Session 2, Part 1

  By Heather   Sep 20, 2005   11 comments
A quick recap of last session:

The players got on a boat headed for the island of Mar Talos. Enroute, the captain planned to stop at Fort Bolland on the island of Mar Tesaro and sell some weapons. The island is at war and the captain has been making trade runs, selling war supplies to one side.

As the ship arrived, they found the town had been conquered. Guessing that perhaps the forces controlling the town would not be too happy to see them (since they were there to supply their enemies) the ship headed for the next closest city. A storm came up and the ship sunk.

They made it ashore, although most of the rest of the crew perished. The players lost track of their companion, Endo. One of the crew members decided to travel with them.

They encountered some of the conquering forces. The soldiers tried to arrest the party, assuming they were mercinaries for the other side. A battle ensued. The players won and headed for the village of Breakshore. Upon arriving, they found this village had fallen as well. The southern forces (the Alidians) have won the war. Soldiers have captured this town, killed a few of the men, and taken over a few houses for their own use.

The players learn that their friend Endo passed through this way the day before. He was traveling with a companion.

What is Endo up to and who is he with? The session ended with these questions on everyone’s mind.

2nd of Last Summer, 1501dy (late morning)

Skeeve and Enoch have a conversation with the head priest. Apparently Alidian solders now roam the land, which is under martial law. Anticipating that perhaps resistance forces might take to the hills and strike at them from the wilderness, the Alidians have decreed that nobody is allowed in the countryside, or even outside of town. To travel abroad openly, they will need travel papers. He suggests such a thing might be obtained in the town of Crossway to the south, either by appealing to the local magistrate and pleading their case, or (perhaps) through forgery.

Skeeve thanks the man for his time, and the two turn their attention to the piles of dusty books in the library. There seems to be far more than one would expect in a town this small. Books fill every shelf, cover every desk, and are piled in various corners of the room.

Most of the books are mundane histories or geneologies. There are also books of heroic deeds. These are books written in flattering terms about various nobles, and usually commissioned by the noble in question. As a nobleman gets old, he will usually hire someone to write a greatly exaggerated version of his life, and have it added to the local library. The books have no value to anyone, except that the nobles generally pay vast sums of money to have them written. The church makes quite a bit from this practice, and so these books are kept in the library alongside more serious works in order to encourage the practice. There are an awful lot of these sorts of books here.

There is also a book of maps. In it, Skeeve finds a handy map of the surrounding area:


Northern Mar Tesaro.
Click for larger view.

Skeeve borrows a nearby stand and spends a few hours making a copy of the map for himself. He also asks one of the scribes handy about the overflow of books. The scribe explains that over a year ago (before Crossway fell to the Alidians) the people of Crossway sent their books north to Woodhurst for safekeeping. When Crossway fell, the people of Woodhurst sent their books here. So, this town has rather a lot of books from other areas.

One of the books catches Enoch’s eye. It seems to be a book written in an archaic form of common, (with bits of other old languages added, seemingly at random) which makes it very hard to decipher. This would seem to suggest that the book is quite old, although from the condition of the book it seems to be new, perhaps less than a decade old. This is sometimes the case when old, tattered books are copied, but it is customary to note the purpose and origin of the original work when doing so. This book has no such markings. Indeed, this book is not signed or dated at all. And finally, every other page has been left blank, as if the author expected someone to translate this work.

Enoch asks the scribe about this and he explains that the book has floated from place to place for some time. Various scholars have taken a crack at the old text, but none of them have been able to successfully translate it. He adds that Chronicler Rhillos in the city of Fol Thron (somewhere south, he doesn’t explain further) has offered a reward – a bounty, if you will – for anyone who can figure out what the book is all about.

Enoch notices that some of the old text seems to be an old form of common from Dunlock, his homeland. He gives it a try. A few hours later, he has managed to translate the following:

Part I: The Mountain Elves

Editor’s Note: What follows is not a proper history, but instead a collection of tales and folklore from the inhabitants of Mar Tesoro. These have passed on through the generations, doubtless with many changes and alterations. The story usually varies greatly depending on the geographical location and race of the storyteller. The most common elements of the differing accounts are gathered here to form a single tale. It is recorded here for archival and reference, not for any supposed historical value. Indeed, many portions of the following are highly unlikely and should be viewed with utmost skepticism.

- Chronicler Norvus

In the earliest days of Mar Tesoro, the southern lands were inhabited by a peaceful clan of mountain Elves. They were gentle and kind, slow to quarrel and preferred music and wine above swordplay and bloodshed. They lived on the slopes of the great mountain, which they named Mt. Fiore, which means “the place of flowers”.

The mountain was tall and green in those days, and was fair to behold even in the cold of winter. Fairer still it was in the warm months, when the slender trees would bloom large flowers and clothe the mountain in white and gold. The tall peaks caught the spring rain and made the lands below rich and fertile.

Few others visited the lands. Only a few Gnomes and fewer humans had walked the slopes, and no Dwarf had even set eyes to the mountain in those days.

But Dwarf-King Thul Marblade came at last to the shores of Mar Tesoro. He came to the Elven chieftain Ellas Morad, and asked for leave to climb the mountain. “For”, said he, “it is the way of all Dwarves to seek the mountains and learn their ways.”

Morad gave him permission to walk the slopes, and the Dwarf departed at once. With him were many strong but grim Dwarves of his kind. As they ascended, a powerful greed came over them, for they saw that the stone of the mountain was filled with both silver and gold in plenty, as well as many fair gems and rare stones. Never in all the Earth had any Dwarf seen such abundant riches, and they marveled that such wealth had lain undisturbed for so long.

Thul Marblade climbed to the pinnacle of the tallest peak, and there he spoke to his kin, “Brothers, here lies the greatest of all mountains of the Earth. Behold how rich it is with treasure, how bold and strong its rock, and how kingly its shape! Surely we must build here a mine, or we are no Dwarves at all.”

His company agreed, and they departed from the mountain.

Enoch shows the scribe his work, and the scribe suggests he take the book with him. He requests that he show it to the scholars in Fol Thron once he completes the task.

This is a little sidequest / minigame I have for Enoch. I’ve set it up so that the more he translates, the easier it gets. He earns a little XP for doing so. Anytime he has 8 free hours and a stable, well-lit place he can attempt to translate the next section. There is a special “alphabet” novelty dice to go along with this.

This is also a fun way to convey information / disinformation, history, and lore without reading it to the group myself. I just hand out this text (which is printed in a nice faux-medeval style of caligraphy) and they players can read it at their leisure.

-Shamus

Continued in Part 2…
11Just 11 comments.


  1. D'Angelo says:

    I really enjoy your quest. It’s actually giving me lots of ideas on how to DM my own quests.

    Oh and the “fatigue” thing, I normaly lower my party’s TO HIT showing that they are worn out and tired. I lower further and further until they THEY decided their characters need to rest…and believe me they WILL choose themselves to rest when their TO HIT gets low enough.

    Again, very entertaining quest. Hope you and more people post more quests.

  2. Perry says:

    Hey there
    My apporach to characters of teh l33t godly endurance is to enforce penalties to rolls if they fail fort saves (of increasing difficulty, followed by (if they go long enough) submission damage.

  3. Document says:

    I don’t see where the entry mentions fatigue/endurance?

  4. craig says:

    I’d just like you to know, i’m stealing quite a bit from your campeign. As a rookie DM, it’s helping quite a bit.

  5. Simon Jester says:

    Doesn’t Edition 3.5 have rules for the ‘exhausted’ and ‘fatigued’ states?

  6. Brent says:

    Yeah, 3.5 does have descriptions. although I still don’t see where in shamus’s post it he mentions needing rules for such. oh well.

    and here are the descriptions taken from http://www.d20srd.org, a very reliable website.

    Fatigued:
    A fatigued character can neither run nor charge and takes a -2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. Doing anything that would normally cause fatigue causes the fatigued character to become exhausted. After 8 hours of complete rest, fatigued characters are no longer fatigued.

    Exhausted:
    An exhausted character moves at half speed and takes a -6 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. After 1 hour of complete rest, an exhausted character becomes fatigued. A fatigued character becomes exhausted by doing something else that would normally cause fatigue.

  7. Arrk says:

    Apparently no one in this area knows the Comprehend Languages spell.

  8. Tacoma says:

    They might as well have a cantrip called Plotkill that reads thoughts, identifies magics and substances, locates objects, and translates things. Get it out of the way and don’t make everyone wait until third level :/

  9. :D Very nice! Are you going to make a comic for this?

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