The Boreanlands

Call For All Brave Adventurers of Skill
Setting Details

Your great services are required. Val-Vale’s stronghold is in need of strong seasoned adventurers to take on a task of great importance. Handsome reward upon fulfillment.

“The last bunch that went was never heard from again. Word now has it that Lord Heinrick will grant almost any wish to those who would be successful, might finally catch the ear of a few ambitious types…”

Our adventure starts in the stronghold’s hall, where your character is waiting to have an audience and offer his services to the Lord of Val-Vale.

Region:

The Boreanlands is a very wild and untamed territory, largely inhospitable and poorly documented. Tales describing fantastic Borean creatures are shared in pubs across the continent, each sounding more absurd than the last, to the point where no one knows what to believe. The map provided is only a rough representation of the area.

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The surrounding crescent of forest and hills makes for ideal hiding spots for nomadic Orcs and Hobgolins, among other creatures, leaving exposed villages vulnerable to constant raids. The populous, northernmost walled city of Val-Vale has managed to survive through the ages, miraculously at times.

DM Note

In this campaign your character can be good, neutral or evil. Tensions are normal, just don’t betray or split the party! You know you won’t be able to achieve your goals without them. You begin at level 4 and start with the initial gold provided by your class and background, as described in the PHB, along with an addition 300 gold you can spend in advance. You can sell your starting gear for 50% of market price if you want to change it.

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The Adventure Begins
Session 1

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Our party finds itself answering to the call for brave adventurers that was posted: “Your great services are required. Val-Vale’s stronghold is in need of strong seasoned adventurers to take on a task of great importance. Handsome reward upon fulfillment.”

They met Janis The Just, the commander of the King’s guard and leader of Val-Vale’s city which personally vetted them. After swearing them to secrecy about all employment details. He called on the court mage Heironimous to give them information on the component he is sending them to find: a Sphere of Amber, as well as the place they’re hoping they can find one, the East Wing of The Majus Ruins.

What purpose will this component serve? Janis refused to answer anymore questions about it; “We’ll see if you come back alive anyway.”

The old academy ruins proved to be a treacherous place, riddled with slimy occupants and haunted swords. Amongst them the party found a Vicious Sword, which they wisely took precautions with. After part of the party played a dangerous chess game, while others opted to bash a door in, they arrived at a central juncture. There, in the darkness, they began hearing the babbling of what seemed to be a hundred voices.

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Excerpt from the Journal of Sir Gareth von Koenig.
Our first meeting and first foray....

With our arrival in Val-Vale and the not to terribly dire circumstances we face, Jeaves, Dennis, Jeanine and I have found a suitable Inn to take up a short stay while we figure out what we are going to do about continuing on with our quest. After our arse kicking buy the much larger Goblinoid warband attack, we find ourselves short of Horses, Supplies and Funds to continue on, But I am sure that we will prevail. Being that this city is in a fairly active area, we shouldn’t find it to hard to find work…..no matter what it is, Even if Jeaves can be a pompous arse at times. His profound use of the courtly arts sometimes gets in the way. I must talk to him about this….I know its what he is trained to do, But i’m still, after all these years, not really comfortable with it. Dennis brought me a few job notices, guards for hire and such, mostly low wage, highly dangerous, get dead quick stuff. Jeanine is the image of uncertainty and looking lost. I shall have a talk with her in private when possible. As we sit in the main common room of this well to do establishment, No doubt chosen by Jeaves. We are not alone, for in the room we are accompanied by an Elf of obvious Arcane abilities, a Human of mixed skills Fighter/Rogue maybe, a curious looking creature of a race that i have only heard about. A Dragonborn??, But one of the Temple arts for sure, And last but not least a Dwarf. Who has definitely fallen far from the norms of his kind…A druid….It seems that we have all been brought here either by accident or design. For we are being watched by a Guard wearing the City Livery i wonder what this means. This summons that Dennis found on the central job board was very vague to say the least, what with all the rumors floating around. i am sure that we are bound to find a good quest….

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Vonin's journal - session 1
Vonin Grazgarr journal entries related to the 1st session.

[I don’t remember how our characters got to the tavern] I got inside a nice looking tavern in Val-Vale. Near the middle there were comfortable-looking chairs with a few people sat. I sat in their area next to what looked like a mage, a Content Not Found: sir-gareth-von-koenig and some common people [the paladin’s handler] then exchanged pleasantries. Also beyond the corridor that went from the entrance to the kitchen, there was another area at the end of the tavern. In the opposite corners were 2 people that seemed to not want have anything to do with the others. One of them was striking with his quite unusual appearance reminiscing of a dragon, but just larger than an half-orc, much smaller than if I’d turn into a Dire Wolf and stood on my hind legs. The other seemed sneaky and I hoped he didn’t target my purse; even though it was much smaller after I got my healing 4 potions.

Before I even had the chance to listen to a conversation then jump in to debate, a fancy-looking soldier came in and directed us. I wanted to shut him up but seeing people were interested, I let him talk us down. Even if he was to hire me, there’s no law against beating someone when you’re being humiliated, including one’s boss. Those young folks. Bah! He presented himself as Janis The Just.

So the men walked around the room chest out with a long face. He had us present ourselves, good thing he skipped me at 1st, I might have not been able to keep my thoughts to myself. It turns out, in addition to me being a druid, there was a mage [don’t remember which kind], a paladin, a monk and some rogue hybrid [MC w/ ftr].

He then summoned us that if one of us couldn’t keep a secret to leave. No one left and he told us about a mage academy which caused problem [I don’t remember why he asked to go there since I don’t remember something from there attacking the city (meaning its walls)]. He explained the academy was moved a long time ago for fear of some magic going beyond their compound (within the city walls) and is now named . He then continued that about a century ago some powerful magical effect decimated the academy; and its now named Majus Ruins. One of us asked question about magic and a mage with a very long beard joined us, which he presented us as Heironimous. I then asked a question and others also did.

When he asked if we’d accept the mission, payment came up as expected and I jumped in asking for a healing potion each, and a few seconds later I remembered healing kit so I mimed it to Janis The Just, and he acknowledged. Heironimous was summoned to fetch material then he brought back 3 healing potions and some healing kits.

We were told our main problem would be animated beings; and if there were looters that they would be powerful enough to survive the threats and implied to beware of such looters. The academy was 1/2-3/4 days walk west. Someone asked us if we’d encounter problem on the way, he replied that beyond the walls surrounding it were watchtowers where guards would blow a horn if threats would enter the city. I replied that this was a nice city. Luckily we were lent horses, even enough for the paladin handlers, so we didn’t have to walk so long.

[It would have been nice to have out characters better present themselves during the horse-ride and more importantly establish some battle tactics as I exposed in The Boreanlands – Forum – During the horse ride from from the town to the mage academy but I think because we started ~6:45 instead of 6 pm, we wanted to get our dose of battle before the session/game ended.]

We arrived at the academy, which size was impressive; and beside the damage from a large bust of energy, seemed solidly built (was solid before the explosion). Going up the stairs, there seemed to be some humanoid-shaped specter coming slowly toward us. Content Not Found: sir-gareth-von-koenig addressed him in a few languages. Doing so seemed to get the ghost-like creature attention but realized the humanoid-like shape was the remains of one inside an ooze. Then a humongous slug [large size] showed and we understood we were in for a fight.

Right away one of us rushed to be in melee against the slug then a ball of fire was created targeting the same. The space between us in jeopardy because of the flame ball, a single melee ally had place, so the other melee went for the ooze. As one would imagine, one of us became stuck in the ooze (actually me transformed in a Dire Wolf); which can be quite dangerous, if not directly by the acidity then the lack of air. All the while there were ranged attack on both foes and the flame sphere kept burning our foes. The slug was the 1st to go down, then we managed to clear that room.

With one of us quite adept at subterfuge, he rushed to see if there was enemies starting from the room on the left (from the direction we were facing coming into the main entrance), seeing no creature explored a bit and animated magical weapons. The sneaky ally rush back into the room we were still in (directly in front of the entrance) and 3 magical weapons came in. We defeated them with less difficulty than the initial encounter.

Fearing another ambush, someone sneaked in the other corridor, so right from the main entrance (from how we came in). Small magical fires were seen inside. Having no other way to go further inside we got in. The magical fires were all in the middle of tiles [corresponding to the game grid, so 5 × 5′ each] and the majority of them further back in the room. There was place to go all its width but something magical was in the way to go further. They were magical light forms; a horse about to jump, a tower, etc. I was told it was a larger version of a game. At first they were suspicious so proceeded cautiously but when they realized the magical light forms weren’t harmful, actually they got attuned to their presence, they assumed it was a puzzle and tried solving it. I don’t care for such things so I got bored quickly.

Good thing for my composure one of us tried getting further some other way. Realizing if there was an opening from the room in front of the entrance that we could get behind the all the magical fires. We found a sturdy door not seen easily from the main door. A large sturdy desk was not far and 3 of us (including me in Dire wolf form), rammed the door with it. After 3 rams, the desk began falling apart. Good thing the door was not far from being open enough for a medium sized biped to get in; it got completely opened using a crowbar. Before going through, we went back to the room from which the magical weapons spawned from.

Soon after we got there, those that used brains to get behind the magical fires were finished and joined us. Our mage detected a magical weapon inside a cylinder; he made a ritual and found out the weapon was magically enhanced but also cursed, but the cylinder containing it prevented a person from its negative effects. Let’s hope we take a lesson from that and never touch something magical without first knowing what it is. We decided to keep the cylinder; maybe the sword curse could be removes while keeping the enhancement. We resumed our way.

At the end of the room with magical fires was an opening from the long-ago major explosion. In the middle of the room at the other side was a small pool of blood with its center not yet dry; there was also a crate in a corner next to another wall partly destroyed. So far all the outer walls were intact. The 3rd side of the room was an opening to a dark corridor. Those of us with darkvision could barely see beyond that corridor. An intrepid amongst us went in it and realized something was after us. [the session ended just after we rolled initiative of which Frank took a picture of our dices]

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Strange Encounters in The Majus Ruins
Session 2

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The party pushed forward into the ruins in their continued quest for the Sphere of Amber.

They encountered a pair of disgusting Gibbering Mouthers, which they quickly disposed of. They then made use of a magical transportation mirror to help them gain access to less accessible rooms of the academy.

After rummaging around in a decrepit classroom, they found a scroll of Comprehend Languages. They then encountered a fallen adventurer’s body, but were left with no time to wonder what befell him: a trio of animated armors sprung to life and rushed them. Their leader, an intricate armor held by a red glow, quickly identified the priority target and ordered his underlying to attack the mage. The party’s rapid and effective response managed to save their hides once again.

On the fallen adventurer they found 20gp and a Lesser Ring of Featherfall, with the name Keven inscribed in it.

After a short they found a small library which they searched thoroughly to reveal a book cover for the Book of Dragonborn volume V, and a scroll of Magic Missile.

Knowing that other rooms lied behind certain walls, owing to the plans Heironimous showed them, they quickly had the idea to move the mirror to access them.

Inside a pool of murky water they noticed what looked like a shiny object. The mage quickly sprung into action to attempt to grab it, only to awaken what slept within: a large Water Elemental. The battle-worn adventurers kept up the fight but the creature knocked the wind out of the Dragonborn Monk Eskiath. They got the best of it however and brought aid to their fallen comrade, as well as collecting the Elemental Sapphire the being got sucked into.

After patching themselves up some more, the party’s resident Dire Wolf (note: Vonin Grazgarr shapechanged) jumped into the next room to uncover a pair of skeletons embraced under a blanket. As he shook their bones, a brownish orange sphere rolled unto the floor with a note attached: “Ah my sweet Anna, I have finally found you”. This did indeed appear to be the Sphere of Amber they were sent to look for.

But before they could leave the ruins to celebrate, the mirror they were using to pass through walls backfired on them! They appeared in a very strange place: a small floating islet surrounded by other islands, a sea of stars and purple storm clouds, beneath a much larger floating continent. They had little time to inspect their surrounding as a large blood red beast was starring straight at them ready to attack, as if it had been waiting for something to kill all this time.

Carybdis, the party’s Rogue/Fighter, dashed for the portal behind the creature and the rest of the party quickly followed. Sir Gareth von Koenig swiftly broke the magical mirror and everyone collectively let out a sigh of relief. But where was that place and who or what was that creature?

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Excerpt from the Journal of Sir Gareth von Koenig.
We went deeper into The East Wing.

So there we were, in this other room, Kilder had just spotted a foul looking creature, It was writhing mass of amorphous mouths, all of them emitting an obnoxious scream of sorts. Kilder had cast Flaming sphere, So far his favorite spell. He then cast Acid Arrow which hit home, as Carybdis being wary as usual, decides to prepare for melee, draws his weapon and approaches carefully, Although it seems he got too close. As Carybdis starts to suffer from the noise, Vonin wild shapes into a Dire wolf and moves into the room through the dual hallway, encountering a 2nd amorphous mass of mouths, It begins to shriek as well. I as well moved forward down the left hallway, and came with in sight of the first creature. I drew my bow and let fly an arrow, It hits with a solid thud. Injuring the creature enough to make it gibber even more. Then something we never expected, Eskiath who moves up to engage the creatures as he usually does, but he stops short, The look on his face (its hard to read a dragonborn face) I was trying to figure out if he had succumbed to the gibberish the creatures were saying or if he was suffering from a disease, But he opened his mouth and out came this 5ft wide 30ft long stream of fire that burns the creature badly. To which it begins to wail in agony. The sound is deafening as Vonin, Myself and Eskiath are caught in its blast. Vonin and I do not seem to be affected by this. We both shake it off, But Eskiath who either wasn’t ready or the concentration to breath fire must really take it’s toll, just stands there his eyes glazed over. Not seeming to understand what just happened. More to follow……

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The City of Val-Vale
Session 3

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After making quick work of a bunch of magical rugs that were less than welcoming (mats), as well as a Mimic the mage wished was full of magic items (but who made due with a bunch of components it left behind), the party camped outside before making it back to Val-Vale.

There they were greeted with a very impressed Janis and Heironimous for having not only come back safely but with the Sphere of Amber in hand. Heironimous was also particularly curious about Sir Gareth’s notes on the East Wing of the Majus Ruins. The party asked him if there was anything he could do to break the curse on the Vicious Sword, which he offered to take a look at.

After selling off the components at Tinlink’s Amazing Emporium and stocking up on potions and scrolls, the party paid a visit to the Temple of Silvanus, where Sir Gareth and Vonin paid respects to the Forest Father. Through his pool of purity, the deity made his discontent about the various regions and pockets of natural disbalance clear: the Majus Ruins, pockets around the city and a growing unease with something in the North. The Temple showed its gratitude to Sir Gareth and Vonin for their generous 50gp donation by offering each of them a Lesser Candle of Invocation.

They then stopped by the Temple of Torm where Father Morgran greeted Carybdis, happy to see he was not sent to his death.

Janis The Just had told them to stay at the Five Dragons’ Inn and that they would get a discount. He would fetch them there once the preparations for the next step of the contract were taken (what was the next step? Janis was tight mouthed about that). After each of them picked their rooms, Carybdis told them about the Mysterious Rod as quietly as he could but some of his party members couldn’t keep their voices down, drawing some heads. He told them that while he was stealing it, it triggered a portal from which came a beast very similar to the one they saw on the floating island in whatever place the magic mirror in the Majus Ruins had taken them. He also told them that his old team members and the people who hired him were on the lookout for him and the rod.

While they were talking, a jolly merchant offered them a free ticket to go see a play at the Theater of The Iron Company. The party agreed afterwards to go pick up the Mysterious Rod that Carybdis had hidden in the Temple of Torm on the next day.

In the meantime they went to see the play, Love Lost on The Tear Shore. A story of the impossible love between a merfolk and a prince. The prince asks a mage to turn him into a merfolk but the mage refuses for fear of being prosecuted by his father. So the prince poisons his father and becomes king just to order the mage to do it. The mage does it and when the prince enters the ocean to find his lover, he learns that she was killed by Sahuagins paid by his mother. He then offs himself.

The whole time there is a beautiful horizon of a blue sea that meets a slowly setting sun. The colors of the sky fluctuate in a beautiful crescendo of colors, first blue, then orange, and pink and even red. The effect is so captivating that it almost steals the whole show.

After coming back to the inn energized from the viewing, the group saw another adventuring party boasting about their journey into the Majus Ruins. After Gildor put the loudmouth rogue of their party into place, the crew retired into their rooms.

During the night, many of the adventurers felt the incredible urge to go back to see the theater play once again. A feeling that seemed to jump out from within their skin and could hardly be quelled.

After the party retrieved the Mysterious Rod from the Temple of Torm, they were accosted by a dark group of people: “Give us the rod!” one of them shouted.

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Inner-City Encounters with the Thieve's Guild
Session 4

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During a prolonged battle with the muggers who demanded the Mysterious Rod, the party was almost at the end of its means. Carybdis who had the rod started making off to draw the attackers away, but not before one of them stole Gildor’s spellbook.

The hunters became the hunted as Gildor would go to any length to recuperate the manuscript of all the spells he possessed. The thief entered a tavern, which the party rushed, which was clearly a front for a bigger organization.

After making demands and being invited over, the party decided to withdraw and come back with more resources. The got all the information they could out of one of the thief’s they captured: the person who was putting pressure to retrieve the rod was some kind of mage which, through the guildmaster of the Dark Ravens Zephyr, had originally hired a group to recuperate the rod, and offered 500gp per person to the party that would bring it to him.

While resting, Vonin, the party’s Druid, went scouting the thieve’s guild hideout in rat form. There he saw an underground sewer leading to the guild and overheard one of the men saying: “Zephyr hopes those guys will show up, he doesn’t want to deal with that mage anymore.”

The party tried to sneak in through the sewers but we quickly spotted. They were however invited over. They met Zephyr who told them that he had handed Gildor’s spellbook to the client who wanted the rod they possessed, and that they should go see him if they wanted it back. That in fact, he would much prefer it if they did that given that he wouldn’t have to send more men after them. The party agreed and left under the eyes of dozens of the guild’s rogues.

The party identified the rod: an unstable implement capable of opening a portal at a random place 10 feet within the caster which could release a beast similar to the one that they saw in the Majus Ruins. This beast will likely be aggressive to everyone unless it is controlled by a certain circlet that was not in their possession.

The party went to the mage’s house, where the door opened for them like magic. They met him and Gildor quickly recognized him as Edwin, a mage he and his brother had stolen something from long ago. To the party’s surprise, the mage was sitting with a man that looked exactly like Gildor.

After a few brief exchanges, the party convinced the mage to give them 3000gp and the spellbook in exchange for the rod. Edwin agreed and told them to leave.

Gildor later explained that the man sitting with Edwin was his twin brother that he had lost contact with after Edwin had attacked them when they stole artifacts from him. However after seeing him, he realized that his brother Beryn didn’t seem to recognize him at all.

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Session 3, The last room before we leave the East wing.
Excert from Sir Gareths Journal...

So we assemble our battle scarred and a bit ragged team to investigate the last room past the crumbled wall. According to our map there are two rooms to our east that move north. Since we are at this time pretty depleted in combat power, and (Kilder)Gildor doesn’t want to have a long rest here in the east wing. We decide to push on, So Vonin our shapeshifter Druid decides to go in alone and scout out the area. He shapes himself into that familiar Dire wolf shape and move in after we tie 100ft of rope around him. “Just in case he gets attacked.” He moves in stealthily at first, he disappears around the corner and we loose sight of him. Gildor decides that he wants to be able to see him, so he also jumps the wall and moves forward. But soon the available light is too dim for him to see. So we all wait for the walls to come crashing down on us.

(From the perspective of Vonin from his description when he comes back to report to us what he has found.)

He says that there is a broken second floor above that he says is a large chest. But he left it alone. He also reports that there is a fairly large crevasse going down the middle of the room. So he Wild shaped into a giant spider, and tried to cross the crevasse, but he says he slipped and fell into it.

(How does one who is shaped shifted into a giant spider with 8 legs and can spin a web fall!!??.)

He says that he fell an undetermined distance before he caught himself by using his we ability. He crossed over to the other side, and climbed up the crevasse wall. He arrives on the other side, where upon he discovers another chest with a blanket covered skeleton clutching a note.

(So back to the rest of the party.)

At this time Eskiath, Carybdis and myself are wondering what is going on, so we jump the wall to be able to better support Vonin if need be. Then we hear Gildor casting a spell, which catches us a bit off guard. But it’s only mage hand, he is checking the chest to see if it’s locked. Which it is. So he calls for Carybdis to climb up and help him with it. So i tie off the end of the rope to the a large section of the crumbled wall.

Be right back, need to go kill something…….

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Session 4...The Temple of Torm Square, A male statue and his rod, all wanted by a bunch of men in leather and tights....
Excerpt from Sir Gareth's Journal....

So there we are in the Square, having recovered the rod and we get accosted by a group of brigands. Which among there number are 2 former colleagues of Carybdis….This group of murder hobos make claims of Carybdis being a Traitor, murder, etc. During a very brief conversation, arrows begin to fly…Here in this nice square dedicated to Torm. The onslaught of battle carries on for what seems an eternity…The surrounding civilians scattering to get away from the battle….At some point Carybdis tries to fool our opponents bu throwing his crowing like it was the Rod, They had a slight resemblance to each other, across the square. While hiding the real rod. They apparently don’t fall for the trick. they press on even harder. It’s no longer a fight for the Rod, but for our eradication… After several spells and repulsed attacks, Gildor is felled and i am racked with a devastating blow. Carybdis runs from the square, getting our attackers to follow him. Vonin’s attacks having found there marks as well as Eskiaths. I am able to fell the leader of the pack before hs is able to give chase, but not before one of the brigands ends up stealing something from Gildor. We have no idea what he has taken until later on…I use my lay on hands to heal myself, saving some to go stabilize Gildur, But Eskiath gets to him before me. pouring a potion into his mouth. Vonin shapeshifts into a spider and climbs the building to follow the brigands from the roof tops. As we hear someone yells

COME TO ME RAVENS OF THE NIGHT!.”

As the running battle starts to pass through side streets and back alleys. I call upon Sylvanus to guide my hand in this battle, and i am guided to my vowed foe, but fail to fell him. Even Eskiath and Gildur get their shots in before he escapes. We then notice that more foe’s start coming out of the different doorways. This fight is quickly going against us. We decide to retrograde our position and regroup sans Carybdis.

Vonin locates the tavern where the Thief has gone too, and directs us to it. We approach the doorway, but are stopped by a doorman. After a brief conversation we rush the door. After a stand off. Gildur gives them an ultimatum of 3 hours to return his property, which we find out is his spellbook. Those present in the bar don’t really take him seriously. So he fire bolts part of their alcohol supply behind the bar to show he means business….

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