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Adventures in Aranza

Location

The party is presently located in The Sprawl, a beautiful farmland on the north border of Aranza, the largest and most multicultural city in the nation of Termin. Bound on the north by a intracontinental highway called the Long Road, to the west by the Flangis River, and to the east by the road connecting Aranza to the highway, The Sprawl is an unnaturally fertile farmland that is owned and lorded over by Ulner Adser, a foreigner to Termin with a more westernized culture (including agriculture). The Termini people are a nation of nomadic high-plains wanderers, with the majority of the nation east of Aranza. Aranza, their largest city, is the only city in Termin that is known for trade and commerce.

Party Manifest

Harkis (Mary) – Level 2 Human Monk, student of Jeet-Kun-Do. Harkis is 6’5” and lean. He studied in a high mountaintop monastery where his size and natural attributes made him an exceptional student. As is the way of exceptional students, his master sent him out into the world once his skills developed. He walks barefooted and sleeps on the ground, having grown accustomed to the harsh mountain conditions.

Portia (Sabrina) – Level 2 Halfling Rogue. Portia grew up as the daughter of a wizard’s apprentice in the city of Aranza. She is skilled at sneaking down city streets and making sure that the wizard’s kitchen and garden are well stocked. She hasn’t much of an adventurer’s drive, but she does appear to have a taste for blood, taking the party’s first two kills.

Raelyn (Anna) – Level 2 Half-Elf Ranger. Raelyn is the daughter of a human noble horsewoman and an elven mounted knight. They fell in love after she saw him caring for a horse that she trained. He took the baby, she returned to unknown human lands. Raelyn was sent as a child to a military training academy where she trained horses for human armies.

Baruh (Eric) – Level 2 Human Wizard. Baruh trained at the Waterburg Cartography Academy for many years, where he learned magical arts and the art of making a map of everything. He has a canary familiar that can send him snap shots of the surrounding terrain from high altitude. He has traveled across most of the distance of the known world to arrive at Aranza, and hopes to map beyond its boundary.

Story

The party was recruited by a man seeking travelers to perform an auditing of The Sprawl – how many roads, population, gangs and police forces, etc. They learned that the lord of The Sprawl lived in Pearview Manor, some kilometers north. The prosperous village/farmland immediate north of Aranza seemed innocuous enough, but as they traveled farther north the area started to seem strange. Hundreds of peasants were carrying satchels full of pears, the most famous area fruit, to warehouses for packing and shipping, but the pears that the party tried were pretty foul, unfit for their name.

No one was able to provide any answers, so they were eager to question the Lord of the area when they arrived at Pearview Manor. They were very disappointed when Pearview Manor turned out to be occupied by only three people – a gardener, a maid, and the lord Andrew, who was sitting alone in his bedroom, almost completely unresponsive to questioning. “Blah” and “Meh” were his answers to most questions. Why were all of these peasants carrying pears when the lord of the castle was an invalid?

The gardener claimed to have no knowledge of the workings of the pear farmers, but could give a little information on Andrew, having known him since he was a boy. Andrew had fallen ill some years ago after claiming lordship of the land and having many visitors, mostly friends, come for parties and revelry. Seems he was in a rut. The only people that the gardener had seem come and go since Andrew had fallen ill had been a few worker types coming and going from the shed. The shed used to be the gardener’s tool shed, but the worker types who came and went had been quite hostile to him and he’d settled for the tools he had available.

The party gained access to the shed after Baruh cast an audible glamer cantrip that made the guard think someone was trying to smash down the shed (after he’d very blankly denied their entrance). Harkis and the others chased the man down a trap door and into a short underground tunnel. In the tunnel the party slaughtered two wordless men with picks and found an empty barracks and a tunnel in the works. Baruh, outside and above them, had a short skirmish with two men fleeing the manor house, one of whom escaped into the orchard.

The men had been carrying the dirt from their excavations away in the pear baskets, and appeared to have been doing the work for some time. The gardener thanked them for driving away the bad men, and asked them to go to The Grove where Andrew played as a child. In the grove grew magical cherries which, he hoped, would break Andrew out of his stupor.

The PCs found an impenetrable hedge surrounded by a funnel of trees in the Grove. After throwing a rope over the top of the hedge and scratching themselves to pieces clambering over it, they found a pair of orange trees and a shriveled and sad looking cherry tree. Harkis picked an orange, and a few rounds later was slumped under it, asleep and with a pierced ear and skull from a tiny brownie arrow. Mauni the pixie and Baruh managed to reach a compromise, though, and she offered her cherries if only they can return her harp, which was stolen by “Bad nasty scaley Torx”.

At the riverside, the parties sought this bad nasty scaley Torx. Instead they found a broken rock pile and some old abandoned ruins. Under the rock pile, Portia crawled into a tiny fox’s nest and stumbled upon a small chest deep inside. They pulled the chest out and set about trying to smash it open, but a sound from the West raised their hackles and they scurried East into a dark and humid forest. In the forest, an imp materialized with it’s stinger in Harkis’s head (who passed his Fort save) and was immediately disabled when Baruh cast Color Spray on them both. A kuo-toa then attacked Baruh from behind while Portia and Raelyn were trying to figure out what to do with the blinded and stunned imp. Portia tried to help Baruh, which resulted in her receiving a spear to the shoulder and her becoming disabled. Baruh spent another Color Spray on the kuo-toa, and gave it a coup de grace.

The party tied the imp and all of its appendages tightly with rope, bound its eyes and mouth, and returned to the rock pile. The next morning they attempted to talk to the imp, named Torx, who offered them the treasure in his chest if the would just take him to the key. When they got to the key, hidden near a firepit near the riverside, Torx suddenly transformed into a fish and tried to flop his way to the shoreline. It failed another Will save through, and they put the stunned and blinded fish in a sack. A few rounds later the fish became a fox, too large for the sack, and nearly scrambled free. They found the key, opened the box, dumped out the treasure, and put the imp inside.

Back at The Grove, Mauni convinced them to leave the Imp with them, saying that “With Mauni Torx NEVER leave the box!”. She played them a song that caused 3 hours to pass instantaneously, resurrected the cherry tree, and disappeared with the key.

Thomson

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Session 4

In our last session, the party fought an Imp named Torx, capturing him and placing him in a chest. Previously in the chest was a bark harp owned by a tree sprite named Mauni, who was elated to receive the harp and the boxed Imp.

The party takes their tree harp and return to Pearview Manor. They rest in the outdoor Yurt for the evening, and in the morning bring the cherry they’ve received from Mauni to Andrew. His blank face changed its expression after Brandon the gardener puts the cherry in his mouth. Somehow, the cherry brings him out of his stupor. The PCs inform him of the goings on in his estate: The tunnel dug by unknown miscreants and the subsequent battle and the blank faced pear carriers all around his land.

Andrew knows little of the problems having been in a stupor for so many years. He is able to provide the PCs with 5 year-old manifests of The Sprawl – exactly the kind of information that Ciudan Llamadon, their original employer, requested. Before the party is able to depart to Aranza to deliver the information, Andrew asks them to become his temporary bodyguards.

An ill-hatched plan is made to defend Pearview Manor against the tunnel-diggers who had been coming and going so freely over the last nine months. Three overwatch positions with one substitute are made around the manor. Baruh and Harkis wait and watch from inside the abandoned gardening shed. Portia keeps watch out of the North window of Andrew’s Manor, and Raelyn watches from the South window. Two days later, Baruh sees a red flicker in the orchard to the North. Over the last 2 days, Raelyn passed out on her post and had full rest, Portia abandoned her post to be taken by Baruh and got one night’s rest, Harkis got two hours of sleep accidentally, and Baruh none.

The sleep-deprived adventurers make their way out into the orchard and run down the tall man in red leather apparel. Baruh casts expeditious retreat on himself and very easily runs down the man, who sticks him with a crossbow bolt and a rapier before being felled by a pair of Color Sprays.

The man surrenders and is marched back to the manor for questioning. Not long after he volunteers his name (in a Russio-New-Jersey accent, according to Sabrina), Reynold, a pair of constables arrive at the manor with the gardener. They have come to investigate the dead in the tunnels, but upon finding the PCs with a captive, demand that all five of them report to the Aranzan constabulatory for questioning. Baruh refuses this and rapidly escalates tensions between the party and the constables. Lord Andrew defuses the situation by reminding the constables that the PCs were his personal guard, and that in their absence his estate will be unguarded. They return to the city for reinforcements who will be responsible for protecting his estate.

Now with more time to interrogate their prisoner, the party manages to learn a few more things. He is an employee of some Termini nobleman named Khala Tristeri. Khala wants to be lord over The Sprawl and has hired him to find a way. Baruh suggests that Reynold betray Khala and help the PCs defeat him. Reynold accepts.

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Wandering the Sprawl

The party agrees to join up with Reynold’s band and sets off immediately to inform the rest of his cohort. The sun is setting by the time Reynold convinces his band to work with the party, so the PCs join the camp and set up for the night. In the middle of the night, you are awakened by shouting. It seems that one of Reynold’s men doesn’t like his new companions and has fled with one of the horses.

After three days of chase, you find Olist surrounded by a band of orcs and goblins high up in the Darian Mountains. After a brutal battle, Olist has vanished and a dwarf has appeared. Going by the name of Bofrik, the dwarf seems to be on a mission from his God, a God of wealth and prosperity. Why not bring him along?

On the way back to Pearview Manor, you pay a visit to one of Khala’s mountain homes. The place is abandoned but for a housekeeper, one of Khala’s nephews and his retainer. He invites you in for a night of Elk dining and wine drinking. Your stores are replenished. In the morning, Raelyn meets one of Khala’s hunters as he returns from an evening hunt. You depart the manor rested and refreshed.

Back at Pearview Manor, constables have taken up various positions of guard. Andrew is disconcerted to find himself surrounded by Termini soldiers and discharges them once you arrive. You head into town to receive your pay for the surveying mission, get more supplies, and try to decide what to do about Khala.

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