Date: 0/12/2019 (Sessions 0 &1)
Arkon Trost, a leader and soldier of fortune
Avar Eddy, a lost Riggend in unfriendly lands
Cromax Bluering Aarkan, a seeker of knowledge and power
Diviciacus Wrathbringer, some guy
Horace Bridgewright, a peaceful man steeped in violence
Pierce Dunhill, a refugee hoping to be more
In-Game Year: 1048 KR, March
Graduation Day for the new recruits in the City of Avanthas.
Assigned by Wen Luther to Cord Falcon at Gryms Wall…
Detail will leave for Grymsborough, and Gryms Wall, the next day. Journey is expected to take 5 days.
Cord Falcon personnel includes:
Gan (Garren) Darrus
- A good leader.
Par Lucas (Palin)
- A friend in the same Stack.
Par Len (Phillips)
- A lousy soldier in the same Stack. Talks of leaving…
- A racist.
[Note: For a complete breakdown of Military Units, see player’s handout: The Vathic Guard]
Rumors about Gryms Wall
- The wall entombs a demon! (Par Lucas)
- Large number of suicides and accidents at the wall. (Gan Darrus)
- Grym was a wizard. He leapt from the wall and cursed it forever! (unknown)
- General bitching. (Par Len)
The first night…
Summoned by Gan Darrus for a task that must be kept quiet.
Par Len Phillips and several other soldiers have deserted; we are ordered to discreetly retrieve them- alive.
Pierce knows where they are headed. Earlier in the day, he had asked Phillips to get his two-handed warhammer, which was hidden outside of camp. It could be sold by the deserters for a decent price, funding their escape.
We find them exactly where we expected and attempt to sneak up on the group, but we alert them and a chasing battle ensues.
We manage to overpower and capture all but one of the deserters alive- who we later track down and retrieve as well. We return them to Gan Darrus and bask in his praise.
Travel to Gryms Wall, Day 1
Gan Darrus’s stack is escorting a caravan of wagons to Grymsborough, and then move on to the Wall.
Our stick is acting as rear-guard, watching for caravan stragglers and threats from the wild. Not long into the day, we lose sight of the wagons ahead along the winding road.
As evening approaches, we hear a man shouting and a girl’s scream from around a bend a short distance away. We approach to find them being attacked by an enraged bear.
The stick dispatched the bear quickly, with Avar vaulting over a boulder to drive his spear clean through the beast’s neck! The party feasted on bear steaks that night, while Diviciacus and Arkon expertly skinned some fine pelts.
The man and girl are Mills Finch and his daughter Avril, on their way to deliver goods to Grymsborough.
Nearby, we find the reason for the bear’s rage- two cubs wandering near their den, a short distance from the road. We search the den, while the bear cubs flee into the woods.
Inside we find the half-eaten corpse of a man! He is gross and bears a sword with the mark of the 3 Rings (?). On his body, we also find a missive stating to meet at the Borough Inn on Alm’s Day. Clues lead us to believe he was an Akkasian spy.
Note: Arkon (Rich) took the 3-Ring sword. The message contains additional information (see handout).
At the end of the traveling day, Gan Darrus checked in on our progress. He also very clearly warned us that there has been gnoll activity on the road. A definite, confirmed threat. In our area; an immediate area. Gnolls… we are for sure going to be attacked by gnolls.
Gan Darrus travels back to the caravan after his clear and dire warning, and we set camp and assign watch. Not yet completely familiar with the men in his stick, Dun Dunhill assigns Cromax and Diviciacus the first watch.
While Diviciacus heads to one end of the camp, Cromax suavely asks young Avril if she would like to… talk. Away from the rest of the group so as to not disturb them, of course. She innocently accepts his offer, thinking it great fun to talk to a real soldier. Especially one who had taken such an interest in her… They chatted demurely for a few sweet moments when Cromax swept in with his “big move”, nary a thing on his mind but lustful conquest, and especially not an impending attack by gnoll raiders.
The gnolls attacked with surprise and initiative on the vulnerable party.
Cromax was hit first, spear cleaving through shoulder, spouting thick lifeblood over Avril. Already confused and frightened, the young girl instantly became a pure, terrified, weaponized shriek of banshee-like power.
Cromax bravely ran to the party to make sure that the Dun was protected. Avril was very nearly killed, but incredibly summoned the courage to escape the horrifying monsters on her own and survive.
The group came together quickly, and eventually managed to dispatch the gnolls after a hard-fought battle.
Travel to Gryms Wall, Days 2 & 3
Pleasant and uneventful.
Arrival at Grymsborough, Day 4
A small village of around 500 citizens.
Gan Darrus gives us one command while in the town- do not cause any trouble. Seems simple enough.
We accompany Mills and Avril to Grindul Mercantile to deliver their wagon of supplies. Then we wordlessly part ways, leaving young Avril Finch with a story and some scars that she will carry for the rest of her days…
Grindul Foss, of Mercantile fame, is a racist and weaselly man. We would suspect him of foul play but have not yet found any play but fair. Still, he is being a jerk.
Avar picks a fight with Foss, after the merchant insults his barbarian heritage. Pierce politely defuses the situation and all is well, though we may have possibly violated Gan Darrus’s one and only command. But it wasn’t our fault tho.
The Borough Inn is run by the amiable and trustworthy Elmar Tobin. We take an immediate shine to Elmar. But we will, of course, suspect him of foul play whence it is found. Also, he raises cool pigeons.
At the inn, we gain some information and meet another shady character, Pharrus Draco, an Akkasian drunkard, old and likely without all faculties- he keeps mumbling that he is “looking for something”. We suspect him of plotting some manner of foul play.
We learn that the village is around 5 years old, popping up after construction began on the great wall. It is thriving fairly well, and construction has just completed on a new temple of Ethos.
With so many potentially nefarious enemies about us, and with the knowledge that someone here was a contact for the dead Akkasian spy, we had no choice but to lay low and rent a room at the inn, where two of our suspected suspects were at all times.
As we planned our next move against something that we thought might be happening sometime later in the week, Gan Darrus dropped into our room to pay a friendly visit.
Only his visit was not friendly at all. He was angry, mostly at Cromax, because we were sitting in a room at the inn when we were supposed to report in at camp, AND he feels that we did break his one rule when we caused trouble with Grindul Foss. Agree to disagree that we actually broke the one rule about causing trouble.
Grindul turns out to be good friends with Garn Therrin, the current top-ranking commander in Grymsborough. Purely due to chain of command, Gan Darrus must express his disappointment towards the stick’s Dun- Pierce. Although it is clear that his true ire was directed elsewhere in the group.
Darrus takes us to the camp, forming south of the village, at the impressive Gryms Wall. We are ordered to make a personal apology to Garn Therrin for accosting his friend. Dun Dunhill must go, as the group’s leader, and is instructed to take one other with him. He chooses Cromax, for his persuasive charms. They’ll be needed when they try to convince the Garn to allow the party to pursue their mission of uncovering the Akkasian spy’s contact.
While Pierce and Cromax head to speak to the Garn, the rest of the stick is assigned to latrine duty. They also witness the hanged corpse of Len the deserter. They momentarily reflect on the role they played in the man’s execution before gustily continuing their task of burying shit.
The meeting with the Garn goes exceedingly well. He seems not to care about the encounter with Grindle Foss at all, and immediately grants our request to investigate the spy. His mind is clearly elsewhere… it seems that he cares little for command of the Wall. His wife, Meredith, seems very pleasant but perhaps hiding something as well. Not sure if it is foul play we suspect from these two, or something else…
With some time left in the day, we go about some errands in town:
We meet with Terrence the Tanner to discuss the sale of our bear skins and to commission the construction of a stretcher or a palanquin for equipment and supplies.
Arkon hears from the locals that bodies are being stolen from the Grymsborough cemetery… we suspect possible foul play.
Alm’s Day – the Mission
The party devises an intricate plan to uncover the identity of the spy’s contact at Grymsborough.
First, we change the details in the missive, in case it ends up in Akkasian hands- best to be extra cautious.
Change “Margate” to “Highbridge”
“Wall repair progressing rapidly”
“Hatchling assigned to Wall”
Horace, Arkon, Diviciacus, Avar, and Pierce will enter the tavern first. They drink and make casual conversation, while thoroughly eyeing the room for potential threats.
After a while, Cromax will come in, out of uniform, to make contact with the agent, posing as the Akkasian spy/messenger to root out any useful information.
Then, Cromax will depart and the group can decide whether to take the agent right then, or wait and keep an eye on them.
So impressed with our plan, Gan Darrus offered to accompany us as an observer, along with two additional sticks of soldiers.
We position the sticks strategically to watch all exits in case the agent attempts to escape and somehow manages to get past the party and out of the tavern. As if.
Executing the plan…
All groups take position and Cromax enters the tavern. We watch as he moves furtively behind the bar before heading towards a table in the back.
However, he swings back again after apparently catching the attention of Pharrus, the Akkasian drunk.
From our spot at the bar, we cannot hear the conversation that follows but it ends with Pharrus yelling that he “must be a spy because I’m an Akkasian!”
We feel that Cromax may have potentially slightly blown his cover, at least to the discerning observer.
Pierce reports to Gan Darrus, who seemed to be a touch miffed about the outcome of phase one of our plan.
Likely because of the late hour, Darrus takes the extra men and returns to camp, fully trusting our stick to capably complete the mission.
The Improved Plan and near-perfect execution…
We wait until Pharrus retires to bed, getting him monstrously drunk if needs be, while taking various positions in and around the tavern.
Cromax heads inside to try to make contact with the agent, whom we now strongly believe to be Elmar.
Sure enough, after a short introduction, we learn that Elmar is indeed our spy.
They exchange notes and a brief conversation regarding Elmar’s request for reassignment.
The spy slips back into his Akkasian accent, while Cromax continues to play his role as competent agent perfectly. Ironically, Elmar claims just the opposite about his skills of subtlety and misdirection, all while being completely fooled!
It is unclear what happened next, but Elmar made a run for it out the tavern’s back door, fortunately Avar was there to catch him.
While waiting near the back entrance, Avar also found a note in the pigeon coop.
Interrogation of Elmar
A delicate touch and meticulous note-taking will be essential during the process. Horace took up the critical task of recording the valuable information.
Horace’s exact notes:
Sent here to collect information & send it back
The Vath have established a kingdom and army.
Wants his people to be safe
Asking for a replacement for over a year
Sending messages Karakul
Don’t know whom is getting messages
Every 6 months 50gp in a chest burried in cemetary
Not due for 5 months.
Hatchling is Prince Varen
Dragon is Warlord Taranus
You might find answers in the Merchantile
Starting the next day, our stick is assigned to protect a group of bog workers.
Gryms Wall is 35 miles wide and 300 feet tall.
We meet Kild Vanger, the lead engineer at the wall.
He tells us that around 20 men have deserted or fallen off the wall. Some bodies have been found with shriveled flesh.
He discovered a strange symbol beneath the cladding over the top of the wall.
This symbol radiates cold, and the stone there is thin and hollow.
We are attacked by a blackened and bleeding plant-creature. We used fire to destroy it.
Attacked by frogmen and giant frogs; a tough fight ensued. Diviciacus is consumed whole at one point.
The stick seems to be coming together now and working as a team. That night, we feast on giant frog legs.
Uneventful and we return the top of the wall.
Kild finds us to say that he has found something important, and that he wants us to meet him on the wall tonight.
We see Elmar hanged by his neck and momentarily reflect on something before moving along.
A retired soldier named Travis Helm has taken over running the Borough Inn.
Night of Terrors
We return to the symbol-on-the-wall that night only to find the horrid, shriveled corpse of our new friend. Before his death, Kild managed to scrawl one word: Ghost.
Suddenly, an anguished shriek fills the air. We freeze as an apparition slowly rises from the symbol; its horrible visage struck a deep fear through our very souls.
We run, just managing to recover the body of the engineer.
With no idea how to deal with this new threat, we immediately set towards the village to talk to the priest at the Temple of Ethos. Hopefully, they will have something that can help us.
In the dead of night, we arrive at the temple and are greeted by Friar Vin.
We describe the symbol, as well as the ghost.
The symbol is that of Makul – Lord of the 5th Layer of Hell.
Spirits are the troubled souls of the dead. We need to help lay it to proper rest.
We return to the wall, exhausted from non-stop travel between the wall and the village, and back again.
As quickly as we can, we make our way back to the symbol. This time, the ghost does not appear.
Suspecting something beneath the hollow section of the wall, we smash through the symbol and find a stone stairway descending into inky darkness.
Below, we find a massive chamber lined with alcoves that hold the remains of dozens (hundreds?) of black-robed corpses in silent repose.
At the chamber’s far end, we discover an imposing door, inlaid with the symbol of Makul. The door is locked, and it is apparent that it will not be easily opened.
Cromax sets to work picking the lock of the door. The darkness and silence of the giant chamber is unnerving… then the silence is broken by faint sounds. Is that… clacking? Like taloned rats crawling across the floor… and the walls.
It is not the sound of rat claws, but the sound of a thousand fingers skittering along the stone. A wave of animated, skeletal hands is swarming towards us!
Terrified, we hold back the initial waves, but cannot keep them back long enough for Cromax to finish his work on the door. We make a running retreat through the sea of hands, barely making back to the relative safety of the wall-top.
Above our pay grade.
Gan Darrus takes over when we explain everything that has happened.
He closes off that section of the wall, but that can only be a temporary measure- eventually we will have to deal with this discovery.
After all of this, our stick is relegated back to our standard duties.
We can decide how to spend our downtime for the next few weeks.
[DRAFT IDEAS FOR DOWNTIME AND FUTURE]
The Ghost of the Wall and the Sealed Door are probably out of our league at the moment, but is something that we’ll have to deal with eventually.
We could try to investigate with our downtime, but I don’t know who exactly could help us. Possibly Pharrus (?) the Akkasian drunkard- he seems to have been around for a long time. Maybe the Father at the Temple of Ethos.
There is the matter of grave robbing (corpse robbing?) in the cemetery at Grymsborough. We can investigate this in the near future, given the opportunity.
Elmar mentioned “finding answers” at Grindul Mercantile.
We don’t know much about Grindul, other than he hates Riggend; not an uncommon trait, perhaps.
Investigate during downtime, if possible, but this could simply be a misdirection thrown out by a doomed Elmar.
I’d like to ask Gan Darrus about the “Hatchling” (Vathian prince) possibly being stationed at, or given command of, the Wall. Otherwise, I think we should probably keep silent about it.
G.D. will tell us what we need to know, right?
If the prince is coming to take over the Wall, it might explain the Garn’s attitude/behavior; he could be a man on the way out the door.
Were there any other leads from the letter we got from the dead Akkasian spy/messenger?
“The Dragon slumbers” …?
We have to start a list of standing orders and a list of people that we’ve gotten hanged.
I know it’s kind of stupid, but I honestly want to design/build a litter that can carry extra gear, be used as a makeshift stretcher, and to hide our non-standard weapons and armor.
In doing so, we’ll have the opportunity to hire/purchase from the local craftsmen. It would be good to have a little network of people that can help us as we help them.
Grindul Mercantile can sell us whatever materials we need. Buying from him may help to patch up our rocky start. Plus, we get to have a closer look at him and his store.
The Tannery and Blacksmith would be good to start business with as well. In fact, our first order of business should be to bring the bear hides to the Tannery.
I would like to spend some time at the Temple of Ethos and learn about the religion a bit.
Specifically, I’d like to know if there is a relationship between the church of Ethos and the Sanctors of Everness.
I’d also like to ask if the father knows anything more about the Ghost and the Door- describing everything in as much detail as we can (the ghost, the seal on top of the wall, the hallway of tombs, the door with the symbol Maluk, and of course, the wave of disembodied hands.