shore of the Voldor Bay, wreaking havoc in its wake. Thousands died in that terrible tragedy, and thousands more were left with nothing but ruined homes and waterlogged corpses. Refugees flocked to the capital city of Cosolen, seeking succor.
Initially, these poor souls were met with open arms and offered charity. However, as their numbers grew by order of magnitude, they soon exceeded the ability of even the capital to house and support them. The city’s officials began to turn them away, encouraging them to seek aid in other parts of the realm, but still they came… even the passage of a year’s time did not cease their arrival. The ruling elite debated the matter endlessly, but could reach no consensus.
It was during this time, that Prince Sevlen – being a kind and chivalrous man, and sympathetic to the plight of the refugees – reluctantly permitted the creation of a shanty town outside the city’s walls that became colloquially known as Eastpeg. The conditions were squalid, and food was scarce. Thieves and scoundrels were said to roam the muddy paths between tents and arguments over scraps of land were commonplace. There were brawls, assaults, and occasionally, even murders.
The honorable city watchmen bore the brunt of these burdens. Where they once policed a genteel citizenry, they now were forced into the role of hated minions of the establishment and compelled to engage in argumentative confrontations with the increasingly numerous and often cantankerous (if not outright violent) throngs of refugees. Further stressing them, the economic despair inculcated a criminal element hitherto unknown in Cosolen.
Amidst these hardships, reports from those settlements remaining in the lands east of the Voldor Bay were both numerous and alarming. Wild beasts roamed the ruins of villages and towns; villains unchecked by the order of civilization grew more bold; disappearances and missing persons were recorded throughout the region; and finally, humanoid war bands were mobilizing at the edges of civilized lands, and raided the outskirts with near impunity.
Indeed by every estimation, the well being of the kingdom hung by the finest of threads. Chaos loomed on a dark horizon, and uncertainty pulled at the strings of every heart. More so than at any time since, new heroes were needed to assist the overwhelmed defenders of peace and tranquility."
As the author finishes the page and draws a fresh sheet of parchment, our view drifts away through the blank page and fades into the story being written. We arrive to the year 1044 Y.K – to the port city of Cosolen, capital of the kingdom of Cosdol. Our view is high above the city, atop the pristine district known as The Greens. The natural curves and elegant flowing arches of the architecture are clearly of elven design, and contrast starkly with typical blocky human construction.
Our game ‘camera’ begins descending and the red banners of the Cosolen Military Academy, bearing the shielded crest of a white tree beneath a star, come into view (waving in the morning breeze). Known for instructing wizards and warriors alike, the institution stands as one of the gems of Cosdol – filling many ranks within the nation’s military. We come at last to the ground level, and begin moving – past the well-manicured grass and tended tree line of the academy’s front lawn and into the building itself.
While this particular day is about to have events of note unfold, no one knows this yet, and as such everyone is where their character would be on a typical day. At this time, each player should state a probable location for their character to be found on the grounds of the Academy. Any player who is unsure or indecisive will be assumed to be mid activity as outlined below:
- Martially inclined characters will be in one of the training yards: Exercising, Running a drill, Sparring with another student, etc..
- Intellectual based characters will be in the library: Transcribing documents, Interpreting scrolls, Doing research, etc…
- Religiously slanted characters will be in the infirmary: Tending to an injured student, Organizing the supplies, Updating records of visits, etc…
As each character is placed on the grounds, the players should also take a moment to describe their character and officially unveil them to the party as a whole. A run down of each character’s knowledge of the others is also in order.
- Meliantan Daheriel has likely crossed paths with various other PCs at one time or another as a custodian of the academy’s library.
- Gram Swiftaxe and Burdon Brazebay are acquaintances per Ben’s background roll indicating his befriending of a “local Bard”.
- Burdon Brazebay and Stoat are likely to have at least met one another as they are both worshipers of Raconteur and have potentially met at a service.
- Burdon Brazebay and Stoat both would potentially know or have met Brendolm Minel through Dendrala Minel. Dendrala is a blood relation to Brendolm and is one of the primary Clerics at the temple to Raconteur in Cosolen.
- Maldus Randorian as a Cleric within the Church of Everlasting Hope would likely have met Brendolm Minel, a Paladin of the Courts of Justice given that these are allied churches.
- Hilg is someone that all of the other PCs will know of, if not know personally. As a Half-Orc, he stands out and is known of around the academy grounds.
Once the characters have been placed and introduced, the game session is ready to begin and the section below can be read or paraphrased:
Entering the main building of the Academy leads the group into the growing crowd of students and instructors heading to the assembly hall. Innumerable discussions speculate the purpose for the summons, filling the air – broken only by the occasional hail or greetings amongst friends. Seats in the assembly hall fill quickly, and in short order only standing room remains.
Long moments pass before the headmaster finally enters. A hush falls over the assembled mass as Headmaster Volren leads a precession of faculty and visiting Clerics of various churches to the podium at the head of the great hall. Notably amongst the Clerics are:
- (F/Brandobian) Thespian (rank 3) Dendrala Minel of the Theater of the Arts, worshippers of Lendanor, the Raconteur – the God of art.
- (M/High Elf) Senior Architect (rank 4) Welitryn Harrobalaea of the Founder’s Creation, clerics of Crinlan, The Founder – the God of law, order and cities.
- (F/High Elf) Holder of the Black Key (rank 3) Zelaena Onaeriel of the Temple of Enchantment, the faithful of Emnon, the Riftmaster – the God of magic.
- (M/High Elf) Tender (rank 3) Telerai of the Church of Everlasting Hope, servants of Selandi, the Lord of Silver Linings – the God of healing, hope and mercy.
“Our Lords and their agents have worked tirelessly to stabilize the realm and uphold the laws. But the task has proven to be a monumental one, far more taxing than any had imagined – and requiring a greater investment of resources and manpower than was prepared for. Much has been done, but so much more remains to be done, our lands continue to to be plagued by grief and misfortune, and as the instructor of the future defenders of this kingdom, I find myself unable to sit idly by whilst our people suffer.”
“Therefore, I have called this meeting in the hopes of assembling a team of volunteers to assist our noble Lords in their efforts. We have received word of a request for official assistance from a small town on the east coast of the Voldor Bay. As one of the remaining settlements of this devastated area, I” (motions to the clerics) “and others, feel it vital to render aid where the Crown’s beleaguered agents cannot.”
“With support from representatives of the religious community, the Academy has procured a commission to appoint investigators to respond to this call for help. This is the enterprise for which I seek your participation, the endeavor to which I ask your service. As I call this announcement to a close, any who wish to volunteer are to see me immediately following. That is all.”
Following the assembly, the PCs are able to stay behind and join the small crowd seeking the academy’s appointment. In total, the party comprises roughly one-fourth of the volunteers. Their names are taken and Headmaster Volren speaks to them once again, in less formal manner than before. “It fills me with a great sense of pride to see so many willing to heed the call of their countrymen. However, I regret that the terms of my commission limit the size of the troupe I may send. As such, this group shall be divided, and the best grouping determined by three challenges.”
The talents of the volunteers are taken and the group is broken down into four teams of roughly equal size and makeup. Each cleric is assigned as the curator of one team. As the various PCs have ties to three of the clerics (outlined below), they receive as their curator, the fourth cleric: Zelaena Onaeriel, Holder of the Black Key of the Temple of Enchantment.
- Thespian Dendrala is a blood relation to Brendolm Minel and thus she cannot act as curator for the PCs or her impartiality would be called into question.
- Welitryn Harrobalaea is the current caretaker of the Half-Orc Hilg and as such cannot as as curator for the PCs group because his pupil is in it.
- Telerai is the immediate superior of Maldus Randorian in Cosolen’s temple to the Church of Everlasting Hope and thus cannot act as curator for that group.
Zelaena introduces herself as Zelaena Onaeriel or Zelaena Whiterune and tells them that she will act as their curator during the challenges. She informs the group that they should finish their studies for the day and return to the assembly hall first thing the following morning to begin. She tells them to make any preparations they require and to bring anything they believe they will need.
With the introduction completed and the teams assigned, the volunteers are permitted to leave the assembly hall so as to finish out their day and prepare themselves in whatever way they feel necessary. Once the group assembles the following morning, Zelaena takes them to their first challenge.