Adventuring in the Dragon Empire

The current ongoing game I’m running is 13th Age. Which managed to seduce me pretty hard and fast. It combines a lot of my favorite elements of D&D into a slick package, and the emphasis on improv really caters to my DMing style pretty well. I plan to do regular recaps from this game, but it’s also been running for a little while now, so I figure I’d do an overview of the adventure thus far. The players are now all sitting pretty at 4th level. I plan for the campaign to last all the way to level 10.

Our cast consists of:

  • Yain, a dwarf bard who’s one unique thing is that he is the only dwarf that can’t a beard. He also happens to be a bit of a spy and does not have a great relationship with the Dwarf King, who made him his fool.
  • Morris, a human fighter who’s one unique thing is that he is in truth a half demon. His signature weapon being a sword that grew out of his own body.
  • Leith, a human ranger, who is the only person to ever escape slave master Issik. He’s more or less the group’s token scoundrel.
  • Solare, an aasimar cleric, who is the great grandson of the sun goddess. He takes to the more martial and even tanky side of being a cleric.

The root for the story started with a oneshot I tested the waters with for the game, and by and large it’s proven extremely popular with our group. In it the group discovered a town north of Drakenhall being besieged by bizarre undead. In particular undead that have no fear of daylight. They ultimately discovered that these undead were being created by a goblin shaman, in possession of a strange gem that bore both the mark of the Lich King, as well as the Prince of Shadows. The prior’s mark had been deliberately scratched out however. Leith held onto the gem.

The first session of the ongoing began where the oneshot left off. The players had done something unseemly in Drakenhall and weren’t going back, so they made their way on foot towards Concord. Which meant passing through part of the elvish territories. This far edge was largely abandoned, overrun by dire creatures. Though along the way the players raided some elven villages, acquiring some rather nice loot. Some of which very well seemed like it was meant for them.

In the second session the players found themselves dealing with a delivery gone bad. A courier was carrying a most precious gift for the Elf Queen, from the Emperor himself. The players ultimately tracked down the thieves, which turned out to be a band of dark elves, unwilling servants of a group of derro. Again the Prince of Shadows seems to have been involved. This jewel meant for the Elf Queen helps the bearer reshape forests, but seems to have been altered by the derro and the Prince of Shadows into something that can reshape stone and mountains instead. This time though the players purified the jewel and saw that it was on it’s way to it’s rightful owner.

After all that the players found themselves passing through halfling country. And passing through the wake of a gnomeish mage named Maadar wanted for.. well.. a lot. In his passing he sold potions to various farmers, and each time the result produced by the intended result, and something terrible. A farmer’s vegetable crop has never been bigger. Neither had the bugs as her farm was overrun with ankhegs. Another’s sheep were incredibly large, with astoundingly fluffy coats. However the wolves that fed on them got even bigger. Lastly a flower garden was turned into a tropical paradise. Complete with (land) shark.

In Concord the party ultimately tracked down Maadar, and heard his sob story about being cursed by an enchantress, and really not being a bad guy. They bought it too. He claimed he even had another help him craft a cure, only to have it stolen by a strange goblin. The party tracked down the goblin sharks, and recovered the potion. However they also got back in time to see that Maadar had been abducted by forces following the Crusader. He apparently shouted something to the effect of at least waiting until the fools he duped into fetching something for him came back, but that didn’t work. The party ultimately left him to his fate, and disposed of the supposed cure.

At this point the party decided to head towards Santa Cora, to report their findings with the initial undead outbreak to the Priestess. Which means a long roundabout boat ride. Along the way they encountered a number of hiccups. Ultimately leading to a confrontation at a lighthouse against a wraith that had helped darken it. Leith surprised the group by focusing light through the gem he kept from the one shot through towards the wraith, which had the side effect of making it substantial. Disabling it’s biggest defensive advantage.

Most recently the players adventured in Santa Cora proper. Upon their arrival they saw as the vast majority of what remained of the divine armies head West towards the Abyss. Morris and Solare met with a representative of the Priestess, and perhaps the Priestess herself. There they were tasked with dealing with a matter of concern within the city, as the local army was more or less a skeleton crew. One of the temples to a goddess of ice and storms in the city had cut off ties and contacts with the Cathedral. Meanwhile within a halfling inn/pub/temple Yain was left what seems to have been a bribe to stay out of out some upcoming event. When the party regrouped they agonized over how to dispose of the bribe, and Yain opted to hold onto it until later. They ultimately infiltrated the temple, climaxing in a battle in the central shrine with an Ice Maiden, and her polar bear she had been lounging on as a throne. However the bribe left with Yain also erupted violently into flames upon her death. The party strongly suspected that the Prince was somehow involved in his temple’s corruption. Leith also tapped more seedy information sources to learn that the Priestess’s forces had gone to help the Golden Order. Apparently the Abyss had recently grown slightly, causing the Great Gold Wyrm to strain holding tight, as well as overwhelming the Order with demonic forces that slipped through.

They’re now deciding where they want to head next. It looks like Glitterhaggen is likely to be their next destination. As they want more information on the Prince of Shadows, but don’t quite want to go looking for trouble in Shadow Port just yet either.

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