Campaign Log 2: The Fog
Previously in Waves of Time...
Last we left off Persephone, Krakatoa, and Kahame had battled against strange creatures on the road through the Tyr's plains, encountered a Xingmao who claimed to be a messenger from Sedna and quickly disappeared soon after bestowing the Dagger to Seph.
Before long Varn continues headlong toward's the nearest Roadhouse.
The wheels of Varns cart grind into the earth, pressing pebbles and dirt into a trail, to mark its journey along the road through the Tyr’s plains. Mountains tower skyward as the setting sun dips behind the horizon. The trees of the woods grow into dark shadows as a fog bleeds over the mountain tops and into the valley. Swirling heavy white clouds surge through, creeping along the tall grasses that surround this domestic roadhouse. The orange glow of the windows illuminates through the fog casting lively shaded figures on the ground as they gamble, drink, and laugh within the roadhouse. From the front of the cart Varn turns to the two of you as he halts the large beast hauling his Traveling Shop.
“How about the two of you go on ahead, I’m gonna go and get Bebinn settled in the stable and the goods secured. I’m looking forward to Frauke’s Wolliped stew, It’s a delight neither of ye should miss.”
With Varns promise of good food and an Inn's promise of warm beds Kahame and Seph take a step inside.
I spent the time to craft the tavern my players were staying in. It was constructed through a collection of printed textures that I illustrated. Along with cardboard that was cut and glued to make the appropriate shape. The cardboard already had a hole in it so I used that as a spot to put the fire place. Which was created with one of the battery operated plastic candles, foam board, and toilet paper cardboard.
The moment I brought it out there was so much excited energy from my group and it was such a joyful moment for me. Which has fueled many other creations that you'll get to see in the next log.
Getting back to our players:
The wooden door swings wide revealing the bright and lively interior of the Keystone Roadhouse. A young strapping boy with messy ginger hair and a patterned tunic is cleaning off a wooden tray near a rack at the entrance. He looks up, his attention drawn to your arrival, and He smiles brightly.
“Welcome to the Keystone Roadhouse, Bar or Table?”
Seph and Kahame decide upon a table and the waiter smiles happily saying.
"Right this way!"
The young lad leads the way through the busy tavern. Most of the customers appear to be travelers as well as locals from the town of West Gate just a few leagues beyond the wood. Most of the waiters at the Inn comprise of two young teens including your current waiter and a six year old girl in pigtails that bears a smile with a missing tooth. Two women remain behind the bar cooking away in the kitchen, one a very elderly woman and the other a middle aged mistress. She hands bowls of meaty stew from over the half wall to what appears to be her husband. A glint of joy in her eye as she works and exchanges a loving smile with the Barkeep as he takes meals and prepares alcohol for his patrons. A group of patrons in the corner of the Inn watch the both of you as you walk through the tavern, eyes narrowed, wearing knightly garments and one of them bears an emblem. A sword with an eight pointed star at its tip. Nearest to your table that the boy sees you to is a massive Grimoire with two pointed cat ears that poke out from behind the book. A faint orange glow illuminates the edges of the tome and the cats ears.
Persephone's interest is peaked but Kahame remains focused on the promise of a meal. The server boy pipes up and offers the players the menu.
The Keystone Roadhouse
Honey Pine Dew - An imported halfling mead, served in small cups. Very pleasant taste, cheap in halfling towns, but expensive elsewhere
The Phoenix - A peppery drink that burns on the way down, and then again on the way out. Anytime the consumer of this drink burps he lets out a breath of flame on a successful constitution save. Otherwise the character takes 1d4 fire damage.
The Sweet Roll - flavors of cinnamon and sugar blend with the strong scent of rum. The drinker gains an additional 1d4 to any pickpocket attempts for the next hour.
Frauke’s Wolliped Stew A Stone Elven meal comprised of Wolliped meat chunks, a Guinness beer mixed in the broth with potatoes and cooked carrots.
Bulette Fin Soup with Hellfire Peppers
Deep Fried Drake Tail: Nutty flavors fed on free range farm animals, and fried in peanut oil.
Kahame orders the Deep Fried Drake Tail along with the Pheonix and Persephone partakes in the Wolliped Stew with a Honey Pine Dew.
The boy leaves with a smile and informs them that he will be back with their orders.
Yet Persephone's attention is still drawn to the small Xingmao with the massive Grimoire. So much so that she finds her self standing and approaching their table. She inspects the outside of her book and takes note of a symbol on the cover, that of a nautilus shell. Persephone starts the conversation, asking the kitten what she was reading, The young cats ears twitch before she sets the book down and smiles brightly.
"My Spell book, I'm going over some of my incantations, NaiNai told me you would be coming so I figured I should prepare."
Taken a back by this response the two question the kitten further. She explains that the nautilus shell around her neck is Nainai (Her grandmother). Which is the source of the glowing light from before. She begins to fill them on who she is, to an extent, and they invite her to their table. Sharing their food and more or less taking the kitten in under their wing. Considering the fact that she is just a child and are willing to help Ping on her mission.
Which is to resurrect her grandmother.
As they are served their food, and discover an interesting side effect to consuming the Phoenix drink offered by the Tavern, a sinister development rises.
The Knights and the Townsfolk
The Five knights from the other side of this crowded and jovial tavern darken their corner will grim glowering. Pointed in your direction. The knight with a peppered beard leans closer to his two companions and whispers to the knights. Glancing between them and your table.
DC 15 Perception Check:
“We need to inform those scouts we saw earlier. They mentioned Dragonborn were in the area and to see one here is a disgrace.” The man with a strong jaw and savage scars over his cheeks and eyes responds to his friend.
“Or kill it here and drag its corpse back to their camp. The last time we ignored a Dragonborn they blew up Strassport. After the fall of Lord Krosis we’ve had nothing but trouble from their kind. Let’s not forget even those that claimed citizenship here are taking the banner beside their brethren. Where there is one there are many more to replace those scaly bastards.” The Senior of the three shakes his head.
“The people have come to this Inn to drink and eat with their families in peace. Let us just speak with the scouts, and they will take this Dragonborn as quietly as they can with little resistance. Lord Krosis was a good Lord, and though it is a shame of the circumstances we should not frighten the people more than they already are.”
This receives a angered expression from the Scarred man and before he snaps at his fellow knight the Peppered bearded knight speaks.
“Pusillanimous speaks well brother, I agree with him on one thing. The people should be protected and should believe that they are. Come, let’s find those scouts.”
The knights stand after their heated conversation. The scarred knight glares at your table as they head to the entrance. However before they make it to the door several people from the Inn have taken notice to the tone of the knights. Standing between them and their exit, among them the young teen who had waited at your table, using a wooden tray as a feeble shield. Many of the patrons from the Inn are dashing for the door for fear of their lives knowing a fight is about to begin.
“Sir’s we are going to ask you to kindly sit back down.”
To note: My players did not receive this information due to a failed Perception Check. So the sudden activity between the knights and the inn patrons came as a surprise to them. They understood that the Knights were unhappy with their presence. Yet they knew nothing more than that.
Combat is eminent. The haughty knight became frustrated with the patrons of the inn and states that they are obstructing justice. One of the patrons is an adventurer who is armed and knowing that a knight cannot walk away from a challenge, he barks this challenge to all three of the knights.
The haughty knight flies forward and attacks.
The players are this point are starstruck. The Innkeepers are begging for the conflict to stop, pleading with them to not shed any blood, but the less reasonable knight begins to cut down those who are opposing him one by one. Completely ignoring the pleas of the owners of the Inn.
At this point Kahame decides to step in. Using Krakatoa to lend flame into the combat at the command of "Krakatoa, touch".
The Bartender draws close and gathers his son out of the conflict.
With a well placed strike from his trident, Kahame takes down the aggressive knight, while a customer from the inn dispatches the second. Seph remains with Ping, protective over the new found kitten, once the fighting had started.
The third knight surrenders immediately and it is revealed to him later, that Kahame is not a Dragonborn, but a Tiwari. Embarrassed for the actions of the knights he was associated with he immediately swears himself to Kahame. Begging to remedy the misunderstanding and demanding he be indebted to him to make things right. Kahame agrees to Pusillanimous' request. Nicknaming him Sal after hearing the length of his name.
The owners of the Inn however are uneasy and fearful. Their attention is drawn to the entrance of the Inn.
Rochus the Rancid
A guttural howl fills the room as the blood of the knights and fellow patrons leak into the tavern floor. With a bang the door lurches open and the lanterns in the tavern dim. A wind stealing their flame as the fog from before creeps in and a stench wafts in with it. From the fog a man dressed in pitch armor floats in as if walking is beneath him. The armor itself is darkened, appearing to match the tone of this figure. Through the helm he wears there are pale white eyes that pear through the sockets, and a pale leathery tail that curls and swishes in some semblance of annoyance. A voice creeps through the armor of this strange floating figure.
“Frauke, you do my lady a great service and you and your family will be protected so long as you keep providing. I do hope this will suffice as payment for your sacrifice.”
A bag is tossed and it clatters on the wood of the tavern floor. Several opal stones spill out from the small leather sack. A crimson, bloody cloud swirls from the center of each stone before encompassing the entirety of these gems in a violent color.
With the payment scattered on the tavern floor several ghouls clamber through the door to retrieve the bodies from the Inn. An air of silent terror floods through the people of this tavern and their eyes wander to the elderly woman.
I may have taken some inspiration form Matt Coville's channel and his talks on Villains. Matt Coville has a wide array of talks and videos for tips and tricks for being a Dungeon master. As well as tips for player and world building. I highly recommend going to his channel and subscribing!
In this case Rochus the Rancid is merely a henchmen dedicated to the success of his master, Maeve the Mad Mage.
He is also an important figure to both Persephone and Kahame, As he is the one who assaulted Kahames village and murdered his brother, and for Seph, he is her mother's henchmen.
Both of the players are stunned, terrified, and remain where they are. Both scared of taking on someone leagues ahead of them in power. Rochus pays them no real attention, aside from a glance and a wicked smile, before he departs once more through the entrance of the Inn. Back out to his black carriage and taking with him the bodies of the fallen.
Once Rochus disappears through the door the players investigate Frauke. Pressing her with questions on Rochus the Rancid and they learn:
Maeve the Mad Mage is building something and Rochus has been collection bodies for her. He pays those who take the bloodstones from him, and offer protection from the war. As well as from the forces of his master. Her fortress is somewhere in the mountains beyond Strassport. That’s all she knows. Somehow the Bloodstones let Maeve and her General know when there is a murder nearby. Frauke assumes they might have a minor scrying ability on them or an enchantment that is sensitive to death.
She offers them free room and board for the inconvenience. Kahame and Seph take it without question. They settle in to their new room, asking Ping questions here and there, getting into a playful bone toss battle from their meals that were brought up to them. They discover the prophetic power of Pings Grimoire and Kahame receives an endearing message from his deceased brother. Providing him with courage and resolve.
I have a story to share with you.
In a village far from here there was a Haava (Judge in Maori) who neither feared the spirits nor cared what the people thought. However there was a widow in that village who kept coming to him with the plea. “Grant me justice against my adversary.” For a time he refused but finally he said to himself. “Even though i fear no spirit nor care what others think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”
Makemake finishes, “ Listen to what the unjust Haava says, for with persistence the widow won justice for her adversary. I know you are like the widow and If you remain persistent you will find what you seek.”
Finding peace in the words from the Grimoire, Kahame decides to settle down. however Seph learns something sinister from the book. She discovers her lineage derives from a horrible demon lord by the name of Baelot. Leaving her unsettled and unable to find rest for the evening.
With that our second session is complete!
I hope you all enjoy our tale so far and keep your eyes open for the next installment of our "Waves of Time" Campaign log.
All my best,