Sunday, June 9, 2013

Campaign Report: Shadowcast Company: Episode 1

I should have started a campaign report from the first game we played about two months ago, but it's never too late to start. This installment will cover the story so far, so will be quite lengthy but not as detailed as I hope to be in the future.

The Shadowcast Company consists of five characters:

Eamon: The bard, played by Randy. He has been selected as party spokesman.
Sparrow: The assassin, played by Missy.
Amalia: The nephini sea witch, played by Amy.
Pyre: The dwarven vaultguard, played by Eric.
Corwyn: The mage (necromancer), my character.

Corwyn has a henchman, Gorex, the fighter.

Our adventures started in the old Duchy of Tam. We had a few small adventures. If my memory is correct we ventured into some ruins, fought some bandits who were scavenging a battlefield, fought the remnants of a military company that had survived a battle, and finally entered the hideout of said company which appeared to be gearing up to form a new mercenary unit. While there we recovered a mysterious item that we call the Sceptre of Strife, though we know nothing of it's history and have only a vague understanding of its purpose.

Corwyn managed to subdue a (very young) dragon that was drawn to the sceptre. Keeping it has been a challenge, and it has turned on him twice during captivity.

In the mercenary camp we recovered a contract for a ship that was being constructed in Tam. We set off for the port city, impersonating the owner of the vessel, and took possession of The Shadowcaster, a small sailing ship. We hired a crew, and using some charts we had recovered from the mercenary captain earlier, set off for Colossi Isle. The voyage was made much safer due to the special knowledge Amalia the Sea Witch had of placating angry spirits which normally make travel to the Isle difficult.

The First Voyage of the Shadowcaster
We circumnavigated the main island and a few nearby islets. The island is large, about 200 miles north to south and up to about 120 miles wide. We have researched some tales of great magics unleashed there during the first age, but everything we have recovered is fragmentary.

We landed on a small islet to the southwest of the main island, where a small, crumbling keep was visible. We discovered that the building was in use as a slaver outpost, though at the time we didn't understand where the slaves came from or who they traded with. Only a minimum guard had been left behind, which we battled, though there was little treasure to be found.

We investigated an islet directly north of the slaver outpost, where we spotted a wyvern nest in a low mountain. We hid our ship and marched overland, arriving at the nest when we expected them to be away by the behavior we had already observed. Inside the cave, we discovered the sealed entrance to an ancient tomb. We decided to plunder the tomb, so began our exploration.

On that first foray into the tomb beyond the cave we only managed to look into a few rooms we were forced to turn back by losses of resources and strength. Pyre, our stalwart dwarf, had fallen and would need many weeks to recover, so we carefully withdrew without encountering the wyverns.

We sailed to Tam to take on supplies.

The Second Voyage of the Shadowcaster
On our second voyage, we returned directly to the wyvern lair. We had bought some nets and were familiar with the schedule of the wyverns, so Eamon the bard and Sparrow the assassin carefully covered the entrance to the nest when the wyverns were sleeping. We used crossbows and magic to dispatch the wyverns with relative ease from outside.

Our second delve into the tomb beyond the cave was fruitful, and we recovered more treasure than we had before. We uncovered a room full of sarcophagi which was ripe for looting, but once again took heavy losses, meaning specifically Pyre the dwarf was lucky enough to survive but would require bed rest for quite a while. We hastily made our way back to the ship.

Unfortunately, some piece of treasure we had recovered from the tomb attracted guardians to it. The next night we found our ship, which was still in harbour, under attack by elemental forces. At one point in the fray, Amalia summoned a water "fundamental" (weak elemental), but lost control of it, and it took one of the men to a watery grave. Our mainsail was damaged, but we won the battle at great cost. Three more of the men perished in the blaze.

We were forced to wait while the crew performed repairs on the Shadowcaster, and in the meantime our band of adventurers, minus the dwarf, set about on another mission into the tomb beyond the cave.

We managed to discover a decent bit of treasure and we explored the limits of the tomb, but we were disturbed to find signs that someone else had entered the tomb between our explorations. We found an immortal creature, a Tabi, trapped within a magic cage. We gathered that the mystery explorer was a wereboar who lairs on the southern tip of the island. Corwyn wanted to challenge the interloper, but the remainder of the party voted against him, ready to lick their wounds.

We sailed to a native village on the main isle, called Deemos. We found that the locals were savage but friendly. They had little metal and spoke a barely comprehensible version of the language we commonly spoke. Their leader was known as the Matriarch, who was assisted by the Master of the Hunt and some other advisory committee that we can assume is tied to a priesthood of a local death cult. We learned that their numbers were few, so they used undead to perform labor for the tribe. We also learned that they traded with dwarves to the north, and that those dwarves were apparently much more advanced.

The Dwarven Incident
We set out north to contact the dwarves, hoping to gather information and to see if their hall would be a hospitable base of operations for exploration on the isle.

We found them easily, or I should say that a dwarven patrol found us, and we travelled to their keep together. The dwarven leader was not friendly but not immediately hostile. We saw that they had human slaves which they had acquired through trade with Deemos and other southern villages, and would only speak directly with Pyre, our dwarven companion. Pyre is not a skilled diplomat, but we quickly learned that the dwarves expected to either purchase the rest of us as slaves from our dwarf, or tribute. Corwyn the mage surrendered the Sceptre of Strife (which had torn several mercenary companies apart because they were unaware of its special qualities), and the dwarves welcomed us.

That night the dwarves held a feast. During the feast it became apparent that they still were not to be trusted, and a confrontation turned violent. Pyre was once again struck with a crippling wound, and the party was forced to retreat. Amalia the sea witch managed to use a spell to turn an enslaved ogre against the dwarves, and Sparrow the assassin struck a fatal blow against the leader of the dwarves. Still, we were lucky to escape with our lives. When we returned to Deemos we set sail immediately for Tam.

Safely in the port of Tam, Eamon brokered a quiet deal with a death cult for some magic that we were unable to make use of. We sold a powerful artifact that could be used to raise the dead but required a blood sacrifice, and a ring of wraith-form. In exchange, the cult gave us a chest of 10,000 gold pieces, some draughts of healing, and three uses of said artifact. Some among the party failed to realize the full implications of what use of the artifact would entail, though the mage and the assassin would be unlikely to be upset by it.

Now we must divide our loot and pay our crew. It will be time for a third voyage soon.

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