Campaign Diary #9: 2nd place is the first loser! (Also lots of bonus content about the world we play in)

Gax having sent the Frost Giant heading home for a nap, Zattera checking the bodies of the dead Brethoni, and Torrik and Wolrf having hacked the harness of the dead Dire Wolf free: the gang get back to the business of racing! As the night melts into dawn light they have a couple of missteps. Siddron and Gax make a bad call on the state of a patch of snow that proves to be softer than it appeared, and Jung and Torrik attempt a shortcut only to find that what they thought were grasses peaking above the snow were in fact the tops of trees. The sun rises fully and their diminished team of five Dire Wolves continues to pull valiantly for NorthWood and the finish line. The city in sight they catch sight of a pursuing sled behind them. Driving their beasts onward it becomes apparent that the other sled is moving faster (it still having six Dire Wolves). Magnus does some quick trigonometry and figures that while they gain, the Curio Company should cross the finish line before them…

Which they do! They do find however that another sled has found a way past them and has taken the victory. Regardless they are still in second place, a feat they did short one Dire Wolf! The owner of the sled and Dire Wolf team, Glordron, greets them ecstatically as handlers muzzle and restrain the exhausted beasts. Even a second place finish means his beasts are prime breeding stock and worth a fortune in fees now. Celebrations occur: Ale is freely poured and consumed, hearty claps to shoulders and backs come from the well-dressed 1/2 orc to all the party, an awkward and unwanted advance is made upon Glordron by Jung…

The rewards celebrations drag on through the day and into early evening. Once payed and congratulated the team heads back to their home base to settle up with Marast for her 20% cut of the Company’s earnings. Everyone trudges off to bed; cold and weary.

The next morning they are awakened by a rap at the door. Gax scurries to the door (clad in only his night gown and cap – yep he wears a nightcap to bed) with Zattera following, just in case he’s needed. On the other side of the door their business partner stands; Marast Illay. Behind her her servant Varon and a hulking silver dragonborn clad in the vestments of Io*. They are welcomed in and the dragonborn is introduced as Arkul, come to repay a debt Karnack (the island nation Dragonborn hail from in our campaign) owes to the son of one of it’s heroes, Hadrian (see footnote below to get caught up on all this, it really is necessary). He has Sidron brought out and sits him in a chair. Inspecting the stump of his leg he begins to tell Sidron how the Mad King (the former king of Karnack) held his father in high regard, what he does now he does because of the debt Karnack owes to his father. Pulling an elaborate metal bowl and a small ornate skin of water from the satchel he has slung across his body Arkul fills the bowl. He then begins to run a finger around the rim of the bowl causing it to give out a pure soothing ring. He begins a lengthy prayer to Io, drawing holy symbols in the air with his fingers and occasionally sprinkling water from the bowl on the stump of Sidron’s leg. Sidron feels a soothing warmth from the water droplets that runs up his leg and pulls the tiredness from his body. Slowly his leg begins to grow and extend and in a matter of minutes his lower leg and foot are fully reformed. Arkul with great gravity pours the water out in a circle around the chair as Sidron stands and tests his leg.
“You and your friends are in a dangerous line of work, should you need such healing again Marast and Varon know how to contact me. This healing is for the debt of gratitude towards your father… the next will require an offering to the temple,” Arkul says with a wry smile as he leaves the team.

The rest of the day is spent recouping, researching, and restocking from the last two days. Several of the gang hit up the public bath house and catch rumors that several cultist of Myrkul have been found murdered in the streets and back-alleys of the city. Each body found with a single raven’s feather laid upon it. Sidron happily strolls the streets in search of arcane knowledge and finds an arcane shop known as “The Portent” run by a Gnome named Gimble who clearly has some issues with those from a goblinoid background. Gax continues his subterranean expansion of their base of operations with great success. Magnus searches the city for arcane or mechanical connections and finds a shop where complex cranes are made, a saucy human female there is impressed by his Alchemical Homunculus: “Bug”, and his improvements to the heavy crossbow and offers him some work. Giving him plans she’s worked on for an articulate crane she offers him 5GP if he can work out the plans so they can build a functioning version. Wolrf and Torrik rest up and do some standard re-stocking, Wolrf does commission a custom javelin carrier by a leather-worker: crafted from part of his Winter Wolf pelt. Jung is on a mission to have her “War-Wagon” and spends a good chunk of her winnings on a wagon and two mules to pull it. Mules which prove to be difficult to handle causing her to spend a good chunk of the afternoon and her evening dragging the stubborn beasts home.

Zattera heads up a valiant charge to the Diamond Spider Tavern. Everyone except Gax (who spends some time alone talking to the heavens and giving his dad a run-down of his adventures) and Jung (occupied with her stubborn asses) follow along for celebrations. They soon find that they literally can’t buy ale this night. They placed 2nd in the Deepwinter Chase, and did it crossing the line short one Dire Wolf. They drink to their hearts content! They play some cards with a mysterious woman dressed in well kept black-leather armor. Magnus notices some other Brethoni at a corner table clearly keeping tabs on him during the evening. After lining her pockets with their gold the mysterious lady buys food and drink for our adventurers and then tells them about the drow that have been seen being admitted to the Diamond Spider Tavern via back entrances after hours.

Meanwhile: Magnus, at a table nearby and deep in an alcohol induced glow has a moment that sobers him. He hears some sketchy characters having a low conversation at an adjacent table. They discuss a certain street address, one Magnus instantly recognizes. Its the address of the underworld den where he left the Githyanki sword a few days ago. The house was razed in blood and fire. Everyone inside killed and the building set ablaze. There were no survivors from the attack at all and witnesses described several Githyanki forcing their way inside and leaving as the flames began to consume the house!

Soon the crew makes their way home, some still celebrating, some reeling. They meet Jung tugging violently at the reigns of two mules pulling a small battered wagon behind them and soon the gang is secure in their base for another night of rest.

And we all went home and back to our real-lives as well…. Till next week!

*Io, Sidron’s dad, & the last campaign: Why is there Io in our campaign? Who is the dad of our 1/2 Hobgoblin Wizard? Dragonborn have an island???? Yep, a beloved dead cleric, and yup.
Why is Io in our campaign? Last campaign one of our characters a dragonborn named Jenova wound up having a viable blood-line to take the throne of Karnack, the island nation dragonborn call home. The former king was killed by a close adviser named Solas who took the throne as his own. The former party eventually liberated Karnack and put Jenova on the throne (where he eventually lost his dang mind- maybe more on that later). Solas had a powerful ally in his quest to rule Karnack, a sweet multi-headed dragon diety named Tiamat! Two of the party members were devout followers of Bahamut and there was a small force of mysterious white and silver dragonborn who came alongside the party as allies in their quest for Karnack. These dragonborn didn’t hail from Karnack but rather from a lost mountain colony of dragonborn. Their leader performed a ritual to summon Bahamut to the material plane (deities don’t have access to the material plane in our world as they all left in thousands of years ago. They can visit the material plane in the form of an avatar, but not their true super powerful form. The ritual requires a death sacrifice and bridges the gap for a minute. Solas had an arcane machine that could store the life essence of victims and summon Tiamat when activated). So when the party were knee deep in about-to-be-killed by Tiamat Bahamut showed up and the two dragon deities engaged in an epic battle. This was the moment the force of white and silver dragonborn from the lost colony were awaiting. Over the millennia they had preserved the worship of Io and during the combat they performed a second ritual that lead to Io’s reunification as Bahamut and Tiamat were fused back into their original form! So thus… Io exists in our campaign world of Argen! That folks is why we love some homebrew settings!
The Dragonborn have an island nation? Yes. Again, homebrew setting! The player who ran Jenova wrote it into their backstory, the DM loved the idea, and together a piece of the world was fleshed out!
Who is Sidron’s dad? His dad is Hadrian a 1/2 elf cleric of Ilmater. Hadrian spent almost all of his down-time healing and feeding the poor. Kicked serious ass in a fight. Patched his friends up constantly and was responsible for Jenova being alive to take the throne. The party was in the forge of an undying dwarf named Olodok (undying is a classification in our setting, undying creatures aren’t undead they are undying. They don’t really age and most if struck down will rise again. They are always ancient and are placed into this state by either a blessing or a curse by the gods or because they existed when the gods walked the material plane and therefore exist outside of the bounds of death). Olodok had once made the very weapons the gods used themselves and when they left the material plane he was banished deep underground. The party needed to locate him to recover a specific weapon to defeat a very powerful enemy. In locating him they led a scouting team of drow to his forge (which was wedged into a canyon in the underdark). The scouts returned with a superior force and proceeded to gank Olodok and then most of the party (until Olodok rose again and now not being caught unawares dispatched them). Olodok’s forge was a cursed place by the gods and therefore they have very little power within it. Both Jenova and Hadrian were dead after the battle. Hadrian had a powerful magic item that would allow him to resurrect one other creature one time and under any circumstances. BUT if it was used the user could NEVER be resurrected himself. Ilmater gave him the run-down of Jenova’s bloodline and breathed life back into Hadrian who then… Yep used that magic item to bring Jenova back. Thus Hadrian is a hero of Karnack!

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