Thursday, September 17, 2020

Session 1 - Wake Up

This post is in character

I’ve decided to start writing things down, because today got really fucking weird. A lot of the surface folk use this cliche’, and it’s fitting enough, but it feels like waking up from a terrible dream. Only, i’m not in my bedroll or in a tent or even some quaint inn’s bed. I’m sitting upright in the camp, basically in the mid-meal? I may not actually NEED to sleep, but I do still appreciate being able to lie in comfort at night. This… whatever this is... is definitely not normal, even for one of my kind. Knowing my friends here as I do, I would venture to guess that they’re experiencing the same weird… whatever is happening that I am feeling. 

I’m not often found lacking the proper words to explain myself. In fact, if anyone manages to read this some day, i’m sure you’ll find I can be quite wordy. But right now, none of us have any idea what’s going on. It looks like we were making our way somewhere, and broke for lunch in a clearing in a wooded area off the main road. Oh, and in case the whole memory situation isn’t enough, there’s… bird tracks all over all of our equipment? On the tents, on the packs, on the bedrolls, everything we’re not actually wearing is covered in bird footprints. They don’t seem to be going any specific direction. Quilla says they’re crows, at least a couple hundred of them. I’m not sure how she can tell how many there are, but I’ve learned to trust her… bizarre insight into things like this. She can’t possibly have read a book about this, and yet somehow she just KNOWS things. It’s a bit off-putting until you get to know her better. 

I guess I should talk a little bit about my companions. Quilla is a half-elf, and one of the most well-read people i’ve ever met, and yet she is never satisfied with one particular course of study for long. It’s almost like she has the entire archives in her head, somehow, and yet it is almost shocking that she hasn’t managed to fall into a pit while her nose was in a book. This may sound uncharitable, but I have no hostility towards her. The way her brain works is utterly baffling to me though. How someone so learned can barely manage to walk three paces without tripping over a root or some such is beyond me.

Crash, as always, seems pretty unconcerned by the situation, but then Crash is pretty unconcerned by MOST situations. That isn’t to say he’s unemotional or cold or anything he’s just… Stoic. I assume that’s probably a common trait for minotaurs though. Things that make him think too much aren’t generally worth his time. Trust me though, you could not ask for a more formidable ally. His cleverness in battle is surprising, especially if you’ve ever held a conversation with him, but I am glad he’s on my side and not against it. 

Abraxus the black dragonborn is… Quiet. He always seemed quiet, and i’ve never been able to get a good read on him. I feel like he ascribes to the philosophy that it’s better to remain quiet and appear a fool than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. He will, however, continually trade barbs with Crash. The pair have a very odd relationship, especially if you don’t know them, but somehow it works. They are an imposing pair, however, and they work well together in spite of the sharpness of their banter.

Anais is difficult to explain. She is legitimately one of the nicest people i’ve ever met, far more than most other High-Elves i’ve met, but I sometimes wonder if her brain wasn’t created on a different plane of existence. Not that she’s unintelligent, but there are times where she will trail off in mid-sentence as if her brain actually disconnects from her body and physically wanders off. She is also in the habit of talking to the moon, and according to her it talks back sometimes. I’ve never heard it before, but the surface people are full of interesting beliefs I suppose. I also think she has a bit of foresight sometimes. Or, maybe, SHE thinks she has some foresight. I’ve known her on several occasions to break a complete silence and spout out something that sounds almost prophetic. I’m not sure any of them have come true yet, but nevertheless, it’s odd.

But back to our bizarre circumstances. In addition to the puzzling bird stampede all over our campsite, there’s a pan-flute in the center of the camp, for some reason. It doesn’t belong to any of us, but it is RADIATING magic. Powerful magic. It seems to be fading, but it was clearly some sort of ritual focus for… something. And I can’t shake the feeling that this pan-flute is significant? somehow? I mean, it’s magical, so of course it’s significant, but more than just that. More than even a powerful enchantment. I just can’t seem to remember why it’s significant. There appears to be some kind of draconic script on it as well, but Abraxus said it was an ancient dialect that he couldn’t read. The magic is, as far as we can tell, shifting through all of the different branches, and immensely powerful, but fading. We took it with us for lack of any better idea. I don’t like the idea of leaving a powerful magical artifact just lying around when we don’t even know what it does. Crash wants to play the flute, because of course he does, but we were able to mostly dissuade him from that course of action. 

After talking for some time about how we got here, we discovered we were in the middle of a contract. We were hired by Lady Osra Silverthistle to rescue Tak’rin Pathseeker, an older human male, and get rid of a group of bandits that had overtaken the Thorp. Well… We’re not 100% certain that they’re bandits, but they’re probably bandits. Crash wants to talk to them first just on the off chance that they’re NOT bandits. I’m certainly not going to stop him if he’s so inclined. 

We camped a half a mile outside of town for the first night, so I decided to do some scouting after dark, since I see better than the rest of them. I’m still having a bit of trouble adjusting to trees out here because I missed one dead branch on the ground, stepped on it, and it almost sounded like a thunder crack. That caught the attention of a patrol. I wasn’t ready to make introductions just yet, so I tried to throw them off with some illusionary noises out to towards the road. And then I turned around and walked right into another tree branch. Not a good night for me. I made some more illusionary noises, making them decidedly person-sounding. I figured they may not be as anxious to get in a fight if they knew they were multiple people here. They retreated back to the town and I assumed they were going to get reinforcements, but they never returned.  During my watch for the night, I noticed that there was NO ambient noise around the town. No birds, no wildlife, no sounds of life at all. The Thorp is a relatively new settlement that sprang up over a ley-line running through the area. I’m still not sure if that was intentional or not. The next morning, I pointed out the lack of sound to everyone, and Quilla’s arcane senses determined that there is something wrong with the leylines here. They were tainted, somehow. We decide to go into town under the guise of magical researchers, to try and find any more information.

We entered a tavern that looked like it would be the first stop for travelers, and there was… a LOT of whom I assume were incredibly drunk bandits. They were listening to some halfling singing some song about Parun. They didn’t seem impressed, but Crash seemed to appreciate it. One of them tried to suggest that Quilla get on stage, because of course they did. Long story short, a bar fight broke out, and then a REAL fight broke out afterwards. The halfling bard, Ilex, ended up joining up with us in this fight. While we were dispatching most of the bandits, one paused long enough to ask me if I was “The Eighth”. I didn’t think much of it first, but he must’ve decided that I was NOT, in fact, the eighth, so he joined the attack with the others. Since this one showed an instinct to talk first, I decided that he could be of use to us alive. Or at least to me, anyway. I magically compelled him to tell me what he meant by “The Eighth.” He said:

“There are seven people under the Master who are helping to empower the Ever Dragon Rylen-Razeth. They are priestesses of the Forgotten Dark and I had mistakenly thought you to be the newest among them.” 

Rylen-Razeth. I recognize the name, but I can’t quite recall from where, but Abraxus had an absolutely furious reaction to hearing the name. I guess we’ll find out more when we’re finished with this battle. 

--Out of Character author's addition--

Arannis was not included because, as I mentioned in the session 0 post, he will be joining the campaign later on. He's hoping to get a schedule change at work soon, that will let him join us, but for the time being he's just going to be missing from the campaign.

I didn't mention Azure either because he didn't actually play with us when we originally started. Also, he couldn't make the first session cause of some prior commitments. He should be joining us going forward, but I didn't want to talk too much about a character I don't know much about. 

Ilex, unbeknownst to us until a couple hours into session 1, is actually someone else most of us have played with previously. He will be joining the campaign as a party member going forward, and i'll be sure to include him in the party members page soon.

This post ended up being a LOT longer than I originally expected, but that's ok. There was a fair bit of stuff to go over, and it was a longer than normal session for us anyway. Going forward, they shouldn't be this long. Or maybe they will be, who knows. I hope you enjoy reading.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Session 0 - Introduction

[Your heart drops, you can feel your body go cold with fear. You’re not used to fear, but your body seems to know that you’re going to die, and despite your skills and abilities there’s simply nothing you can do about.

Searing heat and cold stone crashes down upon you.

With a small gasp you look around. You’re no longer in a large cave, you’re not facing your death before a raging ancient elemental.

Instead, you realize you’re sitting in a clearing, with five other familiar faces. You know these people, and you know that they had all surely died standing beside you as the elemental’s primal magic killed you all. Confusion keeps you all silent for a long moment as the events of the last few weeks replay in your mind.

The – god? – with the pan flute, the dwarf that was his cleric, the town that flourished one moment and was charred the next, and traveling to another plane. These events skitter across your thoughts. Fights, mazes, monsters, puzzles, strange traveling companions you can’t place having known before, and spells that you’ve never heard of before. Even though you know you were fighting along-side your friends, some details weren’t right: names were wrong, races were wrong, fighting styles were impossible – but you know they had been themselves.

The events and passage of time feel so real that it’s disorientating. Still-warm half-eaten bowls of stew in the camp site seem proof enough that whatever happened – it hadn’t taken long. Confusion on the faces of your companions makes it clear that whatever ailed you, had happened to them as well.

But how did you get here? You don’t remember breaking camp, you’re not even sure why you’re all traveling. Common sense says you’ve got a job – you’re all pretty good about not pissing off the local, or even the not so local, authorities – so it’s not likely you’re on the run.

You remember completing your last job, and you must’ve had time to get repairs and provisions – your gear is in good working order, your rations are fresh, and no one seems road weary.

What in the name of Theria’s Children happened?]

So a little background on the campaign here. This is a homebrew campaign setting, that originally began in 2014, but went on hiatus for several years because of the DM's work responsibilities. Most of us all play in a couple campaigns together, so when our other campaign wrapped up in July, we decided to bring this one up again. Since this is a campaign that isn't COMPLETELY starting at square one, we are starting at level 7. We are an established party that has worked together and all know each other and trust each other, so a lot of the pre-hiatus stuff is going to be handwaved a bit. The italicized intro up above was written by the DM as a way of bridging the original campaign to what we're going to be currently playing in. There is probably a LOT of context that will need to be given to posts as I go along, and I will try to give some context when needed. For instance, in the above reference to "Theria's Children"--that's referring to the gods of the campaign setting. Theria is the Eldest, and created all the other gods, her children. 

See? Context.

So, that said, let's introduce the cast of characters:

Abraxus - Dragonborn Hexblade Warlock

Anais - High-elf Grave Cleric

Arannis - Eladrin Scout Rogue - He will be joining us later in the campaign due to work conflicts

Azure - Eladrin Horizon Walker Ranger 

Crash - Minotaur Echo Knight/Barbarian 

Thiride - Drow College of Eloquence Bard - This is my character

Quilla - Half-elf Phoenix Sorcerer

I will also have the party names listed in a side-linked page, so you don't have to dig through for my session zero post to see what names are going along with who and what. 

The idea for this blog sprung up from taking some notes, for my first time, on this campaign's first session the other day. After the session ended, I was looking through the notes and realized that I wrote them in first person. So that started kicking the idea around of making an actual sort of journal or diary from my character's POV, and THAT led to the idea of blogging. Before I knew it, well... here I am, and here you are I guess. I think *most* of my after-session posts will be in-character, but not every one will. I'll make sure to specify when a post is in-character or not. I may also, occasionally, have guest posts from the other players, if they're interested. Since we only play every 2 weeks, I will try to intersperse additional posts to give background info for the characters, or give context to some things that may warrant a full post. Or, I may just want to talk about a bunch of things D&D related, but not campaign specific. Who knows what I'll do? I certainly don't. So, welcome! I hope you enjoy reading what I have to blather about.