Sunday, 8 May 2011

Divine Intention: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gods - Part 1

“The period of malcontent is often cited to have begun with the resolution of the Wandering War, or in some circles a direct consequence of the events of the Wardovia Job. Undeniably the first true acts of the period of malcontent are the events that took place in Varassia during this time. The kingdoms east of the Wardovia/Andavia channel had long existed in a steady peace, surviving with their strange and radical customs. The island nation of Farrel however had grown ambitious over time, and decided that now was the moment to expand its sphere of influence.
Mercenaries coming in from the east would often find interesting work there. Work that was not in the strictest sense, diplomatically sound.”
- John Barlywood – Conspiracy and War in the North


Clunk. The group rotates once again to change roles, moving me back to a player character and a new DM stepping in. I must admit that I'd enjoyed my period as DM, so it was a bit odd going back to a situation so out of my hands. The character of Carnack had really grown on me and its not often I play evil characters, so statting him up to a Fighter/Wizard, he set sail to the island nation of Farrel. Unbeknown to him however, plucky cleric Damon was also on his way there, and the two end up reluctantly teaming up. Finally joining them are two new characters, Azreal had been swapped out for tiefling warlock Lerissa and the DM had his own guest PC, Half-Elf Wizard Megi.

“After his rather enigmatic actions during the Wardovia Job, Carnack Cousland headed east, via sea, following the route engraved on the back of the shield of Bahamut he spirited from the Wardovian relicry. To what this route was leading to, is still a point of contention, as is whether or not Cousland knew what was awaiting him. All we can speculate is that he knew to some degree that arcane powers would somehow be involved.”
- Roma Drangasti – Beyond the Wandering War

So, Carnack returns as a full blown character this time round. I wanted him to essentially be a bruiser with a few tricks up his sleeve, so I multi-classed him with some wizard powers, and this worked out quite well. Character wise, Carnack got several moments to capitalize on his self serving nature, and his reputation of being somewhat like a walking atomic bomb sometimes was backed up in one particular occurrence. More on that later though.

“And so our hero headed east, knowing not what adventure and peril would await him. Damon had defeated the dread Black Hand and the vile conspirators in Wardovia. What other evils would he banish in the name of Ioun? Standing aboard the rocking ship, striding over the waves, Damon stroked his beard in contemplation, thinking back to his days as a ship hand. Had this proud man of faith known the chaos that was to come, he may well have returned to this simple lifestyle. Free from the burden of responsibility. Life, however, rarely allows such simple choices.”
- 'Tripshot' Murphy - Anthem: The Adventures of Damon Volume 2

Cleric of Ioun Damon returns also, ready to overkill with white searing light all over again. As you will see later, Damon worked as a brilliant foil for Carnack, often seeking the diplomatic (though not always ethically sound) solution over the violent. The two would bang heads on several occasions and infighting between them was rife, this however, just made the campaign all the more interesting.

“Like many young Farrelite women of her age, Megi had been inducted into the Arcane academy to be trained in the mystical arts and eventually rise to a position within the island's government. Megi was as ambitious as her calling suggested, and when her graduation grew close, sought after a far reaching assignment for her final initiation. It was this assignment that she was paired together with the warlock Lerissa and two mercenaries from west of the continent. It is unknown how much of what was to transpire was part of Megi's schemes, blind luck, or a combination of the two.”
- Crispin Lennon – I Don't Want to Spoil the Party: Famous Farrelites

Guest character from the DM, Megi was an enigmatic half-elf that the DM had acting constantly suspicious. How much of what she was up to within the plot we still don't know, but she was often used as a driving force to keep the group moving along when we ran out of ideas, which happened quite frequently. Not a lot of her character was brought out due to the DM constantly juggling between her and the game, however she did seem to favor Damon over Carnack, possibly due to her and Carnack both being equals in ambition.

“Nothing much was expected of Lerissa. While demon blood was not looked down on in Farrel in the way it was in the western kingdoms, her rather comical feline features had few people taking her seriously. As most tieflings drew demonic features from whatever demon sired their bloodline, Lerissa had her features drew from some of the less aggressive forms of demon that drifted on the edge of the nine hells, leaving her with feline ears and tail.
Like most young Farrelites of an arcane nature, Lerissa was inducted into the academy to train as a warlock and later inherit a position of government. Lerissa wasn't really interested in politics, had no particular love for her profession or homeland and longed for escape. When her final initiation came calling, an opportunity finally presented itself.”
Ezio de Sirenze – Here We Stand: The Teifling Peoples Road to Acceptance

Cat girl Lerissa was the final member of our fab four. Her player, a pretty big fan of anime, wanted to feature a catgirl as his next character. Initially I was a bit skeptical, but we allowed it by invoking the original explanation of Tieflings having different demonic features depending on what demon they descended from and how strong the bloodline. I have to say Lerissa really grew on both me and, weirdly enough, Carnack too, and somehow a catgirl wandering around out psudo-medieval inspired land worked just fine.

Chapter 1
To the Manor Born

“First of the modern mageocracies, the small island nation of Farrel was never seen as much of a prominent force in the realms. After all it was practically just one city on a small island without even much fertile farmland or room for expansion. However, the populace had gradually built themselves a prominent trade empire, and was seen by many as an accessible trade associate. Safe ground in seas swarming with pirate brigands such as the notorious Clodhopper”
- Deltiod Brennan – The Early Realms Renaissance

And so our campaign kicks off . Carnack and Damon both run into each other by the docks and begrudgingly decide to stick together, which would be the beginning of a not very peaceful partnership. The two wander the city looking for information and checking out shops for magical items. Differing from my way of doing things, our new DM was a lot more sparing of environments, and I confess found it a bit difficult to navigate the city without a more detailed map.

Not that this mattered too much, this campaign was in many ways a lot more focused than mine was, so exploration wasn't exactly on top priority. Carrying on, Carnack insists on heading to the library to find out as much information as he can about the island, but finds it hiding many possible deadly secrets. As the campaign went along, we never found out what these deadly secrets were. Oh well.

“After Farrel's legendary uprising of days gone by, much knowledge of the previous regime was lost... or destroyed. Very little is known of life on Farrel prior to the uprising, even down to bare details like whether it had previously been a mageocracy or the mages had only come to power afterwards. What is known however is that after the uprising the island was, and still is, scattered with artifacts of arcane power left over from previous ages. It is therefore common practice in Farrel to find mercenaries hired to locate such artifacts in the darker corners of the city.”
- Deltiod Brennan – The Early Realms Renaissance

It isn't long before the two fellas find adventure. Carnack and Damon find themselves hired by a wealthy noble to locate an artifact in a derelict and monster infested manor home. The catch however, is they have to take two magic apprentices with them, peeving Carnack off even more. So that introduced Megi and Lerissa. Heading to the manor house, our DM decided that since we were of a higher lever now, it'd be a good idea to level up the monsters as a matter of course. This led to us getting an almighty beat down from the first group of humble kobolts we ran into.
The rest of the session continued in similar fashion. Lerissa had to fight through a trap of whirling blades till she was on her last legs, and Megi would constantly go around acting like she knew more than the rest of us (given the fact that she was the DM's character, this isn't exactly unexpected). Finally the game finishes with a battle with a cave troll, whose miniature unfortunately ended up getting decapitated just like its counterpart in game.

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