Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Esperian Vale Adventures

Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 17:16:52 -0000
From: "Farina, Jason"
Subject: Esperian Vale Adventures. Enjoy, but pay attention to the disclai mer.... or else.....

Below, I present the first part of the latest campaign to plonk from the sewer I call an imagination.

Be warned, it might contain information your DM doesn't want you to know and could very well ruin your enjoyment of an adventure.
this weeks episode (well this part of this week's) effectively destroys all mystery etc in The Four Season's of Jivaldi, and gives away a bit about the AD&D fast play rules beginning scenario and the Free download of B3 from the WoTC website.

I would strongly advise that you ask your DM if he intends running any of these BEFORE you read any further. If you read this and your DM pokes your eyes out with a pointy object, don't come crying to me!

Now, disclaimer aside, read on, enjoy, add plenty of salt and please dispose of any combustables or flammatory devices at the entrance. Thank you.

The Esperian Vale Campaign.

Week 1.

Characters involved:

Name level class Notes:
Stuffy 1st necromancer (human) Not the brightest mage in the world, or the strongest, quickest, wisest, nicest or hardiest.
Quote: "Manacles, wooden block, sledgehammer. Wanna find out what misery really is?"

Loreal 1st elf, Fighter Vain and arrogant, considers Gunther his 'familiar'
Quote: " because I'm worth it"

Gunther 1st` Dwur, fighter Lazy, rather prone to violence, dwarven really....
Quote: "We're all going to die! Where's that bottle of wine I found?"

Panthene 1st ranger (human) a good ranger if a little accident prone, not great person skills....
Quote: "Oops, I guessed wrong"

A bit of campaign information would be nice I suppose:

Right, well, the group consists of, currently, 4 friends. We are all aged between 23 and 26 and have known each other right the way through college.
That's over 6 years I have been Dming for them (and most of that was ToEE, which they never managed to finish :-), hey wow! Word includes smileys!!!).
Anyway, we are pretty used to how each of us play and react so I decided to put together a series of adventures into a 'campaign'. The main reason for this is that we are all working and we never know whether we will make a game or not so I wanted to have a more 'freeform' game than a linear campaign like ToEE. So, I went looking on the internet and in old modules (mainly 1st ed collections etc) as well as in the Lankhmar supplements and gathered together a load of scenarios that I would like to DM. When I saw B3, I was delighted. A low level adventure that fitted perfect with the introduction I had already planned. Many bits of modules have been changed to cram them into the general storyline, but by and large they should be recognisable. Note: I might not always remember who wrote what scenario, so don't take offense if I don't credit someone when I should. It's not done deliberately.

House rules:
1. fighters (single class) roll D12 Hp, and before I get stoned for this, it's working quite well since it's introduction over two years ago.
2. Mages CAN use non-mage weapons if they pay more for them
3. Mages MUST specialise and meet the requirements for specialisation.
4. Mages can wear quilted or padded armour as per the sugestion in simon Gibbs in his Armour of the Forgotten Realms article. He also did a weapons one (more later) well worth reading IMHO.
5. Character points are used for Weapon and non-weapon proficiencies.
6. Priests do not choose their patron deity. Through their actions, a deity may or may not call them to service
7. There is NO longsword in the game. I hate that weapon. It removes the flavour of culture. And makes polearms look ridiculous :-).

Righty, that's most of the rules, there are others but they aren't really important.
Oh yeah, Stuffy the Necromancer decided to take farm implements as weapons.
I saw no reason why not as long as they were in character. He took a Scythe (for clearing long grass in graveyards....) and a sledgehammer (for breaking open sarcophagi etc.). I may not have been right allowing it, but I just thought it was a good reason for them and made for an unusual character.

The Setting:

The adventures are set in the Grand Duchy of Geoff, in a makey uppy vale called The Vale of Esperia situated in the NorthWest of the duchy. The vale map is taken from the adventure "four seasons of jivaldi" by blue troll.
I've placed the Palace of the Silver princess to the NW, just on the edge of the crystalmists - the vale being the same one described in the background of the module B3. I've also included the AD&D quick play scenario (the one with the ghoul) and am considering adapting the quick play one about the smoke dragon to fit in as well.

Now, the adventure begins:

PART 1.1: Stefan and the Trail to Dolmor.

The party begin at an interview with the local lord, a minor noble called Ulrich Wolsden. They are hired to get word to his younger of two sons , Stefan, to return. The Elder son, Karl, has been struck by a terrible fever after falling from his horse, and, fearing that he will die, Ulrich wants Stefan nearby to be ready to assume the place of heir. Stefan set out just after Harvest time to collect the taxes, a tour of the lands that he has undertaken for the past eight years accompanied by 12 of the lord's men at arms. As well as collecting the taxes, Stefan uses this opportunity to 'meet the people' and pursue his own hobby of Herbalism, art and history. He usually winters in the town of Dolmor where he is working on a herbal encyclopaedia with the local druid Foswel and the town clergyman, Lehar. He loans horses to the party and supplies them with three homing pigeons so they can send word of their progress.

The journey to Dolmor is pretty uneventful.

Just outside of Dolmor they Panthene discovers tracks in the mud, human tracks, one of them trailing blood. Alongside these are canine tracks which he thinks are those of wolves, rather large wolves. Unsure, he guesses that there are at least four but certainly no more than eight of the creatures.
Stuffy is nervous but Panthene assures him that wolves rarely attack humans, (hastily adds elves and dwarves into that statement), unless they're really hungry, or rabid. The tracks are very recent, within the last half hour or so. Cautiously they continue. The forests around them seems darker than they should, despite the approaching twilight. After a few minutes of slow progress, Loreal hears the sounds of men calling for help, and the snarling of wolves. Gunther isn't surprised, after all, elves have big ears.
The party quickly decide to investigate. Pressing through the undergrowth, they enter a small clearing and see two men trying to fend off five large mountain wolves. Only three of the wolves are fighting, the two other stand back bleeding from the mens' recent successes. The wolves have not been the only victims. One man is bleeding badly from a wound on his thigh and a third man lies dead or unconscious behind. Their retreat is block by a mass of thorns and briars, their escape blocked by the position of the wolves. At the Party's approach, the two injured wolves turn and snarl, but make no move to attack or flee. The three fighting are quickly wearing down the humans' defenses. Gunther swings from his saddle and draws his battle axe.
Unslinging his shield he charges into the fray, Loreal provides covering fire with his shortbow, so skillful is his firing that his first arrow seems to ruffle the dwur's beard! Panthene dismounts also and tries to arc around to the flank. Stuffy, thinking quickly, decided to use his spell of tiredness on one of the injured wolves (Ray of fatigue) , the smokey beam strikes it's target and the beast collapses panting to the ground, it's blood loss from injury and this unnatural fugue overpowering it. Loreal's first arrow takes the second injured wolf in the chest, killing it instantly (OK, so I'm probably wrong about the instant thing, but it sounded good when I was describing it and it was the party's very first taste of action after all. I wanted to introduce a bit of a feelgood factor).
Gunther steps in over the corpse and swings hard. Unfortuately, he decided to attack a rock that looked like a wolf rather than an actual wolf and wound up taking quite a large chunk out of his axe blade.. "damn human smithy work"... Panthene manages to place himself between one wolf and the injured woodsman, the wolf, instead of attacking decides to charge Stuffy's horse causing it to rear and throw the mage, amost knocking him unconscious and certainly making him a sitting target. Instead the wolves flee herding the mage's panicked horse into the woods before them. Embarrassed Gunther decides to give chase but then remembers that he hates forests and can't track a trail of breadcrumbs if his life depended on it, so he returns to convince Panthene to help out. Panthene is talking to the woodsmen who are thanking him for the rescue, then, when Loreal coughs (wolf fur in the throat) they thank him. Stuffy, meanwhile, has regained his feet and is busy pulping the exhausted wolf (there was a type of ritual chant, but children might read this so I won't repeat them here ;-) ).

The woodsmen tell their story on the way to Dolmor. They describe the attack on Willy's Hen house in the town and their subsequent search through the woods. Wolves are a severe concern for a village that has a large dependance on furs and meats for trade and provisions. But these wolves were unusual.
Three days they tracked them through the woods, North, South, East and West.
Never did they find any sign of a den or community (Peter, the uninjured hunter, is quite proud of his knowledge of wolves - he asked Foswel the druid a few questions before the left as well). Then on the third day, just when they were about to give up the chase, the wolves found them. Three of them stepped into a glade, as bold as brass and, snarling and snapping, forced the hunters to back away. That's when the other two attacked from behind. The ambush was uncanny, almost human planned - certainly better than anything those pesky goblins ever tried anyway. The hunters ran, but Eugene (the unconscious hunter) was bitten badly and had to be carried most of the way. Eventually they were forced off the trail to that clearing where the wolves cornered them and launched their assault. If it weren't for the party's intervention they would surely have been killed.

During this, Morris, the injured hunter - but still conscious - assures Loreal that his nose will heal. It is obvious that Gunther lacks the elve's accuracy when he uses his fists, or maybe it was the elve's lack of facial hair that caused the error in judgement?

Finally the town of Dolmor comes into view and the party make their way to the temple of Beory to get Eugene tended to. They use the back entrance under Peter's advice for fear of causing a panic in the town.

Source so far: Four Season's of Jivaldi by Blue Troll.

Continued tomorrow in part 1.2. (I'm a bit of a slow typist.....)

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